Events: Festive 500 Beyond
(2016) What a difference about a week makes. The misty morning weather and cold rain came down in front of my bedroom window as it did during last week’s Festive 500. Yet this weekend I had no pull to ride the roads. I reluctantly checked the weather forecast, which was favorable. It would change roughly around the time I would decide to write off the ride for good. I had no reason to subject myself to thirty-something degree temperature along with rain. This time I decided to stay in.
I also decided to finish off my Festive 500 the way I had promised myself the week before also: to have a seat at The Gardenville Hotel and cheers to the players I thought about during my 310 miles. Perhaps it was some sort of fate it should happen this way.
It was mid-afternoon when I pulled the car into the slightly terrifying off-street parking in front of the porch of The Gardenville. I wondered how many patrons exiting this spot were hit. As quickly as the thought came, it went. I walked through a group of smokers and pushed the door into the tavern.
I was able to have my order taken immediately. I asked for a basic whiskey, and, as luck would have it, a small table in the corner was open. I could look out the window as well as the front door from this vantage point. I imagined this was where the Doan brother’s jig was up. Perhaps - just perhaps – this was where Colonel Hart sat conversing with compatriots when sudden news came to him that the Doans were not that far away.
About five people occupied the short bar today. There was a table near the entrance taken by a man and woman. The bartender was outside smoking a cigarette. That would equal the size of the posse that was formed to chase down the Doans. It would also clear out the bar. It was surmised the posse was so small because of the Doan reputation. What if the posse was formed and the Doans got away? Fear must’ve kept the participation down.
The floorboards creaked with the shifting weight of patrons in bar chairs. The bartender rushing outside added to the creakiness. Imagine the newness of the place 239 years ago when locals met at this location to discuss the state of the new nation. The taxidermied animals on the wall added to the old vibe. I was ecstatic to possess such a small square of a small location that had a major implication in history. I wondered if anyone within the walls knew how important this place was.
From here is where Colonel Hart and his men departed to the Halsey house, acreage just above Carversville, PA. The Halsey house is where, in history, Hart and Doan engaged in yet another impressive wrestling match harkening back to a bygone childhood of standing up to the Doans. Guns were discharged and afterward two men’s lives would be cut short: Moses Doan immediately and Major Kennedy who would die shortly after from a freak wound to his leg. Abraham and Levi would escape.
It is said that Moses Doan’s body would be dragged to the front yard of his estranged parents house and decreed to them, "Here is one of your Tory sons. He won't bother any of us soon again." Abraham and Levi would surrender years later after being worn down from government pursuit. After being labeled public enemies, the bounties on their heads were too irresistable to bounty hunters after a note on Moses’ dead body revealed plans to attack members of the newly-formed government. Running from bounty hunters was too much and they would eventually be executed. Their sister would be responsible for their bodies’ return to Plumsteadville. Moses was buried near the Friends Cemetery, but a farmer who feared its desecration moved his headstone. It’s whereabouts continue to be unknown but to a lucky few.
All this starts, perhaps, from where I sat drinking a whiskey in a humble honor of those who inspired me to research important routes for the Festive 500. It had been over a decade since I had sat down at The Gardenville, and today I knew quite a bit more than my last visit. So perhaps the Festive 500 actually ends here: not so much what a difference a week makes, not what difference a decade makes, but what a difference 239 years ago made to create such a legend. With that, I walked out of the historical corner and returned home, passing the cemetery where two Doans are buried and past the possible farm field where Moses Doan is buried having made good on my desire to tell this story and to bring them to life once more.
Several of the accounts used here were from the website http://haygenealogy.com/hay/sources/gibson/doans.html