Fort Pitt Provincial Park
|National Historic Site of Canada|
Battle of Fort Pitt
|Municipality||Frenchman Butte No. 501|
|North Saskatchewan River Saskatchewan Canada.|
|Controlled by||King George III/Queen Victoria|
|Battles/wars||Battle of Fort Pitt|
Fort Pitt was a fort built in 1830 by the Hudson's Bay Company that also served as a trading post on the North Saskatchewan River in Canada. It was built by Chief Factor John Rowand, previously of Fort Edmonton, in order to trade for bison hides, meat and pemmican. Pemmican, dried buffalo meat, was required as provisions for HBC's northern trading posts.
Fort Pitt was built where the territories of the Cree, Assiniboine and Blackfoot converged. It was located on a large bend in the river just east of the present day Alberta-Saskatchewan border and was the major post between Fort Edmonton and Fort Carlton. In 1876, it was one of the locations for signing Treaty 6. It was the scene of the Battle of Fort Pitt during the Northwest Rebellion of 1885.
Fort Pitt (1829-1890) was a prairie trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company on the North Saskatchewan River about 10 miles east of the Alberta border. It is best known for the Battle of Fort Pitt in 1885. It traded mainly in pemmican and buffalo robes with the Blackfeet, Crees and some Métis. There was a fair amount of agriculture and horse-rearing. It was named after Thomas Pitt, a member of the HBC governing board from 1810 to 1832. For background see Saskatchewan River fur trade.
It was started in September 1829 by Patrick Small (presumably not the more famous one). During the first winter Small and his men had to live in tents. Building was not completed until the spring of 1831. It was closed in 1832 for fear of Indian attack and reopened in the fall of 1833. There were frequent skirmishes between Crees and Blackfeet in the area. At some date the Fort Pitt Crees killed either 19 or 30 Blackfeet in revenge for their having scalped alive some Crees. Paul Kane was here in 1848. In 1843 John Rowand, the son of John Rowand of Fort Edmonton, became master. In 1854 the elder Rowand, on his way to retirement, visited his son. While attempting to break up a fight between two voyageurs he had a heart attack and died. In 1863 there was Blackfoot raiding in the area. In 1870 a large smallpox epidemic struck the North Saskatchewan. In 1872 it was said that there were more horses kept at Fort Pitt than any place on the Saskatchewan. 1873 was the last year that large Buffalo herds were seen. Treaty 6 was signed here in 1876. In 1883 25 North-West Mounted Police were sent to Fort Pitt under the command of Francis Dickens, the son of the novelist. In 1885 the fort was plundered and burned by the Crees. Next September it was rebuilt by Angus McKay. In 1887 a branch post was built at Onion Lake about 20 mi (32 km) northwest. In 1890 everything was moved to Onion Lake and Fort Pitt was closed.
It was on the north bank of the river on a flat above a bluff. The stockade was 15 ft (4.6 m) high and 15 ft (4.6 m) on a side. Around 1980 there was a post-Fort Pitt log building in a grassy field. Today there is a Provincial Historic Park.
- Elizabeth Browne Losey, "Let Them be Remembered: The Story of the Fur Trade Forts",1999