“Restless Progress in America”: Drawing the Mason-Dixon Line

“When I found I had crossed that line,” recalled Harriet Tubman, “I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything . . . I felt like I was in Heaven.” Such was the power of the Mason-Dixon Line. Within 75 years of its completion to resolve an eight-decade-long dispute between two colonial proprietors, a boundary line drawn in the 1760s by two English...
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War and Tranquility: From Gettysburg to Glen with Robert Bruce Ricketts

The order was clear. Capt. Robert Bruce Ricketts and his two companies of artillery were to hold the Union’s left flank on East Cemetery Hill just beyond the outskirts of Gettysburg. “In case you are charged here,” Ricketts’ commanding officer Col. C.S. Wainwright told him, “you will not limber up under any circumstances, but fight your battery as long as you can.” The reality facing Ricketts on...
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Rebels’ Revenge: The Burning of Chambersburg

Out of the predawn mist thundered the enemy, their horses’ hooves pounding the town’s dusty streets apocalyptically. Al­though grimy, weary and starv­ing, the cavalrymen were formidable, battle-hardened veterans, ready to fight at a moment’s notice. They had come to this little town to execute an order – a command which, when carried out, would add another bitter meas­ure...
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In Celebration of Covered Bridges

We crossed the Susquehanna river by a wooden bridge, roofed and covered in on all sides, and nearly a mile in length. It was profoundly dark, perplexed with great beams, crossing and recrossing at every possible angle, and through the broad chinks and crevices in the floor the rapid river gleamed far down below like a legion of eyes. We had no lamps, and as the horses stumbled and floundered...
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Madman or Saint? Abolitionist John Brown

The door to the jail cell creaked open, and the condemned old man stared at his visitor, not recognizing the face. The one who entered spoke first, identifying himself as Morrow B. Lowry of Erie. The prisoner suddenly remembered, and “cordially and gratefully” greeted his friend of many years ago. Their reunion must have seemed strange and sad. Low­ry, learning that his former...
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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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The Battle of Gettysburg Series – By Peter Frederick Rothermel (1812-1895)

Perhaps the most impressive item of public art in the capital, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is the monumental “Battle of Gettysburg, Pickett’s Charge,” by Peter Frederick Rothermel. Its sheer size, over sixteen feet high by more than thirty-two feet wide, and its theatrical composition, make it an over-powering experience. The “Battle of Gettysburg,” is located on the...
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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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Letters to the Editor

Featherweights? I enjoy your magazine and the articles you publish. However, I am not an elitist and for Pennsylvania Heritage to devote six pages to such a group as the United Bowmen of Philadelphia (see “No Feather­weight in the Annals of Archery: The United Bowmen of Philadelphia” by Joseph F. Pino in the winter 1993 issue) is uncalled for. But then maybe you are getting to the...
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A New Birth of Freedom

President Lincoln listened patiently to Everett’s lengthy speech, noting the powerful cadence of his delivery. Then he rose, his lanky frame casting a shadow across the lectern. He reached into a pocket of his black frock coat and withdrew a single sheet of paper. He began his address with words that have since become immortal. A crowd of nearly fifteen thousand dignitaries, spectators,...
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