Bio of Rev Adam Poe

July 25th, 2016

Bio on Rev Adam Poe by Melissa Stangeland

Several years ago I was contacted by a woman researching her Poe relatives.  She had discovered my website by doing a search for Rev. Adam Poe.  Her interest was in the article I wrote called “The Preacher’s Note” regarding one statement about Adam Poe and his brother’s work in the grain business before Adam went into the ministry.  She wanted a source document to use for a book she was working on regarding Rev. Adam Poe, her great-great-great grandfather.  The source document was passed on to her for her research.  Her book has been published.


Melissa Stangeland’s book, Adam Poe: Evangelist and Faithful Servant, is an assemblage of images, letters, newspaper articles, and analysis which paint a sharp portrait of the life of Reverend Adam Poe, her triple great grandfather and circuit rider for the Episcopal Methodist Church.  Her emphasis is on the man and his works against a vivid background of local and national events from the date of his calling in 1823 till his death in 1868. 


The old-time circuit riders were a fascinating bunch.  Their ministries were lonely and sometimes dangerous.  With saddlebags filled with Bibles, they traveled by horseback through wilderness and frontier towns preaching fire and brimstone in people’s cabins, in fields, on street corners, and later  in meeting houses.  Circuits were measured in miles and days.  Ms Stangeland writes about the general hardships in the life of a circuit rider and the specific difficulties endured by Rev Adam Poe.  Although Rev Adam Poe was primarily a pioneer evangelist in the newly formed state of Ohio, Ms Stangeland also covered his travels by steamboat to Texas, Kansas, and Nebraska before they were states.  Rev Adam Poe also traveled east, by rail, to attend to church business in Niagara Falls, New York City, and Washington, DC.  It is safe to say that few, if any, Episcopal Methodist Church circuit riders have been so completely documented “from cradle to grave”.  If the Episcopal Methodist Church had a frequent traveler program, Rev Adam Poe’s miles ridden would have earned lifetime benefits.


I find this book particularly interesting because Rev Adam Poe spent time in Georgetown, PA where he reportedly received his call to serve his church.  Georgetown was the base of the far famed Poe steamboat men.  This suggests a closer relationship between two branches of the dispersed Poe family than I have been able to find.  Were it not for this book, details of Rev Adam Poe’s time in Georgetown would remain unknown to me.  From her writing, I also learned that Rev Adam Poe was my 1st cousin 4 times removed.  Whether Rev Adam Poe or his son or nephews were transported on the western rivers by steamboats owned by their Georgetown cousins is a continuing mystery.  Whether Rev Adam Poe was spiritually influenced by Elizabeth Hephner,, wife of his uncle who was credited with starting the Episcopal Methodist church in Georgetown, is a second mystery to be unraveled.   



Author Mellissa Stangeland’s Business Card

This book touches upon issues of continuing relevance – offering a powerful historical lesson for our time – the dangers of racism, intolerance, and the slow pace of social progress.  A staunch abolitionist, Rev Adam Poe’s feelings were deeply held.  The stirring tales recorded and interpreted by Ms Stangeland may be read for entertainment or enlightenment.  From either viewpoint Rev Adam Poe’s life, as depicted in these historical accounts, makes each tale one of absorbing interest. With its twenty-four pages of endnotes, references and sources, and thorough index, Adam Poe: Evangelist and Faithful Servant, will serve as a unique reference book for scholars of the history of the Methodist movement. 




Copyright © 2016 Francis W Nash
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July 20th, 2016

One-hundred-sixty years ago the first ever Republican National Convention was held in Pittsburgh at Lafayette Hall (on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Wood Street).


Washington, D.C., January 17, 1856
“To the Republicans of the United States:
In accordance with what appears to be the general desire of the Republican Party, and at the suggestion of a large portion of the Republican Press, the undersigned, chairmen of the State Republican Committees of Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania,… Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, & Wisconsin, hereby invite the Republicans of the Union to meet in informal convention at Pittsburgh, on the 22nd February, 1856, for the purpose of perfecting the National Organization, and providing for a National Delegate Convention of the Republican Party, at some subsequent day, to nominate candidates for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency, to be supported at the election in November, 1856.”




Copyright © 2016 Francis W Nash
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Forbes Field Memory

July 8th, 2016



For those of you with long memories, look at the Pittsburgh Baseball Club ticket stub closely.  It is dated 5 Sep 1958.  George (Red) Witt enjoying a career year with the Pirates was the starting pitcher that Friday night.  As best I recall, he pitched a shutout.  I cannot recall the opposing team.  It was either Cincinnati or San Francisco.


Pittsburgh Pirates Ticket Stub – Roof Box dated 5 Sep 1958 (F Nash Collection)







What I do recall is the is the magnificent view from the third deck – Box 318.  It was the only time I ever sat in a roof box in Forbes Field.



