Volume Six  Issue Four  May 2021
The History Center on Main Street
83 and 61 North Main Street
Mansfield, PA
The Museum of Us
Director- Joyce M. Tice: President - Steve McCloskey: V.P - Kathy McQuaid
Why Mansfield Honors Memorial Day
by Steve McCloskey
Although not officially declared a national holiday until 1971, Memorial Day has long reigned as a day to honor our fellow Mansfieldians who made the ultimate sacrifice by dying in combat for their country.

Since the aftermath of the Civil War, citizens of Mansfield and surrounding communities have trekked to local cemeteries to tend the graves of fallen loved ones.  in late May they remember their sacrifice in the annual day of reflection, then known as Decoration Day.

Our local cemeteries contain the graves of hundreds who have served in combat during many of the wars in our history, but the most numerous by far are the graves of those who served during World War II.

According to accounts in the Mansfield Advertiser, a dozen or so area young men lost their life in the service of our country during World War II.

Robert “Bob” Fowler was the first from Mansfield to die in combat as reported by the Advertiser. Born in Mansfield on August 9, 1926, Bob was the oldest of three children born to Henry Fowler and his wife, Laura Davis. He lived on the family farm on Hollow Road in Richmond Township until his parents sold the farm and moved to Elmira Street before the start of the war.

Bob, a strapping young man with brown hair and eyes, was farmer-strong and a sure shot as a member of the school rifle club. He took a job working for George Myers at the Mansfield Bottling Works and also volunteered as an air raid warden searching the early morning sky in Mansfield for suspicious aircraft.

He left Mansfield after enlisting in the U.S. Army shortly after his 18th birthday, volunteering to join the famed 82nd Airborne as a paratrooper. One of the most dangerous assignments available in the Army, earning your boots and wings as a paratrooper, almost guaranteed a combat assignment.

After completing his training at Ft. Benning in Georgia, Bob proudly spent his leave with his family in Mansfield in the spring of 1944. It would be the last time his parents saw him alive. Bob arrived in England on the cusp of D-Day. Six weeks after his 19th birthday, Bob and his unit, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, got the word to gather their gear and report to the airfield. They were ordered to parachute into Nazi-occupied Holland as one of the lead units in Operation Market Garden.

Market Garden was the largest airborne assault in history involving more that 34,000 American and British troops dropping behind German lines to secure the bridges over the lower Rhine and open the road to Berlin in hopes to end the war by the conclusion of 1944. Think of the movie A Bridge Too Far.

On September 17, Bob’s lightly-armed unit flew from its base in England to the drop-zone in Holland. The 505th was assigned to capture and hold the traffic bridge at Nijmegan guarded by the SS. The courage displayed by the 82nd Airborne, including the 505th during that mission earned the unit the Presidential Unit Citation – the equivalency of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

In early October, Bob’s parents were notified their son was injured in combat in Holland. While they must have been extremely anxious about his injuries, they were also, no-doubt, relieved to believe he was alive. Before the month ended, a vehicle containing two Army officers drew everyone’s attention on East Elmira Street when it stopped at the Fowler resident.

With great regret, they reported, it was their duty to inform them Pvt. Robert Fowler had died from wounds suffered in combat in Nijmegan, Holland on September 19, 1944.

The Mansfield community joined the Fowler family in mourning the unimaginable suddenness of the death of their son along with the inexplicable sense of loss of an outstanding young man. A little less than four years later, with the war seemingly long over, the Fowler family relived the unhealable pain of his death when just before Christmas of 1948 they were informed that the body of their son Bob would be returned from Holland to Mansfield for burial.

Pvt. Robert Henry Fowler was finally home to stay when he was buried with full military honors on January 25, 1949 in Prospect Cemetery. He was warmly welcomed home by a loving family and grateful community. Mansfield would decide to name its new pool that opened that year as the Memorial pool to honor the memory of Bob and his fellow war dead.

You can find the location and read the obituary of many of Mansfield’s war dead this Memorial Day on the tri-county site of the History Center.

The Carontawan Yearbook Returns
Absent For Thirty Years
A school yearbook is a time capsule of the school, its students and faculty, and the community in which it is located. Yearbooks became popular in the early 1900s as printing became easier and more affordable. Prior to that, in the case of Mansfield State Normal School, students exchanged individual photos with classmates and also posted them on a class board in Alumni Hall. The first yearbook was published in 1918 and named The Carontawan.
In the case of Mansfield High School, the first graduating class, 1913, produced a small annual with faculty and club photos, We have several copies of the 1913 issue and one from 1918. I suspect it was published more than that, but copies have not found their way to us. The first yearbook, The Manscript, was published in 1926. The 1938 issue included class group photos from 1913 through 1925, the years where no yearbook existed. The yearbook was not produced in 1939 and 1940, because of the new school construction that disrupted normal activities. The Manscript has been published, otherwise uninterrupted, to the present day with Volume 94 underway as we write.

