Browsing Posts tagged Shippensburg

‘Americans Shall Rule America!’ The Know-Nothing Party in Cumberland County (1998)

Free Soil: The Birth of the Republican Party in Cumberland County (Summer 2000)

In Defense of Union and White Supremacy: The Democratic Alternative to Free Soil, 1847 – 1860 (Winter 2000)

In a series of three essays John Wesley Weigel traces the political history of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania between the late 1840s and the Republican victory in the Presidential election of 1860. Weigel’s articles are based in large part on primary sources, in particular three local newspapers: Carlisle (PA) Herald , Carlisle (PA) American Volunteer, and the Shippensburg (PA) News. All three articles include extensive endnotes. Weigel’s essay of the rise of the Republican party in Cumberland county includes two maps and a graph related to voter turnout. In addition, Weigel provides two detailed charts that breakdown Cumberland county votes by party between 1839 and 1873.

This essay has been posted online with permission from the Cumberland County Historical Society.


“Shippensburg’s Locust Grove African-American Cemetery” (2009)

Professor Stephen Burg explores the history of the Locust Grove African-American Cemetery in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania in this article. The grandson of Shippensburg’s founder gave the land, which had been used as a slave burial ground, to the town’s black residents in 1842. Burg also provides details on some of the individuals buried in this cemetery (also known as North Queen Street Cemetery), including several of the twenty six United States Colored Troops veterans. In addition, Burg includes an index of the headstones in this cemetery.

This article has been posted online with permission from the Cumberland County Historical Society.

Locust Grove Cemetery has been known as the “colored cemetery.”  Edward Shippen Burd, the grandson of the founder of Shippensburg, gave the land to the town’s African-American population in 1842.  The land became a slave burial ground and was also home to Shippensburg’s first African-American church.    Because the African-Americans owned the land, this site became a refuge for run-away slaves in the period of time before the Civil War.  In 1861, the cemetery was officially segregated and continued to be so for the next 100 years.

Twenty-six free blacks from Shippensburg fought for the Union in the Civil War and are buried in the Locust Grove Cemetery. One group of Shippensburg brothers, the Shirks, fought for the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry because it was the first Union regiment to allow African-Americans to fight.  John and James are buried in Locust Grove, while Casper is buried in Chalmette National Cemetery in New Orleans. John spent most of his time with the 55th Massachusetts in South Carolina. James was involved in the Fort Wagner Campaign and Sherman’s “March to the Sea” with the 54th Massachusetts. He was honorably discharged in 1865. Casper probably fought with the 5th Massachusetts Cavalry, but died on a boat and was buried in New Orleans surrounded by 12,000 Union soldiers who never made it home.

During the Election of 1860, the divided feelings did not stop the election of a new president. The election had several candidates, but the contest was actually between Douglas and Lincoln in the North and West and between Breckinridge and Bell in the South. Many thought the race would be very competitive, but Lincoln ended up dominating. In Cumberland County, Lincoln had an overwhelming victory.  The more rural areas such as Hopewell and Fairfield that were mainly farmers, Lincoln won in a significant majority. In urban areas such as the Carlisle District and Newville, the race between the Republicans and Democrats was closer. The chart below gives the reported majority from the different districts in the county. The first column gives the total votes for Lincoln in the district. The second column shows the total of votes for Read, who is the elector for the districts. The third column gives the total votes for Bell, only prevalent in the more urban districts. Most of the rural districts only have votes for Lincoln, allowing him to have no competition in rural areas of Pennsylvania.

 Districts     Lincoln. Read’s Ticket Bell.
Carlisle Distict     886 907 74
Newville     453 570 21
Upper Allen     33    
Lower Allen     103    
East Pennsboro     96    
Plainfield     83   1
Penn Town     14    
Hampden     19    
Hopewell     20    
Mechanisburg     130    
North Cumberland     32    
Monroe     117    
Shippensburg District     70    
Leesburg     27    
Jacksonville       22  
Middlesex       3  
Silver Spring       169  
           
           
TOTAL:     2083 1671 96
           

(Carlisle American, 7 November 1860.)

In the race for Governor, the majority of people in Pennsylvania voted for Andrew Gregg Curtin, a former Dickinsonian, in the election. This proved that the state had gone Republican by not less than 75, 000 Republicans state wide.  Cumberland County followed the Pennsylvania results, as Lincoln/Hamlin received 40 percent of the popular vote.

Nationally, Lincoln received a total of 180 electoral votes, while the other candidates combined won 123.  Breckinridge thought that he had some support in Pennsylvania, but Cumberland County did not support this assertion.  

The Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana from the Library of Congress provides images from the election such as political cartoons, newspaper articles, candidate’s addresses and Republican and Democrat tickets.  The Library of Congress has a great teacher resource on the Election of 1860. HarpWeek also provides cartoons from the election from Harper’s Weekly and other weekly journals. The