Richard Townsend’s Original Dwelling; Oldest Remaining House In Pennsylvania

Richard Townsend’s Original Dwelling; Oldest Remaining House In Pennsylvania

I recently received a message from another descendant of Richard Townsend (1645-1742), Quaker minister who immigrated to Pennsylvania with William Penn aboard the Welcome. The message was an inquiry into what I knew about the Caleb Pusey House having been Richard Townsend’s original dwelling in the New World. To my amazement, when I delved into researching the topic, I discovered not only that yes, it was, but that the “Caleb Pusey House” is the oldest remaining home in Pennsylvania, and the “only building still standing which can claim documented association with the proprietor, William Penn, and which he is known to have visited on several occasions.”

The Friends of the Caleb Pusey House, Inc., in Upland Pennsylvania have done a fantastic job researching, restoring and preserving this house. On their website is an article called, “A View From 1963” written by Arden Skidmore, which brings to light our Richard Townsend’s confirmed connection to this house. The Archaeological Society of Delaware discovered many clues, including the center wall, of half-timber construction, which historians say undoubtedly was an original outside wall of the house. “Townsend built the original part of the Pusey house, now known to be the left (east) side, after his arrival on the Welcome with Penn in 1682.”

Photo from: Friends of Caleb Pusey House, Inc., Upland, PA.







Photo from: Wikipedia



Apparently, over the years, there was some confusion about this being Richard Townsend’s original dwelling place, as evidenced by the hand-written note on the bottom of this sketch in the Library of Congress:

We descendants of Richard Townsend, and his wife, Anne Hutchins, owe a debt of gratitude to the archaeologists that worked on this sight, and the Friends of the Caleb Pusey house that took such great care to research and restore this part of America’s history, and our family’s history as well.




History Channel’s ‘First Invasion; The War of 1812’ Has Baltimore Up In Arms Again!

While I certainly wish I had seen it sooner (preferably during the production stages), I had the opportunity to view Native Sun Production and The History Channel’s production of “First Invasion: The War of 1812” today. I was on the edge of my seat anticipating the scene where my 4th great grand uncle, 18 year old Henry Gough McComas, and his friend, Daniel Wells, both sharp shooters of Baltimore, are credited with firing the shots that killed British General Ross, before both boys’ lives were lost as well.

I was stunned that this production failed to mention their names and to even go so far as to say that their names had been “lost to history”.  They have a monument to them in Baltimore (!), and streets named after them, for their heroic deed that day, and I struggled to understand how they could possibly have been so blatantly overlooked.

I discovered an article from the Baltimore Sun “Film stirs flap over killing of general in 1814 ‘First Invasion’ omits names of 2 city teens” September 17, 2004, by Laura Vozzella, and was, at least, comforted to find that they had run this article expressing the total dismay of all of Baltimore over this omission. Following is the article:

A History Channel documentary that premiered in Baltimore last week said the turning point in the War of 1812 took place at the Battle of North Point, when “an anonymous sniper” killed the commander of British land forces.

“The sniper’s name has faded into history,” the narrator of First Invasion says.

The name might be lost to the History Channel, but not to Baltimoreans, who credit two city teenagers with the deed.

Daniel Wells and Henry McComas are mentioned in history books, have streets named after them and are honored with an obelisk on Monument Street, where Mayor Martin O’Malley laid a wreath for Defenders’ Day.

With two local heroes seemingly snubbed, Baltimore is, once again, up in arms.

“They made that terrible blooper – it’s a shame,” said Henry A. Ercole Jr., 82, a retired city school principal who called on the History Channel to revise the film. “It’s teaching false history to our children and the world.”

…for Baltimoreans who grew up with the story, the names of Wells and McComas were glaring omissions from the movie…

O’Malley, a history buff who appears in the film, tried to persuade the makers to include Wells and McComas, “even if they said, `It’s believed to be’ or `thought to be,'” spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said.