Published annually from 1918 until 1990, Mansfield University's yearbook, The Carontawan, has been absent for thirty years. Also missing are the thirty years of college history that would have been represented and recorded. The school newspaper, The Flashlight, has been produced all that time, so the activity record loss is not total. This year, junior, Carl Helrich and five of his fellow students, produced a new Carontawan edition. They hope to make it an annual once again. Editor Carl Helrich, tells the story of how and why in an interview at The Museum of Us in Mansfield, May 2021. Congratulations on this massive revival.
Coming This Month
Volume Three - Issue One of Voices From the Archives is at the printer now and will be ready for mailing very soon. If you are a current member, you will receive this by mailed hard copy or pdf format email as you prefer. If you are not a member, you can become one by linking below on this page.

Table of Contents
  • Mansfield's Baseball Playing Florist by Steve McCloskey
  • Tioga County Industry in World War Two from the Mansfield Advertiser
  • Billard's Foundry Helping to Win the War by Joyce M. Tice
  • Paving the Streets in 1915 by Sam Finch
  • Bob Messinger's Christmas Eve in Vienna by Nan Messinger Lansinger
Show Your Face!!!
We are able to present a display such as this because so many families have been willing to share their family photos with us, making them part of the community archives and a permanent part of Mansfield's history. When we select individuals to commemorate, we are more likely to select if we have a photo to go along with the text. If you have photos of our local families, businesses or events, we hope you will share them with us so that your family members can be represented by face in the Museum of Us.
Things We Need! Donations Requested
·        Blossburg/North Penn High School Yearbooks
·        Liberty High School and Williamson Yearbooks
·        Old Phone Books (1920s to 1990s)
·        Local House Photos past or present (High resolution digital, or bring printed originals in, and we will scan them. Identify photos by street and number address)
. High School Commencement programs
Hometown Treasures
Fraternal Insignia
Businesses, individuals, and events leave behind items and mementos that remind us of their existence and which record our town's history. We will include items from our collection in each issue of the newsletter.

This month we'll show some of the hats in our collection that represent businesses, people or events in our town. Every hat tells a story about Mansfield and its people I.O.O.F. (Odd Fellows) insignia that had belonged to Lisle Smith of Mainesburg. Originally in the Mainesburg Lodge, Lisle transferred to the Arbon Lodge when Mainesburg closed its chapter.
International Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.)
pin. The three chain links represent Friendship, Love and Truth, often appreviated F.L.T.
Past Master Pin
or possibly Patriarchs Militant.
Upcoming Events
We are on hold for events and Art Classes for the present, but we'll be glad to see you if you stop in.

We are open for visitors noon to 3 T, W, Th or by appointment. Masks required. All visits are at the Museum of Us, 61 North Main.

We have two class reunions scheduled so far.
Mansfield High School Class of 1971 Saturday September 04, 1921 12:30 PM
Mansfield High School Class of 1967 Saturday 8/27/2022 from 1-3pm.
Update on Our Renovations
On the back of the museum is a small addition of four rooms that has been used as an apartment as far back as the 1870s, possibly originally intended as housing for the church's minister, but that's a guess.

We have been able to update this as space for our library and archival storage.

Rebuilding With YOUR Help!!!
Your Town, Your Ancestors, Your History

Interior work is complete and we are very pleased with it.

As of this month, We are moving books, archives, and way more items than we have room for into the new area.

We are still short about $15,000 to complete the outside work which includes an external staircase (required by building code) and siding and paint.
Unpacking and Shelving
Consider a gift membership. Members will receive our 40 page printed journal by mail 4 to 6 times a year with new articles that have never been researched before and outstanding photos to illustrate. Share your love of the Mansfield area with your friends and family.
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.
Membership- Renew for 2021
Annual memberships are an important part of keeping us operating. Please consider a new or renewed membership.

Members receive four to six issues annually of our printed journal Voices From the Archives.

Membership dollars are an important part of our operating resource. Be sure to renew your membership for 2021 or become a new member. A renewal card will be included in the next journal which will be mailed this month.
Annual Membership Levels
Family $50
Individual $35
Senior (Over 65) $25
Business Level $100
Lifetime $500
MHS Class Memorial $200

Checks to
The History Center
83 N. Main Street
Mansfield PA 16933
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Thank You to Our Platinum Level Sponsor
Ward Manufacturing

Thank You to Our Gold Level Sponsors
First Citizens Community Bank
Mansfield Auxiliary Corporation
Mansfield VFW Post 6757
Lutes Foundation
Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Law Offices of Larry Mansfield
Thank You to Our Silver Level Sponsors
UGI, Inc.
Real Disposal Service
Blue Ridge Cable
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