Monday, July 11, 2016

A. L. Merrill: County Commissioner (Clinton Co, PA Trip, Part 1)

Two weeks ago, I visited Clinton County, Pennsylvania with three of my dad's first cousins. We spent some time at the Ross Library in Lock Haven briefly researching our Stewart, Merrill, McClintock/McClintick, and Close families.

Entering Ross Library, Lock Haven, Clinton Co, PA
Ross Library has a wonderful card catalog. Each card indexes a specific person and record. The records I saw included the Clinton County marriage license docket 1894-1897, the library's "local history/memorabilia" albums and photograph collection, and various newspapers including: the Clinton County Times, the Clinton Republican, the Clinton Democrat, and the Lock Haven Express. I believe the library has all of these newspapers on microfilm, but they are not digitized.

A card from the card catalog at Ross Library, Lock Haven, Clinton Co, PA.
We looked through the card catalog and were eager to see what was in this "memorabilia album" about my great, great grandfather (their great grandfather), A. L. Merrill (aka Augustus Lippencott Merrill). We showed the librarian the card, and he left to retrieve the item. He came back with a scrapbook page which included this...

Card located at Ross Library, Lock Haven, Clinton Co., PA.

This is A. L. Merrill's business card from when he ran for County Commissioner! I believe he was commissioner from about 1905 until 1915. I loved seeing this card and was able to actually hold it in my hands!

Photo of me at Ross Library.

Behind me, you can see the incredible card catalogs. Unfortunately, we didn't have a lot of time, but I spent mine going through the Merrill cards. There were dozens of cards, so I used my cellphone to take photos of the cards that interested me. When I returned home, I discovered one which hadn't registered when I took the photo. It's for an A. L. Merrill, but it is not my great, great grandfather...

Another card at Ross Library.
Instead, it is one of his two "missing" babies that I have listed on my ancestry tree! So, now I have a name and date of death for one of these little ones.

Besides this card catalog, they also had a traditional file cabinet that held files by surnames. There wasn't a lot in the surnames I was looking for, but I wish I would have taken a photo of something I did find. It was my own request from about 1999 asking for obituaries of various family members from Clinton County! And, behind it, they had stapled copies of all of those obituaries. I should have written a note and updated my email address in case someone else discovers this file at a later date.

Lastly, while writing this article, I uncovered another item: I found a photo of A. L. Merrill from 1907, just a few years after he became commissioner! We are in the process of trying to track down the original of this photo in the hopes that I can get a better copy and permission to share it.


  1. I am so jealous of people who live close to their area of research. Living in the West and doing research for my Southern folk can sure be frustrating.

    You may not have had a lot of time but you made good use of it. Congrats!

    1. Thanks, Michelle. And, I'm jealous of them, too! I live in Houston. About 1/4th of my ancestors were in Pennsylvania and another 1/4th in Tennessee. Another branch came from Germany to Ohio. The closest branch is Kansas, with a few who went to Oklahoma. So, no, I don't get to do research in person very often.

      Already planning on spending more days in Pennsylvania surrounding next year's GRIP! :)

  2. Best of luck finding your great-great-grandda's picture, Dana

    1. Thanks, Dara! I sure hope we can find it.


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