On the national scene in 1858, Minnesota had joined the Union, James Buchanan was President, and Abraham Lincoln had debated and lost the senatorial position for Illinois to Stephen A. Douglas. Lincoln took the oath of office for President of the United States on March 4, 1861
In Lancaster County, in Caernarvon Township, in April 1858, sixty-two citizens signed a petition requesting that Lancaster County build a bridge over the Conestoga Creek near Poole Forge. One of the signers of the petition was Isaac O. Blight, who had been the owner of Poole Forge since 1854. He lived in the mansion with his wife Matilda and one child, William. Another child, Matilda was born in 1859. In the 1860 census, they had two children, William, 5 years old and Matilda, 1 year old. Two domestics living with them were Catherine and Sarah Grish.