Tag Archives: Underground Railroad

A virtual tour of Joanna Furnace near Reading, PA: Part 2

This is a back view of the old furnace stack at the Joanna Furnace near Reading, Pennsylvania. As mentioned in part 1 of this 2-part short series, Joanna Furnace was one a vibrant, profitable producer of cannonballs, door hinges, kettles, … Continue reading

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A virtual tour of Joanna Furnace near Reading, PA: Part 1

On Sunday evening, March 18, 2018, I presented a PowerPoint talk on the defense of the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge during the Civil War to a packed house in the old Mule Stable of the restored Joanna Furnace complex in southern Berks … Continue reading

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Rally Set to Preserve Wrightsville’s Underground Railroad Station

Press Release from Preservation Pennsylvania: WRIGHTSVILLE RALLY FOR HISTORY: Threatened Underground Railroad station focus of public meeting on March 21 The future of the historic Mifflin House and farm in Hellam Township, York County, a well-documented safe house of the … Continue reading

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Different paths; different dreams

Amanda Berry was born a slave near Long Green in Baltimore County, Maryland. She and her mother Mariam and her siblings lived on the farm of their owner, Shadrach Green, while her father, Samuel Berry, lived on the adjoining farm … Continue reading

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York County’s Underground Railroad Heroes: Jacob Wirt of Hanover

Jacob Wirt was a prominent 19th-century businessman and civic leader in Hanover, Pennsylvania. He owned a dry goods and general merchandise store on the town square, was active in the coal and lumber business, and was the first president of … Continue reading

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Virginia’s waterways were paths to freedom for escaped slaves

South-central Pennsylvania, including York and Adams counties, were often the first place that escaped slaves from Maryland and Virginia headed in their quest for freedom. Several books, including those by Cooper Wingert and David G. Smith, cover the topic across … Continue reading

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Hanover’s “peculiar man:” Big Bill Otter

In 1885, a McSherrystown, PA, newspaper editor deemed William Arter (as he misspelled Otter) as “a peculiar man” who did “some very foolish things.” Otter, who lived in nearby Hanover from 1809 until 1821, was certainly one of the most … Continue reading

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Save Hybla. Period.

“Captain Tanner,” an orderly dispatched from General Gordon called down from his lathered mount, “Compliments of the General. He wishes for you to send the left section of your battery over to yonder hill and deploy. See the stone house … Continue reading

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Battle to save Underground Railroad Station marks 154th anniversary of Rebel invasion of York County

Today marks the 154th anniversary of the beginning of the Confederate invasion of York County, Pennsylvania. Lieutenant Colonel Elijah V. White’s 35th Battalion, Virginia Cavalry, entered Hanover, where a delegation of city fathers had assembled to meet the oncoming Rebels. … Continue reading

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York’s Underground Railroad Heroes: Joseph Wickersham

In the early 1800s, York County, Pennsylvania, played an important role in the growing movement to abolish slavery. Many people in southern York County were ambivalent to slavery or tolerated it; others actively supported the trade by hiring slaves from … Continue reading

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