York County weather from the past

From the York County Heritage Trust Library/Archives

From the York County Heritage Trust Library/Archives

The July 16, 1953 Gazette and Daily carried an article on Harry C. Arnold, superintendent at the York Water Company; he had been recording the weather at the York Pumping Station since 1915. He used three instruments: “an alcohol thermometer which records both the running temperature and the day’s minimum, a mercury thermometer which keeps track of maximum temperatures, and a calibrated canister and measuring rod for establishing the amount of precipitation.” He gauged the wind velocity by observing the treetops.

Arnold reported that between 1915 and 1953, the lowest recorded temperature was -21 F in January 1925. Looking at a modern chart, that record still stands, being matched only once, in January 1994.
Continue reading “York County weather from the past” »

Posted in 1880s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, floods, Universal York, weather, York County | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Gazette and Daily birthday club, part 2


Here is more on the Gazette and Daily’s Boys’ and Girls’ Newspaper and the birthday club. Erma Henry Raver recently shared some of the birthday and Christmas cards shown here and in my previous post. She and her husband Clinton received them from the paper when they were young.

The cards below are from a series that commemorate the young person’s age that year. I too remember getting birthday cards from the club when I was young, but I didn’t remember what the cut off age was. I thought it was 16. At one time, as shown by Erma’s cards, it went up to at least 20.


I am also showing the bottom part of the October 3, 1940 Boys’ and Girls’ page. My last post showed an example of the top of the daily page for boys and girls. This one includes Clinton Raver’s 15th birthday and crafts with gourds, as well as the regular connect the dots puzzle and riddles (including answers). The Boys’ and Girls’ page took up three or four columns of an eight column newspaper page, so it is too skinny to reproduce a whole properly on a blog format.


Have any of you saved the cards you received from the Gazette and Daily?

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Greetings from the York Gazette and Daily Boys’ and Girls’ Newspaper

Boys' and Girls' Newspaper Birthday Cards

Boys’ and Girls’ Newspaper Birthday Cards

You might remember the daily Boys’ and Girls’ Newspaper page in the Gazette and Daily. The page had puzzles, riddles, jokes and crafts, but the highlights were the letters from area children telling a little about themselves or a relative and asking for enrollment in the Birthday Club. (See example below.)

Once you were a Birthday Club member, you received a birthday card every year. Christmas cards were also sent out (see below), but I think they later just did the birthday cards. The very best part was the list each day of the celebrants and their ages. Once you could read, you could see your name in print. As I remember, since the Gazette and Daily didn’t publish on Sundays, there would be two lists in Saturday’s paper.

So, if you grew up in the 1930s through the 1960s (the Gazette closed down in 1970), you were sure to check the paper on your birthday. I remember being enrolled, as were my children, but we evidently didn’t keep the cards.

Part of May 20, 1935 Boys' and Girls' page (Erma's eighth birthday)

Part of May 20, 1935 Boys’ and Girls’ page (Erma’s eighth birthday)

Erma Henry Raver did save some of her cards and those of her late husband, Clinton. She recently shared them with me, and she is donating them to the York County Heritage Trust Library/Archives. I’ve scanned a few of her cards here, and I am also sharing a page showing Erma’s birthday from the YCHT newspaper microfilms.

At one point the Gazette used a series of birthday cards mentioning which birthday the young person was celebrating. They have appealing illustrations and seem to be by one, or possibly two, artists. I’ll share them in my next post.

Boys' and Girls' Newspaper Christmas Cards

Boys’ and Girls’ Newspaper Christmas Cards

Posted in 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, celebrations, children, Christmas, holidays, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Lewis Miller’s version of Jefferson Davis capture

Jeff.  I believed our government more magnanimous—than to hunt down women and children.  He expressed great indignation. Mrs. Davis remarked to Col. Harden, after the excitement was over, that the men had better not provok the president, or he might hurt some of ‘em.  The race was a short one, and the Rebel Jeff—was brought to bay, he brandished a bowie knife of elegant pattern and showed signs of battle, but yielded promptly to the persuasion of the Colt’s revolver, without compelling the men to fire.