Addendum.  Mr Pat Dunsey corrected my faulty memory saying: 


Bill Virdon Topps 1959 (F Nash Collection)


FYI, Baseball Almanac sez game was 1-0 win over the Milwaukee Braves, with Bill Virdon aka “The Quail” hitting a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th.  Would think that was memorable!

Witt did go 10 for the win, scattering 5 hits and holding Aaron and Matthews hitless.

$55 for a ticket?,  That’s like a $3520 in 2016 funny money!  La ti freakin’ da!








Addendum II.


Forbes Field Roof Box (Cover of the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph (Collection of F Nash))

The cover of the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph Sunday magazine section called Pictorial Living showed the roof box seats at Forbes Field.  This magazine dated 5 Jul 1959, was a souvenir edition for the All-Star game played at Forbes field on 7 Jul 1959.  The National League won 5—4.  Elroy Face, Smoky Burgess, Bill Mazeroski, and Dick Groat represented the home town.  None were starters.












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Reflections 66

June 29th, 2016

In my youth I thought tht there was no way I would die without having lived fully, but now I’m not so sure.  Sometime, maybe in my forties, time kicked into turbo-drive.  Now on the horizon is the end of the road.  I have many things I want to complete before my time runs out.






Copyright © 2016 Francis W Nash
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May 21st, 2016


Cannon Shot (Frances and John Finley Collection)

This week I brought eight cannonballs to Carlisle from Georgetown.  The munitions were associated with the cannon given to Georgetown after the capture of Gen Morgan and his Raiders near New Lisbon, OH in Jul 1863.  My trip to Carlisle with the canon shot included passing through six tunnels: two in Pittsburgh (Ft Pitt and Squirrel Hill) and four along the PA Turnpike (Allegheny, Tuscarora, Kittatinny, and Blue).   None of the tunnels permit flammable or explosive materials.  Whew!  It was a daring trip.  


One piece of shot was missing.  Eight balls, two rings and, two plates made the trip to Carlisle.  The total weight was approximately forty lbs.



Tom and Jack Kinsey ca 1928 Riding the Georgetown Cannon (Courtesy of the Kinsey Family Personal Collection)

One surviving image of the Georgetown cannon is a photo of the Kinsey boys, Tom and Jack, riding the big gun in about 1928. 


In 1942 the Georgetown council voted to donate the memorial cannon to the nationwide drive for scrap metal in support of the WW II effort.  Obviously, the cannonballs were not included in the donation.  The solid shot balls with their stands have been stored for many years in my Aunt Frances Finley’s basement. 


My neighbor, who is a professor at the Army War College in Carlisle and an expert on all things Civil War, and his associates have viewed the image of the Georgetown cannon.  The identity and model of the cannon remain undetermined.  To date the team of historians have not seen the cannonballs from Georgetown.  The munitions, combined with the image,  will hopefully help to identify the model of artillery. 


The scanned table below identifies the Civil War era cannons manufactured at the Ft Pitt Foundry.  More than 2,000 heavy guns were forged for the Federal Ordnance Department of the US government.  In other words  approximately 60% of all of the heavy artillery purchased by the Federal government came from Pittsburgh.  The Ft Pitt Foundry did not produce field artillery pieces during the war. [1]


Heavy Artillery Pieces manufactured at the Ft Pitt Foundry during the Civil War (Arthur B Fox)






[1] Arthur B Fox, Pittsburgh During the American Civil War 1860-1865, (Mechling Bookbindery, 2002), p149.




Copyright © 2016  Francis W Nash   All Rights Reserved

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PA Canals

April 27th, 2016

The Amazing Pennsylvania Canals by William H Shank, PE, is true to its title.  I was astonished to learn that the canal boom of the early 1800’s was so extensive.  This map scanned from the book displays all 1,243 miles of public and private canals operated in PA.  Not all the systems worked  concurrently.  The Sandy and Beaver Canal which starts across the river from Georgetown is shown branching into Ohio along a former Indian trail leading to the Moravian villages. 


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


The connecting canal systems opened an avenue of transportation between the East and Ohio River Valley before the contrivance of railroads.  In 1837 Capt Jacob Poe commanded the  str Beaver No 2 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, and Middletown in PA and  Fredericktown and Hanoverton in 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.

The first edition of The Amazing Pennsylvania Canals was published in 1960.  My booklet is the third edition printed in Oct 1973.




Copyright © 2016 Francis W Nash    All Rights Reserved

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Spain in our Hearts

April 11th, 2016

For anyone stirred by the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), the recently published book by Adam Hochschild is a must read.  Spain in our Hearts.  It is a painful, tragic, true history of the war.  What I liked most about the book were the final chapters where Hochschild documented the lives of the survivors of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.  


