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On the cover: Jefferson County Celebrates the 150th Anniversary of its Courthouse (Photo by local artist Rev. Kyle D. Yates. Read more about Rev. Yates on page 4.)

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Jefferson Countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Courthouse: 150 Years of Service By Shirley Sharp for Hometown magazine

efferson County residents will gather in Brookville on Friday, September 13, 2019, to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of their courthouse, the building in which the business of the countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s people takes place. The history of Jefferson County stretches back in time to an act of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania which was signed by Governor Thomas McKean on March 26, 1804. This act began the process of devolving responsibility for elements of governance to the county. The commonwealth, operating under the 1790 State Constitution, required that offices for the prothonotary, clerks of the peace and or-


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This portion of an 1829 map of Pennsylvania shows Jefferson County. The county was larger than it is today because the northern part was re-designated to Forest and Elk Counties when they were established by the commonwealth. Map courtesy of the Library of Congress.

phansâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; courts, recorders of deeds and register of wills and the sheriff be established within five years in the county town, except when the governor granted a dispensation for specific reasons. A county town was to be designated within seven miles of the center of the county where the county seat of government would be es-

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These commissioners held their first official meeting on November 12, 1824, in Barnettâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Inn at Port Barnett. The meeting room was rented at the rate of one-dollar a week for the time it was occupied and a closet in the room was used to store the counties records. Ira White was appointed as clerk. In 1825, the first treasurer, John Matson, Sr., and auditors Thomas Robinson, James Corbet and Joseph McCullough were appointed. Although the center of the county had been identified, no community had yet been chosen as the county town. In 1829, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania appointed a committee consisting of John Mitchell, of Centre County, Alexander McCalmont, of Venango County, and

tablished. Jefferson County needed a dispensation; it needed time to grow. In 1810, the county had a population of about 160 and only 23 were eligible voters. During the first 25 years of the countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s existence, it was attached first to Westmoreland County and then Indiana County for the purpose of administering and recording the peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s business. This business included the recording of land transactions, filing of deeds and wills, settling disputes and passing judgments on those accused of crimes. Today, those Barnettâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Inn, located at Port Barnett, was the place where the first meetsearching for these ing of the Jefferson County Commissioners was held. The inn was located early records of near the intersection of the Susquehanna and Waterford Pike, the first road Jefferson County through the wilderness, and the Indiana Pike, the first road connecting the will find them in settlers in the Port Barnett area with Indiana, where the peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s business Jefferson County was administered prior to the creation of Brookville Westmoreland and for as the county town. Jefferson County Pennsylvania, Her Pioneers and PeoIndiana Counties. ple, 1800-1915, by William James McKnight, Jr. By 1820, JefferRobert Orr, of Armstrong County, to meet son Countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s population had reached 561 with about 100 eligible voters. Those elat the house of Andrew Barnett in Jefferigible to vote were freemen age twentyson County, in order to view and select the one and older who had resided in the state most eligible site for the county town. two years before the election, had paid a One of the instructions given to this comstate or county tax or who had been asmittee was to consider the offer of John sessed at least six months before the elecPickering, heir of Timothy Pickering, who tion, as well as their sons, who were possessed several parcels of land includbetween the ages of 21 and 22 years and ing Warrant #394, purchased at the who may not have yet paid taxes. In 1824, Northumberland Lottery in 1785. Timothy these voters selected the first county comPickering had died earlier in 1829 and his missioners who were given staggered sons were administering his estate. Pickterms, Andrew Barnett, three-year term, ering offered to provide lots for public John Lucas, two-year term, and John W. buildings and a cemetery at no cost to the Jenks, one-year term. After the first eleccounty and additional town lots, which tion, each year a new commissioner could be sold to raise the money needed would be elected to serve a three-year to construct the public buildings. The term until the State Constitution of 1874 committee, after viewing the potential which changed to the election of three sites, determined that Pickeringâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s offer county commissioners, elected at the was the best. They chose a location on the same time, to serve for three years. - Continued on page 4

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2 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Punxsutawney Hometown â&#x20AC;&#x201C; September 2019 - Issue #227

Punxsutawney â&#x20AC;&#x153;Firstsâ&#x20AC;? Among Women - Part 2


By S. Thomas Curry of Hometown magazine hortly after World War I, the 19th amendment to the U. S. Constitution was signed into law in August 1920. The right to vote for women was granted and a womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s role in society was liberated to â&#x20AC;&#x153;live their own lives.â&#x20AC;? Young women were free from the stereotypical roles of housewife (and nurturing mother), housekeeper, social-service worker, nurse, clerical worker, teacher and others that described feminism in earlier generations. The decade after World War I was a major revolution in American social life, specifically in the role of women. That decade in American history, with its flappers, speakeasies, the first radio, and the rise of skirt hemlines, is referred to as the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Roaring 20s.â&#x20AC;?

search to reveal life in the Punxsutawney area in the early 1900s. In the preserved issues of the Spirit, it was revealed that Mrs. J.P. Wilson was the first woman in Punxsutawney history to win an elected office, as a school board member, while Miss Elizabeth Frooks was Punxsutawneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first playground supervisor. Also, Mrs. T.R. (Elizabeth) Williams was the first nurse hired for the new Adrian Hospital when it opened in Delancey in 1889. From extensive research, there are other â&#x20AC;&#x153;firstsâ&#x20AC;? that can be shared about the heritage of women in Punxsutawney area history.

The â&#x20AC;&#x153;firstâ&#x20AC;? Music Teacher in Punxsutawney Public Schools Punxsutawneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Irving Club, organized in November 1895 as a â&#x20AC;&#x153;womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s literary study club,â&#x20AC;? has a long history of involvement in issues that aimed to provide a better society for area residents. Its active members were the women who urged and promoted the playground movement in the area in the early 1900s. A result of its efforts was the playground area that is now Harmonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Park. The club of â&#x20AC;&#x153;progressive womenâ&#x20AC;? was the inspiration and voice for music in Punxsutawneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s public The Monks family burial plot is in Punxsutawneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Circle Hill schools. The concept was Cemetery. It is there where Nellie Monks Agee is buried beside introduced in the Punxher father Andrew J. Monks, a Civil War veteran. Visitors are unSpirit, in an artiaware of her prominence as an accomplished pianist, singer and sutawney cle of March 1901. talented music teacher. (photo by S. Thomas Curry) Promoting â&#x20AC;&#x153;musical instruction,â&#x20AC;? editor W.O. Smith stated, But before that colorful and wild â&#x20AC;&#x153;Children can be taught to read music in decade, women were not passive humans. school as easily as they are taught to read With roles as volunteers, members of print, and they acquire the accomplishwomenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s clubs, auxiliary members of ment so easily that they scarcely realize menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s organizations and as teachers, how they learned it.â&#x20AC;? women worked alongside men to conA few years earlier, drawing was aptribute to the quality of life in American proved for instruction time in the Punxsociety. sutawney grammar schools. In a Archived issues of the Punxsutawney persuasive tone, editor Smith emphasized Spirit readily available on microfilm at his favor for music in the schools, saying, the Punxsutawney Memorial Library, and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Music is an even more useful accomalso online, are a primary source of re-

This familiar view at the corner of South Penn Street and East Union Street in Punxsutawney has a history that began in 1887. There, in the Monksâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; family house, lived Nellie Monks, who became the first music teacher in the Punxsutawney public schools in August 1902. (photo by S. Thomas Curry)

plishment than drawing, especially for girls; the rudiments of it should be taught in the public schools.â&#x20AC;? In early 1902, the weekly Spirit presented this update to its readers about how the Punxsutawney schools could be improved by the introduction of music instruction: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The study of elementary music has been introduced into a great many of the schools of the country, especially in the larger towns and cities, and with general satisfaction.â&#x20AC;? With that general announcement, editor Smith added his own opinion, â&#x20AC;&#x153;To be able to read music is an accomplishment by no means to be despised and its study can be taken up in school for a few minutes every day without interfering with

anything else of importance, but really serving as recreation to the tired brain.â&#x20AC;? In March 1902, it was announced that the Irving Club â&#x20AC;&#x153;was making an effort to secure the introduction of music as one of the branches to be taught in our public schools.â&#x20AC;? At a meeting in July, the Punxsutawney school board approved the teaching of music in its schools. Hired to be the â&#x20AC;&#x153;first music teacher in the Punxsutawney public schoolsâ&#x20AC;? was Miss Nellie Monks, a 22-year-old Punxsutawney young woman. Music instruction was approved on a trial basis and â&#x20AC;&#x153;if the pupils take the interest that they should, music will be made a permanent study.â&#x20AC;? (Punx- Continued on page 10

