“HONOR: Three years in a Regiment of Distinction”

The residents of Kittanning, Pennsylvania were no strangers to war, or its place in history…the very name of the town, “Kit-han-ne” after all came from the Delaware [Lenni-Lenape] Indians who settled here in the early 1720’s, the name meaning “at the great river”…the “Attack on Kit-han-ne” brought war to the village itself on September 8, 1756…Colonel John Armstrong’s victory over the Delaware would put the town “on the map” during the French & Indian period, and led to the building of Fort Armstrong in June of 1779…[*see “The Attack on Kit-han-ne” by Larry A. Smail, published by Mechling Bookbindery, 2006…www.larrysmailart.com]

During the American Revolution, the rosters of Washington’s Army included men and boys from the western Pennsylvania villages and towns–Kittanning was no exception…the same could be said for the War of 1812, where several companies of men from the area added to the ranks…

But now, everything that had been established, including our new nation, was in jeopardy…secession…no longer just a rumor…April 12, 1861…WAR!…and now, the men and boys from Armstrong County would follow in the footsteps of their fathers and grandfathers, enlisting this time in “Lincoln’s Army”…the American Civil War had begun…

The response to President Lincoln’s call for 75,000 men was described as “prompt and willing”, according to the “History of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania” by Robert Walter Smith, 1883… a company of 114 men was organized and placed under the command of Captain William Sirwell, a “three months’ company”…

If I could create a sketch or painting to insert here to put you in the moment, it would be based on a footnote in Smith’s history:

“On April 18, 1861, a large concourse of people from the town and country assembled to witness the departure of the company of three months men, organized to the pursuance of the call of President Lincoln. The sky was clear and the weather pleasant for an April day. The company formed in the Diamond, at the intersection of Market and Jefferson Streets, where the ladies presented to each member a copy of the New Testament.”

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“THE SIXTY-SECOND PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY”

 

 

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Thirty-Third Independent Regiment: Courtesy of Ronn Palm, Civil War Images

 

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Thirty-Third Independent Regiment: Courtesy of Ronn Palm, Civil War Images

While numerous companies of men from Armstrong County were being recruited for the Seventy-Eight, One Hundred-Third, and One Hundred Thirty-Ninth Regiments, as well as the Fifty-Ninth Regiment of the 2nd Cavalry, there was a single company that enlisted in a regiment being raised by a Mexican War hero, Col. Samuel W. Black…the regiment’s first designation was the Thirty-Third Independent Regiment, due to a dispute over the authority to commission recruiting officers for state volunteers…if you follow the “rule of twenty-nine” [long story] in the naming of regiments, 29 plus 33 adds up to 62, hence the “Sixty-Second Pennsylvania”…

Among those enlistments for Company D, Sixty-Second Pennsylvania Volunteers was Private Daniel Warren Swigart…according to his “muster roll”, Daniel  mustered into service on July 4, 1861, oddly enough, in Putneyville, PA, a tiny community along Mahoning Creek, well north of Kittanning…

 

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The only records of Daniel’s service in the 62nd that we were able to track down through the National Archives were his “Muster Rolls”, indicating the dates and locations of his mustering in, promotions, status [present or absent], and mustering out for his three years of service…I will post a few of the notable entries, along with the few significant details that we know…

D.W. Swigart received several promotions during his enlistment: from Private to Corporal on March 21,1862, from Corporal to Sergeant on October 3, 1863, and from Sergeant to First Sergeant on May 5, 1864…

 

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It is also noted that two times he is listed as “sick in hospital”, the first in May of 1862, stating that he was “sent from Tunstall’s Station, May 21″…this would have been just after the Battle of Yorktown, Virginia, and just prior to the Battle at Hanover Court House, VA…there is a notation in a post-war biography that states he was wounded at Hanover C.H., but given the dates on his muster rolls, the wound must have occurred at Yorktown or on the march toward Hanover…he is also listed as “absent-sick” for June of 1862…

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The “muster out” entry is shown here as well, but that is getting the cart way ahead of the horse as they say…what transpired between his mustering in and mustering out were three long and terrible years of drilling, marching and fighting within the ranks of the Sixty-Second Pennsylvania…The 62nd participated in twenty-one engagements, including many of the major battles of the war…and while I could attempt to give you a brief version of this history, it is at this point that I will humbly sidestep to “the story within the story”…

“Authors, Artists, and Friends”

