Wherrys Defeat, Bagdad, Pa. Westmoreland County (pics added 5/26/09)

deepskyal

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Wherry's Defeat, Bagdad, Pa. Westmoreland County (pics added 5/26/09)

From the Armstrong County History.

.....is the old village of Bagdad, famous in canal days and since. It was at this town or a short distance below it, that a point on the Pennsylvania canal known for years as Wherry's Defeat is located.
When building this portion of the canal (Pennsylvania canal on the kiskismenitas River) the late James Wherry, of South Bend Twp. had the contract and it was found necessary to build an extensive riprap or retaining wall slope from the edge of the towpath to the river.
Just as it was nearing completion the Old "Kiski" got on one of her "tears" and swept away the work of months and with it, several thousand dollars of the contractors hard earned and and not too plentiful dollars. The wall was rebuilt and stands today as a reminder.......


I wonder what form this money was.....gold, silver, paper? The kiski isn't a very deep river up there...walkable I think.

Canal was built in the 1830's....

AL
 

P.B. and Dylan

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Re: Wherry's Defeat, Bagdad, Pa. Westmoreland County

Al,
Do you think this was in a safe or loose? I can't believe they would have that kind of money just laying around.
I would think it would be in a safe.

Paul
 

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deepskyal

deepskyal

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Re: Wherry's Defeat, Bagdad, Pa. Westmoreland County

I was wondering the same thing Paul.

I would almost have to guess some type of strong box if it was on a job site. I don't imagine they had job trailers like we do nowadays.

I did a few jobs at the Bagdad plant of Allegheny Ludlum and pretty sure I remember the river there being fairly shallow and quite rocky.

My thoughts...if a flood pulled a box or bag of money in coinage, the wieght would have dropped it fairly quickly towards the bottom and possibly got hung up in some of the rocks.

I used google earth to calculate the distance from Bagdad to where the Kiski river meets the Allegheny river. It's about a mile and a half. I can't see heavy metal traveling that far, especially given the rocky base to the river.

Gold coins were still pretty prevelant in those days and those would definately hit bottom somewhere.

But on the other hand....several thousand dollars...I wonder how much attempt there may have been to recover it once the river settled down? But...you never know. :dontknow:

Over the last 180 years, there never has been much developement from the Allegheny, up to Bagdad along the river. Probably because the river wasn't navagable by boats and after the canal was built, the railroad followed 20 or so years later, using up what flat land there was.

Al
 

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deepskyal

deepskyal

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Re: Wherry's Defeat, Bagdad, Pa. Westmoreland County

Took a drive down that way today...about a mile above Dagdad. River looks higher than I thought, but it has rained a lot this week or so. Probably deeper down by Bagdad. Doubt they'd gone looking for it.

Al
 

P.B. and Dylan

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Re: Wherry's Defeat, Bagdad, Pa. Westmoreland County

I agree with your assumptions Al. If it was a safe or strong box (and didn't break open) I would think the odds would be
good that someone recovered it at sometime. If the money was scattered, most of it would have to be down
there yet. I wish you the best of luck if you go looking for it.

Paul
 

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deepskyal

deepskyal

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Re: Wherry's Defeat, Bagdad, Pa. Westmoreland County (pics added 5/26/09)

Took a hike down to the actual town of bagdad Saturday. The road from the highway loops all the way back to the river. Nice little farming community. I can imagine the road was probably their access to build the wall that was refered to in the article where the construction company lost their money.

The first pic is a tunnel under the RR tracks....not real old, but old enough.

drain under tracks.jpg

This old concrete pile is the remnants of a much older structure, probably the wall refered to in the article.

old concrete wall.jpg

You can see how shallow the river is right here, where the small creek empties into the river

shallow portion.jpg

The river bank is very muddy, some places you sink. Too hard to walk in the shoes I had on.

muddy bank.jpg

Looking down river, you can see the ripples where it's shallow, the turns a darker blue where it gets deep. Also, the river begins to bend pretty good here.
Given the rocky nature of the bottom, the drop off in depth and the bend in the river...I think there's a good chance that the money may have never been recovered and lies somewhere in this stretch.

downriver view.jpg

Right here, about 100yards from where the old wall is, is where the shallows end. It didnt come out in the pic but there's a rock in here, perfectly square and reddish brown...just like an old safe...wedged in with some big rocks. I kept looking thru my binoculars for over 5 minutes trying to convince myself it wasn't a safe.

end of shallows.jpg

The last few pics are of an old foundation I spoted just on the border of private property. I think it's government property with the threats they have listed and the details of not even being allowed in the creek water. Plus...aint a house around for like a mile....all overgrown woods.

