Posted by: unclesamshistory | October 24, 2013

Bunnell, Florida . . . .The Early Years

By Sam Hossler

Before there was a town, before the railroad, there was nothing but wilderness in this section of Saint John’s County.  Men of vision saw the potential of this raw country, live oak timber, for ship building, pine forests for lumber and the production of turpentine, could bring untold profits.

In 1872 Utley J. White made his first trip to Saint John’s County where he found employment with the Tocoi Railroad. This was not a steam driven railroad but a string of cars pulled by mules or horses. Visitors from the North would take a steamboat to Tocoi on the Saint John’s River then board the horse drawn train for the trip to Saint Augustine. White was in charge of the twenty four of the animals. In 1886 White, with partners from the North, started to build in a narrow gage railroad from Palatka to the Tomoka River. This narrow gage track had a flag stop at Alvah Bunnell’s saw mill.  It became known as the Bunnell Stop.

The United States Government in 1892 appointed Alvah Bunnell postmaster of Bunnell. That seemed to make the name Bunnell official.  By 1898 this whistle stop had grown. A store and a school with fourteen children attending has been recorded in village records. Although it had a United States Post Office it wasn’t an official town. In 1911 the State Legislature took care of this oversight and granted the town a charter making it official. But wait, somewhat later a flaw was discovered in the legal paperwork. To correct this grievous blunder the Legislature in 1913 rescinded the original charter and enacted a new one officially incorporating Bunnell.Image

Posted by: unclesamshistory | July 29, 2013

William Penn

What do you know about this fantastic man? Well, we don’t read much about him in our history books. He became a Quaker. much to his father’s disapproval. Penn served time in the Tower of London for his beliefs.

In his book “The Seed of a Nation” Darrell Fields gives a more complete insight to this amazing man. He received his inheritance from his father, an admiral in the British Navy, and an extensive land owner. Plus the Admiral had lent 16,000 pounds sterling to the crown to cover war expenses with the Dutch. When young Penn petitioned King Charles II for a grant in the New World, the King saw an opportunity to dissolve the huge debt and get rid of this Quaker, who he considered a troublemaker. At the young age of thirty six Penn was granted 28,000,000 acres in the New World with the stipulation it be named Pennsylvania. Penn wanted to name it Sylvania or some name other than using Penn, but the King insisted.  Seed of a Nation

Penn called the founding of this new colony “The Holy Experiment.” He drafted it to follow Quaker teachings, envisioning Pennsylvania would be the model for Christian colonies throughout the New World.

For anyone interested in the history of America I recommend “The Seed of a Nation” as an interesting and informative read.

For additional books on history of Pennsylvania you may like “Frontier Preacher” or the historical fiction story of early Western Pennsylvania,  “Frontier at Three Rivers,” both available from web site www.samhosslerwriter.com, Amazon or www.grannyapplepublish.com

Posted by: unclesamshistory | July 19, 2013

The Midnight Ride

ImageEvery child over the age of twelve has heard or read the poem by Henry Longfellow, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.” Published by the Atlantic Monthly in 1861 it supposedly told how the folk hero of the revolutionary war rode through the night warning the villages, “The British are Coming, The British are Coming.” It turns out this fabrication of facts is just that, a fabrication. Not unlike today’s media, truth just gets in the way of a good story. According to actual reports Revere never even finished the ride to warn the towns, but other riders did.

 I have just finished reading “The Fort” by Bernard Cornwell. It is a historical fiction book and I highly recommend it. Through his research Cornwell has woven a story around, what he calls, the greatest disaster American forces suffered until Pearl Harbor. The British had occupied Majabigwaduce, Massachusetts and the colony’s militia was sent to rout them out. This unknown area lies on the upper Penobseot River. Paul Revere was commissioned a Lieutenant Colonel in the Massachusetts Artillery. It didn’t seem to make any difference that he had neither military nor artillery experience. Revere was a pompous, arrogant, self-serving individual, but never-the-less was picked to head the artillery companies on this expedition.

 During the campaign he continually refused to obey orders, came to battles when he felt like it, which was not often and generally looked after his own comforts. When the last ditch battle was about to begin Lt. Col. Revere loaded his baggage on his private barge and ran from the fight, refusing to rescue the men from a disabled American ship.

 September 6, 1779 the Massachusetts General Assembly ordered Lt. Col. Paul Revere stripped of his rank and placed under house arrest. That’s the part of history you don’t find in your high school American History class.

