The David Library of the American Revolution at Washington’s Crossing!

When I was preparing for this trip I stumbled on this library. Being the curious person that I am I could not pass up visiting it. So on Friday, September 19th I prepared to find out its secrets.

After a hearty breakfast, several cups of coffee at the Pineapple Bed & Breakfast I packed up my car and left to climb Bowman’s Tower a part of the Washington Crossing Historic Park. I was encouraged by a woman at the Visitor Center who felt it was spectacular and joined the tour I was on the day before. Apparently Washington used it for a look out while the Revolutionary army was camped here. It means driving along a road till you get to the gate and then up another road that is very steep and a little bumpy. You come to a parking area shaded by trees and you are on this hill which is pretty high up.

Today the wind was a little chilly, Fall was making it presence known. I waited while the attendant prepared the area for the day. When I was given the okay, I entered the elevator to the top. The elevator is enclosed so you don’t see anything at all. Once at the top you have to climb circular narrow steps to the lookout platform. The view was excellent but the wind was bitting…brrr. It was sunny and a beautiful day in the Delaware Valley. I quickly took my pictures of the surrounding views and returned down the tiny circular staircase and elevator. It was worth it. The park opens at 9 a.m. but you might want to wait till 9:30 a.m. Give the attendant time to get there and open up the two gates, visitor center and the elevator.

My real main goal to come to this area along the Delaware River was the David Library of the American Revolution. It is about ½ mile from the Pineapple Bed and Breakfast and before you get to the Visitor’s Center for Washington Crossing. As you are driving along the narrow road by the Delaware River which is on your left you come to a big open field on your right and a driveway with a sign indicating that it is the David Library. Can’t miss it unless you are driving to fast or enjoying the view of the river. Their driveway is long and travels through a big open field of green grass and over a little bridge. I arrived a little bit before 10 a.m. and the door was opened at that time by the Librarian.

The Librarian, Katherine, inquired about my interests and I told her my shopping list one was the very early militia specifically the Connecticut militia for the Wyoming Valley about 1776 to 1780. I was trying to pin down Solomon Goss and Philip Goss’ involvement in the revolutionary years. This was not my only interests. I had looked at their webpage before coming and studied their listings for microfilm, books, subjects and more. They have British information, Loyalist information and of course American Revolutionary War information.

As usual I was probably a little ambitious for one day of research. I proceeded to examine their book shelves, pulling books off as I spotted interesting titles. I love one stop shopping at a library. Their brochure reads “Dedicated to the study of American History in the era of the American Revolution.” This library was started by Sol Feinstone when he dedicated and donated his collection and gave them his farmstead. The present library was built in 1974. It is very nicely laid out, with plenty of room for tables to sit and spread out your research.

This library has three rolls of the Susquehanna Papers films from the Connecticut State Library. The library will tell you in the description where the information comes from. I looked at the Susquehanna Rolls of film and was happy to find several of the Liber’s and the actual copies of the pages of these liber’s. I immediately pulled my copies of Donna Bingham Munger’s “Connecticut’s Pennsylvania “Colony” 1754-180, Susquehanna Company Proprietors Vol. I.” I made copies of the references there for my family. I have all 3 copies of these books by Donna: Proprietors, Settlers and Claimants. I shared this information with the Librarian and I know that she will probably obtain copies and then review the films to get a really good description of them.

I looked at Obadiah Gore, Jr.’s diary which was a published booklet and found on one page a statement made that the lists for Capt. John Franklin’s militia are not found regarding the Sullivan Expedition. I am wondering if any of the militia for that time period prior survived?

Katherine assisted me with Bounty Land warrants that I had found on Footnote.com. I had two signed by a Solomon Goss? I am wondering if there are my Solomon Goss and he was speculating? They are dated 1790 and the men who bought from him are from Connecticut? I do not know if it is Solomon Goss my 4th great grandfather yet, more research is needed. Katherine informed me that these federal records were destroyed in 1800 and then in 1812 the British did worse damage. We found more in the two books so I will have to go back to Footnote and do a little digging. She found several other things. I found a Comfort Goss 1832 petitioning the Congress.

Now I know that a lot of these sources can be found elsewhere in other repositories but when you have someone who knows these sources and they are all in one place it makes cross referencing easier and it also makes it easy to revisit something if you need to. There are always titles I have not seen and you can study them to see what secrets they contain. They had several books on Timothy Pickering’s papers, indexes and explanations of the collection in Massachusetts. Now I know that these books exist and I can revisit them when I have the time.

Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 10 to 5 p.m., 215-495-6776, website http://www.dlar.org/

They do basic research for people and will answer questions. Katherine told me that she does do presentations and a tour on the sources in the library. I wish I could have her for my group. It is a little far for her to commute but they were talking about lecturing online at the APG Conference in Philadelphia two weeks ago. Hmmm….??

It was 3:30 p.m. and I was fading fast and getting tired. I had to drive from the library in Washington Crossing to King of Prussia so I could visit the Valley Forge National Park on Saturday. I had some driving to do in strange country and from what I was being told it was not going to be easy. I was getting hungry. So I packed up and said goodbye to this great resource. It was fun chatting and sharing stories with Katherine about family, stomping overgrown cemeteries. Thanks Katherine for your help.

Sometimes I wish I could be like Mr. Feinstone…wealthy and able to building fantastic libraries…!

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About BJ MacDonald

Interested in travel, really into genealogy and researching my family history, classic novels and movies, fantasy and science fiction, photography, history and more... Here is a tip. Make sure you are commenting on the blog you were visiting and the post you were interested in. My blogs are listed by hovering over my pictures and clicking. Clicking one of them will take you back to the correct blog. You can try me here: bjmcdonell@gmail.com
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