Dave Budinger is an avid historian.  He has been an 18th century frontier reenactor for over 15 years, is a member and past president of the Washington County Historical Society board of directors and has served on the Whiskey Rebellion Festival Committee. He was a docent at the Fort Pitt Museum in Pittsburgh, and currently is a docent at the David Bradford House Museum.   Professionally, Dave is a journalist and has worked at the Observer-Reporter, Pittsburgh Press and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as a reporter, columnist and editor.  He is retired now, but keeps busy researching and writing occasional articles on county history for the Washington County Historical Society newsletter and the Observer-Reporter.

Dave gave an interesting and detailed overview of the story of the Whiskey Rebellion (sometimes referred to as the Whiskey Insurrection).  Dave, who came in period costume, explained how the whiskey tax worked and why it created enough of a crisis for farmers in our area that they took up arms against the newly formed United States government.  He explained that local farmers were being assessed based on the size of their still, rather than on their actual production, and that the tax was to be paid at the still.  Since they had very little cash, and many were using whiskey as currency, it meant that the government was potentially confiscating everything they made.  Dave told about events that occurred both in the Washington area and at Whiskey Point in Monongahela, and he talked about leaders who came from Washington including David Bradford.  He explained about “Tom the Tinker,” the name used when notes were left threatening to shoot holes in anyone’s still if they paid the tax.  He identified John Holcroft, a Union Township farmer, as the individual apparently behind these acts, as he later told his descendants that he had been the mysterious figure who used that name anonymously during the event.  When the Rebellion ended there were amnesty hearings in which most of the farmers in the county gathered at certain meeting places to sign pledges that exonerated them from being held accountable for any part they played in the insurrection.  David Bradford fled to Spanish West Florida.  All were encouraged to visit David Bradford's home in Washington, and to attend the Whiskey Rebellion Festival from July 11-14. 

For more information on the David Bradford House Museum, please visit https://www.bradfordhouse.org/

For more information on the Whiskey Rebellion Festival, please visit http://whiskeyrebellionfestival.com/
 

 

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