Sunday, December 16, 2012

Capt. John "Jack" Jouett, Jr.

Capt. John "Jack" Jouett Jr. marker 1528 in Bath County, KY (Click any photo to enlarge)Bath County, KY
Marker Number 1528

Marker Text: This famous Revolutionary War hero, who rode 40 miles to warn Jefferson, Patrick Henry and other legislators of British approach, June 3, 1781, is buried in Bath Co. Jack Jouett of Va. galloped all night from Cuckoo Tavern to Monticello to Charlottesville. Moved to Kentucky, 1782. Represented Mercer County in Va. Assembly, and Mercer and Woodford counties in Ky. Assembly.

Location: In Owingsville, KY on the Bath County Courthouse lawn, near the intersection with U.S. Route 60 and KY Route 36. Grouped with Marker No. 940 (Bath County). Erected by the Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Department of Transportation in 1975.

  Today's marker is the final marker in my eight marker series about the Ride of Jack Jouett from Cuckoo to Charlottesville, VA. Until I take more photos about Jouett, I know about two more historic markers, which exist in Kentucky.

Capt. John "Jack" Jouett Jr. marker 1528 with U.S. Route 60 in the background.  A year after Jouett's ride to warn the Virginia Legislative in Charlottesville. Jack Jouett in 1782 moved to what is now Kentucky, then it was in Virginia. A Jouett family story says that, on his way to Kentucky, Jack and his companions were moving westward through the Cumberland Gap along Daniel Boone’s Wilderness Road when they heard the screams of a woman coming from a lonely cabin. Jouett burst into the house and found a wife being abused by her husband. He attempted to intervene by knocking down the husband, but the wife did not appreciate his involvement and the lady reached for a longhandled frying pan and hit Jouett over the head so forcefully that the bottom of the pan was knocked out and the rim driven down around his neck. Jouett fled the scene and travelled 35 miles before he found a blacksmith to remove the pot.

  Undiscouraged, Jouett settled down in Harrodsburg, Kentucky (then Virginia) in Mercer County and entered politics, serving as a Virginia state legislator. He helped Kentucky break free from Virginia and become a independent state and served four terms in the new legislature from both Mercer and Woodford Counties. Jouett was a prominent citizen of Kentucky. He had friendships with Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay. In business, he pioneered livestock breeding in Woodford County and importing fine horses and cattle from England.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Dr. William Fleming

Dr William Fleming, marker A-64 in Staunton, VA (Click any photo to enlarge)City of Staunton, VA
Marker No. A-64

Marker Text: Physician, soldier, and statesman, Dr. William Fleming (1728-1795) studied medicine in his native Scotland before practicing in Staunton from 1763 to 1768. His home stood at the crossing of New Street and Lewis Creek. Dr. Fleming's career included periods as commander of the Botetourt Regiment, Commissioner for Kentucky, member of the Continental Congress, delegate to the Virginia Constitutional Convention, and Acting Governor when the Virginia General Assembly met in Staunton in June, 1781.

Location:  At the intersection of Routes 250 & 11 (Greenville Avenue and South New Street next to a City of Staunton parking lot. Erected by the Department of Conservation and Historic Resources in 1987.

  Colonel William Fleming was a physician, soldier, statesman, and planter who briefly served as acting Governor of Virginia during the American Revolutionary War. Fleming was born in Jedburgh, Scotland in 1728, to Leonard and Dorthea Fleming. He studied medicine and trained as a physician at the University of Edinburgh and then entered the Royal Navy, serving as a surgeon's mate. While in the service, he was captured and imprisoned by the Spanish. After his release, he resigned from the navy and decided to emigrate to Virginia in the early 1750's.

Dr. William Fleming, marker A-64 near the Stonewall Jackson Hotel.

