The Census – The Personal Public Record

By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist

Originally published in Greene Speak, January 2007. Updated December 2019.

The decade-by-decade details that have been cataloged by United States Census takers since 1790, culminate in one of the most research-rich and personally insightful record sets regarding the everyday existence of our ancestors and communities. Available for public perusal for years 1790 to 1940 (excepting the damaged 1890 entries), census records indicate: where and with whom our relatives lived; when and where they were born; how they earned a living; the languages spoken at home; the values of their real and personal property; and, all of this for each of their neighbors too. As incredible as this information is, the thing that is really exceptional about the Census, is that it goes a step further – a step taken when the Census taker walked through our ancestors’ doors and into their homes.

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She Watches from the Grave

By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist

Originally published by Candice Buchanan as a contributing chapter in Supernatural Lore of Pennsylvania: Ghosts, Monsters and Miracles, Thomas White, Editor (Charleston, South Carolina: History Press, 2014), 35.

The Martin Mausoleum in Green Mount Cemetery. (Photo by Candice Buchanan, 2014.)

Far from its main entrance, where the gravel road winds near the back gate, stands Green Mount Cemetery‘s haunted mausoleum. It is not especially large, but it is stately, with a small porch supported by four pillars. Its heavy, gray stone is contrasted by a tempting patch of color within. To get a good look, a passerby must climb the stairs to the narrow porch and come nose-to-nose with the crypt’s glass doors to peer between the metal bars. On each side are four drawers, occupied and identified accordingly. On the back wall, in vivid hues and artisan craftsmanship, an elderly woman stares back from a stained-glass window portrait. Her expression is stern, but it is her eyes that are haunting. As you study her, she studies you back. There is an eerie feeling of being watched. According to legend, her eyes actually move to follow visitors until they are safely out of range. Local lore explains that she holds this eternal vigil because her husband wronged her in life and she is forever watching him in death. Other versions say that she guards her family from beyond the grave, with her eyes not only on anyone who approaches from the outside, but also on everyone entombed on the inside. Children who play hide-and-seek games in the cemetery see her both as protector, using the mausoleum as safe base, and as opponent, identifying her as the threat to either hide or run from.

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The Man Who Brought Football to Waynesburg College

By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist

Originally published in Greene Speak, June 2006.

In the fall of 1894, a 20-year-old transfer student arrived on the Waynesburg College campus bringing with him a passion for a young and still developing pastime.

Thomas Davies Whittles, Waynesburg College, Class of 1896, item no. WAYN_AN001_1896_0019, Waynesburg University Paul R. Stewart Museum Collection, Greene Connections Archives Project (www.GreeneConnections.com).

Thomas Davies Whittles, the man who brought football to Waynesburg College, was born in Bardsley, Lancashire, England, on December 27, 1873, to Robert and Emma (Davies) Whittles. When he was ten years old, he immigrated to the United States with his mother and sister, landing in New York on May 21, 1884, after a voyage aboard the ship Helvetia.

Thomas was privileged to receive a preparatory school education at an institution where football was already being played. Outside of the ivy-league schools that had developed the game, football was only being introduced into a wider selection of colleges and universities in the 1890s, and Waynesburg, for its part, had neither received nor encouraged any such introduction, until Thomas came to town.

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Case Study: Local Celebrity

By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist

The Greene County Historical Society in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania holds a carte-de-visite size photograph album connected to the Cathers, Inghram, Lindsey, Munnell, and related families. In the album is a CDV captioned “Jesse Lazear.” The photographer stamp credits Whitehurst Gallery, 434 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.[1] This photograph shows up again, in combination with another pose from the same sitting, captioned as Jesse Lazear, as a loose CDV in the orphaned images of GCHS and also of the Waynesburg University Paul R. Stewart Museum.[2]

This popular photo has made not only these three archived appearances, but it has also made itself present in family photograph collections and research questions submitted by private families to the Greene Connections: Greene County, Pennsylvania Archives Project. Whether the image appears (1) captioned as Jesse Lazear, (2) captioned with an ancestor’s name, or (3) without a caption at all, it has been cause for further research. In the first case, who is this man with a name that does not fit into the family tree? In the second and third, if this is an ancestor, why would he have had a photograph taken in Washington, D.C.? Did he reside there, or did he travel to visit or attend a special event?

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All About the Greene Connections Archives Project

By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist

We hope you have visited our site (www.GreeneConnections.com) and found your ancestor looking back at you, or seen what your house or street looked like a century ago, or read a handwritten letter your relative sent home from France during World War I. The possibility of such discoveries increases daily as the project continues to grow!

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First Women Voters in Greene County, Pennsylvania

Abigail (Woods) Hoge with her grandchildren

By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist

Featured photo: Abigail (Woods) Hoge with her grandchildren. Abigail was one of the women in line early on that first Election Day on November 2, 1920. A young teen when the Seneca Falls convention took place in 1848, Abigail survived the entire struggle for suffrage and was ready at the polls every election well into her 90s. (Item no. BAKM_AN003_0003, Margaret Leah (Waddell) Baker Collection, Greene Connections Archives Project (www.GreeneConnections.com)).

On June 24, 1919, Pennsylvania became the 7th state to ratify the 19th Amendment that would ultimately give women the right to vote. (See more about how Greene County voted.) It was on August 26, 1920, after the required 36th state ratified it, that the amendment was certified and made a part of the United States Constitution. This was just in time for women to register to vote in the Presidential Election of 1920.

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Our Vote in Pennsylvania Today Is Historic for U.S. Women

By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist

100 years ago, Pennsylvania women, like most of their sisters across the country, did not have the right to vote.

In 1915, Pennsylvania attempted to give suffrage (voting rights) to the women of our state. It failed. Men in Greene County were split 1694 for, 2070 against. Women of course had no opportunity to cast a ballot on the matter.

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Road Rage Car Crash, 1912

by Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist

The caption on the photograph read, “Car in which Simon Wesley Rinehart was killed.” It was clearly going to be a research path that would lead to tragedy. Moved by this haunting image, what follows is a glimpse into the events of late 1912, remembering the lives that are memorialized by this simple picture of an automobile with a foreboding inscription.

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Treasure Hunting in the Census

By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist

Originally published September 8, 2014.

Family and local history researchers know and love the decade-by-decade revelations of Census records. It is not just a listing of households, but a neighborhood roll-call identifying neighbors who have the potential to be in-laws, cousins, or at the very least the folks our ancestors likely interacted with on a day-to-day basis. Besides the basics of names, ages, and relationships, Census records also let us in on school attendance, literacy, values of real estate and personal property, home ownership or rental, and occasionally status of health and sanity, to name just a few of the fun facts. Certainly, in reference to sanity, it was that column in consecutive Census records that pointed me to the real story of Grandma Elizabeth, who has been the subject of previous discussions. Today, the reason for this small accolade to the Census taker is due to a reminder of just how fascinating Census data can be.

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Joseph Throckmorton Sr. Letter (1862)

By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist

Originally published January 31, 2016.

On August 2, 1862, Joseph Throckmorton Sr., age 77, sat down to write a letter to his second wife, Laura (Peck) (Gilbert) Throckmorton, age 63. Laura was at home on their farm in Morrow County, Ohio, to which the envelope is addressed, while Joseph was visiting his family in Waynesburg, Greene County, Pennsylvania, from where the letter was written. The envelope itself is postmarked in nearby Harvey’s, Pennsylvania, a post office in Center Township, Greene County, on September 7.

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