Saturday, November 20, 2010

Birthplace of the Direct Primary

Crawford County, PA

Birthplace of the Direct Primary (Click to Enlarge)Marker Text: Here in Crawford County on Sept. 9, 1842, direct primary elections were born when county Democrats used this system to nominate county offices. Republicans here began voting by this method in 1860. This "Crawford County System" gradually spread to other counties and to other states. By the early 20th century, it had become the nation's standard system for selecting party nominees for most offices.

Location: On the east side of Diamond Park in front of the Crawford County Courthouse, Meadville, PA. Erected by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 2000.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Logan County, WV

Marker Text: Here was home of Thomas Dunn English, mayor, 1852 to 1857, and author of "Ben Bolt". Aracoma, daughter of Cornstalk and the wife of Bolling Baker, the white, renegade, was killed when settlers and Indians fought. She is buried here.

Location: WV Route 10 (Logan Boulevard), close to intersection with Holland Lane and Main Street in the town of Logan near downtown area in front of the DMV. Erected by West Virginia Division of Archives and History in 2002.

The town of Logan, WV is in the center of the coal mining region of southern West Virginia. In the center of town is this historical marker on the surface it may not catch your attention, but the information will lead you to a much more interesting story. Thomas Dunn English lived in Logan from 1852 to 1857 coming from New York and he was a man of many occupations. He was a physician, lawyer, poet, playwright, novelist, journalist, and politician. He came to Logan to practice as a physician during a time in Logan history when getting to Logan was not an easy task. In 1852, traveling to Logan required a horse back ride over some tough terrain over some difficult mountain paths. Logan was not readily accessible until about 1904 when the railroad was extended from Huntington, WV in order to permit the removal of coal. I could not find out why English decided to come to Logan of all the places he could have gone to practice medicine.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Patsy Cline: Country Music Singer

Q4iPatsyClineCountryMusicSingerVACity of Winchester, VA
Marker No. Q-4-i 

Marker Text: Patsy Cline (Virginia Patterson Hensley), world-famous singer, lived in this house. She was born in Winchester Memorial Hospital on 8 Sept. 1932. On 21 Jan. 1957 she won Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts national television show’s competition singing “Walkin’ After Midnight.” In 1961 “I Fall to Pieces” became a hit. Her iconic “Crazy” was released a year later. Her haunting voice took her to the top of the charts, and her style and popularity have never waned. She died in an airplane crash on 5 Mar. 1963 in Camden, Tennessee. In 1973, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Cline is interred at nearby Shenandoah Memorial Park.

Q4iPatsyClineCountryMusicSingerVA3Location:  At 608 South Kent Street, Winchester, Virginia near the intersection with East Monmouth Street. Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 2005. 
  Until I moved to northern Virginia, I was unaware that the country singer Patsy Cline was born and was buried in Winchester, VA. I had driven by the Shenandoah Memorial Park where she is buried many times. A few years ago, I attended a production of “Always...Patsy Cline” at the Liz Spurlock Amphitheater in the Chief Logan State Park in Logan County, WV which is an excellent production about her life and music and well worth seeing if you have the opportunity. This production awakened a few memQ4iPatsyClineCountryMusicSingerVA4ories of my childhood of hearing Patsy Cline singing on TV when our family only got two or three channels during good weather. I definitely remember the songs, “Crazy” and “Walkin after Midnight.”
Photo on the left is the bell tower at the Shenandoah Memorial Park, Patsy Cline’s grave is on far left behind the funeral home in the background.

  I don't plan to go into her life in any detail since there are many websites available to tell you a more complete story. One web site which is good is “A Tribune to Patsy Cline” has some good background and photos. Q4iPatsyClineCountryMusicSingerVA1 Patsy Cline like many singers got their start singing in a church choir and in her case a Baptist church choir even though her initial interest was to become a dancer.  As the marker indicates she was born as Virginia Patterson Hensley. As a child, she was called “Ginny.” The name Patsy Cline developed from two things, the name Patsy came from her middle name “Patterson” which was her mother's maiden name. The name Cline came from her first marriage to Gerald Cline in 1953. Using the name Patsy was suggested to her by Bill Peer who helped her in her early career as opposed to using Virginia or Ginny. I had to remind myself of these facts in order to find her grave marker, since her marker uses the surname “Dick” which was her married name when she married Charlie Dick in 1957. Though the name “Patsy Cline” is on the marker you can miss it, unless you know to look for the name Dick.Q4iPatsyClineCountryMusicSingerVA9

Photo on the left, grave marker is at bottom of photo and bell tower is in the distance on the left.

  The movie “Sweet Dreams” is about Patsy's later life as a singer until her death. Patsy was good friends with Loretta Lynn and Patsy is portrayed in the movie about Lynn's life, “A Coal Miners Daughter.” Patsy unfortunately died at the age of 30 in a plane crash in Tennessee in 1963 and she left behind a wonderful legacy of songs, for which, she will always be remembered.Q4iPatsyClineCountryMusicSingerVA7  As mentioned on the historical marker Patsy Cline's big break in her singing career occurred after appearing on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts in 1957. Patsy had already been performing and recording music prior to this appearance, but Arthur Godfrey's show had the effect of helping to launch the careers of many performers to a national stage. Godfrey helped many performers, like, Patsy. Some notables include Pat Boone, Tony Bennett, Eddie Fisher, and Connie Francis.  

  Q4iPatsyClineCountryMusicSingerVA6The historical marker is located in front of the home where Patsy lived as a teenager and she worked in many of the businesses in the area, many that still exist. To the right of the house is a bulletin board with photos and information about Patsy. There is an annual gathering in Winchester of Patsy's fans on the occasion of her birthday in September. The Shenandoah Memorial Park where Patsy is buried is located on Route 522 south of Winchester on the right as you travel south. Her grave is located next to the road behind the Funeral Home's parking lot. There is a bell tower in the cemetery south of her grave which was installed in her memory. (Memorial plaque photo for Bell Tower above)