1939 news from Saginaw, Gatchelville and Wrightsville

GatchelvilleDateline

County datelines from York County Heritage Trust newspaper microfilm

County datelines from York County Heritage Trust newspaper microfilm

What was going on in York County 75 years ago? If your family was at all known to the newspaper stringer for your area, they probably showed up on the local news pages. The events might seem trivial to us today, but the reporters give us a glimpse into the lives of our forerunners—who they knew and what they did.

Here are a few items from around the county, as reported in the October 13, 1939 York Dispatch:

“SAGINAW, Oct. 13—Luther Mohr, Hanover visited Mr. and Mrs. George Horner, Sunday.

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Krebs and children Barry, Gerald, Linda Lou and Warren, Mt. Wolf; Mr. and Mrs. Purless Gingerich, Manchester; Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Horner and children, William and Gladys; Mrs. John Leader and children, Nancy and Joan; and Lester Brenner visited Mr. and Mrs. Russel Reneberger.

C.C. Kohr and children, Gertrude and Edwin, and Hubert Elvery were guests of the latter’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Elvery, McConnellsburg on Sunday.”

Some of you might remember participating in pageants at church. They weren’t anything like beauty pageants, but little plays or shows with songs. I remember participating in Children’s Day pageants at New Harmony Presbyterian Church at the Brogue when I was a child. Crepe paper costumes turned little children into flowers and the like. Remember crepe paper? If you got it wet the bright colors stained your clothes.

“GATCHELVILLE, Oct. 13.—A sacred pageant, ‘Lest We Forget,’ will be presented in the Prospect Methodist Church Sunday evening at 7:45 o’clock.

The cast of characters is as follows: ‘Miss Helpful,’ Nellie Druck; ‘Anne,’ Marie Dunlap; ‘Margaret,’ Verna Gray; ‘Dorothy,’ Ethel Gray; ‘May,’ Leona Jamison; ‘Florence,’ Lavia Jamison; and ‘Elsie,’ Ruth Kimmons.”

Here are more travelers, none venturing too far:

“WRIGHTSVILLE, Oct. 13.—Pauline and Ruth Young, South Second Street, were dinner guests on Wednesday evening at the home of their cousin, Evelyn Gerfin, Columbia.

Mrs. Paul Kinard and daughter, Darlene, and Miss Lucy Kinard motored to Dallastown, Wednesday, where they spent the day as guests of the former’s brother-in-law and sister, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Dougherty.

Charles Kline, of Ardmore, was a guest over the weekend at the home of his mother, Mrs. Annie Kline, Hellam Street.”

I’m willing to bet that these visits involved rolling out food, perhaps a full Pennsylvania Dutch meal, or at least substantial snacks. How about some homemade pies and cakes? Homemade ice cream, anyone?

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Local families motored to the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

1939WFAshtray

A recent post told of York Safe and Lock Company taking 14 train cars of employees and their families on a special excursion to the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

A couple of local ladies shared their stories of traveling by automobile to that fair when they were children.

Old friend Janet Fauth Becker of Red Lion went with her mother, father, aunt and uncle. The adults and Janet, age seven, drove up for the day. They brought back the ash tray pictured above, complements of the Firestone Tire Company. Janet remembers scary lighting inside a building. That was probably the General Electric pavilion, whose engineers did create indoor lightning.

Gladys Fourhman Wright, originally from the Steltz area of southern York County, was nine years old when she went with to the fair. Her uncle, Harry C. Miller, was originally from York County too, but in the 1930s he was living in Collingswood, New Jersey, where he and his wife, Elizabeth, both taught at the high school. Gladys was visiting them, and they drove into New York in their maroon Ford for the fair. She remembers sitting for a long time in the Holland Tunnel when the car in front of them had a flat tire.

When they got to the fairgrounds at Flushing Meadows, Gladys remembers being told by her proper aunt not to look at the naked statues that were part of the art on display. One of the wonders that impressed Gladys was seeing themselves on that new marvel, television. RCA introduced television to consumers at the New York World’s fair, changing the way we look at the world forever.

