119 South Pitt Street · Mercer, Pennsylvania 16137 · 724-662-3490
info@mchspa.org

From the Director


In the fifteen plus years our Executive Director—Bill Philson—has been helping to steer the Mercer County Historical Society (MCHS). Many things have changed, but our main mission has remained the same—to protect and preserve the history of Mercer County.


BATTLE OF SAILOR’S CREEK

Posted by on Mar 9, 2017 in Blog, Featured | 0 comments

BATTLE OF SAILOR’S CREEK

The MCHS is proud to present our Civil War Roundtable featuring the
BATTLE OF SAILOR’S CREEK (Sayler’s Creek)
On Tuesday, March 14, 2017, the Mercer County Historical Society presents a program on the Battle of Sailor’s Creek. This was the last major battle of the Civil War in the east. Louis Francis Brest, of Mercer, won the Congressional Medal of Honor at this battle. Jim Carnes will be presenting this program. The doors open at 6:30 PM; the program starts at 7:00, and should end around 9:00. Please join us.
The Civil War Discussion Group is part of the Mercer County Historical Society’s ongoing efforts to provide programming related to local history. The roundtable meets on the second Tuesday of each month from September through May. Participation in the discussion group is open to the public and is free. The Historical Society’s headquarters is at 119 South Pitt Street, Mercer. For further information, please call the Historical Society at 724-662-3490.
For more information, please call 724-662-3490, email info@mchspa.org, or look to our webpage www.mchspa.org .

VIETNAM TET, PART 2

Posted by on Mar 9, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

VIETNAM TET, PART 2

HISTORY IN THE MAKING DISCUSSION GROUP
VIETNAM TET, PART 2
On Tuesday, March 21, 2017, the Mercer County Historical Society will present —“History in the Making.” We will be continuing a study of Vietnam, continuing with the Tet Offensive—Part 2. The doors will open at 6:30 PM at the library of the Mercer County Historical Society; the program starts at 7:00, and should end around 9:00. Please join us. Part of this program will be on video combined with a general discussion of the topic.
The “History in the Making” Discussion Group is part of the Historical Society’s ongoing efforts to provide programming related to world and local history. This roundtable will meet on the third Tuesday of each month from September through May. Participation in the discussion group is open to the public and is free. The Historical Society’s headquarters is at 119 South Pitt Street, Mercer. For further information, please call the Historical Society at 724-662-3490

THE SEVEN DAYS BATTLE

Posted by on Feb 7, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

THE SEVEN DAYS BATTLE

The MCHS is proud to present our Civil War Roundtable featuring:
THE SEVEN DAYS BATTLE

On Tuesday, February 14, 2017, the Mercer County Historical Society presents a program on the Seven Days Battle. The Seven Days Battles were a series of six major battles over the seven days from June 25 to July 1, 1862, near Richmond, Virginia, during the American Civil War. Jim Carnes will be presenting this program. The doors open at 6:30 PM; the program starts at 7:00, and should end around 9:00. Please join us.
The Civil War Discussion Group is part of the Mercer County Historical Society’s ongoing efforts to provide programming related to local history. The roundtable meets on the second Tuesday of each month from September through May. Participation in the discussion group is open to the public and is free. The Historical Society’s headquarters is at 119 South Pitt Street, Mercer. For further information, please call the Historical Society at 724-662-3490.
For more information, please call 724-662-3490, email info@mchspa.org, or look to our webpage www.mchspa.org .

VIETNAM TET, PART 1

Posted by on Feb 7, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

VIETNAM TET, PART 1

HISTORY IN THE MAKING DISCUSSION GROUP

On Tuesday, February 21, 2017, the Mercer County Historical Society will present —“History in the Making.” We will be starting a study of Vietnam, beginning with the Tet Offensive—Part 1. The doors will open at 6:30 PM at the library of the Mercer County Historical Society; the program starts at 7:00, and should end around 9:00. Please join us. Part of this program will be on video combined with a general discussion of the topic.
The “History in the Making” Discussion Group is part of the Historical Society’s ongoing efforts to provide programming related to world and local history. This roundtable will meet on the third Tuesday of each month from September through May. Participation in the discussion group is open to the public and is free. The Historical Society’s headquarters is at 119 South Pitt Street, Mercer. For further information, please call the Historical Society at 724-662-3490

Man looks for a murderer 100 years later.

Posted by on Feb 7, 2017 in Blog, Featured | 0 comments

Man looks for a murderer 100 years later.

The MCHS was able to play a hand in looking into this mysterious death more than 100 years ago:

The Record-Argus, Greenville, Pa. 16125

Saturday-Sunday, August 13-14, 2016

One-hundred years later, man seeks info about uncle’s murder

By Molly Vanwoert

Mystery is ‘out of a TV drama’

Until a few weeks ago, Jim Stevenson had no idea his great-great uncle J.A. Stevenson existed.

While doing research on the history of another relative, Jim stumbled across J.A.’s story – documented in old newspaper articles collected by the Mercer County Historical Society (MCHS) – and found himself thrust into a murder mystery that he said “could be straight out of a TV drama.’

