Letters to the Editor

Letters presents readers' comments and reactions to specific articles in Pennsylvania Heritage, the initiatives of PHMC, and other developments in the historical, cultural and museum communities of Pennsylvania.

Fulton County

The feature on Fulton County was well done. However, it contains an often repeated error. The error is of no conse­quence to anyone except de­scendants of the founding families of the Little Cove Tonoloway community and to Baptist historians. The founders of the Tonoloway Baptist Church were not “British Bap­tists” at all. They were, by then, old American families of that faith. There is quite a bit of distinction between the roles of the Rhode Island Baptists and their brothers who came directly from England.

Combs Craig Truax
Harrisburg, Pa.

Your careful reading will, we hope, help to check the perpetua­tion of the error. Even if the point is, as you feel, of conse­quence only to descendants of the founders and to Baptist his­torians, it is nevertheless historical fact and should be corrected. The writing of history is an evo­lutionary process and demands constant attention and review. Thank you for your contribution.

My wife and I have been impressed with the variety and quality of the articles in your magazine, but we were bothered by the tone of the Fulton County feature. The use of such phrases as “catas­trophic Indian rampages,” “Great Cove massacre,” “rest­less and courageous settlers” and “major Indian outrages” do ill justice to those involved in an unfortunate collision of cultures. What a contrast with the properly neutral way in which the Confederate invasion is treated! I would hope that Pennsylvania Heritage would realize that our heritage, for good or ill, includes more than the white settlers (or invaders, from the Indian point of view) and that historians especially should be sensitive to this point.

Clarke M. Thomas
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Your comments are extremely well taken. It is important to note that historical interpretation is a question of perspective, and some points of view, regretfully, are frequently overlooked or ignored. The Indians’ defense of their lands is as much a part of our heritage as is the expansion of the frontier and deserves equal consideration. Although we did not intend for the article to be biased in tone, we will cer­tainly attempt to be more sensitive in the future.


View Companies

Thanks! Your article on the traveling photographic view companies solved a family mystery. Since my sister and I inherited several large photo­graphs of our great-grand­father’s farm in Union County, we were puzzled by the fact that the whole family was gathered in front of the house. For several years we tried to figure out what the special occasion could have been. Now we know! Are these types of views valuable?

Ruth Powers
Upper Darby, Pa.

Photographs have become in­creasingly popular with collectors during the last several years. Photographic views have been re­tailing at antiques shops and markets for between $35 and $100, depending, of course, on the view, condition, frame, etc.


Circus Wreck

The pictures of the Main Circus train wreck were extra­ordinary. The story was spellbinding, but the photo­graphs really conveyed the devastation. It’s amazing to think they were taken ninety years ago.

Elaine V. Keiser
Waverly, Pa.


County Histories

I very much enjoy the new approach your authors have taken with the county his­tories. As a retired engineer who worked more than forty years in Pennsylvania, I think the connections between the early roads and the settlement patterns are fascinating. Can you recommend any books that discuss the state’s early transportation systems in general? My interest is in canals and railroads.

Thomas A. Harris
Downingtown, Pa.

Excellent primers, of which there are many, include Pennsyl­vania Transportation by George Swetnam and William H. Shank’s Three Hundred Years with the Pennsylvania Traveler. A trip to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg, will give you the opportunity to see locomotives, passenger cars, equipment and ephemera relating to the Commonwealth’s rail­roading industry.


Etcetera …

I’m not a subscriber to Penn­sylvania Heritage, but I have become familiar with the maga­zine while browsing at our public library. I’d really like to purchase an occasional issue, but I haven’t found copies lurk­ing on local newsstands or in bookstores. Is there any way I can get hold of a personal copy without buying in to four issues a year, or committing an embarrassing misdemeanor at the local library?

Ed Musalla
Allentown, Pa.

Penn­sylvania Heritage is not available at news­stands or in bookstores, although we are currently investigating the possibility of initiating a pilot sales program through a limited number of local distributors. Single and back issues, however, are available by writing to our office.