The "navigable" portion of the Allegheny River which stretched between Warren and Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania no longer carries steamboats or keelboats . These waters are used today almost exclusively by sportsmen and pleasure boaters.


Probably no river in the world, rolls for the same distance, such a clear and pure current; hence it received its name, "Allegheny," from the Seneca Indians, meaning "Fair Water." For the same cause, it was called by the French, "La Belle Riviere." It rises in the northern part of Pennsylvania, passes through a small portion of New York, and winding its way back into Pennsylvania again, runs with its meanderings, not less than fifty miles within the county of Warren. It also flows through the centre of Venango county, in a direction so very curvical, that there is not a point of the compass to which it does not direct its course. The country along its banks is exceedingly wild and rugged; the river hills being high and precipitous, rising into bluffs and cliffs, sometimes to the height of 300 feet. These bluffs exhibit a wild and picturesque grandeur, well calculated to call forth from the reflecting lover of nature, "Oh! Lord how stupendous are thy Works." The country on the headwaters of the Allegheny yet contains almost inexhaustible supplies of first rate pine lumber. It is supposed that from fifty to seventy million shingles, descend the river annually. Further down, the hills are rich with Iron ore of an excellent quality, and Bituminous coal, by which Iron is manufactured in immense quantities. There is not hardly a point on the river, below Franklin, that the sound of the steam whistle of the furnace engine, cannot be heard.

The country along the Allegheny, from Warren to Pittsburgh, is now inhabited by an intelligent, industrious, hospitable and friendly people. Roll back a century! What a contrast! Instead of the present enlightened people, this whole region was occupied by the Seneca Indians. The untutored Indian and his rude wigwam is substituted for the sacred Preacher and the house of God; the scalp yell for the steam whistle; the bark canoe for the steamboat. Traces are to be found, in almost every direction, of a numerous Indian population once inhabiting this region; and a more appropriate one could hardly be found for their residence. The rugged hills clothed with forest, furnished them excellent fishing grounds, bordered here and there with bottom land, as sites for their villages and cornfields.

The Senecas, of which Cornplanter was Chief, was far the most numerous and warlike of the Six Nations. The peculiar organization of that confederacy, and the rank which the Senecas held in it, were as follows: This confederacy was originally known in the annals of New York as the Five Nations; and subsequently, being joined by the Tuscaroras, as the Six Nations. As confederates, they called themselves Aquanuschroni, or "United People." They were called by the French, Iroquois. The original Five Nations were the Onondagas, the Cayugas, the Oneidas, the Senecas and the Mohawks. In 1712 the Tuscaroras being expelled from the interior of North Carolina and Virginia, were adopted as the sixth tribe. The language of all the tribes of the confederacy, except the Tuscaroras was radically the same. Their domain stretched from the borders of Vermont to Lake Erie and from Lake Ontario to the headwaters of the Allegheny, Susquehanna and Delaware rivers. This territory they styled their Long House. The Grand council fire was held in Onondaga valley.

The Senecas guarded the western door of the house, the Mohawks the eastern, and the Cayugas the southern or that which opened upon the Susquehanna. The Mohawk nation was the first in rank, and to it appertained the office of principal war chief. To the Onondagas, who guarded the council-fire, appertained in like manner the office of principal chief or sachem. The Senecas in numbers and military energy were the most powerful. The peculiar location of the Iroquois on the great channels of water conveyance to which their territories were contiguous, gave them a great advantage. And by an early alliance with the Dutch on the Hudson, they secured the use of firearms, and were thus enabled not only to repel the encroachment of the French, but in all directions to carry war and devastation, and reduce to a state of vasselage many Indian nations. But on them, like everything else, is written, "Passing away." If the future whispers what the past will justify us in believing, the general bury ground of their whole race is at no very remote period. The history of their wrongs at the hands of land speculators would fill a larger book than this. By various treaties they have been deprived of one piece of their fair domain after another, until this once powerful nation are now crowded upon four small reservations, one at Tonawanda, eight miles N.W. of Batavia, one three miles east of Buffalo, one at Cattaraugas Creek twenty-eight miles south of Buffalo, and the fourth on the Allegheny seventeen miles above Warren. This reservation was the late residence of Cornplanter, the distinguished Seneca chief. At each of these reservations except Tonawanda, the American Board have a Mission station with a Church and schools.

From 1954 C of C write-up:


"Unique among the rivers of America, the Allegheny covers a mere 135 miles, as the crow flies, from its source to its mouth, the point where it is joined by the Monongahela to form the Ohio River. Yet, so curvaceous and meandering is its course, the actual shoreline is more than 325 miles in length.

The river probably derived its name from the Allegawes, an Indian tribe that lived along its shores before the coming of the Delawares. One writer, however, claims it was the Seneca Indians who named it the Allegheny, meaning "fair waters." The French named it "La Belle Rivere," having the same translation.

Rising in the northern part of Pennsylvania, the Allegheny winds its way northward across the New York State line, touching at Olean and Salamanca, then curving southward to complete "the great ox-bow." Again crossing into Pennsylvania, it flows past the Cornplanter Indian Reservation, past the County Seat of Warren, skirting along the Allegheny National Forest, and on south through the Allegheny Valley in a course so twisting and circuitous it is said there is not a point on the compass to which it does not direct its course.

Today, businessmen and retired industrialists are "discovering" the shores of the Allegheny as a delightful "vacationland". Each year sees new weekend cabins and substantial year-round houses built along its shores and its tributaries. Each spring sees an influx of rod and reel enthusiasts from Ohio and other states. Well-stocked streams of trout, bass, pike and pan fish make it truly a Fisherman's Paradise.

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