Saturday, August 16, 2014

W.R.Harshaw on Libraries

William R. Harshaw wrote an article for Outlook Magazine in June 1901 on the West Pittston library.  The article was reprinted in the Pittston Gazette on July 9, 1901.  He's very concerned about getting people to read only the "best" and rather snobbishly dismissive of Pittston, which was more immigrant coal miners while West Pittston was more professional and managerial.  But for all his dated attitudes, he apparently was a driving force behind rejuvenating the library.

Theodore Roosevelt wrote for the magazine, which was not one of the muckraking mags.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Galum Postmaster: Michael Harshaw

Michael Harshaw was appointed postmaster at Galum, IL on Jan 21, 1862.  Abraham Lincoln had been postmaster some 30 years earlier and got paid about $20 a quarter.  I don't know the basis--whether it was a flat salary or based on the money the postmaster collected.

Ancestry has a some explanation . As noted, the appointment was political (remember the movie "Lincoln") which links up with grandfather's bio of Michael.

But why "Galum"?  Cutler, IL was only developed when the railroad came through, which was after 1862.  My only clue is a "Galum Church Road" which currently runs west from the Pinckneyville area towards Cutler. Today it ends in an area which was mined, but assuming it was a continuous route in 1862 it would be route 15 which runs just north of Cutler, near the original location of Michael's church.

So was Michael's church the original "Galum Church?  No, it seems there was a Galum church  founded in 1854 near Pinckneyville which burned down in 2005,but the cemetery still remains.  So where was the postoffice, near the Galum church or the Cutler church.  Not clear.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The West Pittston Library and W.R.Harshaw I

Ms Anne Barr, director of the West Pittston Library, made connections with me through this blog.  We talked on the phone today.  Briefly it seems that grandfather, William R. Harshaw, was quite involved with the library's affairs, as reflected in the minutes of the library association. She will be sharing information on his involvement with me and I will pass it on (hence the "I").

The library website also provides access to digitized copies of some issues of the Pittston Gazette.  The first mention of W.R.Harshaw is on the occasion of the first use of the new church building, February 26, 1892. He preached twice.  A mystery though--why is he described as of Columbus, Ohio?  Perhaps a correspondent's mistake, because he was of New York City then.