Posts Tagged ‘georgetown’

Str Silver Wave

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Several years ago, the question, “Where was the Civil War won?” was posed on a history site.  The usual answers were submitted with much documentary support.  I thought about the question for a few days then settled on my answer – Pittsburgh, PA.  The administrator of the blog wrote that it was the “damnedest” thing he had ever read, but he would seriously think about it.  One can get a bit carried away singing the praises of Pittsburgh.  Or can one?

 

History books inform us that the Civil War started in April 1861 in Charleston, SC with the bombardment of Ft Sumter in Charleston Bay.  This event provoked the war between the states, but the shots fired there were not the first. 

 

Earlier in Dec 1860, SC was the first state to secede from the union.  Others followed.  Sec of War, John B Floyd, a southern sympathizer, sent an order to the Allegheny Arsenal in Pittsburgh to ship 124 canons to New Orleans.   The steamers Silver Wave and Marengo were contracted to transport the canons south.  When citizens of Pittsburgh learned of this action, they protested knowing that the guns would be used to fortify the south.  The commander of the arsenal, John Symington, attempted to obey the order from Washington.  On Christmas Eve, angry crowds halted the movement of the canons and their military escorts to the Monongahela wharf.  Thirty-eight guns were loaded on the Silver Wave before the crowds blocked the movement and the order was countermanded.  Pittsburgh citizens threatened to blow the Silver Wave out of the water if it attempted to go down the Ohio River with the thirty-eight guns. 

 

Southern politicians were outraged that Pittsburgh citizens threatened to interfere with military orders for the distribution of federal artillery and munitions. 

 

The Silver Wave was a packet owned and operated by Capt John Smith McMillin.  The Silver Wave was also the first noncombat steamer to successfully pass the Vicksburg batteries in 1863.  Born in Georgetown, PA, Capt John S McMillin moved to Grandview Ave on Mt Washington in Pittsburgh in 1853.  In my heart, Capt John Smith McMillin will always be a Georgetown man. 

 

It can also be argued that the Pittsburgh citizens protest was the first act of war between the North and South.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2017 Francis W Nash
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Georgetown Historical Markers

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

 

Foundations (Beaver Area heritage Foundation News Fall 2016)C

Foundations, the news for members of The Beaver Area Heritage Foundation, arrived by post a few days ago.  The column on the Lewis and Clark Legacy Expedition dedication caught my interest.  One of the five places in Beaver County where Lewis and Clark signs were recently erected was Georgetown.  The caption reads:

 

 “A leaky canoe was purchased here and they got stuck on a bar just below town”.  [1]

 

Not a happy experience for Merriweather Lewis no doubt.  

 

Of all the American rivers, the Ohio was the most important.  By way of the Ohio more than any other route, the whole continent was explored and populated.  Little known Georgetown, Beaver County, PA is located at Ohio River Mile Marker 38.9 from Pittsburgh.  It is a river town of lost elegance and importance.  Once there were hotels, taverns, general stores, a ferry, and wrought iron fenced homes that spilled music into the warm summer nights.  One wealthy resident even had a private airport through the 1950’s.  Sadly little of that era is left.  Like many of the towns along the Ohio, the old homes in Georgetown need repair.  The hotels and taverns are gone.  Only the churches remain.   

 

The Lewis and Clark Expedition legacy marker recently installed by the Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation (BCHR&LF) is a two-part interpretive marker:  the triangular sign is a trail marker and the rectangular sign contains a comment from the journal kept by Capt Lewis.  A little-known fact is that Lewis in 1794 was sent as a member of the detachment of VA militia involved in putting down the Whiskey Rebellion.  People in western PA, and quite possibly Georgetown, were rebels in that cause.  The old family names, Dawson, Poe, Calhoon, and Mackall, were frontiersmen in Georgetown well before 1794 and long after 1803.        

 

Slowly, I have become aware that the streets of Georgetown, which I had walked every day as a child, had a broad, hidden history.  The Beaver County Historical Society put up a plaque, along Market St not far from my home dedicated to the Georgetown rivermen and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. [2]      At least eight other historical markers are, as the crow flies, within a one mile radius of this marker.

