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Wednesday, December 29, 2021

A Redux: The Power of One


For those that stop by from time to time, I posted my annual tribute to the Conestoga/Susquehannock tribe elsewhere. 

For a variety of reasons - after an absence (from blogging) of almost a year - I logged on this morning to confirm when I actually started posting on this specific platform. I knew it was sometime in 2010, and after scrolling through almost 1,200 posts, I verified that my first post was in January 2010. I actually started blogging a decade+ earlier, but the ISPs discontinued hosting those platforms and forced me to look elsewhere. Fortunately, I did retain the pic below. 

It was at that time, and probably earlier, that I changed the name to Susquehanna River Sentinel and created the logo at the top of this page. 

Anyway, I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays and wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2022. I am choosing to jump back into the fray, and as with all things, will do so on my terms. 


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

06JAN2021: Dear Senators Cruz, Hawley...et al


To all those elected officials who will be attempting to negate my vote today:

I am a native born son of the Valley of Wyoming, and I've resided in southeastern PA for the past 33+ years. I take my right and responsibility to vote VERY seriously. From my viewpoint, what you have stated you are planning to do today is in direct violation of your oath of office and the Constitution. 

Plain and simple: I view you, along with your next two levels of leadership, as cowards, traitors and domestic enemies of the United Sates of America.  

I will not allow you to dishonor my ancestors who served in WWI, WWII and the Korean War in defense of this country and all it once stood for.   

You want to negate my vote? Come and take it from me. 

I'll be waiting. 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

2020 - Conestoga Massacre Redux

This is a repost of my 2010 tribute to the Susquehannock/Conestoga Indians. 

 On this day in 1763...14 men, women & children were massacred by a group of frontier vigilantes in Lancaster PA.  

May they all rest in peace.

* * *
 After reviewing last year's posts beginning in mid/late December, I decided that the post below summed up the Conestoga Massacre on December 27, 1763 the best.  There's also a two page account of the massacre I found recently which is also worth a few minutes of your time, along with a link below to the NA Nations website.  

+  +  +

On the inside wall of the Green Room in The Fulton Opera House in Lancaster, PA, there is a plaque that was dedicated on June 22, 1997. 



"It was the worst of times, it was a turbulent time."
Paraphrase of Charles Dickens "A Tale of Two Cities"

"Into the Night" by Johnny Tiger Jr.

On Sunday morning, December 27th, 1763, the Paxton Boys, a self
styled vigilantic/militia group came to this location
and murdered the remaining 14 members of the commonly referred
to Conestoga Indians. 13 days prior to this they had murdered 6
other members of this small band.

Today we are honored to pay our last respects to those
unfortunate souls who had become refugees in their own land.
They were not guilty of any crime other than being at this place
during that turbulent time.


Sheehays (Shehaes)               Chee-Na-Wan (Jacob)
Washen (George)                   Quaa-Chow (Young Shehaes)
Tee-Kau-Ley (Harry)             Shaw-E-Kah (A Boy)
Ess-Canesh (Capt'n John)       Ex-Undas (A Boy Chrisly)
Teawonsha-I-Ong (Betty)        Saq-Uies-Hattah (Capt'n John's Son)
Kannenquas (Bill Sock)            Tong-Quas (Little Peter)
Kyungueagoah (Milly Sock)      Hy-Ye-Neas (A Boy)
Koweenasse (John Smith)         Ko-Qua-E-Un-Quas (Molly)
Tenseedaagua (Peggy Smith)      Karen-Do-Uah (A Little Girl)
Kaniinguas (Little John)              Cannukie Sung (A Little Girl Peggie)

Until we meet again.    From all of us.    June 22, 1997 AD


Here's a firsthand account from one of the many websites about the massacre:

A part of one from William Henry, of Lancaster, to a friend in Philadelphia, is given in " Rupp's History of Lancaster County." He says, "A regiment of Highlanders were at that time quartered at the barracks in the town, and yet these murderers were permitted to break open the doors of the city jail and commit the horrid deed. The first notice I had of the affair was that, while at my father's store near the court-house, I saw a number of people running down-street toward the jail, which enticed me and other lads to follow them. At about six or eight yards from the jail we met from twenty-five to thirty men, well mounted on horses, and with rifles, tomahawks, and scalping-knives, equipped for murder. I ran into the prison-yard, and there, oh, what a horrid sight presented itself to my view! Near the back door of the prison lay an old Indian and his squaw, particularly well known and esteemed by the people of the town on account of his placid and friendly conduct. His name was Will Soc. Around him and his squaw lay two children, about the age of three years, whose heads were split with the tomahawk and their scalps taken off. Toward the middle of the jail-yard, along the west side of the wall, lay a stout Indian, whom I particularly noticed to have been shot in his breast. His legs were chopped with the tomahawk, his hands cut off, and finally a rifle-ball discharged in his mouth, so that his head was blown to atoms, and the brains were splashed against and yet hanging to the wall for three or four feet around. This man's hands and feet had been chopped off with a tomahawk. In this manner lay the whole of them-men, women, and children-spread about the prison-yard, shot, scalped, hacked, and cut to pieces."


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Christmas in the Age of COVID-19


It's hard to believe an entire circuit of the sun has gone by since my last post here. 

Anything of consequence happen in the past 12 months?  

To date, COVID-19 has directly impacted my family blood-line three times. One (my Mom) tested positive twice - yet was 100% asymptomatic - and has (so far) been fine and tested negative multiple times since June. One (my daughter) tested positive in ~August - had symptoms and got a little sick - but is since back to work on the front lines of this pandemic and doing fine. All subsequent tests have been negative.

