Historian of Pennsylvania Exceptionalism: Samuel W. Pennypacker

Reflecting on “the play of forces” that propelled him to Pennsylvania’s governor’s office in 1903, Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker (1843–1916) confidently declared, “there is no such thing as an accident” (a notion popularized by Sigmund Freud, the founding father of psychoanalysis). This was not to say chance plays no part in history because he pronounced with equal certitude: “To every man certain...
read more

Lebanon County: Small in Size – Rich in Heritage

Lebanon County is located in the southeastern portion of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the center of the beautiful Lebanon Valley, which is formed by the Blue Ridge of the Kittatinny range of mountains to the north and the South Mountains, or Furnace Hills, to the south. Covering an area of 363 square miles, the county is inhabited by ap­proximately 100,000 people. Between the shale...
read more

Washington County: From Ice Age to Space Age

Southwestern Pennsylvania was for centuries a happy hunt­ing ground for Indians who were living there as long as two thousand years ago. In fact, as the result of archaeological discoveries made at the Meadowcroft Rock Shelter near Avella between 1973 and 1975, University of Pittsburgh anthropologists have proven conclusively that Ice Age people roamed the forests of Washington County even...
read more

Cornplanter Speaks to the Thirteen Fires

Winter had broken into spring so that the trail through the wilds of Pennsylvania leading east from Fort Pitt was at least passable. The Com­missioners of Indian Affairs who had spent the winter at the fort set out with the first break in the weather anxious to return home and report their Indian treaty negotiations to the Continental Congress. They had been gone only a few days when, on the...
read more

The Pocono Forests and the Military Movements of 1779

The forests of Monroe County’s Pocono Mountains are widely known for their “flaming foliage” of autumn and their springtime laurel and rhododendron blossoms. In this era of ecological and conservation concerns, those who know the Poconos hope that this natural beauty may be a heritage for unnumbered future generations to enjoy. The Pocono Forestry Association perceives in these...
read more

McKean County: Where the Gold is Green

The great gold and silver rushes of the late nineteenth century to places such as the Black Hills, Colorado, Arizona, California and Alaska have long been hailed in story and song for their excite­ment, riches and heartbreak. But, the rush for “green gold” to McKean County during the same century was equally or more exciting. First, there were the forests – immense forests of...
read more

The Last Frontier: Venango County Indians, Oil, Ghost Towns

Venango County. Its name is derivation of a the Seneca Indian word earliest for explorers “French and Creek.” Its earliest explorers and settlers were the French, shortly followed by the English. At one time, the territory was claimed simultaneously by France, and the colonies of Virginia and Pennsyl­vania. But Venango County’s rich history bespeaks vigorous pioneering a spirit...
read more

Fulton County: Where Country is Still Country

When the first settlers wandered into the Great Cove – a deep basin formed by the southern ranges of the Kit­tochtinny and Tuscarora mountains – they discovered strikingly beautiful valleys, incised with sparkling streams, whose only intrusions were Indian trails and remote pack­ers’ paths. During the two centuries since its settlement, the picturesque mountain ridges and...
read more

Adams County: Tranquility Regained

One of Pennsylvania’s smaller counties, both in size and population, Adams County developed much the same as similar settlements along the Atlantic Seaboard. Its growth during the past two and a half centu­ries has been governed by its own particular circumstances, including location, terrain, soil, climate, vegetation, min­eral resources and the accom­plishments of the immigrants and...
read more

The Battle of Lake Erie: A Victory for Commodore Perry

During the War of 1812, the United States and Britain desperately dueled for control of the Great Lakes. Since Canada was the princi­pal land base for British forces in North America, and virtu­ally all of the north country was covered with vast tracts of virgin forest and intermittently submerged bottom lands, Lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron and the rivers that connected them – the St....
read more