County Histories ~
The History Books
From The Turn Of The Century


  In 1857 a book was published by C. Jeffries about an incident that occurred near the town of Pavia in northern Bedford County. The book, The Lost Brothers, told the story of the two Cox brothers who wandered away from their home and ended dying in the forest. This book was published only a year after the incident. It was 23 pages in length. The book was reprinted, with some additional information, as a 44-page book in 1898 by Mr. Jeffries.

  The Altoona City Directory was published in 1869. The 126-page book included a complete listing of the businesses in the city of Altoona along with those of other towns in Blair County.

  In 1875 the Altoona Directory was published by Thomas H. Greevy, providing, in 266 pages, a listing of the businesses located in Altoona. Businesses located throughout Blair County and part of Clearfield County were also included.

  The book, History Of Huntingdon County, by Milton Scott Lytle, was published in 1876. It presented the history of the county from its earliest days up to the Centennial anniversary of American Indipendence.

  In 1878 a 364-page Altoona Directory was published by William H. Renner. Similar to the one published in 1875, this directory also included information on some towns in Clearfield County.

  Twenty-five years after the History Of The Early Settlement Of The Juniata Valley was published, Harry Slep and James H. Ewing produced the next history of Blair county. In the year 1880 the book, History Of The City Of Altoona And Blair County was published. As the title implies, this work concentrated heavily on the history of the growing city of Altoona. Much of the historical information provided in this volume can be seen to come directly from U.J. Jones' book.

  In 1880 Horace W. Smith published a biographical portrait of the Reverend William Smith, who founded the town of Huntingdon. The book, Life And Corrrespondence Of The Rev. William Smith, DD consisted of 1,195 pages and was published in two volumes.

  Westmoreland County was formed out of Bedford County in 1773/4. The earliest history of Westmoreland County, therefore, was part of the history of Old~Bedford County. In 1882 George Dallas Albert published his book, History Of The County Of Westmoreland. The book encompassed 727 pages.

  In 1882 another Altoona Directory was published. This 243-page book was published by Webb Bros.

  The History Of Huntingdon And Blair Counties, Pennsylvania was published in 1883 by J.Simpson Africa. That volume relied largely on transcripts of sections of U.J. Jones' book. As a result, many of the historical "facts" which U.J. Jones created for the sake of literary entertainment were continued in this volume. The book is also noted for transcripts of court records and the extensive lists of Civil War company rolls. The court proceedings dealing with the formation of each township were transcribed, but not verbatim. Mr. Africa assembled a group of associates who provided the transcripts of the original court records. It is not known whether Mr. Africa, himself, directed his helpers to make the transcripts more "readable", or if they took that upon themselves. Nonetheless, the court records were spruced up with punctuation and additional words to make them easier to be read. The inclusion of short biographical sketches of various families make this book of value to genealogists. But the serious researcher must use that information with caution, because most of it was obtained by interviews with members of the families and discrepancies between those accounts and public records abound.

  The history book about Bedford County which has been considered to be one of the most important and influential ones about the county was published in 1884 by the Waterman, Watkins & Company of Chicago. The History Of Bedford, Somerset And Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania consists of 672 pages. The detailed narratives of the history of the county was augmented by transcriptions of documents from the Colonial and Revolutionary War periods. Also, many biographical sketches of residents of the county fill the book. The one drawback to this volume, as with the book produced the previous year for Blair County, was that in order for it to be produced in a short period of time by a company which was not directly knowledgeable about this region, the information was collected by a number of workers who accepted the information given to them by the local residents without cross-checking it for accuracy.

  In 1885 a book was published by Flora Lowry titled, Miss Flora Lowry. This 150-page book was a sort of autobiographical portrait of an Irish peddlar traveling through this region.

  A book titled, Centennial History Of The Bench And Bar was published by Theodore H. Cremer in 1887. Along with a brief history of the founding of the borough of Huntingdon, the book includes information about the Huntingdon Court House and system. Biographical sketches of the judges and attorneys was also included in the 55 page book.

  In 1888 a directory was published by Charles B. Clark titled, Hollidaysburg Directory. It included information pertaining to the towns of Hollidaysburg, Gaysport, Duncansville, Newry, Roaring Spring, Martinsburg and Williamsburg.

  Conemaugh: A Graphic Story Of The Johnstown Flood was published in 1889 shortly after the flood occurred. The 152-page book was written by Curtis J. Mar and S.A. Titus.

  William M. Hall, a President Judge of the 16th Judicial District, wrote a book titled Reminiscences And Sketches about various individuals who were important to the history of Bedford County. The 269-page book was published in the year 1890.

  A history of the city of Johnstown, Cambria County, from its founding until the flood in 1889, was chronicled in the book, The Story Of Johnstown. The 380-page book was published by J.J. McLaurin in 1890.

  An eye-witness account of the Johnstown Flood of 1889 was published in 1890 by David J. Beale. The book was titled, Through The Johnstown Flood By A Survivor.

