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Don't forget to check out my other websites too!
www.mimbizic.com ("Power of Three" iPad educ. app)
www.babamim.com (American-Serb History 101)
www.moontownshiphistoricalsociety.com (Moon Twp., PA History!)
By Milana (Mim) Karlo Bizic 11/13/14
What an evening it was! Happy but tired from a long day, it wasn’t long before I fell fast asleep after coming home from Sewickley Valley Historical Society’s meeting on the Civil War around 10:30 P.M. But sleep wasn’t in store for me, as I awoke about 3:30 A.M., vividly recalling the wonderful experiences from the night before. Rather than let those thoughts escape to oblivion, I grabbed my iPhone, and began dictating on the NOTES page. Together with all the wonderful photos I took last evening, we have a story to share! Enjoy.
Dan Telelp, Agnes Pangburn, Gary Augustine pose with a painting of Noah Pangburn from the Civil War.
The Standing-Room ONLY crowd at the Sewickley Valley Historical Society's meeting on November 12, 2014.
What a surprise Barbara Fry had for Mim Bizic when she brought this 1978 photo to the meeting of Nick Bizic. The photo appeared on the front page of the Sewickley HERALD and was taken by the late photographer +Jim Addison!
Dr. Rose K. Gantner and neighbor Kris Westerhoff read the description of the Sewickley Quilt written by Mrs. B.G. Y. Shields.
Old-time neighbor Michael Szuba has a big interest in the Civil War.
Sewickley Valley Historical Society President Michael Tomano provided incredible smoked venison meat afterwards for all to enjoy!
Several Civil War re-enactors were also present.
Rob Dunbar shares his take on the evening's presentation with Dr. Tommy Pangburn and his son.
The Hospitality Ladies always provide such a delightful repast, but this time it was bolstered by the addition of Mike Tomano's smoked venison!
Young Harton Semple, Harton Semple Sr., and Mim Bizic. Mim recalled when young Harton would dress up in his Civil War uniforms for special occasions at the Edgeworth Elementary School. The two young Semple boys (Harton and Ian) always took out many books on the Civil War from the Edgeworth Library, showing a lifetime interest.
Earl Edwards and others give the quilt RARELY displayed, one loving last look!
Mim Bizic's granddaughter on Veteran's Day in Texas, 2014.
The famous Civil War quilt narrative.....click the lower right hand side of the photo to enlarge! (This is true for all photos on this page!)
Mrs. B.G.Y.Shields, President Emeritus of the Sewickley Valley Historical Society wrote:
"This quilt was probably made in the Fineview section of Allegheny City, sometime between 1889 and 1892. Sarah Bright Anderson Lea was the wife of Benjamin Franklin Lea, some ten years her junior, who served in the Union Army between 1863 and 1865, as a guard and later as a cook at Camp Reynolds in Pittsburgh. Mr. Lea, a substitute for an unknown draftee, was a private when he mustered out in 1865.
"He joined G. A. R. Post No. 162 in Allegheny City on January 19, 1889, and in the period 1890-1893 was active in the organization, serving as Post Surgeon in 1891 and being nominated for positions of Junior Vice Commander and Officer of the Day in 1893 and 1894, respectively.
"The quilt's design and symbols indicate that it was made in connection with a celebration or commemoration sponsored by the G. A. R. Sara Lea died January 27, 1918, and her husband died four weeks later." (More from Mrs. Shields at the bottom of this page.)
Executive Director of the Sewickley Valley Historical Society and Michael Krauss, director of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial in Pittsburgh, shown with the reverse double-sided Civil War narrative quilt.
By Mim Bizic:
In conjunction with Veterans Day celebrated only the day before, a packed house, standing-room only crowd, with even the balcony overflowing with visitors, attended the Sewickley Valley Historical Society's November 12, 2014 meeting at the Old Sewickley Post Office building.
The double-barreled presentation featured not only Michael Krauss, current director of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial building in the Oakland section of downtown Pittsburgh, speaking on "Images From the Civil War," but also, the world-class, double-sided, national treasure quilt, featuring the history of the Civil War.
Krause, a well-known speaker on the Civil War, exclaimed to his enraptured audience that he only got "C's" in history classes because he was a visual learner who couldn't remember just dates, names, and events, but was able to overcome these drawbacks later on as a researcher, by making associations with the images he saw. Humbly, what Krauss didn't say, is how he used his brilliant mind and artistic talents in that area of study, to promote himself to the position he has today, with everyone clamoring for him to be a guest speaker and anxiously awaiting his latest artistic sculptures!
One would have to be literally blind to not immediately recognize the historical significance of the great American treasure quilt that greeted visitors as they entered the central meeting room. It was fun watching the "AWE" inspired by the audience upon entering.
Talk about Passion meeting Purpose!
•One could readily see how perfectly matched Michael Krauss is for his job at the Museum;
•The ""Quest for the Best" images the varied photographers of the era tried to capture and that Michael chose to share;
•The love, effort and passion that went into sewing the treasured quilt, Sarah Bright Anderson Lea recording history for posterity:
•The people in attendance who yearned to learn far more than what current TV listings and other media allow;
•And finally, my desire and passion to share this learning with all of you!
