Thursday, December 31, 2020

Relatives and Ancestors: Ore Mine School

   How are you all doing, guys? Gals too?! I've been busy working overtime and dealing with the holidays but I really had a desire to pass something meaningful over to you other history buffs; I certainly hope in these trying times that all of you have still found a good way to experience a Merry Christmas! Let's look forward to better days with all our rights still intact.


    The Ore Mine School was one of many our parents, or grandparents, attended while growing up long ago. There existed so many of the small, usually single room schoolhouses back before our modern times. With so much history to be told it is unfortunate there is all too seldom little more than a few names of students and teachers left to observe, with maybe a photo here and there.   

    A rare exception is with one of the Reunions of this particular school in Bullskin Township, Fayette County, Pa. From the site nearby the Mt. Vernon Park furnace area, the coming together of old teachers , students and assorted family members was thoughtfully undertaken for the year 1966. From the old book handed out to those precious former students I have garnered some material on my ancestors along with a parcel of the school's history, (one of many in the township) which I do hope you enjoy as I share them with you below:

    The man behind the book was one Levi Gilbert, influential indeed,  head of many things and an old teacher as well. Heart of gold.

     (Please, CLICK on the svans for a close up.)


                                       The Ore Mine School was in use from 1884 - 1956:

A photo of the old Ore Mine School



This home was later built on the same site

   Also, below are other relatives of mine that are underlined and most of the persons related are circled in red.


               Harold was my uncle who helped organize the event. He was a machinist in Altoona and was a Sergeant in WW 2. A great guy with an occasional booming outburst of laughter. He has a daughter, Elaine Stefl, from his first marriage.

Hazel Wilson was a teacher at the school long ago

    I still recall my grandma, a fine lady, giving my brothers and I money from her change purse so we could up to Hendrick's store that use to be above Mounds' Creek where we use to fish for bass, trout and catfish, up near Rt. 982, in Woodale. Good times they were!

Again, my grandmother in older years in the middle


A few important lines on the narrow gauge railroad


          Frank Wilson use to run a store, as well he was Martha's dad and my great uncle. I think she is still living.

      Among others next up: Emerson was also a great uncle and when I was a kid was an attendee at his sad funeral to pay my respects, whereas Laura and May are cousins and Merle was my grandfather, Hazel's spouse.

      That is Emerson on the left, Merle, then Harold on the right and Hazel sitting down in front with some teachers.

    This was honestly a but of a rush job for an article. I hope we didn't miss anyone. Nevertheless, I am glad to be able to publish this for the many old and new visitors to my blog which, by the way, is celebrating over seven years on the internet. Yah!* Thank you for the wonderful patronage shown.

    I wish you all a Happy New Year

    Keep the faith and your traditions alive with those ever special memories through the rough times ahead. The good times must go on too! Take care, folks.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Bobby Vinton and Perry Como

  It's so nice to be back with you once again with another regional history post.

   On a more personal note, I hope you are all coping as best you can with the 'plandemic' in recent months and may not become too alarmed by protesting that has gone out of control by being taken over by what appears to be groups of Marxists. Remember this IS an important election year, so all bets are off when it comes to hypocrisy and deception. Under the circumstances, take care of yourselves and do the best you can.

   As far as the handful of requests to comment about the Covid-19 situation, there are basic concerns by state governments not often properly addressed with serious documentation. 

   Beyond the convoluted claims of wearing masks and not wearing masks, the lack of wisdom toward lock downs for all those that are not in quarantine and disruptive repercussions and this year's  unemployment on what was a booming economy; also, the recently applied ease of medical examiners for issuing cause of death certificates, the trillions of dollars allocated for so many regions begging for instant relief, etc., well, my advice is simply to please do your own research. I feel particularly sad for the effect on children that need assurance and mainstays in their lives. We might consider a venture in clearly echoing certain warning statements by our Founding Fathers. You know, those great thinkers who had literally everything to lose in life while actively advocating a call for then unheard of measures of freedom and defense for the colonies they so well represented against their oppressors, the British.

   Utilize your conscience folks, in areas of the continued protections guaranteed by the Bill of Rights over a modern perception of terms of public safety. Oldsters are likely aware the immediate reactions that would of probably been expressed in forms of outrage to these issues one hundred years ago. In all likelihood, this would have been very different than what you observe today. The reasons for this are many and rather complex, so will not be broached specifically on this format. As an historian, I naturally look on with some consternation toward the sad loss of access to many historical sites here in Pennsylvania, as fraught with overreaction and a most critical problem to deal with for those caring people deeply involved in preserving our heritage.

   As someone whose ancestors fought in nearly all the prominent wars and main conflagrations from the Revolutionary War past World War Two, I suggest people to guard your liberties closely, for they do not come cheaply.

    By the way, all in all, the Washington Miniseries was a fairly good historical presentation, in my opinion.

