Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 1999-02 > 0918505310
From: Rob Hilliard <>
Subject: RE: Scotch-Irish historical sites
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 1999 15:21:50 -0500
Ron (and any others who happen to be in this neck of the woods),
You didn't ask for sites in PA, but since you're going to be in Gettysburg,
I decided to toss in my 2 cents. All of the following locations are within a
3 hour drive of Gettysburg. In no particular order:
Ft. Ligonier - Ligonier, PA (Westmoreland Cty.)
A re-creation of the 18th century fort that was a major military jumping off
point for excursions against the Indians and British (during the western
campaign of the Revolution). I can't recall if it was built early enough to
serve during the French and Indian War, too, but it seems to me that it did.
A friend of mine tells a story about the time he was at the fort early in the
morning during a reenactors weekend, and heard bagpipes crying out
through the summer morning's fog. He claims he was ready to grab his
musket and charge into battle - even though he was in street clothes and
the closest thing he's ever had to a musket is his fly-fishing rod.
Ft. Necessity, Farmington, PA (Fayette Cty.)
Site of first and only surrender of George Washington's military career, and
first battle of French and Indian War. This war essentially opened the
frontier for SI and all other westward expansion. The visitor's center sucks,
but is going to receive a major overhaul soon. Many excellent local history
books for sale there, though.
Bushy Run Battlefield, Harrison City, PA (Westmoreland Cty.)
Site where British regulars successfully defeated the French and Indian forces
in 1763 (?) to lift the siege of Ft. Pitt. See SI list archives for more detail.
BTW, the British Highland regiment that fought at Bushy Run was wearing
kilts. I haven't been there since the visitors' center got a major upgrade
about a year or two ago.
Old Hannastown, Greensburg, PA (Westmoreland Cty.)
Re-creation of one of the earliest SI villages on the western frontier. It was
burned in the late 1700s and most of its inhabitants massacred by Indians.
Hannastown was the original seat of Westmoreland County, which then
included most of what is now western PA.
Old Bedford Village, Bedford, PA (Bedford Cty.)
Historically accurate recreation of a 1790s frontier village that once existed
on this site, complete with craftsmen at work and a tavern/restaurant to get
a meal. Walking around this place (especially one time when there was no
one else around) just gives me the chills. Gift shop on site sells crafts
Ft. Pitt Museum, Point State Park, Pittsburgh, PA (Allegheny Cty.)
The key link in the chain of forts that allowed the SI to expand west down
the Ohio River. Ft. Pitt was the seat of all frontier government for a long
time. Sadly, the visitor's center is for sh**. It's an embarrassment. Still,
it's worth going through to see all of the relics they have, plus the re-creation
of the interior of an early trading post.
Senator John Heinz Regional History Center, Pittsburgh, PA (Allegheny Cty.)
The displays concentrate more on 19th and early 20th Century history,
but there are some excellent SI resources in the library and archives.
Nemacolin Castle, Brownsville, PA (Fayette Cty.)
Oldest remaining structure in the city that was THE main jumping-off point
for frontier expansion (non-military category). Dates to about 1790 or so.
The castle is from the time when Brownsville was known as Redstone Old
Fort and tens of thousands of SI, German, and English poured across
Braddock's Road then floated down the Monongahela River to their
frontier destiny. Tours available.
While you're in Brownsville, you might also want to check
out the Flatiron Building, an 1840s vintage building in the downtown area
that was recently restored and now houses several small businesses and
a museum/art gallery.
National Road (US Rt. 40), Somerset, Fayette, Washington Counties
The major overland travel route for our SI forerunners. Formerly Braddock's
Road and the Nemacolin Trail, it connected the frontier to the East for
over a century. Many of the 18th Century inns and toll houses still remain as
antique shops or B&Bs. I personally recommend the Century Inn in Mt.
Pleasant, Washington County. A good selection of Scotch.
McConnells Mills State Park, Portersville, PA (Butler Cty.)
A nice state park on the gorgeous, roaring narrows of Slippery Rock Creek,
and a great example of the type of grist mill that supported the economy
(and, in fact, the daily livelihood) of our SI ancestors. You can walk through
the mill and see all of its workings. Many earlier posts in the SI archives
detail the importance of grain growing and milling, especially as related to
whiskey production, to the SI pioneers.
Meadowcroft Museum of Rural Life, Avella, PA (Washington Cty.)
Painstakingly accurate re-creations of rural farmsteads of SI and German
pioneers of western frontier. If I remember correctly, it's set up in such a way
that they show what typical farms would have been like in different eras, such
as 1780s, 1820s, and 1860s. Complete with sheep!
(Interesting side note - with as much discussion as we've had on sheep here,
I feel obligated to add that for many years Washington and Greene Counties -
both heavily settled by SI between 1770 and 1820 - were among the leading
wool producers in North America. They also laid claim to something to do
with the Merino breed of sheep - it was developed there or some such.
Sheep still outnumber people there today. Coincidence? Na-a-a-a-h.)
There are many smaller sites to check out as well, such as the Burtner House
and the Harbison log cabin, both in Allegheny County (and both built by
my own relatives, I feel obligated to add), but the above list covers those
of more general significance. As long as it seems upon re-reading it, this
list is also far from comprehensive. We're fortunate in western PA, as the
center of so much SI population for so long, to still maintain a few ties to
an ethnic group and migration pattern that so many of us on this list know
to be too often overlooked by the rest of the world.
PS: Forgot one -
My House, Aliquippa, PA (Beaver Cty.)
Not as nice or as old as the other places listed above, but if you're inclined
to sit around and gab about your SI ancestors, or better yet, listen to me
gab about mine, let me know.
From: Ron McRoberts
Sent: Monday, February 08, 1999 8:12 AM
Subject: Scotch-Irish historical sites
Ulster Scot (Scotch-Irish) relatives from Northern Ireland are visiting
with us this summer. We are planning a tours that includes the Gettysburg
battlefield, Washington, DC, a drive down the Skyline and Blue Ridge
Parkways possbily as far as Asheville, NC, and then a return to the Upper
Midwest through the eastern half of Kentucky. Although I am knowledgeable
of the 1700s migration of Scotch-Irish through PA, VA, NC, SC, KY, and TN,
and am well read with respect to published histories of the Scotch-Irish, I
have no first-hand knowledge of the area through which we will be
traveling. Therefore, ......
(1) Are there Scotch-Irish museums in the VA, NC, KY areas or other sites
of particular interest to those of Scotch-Irish descent?
(2) I am aware of a Fontier Museum in Staunton, VA - what's there?
(3) Is Fincastle, VA an interesting place?
(4) Where were the original Boone settlements in KY? My Rand McNally
atlas does not list Boonesboro.
(5) Are there interesting historical sites in Lincoln and/or Fleming
counties of KY?
All suggestions are welcome. Thanks.