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Archive for the ‘My Family’ Category

Banner Is Up!

A friend living in Kittanning sent me a message stating my father’s veteran banner was up near his home. I searched this morning and found the display.

I was honored, humbled and proud to see this tribute on a street in Kittanning, PA..

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Henry Blystone

Henry Blystone

I don’t know much about one of my ancestor of the name of Henry Blystone. This is a sad reality of history. henry was one son out of a family of His family lived about a mile, or so, south of the Cherry Run intersection at 422. henry was born in 1830 and he would die in 1912.

Henry Blystone holding baby

Henry served in the Civil War beginning in 1863 and discharged in July 0f 1865. He served in Co I, 46th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. He served under General Sherman and was with him throughout the war traveling to the sea. It has been said he loved his commanding officer so well, he named his one son, Sherman. Seven brothers in this family served in the Civil war with three dying during the conflict, although there seems to be some discrepancy with the one. he died with typhoid, but death dates vary. One son named, John was only in the service for less than a month. No details are known for this brief time.

Henry Blystone in front row with crutch second from the left.

Henry is buried in the marker shown below. He was interned at the Beulah Church cemetery, not far from both Apollo and Edmon, Pennsylvania. His grave is along the woodland area with a couple of other burials. I can only speculate as to why.

Gravestone

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A Banner for My Father

Communities’ all around have been honoring our veterans in various ways. One increasingly common method of honor are the placements of banners within community poles.

My mother saw this potential in the paper for Kittanning, Pennsylvania. She kept the article until the community was prepared to begin the process of gathering names and photos of veterans. Of course she wanted to honor her husband and my father with such a banner. His name is Allen Kenneth Smail. The banner is shown above.

The paperwork was completed and the borough of Kittanning will be placing my father’s banner prior to memorial day of 2021.I am very proud and looking with anticipation when this banner is displayed. Thank you dad.

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Those who know me understand how proud I was of my father. (Allen K. Smail 1923-1999) Last week I obtained some papers from his school days and his military time in Europe. The above paper is his discharge document. He traveled over a lot of the war areas including being part in the Battle of the Bulge. I wish I would have written down some of the stories. I wish I would have asked more for I do not have a lot information from those years against the Germans. I know he was watching, as part of the military police (MP) a gasoline depot in Belgium with orders to blow it up in the case of the Germans getting through. He said he could hear the war sounds in the distance. He only had a 45 automatic with seven rounds at that time. I can’t imagine the fear one would have in such a situation. His uniform and MP arm band are currently at the Armstrong County Historical Museum in Kittanning, Pennsylvania.

Allen K. Smail -Uniform

My dad had a German Shepherd named Wolf as his companion. Notice in the document where he was a dog trainer.

The document below is of interest to me. My dad had perfect attendance at the Elderton High School. He was awarded this document and a small gold colored trophy for his efforts. He graduated in 1941 as valedictorian. His son didn’t fare as well. I did well in school, actually in my junior year with an average leading to third place. I even made the Honor Society. Who would have “thunked” it! My senior year I slipped.

My father’s son liked to hunt and fish a lot during my school years. Ha Ha

Eleven years of perfect attendance.

My father’s 1941 valedictorian speech from Elderton High SChool

The above photo shows my father’s valedictorian Speech from 1941. The speech has unbelievably words of a prophetic nature, both, in reality and in Biblical prophecy. Yes, I am proud to be his son.

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Family Photos

The people in this photo. Front row left to right are: Uncle Harold Yount, Mary Yount (My grandmother) James “Ed” Yount (My grandfather) Back Row left to right: Aunt Vera; Aunt Ethel, Aunt Helen, and my mother, Ruth.

My grandparents.

My Grandparents while dating. Grandma was 17 and my Grandfather was 22.

My Uncle Russell Smail sometime near to 1934.

A photo of my father, Allen Kenneth Smail during World War ll.

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I was on the move early for I wanted to be somewhere along Keystone Lake to watch the sun rise. (Keystone Lake is in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.) I parked and walked along a narrow, old fishermen trail to get down to the water’s edge.  Fog was over much of the lake, but not heavy enough to cancel out seeing the water. I began to take photos wherever I could do so. Vegetation was dense and to the shoreline in many places. I was surprised as to how high the trees had become at many places.

I visited other places that held dear memories for me and my father, Allen K. Smail. We had fished these waters much in years past catching Largemouth Bass, Bluegills, Walleyes and such. There was a time when we caught bass as big as eighteen inches. Those were the days. The years seemed to have reduced such size and I gradually had forgotten about the lake for fishing.

