The Inventor from Ercildoun: William Chester Ruth

It is apt to remember inventor William Chester Ruth (1882–1971) as a pinion in both his community and his machine shop and as a bridge between cultures and eras. The son of a man who had been enslaved until his 13th year and a woman from a distinguished free Black family, “Chester” displayed both confirmation of talent inherited from his parents and his own innovative path to the future. Steeped...
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Shippensburg’s Locust Grove Cemetery

The town of Shippensburg, in the heart of the Cumberland Valley, was first settled in the 1730s. Some of the Europeans who moved into the area brought African American slaves with them. The exact number of slaves is unknown; it was not until after Pennsylvania’s 1780 Act for the Gradual Emancipation of Slavery that the numbers of slaves and slaveholders were recorded. Nevertheless, Shippensburg,...
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The World of Ida Ella Jones

The picture, a small, delicately hued watercolor, is deceptively simple. A plain white farmhouse serves as its centerpiece. A profusion of flower beds and blooming shrubs surrounds the house. Each stone in the front wall is carefully outlined, curving walkways lead to the entryway, and two maple trees stand tall. No occupants are in sight, but their presence is signaled by the comfortable chairs...
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Finding Sanctuary at Montrose

On Friday afternoon, April 9, 1842, William Smith, a slave owned by a Maryland widow, sought shelter in her manor house from the teeming rain. He was drenched after having toiled all morning in the inclement weather. As he stood drying by the stove, one of the widow’s young sons berated him. “What are you doing in here,” snapped the youngster. “You stand there happy as a lord. You don’t belong...
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Bookshelf

Pennsylvania Civil War Trails: The Guide to Battle Sites, Monuments, Museums and Towns by Tom Huntington Stackpole Books and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 2007; 150 pages, paper, $14.95 As the 2011 opening of the American Civil War Sesquicentennial draws near, the national observance is guaranteed to produce a spate of weighty tomes analyzing the epic event of the nineteenth...
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From the Editor

After a long winter of brutal back-to-back snowstorms, and a cool spring, summer is finally here! And what better time to discover all that Pennsylvania has to offer travelers of all ages! This edition of Pennsylvania Heritage is your “go to” guide for exploring the Keystone State’s culture and heritage-especially our African American history. The Pennsylvania Historical and...
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The 54th Mass. Infantry Regiment, US Colored Troops

Although its name might lead many to believe that the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, United States Colored Troops (USCT), was made up of African American soldiers from New England, the unit included a number of Pennsylvanians. In fact, forty-five of the recruits lived in Franklin County, and an additional thirteen joined the 55th Massachusetts, organized for the overflow from the 54th....
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The Grand Review Revisited

To celebrate its victory in the American Civil War, the federal government hosted a Grand Review of Union veterans in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, May 23, 1865. Although the war preserved the Union and ended slavery, the parade was organized exclusively for white soldiers, and veterans of the United States Colored Troops (USCT) were not invited to participate. Refusing to be ignored, former...
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