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Battle of Bushy Run to be honored in annual celebration

| Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 7:23 p.m.
Margie Stanislaw | The Jeannette Spirit
Volunteers who put on the spring and fall teas at the Bushy Run Museum Stone Room include, from left, Ruth Kunkle, Bonnie Ramus, Maryanne Brenkus, Norma Friend, Joanne Shuker and Marlene Sawayda.
Margie Stanislaw | The Jeannette Spirit
Friends Joan Downing of Penn Borough, Norma Bennett of Penn Township and Gail Noll of Harrison City, enjoy an afternoon tea at Bushy Run Battlefield. Downing and her cousins recently purchased a commemorative brick in honor of their late uncle Robert Downing who was the custodian and caretaker at the park for many years.

The sestercentennial — 250th anniversary — of the Battle of Bushy Run will be commemorated in August.

A monument commemorating the battle has been commissioned and, according to the Bushy Run website, “It will consist of three granite pedestals and three bronze statues representing the American, British and Native American forces that fought at the Battle of Bushy Run.

“World-renowned artists Robert Griffing and John Buxton will design the monument concept and bronze sculptor Wayne Hyde will bring their design to life.”

The Bushy Run Battlefield Heritage Society has been fundraising for the monument through the sale of engraved bricks.

The society and volunteers have also conducted other fundraising events to keep the park operational since the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission slashed funding in 2009.

In 2010, the Commission came to an agreement with the volunteers of the society to allow them to continue to staff and operate the museum and agreed to work in partnership with the society.

The dedicated members of the society and the volunteers held their annual spring tea this year. This event was a formal afternoon tea, with limited tickets sold.

It is held in the Stone Room of the museum. All of the volunteers donate, prepare and serve the tea which includes scones, salad, tea sandwiches, cold peach and apple soup and cookies. All the tables are set with vintage dinnerware, and unique teapots.

Joan Downing, a member of the society and a great supporter of the tea, also enlisted her cousins' help in purchasing a commemorative brick to support the newly commissioned monument.

Downing, a resident of Penn Township, wanted to commemorate her uncle, the late Robert Downing. A World War II veteran, Robert Downing lived most of his life on the Claridge-Elliott Road.

After returning from the war, Robert Downing married, and his wife, Ida, was related to a Mr. Moog, who was the battlefield facilitator at that time.

The family does not have a record of the exact years he was employed at the park.

“He spent most of his time out at the park working,” said Downing. “He was there for many, many years.”

As he had no children, Downing and her cousins Barbara Wakefield, Kathy Marsh, Mary Margaret Hawkins, Jerry Hepler, William Hepler, James Downing, Nancy Lopes, Pamela Robeck and Beverly Lofthus thought a commemorative brick would be a “nice way to honor him.”

The anniversary re-enactment of the Battle of Bushy Run will be held on Aug. 2-4.

To learn more about Bushy Run, and activities and events at the park, visit http://bushyrunbattlefield.com.

Margie Stanislaw is a freelance writer.

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