Archive for the ‘Guest Blogs’ category

The Lost Fossil in the Turner Farm

August 8, 2010

Somewhere on the pathway of life I learned of the basic geology of Pleasant Mount. The basics were that once upon a time our community was covered by the sea, followed by the glaciers that gradually retreated towards the present day North Pole leaving behind those elegant hills and valleys to be populated by plants, animals and eventually human beings. As evidence of this ancient transformation the geologists point to the well known deposits of coal and the ample supply of sedimentary rock that every farmer either revered or cursed while doing the routines of farming. But what does the sedimentary rock tell us? 

Well, according to the scientists, this type of rock is formed by sedimentation from the sea and as such it is an excellent source of fossil data which in turn serves as a natural history book of geology, including that of Pleasant Mount. Why do I point this out and where am I going with it?

Some seventy years ago I, like every farm boy, usually had the job of herding cows in from the pasture. And as I did so I passed a protruding rock, among the many protruding rocks on our farm, on which was the outline of a complete skeleton of a fish. If my memory serves me right it was about 10 inches long, plus or minus. As a youth I passed it by. As an adult I wish that I had had the good sense to bring it to the attention of some archeologists in the hopes that they would have extracted it as natural proof that our little community was once covered by the sea.

 Clarence J. Turner

 The writer grew up in Rock Lake but now lives in Newport Beach, California.

Seeking Qualified Applicant

July 18, 2010

Do you know how Samuel Meredith got his job as Treasurer of the United States in 1789? 

It so happened that his father, Reese Meredith, was in the City Tavern in Philadelphia one day and in walked a stranger. Reese was a very influential man in town and would know all people of “substance” in the city so he was amazed that he did not know this man.  He inquired as to who the gentleman could be and was told it was General Washington of the Continental Army.  Reese introduced himself and he and Washington became lasting friends. 

When it came time for the new President Washington to form his government, Samuel Meredith posted a letter asking to be considered for the position of Treasurer.  Soon thereafter, Washington appointed him to the job.  But, even though Meredith got this job by who he knew, it was clear that he was well qualified for it.  The September, 1879 Magazine of American History states that “General Meredith entered upon the duties of his office when the Treasury of the country was in a most distressing condition. It required financial ability of the highest order; but Washington well knew the character of the man whom he had selected to fill this most responsible position.”

Thus did Pleasant Mount’s most famous citizen start off his political career. 

Rick ReynoldsRick Reynolds portrays Samuel Meredith

A retired teacher, Rick Reynolds makes history come alive at our annual 4th of July celebrations. He portrays a relative of his, Samuel Meredith, who was U.S. Treasurer from 1789-1801 and spent the last years of his life at his estate, Belmont Manor, in Pleasant Mount.

Small Town; Big Celebration

May 24, 2010

Independence Day is my favorite holiday, by far. I’d easily sacrifice pastel eggs and pumpkins for pride and patriotism. It could be because I was born a few months after the Bicentennial. Or because my father, an Army veteran, is the most patriotic person I know (I swear he bleeds red, white, and blue). But I think it has even more to do with the fact that my hometown has had the best 4th of July celebrations as far back as I can remember…and then some.

My own timeline can be reconstructed based on 4th of July festivities in Pleasant Mount. In my youth, I marched in the parade as a Rebel with the Fife & Drum Corps; pushed my baby sister in a stroller as a pre-teen; twirled a baton during my short stint as a majorette while a teenager; drove numerous floats over the years (the timeline is a little fuzzy on this…some floats were probably driven before I had a license), and more recently I’ve spent time out on the North Road checking in the overwhelming number of tractors that show up to parade through town every year.

These celebrations extend well past my own memories. After all, the David Spencer Steam Tractor made its maiden voyage on July 4, 1889 in the Pleasant Mount Parade.

If you’ve been to Pleasant Mount on the 4th of July, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, you should see what it’s all about. There’s a parade, a patriotic program in Meredith Park, a chicken barbecue, and plenty of other activities in the center of town. The Historical Society museum is open for tours free of charge, we have collectibles and gifts for sale, and antiques for sale on the lawn. I also hear that there will be fireworks this year.

As a long-time Wayne County public official once said, “Pleasant Mount is the place to be on the 4th of July.” So, mark your calendar and join us (this year’s celebration will be held on Saturday, July 3).

Lisa Hall

Pleasant Mount, Rebels Fife and Drum Corps

Do you have any Pleasant Mount 4th of July memories? Add a Comment and share them!

The Hills Keep Calling Me

May 8, 2010

It was a beautiful day on September 3, 1933 on the family farm located in Pleasant Mount, Pennsylvania. Four kids lived there with their parents Clarence F. and Vera A. Turner along with the latter’s in-laws Oscar and Rebecca Turner. No doubt at least two of the kids had been sent to live with their other grandmother, Nettie Bennett for a few days to keep them out of the way while Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Turner awaited the grand event. That event was my birth weighing in at over nine pounds, probably brought into this world with the only the help of my Grandmother Turner acting as a mid wife. Seventy seven years later that sounds bizarre but in 1933 Grandmother Turner could probably boast of having performed that job several times including the birth of my then four older siblings and then twice more with the two who would follow.

It was there on that hilltop that I learned to tread in the footsteps of my ancestors, the same ancestors who came there in about1815 to carve a homestead out of a forest. Where and how did they live while they toiled to build a home, till and sow, reap the harvest and build those magnificent stone walls that will outlast the finest structures of the ancient Romans? Five generations before me held onto that land before my generation let it go after nearly 200 years of continuous ownership. It was hard to let go! I am reminded of the observation made by the writer Garcia Marquez who wrote “that when a newborn holds the thumb of his father he holds it forever”. And now, in the back nine of life that hilltop still calls my name but I cannot answer.

Give thanks to the Historical Society of Pleasant Mount for their efforts to memorialize the lives of those who have lived in our community.

Clarence J. Turner

The writer is a 1951 graduate of Pleasant Mount High School, the University of Alabama in 1959 and holds a Certificate in Real Estate awarded by UCLA in 1967. He and his wife Janice live in Newport Beach, California