Composed from Archives of State, County, and Borough offices; Hazard’s Pennsylvania Register; Watson’s Annals; colonial records; legislative documents; Greydon’s Memoirs; Rupp’s History of Dauphin County; Day’s Historical Recollections; Pennsylvania Gazetteer; and files of old newspapers and interviews with some of Harrisburg’s oldest (at that time) and most prominent citizens, this book was "designed as a museum of whatever is rare, surprising or agreeable concerning the primitive days of our sturdy forefathers, or of the subsequent changes by their sons, either in the alterations or improvements of given localities or in the modes and farms of “changing men and manners.” Starting in 1719 when John Harris, Sr., good friends with Philadelphia’s first mayor, Edward Shippen, obtained land on the banks of the Susquehanna River in an area then called Peixton, and later Paxton. This book gives a good account of the growth of Harris' Ferry into the town of Harrisburg (founded by John Harris, Jr., in 1785) and finally into the seat of the Pennsylvania government in 1812. The book is rich with abstracts, anecdotes, quotes, lists, and letters, which serve to illustrate much of the formative struggles of the early settlers. There are no accounts of the French and Indian War, the Whiskey Insurrection, the Buckshot War, and the founding of Dauphin County. There are records of a time when Harrisburg was considered as a site for the seat of the federal government as well as the State government. This book also includes muster rolls of volunteers from Harrisburg for the War of 1812 and the Mexican War. Also included are lists of attorneys practicing in Dauphin County from 1785 to 1858 and short histories of prominent pastors and churches as well. Complete with a new index of over 4,000 names, this book provides the reader with a unique glimpse into the lives and times of Harrisburg’s earliest settlers.
George H. Morgan