…isn’t it… inaccurate to say the “anonymous” shooter’s name had “faded into history”? There are, after all, not one but two names out there, alive in popular lore.

Gavin conceded that it would have been more precise to say something like, “The shooter’s identity is not known for certain.” But that would have taken more time, she said, in a medium that demands timing “second by second.”

“If we could say something in three words,” that won out over something more verbose, she said.

O’Malley…said he’d like to see a sequel: The Mystery of Ross’ Death Revealed.

Wells and McComas Monument, Baltimore

Wells and McComas Monument, Baltimore

McComas Inscription on Side of Monument

McComas Inscription on Side of Monument

McComas and Wells Funeral

McComas and Wells Funeral


Play based on story of McComas and Wells

Play based on story of McComas and Wells

While no photos exist of Henry Gough McComas, I do have a later photo taken of his older brother, my 4th great grandfather, William McComas (1790-1857) of Harford County, Maryland:

William McComas (1790-1857) Harford County, Maryland

William McComas (1790-1857) Harford County, Maryland

Here is a taste of the story from

Daniel Wells and Henry McComas were apprentice saddle makers in Charm City during the War of 1812. By 1814, the teenagers were part of Captain Edward Aisquith’s Militia Rifle Company, preparing for an eventual English attack. After successfully sacking Washington DC, including the White House, The British decided to swing by Baltimore in hopes of eliminating the pirates and privateers stationed in the notorious port. General Robert Ross was in command of the invading land troops that approached the town’s western boundaries in September of 1814. Ross had a military background spanning 30 years and had served in the Napoleonic Wars.

As the Aisquith Company positioned itself on the North Point Peninsula, an area fortified a year earlier in fear of an impending British invasion, General Ross, noticing the American positions, found refuge on the local farm of Robert Gorsuch. Here he had breakfast cooked for him while waiting for the rest of his army to arrive. Brigadier General John Stricker, in charge of the 3,000 plus soldiers advancing the British land assault, ordered a group of 230 men with one cannon to flush General Ross out of the Gorsuch farm. Wells and McComas were a part of this small brigade, their defining moment arriving swiftly.

Riding on a white horse (or a black horse, depending on the source), General Ross was shot in the battle, mortally wounded by the American Militia. Daniel Wells and Henry G. McComas have been given equal credit for the historical deed, each sacrificing their life in the progress. Another American soldier was shot at the scene, 24 year-old Aquila Randall, credited with being the first United States fatality of the Battle of North Point, was found near the bodies Wells and McComas, all three had fired their weapons…


In 1854, a committee gathered with the notion of erecting a monument to Wells and McComas. On September 10, 1858, after securing and investing the funds for the project, the bodies of the teen militiamen were exhumed and placed in the Maryland Institute. Thousands of people visited the coffins during the three days leading up to September 12th, the anniversary of the Battle of North Point, when the official cornerstone for the memorial was laid. On that day, the bodies of Wells and McComas were paraded to Ashland Square, the site of interment, and placed below the obelisk’s foundation in ceremonial fashion. The 21-foot monument was finally completed in 1873 and is made of Baltimore County marble. The Obelisk portion, resting on a two-step granite pedestal is comprised of two large pieces of marble, weighing 14 and 8 tons respectively.

Another article, found at:, states:

In 1814, Major General Robert Ross was commander of the British at North Point. He had almost 30 years of battle experience, including the Napoleonic Wars. Upon the sign that the Americans were building their defenses, Ross halted the frontmost part of his force in order to let the rest catch up. Robert
Ross had stopped at the farm of Robert Gorsuch.1

Around 1 PM that day, Wells and McComas met Ross at the Gorsuch farm. Upon later study of the scene, it was apparent that the muskets of Wells and McComas were unloaded, while Ross had suffered wounds in his right arm and chest. McComas seemed to have been shot as he reloaded his weapon, and Wells was shot while he was behind McComas. Daniel Wells, Henry McComas, and Robert Ross were all dead that day.1

1 George, Christopher, “Wells & McComas,” My Edgemere (2002-2004), <>.

photo credit: Allen Browne:

photo credit: Allen Browne:





Tombstone Tuesday: Hannah (Emery) Bartlett 1654-1705

Hannah (Emery) Bartlett wife of Richard Bartlett

Of Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts. One of her grandsons was the Hon. Josiah Bartlett, signer of the Declaration of Independence and first Governor of New Hampshire.  She is one of my 8th great grandmothers on my father’s side.

