Bedford, PA


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Bedford is a borough in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, 102 miles (164 km) west of the State Capital, Harrisburg. It is the county seat of Bedford County. Bedford was established in the mid-18th century. Population counts follow: 1890, 2,242; 1900, 2,167; 1910, 2,385. The population was 3,141 at the 2000 census.
Originally called Raystown, Bedford was settled about 1751 and laid out in 1766. Bedford was incorporated on March 13, 1795. For many years it was an important frontier military post. The Espy House in Bedford is notable for having been the headquarters of George Washington and his force of 13,000 while putting down the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794, which had started around the Jean Bonnet Tavern.
In 1758 the British Army came to Raystown to set up a fort. The fort was named Fort Bedford, for the politically powerful Duke of Bedford in England. Some believe this is how the town later got its name. Fort Bedford was built as one of the many British Army stepping stones through the state leading to the forks of the Ohio River; the other side of the forks was dominated by Indians. The British used the fort to drive out the French to ensure the new continent would be English-speaking. The fort was later a safe house for settlers escaping Indian raids. Fort Bedford was “liberated” ten years before the Revolution by American rebels, James Smith's Black Boys, and was the first fort taken from the British. The fort later collapsed and was reconstructed in 1958.