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Guards of Camp Security 7: Henry Baumgardner

CSG-Baumgardner2

The pension act of June 7, 1832 extended benefits to some Revolutionary War veterans that had not qualified under the 1828 act. The war had been over for 49 years, so most applicants were at least seventy years old, with many in their eighties.

From the introduction to Revolutionary War Pension Records at the National Archives: “The act provided that every officer or enlisted man who had served at least two years in the Continental Line or State troops, volunteers or militia, was eligible for a pension of full pay for life. Naval and marine officers and enlisted men were also included. Veterans who had served less than two years but not less than six months, were eligible for pensions of less than full pay. Neither the act of 1832 nor the one of 1828 required applicants to demonstrate need.”

Since the tour of duty as militia guards at Camp Security was two months, and some men served as little as one tour, the old soldiers had to cobble together several different drafts/enlistments to qualify. Henry Baumgardner is an example. In his affidavit before Judge Walter Franklin of York County, he states:

“That he was born in Frederick County, Maryland in seventeen hundred and fifty eight… . That he lived with Geo. Kitzmiller in that part of York County now Adams County, Penna. in seventeen hundred and seventy six, when the said George Kitzmiller was drafted as a Militia Man in the company of Capt. Thomas Fisher near Littlestown in said county, which said company…marched thro. Lancaster, Phila., Trenton & to Amboy, where it remained until the end of two months. …That at the end of the two months he enlisted in the company of Capt. Nicholas Bittinger in the Flying Camp and served six months… . That Capt. Bittinger was taken prisoner at Fort Washington. That he with others escaped to Fort Lee. That he marched with this detachment of the Army from Fort Lee through New Jersey to Trenton, crossed the Delaware, and at the end of his term of six months was discharged… . That the following year he served a tour of duty of two months in guarding the prisoners taken with Burgoyne, but does not remember the name of the officer under whom he served.”

The lists of militia guards at Camp Security show Baumgardner on Captain Henry Moore’s pay roll, August 20th to September 20th, 1781.

In my next post, I’ll share why Baumgardner, who was living in Frederick County, Maryland in 1832, went to court in York instead to give his statement, and what other proof he had to submit.

Click this link for previous posts on Camp Security.

This link will take you to the Friends of Camp Security website and lists of York County Militia Guards at Camp Security, transcribed by Blake Stough from the published Pennsylvania Archives.

Posted in 1780s, 1820s, 1830s, Adams County, Camp Security, military units, prisoners, Revolutionary War, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

York County history, food and books coming up

Conrad's Cornet Band, possibly at a St. Luke's picnic

Conrad’s Cornet Band, possibly at a St. Luke’s picnic

It’s time for two of my favorite York County events, and you are all invited too. I’ll be volunteering at each one, and I hope to see you there.

First, tomorrow, Thursday, August 7 is the annual St. Luke’s picnic at New Bridgeville in Chanceford Township, starting at noon. Lots of food will be available along with live music. This is one of the dwindling number of old fashioned church picnics that still serve up lots of homemade chicken corn and ham bean soup, hot sandwiches, cakes and pies. I will be ladling the take out soup, sold by the quart container.

The photo above, from the early 20th century, might have been taken at a St. Luke’s picnic. Conrads (pronounced then as Coon-rods) was a popular name for New Bridgeville. My grandfather, Ed Shelley, is the second from right in the middle row.

St. Luke’s was founded in 1772, so many of you might also have ancestors in the picturesque cemetery. Some of the earlier stones are in German.

StLukePicnic-14

Then, next week is the annual Book Blast at the Agricultural and Industrial Museum on West Princess Street in York. Thousands and thousands of donated books of all kinds–fiction, health, history, cookbooks, classics, biography, religious, inspiration, crafts–will be sold to help support York County Heritage Trust’s mission to preserve and interpret our rich history.

