Fort Dewart on the Forbes Road

Fort Dewart, which straddles the border of Bedford and Somerset counties in southern Pennsylvania, was a British military redoubt built in August 1758 during the French and Indian War, the North American conflict in the global Seven Years’ War (1756–63) between Great Britain and France. The small fortification was part of a chain of defensive forts and supply stops built by the troops of Gen....
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War in the Peaceable Kingdom by Brady J. Crytzer

War in the Peaceable Kingdom: The Kittanning Raid of 1756 by Brady J. Crytzer Westholme Publishing, 256 pp., cloth $28 The title of this book describes its content and contribution better than does the subtitle. The Delaware town of Kittanning on the Allegheny River was an important place – the residence of the war chiefs Shingas and Tewea (Captain Jacobs) and the source of multiple...
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Historian of Pennsylvania Exceptionalism: Samuel W. Pennypacker

Reflecting on “the play of forces” that propelled him to Pennsylvania’s governor’s office in 1903, Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker (1843–1916) confidently declared, “there is no such thing as an accident” (a notion popularized by Sigmund Freud, the founding father of psychoanalysis). This was not to say chance plays no part in history because he pronounced with equal certitude: “To every man certain...
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Somerset County: Paths through the Roof Garden

Referring to the high elevation and the scenic quality of the region, Gov. Martin G. Brumbaugh called Somerset County “the Roof Garden of Pennsylvania” at an annual Farmers’ Day picnic in 1916. Since then. the description has become a familiar and respected title; the words “Roof Garden” have been in­corporated in the names of various businesses, and the complete...
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Fulton County: Where Country is Still Country

When the first settlers wandered into the Great Cove – a deep basin formed by the southern ranges of the Kit­tochtinny and Tuscarora mountains – they discovered strikingly beautiful valleys, incised with sparkling streams, whose only intrusions were Indian trails and remote pack­ers’ paths. During the two centuries since its settlement, the picturesque mountain ridges and...
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Into the Valley of Death

Horses, rearing in death, pitched their riders into a fren­zied mass of red­-coated soldiers, while Indians sprinted from tree to tree, leaping out to scalp the wounded and the dead. Even the dauntless Daniel Boone, then a young wagoner, cut his horses loose and fled for his life. George Washington, a volunteer lieutenant colonel, recounted years later that, “had I not been witness to the...
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The ‘State’ of Allegheny

One of the first centers of the organization of the Re­publican party and scene of its first national conven­tion in February, 1856, Allegheny County was strongly for Lincoln in the presidential election of 1860. As the vote count proceeded, one of the leaders kept sending telegrams to Lincoln’s home in Illinois, keeping him up on the news that “Allegheny gives a majority of …...
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The French and Indian War and the Revolution

If in spite of all the Bicentennial reminders the Revolutionary War seems somewhat far away, the French and Indian War must seem so much more remote as to be irrelevant. The familiar Pennsylvania events of the Revolution – the battles of Brandywine and German­town, the Valley Forge encampment, the Declaration of Independence – took place in the settled parts of the State, the battles...
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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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The French in Northwest Pennsylvania, 1753-1759

Every summer numerous va­cationers from both within and beyond Pennsylvania’s borders come to the northwest comer of the state to use the recreational facilities of Presque Isle State Park. Probably few of the summer visitors sunning themselves along the state park’s beaches, or swimming in Lake Erie, pause to ask themselves how the park and peninsula came to bear a French name. It...
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