Bedford County: From Indian Trails to Tourist Resorts

In the summer of 1728, thirteen brave pioneers made their way north through the wilderness from Virginia. The trail brought these Virginians into the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, where they set­tled, only returning to Virginia to bring their families north. The area was rich with game and several trapped along the streams. One built a gristmill and another a trading post. These members...
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Huntingdon County: Molding Character and Countians

When Philadelphia land speculator William Smith laid out the town of Huntingdon in 1767, it is possible that even then he saw its potential as a county seat. On the one hand, the idea seems preposterous: the area surrounding his prospective town was a wilderness accessi­ble only by a scanty network of undeveloped Indian paths. This unsettled part of Pennsyl­vania had been included in a vast...
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The Consequences of the American Revolution in Pennsylvania

One of the more interesting and controversial aspects of the American Revolution concerns its consequen­ces upon colonial institutions and society in general. Was the society left almost unchanged by a movement fun­damentally conservative in its causes, or was it profoundly altered by a revolution radical in its results, if not in its origins? Specifically, what happened to the society of...
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A Historical Sketch of Indiana County

Indiana County was named for the native Indians. During historic times the two principal tribes were the Delawares and Shawnees. Being reluctant to give up their lands, the Indians struggled desperately to keep out the tide of European settlers. Perhaps the first white settler to enter Indiana County was James LeTort, an Indian trader, about 1726-27. A place called “Letart’s...
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They Left with the British: Black Women in the Evacuation of Philadelphia, 1778

Black women were a small but important segment of the eighteenth-century Pennsylvania laboring classes. As slaves, as indentured servants, or as free persons of color, their options were extremely limited, but they could and did make decisions that affected their lives. The evacuation of Philadelphia by the British in 1778 during the Revolutionary War reveals the kinds of limited choices which...
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A New Look at the Pennsylvania Continental Soldier

The Bicentennial’s focus on pageantry and commemoration has given us a clear image of what the Pennsyl­vania Continental soldier looked like – at least, at his best. But who was this keen-eyed, square-jawed stalwart, dressed in fringed hunting shirt and leggings, or sporting smart blue regimentals with red facings and gleaming white small-clothes? Where did he come from? What was his...
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One Should Not Overlook Union County

Union County on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River is one of Pennsylvania’s smaller counties, encompassing a bare 258 square miles, with a population of 30,000, including 3000 college stu­dents and 1900 inmates of two federal prisons. Few of its residents have held high political office and fewer of its names have appeared in Who’s Who in America. Yet the historical...
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Blair County: Center of Transportation

Blair County was among the last counties created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. One factor which delayed the establishment of an additional county in the southern portion of central Pennsylvania was geography. The rugged, eastern slopes of the Appalachian Mountains, in which Blair County was eventually located, diverted settlers to other areas. Only after the discovery of iron ore...
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America’s Dream Highway

Almost no one could have foreseen, fifty years ago, that an experiment in trans­portation engineering mean­dering across the rugged southern Alleghenies could profoundly affect the way tens of millions of Americans tra­vel. But from the very day it opened on October 1, 1940, the Pennsylvania Turnpike did just that – despite the fact that its first section ran from nowhere to nowhere. The...
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The Whiskey Boys Versus the Watermelon Army

When the issue of balancing the budget by raising taxes reared its ugly head recently, the nation once again saw the contro­versy and bitterness the sub­ject ignites. On Capitol Hill familiar questions were fiercely debated. Who should close the revenue gap, the wealthy or the working class? Should taxes be increased on ciga­rettes, gasoline, or liquor? Nearly two hundred years ago the Congress...
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