thoughts on the passing of the notorious rbg and a poem by maya angelou.

One of my dear friends posted this this morning. It’s a poem by Maya Angelou. It resonated with me because of the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Justice Ginsburg was a Titan in petite form. Always inspirational and you never doubted her moral compass or breadth and depth of knowledge. She will live on through all of her accomplishments and the memories of friends, family, colleagues, and strangers.

When I heard the news that she had died I wasn’t surprised but I found myself so sad. I was sad as a woman and as an American.

2020 is just a year where the negative hits keep on coming. It started with COVID19, then racism and ugliness. All overshadowed by the US Presidential campaign and the abject horror and ugliness of American politics today.

That ugliness of politics has already polluted Justice Ginsburg’s death thanks to that old ass Mitch McConnell whom I have never liked, even when I was a Republican. His comments so shortly after everyone learned Justice Ginsburg had died are deplorable and I also think they were utterly disrespectful to her memory, her friends, her family. His comments make me embarrassed I was ever a Republican in the first place, but I have to step back and remind myself that a lot of those who call themselves Republican today don’t represent the values originally set by this political party in the least.

I also think there should be some law in this country that would put a freeze on a rush to judicial appointment on Federal benches and the US Supreme Court after a certain point in a presidential campaign cycle. The reason is we need balance in justice. Justice is not supposed to be political, yet it is a political weapon.

This is why yet again we see how crucial it is that we change the tone and conversation in this great nation by changing the face of who governs us in the White House. It doesn’t matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat, you should not find this circus acceptable. And you can’t just be a camp follower and vote blindly.

Get out and vote in November to preserve your rights. Do it for the memory of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

I also highly suggest that you contact every federally elected official you know or have heard of and tell them it is grossly inappropriate to rush in another US Supreme Court Justice just so something else can be polluted by the Trump “brand”. And remember nothing Trump does is for us as Americans, he is a malignant narcissist. And Mitch McConnell is an old fool. And since they haven’t repealed the First Amendment yet I am allowed this opinion.

When Great Trees Fall
by Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.
When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.
Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.
And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

lovely life’s patina

One of the things that COVID-19 has done is it has disrupted our every day lives and our routines.

My friend Amy and I have our “Fran days” named after her mom where we put everything aside and do something together and have lunch. A lot of times we schedule those days to support Meg Veno at her lovely Life’s Patina events. Until today, this was one of the things that COVID-19 had interrupted for us around here.

Amy and I have been friends since high school and we even grew up in the same neighborhood, so I feel really blessed to have her in my life all these years later. So when we heard that Life’s Patina was going to open by appointment for their Fall Barn Sale we decided to make our appointment and go. Our slot was today and it was just wonderful!

Sensory overload, so much to look at! Something for everyone! And how lucky were we to also have such a beautiful day to be there…and guests today also received an awesome goody bag!

It was so nice to see friends and acquaintances and to see what Meg and her team had done. I love the Life’s Patina Barn on Willowbrook Farm and actually the very first time I was in it was during it’s renovation that led to Life’s Patina.

Being at Life’s Patina today made this surreal life we have all been living seem a little more normal. I actually liked the feel of a smaller, more intimate shopping experience with less people. Everyone was socially distancing and everyone was wearing masks and there were hand sanitizer stations all over the place. They did a great job!

Enjoy my photos of the day and if you go you need an appointment it’s not just open as normal this year. A lot of the time slots are sold out, so check the calendar and stay tuned for other opportunities to visit Life’s Patina this fall. And you can also shop online!

9/11 the somber hey 19

9/11/2001 New York City as seen from Brooklyn

It’s September 11, 2020. It is the 19th unbelievable anniversary of 9/11. One of the things that 9/11 taught us, as journalist Harry Smith on NBC’s Today Show just pointed out on the morning news is in this great country if we look, there is more that unites us versus divides us, and we learned that from 9/11. He also remarked that it’s hard for us to see it now and it is. We are a country divided. We can’t remain a country divided and this somber anniversary is the best example why.

