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.

Life Before Google

Posted in Shoebox of History with tags on July 24, 2011 by owl76

Found in a Lancaster bookstore for a dollar. Haskin was syndicated in over a hundred American newspapers during the 1920s. If there was something you needed to know, you wrote Haskin in Washington, D.C. for the answer.

Q: Does Haskin have an entry in Wikipedia?

A: No.

(Click to enlarge pages)


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Aeronaut John Wise: Illustrious Lancastrians #1

Posted in Illustrious Lancastrians with tags , , , on July 24, 2011 by owl76

Wise was born in Lancaster on February 24, 1808. As a youth, he was tutored by noted Episcopalian Augustus Muhlenberg, but claimed to have been dissuaded by the Lord Himself from pursuing continued theological study. Instead, he turned his attention to the lower skies, devising ways to attach kittens to kites for the purposes of meteorological experimentation. A language barrier prevented the collection of much useful observation. Undaunted, Wise instead devised a method of stitching cloth into a enormous sack, shellacking it, filling it with homebrewed hydrogen, and tying himself to it. As a consequence, the ballooning pioneer survived multiple explosions, and also discovered the jet stream.

Wise wrote two books:  A System of Aeronautics (1850), and Through the Air (1873). Vernian in spirit and Melvillian in ambition, these were among the first works ever to grasp the inevitability of modern air travel. He is sometimes credited with carrying the first piece of air mail, and also of firing the first airborne weapon in a theater of war. Both claims are tenuous.

Dismissing the westward lust of his contemporaries, Wise devoted his mature years to the (unrequited) dream of an eastward Trans-Atlantic balloon crossing. He died aged 71, disappearing over Lake Michigan after alighting from East St. Louis, Missouri.

The illustrations in both books are a steampunk’s wet dream. Continue reading

Food Desert Specimens I

Posted in Food Desert with tags , on July 2, 2011 by btleech

In the Province No. 3

Posted in Uncategorized on July 2, 2011 by btleech

(Long) after Demuth’s Lancaster (In the Province No.2).  Aka Over, Up and Out (Three Arrows). Aka Beer Store Parking Lot.


Posted in Statuary of the Week on December 16, 2009 by owl76