Adams County Bicentennial Tidbits

March, 2000

 

3-1-00-          TIE THOSE PONIES UP

          In January 1910, the Gettysburg Times headlined three "horse runaways." In UGLY RUNAWAY IN UPPER END, a horse dashed off into the night, without driver, pulling a sleigh and racing full speed for a mile, demolishing the sleigh, and ending in a snowdrift. DRAGGED BY A RUNAWAY MULE was Charles Brown, Heidlersburg, with one foot stuck in a stirrup. TWO HORSES RUN AWAY WITH CAB having four occupants leaving a dance on the college campus. Bolting without driver, crashing into an iron gate with the cab upsetting, breaking free of the cab, the horse continued running for a mile through Borough streets, finally stopping at Franklin and Middle streets.

 

3-2-00-          FIRST PUBLISHED ACCOUNT OF THE BATTLE

          Teacher in the Gettysburg Classical School and Gettysburg Gymnasium (1829-1832), Professor of Mathematics and Science at Pennsylvania College (1832-1866), pathfinder in the field of meteorology and developer of a process for canning tomatoes, Michael Jacobs published the first account of the Battle of Gettysburg. The small volume, "The Rebel Invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania and Battle of Gettysburg," is "the record of an eye-witness made, in large part, while the scenes he describes were passing before him." It was in print by November 1863. A copy of the book, it is reported, wage presented to Edward Everett at the time of the dedication of the Soldiers' Cemetery.

 

3-3-00-          WARNED OF THE DEMOCRATS

          Free trade has been a political issue for decades. In the early 1870s The Star and Sentinel, a staunch supporter of the Republican Party, warned the Adams County voters of the Democrats, "Every man who makes his living at a forge fire, a furnace, or in any manufactory whatever, should not forget that the Democratic leaders and organs in Pennsylvania are the outspoken advocates of free trade, by which all such workmen are to be brought to a level with the pauper labor of the Old World." A vote for Democrats was a vote for the reduction of the wages of American workers. The language of the debate has not changed greatly.

 

3-4-00-          AN ICE CROP

          In early 20th century, if there was to be ice for the summer, it had to be "harvested" from the frozen streams the previous winter. In the winter 1909-1910 the streams of Adams County were "especially productive in the ice crop and many tons of the natural product are being stored away." Many of the streams were covered with ice from 14 to 16 inches in thickness. It was judged to be "of a very superior quality to any harvested" in the previous three years. From Marsh Creek ice cutters for the Natural Ice Company were taking ice and storing the "natural gifts" in a building near Sacks Bridge be preserved until summer.

 

3-5-00-          County supports Lincoln Highway

          An earlier article in this series discussed the first roads built through and in Adams County. One of the duties of colonial Pennsylvania county courts was to hear petitions for new roads, then if they were deemed justified to name viewers to propose courses and distances, and finally to formally ordain them as public highways, leaving to township officials the task of actual building and maintenance.

          This method continued to be used after the Revolution, but now the state legislature sometimes used a piece of legislation to ordain a road, still leaving to local officials the sometimes onerous burden of building and maintaining. As the need for highways increased, the legislature also chartered private companies to construct toll roads, called turnpikes.

          By 1900 many believed the growing needs of farmers, businessmen, and what were called automobilists demanded a major reorganization of the state transportation system. In 1911 the legislature passed the Sproul Act, which created a department of highways, authorized the state to purchase the remaining turnpike companies, and directed it to bring much of the highways system under state control. The act itself included seven existing Adams County roads in the state system. Others were added soon thereafter.

          Several years before the Sproul Act, and as the nation was considering a fitting memorial to Abraham Lincoln to coincide with the centennial of his birth, in December 1908 Congressman Daniel F. Lafean, who represented York and Adams counties in the House of Representatives, introduced a bill authorizing construction of "a great memorial highway... from the neighborhood of the White House… to the battlefield of Gettysburg." The Lincoln centennial came and went without approval of this measure. Instead, Congress finally authorized construction of the Lincoln Memorial, which was dedicated in 1922.

