The Trial of Sheriff Sid Hatfield

My great great uncle, LP Somerville, ran away from home to fight in the Spanish American War that made Teddy Roosevelt famous as well as President. Like many of the mountain settlers in Appalachia, LP was proud, adventurous, self-reliant and patriotic. Even ornery. That did not make him unique in West Virginia. I can remember […]

The Whiskey Rebellion (Part 2): The Dreadful Night

In 1781, Hugh Henry Brackenridge left the relatively cosmopolitan city of Philadelphia to ‘make his bones’ in what was known as The Wilderness. He settled at The Forks (where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers meet to form the Ohio) – or  present day Pittsburgh. He lived through the first open and armed rebellion in the […]

A Continuing Tea Party: “A gripping and sensational tale of violence, alcohol and taxes”

During the late 1800’s, my Great Grandfather grew up in Washington, Pennsylvania – about a half hour west of Pittsburgh. He begat my Grandfather who begat my Dad. That baby in the bottom right of the photo is my Granddad sitting on his Father’s knee in 1915 at a Reunion. James Thompson was awarded a medical […]