Jeff. I believed our government more magnanimous—than to hunt down women and children. He expressed great indignation.
Mrs. Davis remarked to Col. Harden, after the excitement was over, that the men had better not provok the president, or he might hurt some of ‘em. The race was a short one, and the Rebel Jeff—was brought to bay, he brandished a bowie knife of elegant pattern and showed signs of battle, but yielded promptly to the persuasion of the Colt’s revolver, without compelling the men to fire.

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the capture of the President of the Confederate States, Jefferson Davis. Keenly interested in the progress of the Civil War and rejoicing at its end, York native Lewis Miller (1796-1882) recorded the scene as he imagined it.

As I pointed out in previous posts on Lewis Miller’s illustrations of the Civil War, he drew many scenes at which he was not present. These Civil War drawings are his own version of news accounts he would have read in papers, or seen depicted already in periodicals such as Harper’s or Leslie’s.

The quote that Miller attributed to Mrs. Davis appeared in the May 15, 1865 account in the New York Times, and it surely appeared in many other newspapers.

Some accounts of the surrender of Jefferson Davis to Lieutenant Colonel Henry Harnden of the 1st Wisconsin and others say that Davis dressed in women’s clothing, trying to escape. Other sources say that is and exaggeration, but still others say he had thrown his wife’s overcoat or duster over his shoulders; whether or not he was hoping it would serve as a disguise is anyone’s guess.

Davis had tried to elude capture because he feared he would be tried for treason and executed. He, however, was never tried. After serving two years at Fort Monroe in Virginia, he was released on bail furnished by some wealthy northerners, including Horace Greeley, newspaper publisher and abolitionist. Davis’s wife Varina is said to been instrumental in raising the bail.

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York County news from the 1880s


I can always find something of interest in the old newspapers on microfilm at York County Heritage Trust. Sometimes the little items from across the county are the most interesting. Here are a few from the July 1, 1887 York Gazette:

LUCKY FIND—Lillie Senft, one of the rag sorters in the paper mill at Spring Grove, found $25 in greenbacks among the rags she was handling a few days ago. The rag pickers say it is no uncommon thing to find small amounts of money in old clothes which are often sent to the mill as rags.” According to an online calculator, $25 in 1888 would be worth $612.54 today. I wonder if Lillie got to keep her treasure.)

From Paradise Township…As an evidence of the prolific character of sheep it might be stated that our neighbor, Mr. Charles Myers, started a flock of sheep with five head two years ago. This flock has now, with careful attention, increased to thirty-five head. Who can best this?”

VETERANS AT HANOVER—General John Hammond of Crown Point, N.Y.; Captain James A Penfield of Boston, Mass; Captain Clark M. Pease of Elizabeth, N.Y., and Captain S. B. Ryden of the latter place visited Hanover on Thursday on their way to Gettysburg. These gentlemen participated in the engagement at Hanover between the rebel forces in command of General Stewart and the Union forces under General Kilpatrick on the 30th of June 1863. About 9 o’clock last evening the Hanover silver cornet band serenaded these gentlemen, after which the proprietor of the hotel, Hon. I. C. Dellone, introduced the veterans to the large number of persons present. Speeches were made by each one, who referred to the citizens of Hanover, during the battle, in very complimentary terms.”

And then there is the gift that only a G.A.R. post could love. (The Grand Army of the Republic was a fraternal organization of Union veterans.)
From the December 18, 1888 York Daily:
Presented with a Cannon Ball.
Saturday evening Post Commander-elect James D. Miller presented Sedgewick Post No. 37 with a 230 pound cannon ball which had been lying along the Northern Central Railroad for twenty-one years. The members of the Post prize the gift very highly.”

Considering the Civil War had ended over 23 years before and it had been over 25 years since the Confederate visit to York County, you have to wonder where the cannon ball came from. From what I understand, if that weight is correct, it would have been a very large cannon ball meant to be shot from a very large cannon.

Posted in 1870s, 1880s, animals, Civil War, Hanover, manufacturing, newspapers, Northern Central RR, Paradise Twp., Spring Grove, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guards at Camp Security 12: Waiting for pay

Since the states were responsible for Militia Pay Rolls during the Revolutionary War, and Camp Security was guarded by York County Militia during much of its existence, the Pennsylvania State Archives is the place to look for individual names.