Now Jim said he is trying everything he can to learn more about the uncle he never knew he had, and the murder that ended his life exactly 100 years ago.

According to historical society documents, J.A. died after being shot three times in his Osgood home on Aug. 13, 1916.

While archives from the Greenville Evening Record and The Mercer Dispatch detail the many twists and turns of the investigation into J.A.’s untimely death, from the day after attack through Oct. 28, 1916, coverage of the investigation seems to end there.

The final Evening Record article confirms the identity of one of J.A.’s killers – found dead just a mile outside of Mercer – and clears the name of another implicated in the crime, but does not answer the question of who the second killer was.

This, among others, is a question Jim wants answered.

Jim is currently working with Bill Philson – executive director of the historical society – in an attempt to track down missing newspaper articles, police reports and an obituary for J.A., which he hopes will help fill in the blanks of his family tree.

Although his father was 11 years old when J.A. was murdered, Jim said his dad’s great-uncle was never mentioned to him; his sister, Nancy; or his brother, John, as they were growing up.

“We knew nothing about [the murder], or him for that matter,” Jim said. “When it happened, my dad was 11 and lived very close by to J.A., but it was never discussed in our family – it was never brought up, by anyone.”

Jim’s father kept hand-written records of the Stevensons’ family history, something Jim said he passed on to him.

While researching a J.M. Stevenson – who was killed in the Battle of Gettysburg – Jim said an Internet search led him to the historical society’s collection of articles pertaining to J.A.’s murder – the only account of J.A.’s existence that Jim has been able to locate in his month of research.

“I just happened to run across it,” Jim said. “There is no mention of him on ancestry.com. He doesn’t show up on our family tree. The only thing that shows up is the incredible account from the historical society.”

While his great-great- uncle’s existence was revealed through research of the Stevenson family history, Jim said his connection with J.A.’s murder goes further than just genetics.

Guy Thorne, who was acting district attorney who investigated J.A.’s murder, lived next door to Jim and his family on College Avenue for most of Jim’s childhood.

“I knew he and his wife well,” Jim said of Thorne. “I used to walk their dog, and she’d give me a dime to go buy a gum stick.”

Jim, who now resides in Morristown, N.J., lived in the borough, next door to the Thornes, from the time he was 6 years old until he was 14.

In that time, he never heard mention of his uncle J.A., or the investigation that Thorne participated in.

Jim said he plans to continue to do “some belated detective work” into J.A.’s life and death, in hopes of sharing the complete history with the rest of his family, as well as the historical society.

While Philson said the historical society receives frequent calls from people hoping to get a glimpse into their family’s past, he added that Jim’s experience with J.A.’s murder is particularly interesting.

“It’s fascinating, to read about these unsolved cases, because you have your feelings about what may have happened, but you can’t prove it,” Philson said. “Their stories are still alive, even though the people are long gone.”

J.A.: ‘I guess they got me, too’

SUGAR GROVE TOWNSHIP – Today marks the 100th anniversary of what is described as “one of the most wanton and cruel murders ever perpetrated in Mercer County.”

On Aug. 13, 1916, J.A. Stevenson was shot three times in his Osgood – now Sugar Grove Township – home by two burglars, who escaped with $400.

According to Greenville Evening Record archives, Stevenson was able to reach his revolver and fire three shots – two of which struck one of the men – at the intruders before they fled the scene.

“They got my money, and I guess they got me, too,” were Stevenson’s last words according to the Record, spoken to his wife as they awaited help.

Stevenson was 65 at the time of his murder.

Because the “Stevenson home is unpretentious,” and the local store he owned was described as “plain,” the Record said police felt the crime “was planned by someone familiar with the circumstances and habits of the Stevensons” The only evidence left at the scene by the suspects was the 32-caliber revolver used to kill Stevenson and a half-worn men’s shoe.

Then, on Oct. 20, 1916, a break in the case came in the form of a body discovered in a swamp about one mile outside of Mercer near the Pennsylvania railroad tracks at Houston Junction.

Although the body was badly decomposed, the Record reported that, on the right foot of the man’s body, was the mate to the shoe found at the scene of Stevenson’s murder.

“A comparison [of the shoes] immediately established the identity of the dead man as one of the murderers,” the article says. “An examination of the black coat found on the body disclosed two bullet holes.”

The man’s wounds were wrapped in decomposed clothing that was stolen from the Stevenson’s home after the attack on J.A.

It was believed by authorities that the wounded man and his accomplice boarded a Bessemer freight train and rode to Houston Junction after fleeing the scene of J.A.’s murder.

“The man might have been dead before reaching this spot, although that he was alive when left there is borne out by the finding close to the finding close to the body of a small tin can, as if water had been left near his hand,” an Oct. 21, 1916, article says. “Deserted by his partners in crime, his body was stripped of every possible clue to identification, and the wounded man left to die.”

The final article pertaining to Stevenson ran in the record Oct. 28, 1916, with no inclination that the additional men responsible for the murder of J.A. had been identified or apprehended.