BB14

Book Blast opens free to the public at 9 a.m. on Thursday, August 14. See above for pricing and hours. As an added bonus, anyone who buys a minimum of $5 in books can then take their time touring the entire amazing Agricultural and Industrial Museum free. Farming equipment, industrial machinery, a covered wagon, a trolley car, automobiles, even an airplane—all with York County connections—fill the spacious galleries.

Here are opportunities to experience and support York County history through the purchase of food and books—two of my favorite things.

York County Heritage Trust's Agricultural and Industrial Museum

York County Heritage Trust’s Agricultural and Industrial Museum

Posted in 1770s, books, churches, exhibits, fundraisers, museums, music, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

York Kiwanis warned of marijuana 75 years ago

1939 Gazette & Daily headline

1939 Gazette & Daily headline

Here is an interesting topic presented to the York Kiwanis club 75 years ago, as reported in the October 27, 1939 Gazette & Daily, quoted below. I guess some things have been around longer than I realized.

MARIHUANA EVIL SUBJECT OF TALK
Williamsport Detective Tells Kiwanis Club of Effects of Drug
OFFICIALS ARE GUESTS

‘The Evils of Marihuana’ were explained to members of the York Kiwanis club and their guests, Mayor Anstine and Police Chief Ferber, at the weekly dinner meeting at the Yorktowne hotel last evening, by Joseph M. Schmucker, captain of detectives in Williamsport and a marihuana specialist since the dread drug was found circulating in that city nearly two years ago.

Captain Schmucker stressed the fact that York, too, may be affected by the drug as many cities in this section as well as the country as a whole have been. He said that last week in Baltimore one raid netted enough marihuana to drug every person on the east coast. One hundred tons have been harvested in one batch in Philadelphia and much has been found in and around Harrisburg and Steelton. It was found four places in the Harrisburg city limits within one week.
Continue reading “York Kiwanis warned of marijuana 75 years ago” »

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1939–Yeager and Fitz battle for York County title

CornHusker

What competition attracted 3,000 people on October 18, 1939? According to a lengthy account in the Gazette and Daily the next day: “A large tent was erected on the farm and refreshments were sold to the crowd by the auxiliary of the York County Farmers organization. The grounds somewhat resembled a county fair with displays of seed corn and farming implements.”

It might have seemed like a fair, but it was the annual York County Corn Husking Contest. The article reads, in part:
Continue reading “1939–Yeager and Fitz battle for York County title” »

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Guards at Camp Security 6: Samuel Fulton & John Baker

CSG-Fulton, Samuel

My recent York Sunday News column concerning Revolutionary War pension applications from Militia Guards at Camp Security is below. In it I briefly recap how the prisoners of war came to be at Camp Security with York County militiamen serving as their guards much of the time.

Besides reviewing information from previous posts on militia guards William Adams and Andrew Anderson, I have also included Samuel Fulton, another of the former York County veterans who moved west after the war.

There is also a brief mention of John Baker, a Baltimore County native who moved to York County, served as a militia guard at Camp Security. He still lived in York County when he applied for a pension in 1834. Although he doesn’t give much information about the camp, his pension application does verify that he was another or the many, many local men that served at the place nicknamed “Camp Security.” He also mentions a “fort or stockade,” collaborating many other accounts of at least one stockade on the site. One of the citizens who signed an affidavit attesting to the good character of Baker was the well-known Lutheran pastor, John George Schmucker.

The column reads:
Continue reading “Guards at Camp Security 6: Samuel Fulton & John Baker” »

Posted in 1780s, 1830s, Camp Security, Hopewell Twp., military units, prisoners, Revolutionary War, soldiers, Springettsbury Twp., Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Still more York County people moving west

NobleSaleAd

As you know, the southeastern/southcentral Pennsylvania area was settled early, and then, as families grew, some members spread out through the rest of the country from here. The western parts of Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina beckoned, as the settlers travelled down the valleys in quest of land. Some went more directly to western Pennsylvania, perhaps for Revolutionary War service land grants, and beyond, with whole counties in Ohio soon having a large population of former Pennsylvanians from York and Adams counties.

