Aside from being born in Baltimore, much of Christopher Gist's youth is unknown. Although he had little in the way of a formal education, he was taught surveying and grew up to be a successful frontiersman.
In 1751, Gist became a member of the Templar Order, which sent him to explore the country and present himself to the indigenous people in order to secure alliances and commercial lanes.
In 1753, Gist accompanied George Washington to deliver a message to the French, demanding that they leave the Ohio Country. This event sparked the French and Indian War, and Gist would continue to fight at Washington's side.