Friday, June 02, 2017

Bedford, PA: Day 2

Today was a bit of a shopping day, although I did get some genealogy research done, as well.

I had scoped out some yarn and quilting shops in downtown Bedford, and we located all of them quite easily. I bought something at all three yarn shops to support local small vendors!

First up was the Backstage Alpaca Shop, which sold mostly finished clothing items, although they did have a few skeins of yarn from Bedford-area alpacas. This is what I came for, people. 

I petted this cute little toy alpaca and bought a skein from Bedford's Lincoln Pike Alpaca Farm, which herds alpacas in Bedford County and makes yarn. Most of the skeins spun from a single animal; I bought one from a feisty alpaca named Levi.

Next up was Yarn Knitch, where they had more of the Lincoln Pike Alpaca yarns! I bought some Starburst and laughed at the yarn-themed posters.

Right next door to Yarn Knitch was Mary's Quilt Shop, which had many beautiful fabrics for my mom to drool over. I found this amazing wall hanging, which you can probably only pull off in the northeast...

We also learned about Bedford Bed Races, which we unfortunately missed by one weekend!! Basically people turn beds into race cars (or make car-like apparatuses that are vaguely bed-shaped). It looks like a real shit show and my mom and I really want to go next year.

We did a bit of thrifting and bought some cute tops, then went to the last yarn shop on the list, FireSong Studio. This was a really beautiful shop with woven items, yarn, knitted items, and more. Basically the owner has some sheep, dyes and spins the yarn, then sells it or weaves it into something. 

The cool thing about FireSong was that the building is the old jail / sheriff's office. She's trying to sell the building and move the studio to a more rural area, and she thinks it would be a perfect spot for a bed and breakfast. If only I wasn't so far from retirement!

Next up, I wanted to visit the Bedford County Historical Society and its library to do some genealogy research. I had done some digging on a free genealogy website and wanted some stories and history to go along with the names, and also to confirm that my research looked correct.

I was able to find a lot on the Cessna and Deremer families, two important early pioneer families in Bedford County from which I am descended. I was also able to confirm the military service of some family members who fought in the Civil War (all for Pennsylvania, of course) and the Revolutionary War. Pretty cool!

They're so anti-Confederacy up here that they even display a Confederate Flag that was stolen during Sherman's March to the Sea. 

Given my last name, the librarians asked me if I'm related to the great general, but alas, I am not. (In fact, in contrast to my grandma's very old Pennsylvania roots, my father's family immigrated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, changing the name from the Czech-Germanic "Schimandl" to Sherman.)

Some crazy stories I was able to unearth at the historical society:

  • The Cessna family is descended from Jean de Cessna, a Huguenot who came to America in 1718. Jean is my eighth great-grandfather!
  • My seventh great-grandfather, John Cessna, was murdered by raiding Native Americans in 1854. I was able to find out where his wife's grave is, but obviously no one knows where his body ended up.
  • My sixth great-grandfather, Anthony S. Smith, was a Revolutionary War veteran who was captured and held as a prisoner of war.
  • The obituary of my third great-grandfather, Hillery Smith, reads that the "icy hand of death relieved him from his suffering." They were a little bit more colorful back then.

While I researched, my mom and grandma went to a community yard sale, believe it or not. Hilarious.

For dinner, I really wanted to visit the Jean Bonnet Tavern, a historical inn and tavern just up the street from the Historical Society. Not often that you get to visit an inn that has been running since the 1770s...

The food was good, and I got to try some Pennsylvania beer, too!

It was really neat to visit the historical society and check into family names. You keep running across the same names in a small town like this - weird names that you never see in Chicago, like Deremer, Mock, Rose, Nave. You see the other people and think, hey, I'm related to you somehow!

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