Tuesday, July 29, 2008



Sparks Around the Campfire
The Story of Schuylkill County in the Civil War

Patriotic Rally
Wednesday, September 3, 2008—7:00 p.m.—Sovereign Majestic Theater
Admission—5 cents. Call 628-2833
Join us at the Sovereign Majestic Theater and relive the sights and sounds of a Patriotic Rally during the Civil War Era. Speeches, music, lectures and more.

Civil War Show and Tell
Thursday, September 4, 2008—5:30 p.m.—Historical Society of Schuylkill County
Admission—Donation Accepted. Call 622-7540
Bring your Civil War artifacts for appraisal or to discuss with other Civil War aficionados. The Civil War Exhibit in the Historical Society will be open for tours.
Marty Hupka will be in attendance with several Civil War Era photographs…he is offering a reward of $50.00 for the positive identification of specific people in the photos.

Meet General Meade, Victor of the Battle of Gettysburg
Anthony Waskie, Philadelphia - Professor of Languages & Member of the Civil War & Emancipation Studies Forum, Temple University
Thursday, September 4, 2008—7:00 p.m.—Historical Society of Schuylkill County
Admission—Donation Accepted. Call 622-7540
Using Meade's own words and extensive background research, Anthony Waskie, speaking as General Meade, will recount the General's career and services to the nation. From his work as an engineer and lighthouse builder, to combat in the Seminole and Mexican Wars, to his assuming command of the Union Army on the eve of the Battle of Gettysburg (where he handed Lee his first defeat), Meade was integral to the survival of the Union. Not only successful in war, Meade also designed Philadelphia's Fairmount Park, founded two schools for orphans of Civil War veterans and helped integrate surviving veterans back into peacetime pursuits.
Participants are encouraged to ask “General Meade” questions about his life and work.

Torchlight Vignettes
Friday, September 5, 2008—Schuylkill County Council for the Arts
6:00 - 7:30 p.m. – Mingle and Dine
8:00 p.m. – Till? – Torchlight Vignettes
Admission—$8.00. Call 622-2788
Enjoy a Civil War Era evening featuring strolling musicians, choral groups, living historians, food vendors followed by Torchlight Vignettes where various Civil War scenes are brought to life by living historians.

Grave Tours
Saturday, September 6, 2008—10:00 a.m.-12:00 noon.—Meet at Presbyterian Cemetery (Howard Avenue and 12th Street)
Admission—Free to all
Tour Presbyterian Cemetery led by John Hoptak, Author and US Park Ranger and Tom Shay, Local Historian, to see the final resting place and hear the stories of the lives of Civil War Notables, including Brigadier General James Nagle, Colonel Daniel Nagle, Medal of Honor Winner Colonel Jacob Frick.

Saturday, September 6, 2008—12:00p.m.-1:00p.m.
Admission – Free, Donations Accepted
Barry Berkey - Historian, Weapons Expert - “Weapons of the Civil War”—Historical Society of Schuylkill County
Jim Corrigan - Author, Historian—”Schuylkill County Coal Miners and the Battle of the Crater”—Sovereign Majestic Theater
Danielle Richards - Historian, Educator - “Arrest the Women at Once and Dispose of Them” - The War & Schuylkill County Irish Women—Historical Society of Schuylkill County.

Saturday, September 6, 2008—2:00p.m.-3:00p.m.
Admission – Free, Donations Accepted
Stu Richards - Author, Historian. - “From the Prison Pen, Schuylkill County Soldiers and Civilians in Rebel Prisons.”— Historical Society of Schuylkill County
Mark Major – Historian, Author - “Schuylkill County in the Civil War: A Collection of Highlights, Unique Stories and Random Insights—Sovereign Majestic Theater.

Saturday, September 6, 2008—3:00p.m.-4:00p.m.
Admission – Free, Donations Accepted
John Hoptak - Author, Historian, Park Ranger Antietam battlefield. “Schuylkill County's Veteran War Horse: The Life and Forgotten Service of Brigadier General Nagle.”—Historical Society of Schuylkill County
Tom Shay - Historian, Antietam Battlefield guide. - “The men and the Units from Schuylkill County and the battles they fought in”—Sovereign Majestic Theater.