When I first learned of my lineage through Mr. Swigart to the 62nd P.V.I., I was given a copy of the “Gettysburg Magazine”, Issue 26, which contained a very informative article about the regiment, written by Ernest D. Spisak…I read this article through several times, finding it fascinating that Mr. Spisak included the modern day route numbers, town and street names in his telling of the regimental movements…in the years since discovering this article, I have been able to follow some of those routes to visit many of the battlefields and bivouacs where the 62nd left its mark, and in many cases, its dead…

It was also stated in the notes about the author in this article that Mr. Spisak was considering the task of writing the Regimental History of the unit…with that in the back of my mind, each trip that I made to Gettysburg  would include a stop at several of the notable bookstores searching for “anything new” from Mr. Spisak…after several years of empty searches, I was beginning to think perhaps something had happened to Ernest Spisak…

In the meantime, I had asked my good friend, artist and author, Larry Smail if he would consider doing a painting of the 62nd during the Battle of Gettysburg…he agreed, and completed “The Wheatfield–Whirlpool of Death”,  which is well documented in previous posts on this site…

WHEATFIELD PAINTING[blog]

 

 

The painting opened several new doors [and continues to], including making the acquaintance and friendship with two more historians/authors, Mr. Arthur B. Fox and Mr. John Haltigan…Art and John were in the process of writing “Those Who Fought–Allegheny County, PA, and the Gettysburg Campaign”our communications were very positive, and resulted in an entire chapter of the book being devoted to the Sixty-Second Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, as well as a two-page image of Larry’s painting…

ART & jOHN WITH BOOK

John Haltigan and Art Fox with a copy of the print and their book, published by Mechling Bookbindery.

 

It was also around this time that I learned of a regimental history of the 62nd–you guessed it, by Mr. Ernest D. Spisak!…

62ND PVI-SPISAK BOOK COVER[blog]

 

By the time I was able to finally meet Ernie, his book had just been published, so it was too late for any information about Daniel Swigart, as well as the other ancestors of the members of the “62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Living History Family” , to be included in the Regimental History…but, a great bond of friendship developed between the “62nd family” and the Spisak family, including Ernie’s wife Peggy and daughter Danielle…the unit immediately invited Ernie and his family to attend our next “Wheatfield Tribute” at the 62nd PA monument in Gettysburg, which turned out to be a very memorable day for everyone…

20150704_103256-001 The friendship continued to grow, and the Spisak’s were inducted into the unit as Honorary members, and were able to attend several ceremonies with us, despite Ernie’s declining health…when my phone rang one evening last April, with Ernie’s number appearing on the ID, I was looking forward to another talk with him, possibly to discuss an upcoming event together…to my shock, it was Peggy on the phone, telling me that Ernie had passed away suddenly that day, April 20, 2017…

As I said at the service for my friend, and feel compelled to repeat here, “it is my honor and my duty, as a descendant of a Veteran of the 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, to say ‘thank you’ to a man who devoted so much of his life to telling that Regiments’ history, even though he had no lineage to the unit.”

Ernest D. Spisak is greatly missed, but his writing will live on, and always be near and dear to the hearts of the 62nd descendants, members, families and friends…62ND PVI MONUMENT[BLOG]

Whether you have lineage to the 62nd, or just love history, or want to learn about one of the Army of the Potomac’s finest Regiments, please look for “Pittsburgh’s Forgotten Civil War Regiment”–A History of the 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry & the men who served with distinction, available at:                                                             Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Pittsburghs-Forgotten-Civil-War-Regiment-ebook/dp/B00GGOCPDY#customerReviews

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By the end of June, 1864, Daniel W. Swigart, now a first sergeant, along with the rest of the war- weary men of Colonel Black’s Regiment, found themselves taking their place in General Grant’s line around Petersburg, Virginia…Colonel Samuel Black had been killed on May 27, 1862 at the Battle of Gaines’ Mill, where his men buried him in a makeshift grave, under a persimmon tree…by now,  memories of Yorktown, Gaines’ Mill, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville were clouded over by the fresher horrors of Gettysburg,  Spotsylvania, and most recently Cold Harbor…it was there that Daniel lost another friend and fellow officer–2nd Lt. Jefferson Truitt, of Company D, was mortally wounded on June 3 at Bethesda Church, only 30 days from finishing his term of service…

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2nd Lt. Jefferson Truitt’s grave in Cold Harbor National Cemetery

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2nd Lt. Jefferson Truitt

 

From Mr. Spisak’s book: On Saturday, July 2, 1864, Special Order 159 arrived at headquarters of the Fifth Corps. The order notified all officers and enlisted men in the 62nd Pennsylvania whose terms of  service were to expire on July 3, 1864, to report to the supervisor of recruiting in Pennsylvania for mustering out and discharge. Members of the regiment whose terms of service were not expiring on that day were transferred to the 155th Pennsylvania, and Companies L and M were assigned to the 91st Pennsylvania.