United we stand, divided we fall. Last year when I wrote about 9/11, I remarked about the offensive plans that didn’t happen of the current president to meet with the Taliban at Camp David just before 9/11. I was thinking about that this morning and reflecting on 2020 to date. We don’t have a leader, we have a circus ringmaster. That’s not a leader. And on this 19th anniversary of 9/11, I pray for a country united and for real leadership. Every American regardless of race, creed, political persuasion, or color deserves this.

Now this 9/11 I am also going to pause and remember two men I went to college with. I’m not going to be some kind of weird death hypocrite and say I really knew them or they were my close friends because they weren’t. They were both people I met a couple of times, but people I never really knew who were close to people important to me to this very day. They lost their lives in 9/11.

Doug Cherry worked for AON. I remember when I found out that he had died in the trade center because I worked for then Wachovia Securities, and AON had a large office literally across the hall. Someone I knew from that office had oddly remembered I went to Ohio Weslyan for a while. So they told me when they learned the names of those who had died in their company. But that wasn’t on 9/11 that was in the days that followed. I remember afterwards the days that followed when you started to see the roll call of names of people lost. I remember when I heard about Doug I kind of felt old and felt my own mortality for the first time. He was my class, and although he wasn’t a close friend or somebody I even really knew back then, we went to a small school so you remembered the faces even if you didn’t remember the people. That was the case with Ted Luckett. He was the class ahead, and again somebody I didn’t know but remembered. But I remembered back then is he liked to sail — there were a lot of guys who went to Ohio Weslyan who were amazing sailors. Even on America’s Cup crews.

February 26, 1993 The garage bomb terrorist attack
on the World Trade Center
.

As I write this it is 8:46 AM. This is when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. It was at this moment I was pulling into my garage back then where I worked for then Wachovia Securities in Conshohocken. I was listening to the radio. I remember the tears just starting to roll down my face because I knew, I knew they (terrorists) came back because I had walked out of the World Trade Center shopping concourse in 1993 when they blew up the garage. And when I say when, as the bomb detonated I was standing on the sidewalk outside looking at Century 21. If life has been different I might still have been working in New York City on September 11, 2001.

I also remember as I walked into my office and all the brokers were riveted to television screens in their offices and their computers, at that point in time most people didn’t believe those were terrorist attacks. They just thought like a small plane had gone into the trade center. It was a crazy surreal morning as the news started to unfold. It’s crazy how clearly I can still remember it. I think this is like it was for our parents the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated. You remember where you were and what you were doing.

So it’s been 19 years, what have we learned? I found this blog post of someone’s memories of 9/11. Please read it. Someone else I went to school with and don’t remember. They were fraternity brothers with Doug Cherry. It’s heartbreaking to read.

This year we are still in the grips of COVID19, so the ceremonies for 9/11 are very different. They are smaller and they are not reading the rollcall of lives lost. So today we all have to remember those we knew or knew of who were lost.

One of the other things I remember on this day 19 years ago, two sisters I grew up with who were close childhood family friends and still are. One, at the time, worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The other I think worked for Marsh and McLennan at the time but can’t remember for sure, but she did work somewhere in the World Trade Center. I remember being in a panic for days until I found out they were OK. They were both out of state visiting their parents.

So it is true, we never forget this day and never will. But what have we learned? I think we need to pay it forward as a country in memory of all of those first responders and others who lost their lives. We need to be better versions of ourselves. We need to come together as a country. We need peace and less racial divide. Is that possible? I don’t know. But we can try.

I don’t really have that much else to say about 9/11 today. I am going to list all the other columns I have written over the years since I started this blog.

Wishing you peace on a somber day.

9/11 written September 11, 2012

9/11 2012: from the air

9/11: 13 years. what have we learned? September 11, 2014

remembering 9/11 September 11, 2015

9/11 : 17 years. never forget. September 11, 2018

on the eve of 9/11 September 9, 2019

#NeverForget

9/11 Memorial in New Jersey

who are radicals? women who care?

