News of Yesteryear 2017-10-12T18:23:08+00:00

Welcome! News of Yesteryear & Historic Williamsport is dedicated to educating and entertaining visitors of all ages with stories and illustrations of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and its surrounding towns.

Throughout the years, many interesting stories about the people and places of Williamsport and Northcentral Pennsylvania have been published. News of Yesteryear features articles and artwork by recent and historic newspaper reporters and photographers spanning the 200-year history of journalism in Lycoming County. Some of the notable newspapers with origins in Williamsport are the Lycoming Gazette, the  Gazette and Bulletin, the Williamsport Sun, and Grit. All of these newspapers have evolved into one, the Williamsport Sun-Gazette.

Many are reprinted here, with permission from the Lycoming County Historical Society, the James V. Brown Library, Little League Baseball, Inc., the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, and various individuals. We hope you enjoy your visit.

Market Square, Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Read an Article

Grit Salesmen

Grit’s Happy Ambassadors: Its 30,000 Boy Salesmen February 1962 “Here’s your copy of Grit, Mrs. Jones.” Every week similar welcomed words are echoed hundreds of thousands of times from coast to coast by an army [...]

Gov. William Packer

Gov. William Packer Williamsport and Lycoming County have contributed many outstanding men and women to the field of public service during the years at the local, state and federal levels. One of the [...]

Tunnison Coryell

The life of Tunnison Coryell, one of Lycoming County's and Williamsport's most notable men of accomplishment and finance in the 19th century, spans the period of Williamsport evolving from a sleepy frontier village to a [...]

West Branch Canal

The transportation of goods, services and people was a rough and inefficient undertaking in the Susquehanna Valley in the early 1800s. This would change with the advent of the West Branch Canal in the 1830s. Colonial and later state officials envisioned the idea of canals as far back as the mid-18th century.

Daniel Repasz

Repasz Band America's oldest band in continuous existence bears his name, but Daniel Repasz didn't join the group until nine years after it was formed. Historian Mary Russell researches Repasz in a Lycoming [...]

Sum of Its Parts

In addition to Williamsport, Lycoming County consists of a number of important municipalities. A brief history of each, accompanied by historical photos, follows in the first of two parts. The second installment will be published May 22.

William Hepburn

If Michael Ross is noted as the founder of Williamsport, William Hepburn can be regarded as the "Father of Lycoming County." He is as firmly a part of the genesis of the county as Ross [...]

Williamsport Begins

American history is filled with rags-to-riches stories of great achievers and great personages, and local history is no exception. Michael Ross, the reputed founder of the City of Williamsport, is one of those stories.

Widow Smith's Walk

While Michael Ross was settling the City of Williamsport, selling parcels of land to frontier families and immigrants, another enterprising resident of the West Branch Valley was being hoodwinked from her home and business. [...]

A Heroic Duo

Rachel Silverthorn warns the settlers (WPA mural) While Gen. George Washington's Continental Army fought the British, settlers along the Susquehanna River also considered themselves at war with the displaced Indians. Conflicts escalated daily. [...]

Long Reach

  Coin found at Long Reach Archaeology Dig Historic preservation is an admirable, though difficult, goal to obtain. Preservation works best in communities that have programs managed at the local government level. In [...]

Rewards for Indian Scalps

During the tumultuous years leading up to the French and Indian War, early settlers in Northcentral Pennsylvania had two choices: They could leave the fertile valleys of the Susquehanna, or take their chances with sporadic Indian raids during which farms were destroyed and entire families would be slaughtered.

Indians of Susquehanna

Indians of Susquehanna Prehistoric Indians skillfully managed the natural bounty of the Susquehanna River region by living in accordance with the seasons. They hunted, fished, gathered nuts, berries and other wild foods, and [...]

Birthplace of ‘Grit’

Famous in the 19th century for its lumber products, Williamsport, Pennsylvania is a small mountainous town. Situated on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, its residents enjoyed easy access to virgin forests of hemlock [...]

‘Madame’ Montour

New World history is filled with tales of frontier adventure, and here in the Susquehanna Valley, one of the most interesting tales is that of "Madame" Montour and the lost village of Otstonwakin. Her life is [...]

Ray Keyes

Ray Keyes The man who dominated the sports scene in Northcentral Pennsylvania for more than 50 years was neither an athlete nor a sports executive but a sportswriter. That man was Ray Keyes. [...]

Schools Through the Years

8-Square School was the first public school in Lycoming County Multi-million dollar physical plants, computer labs, swimming pools, gymnasiums and various bits of audiovisual equipment make a modern day school in Lycoming County [...]

Allen P. Perley

West Branch National Bank In  past ages the history of a country was the record of wars and conquests; today it is the record of commercial activity, and those whose names are [...]

Fred Plankenhorn

Remember the days of sock hops, school dances and DJs spinning "hot wax"? Fred Plankenhorn does. He was right in the middle of all that and is still keeping memories alive after 46 years. [...]

Christmas of 1942

A war was raging across the globe and there were many vacant chairs at dinner tables that Christmas of 1942. They were vacant either through the absence of a loved one serving his country in [...]

A Renovo Mystery

The following is a reprint from Grit: America’s Greatest Family Newspaper A Renovo Mystery Dec. 15, 1882 A newsboy delivers Grit to a rural customer. RENOVO -- Patrick Shelly, a well known citizen [...]

Charles A. Rubright

There were numerous Lycoming County soldiers held prisoner by the Confederates during the course of the Civil War. Charles A. Rubright is one of the most notable examples. Rubright was born in Prussia on [...]

D. Vincent Smith

From the 1890s to the early 1950s, D. Vincent Smith was a familiar sight throughout Northcentral Pennsylvania with his box camera and heavy-duty bicycle, wearing his knickers, sneakers and scoop cap. He left behind [...]

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