          A major impetus to the development of a national highway system began in 1913, when a group of bankers and businessmen organized the Lincoln Highway Association, with headquarters in Detroit. In September 1913 they issued what they called a proclamation of their intention "to immediately promote and procure the establishment of a continuous improved highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific, open to lawful traffic of all descriptions and without toll charges." They had already decided upon a route, beginning in New York City and extending some 3,300 miles through 12 states to its western terminus in San Francisco. In Pennsylvania, the highway was to pass through Philadelphia, Lancaster, York, Gettysburg, Chambersburg, Bedford, Ligonier, Greensburg, Pittsburgh and Beaver Falls.

          The promoters acknowledged that they could "only aid and cooperate toward the desired end, and that upon all the people, and especially upon the officials of each State and County" through which the proposed highway was to pass rested "the patriotic burden of establishing, broadening, straightening, maintaining, and beautifying such Highway to the end that it may become an appropriate memorial to the Great Martyred Patriot whose name it bears."

          In each of the states along the route, the association officials recruited a network of associates, called consuls, to create and maintain state and local interest in the project. Among other things they hoped these consuls would obtain the necessary permission to name the entire route the Lincoln Way.

          Only one month after the proclamation, the association announced plans to dedicate (as they put it) the highway on the evening of Oct. 31, 1913. There were to be parades, band concerts, motion pictures and speeches "in every city, village, hamlet, and crossroads" on or near the route. They urged ministers "at each point, and of every religious denomination" on the following Sunday, to preach sermons on the accomplishments of Lincoln and how his achievements were related to this planned memorial to him. On Arbor Day 1914, the association hoped that children would plant trees all along the route.

          The Gettysburg "Compiler" reported that the dedication in Gettysburg was marked with a most picturesque parade of automobiles. Beginning in the square, it took participants to all four ends of the borough, returning to the square three times. The editor estimated that there were "as many as fifty-six cars" in the parade, which presented "a fine spectacular appearance at such points where the double row of headlights could be seen. Many of the machines displayed the National Colors and all were filled with passengers. Gettysburg has a right to feel that it did the right and creditable thing in celebrating the dedication of the great way."

          Obviously, this dedication occurred at the very beginning of the project, not at its end. In the years that followed, there were numerous suggestions that the route be changed, questions over how to pay for new construction and maintenance, and disagreements over whether all of the old, accustomed names of streets and roads should be dropped in favor of the new.

          Beginning in 1915, the association published successive editions of "The Complete Official Road Guide of The Lincoln Highway," a book of several hundred pages filled with useful information describing the history of the project and informing travelers what they needed to know in order to have a safe and pleasant journey. The 1918 edition stated that, of the 400 miles of the highway across Pennsylvania, all but about 14, which remained unimproved, were "smooth, well kept macadam" leading "through a country of the utmost scenic beauty." The guide estimated that since 1913 the state had spent about $1 million annually on "new construction and in keeping their section of the Lincoln Highway in the best possible condition for travel." In 1918 Pennsylvania was the only state though which the highway passed which still had toll roads. The "Guide" assured readers that many were trying to eliminate them as quickly as possible.

          The section dealing with Adams County listed briefly what one could expect to find at stops in Abbottstown, New Oxford, Gettysburg, Seven Stars, McKnightstown, Cashtown and Grafenburg. For example, the speed limit in New Oxford and Gettysburg was 15 miles per hour, and it was being enforced. Only one tollgate remained in the county. The charge to pass through it was 1 3/4 cents per mile. There were no tourist accommodations in Seven Stars or McKnightstown, but between Gettysburg and Bedford "desirable camp sites are to be found in abundance."

          With its paved roadway all but completed and with the American Association of State Highway Officials taking over the task of numbering and naming highways, the Lincoln Highway Association prepared to go out of business at the end of 1927. Its last project was to replace the many signs which it had long used to mark the roadway with some 3,000 concrete posts and to ask Boy Scouts to place all of them at the same time on Sept. 1, 1928, from New York to San Francisco.

