Archive for the ‘Historical’ Category

The morning produced a deep fog, and I knew once the sun began to burn its way through the fog some great photo opportunities could occur. Off I went to walk along the Allegheny River.

The autumn tree colors are intensifying, and I wanted to be there. My walk would be approximately five miles.

Birch leaves with the river being obscured by fog, but it is there!

One historic finding was the remnants of the old Monticello Furnace. The furnace was built by Robert E. Brown in 1859 to extract local iron. The iron was burned in the furnace. the resulting pig iron was sent to Kittanning and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The furnace was closed in 1875.

All that is left of the Monticello Furnace.

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Covered bridge at McConnell’s Mill

October 10 was looking like a great day to get out and about. The leaves were turning into their autumn colors and the skies were blue and the temperatures perfect for hiking. Laurie and I asked her mother, Anne to go and she happily agreed for the day trip. Anne is eighty-four years old but does very well with hiking. The place to visit was, McConnell’s Mill State Park.

We stopped at Moraine Park for a brief time hoping to observe a Bald eagle or Osprey.

Looking from the old mill onto the falls of Slippery Rock

The McConnell’s Mill site was originally owned by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (1946) and handed over to the Commonwealth pf Pennsylvania in 1957. The lands are located in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania in the western part of the state. The park features the beautiful rock laden Slippery Rock Creek. Steep slopes are visible on both sides of the gorge. Huge rocks are viewed all about the parks land.

A couple of man-made features are located along and over the creek. The actual mill was built in 1852 and after being destroyed by fire was rebuilt in 1868. The mill was closed in 1928.

One additional feature is the one lane covered bridge. Few of these structures exist and this one is a beauty. The bright red colors contrast nicely among the foliage or snow in winter.

We visited another area of the park for I knew the trail would not be very difficult and that was the Hell’s Hollow site A watercourse flows down the hollow. It is called Hell Run. A couple of features of this trail are the Hell’s Run Falls and an old remnant of a limekiln. The kiln is barricaded off so one cannot get into the center anymore.

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Books on the Alamo

As a boy I had many influences on numerous on many subjects. One such influence was the three-night series of Davy Crocket. the series featured Fess Parker as Mr. Crockett. Another Alamo related movie featured John “the Duke” Wayne as the Tennessee frontiersman. Of course, much of both versions was strictly hollywood exaggerations. the latter shows Wayne as Crockett on the fort’s ledge swinging his flintlock rifle to take out as many Mexicans as he could before succumbing to his death. There was a report that David Crockett may have been executed, but there is no solid evidence to lead to that conclusion.

In recent months I have read two books about the Alamo and events leading up to the battle and some of men participating in the conflict. Three of which were, David Crockett, of course, William Travis and legendary man with the big knife, James Bowie.

I have heard a few various stories as to how these men died at the Alamo. The books dig deep into words of some of those survivors of the battle, and written accounts by the very same. I must clarify that last sentence. There were no survivors of those doing the fighting within the walls, but there were a few women and children and one slave named Joe who were allowed to leave.

The account of David Crockett states he was killed very early in the hour-long battle. Travis was killed by a shot to the head at the first onslaught of the push to enter the fort. Bowie was killed in his bed, but not the in the way most film depicts with flintlock pistols firing before using his famous Bowie knife. Bowie was so sick he couldn’t move to fight and was shot and bayoneted in his bed. All the fighters were burned after their deaths in huge fires.

How these men died is not the important issue, but the fact they did die for a cause they truly believed in… Texas! The legends live even to this day.

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I finally read the book, “BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE”. And I must state the book was, quite possibly, the saddest book I have ever read!

A very similar scenario would take place with each, and every tribe involved. The scene often began with greedy men upon discovery of gold on Indian lands or of land speculators seeking to obtain their lands to sell at a huge profit. The next ingredient were the dishonest and powerful politicians. Indian agents would be sent out to make treaties with the various tribes with many promises. Once the treaty was signed and catalogued then the treachery and deceit would come into play forcing Indians onto reservation lands with more promises. Those who refused would be eventually hunted down for capture or death!

