THE storm that Pontiac and his conspirators had been conjuring up in the Northwest during the winter burst in May, 1763, and of the frontier posts only Detroit, Niagara, Pitt, Ligonier, and Bedford held out. There had been a number of murders of whites by Indians in the vicinity of Fort Pitt during May, and Ecuyer had done everything he could to put the fort into a state of defense, not a very easy matter, because of the damage caused by the late flood. Ecuyer, however, filled the gap in the ramparts with a palisade strengthened by a fraise with the sharpened stakes pointing outward, and erected firing parapets. The townsmen, less than a hundred in number, were at first organized into two companies of militia under William Trent but soon afterward were distributed among the regular troops. The first warning Pittsburgh had that an attack in force was imminent came on May 27 when a certain Turtle's Heart, after trading with a group of friends at the provincial store, sought out Alexander McKee, Croghan's deputy in the management of Indian affairs, and besought him to leave at once for the East. On the twenty-ninth word came that William Clapham and most of his family and servants had been killed on the Youghiogheny near the site of West Newton.