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Sinking Spring, Ash Wednesday, cows, turnips, ashes, mnemonic device


A handwritten letter from an unknown author addressed to Alfred L. Shoemaker, dated February 10, 1948. Within, the author discusses the Pennsylvania Dutch word for Ash Wednesday, along with traditions associated with this day.


Unknown Author


Alfred L. Shoemaker

Corresponds to:

Packet 295-13b


Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania


Feb. 10, 1948

Sinking Spring, Pa

Dr. Shoemaker:

You asked for some one to write in and tell you what the saying for Contents was. Here is the way we always heard it.


“Cows ought not to eat nasty turnip skins.”

Ash Wednesday was called “bushknipple”. I know that isn’t the correct spelling of the word, but I hope it is spelled near enough so that you know what its supposed to be, and then spell it correctly. One old custom that I know of for Ash Wednesday was that the last one up that morning would get ashes thrown on their feet.

Yours truly,

Sinking Spring

R.D. #2



English and Pennsylvania German

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Letter to Alfred L. Shoemaker, February 10, 1948



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