Photo Source: Reitan Family Tree on


Maritime Monday: Around the Horn in 1849

Aldebaran, 1869, barque class ship. Source: Wikipedia.



“The Cape Horn route around South America is one of the most dangerous nautical passages in the world. Both sailors and passengers fear it because of the many sailing mishaps that have occurred there… Due to the violent weather in the Cape Horn area, sailors navigated this route only with the greatest of apprehension. These hazards became well known to sailors in the 18th century as this route came to be sailed more often. The waves in this area often reached heights of over 65 feet. There are also an average of 200 days per year with gale storms and about 130 days per year with heavy clouds. Most of the rest of the year the winds are strong and the waves are high. As a result, there were frequent shipwrecks in the Cape Horn area during the 18th and 19th Centuries.”[from:]

Captain Henry Gough McComas

The following is shared in The McComas Saga: A Family History Down To The Year 1950, Compiled by Henry Clay McComas, Assisted by Mary Winona McComas, 1950, and transcribed by Barbara Bache Chalmers, March 2009.

“Certainly it would seem that we should know a great deal about a certain ‘Captain Courageous’, Henry Gough McComas; for all who are his grandchildren, knew and loved his wife and we are also the offspring of those two boys and daughter to whom he so often refers to as ‘G.W., Little Hen and Bell’…. I can still remember my grandmother describing him as a man who was as broad as he was tall, but who had ‘the most beautiful brown eyes’ and once or twice she remarked that he was the ‘black sheep’ of the family; but she had loved him all her life.”

One of the most picturesque figures on our family tree, he navigated the smallest ship that had gone around the Horn in his day, a job that called for a Captain and two mates and which he accomplished alone with six sailors. Here is what we know about him:

“Henry Gough McComas was born Oct. 23rd 1816, in the little house that his father William had on High Street. It was just two years since his uncle had been shot at North Point. [This story will follow in the days to come.] Here he lived for two years, when the family moved to the other side of town. All the homes he lived in as a boy were within easy walking distance of the long rows of sailing ships ties up to the wharfs. They must have been the most interesting things in Baltimore – flags from all over the world hanging from their  masts. Strange and interesting cargoes came out of their holds. Sailors! What a group of enchanting characters they were! All sorts of languages could be heard on the streets near the vessels. Any small boy could hear tales in that part of the town that would make the Arabian Nights seem drab.  True, the environment left something to be desired with its dirty dives, its horribly drunken tars… to say nothing of the thievery and the bloody fights. One could get an education there.

In strong opposition to the influence of the Sea, must have been the influence of his mother. Ellen Fort McComas was a positive character and a very intelligent woman. Somehow or other, she saw to it that Henry got a good education for his time… Of one thing we may be sure, he must have had a good drilling in mathematics and navigation.

It seems that at about 16 years of age, he left home and went off to Sea. Of course, there were many boys of his age and younger in the old wind-jammers at that time. Some sort of duties were given them before the time that they could ship ‘before the mast’ and become able bodied seamen.

What voyages he made and what hardships he endured during these early years, have left no record. Had he prospered sufficiently to embark upon matrimony? Here is a statement that comes down the years from his wife. There was a little party being held in Harford County and she remarked, ‘I am going to marry the best looking man who comes to this party.’ Then she selected the young sailor who probably had gotten his ‘shore legs’ by that time. Undoubtedly he did not know what was happening to him, probably thinking that he was using a good deal of judgement in selecting a wife. At that time, he was 24 and she was 28. However this affair started and developed, they certainly were deeply in love with each other through out all the years of their lives.

