Special Memorial Day Issue (May, 2009)
Published by the Mt Zion Historical Society
James Burke,President and Editor
B Nay,Web Coordinator



State Rep Matt Gabler (Clearfield and Elk County) being sworn into office on January 6, 2009, held at the State Capitol in Harrisburg.

The Mt. Zion Historical Society is honored to announce that Representative Matt Gabler, Pennsylvania House of Representative will be this year's guest speaker at the Mt. Zion Historical Park in Weedville. Rep. Gabler is a lifelong resident of Pennsylvania, having been born and raised in Dubois.

He graduated as the Valedictorian from Dubois Central Catholic High School, where he was student council president. He attended Bucknell University in Lewisburg on a four-year Army R.O.T.C. scholarship. Along the way, Representative Matt Gabler served as president of the nationally-known Bucknell University Conservatives Club He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 2006 with a minor in Physics.

Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve, He is now a 1st Lieutenant and Commander of the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 424th Medical Logistic Battalion.


On the Honoring our Veterans page of the Mt. Zion Historical Society’s web-site is our special project “Lest We Forget”. Here are stories honoring and remembering our Bennett's Valley veterans. Many thanks to American Legion Post 978 for supporting our project, thanks to Evo G. Facchine for contributing many of his special veteran stories, and thanks to those who also have contributed stories of their loved veterans and families. This project has exceeded our dreams and we hope you find these both interesting and inspirational as well. If you would like to add a story to this collection contact Jim Burke of the Mt. Zion Historical Society.


Mary Bentz-compliments of USA Today Mary Parziale Bentz- a "sub-Lady" of the recently discovered WWII submarine USS Grunion(SS-216)- has accepted our invitation to participate in this year's dedication of a memorial plaque honoring her uncle Carmine Anthony Parziale of Weedville. Carmine (Carmen to many) was a member of USS Grunion(SS-216) when it was lost off the coast of Alaska in July 1942. The picture to the left ( compliments of USA Today) shows Mary Bentz looking over memorabilia she's collected of USS Grunion(SS-216) and its members.

The Mt Zion Historical Society and The Valley American Legion Post 978 are proud to be dedicating this plaque to Carmine Parziale in it's Veteran's Honor Walk at the Mt. Zion Historical Park this Memorial Day Week-end.

For special information on Carmine Parziale and USS Grunion(SS-216) (including the article-compliments of USA Today), visit our Mt. Zion Web Site

This year's dedication will also include about 100 additional pavers. Names of those being dedicated can be accessed on our web's Vets List. Those veterans being honored this year are listed as N3 & N4. The Mt. Zion Historical Society and The Valley American Legion post #978, in a joint effort, have funded marble pavers for all World War I veterans and all veterans who were killed in action, missing in action, and prisoners of war.

Before They Knew It
©2009 By Mary Bentz

Seventy men aboard USS Grunion (SS-216) were alive one minute, and then without a second for prayer or a goodbye thought, they were gone!

By Mary Parziale Bentz, USS Grunion Family Search Team

USS Grunion, a Gato class submarine, originally designed to carry a complement of 4 officers and 54 enlisted men for a total crew of 58, left New London, Connecticut on Sunday afternoon, May 24, 1942 carrying a complement of 6 officers and 64 men for a total crew of 70.

On that day, Torpedoman's Mate 3rd Class, Carmine Anthony Parziale of Weedville was one of 6 men from the state of Pennsylvania to sail with Lieutenant Commander Mannert L. Abele bound for Pearl Harbor via the Panama Canal. Carmine (Carmen) enlisted in the Navy on June 18, 1940. He was received on board USS Barracuda at US Navy Yard, Portsmouth, NH as Seaman Apprentice. In October, 1940 he was promoted to rank of Seaman 2nd class and in August, 1941 he became Seaman 1st class. On November 15, 1941, Carmen left Barracuda for the Navy Torpedo Station, Newport, R.I. for training.

