Archive for the ‘History of Georgetown PA’ Category

PA Canals

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

 The Amazing Pennsylvania Canals by William H Shank, PE is truly amazing as suggested.  This map scanned from the book displays all 1,243 miles of public and private canals operated in PA, not all concurrently.  The Sandy and Beaver Canal which starts across the river from Georgetown is shown branching into Ohio along a former Indian trail to the Moravian villages.  The first edition of this book was published in 1960.  My booklet is the third edition printed in Oct 1973. 

 

Map of the Connecting Canal Systems in PA (The Amazing Pennsylvania Canals by William H Shank, PE)

 

I did not realize the canal boom of the early 1800’s was so extensive.  The connecting canal systems opened an avenue of transportation between the East and Ohio River Valley before the contrivance of railroads.  Capt Jacob Poe’s river career on the  steamer Beaver No 2 was in the Allegheny River trade transporting passengers and freight between Pittsburgh and various canal stops. Many of the “ports” along the canal system routes developed into sizable thriving communities: Freeport, Johnstown, Hollidaysburg, Middletown, Fredericktown, OH, and Hanoverton, OH.

 

Railroads signaled the demise of the canal systems and the bustling towns along the canal routes beginning in the 1850′s.  Today virtually all that remains of this grand past are ruins of various canal locks and National Historic Trust homes and taverns that have been saved such as the Spread Eagle Tavern in Hanoverton, OH and Union Canal House near Hershey, PA.

 

 

  

Copyright © 2016 Francis W Nash    All Rights Reserved

No part of this website may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.

 

The White City

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

The national bestseller (2003), Devil in the White City by Erik Larson is a wonderful book about Chicago in 1893.  The White City is the World’s Columbian Exposition.  The devil refers to a serial murderer who used the fair to lure his victims to their deaths, at least nine and maybe a total of two hundred. 

 

 

Pass to the World’s Columbian Exposition (Anna L and John F Nash Collection)

For some unknown reason, I have a pass for 9 Oct 1893 with a hand written number – 716,881.  That day, Monday, had been designated Chicago Day.  Chicago was proud of its fair.  Every business closed for the day.  The weather helped also.  It was an “apple crisp” day according to Larson.  On that day 713,446 people paid to enter and another 37,380 visitors used passes.  The total was 751,026, more people than had attended any peaceful event in history.  It easily surpassed the world’s record of 397,000 at the Paris exposition. 

 

 

 

Pass to the World’s Columbian Exposition obverse (Anna L and John F Nash Collection)

I have had this Chicago World’s Fair ticket for many years but until I read Devil in the White City I had not understood its meaning.  The ticket was included with the Jacob Poe family memorabilia.  I still have to determine to whom the pass belonged.   In 1893 a round trip fare to the world’s fair on the Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Packet Line was $18. 

 

To me every trip to a library or an archive is like a small detective story.

 

 

 

Copyright 2016 © Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

No part of this website may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.

 

Troubling News

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

The Beaver Co Genealogy and History Center (BCGHC) is facing a serious financial funding problem due to budgetary irregularities in Beaver Co.  The county commissioners cut all discretionary spending, including 100% of the funding directed to BCGHC.  The reduction was effective immediately. In our current climate of no new taxes even for good purposes, it is unknown whether these funds will ever be reinstated.  The funding represented 52% of the BCGHC budget.

 

This organization is quite frugal.  It has no salaried employees. Operational costs are covered by membership dues and research fees, and for each of the last 30 years a grant from the Beaver Co Board of Commissioners. 

 

The BCGHC needs your support.  We are all touched by local history.  The work done by the BCGHC volunteers collecting and conserving historical records has been astonishing.  Their help has been instrumental to my efforts to record the history of the GeorgetownSteamboats.  The boats themselves disappeared more than a hundred years ago.  The masters and pilots, engineers and clerks, mates and roustabouts have likewise gone.  Today, the records of the lives of those who manned those steamers are only found in places like the BCGHC.  Our forbearers deserve the honor of remembrance.

 

The history of Beaver County may be lost if the BCGHC if not properly funded.  Local history is a gift, and a responsibility.  It is up to us to preserve it and pass it along to future generations.  If you agree, please consider sending a donation. 

