They are here!!

It was about 4:14 when I called the library about those ILLs; had called earlier and they said they would call me if anything came in today’s delivery, but that was two hours earlier and I wasn’t ready to accept the fact that it was another week…and nothing from Harrisburg.

So I called again, and what do I hear but–yes, the microfilm has arrived! They tried to call, but they called my other cell phone which I don’t use much anymore and which is on mute. (Didn’t I give them the new number a few weeks ago…? Well, whatever.)

I was out of this house by 4:40 and arriving at the library only a few minutes later. And there they were–two lovely boxes of microfilm tied together with a rubber band, and they were the right dates and newspapers too! 🙂 Everything perfect, no trouble with anything whatsoever! And the discoveries, the discoveries! So beautiful…and so sad.

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Finally taking research to Harrisburg

Not in person, unfortunately. I may be able to make a trip to Harrisburg later in the year, but at the moment everything is remote. I emailed the Harrisburg library regarding look-ups or microfilm loans; hopefully a reply may come in tomorrow.

Now that I have two specific dates (see previous post), I will be able to get to the details of the Harrisburg connection. One of my primary objectives is to understand the background, personal and family history of not only M.H. Kulp himself, but most especially of his wife, Sarah W. (McConnell) Detweiler; and, of course, both her marriages. The question, finally, is: Who exactly was William Champlin Detweiler?

Occupation: Lady

This morning I went out on errands, and after they were completed I decided to visit the downtown shops, and, of course, my favorite place in Shamokin’s business district–the library.

I headed there after a mostly dull trip to two odds and ends shops. At the second one I missed a trunk of 1940’s newspapers by ten minutes, nothing was left but a piece of the classifieds. After that disappointment, I wandered about the smoky junk shop for a few minutes, and, finding nothing remarkable, I proceeded to the library. I did not expect to find much there in terms of my research, as I’ve read about 80 percent of their historical materials, but there was something I needed to look up, and I enjoy being there anyway.

After checking some minor matters in a book of burial records, I went to the file cabinet where miscellaneous records on microfilm are kept, hoping that there might be something in those registers, indexes, records and dockets that I hadn’t seen yet.

Well, there were birth records, tax records up to the 1840’s, minutes of the county commissioners or something of that nature from about the same time; and marriage license dockets from the 1890’s. In that collection, there would be, of course, records of the marriage of M.H. Kulp and Sarah Detweiler, but I thought, why would I need to read that, I know what it says.

However, I had nothing better to do, so I brought out the reel and set it up at the microfilm reader. After scanning the reel’s index which preceded the actual records and required especial attention to muddle through the 19th century clerk’s handwriting, I finally found the page number and scrolled up to it.

The first few lines of the marriage license was basically what I had expected–names, parents’ names, where born, age, etc. Then, “Date of former marriages of woman, if any, and to whom.”

This of course mentioned W.C. Detweiler, Sarah’s first husband, and the date that they were married, August 11, 1887. This I’d known, but two lines down:

Name and date of death or divorce of woman’s former husband,
WC Detwiler October 24 1890

I have been looking for this date for almost as long as I’ve been researching the Kulp family at all, and finally I’ve located it in one of the more ordinary places it could have been. Needless to say, this will open up paths such as obituary searches, and of course it is an important detail for reference.

And, toward the end of the record was an interesting line which, for me, summed up the grand old era of this 19th century marriage:

Occupation of man, Lumberman
Occupation of woman, Lady

Back from the festival

I have just returned from the festival, after arriving at about 9:45 as planned, heading home for a brief break, and returning for church tours. The cemetery tour, which lasted about an hour and a half, was first on my list, but, unfortunately, I forgot my camera so no photos were taken. In addition to brief mentions of various historical figures buried in the cemetery, a few of them were portrayed by reenactors. Those portrayed included Kimber Cleaver, Henry Reese, J.J. John, Alexander Caldwell, and Sarah W. Kulp. The reenactors, in their roles as prominent Shamokin citizens of the past, spoke in the first person in a conversational, and, I imagine, a partially ad-lib manner, about their lives, careers, and achievements.

Later, I paid a visit to the Trinity Episcopal Church on Lincoln Street, which was open for self-guided tours. The interior was exceedingly beautiful; the vestibule walls were of stone, and large doors led into the nave, which included a vaulted ceiling of magnificent dark wood. The walls, of a pale ivory color, were lined with stained glass windows, dedicated in memory of various prominent members of the parish.

The main window behind the altar, also of stained glass, is dedicated to the memory of Monroe H. and Sarah W. Kulp. Their names, as well as the dates that they were born and died, can be read on the lower panels of the window.

I brought my camera this time, and took three photos, featured below.

Left: A view of the church pews – Center: Toward altar – Right: Stained glass window in memory of M.H. and Sarah Kulp. (Due to the height of the window, I was unable to get close enough for a clear photo.)

Photo: Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Shamokin. Lincoln Street, looking east.

In my previous post, I mentioned the church tours featured in the Anthracite Heritage event. This, specifically, is the church I was referring to–where M.H. Kulp, then a well-known Congressman, and Sarah (McConnell) Detweiler, a widow native to Dauphin County, the sister of Colonel William C. McConnell, were married in 1897. The church was built in 1892.

Photo taken May 19.

Heritage Festival Friday & Saturday

May 23/24 are the days of the local Anthracite Heritage Festival here in Shamokin. This event, a kind of historical/reminiscence/nostalgic type of thing, has been an annual attraction since 2006, at which time I had a minimal interest in Shamokin history so I didn’t attend–in fact I didn’t even know it was going on, I suppose because I was in the middle of relocating at the time. Last year, however, I did hear about it and attended, but thought it was rather a bore. The fact is there was no official schedule and I had to go puttering through week-old newspapers at the library to find out what was going on, and inevitably I missed a lot. Basically, what I saw was an infestation of vendors camped out on the median of Market Street, selling crafts and novelties, and a very noisy bandstand–by the firehouse, was it?–playing rather forgettable music most of the time. At CareerLink (courthouse, career center combination), which used to be an old high school, ancient film reels from the Diamond Jubilee parade of 1939 were playing in the former auditorium. Rather dull. I heard there was a cemetery tour going on, but I thought, why trek morbidly through a cemetery, I know who’s buried there.

I was not aware that there was also a tour going on of the church in which a couple I was researching were married 110 years before. Had I known that, you can be sure I would have hastened myself there directly, and I would have been much more pleased with the outcome of the festival overall. But…I did not learn this until several months later while browsing an online archive of recent local newspapers. If they had put out a more complete and easy to find schedule (which it is becoming apparent they are not doing this year either), I would have been much more appreciative. Anyway, enough of my complaints.

There are tours of local churches this year as well, and the cemetery tour will feature the usual reenacters–area thespians portraying prominent Shamokinites of the past, another thing I was unaware of last year. I intend to be at both events, now with my convenient camera phone should a need for it arise.

The weather here is deplorable for May; rain and clouds for most of the last few weeks, I haven’t been counting exactly. With any luck there will be sun soon or the festival could get derailed somewhat; hope not.