Kezia Cunningham McComas

…The Captain had seen about every great city in the world. Fifty acres of Gresham’s Colledge must have looked rather minute compared with what he had been seeing… Whether we like it or not, there are men who cannot adjust themselves to the hum-drum life of most occupations. Perhaps the old Captain represented a throw-back to the old Viking spirit. No Viking ever made as long and hard a trip as he did around Cape Horn in [1849/50].

He was married May 7 1840 and may have lived in Harford County for a few years, as it seems that his children were born there in an old stone house on Gresham’s Colledge, where their ancestors had lived. However, in 1846, we find letters to his wife that she was living in a house at the corner of Pine and Baltimore Streets. At this time, he was making voyages along the coasts of North Carolina and Georgia. Just what his journeys were, we can only infer from the addresses on the letters he received. In January, he was in Norfolk, Virginia, in February he was in Elizabeth City, North Carolina; in April and August of that year, he was in Savannah, Georgia. From those letters, it would seem that he was master of a ship and could plan her trips and select her cargoes.

Some time later in 1847,  he appears to be engaged in making trips to Europe, for now we find his wife’s letters being sent to New York to be delivered to him aboard ship. From the letters, it would seem that he had recently come from London and was waiting for his ship to make a return voyage to Europe…

In 1849, occurred the great Gold Rush to California. Evidently, the Captain wanted to improve his finances and was thinking about a voyage to San Francisco around the Horn in 1849, when his wife declared she would not follow him out there. [Within  the year, in the summer] he did make the trip.

At least 20 ships left Baltimore in one year, loaded with provisions or men, going to the Gold Fields. I understand the Captain sold some of his property to put into a little ship… this little vessel was a 100 hundred ton ship named the ‘George Washington’. This is the smallest vessel that ever rounded the Horn and the feat was considered a very daring one. She was laden with the sort of things that miners might need. According to my Uncle, there was a group of men interested in this enterprise. The ship was not very sea worthy and the men put as much insurance on the vessel and the cargo that they could obtain. According to my Uncle, they were betting that the little ship would not make the trip and they would get their profit from the insurance.”

Gold Rush and Cape Horn map

The book “‘Fifty South To Fifty South’, by W.M. Tompkins,  gives a picture of a small schooner… and her trip around the Horn a few years ago… he had a vessel comparable to the George Washington… Captain Tompkins had made many long trips sailing in ships. He constantly carried in the back of his head the idea that some day he must attempt the passage around the Horn. Says he, ‘A man who loves the Sea and ships can aspire to no more searching test than a Horn passage. It is the last word in the lexicon of sailor men. There Nature has arranged trials and tribulations so ingenious that in the van of all synonyms for sea cruelty and hardships it is the iron bound Cape Horn.'”

When Captain Tompkins finally made his voyage around the Horn, he “had an ample crew of experienced young men who knew all the tricks of the sailor’s trade. When a gale ripped his mainsail, three young men had room enough on their craft to haul it down, haul up a substitute and in despite of the cold, sew up the long rip. I cannot see how Captain Henry could have met such an emergency. Then too, [Captain Tompkins] had enough men in his crew to serve the ship while their companions were getting rested for their turn. Captain Henry had only six [inexperienced men] and the hardships were so terrible that two of these died at sea. We must envisage this stocky man, about five feet four tall with a chest like a barrel managing the navigating, directing and helping his crew by day and by night. We note that at one time the going was so bad that he had some thoughts of turning back. We also note that he didn’t do it.