Today is the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment or the anniversary of women getting the right to vote.

Think about that. Imagine that day. The suffragettes had worked so hard. They literally were put in jail at times trying to get to August 26, 1920.

Happy Women’s Equality Day, ladies.

The Women’s right to vote was ratified on August 18, 1920 but was not certified until August 26, 1920. It had to be certified by a government official. So on August 26, 1920 the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was certified by U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby at his home at 8 A.M. which is why today is Women’s Equality Day and the 100th Anniversary.

Now these suffragettes, these women, these ordinary extraordinary women of their time were labeled as radicals. Just like the women in the 1960s forward who have tried to get the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) ratified and certified. Sadly the Equal Rights Amendment is still a proposed amendment almost 100 years later because did you know that the first version of the ERA was written by Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman and introduced to Congress in December of 1923? Yes the same Alice Paul who bore witness to Bainbridge Colby certifying the 19th Amendment 100 years ago today.

Radicals. Shrill. Bitches. You name it, people (men and women) will have a offensive descriptive adjective to apply to women who wish to preserve their rights and the rights of others . It’s like being a strong woman is a crime. It’s like being a woman active in your community as well as your home is a crime. Look no further than the pipeline issues in Chester County.

Over the past couple of days I have written about the pipeline problems and related political machinations. (See this post and this post). Women I know, like, and respect are being labeled as radicals and also quite unbelievably inferred to be traitors to the Democratic Party of Chester County. And a quite obscure yet hideous Nazi sympathizer descriptive adjective was applied to one who is of Jewish faith.

And all of this was done by a man, I won’t refer to him as a gentleman because he’s certainly not, who works and has a relationship with State Representative Kristine Howard. This man is also from Pittsburgh. And why is it he meddles in our politics? If he wants to be around elected officials, why doesn’t he run for office where he’s from in Pittsburgh? I don’t understand why we need Pittsburgh politics in Chester County Pennsylvania do you?

Why is this man so desperate for Kristine Howard to be reelected? Who else does he work for? Why does State Representative Kristine Howard just sit silently and allow good women and any woman upset by either her lack of performance or who care about issues like pipelines because they either have a brain in their head or because they are directly affected to be maligned and denigrated?

Why does Kristine Howard as a woman and elected official not have her own voice? And if you ask around Harrisburg are you going to be told the people hear her voice with great regularity? Is she either unwilling or unable to have a voice? It’s a great puzzle. Because you have to wonder if she really wants to be a state representative don’t you? Or is this man actually the power behind the throne and he’s running this state representative seat only he wasn’t elected to office and he’s not a resident of Chester County right? And is she either unwilling or unable to have a voice? It’s a great puzzle. Because you have to wonder if she really wants to be a state representative don’t you?

And let’s also wonder about the Chester County Democratic Party. If the Chair, is not acting in the best interest of the women being denigrated and singled out specifically in the emails which have been flying and the nasty Facebook stuff and ads during the primary, is he fit to lead? And are those two women also on the Executive Committee who are essentially trying to say if you’re not a good little Stepford Wife you essentially should be politically shunned? Or if you God forbid talk to someone of another political persuasion who is not a Democrat you should also be shunned and the party shouldn’t back you if you want to run for office and so on and so forth?

*******(The screenshots have to be downloaded and then enlarged so here is the text from them verbatim and any spelling/grammar errors all on them.) ******

On Mon, Aug 24, 2020 at 7:35 PM Marty Marks <martymarks75@gmail.com> wrote:

Please see the attached social media posts made by Ginny Kerslake and Wendy Graham Leland. 

The posts clearly demonstrate that Mrs. Kerslake and Mrs. Graham  Leland are openly colluding to cause harm to Representative Howard’s candidacy and benefit the campaign of her Republican opponent. Let ‘s be clear, Mrs. Kerslake and Mrs. Graham Leland are tagging each other in the posts when there is no reason to do so except to politically denigrate Kristine. 

