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Parlor talks return to West Overton

| Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Bringing together a wealth of information covering various topics of historic interest, the West Overton Parlor Talks will be resuming this year, featuring three well-known speakers who will be leading this educational and interesting series.

“There weren't any parlor talks in 2011 and 2012 because that is when we were busy with the revitalization,” said Jessica Kadie-Barclay, West Overton Village and Museums director. “They were always so well received in the past and we hope to see that same interest again with the return of the series.”

The speakers that are appearing are diverse in nature, offering a variance in historic area and topic.

“These speakers are nationally recognized, but have local ties by topic or biography,” said board member Levi Miller of the guests who will be conducting the series.

“We look forward to our upcoming series of parlor talks. Each topic is popular and we believe that the public can look forward to an interesting and entertaining series,” Kadie-Barclay said.

The first speaker to head the series on Sunday will be Steven Nolt, who will talk about the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and the involvement of the Mennonites in the war.

“Because the West Overton Overholts were Mennonites, we thought Nolt could give us a window by which to view the Civil War,” Miller said. “Most Pennsylvania Mennonites such as the big settlement in Lancaster County were pacifists, but a number of the Overholt young men entered the Union armies. It's an unusual story. Abraham Overholt even visited the Union troops twice, a most un-Mennonite thing to do.”

The second talk, which is scheduled for Jan. 19, will feature Mark Meyer who will speak about the Whiskey Rebellion.

“Rye whiskey goes back to the 19th century beginnings of the West Overton Village, and the Meyer family and their Wigle Whiskey of Pittsburgh are the foremost interpreters of that period of American history,” Miller said.

The final guest for the series for this season will be D. Byron Yake, a Southmoreland High school alumni, who will talk about his career as a senior executive with the Associated Press.

“Regional sports reporting on the Pittsburgh professional teams led Yake to eventually becoming a senior executive with the Associated Press (AP) in New York,” Miller said. “There's also a homecoming element to Yake. He has local ties such as his student days and he will stay over on Monday to appear in some of the Southmoreland schools English and communication classes regarding sports writing and world news.”

All three of the parlor series talks will be held in the distillery room located under the museum, and all are free to attend, However, donations are welcome.

“We like to provide low cost or free things for the public to enjoy,” Kadie-Barclay said. “We want to get people here so they can enjoy West Overton and have a good time.”

For information, call West Overton Villages at 724-887-7910.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.