Project Peale: Peale People
Since this set of pages was placed on the WWW a few years back, I have heard from many people with family ties and interest in Peale, and i am always interested in expanding these pages to include information from these "Peale People," including information about the history of Peale (and surrounding areas), the Beech Creek Railroad, and current work to develop a Rails to Trails trail along the Beech Creek RR.
For the time being, this page lists emails from some of the folks who have contacted me about Peale, as well as their connections to and interests in Peale. I hope to have these people (and others) expand upon the material included below - as Jeff Feldmeier has on the Beech Creek Rail Road, in his essay entitled The Beech Creek Railroad in the Peale Pennsylvania Area. Please contact me to add to (or remove, or replace) the material below!
A note on geneological research on families from Peale and surrounding areas: Many of the families who settled in and around Peale have roots in Sweden. Several "Peale People" have had excellent luck working with Anneli Anderson, a geneological researcher from Sweden.
From Anneli Anderson: I work at a genealogy center in Mellerud, which is in the Dalsland province of Sweden. Our center has records of births, deaths, marriages, and households from the entire area. I also have borrowed records from the Swedish church and found all the people from this area and searched for their parents. I noticed that most of the emigrants came from the parishes Bolstad, Erikstad, Gestad, Frandefors, Bralanda and Ryr. I live in Erikstad and every parish is in an area of half an hour from my home. I had Jon Putnam and his wife Karen here in May and showed them the church of Bolstad where the Eld family in Grassflat came from. Jeff Feldmeier's family, the Forces, came from Frandefors. Jeff sent me the Peale Census data and I located information on some of his family members for him. Our museum usually charges for this kind of work. Our fee for a regular family tree is 35 dollars. But my interest is to have information about as many Swedish-American families as possible in my database. I connect people that are related to each other. The landscape has not changed that much since the people left here. Please contact me via email if you have any questions: email@example.com
Subject: Peale site
Dear Dr. Krygier,
I love the additions you made to your website. I have "revisited" this site and found the updates thanks to Jennifer Ertmer. It's like "being home again." I grew up in Dobrytown of Grassflat where all the Slovaks lived. Although I left Grassflat in 1958, my heart is always "back home." We visit once or twice a year just so I can touch base with my heart!
When we were growing up we didn't pay attention to the abundance of nature that surrounded us. As a young girl, I took the call of whipporwills, the bluebirds, ruffled grouse and croaking frogs for granted. Now, as an avid birder, I go many miles to see and hear nature's songs.
I look back on those soft summer evenings which were reserved for the vine sheltered front porch. With no street lights, only the brilliant stars lit up the blackened night. As the sun lowered into the western skies my Dad and I would sit on the swing listening to the sounds of the nights. The trees were thick with crickets droning their twilight songs. Owls could be heard complaining to the moon and the song of the nocturnal whipporwills filled the air. A chorus of spring creepers shouted for joy. I loved to sit under the shelter of the porch and gaze out at the newly mowed fields and smell the briar roses that climbed the white treelis placed against the porch. I can never recapture those nights but when I travel, I deliberately choose old Victorian inns where large verandahs beckon me to relive those quiet Grasstflat evenings with my Dad.
I have been working on my family tree and writing a book for 3 or 4 years now on my family heritage, my old hometown, etc. I am trying to get it published - not for the general public but for friends and relatives. I am running into roadblocks as everything has to be a "certain way" and I started typing it before I knew what was required. I have quoted your article from the Raftman's Journal - hope you do not mind.
Raymond Lyncha and I stay in contact via e-mail and he did come to visit me to exhcange ideas about genealogy and family history. Ray is a good fellow to keep in contact with!
Continued success in your endeavors. I look forward to getting more information on your website!
Thanks for letting us "stay in touch" with the past.
Subject: Peale history
I was looking around on the web and I came across your page. I was so interested in the information you put together. I am 18 and I live in the upper section of Grassflat out near 53. Ever since I was little, my family and I would go fishing at Gorton and ride fourwheelers all over the Peale,Grassflat,Drifting,Winburne,Snow Shoe,and Gorton area. We always ride along the old railroad tracks. I was amazed to learn about all of the history behind this area. Today my Fiance,brother,sister,parents and I ride down around those areas on fourwheelers and I am always keeping an eye out for old pieces of Peale history. Thanks for taking interest in our small towns.
