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Abstract

Like many Decembers in the greater Adams county area, the beginning of the winter usually is a collage of intermittent warm spells spliced amongst Arctic days with cold Canadian northwest winds. Amid the hoopla, as Gettysburgians prepared for the 1873 Christmas holidays during the week between the 17th and 24th of December, a person had, as Alfred Lord Tennyson so eloquently described, "Crossed the Bar." But in the local newspapers there had been no notice of declining health. No death notice appeared. Possibly the cost of five cents a line "for all over four lines- cash to accompany the notice" was too much for the family. Or did not the publishers of Gettysburg's two newspapers consider the passing of another Black-American as newsworthy for their readership? The only printed evidence of the passing of a grand dame of Gettysburg, a human link dating back to"the very founding of the town, was a short legal notice regarding the filing of Letters Testamentary printed directly below the death notices in the 24 December Star and Sentinel. Sidney O'Brien had died. [excerpt]

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