Archive for August, 2012

History in Georgetown

Monday, August 27th, 2012
Indian Rocks Postcard ca 1908 (Judy and Nick Maravich Collection)

Indian Rocks Postcard ca 1908 (Judy and Nick Maravich Collection)

History is evident everywhere in Georgetown, PA.  An arrowhead churned up in a newly turned garden, a faded diary or old deeds in a local attic, a log cabin discovered under clapboards, the Indian petroglyphs  on the rocks on the river bank opposite Georgetown ― these and many other things capture our interest in what is often thought of as the long dead past.  Homes and churches of another century line the streets of Georgetown.  Much is worth celebrating.  Much gives us a sense of continuity.


Francis Nash on Deserted Market St (Beaver Valley Times 4 Jun 1955) (Anna L and John F Nash Collection)

Francis Nash on Deserted Market St (Beaver Valley Times 4 Jun 1955) (Anna L and John F Nash Collection)

Every community also likes to consider itself distinctive.  Georgetown, too, has that notion.  Its history shines with many notable events and achievements.  In this the two hundred-nineteenth year since its founding, Georgetown can point to its homes and churches with pride.  The town deserves its reputation as a “good place to raise children”.  However, its ferry, hotels, taverns, general stores, barber shop, tea house, photography studio, and school are bygone.  Presently, it faces an uncertain future that I hope will not reflect less brightly.  The sand digging operations on either side of town, the expansion of the waste product reservoir for the bituminous coal electric generating plants in Shippingport, PA, and the Marcellus Shale drilling platform on the hill above the town make for an unhappy condition in as much as the welfare of the town will no doubt be dominated by one of these industrial concerns.




Copyright © 2012 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

The Draper Manuscripts

Friday, August 17th, 2012

The early frontier period of American history, specifically the frontier of the upper Ohio River valley, has hardly been touched by historians.  Three letters written by Adam Poe, who was the son of Andrew Poe (Andrew was seriously wounded in hand-to-hand combat with a Wyandot chief in 1781), have been loaded.  The letters were written between the years of 1849 and 1852 to Lyman C Draper who collected the papers and stories of the early frontier settlers. 

Frontier life was brutal.  Andrew Poe and his brother Adam Poe have been singled out for distinction for their efforts to defend the frontier.  No doubt their lives were the natural origin of the “Georgetown spirit”.

The Adam Poe letters can be accessed via the page:  The Draper Manuscripts.



Copyright © 2012 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

John Reardon

Friday, August 10th, 2012

The name Reardon is an important piece in the early history of Georgetown, PA.  A page with a brief biography of John Reardon has been loaded.  And a transcript of his Revolutionary War pension application, JR Pension Transcription, has been loaded to give body to his biography.  The pension application is particularly significant because of the people referenced, such as Ensign Andrew Poe, Simon Girty, and Col William Crawford.  The lives of these important figures of the frontier were intertwined as history was being made.


The Reardon name also identified the land on which Georgetown, PA would be laid out.  The Forgotten Frontier Fort is another significant fragment of that early history.  Putting these pieces together, each into its proper place, the whole picture emerges.





Copyright © 2012 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

Georgetown Keel Boats

Monday, August 6th, 2012

I have updated the page Georgetown Keel Boats including Certificate of Enrollment info from my trip to the National Archives on 2 Aug 2012.  An impressive number of the boats build between 1846-1850 were built in Georgetown, PA along Nash Run.  Registration was required for all vessels with a capacity rating of more than twenty tons.  The capacity of these vessels ranged from 20 50/95 to 43 65/95 tons.






Copyright © 2012 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

Certificates of Enrollment

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

Detailed information provided on the Certificates of Enrollment changed trough the years.  The following certificates for the str Financier specify the essential changes in the life of the packet.  The first certificate dated 21 May 1845 indicated that the str Financier was built for and or by Capt Adam Poe of Georgetown, PA.  The  next certificate dated 20 May 1846 indicated that the rights to operate the vessel had been renewed.  The third certificate dated 04 Jun 1846 indicated a change of owners. 



