School Days

As the school year winds down, students begin to bring home books and projects they’ve finished during the year. The Yerkes Family, of Harmonville (Plymouth Township) saved many of their school notebooks, and eventually, they found their way to us. Both books shown below belonged to Anna Yerkes. This first one is from when she was a student at Plymouth Boarding School. There is no date, but from the context of the other notebooks in the collection, it is probably from the the latter half of the 1830s. It appears to be a homemade book with sheets of different colors and a cover that might be made from leftover wallpaper.



It contains poems copied in a very neat hand.


While the topic of the poem, “Thoughts on the Grave of the Child” might seem morbid to us.  It was an issue that frequently appeared in the nineteenth century.  People reflected on mortality frequently, and children were instructed early about the brevity of life.

The second book was created while Anna was a student at Bellmonte Boarding School, which was located” near the Bristol Pike, four miles from Philadelpha” according to an 1853 advertisement in the Quaker journal “The Friend.”


Again we can see a reference to death in the first stanza, as the mother refers to her “narrow bed.”

Did you save all of your school notebooks?  Are they as neat as Anna Yerkes’ poems?

Private Jesse S. Moyer


Jesse S. Moyer enlisted in Company C of the 138th Pennsylvania Volunteers in August of 1862.  His company was recruited primarily from Norristown and Bridgeport.  The 138th regiment saw action in several major engagements of the war, including the Wilderness, Spottsylvania and Cold Harbor .  Jesse wrote two accounts of his service.  His handwriting is small and difficult to read, but provide interesting details of life on the march.

Moyer002                                   Moyer001

He survived till the end of the war, mustering out in June of 1865 at the ripe old age of 21.


This collection of his papers was donated to the Historical Society of Montgomery County by his son, Samuel H. Moyer (accession number 1957.10603).

Please join us on May 24th at 11am for a Memorial Day ceremony at Montgomery Cemetery, located at 1 Hartfranft Ave., in West Norriton.  We’ll have an exhibit of many of our military related papers and artifacts.

Picture of the Week

Naile Bakery



Frederick Naile’s bakery stood on Main St. in between DeKalb Street and Swede Street in Norristown.  This picture was probably taken around 1850.  If you look closely, you’ll notice that the name of the shop is written twice.  First it says, “Frederick Naile Baker” in our familiar Latin text;  underneath, it says “Friedrich Nagel Becker” in German blackletter, or Gothic type.   Why the two names?  Like any modern shop owner, Frederick was probably trying to appeal to as many potential customers as possible.  The two names might have been an assurance to consumers that he sold breads to please a variety of palates.