Here's an update to my post about the Major A. G. Happer Historical Marker. The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission just released the approved markers for 2018. It is a very interesting list as I knew it would be. I will have much more to say about this later but for now, peruse the list & see if you can find even ONE approved marker that is the equal of Major Happer's accomplishments. This commission is an embarrassment to Pennsylvania. The freakin' Slinky warrants a Historical Marker! Who knew!? The Philadelphia Flower Show! Hey there's a real winner there. They obviously did waaaay more in a historical context than Major Happer. Also, yet more abolitionists. I guess every one of them in PA gets a marker. This year Quaker Abolitionists are in style. The ironic marker is the D.T. Watson marker. D. T. Watson was Happers brother in law. I'm going to have a field day with this. More to come in the days ahead.

Barney Ewell (1918-1996)
Lancaster, Lancaster County
African American sprinter who won a gold and two silver medals at the 1948 Olympics. Although the 1940 and 1944 Olympics were cancelled because of WWII while Ewell was in his prime, he was able to maintain the highest level of performance at an international level to qualify for and medal at the 1948 Olympics. Member of the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.

Benjamin Lay (1682-1759)
Abington, Montgomery County
An early Quaker abolitionist, Lay wrote anti-slavery literature, boycotted products that used slave labor, demonstrated in the streets, and was vocal at Quaker meetings encouraging the
immediate abolition of slavery. Due to his activism, the Quakers became the first religious group to outlaw slaveholding by their members. He also influenced the broader abolitionist movement in the US and Great Britain.

D. T. Watson Home for Crippled Children
Leet Township, Allegheny County
Facility at which patients were first to receive the Salk polio vaccine. By the 1950s it was among the nation’s preeminent facilities that treated children with polio and provided physical rehabilitation. Medical Director Dr. Jessie Wright worked closely with Jonas Salk to develop a safe and effective polio vaccine.

Eddystone Rifle Plant
Eddystone, Delaware County
This 34-acre facility supplied nearly half of all infantry weapons issued to US forces during WWI, as well as over 600,000 rifles for the British army. It was the largest munitions plant in the US during WWI, employing 15,000 workers, 20% of them women.

Ham Fisher
Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County
Creator of the Joe Palooka comic strip that was syndicated nationwide for more than 50 years. Palooka was a prize fighting, clean living hero. The comic strip gained popularity during WWII, as the Palooka character enlisted in the Army. The strip served to encourage recruitment and to boost morale among American troops. It also served as a tool to sell war bonds and encouraged support of the war effort.

Isaac and Dinah Mendenhall (1806-1882), (1807-1889)
Chadds Ford, Chester County
Quaker abolitionists who were active with the Underground Railroad, collaborating with Thomas Garrett and Harriet Tubman. The Mendenhalls were charter members of the Longwood Progressive Meeting, which broke from the more traditional Old Kennett Meeting in 1853 due to their anti-slavery activism. The meeting hosted national abolitionist speakers such as Sojourner Truth and William Lloyd Garrison. Dinah was part of a delegation that met with President Lincoln to advocate for the abolition of slavery just 6 months before the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.

McAllister Family of Opticians
Beginning in 1799, John McAllister began selling spectacles at his shop in Philadelphia. He became a skilled optician and clients included presidents Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Jackson, as well as other prominent individuals locally and throughout the country. John, Jr. was instrumental in advances in photography. John, Jr., and William McAllister worked and taught at the pioneering Wills Eye Institute. Five generations maintained this distinguished legacy through the mid-20th century.

John Philip Boehm (1683-1749)
Blue Bell, Montgomery County
Founder of the German Reformed Church in America, which developed into the modern day United Church of Christ. One of the most important aspects of his work was establishing governance for churches. He developed a church constitution 60 years prior to the US Constitution. He founded twelve churches and served at another eight as pastor.

Lois Weber (1879-1939)
Pittsburgh, Allegheny County
The first American woman film director and a pioneer in early film making. In the era of silent films, she mastered superimposition, double exposures, and split screens to convey thoughts and ideas rather than words on title cards. She also used the nude female figure in the 1915 film Hypocrites and took on progressive and provocative topics, inciting both censorship and artistic praise.

