Thursday, January 19, 2017

Presidential Inauguration


    We have arrived at the eve of a special watershed milestone in our fascinating history. The new President-elect's inauguration with Mike Pence, the vice president-elect. On  January 20, this year of our Lord, 2017, Donald J. Trump, the star for many years of the reality T. V. show, "Celebrity Apprentice" and surprising nominee of the Republican Party, became the winner of a huge prize who will be duly sworn in by ancient oath of office, right hand raised and left hand firmly on the Bible. Possibly the one used by Abraham Lincoln, in Washington D. C. He has already arrived at Andrews with his wife, soon to be First Lady, Melania and soon to be, First Family.

     Did you know that the vice president also takes an oath of office? Mike Pence will be sworn in on a famous Bible himself.

     As a side note, there are stories of odd prophecies swirling around Donald Trump. Right, wrong, or immaterial to the situation, consider this: on the date of Jan. 20th,  he will be...70 years, 7 months and 7 days old. There's a coincidence to ponder. Also, he is writing the Address himself.


    Whether you like him or voted for him in November, or if you did not, the billionaire mogul and man behind the best seller, "The Art of the Deal", will get his chance to defend the 'silent majority', as many of his supporters are termed, making some extremely huge decisions very soon. As years ago, Ronald Reagan was said to of predicted, he will indeed be our next President of a blessed land. By the way, if anyone is intrigued, he has a more revealing book about his aspirations HERE.

    If the political spectrum really isn't your cup of tea, if citizens choose to stay blissfully ignorant, turn on some sports, read a book, or watch a thriller instead.

    Now we know 2016 was certainly an unusual year in politics, with the primaries and nominations amid much controversy on every side. New revelations seemed to arise almost every few weeks. While the president-elect has seen his share of blunt and heated and possibly outrageous behavior, the plentiful scandals of Hillary Clinton would fill books, (and they have). This includes her private email server, said by FBI director James Comey to be "extremely careless", NOT a good thing; and considering she repeatedly lied to the public about the exact subject, receiving debate questions illegally, the apparent collusion of some media outlets with the most public example of Donna Brazile and CNN comes to mind, the hacking of the Democratic Party headquarters and John Podesta hinting of racist remarks and possible conflicts of interest coming from Sidney Blumenthal's connections with the Clinton Foundation and going back to his 1994 resignation. Did Russia have anything to do with this? Were the contents of Assange's releases even worse than who was responsible? Questions, questions. As well as Trump's unique stance, any of these very issues probably cost her the election. Maybe they should of, period.

    Further highlights broach the unusual manner of resignation of Debbie Schultz, the Chairman of the Democratic Party, the problems with Bengazi, on and on. Her previous scandals which would include a few from her senatorial years go back to the 90's with suspicions of Whitewater, China Gate, Filegate, etc., are not being addressed here. To be fair, much concerning these controversies were a part of her husband, Bill Clinton's eight years as president, while many seemed to derive from happenings in Arkansas and came with a bunch of congressional hearings and investigations. Plenty of websites will easily help locate such juicy info for one and all.

    Pennsylvania has had a lot to do with these elections for a long, long time. The facts are the facts. This year our state voted in favor of Donald Trump as the next President of the United States of America. His campaigning in the face of Hillary's huge financial machine was an amazing sight. His zest and energy in battleground barnstorming across the nation was truly remarkable.

    As you can see from the electoral map below...

electoral map courtesy of towin website

       The results of the Pennsylvania Presidential election ended in a fairly close race with Trump winning the 20 electoral votes. According to Wikipedia and other sources, he also won the popular vote- 2, 970,733 to Clinton's 2, 926,941.

The reds and the blues, county by county

       On April 26 of last year, Donald Trump took the PA Republican primary gathering 56.61%. On the same day, Hillary Clinton pulled in 55.61%. Her loss was very similar in numbers. As the Democratic side unfolded, Bernie Sanders made claims that the DNC was being unfair to him.

ISSUES, or NO ISSUES: A Brief Rundown

    As for the major issues of the Democratic and Republican campaigns, the original plan was not to make explanations at all. This policy clearly felt as if the blog was sticking its head in the sand, leaving those that expect valuable information  to be ignored for the sake of a neutral stance of some kind. That would be amiss, therefore some adjustments had to be made. A basic, more thorough report was allowed to proceed to make sense of how this all came about.

