Loose Ends

This week, I sought to tie up some loose ends my previous research left. I began by going through Spahr’s chapter on Noah Pinkney and finding images of objects and pictures that were described to humanize Pinkney.

In this chapter, Spahr claims that in Pinkney’s house “on the wall behind [one of the rooms] are some shelves containing a few jars of peppermint stick slowly crumbling to decay, flanked by an unframed print of Lincoln freeing the

Image of Lincoln freeing a slave. This is the print that most likely hung in Pinkney’s house. Courtesy of Wise Guide: On Texas Time in June 2011 from the Library of Congress.

slave and a certificate of membership in the colored Odd Fellows, both somewhat the worse from fly-wear.” (Spahr 56) There were The print of Lincoln freeing a slave was most likely the image “Emancipation of the Slaves” in which Lincoln stands over a hunched black man and shakes his hand. I decided it is most likely this image because it is the only one in which Lincoln is seemingly freeing a single slave. The other image on Pinkney’s wall as described in this recollection is the certificate from the colored Odd Fellows. While I was unable to find his certificate, I found one for David Bustill Bowser, one of the more prominent members of the colored organization entitled the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows in America (G.U.O. of O.F). In addition, I found a picture from circa 1890-1930 of members of the G.U.O. of O.F. by searching for the “colored Odd Fellows.”

Image of David Bowser’s certificate of membership into the G.U.O. of O.F. dated 1843. Pinkney most likely had a membership certificate similar to this. Courtesy of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collections in the Library Company of Philadelphia.

In addition, in the description of Pinkney, Spahr said that he wore “an old slouch hat on his head” (Spahr 56). In many of the pictures of Pinkney, he is wearing this type of hat.

Image of Noah Pinkney wearing old slouch hat. Courtesy of the Noah Pinkney image file in the Dickinson College Archives.

Image of an old slouch hat. Courtesy of the Historical Emporium.

In addition to searching through Spahr’s recollections, I also, with the help of Professor Pinsker and archivist Jim Gerencser searched through treasury records that would be uncover wages paid to black janitors.

The ledger from 1882 lists “H. Spradley” and “R. Young” as being paid wages for June 1882 and for matches.

Ledger from 1882. Courtesy of treasurer records from the Dickinson College Archives.

In May 1873, there were three checks made out to janitors. The three janitors were Sam Watts, Robert Young, and George Norris. It appears as though Norris was unable to write because the back of his check has a shaky cross drawn on it, which was a way for illiterate people to sign documents.

Checks for janitors of the college. Courtesy of the treasurer records from the Dickinson College Archives.

Signed backs of checks for janitors. Courtesy of the treasurer records from the Dickinson College Archives.

The final document is made up of a few payment vouchers from 1857 for some of the janitors. Two are made out to Sam Watts and two are for Henry Watts.

Payment vouchers for janitors. Courtesy of the treasurer records of the Dickinson College Archives.

By searching through treasury documents and looking for images described in the Spahr memoir, I have been clearing up inconsistencies and finding more information in places where my research thus far has been lacking.

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