Carpatho-Rusyns are one of the major ethnic groups of Pennsylvania. From the time they settled the state’s small towns and cities in the late 1870s until the present time, Carpatho-Rusyns have left an indelible mark on the state, and their story should be told. This blog is about a project that will do just that. Read more

“Lost” Carpatho-Rusyn Settlements

In the course of my research, I’ve come upon many references to Rusyn immigrants living in various parts of Pennsylvania where there was no Rusyn church within reasonable distance and the immigrants may or may not have organized any community institutions like a fraternal organization lodge. And so, information about these communities is very limited.
Portion of a 1923 letter from a Father Ioann Žytynskij on letterhead of Andrew Sapovchak (Capovčak) in Milton, Northumberland County, on attempts to get an Orthodox priest to serve the community there. Is Milton a "lost" settlement? I haven't found any other documentation testifying to a Rusyn presence there except for this letter.

The information I do have usually comes from these sources:
  • Some written reference to a Rusyn settlement in that place;
  • Rusyn church records of baptisms, marriages, or deaths indicating that the priest traveled on occasion to these places, or that the immigrants occasionally made the trip to the church;
  • Information on a local lodge of a Rusyn fraternal insurance society;
  • Photographs of Rusyn (or suspected to be Rusyn) immigrant graves from a local cemetery;
  • A photograph of Rusyn immigrants from this place.
But usually I don’t have all of these details, otherwise I wouldn’t call these settlements “lost.” In many cases, when I've visited these places and tried to find graves of Rusyn immigrants, I found only a few, and usually far fewer than I expected to find based on the other evidence that I had about a settlement there.

Over the coming months I will be posting a summary of the information I have about each of these settlements and hope that you, my faithful readers, might be able to offer some additional information about any of your relatives or your own research concerning Rusyn immigrants living and working in these places.

These “lost” settlements are:
  • Bellefonte (Centre Co.)
  • Betula (McKean Co.)
  • Bitumen (Clinton Co.)
  • Cornwall (Lebanon Co.)
  • Cross Fork (Potter Co.)
  • Custer City (McKean Co.)
  • East Stroudsburg (Monroe Co.)
  • Harrisburg (Dauphin Co.)
  • Laquin (Bradford Co.)
  • Lebanon (Lebanon Co.)
  • Middletown (Dauphin Co.)
  • Milton (Northumberland Co.)
  • Oil City (Venango Co.)
  • Renovo (Clinton Co.)
  • Tyrone / Tyrone Forge (Blair Co.)
As posts are created for each of the above, they will be linked here. And as I dive further into my research data, I may add some to the list if there is enough information to support it.

(First published July 3, 2015; updated on date to be added)

4 comments:

  1. A reader pointed out a connection between Berwick and Milton via the American Car & Foundry railroad car building plants that were located in these communities.

    Investigating this a bit, I found this info:
    "The car builders who set up shop in Pennsylvania included Standard Steel Car Co. of Butler; Pressed Steel Car Co. of McKees Rocks; Greenville Steel Car Co. of Greenville; American Car and Foundry of Milton and Berwick; Berwick Forge and Fabricating, also of Berwick; General American Transportation of Sharon; Harrisburg Car Works of Harrisburg; and Middletown Car Co. of Middletown. Some of these were independent firms; others were branches of larger corporations that operated plants in other states."
    http://explorepahistory.com/hmarker.php?markerId=1-A-1D1

    There were definite Rusyn village connections (and intra-Pennsylvania migrations) between Berwick, Butler/Lyndora, and McKees Rocks. Milton starts to fit into this picture too, as Andrew Sapovchak was from Vylagŷ (now Svetlice), Zemplyn County, as were many of the Rusyn immigrants in Berwick, Lyndora, and McKees Rocks.

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  2. When can you post your presentation of the church in Barnesboro that you gave at the Slovak Festival

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope to do it soon. In the meantime, see what I've written about Barnesboro here: Emigration from Prykra to America in the 19th and 20th Centuries

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