Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fort Upper Tract

Fort Upper Tract in Pendleton County, WV (Click any photo to enlarge)Pendleton County, WV

Marker Text: Site of Fort Upper Tract, one of the forts erected under Washington's orders to guard the settlements. In 1758, Indians captured and burned it. Captain James Dunlap and 21 others were killed. No one escaped.

Location: On U.S. Route 220 on the northbound side of the road in Upper Tract, WV, about half way between Petersburg to the north and Franklin to the south.

  Today's marker is related to my prior post on Fort Loudoun in present day Winchester, VA. In 1755, George Washington arrived in Winchester to supervise the construction of Fort Loudoun and other frontier forts along the western frontier in Virginia during the French and Indian War. In present day, West Virginia there are several state historic markers indicating the location of these early forts.

Fort Upper Tract along U.S. Route 220 in Pendleton County, WV

Photo taken looking south on U.S. Route 220, south branch of the Potomac would be on the left of the photo.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  According documents left by George Washington, Fort Upper Tract was built between August 21 and November 9, 1756, by a Lieutenant Lomax and 20 soldiers probably aided by local settlers. Washington directed the fort's construction from wood in a quadrangular shape with walls 60 feet long and bastions in all four corners. The fort was to have barracks, a powder magazine, and other necessary buildings all built within the walls. The actual completed form of the fort is unknown.

  According to documents left by William Preston, the fort was destroyed in an Indian attack on April 27, 1758 and eighteen militiamen were killed at the fort. A letter in the Augusta County court records, written following the attack on the fort indicated some of the militiamen killed at the fort were reinforcement sent to Fort Upper Tract from Hog’s Fort in Brock Gap, about 22 miles to the east. Captain Dunlap, himself killed in the battle, had requested help upon spotting Indians in the area. The reinforcements arrived just before the fort was attacked. Local settlers Ludwick Fulk and William Elliot, their wives, and one stranger died with the militiamen.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Franklin County

Franklin County marker in Chambersburg, PATown of Chambersburg, PA

Marker Text: Formed on September 9, 1784 from Cumberland County and named for Benjamin Franklin. Site of Falling Spring, noted limestone trout stream. Birthplace of James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States. Chambersburg, county seat, was laid out 1764.

Location: County Courthouse, Memorial Square (N. Main St.), corner of U.S. Route 11 & 30, Chambersburg, PA. Erected by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1981.

Franklin County marker in front of the courthouse in Chambersburg, PA

The front of the Franklin Co. Courthouse can be seen to the left of the marker.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  While taking photos of historical markers, I have noticed that each state deals differently with how they place markers related to the historical background of individual counties. In Virginia and West Virginia, they place markers related to counties at the borders between counties, so there are as many county markers as there a roads entering a county. Where in Pennsylvania and Kentucky place county related markers in front of the county courthouse. I generally don't photograph multiple county markers, unless I notice the text is different between markers, like I noticed with two Warren County, VA markers I posted earlier.

Franklin County marker in front in Chambersburg, PA town square.

Marker is in the town square of Chambersburg in front of the courthouse, the Underground Railroad marker is located in the background.

  In Pennsylvania, today's marker was taken in Chambersburg, PA in Franklin County. From an historical point of view Franklin County and Chambersburg is full of history. John Brown stayed here for awhile prior to his raid on Harper's Ferry. Franklin County was at the center of Underground Railroad activities. Franklin County was the birthplace of Jame Buchanan the only U.S. President to date to come from Pennsylvania. Chambersburg was one of few northern towns invaded by the Confederates during the U.S. Civil War and almost completely destroyed by the Confederate army of Gen. James McCausland in 1864, the only northern town to experience this degree of destruction. Many of these events have individuals markers and some I will post later or have posted.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Presbyterian Church

Presbyterian Church marker on Main Street in Danville, KYBoyle County, KY
Marker Number 754

Marker Text: One of three founded, 1784, by Reverend David Rice; earliest of this denomination west of Alleghenies. Here worshipped: James G. Birney, whose presidential candidacy in 1844 caused defeat of Henry Clay; John C. Breckinridge, whose 1860 candidacy resulted in election of Lincoln; Samuel D. Burchard, whose "Rum, Romanism and Rebellion" defeated James G. Blaine in 1884.

Location: At 500 W. Main Street, Danville, KY in front of the church also on U.S. Routes 127 and 150. Erected by the Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Department of Highways in 1964.