Photo taken with Greenville Avenue in the background along with the Stonewall Jackson Hotel.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  William Fleming arrived in Virginia in time to participate in several engagements of the French and Indian War as a surgeon. He was a lieutenant on the 1756 Sandy Creek expedition. Then he was appointed ensign in George Washington’s First Virginia Regiment and served as a surgeon in the Forbes expedition and in the Anglo-Cherokee War. He served in two more campaigns in 1758 and was then made a captain and stationed in Staunton in 1760.

  During his time stationed in Staunton he apparently met and married Israel Christian’s daughter, Anne, in 1763. Israel Christian was a prominent Augusta County citizen, a House of Burgesses member and an Irish immigrant. After marrying Anne Christian, they settled here in Staunton in a house located near the approximate site of this marker, which is where Lewis Creek meets New Street. Fleming resumed his medical career by setting up a doctor’s office and performing surgery in Staunton.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Trinity Church

Trinity Church marker QC-1 in Staunton, VA - Augusta County.City of Staunton, VA
Marker No. QC-1

Marker Text: Known originally as Augusta Parish Church, it was founded in 1746 as the County Parish. The Virginia General Assembly met here in June 1781 to avoid capture by British Raiders. The present church was erected in 1855 and was used by the Virginia Theological Seminary during the War Between the States. The first Bishop of Virginia, James Madison, was a member of this church.

Location: On 214 West Beverley Street in the City of Staunton in front of the church. Erected by the Virginia State Library in 1962.

  After the legislators quick escape from Charlottesville after the timely warning by Jack Jouett, they traveled over the Blue Ridge Mountains to the city of Staunton about 40 miles further west.  The Virginia legislature reconvened a few days later and met here between June 7-23, 1781 at Trinity Church in Staunton, making the first Augusta Parish Church (which was its name then) serve as the Virginia state capitol for sixteen days. A Windsor chair, used in that meeting is on display in the corner of St. Columba's Chapel within the current church building.

Trinity Church marker QC-1 in front of Trinity Church in Staunton, VA (Click any photo to enlarge)  The General Assembly of Virginia was deeply appreciative of the debt they owed as a legislature and personally to Jack Jouett, so on June 15, while meeting here at Trinity Church it adopted the following resolution:

  Resolved: That the executive be desired to present to Captain John Jouett an elegant sword and pair of pistols as a memorial of the high sense which the General Assembly entertain of his activity and enterprise in watching the motions of the enemy’s cavalry on their late incursion to Charlottesville and conveying to the assembly timely information of their approach, whereby the designs of the enemy were frustrated and many valuable stores preserved.

  Jouett was given the pistols in 1783, but it was twenty years before he received the “elegant sword.” By that time he had made quite a name for himself beyond the Alleghenies, in present-day Kentucky.

  Trinity Church, the oldest church in Staunton and known for its first eighty years as “Augusta Parish,” was founded in 1746, one year after Augusta County became an independent entity, and one year before the City of Staunton was established.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

General Edward Stevens

General Edward Stevens - G-10 in Culpeper County, VACulpeper County, VA
Marker No. G-10

Marker Text: Here is buried General Edward Stevens, who served at Brandywine, Camden, Guilford Courthouse and Yorktown. He died on August 17, 1820.

Location: On Route 229 at northern entrance to Culpeper in front of the Masonic Cemetery. Erected by the Conservation & Development Commission in 1927.

  At first glance, you might wonder why I would be including today's marker among my “Jack Jouett” series of historical markers. The simple text of this marker erected in 1927, which is among the group of earliest markers erected in Virginia tells you nothing about Jack Jouett, but Edward Stevens owes a great deal to Jouett.

General Edward Stevens - G-10 on Route 229 north of Culpeper, VA (Click any photo to enlarge)

Photo taken looking north on Route 229. Culpeper Co. School in the background. Click any photo to enlarge.

  Edward Stevens was born in Culpeper County, Virginia and joined the colonial forces fighting England early during the American Revolution. In December 1775, Stevens commanded a battalion of Virginia militia at the Battle of Great Bridge. The battle, a victory for the Americans, prevented then Lord Dunmore, the Royal Governor of Virginia, from retaking the state for England.