In my previous email when we called for banning Lani Frank from all Chester Democratic Committee social media platforms for her direct and indirect assistance to Republican Graham Leland, we did not include Mrs. Kerslake or even mention her by name. However, with this clear and present evidence of her collusion with Rep. Howard’s Republican opponent, a ban of Mrs. Kerslake on the party’s social media platforms is also called for.

Simply removing posts is not enough. A clear message must be sent that undermining the Democratic nominees chosen by our voters will not be tolerated. I am under the impression that your bylaws preclude Democrats who support Republicans from holding party offices or seeking the party’s endorsement for a public office for a period of two years. We are requesting the Executive Committee notify Mrs. Kerslake and Ms. Frank that they are in violation of the rules and may be prohibited from holding party office or seeking the Democratic Committee endorsement for a public office in the next two election cycles.

I thank you for your response to my earlier email. However, I disagree with your conclusion to merely take down posts. I believe the most corrective and preventive action is to ban the perpetrators of such betrayals. As you requested, I am sending this to your leadership team and the zone leaders in Kristine’s District first. If the executive committee does not act in a timely and affirmative manner, in the interest of transparency, I will share it with the committee as a whole and encourage them to take appropriate action.

 Thank you,

Marty Marks

The Committee to Elect Kristine
Marty Marks 412.352.0317

***************************************************************************************

From: MaryAnn Piccioni maryannpiccioni@yahoo.com
Date: August 25, 2020 at 12:23:09 AM EDT
To: Marty Marks martymarks75@gmail.com, Charlotte Valyo charlottevalyo@gmail.com
Cc: Dick Bingham chair@chescodems.org,
Subject: Re: Ginny Kerslake openly colluding with Representative Howard’s Republican opponent


Hello,
I add another item to the 2 year restrictions:
The perpetrator will not receive CCDC support of any kind should they become a Primary candidate for public office.

This is a broader restriction compared to “prohibited from … seeking the Democratic Committee Endorsement…”

Examples: CCDC and Zone websites and social media will not post their candidate information. No inclusion in CCDC and Zone mailers (except the sample ballot) and phone bank scripts.

MaryAnn Piccioni

On Monday, August 24, 2020, 07:42:54 PM EDT, Charlotte Valyo charlottevalyo@gmail.com wrote:

Hi,
I have been advocating that these actions result in banning from CCDC social media sites and informing all members of the EC about the action and why it has been taken. So far our tactics of ignoring or a slight slap on the wrist has only emboldened this group. It is time for CCDC to stand up for our candidates and our values. This is not a new problem. The same people have been attacking fellow Democrats since the 2018 primary.

Charlotte

Charlotte

*****************************************************************************

From: Marty Marks <martymarks75@gmail.com>
Date: August 23, 2020 at 10:04:45 AM EDT
Subject:It is time to ban the quislings

Dear members of the Democratic Committee,

Giving aid and comfort to the enemy in a time of battle is treason. We are experiencing such betrayals at this very moment undercutting our mission to elect Democrats up and down the ballot in November.

For example, see this post on the Chesco Dems Facebook page made by Lani Frank, a former member of the Democratic State Committee and an unsuccessful candidate for Chester County Democratic Chair:

Lani Frank

Nice of you to show concern now. Why don’t you stand up for our values and call for a stop to this nightmare instead of taking money from the very PAC’s that support the continuation of this project. You can’t have it both ways. Take a stand.

6 Edited

Please note that the comment is edited. When it was originally posted it was specifically addressed to Representative Kristine Howard and stated her name. Lani Frank was attacking Kristine for not sharing exactly the most extreme positions Lani Frank and a few others hold regarding the Mariner East Pipeline.

And this is not the first example of her duplicitous behavior. After Kristine won her primary in a most convincing manner against Lani Frank’s client, Ms. Frank publicly questioned the integrity of voting by mail suggesting there was something inherently wrong causing harm to her client. At a time when Democrats in Chester County and throughout the country were pushing voting by mail and championing its efficacy, Ms. Frank was sounding like Donald Trump.

