County Histories ~
History Books
From The Mid-Twentieth Century
To The Bicentennial Year Of 1976

 

  Tarring S. Davis, who was the Superintendent of Schools for Blair County prior to the consolidation of the schools into school districts, departed slightly from the style established by previous historians with his A History Of Blair County Pennsylvania. That volume, published in 1932 by Mr. Davis with associate editor Lucille Shenk, did not repeat many of the lists which had been included in the prior publications. The direct quotations of U.J. Jones' narratives were likewise kept to a minimum in Mr. Davis' history book. That history of the county was printed as a two volume set. The first volume contained general historical information while the second volume presented biographical sketches of various residents.

  Martinsburg Centennial Souvenir 1832-1932 was published by the Centennial Committee in 1932. The book was 84 pages in length.

  The story of Indian Eve, a woman and two of her children taken captive by the Indians after they massacred her husband in 1777 was the subject of the 26 page book, In Pioneer Days. The book was written by Annie M. Gilchrist and was published in 1934.

  In 1934 Kate A. Standish wrote a 120-page book titled, Racial Origins Of Early Settlers about the pioneers who settled in the region that is Cambria County today. The book was her thesis project for a Master of Arts degree.

  In 1934 the Morrisons Cove Memorial Park, in Blair County, was dedicated and opened to the public. The eventís program was published as a 57-page book, Morrisons Cove Memorial Park.

  In 1935 the book, Historical Sketches Of Collinsville, was written by the Memorial Day Company. This book traced the history of the villages that were eventually merged into the city of Altoona, Blair County.

  Hollidaysburg, Blair County held a Centennial in 1936, marking the 1836 date on which the borough was incorporated. A 72-page book, Official Program - History Pageant, was published in 1936. The book included a chronology of important events in the history of the borough along with information about the various churches, schools and service organizations in the community.

  Hollidaysburg Centennial 1836-1936, a 72-page book commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the borough was published by Harry A. Jacobs in 1936.

  Gertrude Quinn Slattery spent three hours in the flood waters of the 1936 Johnstown Flood before being rescued. She then wrote about that experience in a 178-page book, Johnstown And Its Flood. The book included personal recollections about Johnstown in addition to the story of her experience as a flood victim.

  The Semi-Centennial History Of Roaring Spring was compiled and edited by David M. Adams and M. Guy Hartman and published in 1937. The small size, 152-page book contains a wealth of information on the borough of Roaring Spring, Blair County.

  A book, Souvenir Historical Book of Huntingdon County, also known as the Sesqui-Centennial Of Huntingdon County, was published in 1937 by Charles L. Reed. The book consisted of 140 pages and was issued in conjunction with the Huntingdon County Sesquicentennial. A number of local historians contributed articles to form the basis of the text.

  The semi-centennial of the borough of Bellwood, Blair County, was commemorated in the 56-page book, Bellwood, Past And Present, in 1937.

  In 1937 Russell B. Garver published a 90-page book on the history of Roaring Spring, Blair County. The book was titled, Golden Anniversary, 1887-1937.

  Annie M. Gilchrist wrote a small booklet of twenty-eight pages that was published by the Bedford inquirer in 1938. The very small booklet, measuring only 4" x 6-1/2", provided a very simple history of Bedford County.

  A History Of Blair County, by E. Marie Lentz, was published in 1938. The 122-page book was the result of a project by the students and teachers of the Altoona Senior High School. Its intended use was for study of the local history by the schools in the Blair County region. Whether it was used as such is not known according to available records. The content of the book was derived primarily from the available history books, such as U.J. Jones' History Of The Early Settlement Of The Juniata Valley and J. Simpson Africa's History Of Huntingdon And Blair Counties, Pennsylvania.

  Floyd G. Hoenstine was noted for his efforts to promote the history of this region through a number of ventures. Those ventures included the accumulation of materials and the establishment of a research library on his property in Hollidaysburg. The catalog produced by Mr. Hoenstine titled Guide To Genealogical & Historical Research In Pa. is of tremendous value to anyone researching the history of Pennsylvania and this region in particular. Mr. Hoenstine also was deeply involved with the Blair County Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, serving in a number of positions in that organization, including that of historian. Mr. Hoenstine's contributions to the literature of Blair County are noteworthy. In 1940 Mr. Hoenstine published an edited version of the 1889 Egle edition of U.J. Jones' History Of The Early Settlement Of The Juniata Valley in which he added footnotes and a glossary to clarify the information supplied by Jones and William H. Egle. Military Services And Genealogical Records Of Soldiers Of Blair County, Pennsylvania was published in 1940. In that volume, Mr. Hoenstine listed as many individuals from this region as possible who served in the armed forces during each of the major conflicts up to and including World War I. In 1952, in conjunction with Mahlon J. Baumgardner of the Cambria County Chapter of the SAR, Floyd Hoenstine published the book, The Allegheny Old Portage Railroad 1834-1854.

