Free-Thinking, 19th-Century Style

Francis Ellingwood Abbot (1836–1903) was nothing if not determined. In 1872, as editor of The Index, the nation’s leading free-thought magazine, he began to muster the full force of his small army of subscribers against what was being called “the God-in-the-Constitution amendment.” A philosopher and theologian, he sought to reconstruct theology in accordance with scientific methodology. From the...
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John Wilkes Booth and the Land of Oil

Beginning about 10:25 on the evening of April 14, 1865, the time and date President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in Washington’s Ford Theatre by John Wilkes Booth, a mass of information including evidence and myths has accumulated regarding the act and those connected with it, particularJy about the assassin him­self. John Wilkes Booth was the ninth of ten children born to Junius...
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The Road to Resorts: Transportation and Tourism in Monroe County

Monroe County flourishes today as a lush, verdant resort and popular recreational area on the periphery of metropolitan centers. Tourism is sup­plemented by light industry which has left the largely rural setting relatively intact. Essentially, the county offers open countryside through which travelers make good time on interstate highways on their way to or from major cities and in which they...
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The President Meets the Press

The road to glory traveled by Abraham Lincoln on his way to his inauguration took him in and out of Pennsylvania three times: first to Pittsburgh, then through Erie County along the southern shore of the lake, to Philadelphia, and finally through Harrisburg where he spoke to the state legislature. Throughout the trip he was well received by great crowds who thronged to the train depots and,...
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Behind the Battle of Gettysburg: American Nursing Is Born

The battle of Gettys­burg cannot only be characterized as the turning point of the Civil War, for it was so much more. During the war, with casualties high and the need undeniable, women entered hospitals to care for the wounded, but – shockingly­ – were made to feel unwelcome. These resolute women, though, stood fast, and pro­ceeded to establish a new profession. When the war...
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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...
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Watts’ Folly

When he is remem­bered at all, Fre­derick Watts is likely to be men­tioned in connection with the McCormick Reaper, the Cum­berland Valley Railroad, the establishment of the Pennsyl­vania State University or, more recently, the controversy over the demolition of his farm­stead in Carlisle. It may seem an incongruous legacy but therein lies the charm and the extraordinary genius of this man from...
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Sullivan County: Picture Post Card Pretty

Named for Gen. John Sullivan, fearless leader of the leg­endary bloodbath, Sullivan’s March, mounted in 1779 to attack the hostile Iro­quois of northern Pennsylva­nia, Sullivan County is today – as it was throughout the nineteenth century – a bucolic, pastoral landscape, best known for the recreational opportunities it has offered generations of sportsmen and sojourners. For...
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The ‘State’ of Allegheny

One of the first centers of the organization of the Re­publican party and scene of its first national conven­tion in February, 1856, Allegheny County was strongly for Lincoln in the presidential election of 1860. As the vote count proceeded, one of the leaders kept sending telegrams to Lincoln’s home in Illinois, keeping him up on the news that “Allegheny gives a majority of …...
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Pennsylvania Woman as Journalist: The Ida Tarbell Nobody Knew

In the summer of 1905, as Ida M. Tarbell’s muckraking History of the Standard Oil Company had completed its long serial run in McClure’s Magazine and been published as a book, Miss Tarbell received an envelope addressed to: Miss Ida M. Tarbell Rockefeller Station Hades Inside was a caustic letter from a reader who was furious with her attack on Standard Oil, but since such...
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