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Jefferson County’s Courthouse Continued from page 2

hill above Red Bank Creek, noting that in this location the county seat would be centrally located and the town amply supplied with good spring water and good drainage. The name attached to the town was Brookville, undoubtedly because of the water flowing from the springs through the brooks on the hill. Upon the committee’s recommendation, an act of the General Assembly was passed on April 2, 1830, establishing the new town of Brookville as the seat of justice for Jefferson County and authorizing the county commissioners to receive the deed for the land upon which the courthouse would be built. The deed was recorded on July 31, 1830. The first public building erected was the County Jail. It faced Pickering Street and






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The Jefferson County Courthouse, designed by James W. Drum of Punxsutawney and dedicated on September 13, 1869, is an eclectic mix of architectural styles. Drum’s design incorporates characteristics of Colonial design Brookville was created as the county town in 1830 to enable Jefferson County to have a central place where local governance and the in the large windows with round arches, multith ple lights and the prominent bell tower, whereas beneath the eaves is a series of In addition to the planned activities of the day, participants will have time to tour the Jefferson County Court House, which was first prominent wooden brackets that are reminiscent of the Italianate style. It is evident that the architect was familiar with classical design and detail. Drawn from a photograph by E. Clark Hall, an early Brookville Photographer. From the S.J. Sharp Collection.

is sponsoring a BUS TRIP to Brookville, PA for the 150 Anniversary Celebration of the

Jefferson County Courthouse Friday, September 13, 2019

BUS TRIP INCLUDES: Guided tour, time to tour the Courthouse, self-guided walking tour of Brookville, enjoy an early dinner on your own before the play, reserved seating at the play, “The Trials of Judge Heath” at 6:30 p.m. in the Large Courtroom.


was a two-story stone structure with eight rooms. The sheriff’s residence and office occupied both floors on the north side of The bus will depart 400 West Mahoning St. promptly at 2 p.m. on September 13. the building. The jail occupied the south It will pick up participants at the Coolspring General Store at 2:25 p.m. side. The first session of court held in Jefis a story of theleave moral dilemma of a goodat man facedp.m., with a bad law,” according to Karen On the return“Ittrip it will Brookville 9:20 ferson County was on December 6, 1830, “The Trials of drop off at Coolspring at 9:40 p.m. and arrive back in Punxsutawney by 10 p.m. in the office of Thomas McKee, the first sheriff, with President Judge Thomas The cost of the bus trip is $15 for those boarding at Punxsutawney and $10 for Burnside and Elijah Heath and John W. those boarding at Coolspring. Advanced registration is required by Sept. 7th. Jenks, of Punxsutawney, as associate Register by visiting the Society’s webpage:, judges. visiting the Society at the Lattimer House, 400 West Mahoning Street, or completing and mailing in the registration form below:

Court House 150th Anniversary Bus Trip INDIVIDUAL RESERVATION FORM  Boarding at Punxsutawney $15.00 _____________________

 Boarding at Coolspring $10.00


First Name

Last Name

_______________________________ Emergency Contact Name

________________ Telephone #

________________________________ Emergency Contact Telephone #

Registrations must be received on or before September 7th. Complete this form and enclose check for the total amount and:



Mail to: PAHGS, P.O. Box 286, Punxsutawney, PA PAHGS, P.O. BOX 286 Punxsutawney, PA 15767 Punxsutawney Hometown – September 2019 - Issue #227


The first Jefferson County Courthouse was built at the corner of Main and Pickering Streets by John Lucas and Robert P. Barr, and faced Main Street in Brookville. It was a twostory building with an attic and belfry and an attached wing on the west for the offices of the prothonotary and the county commissioners. The first floor of the main building served as the court room; the second floor was divided into four jury rooms. Jefferson County Pennsylvania, Her Pioneers and People, 1800-1915, by William James McKnight, Jr.

The first Jefferson County Courthouse was constructed at the corner of Main and Pickering Streets by John Lucas and Robert P. Barr at a cost to the county of $3,000. It was a two-story building with an attic and belfry and an attached wing on the west for the offices of the prothonotary and the county commissioners. The first floor of the main building served as the court room; the second floor was divided into four jury rooms. By 1854, a new jail facility was needed. The new jail, built on the west side of the courthouse, was a two-story brick and stone building. The front first floor section was for the offices of the treasurer and commissioners, the second level was the residence of the sheriff and the rear of the building was the county’s jail. On Saturday morning May 24, 1856, a fire began in the barn belonging to the Exchange Hotel. The fire quickly spread to the house and then jumped the 15-footwide alley and burned the American Hotel, a cabinet shop, the Methodist Episcopal Church, several dwelling houses and numerous out buildings. The Brookville Jeffersonian, on June 5, 1856, reported, “We feel assured that all exertions to save the east part of Brookville would have proved fruitless had it not been for the new jail and sheriff’s house which is now nearly completed. It stands midway between the Courthouse and where stood the American; built of brick and stone and well roofed with tin, this house stood firm and with the exception of a small portion of the cornice, totally unhurt.” Ten years later, in 1866, the county’s population was approaching 20,000 residents. This increase created a demand for additional county services and made it - Continued on page 6

Rev. Kyle D. Yates is a Pastor and Photographer out of Brookville, PA. He has been in professional photography since 2011 and has been recognized over 260 times for his fine art. Rev. Yates preaches at Scotland Ave Church of God in Punxsutawney, PA. You can find his work at the Winkler Gallery in DuBois, PA, Fairlady & Company in Punxsutawney, PA, and the Sawmill Theater in Cook Forest. Kyle was named the 2018 Artisan of the Year from the Pennsylvania Wilds. He is on the board for the Winkler Gallery & Education Center. For more information, find him on Facebook at or at his photography website,


Punxsutawney Hometown – September 2019 - Issue #227 – 5

the new courthouse which was completed in September 1869. The final cost, which included a bell and clock as well as the furnishing of the court room and offices and a second contract for $21,742 to finish the building, was $86,413. The building had the capacity to house all of the county’s offices under one roof. It had large, well-lit offices on the lower level, which accommodated the offices of the prothonotary, treasurer, sheriff, commissioners and the The Courthouse as it looked about 1878. The sketch shows the county superintendent of Courthouse with the jail, built about 1855, to the west. The Brookville common schools. The Post Office was occupying the front rooms of the Jail Building at prothonotary and treathe time of this drawing. Caldwell’s Atlas of Jefferson County, 1878. surer’s office included fire-proof vaults. The second level housed the court room and had commodious jury rooms in the rear. All were well lit through Continued from page 4 beautiful stained glass windows. The fornecessary to build a new courthouse. The mer treasurer’s and commissioners’ ofarchitect for the new building was James fices in the jail building were leased to the W. Drum, of Punxsutawney. James U.S. Post Office at Brookville. Dickey, of Kittanning, was the contractor On Monday evening, September 13, and bid the job in at $57,000. The origi1869, one hundred and fifty years ago, the nal courthouse was demolished and the building was dedicated. Hon. James new building constructed on the site. DurCampbell, of Clarion, the president judge ing the time the new courthouse was of the judicial district, in his address at the under construction, the commissioners dedication stated that the new building, arranged to use the Presbyterian Church the “Temple of Justice” of Jefferson for the purpose of holding court, and an County, was an honor and an ornament to adjoining building, the property of Mr. the town and the county. The building was P.P. Blood, was leased to serve as jury a place where every resident in the county rooms. It took nearly three years to build could be assured that the titles of their