   Stanley Robert Vinton



   Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, is a city of 12,000 people. There were an amzing 64 hits from Vinton and Joey Powers, yes, they owned the Top Ten. Powers was in a band with him. He was the son of a local bandleader, Stan Vinton. 

     Known later as the 'Polish Prince',  he was an undergraduate in music studying the oboe from Duke University, graduating in 1956, eventually learning to play many other instruments. Accoding to the Gettysburg Times, Oct. 10, 1978, Vinto received as well an Honorary Doctorate of Music that year from Duquesne University.

    Some of his most famous songs are 'Roses are Red', 'Blue Velvet', and 'Mr. Lonely'. 'My Melody of Love' from 1974 also charted. Unlike Como, Bobby used a certain tendency, as did Shirley Jones, and used Pittsburgh as his hometown.

     He married his childhood sweetheart, Dolores, in Dec. 17, 1962. He had many top hits, but was mostly a success because of his own unique efforts. 

     After two years of Army service he was signed to Epic Records. He had a popular half hour variety show in connection with Chuck Barris in Canada from 75'-78', called, appropriately enough, 'The Bobby Vinton Show.' Get this: in his early career, he had more hits than even Elvis or Sinatra! 

    He also played in a few movies, some big ones, including, "Big Jake' and 'The Train Robbers', both with John Wayne. His son, Robert, played him in the movie, 'The Good Fellows.'

    This successful singer has five children, Robert, Jr. Christopher, Kristin, Jennifer and Rebecca.

    Bobby Vinton's net worth is estimated at $20 million dollars. He officially retired in 2015, because of a case of shingles . His silver sounds will be missed.

   Perry Como



   Born May 18, 1912, in his early teens, Perry was already holding a job as a local barber. As a child, he began his music interests playing the organ. Pittsburgh and Steubenville eventually became his major stomping grounds as he copied Bing Crosby's crooner style. He recorded most frequently with RCA Victor.

      Interestingly, Pierino Ronald Como, 'popularly known as Mr. C', was once a member of an Italian Canonsburg band along with Bobby Vinton's father, Stan, back in the day. 

   Until recent times, Como usually sang to  packed houses in Reno, Vegas, and the Atlantic City strip. Particularly so in 1942, when he gained a large opportunity for more positive exposure with his popular radio shows. This included a real first- the earliest broadcast from an airplane. Although he often returned to his hometown of Canonsburg in Washington County, in 1932 he moved on to Meadville in Crawford County. On July 31, 1933, he married Roselle Beline.

     Perry Como made four films for Twentieth Century Fox in the mid to late 1940's.

   Among his other successes was one in 1974, playing a concert for Great Britain's beloved Queen Mother at the Royal Variety Performance. He received 5 Emmy's between the golden years 1955 through 1959. On top of all that, Como later won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He also had the rare honor of having three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

   Como, who was well known as a family man with good humor and gentlemanly ways, by his early 80's concerning wearing a tux instead of the old familiar cardigan once quipped, "It shows respect for the audience." Classy guy there.

   One of his most famous songs was, 'Til the End of Time', another of his borrowed Chopin tunes turned to his own gifted singing.  Perry Coomo Avenue..
he was a seventh son with the inherent mystical associations...a baritone who never took voice lessons, yet he sold over 100 million records. Perry once stated, "If this picture doesn't ruin Hollywood, nothing ever will."  He had a T. V. show in the 1950's...he was always a lover of golf and its personalities. many Christmas specials from 1948 to 1994.


   Let me know if you enjoyed the post and whatever other subjects still not covered here that you are especially excited to discover articles about on 'Fayette/Westmoreland Forgotten History' here at And, hopefully we will meet up here again sooner than later. Thank you for your continues patronage!

    ~ Histbuffer 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Washington Miniseries: A Partial Review


    As many of you know by now, this week, beginning last Sunday, Presidents Day Eve, no less, Feb. 16, 17, and 18th, at 8 p. m. ran a three part miniseries documentary aptly named, "WASHINGTON." Although I wasn't able to watch much more than part of the first installment, for the damnable reason of having to take on a bunch of O/T on another shift. Actually, don't worry, but I have been none too well lately with a couple of pesky health conditions, too. So I may need to tread cautiously in stepping out of the woodwork, so to speak.

      Nevertheless, here's my brief take on it:

     Early on, the show appeared fairly accurate and freshly focused. Good so far, though not without a few minor problems of which we will only examine one or two.

      I am rather sure, George Washington met the Half-King earlier on his trip from the future Loyalist, Lieutenant Governor of the Virginia Colony, Robert Dimwitty, er, ah, Dinwiddie, ahem, to a bold expedition north past Nemacolin's Trail up the old "Forks of the Ohio" where Pittsburgh would later be founded, then on to Erie to meet with the French leaders to discuss abandoning their claims to the region. Of course, this attempt was a failure.. Point being, they portray their meeting in a meadow, whereas it is traditionally reported and thereby generally accepted it should of took place at Half-Kings Rocks. Also, the impression is implicitly implied in which they hardly knew each other beforehand. Not so, as there is more to the story. At least this is what I believe was intended by the portion observed the other evening.

