Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Citizenship and Steps of Progress


         An Editorial of Sorts

      The lessons learned from our historical background, from these experiences we all have,open up the realms we are so familiar with today and helped establish, not only a sense of place, but rather what can continue to be stated with that serious and firm resolve and spirit of American values we came to be a part of. This along with a communal sense of purpose that may well need some infusion from our past can help us reach for a renewed search for freedom as often shaped a spirit of pride felt here in more broad terms. 
   Where is the 'soul' of Pennsylvania? Are these ideals still alive? 
   It seems the slow march toward this most meaningful goal and this dream, first as members of these communities, and of our county and state and their constitutions sometimes left to languish, as many perceive it to be, relates directly to the vision of ourselves. The state's peaceful beginnings and hesitation for war and our pursuit of happiness itself relates to what is sometimes so elusive and yet so obvious, and our eventual form of backbone and heroics, as well as our religious faith, and what sustains us. This IS our underpinnings.
   As to the country's amazing story of independence itself echoed so closely by the peal of a special Bell 

Wikipedia public domain
and the cause of keeping that candle of liberty lit and glowing is what will allow us to pause and gather a renewed perspective. It is as much in the present and looming future as ever to the foundations of a storied past, as well in prosperous years as in the hardest of times too; we are living history, making it real. Modifying it as we go along, even if not completely aware of it. In a way, this makes our story unique, and yet, an integral connecting part of the whole, ultimately, of humanity and the concerns of a planet experiencing much turmoil and change. If this stirs up some feelings in you here, well, it should. This is the Republic on which we stand, or fall. These things start on a regional level and work their way up. 

   From the Proclamations of Philadelphia, to the Continental Congress and that cold march to Valley Forge, our foundations were made official and thereby secured.

Wikipedia  Congress voting Independence

   Such profound attributes given here may be easily analyzed and criticized, though it is the nature of history to be looked on in varying lights in different times. Lofty opinions or a search for what was once termed something like 'noble aspirations', especially in modern times, usually tend to be subject to fierce debate. I would find it a privilege if this site found this kind of attention, if any! It could also be that in a free society this is a mixed blessing in disguise. Anyway, further musings and thoughts of this ilk would require a separate blog!
   Naturally, you can make of this discourse what you will and that is as it should be.

   To come gradually from the heights of this soap box and regain the touch of earth and reach for practical things will surely happen soon enough; but, regardless, it is when we are near the heartbeat of so much local, state and national history we all share from the hills Westmoreland and the valleys of it's cousin, Fayette; from Fallingwater and Friendship Hill, to Uniontown and Greensburg, the Resolves of Hanna's Town to Fort Necessity, from those long ago colonial days and the French and Indian War, through Civil and World Wars, to find a few moments to care for this precious place, its politics and economy, its traffic and taxes too, that's true. All assorted pieces of the southwestern Pennsylvania we know. Let's  'take the good with the bad', for it is a necessity we are all too aware of. We are responsible for ourselves and each other and it is us that truly make the headlines here, this much can ultimately be realized, at least. 
  Surely, it is natural for us to agree, it is our way of life and interactions that matter most. What is near we hold dear. This we try to do first, only then to be willingly shared and revealed with the rest of this greatest country in the wide world.

   Thanks go out for all and sunder who took the time to read through these statements.

Monday, December 30, 2013



 In 1814 the borough of Perryopolis was laid out in Jefferson Township, Fayette County.
It was previously known as New Boston and was named after Oliver Hazard Perry. 

  George Washington had purchased 1,644 acres here, quite a bundle of land. When he visited in 1770 he was quoted as saying,
         " ...as fine a land as I have ever seen, a great deal of rich meadow; it is well watered and has a valuable mill seat."
    There you have it. The mill was completed in 1776 and once it was finished this encouraged business in the area. He actually hoped to develop the remainder and plans to make out streets in a wagon-wheel shape. Washington's estate sold the tract after his death. He reportedly felt discouraged from the development as the Pennsylvania laws changed his outlook, but it was eventually laid out basically as he planned it.
   In the late 19th century, the area around Perryopolis was first mined for coal. Until the 1950's coal would be the main economic activity and was mined through Washington Run and the branch of the P&LE Railroad which continued on to Star Junction.
   The place also has other attractions, as the Searight Fulling Mill and Youghiogheny Bank of Pennsylvania listed on the National Register.
    Maybe the most interesting is the Francis Farm Petroglyphs. Near a boulder in Jefferson Township in the NW area of Fayette County, archeologists have found it so since the mid-1900's.Damaged in the 1930's it is not definite as to origin. There are sixteen carvings on the main one and what can still be seen is worth the trip.

