History has so many stories to tell!
Patrons of Carnegie Free Library can read many of them through our extensive collection.
An article inside the July 2, 1963, issue of The Connellsville Courier announces that the post office’s new Zone Improvement Program goes into effect. It will improve mail delivery speed by assigning five digit numbers to all addresses.
What does “Commander in Chief” mean to you? You might envision Abraham Lincoln reading the latest reports from his generals at all hours of the night. Or, picture FDR discussing strategy with Churchill and Stalin. Or, wonder what George Bush thought as September 11 unfolded. Probably, you did not think about any active President leading troops in the field. However, ….
Found on the front page of the June 18, 1994, issue of The Connellsville Courier: "O.J. Simpson in custody on double murder charges"
Historians separate fact from fiction. This can be quite difficult when the actual participants have competing agendas. Add the passing of more than two hundred years, a military disaster, and gaps in the official reports, and it becomes nearly impossible.
Found on the front page of the June 4, 1937, issue of The Connellsville Courier:
General Braddock’s expedition to drive the French away from Fort Duquesne made camp here on June 28, 1755, and crossed the Youghiogheny River two days later. His military disaster on July 9th impacted the frontier and influenced how the Continental Army fought the British during the American Revolution.
Headline found on the front page of the May 21, 1927, issue of The Connellsville Courier:
Those who associate George Washington with the Fourth of July may be surprised to learn that he completed his first and only military surrender on July 4th–in 1754. That May, Washington had engaged a few dozen French Canadians in the first battle of the French and Indian War. It is not clear what exactly happened, but in the end Washington won and the French commander, Jumonville, was dead.
Expecting French retaliation, Washington erected a small stockade to protect provisions and gathered his forces at his military headquarters on Gist’s Plantation. Meanwhile, five hundred soldiers left Fort Duquesne to avenge Jumonville’s “assassination”. When Washington realized his lack of men and supplies to fight the French, he fell back to this stockade about thirteen miles southeast.
The French arrived on July 3rd around 11am. After nine hours of fighting in heavy rain, which flooded his trenches and damaged his guns, negotiations for surrender began. Sometime around midnight it became official. Washington and his men would leave Fort Necessity shortly after dawn. The French promptly destroyed it and Gist’s Plantation.
Of course, you can read more about Fort Necessity at the Carnegie Free Library. The Connellsville Courier is available on microfilm dating back to 1879.
The frontpage headline on May 7, 1915: “GERMAN SUBMARINE SINKS THE CUNARDER LUSITANIA OFF IRISH COAST; MANY AMERICANS INCLUDED IN PASSENGER LIST OF CRACK BRITISH LINER”
On May 16, 1775, colonists from our county (Westmoreland) gathered at its seat of the time, Hanna’s Town, and signed resolutions to oppose tyranny and oppression like that of the British Government against the colonists in Massachusetts Bay. On May 16, 1775, colonists from our county (West Augusta) including William Crawford gathered at its courthouse of the time in Pittsburgh to sign resolutions supporting the Massachusetts Bay colonists, vowing to resist British tyranny, and making the necessary preparations.
Both Pennsylvania and Virginia claimed the southwest Pennsylvania frontier and organized their own counties to administer that ground. To our eyes, this border dispute may seem comical at times. For example, William Crawford presided over the court in Westmoreland County until the Governor learned that the justice now opposed Pennsylvania’s jurisdiction. However, the dispute’s long-term implications made it a very serious matter. Which land deeds have meaning? On March 1, 1780, Pennsylvania became the first democracy anywhere in the world to abolish slavery. Was it in effect here?
After much negotiation, and a few threats, the two states came to an agreement on September 23, 1780. The official boundary line appeared five years later. Finally!
Of course, you can read more about West Augusta, the border dispute, and the Revolutionary Era at the Carnegie Free Library. The Connellsville Courier is available on microfilm dating back to 1879.
Found on the front page of the April 23, 1915, issue of The Connellsville Courier: “Yesterday evening ....[n]orth of the Ypres the Germans by employing large quantities of asphyxiating bombs…forced us [the French] to retire in the direction of the Yser canal.” This French War Office statement announced the first full-scale deployment of chemical weapons in World War I.
History is filled with random coincidences. Shortly after hiring Christopher Gist to explore its potential land holdings, the Ohio Company’s first president died in November 1750. Lawrence Washington was a major investor and succeeded him. The following winter, the acting governor of Virginia selected Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson (Thomas Jefferson’s father) to create a map of the colony. The first edition printed in 1753, as it became clear that France would be a problem through much of the Ohio River region. Gist’s work greatly influenced the 1755 revision.
Two tidbits from the April 9, 1880, issue of The Connellsville Courier remind us how many things never really seem to change.
If the American Frontier began with the first farm home west of the Appalachians, a very strong case could be made for Gist’s Plantation atop of Mt Braddock. In 1750 the Ohio Company hired Christopher Gist to explore around the forks of the Ohio River and to recruit settlers. His expeditions yielded much information about mountain passes, rivers, native communities including possible trading possibilities, and exact descriptions of large fertile level areas for settlement.