Please don’t get me wrong. Ms. Frank is entitled to freedom of speech and she can avail herself of a multitude of forums to enjoy it. I am suggesting to you, in the midst of an historic election when we have an opportunity to flip the PA House from red to blue, we should not be giving her or anyone else a forum on our Democratic Party social media platforms to denigrate our candidates, and give aid and comfort to their Republican opponents.

I apologize for appearing to be singling out Ms. Frank because she certainly is not alone in this behavior.  Since the Primary Election, Kristine’s primary opponent and a few of her supporters, Kristine’s Republican opponent and Ms. Frank have been interacting on social media platforms. I am merely seeking to make the point that during the General Election campaign we should not be providing a forum for anyone to attack the very candidates that our Democratic primary voters selected as their nominees, and in Kristine’s case by a nearly 60% plurality.

Ms. Frank and her allies seek to re-litigate the Primary Election, ignoring the results and obsessing about the candidate the voters overwhelmingly elected. Ms. Frank would have us believe this is about issues related to the Mariner East Pipeline. Rather, I detect the bitter flavor of sour grapes.

Rep. Howard – who enjoys a 100% lifetime pro-environmental rating on the Pennsylvania Environmental Scorecard used by Conservation Voters, Sierra Club and Clean Water Action – has taken strong stands demanding transparency and accountability from pipeline operators. When recent violations took place that allowed 8,000 gallons of drilling fluid to flow into Marsh Creek Lake, she immediately called the Governor’s office and requested urgent intervention. The Governor responded by shutting down drilling at the site and launching investigations by the appropriate regulatory agencies.

Kristine supports the conclusions and actions taken by DEP to date and demands there be remediation of any damage the company’s actions may have caused. She supports tough civil and criminal penalties for any and all violations that have been committed including the possibility of revoking the company’s permits to do business in Chester County if the evidence justifies it. Kristine believes in the regulatory processes that the legislature in which she serves has established and she supports having the scientific data and evidence the investigations will reveal before determining what penalties should be levied on the company.

Most informed people understand that the pipeline under construction today was approved by local, state and national leaders long before Rep. Howard became a candidate for the legislature. Furthermore, until we flip the house from red to blue, Democrats can do little more than grandstand on the issue. Those of you who know Kristine know that is not her style. While others organize sit-ins in the Governor’s office, Kristine has worked to have sit-downs at our Democratic Governor’s conference table. (I should mention that the Governor is the leader of our party and enjoys more than a 60% approval rating in Chester County)

On behalf of Democrats who want to flip the PA House from red to blue, I am asking you to ban Lani Frank from your social media platforms and delete comments and block anyone else who persists in undercutting our Democratic nominees.

Thank you and can we please put the Primary behind us and get on with the General Election?

Marty Marks
412.352.0317

Today marks a very important day for women in the United States. But I’m also here to remind you that there are still enough dark forces at work that we can lose ground if we are not careful.

I am not going to apologize for being profoundly disturbed by men and even women who want to label other women because of the courage of their convictions. And it’s never become more apparent until this pipeline issue heated up again. It’s why I also think on social media we need a #FacesOfMarinerEast.

The #FacesOfMarinerEast aren’t radicals. They aren’t bitches. They aren’t shrill. They are regular people affected by something that is out of control. The #FacesOfMarinerEast are people you know and are friends with and aren’t even related to possibly.

The #FacesOfMarinerEast are your neighbors, people you see in the supermarket, people you see in the car rider line at school, people you see in church, people you see walking your dog in your neighborhood.

The #FacesOfMarinerEast aren’t a bunch of handmade protest signs, they are people from all walks of life and professions.

The #FacesOfMarinerEast are also people like Chester County‘s children who look longingly at what once was their Little League field in Exton the pipelines took over.

