Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.

25 November 2015

On This Day: Storm of the century dumps feet of snow

The “storm of the century” hit the eastern United States On This Day in 1950. The storm dumped several feet of snow over the Appalachians and nearby areas.

The storm formed over North Carolina. It moved north affecting western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and West Virginia. In addition to the blanket of snow, record colds and strong windstorm struck from North Carolina to New York and beyond to the New England states. 

This storm is said to have claimed 160 lives. 

The Logan Daily News, out of Logan, Ohio, called the storm the “worst snowstorm on record.” The snow was 19 inches deep in Pittsburgh On This Day in 1950, according to the Delaware County Daily Times, in Chester, PA. The paper also reported that another 15 inches was expected and that Pittsburgh was essentially paralyzed. The Daily Notes, out of Canonsburg, PA, ran a photo of snow drifts in Cleveland, stating that the blizzard was the worst since 1913. 

Stormof the century hits eastern US. 25 November 1950. History.com. 

On This Day is a prompt to further explore historical events.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

24 November 2015

Tombstone Tuesday: Christopher Charles Castaldi

Christopher Charles Castaldi is buried at the Hephzibah Baptist Church Cemetery in East Fallowfield Township, Chester County. My girls stumbled – literally – upon him the night we went up to “visit” my 4x great grandmother, Margaret Still who is also buried there.

His stone reads:
Christopher Charles Castaldi
November 25, 1996
We’ll see you someday in heaven
And hold you in our arms
Until then you remain a memory
A baby forever ours. 

Had he lived, little Christopher would have been 19 tomorrow.  


Tombstone Tuesday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers. 
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

On This Day: Lucy is discovered

It was On This Day in 1974 that Lucy was found! Lucy lived 3.2 million years ago in the area now known as Ethiopia. She walked upright. She was a fully grown adult female, although she was just under four foot tall. 

Lucy was found by Donald Johanson and Tom Gray in Ethiopia at the site of Hadar. The two archeologists took a different route back to their vehicle and noticed a right proximal ulna belonging to a hominid. In the next two weeks, several hundred bone fragments were found, adding up to 40% of a single skeleton. 

A hominid is a member of the Hominidae family. That zoological family consists of the species originating after the human/African ape ancestral spirit, according to the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University 

Lucy’sStory. Institute of Human Origins, Arizona State University. 


On This Day is a prompt to further explore historical events.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

23 November 2015

On This Day: Colorado governor calls on militia

Unions have been supporting workers in America for centuries. The Western Federation of Miners (WFM) had been founded in 1893 in Montana. Its strong influence had reached Cripple Creek in Colorado. By the end of October 1903, miners in the Cripple Creek gold mines took part in a strike. The goal of the strike was an eight hour workday. 

With the gold mine standing still, Colorado Governor James Peabody sent the state militia into town On This Day in 1903. The mine owners, determined to break the union, had turned to the governor for state militia protection for the replacement workers being brought in. 

The strike, over the next few months, turned violent. By mid-summer the following year (1904), the strike was over and the union never regained the same control.  

Colorado governor sends militia to Cripple Creek. 23 November 1903. History.com  


On This Day is a prompt to further explore historical events.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

22 November 2015

On This Day: Where were you when Kennedy was assassinated?

It was On This Day in 1963 that our 35th United States President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. He was fatally shot by Lee Harvey Oswald while riding in his motorcade with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy by his side. Texas Governor John Connally and his wife were in the vehicle with them at the time.  

There is nothing I can write that has not already been written about this fateful day in America’s history. May His Memory Be Eternal. 

Do YOU remember where you were that day when you heard the news of his death? 

John F.Kennedy assassinated. 22 November 1963. History.com  


On This Day is a prompt to further explore historical events.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

21 November 2015

Society Saturday: NGS Announces Program for the 2016 Family History Conference

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) has released its 2016 Family History Conference program. The program, which includes more than 170 lectures, is now available online and as a sixteen-page registration brochure.

Nationally known speakers and subject matter experts will address a broad array of topics, including records for Florida and its neighboring states; migration into and out of the region; military records; state and federal records. Other topics will discuss genealogical research on African Americans and women; methodology; analysis and problem solving; and the use of technology, including genetics, mobile devices, and apps useful in genealogical research.

The conference will take place at the Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from 4 May to 7 May 2016. Registration opens on 1 December 2015 at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/register/. A number of special events have limited seating, so register on 1 December, or as soon as possible thereafter, if you plan to attend these events.

Up-to-date information about the availability, amenities, and rates for conference hotels can be found at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/attend/accommodations/. You can also sign up for the NGS Conference Blog at http://conferenceblog.ngsgenealogy.org so you do not miss conference news or announcements.

The National Genealogical Society, founded in 1903, is dedicated to genealogical education, exemplary standards of research, and the preservation of genealogical records.

The above is a press release from the National Genealogical Society.

Society Saturday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers. 
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

19 November 2015

On This Day: Lincoln Delivers Gettysburg Address

President Abraham Lincoln had been invited to say a few words at the dedication of part of the battlefield in Gettysburg. He had, for some time, been planning on making some sort of public statement on the war. This event seemed the perfect opportunity. Being ever so humble, Lincoln did not expect the world to recall his words that somber day. 

It was with that humble thought that Lincoln, On This Day in 1863, Lincoln gave his now famous Gettysburg Address. 

