Archive for April, 2012

Illinois Trip

Ira (Buddy) Yount and my mother, Ruth.

Headed west! Family members and myself left for the 12 hour trip to Illinois. The reasons were varied for the trip. My step father, Bob purchased a 1985 El Camino, that is like new, from some relatives of mine who live in northern Illinois near Oregon. Also, I wanted to see where some of my family had settled 100 years ago. I, also, wanted to see my 96-year-old second cousin Ira Yount (known as Buddy by most.) and his 91-year-old wife Jennie. (Reality is I will, probably, never see them again. They used to come to Pennsylvania when they were younger.)

BRIEF HISTORY: Approximately 100 years ago some of the Yount family brothers migrated to Illinois looking for work. They were Delbert and Ervin.They lived near  the Oregon and DeKalb communities. Buddy was born in 1916 to Ervin and Belle and lives here to this day.

The 1985 El Camino

Rock River at Oregon, Illinois

Uncle Ervin was a magnetic man. People would just gather around him to listen to his stories. He was an avid car and gun collector. (Allen Smail, my father, gave Uncle Ervin an original muzzleloader back in the 1950 era. If my dad would have known how much his son would later enjoy muzzleloaders….)

Windmills in Illinois

I was not thrilled as we entered Illinois. Huge barren looking farms were the norm. Trees and woodlands were scarce. Trees would usually indicate the home areas. Some areas had many of the big wind mills with generators. However, as we approached the community of Oregon things began to change fast. I was seeing woodlands and hills. The Rock river flows through this area. the river is beautiful and looks natural with big and varied islands. I thought I could be happy here!

Black hawk through the trees

Another highlight of the Oregon area is a park featuring a 48.4 foot memorial of War Chief, Black Hawk.  This memorial sets in a wooded area overlooking the Rock River. This Indian lead the Sauk and Fox warriors against the white encroachment upon their lands. Of course, they failed in their attempt. (I will post another site on this soon.)

The long drive was tiring, but I was fortunate to see a number of deer and turkeys. I saw two bald eagles; sandhill cranes; gulls; geese and ducks. I was happy to see some new sights of America. Although ,I wouldn’t want to leave the big hills of Pennsylvania I found it great to see where and how others live.

Rock River

One side story told by Buddy before I close. It seems my great grandparents, John and Susan Yount took a train to Oregon in 1916 to see their new grandson. They purchased a Motel T Ford and drove home to Pittsburgh where he took the Ford over an embankment. My great grandmother reused to ride in the car to Armstrong County. They took a train and had someone drive the car back home.

Buddy, sister Ruthie after a property run

My grandparents, J. Edward and Mary Yount loaded up their five children in the early 1940 era and drove to Oregon. Can you imagine 5 children in a car without air conditioning traveling such a distance? One of those five was my mother Ruth.

Bob and thr gang!

Read Full Post »

Lock # 8 looking south.

My friend, Larry Delaney and I planned a hike last week, but the chance of rain forced a “rain check.”However, this morning proved just the opposite with a cloudless blue sky beckoning to be walked in.

Back-water Reflections

The site we chose this fine morning was the Armstrong Rails To Trails area from Mosgrove, Pennsylvania north to Templeton. The morning had a stiff breeze flowing across the river hitting us both in the faces. In a short time, the warmth of the sun cancelled any coolness we felt.

Purple Trillium

As we walked along we were always watchful to seeing wildlife and spring wildflowers. We weren’t disappointed! We passed Lock Number 8 on the Allegheny River along state game lands. The game lands is rich in trilliums, both the white and purple varieties. This specie is a personal favorite. The first three letters of the specie name says much. There are three leaves and three flower petals per stem hence the “TRI”..

Some of the waterfowl we saw along the way were Canada geese, mallards and wood ducks. The woodies were found in back water areas along the Allegheny. A beaver dam helped make the waters higher, but calm. We, also, could see some ducks far off on the river. We suspect either buffleheads, scaups or goldeneyes.

Coltsfoot going to seed!


A couple of early spring vernal ponds were along the trail too. here we could see frog eggs and some small tadpoles already hatching.

Turkey vultures were always viewed. The steep river hills provide great nesting areas for these carrion loving birds. A few gull could be observed flying around the river too.

The highlight for us was the sight of a bald eagle and a mature one at that. The beautiful emerged from the river’s bank and flew across the water. Geese were scolding and the flock of far-off ducks took to the air with the eagle’s sight.I mustered a couple of photos, but unfortunately the quality wasn’t there for a post here.

The beauty of Pennsylvania was all about as we looked at the high country and the river and the flowers. We were blessed!

Cattail Down

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts