Students talk of ‘small places’


On Dec. 3 in the Blough-Weis Library, students of Associate Professor of History Ed Slavishak’s “Pennsylvania’s Past and Their Publics” class participated in the “Small Places Contain Worlds of Their Own: A Night of Local History” event. The students presented projects of local history to an audience of students, faculty and local history enthusiasts in order to introduce a website project.

According to Slavishak, students in his “Pennsylvania’s Past and Their Publics” class have been working for almost three months on local historical research that will be introduced on a new presentation program called Omeka. The website will be officially open to the public in early January. The Omeka site will include local historical information and will allow for viewers to share projects on social media, provide feedback and contribute to the site’s content. The site will remain a constant work in progress for years to come, he said.

Slavishak said that the aim of the project is to get community members and students involved in local history. Slavishak expressed hope in the site becoming of easy access to middle and high school students who are participating in National History Day. National History Day is an international competition in which students conduct research projects using varying forms of media.

The three main projects that appear on the Omeka site are pre-20th century events that took place within 20 miles of Selinsgrove. The first topic presented was the Stump Massacre of 1768. The massacre took place in Snyder County, Pennsylvania and involved the mass murder of Native Americans by Snyder County resident Frederick Stump. Stump had been illegally squatting in a Native American area. When questioned, he lied and said he was given permission by the colonial government to be where he was.

The massacre occurred on Jan. 10, leaving 10 Native Americans dead. Rumors circulated as to who might have committed the murders until Stump arrived at a local hot spot and confessed.

The second topic covered transportation and its effect on the area during the industrial revolution. Specifically, the students spoke about the effect on local economy, advertisement and societal advancements. The rise of public transportation marked the beginning of the transition of Selinsgrove and the surrounding areas from a mainly agricultural area to one that is more industrial.

The final topic presented spoke of the Kintzler Murders. Five Snyder County residents, murdered the Kintzlers, an old, very wealthy German couple, for their money. The five suspects were arrested the day after but were released on lack of evidence. Due to one’s confession, the other four murderers were convicted and sentenced to death except for one who received a life sentence but was found dead in his cell with poison in his system. For more information on these projects and others, contact Ed Slavishak.