Str Financier


Owners and Partners Share Vol: 6628
Adam Poe   Enroll No : 11
Jacob Poe   Cert Date: 21 May 1845
Thomas W Poe   Cert Type::  
George Calhoon   Build Locn:  
Andrew Poe   Build Date:  
George Poe   Master Adam Poe
Washington Ebert      



Str Financier


Owners and Partners Share Vol: 6629
Adam Poe   Enroll No : 68
Jacob Poe   Cert Date: 20 May 1846
Thomas W Poe   Cert Type:: Admeasurement
George Calhoon   Build Locn: Pittsburgh, PA
Andrew Poe   Build Date: 1845
George Poe   Master Adam Poe
Washington Ebert      



Str Financier


Owners and Partners Share Vol: 6629
William J Kountz   Enroll No : 69
Geo Black   Cert Date: 04 Jun 1846
Robert S Hays   Cert Type:: Admeasurement
Clark and Thaw   Build Locn: Pittsburgh, PA
    Build Date: 1845
    Master William J Kountz


Note the new owners of the str Financier.  William J Kountz was a steamboat man from Pittsburgh who was later charged with providing river transportation for troops and supplies during the Civil War.  His clashes with Gen US Grant were famous.  He wrote to Gen Halleck who was the commander of the western theater headquartered in St Louis that Gen Grant was a “glorious drunk” who should be court marshaled.  Admiral Kountz was reported to be a teetotaler.


Thaw was William Thaw who had interests in the western PA canal transportation and was one of several who established the first Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Packet Line in 1842.  Later he was associated with the Pennsylvania and Reading Railroad (PRRs) which was a significant player in the the Molly Maguires sensational trials.  Twenty Mollies were prosecuted, and hanged, by the president of PRR and chief prosecutor on the testimony of one Pinkerton agent.  The president of the PRR and acting prosecutor was Franklin B Gowen who stood to gain financially from the destruction of the striking coal miner union. 


So much fun!


On 12 Oct 1850, the boilers of the str Financier exploded near Alton, IL causing the death of the captain’s son and second engineer.  Others were scalded.  [1]






[1]   Frederick Way, Jr.,Way’s Packet Directory, 1848-1994, (Ohio University Press, Athens 1994), p. 165.



Copyright © 2012 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved


National Archives Trip 4

Friday, August 3rd, 2012


It has been far too long since my last post.  Trust me –  it is not due to lack information. 


Today ( Thu 2 Aug 2012), I spent the afternoon and early evening at the National Archives in DC.  I am always amazed with the info I collect.  Today I reviewed the Certificates of Enrollment records (Record Group 41) from 16 Mar 1846 through 24 Dec 1849 (Volumes 6629-6632).  Some details about three steamboats in which my Georgetown guys were either principal owners or partners came into my knowledge.  And fourteen (14) keel boats built by  Georgetown rivermen.  


Only thirty-two volumes to go to complete my research on certificates of enrollment.  Sixteen books have been reviewed even though I have that uneasy feeling the I have missed important data, and so should redo them.  By the way, since I last viewed the Vessel File (Record Group 92), I have discovered, I have doubled the number of known steamboats from Georgetown.  One more day, or two, for the vessel file ?!?


One example of a terrific new find is the str New England.  Until today, I had never seen any info in my inherited boxes to relate the str New England to Georgetown steamboat men.  And, as you well know, I do stretch the thinest threads without shame. 


According to Capt Way, the original principle owner and master of the str New England was Capt Samuel B Page.   Capt Way also described the vessel as a sidewheeler, yet the Cert of Enrollment declared her wheel position at the stern.  The str New England was a flagship departing Pittsburgh with soldiers bound for the Mexican War.   

In Mar 1847, the str New England was purchased by Capt George W Ebert who operated the sidewheeler between Pittsburgh and Wheeling till 1849. 


Str New England

Owners and Partners Share Vol: 6629
Geo W Ebert   Enroll No : 26
Jacob Poe   Cert Date: 3 Mar 1847
Andrew Poe   Cert Type:: Enrollment 180
Thomas Poe   Build Locn: Pittsburgh, PA
Wm J Kountz   Build Date: 1844
David Wilkins   Master GW Ebert

Check out the owners of  the str New England in 1847.  Geo W Ebert was my great great grandfather;  Jacob, Andrew and Thomas Poe were brothers and my great great granduncles.  During the Civil War, William J Kountz declared that Gen US Grant was  a “glorious drunk” who should be court marshalled.  Grant arrested William J Kountz who was in charge of procuring river transportation for the war effort in the western theater.  I do not know the relationship of David Wilkins to my Georgetown steamboat men.


No doubt that these Georgetown men were touched by history.



Copyright © 2012 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved