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Happenings from the Heisey

We hope all of you continue to be safe and sanitized! We don’t want anyone to miss any of our events. Our schedule has been revised to reflect the times and advisories.

The Heisey House is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Groups of eight or more need to make a reservation eight hours in advance by calling 570-748-7254 or email info@clintonpahistory.org. Masks, sanitizing and keeping social distance are required.

We are participating in the KeystoneCares Summer 2020 program from July 12 to Aug. 15. On any given day during this period children and their parents may pick up a “History On The Levee” passport at the Heisey House, 362 E. Water St., and visit the informational levee signs at any time. Fill out the back page of your passport with your name and address and drop it in the Heisey House box. We will send you a certificate by mail!

The July Second Sunday program at the Farrandsville Furnace has been canceled.

Wine in The Wilds has been set for April 24, 2021.

Thank you to Herb Guild members Deb Liguori, Phil and Dot Taormina, Donna Flaig and Marion Hoffman for getting the Heisey’s garden back in shape. Last year the guild replanted the selections using an original 1984 planting scheme. We appreciate their efforts and include the herb garden on our tours.

Ending on a sort of macabre note rom the collection: While many of the museum’s displays depict how people lived in Clinton County, two boxes on the collection room shelf document how some of the people died. Box 60 contains coroner’s reports dating from 1900-1920 and Box 61 covers from 1938-1942. After examining the contents of the boxes certain patterns emerge.

During the first 20 years of the 1900s, at least 99 men were struck by trains including several who jumped from one track to another to avoid an oncoming train only to be hit by a train traveling in the opposite direction. The cases of only two women killed in the same fashion were documented; one of those two was hit while gathering coal for heating her house dropped by earlier freight trains.

Suicide also followed patterns. Men often used guns or ropes while women seemed to prefer poisons. The most preferred poisons of the early 1900s were carbolic acid, strychnine, Paris Green (a compound that includes arsenic), laudanum, and in one case, an overdose of moonshine. Sophia, age 82, of Mill Hall hung herself with her dust cloth and Nellie of the Westport area killed herself and two members of her family with strychnine. The youngest child to die by suicide was only 9 years old.

Many died from natural causes, especially heart disease among those that were then considered elderly and pneumonia among the younger residents. Two of the persons who died from natural causes appear to have a link to the Heisey museum.

Robbert (sic) Thomas, age 60, was found in November 1914 in the stable behind the “old Ball property,” now known as the Heisey House. Charlie Jacob Miller died on May 31, 1940, while standing in line to punch the time clock at the NY and Penna Paper Mill. That particular time clock is most likely the one now displayed in the front hallway of the museum.

Many people drowned either accidentally or on purpose in the early years. Many died in the Susquehanna including a woman and her brother-in-law in 1920 when the wagon they were riding on fell off the ferry which was used to travel between Lock Haven and Lockport after the Jay Street Bridge burned. Many died while swimming including four young women who drowned on a hot July day in 1915 in Bald Eagle Creek. One woman used a wooden water barrel to drown herself.

Much of the museum’s collections reflect the lives of those residing in Clinton County but the dead are not forgotten.

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