  Harry A. Jacobs, a past president of the Blair County Historical Society, authored a book titled The Juniata Canal And Old Portage Railroad, which was published by the Blair County Historical Society in 1941.

  Ella M. Snowberger was a resident of the Morrisons Cove. Between 1933 and 1943 Mrs. Snowberger submitted articles about her reminiscences of the Cove to the Morrisons Cove Herald newspaper. Those articles were then collected together into a series of small books under the title Recollections Of Bygone Days In The Cove.

  The WPA (i.e. Works Project Administration) published as book in 1941. The Inventory Of The Archives Of Blair County consisted on a short history of the county, the powers and duties of the public officials of the county, and as the title notes, an inventory of the public records maintained by each office. The indexed book consisted of 293 pages.

  The book, Blair County's First Hundred Years 1846-1946, was published by the Blair County Historical Society in the year 1945. George A. Wolf was the book's editor-in-chief. He was assisted by Floyd G. Hoenstine, Virginia Krick, W.Ray Metz and Ella Snowberger. That history of the county consisted of about seventy articles/ chapters written by about as many authors. The style and content of that volume was quite different from the preceeding history books devoted to this county.

  Bench And Bar Of Somerset County was published in 1945 by John A. Berkey. The book of 364 pages included historical information on the organization of the county and sketches about the courts and lives of the members of the courts.

  Another history book was published in 1945 about Somerset County. The book, Early Somerset County, was written by Frederic Doyle and consisted of sixty pages. The book included traditionally accepted legends and accounts from the county's earliest days until the period of the Whiskey Rebellion.

  A Somerset County Historical Notebook was published in 1945 by Mary Hause. This 24-page book presented a brief history of the early period of the county.

  David M. Adams published a book, History Of Henrietta in 1945. The 22-page book detailed the history of the village of Henrietta in North Woodbury Township, Blair County. The town was established as a company town for the workers at Dr. Peter Shoenberger's Henrietta Furnace.

  Notes And Sketches Of Early Bedford County History was published in 1946 by Simon M. Lutz. This small, 32-page book was created for distribution during the 175th anniversary of Bedford County and the coincident 150th anniversary of Bedford County. As its title implies, it was devoted to short sketches of the traditionally important events in Bedford County history.

  1946 saw the publication of the book, Blair County Centennial Celebration, 1946. This 80-page book served as a souvenir program for the county's Centennial observance. It included a chronological history of Blair County by local historian, W. Ray Metz.

  Windber 50th Anniversary 1897-1947 was published in 1947 by the Anniversary Committee. The 102-page book told the story of the founding of Windber, Somerset County and the early years of a lumbering industry that eventually was taken over by coal mining.

  Blair Countyís Postal History was published by the Blair County Historical Society in 1947. The 94-page book was compiled from papers in the possession of J. Elvan Brumbaugh from 1922-1933.

  In 1948 David M. Adams published his 34-page book, Historical Summary Of Southern Morrisons Cove Towns. The book detailed the history of the region of the Morrisons Cover stretching from Bedford to Blair Counties.

  Helen T. Hollingshead published a 104-page book in 1948 titled, Do Your Remember?. The book consisted of stories about everyday life in Mount Union, Huntingdon County.

  A 96-page book was produced in 1949 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the city of Altoona, Blair County. The Altoona Centennial Booklet included a wealth of information about the city along with a chronology of major events that occurred in the city throughout its history. The book also includes an informative article on the Pennsylvania Railroad.

  James E. Butts and Paul Kurtz, in 1953, collaborated on a 45 page book (published in two volumes) titled, This Is Blair County. In view of the fact that the two men were associated with the school system in Blair County, the book includes quite a bit of information on the schools of Blair County.