     There is also what is called the Quaker Meeting House, (not really a chapel or church as sometimes described). Built out of a meeting house used from 1793. There are some urban legends surrounding it mentioned elsewhere.

    Perry Township, founded in 1839. The Frazier School District serves the township. Star Junction , Wickhaven, Whitsett, Banning and Layton are the villages that make up this township. The borough of Perryopolis lies ensconced at the center of the township, although it is independently governed and technically not a part of the township.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Merry Christmas And Happy New Year To All

  Well, it's that special time of year again, Sleigh bells, (if you still hear any of those ), shining Christmas trees, with beribboned gifts beneath anxiously awaited; the wonderful smell of turkey soon to come, pealing church bells, Santa's arrival and, not in the least, the birth of the Savior in a manager, those mysterious angels singing and shepherds watching by night with the slow approach of the wise men.

 The snow sure has been blowing to help put us in the mood. Have a bit of eggnog and the warmth of a fireplace; enjoy the spirit of giving and some receiving as well!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all


Christmas   Eve


It is, indeed, the night before Christmas,
 colorful presents aplenty
turkey dinner of the next day awaited,
Bells are ringing with carols to be sung
a glimmering tree a lit , shining with hope and magic
Holly wreath and mistletoe hung,

to welcome Santa and his elves

An old red stocking all stuffed,
the winter's snow silently falling and a candle glowing
and thoughts gently turning

to the season of wise men, a miracle Star,
our Saviour's birth

Goodwill and festive cheer
the heartfelt desire at this great time of the year,
near in the minds of those that are near

A special charity, A special reason,
to all people, Yuletide greetings

And in all our dreams,
the Holy Night surrounds us

filling us with the love and delight
of Christmas Eve

(written, Dec, 24th, 1982)


Friday, December 13, 2013

French and Indian War Overview

 Movers And Shakers

    This post will be followed, 'down the road', by more detailed ones on southwestern PA & other places. Here is a link to a good site; with particular places names and geographical areas.

   In a very real sense, the much faded history of the greatest rival nations of this era were at a pivotal place and leads on to yet another rival nation rising from this cannon fire and battlefields, skirmishes and dimly lit rooms full of whisperings and meaningful discussions; that one would become the greatest, the United States of America itself.

   It was here in these woods and backwaters so much of the early fighting was decided by a panorama of folks, famous and little known, as well as in so many other localities. In these confines much of our future was realized. 

   The well known 1755 march to the forks of the Ohio, now Pittsburg, by General Braddock with 2,400 troops and a young George Washington. They traveled with their baggage train, some Indians, some women, cooks, etc., through parts of Maryland, and Pennsylvania, mainly, southern Somerset, eastern Fayette, and up along Westmoreland counties for the more southerly route. Not far from Jumonville and near Dunbar, modern Fayette County, Thomas Dunbar kept the reserve contingent and artillery. Much of the equipment was left behind on their, almost, mad rush down to Will's Creek,Cumberland when word of the defeat and hasty retreat was given.
    George Washington was one of the few officers left alive to keep a level head and, traditionally, gave the eulogy at Braddock's passing and quick burial in Farmington.          

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Piece Of Woodale

    I rode out the other day to take a few photos and have a look around this area using only a cell phone camera and ended up deciding a digital camera would be the proper thing. Trust me, there is lots to see near this place and it deserves a good visit. It has the recently restored, Mount Vernon Furnace, going back, at least to 1801, and it is off of Rt. 982 near the Grange, in Fayette County. This is along the Chestnut Ridge with grand scenery.

The 'New' Dam

The Greenlick Dam and Reservoir consists of 101 acres and is owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and is used by boaters and fishermen. It is overseen by the Jacobs Creek Watershed Association.


 The 'New Dam', also known as the Greenlick Lake near Bridgeport, Fayette County. A nice scenic area with a peaceful park and some definite historical significance.

 The 'Great Swamp' was extensive enough going back westerly toward Iron Bridge. General Braddock, (and Col. George Washington, who experienced his only defeat as commander at Fort Necessity at the start of the French and Indian War), who was headed for a tragic defeat before they would reach Fort Duquesne, passed directly through this very place. The army encamped at the Truxell farm before making a passage through the old swamp and Hammondville. Another more successful campaign would win back the fort from the stubborn French, to be renamed Fort Pitt.

   Here is where Gen. Braddock and his troops crossed via bivouac the murky, old swamp that was here long ago which  would of been associated with Captain Jacob's Creek, or 'Salt Lick' and Greenlick Creek:

general area of bivouac

    There's some proof for you.

 This is the area of the old Truxel farm where Braddock's troops camped at:

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