Volume Four  Issue Ten October 2019
The History Center on Main Street
 83 and 61 North Main Street
Mansfield, PA
The Museum of Us
The History Center on Main Street
Director- Joyce M. Tice: President - Deb Talbot Bastian: V.P - Kathy McQuaid
Jim Thorp and Ed Russell
A Piece of Jim Thorpe’s Life Resides at the History Center
78 years ago, this week, Jim Thorpe was in Mansfield.

Thorpe, proclaimed the World’s Greatest Athlete following his remarkable performance at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, spent a few days in Mansfield prior to addressing the Mansfield State Teachers College student body and invited friends in Straughn Auditorium at 10 a.m. on the morning of October 21, 1941.

During his stay, Thorpe was reported walking about town and watching the college football team practice. He also, no doubt, visited his friend and former teammate, Ed Russell Sr.
Russell, the owner of the Mansfield Marble Works located on East Wellsboro Street, was also serving as the President of borough council in 1941. The pair first got to know each other when they played on the legendary Canton Bulldogs -- one of the founding members of the NFL – 25 years prior to Thorpe’s visit.

Edward Clarendon Russell (1892-1956) at left
Russell played for the Mansfield State Normal School football team from 1909 through 1911 before matriculating to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. After starring for the freshman team at Penn in 1912, Russell was promoted to varsity status starting on the line playing guard or tackle for the Quakers from 1913-15.
Russell returned to Mansfield after serving in World War I, later coaching the Mountaineer football teams in the 1920s. He lived a productive and meaningful life in Mansfield serving as a borough council president as well as burgess for more than 20 years while raising a family. He was a pillar of our community.
Thorpe, who was the coach and star player for Canton while Russell started on the offensive line during the 1916 and 1917 championship seasons, was one of the most famous people in the world at one point in his life. In addition to football, he played professional baseball for the New York Giants, teaming with Arnot’s Red Murray on the Giants 1913 National League championship team.
For a man who seemed to have everything, Thorpe’s life turned out to be nowhere nearly as successful as his friend Russell’s.
Plagued by bad investments and personal failures, Thorpe spent most of his adult life in dire straits.

In the summer of 1928 Thorpe was desperately in need of some financial assistance. He penned a letter to his former teammate in Mansfield asking for a loan. The letter is a testament to his desperation. He cites losing money on the basketball barnstorming tour the previous winter, his second wife preparing to go into the hospital and being behind on payments for his Studebaker.

It is truly a remarkable and rare look into the despite life of one of the most recognizable names in athletic history.

Jim Thorpe at right
Brent Bixby acquired the letter from Ed Russell, Jr. some time ago and donated it to the History Center in 2017.

The handwritten letter is one of the many treasures you can see only at the History Center on Main Street.

Article by Steve McCloskey
Upcoming Events
November 12 - The Mansfield Garden Club will hold its meeting at the Museum of Us

November 16-17 Oil Painting Basics with Randy Owen ($50 fee - contact Deb at 570-662-2955

December 1 - Glass Jewelry Snowman with Barb Slater Sargent ($25 fee - contact Deb at 570-662-2955)
Your Trash is Our Treasure
Are you cleaning out your parents' attic, or moving, or just downsizing? Be on the alert for items that you may not see as important, but which are part of the story of the community to which they relate. Local history museums, such as ours, treasure family items such as albums, yearbooks, scrapbooks, dusty old business ledgers, postcard albums, school or business mementos.

Old photos hold a lot of information about their time and place even if they are not labeled. If you have an old family album, do not remove the photos. Often knowing which family they came from and who is next to whom, helps us identify them. Also photographer information is helpful and usually identifies a place as well.
This is NOT Trash!
Your family is part of the community even if most of the remaining members have moved away. Our greatest pleasure is having out of town visitors whose family used to live here, and being able to tell them, "Yes, we know about your grandparents, and here are some pictures."

Be aware also that museums are able to send items that don't fit their needs or theme on to a museum that can make better use of them. We have received items from all over the country from other museums that found a Mansfield item in their collection. We even received a local family Bible from a funeral home in Oregon, and they paid $65 in in special insured shipping to get it back home. I thought that was very generous of them.