Jefferson County’s Courthouse

6 – Punxsutawney Hometown – September 2019 - Issue #227

property would be securely kept, their wrongs redressed and their rights vindicated. Judge Campbell would go on to say, “This place may be wherever the county authorities see proper to make it; but it is generally found to keep pace with the population, intelligence, and enterprise of the county.” The courthouse building, dedicated in 1869, served the people of Jefferson County for almost sixty years before the need for additional space required the commissioners to take action. The commissioners sought assistance in determining if they should construct a new building or renew and remodel the existing one. The commissioners engaged architect Emmet Bailey of Oil City who proposed an addition to the rear of the original building which would accommodate the need for more space. At 2:00 o’clock, January 21, 1927, at a meeting of the board of commissioners held at the courthouse, the county commissioners made the decision to solicit bids for the renovations of the courthouse based on plans prepared by Bailey and approved by Judge Charles Corbet, with S.A. Hunter and John Daugherty voting for the action and Perry L. Wingert abstaining. On February 23, 1927, the contract for the renovations was awarded to Ray. H. Richards. During the time of this renovation, the offices of the county and the courts were moved to the Brookville Park Building. The renovation included $360,000 for the building and $60,000 for equipment for a total cost of $420,000. The remodeled courthouse was reopened in August 1928. The county offices occupied four floors. The basement floor was occupied by the farm bureau, sealer of

Shown is a photograph of the Courthouse about 1890 as shown on a postcard published for McKnight & Son, Brookville, Pa, circa 1890. The original retaining wall has been removed, the lawn graded, and the stairs consist of three runs rising from the sidewalk to the front door. The retaining wall has been removed from the grounds, as has the wall separating the courthouse steps from the board walk. The lawn has been graded to the sidewalks. From the S.J. Sharp Collection.

weights and measures, jury commissioner, offices of the sheriff, county detective and detention cells. The main floor accommodated the offices of the county treasurer, prothonotary, commissioners, county su- Continued on page 8

Hometown Community Happenings


By the staff of Hometown magazine rom the staff of Hometown magazine and the Community Calendar at, here is a list of events coming up in our area: n Aug. 25-31: 157th Annual Indiana County Fair, at Mack Park Fairgrounds, Indiana. n Aug. 31: Punxsutawney Memorial Library closed for staff training. n Aug. 31: Hunter-Trapper Education Class, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Oliver Township Fire Hall. Register for class at n Aug. 31: Unite in concert, 1 p.m., DuBois. Christian music festival. n Aug. 31 & Sept. 1: Hazen Flea Market open, at the Warsaw Township Fire Dept. grounds. n Sept. 2: Labor Day, legal holiday. Many offices & businesses closed. n Sept. 3: First Tuesday Community Meal, 5 p.m., at Punxsutawney Presbyterian Church. Free & open to the public. n Sept. 5: Blood Drive, 1 to 5 p.m., at Scotland Ave. Church of God. Benefits American Red Cross. n Sept. 6 & 7: Grange’s Helping Hands free clothing at Grange Church of God. Friday, noon to 4 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. n Sept. 7: Annual Groundhog Picnic & Phil Phest, 1 to 9 p.m., at Gobbler’s Knob. Tickets required. Visit for information. n Sept. 8: 10th Annual Walk for Suicide Prevention & Awareness, 1 p.m., at E.J. Mansell Stadium, DuBois. n Sept. 9-14: 102nd Annual Cookport Fair! On Route 240 in Commodore. Fun for the whole family. n Sept. 10: Registration due for “Keeping Their Faith in Public Schools” seminar on Sept. 20, 7 to 8 p.m., at First Church of God. For information, call the church at 814-938-6670. n Sept. 13: Community Meal, 5 p.m., at First United Methodist Church. Free & open to the public. n Sept. 13, 14 & 15: Apple Fest, various locations in Smicksburg. n Sept. 14: Fall Mommy Market, 9 a.m., at First Church of God, Punxsutawney n Sept. 14: Boy Scout Weather Merit Badge program, 9 a.m. to noon, at Weather Discovery Center. Register by Sept. 9 at or call 814938-1000. n Sept. 14: Blues, Brews & BBQ, 11 a.m., at Barclay Square, presented by Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce. Tickets available at n Sept. 14: 3rd Annual Night at the Races, 4:30 p.m., at Big Run War Memorial, hosted by the WAR Memorial Fund. Tickets required. n Sept. 15: 2019 Punxsy Car Show at Gobbler’s Knob. Benefits the Scott Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund. n Sept. 16: Kids Corps after-school program begins at The Salvation Army. Call 814-938-5530 for more information. n Sept. 16: Coping With Loss Support Group, 7 p.m., at First Church of God. Call 814-938-6670 for information. n Sept. 17-18: Winter is Coming blanket & coat give-away, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at The Salvation Army. No application process.

n Sept. 19: Landlord Workshop, at the Jefferson County Housing Authority Social Hall in Punxsutawney. Presented by the Jefferson County Shelter Task Force. n Sept. 20: Peanut Butter Festival in New Bethlehem. n Sept. 20-22: 51st Annual Newman Used Book Sale, at St. Thomas More Parish, 1200 Oakland Ave., Indiana. Open 4 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. Sunday. n Sept. 21-22: Coolspring Power Museum open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Go to for more information.

n Sept. 21: BLINGO Designer Purse & Cash Bingo, 1 to 4 p.m., at the Punxsutawney Eagles. Benefits the Weather Discovery Center. n Sept. 21: Coin Show, 10 4 p.m., S&T Arena, Indiana. Presented by the Indiana Coin Club. n Sept. 21: “Faith, Freedom & Public Schools” seminar for teachers, 9 a.m., at First Church of God. $20 per person. Register at n Sept. 21: Hunter-Trapper Education Class, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Middleridge Sportsman’s Club, Sykesville. Register for

class at n Sept. 21: PAHS Homecoming Dance, at Punxsutawney Area High School. n Sept. 21: "Meet & Greet" with the Punxsutawney Theater Arts Guild at Punxsy Pizza starting at 11:30 am. Did you ever think about being part of a theater production? Stop in and talk with group members. There are many different positions available. Contact Tracey Young with any questions at 814-938-9084. n Sept. 23: Blood Drive, 1 to 6:30 p.m., at American Legion, Reynoldsville. Benefits the American Red Cross. n Sept. 23-27: Project Bundle Up applications at The Salvation Army, 9 a.m. to noon & 1 to 3 p.m. Call 814-938-5530 for information. - Continued on page 22

Punxsutawney Hometown – September 2019 - Issue #227 – 7

The Jefferson County Courthouse is shown about 1906. A fence has been installed around the courthouse grounds. The Brookville Post Office no longer occupies the Jail Building. From the S.J. Sharp Collection.

Jefferson Countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Courthouse

Continued from page 6 perintendent of schools and register and recorder. The second floor housed the main court room, which included a balcony, the judgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chambers, a room for argument court, the district attorneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s office, court stenographer and the law library. On the third floor were jury rooms, a grand jury room and separate rooms for men and women jurors. The commissioners had succeeded in preserving the architecture of the original building while adding needed space. Not all of the peoplesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; business has been conducted at the Jefferson County Courthouse. Through the years, there have been changes in the countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s responsibilities. When the townships were no longer required to have â&#x20AC;&#x153;overseers of the poorâ&#x20AC;? to care for orphans and the indigent, this

The 1928 renovations to the Jefferson County Courthouse included on the exterior the addition of a wing at the rear of the building, a sweeping curved staircase at the front of the original building, and a memorial garden to the west of the building. The former jail building was removed and the surface of the lawn graded and reduced to permit daylight into the basement floor. The building was officially re-opened, on August 25, 1928. Squire J.J. Schnell, of Falls Creek, was on hand for the opening. He had attended the first dedication for the courthouse in 1869. Mrs. Dinger of Reynoldsville was the first casualty of the new Court house. She slipped and fell on the marble steps and cut her scalp. From the S.J. Sharp Collection.

function fell to the county. This change brought about the establishment of the County Home and Farm and the Child Welfare Office under the auspices of the County Commissioners. The home began accepting residents, who could no longer care for themselves, in 1901. The farm continued to serve and care for people in need until state and federal government programs provided for the needed support and care. Fifty years passed before significant maintenance and repair work again was needed. In 1976, minor remodeling on the interior and painting on the outside refreshed the courthouse building. That year, the County Home became available for repurposing. The County Home was redesignated as the County Service Center and provided offices for the County Planning Commissioner, Agricultural and Home Economic Cooperative Extension, Child


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8 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Punxsutawney Hometown â&#x20AC;&#x201C; September 2019 - Issue #227

This is an image of the courthouse from about 1950. The landscaping has matured, a flag pole was added and the Veterans Marker improved. The county commissioners continued to maintain the building and make improvements to the building as the need and new technology have dictated. In 1996, additional space to house county offices was leased at Jefferson Place, 155 Main Street. The Jefferson County Courts remain in the courthouse building, making it primarily a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Temple of Justice.â&#x20AC;? From the S.J. Sharp Collection.

