Coming of Age in Brookville: A Pennsylvania Tale
"And this also," said Marlow suddenly, "has been one of the dark places of the earth."
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Brookville, Pennsylvania, is a quaint little town by Redbank Creek, with a definite Gilded Age charm about it. (There's even an old opera house.) But back in 1844, Brookville was on the edge of civilisation – beyond lay the Far West. (Ohio.) Its infrastructure was rude, and the locals were ruder. Wolves could be heard howling in the woods at night. Irishmen could be heard howling in the taverns, of which there were a surprising number. Monongahela whiskey was the tipple of choice, at three cents the glass, and even the Presbyterians drank it. Hogs roamed free, and cows were milked at the front door come daybreak. The place was wild and woolly, and the call of the wild turkey could be heard in the land.
The world passed through Brookville, in the form of 'emigrant trains' headed into the Great Unknown (Ohio), stages with four-horse teams, freight hauled by oxen and sixteen-foot Conestoga wagons (the original long-haul truckers), and horse- and foot-traffic of all kinds. People stayed informed: politics was unusually divisive in 1844 (not like now, har har), which was a presidential election year. Pretend you don't know who's going to win – you do, right? – and enjoy the fussing between Whigs and Democrats along with the rest of the town. Or will America go rogue and vote for the Mormon candidate? (Is anything new, ever?)
From timber rafting to militia training, there will be a lot to see and do this month as Jim Tanner and Brookville come of age.