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The 1918 Influenza Epidemic in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania

The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919, also known as Spanish Flu, claimed the lives of 675,000 Americans and as many as 40 million people worldwide. The roll among U.S. servicemen during WW1 was especially severe. "Of the U.S. soldiers who died in Europe, half of them fell to the influenza virus and not to the enemy. An estimated 43,000 servicemen died of influenza." No part of America escaped this pandemic. Yet, each community in America was affected by, and reacted to, this disease in a unique way. This paper is an examination of the 1918 Influenza epidemic in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania and a comparison with the findings of other historians on the effects of the epidemic in Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Particular attention will be given to the measures taken to curb the epidemic by the Board of Health in each of these cities. The effectiveness of these measures, and the controversies that arose in response to them, will also be examined.

Albert Abelt: All-Around Artist-Athlete (1913-1964)

The story of Albert Abelt is one of both a talented artist and a natural-born athlete. His uniquely coupled talents, varying pursuits, and adventurous life make him a fascinating subject.

Born in Portland, Oregon, on November 25, 1913, Albert Abelt was the son of Alexander Sokalovitch and Blanche Lang, both of Polish and Russian decent. Alexander served in the Czar's army and emigrated to this country around the time of the Russian Revolution. He took the last name Kunda, which Albert later changed to Abelt. When Albert was a small child both parents died within a short period of one another, and he was placed in a Catholic orphanage in Oregon at age seven.

The Allen and East Pennsboro Society for the Recovery of Stolen Horses

Recently there has been increased interest in proposals to merge the several local police departments on the West Shore in order to improve efficiency and reduce crime. More than a century and half ago, when police forces were limited or non-existent, but a particular criminal act was not uncommon, citizens often banded together for their own defense. Thus on October 26, 1836, citizens of two Cumberland County townships formed an association they named The Allen & East Pennsboro Society for the Recovery of Stolen Horses and the Detection of Thieves. The name was later changed to include mules. (At this time there was a Cumberland County Society for the Detection of Horse Thieves, which seems to have covered the central and western parts of the county.)

Ambush at Willis Church

In January of 1861, State Representative Thomas N. Crumpler announced in the North Carolina House of Commons that Ashe County was not likely to support secession. Crumpler's estimation of his voters' opinion proved correct. In February, his constituents gathered in Jefferson to participate in what was described as a "lively debate" on the merits of leaving the Union and voted down a North Carolina secession convention by a count of758 to 144. They reversed their opinion in March, after the fall of Fort Sumter.  

North Carolina seceded on May 20 and Governor John W Ellis requested 10,000 state troops.  Captain Crumpler organized his former Ashe County constituents into Company A of the 1st North Carolina Cavalry. A year later, then Major Crumpler rode with his men on a 200-mile forced march from Kinston, North Carolina, to Richmond, Virginia. Arriving in General Lee's camp on June 28, 1862, Major Crumpler's men rested, unaware of the fate that awaited their former State Representative the next morning.

Americans Shall Rule America! The Know-Nothing Party in Cumberland County

In 1854 Americans took a detour from the road to civil war. It was the year of the Kansas-Nebraska act, which allowed slavery to spread into the formerly free Kansas territory. This act, the warfare between pro- and anti-slavery settlers in Kansas that followed, and the rise of the free soil Republican party, so inflamed hostile feelings between North and South that the firing on Fort Sumter took place less than seven years later. But 1854 was also the year that a new movement boiled up out of New York and Philadelphia to spill out across the entire country, a movement dedicated to suppressing the political power of immigrants in general, and Catholic immigrants in particular. This movement, whose supporters were known derisively as "Know Nothings", came to Cumberland County and shaped its politics for more than two years. This was the time, "when the Know Nothing furor swept over the land-when former majorities, political status, personal fitness and all similar considerations were tumbled into the common whirlpool of temporary political disintegration."

Andrew Carothers (1778-1836): His Life and Times

Frederick Watts, a well-known lawyer, judge of the Cumberland County Courts, and Unites States Commissioner of Agriculture, had this to say about his mentor and friend Andrew Carothers:

Although Mr. Carothers mind was not cultivated by any high degree of learning it was of that character which enabled him to appreciate what he had studied and profit by what he read. He became an excellent practical and learned lawyer, and very soon took a high place at the Bar of Cumberland County, which at that time ranked amongst its members some of the best lawyers of the state. Watts, Duncan, Metzger, Alexander, Mahon were at different periods his competitors, and amongst these he acquired a large and lucrative practice, which continued through his whole life. Mr. Carothers was remarkable for his amiability of temper, his purity of character, his unlimited disposition of charity and his love of justice.