THE HUFFMAN LETTERS

Posted by on Jan 6, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

THE HUFFMAN LETTERS

The MCHS is proud to present our Civil War Roundtable featuring:
THE HUFFMAN LETTERS
On Tuesday, January 10, 2017, the Mercer County Historical Society presents a program on the “Huffman Letters.” In 1861, sixteen year old William Henry Huffman of Darlington Township, Beaver County, enlisted in the Union Army. As part of the 100th PA regiment (Roundheads) based in Lawrence County, he participated in over 20 battles, including Fredericksburg and Vicksburg. Fast forward until the 2000’s, a family donates a chest to the Little Beaver Historical Society and it is examined by Jay Paisley. He discovered a series of letters by Huffman to his family. He took these letters and created a book. He will be here on January 10, 2017, to tell us about this young man and his experiences during the Civil War. The doors open at 6:30 PM; the program starts at 7:00, and should end around 9:00. Please join us.
The Civil War Discussion Group is part of the Mercer County Historical Society’s ongoing efforts to provide programming related to local history. The roundtable meets on the second Tuesday of each month from September through May. Participation in the discussion group is open to the public and is free. The Historical Society’s headquarters is at 119 South Pitt Street, Mercer. For further information, please call the Historical Society at 724-662-3490.
For more information, please call 724-662-3490, email info@mchspa.org, or look to our webpage www.mchspa.org .

HISTORY IN THE MAKING-KOREA

Posted by on Jan 6, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

HISTORY IN THE MAKING-KOREA

HISTORY IN THE MAKING DISCUSSION GROUP
KOREA
On Tuesday, January 17, 2017, the Mercer County Historical Society will present —“History in the Making.” We will be ending our study of the Korean Conflict with this meeting—next meeting (February) we will be starting a study of Vietnam. The doors will open at 6:30 PM at the library of the Mercer County Historical Society; the program starts at 7:00, and should end around 9:00. Please join us. Part of this program will be on video and then a discussion of the topic.
The “History in the Making” Discussion Group is part of the Historical Society’s ongoing efforts to provide programming related to world and local history. This roundtable will meet on the third Tuesday of each month from September through May. Participation in the discussion group is open to the public and is free. The Historical Society’s headquarters is at 119 South Pitt Street, Mercer. For further information, please call the Historical Society at 724-662-3490

Annual Christmas Concert and Dinner

Posted by on Dec 2, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Annual Christmas Concert and Dinner

The Mercer County Historical Society will hold its Annual Christmas Concert and Dinner on Saturday, December 10th at the Historical Society Complex, 119 South Pitt Street, Mercer, PA. Prior to the dinner, beginning at 5:00 p.m., a reception will be held in the Library of the Anderson Building, a dinner beginning at 6:00 p.m. will be held in the Social Hall of the Helen Black Miller Memorial Chapel, and a concert beginning at 7:00 p.m. will be held in the sanctuary of the Miller Chapel. Following the concert, a reception will be held in the Social Hall of the Miller Chapel.
With the exception of the dinner, everything is free and open to the public. The cost of the dinner is twelve ($12.00) dollars, and tickets may be purchased and/or reserved on or before 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 8, 2016, by calling 724/662-3490 or visiting the Historical Society.

In addition to the Christmas Concert and Dinner being held at the Historical Society, the Lark Family Nativity sets will once again be on display, and the political buttons from the campaign of McKinley and Byran in 1900 through Trump vs. Clinton in 2016 are still on display. The Nativity sets will be on display in the Library of the Anderson Building and the political buttons are on display in the lobby of the Anderson Building. Both displays can be seen through Friday, December 23, with the Historical Society being open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

Civil War Round Table: Stonewall Jackson

Posted by on Dec 2, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Civil War Round Table: Stonewall Jackson

The MCHS is proud to present our Civil War Round Table featuring:
Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign
On Tuesday, December 13, 2016, the Mercer County Historical Society presents a program on “Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign.” The doors open at 6:30 PM; the program starts at 7:00, and should end around 9:00. Please join us.
The Civil War Discussion Group is part of the Mercer County Historical Society’s ongoing efforts to provide programming related to local history. The roundtable meets on the second Tuesday of each month from September through May. Participation in the discussion group is open to the public and is free. The Historical Society’s headquarters is at 119 South Pitt Street, Mercer. For further information, please call the Historical Society at 724-662-3490.
For more information, please call 724-662-3490, email info@mchspa.org, or look to our webpage www.mchspa.org .

History in the Making: Korea

Posted by on Dec 2, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

History in the Making: Korea

HISTORY IN THE MAKING DISCUSSION GROUP
KOREA
On Tuesday, December 20, 2016, the Mercer County Historical Society will present —“History in the Making.” We will continue our study of the Korean Conflict. The doors will open at 6:30 PM at the library of the Mercer County Historical Society; the program starts at 7:00, and should end around 9:00. Please join us. Part of this program will be on video and then a discussion of the topic.
The “History in the Making” Discussion Group is part of the Historical Society’s ongoing efforts to provide programming related to world and local history. This roundtable will meet on the third Tuesday of each month from September through May. Participation in the discussion group is open to the public and is free. The Historical Society’s headquarters is at 119 South Pitt Street, Mercer. For further information, please call the Historical Society at 724-662-3490