 

Beaver County Genealogy and History Center

Beaver Train Station

250 E End Ave

Beaver, A 15009

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Francis W Nash    All Rights Reserved

No part of this website may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.

The National Archives

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

 

Last week I made my 9thtrip to The National Archives.  Usually a trip to DC is an overnight stay in a hotel or B&B.  A morning drive from Carlisle, PA allows one “pull” of references at approx. 1:30 PM if I arrive before 11:00 AM and meet the request time.  For reasons I do not understand, my requests take more time than most.  An archives reference specialist must “spot” my requests before the volumes are located and obtained.  Inadvertently I lose much valuable research time. 

Str Fearless Cert of Enrollment (The National Archives)

Although I made some progress last week, my pull request on Mon at 3:00 PM did not arrive at the reference room till almost noon on Tue.  This steamboat interest, obsession according to my wife, is expensive as well as time consuming. 

The jewel of this trip was the proof that the owner of the str Fearless was Capt Thomas S Poe just months before his death. 

 

My Monday request of four volumes of Certificates of Enrollment resulted in three on Tue.  By the time I realized I was missing a volume, my “archives vacation” time expired.  It was too late to submit another pull before I had to drive home.

 

Four more “full” days before I complete the review of the Certificate of Enrollments for the port of Pittsburgh.  By another measure, two overnight trips to DC.

 

I also need two or three days to review the Vessels File, Record Group 92, to complete the review of the service of the Georgetown civilians during the Civil war.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Francis W Nash    All Rights Reserved

No part of this website may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.

  

New Year Musing

Friday, January 1st, 2016

Am I an expert on the Civil War?  No. 

Do I know a lot now about Ohio River and Civil War packets? Yes. 

Will I ever write a book about Georgetown packets and the Civil War?  Most likely not.

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Francis W Nash  All Rights Reserved

No part of this website may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.

 

Post Christmas Dinner

Monday, December 28th, 2015

 

Spread Eagle Tavern (F Nash Collection)

The Spread Eagle Tavern is a special place.  My sister and Bro-in-law treated my wife and me to a wonderful dinner at the seasonally decorated and fire-lit restaurant and inn.  The building is one of the finest examples of Federal Period Architecture in Ohio. 

 

In 1837, the tavern was built on the Sandy and Beaver Canal which connected to the Ohio and Erie Canal.  The Sandy and Beaver Canal was completed in 1848.  At that time the Spread Eagle was a flourishing place of commerce. The canal was abandoned in 1852 and with its loss commerce of the town also declined. 

By the way the Sandy and Beaver Canal was built along the west branch of the Little Beaver Creek which empties into the Ohio River at Smiths Ferry – opposite Georgetown, PA.

 

If ever road-weary along the Sandy and Beaver Canal, I highly recommend the Spread Eagle for lunch or dinner.    

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2015 Francis W Nash  All Rights Reserved

No part of this website may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.

 

Another Vintage Book

Friday, October 16th, 2015

 

Emmet C Trimble (Photo by Janet Ryan Waite in 2007)

For me, indescribable is a crazy understatement that fits the  deeply held feelings for the Civil War. There is an unconditional affection for the sacrifice and pain endured by the soldiers on both sides.  Know that those feelings are still intense after one-hundred-fifty years.

Last week, I found another used book: A Pennsylvania Quaker in Andersonville (The Diary of Charles Smedley) published by the Fulton Counnty Aid Society in 1865.  The diary is mainly concerned wiith the Andersonville prison.  My interest was peaked because I have a great-great uncle who died there.  However, my ancestor’s name was not listed in the Quaker’s diary with the prisoners who died in Andersonviille, GA.  Curious.  So I Googled the 101 PA Vol Inf and found the folllowing correction to my long held beliefs.

 

TRIMBLE, Emmet C. – Private, Co. G. Born 4 April 1842 in PA, the son of James and Mary Magdeline Trimble. Enrolled from Hookstown, Beaver Co., PA. Mustered in 2 Dec 61. Captured 20 April 64 at Plymouth, NC. Held captive at Andersonville, GA & Florence, SC. Arrived at the Florence Stockade 5 Oct 64. Paroled 10 Dec 64 at Charleston, SC. Died 18 March 65 of Erysipelas at U.S. General Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA. Buried in Georgetown Cemetery, Georgetown, Beaver Co., PA. GAR # 1103.

