Monday, August 21, 2017

Early Times Capsule

Saturday, March 31, 2012

In a 1912 article titled "The Fight Against the Sweat Shop," a Tamaqua Courier writer talked about how conditions in America's factories and home workshops had changed over the previous decade, thanks to advocates to improve conditions in the workplace.

He said there was a time when "half of the country homes" took in work from the shoe, hat and clothing factories. In Brooklyn, he said there were 4,000 places licensed to do home manufacturing.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A century ago, Antoine and Julien E. Gaujot, two brothers with Tamaqua family roots, were as competitive a brother tandem in the U.S. military as the Manning brothers Payton and Eli have been in professional football today.

The Gaujot's are two of the eight sets of brothers to receive the Medal of Honor the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government and the only pair to receive the medal for actions in different wars. A total of 3,475 individual medals have been awarded to 3,456 individuals in U.S. history.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


You can't fault the Tamaqua Courier for not trying to hype the old home town.

In his 1912 opinion titled "Loyalty to one's Bread and Butter," a Courier writer said the welfare and prosperity of individuals – as well as families – are tied to "our fellow citizens in the place we call home."

He said a great majority of people owe their livelihood and whatever success they've achieved to their own home town.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A century ago, Jay McDevitt, the humorist-philosopher-positive thinker from Wilkes-Barre, certainly knew how to play to a crowd as well as court the media. Like today's promoters and publicity agents, he was savvy enough to realize that the window of opportunity does not remain open long for shooting stars. Nashville and Hollywood are littered with examples of one-hit wonders.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Reality television is big business in our society, evidenced by the likes of Paris Hilton and the Kardashian family, whose claims to fame are simply built on being famous.

A century ago, the coal region had its own personality who parlayed a well-promoted spending trip to New York City into a book and a national speaking tour. A New York Times writer once called Jay Jay McDevitt, a self-proclaimed humorist-philosopher from Wilkes-Barre, "the valiant hero of vainglory."

At 5-11 and weighing 170 pounds, sporting "high grade clothes," McDevitt was a striking public figure.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

By jim zbick

This year, doomsday prophets will be getting much mileage out of the Mayan calendar, which reportedly runs out of days just before Christmas.

Doomsday prophecies are nothing new in our history. In early January 1912, Lee J. Spangler of York County was proclaimed as "the last of the prophets."

Spangler was expecting "nothing but trouble for 1912," according to an article in the Tamaqua Courier headlined "Prophet Sees Awful Things."

Saturday, February 11, 2012


In his Valentine's Day message to readers a century ago, a writer for the Tamaqua Courier yearned for former days when men took pen to paper and crafted their own personal thoughts to the one close to their hearts.

"Years ago, if the lacey affairs they sold in the stores were not warm enough in their displays of ardor, the lover took pen and ink and drew his own hearts and cupids, and created his own selection of adjectives to set forth his torrid affection," he stated on the day before Valentine's Day in 1912.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

It may not have had the population base of a Boston or New York, but Tamaqua had its own Super Bowl-like atmosphere for a prime-time sporting event during the winter of 1912.

On Monday, Feb. 3, the town hosted a middleweight boxing match between Summit Hill's Jim Bonner and Al Dewey, an up and coming young fighter based in Wilkes-Barre who earlier lived in Eckley.

Monday, January 30, 2012

On March 24, 1898, Robert Allison a 70-year-old Schuylkill County industrialist, became the answer to a huge part of early automobile trivia. That day, he purchased the first commercially manufactured automobile at the Winton Motor Carriage Company in Cleveland.

Allison was born in Middleton, Teesdale, Durham County, England, on Dec. 25, 1827. When the Scottish immigrant first came to Port Carbon, the place had very few inhabitants.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


The first month of 1912 was quite noteworthy for two special priests in the region.

First, the Rev. Hayes, rector of St. Mary's Church in Coaldale, became the talk of the area when he wrestled with an intruder who was trying to break into the poor box.

After surprising the thief, the Rev. Hayes grappled with the man. According to the Tamaqua Courier, the priest "put up a plucky fight in trying to capture him, but the intruder proved a slippery customer and managed to escape."