Continuing the family history reaearch of
Dr. Ezra Clayton Saylor
(1881 - 1954)

Somerset - A Special Place

I hope you will allow a short diversion from the work of Dr. E. C. Saylor.

Two events during 2001 and 2002 brought national attention to Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Her residents responded without hesitation. These stories are well told in Courage After The Crash by Glenn J. Kashurba, M.D. and Our Story by The Quecreek Miners. While these events are well-known, other events and contributions are almost forgotten.

Many stories of Somerset's residents can be found in Volumes I and III of the History of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania by Blackburn, Welfley and Koontz . In volume III, page 549 General Alexander Ogle (1767-1832) is credited with naming the residents of Somerset County "The Frosty Sons of Thunder".

The same page states, "From among these 'Frosty Sons of Thunder' have gone forth men whose fame is not circumscribed by the lines of their native state."  At least one of her son's stories is not found in the History.

Photo by Stewart R. Saylor, logos used with the permission of Susan J. OKeefe and Bill Arnold, Dormel Farms®

George Chorpenning, Jr. (1820-1894)
His story is best told in The Man From Somerset, A Historical Novel by Frank Winslow. While Mr. Winslow's subtitle indicates a novel, his facts overpower his fiction. This book should be required reading for the current generation of "Sons". 

My late-wife was a FLICK. George's mother was a FLICK. My father-in-law told us the story long before I read the "novel".

George and a couple of his trusted relatives, Irvin PILE and Conrad FLICK, left Somerset in 1849 for the California Gold Rush. Discouraged George looked for other opportunities and saw the need for reliable mail service. In 1851 George and a partner, Absalom Woodward, from Indiana County, PA, were granted the first contract for mail service between Salt Lake and Sacramento. Thus began the Pony Express before it was called the Pony Express.

After George, Irwin and Conrad completed the first delivery from Sacramento to Salt Lake, George accepted an honorary commission in the militia as a major offered by the first governor of the Utah Territory, Brigham Young. Apparently, this is the source of his Major title years before his Civil War service.

While George provided the reliable mail service he desired, later contracts became a well documented fiasco with the U.S. government. His death notice was published in the Somerset Herald, 11 APR 1894.

Irvin Pile (1831-1924)
His death notice appears on the front page of the Somerset Herald, Wednesday, June 25, 1924 and tells his story very well.