Archive for August, 2011

Professor Wise, Part II

Posted in Illustrious Lancastrians, Shoebox of History with tags , , , on August 13, 2011 by owl76

More engravings from John Wise’s Through the Air: A Narrative of Forty Years’ Experience as an Aeronaut, Comprising a History of the Various Attempts in the Art of Flying by Artificial Means from the Earliest Period Down to the Present Time.  See original post here.

"A gentleman came to the window and offered me his assistance."

"Holland, Green and Mason over Liege at night."

"Glaisher insensible at a height of seven miles."

"Thurston carried off."


H.E. Leman: Illustrious Lancastrians #3

Posted in Illustrious Lancastrians on August 13, 2011 by owl76

Henry Eichholtz Leman was born in Lancaster in 1812, son of a Huguenot farmer-cum Revolutionary War private-cum brewmaster. A preternatural metalsmith, Henry established a gunworks in the rear of his dad’s Lancaster brewery after a brief apprenticeship with a prominent Philadelphia gunmaker. He supplied arms to the U.S. Government from 1837 to 1860, but turned down a lucrative Union contract in 1861 to focus on the Western market, where his guns were wildly popular among the manifestly destined set. If you see a herd of ghost buffalo stampeding down Duke Street, he’s probably the reason why. His rifles were favored by settlers who decimated the country’s bison population in the 1870s and 1880s. These genocidal marauders happy customers would often send hides back to his Lancaster factory, but is unknown whether Henry himself ever saw a Great Plains buffalo alive. He died in Lancaster in 1887.

Click images for sources

Gotthilf Heinrich Ernst Muhlenberg: Illustrious Lancastrians #2

Posted in Illustrious Lancastrians on August 7, 2011 by owl76

One of the first American botanists and an early champion of Linnaeus’s sexual system of plant description, Henry collected over one thousand species of plants within a three-mile radius of Lancaster, where he served as pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church (he commissioned the steeple which stands today, with its apostolic statuary). He lived in the stone house still standing at 33 North Duke Street, and played host to numerous preeminent scientists of the day, including Alexander von Humboldt, who passed through Lancaster in 1807. He was the first President of Franklin College (now F&M), which he helped found in an abandoned brew house. Henry often walked to Philadelphia to visit with John and William Bartam. He discovered countless new species of flora, but had a particular interest in grasses. He often consumed strange plants to discover medicinal qualities, also experimenting on friends, of which he had many. While exploring the marshlands and meadows which once surrounded a pre-agricultural Lancaster County, he also discovered the rare and threatened bog turtle (Clemmys muhlenbergii).

Pages from the Muhlenberg Herbarium, now at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia.  Click for citation.