FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2005

On this date in 1760

  • George III becomes King of England.
  • The French surrender to the English at Montreal to effectively end the French and Indian War.
  • The “Great Fire” of Boston destroys 349 buildings.
  • Tacky’s rebellion, one of the longest and bloodiest slave revolts in history, occurs in Jamaica.
  • Benjamin Franklin invents bifocals
  • Speedwell Forge begins operation. James Old, the ironmaster, moves his family into a stone house just across the creek.

Well, not the most thrilling “this date in history,” but it still puts things into perspective. The American Revolution was 16 years away; Lancaster, with a population of 2,900, was the largest inland town in America; the nearby town of Lititz was a closed Moravian religious settlement, barely three years old; and the “gateway to the west” was not St Louis, but Wright’s Ferry (now Columbia), less than 20 miles away. In 1960, on it’s 200th anniversary, Speedwell Forge was the final stop on a tour of ironmaster properties, including Charming Forge and the Coleman-Stiegel Mansion (site of Elizabeth Furnace).