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Early Times Capsule

Saturday, October 16, 2010

By jim zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com

The old Carbon County jail was at the center of some of the most dramatic events in local history, none of which was more sensational and riveting than the Molly Maguire arrests, trials and executions of 1876-78.

During the first two decades of the 20th century a convicted murderer aptly called "Big Martin" Leskoski proved that the old jail was far from escape-proof. He was able to flee the fortress-like structure twice.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

In 1909 a reporter for the Lansford Leader journeyed to Palmerton to get a first-hand look at the fledgling community which had become the envy of the region with its dramatic growth. Tours of the town in lower Carbon County were quite common, even though it was established only 11 years earlier.

A Palmerton News reporter stated that Palmerton's renaissance made the visiting journalist "stare with surprise and gasp with admiration."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Had Judge Judy been around a century ago, she would have added some spicy commentary to a number of the domestic and family-related cases that emerged during the summer of 1910.

The Aug. 20 edition of the Tamaqua Courier carried a front page article involving a Schuylkill County woman who was arraigned for bigamy. Annie Smith, the headline stated, was "23 years old and good looking and admits she has a surplus of husbands."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

By JIM ZBICK

jzbick@tnonline.com

If local residents wanted to catch a glimpse of John Tener, the Republican candidate for governor in Pennsylvania, during whistle stops in Tamaqua and Mauch Chunk in mid-September of 1910, they didn't have to strain to pick him out.

At 6-foot-4, Tener stood out in any crowd. During a five-year professional baseball career in the 1880s, he was the tallest major leaguer.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith and go forward."

These were the words of Thomas Alva Edison, the great American scientist and businessman, who was one of the most prolific inventors in history. Edison held 1,093 U.S. patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.

His inventions in the mass communication and telecommunications field, including the phonograph; motion picture camera; and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb; propelled the world into the 20th century.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

By jim zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com

Maybe it was the late summer heat that caused some pent-up emotions to boil over in some people in August 1910.

An umpire's decision in a baseball game between the English Lutheran and Y.M.C.A. teams in late August touched off a near riot in Tamaqua. The Lutheran team had a 9-2 lead in the late innings when darkness descended.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

By JIM ZBICK

jzbick@tnonline.com

Considering the amount of hills and mountains that drivers must navigate, brake malfunctions are never a good thing. August 1910 proved to be a wild month for out-of-control vehicles in the area with a horse-drawn carriage, a motorized automobile and a railroad car all involved in separate accidents.

To unwind from the rigors of hard work, nothing could be more appealing to folks living in the early 1900s than to soak in the beauty of nature with a carriage ride followed by a country picnic.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

By JIM ZBICK

jzbick@tnonline.com

The local church often became the first place of refuge for many new immigrants who populated the region in the late 1800s and early 20th century.

Coal region residents were used to town rivalries and ethnic tension but those were nothing like the power struggle that developed within the walls of St. George's Greek Catholic Church, Minersville, in 1910. The case ended up going all the way to the state Supreme Court where the final ruling defined the authority of the local church board, pastor and bishop's office.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

With all the natural beauty it has to offer, this area has always served as a magnet for travellers, and it's especially popular with the two-wheeled vehicles.

A century ago, the motorcycle, no longer considered a luxury toy enjoyed only by the more affluent, was becoming more affordable to the average citizen. It was part of the new wave of transportation – including airplanes and automobiles – that spun out of the first decade of the new century. Groups like the Reading Motorcycle Club formed, giving bike riders an opportunity to bond with others.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

While the sound of chirping birds may be pleasing to many people, it can often become a much more sinister song for farmers. Just by their sheer numbers, birds can turn into nuisances, perhaps not as menacing as Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 terror-filled movie classic, "The Birds," but certainly they can spell destruction to fruit and crop fields.