Harriet Lane Johnston: The Legacy of a White House Hostess

On the cool, overcast day of May 9, 2017, a dozen nurses from the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center arrived by bus at Green Mount Cemetery, a leafy 19th-century oasis in center city Baltimore. They carried a generous bouquet of flowers to decorate the grave of Harriet Lane Johnston, niece of James Buchanan (1791–1868), Pennsylvania’s only U.S. president. “Without Harriet Lane, we don’t know what...
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Editor’s Letter

The cover of this edition of Pennsylvania Heritage is graced with the famous 1822 painting titled The Artist in His Museum, in which Charles Willson Peale portrayed himself at age 81 in the museum he established in Philadelphia, located at the time in the Long Gallery on the second floor of the Pennsylvania State House (now called Independence Hall). In the painting, Peale lifts a curtain,...
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Two Decades of PA Books: An Interview with Brian Lockman

PA Books is a weekly television series that has been running on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) for 20 years. Brian Lockman, president and CEO of the Harrisburg-based network, has hosted the program from the beginning, interviewing authors of books related to Pennsylvania. He does 35 to 40 new interviews a year, and PCN reruns past programs frequently. A recent survey indicated that PA...
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Preserving Yesterday’s Life for Tomorrow

Historic preservation has taken on a new dimension in Bedford County. Old Bedford Village, just off the Pennsylvania Turn­pike at Bedford Exit 11, is a nonprofit venture helping to preserve the history AND economy of this central Pennsyl­vania county. Bedford County as it exists today, is bounded on the south by the Mason­-Dixon Line, on the west, north and east by Somerset, Cambria, Blair,...
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Lancaster County: Diversity of People, Ideas and Economy

When Lancaster County was established on May 10, 1729, it became the proto­type for the sixty-three counties to follow. The original three counties­Philadelphia, Bucks and Chester – were created as copies of typical English shires. The frontier conditions of Ches­ter County’s backwoods, from which Lancaster was formed, presented knot­ty problems to the civilized English­men....
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Fulton County: Where Country is Still Country

When the first settlers wandered into the Great Cove – a deep basin formed by the southern ranges of the Kit­tochtinny and Tuscarora mountains – they discovered strikingly beautiful valleys, incised with sparkling streams, whose only intrusions were Indian trails and remote pack­ers’ paths. During the two centuries since its settlement, the picturesque mountain ridges and...
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The President Meets the Press

The road to glory traveled by Abraham Lincoln on his way to his inauguration took him in and out of Pennsylvania three times: first to Pittsburgh, then through Erie County along the southern shore of the lake, to Philadelphia, and finally through Harrisburg where he spoke to the state legislature. Throughout the trip he was well received by great crowds who thronged to the train depots and,...
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The Call of the Clarion

To the eighteenth century French explorers, the river the Indians called Tobeco was Riviere au Fiel – the “River of Hate.” Pioneers know it as Toby or Stump Creek. In 1817 it was christened Clarion by road surveyors Daniel Stanard and David Lawson as they camped along its shores because the river’s clear, shrill sound reminded them of the medieval trumpet. The name of the...
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Bedford County: From Indian Trails to Tourist Resorts

In the summer of 1728, thirteen brave pioneers made their way north through the wilderness from Virginia. The trail brought these Virginians into the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, where they set­tled, only returning to Virginia to bring their families north. The area was rich with game and several trapped along the streams. One built a gristmill and another a trading post. These members...
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A Dynasty Tumbles

The saga begins and ends with two com­monplace scenes: a teenaged immigrant alighting a ship in colonial Philadelphia with but two letters of introduction and three guineas to his name, and a gravesite ringed by a half­-dozen black-clothed mourn­ers. But during the century and a half that encapsulates these vignettes, a Pennsylva­nia dynasty rose and fell- and rose and fell again. From Robert...
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