Welfare, Veterans Affairs, Emergency Management, the Jefferson County Area Agency on Aging, the Community Action Agency and other human service and public service functions. The county used the land of the County Farm as the site for the construction of a new county jail built in 1981 and for a building to house the countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Emergency Management Center in 1982. In 1996, the countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s offices were relocated from the Service Center to leased space in the Borough of Brookville. The County Home building was dismantled. Today, services provided for the people of Jefferson County, including the Judgesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Chambers, the long standing traditional offices of the District Attorney, Prothonotary, Sheriff, Register & Recorder, and Assessor/Tax Claim Bureau, and the newer offices of Public Defender, Adult Probation, Juvenile Probation, Victim Witness Pro-

gram and the Geographic Interface System (GIS), can be found in the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Temple of Justiceâ&#x20AC;? at 200 Main Street. The County Commissionersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and Treasurerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Offices are located at Jefferson Place, 155 Main Street, along with the offices of Voter Registration, Veterans Affairs, Information Technology, Children and Youth, Planning and Development, County Auditors and the Countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Accounting, Human Resources and Finance Staff. Judge Campbell, at the dedication on September 13, 1869, said of the building, â&#x20AC;&#x153;It belongs to every man, woman and child in the county. They have a right to be proud of it; to guard it from injury, to protect it from harm.â&#x20AC;? The people of Jefferson County have heeded his words and can be very proud of the building which has served them for 150 years. It stands as a beacon of light in the center of the county, as the place where the peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s business is recorded and justice is served. â&#x20AC;˘â&#x20AC;˘â&#x20AC;˘


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Punxsutawney Hometown – September 2019 - Issue #227 – 9

Punxsutawney “Firsts” Continued from page 3

Punxsutawney’s first public library was organized in 1916. Active among Irving Club members who supported the movement for a public library was Grace Beck, music teacher in the Punxsutawney schools.

Shortly after the organization of the Punxsutawney Irving Club in 1895, the women became leaders in the early 1900s in many movements for the improvement of social life for children and adults of the community. Among the progressive issues they spoke for were public libraries, public playgrounds and music in the public schools. The document, with names of the club’s founding members, is displayed in the Punxsutawney Memorial Library. (photo by S. Thomas Curry)

sutawney News, August 20, 1902) In April 1902, Nellie (or sometimes “Nelle”) received a teacher’s certificate from the Temple College School of Music in Philadelphia. After graduation, she returned to Punxsutawney and her home to begin teaching piano and singing, before she was hired for the schools Nellie Monks, born in 1879 in the family home on West Mahoning Street, grew up in their new house that was built in 1886 on the corner of South Penn and East Union Streets, behind the public park (Barclay Square). Her parents were

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Andrew Jackson Monks and Mary Elizabeth Monks. A.J. Monks came to Punxsutawney in 1857. Mrs. Monks was the daughter of Judge James St. Clair and Margaret (Mitchell) St. Clair. Nellie’s father died in 1884. Her mother died in 1905 and the family home on East Union Street was sold by Mrs. Monks in 1907 to Dr. T.R. and Elizabeth Williams. With her brother Dr. John S. Monks’s having moved to Martins Ferry, Ohio, with his dental practice, Nellie ended her local teaching position after one year and traveled overseas to Europe “to perfect her voice and study music generally and get the rounded culture a few years in Europe offers one.” (Punxsutawney Spirit, May 2, 1911) After three years studying in Europe, Nellie Monks returned to the United States. Her study in Europe consisted of visits to Germany, Austria, Italy, France and England. During those years, she was piano accompanist for celebrated soloists and studied piano, harmony, and voice as “the physiology of the throat.” A feature story of 1911 titled “Praise From Recognized Authority For Local Girl,” summarized her musical experience in Europe, saying, “Miss Monks returns to America fully equipped to attain and hold a strong place among young artists, both as a pianist, a singer and most talented teacher and accompanist.”

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10 – Punxsutawney Hometown – September 2019 - Issue #227

In December 1916, the Punxsutawney Free Library opened its doors in a building on South Jefferson Street facing the park, with Edith Beck as its first librarian. In order to provide “free” service to the public, the library was supported by individual subscriptions, contributions and proceeds from fund raisers. (photo from post card collection of the Punxsutawney Area Historical & Genealogical Society)

That local girl, the “first music teacher in the Punxsutawney public schools,” died at Martin’s Ferry, Ohio, in 1985, at the age 86. She is buried in the Monks family plot in Punxsutawney’s Circle Hill Cemetery.

The “first” Public Librarian in Punxsutawney It was in the early 1900s that the “free library” movement gained enthusiastic support in Punxsutawney from a group of community-minded citizens. Among them were men of various professions, businesses and industries, leading men and women in education and leaders of active social and fraternal organizations. That interest might have been spurred by a “communication from Andrew Carnegie” that was announced in the Punxsutawney Spirit in April 1911. Carnegie, a world-known philanthropist, helped to fund many public libraries in the United States, especially Western Pennsylvania. In the letter, sent to borough council, Carnegie “wanted to know what the borough would do toward the maintenance of a public library.” (Punxsutawney Spirit, April 24, 1911)

Council tabled the letter, without any consideration or interest to investigate the possibilities. That disinterest created an outcry, expressed by one citizen in a letter to the editor , reading, “A public library would be of great value to our citizens from an educational standpoint and not only that, it would show that our citizens are not dead, and it would be a bid for industries by showing the manufacturer that we have a live town, live people and will welcome live industries.” Public libraries were different from “free” libraries in that public funds through tax levies would be enacted to support the library, while “free” libraries were often operated through private donations and volunteers. In its early history, people in the Punxsutawney area had access to books. There were private collections among people who could afford them. In the 1870s and 1880s there were Literary Societies where people shared readings and reviews of books, such groups as the Mahoning Literary Society, the Keystone Literary Society and the Washington Literary Society. - Continued on page 16

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12 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Punxsutawney Hometown â&#x20AC;&#x201C; September 2019 - Issue #227

,*,-- *,))

Shown is the McCalmont High School, Anita, Pennsylvania, class of 1940. Back row, left to right: Eleanor Anderson; Tony McCall; Faye Johnson; Ella Ruth Snedden; Charles Deeley and Mary Short. Front row, left to right: Margaret Krucelyak; Paul Strong; Dorothy Brown; William Lavosky; Tony Rowe and Ruby Renwick. Photograph from â&#x20AC;&#x153;McCalmont Township Schools, Then and Now 1841-1987.â&#x20AC;?

McCalmont Townshipâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Schools, Teachers & Students


By Marty Armstrong for Hometown magazine mong the collections housed in the Matthew R. & Elizabeth Ayers Tibby Library at the Punxsutawney Area Historical & Genealogical Society is the book, â&#x20AC;&#x153;McCalmont Township Schools, Then and Now 1841-1987.â&#x20AC;? Its compilers wrote that the project was undertaken to celebrate the National PTAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 90th birthday as part of Parkview PTAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Founderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day program for February 3, 1987. The book is self-described as having two partsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;McCalmont Township school history, with memories and photographs provided by former students and teachers, and PTA milestones, taken from PTA secretariesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; records. In truth, it can be

seen as having three parts as the initial pages document the first educational system in Pennsylvania. Information about early Pennsylvania school laws - the first was in 1802 -, their impact on Jefferson County and the physical structures and furnishings of the early log schools can also be found in the Jefferson County histories published by Kate M. Scott in 1888 and William J. McKnight in 1917. Mention is made of severe disciplinary measures, limited resources, chinks between logs covered with greased paper to admit light, split logs supported by wood pegs for seats and a three-month school year. The school year was not increased to four months until 1854. That 1854 law and one passed in 1831