He was received on board USS Grunion April 11, 1942 as Torpedoman's Mate Third Class. Grunion was a new submarine and there was a waiting list of those who wished to sail on this new sub with Lt. Commander Abele.

On 24 May 1942, Grunion left New London for Pearl Harbor via the Panama Canal. The boat arrived there on 20 June; and on June 30, she left Pearl Harbor on her first war patrol near the western Aleutian Islands, then occupied by the Japanese. Grunion reported heavy anti-submarine activity in the area. When all U.S. subs were ordered to return to Dutch Harbor, Grunion was the only submarine that failed to return. A Pearl Harbor survivor who was on USS Finback in the Aleutians writes that on August 3, 1942 they were instructed to contact Grunion during darkness, asking for her position. There was no response. On August 4, a final broadcast to Grunion went unanswered.

For 65 years USS Grunion was listed on official Navy records as "missing, cause unknown."

To be continued.


In addition to dedicating the Veteran Pavers installed over the past year, and honoring all Veteran Pavers that has been installed previously, there will be two Bennett's Valley historic plaques dedicated at this year's Memorial Day event on Saturday, May 23.

Eugenio KincaidEugenio Kincaid's family settled on Rock Hill about 1820. His father is honored in the Veteran's Walkway as a Philip Blissveteran of the War of 1812 and was the first doctor to practice medicine in Jay Township. Eugenio was a world famous missionary, a founding member of Bucknell University, and an ambassador of goodwill for President James Buchanan.

Philip Bliss, born in what is known today as Jay Township on July 9, 1838, was the noted American hymn writer of the 19th century. Many of his hymns are still published today and sung in churches around the world.

A plaque will be installed in the Veteran's Walkway honoring Peter Pearsall, a Revolutionary War Veteran, and the founder of Mt. Zion Church. Peter became the park's third Revolutionary War Veteran to be recognized, the other two being Frederic Weed, founder of Weedville and Isaac Webb, founder of Force.


Life Scout Josh Smith, son of Greg and Val Smith, Lewis Road, Weedville, Pa. has elected as a requirement for his Josh Smith Eagle Badge of Rank to assume several projects at the Mt. Zion Historical Park.

Josh is a member of Troop 94, Scoutmaster Derek Schaut. Josh is a member of the Order of Arrow (Scout Honor Society), and Senior Patrol Leader of his scout troop.

On Saturday, Mary 2sd, Josh organized a work party at the park that included about eight of his fellow scouts, his parents, and two adult scout leaders of Troop 94 - Donny Gray and Deick Litsey. A second work party is scheduled to put the finishing touches on the Veteran's Honor Walkway. As one of his final requirements for his Eagle Badge of Rank, Josh will be in charge of the closing ceremonies at the park's Memorial Day activities to be held on Saturday, May 23rd at 1:00 P.M.


Walkway Extension At the March meeting of the Mt. Zion Historical Society the Board of Directors approved a project to construct a forty-five foot extension to the Veteran Walkway. In the upper left corner of the figure presented, the red section outlined in yellow indicates the new walk way.

On each side of the new walkway there will ten pedestals installed for future memorials and historic plaques. At the end of the walkway will be installed a 1740 church bell symbolizing the "Bell of Freedom".

On April 9th board members Dave Konkle and Gaylon McClintick broke ground for the new walkway. It is the board's desire to have this walk substantially completed for the Memorial Day Event to be held on Saturday May 23rd, and to dedicate the first of these ten plaques.


Just prior and immediately following the dedication ceremonies, both Ralph Harrison and Jim Burke will have book signings at this year's Memorial Day event at Mt. Zion Historical Park on Saturday May 23rd

Ralph Harrison's book entitled "The History of Pennsylvania - Elk Country" published by the Pennsylvania Forestry Association gives a detailed account of the history of elk that roam the mountain sides of the Bennett's Valley area.

Jim Burke's book entitled "Pioneers of Second Fork" published by AuthorHouse presents a history of Bennett's Valley by profiling fifteen pioneer families who were among the first pioneers to settle in the valley once known as Second Fork.

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