         Aided by members of local service clubs and others, Adams County Boy Scouts placed more than thirty posts at or about 1 p.m. on Sept. 1. Weighing 275 pounds, the posts were 8 feet long. Half or more of the length was above ground. Each post had a medallion with a bust of Lincoln.

          Some of the posts still remain. Many have disappeared.

 

3-6-00-          GETTYSBURG'S CATHOLIC CHURCH

          Before 1831 Gettysburg, area Roman Catholics traveled the 12 miles to Conewago Chapel to hear Mass regularly. On occasion, priests from the chapel journeyed to Gettysburg to celebrate Mass in homes. In 1827 Catholics took steps to form a parish in Gettysburg. Jacob Norbeck donated land on Washington Street for a building site and cemetery. In June 1830, a contract was made "for the consideration of $2,750" to build the church. " (Frank) Burkman shall erect and build a church ... in Borough of Gettysburg according to a planned annexed and have it under roof during the present summer." The church was dedicated in 1831 and served the parish for more than 20 years.

 

3-7-00-          GETTYSBURG'S FIRST FLIGHT

          On Friday, October 11, 1912 the Gettysburg area had "its first experience in successful aviation." From a field south of the Borough, the "huge biplane" operated by Frederick Eells took off and moved over the town. It soared with ease, passing over Baltimore Street and the North End and "whizzing over the college buildings, some times coming down quite low and then going up again." The flight had not been announced. Hundreds of people ran into streets, yards and alleys "to see what was happening." Passing over the south end of town, the plane swooped down and landed with ease. The entire flight covered six miles.

 

3-8-00-          CHAPEL AND CHICKENS NOT HARMED

          During the battle at Gettysburg, a rumor was spreading that Confederate troops were coming to destroy Conawago Chapel. Preparations we're made; home companies were organized. The chapel was not harmed. Two weeks later the Rev. J. Barrister of St. Mary's in Alexandria wrote humorously to the priest at the Chapel, "I suppose you have had quite exciting times in Conewago on the occasion of Lee's visit. Did any of his pious followers come up the hill to worship in your beautiful chapel?" And he inquired of "poor Brother Redmond and his chickens," picturing the Rebels wanting the eggs and the Federals taking the "whole roost for broil and soup."

 

3-9-00-          "A VERY JOLLY SLEIGNING PARTY"

          It was "a very jolly sleighing party" held in late December 1909 at the Henry Ogden home, New Oxford, like so many held in the early decades of the century for socializing and entertainment. A newspaper account gave some of the details. While the ladies were having a taffy pulling, the gentlemen and younger ones amused them all by giving a young couple just from their honeymoon a grand shiveree. At the appointed hour, "All were invited to the dining room where a table was spread, groaning with the delicacies of the season to which all did justice." A program of music followed, and "at the midnight hour all left for their homes."

 

3-10-00-         "COLORED REPUBLICANS"

          On November 6, 1874, the "colored Republicans" of Gettysburg held their annual meeting. Aaron Russel presided and Lloyd F.A. Watts served as acting secretary. The meeting was addressed by Watts, Russel, Nelson Matthews and D.A. Buehler. Buehler was editor of The Star and Sentinel and an earnest and vocal champion of Articles XIIII, XIV and XV of the U.S. Constitution. Is it surprising that less that 10 years after the Civil War ended, the "colored" population was actively participating in politics, exercising "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied on the account of race, color or previous condition of servitude?" (Article XV)

 

3-11-00-         "COLORED REPUBLICANS"

          On November 6, 1874, the "colored Republicans" of Gettysburg held their annual meeting. Aaron Russel presided and Lloyd F.A. Watts served as acting secretary. The meeting was addressed by Watts, Russel, Nelson Matthews and D.A. Buehler. Buehler was editor of The Star and Sentinel and an earnest and vocal champion of Articles XIIII, XIV and XV of the U.S. Constitution. Is it surprising that less that 10 years after the Civil War ended, the "colored" population was actively participating in politics, exercising "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied on the account of race, color or previous condition of servitude?" (Article XV)

 

3-12-00-         Blizzard of 1888 had profound affect

          Those of us who keep an eye on the weather in these latitudes remember, even if only faintly, the extremes of hot and cold, wet and dry, which we ourselves have experienced over the years.