    Although there are hints of riots and rumors of outlandish protests which appear to be less than a free exercise of the First Amendment in the sense that this is in the face of an event legally and democratically taking place and always has been, deserving of at least a modicum of respect as a venerable institution. Donald Trump has said in his first official news conference, he is very much looking forward to the inauguration and has expected it will be a beautiful event. Many celebrities have boldly stated they will not attend, some claimed they would leave the country if he was elected president! Okay. Have any left by now? Don't count on it.

    There will be military bands to play, wreath laying at Arlington Cemetery, balls, concerts and dinners. The president-to-be says this will be an incredible experience considering that he is the head of  "a movement like the world has never seen before..." The every four year-extravaganza will be followed by National Cathedral Church services on Saturday with the first 'business' beginning on Monday. The future will tell the rest of the story.

    Regardless, according to USA Today, the pollsters not only were incorrect in predicting the Nov. 8, Election Day, the Trump victory "dealt a devastating blow to the credibility of the nation's leading pollsters" calling into question their methods.  There are speculations toward the actual reasons for this, factors beyond the scope of this post. Nevertheless, it is fairly obvious that major portions of the media are opposed to a Trump presidency, make of that what you will. Stay informed, be involved.

    Did Barack Obama and  George Bush have their chance, their days in the White House to explain and change things in the manner they felt important? Yes. Did they have failures? Were they unfairly condemned and misaligned without even a honeymoon? Shouldn't this particular person, our next commander-in-chief also experience the selfsame opportunity? The answers to these questions really appear fundamentally obvious.

    With conservative plans to lower taxes, expunge, repeal or alter Obamacare and gain less expensive premiums for better quality care, (which was promised to us at its inception, by the way); firmer control of the influx of illegal immigrants which includes an actual wall of sorts, especially the specific point concerning the definition of 'ILLEGAL' and 'repeat criminals'; a serious attempt to get the chaotic foreign policy situation under control, selection of Supreme Court justices to uphold the principles of the Consitution, the approval of his cabinet appointees, snd so on. We will be leaving behind us the IRA scandal, Fast and Furious, hopefully the thunderheads of a 20 trillion dollar debt some day... maybe, just maybe, we are entering the real era of hope and change in a drastically different mode.

    Most people will concur,  President Trump will have a whole lot on his plate. An uphill battle to wage successfully. Our prayers should be with him in these endeavors.

   There have already been some key changes in the wind with downturn in Toyota stocks in Trump's tweets of panning the plans toward new Mexican factories, the Carrier deal, even influential relations toward Chrysler, Ford and multinational corporations to keep jobs in the United States. Meanwhile, he is putting the Trump organization properties and holdings into a trust and is separating himself from these conflicts of interest and handing the running of his company to his sons, Don and Eric. On the other hand, his not releasing his tax statements yet, condemning of CNN and Buzz feed for their supposed use of 'Fake News' and other factors are hot issues among many.

The President-elect, Donald Trump

    In the opinion of many, it is indeed time to reverse the 'playing field' of failed policies of previous administrations and deregulate improper laws and enact new ones that have OUR best, truly traditional, American interests, at heart.

    Globalism may have ran rampant and not everything modern is better for us, folks. Then again, I am of a somewhat biased persuasion. I wouldn't say I live there all the time, I am rooted in the past even as I gingerly peer into the future....Many people may not realize Donald Trump is not quite the bumbling outsider he appears, perhaps because of his direct rhetoric, with 'Lyin' Ted', 'Little Marco' and 'Crooked Hillary', actually appearing to being more deeply informed on different levels of knowledge than is excepted in thew mainstream media. In fact, he has continually expressed his ideas and growing fears toward the discontent with the way our country has been managed for many years.

    Finally, in this semi-editorial bit, remember, no one has to agree with anyone else. Likewise, you don't necessarily have to agree with anything I state on this post, in spite of the fact that much of it is, as closely as I am aware, in actuality, the truth. It's up to you individually, and so it should be. That is a part of what makes America Great and differs from all other governments across this great, wide world. Nothing is suppose to be a one way street. We have inherent rights from our Maker won by his Son at an extreme price. We are one people and yet complicated and diverse in various ways. Let's get back to common sense and personal responsibility, acquiring a stronger economy, military and judiciary in the face of rising troubles, greed, opposition and sometimes madness. We are still a long way from utopia, my friends. Any road to perfection is reaching for a distant object. Yet I feel this is an unusual time for men and women to be alive as the tree of liberty may bud and grow fruit once more in spite of so much effort to supplant and wipe out its existence.

