Person:James LeTort (1)

James LeTort
b.Abt. 1700 Prob. Pennsylvania
d.Aft. 1765 West Virginia
m. Est. 1685-1690
  1. Francis LeTortEst 1687-1693 -
  2. Ann Margaret LeTortEst 1690-1700 -
  3. James LeTortAbt 1700 - Aft 1765
  • HJames LeTortAbt 1700 - Aft 1765
  • WPekowi WomanAbt 1714 -
m. abt. 1734
  1. James LeTartAbt 1735 - Aft 1775
Facts and Events
Name James LeTort
Gender Male
Birth? Abt. 1700 Prob. Pennsylvania
Marriage abt. 1734 Pennsylvaniato Pekowi Woman
Death? Aft. 1765 West Virginia


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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:

  • Vol. 2 - 23d December, 1772--Letter of George Washington to Mr. Rind, publisher of Gazette, giving public information as to the distribution of the said lands. Capt. Wm. Crawford is appointed surveyor. Allotments now made to George Muse, Adam Stephen, Andrew Lewis, Peter Hog, John West, John Polson, Andrew Wagener; also allotments to George Mercer, his brother, John Mercer, and two Sergeants, Jno. Hamilton, Mark Hollis; also to the heirs of Col. Joshua Fry; also to Dr. James Craik, Sergeant Brickner; also a subaltern officer, John Savage; also to Sergeants Robert Langdon, Robt. Tunstall, Edd. Wagener, Richard Toller; also to Corporals Wm. Johnson, Hugh McKoy, Jno. Smith, Richard Smith also to Privates Charles Smith, Angus McDonald, Nathan Chapman, Joseph Gatewood, James Samuel, Michael Sully, Edward Goodwin, William Bailey, Henry Bailey, Wm. Coffland, Mathew Doran, John Ramsey, Charles James, Mathew Cox, Marshall Pratt, John Wilson, William Johnston, John Wilson, Nathaniel Barrett, David Gorman, Patrick Galloway, Timothy Conway, Christian Bombgardner, John Houstonn, John Maid, James Ford, William Broughton, William Carnes, Edward Evins, Thos. Moss, Mathew Jones, Philip Gatewood, Hugh Paul, Daniel Staples, William Lowery, James Ludlow, James Lafort, James Givin, Joshua Jordan, William Jenkins, James Commack, Richard Morris, John Ghalson, Robert Jones, William Hagan, John Franklin, John Bishop, George Malcomb, William Coleman, Richard Bottan, Jno. Cincaid (Kincaid), Geo. Hunt


Additional notes fide: Ancestry
James senior (born about 1651) immigrated from France and arrived in Philadelphia in about 1687. He was married to Anne. They had three children, James, Jr., Anne Margaret and Francis. Francis was killed by the Indians while hunting on the Potomac River. James, Senior died sometime before November 1715. James Jr. was married to Mary and had at least two children, Judith and James. One died in 1709 and the other in 1711. He also was married to Elizabeth. They had at least one daughter (and probably more children), Judith, born in May 1712= Richard Somers

The Lancaster County, Pennsylvania community of "Letort, Pennsylvania" was named after this James LeTort. In addition, LeTart's Falls on the Ohio River, near Pomeroy, Meigs County, Ohio was also supposedly named for LeTort.

From Egles Notes and Queries

Image:Francis Letort Killed on Potomac.jpg

  1.   Schutz, Noel, and Don Greene. Shawnee Heritage I: Shawnee Genealogy and Family History. (, 2008), Pg. 141.

    LeTart, James aka James LeTort - adopted - French born about 1700 France - died after 1765 WV - French-Indian War/54-63, Braddock/55 - w/Natives, Council Logstown 1765. 1st Trader west of Alleghany mountains 1730, trading post at Big Bend of Ohio River in Mason Co. WV 1740, husband 1734 PA of Pekowi Woman/20, father of James LeTart, Jr./35 1/2 Pekowi-Metis.