          In addition to using our own memories in this endeavor, we can also reflect upon the weather data which take us back long before our own lifetime. Take three examples. In 1785, giving testimony in a case involving ownership of land claimed by Christ Episcopal Church in Huntington Township, David Richey said that he had come into the Bermudian settlement "three years before the hard winter, "which from three or four other pieces of good evidence we know was either 1739 or 1740. Second, an 1885 newspaper reminded its readers that 1816 was the year without a summer, in which there was a frost every month. In New York there was snow in June, and ice to "the thickness of common window glasses" in July. Third, the late Dr. Wilbur E. Tilberg, for many years dean of Gettysburg College, once told the Adams County Historical Society how his Swedish-born parents had struggled through five years of severe drought on a western Kansas homestead, without anything approaching a good crop. The family kept at it just long enough to qualify for a homestead deed (it took five years), so they could sell the place and move into an eastern Kansas town, where the prospects for survival were better.

          Today our attention is drawn to another weather happening: The blizzard of 1888. The present writer listened to his grandparents tell about the big storm so often that it has been etched indelibly on his mind. Today is the anniversary of this big storm.

          In the issue of March 8, 1888, the editor of the Hanover Spectator wrote that "March is evidently on its very best behavior since its advent last week and the temperature continues quite mild and pleasant, with all the gentleness of the lamb." Spring, he noted, was not far away. One week later, the editor had to admit to being "a little premature... in announcing the arrival of Spring," since "what we took to be spring was only a hotheaded spy that ventured into the enemy's camp, only to retreat in short order at first sight of the foe." Another name for the spy was what happened on Sunday, March 11, and Monday, March 12, 1888: a blizzard.

          After it was over, the Hanover Herald for March 17 concluded that "the great blizzard which visited the eastern portion of the United States only lightly touched this immediate neighborhood." He was not implying that western York and eastern Adams counties escaped entirely. They had not. There had been much rain and snow, high winds, and intense cold.

          A report from Cashtown in the Gettysburg Star and Sentinel claimed that there was "quite a snow storm Sunday and Monday morning a blizzard blowing great guns, and a drop in the temperature that reminds one of Christmas." A report from Fairfield said that "we have had a taste of the blizzard, and the general opinion is that it was the most disagreeable weather we have had this winter." A report from Arendtsville stated that on the previous Tuesday the stage driver had "walked to Gettysburg, carrying the mail on account of bad roads and cold weather." Finally, a report from New Oxford in the Hanover Herald stated that steady rain fell there until late afternoon on Sunday, "when a furious snow storm set in until nearly midnight, a depth of three inches more, and on Monday and Tuesday the wind ruled supreme and whistled lively." The temperature dropped to 10 degrees above zero.

          As one moved eastward through York County, conditions had been worse. The editor of the Glen Rock Item proclaimed the storm "the severest on record. The county roads are closed up and impassable at many places." Between Harrisburg and Philadelphia the Pennsylvania Railroad was "completely snowbound," and unable to get trains moving until Tuesday evening. The York Gazette described what had occurred as an uncaged blizzard fresh from Manitoba and as the champion snow storm.

          The force of this blizzard was powerful enough to persuade the editor of the Gettysburg Star and Sentinel to give it unusual frontpage coverage in the issue of March 20. He pronounced it the "worst chronicled in the last fifty years and… thought to be the most severe of any ever known in the history of Eastern Pennsylvania." The effects were felt from Ohio in the west to Virginia in the south and north into Maine.

          For two days New York City was "isolated from the rest of the world as completely as though modern methods of communication and travel had never been heard of." In Philadelphia, "Business was at a standstill." For about 15 hours streetcars were halted and railroad tracks were buried "in snow ranging in depth from one to twenty feet." The first postblizzard train from New York to reach Baltimore did not arrive until Thursday night. As for Boston, the report claimed that "never before was there such complete block of business and the damage to property has amounted to an enormous sum."