  Edwards did not remain in the Virginia militia. He was commissioned a colonel in the 10th Virginia Regiment in Continental Army in November 1776. Edwards and his regiment fought at the Battles of Brandywine and Germantown. He served less than two years in the American army, resigning in January 1778. Edwards did continue to serve Virginia. He was appointed brigadier general of the Virginia militia in 1779.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Jack Jouett's Ride

Jack Jouett's Ride - Q-17 in Charlottesville, VA (Click any photo to enlarge)Charlottesville, VA
Marker No. Q-17

Marker Text: On 4 June 1781, John "Jack" Jouett Jr. arrived at the Albemarle County Courthouse to warn the Virginia legislature of approaching British troops. The state government under Governor Thomas Jefferson had retreated from Richmond to reconvene in Charlottesville because of the threat of British invasion during the Revolutionary War. Jouett had spotted Colonel Banastre Tarleton and his 180 dragoons and 70 cavalrymen 40 miles east at Cuckoo Tavern, and rode through the night to reach here by dawn. Jouett's heroic ride, which allowed Jefferson and all but seven of the legislators to escape, was later recognized by the Virginia General Assembly, which awarded him a sword and a pair of pistols.

Location: At the corner of High and Park Streets, Courthouse Square at rear of the Albemarle County Courthouse. Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 1998.

Jack Jouett's Ride - Q-17 as seen along High Street, Charlottesville, VAPhoto taken with High Street in the background. Marker on northeast corner of the courthouse square.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  We continue our series of markers about Jack Jouett's ride from Cuckoo to Charlottesville with the marker indicating his arrival in Charlottesville and this marker is located in the Albemarle County Courthouse square.

  Upon reaching Thomas Jefferson's home at Monticello about 4:30 a.m. on June 4, 1781, Jouett proceeded at once to rouse the sleeping occupants. Among them, besides Jefferson, were the Speakers and other members of the two houses of the General Assembly. Jefferson not only thanked Jouett for his timely warning: but is understood to have tendered a bracing glass or two of his best Madeira. Refreshed, the rider mounted his horse and rode the remaining two miles to Charlottesville, where he awakened dozens more of Virginia's legislators, many at Swan's Tavern which once stood just about 150 feet south and across the street from this marker and was owned by Jack Jouett's father.

  Jefferson apparently took Jouett's warning seriously, but thought he had ample time to get away. Jefferson enjoyed breakfast along with other legislators staying at Monticello, then his guests joined their colleagues in town. Jefferson sent his family to safety at Enniscorthy Plantation fourteen miles away, via Blenheim, the Carter estate. He then spent nearly two hours securing and sorting his important state papers for packing or destruction. Technically, Jefferson was no longer Virginia's governor, his term had expired June 2. The government, however, would not appoint his replacement, General Nelson, until the fifth, and Nelson would not take office until the twelfth.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Castle Hill

Castle Hill - W-204 in Albemarle County, VA in Jack Jouett marker series.Albemarle County, VA
Marker No. W-204

Marker Text: The original house was built in 1765 by Doctor Thomas Walker, explorer and pioneer. Tarleton, raiding to Charlottesville to capture Jefferson and the legislature, stopped here for breakfast, June 4, 1781. This delay aided the patriots to escape. Castle Hill was long the home of Senator William Cabell Rives, who built the present house.

Location: On Route 231 (Gordonsville Road), two miles northwest of Cismont. Erected by the Conservation & Development Commission in 1928.

  Today, we pick up the story of Jack Jouett and his ride from Cuckoo to Charlottesville here at Castle Hill.

  After leaving Cuckoo, VA and after Jack Jouett began his horseback ride toward Charlottesville. About an hour later at 11 p.m. on June 3, 1781, Tarleton paused for a three hour rest near the Louisa County Courthouse. He began his march again at about 2 a.m. He soon encountered a train of 11 or 12 supply wagons at Boswell's Tavern bound for South Carolina where Nathanael Greene led the main branch of the Continental Army in the South. Tarleton decided to burn the wagons rather than take them, in order, to prevent any further delay and continued forward.

