Ruth “Smail” Miller

The years have flown away at a quick pace.  My mother, Ruth “Smail” Miller turned ninety years old on December 6th.  She was born on December 6, 1929 to my grandparents,: James Edward Yount and Mary Elizabeth Leightley. She was the third of a family of five children.

My mother was born on a farm. grandad always had cattle. Chickens weren’t uncommon either as chicken dinners were common as I grew up. Roast beef was, also, common.

My mother married, Allen Kenneth Smail on November 14th, 1953. I came along in 1955 and my sister, Ruthie in 1968. Another sister died in 1962. Her name was Glenna Mae.

Mom was always completely devoted to her family. She still is!

Bob Miller

My father died on June 2oth, 1999. That day was Father’s Day. Mom remarried in 2009 to Robert Lee Miller. He has been very good to the family and we certainly appreciate his presence. Currently, Bob is fighting a very aggressive cancer. We spent three days at the hospital this past week in regard to his condition and a surgery adding more quality of life.

On my mother’s birthday we celebrated in a simple manner with cake and ice cream and pizza at her home.

I know reality , but I am hoping for another ten years or more of birthdays for mom.







Sister Ruthi and mom



Not sure what this is???



From A Proud Son

Allen K. Smail -Uniform

Allen Kenneth Smail (June 4, 1923 to June 20, 1999)

My dad was in a car setting at a gasoline pump at what was then Reedy’s Store just east of the Cherry Run intersection. He heard that the Japanese had attacked Pearl harbor. In 1942 he was off to basic training and England. He was D-Day 13 if I remember correctly.  he would be in France, Belgium, Bavaria, and finally Germany. He returned to Kittanning in the fall of 1945 after riding a train out of Pittsburgh. He began the long walk home to Cherry Run, probably around eleven miles. However, by chance a family from nearby his home would pick him up.

My father took care of his mother for a long time as his father had asthma and was having a rough time. (He died in 1950 at 65 years of age.) He worked his entire life at the Schenley Distillery near Leechburg, Pennsylvania.

Earlier this year I came to an important decision. I believe it was time to donate my father’s World War 2 uniform and other things I had in possession from his time in Europe. This was a difficult action on my part, but I deemed it for the best. I have no children or grandchildren and I feared this precious, to me, uniform would simply be tossed out after my time.

Currently, the uniform is hanging within the Armstrong County Historical and genealogical Society Museum in Kittanning, Pennsylvania. I supplied a box of much paraphernalia. This box had documents and medals and books of his time in the European theater of the war. One such book with a map of Europe found pencil marks showing my father’s travels within the continent. All of such items are historical and deserve to be on display. I, also, donated a German 8mm Mauser action rifle that my dad had managed to send home.

I am so very proud of my father and his role in the Great War. This is my humble attempt on my part to honor him.

My father’s 1941 valedictorian speech from Elderton High School


A dedicated group of volunteers quickly decide to have a Christmas Open House event at the Armstrong County Historical  and Genealogical Society Museum in Kittanning, Pennsylvania. Technically, the museum is housed in an1842 building  known as the McCain House. Members of the 62nd  Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, 5th Corps Living Historian group along with some other volunteers did a great job with the planning and setting up for the event. (I am a proud honorary member of this group of Civil War historians.)

  I, also, was present to take photos and spend time in the Native American Room which I am curator. I had hoped to spend more time mingling around the premises and taking additional photos, but I had many interested individuals wishing to discus and ask questions about the events involving the Lenni-Lenape Indians of Kittanning past. Believe me I enjoyed our discussions.

Many of the women-folk, including my wife, baked some cookies for the event. various drinks were available, as well. Local florists helped to make the museum festive. A Christmas tree was donated.







Below are additional photos from the Christmas event.









Feather Art

I received a call from an individual wishing art on a turkey feather for her boyfriend. I told her I could do something and I had turkey feathers here at home.

Since the day was breezy and cool, I jumped onto the job and created  the feather art depicted here.

However, I went a little farther with the feather and placed a couple of smaller feathers along the quill. Also, I took a cone with deer hair and beads and tied them all together to give the feather an “Indian” appearance. The feather has a loop on the end to hang, however, the lady suggested she may have it placed within a shadow-box frame. Upon completion I sprayed some semi-gloss varnish to help seal the feather’s barbules and painted image all together.

I surprised her when she learned the art was already completed the same day she contacted me.

Heavy frost looked like snow.


The first morning of Pennsylvania’s 2019 bear season would prove to be interesting. My friend, Terry W. and I left the jeep early and began the up hill trek to pursue the black bruin. We were approaching the top when two shots rang out in the general direction Terry had planned to go. We were surprised at the 6:45 A.M. shots  since the dark grays of predawn were still engulfing the woodlands. I commented that bear must have been on the shooter’s lap.

  While we pondering our next move a flock of turkeys began filtering from their roosting tree just ahead. Lots of noise!

We parted with our plans in mind and began to still hunt for bear. Terry was going to walk a grassy gas-line trail between two old highwalls. I went

Steep hollows

straight to another site. However, my plans were cut short when eight shots exploded from Terry’s direction. I began working the hillside towards Terry.

Another hunter had bagged a bear just ahead of Terry. The bear was a nice sized male approximately 230-250 pounds. The hunter said another bear went over the hill. However, Terry had seen a bear in the very thick Autumn Olive thickets prior to talking with the hunter. No shot was taken. The area and direction theses bear were, apparently, two different bear making for three separate bear in total.

We hunted until mid-afternoon before making plans for the next hunting day. It was an exciting morning.





Hickory hulls


Holder Run



Log Cabin Revival

The log cabin.


Many years ago this log cabin shown above was erected in Armstrong County. It is believed to have been originally built by Heinrich Schrecongost. The approximate size is eighteen by twenty-one feet. A friend has sated he remembered a second cabin at the same site, possibly of the dog-trot style of cabin.

At this time, I know the building was in existence in 1850. So when was this structure originally erected? I don’t know if that information will ever be discovered.

Fortunately, funds have been raised to dismantle the building and later reconstruct it in Kittanning, Pennsylvania. The new site is, hopefully, going to be on the property owned by the Armstrong County Historical and Genealogical Museum.

Re-erecting this building will prove to be a challenge for some of the logs are not in the best shape from years of weather and rain. Carpenter ants and/or termites, no doubt, have had a part in log destruction.

Any individual or group interested with helping with funding this dismantling and re-erection of this log cabin may do so by sending a check to:

Armstrong County Historical Museum 

300 North McKean Street, Kittanning, PA 16201 

(Checks can be made out to: ACHMGS







Elk Were Everywhere!

My friend for years, Bob “Slim” Bowser, and I, needed to go to Potter County to retrieve some of the completed Wheatfield stones. (These stones are made at this county. The stones feature my painting called, The Wheatfield-Whirlpool Of Death. Prints of this painting are transferred to stones. They make a great addition to those interested in the Civil War.) We left in the dark hours to enjoy the trip and hopefully see some elk along the way. As per the title of this entry we were not disappointed for the Elk were everywhere! We estimated at least seventy elk were viewed, very possibly many more.

Deer were out and about everywhere as well.

   We saw turkeys and many squirrels. We lucked out seeing two Black Squirrels.

Two bald Eagles were spotted along the Sinnemahoning Creek perched in trees.






We stopped at the Marion Brooks area where there are 900 acres of White Birch.