          The frequent use of the word blizzard in describing this storm conveys a sense of the impact it had on people. The high winds which followed the snowfall explains the drifting, downed poles and wires, wrecked harbor vessels, and the more than 20 deaths which resulted from freezing and drowning.

          It may not have been the champion snowstorm, but it qualifies as a champion one. The blizzard of '88. Remember it.

 

3-13-00-         GAME LAWS IN 1871

          Replying to requests from county hunters and sportsmen, The Star and Sentinel published the game laws of 1871. After indicating the season for pheasants, squirrels and rabbit and noting that pens, snares and blinds for pheasant and turkeys were prohibited, the paper added information that would gladden any serious bird watcher today. "It is unlawful at any time to kill any night hawk, whippoorwill, finch, thrush, lark, sparrow, wren, martin, swallow, woodpecker (which includes the flicker and sapsucker), dove, bobolink, robin and starling, or any other insectivorous. bird or destroying the nest of any wild birds whatsoever... " Birds were the best control for insects.

 

3-14-00-         DANGEROUS AND EXPENSIVE

          Gasoline was dangerous and expensive. On a Saturday night in June 1920, two men stopped at a Gettysburg garage for gasoline. After pumping gallons, someone lit a match to see the amount of gas in the tank. The hose from pump to tank was ablaze. Hands were burned. With sand and blankets the fire was extinguished just as flames began to eat their way down to the garage storage tank holding several hundred gallons. In the same year motorists were warned that gasoline could rise to 40 cents a gallon, "Unless joy riders curtailed voluntarily…their present immoderate use of gasoline." Consumption was greater than production.

 

3-15-00-         EARTHQUAKE

          On Monday, March 2, 1889, The Star and Sentinel reported on an earthquake that occurred several days earlier. "At 6:40 o'clock Friday evening many of our citizens were startled by a tremor of the earth, which shook houses, rattled glass, etc., but did no other damage." The shaking of the earth, which lasted about 10 seconds, "was very distinct and perceptible and more marked on Cemetery Hill than in the town." The earthquake was far spread, and its shocks were felt at Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Columbia, Lebanon, Hanover and points on the Baltimore and Harrisburg Railroad tracks in Adams County.

 

3-16-00-         'SCARFACE' VISITS

 

          "Scar face Al" Capone, "racketeer and gangster extraordinary," while returning to Chicago after 10 months stay in an Eastern penitentiary, a quick "pass-through" trip of Gettysburg and Adams County "last week," so reported The Gettysburg Times, March 22, 1930. "How long he stayed or the exact hour of his arrival and departure are not known. Capone whizzed through town, unrecognized and unseen..." Capone, in Chicago, informed police of his journey across the Lincoln Highway. He "succeeded in eluding police, newspapermen, gangland rivals and the mob of curious who were anxious to get a glimpse of the alleged alcohol king," including The Gettysburg Times.

 

3-18-00-         FIRST SUCCESSFUL WOMAN HUNTER

          On the opening of deer season 1920, Mrs. Grover C. Myers of Gardners was hunting in an orchard near Laurel Dam. Spotting a five pronged buck, she fired three shots; the buck fell. Mrs. Myers claimed her prize, the first in three seasons of hunting. "Veteran hunters" in the area could not recall any woman shooting a deer on the eastern slope of South Mountain. Among them it was agreed that Mrs. Myers was "entitled to the distinction of being the first successful woman hunter in the history of the sport in Adams County." For the next year, she hoped to go bear hunting north of Williamsport.

 

3-19-00-         Adams women favored GOP in their first vote

          Woman's suffrage movement had its supporters in Adams County. Lavinia Dock, a resident of Franklin Township, was a militant participant in the women's suffrage movement as early as the 1890s in New York State. An active member of the National Women's Party, she left her home near Caledonia on Aug. 23, 1917, for Washington, D.C., "to work for a great cause and in a manner we deem wholly proper." She was arrested three times for her militant actions, and served two jail terms.

