When I was young (a very long time ago) I used to envy those whose ancestors explored the far west, prospected for gold in
California and and did other adventurous things. In contrast, my ancestors came to Alaska in 1752 and never left. They were content to stay here, farming, working on the canals and railroads, mining and pursuing other mundane tasks. Pennsylvania
I longed to go elsewhere in search of the exotic and the wild. Now, having been to some of those elsewheres, I realize there is so much history, mystery and beauty here in the commonwealth one could devote a lifetime to exploring it.
Just consider the history alone—
played a vital part in the Revolutionary War and was the site for one of the most pivotal of the Civil War battles. It was the site of the first public protest of slavery in the nation in 1688, the first subscription library (1731), the first institution devoted to science (1743), the first U.S. capital (Philadelphia in 1777), and the commonwealth was the first to pass an abolition law (1780). Pennsylvania
That’s a lot of firsts, and it’s only a smattering of a lengthy list which should make any resident proud. We have mountains which boast as beautiful fall foliage as may be found in the east. There are mighty rivers, deep and cold lakes, forests teeming with a variety of wildlife, and bountiful farm land.
Not to say everything in
’s history is worthy of applause. Early settlers greedy for land were relentless in driving out the native peoples and the murder of 21 Indian men, women and children in 1763 by a vigilante group known as the Paxton Boys was as atrocious an act of cowardice as any perpetrated later in the west. There’s also the shameful desecration of land and mistreatment of workers by the coal barons here in my own area. Prejudice against later immigrants and various ethnic groups continues to raise its ugly head too often for comfort. Pennsylvania
But, getting back to those firsts,
was the birthplace of a man who influenced such varied literary masters as Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. In fact, no less an authority than the Encyclopedia Britannica calls Charles Brocken Brown, author of Wieland, a gothic thriller, the “father of the American novel.” Pennsylvania
Though I’ve written about other places, all my published novels to date are set here in my home territory. These have included a four-novel police procedural series set in a contemporary Pennsylvania community and a historical novel about life and love in the coal region in the 1870s, all published by Whiskey Creek Press. And there’s fodder for plenty more.
For those who care to comment on this post, I’m offering to draw a winner who can choose a print copy of any of my novels.
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