top of page

AMERICAN TAPESTRY EXCERPT FROM PART 1

 I was surprised to discover that Jonathan Woodside had been arrested during the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion. When I researched the details of how he came to be involved in the event, I learned that he was a neighbor of Bedford (later Somerset) County's Robert Philson. Chapter 7 "The Rebel" argues that it was Robert Philson, rather than Herman Husband, who was the leading protagonist of the rebellion in Bedford County.

Whiskey Rebellion. It’s a name that conjures up the spirit of a rough-and-tumble frontier conflict in a way that similar agrarian uprisings—Shays’ Rebellion in 1786 and Fries’ Rebellion in 1799—do not. With a cast of thousands, the insurrection that began in 1791 and lasted until 1794 pitted western yeoman farmers, laborers, and merchants against eastern politicians and land speculators. Emerging populist leaders such as Albert Gallatin and William Findley were set against revolutionary heroes George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. Playing a bit part in the drama, Jonathan Woodside Sr. was one of the ordinary men who participated in the unfolding events.

Jonathan had been a true patriot in the revolution. Among his many tours of duty in the fight for independence, he had marched to Bedford County in 1779 to protect the inhabitants against depredation by a frontier enemy. Retracing his steps in 1788, he joined a stream of settlers searching for opportunity in the Ohio River watershed. He probably traveled on the Old Forbes Road where, upon reaching the town of Bedford on the western aspect of Sideling Hill, he headed southwest through the glades between Allegheny Mountain and Laurel Hill to the small town of Berlin. From there he continued through the rolling hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, eventually making his home among a group of Irishmen in a place pejoratively named Paddytown in Turkeyfoot Township.

bottom of page