Volume Eight Issue Four May 2023
  • Genealogy Library & Family Files
  • Research Library
  • 13,000 catalogued photos & local postcards
  • Museum Exhibits
  • Public Events
  • Website: joycetice.com/histcent.htm
  • Open T W Th 11 Am to 3 PM or anytime we are here, which is most of the time.
  • Stop in for a visit
Director- Joyce M. Tice: President - Steve McCloskey: V.P - Kathy McQuaid
Wannamaker Comes to Mansfield May 1898
John Wanamaker, the founder of then the nation’s premier department stores, was in Mansfield 125-years ago this month. His visit had nothing to do with selling merchandise and everything to do with the upcoming Tioga County Republican Convention and his party’s nomination for Governor.

John Wannamaker (1838-1922)
John Wanamaker was more than one of the most successful businessmen in the country. He had served as the Postmaster General in the Cabinet of President Benjamin Harrison from 1889-1893 and longed to be a difference maker in politics. Wanamaker lobbied to become a U.S. Senator, then selected by the state legislature instead of by popular vote until the advent of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913.

Following his stint as Postmaster General, Wanamaker was seeking support to replace Matthew S. Quay in the senate, but Quay, who had himself replaced Tioga County native John Inscho Mitchell as U.S. Senator, was one of the most powerful party bosses in the history of the Commonwealth and was easily reelected by the legislature.
Wanamaker and Quay became heated rivals for control of the state Republican Party with Wanamaker seeking the governorship and party control in his quest for the senate seat. Quay threw his support for governor to another Tioga County native and Mansfield State Normal School graduate, Congressman William A. Stone, for the Republican nomination.

Most counties held conventions to select delegates to attend the state nominating convention and Wanamaker, as the underdog, set out on tour of the counties holding conventions including Tioga. Wanamaker, along with party of supporters, arrived in Lawrenceville on May 9, visiting the Cowanesque Valley with a rally in Westfield that same day. 

Matthew Quay (1833-1904)
The following day, May 10, Wanamaker held a well-attended rally at the Opera House in Mansfield before walking up to Alumni Hall to address the MSNS student body. Wanamaker electrified the student-body by challenging them to present Commodore George Dewey, who had defeated the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay in the start of the Spanish-American War days earlier, with a medal from the school body recognizing his great victory. Wanamaker offered to pay for half the cost with the student’s raising the other half. The medal was presented to the Admiral Dewey in June by the Secretary of the Navy. He then spoke to an overflow crowd in Blossburg before speeches in Tioga and Wellsboro the following day. (William A. Stone at left)

Although Stone and Quay were confident of victory, Stone, perhaps surprised by how well Wanamaker was received in his home county, visited all the communities Wanamaker had appeared including Mansfield a little more than a week later.

As a native son, Stone was strongly supported by area newspapers including the Mansfield Advertiser. The Mansfield Opera House served as the headquarters for county convention and Stone did indeed easily prevail. But Wanamaker got some sense of retribution when his candidate for Quay’s seat won the county vote.
Save the Day: June 25, 2:00 P.M. at The History Center
Commemorating Our Local Dairy Industry
The History Center Library: Pioneer Women Tell Their Stories
By Linda Rashidi
What’s in Our Library 3: Pioneer Women
The History Center on Main Street has a well-stocked library of books, both old and new. Our collection includes: History of Pennsylvania and the surrounding states; Military History; Genealogy; Fiction; Women’s Studies; Biography; Best Short Stories Series; Fashion; Catalogues from different eras; Year Books from local schools—and much more.
Women’s History Month may be officially over, but any time is a good time to celebrate women, their history, and the contributions they have made. Because much of history is written by men, women’s contributions are often overlooked. This is certainly true of the settlement of the West and the early pioneers of the United States. Our library has an unusual and rare set of volumes of diaries and letters written by women who were a part of the westward movement: Covered Wagon Women. This set is comprised of 5 volumes of diaries and letters from the Western, Oregon, and California trails 1840-1852, edited and compiled by Kenneth L. Holmes.
These chapters are rich with women’s own voices, their speech and prose style, their concerns and daily lives on the trails in covered wagons. The letters, in particular, are intimate and personal, giving us a glimpse of what life was like for the women who trekked West to settle our country.
Volume 1 includes the diaries of Tamsen Donner and Virginia Reed of the ill-fated Donner party; but we also hear from Patty Sessions, a Mormon midwife who delivered five babies on the trail. In Vol. 2, Lucinda Parsons, a bride, gives details about washing and cooking in the open air, which she finds refreshing and delightful. In Vol. 3, Elizabeth Wood describes encounters with Indians: “A poney was stolen by the Indians last night [. . .] but we are not afraid of them when they come in sight. It is only when they [. . .] hid in some secret place” (175). Vol. 4 gives us a glimpse of life on the California trail. Mariett Foster Cummings casually describes trading ponies with a Bear River Indian. Later she tells of meeting Brigham Young with his “30 or 40 wives” (152). In Vol. 5, Catherine Scott, age 13, writes to James Scott, her grandfather, of her Mother’s death: “Mother [. . .] was taken verry violently with diareah” and died “in the eavning leaving us bereft indeed” (157). 
Not all of these letters and diaries concern hardship and tragedy. Many give voice to their wonder at the bountiful country they travelled through. Margaret A. Frink’s journal (1851, vol. 2) expresses the peace she found in nature: “Thursday brought us to the crossing of the Missouri River […]. This was our first night in a camp. [O]n the banks of this majestic river, surrounded with the freshness of the budding spring, [camping] was a delightful change” (78). She goes on to describe the varying terrain: “We came [. . .] to the mouth of the famous Carson Cañon, where the road turns abruptly to the right. This is a great, rocky gorge opening into the granite mountain, out of which rushes the west branch of Carson River, foaming, dashing, & tumbling over the huge rocks that have fallen into it from the high cliffs” (147).
Through these diaries and letters, we, too, can experience the thrill of leaving the plains and seeing for the first time the mountains, canyons, and vast rivers of the Rockies. These were intrepid women who knew hardship, yes, but also the joy of exploring new territory and horizons.
Our Library is open any time the History Center is open. We invite you to stop by to browse, dip into volumes, do research, or just sit and read. We can search our database if you are looking for some specific book or topic. You can also check out a volume on loan to take with you.
Volunteer Help Wanted and Needed
The History Center has a big project in the works that requires lots and lots of clerical support. We want to make our collections, including our genealogy records, more accessible to the public in online presentation, but we have a lot of file updating to do first. We need volunteers to update records from our genealogy database to our museum database. All you have to do is know how to type, be attentive to detail, and we can show you what and where.