Pics are labled.
Also...I thru the tadpoles in for fun.
Enjoy,

Al

Old well, cistern, fruit cellar?
old foundation.jpg

Stone foundation
old well maybe.jpg

Old brick wall, old mortar
brickwall.jpg

Tadpoles
tadpoles.jpg
 

goldie1959

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Re: Wherry's Defeat, Bagdad, Pa. Westmoreland County (pics added 5/26/09)

rode the train up to bagdad a couple yrs ago. are you talking south of bagdad on the river. the town near there is shenly? whiskey distillery ?
 

davew0710

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Re: Wherry's Defeat, Bagdad, Pa. Westmoreland County (pics added 5/26/09)

goldie1959 said:
rode the train up to bagdad a couple yrs ago. are you talking south of bagdad on the river. the town near there is shenly? whiskey distillery ?

rode that train myself many years ago....why would you come all the way from Michigan to ride the train? :icon_scratch: You got the right area. on the Kiski river
 

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deepskyal

deepskyal

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Re: Wherry's Defeat, Bagdad, Pa. Westmoreland County (pics added 5/26/09)

This is actually Bagdad. The train station is near/in Schenley, on the northern side of the Kiski River, along the Allegheny River. Bagdad is up the Kiski approximately a mile and a half...not far at all, and on the opposite side of the Kiski. The old, original Schenley post office still stands near the station.
Remnants of that distillery are still there in Schenley and some various foundations along the RR when you take the sightseeing tour on the train.
It's way overgrown with that giant japanese knotweed...as bad and thick as bamboo....impossible to detect this time of year....or even dead of winter because of all the stubble.

I tried for permission from Norfolk and Southern RR to detect parts of the area at the mouth of the Kiski but was denied. They even have a brand new padlock on the gate for the access road down to the river. Oh well...gave it a shot.

Al
 

the.cat.

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I have kayaked through this very area, and have lived close by all of my life. Friends of mine lease campsites at the mouth of the Kiski. You should note that this river is very swift. One of the swiftest this side of the Mississippi. As well as littered with debris, old as well as modern...
 

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deepskyal

deepskyal

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I have a great deal of respect for any shallow river current. Learned that in an attempt to snorkle an area up by Oil City, Pa near the Indian God Rock. Had modified a cheap detector I had to get deeper underwater, (it was a land model). Water was only about 4' deep but could barely stand let alone pick my feet up without getting washed down the river. Had to give up that idea real quick...was totally unprepared for the force of that water. Very deceptive looking at it from the surface.

Besides the Indian Petroglyphs on the rock, there are also numerous carvings of peoples names and dates, going back to the early 1800's, probably bathers jumping from the rock into the water. I was imagining all the coins having been dropped from the pockets of these swimmers, not to mention the lead plate that was burried in the vicinity of that rock, which is what I was really hoping to find!

Be a good place for a couple people that are prepared to go detect, if you're still allowed. Indian God Rock is now some sort of historic site with a deck over it now.

Al
 

andrews

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Feb 12, 2014
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I don't believe that money, in a strongbox or otherwise, was washed down the river. What the article meant was that Wherry lost several thousand dollars in construction fees when he had to rebuild the wall. The Pennsylvania Canal Commissioners didn't have extra funds and in those days insurance was unheard of.


---AES
 

rdmissions

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Jan 12, 2023
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Re: Wherry's Defeat, Bagdad, Pa. Westmoreland County (pics added 5/26/09)

This is actually Bagdad. The train station is near/in Schenley, on the northern side of the Kiski River, along the Allegheny River. Bagdad is up the Kiski approximately a mile and a half...not far at all, and on the opposite side of the Kiski. The old, original Schenley post office still stands near the station.
Remnants of that distillery are still there in Schenley and some various foundations along the RR when you take the sightseeing tour on the train.
It's way overgrown with that giant japanese knotweed...as bad and thick as bamboo....impossible to detect this time of year....or even dead of winter because of all the stubble.

I tried for permission from Norfolk and Southern RR to detect parts of the area at the mouth of the Kiski but was denied. They even have a brand new padlock on the gate for the access road down to the river. Oh well...gave it a shot.

Al
I read your old post. actually Bagdad was on the Northern side of the river and part of the canal. Found some old but not too historic stuff seen here. Had a school, church, 2 bars, Gen Store. Need to locate the acctual spot. ATI owns the property now.
Re: Wherry's Defeat, Bagdad, Pa. Westmoreland County (pics added 5/26/09)

This is actually Bagdad. The train station is near/in Schenley, on the northern side of the Kiski River, along the Allegheny River. Bagdad is up the Kiski approximately a mile and a half...not far at all, and on the opposite side of the Kiski. The old, original Schenley post office still stands near the station.
Remnants of that distillery are still there in Schenley and some various foundations along the RR when you take the sightseeing tour on the train.
It's way overgrown with that giant japanese knotweed...as bad and thick as bamboo....impossible to detect this time of year....or even dead of winter because of all the stubble.

I tried for permission from Norfolk and Southern RR to detect parts of the area at the mouth of the Kiski but was denied. They even have a brand new padlock on the gate for the access road down to the river. Oh well...gave it a shot.

Al
 

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