"Feeble-minded" youth accused of murdering young woman

SUNBURY, Pa.Sunbury Press has released Something So Divine, J R Lindermuth’s tragic tale of murder in the rural hills of Pennsylvania.

“… reminds us of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, with similar intrigue and tension, but set in Pennsylvania ..” The Publisher

ssd_fcWhen a young girl is found murdered in a Pennsylvania rye field in the autumn of 1897, Ned Gebhardt, a feeble-minded youth known to have stalked the victim, is the prime suspect. Incidents involving another girl and gossip stir emotions to a frenzy, nearly leading to a lynching.

Evidence against Ned is circumstantial and there are other suspects. Influenced by the opinions of Ned’s stepsister and Ellen, a woman who has perked his interest, Simon Roth, the investigator, is inclined to give Ned benefit of the doubt. Then he discovers damaging evidence.

Still unwilling to view Ned as a cold-blooded killer, Roth puts his job and reputation in jeopardy as he seeks to assure a fair trial for the accused.

EXCERPT:
The dog stirred beside him. Ned Gebhardt tilted his head, listening. Though he couldn’t see the girl for the thickness of the second-growth trees, the rattle of brush told him she was coming his way. The dog whined and started to rise. Cupping a hand around her muzzle, Ned patted the dog’s head. “Be still,” he whispered.

Excitement gripped Ned as he awaited a sight of her. His foot jiggled in the leaves, and his breath came a little faster. He snuffled, drawing in the scent of leaf mold and sun-warmed wood. But Susannah thwarted his desire, cutting across the hill opposite instead of coming to where he waited. Ned pursed his lips and muttered, his tongue thrusting out to test the air like a snake while one hand plucked at his pant leg. He rose to his feet and grinned down at the dog. “She foxed us, didn’t she? Well, there’s always tomorrow.” The dog cocked its head, gazing up at him as if expected to reply.

The boy plopped down again, drawing his knees up to his chin and sitting with arms wrapped round his legs, contemplating what to do next. He sighed in annoyance at not having intercepted the girl. Ned felt certain he knew where she’d go as he’d watched her leave home earlier that morning. I told her where to go. Why didn’t she come here? He sucked his lower lip. His disappointment souring the good mood of anticipation.

He sighed. Pap would be angry he’d skipped out on his chores. But it would be all right if he took home a couple squirrel or a rabbit. Especially rabbit. Pap’s awful fond of rabbit. Yes, that’s what I’ll do—hunt up a rabbit or two.

The warm air was heady with the odor of rotting leaves and damp earth. Almost too warm for this October morning in 1897 on a Pennsylvania hillside. But Ned knew the frost would be coming soon. He’d seen a flight of geese heading south the previous morning, and there hadn’t been any sign of frogs or turtles along the crick for the last week. A rustle overhead, and he raised his eyes to scan the canopy. Acorn caps and the hulls and shells of other nuts littered the ground beneath the nearest big tree. But it was no squirrel he spied. Only a nuthatch flitting from limb to limb.

Ned rose, brushed dry leaf litter from his trousers, picked up his shotgun by the barrel, and started up hill. The dog shook itself and followed.

Anyone watching would have had no difficulty picking Ned out of a crowd. Tall and gangly, big hands and knobby wrists protruding from the sleeves of a too-often washed cambrey shirt, strong legs encased in hand-me-down corduroy trousers, worn brogans on his big feet, he strode along with the ease of one accustomed to climbing hills and walking fields. Not yet a man, shy and immature, but with muscles and calluses defined by long hours of manual labor. He had a shock of thick hair the color of bleached corn shocks, big eyes reflecting the blue of the sky, and a protruding lower lip usually wet with dribble.

The maples were red and gold now, but the boy was oblivious to their beauty, intent on another vision flashing across the screen of his mind. He’d been sure Susannah would come to this hillside to hunt chanterelles. It was late in the season for them, but Ned had spotted a nice crop under the oaks above her father’s rye field, and he’d told Susannah. He knew her family loved these golden mush-rooms, and Ned was certain that would be her destination.

Something So Divine
Authored by J. R Lindermuth
List Price: $14.95
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
226 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620066126
ISBN-10: 1620066122
BISAC: Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Historical

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Something-So-Divine-9781…

Bunch of naked drunken women pursue Moravian monk in New York wilderness

SUNBURY, Pa.Sunbury Press has released John L. Moore’s Warriors, Wampum, and Wolves, the eighth of eight volumes in the Frontier Pennsylvania series.

wwaw_fcAbout the Book:
In April 1753, frontier missionary David Zeisberger prepared for a month-long voyage up the Susquehanna River’s North Branch by walking along the river bank at present-day Sunbury and selecting a suitable tree to fashion into a dugout canoe.

Zeisberger and another missionary felled the tree, then spent two days hollowing its trunk into the shape of a canoe, before setting sail. A month later they came upon a fleet of 25 canoes carrying Nanticoke Indians upriver. “As far as the eye could reach, you could see one canoe behind the other along the Susquehanna,” the missionaries wrote.

Zeisberger is one of many real characters who people the pages of this non-fiction book about the Pennsylvania frontier. Others include Shikellamy, the Iroquois half-king at Shamokin; Conrad Weiser, the Pennsylvania colony’s Indian agent; Teedyuscung, king of the Delawares; Benjamin Franklin, builder of frontier forts; and a Delaware war chief known as Shingas the Terrible.

Author John L. Moore used journals, letters, official reports and other first-person accounts to portray the frontiersmen and the events and conflicts in which they were involved.