  Blair County, Yesterday And Today was published in 1954. The 128-page book was written by Grace Smeltzer and was prepared by the teachers of the Altoona school system's fourth grade for use by the school's students.

  Cambria County's 150th Anniversary was celebratedwith the publication, in 1954 of the book, Sesquicentennial 1804-1954. The 66-page book included a program of the events planned for the Sesquicentennial celebration along with a brief history of the county.

  The book, 100th Anniversary, Saxton-Liberty Centennial 1854-1954, was published by Robert E. Huff and Charles T. Benner.

  In 1954 a history of the town and environs of Claysburg, Blair County, was published in a 96-page book, The Long Journey, 150 Years Of Progress, by Robert S. Hoenstine.

  The Historical Data Committee of the Somerset Sesquicentennial Association published a book, Sketches Of Somerset in 1954. The book commemorated the centennial anniversary of the borough of Somerset.

  Also published in 1954 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the borough of Somerset was the book, Programme Of The Events Of The Celebration Of The One Hundred Fiftieth Anniversary Of The Incorporation Of The Borough Of Somerset In The County Of Somerset In The Commonwealth Of Pennsylvania One Of The United States Of America. The 64-page book contains a great amount of historical information along with many photographs and illustrations from the early history of the borough and county.

  In 1955 Robert B.Simpson published a history of the town of Aleandria, Huntingdon County. The 80-page book was titled, Alexandria Community Bi-Centennial 1755-1955.

  A 45-page book, Some Historic Homes Of Hollidaysburg was published by Floyd G. Hoenstine in 1955. A brief history of the Blair County borough was included.

  The Bedford Story was written and published in 1956 by Robert G. Rice. Mr. Rice wrote about all the various towns and places throughout the world which bear the name of Bedford. The book was 184 pages in length.

  Clair C. Wright, a resident of Huntingdon County, wrote a 46 page book on his recollections of the region in 1957. The book, My Mind's Eye, included Mr. Wright's memories of the floods of 1889 and 1936 along with early railroading and the coming of the automobile age.

  In 1957 a 24-page book was published by the Tyrone Centennial Committee. This program booklet, Tyrone Borough Centennial Program 1857-1957, was published to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the borough of Tyrone, Blair County.

  The early settlement and history of Martinsburg, Blair County, was the subject of a 192-page book, History Of Martinsburg by Melvin G. Hartman in 1957.

  In 1958 Hugo K. Frear wrote a book, Fort Bedford Bicentennial to commemorate the 200th Aniversary of the fort. The book encompassed 112 pages and included many illustrations from the early history of the town and fort.

  Historic Bedford Village was published in 1958 by the Bedford Bicentennial Committee. The 40-page book served as the program for the Fort Bedford Bicentennial held at Bedford in August, 1958.

  In 1959 a book was published on the life of George Croghan, George Croghan, Wilderness Diplomat. The book, by Nicholas B.Wainwright, was 334 pages in length.

  The book, From Trail Dust To Star Dust, a history of the city of Johnstown, was published in 1960 by M. Margaret Greer. The 129-page book concentrated on the history of the iron and steel industry, and included sketches about the traditionally important events in the history of the region, such as the Johnstown Flood and the Pennsylvania Canal and Portage Railroad.

  Guide To Bedford Village was a 44-page book published in 1960. The book told the history of the various historic sites around the borough of Bedford.

  Ruth W. Scott wrote a book, Orbisonia Borough in 1960. The book about the Huntingdon County town included some information on the East Broad Top Railroad.

  In 1961, a 142 page book was produced by the Hollidaysburg, Blair County Anniversary Committee to commemorate the borough's 125th Anniversary. The 125th Anniversary was primarily a picture book containing photographs of the borough and the celebration of the anniversary itself.

  Calvin W. Hetrick wrote a book in 1961 devoted to the history of Dr. Peter Shoenberger's iron industry. The 24 page book included information on the ironmaster's furnaces and forges located in this region, including Bedford, Blair, Cambria and Huntingdon Counties.

  1962 saw the publication of a book on the history of Roaring Spring, Blair County. The 168-page book was titled, Roaring Spring 75th Anniversary History. Like many of the anniversary books produced in recent years, this book included a brief history of the borough and then sold pages, or portions of pages, to families and businesses who presented their own histories. It was produced by the Roaring Spring Historical Committee, a group created for the publication of the book.

