Weather puts damper on Braddock's Crossing re-enactment
Yough River Park in Connellsville is a pleasant place to pass the time. This place was not so peaceful nearly 260 years ago, when the French and the British vied for control of the Ohio River Valley. The Connellsville Historical Society recently hosted the 10th annual re-enactment of a pivotal event of that era — Gen. Edward Braddock's crossing of the Youghiogheny River at Connellsville while on his ill-fated campaign to oust the French from Fort Duquesne.
Karen Hechler of the Connellsville Historical Society is pleased to have reached this milestone.
“I didn't go into this event with the idea of having an annual event,” she said. “Ten years is amazing. It's a compliment to the re-enactors who keep coming back, to the community who supports this event and to the hotel tax that provides the income that makes this event possible.”
Hechler said that the actual event is cathartic.
“I start planning this event in January,” she said. “Once the event is here, I'm glad.”
Hechler said that the re-enactors are treated well, noting that the VFW Post 21, Connellsville, provides them with a picnic. The re-enactors were unable to do a river crossing because of recent heavy rains.
Braddock's Crossing took place on June 29, 1755. At that time, the French and the British sought to expand their empires within North America. The French controlled much of eastern Canada and much of the Great Lakes region. The British had their 13 colonies along the Atlantic coast. Both nations wanted control of the “Forks,” or “The Point” as it is now known, of the Ohio River. The nation that controlled the headwaters of the Ohio River could expand markedly. The land-hungry British colonists wanted cheap, fertile land, which was abundant west of the Alleghenies. The French wanted control over the region's waterways to facilitate their thriving fur trade. Alarmed by British expansion, the French built Fort Duquesne. The British, led by Braddock, who was assisted by a young George Washington, attempted to oust the French from the Ohio Valley. During his march to Fort Duquesne, Braddock crossed the Youghiogheny River at Stewart's Crossing, now Connellsville.
“This crossing was noted on the maps of that time.” said Hechler. “Braddock knew that it would be a good place to cross so that he could proceed westward.” The area was named Stewart's Crossing after settler William Stewart, who came to the area in 1753.
Jack Oelschalter, a re-enactor at the event, said that this event is a pivotal part of American history.
“This event helped make America what it is,” Oelschalter said. “We gained territory by moving from the East Coast westward. This immigration helped us become strong enough to stand on our own, without Great Britain's help.”
Mary Jo Williams of Connellsville sees the event as an opportunity to celebrate her Native American heritage.
“This event is one of the few local events that celebrate Native American culture,” she said.
Williams, who is part Huron and part Cherokee, wants her daughter to appreciate this heritage. She also believes that this event has a positive impact on the community in that it brings families together.
Barbara Starn is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Frazier School Board chews over possibilities for Central Elementary
- Connellsville tech center names homecoming queen
- Sheetz expansion project given OK by city zoning board
- Central Fellowship Church, Connellsville, pastor retires after 31 years
- Uniontown man shot in foot
- Classic car, bike show to be held at Connellsville tech center
- WCCC robotics kits donated to CACTC
- Blight ordinance passed by Connellsville City Council
- Bullskin election violations end in plea deal for 3
- Porterfield: County Line Church planning spaghetti dinner
- Connellsville sets trick-or-treat