The stories are set mainly in the valleys of the Delaware, Juniata, Lehigh, Ohio and Susquehanna rivers.

weiser w iroquiosWhat Others Say:
“Moore brings us an engaging treatment of Gen. Edward Braddock’s ill-fated campaign in 1755 to oust the French from the Ohio Valley. His account gives us a fresh perspective of something often lost in the histories of this march through the wilderness – the troubles the British army experienced with logistics and their erstwhile Native American allies.

“Moore includes a later description by Moravian missionary John Heckewelder of how horses’ hooves made ‘dismal music’ as they walked over the unburied bones of Braddock’s soldiers. But Moore’s book is overall about a lost world of encounters in the forest between the colonial Americans and the Iroquois and Delaware – the tree paintings along trails and the travails of a Seneca given the English name of Captain Newcastle. It’s a world worth visiting.” ~ Robert B. Swift, author of “The Mid-Appalachian Frontier: A Guide to Historic Sites of the French and Indian War.”

“One can’t go wrong with this work. It’s the kind of tale one might read aloud to one’s children out in the woods at evenings while huddled around a campfire.” ~ Thomas J. Brucia, Houston, Texas, bibliophile, outdoorsman and book reviewer

“As someone who despised history classes in high school and practically fell asleep during college history courses, I must admit that I immensely enjoyed this fascinating read.” ~ Catherine Felegi, Cranford, N.J., writer, editor, and blogger at: cafelegi.wordpress.com

David Zeisberger

David Zeisberger

Excerpt:
Friday, July 3: “We spent a very noisy night. The confusion and noise never ceased, and the drinking was kept up all night long. There were about 200 drunken people in the town.” The residents of the town were using their canoes to ship rum from Oswego on Lake Ontario.

Zeisberger and Cammerhoff decided that they would get as much rest as they could and depart for Onondaga as early as possible in the morning. “I remained in our hut very tired,” the bishop wrote. “In the evening, when I left our prison for a short time, I could scarcely walk as I had eaten very little for several days. During the afternoon, my faithful David tried to make some tea for me.” To obtain water, Zeisberger walked to a spring half a mile away with an empty kettle. “On his way back with the kettle of water, several of the drunken savages caught him and drew him into a house, took his kettle, (and) drank the water.”

With a determined effort, Brother David managed to regain possession of the kettle and returned to the spring to refill it. “But some drunken savages pursued him again,” Cammerhoff said. “He … ran too quickly for them and gained the hut, but by a long circuit through long grass. David then boiled the water with much trouble and fear, and we refreshed ourselves with some tea, the only nourishment I had taken in two days.”

“Towards evening, David went out once more, and on his return a troop of drunken women came rushing toward him. Some were naked, and others nearly so. In order to drive them away, he was obliged to use his fists and deal out blows to the right and left. He climbed up a ladder, but when he had scarcely reached the top, they seized it and tore it from under his feet, but he regained our retreat in safety.”

This same day the brother of an important chief came to visit the Moravians. The man “was still sober,” the bishop reported. “We … told him of our intention to start early tomorrow morning and gave him a piece of tobacco and several pipe stems to present to the chiefs when they were sober. We asked him to tell them that we deeply regretted having come such a long distance without being able to talk to them.”

johnAbout the Author:
John L. Moore, a veteran newspaperman, said he employed a journalist’s eye for detail and ear for quotes in order to write about long-dead people in a lively way. He said his books are based on 18th and 19th century letters, journals, memoirs and transcripts of official proceedings such as interrogations, depositions and treaties.

The author is also a professional storyteller who specializes in dramatic episodes from Pennsylvania’s colonial history. Dressed in 18th century clothing, he does storytelling in the persona of “Susquehanna Jack,” a frontier ruffian. Moore is available weekdays, weekends and evenings for audiences and organizations of all types and sizes.

Moore’s 45-year career in journalism included stints as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal; as a Harrisburg-based legislative correspondent for Ottaway News Service; as managing editor of The Sentinel at Lewistown; as editorial page editor and managing editor at The Daily Item in Sunbury; and as editor of the Eastern Pennsylvania Business Journal in Bethlehem.

Warriors, Wampum, and Wolves
Authored by John L. Moore
List Price: $9.99
5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
86 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620065181
ISBN-10: 1620065185
BISAC: History / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Warriors-Wampum-and-Wolv…

Cover artwork by Andrew Knez, Jr.  For more information about Andrew’s work, please see:http://www.andrewknezjr.com/

Pennsylvania Coal Region subject of new history by John R. Lindermuth

POTTSVILLE, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released John R. Lindermuth’s history “Digging Dusky Diamonds” recounting life in Pennsylvania’s Coal Region.

About the book:
ddd_fcBased on contemporary newspaper accounts and genealogical records, Digging Dusky Diamonds tells the story of the people who made the anthracite coal mining industry a major economic force in Pennsylvania in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

How the miners and their families lived and worked, loved and died is recorded in old newspapers and reveals their daily concerns, their diversions, social attitudes and prejudices. The accounts reveal what was different about those people and what has remained constant in us, their descendants.

Though the focus is mainly on Northumberland and Schuylkill counties, similar conditions prevailed across the anthracite mining region.

About the author:
A native of Shamokin, Northumberland  County, Pennsylvania, J. R. Lindermuth worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for nearly 40 years. Since retiring, he has served as librarian of the Northumberland County Historical Society where he assists patrons with genealogy and research.

He is the author of 12 novels and his short stories and articles have been published in a variety of magazines. He is a member of International Thriller Writers, EPIC and the Short Mystery Society.

He is the father of two grown children and has four grandsons. To learn more about the author, visit his website at http://www.jrlindermuth.net

Digging Dusky Diamonds: A History of the Pennsylvania Coal Region
Authored by John R. Lindermuth
List Price: $14.95
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
160 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620062685
ISBN-10: 1620062682
BISAC: History / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Digging-Dusky-Diamonds-9…