  C.D. Rishel wrote a book on the life of Davey Lewis, the notorious bandit who operated in this region of Pennsylvania. The 84-page book he published in 1890 was titled, The Life And Adventures Of David Lewis.

  In 1892 another Altoona Directory was published by the Gazette Company. It contained 228 pages.

  Samuel T. Wiley and W. Scott Garner produced the Biographical And Portrait Cyclopedia Of Blair County Pennsylvania in 1893. This volume presented biographical sketches of residents of the county and included any and everyone who paid to have their biography included. Therefore, although it was by no means representative of the county as a whole, it did include many of the businessmen and political leaders of that time period.

  The Semi-Centennial, or Fiftieth Anniversary, of the county fell on the year 1896. Charles B. Clark published a book for that occasion which was titled A History Of Blair County, Pennsylvania. That small volume concentrated primarily on the city of Altoona and the railroad industry.

  Cyclopedia Of Cambria County was published in 1896 by Samuel T. Wiley, and consisted of 518 pages.

  The book, The Historical Memorial Of The Centennial Anniversary Of The Presbytery Of Huntingdon, Held In Huntingdon, PA., April 9, 1895 - 1795-1895 was published by the Authority Of The Presbytery in 1896. Although not strictly a book devoted to the history of this region, this book does provide much information about the cummunities served by the Presbyterian churches in this region.

  In 1896 a book was published by Charles B. Clark. The 180-page book was titled, Illustrated Altoona and contained many photographs of the city.

  An Altoona Directory was published in 1896-97 by the R.L. Polk Company.

  In 1897 the Reverend W. H. Wilson published a book titled, Tyrone Of Today - The Gateway Of The Alleghenies. This book was 109 pages in length.

  Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia Of The Juniata Valley was published inn1897 by J.M. Runk & Company. The book of 1,375 pages was printed in two volumes and included biographical sketches of families from Huntingdon County.

  The Altoona Mirror Almanac was published by Jacob Kinsel in 1899. The 140-page book included information about the residents of Altoona in 1898.

  In 1899 the Biographical Review Publishing Company published a book on the residents of Bedford and Somerset Counties. The 345-page Biographical Review included sketches on over 180 family surnames.

  Directory was the name given to a book published in the year 1900 by Dorsey S. Ling and E. Howard Blackburn about the borough of Bedford. It included a directory of the businesses and residents of the county at that time, along with a brief history of the county. It was 186 pages in length.

  A annual report to the Secretary of Internal Affairs was written in 1900 by William Bender Wilson. The 34-page book, Allegheny Portage Railroad detailed the project from its start in 1834 until the abandonment of it in 1858.

  In 1901 a book was produced by Jacob Kinsel. All About Altoona was written as a guide to the city and included in its 110 pages a short history, a listing of the business firms and lists of the local officials.

  W. P. Zimmerman published a 144-page book recounting the story of the Cox children who became lost and died in the forest near Pavia, Bedford County in 1856. The book was titled Lost Children Of The Alleghenies.

  In 1904 Hampton L. Carson published a biography of Thomas Smith, who served in various positions of the Bedford County court system prior to his appointment as a member of the Continental Congress. The 303-page book, titled, The Life And Times Of Thomas Smith 1745-1809 included an extensive amount of history of the region created as Bedford County in 1771.

  Altoona Views was published by the L.H. Nelson Company in 1905. It consists of 32 pages of over thirty photographs of landmarks around Altoona and throughout Blair County.

  History Of Cambria County was written by Henry Wilson Storey and published in 1907. The book spanned 1,844 pages and was published in three volumes. This monumental work included genealogical memoirs and sketches of the early Euro-American settlers in the region, a history of the Indian tribes of the Conemaugh Valley, information on the Pennsylvania Canal and the New Portage Railroad, the Johnstown Flood and more.

  In 1907 a history book about Bedford County was published. Titled The Annals Of Bedford County, this book by William P. Schnell was only eighty-seven pages in length. It was prepared for distribution during the "Old Home Week" of August 4-10, 1907. It consisted of short sketches about the traditionally important events in the history of Bedford County.

  In 1907 an 89-page book was published by Charles N. Hickok. The book, Bedford In Ye Olden Time, consisted on the text of two lectures about the history of Bedford County delivered by Dr. Hickok in 1886. The book provides some interesting anecdotes about the early settlers and the different incidents in the history of the county.

  In 1909 a souvenir book was published detailing the history of Huntingdon County. Titled, Historic Huntingdon, the 183-plus-page book was published by the Historical Committee of the Old Home Week Association of Huntingdon, Pa.

  Between 1909-1910 Charles Howard Welch published a 752-page book titled, History Of Mount Union, Shirleysburg And Shirley Township for Huntingdon County. The book presented a brief amount of history of the region along with many biographical sketches of the early residents and the then current residents.

  Cambria County Pioneers was published in 1910. The 138-page book was written by James M. Swank and included information on the early history of Cambria County. Also included in the books are sketches about local industries such as the Cambria Iron Works, and the traditional historical events such as the Johnstown Flood. The book included sketches of prominent citizens from the region.