The ad below, from the April 4, 1816 York Gazette, shows that established businessmen went west too, probably to take advantage of the commerce that the pioneering farmers would bring.

“Valuable Property
FOR SALE
The subscriber intending to remove to the western country, will dispose of at Private Sale, that handsome and well improved
HOUSE
situate on the main-street, a few doors east of the bridge and opposite Mr. Nes’s corner. The house is two stories high, and did in the month of March and April last undergo a complete repair, and improvement; it has been newly painted both out and inside. There are in all nine rooms, exclusive of an excellent Kitchen, Smoke-house, brick paved yard, good and new stabling, with every other convenience to make it a desirable situation. Part of the house is at present occupied as a store by the subscriber & co., having new and complete shelving and counters—making it an object for persons of any kind. The terms will be made easy.
GEORGE NOBLE.
January 23.”

Noble had quite a sizable house and store. He is also stressing the location and the improvements and fresh paint. It’s not too much different from our real estate ads of today. Since the ad is still running more than three months after it was initially places, Noble hadn’t found the right buyer yet. It sounds like the establishment might have been on one of the corners of Main (Market) Street and Water (Pershing) Avenue.

More on York County people moving west.

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York County people flocked to the 1939 World’s Fair

NYWorldsFair1939

Did anyone in your family visit the 1939 New York World’s Fair?

From the souvenirs that I have seen over the years at public sales and antique/collectible malls, usually featuring the Trylon (elongated pyramid) and Perisphere (globe), I figured a lot of York County people made the trip.

The railroads of 75 years ago made it easy to get to other places from York County, so I assumed that a lot of local people took the train to the fair. The article below, from the October 14, 1939 York Dispatch microfilm at York County Heritage Trust shows it was even easier than I thought. Evidently large employers sponsored entire special excursion trains:
Continue reading “York County people flocked to the 1939 World’s Fair” »

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York County history has some dark sides

KKK39I admit I’m a cheerleader for York County history. Native Americans, about whom I know much less that I would like, made their homes in this area at various times over thousands of years. In addition, we are not very far away from the 300th anniversary of the arrival of the first European settlers on this side of the Susquehanna River. All these people have contributed to our rich and deep local history.

It’s not always pretty, however. I use the microfilmed York County newspapers at York County Heritage Trust as sources for many of my posts. Every now and then I come across something disturbing that I hesitate to share. But, if unsavory past incidents are brought to light, perhaps that can guide us to never going there again.

The report below, from the York Dispatch of October 16, 1939 is under the North York news banner. I’m sure any number of other York County municipalities could have just as easily hosted the convention. It is mind boggling to me to think that this was just 75 years ago.

It reads:

“ENDORSES NEUTRALITY
K.K.K, at State Conclave Session in Borough Favors President’s “Cash and Carry” plan.

Climaxing a discussion on the present European war, members of the Pennsylvania provincs of the Ku Klux Klan at their 13th annual state conclave in the borough Saturday adopted a resolution endorsing President Roosevelt’s neutrality program and the “Cash and Carry” plan.

Approximately 200 clansmen assembled in the Queen Street auditorium for the conclave. In addition to the resolution on the European situation the delegates also made public a resolution stating the Klan’s policy for the ensuing year.

State officers were elected and installed at the conclave sessions. Bradford, Pa. was selected as the place for next year’s gathering.

The conclave was brought to a close Saturday night with an outdoor demonstration, at which a large cross was burned on the hill at the rear of the auditorium.”

Click this link to go to the U.S. State Department websitelink to go to the U.S. State Department website for a fairly short explanation of the 1930s Neutrality Acts, including the “cash and carry” provision, that allowed United States manufacturers to sell anything except to arms to countries already at war, as long as they were immediately paid for and not shipped on American ships.

Posted in 1930s, North York, Universal York, York County | Tagged , | 2 Comments