Pennsylvania State Archives, RG-4, Records of the Comptroller General. Military Accounts, Militia, York County 1777-1794 contains hundreds of original discharges. Years after the end of their service at Camp Security, the soldiers were still seeking their full pay. Eventually, they were requested to show or turn in their discharge and “receive the interest and a new certificate for the full principal” to William Scott, the Lieutenant for York County Militia. I have been perusing those discharges on microfilm at the State Archives.

Since some soldiers had moved away, were ill, had sold their rights to the pay to others or authorized others to act as their agents, many have assignments accompanying the discharge or noted on the discharge themselves. Some are accompanied by formal Powers of Attorney, but most assignments are on a separate slip of paper or noted on the discharges themselves, usually signed by one witness. If the soldier served as a substitute, both are named.

The discharges themselves were handwritten, not many words on a small piece of paper, as you can see by the examples from the microfilm pictured and transcribed below. I have chosen several from December 1781 mentioning the stockade building precipitated by the new influx of British prisoners surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia. Note: Many of the Captains spelled tour as tower. Continue reading “Guards at Camp Security 12: Waiting for pay” »

Posted in 1780s, 1790s, Camp Security, military units, Revolutionary War, soldiers, Springettsbury Twp., Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Paper city” of Manchester, York County

Undated plan of Liverpool (now Manchester)

Undated plan of Liverpool (now Manchester)

My post yesterday was on Eib’s Landing in present East Manchester Township. When I was doing research and looking at maps for that post and a prior one on the covered bridge over the Gut, I found an undated plan in the York County Heritage Trust files for nearby Liverpool, now Manchester borough. (More on that later.)

I noticed that one of the streets on the plan was labeled “Turnpike Road to the Town of Manchester.”
It looks like it would follow Maple Street in Manchester and then Main Street in Mount Wolf and Wago Road, converging with Board Road before it crossed the Gut. How could that be, if Liverpool, later to be renamed Manchester, was just being laid out?

I didn’t find a York County map that shows another Manchester, but Joshua Scott picked up towns on the west bank of the Susquehanna River on his maps of Lancaster County. A town plan of Manchester shows up on Scott’s map at the Eib’s Landing site

George R. Prowell explains it further in Gibson’s 1886 History of York County:
Continue reading ““Paper city” of Manchester, York County” »

Posted in 1810s, 1880s, East Manchester Twp., roads, Susquehanna River, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

More on York County’s Eib’s Landing

G. Ilgenfritz later owned the Eib's Landing site, as shown on this portion of the 1876 Pomeroy, Whitman Atlas of York County

G. Ilgenfritz later owned the Eib’s Landing site, as shown on this portion of the 1876 Pomeroy, Whitman Atlas of York County

Eib's Landing site today as shown in Google Earth view

Eib’s Landing site today as shown in Google Earth view

One of my recent posts started with a Lewis Miller drawing of an 1835 covered bridge across the Gut, or “the Cud,” as he captioned it. It was an important bridge, paid for by the county, carried a road that ended a very short distance away at the Susquehanna shore at a place called Eib’s Landing.

Why was this area, as well as nearby Day’s Landing (later known as New Holland and now as Saginaw) booming in the first half of the 19th century? Answer: Lumber.

Here is what George R. Prowell, writing in Gibson’s 1886 History of York County had to say about Eib’s Landing: Continue reading “More on York County’s Eib’s Landing” »

Posted in 1830s, 1880s, commerce, East Manchester Twp., Manchester Township, maps, sawmills, Susquehanna River, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Yorker Edman Spangler maintained Lincoln conspiracy innocence

Edman Spangler confined with rigid Lilly handcuffs, probably aboard monitor at the Washington Navy Yard.   (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.)

Edman Spangler confined with rigid Lilly handcuffs, probably aboard monitor at the Washington Navy Yard. (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.)

