History

‘The last soldier:’ Descendants and community honor county’s longest surviving Civil War veteran

By Don Everett Smith Jr. | June 6, 2022

WILLIAMSPORT – Lycoming County’s last surviving Civil War veteran, Daniel Null, was honored at a special ceremony on Saturday morning at Wildwood Cemetery. A crowd of 50 to 75 family members and persons seeking to honor Null, gathered along with Civil War reenactors with 19th century military hardware. While Null’s descendants sat in white folding…

Father of Williamsport: Michael Ross’s discovery of the city’s birthplace

By Don Everett Smith Jr. | May 16, 2022

In the late 1790s a young man in his 20s was given a 280-acre tract of land to survey.  The young man, Michael Ross, went on to be credited as one of the founders of Williamsport.  “Ross would be amazed at the development of the small borough he knew to the regional center we now…

“This was a necessity”: Building Lycoming County’s first courthouse 

By Don Everett Smith Jr. | May 4, 2022

Lycoming County was still in its infancy when the county commissioners knew that the newly formed county would need buildings to do business, execute justice and keep the peace.   According to the “History of Lycoming County” that was edited by John Meginness, “beginning with October, 1799, it appears ‘that steps were taken early that year…

J. Henry Cochran’s unique history in Lycoming County

By Don Everett Smith Jr. | April 18, 2022

WILLIAMSPORT – J. Henry Cochran was a burly man who’s impact on Pennsylvania and the Lycoming County region has lasted long after his death in 1911.  Cochran owned a home on the corner of Fourth Street and Pine. He was a former state senator, a banker and beloved member of the community.  In the century…

Updegraff: Famed abolitionist has not faded as local legend 

By Don Everett Smith Jr. | March 28, 2022

WILLIAMSPORT – Deep within Lycoming County’s history, Abraham Updegraff was a giant among men. During his time as a prominent leader in the city he condemned slavery and was instrumental in the founding of many permanent structures in the city today.  A memorial is built for Updegraff in the Wildwood Cemetery with his image carved…

Williamsport man’s journey to become Pennsylvania’s governor

By Don Everett Smith Jr. | March 14, 2022

The year was 1857 and the United States, let alone Pennsylvania, faced economic challenges and the divide between pro-slave states and anti-slave states was now a chasm. There was a struggle with the Kansas Act that had some states pushing for slavery in the Kansas Territory and other states pushing against it.  The Whig party…