Peters Creek Pre-European History

Peters Creek Pre-European History

Native Americans first arrived in western Pennsylvania from 12,000-18,000 years ago as part of a slow eastward migration from their arrival point in North America; the Aleutian Strait in Alaska. These people developed many cultural tribes with separate languages, religions, clothing and customs.

The Monongahela tribe inhabited western Pennsylvania at the time of the first European settlements on the east coast. These people were known as the Moundbuilders. The Monongahela people had vanished by the time the first fur traders made their way over the Allegheny Monuntains; victims of diseases brought by the Europeans.

By the early 1700's European settlement on the east coast pushed tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy into western PA. These tribes did not have permanent settlements in the Peters Creek Valley but used the area as a hunting ground. Evidence of Native American presence has been abundant over the years. Flint, broken pieces of pottery and other artifacts can be found to this day. Mounds have been excavated on the hilltops of Clairton and overlooking Elrama. A large camp was located at the confluence of Peters Creek and the Monongahela River where the Clairton Coke Works are located today. Following is a memory of a Clairton resident, Leo Walker, of how the area surrounding the confluence of Peters Creek and the Mon looked before the time of the coke works.

Peters Creek from the river to the railroad was one of the beauty spots of the vicinity. Weeping willow trees lined both banks of the stream and their branches drooped down into the water which at that time was pure enough to drink.

During the summer of 1896, glassworkers camping along the creek caught many large white salmon weighing from six to eight pounds. Some very large catfish were caught in the river in those days. Archie Duff, father of Archie and Billy Duff, made the largest catch, a fish about four feet long and weighing 89 pounds.