Thursday, October 10, 2013

Covered Bridge at Poole Forge, Lancaster County, PA

Our first stop in the Amish Country was at on old school house, now a visitors center ran by an older Mennonite gentleman.  We enquired about covered bridges in the area, and he gave us a map with them on, then he said actually there is one right down the road not on this map.  We were so delighted that he told us of the little local township park or we would have driven right by it.

This covered bridge was not built until 1859, although the property was established in 1775 by James Old a Welshman.  He was an experienced iron master and saw the potential of the land along the Conestoga River.  He established a forge here and ran it for twenty years, passing it on to his son.

Thomas Pownall, governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony journeyed to this are in 1754 and reported of "the beautiful valley of the Pequea ... On every farm a lime kiln and the land adapted for the best of wheat."  

The Pequea was a branch of the larger Shawnee tribe that inhabited the southeast corner of Pennsylvania, near the towns that later were named Paradise and Intercourse. The land is now mostly inhabited by the Amish. The Pequea tribe joined with other groups to form the Absentee Shawnee tribe, which were forced to migrate to Oklahoma.

Tanawa was the Pequea Chief during the tumultuous time when colonists began settling on the land. He instructed his people to live peacefully and even sent his people to tell Madame Ferree, a French Huguenot settler, "Indian no harm White; White good to Indian." Chief Tanawa was also believed to be a friend of William Penn and was buried on Lafayette Hill until the Literary Society of Paradise had his remains disinterred and archived.

The Pequea joined the Absentee Shawnee group in the 1800s before migrating to Oklahoma. The name "Absentee" was given to them by the U.S. government when they began vacating the land, including a reservation established for them in Kansas. By the early 1900s, there were only 481 members left in the Absentee tribe. The Absentee Shawnee in Oklahoma now consists of two The White Turkey Band and the Big Jim Band. Enrolled tribal members must have at least one-fourth Absentee blood.

I will deffinitely come back another time for a picnic here, how lovely is this little spot.


1 comment:

  1. This is such a beautiful peaceful spot and the bridge was wonderful


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