m. Est. 1685-1690
Facts and Events
From History of Cumberland County, PA 1886, fide Ancestry
James LeTort (now written Letort) was a French-Swiss, who acted as an Indian interpreter and messenger to the government. He was also a trader, and very early built a cabin at the spring at the head of the run which now bears his name. His first cabin is said to have been burnt by the Indians. It was built in 1720. So far as known, he was the first white man to have an abode, even temporarily, in what is now Cumberland County, PA. His location was near Carlisle, at a place since known as Beaver Pond. LeTort was a man of excellent reputation. He received £12 annually from the government for his services.
From A History of the Indian Villages and Place Names in Pennsylvania with Numerous Historical Notes and References, by George P. Donehoo, 1928. fide The Point
James LeTort was probably the first Pennsylvania trader to cross the mountains to the site of Pittsburgh (See Le Torts Springs). At about the same time, before 1727, Hugh Crawford, Edmund Cartlidge, Peter Chartier, and other traders from the Susquehanna were trading at the Indian villages along the Ohio and Allegheny, and going westward to the Muskingum and Sciota Rivers. Thomas Cresap, George Croghan, Barney Curran, Jonas Davenport, James Dunning, and a host of Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland traders were on the Ohio before the commencement of the French and Indian War (Mr. Hanna gives a very complete list. Wilderness Trail. II. 326-343). A list of traders licensed by the Province from 1743 to 1748, is found in Archives, Sec. Ser., II. 619-621, and from 1762 to 1775, in same vol. from 621 to 627. The Ohio region, about the "forks," came into the field of real history about 1731, when Jonah Davenport, James LeTort and Edmund Cartlidge, Indian traders, were examined by the Provincial authorities concerning this then almost unknown wilderness (Archives, I. 299-306). The examination of these traders revealed the fact that a Frenchman, named Cavalier (the family name of LaSalle) had been trading on the Allegheny in the Kittanning town, every year, save 1729, since 1726. The rivalry of these French and English traders on the Allegheny was destined to bring the region into world history. This was the actual commencement of the events which led France and Great Britain into the struggle for the possession of the Ohio.
From "Where the Lilies Cry", by C. Stephen Badgley:
James Letort Sr. was the son of James I and Ann Letort, pioneers of the trading business in Pennsylvania. The older James had come to America with his father to escape persecution in France. They were protestant Huguenots and declared their loyalty to the British Crown. The older James died and his sons carried on the trading business under the auspices of their mother Ann.
James Letort Sr. was an exceptional trader who had a reputation of dealing fair with all Indians. As a young man he was adopted into the Shawnee nation. He married a Shawnee woman and had a son whom they named James Letart Jr. The name Letort was changed to Letart, probably because of the constant mispronunciation of the name by the English.
Records of James LeTort in Augusta County, VA
From Chalkley's Augusta County Records:
Additional notes fide: Ancestry
The Lancaster County, Pennsylvania community of "Letort, Pennsylvania" was named after this James LeTort. http://www.epodunk.com/cgi-bin/genInfo.php?locIndex=14309 In addition, LeTart's Falls on the Ohio River, near Pomeroy, Meigs County, Ohio was also supposedly named for LeTort.