Contact

I am always looking for interesting photos or story ideas related to Monongahela and surrounding communities. Do you have anything you would like to share? You can contact me via email here:

lostmonongahela at gmail dot com

4 thoughts on “Contact

  1. Terry Necciai September 24, 2011 / 9:00 pm

    Hi,

    I look at your site every now and then when I’m looking something up about Monongahela. It’s a nice site.

    I couldn’t find your name on the site. Do I know you?

    This time it was to look for information on the Marble Hotel. How sad to see such a well-built, well designed building being demolished. Several of my friends almost had the community convinced to rehabilitate it as a bed and breakfast in the 1980s. It might have happened, except the Pittsburgh-based architects and economic analysts MARC used came up with an all-or-nothing scenario with a much higher price tag than anyone at MARC was expecting.

    On the re-design of your site — I’m glad you dropped the “Founded in 1769” from the top, because it’s not technically true. The true sequence is more interesting, but it doesn’t fit a short one-line approach. Here’s what happened:

    It wasn’t legal to settle in Western Pennsylvania (basically west of Bedford) up to 1768 because the land belonged by treaty to the Iroquois/Six Nations (who mostly lived in what is now Upstate New York). The local Native Americans were small bands of Iroquois “renegades” called the Mingoes (Mingo approximately means renegade in Algonquian). Centered in what is now the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, they were also called the “Ohio Seneca.” A few representatives still live in West Virginia, and there are only a few people left who grew up learning to speak the Mingo Language, which is a version of the Seneca version of Algonquian. However, there were only a few Mingoes in the Mon Valley area, and with three or four military forts in the region and almost no other inhabitants, it was logical that some other white settlers (frontiersmen) would quietly move in. They did, maybe hoping to raise crops and sell them to the military. But they kept no records, because they were basically young families camping out in the area illegally, and written records in that era would mainly be kept for legal reasons, not by illegal campers living in crude log cabins here and there in the woods. By family tradition, we know that a few people were living around Brownsville by the 1740s (e.g., the Colvins), and a few people were living closer to Monongahela by the 1750s (e.g., the Weddells, who settled on the Rostraver Township side of West Newton near Salem Baptist Church about 1755). In 1768, the Iroquois noticed the settlers during hunting expeditions and complained to the British government. By that time, there was a larger enclave along Redstone Creek, next to Brownsville. Several families also located in what is now Forward Township between 1766 and 1768. The British, via Pennsylvania’s government, sent a Presbyterian minister to preach a sermon to the settlers near Brownsville, and to include in the sermon a notice that the British would be sending troops to arrest and hang them if they didn’t move out of the area immediately. This was one of the first meetings of Dunlaps Creek Presbyterian Church. A few Mingoes attended the church service, and they suggested, during the service, that someone should just ask the Iroquois to renegotiate the treaty. As a result of this suggestion, a meeting was held at Fort Stanwix in Rome New York in the fall of 1768. Guyasuta, representing the Iroquois, gave a speech in which he essentially ceded about 20% of what is now Pennsylvania to the British (some have questioned whether his speech was mistranslated). The newly available land (called the “New Purchase”) ran from around what is now Scranton on a southwest diagonal, and included what are now five or six whole counties from Pittsburgh to the south. A land office was opened in Philadelphia in April 1769, allowing people to claim this land. There was a veritable land rush, with thousands of applicants in a short time. They had to process the applications by lottery (essentially, drawing them randomly out of the pile) because too many came in at once. One theory is that a lot of the people already had cabins in the Monongahela Valley, and they went to Philadelphia to ask for legal title to their previously illegal settlements. New settlers also came. Hundreds of new farms were legally deeded in a large radius surrounding Monongahela at this time. (Monongahela is, by far, not uniquely tied to this date.) The Glades Road (later Routes 31 and 136, from Jean Bonnet’s Tavern near Bedford to Washington, PA) was the one Native American trail that was already known that led into the center of the area where the “New Purchase” settlements were mainly occurring. It crossed the river in the Monongahela area, at the geographic center of the four-county part of the New Purchase area that was south of Fort Pitt. The area around Monongahela became important in a big hurry because of the land rush — it was how most of these settlers found their way to their new homes. The Glades Road branched as it approached the river, with branches leading to logical ferrying points where Elizabeth, Pangburn Hollow, Monongahela, Ella Hollow, and Donora now are (a section of Donora was settled in 1769, for instance, as a result). Moses and James Devoir and Joseph Parkison started ferries where Monongahela now is. They got their business charters between 1770 and 1775, but a ferry of some kind was apparently in placed there by (at least) 1769. What they did in 1769, in terms of legal documents, was to get title to their farms. That was what happened in 1769, as a result of the new land office — Parkison and his associates got legal title to their farms along with hundreds and hundreds of their neighbors. After twenty-three years of running a ferry and a tavern on his farm, Joseph Parkison decided to layout a plan of lots (I guess “founding” a town) in 1792, but it was not a success, and he had to start all over in 1796. These dates are well after Brownsville and Elizabeth were laid out in the 1780s. The new town plan was officially named “Williamsport,” but everyone called it Parkison’s Ferry. Years after this, when a post office was started, the postal address officially became Parkison’s Ferry (rather than Williamsport). No town government was “founded” until 1833, when Williamsport became a borough. This was after the credited “town founder” went bankrupt (I think in 1826) and the sheriff sold his ferry landing rights to James Manown, son-in-law of his competitors, the Devoirs (Manown proceeded to serve notice that Parkison was evicted, which, with land rights on both shores, allowed him to start planning to have a covered bridge built across the river). Until 1833, the town was an unincorporated village or plan of lots, part of Fallowfield Township. Carroll Township broke off from Fallowfield shortly after that, and the Borough of Williamsport became the Borough of Monongahela City in 1837, being upgraded to an actual city in 1873.

