Sometime in the 1960s, the Crahall family purchased an abandoned house on Corby Street in Courtdale. Let Brinley Crahall Jr., son of the purchaser, tell you his story:
"I recently found in my basement a box of old letters, photographs and bills that were addressed to people who lived in the Corby Street house. Some of the items dated from 1933 to 1963. I would be willing to return the items to any family member still in the area."
Names on the correspondence in the box are Anna Davis, Mr. Christy Rowlands, Newell Davis Rowlands, Charles Davis, Christy Sr., Christy Jr. and Billy Rowlands.
A glance at old city directories turned up just one possible match from the 1930s: a Chris Rowlands, listed only as living in Courtdale, with no street given. Other people named Rowlands and Davis do turn up in Courtdale, but the first names are different from those Crahall found. None are listed on Corby Street.
Anyone who can help Crahall get the box to the right person is asked to contact this column at the email address below.
Political ancestors: Genealogists learn a lot about their ancestors – children's names, their employment, their church membership and many other pieces of vital information. But how many of us know about their politics?
With the presidential race and other races in high gear, maybe this is the time to find out what your ancestors believed in and how they might have voted.
Admittedly, that kind of data is tough to track down. But there are some local resources, particularly if the ancestors were politically active. Old Wilkes-Barre Record Almanacs (published 1886-1962) list public officials in many Luzerne County towns and give election results as well as Luzerne County and city of Wilkes-Barre political summaries).
Local newspapers even back in the 19th century carried lots of political news, heavy on personalities, often under town headings. The Wilkes-Barre Sunday Independent (1908-1993) was especially strong on political news, mentioning many rank-and-file campaign workers. Yet another source is the political ads that would be run in newspapers as election time neared.
Incidentally, our great-grandparents and their predecessors had more than just two political parties to choose from.
The king of the third parties from the 1800s up through the early 20th century was the Prohibition Party, which of course ran against alcohol. It could siphon off enough votes to affect the course of elections. Smaller parties turning up in those days were the Land and Labor Party, the Washington Party and the Socialist Party. Succeeding decades saw the American, Commonwealth Land, Industrialist, Labor and Workers parties.
Speaking of politics, on Oct. 12 Luzerne County Community College will host an all-day presentation on presidential campaigns in Northeastern Pennsylvania. We've long been a magnet for top-of-the-ticket candidates. The program is free and open to the public. It's set for the Educational Conference Center, accessible from Prospect Street, Nanticoke, with plenty of parking. Lunch is $10. For additional information or a brochure, call 1-800-377-LCCC, x7508.
News Notes: If you've ever wondered about the origins of many of the colorful older buildings in downtown Wilkes-Barre, you'll enjoy the architectural tour to be offered by the Luzerne County Historical Society at 11 a.m. Saturday. Wear your walking shoes. For information, call the society at (570) 6244 x3 or go to facebook.com/luzernehistory. There you can check out the society's other upcoming events.
Tom Mooney is a Times Leader genealogy columnist. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.