A few months after being released from imprisonment at Fort Jefferson, Florida, native Yorker Edman Spangler’s extensive statement of total innocence concerning the Lincoln assassination appeared in many newspapers. The first half of that statement is the basis of my recent York Sunday News column and it appears below:

Edman Spangler’s eloquent statement of innocence

Native Yorker Edman “Ned” Spangler served nearly four years imprisoned at Fort Jefferson for allegedly helping John Wilkes Booth escape from Ford’s Theater the night President Lincoln was shot. Spangler was believed by many to be innocent. Three months after being pardoned by President Johnson in March 1869, Spangler’s eloquent statement was published in newspapers nationwide. It reads, in part:

“Statement of Edman Spangler

I have deemed it due to truth to prepare for publication the following statement – at a time when I hope the temper of the people will give me a patient hearing – of my arrest, trial, and imprisonment, for alleged complicity in the plot to assassinate the late President Lincoln. I have suffered much, but I solemnly assert now, as I always have since I was arraigned for trial at the Washington Arsenal, that I am entirely innocent of any fore or after knowledge of the crime which John Wilkes Booth committed – save what I knew in common with everybody after it took place.

I further solemnly assert that John Wilkes Booth, or any other person, never mentioned to me any plot, or intimation of a plot, for the abduction or assassination of President Lincoln; that I did not know when Booth leaped from the box to the stage at the theatre, that he had shot Mr. Lincoln; and that I did not, in any way, so help me God, assist in his escape; and I further declare that I am entirely innocent of any and all charges made against me in that connection. I never knew either Surratt, Payne, Atzerodt, Arnold, or Herold, or any of the so-called conspirators, nor did I ever see any of them until they appeared in custody. While imprisoned with Atzerodt, Payne, and Herold, and after their trial was over, I was allowed a few minutes exercise in the prison yard. I heard the three unite in asserting Mrs. Surratt’s entire innocence, and acknowledge their own guilt, confining the crime, as they did, entirely to themselves, but implicating the witness, Weichmann, in knowledge of the original plot to abduct and with furnishing information from the Commissary of Prisoners Department, where Weichmann was a clerk.

I was arrested on the morning of the 16th of April, 1865, and with Ritterspaugh (also a scene shifter) taken to the police station on E street, between Ninth and Tenth. The sergeant, after questioning me closely, went with two policemen to search for Peanut John (the name of the boy who held Booth’s horse the night before) and made to accompany us to the headquarters of the police on Tenth street, where John and I were locked up, and Ritterspaugh was released. After four hours confinement I was released, and brought before judges Olin and Bingham, and told them of Booth bringing his horse to the theatre on the afternoon of the 14th of April (1865). After this investigation I said: “What is to be done with me?” and they replied: “We know where to find you when you are wanted.” and ordered my release. I returned to the theatre, where I remained until Saturday, when the soldiers took possession of it; but as the officer of the guard gave an attache and myself a pass to sleep there, we retired at 10 P.M., and at 1 A.M. a guard was placed over me, who remained until 9 A.M. Sunday morning, when I was released. I did not leave the theatre until Sunday evening, and on our return this attache (Carland by name) and myself were arrested by Detective Larner. Instead of taking us to the guard-house he said he would accompany me home to sleep there, but we all went to Police Headquarters on Tenth street, and when Carland asked if we were wanted, an officer sharply said “No.” I returned to the theatre that night, and remained the next day till I went to dinner, corner Seventh and G streets. That over I remained a few minutes, when Ritterspaugh (who worked at the theatre with me) came, and meeting me, said: “I have given my evidence, and would like now to get some of the reward.”

I walked out with Ritterspaugh for half an hour, and on returning to lie down left word that if anyone called for me to tell them that I was lying down. Two hours after I was called down stairs to see two gentlemen who had called for me. They said that I was wanted down street. On reaching the sidewalk they placed me in a hack and drove rapidly to Carroll Prison, where I was confined a week. Three days afterward, Detective, or Colonel, Baker came to my room, and questioned me about the sale of a horse and buggy (which belonged to Booth), and I told him all about it freely and readily. On the day following I was called into the office of the prison in order to be recognized by Sergeant Dye, who merely nodded his head as I entered and then he left. (Dye subsequently testified that he was sitting on the steps of the theatre just before Booth fired the shot, and to seeing mysterious persons about.)

