Our Historian

Karen Helbling was born and raised on Oak Hill in New Brighton, Pennsylvania.

Her interest in Beaver County, and especially, New Brighton history took her down many paths over the years. The past 35 years she has been pouring through courthouse records, old journals, military records, maps, newspapers, church records and family Bibles to get a complete and accurate interpretation of the area’s history.

She spent several years researching the Big Beaver Blockhouse that was located in New Brighton in the late 1700s. Her book “Lost on the Frontier,” set in 1789, takes 12 year old Molly Butler back in time to the Blockhouse for an adventure where she learns what it takes to survive the everyday dangers and perils of life on the frontier.

Karen was President of the New Brighton Historical Society where she started the Junior Historians and helped establish the 63rd Regiment, Pa. Vols. a Civil War reenactment group.

She was a copy editor at the Beaver County Times in Beaver, Pennsylvania, for many years. There she penned a weekly column “Looking Back” that focused on Beaver County history.

As former editor of Milestones, The Journal of Beaver County History, she had the pleasure of working with county historians Margaret Ross, Vivian McLaughlin, Mark Welchley, Robert Bassett, William J. Bowan, Matthew Rebrovic, Arnold McMahon, Clyde Piquet, Robert Bonnage and Frank Carver, all who had a common goal – preserving Beaver County history.

Working as an independent genealogist, she has helped families around the world connect with their ancestors. She is known for her determination to find the answer to all genealogy puzzles and brick walls. She traveled to England, where her great grandparents were born and raised, tracing their lives from southern to northern England.

Her interest in Daugherty Township history began when researching her husband, Mark’s family tree in the 1970s. Edward Daugherty and John Black, pioneers of the township, are his great great great great grandfathers.

Karen, a certified herbalist, has traveled to Belize, Guatemala and the Amazon Rainforest in Peru, where she studied with Shaman Don Antonio, Dr. Jim Duke and other plant experts from around the world gathering knowledge from the vast “pharmacy of the rainforest.”

Karen and Mark were owners/operators of Helbling Farms, a 74-acre vegetable and herb farm, located in Enon Valley, Pennsylvania, for over 17 years.

Today the Helblings reside in the oldest house in Daugherty Township, a 200-year-old fieldstone built by the Watt family, who emigrated from Ireland. The 100-acre farm has been in the Helbling family since 1935.

She is author of the following works:

  • Lost on the Frontier
  • Extra Extra Read All About It
  • The Lost Muster Rolls
  • Early American Times
  • Country Cuisine
  • The “Let’s Talk Herbs” series