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were turning points in other ways. Earlier building and a streetcar that ran nearby. Durlaws provided for the establishment of ing WWI, students knitted sweaters for solschools for the â&#x20AC;&#x153;poorâ&#x20AC;? and families had to de- diers overseas. A fire destroyed the building scribe themselves as such to be able to send in 1919. It was after hours and no lives were their children to school; the 1831 law pro- lost but the sweaters did not survive. vided for a general system of education in (Sprucedale and Old Anita 1918*; Florence Pennsylvania and procedures were estab- 1921*) lished to set up districts and elect school directors from the populace. Residents were anxious to have schools in their neighborhoods and established them as soon as there were enough students to warrant them. By 1854, there were 105 schools in the county. All accounts for Jefferson County state that the pioneer school in what would be- The Anita School, which included the two-year McCalmont TownHigh School, is pictured as it was under construction, come McCalmont Township ship c.1919-1920. It replaced the former Sprucedale School which in 1857 was built on the was destroyed by fire in 1919 and was constructed from lumber Smith farm in 1841 in the salvaged from the demolition of the Eleanora Hotel. The school area of the North Summit; the was closed in 1959 when Parkview Elementary School was teacher was J.P. North. opened. Photograph courtesy of Joel and Donna Anderson. (3) â&#x20AC;&#x153;Schreckengostâ&#x20AC;? school was one-quarScottâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s history lists the first school directors, elected in 1857. They were Daniel North, ter mile west of the #10 tipple. (4/5) â&#x20AC;&#x153;Blocksâ&#x20AC;? schools were near the John Smith, Samuel Rhodes, John Rhodes, John McBrirer and Samuel Swisher. The Knights of Pythias Cemetery. The upper townshipâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s school history states that an early school was known as the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thomasâ&#x20AC;? school; name for the area was â&#x20AC;&#x153;Shamoka,â&#x20AC;? a name the lower school seems to have been deof native origin. McKnight elaborates by scribed simply as the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Blocksâ&#x20AC;? school. (6) â&#x20AC;&#x153;Panicâ&#x20AC;? school was on the Hopkins stating that the name was in common use in earlier times. Of course, a portion of the property and across from the Panic church; Great Shamokin Path originating in both are now torn down. (7) â&#x20AC;&#x153;Cortezâ&#x20AC;? school sat along the AnitaShamokin (Sunbury) in the eastern part of Knoxdale road. (Cortez 1942*) the state winds through Jefferson County. (8) â&#x20AC;&#x153;Piferâ&#x20AC;? school was located near the Pifer Beginning with that first school (1), the book lists 13 McCalmont Township schools cemetery. (Pifer 1939*) which preceded Parkview Elementary (9) â&#x20AC;&#x153;Panicâ&#x20AC;? school was built on the Ramsey School in Anita, opened in November of property; it closed in 1947. (Panic 1947*) (10) â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hemlockâ&#x20AC;? school existed near Panic; 1959 but now closed. Information about these schools varies from quite a bit to very it later housed the Hemlock Grange. (Hemlittle. They follow; closing dates with aster- lock 1943) (11) â&#x20AC;&#x153;Eleanoraâ&#x20AC;? school was at Eleanora. It isks are sourced from a list of Punxsutawney area school closings compiled by the PASD was one of two schools having more than in 1960. Some match up with the McCal- one teacher per school term; all previously mont school history while others are unclear. mentioned schools had one teacher for eight (2) â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sprucedaleâ&#x20AC;? school in Florence - It was grades. (Eleanora 1942*) also a high school with ten grades in the - Continued on page 18


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16 – Punxsutawney Hometown – September 2019 - Issue #227

Punxsutawney “Firsts” Continued from page 10

In 1886, the Punxsutawney Circulating Library was organized. With one dollar annual dues, a member could secure the reading of several hundred books. Any money earned through the year was directed to purchasing new books. Upon the announcement of its purpose it was stated, “A good circulating library is the soul of a town. It ennobles the young and makes better and happier citizens of the old.” The library organization continued into the early 1900s. In 1892, in the Punxsutawney school building on North Jefferson Street, there was established a Public School Library. With frequent “book receptions” that were held, people were invited to visit the school and donate books “of standard works of history, biography, science, poetry, fiction, travel ... that will be a great benefit as a means of aiding in the work of teaching and in advancing the intellectual growth of all young people of the town.” The books in the school library were also available to the general public. Many of Punxsutawney’s successful and prosperous community leaders of the early 1900s no doubt benefitted from the resources of established libraries created for them. As the concept of a “free public library” grew, the Free Library Association of Punxsutawney was organized by representatives of the Irving Club, the Punxsutawney Public Schools and the Chautauqua Circle, an active literary club. In the office of Frank S. Jackson, Superintendent of Punxsutawney Schools, the Free Library Association was formally organized on August 15, 1916. The Irving Club donated to the association money left to the club by Mrs. John A. (Emma) Weber upon her death in 1913. (A greater portion of Mrs. Weber’s estate was designated to build the “manual training and domestic science school” in memory of her husband.) For several years, support for a “free public library” was from individual subscriptions, contributions, proceeds from fund raisers and a regular canvassing of the community for funds. Public support through a borough library tax did not come until 1922. Punxsutawney’s first “free” Public Library opened its doors on December 1, 1916, on South Jefferson Street in a building that was vacated by the defunct Punxsutawney Republican newspaper. The site was across from the public park and south of the Pantall Hotel. On duty for two months classifying and cataloguing over 2,000 volumes of do-

nated books, was Miss Edith Beck, the “first public librarian” in Punxsutawney. Edith Beck entered this area in July 1900, when her family moved to Reynoldsville from Randolph, New York. Her brother, Frank, was a bookkeeper for a coal and iron company. He moved his widowed mother and two sisters into a new home there. Of the mother and two girls, Grace and Edith Beck, the Reynoldsville Star wrote, “Mrs. Beck and daughters are highly educated and genial ladies.” Edith Beck attended Women’s College, at Baltimore, Maryland. During the summers, she and her sister, Grace, attended “Chautauqua,” in the southwest corner of New York state and east of Erie. Chautauqua was an adult education movement popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Chautauqua Circles expanded and spread throughout rural America, with one in Punxsutawney. In June 1904, Edith Beck graduated from the Women’s College at Baltimore. When the coal and iron company opened an office in Punxsutawney, the Beck family moved to Punxsutawney in March 1905. Grace Beck became a music teacher in the Punxsutawney schools (1908) and Edith Beck was hired as a “teacher of languages” at the high school in DuBois (1910). While a music teacher in the Punxsutawney schools, Grace Beck was one of the citizens in the community striving to create interest and support for the establishment of a public library. Edith Beck was active in Punxsutawney’s Irving Club. In June 1916, she represented the club at the first annual meeting of the newly organized Neighborhood Club, held in the Methodist Church on West Mahoning Street. The Neighborhood Club was composed of the Irving Club and similar groups in DuBois, Ridgway, Brookville and Clarion that “stood for self-improvement and social and civic betterment.” The subject of the meeting was “Free Libraries.” On that point, The Punxsutawney Spirit concluded its report about the meeting with, “The subject was particularly opportune at this time when the women of the Irving Club have taken the preliminary steps to establish a public library in Punxsutawney.” A few months later, Edith Beck was hired as Punxsutawney’s first public librarian. What could be next among “firsts” in Punxsutawney history among women? Who was the first kindergarten teacher? Who was the first woman doctor in Punxsutawney? Who was the first female police officer? •••

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1. Scottish tax 5. Filled with horror 11. Type of music 14. Variety act 15. Half-conscious state 16. Discontinued European money 17. Formal declaration 19. Shaft horsepower (abbr.) 20. A way to express concentration 21. Airline 22. Goes well with a carrot 23. Length of pant leg 25. Mark with a cut 27. One who destroys completely 31. Greek sophist 34. Thomas Hobbes’s “De __” 35. Copyreads 38. Talk 39. Endangered 41. Snag 42. Comedienne Tyler 44. Castrate a male animal 45. Taj Mahal site 46. Tending to concede 49. One who accepts 51. Albanian capital 55. Takes kids to school 56. About Moon 60. __ Seamounts: underwater volcanoes 61. __ Lilly, drug company 62. Not working 64. Alaska nursing board 65. Howl 66. Muslim ruler title 67. Famed arena 68. Back again for more food 69. Cheek


1. Raccoonlike animal 2. Small 3. Separates 4. Parties 5. Automated teller machine 6. One who earned his degree 7. Dislike 8. Flowering plant 9. Nova __, province 10. Inhabited 11. Breathing 12. Partner to pains 13. Immature insects 18. The back 24. Heavy club 26. Edible fish 28. Lament for the dead 29. Woody climbing plants 30. Small rooms for prisoners 31. Ottoman military commander 32. “The Crow” actress Ling 33. A way of lopping off 36. Cigarette (slang) 37. Helps little firms 39. Member of small discussion group 40. Copyread 43. V-shaped open trough 45. Pokes holes in 47. Beloved “Captain” 48. Resume 49. On a line at right angles 50. Light up lamps 52. Part of the psyche 53. Leeward Island 54. 1960s counterculture activist 57. Edible seaweed 58. Imitator 59. Look at and comprehend 63. Root mean square (abbr.)

