Washington County Historical Society to celebrate LeMoyne anniversary

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To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the LeMoyne family's move to a new home on East Beau Street in Washington, the Washington County Historical Society is holding an old-fashioned housewarming.

"We checked the archives and found very little about the LeMoyne's move 200 years ago other than the fact they moved in February [1813] with family members John, who built the house; his wife Nancy; their son Francis; and Nancy's niece and nephew," said Clay Kilgore, society interim director.

The house warming will be held Saturday at the Washington Elks on East Maiden St., which is less than two blocks from the LeMoyne House. Carriage rides will be offered from the Elks to the LeMoyne House for tours by docents dressed in period clothing.

The historical society will serve samples of period beer and alcoholic beverages, such as rum punch and a cider-based beverage called apple pie, at its replica 19th century tavern, Sign of the Seven Stars, at the LeMoyne House. The tavern is named for the flag of the Whiskey Rebellion.

A buffet prepared by Elks chef John Defede will feature a variety of foods customarily served at parties in the early 1800s, such as roasted pork, stewed beef and sausage with apple dumplings and stewed pears.

Mr. Defede, a former re-enactor with the 27th Virginia Regiment is familiar with period foods and gave the society a suggested menu.

At the Elks, a display will be set up of the LeMoyne family, including the patriarch John and Francis, an Abolitionist who made the house a stop along the Underground Railroad.

Along with period music performed by the Beau Street Players, the housewarming will include complimentary caricatures by Clarence Butler of Canonsburg. Mr. Butler started drawing caricatures in 1982 at the Three Rivers Arts Festival while he was attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

Auctioneer Tripp Kline will host live auctions of three items - a framed and signed Nat Youngblood print titled "Mudder's Day"; a framed, signed and numbered print by Ray Forquer, "In From The Fields"; and a week's vacation at an ocean front condo on Kure Beach, N.C.

Since its construction, the LeMoyne House, now the home of the Washington County Historical Society, has undergone several changes. In the 1850s, the original spiral staircase was replaced and the third-floor roof garden was enclosed as a storage room. In the 1890s, an addition was placed on the back of the house that now serves as the society's offices.

Madeleine LeMoyne, the last member of the family to live in the house, lived there until her death in 1943 at the age of 100. The garden outside the mansion is named in her honor and is maintained by members of the Martha Washington Garden Club.

Descendants of the LeMoyne family, some of whom live in California and Tennessee, have been invited to the housewarming.

"Ideally, we'd like to have 100 to 150 people join us for the party, but no matter how many show up, we're going to celebrate the fact that the LeMoynes were one of Washington's leading families, and we want to celebrate their move into their house," Mr. Kilgore said.

neigh_south - neigh_washington

Dave Zuchowski, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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