    At nearly high noon on the West Lawn at the U. S. Capitol  of Washington, D. C. the 45th President and vice president precede to take the solemn Oaths of Office then came the Inaugural Address about Making America Great Again! Did you know, the tickets to the event and the swearing-in are free? Yes, but they are in high demand. Pennsylvania Avenue experiences the excitement of the procession and parade on over to the White House. This takes place at 3 p. m. eastern time.
   That's about it, folks Let me know your ideas about the inauguration. We will see how smoothly the process goes along. Many hope for less controversy and a return to substance in the following months. Keep your fingers crossed!

   See you soon for a more regional based post next time around.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Excursion To Bedford

    I am excited to be back with you for another post. I hope you all had a very special holiday and New Year!

    A Quick Word

    There hasn't been a fresh post for a few weeks and I realize this might be frustrating to visitors.

   My point of view concerns the attitude of posting within a particular time frame. Meaning, instead of rushing posts willy-nilly, ignoring mistakes, I sometimes choose to take a while to be certain they fit the season and month, maybe a holiday and a  perceived date, kept within my own comfort zone. I'm taking a little too long - maybe so! I take as long a span as I feel is needed. The amount of days and weeks that are required. A quirk of mine. That might seem like a cop out, and I admit the idea is hard to nail down or describe very well, but that's how it is.

   Try to look into the past of the blog now and again. Then look forward to an article that hopefully will contain a certain degree of substance while it fits into the surroundings of the year; not too early and not too late. Every time I polish up a post, whether with a photo, a finishing paragraph, or occasionally an added touch of research in the right portion, I feel a minor sense of accomplishment because you are watching for and judging the level of value that is or is not attained.The same kind of consideration as when relating information about the counties of Westmoreland and Fayette, dear to my heart and soul. There's a ton of patriotic pride canvasing Pennsylvania as well. What other state has Valley Forge and Gettysburg?

   With that mini-statement having been said, we are now going to do a switch in giving a handful of details of a place far afield from the usual research and study: back east, in Bedford. Surprised? Don't be.


    Off We Go

   On an early autumn morning of 2016 with off and on rainy weather, I left on a trip east on Route 31 through Somerset to Bedford county and the Glades Pike.and further east. I had put off the journey for way too long, believe me.


    A year and a half ago, (it's difficult to believe e post was uploaded that long ago), Fayette/Westmoreland Forgotten History carried a post entitled "Excursion To Somerset." We do pass through the same county again, this time to throw some light on Bedford County. Specifically Bedford, the old county seat. Do bear with me, it's been a long time since I've done a post of this sort, now hasn't it?

     First off, the structure was constructed in the summer of 1758 and rebuilt in the Bicentennial of 1958. Originally, on the best of information, Fort Bedford, named after the Duke of Bedford,  was a sturdy log fortress of star shaped design, built under the command of Colonel Bouquet during the French and Indian War in Bedford. The same basic location as Raystown, a trading post. The fort protected locals from Indian depredations and raiding parties. A large portion of southwestern Pennsylvania was once within the bounds of Bedford County. That is a fact.  Amazingly, the famed James Smith, Indian fighter and war hero, with his 'Black Boys' or the 'Brave Fellows' once captured the fort and Smith notoriously was once a prisoner here as well. Interestingly, eh represented Westmoreland County at the 1776 Contitutional Convention. More on this storied man 'down the road' and  'around the bend.'         

     In 1756, the fort experienced French and Indian troubles at the same time as Fort Ligonier.

    The main destination was the Fort Bedford Museum. Hours are 10:00 a. m. to 5:00. p. m.

On the way out of Fayette County on Route 31

      It was a good day for me, as I didn't work. Always a fairly good day! My old camera and some snacks accompanied me along with some family members. I had previously contacted the Museum. So far, so good. I had failed to discover that Bedford Village was not open on a Wednesday while the Museum actually IS! OK. Well, my bad, however access to both might appear to be a reasonable assumption to make for one or the other on the same day.

     The excursion was really another step in a more recent plan to become better acquainted with the forts of this grand region. I decided this would be a fair place to continue another aspect of research and also have a bit of fun.

Near Schellsburg I knew I was getting close to my purpose

  On the way we passed a few historical sites of interest which includes the Bonnet Tavern at the old Rt. 30 and Rt. 31 intersection:


        The tavern was erected by Robert Callender, an Indian trader, on lands he has purchased in 1762. It was a hotbed of protest during the Whiskey Rebellion.

The cabin out behind Jean Bonnet Tavern

       The Bedford countryside:



Everett or Bedford?

   Oddly enough, while checking Google Maps I discovered the fort is shown to be located at a different site than is traditionally known: directly behind the Museum. The truth may come as a surprise to many. The actual location is disputed and under a cloud of doubt.

