Three Generations on the Underground Railroad: The Gibbons Family of Lancaster County

Shortly after sunset, a fugitive slave from Maryland tapped on a window of a modest farmhouse near Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. Daniel and Hannah Gibbons walked swiftly to the door. The Quaker couple escorted the young man to the barn to sleep and in the morning summoned him back to the house. If the fugitive’s owner was in close pursuit, they would send him to another farm. If there seemed to be...
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Pennsylvania Stories – Well Told by William Ecenbarger

Pennsylvania Stories – Well Told by William Ecenbarger Temple University Press, 244 pp., cloth $25 Ecenbarger has earned well-deserved praise and admiration for his work as a newspaper staff writer and freelance writer over the course of a Pennsylvania-based career of nearly 50 years. His previous book, Kids for Cash (New Press, 2012), detailed the corrupt juvenile justice system in northeastern...
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From the Editor

The beginning of a new year entices us to look back upon the previous year and contemplate our progress, taking into account both successes and failures. But 2014 is even more significant for Pennsylvania Heritage and its loyal readers. With this edition we mark the magazine’s 40th anniversary. That’s 157 editions filled with, as we like to say, “everything Pennsylvania.”...
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Ernest: Life in a Mining Town

In 1904, the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company began deep mining in Ernest, Pennsylvania. In 1965, the industry there came to an end. Between these two dates, people lived out their lives in this small community northwest of Indiana, where for over sixty years every facet of existence revolved around the digging of coal from the hillsides surrounding the town. But what was life like in a...
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Soft Coal’s Soft-Spoken Diplomat

Wearing a straw boater, he rode in the passenger seat of the Cadillac, and forlornly surveyed the pick­eting miners who blocked the lane leading into the village of St. Benedict in Cambria County. He sig­naled his manservant – serving now as bodyguard and chauffeur as well – to proceed through the human blockade. Angry strikers taunted them, shouting obscenities, as they drove up the...
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Bookshelf

African Americans in Pennsylvania: Shifting Historical Perspectives by Joe William Trotter Jr. and Eric Ledell Smith, editors The Penn State University Press and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1997 (519 pages; cloth, $45.00, paper, $19.95) Dedicated to “the African American people of Pennsylvania” and intended to honor “the historians who have diligently...
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The Aaronsburg Story

Thanks to Penn State coach Joe Paterno and his loyal fans, it’s not uncommon to find tens of thousands of motorists jamming Centre County roads on autumn weekends. Fifty years ago this fall – Sunday, October 23, 1949, to be precise – thirty thousand people from throughout the United States converged not in State College to enjoy a football game but in the considerably smaller...
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Breaking Down Barriers

In the summer of 1957, William and Daisy Myers and their three children moved from their house near Philadelphia to the post-World War II development of Levittown, some twenty miles northeast of the city. Like millions of American families in the 1950s, they were seeking the highly touted amenities of suburban living (see “Picture Window Par­adise: Welcome to Levittown!” by Curtis...
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KKK Records

Most records acquired by the Pennsylvania State Archives are obtained through regularly scheduled transfers of files no longer needed by an agency to conduct government business. When appraising records to determine if they possesses sufficient permanent or historical value to justify their transfer to the State Archives, archivists are looking for those that best document important agency...
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Violence and Vigilantes: The KKK in Pennsylvania

It was a warm, muggy day in early August 1921 in Philadelphia when F. W. Atkins of Jacksonville, Florida, and W. J. Bellamy of Cincinnati, Ohio, rented an office in the Bellevue Court Building to quietly recruit members for “a great and patriotic crusade to save the nation.” Their goal was to organize a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). Posing as a prospective KKK initiate, a...
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