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Thom the Time Traveller

Last week I finally got a couple days off to make my autumn genealogy research trip to Western Pennsylvania. I have been trying to get over there for two months, but the farm demands do come first, and I had another pesky cataract to take care of.
I first drove over to Hollidaysburg in Blair County. I got into Hollidaysburg on a nice sunny cool morning, and decided to hike up their local landmark, Chimney Rocks. Wow – what a view!
I only spent a couple hours in the Roller-Hojath Library, which is the best private genealogy resource that I have found. My eye was a bit tender, so I passed on reviewing micro-filmed newspapers from the 1870’s = I have one report (from John Woolf Jordan’s 1914 Personal and Genealogical History of Beaver County) that my great-grandfather Thomas H. Dunn was a professional athlete and coach in his youth, but I have found no details. I did speak with their researcher, and she agreed with me that when one’s search seems stopped, it is better to set that folder aside and pick up one with better clues. so I drove off to Beaver County, and survived the insane construction on the Pa. Turnpike.
The next morning I first drove to the Sewickley Cemetery to visit the Flueckiger/Flickinger family plot. They rest under a huge spruce tree, marked only by Gottlieb (Fred) Jr.’s small marker. It is in a nice spot in the woods.
I then visited Old Economy Village, in present day Ambridge. Sarah, the curator, had gathered together the computer photo files from 1870-1924. I had several Flueckiger family photos, some forwarded to me by cousin Wendy, and some I had found in Elise Mercur Wagner’s 1924 The Economy of Old, the Ambridge of Today.
I spent six wonderful hours in the research room, and hit some real pay dirt. I found photos which showed Gottlieb Sr. and Jr. in the Economy Band, in the German Beneficial Union, and in the Harmony Maennichor (their male choir). {when I was a boy, I belonged to a youth gymnastic club that met in their choral hall. This old structure has now been torn down = much of Ambridge, especially the toxic bones of its extinct steel industry.} I also found pictures of their friends the Knoedler’s and possibly of my grandmother Bertha, and her sister Milly.
The high point of the visit was being handed my great-grandparent’s small green and red silk box, that my grand aunt Ferne had donated in 1969. This treasure was spun from silk bu Harmonite craftsfolk in their mill. This silk came from worms that were raised by their farmers, who grew mulberry trees for them to eat the leaves. This tiny treasure was probably made by 1850, and is still beautiful and undamaged by time. I urge you all to tell the Pa. Government to keep funding this wonderful historical site. I also walked two blocks to the Laughlin Memorial Library, where I learned to read in 1954, while my mother recovered from my father’s sudden death.
On my third day I drove north to Beaver Falls. I visited the old Carnegie Library which is a wonderful old structure in this one proud city. The second floor is the home of the Beaver County Genealogical Society, which has already helped my search through the mail. I was able to finally read the “Dunns” in J.W. Woolf’s work (this is also available on-line, but I don’t like to read books on this little screen)! I also found some records regarding the WW2 military service of Art Dunn, my father, and of Earl Wakefield (Art’s boyhood friend) who died in the 1944 US Military FUBAR now called the battle of the Hurtgen Woods. My father married my mother, who was Earl’s widow. I also found Gottlieb Flueckiger Sr.’s death record in the county records there.
Time Travel is Fun!
Thom Dunn Marti

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