Danville Presbyterian Church with marker on the left

Marker along Main Street with the church on the right.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  I have not posted a marker for Sunday related to a church for a while. I thought this marker I photographed in Danville, Kentucky about the Presbyterian Church was a good one for today. Though not for the reason you might think. Of course, this Presbyterian Church is an historic church, but mostly because of its unusual text related to presidential elections. Three individuals who had worshipped in this church were significantly involved in the presidential elections of 1844, 1860 and 1884. With this being a presidential election year, I thought this marker made for an interesting addition.

Monument over the grave of Rev. David Rice on the grounds of the church.

Monument over Rev. Rice’s grave site next to the church, part of church seen in background.

  The Danville Presbyterian Church was organized around 1784 along with others in around Danville, KY by the Rev. David Rice who is buried near the church in the same grave yard as Dr. Ephraim McDowell.

  The Danville Presbyterian congregation moved to this location at the corner of Main and Fifth Streets in 1831. A more complete history of this church can be read at their web site, Danville Presbyterian Church. My attention today will be on the three other men mentioned on the marker related to presidential elections.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

“Old Mr. Flint's” Home

"Old Mr Flint's" Home marker in Washington County, MDWashington County, MD

Marker Text: George Washington’s diary (while he visited Berkley Springs in 1769) states: “Aug. 30 Old Mr. Flint dined with us” and on Sept. 4: “Rid to the Potomac where my horses were. From thence to Mr. Flint’s and to the Pennsylvania Line, and returned to dinner.”

Location: Marker is west of Hancock, Maryland, in Washington County on Western Pike (Maryland Route 411), up the hill from the home mentioned on the marker. Erected by the State Roads Commission.

  I have always been interested in any marker related to George Washington, since I was a kid when my parents would take us on vacations. I just felt like I was a part of history when I could stand, where George Washington once stood. This marker on Route 144 west of Hancock, Maryland is an example of a simple marker stating that George Washington was here in 1769 and had dinner with a man called “Old Mr. Flint.”

"Old Mr Flint's" Home marker looking east on Route 144 toward Hancock, MD

Photo taken looking east on Route 144.  The home is located down the hill to the left.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  George Washington owned property in Bath, VA south of here, now called Berkeley Springs, WV and he frequently visited this area of Maryland and Virginia along the Potomac River. According to Washington's journal, he first visited this area when he was 15 years old while learning the surveying trade when he first came to Winchester, VA.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Jackson's Mother

Jackson's Mother marker, Fayette County, WV in AnstedFayette County, WV

Marker Text: In Westlake Cemetery is the grave of the mother of General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. The monument at the grave was placed by Captain Thomas Ranson, who had fought in Jackson's old brigade in the War between the States.

Location: On U.S. Route 60, eastbound side of the road across from the street leading to the Westlake Cemetery, Ansted, WV.

Jackson's Mother marker, along U.S. Route 60 in Ansted, WVPhoto taken looking east on U.S. Route 60 with the town of Ansted in the background. Cemetery mentioned in the marker is up the street to the left across the street from marker. Click any photo to enlarge.

  In an earlier post, I included a marker about the location of the birthplace of “Stonewall” Jackson's Mother in Loudoun County, VA. Today's marker is about the place of her death thirty-three years later in Fayette County, WV in Ansted. At the time of her death, Ansted was in Virginia. West Virginia did not come into existence until 1863 during the U.S. Civil War.

  Julia Beckwith Neale Jackson Woodson (1798-1831) was the mother of Confederate General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson. Julia sadly had a short and tragic life and reportedly was very intelligent and a devout Christian, but life in the early 1800's in what is now West Virginia was not easy and many families faced tragedy each day.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Freedom Road

"Freedom Road" marker near Stoneboro, PAMercer County, PA

Marker Text: In search of freedom, men and women brought from the South by the "Underground Railroad" settled near here about 1825 and later. After 1850, most of them went on to Canada. Their cemetery, still in use, lies a short distance above the road.

Location: On U.S. Route 62 southeast of Stoneboro, PA, southwest of Sandy Lake across from the Stoneboro Fairgrounds. Erected by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1947.

"Freedom Road" marker across from the Stoneboro Fairgrounds (Click any photo to enlarge)

Marker next to Route 62 with Stoneboro Fairgrounds in the background.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  The location of this marker indicates the former presence of a old African-American community and the remains of an old cemetery left behind by this community dating back between 1825 to 1850. This marker is related to other markers informing the traveler to the early efforts to establish an underground railroad for escaping slaves.

  In 1820, the Pennsylvania legislature adopted a personal liberty law that aimed to protect African-American residents from being kidnapped by southern slave catchers. This law was amended and strengthened in 1826. Following these changes, free African-Americans or escaped slaves felt more confident residing in Pennsylvania.