Jamie and Domi talk York County history

Newberrytown

Village of Newberrytown, York County

The situation

In Episode 1 of the video series “Hometown History: Jamie and Domi talk YoCo Backstory,” Jamie Kinsley and Dominish Marie Miller explore the Underground Railroad heroics of freedmen Ezekiel and Eliza Baptist, African-American station masters. They talked on location at the historic Miller farm in Newberry Township, an 1850s barn looming in the background.

Jamie and Domi talked about how the Underground Railroad operated until the Civil War, receiving untold scores of sweating and ragged freedom seekers from the South. The talked about the Quakers, people of strong faith, who had undergone persecution in Europe in their quest for religious freedom. These Christians, worshiping in a row of meeting houses in Newberrytown, Lewisberry, Warrington, York Springs and Biglerville, had undergone prosecution for religious freedom in Europe. They received freedom seekers on the Underground Railroad who had no freedom, fleeing chattel bondage where they were treated as property.

Jamie, a teacher, holds a doctorate in American studies, blogs about local history and culture and operates this digital site, WitnessingYork.com. Domi, a federal court archivist, holds a master’s degree in library science and moderates the Preserving the History of Newberrytown Facebook group. She is a re-enactor in the 87th Pennsylvania.

Here are some of the goals driving Jamie and Domi and “Hometown History:”

  • To introduce next generations of York County residents to York County history.
  • In so doing, we present the history of all people in a way that has weight and is winsome
  • To test a new, conversational way of storytelling about history.

Episode 2, was livestreamed in the Retro York and Preserving the History of Newberrytown Facebook groups at 7 p.m., Wednesday, July 13. Jamie and Domi talked in this episode about pain and trauma endured in two wars – the Civil War and World War II – and how veterans and civilians dealt with the lingering impact of war. They also discussed the aftermath of a major York County industrial accident – the York International Explosion of 1998.

As in the story of the Baptists in Episode 1, Jamie and Domi are choosing stories explored here on Witnessing York, plus adding stories from their own research.

Stay tuned … .

Episode 1: Jamie and Domi talk York County history at the Miller farm in Newberry Township.

Episode 2: Jami and Domi talk about pain and trauma sustained on the homefront and warfront and in times of peace on site at the Etters VFW near Newberrytown.

The witness

Episode 1: The Baptists also hosted Harriet Tubman in their Steinhour Road, Newberry Township farmhouse. Learn more about this family that farmed by day and served as Underground Railroad operators at night:

How York County people coped after painful, traumatic moments

Meet the Underground Railroad conductors who hosted Harriet Tubman in central Pa.

Episode 2: Jami and Domi referenced a few of these links in this pain and trauma segment.

Earl Shaffer’s famous A-T thru-hike.

Turning to nature in the aftermath of an industrial explosion.

Pension battles offer insight into the Civil War.


Related links and sources: The Underground Railroad books by Scott Mingus’ “Guiding Lights,” and “The Ground Swallowed them Up” provided essential background in the preparation for Episode 1 of “Hometown History.” Episode 2: See Michele Baker’s “Soldier’s Heart.” All episodes, please see sourcing in the original WitnessingYork.com stories. Jim McClure assisted in planning, research and production.

The Question

One of Jamie and Domi’s goals is to engage the next generation. They’ve found that, if local Facebook audiences are any indication, at least half are above 50 years in age. To fuel local history interest in those south of 50, these videos are meant to reach a broader audience, interesting people of all ages in York County history. However, this is just the first step. How else can we get our kids and grandkids into history?


— By JAMIE KINSLEY and JIM McCLURE

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