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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Adams County: Tranquility Regained

One of Pennsylvania’s smaller counties, both in size and population, Adams County developed much the same as similar settlements along the Atlantic Seaboard. Its growth during the past two and a half centu­ries has been governed by its own particular circumstances, including location, terrain, soil, climate, vegetation, min­eral resources and the accom­plishments of the immigrants and...
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The Friends Fight for Freedom

In September 1738, Quak­ers from throughout southeastern Pennsylva­nia and western New Jersey made their exodus to the small town of Burlington, a journey which marked the commencement of Philadel­phia Yearly Meeting, held in alternate years in the New Jersey community. Members of the Religious Society of Friends, commonly called “Quakers,” many of whom were the most respected of...
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Wayne County: A History Deep and Clear

The Land of Lakes, it might best be called. Its sweeping verdant valleys and velvety golden meadows harbor dozens of picturesque settlements – and more than a hundred natural and artificial lakes. Its resorts teem with summer colonists – primarily expatriate New Yorkers escap­ing the stifling heat of Manhat­tan in August – and recall a less frenzied era when there seemed to be...
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The Consequences of the American Revolution in Pennsylvania

One of the more interesting and controversial aspects of the American Revolution concerns its consequen­ces upon colonial institutions and society in general. Was the society left almost unchanged by a movement fun­damentally conservative in its causes, or was it profoundly altered by a revolution radical in its results, if not in its origins? Specifically, what happened to the society of...
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Historical Sketch of Greene County

Greene County lies in the southwestern corner of the state. Its many hills, the distinguishing feature of the countryside, grow more pronounced as one travels from the eastern to the western areas. The old Washington Waynes­burg Railroad, traveling through the hills, was famous for its 178 sharp turns, each of which jolted the passengers. There were some who took the trip just for the roller...
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How to Uncover Black Family History

Genealogy has replaced astrology as America’s favorite topic at social gatherings. Several factors are responsible in sparking the present upsurge in Black genealogy. The civil rights movement of the 1960’s encouraged a feeling of Black solidarity that had not existed before. Marches, demonstrations, and mass jailings brought together diverse elements of the Black community and made...
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The African-American Clan

Recent publications and media presentations have spurred an unusual interest in genealogical research. This enthusiasm extends from the academic community to large numbers of lay people who are attempting to retrace their roots. As is well known, genealogical research in its simplest form results in the ability to construct a blood-line tree that presents the kinship relationships between people...
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Black Harrisburg’s Resistance to Slavery

In April 18, 1825, a fugitive slave from Mary­land was found by his owner in Harrisburg and was imprisoned in the Dauphin County jail. A hearing on the matter was held in the courthouse that day, with Judge Bucher presiding. It took most of the day to con­vince the Judge that the slave should be returned to the custody of the slaveholder, during which time, according to the Pennsylvania...
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Toward Freedom: Pittsburgh Blacks, 1800-1870

Throughout the antebellum period in the United States, two of the most volatile issues were the abolition of slavery and Blacks’ civil rights. Conventions, meetings, and written memorials to state and federal governmental bodies regarding these concerns abounded. Both Black and white residents of cities and towns became involved in the slavery question, while Black residents, primarily,...
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