Montgomery County: Cultural Microcosm of the Commonwealth

The third most populous county in Pennsylvania, with ap­proximately 480 square miles of rolling hills criss-crossed by rivers, streams and superhighways, Montgom­ery County is a microcosm of the Com­monwealth, a reflection of its cultural development. Pan of Philadelphia County until 1784, Montgomery Coun­ty served as a sanctuary for numerous ethnic and religious groups seeking the freedom...
read more

Schuylkill County: Built on Coal

The history of Schuylkill County is inextricably bound to the story – and drama – of the great anthracite industry in the United States. Despite nearly two centuries of active mining, the county’s 783 square miles still boast the largest accessible reserves of hard coal known in the world. Its lives and lifestyles have been quasi-fictionalized by two of the county’s best...
read more

Setting the Standard for Others

With a rich heritage rooted in colonial military formations – such as the forces furnished in 1740 for a disastrous English expe­dition against Cartagena, Spain’s principal seaport in South America, and Benjamin Franklin’s ten thousand mem­ber military Association, estab­lished in 1747 – the 28th Infantry (Keystone) Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, is the...
read more

Lackawanna County: The Last Shall Not Be Least

The history of the Key­stone State’s sixty­-seven counties is often quite similar to family histories. Its portrait is a rich composite of Native American legend and lore, early trans­portation, marine and mari­time heritage, industry and industrialists, pioneers, capitalists and the working classes, religious communes, inventors and the Industrial Revolution …. And the county, whose...
read more

Teetering on the Brink of Rebellion?

Nineteenth century Harrisburg’s most rousing labor disorders erupted in July 1877 as part of the wave of spontaneous railway strikes sweeping the nation. The rioting that disrupted the quiet city overlooking the broad Susquehanna River was part of the country’s first wide­spread labor upheaval. The Great Railway Strikes, in turn, were a product of the Panic of 1873, then in its...
read more

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...
read more

John Frederick Hartranft Papers

Although little recognized today, John Frederick Hartranft (1830-1889) did make his mark in the history of the Commonwealth and the nation as governor and as general. Born near Norristown, Montgomery County, he attended college, practiced law, and in 1861 entered the Union army at the outbreak of the Civil War. His dedication to the military was unswerving. He was commissioned colonel of the...
read more

Currents

Officers and Gentlemen Brevet Major General John Frederick Hartranft and General Winfield Scott Hancock, of Montgomery County, and Brevet Brigadier-General Galusha Pennypacker and Private Samuel W. Pennypacker, of Chester County, were among the many local servicemen and heroes who served during the Civil War. Galusha Pennypacker (1842-1916), hero of Fort Fisher, off Cape Fear, North Carolina,...
read more

Old Johnny’s Vision For An Industrial Society

Although Colonel John Frederick Hartranft (1830-1889) was only in his thirties during the Civil War, the rank and file of his 51st Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment fondly called him “Old Johnny.” His soldiers especially respected his ability to make the right decisions in combat and his altogether impartial and basically humane discipline. With a mind and eye trained as a civil...
read more

Letters to the Editor

Bridge It I noticed what appears to be an error in a photo caption in the article on Pennsylva­nia’s bridges [“Bridging the Past for the Future” by Eric DeLony, Winter 2000]. On page 14, in reference to the third picture in the center of the page, the caption indicates “Sharon Bridge, Mercer County, submerged by flood waters in March 1913.” The Sharon bridge in this...
read more