History Buffs Get Fill of 'Ohio Country' at Bushy Run

By Chunko, Rachel | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 17, 2009 | Go to article overview
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History Buffs Get Fill of 'Ohio Country' at Bushy Run


Chunko, Rachel, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


David Miller said it's another word for frontier.

"Ohio Country," said Miller, the museum educator at Bushy Run Battlefield. "Ohio Country is an 18th century term for pretty much everything west of the Allegheny Mountains. It's another name for the frontier in the 18th century."

The Ohio Country Conference was presented by the Bushy Run Battlefield Heritage Society, Westmoreland County Community College and the Westmoreland County Historical Society March 27-29.

The conference is a French and Indian War symposium, providing an international field of scholars to the public. The three-day lecture series drew about 130 people, and about 60 attended a reception at Bushy Run Battlefield.

The once-coveted region west of the Appalachian Mountains is also known as Ohio Territory. It was a main cause of the French and Indian War and a contributing factor to the American Revolution.

The first day of the conference provided amateur historians with an evening registration and welcome and a 7 p.m. presentation from speaker Daniel Barr.

Day two featured speakers John Grenier, Nicholas Westbrook, Matthew Ward, Fintan O'Toole and Robert Emerson. A reception at Bushy Run Visitors Center took place from 7 to 9 p.m. March 28. Miller said the reception was to encourage conference-goers to see the nearby site.

"It's an ongoing conference," said Miller. "We are simply trying to look at the significance of that year."

The American Revolutionary War is also known as the American War for Independence. The war that took place locally was an Indian War. West of the Allegheny Mountains, European and British soldiers fought bands of French and Indian warriors. In 1773, Bostonians protested British trade goods by staging the Boston Tea Party. The French and Indian War preceded the American Revolution by just a few years. Forbes Trail is an ever-mentioned and seldom understood path that winds beside Route 30.

Robert Emerson's lecture was called "A Glorious Acquisition: The Siege and Capture of Fort Niagara." Emerson is the executive director of Fort Niagara, which attracts 75,000 visitors annually because it is "so close to Niagara Falls."

Emerson said the original Fort Niagara was built in 1726, and was held by the French during the French and Indian War. The British took control of Fort Niagara in 1759.

"Pennsylvanians focus on just Pennsylvania history," Emerson said.

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