Castle Hill - W-204 along Route 231, Albemarle County, VA

Photo taken looking south on Route 231.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  Just before dawn on June 4, Tarleton reached the plantations of Castle Hill, (about 12 miles from Charlottesville) Doctor Thomas Walker's home, and a splinter group of British arrived at Belvoir, the home of his son, Continental Congress member John Walker. Tarleton captured or paroled various important figures at the two plantations. Various legends have sprung up about the stop at Castle Hill.

  The principal story says that Dr. Walker cunningly offered Tarleton an elaborate breakfast, the consumption of which so delayed the British Dragoons, that Jack Jouett had the needed time to beat Tarleton to Monticello and Charlottesville. Another legend has British dragoons stealing, one after the other, two breakfasts which had been prepared for their commander and Dr. Walker telling Tarleton that he would have to post a guard on the kitchen if he desired nourishment. This was done, the story continues and the cook finally served the third breakfast to the Colonel intact.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Jack Jouett's Ride

Jack Jouett's Ride marker W-213 in Lousia County, VALouisa County, VA
Marker No. W-213

Marker Text: From the tavern that stood here, Jack Jouett rode to Charlottesville, by the Old Mountain Road, in time to warn the members of the Virginia government of the coming of Tarleton's British cavalry, June 3, 1781.

Location: On U.S. Route 33, near intersection with Route 522 in Cuckoo. Marker is grouped with marker W-223 (Cuckoo). Erected by the Virginia State Library in 1963.

  Today's marker is the second in a series of eight markers about the ride of Jack Jouett from Cuckoo to Charlottesville, VA. Before Jack Jouett enters the story there is some back story leading up to this event.

  On June 1, 1781, British General Cornwallis learned from a captured dispatch that Virginia Governor Thomas Jefferson and Virginia's Legislature had fled to Charlottesville, Virginia, where Jefferson's home, Monticello is located. The American traitor Benedict Arnold, by this time had become a British general and his troops had been raiding and pillaging along the James River from the river’s mouth to Richmond, VA the state capitol. Virginia's legislature voted to move the government temporarily to Charlottesville to escaped Benedict Arnold's efforts to capture them.

Jack Jouett's Ride marker W-213 next to the "Cuckoo" marker on Route 522 & 33.

Photo taken looking north on Route 522 and east on Route 33. Click any photo to enlarge.

  General Cornwallis ordered Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton to ride to Charlottesville, VA and capture Gov. Jefferson and the Virginia legislature. Tarleton hoped to capture Jefferson and many notable Revolutionary leaders who were Virginia legislators, including: Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Nelson, Jr., and Benjamin Harrison V. Tarleton's ability to capture these Revolutionary leaders in Virginia would have been a major blow to the fight for independence and might have ended the Revolutionary War in favor of the British.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Cuckoo marker W-223 in Lousia County, VA (Click any photo to enlarge)Louisa County, VA
Marker No. W-223

Marker Text: Cuckoo, long a landmark for travelers, was built for Henry Pendleton about 1819. Nearby once stood the Cuckoo Tavern, from which in 1781 Jack Jouett made his famous ride. The Pendletons, a prominent family of physicians whose descendants still own the house, constructed two doctor's offices at Cuckoo that still stand; one was built in the 18th century and one in the 19th. The house retains many Federal-style details as well as an early-20th-century Colonial Revival portico. Cuckoo was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register in 1994.

Location: On Route 33 near intersection with Route 522 in Cuckoo. Marker is grouped with marker W-213 (Jack Jouett's Ride). Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 1996.

  Today, I am starting as series of blog posts about eight historical markers related to a often overlooked historical event during the American Revolution. A few years ago I decided to drive U.S. Route 33 while traveling back home from Williamsburg, VA. I came across two markers in the little village of Cuckoo, VA. What I discovered was the story of Jack Jouett. Next to this marker about “Cuckoo” was a marker titled, “Jack Jouett's Ride.” I had never heard of Jack Jouett and about his night time ride 40 miles to Charlottesville, VA to warn the Virginia state legislative that the British were coming.