   Bedford was settled as early as 1751 and laid out in 1766. The borough was incorporated in 1795.

     Take a closer look and you will see what puzzles me here:

According to Google this is the site of the fort

   The Bedford Museum: 

The museum is off Juliana Street

Was the parking lot reserved for only silver and white cars?

The Raystown Branch of the Juniata River

YA! They didn't suddenly close for repairs!


     On arriving and making a donation to the cause, I met Jade, the receptionist, a very nice person, although she wasn't into email. She told me the basics and said we could look around on our own if we didn't mind. I was also informed that photography was not an issue. I thank the Fort Bedford and The Bedford Heritage Trust folks for kindly allowing this opportunity to post some of their fascinating items they have carefully examined, collected and catalogued.


 Here are the stocks in case someone gets out of line:


Believe me, you will want to take a trip of your own some fine day and see this for yourselves,; there is much more to be discovered than I am giving a glimpse of here!

A vintage cigar store type Indian near the entrance

    I shared some of what we observed for ourselves. Pardon me, the photos are not even up to my usual average standard as the rooms were rather dimly lit. Quite a bit of history is contained there in spite of nothing at the Indian Artifact Exhibit as of yet.

No Indian artifacts. A reason to return!


olden trunk

1879 drawing of the town and fort

Fort Bedford map


What a priceless possession

British encampment artifacts

painting of Braddock's wounding

An early 1900's sleigh



saber, bayonet and a powder horn

medals of a local hero
miniature display of the ancient fortifications

two trappers, hunters and fishermen, brothers of mine

the conestoga wagon on display
frontal view of wagon with no one standing in the way

nothing like these exquisite, old rifles, eh?
now that is a GUN!


Griffen field gun

old time stove and heater

    I bought a couple of 'souvenirs' at the gift shop for my growing collection which I'll upload later.

    Before moving on, I want to show the traditional site of Fort Bedford and the reconstruction of the fort itself. At one time, it housed as many as 800 men.


These stones may be what is left of the outer wall

     Following along the Bedford Path southerly of the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River, we quickly arrive at the 'fort' location:

you are...HERE


Ol', new Fort Bedford


Reconstructed fort wall on north side

Fort walkway


     There are many significant sights surrounding this location. Being limited time wise except for a quick stop at the Bedford Tavern, a few photos would have to suffice.

                Some of the preserved houses and buildings:


Old Bedford town

Penn Street

A storied building, the Bedford Courthouse

Oops !
The SQUARES of William Penn

    Many illustrious and prominent political figures stayed here, especially at the Bedford Springs Hotel, (shown below).

    This includes such famous people as, President James Buchanan, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Benjamin Harrison, James Polk and Rutheford B. Hayes. The list could go on. They all came here along the Lincoln Highway back in the 1800's.

The modern Bedford Springs Hotel

    My personal feelings about Bedford couldn't be higher. What a wonderful town, brimming with tourists, well kept buildings and stores; a pleasant atmosphere to spend time in.

   One particular site that intrigued me most was the Espy House, at 123 East Pitt St. built in 1766.

   It was named after David Espy, a friend of Washington. 'The Father of our Country' stayed here and kept his headquarters in 1794 during the famous Whiskey Rebellion. The Espy House was also claimed to be General Arthur St. Clair's office when he was active here.

   Provided are a few views over the years:



courtesy of
Espy House on East Pitt.St.

According to tradition, the window George Washington had his private quarters is below:

    Afterward, driving a few miles up Rt. 220, or the cut off of N. Richard St over Rt. 30. and hanging  a left onto Sawblad Rd, I tried to enter Bedford Village and, unfortunately, found it was...CLOSED. A somewhat disappointing experience. Frankly, a bit of a bust:


Bedford Village contains an old Monongahela Indian site

I shall return!

     At least I could check out Claycombe covered bridge:

Claycombe covered bridge



    In the afternoon I took the time to get over to Hoke-E-Geez big flea market down on 145 Bedford Plaza Rd. There's a real variety in their wares. I added a few more items of some historical value along with a few old coins of monetary value too. Nothing that rare, I just get a hankering for a few now and then.Well, the items will probably be enumerated on another post anyway.

   No, the day wasn't near through. Nope. There was more to search out and discover before calling it quits. That's another topical tale...

   Thanks for the patronage! Have you learned something of interest?

   I plan to see you soon for more articles of this ilk. As always, please write to me, and better yet, COMMENT on the blog posts and give your opinions and ideas! You deserve to be heard.

                                    (To Be Continued )    

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