So when questionable political operatives from Pittsburgh want to label as “radicals” women I know, respect, and call friends, it’s time to cry happy horse manure on that. Women fighting to preserve where we call home and who wish for all of us adult and child that we are protected and not just long term victims of pipeline companies are oh hell to the no not radicals, they are our heroines. They our are everyday people who have taken a stand for good over greed.

Do not let the future generations lose ground because people still want to put women down. Especially because standing up for what you believe in is one of the tenets of being an American.

Ladies, again, Happy Women’s Equality Day. Stand up, be heard, be counted and in November….VOTE. And pass along the #FacesOfMarinerEast and let your light shine bright.

Be well and safe today.

east whiteland have you been over to flat road lately?

Reader submitted photo

3:30 PM UPDATE: From the chair of the East Whiteland Supervisors Scott Lambert (who like many others is having a hard time posting to Facebook today):

📌The original requirement of the builder was to renovate portions of the wall that had fallen in disrepair and remove a few trees that could endanger the wall in the future. However,with the wall now
leaning badly and in danger of collapse, the builder agreed to rework the wall and replace broken sections to return it to original condition. As with the initial work review the descendants of people buried in the cemetery were consulted as was our engineer and historical commission representation. An agreement with the contractor concerning the scope of the work was also executed.📌

EARLIER:

There is a historic cemetery on Flat Road. It seems to be in peril. East Whiteland Township approved a development plan there and wasn’t one of the things supposed to be that this cemetery (which I believe is Amish) would be protected?

Social Media post that appeared with photos

I don’t have the answers. And someone said well maybe they’re doing work on it. And this doesn’t look like work to me this looks like a wall collapse. A lot of these walls do collapse and I saw one not that long ago at a church in Upper Uwchlan and then they rebuilt the wall. When they rebuilt the wall then you could see they were telling people to stay away from it and using caution tape until it was set.

Reader submitted photo

The other thing to consider is a development is being built next door and vibrations from heavy equipment can affect old structures and that includes walls and headstones etc. doesn’t it?

Reader submitted photo

I don’t have the answers, but I do know that East Whiteland needs to go look at this. This is literally a historic site, and it matters. #thisplacematters

Reader submitted photo

Walls fall down. But this is a historic site. So again, something needs to be done sooner rather than later. This is a sacred place. And our historic sites should be as respected as much by municipalities as the developments they constantly approve.

Stay cool it’s so darn hot out there.

Reader submitted photo

PS: I am adding more photos here at the bottom that were just sent to me by concerned residents!

a juneteenth visit to ebenezer on bacton hill road in east whiteland

Ebenezer on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer (East Whiteland) is a sacred and historic place. It’s no secret I have written about this place for years.

The AME Church grew out of the Free African Society in the late 1700s, but the church became it’s own entity founded in Philadelphia around 1816.  So you can see given the age of Ebenezer AME in East Whiteland, Chester County, PA that it is truly part of the early days of a church and religion founded in Philadelphia.  Bishop Richard Allen died in 1831, just months before Ebenezer came to be after Joseph Malin deeded the land.

Hiram Woodyard was a Township resident and former slave who served in the Union Army as a teamster. He was a leader in the African American community and is buried at the Ebenezer AME Church. His home still stands on Congestoga Road. Other homes he built still stand. He was an inhabitant of Bacton Hill.

Without active preservation there will come a time that all which will be left of the area will be my blog posts including this one from 2017 which is an oral history complete with some really cool photos courtesy of Claude Bernadin, or this one from 2015, this one from 2016, this one from 2017, the ceremony November 2016, a post from October 2016, another one from October 2016, when for brief moment people stopped to visit the old souls now covered by weeds and brush once more, 2015 post which had links to earlier posts. Also what will survive will be the occasional newspaper article from every newspaper reporter who tried to raise awareness to this area and to Ebenezer.

Once upon a time people tried to get a Bacton Hill Historic District or something like that. It’s a shame it never happened. Because at least then there would have been a more organized history of the place.

So this Juneteenth, I was thinking of Ebenezer again and here are a few new photos scattered throughout this post. I remember the black civil war soldiers here and elsewhere throughout Chester County. I share again the oral history of one resident (CLICK HERE). I think of all of the people who have shared what they have discovered about Ebenezer over the years.

