Frontier Court Days and a new exhibit at Historic Hanna’s Town

Location: Historic Hanna’s Town

Address: 809 Forbes Trail Road, Greensburg, PA 15601

Date: Saturday, June 19 and Sunday, June 20, 2021

Time:  Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Sunday 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. 

Court Days Admission: $10 adults, $5 children, free for 5 and under (usual discounts do not apply for this event.)

Frontier Court Days

Step back in time to when Hanna’s Town served as the seat of government for Westmoreland County and held the first English courts west of the Allegheny Mountains. Join us for reenactments of actual court cases heard at Hanna’s Town between 1773 and 1786 along with living history presentations, military encampments and demonstrations, activities for children, live music, and more!

Experience the excitement that people of the 18th century felt when they gathered in town for court. See how those who were accused and convicted of crimes paid their debt to society on the Pennsylvania frontier. Reenactments will take place at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday; the 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. sessions will feature their own court cases.

Additionally, the event includes:

  • Encampments, drills, and artillery demonstrations by Westmoreland County’s Proctor’s Militia (I.B.W.C.P.), 8th Pennsylvania Regiment, Fort McIntosh Garrison, 60th Royal Americans, and Rangers of the Ohio Company.
  • Demonstrations of blacksmithing in the new Blacksmith Shop, gunsmithing, woodworking, spinning, weaving, gardening, herbal medicine and midwifery, Native American history and culture, and Revolutionary War surgeon’s medicine (Saturday only).
  • Traditional Scots-Irish and Celtic music by Dee and Paddy’s. 
  • At 12 p.m. both days, a book talk by Gail Curtis, author of Woman on Fire: Based on the Life of Elizabeth Guthrie Brownlee Guthrie, a fictionalized story based on the life of a real survivor of the attack on Hanna’s Town.
  • On Sunday morning only, attend an 18th century church service featuring traditional readings, sermon, prayer, and music.

“We are excited to welcome the community back to Frontier Court Days this year,” says Pam Curtin, Education and Interpretation Manager at the Westmoreland Historical Society. “Our volunteers and reenactors have dedicated a lot of time and care to make this event a fun and educational experience.”

Event Schedule

Saturday, June 19 

9:00 a.m. – Gates open 

10:00 a.m. – Flag raising ceremony 

11:00 a.m. –  Frontier Court Reenactment 

12:00 p.m. –  Book talk by Gail Curtis

Around 1:00 p.m. – Militia and artillery demonstration 

2:00 p.m. – Frontier Court Reenactment 

5:00 p.m. – Event closes 

Sunday, June 20 

9:00 a.m. – Gates open 

9:15-10:00 a.m. – 18th century religious service 

11:00 a.m. – Frontier Court Reenactment 

12:00 p.m. –  Book talk by Gail Curtis

Around 1:00 p.m. – Militia and artillery demonstration 

2:00 p.m. – Frontier Court Reenactment 

3:00 p.m. – Event closes

The most up-to-date information about this event is also available on our website: https://westmorelandhistory.org/events/frontier-court-days-2021

New exhibit opening

The Westmoreland Historical Society is proud to debut a new exhibit at the Westmoreland History Education Center at Historic Hanna’s Town over the weekend of Frontier Court Days.

Penn’s Woods: Plenty for the Use of Man highlights the local and regional history of woodworking and carpentry. While promoting his new colony, William Penn proclaimed the forests had “plenty for the use of man.” From the forests emerged building techniques, tools, trades, and crafts that helped make Westmoreland County what it is today. Explore this history through displays of historic woodworking tools, furnishings, photographs, documents, and stories across centuries. 

The exhibit features objects from the private collections of Bob Kendra and John Mickinak, board members of the Westmoreland Historical Society. Museum collections and archives featured include the Westmoreland Historical Society, Ligonier Valley Rail Road Museum, Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Saint Vincent Archabbey and College Archives, IUP Department of Archaeology, Forest History Society, and the American Chestnut Foundation. The exhibit also features prints by artists including Robert Griffing, John Buxton, and Eric Sloane, and handcrafted furnishings by local woodworkers Paul Sirofchuck and Matt Stein. The Westmoreland Historical Society worked with Blue Sky Sign Company in Greensburg to receive graphic design and printing services for the exhibit text and images.

Also in the Education Center is an additional exhibit of photography by the Westmoreland Photographers Society highlighting the beauty and richness of Pennsylvania trees and forests.

“Trees were Pennsylvania’s first and most abundant natural resource,” says Pam Curtin. “This exhibit explores how Westmoreland County can trace its roots back to use of the forests. We delve into a variety of interesting stories, including how Indigenous People and early European settlers constructed their homes, the woodworking trades that built local communities, efforts to conserve the forests that were almost lost, and modern woodworkers who keep the craft alive in the present day.”

The Penn’s Woods exhibit will open Saturday, June 19, and will be open during the Westmoreland Historical Society’s open hours, which are currently Thursday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Historic Hanna’s Town preserves and interprets the history of the first Westmoreland County seat of government, which hosted the first English courts west of the Allegheny Mountains, established in 1773. Hanna’s Town was home to frontier settlers, hosted travelers along the Forbes Road, and served as a recruitment center during the Revolutionary War. The historic site, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is collaboratively maintained by the Westmoreland Historical Society and Westmoreland County Parks and Recreation.

Keep up to date on activities and events on our website www.westmorelandhistory.org, on Facebook, on Twitter @WCHistory, and on Instagram @WestmorelandHistory. For information about Historic Hanna’s Town and the Westmoreland County Historical Society, give us a call at 724-836-1800.