 

St Luke’s Episcopal Church (Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation)

A few hundred feet south in a direct line is the marker for St Luke’s Episcopal Church (now Anglican Church).  The first minister to the people of St Luke’s parish was Rev John L Taylor in 1814.  On 11 Jun 1833, John Bever deeded the lots to the Episcopal Church on which the

St Luke’s Episcopal Church Marker (Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation)

present building was erected and the first service was held on 15 Dec 1833.  It is fitting to mention that every Episcopal Church in the upper Ohio Valley has been a direct result of St Luke’s and the godly men who ministered there.

 

PA-VA Boundary 1785 (Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation)

At the entry to town there is another marker noting the survey of the western boundary of PA completed in 1785.  About one-quarter of a mile down river one of the original markers from the survey of 1785 stills exists.   [3]

 

Nearby historical markers include The Point of Beginning [4], The Sandy and Beaver Canal, First Paper Mill/Little Beaver Creek Bridge, and Smiths Ferry are directly opposite Georgetown on the north side of the Ohio River.  The Death of Pretty Boy Floyd Historical Marker is just outside this arbitrary range.

 

Georgetown has at least eight historical markers and one-hundred-seventy-four residents per the 2010 census.  It should have more markers, and more residents.  The Georgetown Cemetery deserves a marker.  The oldest stone in the cemetery is dated 1795.  Small American flags flying from their holders in front of headstones denote the graves of Revolutionary War or War of 1812 or Civil War or Spanish-American War or World War I and WW II veterans.  Many steamboat pilots and captains also rest in peace there.  The River Hotel, which was built in 1802, deserves a marker.  Rivermen, hard-working, hard-drinking, hard-fighting men that most river towns dreaded to see stop, stayed there. The Post office was established in 1802 – second in Beaver County after Frankfort Springs.  It deserves a marker.  The Georgetown United Methodist Church was built in 1877 by steamboat builders and carpenters deserves a marker for its unique architecture.  The Indian Rocks, located in Smiths Ferry, were destination landmarks until flooded by the last series of dams were installed on the Ohio.  Although the petroglyphs will presumably never be uncovered, their history should not be forgotten.  Finally, the frontier fort in Georgetown should be remembered with a marker.

Many private homes in Georgetown qualify for the BCHR&LF Heritage Marker Program but few owners have applied.

 

A classic small town with a big history – Georgetown.

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Francis W Nash
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No part of this website may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.

 



[1]   Quotation from the journal of Merriweather Lewis in 1803.

[2]  This marker was erected by the Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation.
It is included in the Beaver County (PA) Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation marker series.

[3]  The cut-stone marker is on private property owned by FirstEnergy Corp.  Permission must be obtained to visit these national treasures.

[4]  Different historical societies have installed multiple markers commemorating elements of the same basic event – the completion of the survey of the western boundary of PA which opened the Northwest Territory for settlement.  The additional markers include Beginning Point of the US Public Land Survey, Gateway to the Northwest, Land Ordinance of 1785, and The Seven Ranges.

Cannonballs

Saturday, 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)

 

 

 

Reference.


 

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

 

 

 


Copyright © 2016  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.

 

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.  Every lecture I do I learn something.  Sometimes, like at BAHF, I Iearn a lot.

 

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.

 

 

Capt Thomas Potts

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Cat Thomas Potts (Beaver Valley Times, Oct 24, 1973

A short history written by Gladys L Hoover in 1973 contains invaluable local history of Georgetown and its two churches:  St Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church.  Both faiths have changed their original affiliations since Capt Thomas Potts’ time due to the many splits and mergers in the Methodist and Episcopal Churches.     The wife of Capt Thomas Potts according to this newspaper article, raised a considerable sum of money in 1877 for the building fund of the new Methodist Church.

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2014 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved.