  Until I came across this, I don't ever remember hearing this story about Jack Jouett which begin here in Cuckoo. In school, we have all heard of the story of Paul Revere and his ride to warn the colonists about the approaching British at the beginning of the American Revolution. Unless you grew up in this part of Virginia where the story is told within the local schools, most of us have probably never heard of Jack Jouett and his ride in the closing months of the American Revolutionary War in 1781.

Cuckoo marker W-223 grouped with Jack Jouett's Ride marker in Lousia County, VA

Photo taken looking north on Route 522 and west on Route 33.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  In Cuckoo, VA there are two state historical markers, today's called “Cuckoo” deals chiefly about the village and the Pendleton family who were a family of physicians and the marker titled, “Jack Jouett's Ride,” which I will post tomorrow. The village of Cuckoo is directly east of Charlottesville and eight miles southeast of Lousia, VA on U.S. Route 33.

  Before the Pendleton's built the home pictured here in Cuckoo, there was a tavern nearby called “Cuckoo Tavern” where it is reported Jack Jouett's adventure began. Legend has it that the name Cuckoo came from a cuckoo clock that was in the tavern and the first such clock in this part of Virginia. While other sources state, it was not unusual for taverns to be named for animals, particularly birds. This might be the case, since Jack Jouett's father once owned Cuckoo Tavern and later owned another tavern in Charlottesville, VA called Swan Tavern. I will get into the details about Jack's ride tomorrow, but we will first deal with the marker called Cuckoo.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Fredericksburg Campaign

Fredericksburg Campaign, marker N-4 in Stafford County, VAStafford County, VA
Marker No. N-4

Marker Text: Frustrated by the Army of the Potomac's lack of progress, President Abraham Lincoln replaced army commander Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan with Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, who assumed command on 9 Nov. 1862. Within a week, he had the army marching from its camps near Warrenton toward Fredericksburg along this road. Burnside hoped to cross the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg by pontoon bridges and march on Richmond, but a delay in the arrival of the pontoons thwarted his plan. By the time the bridges arrived, Gen. Robert E. Lee's army blocked his path. Burnside forced a crossing of the river on 11 Dec. but was defeated two days later at the Battle of Fredericksburg.

Location: On Route 17, south of Route 654. Grouped with two other markers, E-85 (Civilian Conservation Corps – Company 2363) and N-6 (The Mud March). Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 2002.

“It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise men should grow too fond of it.” Comment as I remember it made to General James Longstreet by Confederate General Robert E. Lee, on seeing a Federal charge repulsed in the Battle of Fredericksburg on Dec. 13, 1862.

The above quote is one I heard many years ago and always thought it was appropriate to any war and as I learned was quite appropriate to the U.S. Civil War.  I don't have many historic markers about the Battle of Fredericksburg, which is approaching its 150th anniversary.  I have attempted during trips to the area to take photo, but I found Fredericksburg traffic quite congested and not knowing my way around I took photos of some unrelated markers and landmarks. You can find photos and information about most of the historical markers in Fredericksburg, VA by following this link to The Historical Markers Database web site.

Fredericksburg Campaign marker N-4 is the middle marker.

Photo taken looking south on U.S. Route 17 toward Fredericksburg.  Marker is the middle one.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  The Battle of Fredericksburg was about a month following Lincoln's removal of General George McClellan from command of the Army of the Potomac and replaced him with Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside. Within a week, Burnside had reorganized the Union army into three Grand Divisions, under major generals Edwin V. Sumner, Joseph Hooker, and William B. Franklin.

