Piecing Together Pandenarium: Archaeology at the Site of a Free Black Community in Western Pennsylvania

In 1854 newly freed African American men, women and children hailing from a plantation in Ablemarle County, Virginia, arrived at a dusty country crossroads in northwestern Pennsylvania’s Mercer County. Estimates vary, but approximately 63 free people settled together on 100 acres of their own land. Local abolitionists prepared for the arrival by building houses along the hill, digging wells, and...
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“Without Fear and Without Reproach”: Octavius V. Catto and the Early Civil Rights Movement in Pennsylvania

On Tuesday, September 26, 2017, the City of Philadelphia unveiled a monument to Octavius V. Catto in a ceremony at the southwestern apron of City Hall. Catto was a cornerstone figure in Philadelphia’s early civil rights struggle — a recruiter of an African American militia during the Civil War, an instrumental figure in the victory to desegregate Philadelphia’s horse-drawn streetcars, a...
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Untouched by the Conflict, edited by Jonathan W. White and Daniel Glenn

Untouched by the Conflict: The Civil War Letters of  Singleton Ashenfelter, Dickinson College edited by Jonathan W. White and Daniel Glenn Kent State University Press, 142 pp., hardcover $29 The title of this unique collection of Civil War letters draws from an influential work of modern scholarship. The editors observe in their introduction that it was social historian J. Matthew Gallman who...
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To Form a More Perfect Union: Violet Oakley’s Murals in the Pennsylvania Senate Chamber

At breakfast tables on Sunday morning, December 3, 1911, readers of The New York Times were confronted with a surprising headline running across the magazine section: “A WOMAN CHOSEN TO COMPLETE THE ABBEY PAINTINGS.” Four months earlier, the news that the American artist Edwin Austin Abbey (1852–1911) had passed away in London raised speculation about who would receive the remainder of his...
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Rooted in Family History: Archivist Reflects on Four Decades of Genealogical Research

Jonathan Stayer had been working at the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society for several weeks in 1985 when he received a call from the Pennsylvania State Archives. The PHMC bureau wanted to hire an archivist with experience in genealogical research and Stayer, who had previously worked for the archives surveying county records, was already immersed in the growing field of genealogy. Stayer...
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Beaver’s Diary, Document and Lifesaver

The Pennsylvania State Archives has in its collection numerous diaries recording the personal experiences of prominent people in the state’s history. One of those diaries not only documented its owner’s life but also possibly saved it. James Addams Beaver (1837–1914), born in Millerstown, Perry County, was an attorney in Bellefonte, Centre County, who would serve as the 20th governor of...
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Battlefield Pennsylvania by Brady J. Crytzer

Battlefield Pennsylvania A Guide to the Keystone State’s Most Sacred Ground by Brady J. Crytzer Westholme Publishing, 288 pp., cloth $28.00 Ironically, the soil of Pennsylvania, founded by pacifist and Quaker William Penn, was soaked with the blood of its inhabitants. Brady J. Crytzer’s Battlefield Pennsylvania documents the many battles waged in this state. Some near present-day...
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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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Sallie the Dog and the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteers

The 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment originally entered service near the beginning of  the American Civil War on April 26, 1861, as a three-month unit. Later that year, many of its soldiers reenlisted in the three-year regiment. The men of the 11th were eventually classified as veteran volunteers; they fought at Falling Waters, Cedar Mountain, Second Manassas, Antietam, Fredericks-...
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Editor’s Letter

The cover of this edition of Pennsylvania Heritage is graced with the famous 1822 painting titled The Artist in His Museum, in which Charles Willson Peale portrayed himself at age 81 in the museum he established in Philadelphia, located at the time in the Long Gallery on the second floor of the Pennsylvania State House (now called Independence Hall). In the painting, Peale lifts a curtain,...
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