Georgetown Landing 1935

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

From my research the ferry at Georgetown had been in operation from 1794 to 1949.  The militia from Burgettstown marched along the Catfish Camp Trail and crossed the Ohio River at Georgetown on Dawson’s Ferry. The militia was joining Gen Anthony Wayne in the campaign of 1794.  Other references to the crossing at Georgetown, such as the Moravian missionaries who crossed the river as early as 1772, did  not include the word “ferry”.    The ferry ceased operation due to a fatal accident in 1949.

 

 

Georgetown Landing 1935 (Anna L and John F Nash Collection)

 

The name of the ferry or operating company has changed through the years.  The name changed from Dawson to Smith and back again a few times.  According to the writing on this image, the William M Semple Ferry Company was the operator in 1935.

The home on the bluff was built by the Thomas Poe, sold to Robert D Laughlin in the 1870’s.   

 

 

 

Copyright © 2014 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

 

Local History at the Hookstown Fair

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Mr Myron Elliot recently visited me in Carlisle, PA.  He was “walking Gettysburg” yet took some time to visit me.  He wanted to use some of the Georgetown local history on this site at the community tent at the Hookstown Fair.   The 2014 fair will run from 19-23 Aug.

 

The rich early history of the south side of the Ohio River is based largely on eye witness accounts described in letters, journals, and a few books.  The stories are fantastic.  Most of the original documents have been lost forever or are maintained in private collections.  Either way original sources are scattered and hard to come by.

 

If you are in the area, make time to visit the Hoookkstown Fair and its Historic Village.

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2014 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

Two Ohio River Maps

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

Two interesting maps for your review.  The first map lists all of the frontier forts and blockhouses on the upper Ohio River between 1775 and 1795.  A brutal time in our history when we were not quite civilized.  The map was adapted by Stephen Lazzaro from the illustration in “Every Home a Fort, Every Man a Warrior” written by Michael E Nogay.  The revised map identifies the frontier fort in Georgetown, PA.  Mr Lazzaro and I agreed to name the outpost Fort Reardon’s Bottom, although in 1777 Major Henry Taylor referred to the it in military correspondence as “the Chief of the old posts”.  The word fort preceding the location defines the fort as a “public” fort.  Public forts were manned by regular US Army troops and supplied at the taxpayers expense.  The fort in Georgetown was manned by Continental Army troops.  There is a warm poetic ring to the name.  It is the first map I have seen with the Georgetown fort listed.

Adapted by Stephen Lazzaro from Dennis R Jones’ Illustration for Michael E Nogay’s “Every Home a Fort, Every Mana Warrior”

 

The second map is the obverse of an advertisement (ca 1925) that lists the steamboat stops and railroad connections on the upper Ohio River.  The two maps provide the boundary in time for Georgetown – a boundary between the founding of our country and the Golden Age of Steamboats.   

Steamboat and RR Connections ca 1925 (Anna L and John F Nash Collection)

 

 

Copyright © 2014 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

 

Steamboat Memorabilia

Monday, January 20th, 2014

The str Senator Cordill has quite a history.  According to Way’s packet directory, on 27 Jan 1903 the str Senator Cordill participated in the anniversary when the Yazoo River put Vicksburg back on the river.  In 1920, str Senator Cordill was sold and put in the Pittsburgh Charleston trade.  In 1929 str Senator Cordill was purchased by the Ohio River Transportation Co and put in the Pittsburgh Cincinnati trade.  The following travel brochure indicates that the steamer had been “catering to tourists for six years” which means that the river tour document was issued between the years 1926-1929. 

 

Str Senator Codill ca 1920 (Anna L and John F Nash Colleciton)

One of the points of historical interest was “the scene of the famous fight between Adam Poe and the Indian Big Foot”.

 

Capt Frederick Way Jr and Judy Nash in Georgetown, PA in 1971 (Anna L and John F Nash Collection)

Another reason this particular packet is important is that Frederick Way, Jr was its master-pilot in 1931 and pilot in 1932, 1933, and 1934.  The str Senator Cordill sank in Dam 14 on 5 Feb 1934.  The pilots at the time were Wilsie Miller and Fred Way, Jr.  It was unclear who was at the wheel at the time of the incident.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2014 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved