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apple butter, lead poisoning, Pennsylvania Dutch dialect, roasted chestnuts, Christmas, barring out the schoolmaster
A set of copied, handwritten notes detailing various subjects from newspapers and books, transcribed by Alfred L. Shoemaker. The notes include topics such as roasted chestnuts, Christmas customs, dialect humor and the tale of a mass lead poisoning from apple butter crocks.
Packet 716-13 to 716-16
Aug. 8, 1836. Katz vat Lifes on de Blain
Sept. 26, 1836, p. 104 [illegible]
Nov. 14, 1836 Cut of little boy rolling hoop.
Dec 5, 1836, p. 182 Slates in Schools
Jan. 30, 1837 Roasted Chestnuts
“Some industrious Italians have taken the pains to try the experiment of introducing them here, and may be see roasting them in their iron roasters on the pavement. One at the corner of Reed Street, (Palmo’s) the other in front of the hospital. These men came from the part of Piedmont bordering on Switzerland where they are much used, and import their chestnuts from France. Their culinary operations in the open streets remind us forcibly of the groups around the chestnut women in all French cities.
Ny or Phil??? – Evening Star
Feb 6, 1837, p. 256 Holydays
A contemporary writer asks what we have gained by abolishing the practice of keeping holidays, and enjoying these festivities and that social intercourse which are attendant upon their observance.
July 10, 1837 The Germans
“Many persons, at a distance, can have little idea of the number of Germans, that compose different communities around us. We have often wandered among their thriving, industrious and virtuous portion of our fellow citizens. There is an air of neatness, frugality and content not met elsewhere. They are a peculiar people - and yet with that native shrewdness which does not permit others to overreach them.”
American Volunteer (Carlisle) July 3, 1895
Silver Spring T., Cumberland Co.
“It was customary in those days for the scholars to bar or lock out the master until he promised a Christmas treat. On one occasion the Williams and Atchly boys locked out Master Stephenson, and when he attempted to get into the house they would knock him over the fingers with sticks which finally made him promise to treat.”
John Stephenson died Dec 22, 1831
dying of poisons, from apple butter
History of Northwestern Pennsylvania
p. 384-384 “No dwelling in the town was then complete without having in the backyard an “out-oven”, an “ash-hopper”, a “dye-kettle”, and a rough box fastened to the second story of the necessary, in which to raise early cabbage-plants.
The Village of Sewickley by Franklin Taylor Nevin
p. 68 Rem. of John C. Anderson b.
Jan 14, 1828: At Christmas time we were to bar the teacher out and wouldn’t let him in till he would sign a paper for a treat, and we would bring it up to Mr. Garrison’s store and get cider and gingerbread and apples for Christmas.”
p. 218 Ferry across the Allegheny
James Rohrman’s - he advertised “All persons going to and returning from sermon, and all funerals, free ferriage.”
p. 226 Nightwatchman
“One old German watchman had a well-known cry, “Past 2 o’glock; cold vedder and de moon peeks out vonce or dwice.”
Memoirs of Lorenzo da Ponte translated by Elizabeth Abbott.
Rem. written for The Shippensburg News in 1895
“There was a full apple crop that year, and the amount of apple butter that was put away in Frick’s crocks was phenomenal.”
“In a few weeks a number of people were down on their backs with distressing symptoms of stomach trouble which greatly puzzled the doctors. Mr. Frick’s own family suffered more severely than any other. Several of his children died, and others were critically ill. It soon began to be suspected that there was poison in the apple butter, and chemical investigation showed this to be the fact. The proportion of lead used in the glazing was not subjected to a sufficient degree of heat to destroy its poisonous qualities, and the acid in the apple butter probably help to set free the dangerous element and to take it up. I remember of assisting in dumping a great quantity of apple butter into a sink-hole, crocks and all. After a labor of fifty years, I cannot say whether any others besides the Fricks died of lead-poisoning, but I could name several people who suffered a long time, and, in fact, never fully recovered. About our house there was no penalty against throwing a stone at one of the half-baked Frick crocks, if it happened to be standing in a position that made it a good mark.
People became so apprehensive that they were afraid to let the crocks stand where an animal in quest of food might touch the inner surface with its tongue. There never will be again such a smashing of crockery in Southampton Township, as there was after the Frick episode became noised around. J. P. M.
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Shoemaker, Alfred L., "Notes From The Philadelphia Mirror, The Shippensburg News and Other Sources, 1836-1895" (1950). Alfred L. Shoemaker Folk Cultural Documents. 94.
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