Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Pennsylvania Places

The town of Scranton is better known these days. Vice President, Joe Biden was born there - as was Hillary Clinton's father (Hugh Rodham). It is of course the place in which The Office (An American Workplace) is set. I had heard of it long ago as an uncle of my mother had emigrated to the town and lived there before moving to Denver. When my family took a holiday in the USA we stayed near Scranton (on a lake in the Poconos) - and I was struck how similar the architecture was to the mining villages of South Wales. (where my great-uncle had come from.)

Nearby is Wilkes-Barre - where we went to our first baseball game. The town is named in honour of two English Parliamentarians who supported the cause of American during the struggle for independence - the figher for liberty, John Wilkes and Isaac Barre.

They had known each other for a number of years - serving in the Commons, and Wilkes was a lieutenant colonel for the militia of five counties and the 34th Foot, which was commanded by Barre. Apparently though they didn't really like each other.

Isaac Barre had a significant military career. He fought with Wolfe in America, and was with him at the Battle of Quebec. It was during that battle that he lost an eye. He entered Parliament in 1761 and has been described as "the most vocal champion of America in Parliament"

John Wilkes will be the subject of a forthcoming post (when I have completed Arthur H. Cash's biography 'John Wilkes: The Scandalous Father of Civil Liberty.')