Juneteenth (on June 19) is know as Emancipation Day and also as Freedom Day, Jubilation Day, and Liberation Day. I never learned about this important day in any history class I took in school. Which is something I think needs to be rectified because it’s part of our history of this country.

Although Juneteenth is celebrating the end of slavery in the United States, it was still legal and practiced in two states – Delaware and Kentucky – until December 6, 1865, when ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution abolished non-penal slavery nationwide.

We don’t know when exactly Hiram Woodyard was emancipated or freed, do we? His house is supposed to be a historic resource too isn’t it?

On Fold3, there exist some records of Hiram, including voluntary army enlistment. These photos aren’t the best but here they are:

Someone has been cutting the grass again at Ebenezer. I don’t know if it is the developer who will be building houses all around it or someone else. It’s not the AME church. They need to become involved as we believe that this is STILL their land, but will they?

I am but a middle-aged white woman. I am not black and won’t pretend I understand the black experience. I try to learn and respect it. But given the state of racism in this country and the need for all Americans to learn more of this country’s history good and bad, to me, this also means we need to SAVE sites like Ebenezer and preserve their history.

So I am calling on officials state, local, county, federal, and from the AME church to save Ebenezer. The church is too far gone to save BUT capping and preservation of the church ruin is possible. We need a study including with that sonar stuff like they use for Duffy’s Cut to map out where all of the graves are and what stones may lie beneath the dirt.

Officials also need to remember and properly notate the Bacton Hill area because it was a well settled free black community once upon a time. This needs to be done because otherwise this will all sink as a footnote to history that will be forgotten.

Thanks for stopping by.

another restoration in progress?

Reader submitted photo received today. The Exton Witch House is getting long overdue love.

Another old house that people in Chester County are obsessed with is known as the Exton witch house. I wrote about it before in 2018 I think it was.

The house is in Uwchlan Township. It was actually the Whelan/Ferrell/Meredith farm once upon a time. It is of historical importance.

Yesterday one of my readers sent me a note:

✍🏻”Do you have any idea who’s fixing up The Witch House on Gordon Drive in Exton? Drove by last week and it really looks nice!”✍🏻

So I put a post out on the blog Facebook page and a very nice man messaged me that he had driven by and saw the work. He noted that the site has been secured and cleaned up and whoever is doing the restoration is doing a beautiful job. His photo was taken from some distance away, but you can see if you zoom in on the photo it looks wonderful!

A friend of mine took this photo a couple/few years ago:

So let’s put these photos side by side. It truly is exciting! To whomever is restoring this old house, thank you! I hope you will write in and tell us about your plans!

I will also remind anyone who reads this post that this is a private property and you cannot trespass. Now that somebody’s working on it, there is undoubtedly security.

This proves again that historic preservation is possible. This is why I hope places like Lloyd Farm in Caln is saved. It can’t be in worse shape than this place was and look at the difference!

Stay dry and safe on this rainy day!

Before and after. What a contrast!

just wrong.

Things I cannot accept is like the above. This is the tomb of the unknown soldier and a monument to Washington in Washington Square Park in Philadelphia. This is destruction that’s divisive. This location was actually one of the five original ideas for public parks/spaces drawn up by William Penn in his plans for Philadelphia.

As per USHistory.org this park at first wasn’t used as a park. It was used as a potter’s field. This started around 1706 and apparently continued for many decades.

By 1778 Washington Square was one of the last barracks for the thousands of soldiers who died in Philadelphia. It has been remarked by historians that while a lot of battles did not take place within the city a lot of dying of soldiers did. And these are the soldiers who were fighting for the freedoms that we enjoy today including our rights to assemble and protest.