I was allowed on the fourth day of my imprisonment to walk in the prison yard, but from that evening I was closely confined and guarded until the next Saturday at midnight when I was again taken to the office to see a detective, who said: “Come Spangler, I’ve some jewelry for you.” He handcuffed me with my arms behind my back, and guarding me to a hack, I was placed in it and driven to the navy yard, where my legs were manacled and a pair of Lillie handcuffs placed on my wrists. I was put in a boat and rowed to a monitor, where I was taken on board and thrown into a small, dirty, room, between two water closets, and on a bed of filthy life preservers and blankets, with two soldiers guarding the door. I was kept there for three days. I had been thus confined three days on the vessel when Captain Monroe came to me and said: “Spangler, I’ve something that must be told, but you must not be frightened. We have orders from the Secretary of War, who must be obeyed, to put a bag on your head.” Then two men came up and tied up my head so securely that I could not see daylight. I had plenty of food, but could not eat with my face so muffled up. True, there was a small hole in the bag near my mouth, but I could not reach that, as my hands were wedged down by the iron. At last, two kind-hearted soldiers took compassion on me, and while one watched the other fed me.

On Saturday night a man came to me and, after drawing the bag so tight as to nearly suffocate me, said to the guard, “Don’t let him go to sleep, as we will carry him out to hang him directly.” I heard them go up on the deck, where there was a great rattling of chains, and other noises; and while I was trying to imagine what was going on, and what they intended to do, I was dragged out by two men, who both pulled me at times in opposite directions. We, however, reached a boat, in which I was placed, and rowed a short distance, I could not say then where we stopped, for my face was still covered. After leaving the boat, I was forced to walk some distance, with the heavy irons still on my legs. I was then suddenly stopped, and made to ascend three or four flights of stairs; and as I stood at the top waiting, some one struck me a severe blow on the top of the head, which stunned and half threw me over, when I was pushed into a small room, where I remained in an unconscious condition for several hours. The next morning someone came with bread and coffee. I remained there several days, suffering torture from the bag or padded hood over my face. It was on Sunday when it was removed and I was shaven. It was then replaced.

Some hours after General Hartranft came and read to me several charges; that I was engaged in a plot to assassinate the President, and the day following I was carried into a military court and still hooded before all of its members. I remained but a short time, when I was returned to my cell for another night and day and then again presented in this court. Mr. Bingham, Assistant Judge-Advocate, read the charges against me, and asked if I had any objection to the court, and I replied “No,” and made my plea of “not guilty.” They then wished to know if I desired counsel, and, when I answered affirmatively, General Hunter, the president of the court, insisted that I should not be allowed counsel. He was, however, overruled, but it was several days before I was permitted legal aid, the court in the meantime taking evidence with closed doors. On every adjournment of the court, I was returned to my cell, and the closely-fitting hood placed over my head. This continued until June 10, 1865, when I was relieved from the torture of the bag, but my hands and limbs remained heavily manacled.”

On June 30 the Military Commission delivered the verdicts. Seven of the eight accused (Herold, Surratt, Powell and Atzerodt) were found guilty of conspiring to assassinate President Lincoln and sentenced to be hung. Three (O’Laughlen , Arnold and Mudd) were to serve life in prison. Spangler, pronounced guilty only of helping Booth escape, was sentenced to six years incarceration.

I had seen the photograph above before, but I never noticed the nasty bar-type Lilly handcuffs on Edman’s wrists.

This link will take you to my previous posts on Spangler.

Posted in 1860s, crime, Lincoln Conspiracy, prisoners, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Lewis Miller’s view of Lincoln tragedy


Today is the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Lincoln. After he died the next morning, plans were put in place for the long journey from Washington to Springfield. The funeral train route traced much of the same path of his inaugural train four years earlier in reverse, giving much of the northern part of the nation a chance to publicly mourn his passing.

The train stopped briefly in York, allowing some prominent local women, accompanied by a free African American to place a wreath in the funeral car. Click here to read more from fellow blogger Jim McClure, quoting Judge Henry Niles, who was six years old in 1865, relating his memory of ladies of York and Aquilla Howard taking a wreath on board the train.

No known depictions are known by York folk artist Lewis Miller of the funeral train passing through York County. The Miller drawing above commemorates the crowds that turned out in New York. It includes a fanciful memorial to Lincoln imagined by Miller. He probably knew of the “immense turnout” from newspaper reports, although, since he visited relatives occasionally in New York, he could possibly have been there.

Miller’s captions on the drawing read:
Continue reading “Lewis Miller’s view of Lincoln tragedy” »

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