  On November 15, the army began its march toward Fredericksburg, though Fredericksburg was the place he intended to confront the Confederate Army. Burnside want to strike the Confederate Army further south on the way to Richmond, VA. The Army of the Potomac would need to build pontoon bridges to cross the Rappahannock River, in order to take Fredericksburg, since civilian bridges had been burned earlier, so Burnside ordered pontoons to be delivered there by the time troops arrived and were ready to cross. They would need to cross unopposed for the plan to go well.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Windber Strike of 1922-23

Windber Strike of 1922-23 marker in Windber, PA, Somerset County (Click any photo to enlarge)Somerset County, PA

Marker Text: Windber-area Berwind White workers joined a national strike by United Mine Workers of America in April 1922 for improved wages and working conditions, civil liberties, and recognition. The strike lasted 16 months; families of strikers were evicted from company housing. A City of New York inquiry exposed deplorable living and working conditions and urged nationalization of coal mines.

Location:  On Graham Avenue (PA Route 160) and between 13th & 15th Streets in Miner's Park, Windber, Pennsylvania in Somerset County across from the Arcadia Theater near prior marker post “Windber.” Erected by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 2003.

"We are no longer slaves and we are done loading three ton for two. We will never return under a scab system. We want union to protect our rights."
Striking miners at Windber, April 10, 1922

  Similar to my prior posts about the Battle of Blair Mountain and William Blizzard in West Virginia other conflicts between miners and coal companies occurred throughout the U.S. in the early 20th century. A year after the Battle of Blair Mountain, miners in Windber, PA went on strike in 1922 to gain union recognition, preserve their pay rates, and have coal that they dug weighed accurately so they would be paid fairly by the ton.

Windber Strike of 1922-23, Miner's Park, Windber, PA

Marker is in Miner’s Park the old train station in background, now a visitor’s center.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  These men were part of a much larger, national strike. Coal operators and the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) had agreed in 1919 to wage increases and other gains for workers, however, when the contract expired on March 31, 1922, coal operators were determined to roll back any gains. No agreement could be reached, so John L. Lewis, president of the UMWA, led some 610,000 miners out on strike during the first week of April, 1922. This was the first national strike by both anthracite and bituminous miners. The nonunion miners in Windber also fought for the right to have the UMWA bargain collectively for them and to end the autocratic control that the Berwind-White Coal Mining Company had over the mines and the community of Windber.

  UMWA leaders knew that having nonunion miners turn out was critical to winning the strike and the mostly immigrant miners in Windber wanted union help to win union recognition and curb owners power. Most of the miners in Somerset County are Poles, Russians, Slovaks, Hungarians, with a few Welsh and very few Irish. Many of them have been there for many years. In some instances, two generations have been working in these mines and the second generation is just as poor as was the first.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

William Blizzard

William Blizzard marker in Charleston, WV (Click any photo to enlarge)Kanawha County, WV

Marker Text: Born in Kanawha County on 19 September 1892. Began work as miner at age ten, and served as field organizer, UMWA. Noted as leader of 1921 Armed March. Indicted for treason but later acquitted. President of District 17 and vice-president of West Virginia Federation of Labor. Retired to Putnam County farm in 1955. Died on 31 July 1958.

Location: In front of UMWA District 17 headquarters, 1300 Kanawha Boulevard East, Charleston, WV. Erected by the West Virginia Division of Archives and History in 2007.

  West Virginia coal miners of the early part of the 20th century often looked to a brash young man named William Blizzard for leadership. Blizzard was an outspoken leader whose name is associated with some of the bloodiest confrontations of West Virginia's mine wars. William Blizzard achieved national prominence as a young man of 29 after the Battle of Blair Mountain, in which miners fought a pitched battle against sheriff's deputies and armed guards.

William Blizzard marker in front of UMWA District 17 Headquarters in Charleston, WV

Marker in front of UMWA District 17 headquarters in Charleston, WV.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  Unionist William ‘‘Bill’’ Blizzard was born September 19, 1892, the son of Timothy Blizzard and activist Sarah Rebecca ‘‘Mother’’ Blizzard. He became one of West Virginia’s most influential and controversial labor leaders of the 20th century. Born in the Cabin Creek district of Kanawha County, Blizzard first became involved with the United Mine Workers of America during the bloody Paint Creek-Cabin Creek strike of 1912–13. During the next decade, he rose from the rank and file along with Frank Keeney and Fred Mooney.

