138 East Pitt Street Bedford, PA 15522
History of the Date
Bedford county is the home of many interesting stories from the beginning of America's history. Across the street from 1758 Co. is a placard which commemorates the site as the first trading post in the area.
The sign reads: Site of lots on which John Fraser and his wife established an inn and trading post in 1758. Fraser had been a guide and interpreter for Colonel Washington. The inn provided meals for army officers at Fort Raystown (Bedford).
Fraser married Jane Fraser (formerly Jane Bell and Jane McClain) in 1754. On October 1, 1755, while returning to her home from the Fort Cumberland trading post several miles away, Jane was captured by Indians and taken to the Miami River near Dayton, Ohio. She eventually escaped and returned 18 months later only to learn that Fraser, her husband, had remarried because he assumed that she was dead. Fraser took her back, and he returned his second wife home to her father. Ruby Frazier Frey, a descendant, in 1946 published an historical novel, Red Morning, telling of Jane’s experiences. In 1771 John Fraser was appointed by Governor Penn as a justice of the peace for the newly formed Bedford County, Pennsylvania, where two years later he died suddenly.
Originally called Raystown, Bedford was settled about 1751 and laid out in 1766. Bedford was incorporated on March 13, 1795. For many years it was an important frontier military post. The Espy House in Bedford is notable for having been the headquarters of George Washington and his force of 13,000 while putting down the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794, which had started around the Jean Bonnet Tavern.
In 1758 the British Army came to Raystown to set up a fort. The fort was named Fort Bedford, for the politically powerful Duke of Bedford in England. Some believe this is how the town later got its name. Fort Bedford was built as one of the many British Army stepping stones through the state leading to the forks of the Ohio River; the other side of the forks was dominated by Indians. The British used the fort to drive out the French to ensure the new continent would be English-speaking. The fort was later a safe house for settlers escaping Indian raids. Fort Bedford was “liberated” ten years before the Revolution by American rebels, James Smith's Black Boys, and was the first fort taken from the British. The fort later collapsed and was reconstructed in 1958.