This Week In History: The Death of a Fayette County Soldier, 1862

This segment features a news item from Fayette County’s past. This week we examine the February 27, 1862 edition of the Genius of Liberty.

On a February evening in Cumberland, MD, Captain James Morris of the 7th Virginia Regiment sat down to pen a difficult letter.

“It becomes my painful duty to inform you, that your Son, John Deyarman, departed this life in the Hospital in this place, about twenty minutes since, of Typhoid Fever,” he wrote. “He was sick but a short time . . . I never learned until last night after dark, that he was bad or dangerous, and then I took the first train, and came up to see him, and found him dying.”

Stories In Stone: Newell R. Allton

My favorite part of working in the Pennsylvania Room is that each and every day, I’m surrounded by stories. They’re tucked into yearbook pages, scribbled in the margins of ancestry charts, and hidden away in old family letters. Whether I’m faced with tracing the history of a person, place, or event, I enjoy the challenge of piecing all the fragments together to form a single narrative.

Quick Tip: Tombstone Photographs

Have you wanted to visit an ancestor’s place of burial, but you can’t make it to Fayette County? Or maybe you’re local and you just don’t want to go out in the cold? (Can’t blame you.)

Check out the Fayette County Genealogy Project. Apart from a unique assortment of records and resources — including a bibliography of Fayette County-related books — the group maintains a terrific collection of local headstone photos. I’ve turned to this part of the site countless times in the course of my research. It’s just that great!

Many of the photos are already indexed by surname. If you don’t find the stone you’re looking for, make sure to check the list of photographed cemeteries and the batch of photos not yet indexed.

This Week In History: Valentine’s Day, 1908

This segment features a news item from Fayette County’s past. This week we examine a story from the February 14, 1908 edition of the Daily News Standard.

“The observance of St. Valentine’s day in and about Uniontown this year is very general and young and old are joining heartily in the exchange of tender missives of affection, friendship, and greeting.”

So begins a front-page article on Valentine’s Day from the Daily News Standard, published on the very date of the holiday in 1908. According to the Standard, the year saw an unprecedented number of gifts and cards moving through the post office, where the rush put the clerks in mind of Christmas.

Book of the Month: A History of the Medical Profession of Fayette County

This month I’m starting something new in the Pennsylvania Room: a Book of the Month display. As many of our visitors are from out of the area and only have time to do specific genealogical research, they usually don’t have a chance to crack open one of our local history books. Given the variety and quality of our collection, I think that’s a real shame.

So, each month I want to select a great PA Room resource that isn’t getting enough attention. For February, that book is Jacob Sidwell Hackney’s A History of the Medical Profession of Fayette County.

This Week In History: The Uniontown Motor Club, 1924

This segment features a news item from Fayette County’s past. This week we examine a story from the February 9, 1924 edition of the Morning Herald.

The headline isn’t all that eye-catching: “Annual Meeting of Motor Club Monday Evening.” This was a reference to the Uniontown Motor Club, a relatively new group reorganized from the Automobile Club of Fayette County in May of 1923. Back then they only had 82 members, but over the ensuing year, more than 700 people joined. Clearly something interesting was going on here!

Quick Tip: Town Histories

When researching the history of a particular town, check what the local media had to say on the anniversary of its founding. Newspapers often print special editions at these times that contain a wealth of historical information.

Papers printed on a town’s centennial or bicentennial are a good place to start, but don’t discount the lesser anniversaries — the 50th, the 75th, or even the odd 220th. You might even check for special editions printed by a newspaper on its own anniversary.