Wrestling with George and Other Tales of Western Pennsylvania
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The book’s title is derived from an episode which occurred during George Washington’s visit to the region in 1770. While attending a frontier social event at a locale in the upper Youghiogheny, he was challenged by a local rowdy to a wrestling match. Upon enduring this verbal abuse for over an hour, Washington finally obliged him with devastating results. This story is among Washington’s various adventures around the Monongahela and Youghiogheny Rivers that are recounted in this book. Those two rivers are among the few natural waterways in the world which flow northward. Washington, though, was not the only notable figure to visit this area during the period between 1700 to 1900. For instance, Nicholas Roosevelt was the first scion of that notable family who became well-known in western Pennsylvania when steering one of the earliest steamboats upon the Monongahela. Moreover, the first British settlements west of the Allegheny Mountains were located along these rivers. Various of the essays within the work trace the evolution of the economy of these valleys from being an agricultural “bread basket” to a heavy industrial powerhouse, specializing in basic steel production. The list of notable local personages appearing in these pages range from the legendary Queen Allaquippa of the Seneca to Philander Knox, a Brownsville native, who had become a prominent corporate attorney, as well as a prominent national Republican by 1900.