The Robbery of the Mail

Black Horse Tavern by J. Howard Iams

The original plan was for robbing the mail between Washington and Pittsburgh. The purpose was to determine the sense of the people with regard to the fight against the tax and the action at General Neville's home.

Because of timing, the mail ended up being robbed between Pittsburgh and Greensburg at a point 22 miles east of Pittsburgh.

The actual robbery was done by William Bradford (a cousin of David Bradford) and John Mitchell who had been engaged by David Hamilton for the purpose.

The post man had his mail pouch removed. The packets from Washington and Pittsburgh were taken and the remaining mail was returned to the carrier.

The mail was then turned over to Benjamin Parkinson at Parkinson's Ferry who then took it to David Bradford. Bradford with Colonel James Marshall, Parkinson and Alexander Fulton took the mail to the Black Horse Tavern in Canonsburg. They were met there by Colonel John Cannon and Thomas Speer and the six of them proceeded to open the mail packets.

The Washington packet contained nothing of interest to them. The Pittsburgh packet, however, contained five letters which upset Bradford and the others. There were as follows:

1. From Colonel Presley Nevile to General Morgan.

2. From General Gibson to Governor Mifflin

3. From James Bryson to Governor Mifflin

4. From Edward Day to Alexander Hamilton

5. From Major Thomas Butler (Commandant at Fort Pitt) to the Secretary of War.

These letters were kept while the rest was resealed and returned to the Pittsburgh Post Office.

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