Vacation Photos

Pennsylvania -- September 2007
Shanksville and Schellsburg
Bedford and Fort Bedford
Morrison's Cove
Fredericksburg and Martinsburg
Juniata College

In September 2007, my parents and I went to south central Pennsylvania to look for some sites mentioned in connection with our ancestors. Some of our direct ancestors lived in Bedford, Blair and Huntingdon counties. We visited a LOT of cemeteries between Bedford and Huntingdon, and I remember thinking that we needed a bumper sticker stating: "We Brake For Cemeteries!" We also met a lot of wonderful, helpful people. This area is in the Allegheny Mountain Range, the western part of the Appalachian Mountains--what a beautiful area of the country!

Our first stop was an emotional one -- the Flight 93 Memorial Site near Shanksville. This was the plane that went down in a Pennsylvania field on September 11, 2001. In the center of the large photo is a flag hanging on the perimeter fence which surrounds the crash site. A group of local residents organized to staff the temporary memorial and these volunteers are known as Ambassadors. Thousands of visitors come to the site each week. At the temporary memorial is a 40-foot fence which has become a collage of flowers, flags, handwritten messages, artwork, and tributes of every description. There is an array of crosses, plaques, ball caps, patches, flags, and angels left at the site. The Ambassador told us that recovery workers found a completely untouched bible amidst the minute pieces of rubble. She also said that over 25,000 items left on the memorial fence have been cleaned, catalogued and stored and will be incorporated into the permanent memorial. Read more about the flight and the people on board here.

After a drive down Mt. Ararat (elev. 2464), our next stop was the 1806 Old Log Church near Schellsburg. When the congregations began to use the church for worship, there were few comforts. There was no wooden floor installed until two years after the church was built. The pews were logs. There was no heat, so church members brought their dogs to keep their feet warm! Three years later a stove was purchased and, by 1812, enough money had been raised to build a pulpit, pews and stairs.
   Two early settlers of the area, James H. Boylan and his son Alvy, turned to sandstone to create artistic works of art. This cemetery has at least 155 sandstones that were carved by the Boylans between 1808 and 1855.

Next Stop:    Bedford and Fort Bedford

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