  In 1921, Blizzard played a key role in the Miners’ March on Logan County by leading the miners in the front lines of the Battle of Blair Mountain. While District 17 President Keeney and Secretary-treasurer Mooney managed events behind the scenes.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Battle of Blair Mountain

BattleofBlairMountainLogan County, WV

Marker Text: In August of 1921, 7000 striking miners led by Bill Blizzard met at Marmet for a march on Logan to organize the southern coalfields for the UMWA. Reaching Blair Mt. on August 31, they were repelled by deputies and mine guards, under Sheriff Don Chafin, waiting in fortified positions. The five-day battle ended with the arrival of U. S. Army and Air Corps. UMWA organizing efforts in southern WV were halted until 1933. "

Location: On WV Route 17, approximately 8 miles east of Logan between Ethel and Blair, WV. Erected by WV Celebration 2000, West Virginia Division of Archives and History in 2002.

  From 2002-2008, I lived in Logan County, WV and I often heard of the stories about the Battle of Blair Mountain from local residents. From the mid-1800's residents in the area knew coal existed in the mountains of Logan County, but it was not until the railroad came to the county in 1904 was it possible to mine the coal for commercial use. Once the railroads made it possible to remove the coal to needed markets the coal business in Logan County took off and the population increased with men seeking employment in the coal mines.

  Prior to the construction of the four lane highway, U.S. Route 119 (or as the locals call it Corridor G) from Logan to Charleston, WV, the only way to travel to Charleston was to go over Blair Mountain on WV Route 17. Traveling over Blair Mountain is not the most difficult mountain road crossing a person can make in West Virginia, but you definitely know you are going over a mountain as you travel the road.


Photo taken looking south on Route 17 toward Logan County. This is where you would go up Blair Mountain from the north.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  The details about the Battle of Blair Mountain, including the events in the coal mines that lead to this confrontation, the lives of the miners, the struggle for unions and the political conditions at the time are so extensive, I cannot possibility cover them in my post on this marker. So I will only give a general description of the events here. If you want to learn more a simple search on the internet, using a search engine, like Google or Bing will give you many links about the details with many interesting photos. A web site by the West Virginia Archives and History has several links to articles about the Battle of Blair Mountain.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Meadville marker location in Meadville, PA - Crawford County (Click any photo to enlarge)Crawford County, PA

Marker Text: Founded in 1788 by David Mead and other settlers from the Wyoming region. In 1800 made county seat. First direct primary in U.S. held here in 1842. Making of hookless fasteners was pioneered here.

Location: On U.S. Route 322 near southern city limits of Meadville, PA. Erected by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1946.

  Today's marker is about Meadville, PA which is one of many communities which I have a personal fondest. I along with actress Sharon Stone were born here in Meadville, though I never meet her, at least, as far as I know. After graduate school I came back to live in Meadville for about eight years and Meadville was where I meet my best friend and wife. My grandfather operated a garage and gas station in Meadville during the 1950-60's.

  The city of Meadville is the county seat of Crawford County, PA and is about 40 miles south of Erie, PA. It was the first permanent settlement in northwest Pennsylvania. Today, Meadville's population is about 13,388 according to the 2010 census.

Meadville marker looking toward town, Channel Lock, Inc plant on the left.

Photo taken looking north on Route 322 toward Meadville. Channellock tools company plant is on the left in the photo.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  Meadville was founded on May 12, 1788 by a party of settlers led by David Mead who came from the Wyoming Valley, a region in northeastern Pennsylvania, today it includes the metropolitan areas of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, PA. Meadville's location was chosen because it lies at the confluence of Cussewago Creek and French Creek and is only a day's travel by boat to the safety of Fort Franklin. Around 1800, many of the settlers to the Meadville area came after receiving land grants for their service in the American Revolutionary War.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Seneca Rocks

Seneca Rocks marker in Pendleton County, WVPendleton County, WV

Marker Text: Seneca Rocks, an outstanding natural formation, rises over 900 feet high, overlooking the junction of the Seneca and Shawnee trails or Warriors' Path and the site of an Indian village with its legend of "Snow Bird", the Indian Princess. The almost perpendicular strata are of Tuscarora Sandstone of the Silurian Age.

