Letters presents readers' comments and reactions to specific articles in Pennsylvania Heritage, the initiatives of PHMC, and other developments in the historical, cultural and museum communities of Pennsylvania.

Furnace Folklore

The folklore of Cornwall Iron Furnace includes three apocryphal tales: Washing­ton and Lafayette visited; the value of gold extracted at Cornwall was sufficient to pay all mining expenses, all other revenue being pure profit; and stone from the dis­mantled Robert H. Coleman mansion was used in the construction of St. Luke’s Epis­copal Church in Lebanon [“Letters to the Editor,” Sum­mer 1998]. Photographs taken by Henry Grittinger between 1898 and 1900 show a number of views of the “uncompleted R.H. Coleman Mansion.” One caption reads “Robert H. Coleman Mansion. Erection begun about 1886, but owing to his finan­cial failure it was never completed. Razed in 1914.” St. Luke’s was built in 1879-1880 thirty-five years prior to the demolition of the mansion! Now deceased, church historian Richard Kimmel likewise believed that there was no documentable basis for the story. The contradictory statement in Richard E. Noble’s The Touch of Time is based on a clipping from the Hartford Times preserved in a scrapbook at Trinity College in Connecticut; a date of “fall 1886” appears in the supporting footnote. Mod­ern works by Gladys Fencil (1969) and Edna J. Carmean (1976) are also cited.

Richard B. Strattan
Cornwall, Pa.

Richard B. Strattan is administrator of Corn­wall Iron Furnace, featured in an article by Sharon Hemes Silverman which appeared in the Spring 1998 edition.


Benét’s Birthplace

Has anyone told you that Stephen Vincent Benét’s birthplace [“Currents,” Spring 1998] in Fountain Hill, a suburb of Northampton County, is in error? Foun­tain Hill is in Lehigh County – as is part of Bethlehem! The county line will be found in surprising places, including the area immediately west of and south of down­town Bethlehem. Glad you are recogniz­ing Benét!

Richard E. Crusius
Allentown, Pa.


Canal Connection

The reference to the canal boat Henry Clay in the canal article is very interesting [“Life on the Lehigh Canal: An Interview with Richard Arner,” by Joan Gilbert, Spring 1998]. My great-great-grandfather Andrew Seigel was an owner of that ves­sel. I have the document of his purchase. He was a farmer of Schuylkill Haven [Schuylkill County] and it was an invest­ment for him. A publication of the Penn­sylvania Canal Society told of a winter in which the weather was so severe that all the locks were damaged except those in Schuylkill Haven where the farmers had used their oxen to tramp the soil. I imag­ine Andrew Seigel was one of those farm­ers. The bill of sale gives all the dimen­sions of the canal boat and the name of the master.

Doris S. Spangler
Waynesboro, Pa.


Epic Tragedy

I thoroughly enjoyed the article on the Knox Mine [“Disaster – Or Murder? – in the Mines” by Robert P. Wolensky and Kenneth C. Wolensky, Spring 1998]. It was a tragedy of epic proportion that ended anthracite mining in northeastern Pennsylvania. My family not only felt the economic loss, but on a personal note, my uncle Samuel Altieri is one of the men entombed for eternity in the Knox. We will never forget that cold day in January of 1959. I must make one correction, however; my Uncle Sam was from nearby Hughestown (approximately two miles away) and not from Hughesville, which is in Lycoming County.

Mark A. Singer, Esq.
Pittston, Pa.


Unity House

Thank you for the splendid article on Unity House [“Unity House, A Workers’ Shangri-La” by Kenneth C. Wolensky, Summer 1998]. It was a very good read. Lots of information, painlessly and attractively presented. I was fascinated to see Tamiment (which for so many years supported Labor History) as just a mention. It is sad to think Unity House has been on the market for so long without a taker.

Daniel J. Leab
Washington, Conn.

Daniel J. Leab is editor of Labor History.



Sharp-eyed readers realized that several illustrations in “A Kentucky Frontiersman’s Pennsylvania’s Roots: The Daniel Boone Homestead” by Sharon Hernes Silverman in the Summer 1998 edition were, unfortunately, reversed. The staff lakes pleasure in correctly presenting a photograph of the farmhouse on the nearly six-hundred-acre property, which was “remodeled” by a prosperous grain farmer, John DeTurk, who owned the property from 1770 until his death in 1808. The Editor regrets the error.