  The town of East Freedom in Blair County produced a book in 1963 to commemorate Freedom Township's 125th Anniversary. The 56-page book is valuable for the various photographs from the turn of the century. But the Anniversary Committee that produced the book copied most of the text from J. Simpson Africa's History Of Huntingdon And Blair Counties, Pennsylvania, and the information on the region of Freedom Township is known to be in error. As a result, the same errors were perpetuated in the township's book. Another booklet, titled Freedom Township 125th Anniversary Photo Album consisted entirely of photographs from the history of the township.

  Bellwood's First 75 Years was published by the anniversary committee in 1963. The 86-page book, like other community anniversary books, included a brief history of the borough along with photographs.

  In 1964 a book was written and published by N. Leroy Baldwin. The 150 page book was titled, Two Hundred Years In Shade Township, and included stories of the early settlers of the region that would become Shade Township in Somerset County.

  Harold H. Strayer and Irving L. London produced a book, Johnstown Flood in 1964. The 40 page book includes the most complete collection of photographs of the flood devastation ever published.

  Although not specifically or solely devoted to the Old~Bedford County region, a book published in 1965 is deserving of attention here. Indian Paths Of Pennsylvania was written by Paul A. W. Wallace. The 227-page book provides maps of the various trails along with information about their locations for the modern traveller to follow. The book includes the Frankstown Path and the Kittanning Trail, which passed through Old~ Bedford County.

  A book detailing the history of transportation through Old-Bedford County was published in 1966. The 21-page, Conquering The Alleghenies was written by Fred E. Long.

  In 1967 the book, Huntingdon Bicentennial was published by the Bicentennial Committee. The 122-page book provided a brief history of the borough along with sketches of the traditionally accepted historical events of the region.

  One of the more interesting of books devoted to the history of the Johnstown Flood of 31 May, 1889 to be produced was the 1968 volume, The Johnstown Flood, by David G. McCullough. The 302 page book presented the story of the natural disaster from an extensive body of contemporary documents researched by the author.

  Minerva H. Frank, in 1968, published a 32-page book about the settlement and early settlers of a part of Huntingdon County titled, Warriors Mark Bicentennial. The book was produced as the program book for the celebration.

  George E. Gore published a history of the Johnstown Floods of 1889 and 1936 in his 30-page book, Johnstown Flood Story.

  The book, Altoona Charter Centennial was published in 1968 by the Centennial Committee. The 72-page book detailed the history of the chartering of the city in February, 1868 and included many photographs of the city.

  Around 1968 a 9-page book, History Of Union Township (Bedford County) was published. The information for this book was primarily taken from the History Of Bedford, Somerset And Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania.

  A program book, 200th Anniversary, was published by the Bicentennial Committee for the anniversary of the founding of Hollidaysburg, Blair County in 1968. The book was 84 pages long and consisted mostly of advertisements. A short history of the borough was included.

  Also published in 1968 to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the borough of Hollidaysburg was the 92-page book, Hollidaysburg 1768-1968, byMrs. Foster Tierney.

  In 1969 Elizabeth Nearhoof published her own history of the Warriors Mark region in a 417 page book, Echoes From Warriors Mark.

  David Ira Foster and Jon D. Baughman published a book in 1969 about the early settlement of the region of Broad Top, Hopewell and Liberty Townships. The book is 14 pages in length.

  The Blair County Historical Society published a 26-page book on the history of the Baker Mansion, aptly titled, Baker Mansion, in 1969.

  Harry A. Jacobs wrote a history in 1970 of the canal system in this region, which he titled, Juniata Canal And Old Portage Railroad. The book was 31 pages in length and described in detail the construction and operation of the Canal and the Portage Railroad.

  Despite its limited area of interest, a book should be included here because of the importance of the subject to the history of Blair County. Dick School House was written by Joyce Kushinka in 1970. The 23-page book details the history of the one room school built in 1830 and used until 1868.

  Report Of School Superintendent, by Paul Kurtz was published in 1971. The 207-page book gave a history of the school system in Blair County.

  William A. Jordan, in 1971, produced an 88-page book, Bicentennial Program for the Bedford County bicentennial.

