SUMMIT EXPLORES GEORGE WASHINGTON AND WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA’S FRONTIER FORTS
Butler County, Pa. – What did George Washington think of the frontier forts he visited in western Pennsylvania? That’s what attendees will learn at a day-long history summit on Thursday, April 20, at the Butler Country Club, 310 Country Club Rd, Butler. The program, developed by Washington’s Trail 1753, includes speakers, discussions, historical authors, museum displays, and door prizes. Cost is $60 and includes breakfast, lunch and door prizes. Registrations at http://www.washingtonstrail.org/events/.
Speakers at this year’s program include Prof. Brady Crytzer talking about Fort Pitt; Brian Reedy of the National Park Service on Ft. Necessity; Matt Gault on Ft. Ligonier; Bill Black, Ft. Machault / Venango in Franklin PA; Richard Arthur discussing Ft. LeBoeuf in Waterford PA; and David Williams speaking about Ft. Cumberland in Maryland.
Andy Masich, president of the Senator John Heinz History Center, will present a light and lively talk during the event’s lunch: “A Humorous Look at Young George
Washington’s Travels in Western Pennsylvania.” “We have an impressive lineup of speakers,” notes Martin O’Brien, president of Washington’s Trail 1753. “These forts—some French, some British—greatly impacted George Washington and his career and tell the story of European empires clashing with each other and with the natives in early Pennsylvania.”
The day-long event is sponsored by Washington’s Trail 1753, and the Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau, with financial support from Oil Region Alliance, Laurel
Highlands Visitors Bureau, Rivers of Steel, and NexTier Bank. The Butler Country Club is fully accessible and offers plenty of parking.
About the Speakers
Dave Williams is president of the Allegany County Historical Society in Cumberland Maryland. A graduate of the University of Maryland with a BA in Anthropology, he applies career lessons as a founding partner in a marketing communication consultancy to bring an energetic programming mission to the Historical Society. His presentation at the Washington Trail Summit is based on the work of Southwestern PA author Lannie Dietle’s two-volume Fort Cumberland books, published by the Historical Society. They are a definitive record of contemporary documents relating to the Virginia-based Ohio Company outpost established at Wills Creek in 1754.
Brian Reedy is a native of Pennsylvania raised and attended California University of Pennsylvania, earning a Bachelor of Art in History. While in college, he volunteered at Fort Necessity National Battlefield launching his career with the National Park Service. Brian has been with the National Park Service for nearly thirty-nine years working at sites in Philadelphia and Valley Forge. He returned to western Pennsylvania to work again at Fort Necessity and Friendship Hill Nat'l Historic Site currently serves as the Chief of Interpretation and Site Manager.
Matt Gault was named Fort Ligonier’s Director of Education in May 2020 after serving as the Assistant Director of Education for more than six years. Matt’s career began at Fort Ligonier as a college intern while enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. Upon graduation, he was selected to join Fort Ligonier’s Education Department. Matt is also known for his riveting portrayal of a young George Washington and will go to great lengths to increase awareness about French and Indian War history.
Andy Masich is an adjunct Professor of History at Carnegie Mellon University and is a recognized authority on the preservation and interpretation of history. He has served on the American Alliance of Museums Accreditation Commission and as a faculty member of the prestigious Seminar for Historical Administration. Known for his extensive knowledge of Pennsylvania history, he has also authored or co-authored award-winning books on a wide range of subjects.
Brady J. Crytzer teaches history at Robert Morris University. A specialist in the Imperial History of North America, Crytzer is the host of the weekly hit podcast Dispatches: The Podcast of the Journal of the American Revolution and of the cable series Battlefield Pennsylvania on the Pennsylvania Cable Network, and "Into the Wild Frontier" on NBC/Peacock. His work has been featured in the Journal of the American Revolution, Pennsylvania Heritage, Game News, and Muzzleloader Magazine.
William (Bill) Black attended Geneva College and holds a teaching degree and a Master’s of Education from Slippery Rock University. He retired from the Grove City School District in 2008 and lives with his wife, Lynn near Franklin. A lifetime interest in prehistory and history led to his interest in the archaeology of Western Pennsylvania. He has directed several public-invited excavations including efforts to locate and understand the French construction of Fort Machault.
Dick Arthur is a native of Pittsburgh and grew up in Butler County. He is a graduate of Allegheny College and George Washington University. A lifelong student of history, he has read dozens of books and visited dozens of historical sites. His presentations at the Jefferson Society and Fort Le Boeuf Historical Society include the Whiskey Rebellion, Manifest Destiny, and the role of Pennsylvania on D-Day. As curator and docent at the historic Eagle Hotel in Waterford he portrays Zachery Taylor. He and his wife, Mary Lou, live in rural Erie County with their two English Bulldogs.