Local researcher makes progress on book

Author Larry Smith of East Freedom talks about “Bedford Pennsylvania two and a Half Centuries in the Making.”

An area genealogist and author is making progress on the book that updates the history of Bedford County.

Several years ago, Larry D. Smith embarked on a journey to update the county’s history which had not been done in over 130 years.

The book, “Bedford Pennsylvania Two and a Half Centuries in the Making,” is slated to be completed by 2021 for the county’s 250th anniversary of its founding.

“The phrase in the making is meant to signify that it’s not done and that it’s still progressing,” Smith said.

The book dives into several areas of history of the county including urban history, the growth of industry in the county, the formations and growth of the municipalities, types of houses, types of careers in the county and so much more.

Smith said that the history starts from the beginning of the county’s formation and updates the history to the present day.

Smith added that about 12 individuals have contributed parts of chapters or whole chapters to the book. He also had the book on review so that information that he gathered including information on businesses could be updated.

The book will also include information on Bedford County’s involvement in war. Through research, Smith found lists of Bedford County soldiers who were called to war and who died in war which will be included in the book.

While looking for information in the John Anderson Collection in the Pennsylvania Archives in Harrisburg about the current courthouse Smith said he found something that he wasn’t necessarily expecting.

He found information on the stone courthouse that had been standing in 1774 and also descriptions of not only the courthouse but the construction process of the current courthouse.

Smith added that there are few things in the book that may upset some people.

He said that through research the only individuals by the name of ray, wray, rea, rae appear in two references in the Pennsylvania Archives and always as John Ray and it was confirmed by relatives that he only ever went by John.

Smith said that in research it was somehow changed by one person to Robert Ray and in some references to make him a Scottish trader Robert McCray.

He added that he has traced original documents the best he can and is just hoping to correct the record.

Smith said that a publisher is secured and that he hopes to work this year on continuing receiving the submissions so that the book can be printed in 2020 and be available before the events of the county’s anniversary in 2021.

He said that events are being planned beginning with the county’s anniversary on March 9,2021 and continuing the entire way through the fall.

Contact Katie Smolen at 623-1151 ext. 110 or ksmolen@bedfordgazette.com.

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