Just checking in

Trailheads is having a little hiatus this week, but that doesn't mean there's nothing to do. The November program listings have info on upcoming events, and we'll have a pre-Thanksgiving post next week. Curious about holiday schedules? You'll find a whole page for those.

If you're anywhere near the Harrisburg area today, please stop by the Commonwealth Keystone Building (corner of Commonwealth Ave. and North St. in the Capitol Complex) from 10 am to 3 pm for Day 2 of the 9th Annual Holiday Marketplace. The marketplace is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation and features museum store goodies from sites on the PA Trails of History as well as other state agencies.

Lancaster County Community Foundation's Extraordinary Give is today (Nov. 21). To make things easy, you can click on these Trails of History sites to go directly to their donation pages: Ephrata Cloister, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, Railroad Museum of PA. If you're interested in other PHMC sites, many are in the midst of their annual appeal campaigns and would welcome your support most graciously.

Not to push the holidays too fast, but if you want to see the annual "Santa's Draft Card" exhibit at the Pennsylvania Military Museum, they'll be closing for the winter at the end of November.

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Photo courtesy of PA Military Museum

On to the next 100 Posts

I'm still recovering from the big "300th post" gala at Trailheads HQ last week, so excuse me if this post is a bit short. We're still removing bits of confetti from the keyboards and cleaning up from what will hereafter be known as "that time there was milk chocolate on the ceiling." I'm advised not to go into too much detail, but if you ever have the opportunity to dive head-first into a chocolate fountain, don't do it. Don't ask me how I know.

You'll find info for this weekend's events in the November program listings.

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Museum educators from the Trails of History at PA Military Museum, August 2014 (AKF photo)
Tomorrow, Nov. 15, is Museum Educator Appreciation Day, so let me take this opportunity to wish all of the museum educators on the Pennsylvania Trails of History a great day. Many, if not most, of them will spend the day at work helping visitors enjoy our sites and learn something new. If you stop by one of our sites, please tell them thank you.

Throughout the past year or so, we've periodically shared links to posts on the Old Economy Village blog, "Rapp Houses Restoration." Last week, the site held the "big reveal" as the George and Frederick Rapp Houses reopened to the public. Curator Sarah Buffington led a team that painstakingly researched period interior design and scoured the museum collections for evidence of the houses' original configurations and furnishings. An article on Trib Live provides background on the project and more wonderful photos. I have it on good authority that even the wonderful photos don't do it justice. Definitely need to schedule a visit.

One of the sure signs of the season is when the banner for the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation's Holiday Marketplace appears in the atrium of the Commonwealth Keystone Building in Harrisburg. This year is the 9th annual event and the PA Trails of History sites expected to participate are: the State Museum of PA, Ephrata Cloister, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, and Somerset Historical Center. Some of PHMC's partner agencies will also be on hand: Dept. of Community and Economic Development's Artisans Trail, PA Parks and Forests Foundation/Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of State Parks, Capitol Preservation Committee, and the State Employee Recreation Association. It's always a great time to see what's new in our museum stores and to support the work of our sites. The event will take place Nov. 20 and 21 from 10 am to 3 pm each day.

Also on tap for next week is the Lancaster County Community Foundation's Extraordinary Give on Friday, Nov. 21. This 24-hour online giving campaign allows you to support charities throughout the county. Ephrata Cloister, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, and the Railroad Museum of PA are all participating. Ephrata has a slate of special staff presentations throughout the day (free admission) to highlight their offerings.

Trailheads #300

Yes, campers. This right here is the 300th Trailheads post. When the blog debuted in August of 2009, I'm not sure anyone foresaw the dozens of you who would be reading 5 years later. Thanks for your ongoing support.

Tuesday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day, a time for us to say "thank you" to all who have served our country. Most sites on the Trails of History will be closed, but there are a few that will be open (find the list of open sites here.)

Today's post comes courtesy of Linda Bolla at the Erie Maritime Museum, who happens to be the most frequent guest blogger on Trailheads. Last year, the Erie Maritime Museum mounted an exhibit for Charter Day that focused on several Civil War Medal of Honor recipients with ties to Erie. In addition to documenting their history, the folks in Erie have also been working to make sure that the graves of these men are properly marked.

William_H_Young_courtesy_Erie_Maritime_Museum
William H. Young (1835-1878)

William Young began his naval career on the U.S.S. Constitution ("Old Ironsides"), enlisting in 1852 at the age of 17. He saw service on a number of vessels, most notably U.S.S. Portsmouth, cruising off the coast of Africa to suppress traffic in the slave trade. On September 21, 1859, Portsmouth seized the slave ship Emily. During the Civil War, Young served on U.S.S. Cayuga as a Boatswain’s Mate.

The citation for Young's Medal of Honor reads:
On board the USS Cayuga during the capture of Forts St. Philip and Jackson and the taking of New Orleans, 24 and 25 April 1862. As his ship led the advance column toward the barrier and both forts opened fire simultaneously, striking the vessel from stem to stern, Young calmly manned a parrot gun throughout the action in which attempts by three rebel steamers to butt and board were thwarted and the ships driven off or captured, 11 gunboats were successfully engaged and garrisons forced to surrender. During the battle, the Cayuga sustained 46 hits.

Young's final years as a sailor (1872-76) were spent on the Navy’s first Iron Steamer, U.S.S. Michigan, as Bugler. (Erie was homeport to U.S.S. Michigan, which was later renamed U.S.S. Wolverine; the ship's prow is on exhibit at the museum, along with other artifacts from its history.) Never married, he retired to the Pennsylvania Soldiers & Sailors Home in Erie, where he died on December 26, 1878, at age 42. His funeral was attended by fellow Civil War veterans, Post 67, G.A.R., and he was buried at Erie Cemetery with a headstone-style marker provided by the U.S. Navy for $7.


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Original marker for William H. Young
For years, Young’s gravesite was listed as “unknown” in official publications. The Erie Maritime Museum and Erie Cemetery researched and facilitated Medal of Honor researcher Don Morfe’s application to the Department of Veterans Affairs for a new grave marker for William Young. Time had taken its toll on the original marker, and it did not mention Young’s Medal of Honor.

The application was suspended for several years. The Veterans Administration had placed a moratorium on applications made by parties other than family. Finally, the National Medal of Honor Foundation stepped in and provided a donor, and the marker was placed.


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The Erie Maritime Museum, Flagship Niagara League, and the Erie Cemetery will honor William Young for his service and formally dedicate this marker in a solemn service on Tuesday, November 11, 2014, at 3:00 p.m.