Friday, February 22, 2013

Gettysburg 150th Anniversary

Gettysburg: 150 Years Later

It is remembered as the battle with the heaviest losses of the Civil War, and definitely as the bloodiest battle ever  fought in Pennsylvania. Each side, Confederate and Union, lost more than 20,000 men, including casualties, wounded, and captured.  It is often thought to be the turning point of the Civil War.

This is the Battle of Gettysburg. It took place over three days in the sweltering heat of July, 1863, each day bringing a new stream of wounded. In 2013, we still remember what happened 150 years ago.

This summer, the town of Gettysburg and the battlefield will come alive with events commemorating the battle that changed the course of the civil war; a war that threatened to tear the United States in two.

The Gettysburg 150th website offers historical resources, pictures, videos and schedules of events surrounding the upcoming Battle of Gettysburg anniversary.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Pennsylvania Heritage in Lancaster County PA

Charter Day

September 16th, 1670: Admiral William Penn Dies.

Admiral William Penn, father of Pennsylvania founder William Penn, died in 1670, leaving his son with a large amount of money and property—and also an uncollected debt of the sum of 16,000 pounds, owed by King Charles II of England.

March 4th, 1681: William Penn, Quaker, Receives the Charter for Pennsylvania.

In 1680, ten years after his father’s death, William Penn finally asked King Charles II to repay the debt owed to Penn’s father. The Quakers, of whom Penn was one, were persecuted in Europe and Penn wished to create a new colony where they would be able to worship as they wished.

The king agreed to repay the debt and, on March 4th, 1681, he signed a charter granting Penn an area of land in the new American colony. In return King Charles II asked for a small amount of gold and silver from the colony and some beaver skins. This was the beginning of William Penn’s “holy experiment,” a land where he hoped people could worship as they pleased without fear of persecution.

March 10th, 2013: We Celebrate Charter Day Once Again.

Though the events of that day happened more than 300 years ago, we still celebrate in Pennsylvania. Penn’s “holy experiment” may not be perfect, but we still celebrate our history and the founding of Pennsylvania.

During the charter day festivities, participating sites managed by the PHMC (Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission) are open to the public free of charge. Most of them are open from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 10th. Some examples of PHMC-run historical sites located within Lancaster County and the surrounding area include the Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, where visitors may see historic buildings, craft demonstrations, and participate in horse-drawn wagon rides; the Ephrata Cloister, a historic religious community demonstrating the religious tolerance that William Penn sought in the New World, where choral performances will be given several times during the afternoon; the Cornwall Iron Furnace; and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, where visitors may see dozens of full-size trains inside an mammoth building.

For more information about these and many other Pennsylvania historical sites, visit the PHMC website.

Source: William Penn, Founder of the Pennsylvania Colony, by Bernadette L. Baczynski