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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The Last Days of William Penn

“My poor Dearests last breath was fetchd this morning between 2 & 3 a Clock.” So wrote a distraught Hannah Penn to longtime friend and advisor Thomas Story on July 30, 1718. The remains of her husband were taken to Jordans Meeting House in Buckinghamshire and buried there on August 5 beside his first wife Gulielma. Quakers and non-Quakers alike attended the funeral. Jordans is a quiet place,...
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A Gift from the Grave

Barbara Barksdale lowers her head and chuckles at the brief mention of her nickname. The lay historian from Steelton, Dauphin County, knows that she’s earned her humorous handle. She’s even incorporated it into her email address. “They call me the cemetery lady,” she says with just a hint of pride. For more than two decades, Barksdale has tended to the needs of the historic Midland Cemetery in...
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Archeology Project Culminates

When you walk through the Hall of Anthropology in the William Penn Memorial Museum, you will almost be able to feel that you are an integral part of one or more of the many life ways portrayed there. For some persons that feeling will be even more intensified – for they actually participated in finding materials that will be there on display. The Anthropology Hall, scheduled to open...
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Historic Sites of the Revolution

Pennsylvania is unusually rich in historic sites associated with the American Struggle for nationhood two centuries ago. The Bicentennial observance under­scores the importance of this treasury of the state’s historic heritage. The deep involvement of Pennsylvania people and land in the Revolutionary War is reflected by these historic sites maintained by government as well as organizations...
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A Welsh Community that United in Song

With the development and expansion of the northern anthracite fields in the 1840’s, many ethnic groups flooded the region. Transporting their various customs to the Wyoming Valley, these groups formulated the social structure of the area from their traditions. One of the most significant of these traditions was music. George Korson, in his Minstrels of the Mine Patch, dis­cussed the ethnic...
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“A New County to Be Called Snyder”

Snyder is a small rural county covering 327 square miles with a population exceeding thirty thou­sand. Situated near the center of the Commonwealth, it is bounded on the northwest by Jack’s Mountain, on the southeast by the Mahantango Creek and on the en­tire eastern end by the beautiful Susquehanna River. Most of the remaining boundaries are unrelated to natural features. Geologically,...
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An Admirable and Befitting Arrangement: The Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg

After the battle, the fields looked and smelled like hell on earth. The bodies of the fallen had quickly begun to decom­pose. Where shallow graves had been dug, arms, legs, and heads were reported to have penetrat­ed the surface. In some places, hogs rooted out corpses, devouring them. The immense, ghastly campaign at Gettysburg, fought July 1 through 3, 1863, was over. As General Robert E. Lee...
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