San Francisco Bay during the Gold Rush. Source:


…Though we willingly concede the necessity for good judgement and experience in this enterprise, I think that nearly everyone finds his admiration based on something else. Consider some of the features of that voyage. On the 4th of July, the salt water had frozen to the depth of two feet on the deck. Ice must have been thick in the rigging. How a sail could be raised, lowered or reefed is a mystery. This condition persisted for two month when the wind from Westward kept beating them back. That means they had to tack against a head wind and the sails had to be adjusted to the ship’s course. That this could have been done with only one man on deck, is a most remarkable achievement…

It is nothing short of outrageous that our family did not get a long description of the Captain’s voyage. In it were materials that would make an epic.  How he returned from California, by land across the continent, or by sea and that hazardous trip across the Panama Canal, we have no idea. That is a shame.  Either trip, we know from records of those days, would have to be full of strange experiences, exciting adventures and some description of the country and the conditions of that romantic period.

All that we do have is [a] letter written from Valparaiso as his little ship had at last quit her violent rolling and plunging and was steady enough to write…”

Stay tuned for PART 2, including this fascinating letter, coming to this blog for the next Mariner Monday.


Church Record Sunday

Mountain Christian Church Photo by Pege,  found at findagrave

It may have seemed that I’ve been neglecting my ancestry research as I haven’t written as frequently lately, but things are not always as they seem. I have actually been off on yet another fascinating bunny trail that started when I wanted to write about my 3rd great grandfather the Sea Captain a couple of weeks ago for “Maritime Monday.” As I looked more closely at the information I already had about Captain Henry Gough McComas, I noticed that I had made note that he was buried at the Mountain Christian Church in Joppa, Maryland. This was fascinating, as the rest of this line (that married into the Turner family) in my family were all Quaker, all the way down to my great grandfather. I was so intrigued, that I delved into researching the history of this church and even contacted the still existent church in Joppa, Maryland. By pouring over records and written histories I learned that Capt. Henry Gough McComas’ parents, William McComas (1790-1857) and Ellen (Fort) McComas (1798-1859) had even donated the initial four acres of land that the original church building was built on, and is still part of the property where the church stands today; that William and Ellen, Ellen’s parents and various other members of the McComas family were all founding members of this church in Joppa. When I made contact with someone in the church whose last name was the same as my Capt. McComas’ wife’s- I soon learned, upon conducting a little  research on her late husband’s family, that we were related! As one of the church’s historians she sent me copies of church minutes from back in the Fall of 1846 (before they had organized under the new name and were still going by the name of “Union Chapel Church in Wilna”). In the meeting minutes my 4th great grandparents are mentioned, and there it is indeed stated that they gave the land for the new church site.  Further it is noted that William McComas served as superintendent of the building project without charging anything for his services.  These church records provide such great insight into the lives of our ancestors; into what they invested their time and resources into; what they truly valued. I wonder if they ever thought about some long into the future descendant discovering this about them?



Surname Saturday

Michelle, author of the Gulf Coast Lagniappe blog, posted such a fun, creative idea today (!) that I had to try it out. See her post with the all the instructions to create one of your own by clicking on the name of her blog above.

Surname Subway Art Poster:

Surname Collage


















Wordless Wednesday

My 2nd great grandmother on my mother’s side- One of those that was so hard to find, I cherish her discovery immensely…Maggie F Harmon


Where Were You on September 11, 2001?

I still lived in Maui, Hawaii and was not in the habit of watching t.v. or staying “plugged in” in any way. My life was about to completely change in that regard. I had just finished cleaning up the kitchen after my children’s breakfast on that beautifully sunny morning. My father phoned me from the mainland and asked me if I was watching the news. I simply answered, “No, why?” He proceeded to tell me that we were “under attack” and I remember thinking “Dad, you can be so dramatic at times…,” but while he was talking, I humored him by walking into the living room, opening the wood and bamboo cabinet my husband had made to house the old “boob-tube,” and there it was- in all it’s surreal, incomprehensible horrific-ness. Of course by then (Maui-time is 6 hours earlier than the East coast) most everything had already happened, and survivors and news anchors were just struggling to make sense of what seemed impossibly nonsensical. They were airing re-runs of the events earlier in the day- and I kept wanting to know where the President was. I remember just wanting to hear any encouraging words from him- just wanting to know that he, at least, was still alive. Much to my relief, we did, of course, eventually hear from him.

