Jefferson Township Historical Society
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Welcome to Jefferson Township Historical Society

The purpose of the Jefferson Township Historical Society (“Society”) shall be to bring together those people interested in history, and especially in the history of Jefferson Township and surrounding areas. Understanding the history of our community is basic to our democratic way of life, gives us a better understanding of our state and nation, and promotes a better appreciation of our American heritage. Read More about JTHS

Click Here to learn about the History of The Jefferson Township Historical Society!

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“INFLUENZA 1918”

SATURDAY, MAY 18, 2019

The MAY meeting of the Jefferson Township Historical Society will be on Saturday, MAY 18, 2019 at 10:00 am in the White Church building located in Eldersville on Fire Road across from the fire hall.  GPS address is 12 Fire Road, Burgettstown, PA 15021.

In January 2019, we had planned to have Chris Sedlak present a program titled “Influenza 1918”.  The January meeting was cancelled because of inclement weather. We are pleased to be able to offer this program for our May meeting.

The 1918 influenza pandemic (January 1918 – December 1920; colloquially known as Spanish flu) was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic.  It infected 500 million people around the world, including people on remote Pacific islands and in the Arctic, and resulted in the deaths of 50 to 100 million (three to five percent of the world’s population) making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.  Infectious disease already limited life expectancy in the early 20th century, but in the first year of the pandemic, life expectancy in the United States dropped by about 12 years.  Most influenza outbreaks disproportionately kill weakened patients; however, in contrast, the 1918 pandemic predominantly killed previously healthy young adults.  In the U.S. about 28% of the population became infected, and 500,000 to 675,000 died.

          So why do we know so little about it and hear about it even less?  And what about the fact that it COULD HAPPEN AGAIN? Come to our meeting and join us for a brief discussion on the pandemic and view a “can’t miss” multimedia presentation originally part of the PBS series “American Experience”.

          A SPECIAL treat will be an authentic 1918 lunch of Macaroni Soup home-made directly from the 1916 US Army Cooks Manual.  It’s DELICIOUS!  Don’t miss it!

MUSEUM OPENED The Museum will be opened following the meeting. This is your opportunity to see what is in our Museum.

REMINDER After the May meeting we will accept donations of household items at the White Church in clean and good condition for the Yard Sale on June 7 and 8. We will not accept clothing, shoes or books. After our Memorial Day Service, we will also accept donations for the Yard Sale.

MEMORIAL DAY SERVICE There will be a Memorial Day Service at 8:45 am at the Memorial.  Emma Gragan will be singing and Rev. Joel Peterson, Pastor of the United
Methodist Church, Eldersville will do the closing prayer. Please stay for refreshments in the White Church after the service and you may bring in your donations for the Yard Sale at that time. If requested, we will open the doors to the Museum following the Service.

OPEN HOUSE on Monday, May 27 Memorial Day from 9:00 am till 2:00 pm at the Avella Train Station, 10 Seneca Place, Avella.  We suggest that you attend the Memorial Service, come to the White Church for refreshments then go to the Open House at the Avella Train Station.  The A. D. White Research Society, Ltd. has preserved local and family histories stored in the Avella Train Station in new storage and display cabinets.    

YARD SALE JUNE 7 & 8 from 9:00 to 2:00 You can help us advertise the Yard Sale by telling your friends and neighbors.  If you have donations, we will be at the White Church several weekdays before the sale sorting, displaying, and marking items. To know exactly when we will be there, call Jean Baltich 304 748 6376, or Dave Choman 724 947 2116. If you need items picked up, please call Dave.  If you care to make a monetary donation, please make your check payable to Jefferson Township Historical Society and make in the memo space for Yard Sale.  Checks can be mailed to Jefferson Township Historical Society, Bob 383, Burgettstown, PA 15021.

FAMILY STORIES Enjoy reading the enclosed family stories of “The Korpos-McFarland-Muzopappa Amalgamation” by Frank Muzopappa.  Frank is the one that has written several other articles that have been enclosed with our newsletter.  We are pleased that he writes these history related articles for our newsletter.  Frank is the author of the book “Penowa” which is available for sale for $20. If you want to buy a book, contact Frank’s sister-in-law, Dorothy Muzopappa 304 748 2503. Frank generously donates $10 of every book sold to the Historical Society.

HISTORICAL SOCIETY’S sincere condolences to the following families:

The Historical Society has learned of the death of Frank Lillard of Francis Mine who passed away in January 2019.

The Historical Society has also learned that both Olga Fernandez and her husband Manuel Fernandez from Langeloth have recently passed away within weeks of each other. They had been married 70 years.

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“THE KORPOS-McFARLAND-MUZOPAPPA AMALGAMATION”
by Frank Muzopappa

On a beautiful day in 1946, a day reminiscent of the poem “October’s Bright Blue Weather,” Frank Korpos and Tony Muzopappa decided that they would go squirrel hunting. I was asked to join them on the hike through the Penobscot area and begin walking along the Scott’s Run stream toward Eldersville.