Krauss showed images of our country before and during the great Civil War, with chilling examples of young children working in factories for the arsenals, or gathering spilled oil from the river in order to earn money for their families to live. We saw canal boats and barges, and learned how Pres. Abraham Lincoln stayed at the Monongahela Hotel on February 14, 1861, the only time he stayed overnight in Pittsburgh. We viewed foot soldiers and orderlies, all the way up to famous generals including our own, General Alexander Hayes, and his aide, David Shields. Krauss even had an image of the famous "Dog Jack." An image of Jack is on display at the SASM in Oakland.
Jack had participated in many battles, including the Battle of Fair Oaks.
Afterwards, I was able to add two anecdotes to Krause's tale:
1. Although General Hays was killed at the Battle of the Wilderness on May 5, 1864, it was at the Battle of Fair Oaks, also known to the Southerners as the Battle of Seven Pines, wherein the General distinguished himself on June 26, 1862. A very prominent lawyer friend in Philadelphia, Sigmund Horstmann upon reading about the plight of Hays’ widow and all the children he left behind, purchased five acres of ground adjoining the Harmony Society, that became the area we know as Fair Oaks today in the Quaker Valley School District. Seven pine trees were planted in a row on the property at the time and the Harmonists of Old Economy arranged transportation for Mrs. Hayes and her seven children to attend Church services each Sunday.
2. I recalled how Mrs. B. G. Y. Shields, Editor Emeritus of the Sewickley HERALD and the SVHS always regaled us with her stories about how the young Union volunteers called Sewickley Rifles gathered at the not quite finished Sewickley Presbyterian Church for meetings and mustering drills, and how men proudly marched all the way from Sewickley to Pittsburgh, each one with a presentation sword by his side, a gift from a grateful community!
Young and old were present at the SVHS meeting. It was refreshing to see three generations of people in attendance. Agnes Pangburn and Gary Augustine, expert historians in their own right, shared the evening with son/son-in law Dr. Tom Pangburn, well known physician at the Sewickley Valley Hospital, and grandson Tommy Pangburn. Agnes had brought a painting of her relative, Noah Pangburn, in his Civil War Zouave outfit. Several people, including the speaker, Michael Krauss, recognized the soldier immediately, "Oh, it's Noah!" and then proudly proclaimed, "We are so lucky to have his uniform on display at the post."
Barbara Fry, a long-time employee of the Sewickley Herald, delighted this reporter with an 8 x 10" glossy black-and-white photograph of son, Nick Bizic, who used to attend these SVHS meetings with me faithfully as a young lad. The photograph was taken by beloved Sewickley historian and photographer, the late great, +Jim Addison.
Nick, presently based in Houston Texas, is currently working as International Director of Fugro’s International Division in the Netherlands, with 12,500 employees.
Nick will be happy to learn that our old Quaker Heights neighbor and one of His best friends growing up, Michael Szuba, was also in attendance. What a delight it was to see this young man after so many years!
If physically present with us, Nick would have also been happy to meet the acquaintance of two gentlemen re-enactors dressed in Confederate uniforms, who greatly added to the evening's ambience. From the age of 14, Nick had been a member of the 5th Virginia, General Stonewall Jackson brigade as a young re-enactor himself, as one couldn't be a member in the Union Army re-enactors until age 18.
As I scanned the audience I couldn't help but think of the wealth of knowledge in the room concerning the Civil War. Located way in the back of the room were the Director of the Sewickley Valley Historical Society, Harton Semple, and his son, Harton, also re-enactors for the Union side, where the elder Semple portrays a Union doctor. Harton is also the editor of the spell-binding THE IRISH BOYS of the Civil War.
George Gaadt, nationally known artist and illustrator of all American wars, and also the official photographer for the NFL was present, along with Dan Telep, whose recently sold Civil War collection of letters and stamps rivaled the finest collections in the world.
Newer SVHS member, Kris Westerhoff, only recently relocated back to the Sewickley area after living many years in Lancaster PA, recalled her ancestors who were brothers on opposite sides of the Civil War to neighbor Dr. Rose Gantner.
Also present were Mr. and Mrs. Earl Edwards from the Old Moon Historical Society, where Earl serves as President.
Rob Dunbar, reminded me that the Western Pennsylvania Civil War Roundtable
still meets at the Edgeworth Elementary School every third Wednesday of the month, and has recently celebrated its 30 year anniversary.
Jay Brooks, a prominent member of the SVHS, lamented that Mrs. Shields, long-time Sewickley resident and President Emeritus, now lives too far away in Lemont, PA to attend the meetings. "All of this wonderful history will be lost!" he lamented. (NOT SO!)
The hospitality ladies of the SVHS outdid themselves with a wide selection of cheese and delicious cookies served with wine of your choice, augmented this meeting with five pounds of delicious smoked venison supplied by SVHS president, Mike Tomamo!
Nothing beats a community of shared learning!
Read more about the Quilt here: