Thursday, April 27, 2017

Early Times Capsule

Saturday, May 22, 2010

During the post-Civil War years and well into the 20th century the treatment of minorities was a highly charged social issue, not unlike what we're seeing today with illegal immigrants.

After the Civil War things were especially rough for blacks in the South. Articles about frontier justice were commonly reported in the news. On Oct. 22, 1909, the Tamaqua Courier printed a front-page story about two black men charged and jailed in Greenville, Texas. Prison bars and the state authorities, however, failed to stop a vengeful mob from dealing out their own justice.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thanks to its visibility and relatively short orbital period of 75 years, Halley's comet has been spanning the generations for over 2,000 years.

William Miller was an octogenarian living on Hunter Street in Tamaqua at the time of Halley's arrival in May 1910. This marked his second sighting of the comet.

As a boy living in West Brunswick Township, Miller had a clear recollection of the comet's appearance when the earth passed through its tail in 1835.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

In 1910, Halley's Comet caused a hysteria America had never before seen. The comet was named for British astronomer Edmond Halley, who was the first to determine its orbit and accurately predict its return to the Earth's night sky.

As Halley's approached the sun in 1910, astronomers announced that Earth would actually pass through its tail during May of that year. They suggested the possibility of some spectacular sunsets, which was innocent enough. Some doomsayers, however, had other opinions.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

During the first decade of the 1900s there was a huge interest with anything to do with the wild West. First-hand accounts about cowboys and Indians not only fascinated the young boys, but adults as well.

The Indian culture was popularized in the traveling entertainment shows – such as the Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show – touring across America. Dime store novels which dramatized the deadly prairie confrontations between the Indians and the invading white settlers seeking to carve out a new life in the Western territories, were a big hit among youngsters.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Like any good lawman – or U.S. Marine – George Hahn, Tamaqua's police chief during the first decade of the 20th century, was called on to adapt and overcome in any situation. During the spring of 1910, the chief had to deal with a variety of cases to keep peace in the town – everything from street crime to prostitution.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

In 1909, Mark Twain was quoted as saying: "I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: 'Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.'"

That prediction by the famous American author, satirist and public speaker came true. Twain died of a heart attack on April 21, 1910, in Redding, Conn., one day after the comet's closest approach to Earth.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

By jim zbick

At the turn of the century, The New York Times referred to Tim Hurst, who earned most of his fame as a major league baseball umpire, as "one of the best known sporting men in the country."

This was lofty praise for Hurst who developed quite a coal region reputation as "a runner of considerable ability" while growing up in Ashland. After leaving Schuylkill County early in his career, Hurst spent most of his time in New York City, and later befriended some of the top actors and athletes of the early 1900s.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


One of the many memorable characters in the Seinfeld sitcom series – that "show about nothing" – was a psychotic tough guy named Crazy Joe Davola.

A century ago, Schuylkill County had its own bizarre character in Jabez Burke, an eccentric who made national headlines by organizing his own group called, fittingly enough, the Crazy Society.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


There was no shortage of police news during the first quarter of 1910 in the coal regions. After the weather began to turn warm, the swindlers, youth criminals and drunks shed their cabin fever and moved outdoors.

As for the swindlers, farmers were warned to watch out for a clever wire peddler operating in the area. Posing as an "expert fence builder," he would agree to build a fence for eight cents per running foot. That cost was cheaper than what farmers paid for the wire itself.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

In early March 1910, Tamaqua's Bethany United Evangelical Church on East Broad Street hosted a young evangelist whom one reporter called one of the "most unique characters to ever visit the town."