I enjoyed my recent visit to your Peale website. My father,James, was born in Peale as were 5 of his siblings. My great grandfather,John, was the outside superintendent of mines at Peale and later at Grassflat. My grandfather, Thomas H., became the general manager of the CBC company stores. After Peale stores were opened at Grassflat, Dixonville/Bar Slope, Rossiter, Clymer, and Commodore. My father often told me of attending the Peale reunions in later years. Also, let me mention an excellent newspaper article on Peale I ran onto some years ago. Peale---A Ghost Town--written by Andy Petkac, appeared in the Clearfield Progress--July 21, 1975. It is an excellent and lengthy piece with a number of photos. Again, thanks for the visit and I would be happy to hear from anybody who recalls my family from Peale. I can be reached by firstname.lastname@example.org
When I received my daily Penn State News wire today, they featured the history of Peale. I got on your web site and couldn't leave until I had read the whole thing. I live in Syracuse, N.Y., born in the Pittsburgh, graduated from Penn State and use to hunt in the mountains in the Peale area. I love reading the history and found the story of Peale very interesting. For a town to come and go, it is great for a web site like this one to bring it alive again. To often towns and people are forgotten, and they are what has made our country great. Again THANKS for the enjoyable time I had today visiting Peale, Pa.
I was born and raised in Grassflat, Pa. Moved to Ga 16 years ago, and it's fun to be able to get info on the towns back home. Every year when we go back to PA we always make our trips through Grassflat, Peale, and all the small places around that area. Both my parents and granparents are buried in the Lutheran Cemetery in Grassflat. Jennifer Ertner is the one that told me about the web site for Peale and have enjoyed the news about that town. Arlene Anderson (Stover) -- e-mail: email@example.com. Keep up the good work.
Subject: Peale Cemetary
We are inquiring about the Peale Cemetary. Do you know anything about it? We live about 3 miles away from the town of Peale. We browsed your website and didn't see anything about it. We know where it is located as we have been there numerous times. If you would like to see it or other information about Peale, please e-mail us back. Thank you.
Dave and Shane Michaels
P.S. My Grandfather tried to secure funds to have it restored about 25 years ago but never secured funds for it.
Subject: George Mann
Here is another person who was born in Peale. He is George Mann who married Stella Folmar Mother's older sister. He and dad were buddies and fished and hunted together. Uncle George was born August 26, 1892 in Peale, Pa. and he was about 2 1/2 years younger than Dad. You might find it appropriate to include the name and photo with birth date on the web site.
Subject: Peale people
I found out about your web site from a Clearfield Co. lister, and am intrigued with it. My grandmother, Martha Kirkman, was born and raised in a company house in Peale, and lived there until her marriage at age 17. On a visit to the area last April (1999) my husband and I discovered, as grandma always said, that Peale no longer exisits. I wish I had realized that old foundations still exist, and I wish I knew which foundation was her house. I remember stories Grandma used to tell of walking up the hill to various friends' homes, to church, to the store, etc. It would be interesting if there were any pictures of Peale as it once was. My great grandfather had also lived in McIntyre (according to his obituary) before moving to Peale. I'm in the process of locating their descendents. I have various relatives still living in the Kylertown and Morrisdale areas.
Is there any way to find out who lived in individual houses in Peale? Since my paternal great grandparents and their 6 children lived there (one of whom was my grandmother), I would be interested in knowing which house was "their's". I love the idea of early spring flowers being planted around foundations to make the town come "alive" into perpetuity. There is a strong degree of probability that my husband and I will return sometime next summer for an annual family reunion, and I would like to revisit Peale again and walk the area, rather than drive it as we did last April. It would be wonderful to walk the foundation of my grandmother's childhood home!
Sharon Erickson Howell
Subject: Peale, Pennsylvania
Just discovered your website about Peale in one of my midnight forays of surfing the net in the "off" chance I might find something of interest about a village I grew up next door to.