Oliver Pollock (1737-1823)
Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County
A successful merchant and major financier of the American Revolution, Pollock endured bankruptcy and imprisonment. He became agent of the Continental Congress in the Spanish territory of New Orleans and became a friend of Governor Bernardo Galvez, who sent supplies to the Continental Army. Pollock accompanied Galvez in raids against the British on the eastern border. He is credited with financing the 1778 Illinois expedition of George Rogers Clark as well as that of James Willing against Loyalists on the lower Mississippi.

Philadelphia Flower Show
The largest and longest running horticultural event in the nation, the Philadelphia Flower Show features displays by the world’s premier floral and landscape designers. Throughout its history this event has introduced many little-known species. At the inaugural show in 1829, the poinsettia was introduced to the American public. It has been honored multiple times as best in the world by the International Festivals and Events Association.

Richard Moore (1793-1875)
Quakertown, Bucks County
A Quaker abolitionist, active with the Underground Railroad. Moore’s home was a major station on the network. Moore claimed to have assisted more than 600 fugitive slaves in their escape, including William Parker who was involved in the Christiana Riot. Moore also helped a number of fugitives to find jobs and set up residence in Quakertown.

Ruth Plumly Thompson (1891-1976)
Author of 19 Wizard of Oz books, following the death of creator L. Frank Baum. Having earned a reputation as a talented author of children’s literature, Baum’s publisher solicited her to continue the official Oz series. She wrote one Oz book per year from 1921 through 1939, maintaining the series’ popularity through the release of the classic film.

Slinky Toy
Clifton Heights, Delaware County
Ubiquitous American toy invented by mechanical engineer Richard James in 1943. Following Mr. James’ religious conversion and nearly bankrupting the company in the early 1960s, his wife divorced him. He relocated to Bolivia and Betty James took over the business and turned it into a multi-million-dollar company with international distribution. She was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Slinky was listed on the Toy Industry Association’s “Century of Toys” for the 20th century.

Sunset Park
Penn Twp., Chester County
Country and Bluegrass music venue that operated for over 50 years. Some of the biggest names in the business played here and it became one of the premier venues outside of Nashville. This venue helped to spread the popularity of this type of music nationwide. By the 1980s the mailing list included individuals in 48 states. Bluegrass icon Ola Belle Reed played here for over 20 years with the Sunset Park house band.


William J. McKnight, M.D.
Brookville, Jefferson County
Doctor, legislator and historian, McKnight introduced an Act in 1883 while senator that legalized human dissection, provided for unclaimed bodies to be distributed to medical schools for anatomical study, and made grave robbery illegal. The act served to advance the field of medicine and by extension, physical anthropology and forensic science. McKnight also authored several county histories and the History of Northwestern PA.



Jim's latest book is The Bloody Eleventh: A Regimental History. Released on November 1st 2015 it is flying off the shelves on! Regimental histories have always been popular with Civil War enthusiasts, and this one really hits the mark. Loaded with over 80 period photos and 30 battle maps, it makes it easy to follow along with this amazing story. 

The Kindle edition has a special bonus section with additional pictures and maps that aren't in the print edition! 


Available worldwide on

Both of Jim's titles are Amazon Best Sellers!

Reviews 5 Stars!

"This book is not the usual Civil War soldier book filled with dry facts and figures. This book is a fantastic story about a soldier who had a remarkable military service and went on to do great things afterward. This book is great for the hardcore Civil War buff and the newbie as well, or anyone interested in Washington County, PA. There are small, fun stories sprinkled throughout the book, told by a member of the 11th Pennsylvania, that really add to the enjoyment. There are areas that tell lots of information that you don't find in most Civil War books, that help the novice understand exactly what's going on and why. The hardcore buff will enjoy the details presented.
Having the battles mostly as told by the men who were there was an interesting way of telling that part of the story. The author backs up his facts with pages of endnotes. I don't want to give too much away, but this story would make a great TV miniseries. It's unbelievable that the Major is unknown today. There should be a statue of him somewhere."


 Great Read! 5 Stars! 

We are using this book in our AP United States History course. This is a wonderful account of a man who was a hero, yet has not been recognized for his great and positive efforts in our local community's storied history. 


 iTunes 5 Stars!

"As a longtime fan of the Civil War and as a lover of personal tales in wartime this book hits a sweet spot for me."


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