 For more historical fiction on the 1700s I suggest FRONTIER PREACHER and FRONTIER AT THREE RIVERS, both available from Amazon, Grannyapple Publishing or for a signed copy http://www.samhosslerwriter.com

Posted by: unclesamshistory | July 14, 2013

The Wars are NOT Over

In the late 1700s the Revolutionary War was over, and as far as the new government was concerned so were the Indian wars. However, Western Pennsylvania was still plagued with renegade bands of both Native Americans and white men that had gone Indian. These were the most feared. Painted and dressed like their native brothers the white maunders were merciless in the atrocities they committed.

One such band attacked the Corbly Family on their way to church. Here is a short clip from my book Frontier Preacher on that fateful day. “As Reverend Corbly came out of the cabin he heard his wife’s screams followed by terrified shrieks from the children. Running up the path he picked up a stick, the only weapon he could find – only to be confronted with a scene that terrified him to the point of revulsion. A painted savage was holding baby Nancy by the feet and swinging her towards the closest tree.”   Cover Frontier Preacher

It was later learned there was at least one white man in this raiding party. Frontier Preacher is available from Amazon, www.samhosslerwriter.com or http://www.grannyapplepublishing.com . If you enjoy historical fiction you may want to read Frontier at Three Rivers.   

Cover Frontier at Three Rive

Posted by: unclesamshistory | June 28, 2013

OOPSI just discovered the blogs I’ve been writing

OOPS

I just discovered the blogs I’ve been writing were going to another blog I didn’t even know I had. So much for my tech ability with computers. By-the-way I am writing this on my new HP lap top. The poor old Dell just couldn’t take it any longer.

 

Our country will be celebrating this week, observing the birth of a new nation. Actually the Fourth of July wasn’t the day the Declaration of Independence was signed or any other important document as far as I can find, but we need a special day and the Fourth is as good a date as any. After all Jesus wasn’t born on December 25 but that’s the day we celebrate. Why get bogged down in dates.

 

I hope you have a great Fourth of July!!  Image

Posted by: unclesamshistory | August 4, 2012

Pennsylvania History

I have just read a really great book, The Seed of a Nation by Darrell Fields. The author has  researched deep into the beginning of Pennsylvania. In the first few chapters he gives the history of William Penn and how he was persecuted in England for his Quaker religious beliefs. Penn was imprisoned a couple of times just because his religious view were not in step with that of the ruling king.

History of the ruling class in England during the seventeenth and eighteenth century lays a base for how Penn ended up with a grant of land in the New World. His family was wealthy and subsidized the Crown on more than one occasion. Although, the history is extremely interesting, the premise on how Penn governed this new colony is fascinating, and something I had never heard of before. As devout Christian Penn followed strict Christian beliefs in drawing up Pennsylvania’s constitution. His treatment of the Native Americans was unheard of, as believed they were equal to the white man who was invading their country. Penn made peace with the natives promising to live together as one people. And, it worked. There were no hostilities until after Penn’s death. His descendants and those governing saw great wealth in the lands the Native Americans occupied. Treaties were broken, land confiscated  and a complete breakdown of the foundation Pennsylvania was built on. War with France in the New World put many of the once loyal Native Americans with the French, raids on settlements became commonplace. The natives wanted their land back.

How different it could have been if only the original plan had been followed. Greed and abuse of power became the norm in government.

Posted by: unclesamshistory | May 1, 2012

Fort Lafayette – AKA Fort Fayette

Fort Lafayette – AKA Fort Fayette

 

Fort Pitt had been closed by the British as they felt there was no need for it as the Crown had decreed no expansion into the western Indian Territory would be permitted. Words on paper that the frontier paid little attention to, including the Governor of Virginia and the politicians in the East.  

Indian raids on frontier settlements continued after the Revolutionary War and two separate campaigns, in 1790 and 1791, failed. This defeat was demoralizing to the settlers but heightened the blood lust of the raiding Native Americans. To add some protection to the western outpost at Pittsburgh a fort was constructed in1792. Officially named Fort Lafayette but more commonly called Fort Fayette. I have not been able to uncover the reason for the name confusion but I would guess it was political wrangling.

The Lewis and Clark expedition to open the West actually started in Pittsburgh. More accurately from Fort Fayette where supplies for the journey were amassed in1803.  During the War of 1812 the fort was used as a supply depot for Commodore Perry in his campaign on Lake Erie. Hardly mentioned in history books this important fort gained little notoriety and was closed in1814.