Answers on next page

Punxsutawney Hometown – September 2019 - Issue #227 – 17



• 7 pm, Opening Service, Cookport Community Choir lead by John Hanayik. Guest Speaker, Pastor Raymond B. Hill Jr. (Purchase Line United Methodist Church) • 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., Livestock Entry


• 10 a.m., Beginning Exhibit Entries • 6 p.m., End Entries • 6:30 p.m., Barn...Open Beef, Goat, Sheep Judging • 7 p.m., Pulling Track...Garden Tractor Pull (Dead Sled) • 7 p.m., Fair Circle...Northern Cambria High School Band 7:30 p.m., Main Stage...Jamin’ Jim (Karaoke contest) • 7:30 p.m., Midway Stage...Scott Shelby (Country)


• 8 a.m., Exhibit Building...Judging of all Exhibits • 9 a.m., Horse Arena…Horse Show Judging • 9 a.m., Barn…Chicken Judging • 6 p.m., Barn…Dairy Cattle Judging • 6 p.m., Entertainment building...Baked Goods Auction • 6:30-7:30 p.m., Fair Circle…Twirl-A-Rama • 7 p.m., Class I Tractor Pull (6,000 lbs.) • 7:30 p.m., Midway Stage…Clay Bowser (Country Mix) • 7:30 p.m., Main Stage…Belairs (Hip Hop)

• 7 p.m., New Track…ATV & Dirt Bike Drag Races • 7 p.m., Track…Class II Tractor Pull (8,000 lbs.) • 7 p.m., Fair Circle…Penns Manor High School Band • 7:30 p.m., Main Stage…Basket Auction • 7:30 p.m., Midway Stage...SUMMIT PA Worship • 8 p.m., Main Stage… Kelly Hylton (Elvis Tribute)


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• All Day, Magical Entertainmet (All day times will be posted) • 2 p.m., Fair Circle…Purchase Line High School Band • 2-5 p.m., Fair Circle….Clowns Rootie Toot and Toot Sweet • 3:30 p.m., Fair Circle...Purchase Line High School Band • 4 p.m., Sack Race for Kids (Location to be announced) • 6 p.m., Main Stage…Kids Day prize Drawing (Must be present to win, 12 years old and younger) • 7 p.m., Main Stage…The Hurricanes (Country Rock) • 7 p.m., New Track…Pickup Truck Pulls • 7:30 p.m., Track…Horse Pulling (Light and Heavy)


• 9 a.m., Barn (Youth Under 19 & 4H & Vocational) Rabbit Show • 9 a.m., Horse Arena…Horseshoe Pitching WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11 Contest (Jr. and Sr.) • 6:30 p.m., Barn…Beef Cattle, Sheep, Goats, and • 9 a.m., Track…Antique Tractor Pull (2500 to Swine Judging 8000 lbs) and Powder Pull Tractor Pull (6000 lbs) • 7 p.m., Track…Mini & Pony Pulling • 10 a.m., Main Stage…Pedal Pull (Ages 3 – 10) • 7 p.m., Fair Circle…Marion Center High School • All Day, Midway Stage, Magical Entertainment (Times will be posted) Band • 1 p.m., Fair Circle…Teddy Bear Parade (Sports • 7:30 p.m., Midway Stage…Mark Garrick Bear, Holiday Bear, Cartoon Bear) (Acoustic Show Class, Rock ‘N Roll & Oldies) • 7:30 p.m., Main Stage…Keystone State Quartet • 2 p.m., Main Stage…Registration for Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo and Fiddlers Contests (Gospel) • 3 p.m., Main Stage…Start for Contests listed • 7:30 p.m., New Track…Log Saw Contest above • 3 p.m., Rolling Pin Toss (Location to be anTHURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 nounced) Senior Day – Senior Citizens • 4 p.m., Show Barn…Hay Bale Toss are Free until 4 p.m. • 7 p.m., New Track…Farm Tractor Pull (Open and • 1 p.m., Fair Circle…Corn Hole Toss Game for Stock) Senior Citizens • 7 p.m., Track…Class III Tractor Pull (12,000 lbs) • 2 p.m., Main Stage…Simple Pleasures (Blue • 7 p.m., Main Stage…7 Mile Run Band Grass and Gospel) • 10 p.m., Main Stage…Gate Prize Drawing • 3 p.m., Main Stage…Paul Stephenson 50’s, 60’s, Schedule subject to change. 70’s Ratpack and Elvis Not responsible for typographical errors. • 6:30 p.m., Main Barn…Premier Showmanship Contest

18 – Punxsutawney Hometown – September 2019 - Issue #227

McCalmont Township’s

Pifer and her sister, Nancy Pifer, attended the big school in Anita for all of their elementary years. Peg remembers that the 1941-42 term, Continued from page 15 when she was in first grade, was the last year (12) “Battle Hollow” school was in the difor the high school. She also remembers that rection of Oliveburg on the Noerr property during the years of WWII, teachers were in and near the Mt. Tabor church. (Battle Holshort supply as some were serving in the millow 1942*) itary. Teachers for the high school grades (13) “Anita” school, which included the were not needed and administrators found “McCalmont High School,” was built folways to consolidate eight grades into seven lowing the destruction by fire of the Anita by advancing some students to the next grade “Sprucedale” school. It was constructed in where appropriate. This highlights what frethe field across from the later Parkview Elequently happened in rural schools. Students mentary school out of lumber from the forwho had learned exceptionally well were almer Eleanora Hotel. The multiple classrooms lowed to skip a year, a convenience when were each large enough to accommodate 40 grades sometimes only had one student. This students. In the early 1920s, there were two happened for a gentleman who teachers for each class, one spent all seven of his elementary of whom was for the Italyears at the Panic school beginian-speaking students. ning in the mid-1930s. His (Anita “McCalmont” High teachers were Carl Pifer (the faSchool 1942*; Anita School ther of Peg and Nancy) and Ray 1958*) The 1958 date is Cramer. Both men can be found likely a misprint as the conin the McCalmont school histemporaneous PTA records tory, each as teachers at Panic in are very specific about the different years, Pifer at Hemlock November 1959 closing in other years and Cramer also at date. Pifer, Eleanora and Anita. The fact that there were so Wesley Ray Cramer, the son of many schools and schoolJohn and Catherine Deahl rooms in close proximity Cramer, was born in McCalmont within the township and the Township in 1896 and went on need to have Italian-speaking teachers reflect the real- Arthur Dickey (1904-1939). Mr. to a forty-four-year career in edity that many immigrant Dickey first taught at the ucation. He was at the Anita residents and their families Cortez school directly after Consolidated school until its had come to work in the graduating from high school final year in 1959. His wife was in 1921. He taught at the Mc- the former Verna Deemer. coal industry. Calmont high school from Citizen participation in 1926-28 and later at Ellwood Carl Harbaugh Pifer, the son of local schools was continu- City before accepting the posi- Otto and Mary Weber Pifer, was tion of principal at McCalmont born in McCalmont Township in ous and by 1955, the Mc- in 1932. 1910. His wife was the former Calmont Township PTA Kathleen Yohe. Pifer was a 1928 graduate of was formed at the Anita school with a charBig Run High School, then Beckley College ter membership of 73. The first officers were in Harrisburg and Clarion State Teachers as follows: College. In spite of his education, he left President-Mrs. Charles Deeley, Jr.; V. Presteaching as a career during WWII. School diident-Mrs. Robert Anderson; Secretary-Mrs. rectors regularly reassigned township teachThomas Maruca and Treasurer-Mrs. Jerome ers to different schools every few years, Carlson. The activities of the Anita school’s sometimes bringing them back again to PTA and its many gifts to students and teachschools where they had previously taught. ers are documented in the McCalmont comDuring the first part of WWII, Pifer had to pilation. One interesting note from 1987 travel a greater distance to teach, a signifidescribes how the children were presented cant problem due to the cost and rationing of with identification tags to be sewn into their gas. His other choice would have been to shoes. board nearer the school. After ten years as a In looking at the partial lists of teachers and teacher, he began what would be a long-time students included in the school history and in career with the Barnes and Tucker Coal talking with persons who spent all of their elCompany. ementary years in one or another of the townA third McCalmont man had his career cut ship schools, one sees themes corresponding short for another reason. Arthur Dickey, son to those in the other township profiled so far of T.J. and Alice Deemer Dickey, was born in such as the learning opportunities afforded by Panic, McCalmont Township, in 1904. He listening to advanced classes’ lessons. There married the former Imogene Jordan, a were also some interesting additions. As teacher like himself, in 1931. Their daughter noted above, the township had its own tworelates that they were secretly married for the year high school. Students who attended first six months of their marriage as female grades nine and ten were described as juniors teachers at the time were expected to be sinand seniors. They had cap and gown graduagle. Despite his educational background tions and some went on to four-year high (1921 PHS graduate, 1923 Clarion State schools such as Punxsutawney where they Normal School graduate, 1928 Pennsylvania were juniors and seniors again. Peg Swarm State University Bachelor of Science, 1933 University of Pittsburgh Master’s Degree and near completion of a doctorate from Pitt) and a promising career as principal of the McCalmont High School in Anita, Dickey’s career was cut short when he lost a five-week struggle with typhoid fever in 1939, leaving his widow and their two-year-old daughter. So this is the history of three different men with similar backgrounds in terms of place and early profession but with three very different outcomes. They are just three of the many men and women who taught in the McCalmont Township schools, all with interesting life stories. •••


