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June 7, 2019

Funnymoon: Fort Klingensmith

You tried. 
Due to limited vacation days, our honeymoon has to be broken up into a few small getaways throughout the year. Our first excursion was over Memorial Day, and along the way, we stopped by Hannastown, where Fort Klingensmith is.
"No military force in history could penetrate those walls."
-Jason Klingensmith 
Jason’s 5th great-grandfather, Johannes, built it with his brother John Peter. They moved to the colonies when they were young and became scouts for General George Washington during the French and Indian War. Eventually, they plopped down about thirty-five miles from where Jason grew up and worked on their farms with the occasional break to impregnate their wives.
Zachy happily playing where his foremothers were publicly shamed. 

All the Klingensmiths around here can be traced back to Andreas Klingenschmidt who owned a bell factory in Leipzig, Germany in the 16th century.  (Klingen=bell, schmidt=metalsmith) They probably immigrated here to escape religious persecution, but then again, maybe word got out that Pennsylvania likes their bells.

Hannastown only had a few good years because the Seneca were already using that land. Their perspective was that God owned the land and blessed them with its bounty. Another human owning that land wasn’t taking it from them, it was stealing from God. In response, they came to the town and slaughtered a bunch of them, including John Peter and his family. They spared the 8-year-old boy Peter and raised him as their own.

Peter grew up to become “White Peter”, and not to be outdone in unoriginality, the white people named his wife “Molly Indian Maiden”. Their offspring live in New York and Canada. Jason grew up hearing that he is part Native American, but as far as I know, it’s through marriage instead of blood. From what I’ve gathered, he is mostly German and English on his dad’s side (with a smidge of Irish and Jewish). Zach’s paternal line on his DNA test confirmed this. Jason’s maternal side is a hundred percent Syrian, but since the country was invaded so often, that’s likely a hodge-podge as well. It’s difficult to research her history without knowing Arabic.

All of this information came about when I made a family tree for Zach. Jason and I value history, and we want Zach to know his place in it. Being a part of something much bigger is valuable for our humility while paradoxically teaching us that we are important.


The blockhouse where Jason's family probably lived because his uncle's nickname was "Blockhouse". They weren't great with nicknames back then. 
(Coming up next is "Funnymoon: Nemacolin". If you would still like to donate to the honeymoon fund, click the link here.)