The assistant commissary of mustering accompanied the departing troops to their place of departure. Following the tradition of bidding farewell to regiments leaving the Army of the Potomac, the remaining units in Griffin’s division may have given the 62nd three hearty cheers, and while the band played “Home Sweet Home”, the division’s batteries boomed a final salute.

The regiment formed in a column on Sunday, July 3, and marched out of camp to City Point. The tested veterans of three years’ fighting boarded the steamer John Brooks and began the journey home, to Pittsburgh.

 

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2nd Brigade, 1st Division, Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac Pennant that flew at Gettysburg…now housed at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, Oakland, Pittsburgh, PA

 

The 62nd Pennsylvania offered up 123 brave souls for the common good of our nation. These men gave their last full measure of dedication to reunite a nation. Four hundred and thirty men of the 62nd returned home wounded. Colonel Black’s recruits had gone to war as young boys and had returned home as seasoned soldiers. At the regiment’s monument dedication on the Gettysburg battlefield, Adjutant Patterson said “The only glory the rank and file have is in the honor and reputation of their own reputation.”

Among those who were now “home”, was Daniel Warren Swigart…he had indeed served with honor, in a “regiment of distinction.”

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“HUMILITY”…humble beginnings…

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.   1Peter 5:6,7

While I wish I could say that I know all about “young Daniel Swigart”, I cannot…but I will tell you what I know, and will gladly welcome any additional information that might possibly come about as a result of this writing…

Daniel Warren Swigart was born on June 28, 1838, three miles west of Kittanning, Pennsylvania, in the county of Armstrong…Daniel was the eighth of ten children born to John and Sarah Swigart…John Swigart was a stone mason and a brick-layer like his father Abraham, and helped to build the “Eagle Hotel” in Kittanning, as well as other brick structures in the town…

The Swigart family lived on Wilson Avenue in what was known as Wickboro [now Wick City]…my uncle remembers being neighbors with the Swigart’s in his younger days, long before the whole “connection” was known…my grandmother Bowser was a Swigart…in 1860, Daniel, now twenty-two years old, would marry Margaret Starr…they would have five children, Ella [1861], Emma [1863], John [1864], Frank [1866], and Margaret, who was born September 25, 1868…the following day, Daniel’s wife Margaret would pass away…

Later census records show parts of the Swigart family residing near Bridgeburg, which is on the opposite side of the Allegheny…some of the family would eventually be laid to rest on a bluff not far from the river in the Croyle Cemetery, including brother Abraham and sister Nancy…

In the midst of the Swigart’s marriage came the outbreak of the American Civil War…On July 4, 1861, Daniel W. Swigart enlisted in Company D, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry [originally the 33rd Independent Blues]…his service in that regiment will be well documented in the coming posts…not long after twenty-three year old Daniel left Kittanning with the 62nd PVI, his older brother Abraham enlisted on October 1, with Company A, 2nd Regiment, Pennsylvania Cavalry…both would survive the conflict and return to the area following the war…

During my time as a living historian, I found myself in the position to speak publicly during ceremonies, Memorial Day services and other events, ironically at times, standing in Daniel’s very footsteps to do so…one point that I consistently tried to convey was that as living historians, we can replicate the uniforms that they would’ve worn, the weapons they would’ve carried, the tents they would’ve slept in, and even the food they would have been rationed…but, there is no way that we can duplicate the hard choices that they would have been faced with–leaving family and friends behind to go off to war!…your very country becoming divided…these were trying times for sure…

While I don’t have any diary transcripts or family letters describing how the Swigart brothers felt at that time, or their reasons for enlisting, I believe they would have been well acquainted with the free black families living just across the river in what was known as Belltown, and as Christian men, would have felt the weight of the growing list of issues dividing the nation as they made their way to muster in…

**A note of interest: There are a number of U.S.C.T. [United States Colored Troops] laid to rest in the Belltown Cemetery, also known as the Enty Cemetery, Enty being the last name of some of these soldiers and their families.