          The United States Congress in 1919 approved the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and sent it to the States for action. Anticipating ratification, a group of county women met on Dec. 3, 1919, to form a branch of the Pennsylvania League of Women Citizens. Mary Peters of Bendersville was elected president. Other officers and committee "chairmen" came from Gettysburg, New Oxford, York Springs and Littlestown.

          The branch's program of study included American citizenship, elections laws, food supply and demand, child welfare, women in industry, and unification of laws concerning the civil status of women.

          Ratification occurred Aug. 26, 1920, less than three months before the national election. In Pennsylvania, Sept. 25 was the date for the "official announcement." Just after 4 p.m., a party of county women at Gettysburg went to the courthouse to ring its bell announcing the right of women to vote.

          To accomplish the task of registering women, the county commissioners sent assessors throughout the county. More than 6,000 women were registered as eligible to vote.

          One more legal step was necessary. One could vote only if a county tax had been paid. If a property tax was not paid, an occupation tax or poll tax was required. The value of a woman's occupation was set at $50; the poll tax, 25 cents.

          Women's right to vote had its detractors and opponents in Adams County. Many resented the work of the assessors. They, failing to recognize that a poll tax was payable only if they voted, were opposed to the assessment process and to being taxed. One woman turned her "savage" dog on an assessor.

          Others were hostile to the "woman's vote." Voting was the job of men; government was men's work; women belonged in the home. Some friendships were destroyed because of opposing views. Some women threatened "violence" on those who did vote. Some paid the poll tax while indicating they had no intention of voting. Slightly less than one-third of the registered women paid the necessary tax.

          Nov. 3, 1920, Election Day came. The turnout of women was not as large as some had hoped. Yet, a right was exercised. Two of the oldest women voters in the county were Kosiah Cuff and Priscilla Bolding, both former slaves.

          The women's votes had an effect on election results in the county. Reports of the day stated that the majority of women favored the Republicans, thus enabling the Republican Party to carry Adams County for Warren G. Harding.

          With the right to vote came the responsibility of jury service. There seems to have been a very effective resistance against women jurors. In the courthouse there were no "accommodations" for women jurors. "Complicated situations" might arise if women served on a jury. And could women be locked up in a room with men during long hours of deliberation? Not until 1929 were the names of two women put into the jury wheel; several, in 1930. The first woman to serve on a criminal court panel was Maude Wierman Kennedy of York Springs in January 1930, almost 10 years after the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

 

3-20-00-         HOW DRY WE WERE

          TOWN ABSOLUTELY DRY ON SATURDAY headlined a story in The Gettysburg Times, December 20, 1920. The story was not about liquor. Rather, a malfunction in the delivery system caused all water in the Borough to be shut off. More interesting was the paper’s imagination. "And Saturday was bath night. Hundreds of young men of the town finished with their arduous labor of the week gazed in dismay upon the faucets that would not spout… for they were without the means of removing their whiskers." Saturday night and no water. Numerous persons tried vainly to fill their tubs but shook their heads despairingly while muttering, "Well, now I’ll have to wait for another week."

 

3-21-00-         WOMEN IN THE MINISTRY

          Should women be admitted to the ministry of the Presbyterian Church? From the meeting from the Church’s General Assemble in 1929 (!), this question was sent to the 399 Presbyterians throughout the country for discussion and vote. The question was before the Carlisle Presbytery at its January 1930 meeting. Discussion and debate were considerable; strong opposition was voiced. Yet, when the secret vote was counted, the Presbytery voted favorable, 22 to 18, to admit women to the ministry. The Rev. Edward H. Jones, Pastor of the Gettysburg Presbyterian Church, lined up with the opposition. That question was to be asked, discussed and voted upon many times in years to come.

 

3-22-00-         WOMAN RUNS FOR SUPERINTENDENT

          Helen Cunningham, a resident of Fairfield, was the first woman to seek the Office of Superintendent of Adams County Schools. To the school directors she presented an impressive record of preparation and work: graduate of West Chester teachers college; additional education at Columbia University, George Washington University and the University of Virginia; member of the superintendent department National Education Association; recognition by the U.S. Bureau of Education for her work in rural education; state supervisor positions in Virginia and Delaware; and teacher in Fairfield. The year was 1930. In a three-way race, of the 159 votes cast, Cunningham received 34; Raymond Shank, the incumbent, 112.

