Saturday, July 28, 2012

Genealogy Road Trip | Lindley Fort and Stockade

My sister Courtney joined me for a three-day genealogy road trip in June 2012. I am writing a series of posts that shared the stories and sights of our adventure. This is Part 3.
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Years ago I had read a post in a genealogy forum that suggested that our Lindley ancestors were some of the first white settlers claim land west of the Monongahela River in Western Pennsylvania. The story went on to say that one of our Lindley ancestors (Demas Lindley) had also built a fort to help protect the families who settled with them.

I had also read online that there was a monument dedicated to the old Lindley Fort that stood near where the old fort had once been built. My limited knowledge of the monument came from a short description I had read online that was accompanied with an out-of-focus photo. From that photo, I knew it would be sizable and half-joking told Courtney to keep an eye out for something the size of a VW Bug as we approached town.
Thankfully, my ridiculous size estimate was correct and I briefly caught a glimpse of it as we rounded a the corner coming in to Prosperity. After a quick u-turn, we were able to pull off to the side of the road in a patch of gravel next to the monument. The monument is quite imposing and the inscriptions can be easily read:

Front
SITE OF OLD LINDLEY FORT AND STOCKADE BUILT 1770

Side
THIS MARK ERECTED 1928 BY DESCENDANTS OF THE LINDLEYS

You can click on the monument photo to get a larger view
of the monument and the carving.
 
What I wasn't able to see in the out-of-focus picture I'd viewed online was that there was a carving of what looks like a frontiersman. In person it was quite intriguing.  I've always wondered what Demas looked like and this carving (while generic and not identifiable as him) has helped me to get a better understanding of what he might have looked like.

The details of Lindley Fort are not very well known, it has also been written about in several western frontier fort histories (herehere, and here). Additionally, it is said to have been a reinforced blockhouse (built around the same time as this), it housed soldiers during times of war, and it's currently being threatened by gas drilling. I hope for the sake of all Lindley descendants, that the land around it is preserved and will remain a testament to those who lived in and around it.

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