Lancaster County: Diversity of People, Ideas and Economy

When Lancaster County was established on May 10, 1729, it became the proto­type for the sixty-three counties to follow. The original three counties­Philadelphia, Bucks and Chester – were created as copies of typical English shires. The frontier conditions of Ches­ter County’s backwoods, from which Lancaster was formed, presented knot­ty problems to the civilized English­men....
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Thaddeus Stevens, Equality of Man Before the Creator

In his thirty-five year legislative career, Thaddeus Stevens garnered several reputations. Ex-Confederates called him “the scourge of the South,” an epithet which survived into the twentieth century. In D. W. Griffith’s classic film Birth of a Nation, character Austin Stoneman is unabashedly modeled on Thaddeus Stevens, complete with clubfoot and wig. For his en­deavors to...
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John Frederick Hartranft Papers

Although little recognized today, John Frederick Hartranft (1830-1889) did make his mark in the history of the Commonwealth and the nation as governor and as general. Born near Norristown, Montgomery County, he attended college, practiced law, and in 1861 entered the Union army at the outbreak of the Civil War. His dedication to the military was unswerving. He was commissioned colonel of the...
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The Lincoln Train is Coming!

On Saturday morning, April 15, 1865, news of President Abraham Lincoln’s assas­sination reached Philadelphia. The treacher­ousness of the crime created a mix of feel­ings surging from fear and horror to inconsolable grief. A galvanized nation began mourning immediately. Printer cranked out broadside that were posted throughout Philadelphia lamenting the “Martyred Father.”...
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Bookshelf

The Lincoln Assassination Conspirators: Their Confinement and Execution, as Recorded in the Letterbook of John Frederick Hartranft edited by Edward Steers Jr. and Harold Holzer published by the Louisiana State University Press, 2009; 179 pages, cloth, $24.95 Pennsylvanian John Frederick Hartranft (1830–1889) was a decorated Union general — he received the Medal of Honor for his actions during...
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