  I remember my dad taking my cousins and I fishing on the first day of bass seasons in the past. We always had a good time. One extremely foggy  morning we were situated along the grassy shoreline. I could hear something before seeing my line grow taut causing  a sharp pull only to hear voices. I then saw the reason for the noise. A small trolling boat had come close to shore and the fisherman’s line caught onto mine. As hard as I tugged I would have yanked the rod and reel out of his hands. However, he had the pole locked onto the boat’s side.

I remember fishing for bass and Bluegills with a fly rod. That proved to be quite a fight!

A sad memory flooded my thoughts as I visited the lake. In early November in 1976, we received a call after dark about someone very close to me being missing. My brother-in-law, Bob Hudson, my dad and I took off to look. We checked an area known as Reefer’s Cove for my uncle liked to hunt waterfowl back in this area. I remember hollering, but his car was not in the area. We circled around and came up the eastern side of the lake only to look across the lake and see lots of lights. We hurried to the site.

I didn’t realize what was happening at first, but quickly put the events together as I saw people carrying a man covered with a white sheet. I could see my uncle’s black hair only. I lost myself and walked away and up the township road. Carl E. Smail had died with a massive heart attack while hunting waterfowl. He was quite a man and uncle. He was a taxidermist, and a deputy game warden. I enjoyed our times together hunting and fishing. I helped him skin wildlife to mount and make artificial molds for the mounts. He had a wildlife menagerie in his back yard featuring bear, bobcat, elk, deer, wolverines, turkeys and so many other species. He gave me a Brittany Spaniel named Smokey. I could add many more points of interest.

   That memory was one I wished had not happened to me this day, but it was vivid.

Wildlife was plentiful this morning. I saw deer, a doe and her new fawn, several flocks of turkeys, and a Great Blue Heron.

Sensitive Fern

Great Blue Heron

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Twenty-Five Years

Laurie among Trilliums

Twenty-five years ago on April 22, 1995, a milestone occurred. Lauranne (Laurie) and myself were married. This wedding happened in my back-yard gazebo. It is difficult to believe that many years have drifted along.

Last summer I began planning to go on a cruise for this silver anniversary. Laurie enjoys cruises and I thought doing such an event would be a great way to celebrate our twenty-five years.

Blue Phlox

Unfortunately, things happened in our lives . My step-father developed cancer which he is still struggling with. My mother turned ninety last December and recently suffered a mini-stroke. My sister went through difficult times leading to a divorce. Doctor appointments became quite prevalent over these months.

Laurie and I discussed the cruise plans and we decided to not plan for such a trip not knowing how Bob would be in the coming months. The trip was scheduled in mid-March. What, also, happened around this time? A virus began disrupting just about everything. We would have been on that trip when all this “hell” broke out to disrupt our lives. So, I guess our decision was a god one considering all that has happened.

Wednesday was the anniversary and no special plans occurred between us. No flowers, no jewelry, no trip, no fancy restaurant. However, we made other plans

Huge rock

that were satisfactory  for both of us. We decided to go on a hike and Laurie wanted to make a meal and dessert. We hiked the Rock Furnace Trail in southern Armstrong County and, later went for a drive over back roads to see whatever we could see.

The trail moves along Roaring Run. We enjoyed our time together. Trilliums were in bloom everywhere. The stream is beauty to behold.

 

On the way home we stopped to view an ancestor’s gravesite. His name was henry Blystone. He was my great-grandfather’s brother and fought under General Sherman during the Civil War.

 

 

 

Roaring Run

 

Trying to figure out her phone.

 

White Trillium

 

 

 

 

 

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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 1958. 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???

 

 

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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

 

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Autumn Time Alone

Cowanshannock Creek

The family spent the last two days at the hospital talking with various doctors. Both days talked of my step-father’s cancer (Bob Miller) issues and what will, most likely, be the imminent future for him. We were told the cancer is very aggressive and moving fast. No cure is possible. Bob’s life expectancy is in months. This was not the news we had hoped for, but I expected that to be the case. I have tried to remain busy to not dwell on things as often.

  Lots of rain is expected later this evening. My original plans were to fish the Allegheny River. I set the minnow trap at six in the morning and at seven thirty I was dismayed to see the majority of those minnows to be  within the five and six inch range. I was planning on light tackle and catching some bass and catfish. I dumped the minnows back into the creek and pondered on purchasing some locally. I walked past a deck I have been building and decided to forfeit the fishing and go and get wood to complete the final landing of the deck which I did.

Prior to eleven o’clock I checked the radar and elected to hike along Cowanshannock Creek to see the beauty of the autumn foliage. I walked, where ever I could , along the creek’s edge snapping photos everywhere. This waterways has many boulders and hemlocks and rhododendrons. Add beech and maple and the contrast was breathtaking. I was forced to gather a stck as a third leg for the many rocks where slippery for this old man with painful knees.

The several hours walking along helped clear my mind for a time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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