Some Indian leaders understood the lies and deceptions and would refuse to capitulate. Sometimes once these native people spent time on the reservations a rebellion would come into existence. Afterall, their way of life was forced into another way of life. They were forced onto lands nobody wanted. The leaders would see their women and children suffer diseases, hardships and the lack of food. Rations were always in the promises but often failed to arrive, were highjacked by greedy men charging high prices to the Indians or the rations were just bad and not the best for eating. Many times, the horses were suffering and thinning due to lack of grasses for them to eat. Younger warriors would become very agitated over these constant abuses often leading to their leaving the reservations to obtain food or take vengeance in some cases.

The book describes a number of instances where the soldiers charged into villages shooting and killing and mutilating any Indian. There are times when many, many Indian ponies would be corralled and shot. Bisons were killed by the thousands and left to rot.

The question to ask today is, what would YOU DO when pushed into a situation of no hope?

This entry is a “Reader’s Digest” version of events of those times. It will bring a tear to your eye as you see the corruptness, injustices and greed of the United States Government in collusion with the U.S. Military being ordered into such actions by politicians and wealthy individuals and groups wanting as much as they can obtain.

God have mercy on these native people.

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The group responsible for this endeavor. (Notice my look for the rain was visible coming down the hollow.)

Recently I was approached and asked if I might be interested in suppling art and text for a kiosk. Once I learned of the details I accepted. The project was for a kiosk to be erected on the Freeport Trail telling the story of a young woman from the latter eighteenth century…1792 to be exact. In fact, this dedication of the kiosk happened on the exact day of Mrs. Harbison’s adventure.

The site of the kiosk is along the Freeport Trail as stated and the Allegheny River near the community of Freeport, Pennsylvania.

The completed kiosk.

The story of Massey Harbison capture by native Indians is a long and detailed story, one I am not going to take the time to write with completion here. There are many forms of her narrative available through the internet and books.

Imagine, living in the frontier of western Pennsylvania in 1792 when this capture occurred. Indian incursions were, once again, happening along the frontier. A fear of wonderment would be present by all. Most in times of potential trouble tried to move close to blockhouses where a defense could be had in the event of Indian raids in the area. Massey Harbison’s abode was within sight of such a blockhouse.

Very early in the May 22 of 1792, Indians entered her home leading to the murders of two of her children. She and her youngest child were carried off eventually settling in near the intersections of today known as SR 422, SR 38 and SR 68 in Butler County.

My painting called, The Escape of Massey Harbison.

Eventually, the brave and courageous woman escaped to begin the dangerous and fearful trek back towards the Allegheny.

She would in time arrive back in the hands of those settlers along the eastern side of the Allegheny River. She was exhausted and close to expiring herself when the rescue occurred. Traveling in the wilds can be a sentence to death.

As stated above, if interested in learning more of Massey Harbison and her capture and escape search for information. Lots of informative narratives are available.

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R. “Slim” Bowser Photo

Saturday, May 21, I attended a French and Indian war event at the Armstrong County Historical and Genealogical Museum in Kittanning, Pennsylvania. Besides myself dressed in period attire a group known as Proctor’s Militia were in attendance. (To allow the reader to see how deep into the abyss America is sinking, this group is threatened by facebook and not permitted to use the word, “militia.” A militia was all men capable of defending their families, communities and state and country against all forms of evil and tyranny both foreign and domestic. Today, the word is used to designate radical people and is “verboten.)

This group consists of men and women participating in educating the public on the 1754-1764 time of was locally. They are, also, in period attire., armed with flintlock muskets and all the accouterments required to engage in the eighteenth century.

Members demonstrated shooting off artillery at a few times.

I had the chance to meet a great group of America-loving people attempting to educate the public, as well as people interested in learning. History has not been taught well for generations and most of the people coming into the museum find themselves fascinated with the talks and demonstrations we do. they observe and they ask questions. many ask about the details of my French and Indian era paintings and other local historical events.

Trying to stay in the shade.

Tom Klingensmith of the Proctor’s Militia

Part of my display and my sister Ruthie smiling pretty.

I was fortunate for the day was very hot for a day in May. Temperatures were to possibly reach ninety degrees. However, I was inside and avoided the extreme, but the house was still rather warm.

The log building shown above, is being re-erected on site. Some work still needs to be completed to finish the display. The original building was saved recently from an Armstrong County site.

Two more of my paintings on display.