Then all the air traffic was halted for a few days. This was remarkably eerie from our perspective on a little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. From our home, up on the slopes of Haleakala, we had an expansive view over the entire valley, and hence looked down on all the air traffic routinely flying in and out from our little island. It was just one of those little things you get used to, and when it stops the absence of it is glaringly obvious. Some of our friends moved to the mainland within that first year. We, too, eventually took the plunge and sold our business and home to move to the Continental U.S. It’s nice to know that we can just drive everywhere we will ever need to go; something we obviously never had the luxury of taking for granted in the islands.

I was so glad that we had moved to the mainland several years later when my mother was ill and preparing to breathe her last, that we could all simply pile into the van and go see her. I’ve learned so much more about our American heritage, world history and my own family’s history since then, and have taken much more of an interest in the events of the world. As a result, my home-schooled children have learned a whole lot more than I had by their ages about all of these topics. In that sense, and others to be sure, September 11th, 2001 changed my life forever, and the lives of my children as well. We will never see the world the same as we did before that day- and in a sense it is also true that the world will never BE the same as it was before that day.DSC_0158_2


Military Monday: Rev. Joseph Powell


Rev. Joseph Powell, of Welsh parentage, was born March 6, 1734 in Pennepek,  Pennsylvania. He was classically educated at the Hopewell Academy in New Jersey and ordained there in 1764. He and his wife Rachel (Rose) Powell, were leading members of the Tonoloway Primitive Baptist Church beginning August 1765, when he was called to be the first pastor of this church. In the following year, Rev. Joseph Powell, David Bowen, and Elias Stillwell applied for a warrant for the land that the church was built upon. He would not only work diligently in his capacity as Pastor here for nearly forty years, but additionally be appointed as Chaplain in the Revolutionary War and serve as a member of the Constitutional Convention of July 15, 1776.

He would also serve as a member of the General Assembly 1779-80, and solemnize 845 marriages over the course of his ministry. He married Rachel Rose, September 1, 1742. They had eight children Mary (b 1767), Anna (b 1769), Joseph (b 1771), Rebecca (b 1774),  Samuel (b 1777), John W. (b 1779), and Rachel, (b 1781). When he died Sept. 8, 1804 he was aged 62 years.

The family Bible of Joseph Powell, as of 1939, was in the possession of Mrs. Miller of Indianapolis, Indiana, and contains records of the exact times each of their children were born.

Tonoloway Primitive Baptist Church is located in Thompson Twp., in present day Fulton County, formerly part of Bedford County, Pennsylvania, just a couple of miles north of Hancock, Maryland and the Potomac River.

Military Career of Joseph Powell

(From: Joseph Powell 1734-1804 Delegate From Tonoloway, Fulton County Historical Society, Inc., Written for the Historical Society by: Glenn R. Cordell and John H. Nelson)

“…What information is available indicates that he was an active soldier, and was probably acquainted with… Brigadier General Charles Scott, Major General Nathaniel Greene and General George Washington.

Francis B. Heitman’s 1914 book Historical Register of the Continental Army Durning the War of the Revolution, April 1775 to December, 1783 briefly states that Joseph Prowell (with the ‘r’) was a Captain in John Pratton’s Continental Regiment, was promoted to Major in 1778, transferred to the 11th Pennsylvania Regiment, and retired in 1779.

Much more information can be found in John B.B. Trussell, Jr.’s 1977 book, The Pennsylvania Line-Regimental Organization and Operations 1776-1783. Trusell confirms the above information and provides more details of Patton’s ‘Additional’ Continental Regiment, and all the following information is taken from his account.

Patton’s ‘Additional’ Regiment was the second of two regiments recruited primarily in Pennsylvania on authroity of Congress on Dec. 27, 1776. The outfit included a number of officers and enlisted men from New Jersey and Delaware.