  The Huntingdon Directory was published by the R.L. Polk Company in 1910. It consisted of 380 pages and covered towns and townships throughout Huntingdon County.

  The Twentieth Century History Of Altoona And Blair County Pennsylvania And Representative Citizens was produced by Jesse C. Sell. That volume, essentially a copy of Slep and Ewing's History Of The City Of Altoona And Blair County, was published in the year 1911.

  In 1911, C.D. Rishel, who had published a book on the life of the robber, Davey Lewis in 1890, published another on the same subject. This 43-page book was titled, Autobiography, Daring Deeds And Adventures Of Lewis The Robber.

  A book, The Mountain City, was written by Clarence E. Weaver and published in 1911. It contained 28 pages and described the history of the Altoona, Blair County.

  Pen Pictures Of Friends And Reminiscent Sketches was published by J.N Tillard in 1911. The book was 279 pages in length.

  The Loyal War Governor's Conference was published in 1912 by the Semi-Centennial Committee. This 4-page booklet was produced to commemorate the conference held in Altoona, Blair County by the Governors of the Union states in 1862.

  In 1913 the Altoona Mirror published its own history of the Loyal War Governors’ Conference in an 80-page book, War Governors’ Conference.

  The History Of Altoona And The People's Store was published in 1914. This small, 48-page book celebrated the history of the city and especially the Gables Department Store in the center of the downtown. The book was produced to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the store.

  The book, The Lost Children Of The Alleghenies, by C.R. McCarthy was published in 1914. The 63-page book included the transcript of a letter written in 1888 by the wife of Jacob Dibert, whose dream led the searchers to the spot where the boys lay.

  Henry W. Shoemaker wrote a 40-page book about the life of Captain James Logan, a famous Indian from the region of the Juniata Valley. The book, Captain Logan, Blair County's Indian Chief, was published in 1915.

  The Mirror Printing Company published a 120-page book on Blair County, titled, Altoona Mirror Year Book in 1916, to cover local happenings and events during 1915.

  Daniel M. Bare wrote an autobiographical book titled Looking Eighty Years Backward And A History Of Roaring Spring, Pa., which was published in 1920. Although that book was devoted primarily to Mr. Bare's personal biography, a lot of good information on the early history of the borough of Roaring Spring was presented.

  Official Program, Old Home Week, Altoona And Blair Co. was written in 1922 by Harry E. Emerick. The 56-page book was the official program for the Altoona, Blair County Old Home Week celebration.

  A book was published in Huntingdon County in 1923 by the 1st National Bank. The book, Huntingdon In The Early Days, consisted of 39 pages.

  In 1924 William L. Byers, Annie M. Gilchrist and Frank McCoy published a Brief History Of Bedford County, a 49-page book that included information about the towns and townships within the county along with sketches of the early settlers and events such as the Ernst family massacre.

  In 1924 a unique book was published. Daily Stories Of Pennsylvania was written by Frederic A. Godcharles. The 958-page book consisted of a story about some historical event which occurred in Pennsylvania on each successive particular month and day. In other words, the first entry was an event which took place on January 1 (e.g. a mutiny broke out in the Pennsylvania Line on 01 January, 1781), and the second entry was an event which took place on January 2 (e.g. the General Assembly occupied the State Capitol on 02 January, 1822), and so on. There are numerous events which occurred within the bounds of Old~Bedford County.

  The Story Of Altoona, by the Chamber of Commerce, was published in 1925 and was 72 pages in length.

  History Of Cambria County was published in 1926 by John E. Gable. The 550-page book was published in two volumes. It included, in addition to the history of the county, biographical sketches of over 500 residents of the county.

  Albert T. Volwiler published a book titled, Croghan And The Westward Movement in 1926. The book detailed the life of George Croghan, who was an early Indian trader and land speculator whose range of activities included Bedford County. The book was 370 pages in length.

  The Tyrone Directory was published in 1926 by the Calkin-Kelly Company. The 189-page book was devoted exclusively to Tyrone and its environs.

  George P. Donehoo compiled perhaps the most extensive amount of information on sites throughout Pennsylvania which bear Indian names in the 1928 book, Indian Villages And Place Names. The 290-page book, though not written specifically for this region, contains the names of many sites located throughout the Old~Bedford County region. The books contains such references as: Conemaugh, derived from the Indian word, Conunmoch, meaning otter; Assunepachla, the name for the Indian village that stood on the site later occupied by the town of Frankstown, in Blair County; Quemahoning, which comes from the Indian word, Cuwei-mahoni, meaning pine tree lick; and Juniata, which came from the Indian word, Tyunayate, which meant projecting rock. The book is interesting to read, even if you are not researching a particular place name.

  In 1930 James T. McElroy, Jr published a 389-page book, McElroy’s Family Memories. This book contained a brief history of Huntingdon County along with sketches on over 370 families.