    The city had its “centennial” in 1892, in recognition of Joseph Parkison’s first effort. An article appeared in the Monongahela Republican around that time wherein someone questioned the 1792 date, arguing for an earlier date (1769). However, an explanation was given similar to the above, and I remember reading its conclusion — which said something like “before 1792, it was a farm (and a ferrying point), not a town.”

    Anyway, that’s the story about what actually happened in 1769. In 1969, the “Monongahela Area” celebrated a bicentennial, which at the time was a kind of pre-packaged “gimmick” event that an outfit called “The Rogers Company” from Ohio would come in and help you put on. They did the same shebang all over the area, for any community that was 100, or 150, or 200 years old. They customized it a little, and the community did things like writing a new history book. However, ever since the Rogers Company was in the area, everyone has been certain that something happened in 1769 that represented the “founding” of Monongahela.

    I’d love to work with you on things like this. I hope you’ll let me know your name and stay in touch.

    Terry A. Necciai, RA, AIA
    Preservation Architect and Architectural Historian
    residence: 790 South Front Street
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19147

    Western Pennsylvania address:
    400 Meade Street
    Monongahela City, Pennsylvania 15063

    losghello@yahoo.com

    Like

  2. Frans Bouten December 25, 2011 / 12:35 pm

    Hello, I trip through memory lane brought me to this site. I visited CE plants in Chicago and Monongahela in 1983 and checked google maps to see if they are still there. I made several photo’s (color slides) when I was there. I studied production (casting) technique of coal pulverizers and wear resistant materials we used in production in Holland. We built them in license of CE. I remember the bridge over the river was a steel structure. I am not sure where the sildes are but if you are interested I could look for them and make a scan. Kind regards, merry Christmas , Frans Bouten

    Like

  3. unclesamshistory March 1, 2012 / 2:05 pm

    Great blog. I have two historical fictioon books out on the area, Frontier Preacher and Frontier at Three Rivers. If you are interested please check my web page, http://www.samhossler.com, for more info.

    Like

  4. Frans Bouten March 1, 2012 / 2:13 pm

    Sorry for the delay in finding the slides.
    I have them somewhere.
    I will scan them en send them.
    Frans

    Like

Comments are closed.