Joseph Priestley wrote to his neighbors in the 1790s at a time when the country was politically divided …

Joseph Priestley wrote to his neighbors in the 1790s at a time when the country was politically divided …

NORTHUMBERLAND, Pa. – Sunbury Press has released the Letters to the Inhabitants of Northumberland by Joseph Priestley, edited by John L. Moore.

About the Book:

A world-famous Englishman, Dr. Joseph Priestley addressed the 12 letters in this little book to “the Inhabitants of Northumberland and its Neighborhood.” Nearly 150 miles northwest of Philadelphia, the locale was an obscure village of log houses that had grown up at the confluence of the Susquehanna River’s North and West branches.

Priestley was in his early 60s when he decided to settle there in 1794. The clergyman/scientist had originally intended to devote his sunset years to writing about theological topics and conducting scientific experiments, but controversy over his political and theological beliefs followed him from Great Britain.

He soon found himself the target of frequent and caustic attacks in newspapers throughout the United States that aligned themselves with the Federalist government and policies of President John Adams. On one occasion, when relations between the U.S. and French governments had deteriorated, Priestley was even accused to being a spy for France.

When he found himself increasingly unpopular and misunderstood by the people of his new hometown, Priestley responded by writing these letters. He explained his political and religious beliefs, but also told how, why, and when he had become an honorary citizen of France; listed the reasons why he admired the U.S. Constitution; and justified his decision not to become a U.S. citizen.

Priestley also attacked his critics, especially William Cobbett who wrote under a pen name, Peter Porcupine. “It is commonly said,” Priestley wrote, “that when much dirt is thrown, some will stick; and on this principle I suppose it is that I have been distinguished so often by my principal antagonist, Mr. Cobbett.”

In 1799 the letters were reprinted in book form by Northumberland printer Andrew Kennedy. The book consisted of two parts. Letters 1 through 7 appeared in Part I, with letters 8 through 12 in Part II. The final item in Part II was Maxims of Political Arithmetic, Applied to the Case of the United States of America, an article that Priestley had printed anonymously in 1798 in the Philadelphia Aurora, a newspaper published by Benjamin Franklin Bache, the grandson of Priestley’s old friend Ben Franklin.

Spelling, typography and punctuation have been modernized throughout the text. For instance, the character fappears throughout the original, often to represent the letter s. This practice was common during the 18th century, but has fallen into disuse. It has been eliminated in these pages.

In editing this volume of the Letters, the editor found it helpful to have a variety of online dictionaries at his fingertips, among them en.oxforddictionaries.com. That’s because Priestley, his colleagues and his critics often employed words that have fallen into disuse, among them conventicle (a secret or unlawful religious meeting); oppugn(question the truth or validity of); and sectary (a member of a religious or political sect).

The Georgian-style mansion that Priestley built overlooking the Susquehanna survives as a museum that has portraits and a statue of the man. These images make it easy to envision the elderly man sitting at his desk in the library, dipping his quill pen in an ink well, then writing these letters – slowly, deliberately – in longhand.

The Friends of the Joseph Priestley House sponsored the republication of Priestley’s book. Three members of the Friends – Deb Bernhisel, Susan Brook and Tom Bresenhan – transcribed the letters using OCR text from Google and a scan of the first edition.

About the Editor:

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 has participated in several archaeological excavations of Native American sites. These include the Village of Nain, Bethlehem; the City Island project in Harrisburg, conducted by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission during the 1990s; and a Bloomsburg University dig in 1999 at a Native American site near Nescopeck. He also took part in a 1963 excavation conducted by the New Jersey State Museum along the Delaware River north of Worthington State Forest.

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.

Letters to the Inhabitants of Northumberland: and its Neighborhood on Subjects Interesting to the Author and to Them

Authored by Joseph Priestley, Foreword by John L Moore

List Price: $9.99
5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm) 
Black & White on Cream paper
100 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620067789
ISBN-10: 1620067781
BISAC: History / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic

Coming soon on Kindle

For more information, please see:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Letters-to-the-Inhabitants-of-Northumberland-9781620067789.htm

"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…

"Remember the Sun" is a collection of poems on nature and inspiration by Melanie Simms

SUNBURY, Pa.Sunbury Press has released “Remember the Sun” a collection of poems about nature and inspiration by Melanie Simms featuring the Sunbury, PA community.

About the Book:
This collection of poems by Melanie Simms (all previously published in magazines, newspapers and poetry journals) covers such themes as Pennsylvania place poetry, inspirational poetry, and reflections on nature and love. Remember the Sun: Poems on Nature and Inspiration offers a wide variety of poems to suit the diverse tastes of the poetic pallette.

odeExcerpt:
Love needs no language,
Not here
Along the Susquehanna, watching as she twists and bends
Returning to mouths
Where sunlight and lovers meet,
Not here,
Where the silver maple and black cherry sway patiently,
Amidst the romantic odes of the meadowlark,
Or the ecstasy of the osprey
As they dive and reemerge,
Fed by the river.
Not here,
Where the haunting tales of lush mountains
Record through the ages
Those first seedlings of love.
Here, along the river she reveals us to one another
As we confess our love, baptized between her gentle waves.
How has she found us?
Here along the Susquehanna, reflecting in our gaze
The memories of our ancient love’s return.

rts_fcAbout the author:
Melanie served as the Perry County Poet Laureate from 2005-2006 and has published in over 180 newspapers, magazines, and poetry journals; her poems have been featured on state and local television shows and over fifty poetry radio programs. She has been a featured artist at various Pennsylvania colleges, high schools, and landmarks including but not limited to; The Harrisburg Capitol (aired by PCN Television in which First Lady Susan Corbett presented), and was an opening poet for Camille Erice’s political campaign for City Council. She has also read for the Pennsylvania State Museum, National Poetry Month at the Degenstein Community Library with presentations by State Rep. Lynda Schlegel-Culver and Sunbury mayor David Persing.

Her awards include a Sophie Award, Finalist in the Richard Savage Poetry Award (Bloomsburg University), Perry County Poet Laureate (2005-2006), a Vermont Writers Studio Award, a Pushcart Prize Nomination, Marquis Who’s Who of The World, Cambridge Who’s Who of Women in Publication, Poet of the Week (Poetry Superhighway), and an Evvy Award nomination for Waking the Muse (best self-published book in the poetry category).

She is a President and Founder of the Association of Pennsylvania Poet’s Laureate (founded 2006) and a member of the World Poetry Society and The Daughters of the American Revolution. Of note her family history includes such noted individuals as her Uncle, a two-time Pulitzer prize- winning war journalist, Patrick Sloyan (Newsday), Frederick Watts (The Father of Penn State University), former Chilean Diplomat, Fred Purdy (Santiago, Chile) and by way of family oral tradition her father, George Melvin (a landscape artist of Scottish and Chiricahua Apache background) who claimed a descendancy to the Chiricahua Apache leader, Geronimo.

Ms. Simms can be reached for readings and poetry workshops via her website atwww.poetmelaniesimms.wordpress.com or via her email at sirenbliss@gmail.com

Remember the Sun: Poets on Nature and Inspiration
Authored by Melanie Simms
Photographs by Lawrence Knorr
Hard Cover 6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
42 pages w/photos
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620064245
BISAC: Poetry / Pennsylvania

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Remember-the-Sun-9781620…