One of the frequent things we hear is, "I hope you'll take this. My kids will throw it out." We won't throw it out.
    Mansfield’s cemeteries, like most small ones, are in financial trouble. If they continue to spend more on upkeep than they bring in as income, their funds will soon be exhausted. If you are interested in the maintenance and appearance of the Prospect and Oakwood Cemeteries, please consider making a contribution to the Prospect-Oakwood Preservation Society. Checks should be made out to The Prospect Cemetery Association and mailed as follows:
The Prospect Cemetery Association
% June Rudy, Secretary-Treasurer
55 North Hill Terrace
Mansfield, PA 16933
Points of Interest about Mansfield’s Burgesses and Mayors
Until 1963, Boroughs in Pennsylvania had Burgesses after which the title was changed to Mayor. The Borough of Mansfield was formed in 1857. It had previously been part of Richmond Township.
Henry Allen, a lawyer, was the first Burgess of Mansfield when the borough was incorporated. He served two one-year terms. The first in 1857 and again in 1866.
Thomas Hancock Bailey served ten years as Burgess. He served seven one year terms in 1882, 1883, 1886-1889, and one three year term from 1900-1903. 
The youngest Burgess was Weston D. Lang who was elected to the office at the age of 23 in 1865.
Ernie Vosburg was the first to hold the title of Mayor. His term was from 1963 to 1977, making him the second longest serving mayor.
Vosburg Street is named for Ernie Vosburg whose father, A. Howard Vosburg, also served as Burgess from 1913 to 1918.
Thomas J. Wierbowski is the longest serving Mayor having been in office through four terms from 2002 to 2017.
From 1857 to the present there have been 40 burgesses/mayors.
Elliott Hall on the Mansfield University Campus is named for Simon B. Elliott who served as Burgess in 1859.
Garside Avenue is named for Joseph Garside who was Burgess from 1954 to 1962. He was also a State Trooper and ran a hobby shop.
Burgesses and Mayors of Mansfield have come from all walks of life. Two Mansfield Advertiser editors held the office of Burgess: Frank VanKeuren 1895 to 1896 and Edwin Coles 1922 to 1936.
John W. Adams (1871), as well as Henry Allen (1857, 1866), were lawyers.
Both Hubbard Metcalf (1884, 1890, 1891) and Llewellyn Shaw (1918) were undertakers.
Andrew J. Ross (1862) and Phillip Williams (1863) were bankers. Their Ross and Williams Bank, established in 1872, still operates as First Citizens Community Bank in the same location but not the same building.
Charles V. Elliott (1892) and John M. Barden (1894) were physicians.
Howard Vosburg ad his adopted son, Ernie Vosburg, both served as Burgess/Mayor.
Andrew J. Ross and his son Edward Hancock Ross both served as Burgess. 
To date, Mansfield has not elected a woman to the office.
A History of the Nineteenth Century Burgesses and their times is in preparation at The History Center. It will be available by spring.
Coming This Fall - New History Center Periodical
Starting the fall, we will be producing a 40 page printed periodical with articles and photos of our area and its history. We expect to produce 4 to 6 issues a year. It will be mailed to all History Center members , and additional copies will be for sale individually. The first issue is already at the printer, but it will be sent only to potential corporate sponsors. Once we have the necessary financial support for the new magazine, we will be ready to print and distribute to members. We are already working on the second issue.

We are titling the new journal Stories From the Archive s, but that is a working title and we hope to come up with a better title. If you have any ideas, we'd be glad to hear them.

This will be another reason to become a member of The History Center or to renew your existing membership.

If you are a member, make sure we have your current address so it goes to the right place. Also be sure that your membership is current, so you don't miss any issues. Check with me at histcent83@gmail if you are not sure.

Many thanks to our first sponsors of our new journal:
First Citizens Community Bank
Mansfield Auxiliary Corporation
Larry Mansfield Law Offices
Strohecker Vision

We are still looking for additional sponsors for subsequent issues.
Oil Painting Workshop
Why do we ask for donations in every newsletter? Because we have to.
It's the only way we can continue offering our important services to the community.
Your help will make it possible.
Here's Something Interesting
In1882 several wooden buildings at the north end of the west side of N. Main Street burned. They were replaced in 1883 and 1884 by brick buildings, all but one of which still stands today. Rolason and Metcalf Furniture later became VanNoy's Furniture and is now Changos Cantina. In 1884, they would sometimes push the showroom furniture back and invite people to come in and roller skate.
After the Tioga Valley Grange was built, ca 1913, people skated there as well.
Have You Missed Previous Newsletters? 
Annual memberships are an important part of keeping us operating. Please consider a new or renewed membershi
The History Center on Main Street
The History Center on Main Street provided no goods or services in exchange for your contribution. Your contribution is deductible to the extent provided by law. The official registration and financial information of The History Center on Main Street, may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement