The Call for the Constitution

Ratification of the United States Consti­tution came about quickly in Pennsylva­nia. In less than three months the state was able to call a ratifying convention, conduct a special election, assemble delegates in Philadelphia and, ultimately, ratify the proposed frame of government. At a time when travel between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh could consume as much as two difficult weeks, the speed...
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Perry County: A Sportsman’s Paradise

Despite its proximity to Pennsylvania’s bustling and heavily urbanized capital city, Perry County remains a sportsman’s placid paradise with its thickly forested moun­tains and lushly verdant val­leys. Much like its neighboring counties – Franklin, Cumber­land, Juniata and Dauphin­ – Perry County claims a topogra­phy that is neither unique nor unusual: its mountains give...
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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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An Evil and a Remedy: The Lottery in Pennsylvania

Jackpot! For thousands of years the lottery has offered mankind the opportunity to accrue something for nothing-or at least a lot for a little. Usually in fact, it returns nothing. But the potential exists, and for many the dream of winning is irresistible. As most know, a lottery is any contest based on chance, which offers a prize, and which requires participants to pay a fee or buy something....
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Transportation in Pennsylvania in 1776

During the Revolution, Pennsylvania was a central stage from the standpoint of geography, leadership, manpower, and supplies. Therefore, its transportation facilities were of special significance. The southeastern part of the State produced large quantities of the very materials needed by the Continental Army. A modest network of roads made possible the transporting of those materials to Valley...
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The Consequences of the American Revolution in Pennsylvania

One of the more interesting and controversial aspects of the American Revolution concerns its consequen­ces upon colonial institutions and society in general. Was the society left almost unchanged by a movement fun­damentally conservative in its causes, or was it profoundly altered by a revolution radical in its results, if not in its origins? Specifically, what happened to the society of...
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The Revolution Affects Pennsylvania Communities

Every county and community in the Commonwealth was in some way involved or connected with the American Revolution and Pennsylvania’s attainment of statehood. Certain places associated with famous events in the struggle for independence come to mind immedi­ately: Philadelphia, Lancaster, and York for civil affairs, and Brandywine, Germantown, Whitemarsh, Valley Forge, and Washington’s...
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The Black Press in Pennsylvania

I The Black press in Pennsylvania played a leading role in the struggle for Afro-American freedom in the pre-Civil War period. After the war, Afro-American tabloids in the Commonwealth were among the first newspapers to call for the civil rights and enfranchise­ment of Afro-Americans in the South and North. Fre­quently, editors of these newspapers became elected politicians and they used their...
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One Should Not Overlook Union County

Union County on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River is one of Pennsylvania’s smaller counties, encompassing a bare 258 square miles, with a population of 30,000, including 3000 college stu­dents and 1900 inmates of two federal prisons. Few of its residents have held high political office and fewer of its names have appeared in Who’s Who in America. Yet the historical...
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Courageous Cumberland County

Anxious to persuade a Scottish cleric, the Rev. Charles Nisbet, to become the first president of Dickinson Col­lege, its founding trustee Dr. Benjamin Rush wrote the Presbyterian worthy in 1784, describing central Cumberland County. The town of Carlisle lies 120 miles to the westward of Philadel­phia and about 18 miles from the river Susquehannah. It consists of about 300 houses, most of which...
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