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Carved out of ivory

As our twenty-seventh wedding anniversary was approaching, Laurie began to look for some things of interest for the two of us to do once the day arrived. One possible visit that interested her was a potential stop at the Maridon Museum in Butler.

I did a search for details and with a nice April 22 day some plans were placed. Another area we visited is a nature park. This site will be on a separate entry.

This laughing Buddha was carved out of a solid piece of Rosewood.

This museum became reality once a woman named, Mrs. Phillips decided she needed a place to house her collectables. The museum was born. Mrs. Phillips had been an ardent collector of Asian art and sculptures. The museum is now home for her many forms of Oriental arts.

Jade and ivory sculptures were abundant within the museum walls. the craftsmanship was unbelievable to behold. Intricate detail work is always present to see. Some of the art was very, very old from various Chinese Dynasties and other works were more recent, but all were exceptional.

Other arts consisted of figurines out of porcelain. There were many on display.

Art and the required needs for creating the art were on display. These people were known as scholars and the art on display was of the Chinese “scholarly” traditions. These people would, also, excel with calligraphy and poetry.

A “scholarly” table with instruments to create.

Tours are welcome by calling: 724-282-0123. The web site is: http://www.maridon.org

Oriental warrior attire replicas.

Laurie looking over a display.

Carved egret.

Incense burner

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A Christmas Open House was celebrated at the Armstrong County Historical Museum and Genealogical Society on November 28. The old building looked good with the various Christmas decorations.

Members of the 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Living History family worked hard to decorate and allow all of the visitors to feel the season in a Victorian-style. The men and ladies of the group were dressed in period Civil War era clothing.

Cookies and drink were free to those in attendance.

Many visitors arrived to see the museum and what is offered to observe.

the museum is located at: 300 North McKean Street in Kittanning, Pennsylvania.

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A Hint Of Autumn

Wild Turkey Breast Feather

After enduring some hot and muggy days I found the change of autumn-like mornings refreshing. With the cool and crisp change I left the house before sunrise heading to explore a Butler County property to see what I could find.

My planning was spot-on as I arrived at the time I had hoped for…dawn. The woodlands were bright enough to see, ut the sun had yet to get u and over the eastern hills.

The exploration had begun. The first sighting of wildlife was a doe and her fawn. Later I would watch two turkeys flush off the roost. Later, as I circled back around, I would talk some turkey talk with one of the birds. On the back side of this hill I spooked more turkeys feeding in the underbrush,

I came upon posted lands and returned to the road and walked an old road on the opposite side. here I saw a small buck. I noticed my first buck rubs during this walk.

An old spring.

Old springs are few and far between in these days. Over the years I have seen many closed down by the state. because they didn’t meet with the standards set forth by some “expert-in-their -field.” The interesting fact in most cases people were using them for years with no issue.

Red squirrels have been feasting on spruce cones.

One area had many mature spruce trees. As I walked I could hear the four-to five cones falling through the limbs. One could hear these cones falling for a long distance. The Red Squirrels were eating these cones. The photo shows a pile of cone parts placed by the squirrels.

Foxtails backlit from the morning sun.

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My original painting of the “WHEATFIELD-WHIRLPOOL OF DEATH” hangs in the Armstrong County Historical and Genealogical Society Museum in Kittanning, Pennsylvania. I am proud of that fact. The photo above is a side view of the painting. I couldn’t get a straight-on photo due to lighting glare. This battle was part of the July 1863 Gettysburg Campaign.

Note the Maltese Cross Banner being kept high above the soldiers by the private on the horse. These banners had a purpose in battle. Officers watching the heat of conflict from afar could locate individual groups of soldiers. The officer could adjust battlefield armies by ordering troops to move as needed to repair holes in the flanks and such.

The 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry played an important part of that battle suffering heavy causalities. This painting depicts those brave men of the 62nd. Men from Armstrong County and elsewhere were in this regiment.

The photo shown below is that original banner of the 62nd depicted in the Wheatfield…painting. What an honor ro have the flag/ banner on display where the painting hangs. The original has a number of bullet holes throughout that flag.

The original banner of the 62nd Pennsylvania from the Wheatfield Battle at Gettysburg.

A local group of living historians of the 62nd PVI were present at the museum recently and I was asked to attend due to the painting being on display. These men and women are extremely dedicated at maintaining the integrity with honor for the men of the 62nd. I am honored to know many as friends.

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