I can recall having to memorize this in eighth grade (I think it was). Sadly, I do not recall my kids having to learn this.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.


Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. 19 November 1863. History.com


On This Day is a prompt to further explore historical events.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

18 November 2015

On This Day: Lock Haven State School Superintendent visits Lancaster

Professor Albert Newton Raub, the superintendent of the State Normal School in Lock Haven, was in Lancaster City On This Day in 1882. He was here visiting his brother, S. W. Raub. 

Dr. Raub was only 29 when he started the movement to establish a Normal School in Lock Haven. At the time, he served as principal of the Lock Haven High School. Not only was he instrumental in establishing the Central State Normal School, which would evolve into the current Lock Haven State University (LHU), he also became her first president. 

Raub had been born in Lancaster County on 28 March 1840. He had graduated from Millersville Normal School. That school, of course, is now known as Millersville State University (MU).  

In addition to teaching, he also authored several textbooks. He resigned in 1884 when he went on to Delaware College in Newark, DE. He died in 1904, leaving a wife and six children. 

Conner, Matt. “LHU’s founding father, Dr. Albert Newton Raub.” The Express (Lock Haven, PA). 7 May 2011. 

Lancaster Daily Intelligencer. (Lancaster, PA), 18 November 1882. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.  

Raub, Albert N. Lock Haven University 1877-2008Collection. Power Library.  


On This Day is a prompt to further explore historical events.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

17 November 2015

Historic Huguenot Street expresses solidarity with France

As a community founded by French settlers over 300 years ago, we at Historic Huguenot Street are saddened by the devastating attacks in Paris on Friday. Our hearts go out to our French allies, families, and friends. “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” is more than just a motto – it represents a set of values that we all share. We stand united with Paris and offer our support to all affected by this tragedy.

The above, including the photo, was taken directly from a press release/email
from Historic Huguenot Street.

Tombstone Tuesday: Catherine Kurenda Yuzwiak

Catherine Kurenda Yuzwiak is my Baba’s sister. She is buried with her husband, John Yuzwiak, at the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Cemetery in Valley Township, just outside Coatesville in Chester County. She passed 37 years ago yesterday so I thought it fitting to feature her today on Tombstone Tuesday. 

Catherine was born on 1 January 1912 to John and Frances Skrabalak Kurenda. She married John Yuzwiak (1904 – 1984) on 29 June 1929 at Holy Ghost Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (as it was then called). They had two sons: John and Stephen. She died on 16 November 1978. 

Tombstone Tuesday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers. 

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

On This Day: Lancaster widow left destitute

A Lancaster widow has been left destitute. Mrs. Peterman, of 321 Concord alley in Lancaster City, lost her husband a few months ago. Three months ago she lost a child. Another child died last week and On This Day in 1880 another child lay dying.  

The Peterman family reportedly has nothing to eat. Neighbors help where they can but are said to be scared to visit since the children are believed to have died of diphtheria. Contributions for the family were being accepted at several locations in the City. 

The Lebanon Daily News published an article of “an unusually sad case” involving the Peterman family which gave more details. The article notes that the father, George Peterman, was alive just eight months prior. He was in ill health and barely able at that time to feed his wife and their nine children. This article, published only a week after the one in Lancaster paper, states that the children died one by one, starving to death. After the sixth child died, money that had been collected in the community was taken to the widow. Upon reaching the house however it was noticed that a crape was upon the door. The day before another child – a four year old boy this time – had died of diphtheria. This poor widow, who had reportedly enjoyed good health before the death of her husband, now had but two children left alive. 

George Peterman, according to the US Federal Census Mortality Schedule, was 45 when he died in March 1880 of dropsy. He was born in Germany and made his living as a brewer. 

Lancaster Daily Intelligencer. (Lancaster, PA), 17 November 1880. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.  

Lebanon Daily News (Lebanon, PA), 24 November 1880. Newspapers.com. 

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Non-Population Census Schedules for Pennsylvania, 1850-1880: Mortality; Archive Collection: M1838; Archive Roll Number: 10; Census Year: 1880; Census Place: Lancaster Ward 9, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Page: 1 


On This Day is a prompt to further explore historical events.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

16 November 2015

On This Day: Kennedy looses foot in railroad accident

David Kennedy lost his foot after a railroad related accident, it was announced On This Day in 1881. Kennedy is a brakeman on engine No 287 or the Pennsylvania railroad. He lives in Columbia, Lancaster County.

The accident occurred in Downingtown, Chester County. A passing car ran over his foot. The foot was crushed so badly that it needs to be amputated. Kennedy was brought home to Columbia. 

Lancaster Daily Intelligencer. (Lancaster, PA), 16 November 1881. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.  


On This Day is a prompt to further explore historical events.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

15 November 2015

On This Day: Snyder named court crier and interpreter

Joseph C. Snyder was named crier and interpreter On This Day in 1880 for Lancaster County Courts. The position was left vacant following the death of George Albright.

A note about Snyder:
Joseph Snyder was 63 when he was appointed the court crier. He and his wife Anna lived on North Queen Street in Lancaster City.  

Lancaster Daily Intelligencer. (Lancaster, PA), 15 November 1880. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.  

Year: 1880; Census Place: Lancaster, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1142; Family History Film: 1255142; Page: 135C; Enumeration District: 155; Image: 0437 


On This Day is a prompt to further explore historical events.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015