Quietly it stands, a single marker, a reminder of a quest for empire that took place more than 200 years ago. The marker memorializes the final resting place of British Major General Edward Braddock, leader of an ill-fated expedition to the forks of the Ohio River to try to capture French-held Fort Duquesne.
Braddock's Grave - The Untold Story
After the French and Indian War ended, the Braddock Road remained a main road in this area. In 1804, some workmen discovered human remains in the road near where Braddock was supposed to have been buried. Officer's uniform buttons reportedly found at the site indicated that the remains were those of General Braddock.
Initially, some of the remains were kept as souvenirs. Andrew Stewart, a local magistrate, learned of the desecration of the grave site and ordered the return of the remains. Reportedly, some hand bones found their way to the Peale Museum in Philadelphia. P.T. Barnum purchased the contents of the museum and moved it to New York City. A fire in 1864 destroyed the museum. In addition, a section of vertebrae is reportedly in the Walter Reed Hospital collection in Bethesda, Maryland.
The remains that were recovered were then re-interred on a small knoll adjacent to the road. In 1913 the marker was placed where it is today, keeping its silent watch.
Did You Know?
In 1848 Robert S. McDowell counted 133 wagons pulled by six-horse teams pass along the National Road in one day. He took “no notice of as many more teams of one, two, three four and five horses.” Thomas Searight remembered as many as 20 stagecoaches in a line at one time on the road.