I live in Grassflat, in the home my grandparents built in 1903, and as a child, lived with my grandparents in this home -- still live here today. I listened as a young child to my grandfather and his brother, two immigrant Swedes, as they talked about the old country, coming over here as small children and living in areas mentioned in your article before finally coming to Peale. I do not know the exact year, nor would I venture a guess, as to when my great-grandparents finally made it to Peale. They did eventually move "upstream' or "uptown", however you want to put it, to what is referred to as the West Clymer section of Grassflat.
As a child, I learned things about Peale but most of what I heard at that time was not retained that well - or perhaps some of it was and is laying dormant for lack of not being brought forward in my mind unless the trigger is tripped by a relative talking about how things where, memories, etc., or when I stumble across an article such as yours.
At any rate, I can say this -- my great-great grandfather is one of the old Swedes buried in the cemetary mentioned in your article. For the past so many years, at our family reunion, we have talked about where the cemetary is located and all I know, learned from an uncle, is that it is somewhere along the Red Moshannon creek but the gravesites are u recognizable today mainly because, to my understanding, the markers were wood and the area has been ravaged over the years with forest fires and the likes.
When I found your article and read it, going on to other sites you have, I have to confess that it brought me to tears! I felt like I was touching a part, a very big part at that, of my personal heritage! Thank you so much for the work you have put into this project. If you are interested in other data, recent photos of areas around Peale, etc., and possibly some old photos from the "real Peale", I would be very happy to search through what information I have in that context.
Thanks again for all your efforts to bring this part of the local history, and mine as well, to life!
My connection to Peale is via my mother's family and the family surname was Eld, but my great-great grandfather who is buried there was a Till from Sweden.
Jennifer Hill Ertmer --
Email -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Wed, 15 May 1998
J. B., Recently I was putting our search engine to work and just for the helluva it I typed in "Peale." I saw something about the Raftsman's Journal and thought what the heck is someone putting an article from that old paper on the web? My curiosity was definitely running high. Upon pulling it up I was absolutely stunned--a whole web page devoted to Peale--fantastic!!! My family has roots in Peale. Most of my great aunts and uncles were born there. In fact, one of my aunts, still alive in living in Moshannon, was born in Peale. When the family moved to Grassflat she was pushed down the rocky road from Peale to Grassflat in a carriage! Both my late grandparents were born and raised in Grassflat. For as long as I can remember our family made summer trips to the area from our home in Michigan to visit relatives. Needless to say I have been to Peale many times. I recall my Grandpa telling me how as kids they used to play in the abandoned buildings of Peale. In driving through there as a kid I remember him pointing out various locations, such as "there used to be houses in here," or "Locust Flats was the only level part of town." Unfortunately being a little guy I didn't ask my Grandpa all the questions that I now have. Only recently have I obtained a large copy of the 1883 town plan, this from a new correspondent of mine named Ray Lyncha (who spent his boyhood days in Grassflat). Next time I'm in the area I plan to use that in order to do some heavy duty exploring. My real love is the railroad that ran through the area, the Beech Creek Railroad. For a number of years I have been collecting documents, photos, and any information on this railroad in hopes of preparing an article (in the short term) and hopefully a larger scale project, such as a book, in the long term. I plan to cover the entire New York Central Beech Creek District--essentially all NYC trackage south and west of Jersey Shore, Pa. I see that you are looking for additional info on Peale. As part of my research I have a list of railroad paper items in my collection--kind of like an informal bibliography. If you're interested I can send you an MS Word document as an attachment. This deals with all the "Clearfield Region" railroads but is mainly focused on the NYC lines. I also have a heading titled "Peale." There may be something here of interest to you.
Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998
My name is Cliff Cartwright and I live in Kylertown, PA, about 5 miles from Peale. I have see your web pages and I think they are excellent! I have looked around the town of Peale, but my actual research on the town is just now beginning. My interest stems from the fact that my great grandparents rode the train into Peale and settled there. I would be interested in more information that you may have on this terrific little town. I also may be able to help you in your research. For instance, I have a friend in his seventies who has rememberence of his father's stories of the town and he also has an origional photo of Peale taken from Locust Flat. If you feel that I could be of help in your research, I may be interested in working with you in some way. Please understand that my research is a hobby and is only for my edification. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com.
