Remembering the Fishing Creek Confederacy

During the summer of 1864 rumors began to circulate that Columbia County had become a place of refuge for hundreds of deserters from the Union army. The federal government promised a reward of $30 for every deserter captured. So on the night of July 31, 1864, eight men left neighboring Luzerne County hoping to track down some deserters around Benton. They cornered a house in Raven Creek Valley,...
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Camp Elder Civil War Paroled P.O.W. Camp

Located in Westtown Township, Chester County, Camp Elder was a holding facility for the Union’s paroled Prisoners of War (POWs) from mid-July to August 1863. Because of logistical problems associated with holding enemy prisoners during the American Civil War both Union and Confederate armies issued hundreds of thousands of paroles to soldiers captured in battle. Terms of this practice were...
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Robert Grant’s Calcium Lights

The American Civil War provided opportunities for many Northern inventors to profit. Before the war began inventor Robert Grant of New York City had advocated the use of his calcium lights to illuminate streets. After the war broke out he encouraged their use by Union forces as a way to facilitate night combat by illuminating the enemy’s fortified heights. In 1863 the Union employed two of...
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Monument to Confederate Soldiers

In 1898 Congress passed the Private Mailing Card Act allowing the printing and publishing of postcards by private companies and launched a craze in the early years of the 20th century. Prior to this legislation only the U.S. Postal System was authorized to produce these cards. Billions of what are known as “real photo” postcards – depicting rural villages, picturesque panoramas, community...
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York County: A Most Treasured Land

Planted squarely above the Maryland border, the gigantic horse’s hoof, which is the out­ line of York County, covers an area of 914 square miles, supporting a popula­tion of 300,000. Its eastern contour is delineated by the “long, crooked” Sus­quehanna, its pastern cleanly cut off by Cumberland County on the north, its outer edge defined by Adams Coun­ty on the west. This...
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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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Franklin County

Our forefathers never could have envisioned the Franklin County we live in today. The hardships and struggles to merely survive while trying to establish new homes in a new land on a new frontier created memories that will live as long as man cares to remember. Modern major highways, a wide diversification of indus- try, fertile farm lands and persons who still care help make Franklin County,...
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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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The Day They Raised a Monument in Dixie

The artillery salvo thun­dered across the land­scape. The pandemo­nium reverberated through the ravines before fading eerily in the distance. The outburst was quickly followed by another, then another. It was reminiscent of an earlier day, many years before, when soldiers uni­formed in blue and gray skir­mished upon these heights and engaged in mortal combat amidst roaring guns and flar­ing...
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Bookshelf

Amish Houses and Barns by Stephen Scott Good Books, 1992 (158 pages, paper, $5.95) Home is the center of Amish life, and most – if not all – major life events occur within its walls: birth, mar­riage, visiting, worship, recreation, and death. Amish Houses and Barns is a carefully researched “behind-the­-scenes” look at these events on three farms in particular, as well as...
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