Location: On U.S. Route 33 south of junction with WV Route 28. Erected by the West Virginia Historic Commission in 1963.

  If you ever get the opportunity to travel across West Virginia on U.S. Route 33, particularly between Interstate 79 and the Virginia border you will witness some wonderful scenes in West Virginia. When you get to Pendleton County where Route 33 intersects with WV Route 28 you will come to Seneca Rocks. Stopping to view these rock formations is well worth the time. Seneca Rocks and nearby Champe Rocks (further north on Route 28) are the most imposing examples in eastern West Virginia of several formations of the white/gray Tuscarora quartzite. In the early morning mist the jagged outline of Seneca Rocks resembles the bony back of a giant dinosaur.

Seneca Rocks peaks in Pendleton County, WV

View of Seneca Rocks across from the road. Click any photo to enlarge.

  Seneca Rocks is a prominent and visually striking formation rising nearly 900 feet above the confluence of Seneca Creek with the North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River. The Rocks consist of a North and a South Peak, with a central notch between. This vast mountain of pale stone provides cliffs and lofty crags inviting exploration by birds, rock climbers, and agile visitors. Seneca Rocks area is part of the Monongahela National Forest.

  The quartzite is approximately 250 feet thick here, located primarily on exposed ridges as caprock or exposed crags. Seneca Rocks is composed of the Tuscarora Sandstone composed of fine grains of sand that were laid down in the Silurian Period approximately 440 million years ago, in an extensive sand shoal at the edge of the ancient Iapetus Ocean, which once covered what is now West Virginia. The Tuscarora Sandstone has been compacted by great pressures into an erosion-resistant rock called a quartz arenite. Now this rock, once seashore sediments, forms high mountains along the entire length of the Appalachians.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Neavil's Ordinary

BX7NeavilOrdinaryVAFauquier County, VA
Marker No. BX-7

Marker Text: Near here stood George Neavil's Ordinary, built at an early date and existing as late as 1792. George Washington and George William Fairfax on their way to the Shenandoah Valley stopped here in 1748.

Location: At the intersection of County Route 667 (Old Dumfries Road) and County Route 670 (Taylor Road/Old Auburn Road), on Old Dumfries Road near Auburn, VA. Erected by the Conservation & Development Commission in 1928.

  During my travels I have taken many photographs of historical markers related to former Ordinaries as they were called. Many of the markers are referring to Ordinaries which once existed at the location, often during the colonial period of American history. Many of these former Ordinaries no longer exist and the exact location of the Ordinary may have been lost to history. Ordinaries at one time were quite common on the old colonial roads and a welcome sight to the weary traveler. The name Ordinary came over with the earlier settlers who had Ordinaries in England. Ordinaries were also called Public Houses, Inns or Taverns, though I am not sure if there was any difference between them based on the name.


The intersection of the two roads in the background.  Neavil’s Mill is located down the road on the left.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  Ordinaries provided a place for the traveler to get food, drink or whiskey. A place to sleep overnight, to stable and feed their horse. Ordinaries were important to the local people who lived nearby, the ordinary became a place to gossip, exchange news with the overnight guests, transact business such as selling land, hold auctions for livestock, pick up mail, and talk politics. Often a place to discuss issues related to independence from England.

  Ordinaries or public houses varied greatly in quality. Some were little more than one-room log cabin or frame buildings with lofts and only a little furniture. Ordinaries offered overnight lodging, but the traveler paid for a place to sleep, not necessarily a private bed. Often a person shared a bed with a total stranger or two.