Thank you for your time.
Date: Sat, 26 Sep 1998
I apologize for taking so long to return your e-mail. I appreciate you forwarding my message to the Feldmeier's. I would like to know if you would be interested in adding more pictures to your web page. I have access to some original photos taken of the town and the people. Also, I didn't know if you were aware that the church building from Peale was moved from the town and is still standing today. Someone with whom I recently became aquatinted remodeled it into a beautiful home within the past few years. One thing of concern to me, I noticed that trees were marked on the lower end of town from the current road back beyond the cemetery. I assume that someone will be taking the timber off in the very near future. I am afraid that the skidding of the logs would ruin the existing streets and foundations in that area. But what can I do? Nothing. Once again, thank you for responding and for your web page. If I could get your address, i would be happy to mail you info as it becomes available.
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998
This is sooo exciting that someone has an interest in Peale and is taking the time and effort to research this "Ghost Town". I am from Grassflat and Peale has been part of my life since I was little - it was my brothers' old playground. From playing "Cowboys and Indians" on Twin Rocks to outrunning trains in the tunnel!
My oldest brother told me about your website and this comes at a very opportune time. I have recently become part of a newly formed Rails to Trails group that is planning to develop a 19 mile stretch of the railroad which runs right through Peale. We would like to find out more about the history of the area in order to preserve it and use it as a tool for attracting people to our trail.
I have always been facinated with the place but never took the time to research the history. There are a few old folks still around that may remember those who lived there. My family continues to go to Peale for hikes in the woods (past Martha Renfrew's grave) have picnics and pick wild cranberries. My husband and boys hunt there every buck season. My boys have discovered many old bottles to add to their collection from the old out-house pits and foundations.
If you are going to be in the area it would be wonderful to meet and talk with you. One of my brothers still lives in Grassflat and may be of some help to your project. I live up on the hill near Rt. 53 on Taylor's Crossing (now called Firehouse Rd.).
Let me know if you would be interested in sharing information.
Anna Marie Nachman
Anna Marie Nachman, Staff Assistant
From: Jeff & Laural Feldmeier
Extremely bad news on the Peale front from Ray Lyncha...
Iíve got bad news for all Peale buffs. In one of our first notes we had talked about the ghostly remnants of Peale streets. Weíre about to loose them. My son Scott hunts the Peale area and while archery hunting for deer he noticed that the large trees are marked for cutting. Removal of the trees themselves wonít change Peale, but the logging roads will and one can be sure that they will use the existing paths (tram road) and the remaining streets. How much is marked for cutting I donít know. The area he was hunting (we call the stadium) is around the cemetery to the other side of Twin Rocks.
The stadium (amphitheater would have been a better description) is the area bounded by the Peale - Gorton road, the Moshannon Creek to the south, the hill side and strippenís to the north and the ridge forming the horseshoe on the Moshannon to the east. Twin Rocks are an outcropping of rock along the ridge toward the horseshoe. There are two that look some what alike. On the topo they are in the area at the top of the ridge and the 1300 foot contour line. The tram road passes just south of the rocks and on around the east side until it gets to steep. About where the 1300 is printed on the topo, (see Karthaus quad.).
I had in the back of my mind to photograph the streets and cemetery sometime, it looks like I better make it soon. Iíll check how things are at work tomorrow and if nothing is pressing, Iíll take a few days and run down and get the photoís. Good time to talk with Benny also.
Date: 3 Nov 1998
peale has been built up,torn down logged off,strippmined,deepmined, and other things which we can't mention in polite company,so i think it will survive,as long as we remember,anyway,i think,thats a good idea about contact the rails to trails folks,a trail up the grassflat branch from viaduct to peale would interest a lot of people.
Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999
Good news from Ray Lyncha re: the proposed logging at Peale...
I forgot to mention yesterday that I asked Denny Merrow about logging Peale. He said that a company did go in and mark all the trees, but that they were not going to let them cut but only a select few from the Twin Rock area only. Nothing in the village of Peale is to be cut.