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“HUMILITY, HONOR AND GLORY” [the story of Daniel Warren Swigart]

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After finally deciding to revisit my site and tell you the story of Daniel Swigart, as I know it, I was immediately faced with a decision: to take the time to write the whole story and publish it all at once, OR, to write[and post] as time allows, telling the story in chapters, so to speak, with the hopes that those of you who are following along will start looking forward to the next chapter…

Well, I am opting to tell the story a little bit at a time, which I think will enable me to be more thorough, and hopefully make it more interesting for you…

That being said, let’s start with a refresher on the “background”–why Daniel; why me…

Back around the “turn of the century”, around 1999, 2000, I started traveling to Gettysburg with some friends[and co-workers] who were part of a Civil War Living History group, Company D, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry…my interest at that point, was as a photographer…my friends had lineage to men in the regiment–I did not[or so I thought]…

After returning from a weekend in Gettysburg with the 62nd, taking photos of their meeting, the battlefield, etc., my Uncle Joe called me to inform me that I/we had an ancestor who served as a non-commissioned officer in the 62nd PA!…Daniel Warren Swigart…my great, great, great uncle…the search, as they say, was on…

And search we did…for several years my uncle and I would travel all over western Pennsylvania to the numerous churches that Daniel served at as a Baptist minister…we would find several documents, a copy of his signature, and a quilt with his name sewn into, but NO photographs of him…

Then, several years ago I received a phone call out of the blue, ironically on the day before Thanksgiving…I will never forget hearing the sweet voice on the line–Jo, a great, great granddaughter of Reverend Swigart, telling me that she had been led to this blog site, and was fascinated to learn that someone–another descendant–was searching for her, great, great grandfather…

That conversation led us to an image of Daniel through Ancestry.com, and in the coming months, Jo also reached out to her sister, and before long, many more images would surface, as well as a poem that Daniel had penned, and other resources too…I feel very blessed to have an uncle who spent countless hours working on our family history, and then to have the floodgates open up after being contacted by other members of the Swigart family, all helping to piece together the story of a man who served his country, and served his Lord…

So,now, after many years of searching for information and images of Mr. Swigart, all the while doing my best to honor him[and at times portray him], I am very pleased and honored to tell you the story of Daniel Warren Swigart–Humility, Honor and Glory.

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JANUARY 23, 2018: HELLO…AGAIN!

Well, I suppose after several years without posting anything on my blog, it is about time for an update…when I last posted, my entries included information about an “undiagnosed illness”, my early retirement, and my continuing work as a Civil War living historian[and the ongoing search for information/photos of one of my ancestors, Daniel Warren Swigart]…

So, to get you “caught up”, the illness continues to be lacking a diagnosis, BUT, I refuse to let it keep me down, and I recently had surgery to repair some unrelated issues in my back…so far, those repairs seem to have been a success!

As for my early retirement–no regrets whatsoever!…if you can do it, I highly recommend it!

AND, one of the main reasons that I feel compelled to “blog” again, is the positive events regarding my search for my ancestor, Rev. Daniel Warren Swigart, a First Sergeant in Company D, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry[see “Where’s Daniel” in my archives]…since my last entries, there has been “much to tell[and show]” in this area…

The night before Thanksgiving, 2015, I received a phone call from a wonderful lady, who oddly enough found me from this site, who quickly informed me that she too was a descendant of Mr. Swigart…that was a conversation that I will never forget, and as you will see if my upcoming posts, not one, but many images of Daniel have surfaced as a result of our “meeting”…

I feel I owe it to “Jo”, and the rest of the family, and especially to “Daniel”, to put the rest of the story out there…

So, in the coming days and weeks, I hope to put several new pages on here, and to update the “CoD62ndPVI” site as well…the 62nd Living History Family is still a very active group, and in fact, just took over the “adoption” of the 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry monument site on the Gettysburg Battlefield…

Thanks for being very, very patient in waiting for updates…

God Bless,

Robert J. “Slim” Bowser

“THE RICHEST MAN IN TOWN”

Sunday, September 15th, 2013…

For those of you who have followed my blog from the beginning, or those who know me, know that I have always loved the Christmas season, particularly the “sentimental” feelings, and the “true Spirit” of the holiday…of course that includes the “old holiday favorites”, the music, movies and cartoons…one of those favorites has always been “It’s A Wonderful Life”, Frank Capra’s moving telling of the life of one George Bailey…if you’ve never seen it, I recommend watching it this year…if you have seen it, then you’ll understand when I say that “it sure looked like a scene out of that movie at my house yesterday!”…

