An Imperfect Politician – The Election and Career of a Pa. Legislator and How Things Haven’t Changed From 1894-2008

Politics and Our Ancestors: Finally, it’s a COG topic I really know. After all, the man at the center of my non-genealogical historical research was a politician–specifically a United States Representative–from turn-of-the-century slightly rural Pennsylvania. Though he was primarily a private businessman, his two-term Washington career ultimately became his best-known and most-hyped accomplishment. However, being a persistent researcher such as I am, I soon discovered there was a lot to his Congressional doings that the mainstream local histories and county biographies, well–just forgot to mention. And, at the same time, I found that I was uncovering an interestingly familiar story, one that in this turbulent political season may just prove that some things don’t entirely change with time.

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Sunbury & Mt. Carmel newspapers

Well, a few Inter-Library Loans arrived today. The Halifax Bicentennial, however, has not arrived yet and I am beginning to wonder if perhaps it is really non-circulating. Which would not be good, because the State Library is the only library in the state that has it, and going there right now just isn’t possible.

So, what did arrive today? Newspapers from the Sunbury Daily and Mount Carmel Item, 1931. I had decided to look up the obituary of Sarah W. Kulp in other area newspapers, since I’d only checked the local paper before and there might be something else mentioned elsewhere that I needed to know.

Well, there wasn’t much, but it was nonetheless an interesting read…especially about her brother’s involvement in Prohibition. Had not heard that before.

Sunbury Daily: Monday, February 23, 1931, page 3

Mrs. Sarah Kulp of Shamokin Dies

Mrs. Sarah Washington Detwiler Kulp, 64 years old, of Shamokin, widow of the late Congressman Monroe Henry Kulp, died suddenly Sunday at Atlantic City where she had gone to spend a few days.

Mrs. Kulp is believed to have been the only woman who ever was the president of a traction company. After her husband’s death in 1911 she took over the active management of the Shamokin-Edgewood Railway Company, now defunct, a line which served Edgewood, one of the three communities her husband had founded. The other two are Fairview and Kulpmont.

She was known throughout Northumberland County for her activities, which took up much of her time until very recently when she decided to take things easier. Her husband at his death left a considerable fortune which he had accumulated in various enterprises, which had included the building of a railroad, real estate development and the management of a lumber company left to him by his father.

The couple had no children. Mrs. Kulp is survived by her brother, former State Senator W.C. McConnell, who some years ago was prohibition administrator in Philadelphia in the early days of prohibition. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

Mount Carmel Item: Monday, February 23, 1931, page 7

Mrs. Monroe H. Kulp is Dead

Word was received at Shamokin of the death of Mrs. Sarah W. D. Kulp, 64, widow of Congressman Monroe Henry Kulp and head of the Shamokin-Edgewood Trolley Company for a number of years. She died yesterday at Atlantic City where she was spending several days.

The late Congressman was one of the best known men this county ever knew. He was one of the founders of Kulpmont and the Episcopal church there was named as memorial to him.

______________________________________________________________________

As a note: For some reason, both articles say that she was 64, but actually she was 68, as most records say she was born in March of 1862.

Newspaper tidbits

While browsing about the Internet today, I happened across a few tidbits from Mt. Carmel newspapers on a site I visit all the time–don’t know how I missed them, the files have been online since 1997 (!). I think that’s before the days of RootsWeb even!

Well, what I found were brief notices in the Mt. Carmel Ledger, on various subjects. From Friday, October 28, 1892:

M.H. Kulp, of Shamokin, accompanied by his brother Chester Kulp, transacted business at Mt Carmel, Wednesday, October 26, 1892.

Friday, January 6, 1893, about his brother:

Gilbert Kulp, one of Shamokin’s best known young men, returned home from a week’s jaunt to Philadelphia Saturday afternoon. He also spent a day with his former college chum, A.Z. Kalback, at Lebanon, Pa.

Same day:

Gilbert Kulp, he who helped to complete the list of society young men of Shamokin was in Mt. Carmel between trains Wednesday.

Friday, March 3, 1893:

Superintendent John Williams and M.H. Kulp of Shamokin, transacted business in Mt Carmel on Feb 28, 1893.

Friday, March 27, 1893, regarding his brother Howard:

Howard Kulp, formerly of Shamokin, now running the lumber business for his father in Centre county, spent a few days in town this week.

Friday, May 5, 1893:

Monroe H. Kulp, the Shamokin, Northumberland county, lumber dealer, transacted business here on Tuesday.

A more abstract collection of ledger entries, from 1894, indexed in alphabetical order, references M.H. Kulp’s mother, Mrs. D.R. Kulp, sister Ella, and brother G. Gilbert (Gilbert G. is the same):

Kulp, D.R. Mrs. lived in Shamokin on May 11, 1894 m/o Miss Ella Kulp
of Reading Hospital
Kulp, Ella Miss lived in Shamokin on May 11, 1894 was in Reading
hospital ch/o Mrs. D.R.Kulp of Shamokin
Kulp, G. Gilbert at College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y on Jan 12,
1894, visited his parents on Dewart St. in Shamokin
Kulp, G. Gilbert b/o Ella Kulp both of Mt. Carmel
Kulp, Gilbert G. lived in Shamokin on Jun 15, 1894

Not sure why it says both Ella and Gilbert were from Mt. Carmel; never heard that before, although it may be possible they lived there briefly at one time.

Mount Carmel Red Cross

I am waiting for a call from the director at the Mount Carmel Red Cross; called there on Friday the 16th and was told she would phone Monday.

Mount Carmel is about two major towns east of here; the closest chapter of the Red Cross. I was calling about the Shamokin chapter which closed several years ago. When it was formed in 1917, Sarah W. Kulp, widow of Monroe H., was one of the officers, and I have been interested in this angle of my research for quite a while now. An organization of that type would undoubtedly keep documents and photos which would be important to my research. She was also one of the officers of the Shamokin Visiting Nurses Association in 1913, but that organization is also long shut down and I have not been able to locate any information on what happened to their records.