And, unfortunately, one of the patriarchs of our family tree passed away from COVID in early November. A native of Kingston, PA - he was a good man, husband, father and grandfather. For many years in the 1960s, he also was a member of the "Spirit of '76" fife and drum unit that marched up Wyoming Avenue on Memorial Day. Glenn will always be remembered fondly and with great respect.  

It's a busy time of year and I just wanted to check in and let everyone know I'm fine. I hope you are as well. 

And for the foreseeable future...I'm back. 

Spirit of '76 Fife & Drum Corp @  Forty-Fort Cemetery - circa 1965

From L-R: Don Williams, Bill Thorne, Glenn Williams, Bill Connelly and Tom Thorne. 


Sunday, December 15, 2019

Listen for a Lonesome Drum

Yesterday, I attended a memorial service for a friend. I knew what I wanted to say, but did not have enough time to close with one passage that will always remind me of JBF, our time together, and how quickly it will be before we can hear the drums together. 

"The nights grow clearer and the Pleiades, the hungry dancing boys who will not come back to their crying mother because she would not feed them, are brighter than usual. Soon I think there will be drum-beats in the Genesee Country. Then I hope you will come and get me at the Reservation as you promised and take me and my water drum into the valley on a good night. Perhaps if I beat softly there they will hear and answer me and we will know for sure what makes the sound." 

 - written by Cornplanter. From Listen for a Lonesome Drum by Carl Carmer - 1936.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

The Conestoga Massacres - 12/14/1763 & 12/27/1763

"In 1763 there were only twenty of these Conestoga Indians left-seven men, five women, and eight children. They were still living in their village on the Shawanee Creek, their lands being assured to them by manorial gift; but they were miserably poor-earned by making brooms, baskets, and wooden bowls a part of their living, and begged the rest. They were wholly peaceable and unoffending, friendly to their white neighbors, and pitifully clinging and affectionate, naming their children after whites who were kind to them, and striving in every way to show their gratitude and good-will.

Upon this little community a band of white men, said by some of the old records to be "Presbyterians," from Paxton, made an attack at daybreak on the 14th of December. They found only six of the Indians at home-three men, two women, and a boy. The rest were away, either at work for the white farmers or selling their little wares. "These poor defenseless creatures were immediately fired upon, stabbed, and hatcheted to death; the good Shebaes, among the rest, cut to pieces in his bed. All of them were scalped and otherwise horribly mangled, then their huts were set on fire, and most of them burnt down."

Read the rest here

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Slán leat, my Brother

I met John Fast on August 21st, 2010.  

Beginning on the banks of the ancient Susquehanna River in the valley of Wyoming, we walked a few hundred yards together, and then met up several hours later at Gas Stock at the Luzerne County Fairgrounds.  

More about that day here and here

Over the ensuing years, we kept in touch via messages, blog comments and an occasional phone call. 

I shall miss John's corporeal presence on this little blue dot in the cosmos...and yet, far more remains.

Until we meet again...Slán leat.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Farewell, my Friend

I recently learned of the passing of the BlogMeister behind Fracked.

I was saddened to hear the news, as during the years we kept in touch, the obvious breadth and depth of John's intellect both inspired and amazed me. He was truly one of a kind. 

I consider it an honor that I was asked to pen few words for his obituary, and I plan on attending his memorial service in mid-December.

More in a few.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Owed to Charlie

"The currents that travel unrecognized channels from ancient generations to our own can be felt more strongly, I have come to believe, on the high mesa of Carantouan than elsewhere in America."   -   from The Susquehanna by Carl Carmer

Of all the books and journals I've read about the Susquehanna, that passage remains as one of my favorites. I think about it often, and it truly helps me be "in the moment" when I recognize that I am part of and/or witnessing something special that may never happen again. 

I never met Charlie Biron. He passed away last year at roughly my age. I did meet his wife and identical twin brother. I was looking to buy some York Olympic plates online, and found a post listing quite a bit of equipment not too far from my house, so after some brief exchanges, I scheduled a time to stop by. 

The garage behind Charlie's house was his gym. As it was told to me, that outbuilding was a significant reason they purchased their house. When I first arrived, my eyes darted to the hundreds of pieces of equipment, plates and some exercise paraphernalia I didn't recognize. After closing the deal on the plates I came for, I started asking questions about Charlie, his lifting career, and why there were so many pieces targeting grip strength.  

As best I recall, Charlie entered his last powerlifting meet in 2002, winning the NJ State Master's Championship trophy at the age of ~49.  At some point thereafter, Charlie recognized or decided that he could no longer train for P/L meets, so he refocused his love of the iron game to building grip strength. Based upon what I saw in his gym, the items I purchased, and what I've learned since...I feel qualified to state that Charlie's garage gym had a higher concentration of grip-related exercise doodads than elsewhere in America. 

Energy is neither created nor destroyed, and I believe that energy can remain long after the person(s) or event(s) that created it have moved on. From the time I spent during several visits, the energy from thousands of sets and reps in Charlie's garage gym expended over many years was definitely palpable. I was both humbled and honored to be there, learn about the man, meet his wife and brother, and bring many of his iron "toys" back to my basement gym. 

Someone I met within the last year or so, when purchasing some old York barbell plates from me, asked..."So what's their story?" 

Think about that.

To a man I never met and his family: Thank you.

I'll do my best to make sure Charlie's ode is not yet complete...

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

And so I begin...again

Over 20 years ago, well before Facebook and other social media platforms existed, I began blogging to get the word out about the proposed inflatable dam on the Susquehanna River.  I'm 99% sure my first efforts were in 1997, but I never bothered to print any of my posts, and the ISP/Host (Go.com?) for those early missives under the name of Susquehanna River Navigations has long since dissipated into cyberspace. 

I won't say I'm back...but old passions are definitely stirring.  

Mitakuye Oyasin.