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Shown here is an entrance to H & H Coal Company’s Wayne 2 Mine near Dixonville, PA. This company was operated by Blair and Wayne Hess. Photo courtesy of Connie Rowe Rice.


By The Coal Memorial Committee for Hometown magazine

he Coal Memorial Committee of the Punxsutawney Area Historical and Genealogical Society will host the Annual Dedication of Memorial Tiles on Sunday, September 1, 2019, at 6 p.m. The dedication will take place at 404 West Mahoning Street in Punxsutawney. The program will include music by the Punxsutawney Community Band and a presentation by the Coal Memorial Committee Members of “True Stories from the Mines.” The public is invited to the Dedication Program. Eighteen new tiles will be added honoring twenty-six workers in the coal industry. The 2019 honorees include immigrants who came to America to find work and a better life, first generation Americans, multi-generation coal families, descendants of pioneer settlers who chose careers in mining and railroading, and those with professional careers who came to the area to provide services and found second careers in the coal industry. The 2019 honorees include the following: Stanley Baran, who was born in Poland in 1892 and came to America in 1910 at the age of eighteen. He found his way to McCalmont Township where he began working in the

coal mines. He worked at the mines in McCalmont Township until they were closed and then worked at the Light Coal Company mines in Young Township. Walter Stilson Blaisdell came to the Punxsutawney area to fill the position of assistant resident physician at the Adrian Hospital. He purchased the practice of Dr. D.G. Hubbard, who was the first mine physician at the Walston mines. Dr. Blaisdell provided care for the miners and residents of Walston, as well as residents of Clayville and Punxsutawney. He was a partner in the Anita Coal Mining Company which purchased the Anita mines from the Berwind White Coal Mining Company. Blaisdell became the manager of the Punxsutawney Coal Mining Company, which opened and operated the Frances Mine near Smyerstown. Osmer Brosius was a lifelong resident of the Timblin area where he grew up in a farming family. Early in life, Mr. Brosius found work with the railroad; later, he worked at coal mines in the Timblin area until they closed. His last job was in strip mining. Dante M. Caretti, Severino Romagnani and David Melvin were miners and Angelo Ferrara a checkweighman at the Rossiter Mines, who, through marriage, became inlaws. - Continued on next page

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Punxsutawney Hometown – September 2019 - Issue #227 – 19

The St. Elmo Hotel in Punxsutawney was the location where, in August of 1883, a riot took place and Peter Yeder, was killed. The Pantall Hotel now occupies the site. Photo from the History of Indiana County, courtesy of the PAHGS.

Coal Memorial Continued from previous page

Leo Boyd â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bobâ&#x20AC;? Engle was born in Timblin where he lived most of his life. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Upon his return home, he was employed by the Rochester & Pittsburg Coal and Iron Company where he worked as a heavy equipment operator. Paul Gileot, was born in America of Leo Boyd â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bobâ&#x20AC;? Engle, Italian immi- served in the U.S. Navy durWW II and returned home grant parents. ing to become a heavy equipHe was a high ment operator for the R & P, school student, C & I Company mines. Photo enrolled in the courtesy of Helen Engle.

commercial course and planning a career in a business other than mining when he was recruited to work at Northwestern Mining & Exchange Companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new Kramer Mine opening at Stump Creek. Paul had taken stenography which qualified him to become an administrative assistant for Carl Peterson, the Vice President and General Manager of the mine. Blair and Wayne Hess, brothers and partners in the H. & H. Coal Company at Dixonville, PA, began the company after World War II. The company operated from 1945 until 1962. Jack B. Hicks Jr. chose coal mining as his career. He has worked as an underground miner for Rosebud and Doverspike Coal Companies. His friends describe him as a really good guy. Stanley Karolick came from Poland to find work at the Adrian Mines. His sons Stanley Karolick, Jr. and Mike Karolick, first generation Americans, followed in their fatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s footsteps and chose to work in the coal industry. Stanley Jr., worked at the tipple and Mike worked in the mines. Peter Krawzyk came to Young Township from Germany in 1912. He worked as a coal miner in the Anita Mines and later at Cortez.

Like many miners of his time, after years of working in the mines, he suffered from pneumoconiosis (black lung, often called minerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s asthma). Thomas Madden, in 1882 at the age of seven years, arrived in the Punxsutawney area from England. His father had come to find work in the mines. Thomas began working in the mines early in his life. By 1907, he had advanced to the position of fire boss at the Eleanora mine. This position carried the responsibility of inspecting the mine to assure the working conditions were safe. He continued his studies of mining and passed the examination which qualified him for promotion to the position of mine foreman second grade in 1910. He was a highly skilled miner who had spent most of his 53 years working in and about the mines and was committed to his profession. Madden made the ultimate sacrifice when he put the safety of others ahead of his own in a mining accident at the Frances Mine on August 6, 1930. Thomas Maddenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s death reflected the values he exemplified during his lifetime. Sidney (Ray) Joseph Manners a lifelong resident of McCalmont Township, spent 50 years working as a coal miner. He worked at the Kramer Mine, for the Knisely Sidney (Ray) Joseph Man- Brothers and ners, worked 50 years as a Barnes and miner at Kramer, Knisely Brothers and Barnes & T u c k e r Tucker Mines. Photo Cour- Mines. tesy of the Manners Family. Patrick Maloney, his son John F. Maloney, grandson, John F. Maloney, represent three generations of Maloney family miners who are being honored. The grandfather Patrick Maloney was born in Ireland and came to the Adrian mine area about 1886. In his day, he was

one of the best known mining men in the bituminous area. Wade D. Peace, was born in Henderson Township in 1901, a descendant of early residents of Jefferson County. Farming had been the family occupation until the Northwestern Mining and Exchange Company opened the Kramer Mine in Henderson Township. Peace began working as a miner and later became the hoisting engineer at the Kramer Mine. Joseph F. Pisarcik, was a first generation American and a son of Austrian immigrants who had found work and made their home at Stoystown, Somerset County. The family later moved to Rossiter where Pisarcik worked in the Bear Run and Frances Mines. His son John R. Pisarcik, also worked in the mines. He was employed at Greenwich Collieries from 1971 to 1992. He started at the bottom as a miner, and through hard work and due diligence, became mine foreman and superintendent. Alvin Whitfield, a first generation American, was born October 25, 1916, in McCalmont Township. His parents were from England. They came to McCalmont Township about 1904, where his father, John W. Whitfield, worked in the Adrian mines. As his sons John, Robert, William and Alvin matured, they each worked at the mines. Alvin became a railroad car loader at the Joe Staley Mine at Crawfordtown, McCalmont Township. Peter Yeder was the first person engaged in the coal industry to lose his life in a riot at Punxsutawney. He was one of the Hungarian workers employed by Sullivan & Company who had contracted to build the section of the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburg Railroad into the Punxsutawney area. On August 24, 1883, the railroadâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pay car came to Punxsutawney. The company set up a pay window at the St. Elmo Hotel office. Peter had received his pay of $1.25 per day and was waiting for the others when a dispute arose between some of the men and the paymaster over the amount of wages due them. - Continued on page 22