Working at the museum is fun, and many of our volunteers have been here for years. This is an opportunity to be involved in one of the most advanced community genealogy/history projects ever developed.

If you can spare 3 to 5 hours a day for one or two days a week at the museum, we'd be happy to have you. Coffee, tea and sometimes cookies are free.
Let us know what you think of our newsletters or just drop us a note to tell us about you and your family's time in Mansfield. We want to hear from you at histcent83@gmail.com
Renewed Members - New Members - Join us for 2023
At The History Center, we rely on the support of the community to do what we do in collecting, preserving, analyzing and presenting the stories of our town and its people. Every membership dollar is valuable for us. Some of our members have been with us from the very beginning in 2012 and 2013, and new people join us every year.

Membership dollars keep our building operating and allow us to stay in touch with members and non-members alike who care about Mansfield area history and appreciate the opportunity to see themselves and their families represented as part of the community. We also present Mansfield as a thriving community to visitors who drive through and stop in to see what Mansfield is about. We provide a gathering place for people to celebrate and learn about our town and each other.

Our 40-page quarterly journal which is mailed to members, tells the stories of some outstanding and some ordinary citizens like us who played a role here. In some cases, they get the chance to tell their own stories to a new audience through our Voices from the Archives.
We'd like to have twenty new members for 2023. As a bonus, we'll send each of them a journal issue from 2022 in addition to the 2023 issues as they are published. You can send a check or pay by PayPal. Directions link from the button at left.
Thanks also to our members who renew for another year. If you are due for renewal, your card is in the latest journal mailed in November.
You've thought about it. Now's the time.
Something New & Special
In Development: We have added a feature to our museum cataloging software to upload selections of our records online. This will allow you to see some of what we have and follow the links to the people associated with it, including genealogical information. Take a sneak peak if you read this far down the newsletter. History Center Catalogs Online
Regular Hours
Normal Hours: We are open 11 to 3 T, W, Th or by appointment or any time we are here (which is most of the time).

We've been very pleased to see the High School Reunions resume after two years of absence. This year, we hosted several, and we are looking forward to more in 2023. Let us know when your class will be gathering, and we will make sure our doors are open to welcome you back home. If you've been here before, expect to see even more now.
MHS Class Reunions
After two long Pandemic years, we hope that the High School reunions can start again. If you are planning a reunion, consider a casual afternoon Meet & Greet at the History Center's Museum of Us. In an informal environment, you can chat with your friends, watch a slide show of Mansfield's historic photos, and find traces of yourself, your friends, and your family. Many of our exhibits are geared to those who grew up here. The Blue & Gold Room is full of MHS sports mementos. The pictorial display includes YOU along with all the other MHS graduates in its first hundred years.
Growing With YOUR Help!!!
Your Town, Your Ancestors, Your History
For the New Year. Consider a gift membership. Members will receive our 40 page printed journal by mail 3 to 4 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.
The next issue of Voices from the Archives is in preparation. It will be forty pages of articles about the lives and activities of our town. Be sure your membership is current, so you don't miss any.
Membership- Renew for 2023
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 2023 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

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The History Center
61 N. Main Street
Mansfield PA 16933
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Thank You to Our Gold Level Sponsors
Ward Manufacturing
Law Offices of Larry Mansfield
First Citizens Community Bank
VFW Post 6757
Mansfield Auxiliary Corporation
Lutes Foundation
Thank You to Our Silver Level Sponsors
Real Disposal Service
UGI Utilities, Inc.
Matt Neal Construction
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