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Department 1

Civil War Era Studies


January of 1856 was blustery and cold, but John T. McIlhenny had enough work to keep him warm. The 19-year-old typesetter dropped letter after letter into the frames to create the week's news. The Star and Banner office along Chambersburg Street was always a busy place. Beside the weekly issues of the paper, McIlhenny and his coworkers were job printers, making sure Gettysburg was plastered with broadsides, ads and published sermons galore. Outside the window, McIlhenny told his diary, those first few weeks of January had, "been extremely cold - exceeding anything we have had for many long years." The mercury had been plummeting. "The coldest day we have had the thermometer stood 16 1/2 degrees below zero!" (excerpt)


This article appeared in the Gettysburg Times as part of the Adams County Historical Society's "Historically Speaking" column, January 23, 2017.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License