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By Christen M. Stroh

During the weekend of May 20 and 21, the Oliver Miller Homestead in South Park hosted their frontier military encampment event. In addition to being able to tour the homestead, those in attendance were also able to learn about the lifestyle and duties of the Western Pennsylvania frontier militia with militia drills, firing demonstrations, and camp cooking.

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Members of the Mingo Militia prepare for their militia drills.

Historic re-enactor Joe Hancsak, who has been involved with the Oliver Miller Homestead since 2003, lead his militia through a series of line drills, asking them to present, load, and fire their rifles. He then had newly enlisted militia members – visitors to the homestead who wanted to learn how to drill – participate in the same series of line drills using toy wooden rifles.

Hancsak explained to the crowd that every man was required to be a part of the militia for a three-month duration and that this particular group, the Mingo Militia, was drilling to prepare for Dunmore’s War, a 1774 conflict between the Colony of Virginia and the Shawnee and Mingo American Indian nations.

On July 2, The Oliver Miller Homestead will host ‘Liberty Day,’ where the Millers will recall the family’s service in the Revolutionary War. The Declaration will be read and celebrated, and George Washington is expected to visit.

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