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Punxsutawney Hometown â&#x20AC;&#x201C; September 2019 - Issue #227 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 21

Hometown Community Continued from page 7

(‘From Our Past,’ researched by S. Thomas Curry, features items of interest from past editions of Punxsutawney and area newspapers.) August 17, 1887 — A tattoo artist is visiting neighboring towns and imprinting pictures on the arms, legs and breast of boys at from 25 cents to $1 a picture. The character adopted mostly is a representation of an actress in very limited attire. Boys who permit such disgusting pictures to be placed on their person, where they will remain for life, will live to regret it daily. (Punxsutawney Spirit) August 19, 1869 — PUBLIC NOTICE. The books of the Mahoning and Susquehanna Railroad Company will be open for the purpose of receiving subscriptions for stock in said company, at the store of Gillespie & Hamilton, in Big Run borough, on the 8th, 9th and 10th days of September, and at the store of Hastings, Bell & Co., in the borough of Punxsutawney, on the 21st, 22d and 23d of September, 1869; at which times and places all persons desirous of securing stock in said Company will have an opportunity. (Punxsutawney Plaindealer) August 22, 1894 — We are informed that large numbers of the men imported by the Berwind-White Coal Company to take the places of the old men during the strike, are leaving. Every day or so a squad of them take their departure. They perhaps do not find it pleasant to mingle with the men whose places they accepted, or else the job does not fill the measure of their expectations. Anyhow few tears are shed over their departure. The old hands, we are told, are being re-employed as rapidly as practicable,

the married men being given the preference. (Punxsutawney Spirit) August 24, 1887 — One day last week, while blasting was going on the line of the Clearfield & Jefferson railroad, opposite J. U. Gillespie’s flouring mill, a large rock struck the building, plowed through the weather-boarding, making quite a hole. The Clayville people are treated to a shower of rocks and stumps occasionally, while blasting is going on opposite the town. (Punxsutawney News) [NOTE: The town of Clayville is now Punxsutawney’s West End section. The “blasting” referred to was the construction of the railroad line to Horatio and Valier that is now the path of the Mahoning Shadow Rails to Trails.] September 8, 1886 — Base ball! base ball! don’t miss this interesting game, to be played on the fair ground on Saturday, September 11th at 10 o’clock A.M. between the Sprankle Mills nine and the Punxs’y Stars. (Valley News) [NOTE: The Valley News changed its name to Punxsutawney News on June 8, 1887.] September 9, 1869 — Taking advantage of the beautiful weather, the favorable condition of the roads and a lull in business, early on Friday morning we left the office and town for a cruise through the area’s countryside. Readers, you would be duly impressed with the beauty, agricultural wealth and general resources of this and neighboring sections. Do as we have done; travel from village to village, from farm to farm through a magnificent lumbering and agricultural district. (Punxsutawney Plaindealer) •••

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22 – Punxsutawney Hometown – September 2019 - Issue #227

n Sept. 23-Nov. 1: Treasures for Children Christmas gift & food bag applications at The Salvation Army, 9 a.m. to noon & 1 to 3 p.m. Call 814-938-5530 for information. n Sept. 26: Blood Drive, 1:30 to 6 p.m., at Grace UM Church, Sykesville. Benefits the American Red Cross. n To register for the Punxsutawney Area Community Center’s Flag Football program this fall, please contact the PACC. n Tickets are on sale for the BLINGO designer purse & cash bingo to benefit the Weather Discovery Center on Sept. 21, 1 to 4 p.m., at the Eagles. To see photos of the purses, go to the Weather Center’s Facebook page & for more information, go to or call 814-938-1000. n The Jefferson County History Center is featuring a Stones N’ Bones exhibit, regarding geology & fossils in PA., a Gone but Not Forgotten art exhibit and a Living on the Land exhibit. Visit for information. n If you’d like to volunteer at the Jackson Theater, call the Punxsutawney Area Community Center at 814-938-1008. n The First Church of God offers a Celebrate Recovery program. Contact the church or visit its Facebook page for more information. n Jeff Tech offers several Adult Education classes. Visit for information on what courses are available and starting dates. n The First United Methodist Church holds a prayer service at 7 p.m. Thursdays. n The Punxsutawney Memorial Library offers several programs, including computer classes, Teen Club, ‘Tween Group, Book Club for adults, adult coloring and activities for children. n The Punxsutawney Area Community Center offers several programs. Check the website or call 814-938-1008 for program availability. •••

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Coal Memorial

Continued from page 20 The company had calculated their pay based on the rate of $1.25 a day. Some of the workers claimed the rate was to be $1.50 per day. Mr. Murphy, the company representative, started up to his room to check the books and was immediately followed by a crowd of workers. Seeing danger in the situation, he turned around and started to force his way back down the stairs. About that time, someone threw a stone at the door of the hotel, and immediately others began throwing stones at the windows and doors. This prompted someone from within the hotel to fire several shots for the purpose of scaring the crowd away. Immediately, the crowd fired back and Peter Yeder was killed in the crossfire. As is often the case, the man who was shot and killed was an innocent bystander. His body was buried in an unmarked grave just inside the gate of at the Findley Street Cemetery, the place commonly assigned to outcasts who met their death in Punxsutawney. These are but a few of the stories of people who came to the Punxsutawney area to work on the railroads, in the coal mines or to work in functions which supported the coal industry. They are deeply woven into the fabric of this community. This article has been prepared by the Coal Memorial Committee of the Punxsutawney Area Historical & Genealogical Society, Inc. Comments on this article may be directed to PAHGS, P.O. Box 286, Punxsutawney, PA 15767. Individuals desiring to honor a coal or coal related industry worker in 2019 are encouraged to purchase their tile by June 30, 2020. A Coal Memorial tile may honor persons who worked in any aspect of the coal industry including railroads and ancillary services. Additional information and forms may be found online at or may be picked up at the Lattimer House, 400 West Mahoning Street, Punxsutawney. Forms may also be requested by e-mailing:, or calling 814-938-2555. •••

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nology, such as the Superior Series from Casio’s LampFree Projector line-up, can help. Using the Moderator Function, teachers can select a presenter from anywhere in a classroom and project their PC onto the screen. Data, classwork and presentations from students’ devices can be shared via a wireless connection with ease. These features are designed to reduce set-up time in the classroom and keep students focused on the curriculum. • Ground Control: Parents can keep everyone organized by creating a central location where plans are recorded, notes are written, to-do lists are made and paperwork is organized. Whether it’s in the mud room or kitchen, be sure to select a highly-trafficked location accessible to family members of all heights to reference and update. A wall calendar, paper organizer and chalkboard are just a few of the items to consider including in this space. • Get Creative: Learning to play an instrument is a great idea for any student, as it can jump-start creativity, help students learn to focus and problem solve, and has even been associated with higher test scores. Check out instruments designed to assist in the learning process, such as the portable Casio LK-265 Keyboard, which has the potential to open up a whole world of music with its 400 tones and 150 built-in rhythms, including the allnew Dance Music Mode. Touch-sensitive keys feature a lighting system to make learning fun, offering a great introduction to music-making. (StatePoint) •••


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Punxsutawney Hometown – September 2019 - Issue #227 – 23

24 – Punxsutawney Hometown – September 2019 - Issue #227

Profile for Punxsutawney Hometown Magazine

#227 SEPT 2019  

County Celebrates the 150th Anniversary of its Courthouse More Punxsutawney Women’s “Firsts” The History of McCalmont Township Schools Coal...

#227 SEPT 2019  

County Celebrates the 150th Anniversary of its Courthouse More Punxsutawney Women’s “Firsts” The History of McCalmont Township Schools Coal...