My previous writing tells of my recent and ongoing battle with some unknown illness, which has me very weak, tired, and short of breath???…and, as summer is now fading into my favorite season, autumn, my thoughts automatically turn to scenic walks, taking photos, and FIREWOOD!…In the tradition of my Grandpa Brumbaugh, my Dad, and my Uncle Butch–I love the sight, smell, and the heat from a wood and coal fire…I will always remember as if it were yesterday, laying on the floor in front of grandpa’s fire–him sleeping on one side, me on the other, and grandma in her chair crocheting…and to this day, my primary heat source remains a wood and coal burning stove…which brings me back to FIREWOOD!…I need to get better fast, ’cause I need to cut more firewood…

Well, Sue, being the wonderful and thoughtful person that she is, without my knowing anything, created a scene right out of “It’s A Wonderful Life” for me…when I returned from a doctor appointment on Friday[the 13th–not superstitious, I was born on the 13th], she was standing in my driveway…originally, my heart sank, thinking something was wrong–perhaps Chloe or Cayden were sick?…but within a few minutes, a fair-sized dump truck pulled into the drive–loaded with FIREWOOD!…CUT–SPLIT–AND LOTS OF IT!…and before I could ask any questions, she said, “I’ll be back–don’t worry about it, you’ll see tomorrow”…she returned with my Mum’s large coffee maker, along with numerous mystery items…

Which sets the stage: Saturday, September 14th, 8AM…

I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I’ve figured out that those 30 cups of coffee aren’t all for me…and sure enough, I looked outside to find a few of my friends[some also Camp members] walking up the driveway…Tim, Karen, Amy, Walt—and Larry!…and before I could shake all of their hands, Jim, Joe, Dan, Debe, Lakota, Ashley…then another Joe, then another Karen…then some family members, Mike, Isaac—Ma and Pa!

 

VOLUNTEER WOODCHUCKERS-1 VOLUNTEER WOODCHUCKERS-2 VOLUNTEER WOODCHUCKERS-3 VOLUNTEER WOODCHUCKERS-4 VOLUNTEER WOODCHUCKERS-5 VOLUNTEER WOODCHUCKERS-6 VOLUNTEER WOODCHUCKERS-7

Within a few minutes, after a few quick introductions, they started a line of “woodchuckers”…a few at the massive pile of wood–a line of handlers, and Tim, Karen and Joe stacking it as fast as it was handed to them…by 10AM, the entire load of wood was beautifully stacked on my porch!–nearly enough to last the winter!…WOW!

AND, without ruining the ending for those of you will now make it a point to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life”, as I’ve said before, like George Bailey, I too am “the richest man in town”–a man that is blessed to have so many friends, a loving family, and of course, Sue, who lovingly [and secretly] made the whole thing happen…I’m not ashamed to say that I was moved to tears several times throughout the day–first, in disbelief that so many were willing to give of their time and money to do this–then, when it “hit me” that “I am really unable to do this for myself” at this time–and again, when everyone had gone to take care of their own obligations, and Sue and I stood there looking at all of that FIREWOOD…

Needless to say, as I set here writing this, there is a warm, crackling fire in the stove this cool, late-summer night…

God Bless.

“RETIRED…TIRED…SICK AND TIRED…”

September 15, 2013…

Well, obviously it’s been quite a while since my last writing, and for good reason…

My first few months of retirement, being winter months, included some walks in the snow, as seen in the McConnell’s Mill article, and some much needed time by the fire, watching the snow falling outside, looking at the telephone from time to time, and smiling to myself, knowing that it would no longer be PennDOT calling me to go to work!

Springtime brought with it a full schedule of Civil War related events, both with the 62nd PVI Living History Unit, and the SUVCW Camp 43, which also includes the Indiana County Civil War Memorial Committee’s “Rest on Arms” project…I will try to expand on each of those on their respective sites in the near future…but with that full schedule, also came the onset of much fatigue, and, as time would go on, a still undiagnosed illness, with the fatigue being just one of many symptoms…

In June, just as the 150th Anniversary events at Gettysburg were about to begin, I started treatment for Lyme disease, as many of the symptoms seemed to lead us to believe that a tick had been behind all of this…but, after 30 days of doxycycline, I was feeling worse, and the search for the cause has led to testing on my heart, lungs, and of course, many tubes of blood…so, as the title says, in the last nine months, I have gone from being retired, to being extremely tired, to the present condition–sick and tired…

