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Death, Taxes, and the Whiskey Rebellion

Updated: Jul 3

“Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

— Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Le Roy, 1789



PHOTO OF MURAL OUTSIDE OF BRADFORD HOUSE DEPICTING THE WHISKEY REBELLION WHICH LASTED FROM 1791 THROUGH 1793.


Less than 10 years after the end of the American Revolutionary War, the new country was already experiencing division. Alexander Hamilton was in favor of raising money to pay for the war through taxation on whiskey, but residents living in the far reaches of the country believed that this was suppressing their rights and liberty. The difficulty came from the contrast between the very different lifestyle of those living in Western Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Ohio with those living near the big cities near the Atlantic coast. Those living westward were predominately farmers who traded for other items that they might need. The whiskey industry here was based on whiskey being used in trade for these other items. This meant that a tax on whiskey was a great hardship upon an already difficult life. Furthermore, this new tax was on top of resentment that had built previously. The western residents in these less built-up areas felt that they weren’t being protected by the government from the raids of the Native Americans. The immediate result was a violent rebellion that lasted for several years. This was an early test to the newly established United States government.

 

Experience the History of the Whiskey Rebellion


The Bradford House

PHOTO OF THE BRADFORD HOUSE IN WASHINGTON, PENNSYLVANIA.

 

Located approximately 25 miles from Wellsburg, The Bradford House is the historic home of David Bradford who was involved in the Whiskey Rebellion. This home, built in 1788, has been restored to show what life would have been like for the Bradford family. The guided tour includes the main house, a separate kitchen cabin, and gardens.


PHOTO FROM THE BRADFORD HOUSE GARDEN WHICH IS A COMBINATION DECORATIVE AND KITCHEN GARDEN.

 

The Bradford House

175 South Main Street

Washington, PA 15301

724-222-3604

 

Hours

OPEN APRIL THROUGH NOVEMBER

WED – SAT: 10AM – 4PM

DECEMBER THROUGH MARCH: OPEN BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

Admission – FREE

Parking is available behind the Bradford House historic site or on-street metered parking is available 


PHOTO OF MURAL IN DOWNTOWN WASHINGTON, PENNSYLVANIA DEPICTING THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THE CITY.


 

Whiskey Rebellion Education and Visitor Center

PHOTO OF "WHISKEY REBELLION FLAG" PURPORTED TO HAVE BEEN USED BY THE REBELS. PHOTO BY PONTIC2006 HTTPS://WWW.COMMONS.WIKIMEDIA.ORG/FILE:FLAG-OF-WHISKEY-REBELLION


Located across the street from the Bradford House historic site, this museum thoroughly explains the Whiskey Rebellion with photos, documents, and film. Step back in time to learn about the formative years of the United States.

 

Whiskey Rebellion Education and Visitor Center

184 South Main Street

Washington, PA 15301

724-222-3604

 

Hours

OPEN APRIL THROUGH NOVEMBER

WED – SAT: 10AM – 4PM

DECEMBER THROUGH MARCH: OPEN BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

Admission – FREE

The Visitor Center is fully accessible

Parking is available behind the Bradford House historic site or on-street metered parking is available



 

Bower Hill Historical Marker 

BOWER HILL MARKER PHOTOGRAPHED BY MIKE WINTERMANTEL, FEBRUARY 20, 2011.

MARKER IS NEAR PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA, IN ALLEGHENY COUNTY. IT IS IN SCOTT TOWNSHIP. MARKER IS ON KANE BOULEVARD, ¼ MILE WEST OF BOWER HILL ROAD, ON THE LEFT SIDE WHEN TRAVELING WEST. MARKER IS IN THIS POST OFFICE AREA: BRIDGEVILLE PA 15017, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. HTTPS://WWW.HMDB.ORG/M.ASP?M=40393


 

 Upcoming events:

 

Whiskey Rebellion Festival 

July 12 – 13, 2024

 

Main Street Washington, PA between Wheeling Street and Maiden Street.

 

“This summer festival honors the significant period of America’s early days through historic reenactments, history, and heritage displays, street theater performances, children’s area, music, food, and libations, all the while shining a national spotlight on the city, county, and region.”

 



 

Also, you may want to check out:


Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon, Virginia

PHOTO OF MOUNT VERNON, THE HOME OF GEORGE WASHINGTON. HTTPS://COMMONS.WIKIMEDIA.ORG/W/INDEX.PHP?CURID=89353591">LINK</A>

 

  “The home of America’s first president, George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate is now one of the nation’s most visited historic sites.”

 



 

 

These books are in the BCPL collection:


 Alexander Hamilton, American

Author: Richard Brookhiser

Call number: 973.4092 BROOKHISER, located at the BCPL main location in the Adult Fiction section

 


Our Sacred Honor: Words of Advice from the Founders in Stories, Letters, Poems, and Speeches

Edited with Commentary: William J. Bennett

Call number: 973.4 OUR, located at the Follansbee branch location in the Adult Nonfiction section

 


Being George Washington: the Indispensable Man, as You’ve Never Seen Him

         Written and Edited: Glenn Beck and Kevin Balfe

Call number: BIO WASHINGTON, located at the BCPL main location and the Follansbee branch location in the Biography section

 


 

All efforts were made in good faith for accuracy of content of this blog post. However, fees charged and hours of operation may be subject to change without notice. Information was retrieved 6/18/24.

 

Next week we’ll explore Historical Sites in Brooke County…

 

 


Kirstie Perkins

Kirstie Perkins is a summer intern at Brooke County Public Libraries and Visitors Center in West Virginia. She is pursuing her Bachelor of Technical and Applied Studies with a focus on nonprofit studies, communication studies, and fine arts. When not studying or interning, she enjoys gardening, making new things from recycled materials, and writing.

 

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