My good friend, Sue Hanna, introduced me to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.  Together we attended many of the annual reunions of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (ALBA) in New York City on May Day weekend.  Those trips were memorable days.  Keynote speakers included Pete Seeger, Harry Bellefonte, Amy Goodman, Judge Baltasar Garzon …  One reunion was held at the Cooper Union building using the actual podium where Abraham Lincoln gave his campaign speech in 1860.  To be sure that was “fitting and proper”.  At the reunions, the living veterans would address the crowded auditorium with endless enthusiasm and spunk.  It was intimidating and encouraging at the same time to be in such a crowd of liberal people.

The last ALB veteran, Delmer Berg, died on 28 Feb 2016.  He was 100.  For me it was a sad day.  I lost a hero.  The world lost a good man. 



Sue Hanna with Jack Penrod in 2006 (F Nash Collection)

Ms Hanna and I followed, and honored, Jack Penrod (1913-2008).  Born in Birmingham, Al and raised in Johnstown, PA,  Mr John Arthur Penrod was a graduate of Pitt in 1936.  Working as an activist organizing steel workers at the Jones & Laughlin plant in Aliquippa, PA, he was fired for his efforts.  Always idealistic, he went to Spain in 1937 to fight Franco fascism.  He led a sniper squad in the MacKenzie-Papineau Battalion of the 15th International Brigade in Teruel and was wounded before the famed retreat across the Ebro River and the departure parade for the International Brigades along the Diagonal Ave in Barcelona.  That departure parade was witnessed by 300,000 people of Barcelona on 28 Oct 1938.  (Two weeks after the farewell to the International Brigades, Nazi storm troopers attacked 1,000 synagogues and 7,000 Jewish businesses in what became known as Kristallnacht.)  When Franco “liberated”  Barcelona two months later the Diagonal was empty.  After serving in the Philippines during WW II, Mr Penrod became a professor and later Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Florida.  According to Hochschild, Mr Penrod destroyed his memoir of the Spanish Civil War because “at one time I didn’t know whether they (FBI) might actually get a search warrant to search our house”.  Mr Penrod was in his nineties and hatpin sharp when I last spoke with him.


Sherron Biddle toasting Ernest Hemmingway with her Cava in the Hotel Majestic 2014 (F Nash Collection)

Fellow world traveler, Sherron Biddle, and I have visited together the Barcelona and Ebro River area of Spain.  Today its Montsant and Priorat wines (DOQ) are celebrated worldwide.  While in Barcelona, we toasted Ernest Hemmingway and the other  Spanish Civil War journalists with a glass of Cava at the Majestic Hotel where he lodged during the war.  We also walked the Diagonal on a wet and dreary day in solidarity with the ideals of the ALB.


Have a look at the The Volunteer.   It’s a quarterly magazine featuring current news about the Spanish Civil War and the history of the volunteers of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.  The 2016 ALBA award ceremony is Sat, 7 May, honoring Lydia Cacho and Jeremy Scahill. 


For supplying the oil, trucks, and tires to Franco, damn Texaco, Firestone, Ford, GM, …  It did not occur to me that I could be so moved by a history book.

Although this post has nothing to do with steamboats, it is near to my heart.


Copyright © 2016 Francis W Nash    All Rights Reserved

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The White City

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 theformer 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 advertised at $18. 


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




Copyright 2016 © Francis W Nash
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More Sad News

March 6th, 2016

Delmer Berg, the last known living US veteran of the Spanish Civil War, died on 28 Feb 2016.  He was 100. 


I have had a long interest in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, the 2,800 American volunteers who fought for the elected Spanish government against the fascist insurrection led by General Franco backed by Nazi Germany and fascist Italy.  In fact, a friend and I used to attend the annual reunion of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in New York City for many years.  A fun day.


Our last trip to Barcelona was partly planned around a theme of the Spanish Civil War.  Sherron and I followed in the footsteps of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade as they marched down the Diagonal in a departure parade witnessed by 300K citizens of Barcelona.  When Franco’s troops “liberated” Barcelona about 30 days later, the same streets were empty.  Delmer Berg, according to his obituary, served in the Battle of Ebro River.  The Ebro ran red as Republican soldiers attempted to swim across it to safety.  On our vacation we drove along the Ebro for miles and may have passed the ground that Berg was defending.  We also tipped a glass of Cava to Ernest Hemmingway in the Hotel Majestique (still standing in Barcelona ) where he lived during the latter stages of the civil war.


Volunteers like Delmer Berg fought alongside Spanish Republicans.  Their cause was reported by Hemingway, Robert Capa, Martha Gellhorn, Eric Blair (George Orwell), and others.  The book, Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War, is a well written story about the devastation of the Spanish Civil War.  The Hotel Florida which was in Madrid was demolished. 


I feel sad because I lost a friend.  The world has lost a good man – Delmer Berg.



Copyright © 2016 Francis W Nash    All Rights Reserved

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Troubling News

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.