Command of the unit was designated to Col. John Patton, and although he resigned his commision in Feb., 1778, the outfit continued to be identified as ‘Patton’s Regiment’. The unit’s uniform was a short brown jacket, buckskin breeches, and a round hat.

Records of the unit are scarce, according to Trussell; however, seven company commanders have been idntified. Company A was commanded by Joseph Powell. Trussell himself states that ‘Prowell is deen as “Powell” in some cases and “Prowell” in others’. Powell was promoted directly from civilian life on Jan 11, 1777. That he was promoted from civilian life should come as no surprise. He was certainly qualified as a leader of men, and demonstrated such ability not only in the pulpit, but at the Pennsylvania State Constitutional Convention of 1776 as well, and no doubt he was known by the country’s leading political and military figures.

Trussell states that little reference to the units activities can be found. However, at least some of the regiment  took part in patrolling and skirmishes in New Jersey during the late winter and spring of 1777. As well, the outfit saw action in the battles of Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. Patton’s Regiment was also present at the encampment at Valley Forge, where it was a component of Brigadier General Charles Scott’s brigade. By the end of the encampment, the regiment was greatly reduced in numbers and was primarily absorbed by a regiment commeanded by Col. William Grayson.

…Powell was the first chaplain of the original seven to vacate his capacity, when he was promoted to the rank of major on Jan. 17, 1778. Almost a year later, on Jan. 13, 1779, Powell was transferred to the 11th Pennsylvania Regiment. The so-called ‘new’ 11th Pennsylvania was formed as a result of two resolutions of Congress- one on Dec. 16, 1778, and the other on Jan 13, 1779. It was to consit of Patton’s and Col. Thomas Harley’s regiments, plus several independent companies.

According to Trussell, there was a controversy over the regiment’s majority. Powell was initially appointed as major… however the position was claimed by Evan Edwards of Hartley’s unit who, incidenrally, spent most of his service time as aide-de-camp to Major General Charles Lee. A board of general officers selected Edwards to be the major, this despite the opinion of Lt. Col. Adam Hubley, who considered Powell to be a “worthy, good officer.”

During Powell’s tenure with the 11th, the unit was primarily stationed at Sunbury, Pennsylvania. Joseph Powell retired from his military career on June 5, 1779. It is not known why he was promoted to major, why he was transferred to the 11th Pennsylvania, or why he retired. Perhaps he simply felt it was time to return to his little log church in the wilds of western Pennsyslvania. He would see little rest, though, for in a few short months, Rev. Joseph Powell was elected as Representative from Bedford County in the Pennsylvania Assembly.”


Heitman, Francis B. “Historical Register of the Officers of the Continental Army During the War of the Revolution April, 1775 to December, 1783.” The Rare Book Shop Publishing Company, Inc. Washington, D.C. Pg. 454. 1914.

The Pennsylvania Archives. Series 5. Volume 3. Pg. 637. Harrisburg, 1906-1907.

“The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography”. Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia. Vol. 4. 1880.

Trussell, John B.B. “The Pennsylvania Line-Regimental Organization and Operations, 1776-1783.” Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Harrisburg, Pa. 1977.

The Fulton County Historical Society publication (Vol. 9: Joseph Powell 1734-1804, Delegate from Tonoloway, 1987 – (48 pgs.)


Family Recipe Friday: Mema’s Green Beans

Tucked inside one of my grandmother’s cookbooks, in the vegetables section, I found a little piece of notepaper with her hand-written green bean recipe. This brings back so many wonderful memories of visiting my grandparents and dining at “Mema’s” table with her, the always gracious hostess. (If you have a garden, this is great time of year to try Mema’s greenbeans!)

Green Beans

  1. nutmeg – sprinkle
  2. almonds – boil and skin, saute in butter
  3. crisp bacon bits
  4. saute mushrooms until wilted and add to beans