Published January 28, 2018

1918 saw a devastating influenza pandemic that killed anywhere from 50 million to hundreds of millions of people worldwide, and upwards of 675,00o in the US alone. One hundred years later,  we are experiencing another wave of flu that has already claimed the lives of several dozen patients. One aspect of the 1918 outbreak…

Read More The heavy toll of an influenza epidemic

Published March 5, 2017

Nicholas Cresswell was a young British man who traveled to the American colonies in 1774, stayed for about three years, and recorded his experiences in a diary. In April of 1775, he had made his way to what is now western Pennsylvania. On April 15th, he wrote “Crossed Jacob’s Creek…

Read More A grisly sight on the banks of the Monongahela

Published January 30, 2017

In the early 20th century, men were often in the majority in co-ed colleges. In my grandfather’s graduating class of 1919 however, he was the only man. This unusual situation was due to world events of the time. Frank F. Jordan was a young man from Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. His…

Read More The male minority

Published May 6, 2015

My 4th great-grandfather was Henry Jordan (1755-1847). He came to the US from Germany, as a Hessian soldier paid by the British government during the Revolutionary War. The family story was that he was captured after the Battle of Trenton in December of 1776 and joined the American army. In…

Read More Henry Jordan and The Affair at Little Egg Harbor

Published April 5, 2015

One of the founding fathers of the United States was an ancestor on my mother’s family tree, named Robert Coles. He connects to my maternal ancestors of Western Pennsylvania through his daughter Ann, who married into the Townsend family of Long Island. Robert came to the American colonies with the…

Read More Robert Coles – skeletons in the colonial closet

Published January 25, 2015

One of the US’s fears during the War of 1812 was that the British would invade the Great Lakes region and move down through Ohio to the Mississippi River, thus gaining easy access to much of the mid-west. After Fort Detroit fell to the British, General (later President) William Henry…

Read More Fort Meigs and the War of 1812