It was winter 1870 and men were keeping warm in the Oil Region with two hobbies: drinking and fighting. Both would play a part in the death of Rowland Kightlinger one December night in Hydetown, Pennsylvania.
Petroleum Centre, summer 1866. The streets are muddy, the hotels are bawdy, and you just finished a long day of work in the oil fields and are looking for a place to relax for the evening. You saunter into one of the local bars and before you is one of the most fearsome figures of Petroleum Centre, "Bully Tom" Quirk.
Towering on a hilltop near Pittsburgh sat Dixmont Asylum for the Insane, later deemed Dixmont Hospital. Though Dixmont no longer looms in the minds of Northwestern Pennsylvanians today, it was both lauded and feared by residents in the late 1800s.
"Behind the Nametag" is a new series we are starting here at Benson Memorial Library to tell the stories of some of our community members! We are performing interviews with some of the people you see everyday - the faces who greet you at the store in the morning, or help you when you're sick. People who you "know" but don't really know. We are here to change that!
The night was dark and the snow fell heavily onto the moving train, slick tracks, and quiet woods along the Lake Shore Railroad from Erie, Pennsylvania to Ashtabula, Ohio. December 29th, 1876 was like many other winter nights, until at approximately 8:00pm, when everything changed.
August 5th, 1881. It was an uncharacteristically cool week at the beginning of August, the height of the summer. A ghost was about to chill Warren to its core.
Despite the constant reports of violence we are inundated with every day, we live in a low-violence society compared to the 1800s in the Oil Region! In particular, 1874 was a very violent year.