 

3-23-00-         HORSE AND BUMPY

          Stagecoach travel could inflict bodily harm. With horses speeding over rough roads under the whip of the "not seldom half intoxicated driver," the coach would rock "like a vessel in a storm." Accidents were frequent. Henry Eyster Jacobs tells of his family's travels. "My father took my mother ... to Pittsburgh in 1840. They (arrived) wearing bandages. One lady ... had a broken arm. My uncle, in 1830, met with a similar accident on two successive nights. The second time the stage ran over the abutment of a bridge and was broken to pieces. His knee was painfully injured, and
the sick student he was taking to his home in the South, suffered a fracture of the wrist."

 

3-24-00-         RINGING-IN SUFFRAGE

          The Pennsylvania League of Women Voters had set September 25, 1920 as the "official" date for proclaiming women's suffrage. In Adams County the event was set for four o'clock. A group of women had gathered in Gettysburg expecting to hear the Courthouse bell ring out its proclamation. School and church bells were heard. Some minutes after the hour the Courthouse bell remained silent. Determined that the bell share in the festivities, the women decided "that action would have to taken by themselves." To the Courthouse they went, found the rope and vigorously rang the bell for several minutes which they "thoroughly enjoyed."

 

3-25-00-         EDDIE PLANK

          From the playground of Good Intent School (Straban Township) to the ball fields of Adams County and Gettysburg College, the left-handed Edward Stewart "Eddie" Plank pitched his way to Philadelphia, joining the Philadelphia Athletics managed by Connie Mack. Playing 16 seasons with the Athletics, he won 283 games and played in four World Series. When traded to the St. Louis Browns in 1916 after a year in the Federal League, he quit baseball and returned to Adams County. Hailed as one of the greatest left-handed pitchers in the history of baseball, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946. He and brother Ira operated a garage on York Street, Gettysburg.

 

3-26-00-          Lighting the way since 1860

          Imagine the town streets shrouded night after night in darkness, a darkness broken only by moonlight. "On moonless nights, one had to grope his way with difficulty through the dense darkness." Such was the case in Adams County towns throughout most of the 19th century. As towns grew the need for street lighting became apparent.

          By 1860 Gettysburg had its first street lights. A gas producing plant was constructed in the borough and supplied fuel for the town's gas lamps and for those in the seminary, college and a number of private homes.

          In 1893 electricity became available in Gettysburg. The power plant, located on North Washington and Railroad streets, generated electricity for the town's 34 street lights and later for the electric railway that traveled to Big Round Top. After World War I, electricity was available to residents for illumination only.

          County towns attempted to light their streets with lard lamps, coal oil and kerosene lamps attached to poles. New Oxford began placing "lamp posts and lamps" (at $3.50 each) on its streets in 1876. The following year the council employed its first lamplighter at $18 a year, and strongly admonished him that "the lamps are to be kept in a clean and good condition to give light."

          In 1883 Abbottstown placed coal oil lamps fastened to eight-foot high poles on its streets. The effort did not furnish the illumination desired. The town waited until 1921 for electric street lights.

          McSherrystown, in 1893, granted permission to the Hanover Light, Heat and Power Company to erect poles and wires on its streets and alleys for supplying light by electricity. Littlestown's first electric light plant began operations in 1897 but was in service for a short time. In 1908 the Hanover Light, Heat and Power Company supplied Littlestown with electricity.
Prior to 1912 Arendtsville employed a lamplighter to light 20 coal oil lamps at each dusk and to extinguish them at each dawn. The salary was 50 cents a night. Later some of the town's street lights received current from the Arendtsville Rolling Mill generator.

          Bendersville also lighted its streets by oil lamps in the early 1900s.

          With 15 kerosene lanterns attached to six-foot high poles, Biglerville was lighting its streets in 1907. Yearly salary of the lamplighter was $104.99. "All lamps are to burn from dusk to 9:30 p.m., except Saturday until 10 p.m. ... every night except cloudless moon lit nights." For each lamp that was not lighted on each night, the lamplighter was fined 10 cents.