More little known bits of history may be found in the books Frontier Preacher and Frontier at Three Rivers available  from Amazon, your favorite  book store or my web site www.samhosslerwriter.com. They are also on Kindle for your reading pleasure.

Posted by: unclesamshistory | March 24, 2012

Spring

Spring is here and with it comes spring turkey season. Gobblers only as they are considered excess baggage by wildlife biologists. I kind of take offence to that but other male species are treated the same way. But I digress, the anti hunting population decries killing any specie. We hunt for sport but also for food, and with the way prices are going it may be a necessity not a sport.

In the frontier days of my books hunting was not only a way of life, but the only way meat could be put on the table. Did you know there are more deer and turkeys in Pennsylvania than in the 1700s. I would guess that holds true for all the other states as well. It is true the deer herd and turkey population took a terrific nose dive when market hunting was permitted. And who took the forefront and fought to end this practice and develop good habitat for all wildlife. It wasn’t PEDA, no it was the hunting population. But, again I digress.

Think back when game was hard to find. These people depended on that game to survive. I doubt if many of us would starve if we didn’t fill our game tags, but that wasn’t the case back then. So, we enjoy the hunt and even more so when we do it with weapons carved out of the past.

Frontier at Three Rivers has more on the 1700s as does Frontier Preacher. Both available as paperback, e books or as audio. Check www.grannyapplepublishing.com for more information.

Picture courtesy of Jack Paluh from his Eastern Indian Collection

Posted by: unclesamshistory | February 4, 2012

Moving West

Moving West
It was 1769 when Reverend John Corbly loaded his family on horses and headed to Western Pennsylvania. That’s not so astounding, you say, many frontiersmen headed to the newly opened land. The Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768 between the Iroquois and the Colonies paved the way. Of course the fact that all this land was not Iroquois land didn’t seem to matter to either party.
John Corbly, a lay preacher in Virginia, had lost his wife in 1766 during child birth. Can you imagine the determination and faith it took to pack up four children and head to an unknown, uncivilized part of the world? Indian raids were commonplace, there was little commerce as everything had to be brought over the mountains by pack train. Pittsburgh was the closest large town and the residents there distrusted these wild frontiersmen. Tensions ran high between the two factions.
But my point is, what faith and determination it took for Corbly to pack up four children, ages 12, 10, 8 and 2 years, and head out to the unknown. Today with moving vans, automobiles, trucks and trains we think a move across town is an earth moving experience. The stamina of our frontier fathers will always astound me.

More on the life of John Corbly may be found in the book Frontier Preacher. It is available in paper back, on Kindle and now as an audio book narrated by Ron Babcock. Check http://www.grannyapplepublishing.com for complete details.

Posted by: unclesamshistory | December 21, 2011

The First Shot

What an amazing life George Washington had.  He held a military commission of major when barely in his twenties, then was promoted to lieutenant colonel at age twenty six. He was sent on dangerous and important missions by Virginia Governor Dinwiddie.  If you have ever lived in western Pennsylvania I am sure you know about his 1754 trek from Virginia to Waterford in the northwest corner of Pennsylvania to tell the French to get out of British territory. Not only was the mission dangerous but it was carried out in the dead of winter. Yes he was one tough fellow.

An even more important mission came the following year. Washington had been promoted to lieutenant colonel and was given the task of taking a party of workers, along with Virginia militia, to the fork of the three rivers in western Pennsylvania. Also in this group were a number of Indians loyal to the British Crown. When the French at Fort Duquesne heard that such a contingent of British were headed in their direction they sent Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville with approximately thirty five men to meet with Washington and insist they leave French territory.

Washington’s party had made it to the rugged terrain of Fayette County when their scouts warned them of the French heading toward them. Taking only forty men plus the twelve Indian allies they crept up on the French camp. The Indians were sent to cover one side while the Virginians the other. According to reports Washington wrote the French discovered the men advancing so he gave the order to fire. It was over in fifteen minutes. Jumonville was killed along with nine of his men. The rest were taken prisoner.

There are many versions of the killing of Jumonville but we will not go into that here.

This action is considered the breaking point of relations between France and Great Britain, the Seven Years War  (aka The French and Indian War) was officially declared in 1756.

The site now is known as Jumonville and is a Christian retreat center.

Additional tid-bits of  historical information may be found in my books; Frontier Preacher and Frontier at Three Rivers, available from www.samhossler.com, Amazon or your favorite book seller.

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