Monday, April 13, 2020

A Brief History of Politics in Crawford County

Crawford County has rarely stifled its opinions regarding national politics. The tone was set by residents in 1807 who burned an effigy of Federalist, Aaron Burr outside the courthouse. And this was hardly the county’s last political riot. While training to fight the British in 1812, the theft of an onion split local militiamen along party lines leading to a clash between Federalists troopers and their Democratic comrades who were hellbent on torching downtown Meadville.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Life and Customs in Meadville, 1842

Meadville's Diamond Park as it may have looked in the early 1800s
In the central part of a letter headed Meadville, Dec 18th, 1842, my great, great grandmother Agnes Kennedy (née Craig), described her life in Meadville for her sister Elizabeth, back in their birthplace of New Cumnock in Ayrshire, Scotland.[1] In May 1842, aged 17, she had eloped with John Kennedy, a 27-year-old merchant (also from New Cumnock), and been married in Edinburgh.[2] Shortly afterward they were at the port in Glasgow, where they boarded the ship Congress, which arrived in New York on July 1.[3]

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Timothy Alden and the Founding of Allegheny College

Timothy Alden Jr., the founder of Allegheny College, was by all accounts a charismatic and motivated man who pursued opportunities to expand education throughout his life. He was descended from John Alden, who landed on Plymouth Rock on November 15, 1620. Like his father, Timothy Alden, he was a Harvard educated pastor and was ordained in 1799. He was the principal of three different academies in Portsmouth, Boston, and Newark, after which he moved to Meadville in 1815. “[Alden’s] goal was to serve God by serving Man, and to service his young county by strengthening its unity through inculcation of a community of ethics and morality through the education of ministers, teachers and others in the newly settled regions”.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Amazing Story of the Exposition Park Fire of 1908

 The morning after - charred remains of the fire's path. The Hotel Conneaut stands untouched in the background.

As the morning darkness of December 2, 1908, dissolved into daylight, a scene of utter destruction revealed itself along the shores of Conneaut Lake. Wisps of smoke twisted feebly from the charred debris of Exposition Park. The sight of such amusement for so many just months earlier now offered only sooty outlines and blackened, smoldering heaps made all the more pronounced by thin, ragged patches of snow.

Exhausted firemen and volunteers shuffled along gathering their buckets and hoses in preparation for the return to their stations. They had just battled what, for some, would be the biggest blaze they would ever witness, and certainly the most destructive in the park’s history. Had the fire occurred during the height of the summer season, the disaster would likely have been catastrophic. Instead, despite the loss of over forty structures, thankfully no one perished.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Baldwin-Reynolds Reflects Shared Dickens Era Past

Christmas Carol Illustration by John Leech
One of John Leech's Original Illustrations for A Christmas Carol 
With the Baldwin-Reynolds House Museum hosting their annual "Fezziwig’s Christmas Dinner" in just a few short days, some readers might be curious “what’s in a name” for this nearly sold out event. Charles Dickens’ famous novella, A Christmas Carol holds special meaning to all of us at the Crawford County Historical Society.