Topics & Discussions on the Life and Customs of Western Pennsylvania

The Bradford House Museum and Washington & Jefferson College present

The Symposium on Life and Customs in Western Pennsylvania

An Evening with John Adams


Friday April 6, 2018 The Chapel at Old Main, Washington & Jefferson College Washington PA


6:30 p.m. Doors and displays open

7:00 p.m. Speakers

9:00 p.m. Reception and displays

$20 per person at the door

Pre Register Online for $18 each or by calling 724.222.3604, by check mailed to the Bradford House, PO Box 537, Washington PA 15301

Preregistration closes on March 30th at noon.

John Adams, second President of the United States, was an imperfect, burdened, yet ever-striving man. In him we recognize the desire to be something more, the concerns about what others might see in us, the struggle for balance between our personal opinions and our public persona. Throughout his life, Adams faced many challenging situations, but perhaps what is even more impressive than how he tackled these issues, or his list of  accomplishments, is his humanity. While he did not necessarily believe in the innate goodness inside man, he did something remarkable, though sometimes unintentional – he strove for goodness.

It was President Adams who finally, in 1799, pardoned David Bradford for his role in the Whiskey Rebellion, in response to a letter sent to Adams by Bradford in 1798:

To all persons to whom these presents shall come, Greetings. Whereas David Bradford, late of the county of Washington in the State of Pennsylvania, attorney at law, has in his petition declared his contrition, and sincere repentance of all his errors and misdeeds in relation to the late insurrection in the western parts of the State aforesaid, committed or done against the United States of America, and has implored a pardon for the same, and whereas the sufferings of the said David Bradford an exile in a foreign land, and separated from his wife, his children and his former friends, during the space of more than four years, have already been great, and whereas the restoration of peace, order, and submission to the laws in the said Western parts of the said State render it necessary to make examples of those who may have been criminal, the principal and of heinous punishment being the reformation of offenders and the prevention of crimes in others, for these and other good cause, I—John Adams, President of the United States of America, have granted, and by these presents do grant unto the said David Bradford a full, free, absolute and entire pardon for all treasons, suspicions of treason, felony, misdemeanors and other crimes and offences by him committed or done against the United States, in relation to the Insurrection aforesaid hereby remitting and releasing all pains, and penalties by him incurred by reason of the promises.

In Testimony whereof. I have hereto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed this ninth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thou. and seven hundred and ninety-nine, and in the Twenty-third year of the Independence of the said “United States”

John Adams, By the President, Timothy Pickering, Secretary of State.


          Adams will be portrayed by Peyton Dixon, an interpreter with over a decade’s experience.  In 2004 Dixon was captured by the spirit of both the well-known and  the everyday man of the eighteenth century – trying desperately to understand and make their place in new, exciting, and frightening world. He was particularly fascinated and impressed by the powerful yet (at the time) mostly unsung John Adams. His goal is to bring to light the accomplishments as well as the imperfections of John Adams, as well as our other founding fathers: to look beyond the statue, bring them off the pedestal, and see the everyman beneath.


2018 Symposium Sponsored by Washington & Jefferson College


Student Poster Session Contest

In conjunction with the annual Symposium on 18th Century Life and Customs in Western Pennsylvania, the Bradford House Historical Association sponsors a Poster Session Contest for middle and high school students, which is open to any student who resides in Washington and Greene Counties.

  • Students will create a trifold display on a topic of W PA history (1750-1850)
  • Two judging divisions: middle school (grades 5-8) and high school (grades 9-12)
  • Register online between January 2 and February 15
  • Poster must be delivered to the Bradford House in early March (details will be sent to all registrants) ~ Top 5 entries in each division will be displayed at the Friday evening Symposium
  • Student should be available to answer questions
  • Winners receive free admission to the Symposium for the student & 1 adult
  • Prizes: $50 1st place; $25 2nd place; $10 each for 3 Honorable Mention ~ The judges reserve the right to not award all prizes if there are insufficient number and/or quality of entries.

SPECIAL 2018 PRIZE: $40 for the entry best portraying women in W PA history (1750-1850)

You can register for the poster contest by mailing the completed poster registration form (See link below) to the Bradford House, PO Box 537, Washington, PA 15301 or you can email it to


Poster Registration

Poster Rules

Poster Contest prizes generously provided by: