Passion, Spies, Murder and Intrigue: How Western Pennsylvania Events Ignited a World War

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Braddock Road Preservation Association Presents 27th Annual French and Indian War Seminar at Jumonville Retreat Center in Hopwood, PA, November 6-7, 2015

Braddock Road Preservation Association 2015 Seminar

Our annual event continues to attract more scholars, experts and history fans each year. All the sites are so rich with history that participants say they can feel it.

In the mid-1700s, Southwestern Pennsylvania was the global epicenter for a dramatic series of “better than fiction” events that ultimately defined our modern world. In 2015, the Braddock Road Preservation Association (BRPA) revisits the actual sites, stories and people behind these events at its 27th annual French and Indian War Seminar at Jumonville Retreat Center in Hopwood, PA., Friday November 6 and Saturday, November 7.

“As one of the largest seminars on this topic in the country, our annual event continues to attract more scholars, experts and history fans each year. The Jumonville venue – and all the sites we visit – are so rich with history that participants say they can feel it,” according to Dr. Walter Powell, president of the BRPA Board of Directors. “In addition to convening a knowledgeable and vibrant group of like minds, we emphasize making history something that people can reach out and touch.”

Highlights of the seminar include a bus tour of several historic sites, and speaker sessions featuring numerous national and international pre-Colonial experts and scholars. The seminar is designed to examine the critical role our region played in French and Indian War history through hands-on engagement and discussion.

The Friday bus tour includes a trip along the road blazed in 1755 by Gen. Edward Braddock’s British army as it made its way toward the site of present-day Pittsburgh. The first stop will be the Emanuel Episcopal Church in Cumberland, MD to explore the remains of Fort Cumberland. The tour will then visit Frostburg University to review the papers of Harvard professor John Kennedy Lacock, who documented the Braddock Road with a series of photographic postcards in 1908. The tour next stops at a deep scar of the original road on Big Savage Mountain and concludes at Fort Necessity, site of George Washington’s first battle as a military officer.

Friday evening will feature Braddock scholar Dr. David Preston, with a program based on his new book Braddock’s Defeat: The Battle of the Monongahela and the Road to Revolution (Oxford University Press, June 2015). Preston is an award-winning historian of early America with a special interest in war and peace among the French, British, and Indian peoples of the eighteenth century. He is currently the Westvaco Professor of National Security Studies at The Citadel.

Sessions will continue all day Saturday on the historic Jumonville campus. The seminar also features a silent auction of rare books and other history-related items to benefit BRPA’s ongoing initiatives.

Saturday speakers and topics include:

  •     Dr. Daniel J. Tortora, Assistant Professor of History, Colby College: “The Cherokee Offensive of 1760 and the Origins of the American Revolution,” based on his new book “Carolina in Crisis: Cherokees, Colonists and Slaves in the American Southeast, 1756-1763” (University of North Carolina Press, May 2015).
  •     Dr. John Oliphant, independent scholar, Eastbourne, UK. “John Forbes: Scotland, Flanders, and the Seven Years War” (London: Bloomsbury Press, 2015), a new, critically acclaimed biography of General Forbes.
  •     Douglas R. Cubbison, “On Campaign Against Fort Duquesne: The Braddock and Forbes Expeditions, 1755-1758 through the Experiences of Quartermaster General Sir John St. Clair” (McFarland Press, Summer 2015).
  •     Dr. Carl J. Ekberg, Professor Emeritus, Illinois State University. “The Jumonville Affair–a Fresh Examination.” Dr. Ekberg has several award winning books to his credit that focus on the French in the Louisiana country prior to 1776.

The Braddock Road Preservation Association is an advisory organization that seeks to research, develop, interpret and promote the French and Indian War history of Jumonville, Dunbar’s Camp, and the Braddock Road in Southwestern Pennsylvania. A secondary purpose is to research, develop, interpret and promote the history of the Pennsylvania Soldiers’ Orphans School, which was formed in the area after the Civil War.

For more information and to register for the seminar, visit our registration information page: or call: 724- 439-4912 Note: Due to high interest, the annual bus tour and lodging portions of the seminar frequently sell out quickly.

About Braddock Road Preservation Association
BRPA was formed in 1989 as the Jumonville Preservation Association. Its first meeting was attended by a few interested history buffs, and has grown in size every year since then. The annual French and Indian War Seminar at Jumonville, held the first weekend in the beginning of November, is now the largest such annual gathering in Pennsylvania and one of the largest in the country. It features: guest speakers and multimedia presentations from many of the top historians and museum directors in the field, artifact exhibits and antiquarian books. The National Park Service is also a participant.

About Jumonville Camp and Retreat Center
Jumonville Retreat Center ( located in Hopwood, PA is near Jumonville Glen, the site of one of the most controversial skirmishes leading up to the French and Indian war. The skirmish at the site in 1754 led to the defeat of Washington’s army at Fort Necessity. One hundred years later, it became the location for Soldier’s Orphan School, a State sponsored the military school for children whose parents were killed or disabled in the Civil War. Today, Jumonville is a Christian Camp and Retreat Center affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The 280 acre campus includes numerous features of its rich history, along with comprehensive resources for conferences and retreats.
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Jennifer Faines
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