          In 1921 the Orrtanna Electric Company, already supplying electrical current to Cashtown and Orrtanna, offered to furnish electricity for Biglerville streets, homes and business places. The company proposed to erect 11 miles of electric light poles (42 poles per mile) from Orrtanna through Cashtown, McKnightstown, Mummasburg and on to Biglerville.

          Increasingly town streets were lighted, but demands for electricity went beyond street lighting. Homes and businesses desired this source of light and power. Electric companies expanded and consolidated thus able to extend their services to many areas of the county. In 1928 Metropolitan Edison was busy extending electrical service to Flora Dale, one and a half miles from Biglerville. The brick Friends Meeting House was one of the buildings to be electrified.

          On May 3, 1941, the Adams Electric Cooperative, with 300 miles of lines, threw a switch  providing electrical service to thousands of Adams Countians for the first time.

 

3-27-00-         HORNER’S MILL

          In the 1780s Robert Black built a grist and saw mill along Rock Creek in Mount Joy Township. The operation remained in the Black family until 1838 when George Horner purchased it. Even with changes of ownership, the mill continued to be known as Horner's Mill. The small scattered community near the mill, wanting better mail service, petitioned for a postoffice. A name was needed. The story that General Francis Barlow's division had camped along Rock Creek just before the Gettysburg Campaign was recalled. Horner's Mill became Barlow. Opened on December 20, 1890 the post office, located in Josephus Mills' general store, remained in service until December 31, 1911.

 

3-28-00-         WEIGH-IN

          Some concerns re-emerge over time but with new dimensions. In November 1920 the Red Cross formed a nutrition class in conjunction with the baby clinic already established. The organization had weighed 20 students from the High Street School Building. Ten of them were found to be under weight. Those in charge of the clinic asserted that a large percentage of school children of Gettysburg were under weight. The record of the weighing on Farmer's Day showed nearly two- thirds of the pupils were lacking in weight from one to 10 pounds. What a turn about in 70 years. In the year 2000 the concern is over-weight of children.

 

3-29-00-         REYNOLDS’ UNDERTAKER

          The Gettysburg newspapers in December 1912 printed the obituary of Richard Myers (Colored), 91 years old, town resident for over 50 years. Myers was identified as the undertaker "who prepared General Reynolds' body for burial." Interestingly, the Rev. J.B. Baker, in his History of St. James Lutheran Church, asserted that Reynolds' body was prepared for burial by Jeremiah Culp, a member of St. James. That assertion can be questioned. Culp was a cabinet maker and may have made the coffin in which the body was sent to Lancaster. Shortly after the death of Reynolds, Myers joined and served for three years in the 43rd Regiment, US (Colored) Troops.

 

3-30-00-         JURY DUTY

          For women, with the right to vote came the right and responsibility to serve on juries. Not until January 1930 did a woman, Maude Kennedy (York Springs) serve on a county criminal panel. Seemingly sensible arguments were used to keep women off jury duty. Many complications might arise. What might happen if women jurors were "locked up" with men in lengthy deliberations? Not until 1929 were the names of two women put into the jury wheel; in 1930, "several women's name." In January 1932, Mrs. Quinton Deardorff was called to jury duty; and in July, Jennie Rupp (New Oxford), Edna C. Little (McSherrystown) and Minnie Seasley were called.

 

3-31-00-         ONE-ROOM SCHOOLHOUSES

          Prior to 1900 more than 150 one-room schoolhouses marked the landscape of Adams County. The one-room schoolhouse was the county's response to tax supported elementary education and free to children, and remained so well into the 20th century. The rural nature of the county and modes of transportation dictated one-room schools, one teacher teaching all subjects to a class of varying ages. In 1920 there were still 135 one-room schools in with county. Soon, one-room schools began to close with the "consolidated schools" movement. In June 1962 Valley School (formerly Strausbaugh's School) was the fast one-room school in the County to close its doors.

 

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Copyright 1999 Adams County Bicentennial Committee