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998
I came across your web page on Peale. What a great idea you have restoring life to the town through floral art. Cool. Your web site has a special meaning for me as I will describe. I am Stephen Haas, 32yr, Married, 2 Kids, Live in Central Florida. Part of my family's history is rooted very near Peale. In your directions from Snowshoe you describe turning from 53, at the white church, towards Grassflat. After you make that turn my Grandparents owned that first property on the left. Actually they originally lived on a larger property maybe 1/4 back up 53, on the other side of the 53. You can really see it from 53, it is down a dirt driveway and the driveway loops around a 2-3 story house that my grand father built. He was Anthony (Tony) and Helen Santoro. During summer stays we would walk up to "Benny's" several times a day for candy and come home to beg our grandparents to take us to Black Moshannon. During this time my Great Grand parents lived in the cottage on the property next to the Pleasant Hill Church. They were Lawerence &? Potchato. Tony Santoro also built that cottage. My grand parents have both passed away in the last 3 years. I know they sold the Large house on the other side of 53 and the cottage on the grassflat side is being cared for by an Aunt in Clearfield.
I hope to further explore my roots in that area. My mother has a very old article about a great-great Grandmother of mine (leskovan0 that died in a house fire on the property next to the church. That was probably in the 40's or 50's.
Anyways I had no knowledge of Peale until now. I called my mother and she remembers as a girl, the wooded area with foundations and old railroad track beds that used to be Peale. But I think she was educated by the large town that Peale once was. I am printing out your web site for her and I'd be willing to bet she contacts you as well.
I will most certainly find Peale upon my next visit. I hope to see your work there.
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 1999
Jeff asked me if I would send you a copy of this baptismal certificate of Dad's that is 109 years old and takes us back to Peale, Pa. He thought you might be able to use it someplace on your web. We have many other things to share but we have to get them together in some cogent fashion. We appreciate you and Jeff and all this takes us back to our roots. Jeff is familiar with the area. We can't imagine why they would want to establish a homestead in that area. Maybe they saw things we can't imagine. I worked for The Joint Chiefs of Staff as a war planner to develop plans to fight in the Middle East, and which were used in Desert Storm. The Viet Nam war was also going on and I was involved in helping correct what they thought was an ammunition shortage, but was more of a paper snafu than an actual shortage. We worked for six months, 7 days a week, 12 hours a day. You get pretty testy after a few months of that.We appreciate you and Jeff and you can't imaginge how excited all of us are about your web site. As on TV, it is awesome. God Bless, Bob and the rest of the Anderson's
To see the images Bob has sent, see the page of Historical Peale Images.
Date: Tue, 02 Mar 1999
Hi there. I've just been by your Project Peale web page, and I think it's a great idea. I've learned just recently that my grandfather would have been one of those lost Peale miners. Apparently, he was there after 1888 for an indefinite period of time before moving to Hawk Run, PA and then to Philipsburg. So if you should come across any evidence of Fred and Mary Pepper, please let me know. In any case, please say hello to Peale for me, and keep me updated on your project.
Thanks, and good luck,
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999
Terrific report on the ghost town of Peale, Penna. I've been researching my family for the past 3 years (picking up were my great aunt left off) and was happy to find this web site. My great great grandfather, Thomas E. Evans lived in Peale. He was 1st generation American born in Morris Run, Penna and lived for a period unknown in Peale. My records show he and his wife were married in Patton, Penna. but listed there place of residence as Peale. They were married in July 1897 at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Patton by Rev. Charles W. Wasson. Her name, Lucy Jane Askey (daughter of Samuel T. Askey, Snow Shoe fame and legend). Thomas was a coal miner and worked for several mines in Penna until his death in 1957.
I would be interested in sharing some info with you. I have some materials and maybe some old pictures that may be of interest to you! I will have to review.
These pages comprise an ongoing project to document, map, interpret, and memorialize the ghost company town of Peale Pennsyvania located along the Clearfield and Centre County (PA) boundaries in north-central Pennsyvlania.
Please contact j.b. krygier (firstname.lastname@example.org) with comments, input, or additional information.