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Women's Voices at the Picnic: Programs at Williams Grove in the 1890s

On August 21, 1897, The Farmers' Friend and Grange Advocate, a Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, newspaper, carried an advance notice about events at the Interstate Picnic and Exhibition that had been held annually for more than twenty years at Williams Grove on the eastern border of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. On "Suffrage Day" that year, the announcement read,

one of the most eloquent advocates of the cause will speak. The Grange is the only organization that confers upon women equal rights with men , and it is therefore eminently appropriate that the Patrons of Husbandry should give aid and countenance to this movement for the disenthrallment of women.

The Works of Henry Ganss

For twenty years, from 1890 to 1910, Father Henry Ganss served as pastor of Saint Patrick's Catholic Church in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. During that time he produced historical and musical works achieving international appreciation. He has merited entries in two prominent works of reference-The Dictionary of American Biography and The New Catholic Encyclopedia-rare for one whose activities one would assume deserved only parochial notice.  He had, one newspaper records, "a charm that made the circle of his friends far outrun professional or church lines." The paper expanded this remark by naming among those friends a renowned musician, John Philip Sousa, and a famous music critic, James Gibbons Huneker, the latter a lapsed Catholic, the former an Episcopalian and Freemason. A rival newspaper confirms the picture, recalling Ganss as "a man of commanding presence, pleasing address, and winning disposition," adding, "church lines were forgotten in dealing with" Ganss.

 Ganss's historical writings fall into two groups, local and European. His History of Saint Patrick’s Church, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, (1895) is still useful, and alone amongst local historians of his day, Ganss cites the learned monographs and public records he quotes. 4 Such a practice one may trace to his education by the German Benedictines of Saint Vincent Abbey (now Archabbey) near Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Ganss, born on 22 February, 1855, to Hessian immigrants settled in the city of Lancaster, was at age thirteen sent to Saint Vincent; his parents wanted him to get a classical education from the Church. Ganss discerned a call to the priesthood-but not monastic life-and in 1878 was ordained for the diocese of Harrisburg.

A Youthful Friendship: Smead and Bache

Captain Raphael Cummings Smead, after serving some months with the army in Mexico, was ordered to Carlisle Barracks in 1847. He brought his wife Sarah Radcliff and their family of five children to the town, and enrolled his oldest son, John Radcliff, in the local Dickinson College. But a liberal education appears to have had few attractions for either father or son; a commission in the army or even a job as a surveyor or engineer on one of the railroads under construction in the West promised higher social rank and income. Captain Smead after considering how he might get his son an appointment to West Point, resolved to ask an old West Point classmate to use his influence.

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