Located at the confluence of French Creek and the Allegheny River, Fort Machault was one of four forts built by the French to control the Venango Path between Lake Erie and the Ohio River. Fort Machault was the last stop on the supply route from Canada to Fort Duquesne. The former frontier outpost is located in what is now Franklin, Pennsylvania.
Prior to the arrival of the French in 1753, Pennsylvania blacksmith and Native American trader John Fraser had established a trading operation on this site, supplying Native tribes throughout the region with European trade goods, as well as repairing guns and other metal objects. Fraser's business was an example of the western expansion of Pennsylvania's fur trade that prompted the French to fortify the Ohio Country, for fear of losing trade and influence among the powerful tribes of the region.
Between 1753 and 1759,
France tried to restrict English colonial expansion and maintain their influence over area tribes by building four forts
(Presque Isle, Le Boeuf, Machault, and Duquesne) from Lake Erie to the
Ohio/ Mississippi Rivers. Due to disrupted maritime supply lines, the
advance of the English Army under General Forbes to the Three River's area, and the defeat of the French at Fort Niagara (1759), these four forts
were each abandoned. In the following 250 years, the locations of the former forts have been discovered by archaeologists and recognized by monuments created by historians.
This fort was built by the French to control the Venango Path, between Lake Erie and the Ohio River. It was named for Jean-Baptiste Machault d'Arnouville, the French
Minister of the Marine at the time of its construction. It was also known as
Venango, the name of the nearby Delaware Indian village.
The fort was built on a hill, 60 yards west of the Allegheny River. The fort was in the form of a parallelogram, about 75 by 105 feet. The curtain was made of hewed timber, stacked lengthwise. The four corners had bastions in the form of polygons. The bastions were built of saplings, eight inches thick, and 13 feet in height. The gate fronted the river. Inside the fort were a magazine, several officer's barracks, with two stories and stone chimneys. The soldiers’ barracks consisted of 45 buildings outside the fort.
the arrival of the French in 1753, Pennsylvania blacksmith and Indian trader
John Fraser had set up shop on this site, supplying Indians in the region with
trade goods and repairing their guns and other metal wares. His business was an
example of the western expansion of Pennsylvania's fur trade that prompted the
French to fortify the Ohio Country, for fear of losing trade and influence
among the Indians there.
Fort Machault was the
last stop on the supply route from Canada to Fort Duquesne. After abandoning Fort Duquesne in November 1758, the
French fell back to Fort Machault, and the British expected them to launch a
counterattack from there in the following campaign season. The fall of Fort
Niagara in summer 1759, however, made the French presence in the Ohio Country
untenable. They burned the post and retreated to Canada in anticipation of a
British expedition north from the Forks of the Ohio. In 1760, the British built Fort Venango
near this site.