📌“Those wounded in nearby battles, or those sick with disease would be brought to Philadelphia. Pennsylvania Hospital and the Bettering House for the Poor filled quickly. Churches became ad-hoc hospitals. And during the British occupation of Philadelphia in 1777, the Walnut Street Jail became a Dantesque vision of hell...In 1793, the square once again served as a mass graveyard — this time for wracked, malodorous victims of the 1793 Yellow Fever epidemic. Philadelphia was literally decimated by this epidemic: about 5,000 of Philadelphia’s 50,000 residents were taken by the Aedes mosquito. 📌- USHistory.org

Into the 19th century, Washington Square stopped functioning as a cemetery and people started to look to make it what it was originally intended to be -a town square and park. 1825 it was renamed in the honor of George Washington who was the commander-in-chief of all those soldiers who laid buried underground in unmarked graves.

In 1954 a committee was formed for the betterment of Washington Square. apparently they did archaeological excavations and that is how they found their unknown soldier.

The tomb and monument were built and the statue of George Washington is a replica of Jean Antoine Houdon’s famous bronze sculpture of Washington. Sculpture was placed so that George Washington can forever gaze upon Independence Hall.

This memorial has many things carved into marble like “Freedom is a light for which many men have died in darkness”. There is an eternal flame, and on the tomb of the unknown soldier we were taught a school children what it said: “Beneath this stone rests a soldier of Washington’s army who died to give you liberty.

I was born in 1964 and this park was 10 years old at the time. I spent a lot of my young years going with my mother and my father and then my baby sister to this park. Lots of kids were in this park and we were all representative of different races, creeds, and colors. We respected the history of this hallowed ground.

When I was little they were always things going on in this park. There were amazing used book sales and plant sales. I remember my mother filling up our little grocery shopping cart with bags of books one year!

I have lots of very distinct memories throughout the years of this park. And I’ve always known and respected the history. Until this recent defacing of this monument and two I haven’t known anyone who didn’t respect the history.

There hasn’t been much talk of this getting defaced during all of these protests. There was a mention in the Philadelphia Inquirer which said 📌 “At Washington Square, the hallowed Tomb of the Unknown Solider of the American Revolution was defaced by spray paint. Vandals wrote Committed Genocide and ACAB — meaning, All Cops Are Bastards — on the granite wall behind Jean-Antoine Houdon’s bronze statue of Washington, the monument’s centerpiece.”📌

Not much more was said about this. I don’t recall Mayor Jim Kenney even talking about it. And that truly upsets me. It’s like it doesn’t matter that this happened there and it does matter a great deal. This is a location were soldiers who fought for our freedom as a young nation died and were laid to rest. It’s quite literally hallowed ground. My best guess is whoever did this will be haunted the rest of their lives. And the Park Service and Philadelphia need to put security cameras in there.

Above you see what the monument looks like in better times. If you look at the monument with the graffiti you will notice something else. Did you notice that the eternal flame is extinguished?

Washington Square Park is a special place. Hallowed ground. And the people who defaced it? That was just destruction. That is an a message that we need positive change in an end to systemic racism in this country, that was just graffiti and destruction.

I will state it again: I have no problem with peaceful protests. I completely believe that we are in the grips of insidious systemic racism in this country. But I do not believe the destruction of things like this accomplish anything at all. Destruction is negative.

If people want protest to be perceived as positive and necessary destruction cannot follow it. And that is the other thing that is so sad about all of this. The people protesting social injustice and racial inequality aren’t the people that are destroying these properties.

We need to be better as a nation. We need elected officials who aren’t as divisive. Which is why I pray for house cleaning in Washington DC this November. as human beings in this country we have to be the change we want to see.

It’s because of sights like this that protesting right now has concerned me.

I believe in peaceful protests, I do not believe in destruction of property.

We are better than this. We have to be better than this. We have to get things changed in this country. I don’t know that we will ever be able to erase hate because hate is as old as the beginning of time.

Please be careful out there this weekend if you are taking part in protests. Please start to think about how we can also be the change we need to see outside of protesting, because we have to be able to keep moving forward. We need to be positive change.

Please don’t let the hate and anger and vitriol win.