    But, ...perhaps this is merely a bit of quibbling; yet accuracy is to be expected here, is it not? After all, there are a few proper historians of note here - J. Ellis, Alan Taylor, and particularly derived from one as well respected as Doris Kearns Godwin. Otherwise, with the History Channel one does expect a pretty sharp presentation, and on that it is basically successful. 

     To me, the only main faults that appeared obvious, so far, would include a reminder much of the "Ohio Country" is centered in western Pennsylvania. This is the region the Ohio Company were lustily bound for in surveying so much land.

    I would seriously question why a British actor, technically hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland, would be chosen for the spotlight in the docudrama to play the lofty Colonel/General//President, George Washington. Nicholas Rowe has only really appeared in a handful of TV shows and movies. Most noted is his lack of looking anything , and I do mean anyhting like Washington. C'mon, even his noticeable lack of prominent jaw and dignified demeanor, let alone the overall body shape is totally wrong. George was also known to have a bit of paunch around the middle, especially in later life. Rowe is tall...OK...

    While Colin Powell is a rather welcome levelheaded figure, our (other?) impeached President, Bill Clinton, even though a scholar, is hardly the choice you would think of for commentary on our first Pres., clearly of dubious character and not exactly a fount of moral integrity, if only given a smidgen of thought by the producers. And his ignominious wife will not be regaled here. Ah, yes. You do not have to be a Republican to see the poorly chosen contrast. Period.

     We aren't necessarily required to go to the lengths of Coe's book, "You Never Forget Your First:A Biography Of George Washington", reviewed by the New York Post, Feb. 15th, 2020 at 3:00 p. m., which concerns, among other controversial matters, how badly he treated his slaves. I for one am not convinced if this was as bad as it is portrayed at times. Although definitely a shame if true, they must consider the fact they were slaves after all, in the middle of a difficult process of a more barbaric age of such cruelties. Furthermore, many Virginians like himself owned a disproportionate amount of land, most of these interlopers, ignorant though they claimed to be, to the fact this was in actuality Pennsylvanian lands before the Mason-Dixon Line ended their egregious pipe dreams once and for all. For when soon the Penn's, et all, declared slave ownership wrong and needing to be curbed in this state, the Virginians and some Marylander settlers were aghast and quickly hightailed themselves and thier goods south and west onward to Kentucky.

       Oh, Washington did have his slaves freed on the death of his wife, Martha.

      Another issue concerns Tanacharison, the Seneca leader, who being well bolstered by Wasington's enthusiasm to activity in the nearby above mentioned Jumonville Glen, is harshly judged. The idea of a proper "massacre" that took place there, though the Half-King did make it a formidable attack, this his much lessened by the capture of twenty-one French soldiers out of a total of thirty-one.

      So then, Washington's intercession may likely of been a large factor in this leniency of violent surprise attack and swings the case more in his favor than against his cause. These French claimed they were on a diplomatic mission when all hell broke loose, scalping their leader, directly heading on to a broadly fought world war. Yet, to be fair, a suspicious condition of their position cannot be denied where they were well hidden with their campfire below the Jumonville Glen ridge and oddly well placed near to where Half-King held his regular headquarters in the large boulders above. This indicates they may well of been spies under cover of diplomacy as a second cover.

       Another point mentioned was that not everyone appreciated Washington's behavior, especially so during his presidency, since even John Adams, the vice-president and next Executive commander of the United States, basically stated that he "was too illiterate for his station." Jefferson sure made himself a thorn in the side of Washington for years as a part of his Cabinet too. Still, there are always difficulties and disagreements in every political office, particularly so with the job of the being first in his line of office and he wasn't quite as polished as he could of been.

     Indeed Washington was an ambitious colonial man, (he did marry 'up' into wealth with Martha Washington), who had made certain  miscalculations. No he wasn't perfect either as proved by his loss at Fort Necessity. On the other hand, he was a brave soul, for instance he saved what he could of the disastrous march of General Braddock, and did learn from his errors well enough to become a great man of ingenious vision and admirable dedication. Personally, I still like to picture him on his knees at Valley Forge, deep in prayer. I guess that's just me. Maybe you too! He was deserving of praise for many things. He still deserves our respect. For all his supposed pomp, this tremendous 'Father of our Country' refused to become another crowned king. That says volumes.

     Well folks, I plan to see about a recording by Friday, (more overtime AGAIN though), if I manage it, or grab it online as I wouldn't mind catching the whole thing soon. Well, let's hope the rest I missed gives a fair and accurate telling of his time in an alarming war against superior odds and his presidency's tough decisions.

        Whatever our opinions it is a good return to form for the History Channel.

     As always in the past, please post your comments and pass on your thoughts of this three part miniseries. Do you feel these points are valid? What could of made the documentary just that much better?

      Keep in touch and let me know in the section below!


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