I can remember while I was still working for PennDOT, seeing so many of my fellow employees fall ill, either just before they retired, or just after, some, never even living to receive their first pension check…that was certainly in the back of my mind as I was contemplating my early retirement…well, I guess I made the right decision–the way I feel at the present, I’d be missing a lot of work if still employed…

I have faith that we will find out what’s causing all of this, but in the meantime, I am blessed to be surrounded by many loved ones, family, and friends, which will be evident in my next writing…hopefully, soon I’ll be able to get back to just being “retired!”…

“MCCONNELL’S MILL HIKE”

One of my favorite places has always been McConnell’s Mill State Park…if you ever want to “get way from it all” for a couple of hours, “the mill” is the place to go…that being said, naturally[no pun intended], it was also one of the first places that I wanted to go upon retiring…trips to the mill were difficult to arrange when working–snow meant 12 hour shifts many times, and the last thing you wanted to do after plowing snow all night was go out and walk in it!…

"The Bridge"

“The Bridge”

SO, now that snow is beautiful again, I asked my friends and former co-workers, Larry Smail and Frank Maus, if they would like to travel to the mill for a hike[they have a couple of years’ head start on me for such walks]…they agreed to go, and on a cold, frosty, sunny morning, the 8th of January, we embarked on our journey…

"Frankie, Slim, Larry"

“Frankie, Slim, Larry”

Our first priority was breakfast…conveniently, my friend[and bag-piper] Amanda operates her family restaurant, “Hickory Woods”, along Route 422, just a few miles from the park…If you love to eat breakfast, you’ll love “Hickory Woods”, with many traditional family recipes, a relaxing atmosphere, and great hospitality…until his recent passing, I could always count on Amanda’s Dad coming over to sit and talk while we waited on our meal…it’s a great place to meet with friends for a meal, and that’s what we did to start our day…of course, the majority of the conversation[and laughter] this day revolved around our combined nearly 100 years service with Penndot–so many stories, so little time!

"Hey Larry, let's leave Slim at the falls!"

“Hey Larry, let’s leave Slim at the falls!”

Once our bellies were full, it was time to go walk it off…we started at Alpha Pass and Falls, a trail that leads to a waterfall, fed by a mere drainage ditch…the weeks of cold weather had made the falls a series of large icicles, with water still splashing over the cliff…a beautiful display, just a short hike down the trail…

"Alpha Falls"

“Alpha Falls”

Next, it was time to go to the old grist mill, which is flanked by a beautifully restored covered bridge…Slippery Rock Creek feeds the mill, and travels over the dam, and under the bridge…normally, I would climb all over the large rocks above and below the bridge for photos, but the packed snow and ice made climbing a challenge[and Slippery Rock Creek is deep, fast, and dangerous]…and the thing I do best in water is “sink”, so I kept my distance…we would take a short drive up to the cliffs that overlook the creek valley, but again, with deep gorges and slippery conditions, looking out the window would suffice…

"Mill and dam"

“Mill and dam”

From there we headed for one of the more remote[and often overlooked] areas of the park, called “Hell’s Hollow”…I don’t know the “lore” for how it got that name, but feel it is certainly misleading, as a walk down the trail will lead you to a “heavenly scene”–a three tiered waterfall, surrounded by a forest of beech, hemlock, oak, and maples–not to mention the boulders and rock formations, and the old kiln…what beauty!…and on a crisp, cold morning, the only sounds were the birds calling, and the water rushing over the falls…

"From this..."

“From this…”

We took a break from the “work stories” to discuss more serious matters–“lost pets”…Larry’s dog “Susie” being the most recent to pass,[www.larrysmailart.com], but we all had a similar story, and I think “walking and talking” were “good medicine” for Larry this day…by the time we got back to my truck, we had successfully walked off our breakfasts, and went back to laughing all the way home…we agreed to repeat the journey[or another similar one] soon…

..."to this..."

…”to this…”

For more information about McConnell’s Mill, visit: http://www.visitPAparks.com

..."to the falls..."

…”to the falls…”

For information about Amanda Lazzara, “the lady-piper” go to: http://www.ladypiperpa.webs.com

Larry’s blog/website is: http://www.larrysmailart.wordpress.com or http://www.larrysmailart.com

**All photos by the author…copyright laws apply***

 

 

"Beech leave in snow"

“Beech leave in snow”

 

 

"Three Stooges"

“Three Stooges”

 

 

"A Heavenly scene"

“A Heavenly scene”