  In 1971 Winona Garbrick edited and published a 272-page history of Bedford County titled, Kernel Of Greatness. The book presented a wide range of subjects on the history of the county, written by a number of local historians. It was subtitled: An Informal Bicentennial History Of Bedford County. The book presented some pieces of information not noted elsewhere, such as information on the Dibert family that intially homesteaded in Bedford County in the year 1710. Extensive sections on the churches and schools in the county make this book a very valuable source of information for the serious researcher.

  In either 1971 or 1972 a book was published titled, The History Of East Providence Township. This 56-page book was a history of East Providence Township in Bedford County.

  The 110th anniversary of the Loyal War Governor's Conference was commemorated in a 1972 book, Bulwark Of Loyalty. The 29-page presented information on the conference and also on the 1812 semi-centennial celebration at which President William H. Taft attended.

  In 1973 William H. Shank published a 22-page book titled, Sylvester Welch's Report On The Allegheny Portage Railroad. The Report was originally written in 1833 by the engineer in charge of the project to construct the portage railroad over the Allegheny Mountains.

  The first 100 years of the town of Robertsdale in Huntingdon County were detailed in the book, Robertsdale Story, by Jon D. Baughman. The 16-page book was published in 1974.

  The League Of Woman Voters of Blair County published its Book Of Blair County in 1975 by Marilyn Goldberg. The 73-page book provided a brief amount of history about Blair County along with various community information. The researcher who wants facts and figures, such as the "prevailing wage rates" of the residents of Blair County, or the capacity of the reservoirs supplying water to the borough of Williamsburg, will find that type of information in this book.

  Ned Frear, in 1975 published his own account of the Cox children's disappearance from their home, and the eventual discovery of their dead bodies as a result of the dream Jacob Dibert dreamt. The 14-page book was titled Lost Children Of The Alleghenies.

  Mercedes Buck wrote a book titled, Cresson, which commemorated the Bicentennial anniversary of the founding of the Cambria County town, which was the birthplace of Admiral Robert E. Peary, the discoverer of the North Pole. The 84-page book was published in 1975.

  Vaughn E. Whisker, in 1975, published a book titled, Allegheny Foothills. The 96-page book detailed the lives of the residents of the Allegheny Mountain and included sketches about some of the events in the history of the region. Mr. Whisker's rambling style has a certain charm to it.

  In 1976 Roy F. Kegg published his book, A Glimpse Of The Foot. This 53-page book presented a history of Mann's Choice in Napier Township, Bedford County, at the foot of the Allegheny Mountain range. The book included information on the turnpike.

  Martinsburg Area, as the name implies, was written about the history of the borough. The 344-page book, by Iola R. Turner, and published in 1976, also included information about the surrounding area of Huston, North Woodbury and Taylor Townships.

  An architectural study by Nancy S. Shedd, titled Huntingdon Borough, was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The 135-page book was published in 1976.

  William H. Shank wrote a book in 1976, Three Hundred Years With The Pennsylvania Traveler, in which he described the history of transportation in Pennsylvania. Included in the 200-page book are sections on the Juniata Canal and the Portage Railroad.

  Larry Corbin produced a 60-page book, Fireman's Community Fair, for the Hollidaysburg Bicentennial observance in 1976. The book included the program for the celebration in Hollidaysburg, Blair County, along with a history of various organizations in the region.

  Bicentennial Celebration, a 40-page book, was published by Martha McDonald in 1976 of Cambria County. The book included information on the Kittanning Trail.

  The book, Martinsburg Area 1976 was published by the Martinsburg Bicentennial Committee. It is a typical community book in which a brief history of the region is given and then pages, or portions of pages, are sold to families and businesses, who present their own histories.

  The book, Tyrone Of Today, Volume II, 1897-1976 was published in 1976 by a committee of local residents as a continuation of the book, Volume I, which was published in 1897. The book consists of sketches of historical events that took place in the borough since 1897.

  Paul Kurtz published his book, Blair, Main Line, A History Of The Tuckahoe Valley in 1976. The 298-page book related historical events from the Tuckahoe Valley region of Blair County.

  Ned Frear published a 24-page book on the life of Davey Lewis, better known as "Robber Lewis", Old-Bedford Countyís version of Robin Hood in 1976.

  A 53-page book was published by Oscar H. Stroh in 1976, titled, Thompsonís Battalion. A company of soldiers raised in Bedford County were part of Thompsonís Battalion during the Revolutionary War.

  William J. Kristofeo published a history of Portage, in Cambria County in 1976. The book, Portage Area, was 78 pages in length.