 

Emmet C Trimble was a prisoner in Andersonville for six months.  He was transferred to Florence, SC and later paroled.  Over the years the family story of Emmet C Trimble’s captivity obviously grew.  Even after someone dies, one-hundred -fifty years later  you can still learn new things about them.

 

Copyright © 2015  Francis W Nash  All Rights Reserved

No part of this website may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.

 

Vintage Book

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

Transportation in the Ohio Valley fly leaf.

My reading this week has been A History of Transportation in the Ohio Valley by Charles Henry Ambler published in 1931.  The first edition history was lent to me by Michael Libenson who is the great great grandson of Capt Thomas Stevenson Calhoon.   The many comments and corrections hand written in the margins of the book make this book special.  Those comments were written by Harriet Darrington (Calhoon) Ewing (b ? d 1950), the daughter of Capt Thomas S Calhoon and great grandAunt of Michael Libenson. Her writing is the closest thing we have to a voice into these steamboat captains lives.  Mrs WH Ewing dated her copy of the book Oct 26, 1931.

 

Transportation in the Ohio Valley p173.

 

Along with her notes, Harriet D Calhoon taped a response letter from CH Ambler to the front flyleaf.  The response, on West Virginia University letterhead, was dated 13 Aug 1930.  The content of the letter indicated that the exchange of information was too late to be included in the forthcoming book.  Whether a meeting or additional correspondence between them ever took place is unclear.  There is no record of such a meeting and no updated edition of the book.  

 

 

 

 

Transportation in the Ohio Valley p293.

 

Harriet D Calhoon is well known to those with long memories.  Often Capt Frederick Way used her comments in articles about Georgetown in the S&D Reflector.  See Vol 2 No 4 Dec 1965 p10,12.

My final comment/concern is how many books similar to this history written by captains or pilots have I missed?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2015  Francis W Nash  All Rights Reserved

No part of this website may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.

 

 

 

Fantastic Week

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

As my wife says, I never tire of telling Georgetown steamboat stories which is Oldspeak for boring people to death. That as background, my presentation to the Beaver Area Heritage Foundation was the highlight of my summer.   There I met many interesting people with a bent for local history.

 

On Mon before the BAHF presentation, I received an email from the great-great-grandson of Thomas S Calhoon = Mr Mike Libenson.  Mr Libenson was planning to visit Georgetown with his daughter on Sat and notified me via GeorgetownSteamboats.  From Boston, they carried gifts of gold: a book published in 1932 on Ohio Rriver Transportation and photos of Poe men that I had been unable to identify.  In addition to those items, Mr Libenson also has a complete genealogy of the Calhoon, Poe, and Parr families prepared by Dr John Ewing, Capt Thomas S Calhoon’s grandson.  I plan spending much time with that volume.

 

While visiting the Georgetown Cemetery with the Libensons, we spoke to Mr Tom Lombard who is the president of the Georgetown Cemetery Maintenance Association (donations greatly apppreciated).  Mr Lombard provided the history of the Calhoon cemetery lot, and others, plus a map of the cemetery with every stone marked and accommpanied by a listing by name, where legible, of the people interred.  The map and listing are a fantastic find that I will compare/merge with work already in progress. 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2015  Francis W Nash  All Rights Reserved

No part of this website may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.

 

 

BAHF Program

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

 

BAHF Postcard

BAHF Postcard

 Tue eve, I told a Georgetown story at the Beaver Area Heritage Foundation 2015 Speakers Series.  To me it was fascinating to see so many people interested in local history.  The people there had an incredible wealth of steamboat knowledge and river history.  Truly an inspiring evening for me.

 

The McDermotts, Judy and Jim, and the Deelos, Judy annd Mike, could not have been more accommodating.

 

I wish I knew more, and was a better presenter of, GeorgetownSteamboat stories.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2015 Francis W Nash All Rights Reserved

No part of this website may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.