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Country: United States
City: Middleburgh, Snyder Co., Pa.
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 743
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 5,516
Earliest Date: 8 March 1883
Latest Date: 24 December 1903
The area becoming Snyder County was settled in the 1740s by Pennsylvania Germans from Berks and Lancaster Counties, and the strong German presence continued into modern times. Parallel ridges of the Appalachian Mountains enclose rolling hills and flat creek valleys. The Susquehanna River marks the county’s eastern border. Political interest arose in 1853 to halve Union County and rename the northern part Buffalo County, after the existing Buffalo Valley. When the split was formalized on March 2, 1855, the northern part remained Union County and the southern became Snyder, honoring Simon Snyder, the third governor of Pennsylvania and the first of German descent. Snyder had served from 1808 to 1817 and was a resident of Selinsgrove, now in Snyder County, from 1784 until his death in 1819. A popular vote in 1856 narrowly confirmed the legislative decision creating the new county, and voters chose Middleburg as the county seat, over Selinsgrove or Freeburg. Selinsgrove tried again to win the county seat, in 1866, but lost in that balloting also.
Agriculture has always been Snyder County’s main economic base, but historically the economy also included lumbering, iron ore and coal mining, and small factories. Middleburg’s site had a tavern in 1787 run by John Swineford, and the settlement was originally known as Swinefordstown (Swinefordstettle in Pennsylvania German). Frederick Evans laid out the town in 1800, and around 1825 the town on Middle Creek, near the center of Centre Township, became known as Middleburgh. The “burgh” suffix is of Scottish nomenclature, while “burg” is Germanic, but it is possible that the name Middleburgh was decided by the United States Post Office Department, as that was the name of the first post office in Snyder County, founded on March 2, 1855. The name of the post office was changed in 1893 to Middleburg, following policies adopted in 1891 by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, tasked with bringing nationwide uniformity. These included, “The dropping of the final ‘h’ in the termination ‘burgh.’” Both spellings of the town name seem to have been used locally over the years.
The Post was launched in Middleburgh in 1864. Under Editor Jeremiah Crouse, beginning in January 1867, the Post was a weekly Republican newspaper, providing a fairly commonplace mixture of popular literature, reprinted news items from all over, and local news and advertising. In December 1882, Crouse sold out to Thomas Hess Harter, a Pennsylvania German from Centre County who had owned a small weekly newspaper in Ohio, selling it to buy the Post. Harter renamed the newspaper the Middleburgh Post in 1883 and sought ways to convey his views on political corruption and immoral social practices without publishing rantings that might repel his audience. Harter’s solution, proving wildly popular, was to pen a weekly satirical letter to the editor in Pennsylvania German dialect under the name Gottlieb Boonastiel. Harter’s first Boonastiel creation appeared on July 19, 1888, when the paper’s circulation was about 900; by 1892 it had risen to 1,570, with subscribers threatening to quit if the letters ended. While the letters helped his newspaper to flourish, Harter also is credited with preserving and standardizing the Pennsylvania German dialect.
Harter sold the Middleburgh Post in 1894 to George Washington Wagenseller. In 1916, Wagenseller merged his paper with the Snyder County News to form the Middleburgh Post and Snyder County News. Sixteen months later, the title reverted back to the Middleburgh Post . In 1928, the “h” was finally dropped to become the Middleburg Post .
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