After passing through the Kidd’s Mill area, we left the stream and headed up a meadow near the McCready farm. As we ascended the hill I heard a continuous putt-putt-putt sound emanating from the crest of the incline. Not knowing what to expect, I asked Frank what was generating that sound. Frank laughingly responded that it was a washing machine. I blurted out that I never heard any Maytag make that noise. Frank declared that it was not a Maytag, and that it did not have an electric motor: The engine was a small gasoline engine, which required that the washing machine be used outside of the house. Since the house was in a remote location for many years, it was not supplied with electricity. The McFarlands had to use gasoline, kerosene, and coal instead of electricity. Historically, give that a thought. Of course, one can imagine the desire to use candles on birthday cakes, religious ceremonies, and places of sad memories as the eternal flame at the grave of President John F. Kennedy…but no electricity?

Much of the area that we traveled through had been stripped, and where we were located at the time would be mined also. This one sentence sets the foundation of the family amalgamation that is being presented, and the origin was Mrs. Anna Korpos.

Mrs. Korpos was widowed shortly after the birth of her tenth child: six females and four males. Mike was the second male, and at the age of eighteen, lost a leg due to a cave-in of the mine pit in which he was working. Bear in mind that it was common for 16-year-old sons to work in the deep mines with their father throughout the early years of the 20th century. Mr. A.D. White, the principal at Turney School was both compassionate and diligent about his responsibilities as the Supervising Principal until the students, mostly first generation Americans, learned the basic history of America and the English language, at least until they were sixteen years old. I knew about several men in Penowa that worked in the mines at 14 and 15 years of age in other townships.

Mrs. Korpos must have reasoned that Mike would be limited as to job opportunities. She was surviving by operating a small farm with cows, hogs, and chickens. Thus, she was able to sell cottage cheese, eggs, and portions of the hogs when slaughtered. The children delivered the products to families in the coal patches, which at times could include freshly baked bread and kolachi from the outdoor beehive-looking oven. Through her hard work and diligence, she was able to purchase a fairly new Ford dump truck.

Mike could now operate the truck and haul coal as an independent hauler. Eventually, he was hired by the Penowa Coal Co. to operate one of their large trucks to haul the coal from the shovel to the train hoppers at the mine dump site. Brother Frank followed in Mike’s progression to operating a Penowa Coal Co. truck. Although not a truck operator, Tony followed Frank to the Penowa Coal Co. as an assistant mechanic in the repair shop.

It was at this time while hauling coal over the McCready Lane in the vicinity of Eldersville that Frank offered rides to some of the high school students. They walked to a school bus stop on the lane and one of them was Jean McFarland and also her sister Dorothy.

In 1947, Jean and Frank were married, and they moved into a home along the Scott’s Run stream, within a mile from Jean’s parents. In 1949, Dorothy McFarland and Tony were married. Tony hired a brick-layer to help him build a house along Scott’s Run stream, about a hundred yards away from Frank’s home. No surprise?

Frank and Tony were born in Penowa, in homes about a hundred yards apart. Both were heavy cigarette smokers beginning in their teens. Both men fathered two children. Both died before the age of 70, and both remained true to their vows at marriage: “Until Death Do Us Part.” Both of the widows moved to Weirton, in separate homes, in the same row, a few houses apart.

Frank and Jean are interred at the Bethel Church Cemetery. Tony is also interred there, as will Dorothy when she is called by God to regroup the foursome.

You may wonder if Frank and/or Tony bagged a squirrel on that beautiful October day. The answer would be no. Neither of them were hunters of game animals.

Since the quest was really girls instead of squirrels, I may not have heard the intent of the “hunters” correctly. Which brings me to the comment made to my “Sis, Dorothy” about the resemblance of Jean to her Dad, and Rae to her mother, but Dorothy favored neither. Dorothy told me that Ambrose McCafferty, a close family friend, often said that if Dorothy had dark hair she would look like her Dad’s sister Lizzy. You may be thinking, “This is leading somewhere”… and yes it is: Mrs. Korpos’ second daughter was named “Lizzy.”



Jefferson Township Map - circa 1932
with locations of historical sites noted by Frank Muzopappa.
Click Here to Download a copy of the Map.


Information and Events

The Jefferson Township Historical Society meets at the White Church the third Saturday of every month at 10:00 am.
We will be providing information for the meetings each month. Christmas in the Village is the Historical Society’s biggest fundraiser of the year, look for information soon!
Read more about upcoming events and fundraisers... Read More


Buildings and Monuments

~ Veterans Memorial

It was February 2004 when the Board members of the Jefferson Township Historical Society had a vision for a Veterans Memorial in Eldersville. They owned property where a Memorial could be built. There was a Jefferson Township Honor Roll in front of the former Eldersville Grade School.... Read More

~ The White Church

The White Church is uniquely located in a tri-state area attracting visitors from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. It has been awarded historic landmark designations by the Washington County History and Landmark Foundation for The White Church, built in 1844 and Heritage Hall, built 1876. The White Church Building is a useful site for community events and its monthly meetings and Heritage Hall houses its museum.... Read More

~ Heritage Hall

Heritage Hall is located at 493 Eldersville Road, Burgettstown, PA 15021. In 2012 the Washington County History and Landmarks Foundation awarded Historic Landmark Designations for the Society’s two buildings: Heritage Hall and The White Church....
Read More

 

Contributions

A contribution of any size is welcome for this worthwhile and commendable White Church Preservation Project. You may mail your contribution to Jefferson Township Historical Society, White Church Project, Box 383, Burgettstown, PA 15021 or contact Frank Malardie, Treasurer at biggmal@zoominternet.net.

Jefferson Township Historical Society