Book Signing
Saturday, September 6, 2008—12:00p.m.-4:00p.m.—Historical Society of Schuylkill County
Admission – Free, Donations Accepted. Call 622-7540
The Research Room of the Historical Society will be open for meet and greet and book signings by authors John Hoptak, Jim Corrigan, and Stu Richards.

Premiere of Movie “The Color Bearers”
Saturday, September 6, 2008—7:00 p.m.—Sovereign Majestic Theater
Admission—$5.00. Call 628-2833
The Color Bearers is an enlightening, entertaining look at American Patriotism’s evolution as embodied by its iconic symbol the American Flag.
While the film explores the familiar themes in that great American Story – Francis Scott Key and the flag planted atop Iwo Jima – it also explores lesser known but no less deserving subjects such as Mary Pickersgill, maker of the Star Spangled Banner that flew over Ft McHenry and inspired the Star Spangled Banner – Sgt William H Carney, the first African American to be awarded the Medal of Honor for his gallant bravery and defense of the flag with the 54th Massachusetts at Fort Wagner, and who later inspired the film “Glory”. Alongside these heroes of America’s past, the program features modern day patriots – common Americans doing uncommon things to honor their flag and their country – such as NY Artist Scott LoBaido who traveled the United States painting one large American Flag mural on one rooftop in each of the fifty states. This he did with no corporate sponsorship, and as he put it –”I’ll get back to New York with about a hundred bucks left to my life.”
We meet a descendent of Sgt William Carney – and also the descendents of two other Civil War Flag-bearing heroes – and hear how the bravery of their gallant ancestors has affected and helped shape their lives today.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


A Miners Can and Bottle from my collection.

Found this little article in an 1896 Pottsville Journal newspaper. It is about the famous Miners “CAN”

The Dinner Pail

The dinner pail of song and story is known throughout the anthracite coal regions as the “Can”. Foolish workmen in the giddy metropolises may shape the style of their lords and corporations masters an call it the “Dinner Pail” or “Dinner kettle” but until the last Italian, and the Hunkey have driven out the last Irishman, Welshman, or Englishman. It will continue to be called the “Can”,
The meaning of the phrase “pick up your can and go home” is much clearer to a breaker boy who has broken three panes of glass with a piece of “boney” coal than the more exact one of “you are this day discharged.”
The can and bottle are not to be messed with anywhere but in the Anthracite mining region and even there new fangled notions are slowly changing their shapes. The new can was made something like this:
All cans were invariably the same size. Few men felt safe from the laughter of the fellows if they carried a “butter kettle” to the mines. They were looked upon as either dudes or gluttons and the man around the mines is sensitive in the extreme, fearing to break a fashion.
The “Butter Kettle” was made like this, the lid being a compartment which held the drinkables.
Brakemen were excusable for carrying butter kettles, but since the plain unfrilled “can” came out 25 years ago, it has held popular favor. Fifteen years ago a can sold for 5o cents, now you can get it for 15 cents. Men like McKinley make such things possible.
The miner’s bottle came into life about 1843. It was born of necessity, the parent of so many things, and is a modification of the water bottle of the Arab in the desert. It is made like this cut. The “stopper” is made of wood or cork or paper. Many men on their way to work have been unjustly accused of “bouncing snipe” (I.e. cigar stumps) when in fact they were just stooping in the gutter in front of a saloon to pick up a cork. The quart bottle of 1872 cost 50 cents. Now you can get for 12 cents, which is all on account of McKinley.
The woeful want that often prevailed in the coal regions made the can play its part of deceit. The bottle has been filled with water instead of coffee. Lard masqueraded as butter, an often is the can taken into the mines empty, and filled on the return from the shift at the local watering hole.

Pottsville Journal 1896

A later model "CAN"