What's Historic About Brookville, Pennsylvania?

Objects Found in the Historical Museum
By Anthony Prusakowski

The Jefferson County Historical and Genealogical Society was formed in 1967 and incorporated in 1971. In 1971, the society bought the Brady Craig House on Jefferson Street. The Brady Craig House was built in 1840 and is the perfect place to show historical items form town. The items are shown in a late 19th Century parlor and an early 20th Century bedroom. The house serves as a holding center from the donations of historical interest.

Brookville was and still is a small town in a rural area. Farming has always been very important to the economy of the town. Located in the museum, there are a number of farming tools. Among the exhibits are: A fence stretcher, which farmers used to stretch wire for their fences; A corn planter, that separates bigger things from smaller things. It was used to sift stones out of the kernels of wheat; A scythe, which is a very sharp too, it is used for cutting hay or grain.

On April 12, 1861, the Civil War began. As a result, the museum has several artifacts from that period of time. A few of them are: A hat and a 1864 Civil War sword and sheath form a private collection; a stovepipe hat that Captain S.C. Athurs was rumored to have worn at the Ford Theater the night President Lincoln was elected president, the wearing of "stovepipe" or top hats became the symbol of the "lawyer-statesman" image. For the first time, reference was made to "a suit of clothes."

Women are also given mention in the museum. Many items of clothing are displayed, such as hoop skirts, boots, gloves, hats, dresses, and other articles such as a button hook, combs, hairpins, and a small beaded purse.

At that time, (late 19th Century) a woman was considered a possession of her husband and certainly not an equal. In fact, women were not even allowed to vote until 1920. a newspaper article posted in the museum from June 1871 tells of some of the women's struggles:

On June 2, 1871, well known Lyceum lecturer Susan B. Anthony of Rochester, NY, visited Brookville. Speaking in Nicholson Hall, Miss Anthony addressed a large crowd. The title of her speech was, "The Power of the Ballot." She was trying to promote the passage of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution which would allow women to vote. The 16th Amendment to the Constitution was not passed until 1920.

In the 1923 primary election, four women filed for office, the first women in Jefferson County to ever do so. Heading the Republican list for Treasurer was Anna Afton, followed by Mrs. Anna Smith. Two Democratic women filed also, Mrs. Edith Dunn for prothonatory and Mrs. Edna Larkin for Register and Recorder.

All four women were defeated in the November election.

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