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MID-ATLANTIC WEATHER WATCH FOR SEPTEMBER

Scattered STORMS (1) with tropical rain (2,3,4); fair and hot (5,6) with more scattered STORMS (7,8). Fair and very warm (9,10,11,12) with yet more STORMS  (13,14) turning fair and warm (15,16,17,18,19,20,21); periods of more STORMS  (22,23,24,25,26,27,28) turning fair and cooler (29,30).

MONTHLY GARDEN ACTIVITIES


BEST DAYS FOR FARM ACTIVITIES 

                                                       


THOUGHT FOR TODAY'S 

LIVING  


"It is often true that the more one learns, the more one realizes how little one knows” 

                                                                                      John Gruber  (1768-1857) 

JOHN GRUBER AND HIS FAMOUS ALMANACK

F

or nine years after his death, Gruber’s widow, Catherine assumed the role of editor and publisher, carrying on the publication’s traditions set forth by her husband. She was, in fact, the very first woman to edit and publish an almanac in the United States (several years ago, The Old Farmer’s Almanac named a woman as editor for the first time in its history but The Hagers-Town Town and Country Almanack can claim to have had a woman as editor over 150 years prior to that!). In fact, a woman has edited and/or published The Almanack for 148 of its 223 years!

     Gruber’s daughters, Mathilda and Frederica then continued as editors from 1866 to 1885. Frederica continued (with Rebecca’s assistance) until 1906. At that time, the Gruber interest in The Almanack was passed to Charles Gutzlaf Fisher, son of Samuel Reed Fisher and Ellen Catharine May, Rebecca’s daughter. Charles, born in Emmitsburg, Maryland in 1837 and a long-time resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was Assistant Superintendent and later Superintendent of the Publication Board of the Reformed Church of the United States. He also served as the editor of Reformed Church Messenger from 1888 until his death in February, 1896.

     Though never directly involved with The Almanack, Fisher later passed over his interest to his wife, Margaret Hay Fisher. Margaret became the editor-of record in 1907, though it is believed she had assumed that role several years prior to it being made official. Her son, Charles Worley Fisher continued the tradition from 1926 until his untimely death in 1934 when his wife, Emily Kohler Fisher became editor, continuing in that role for 38 years until her death in 1973. Her only son, Charles Worley Fisher, Jr then became editor. Charles (having dropped the Jr. after his father’s passing) was editor until his retirement in 2000. His son, Charles W. Fisher, Jr., the great-great-great-great-grandson of John Gruber, now edits The Almanack from his home in rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  The Almanack is therefore, most unique in that it is the oldest publication of its kind in America still in the same family!

     Business management for the Gruber Almanack, Company was also was a responsibility that had been handed down from generation to generation within the same family. In 1910, Mr. W. H. McCardell became the Business Manager for The Almanack, continuing in that capacity for many years until his death. At that time, the responsibility passed to his brother, O.D., who served until 1934. In 1935, Mr. O.D.’s son-in-law, Mr. Frank .S. Leiter handled the business affairs until his retirement in 1959, when his son, Franklin S. Leiter, Jr. and son-in-law, John Hershey, Jr., took over as Sales Manager and Business Manager respectively. John Hershey’s son-in-law, Gerald Spessard then took over as Business Manager in the early 1970s, running only the business operation at first and then handling sales and distribution after the retirement of Mr. Leiter in 2002). Once again, The Hagerstown Town and Country Almanack is truly most unique in that it is the oldest publication of its kind in America still in the same families of its founder and management!

     The Almanack has always relied on individuals who used traditional methods of the day when calculating and conjecturing the weather. Each has used basically the same fundamentals and information with an amazing degree of accuracy, which is all the more astounding when it is considered that their predictions were done over a year in advance.  There have been a total of seven Calculators over the past 224 years, the first being Charles Flack (1797-1824). Charles was known locally as the ‘Blacksmith Astronomer’. Other Calculators were Charles F. Egelmann (1825-1861) Lawrence J. Ibach (1862-1888), his son, Will R. Ibach (1889-1918), W.M. Kopenhaver (1919-1929), and W. Shoemaker (1930-1969). In 1970, Prof. William E. O'Toole, III, Professor of Computer Science at Mount St. Mary’s College, Emmitsburg, Maryland began predicting upcoming weather and preparing all of The Almanack’s astronomical calculations. O’Toole attributes his uncanny accuracy to a combination of elements that include using specialized software and computer power to precisely calculate phases of the Moon, close analysis of sunspot activity, and the tracking and noting of El Nino/La Nina cycles. His methods have produced impressive results year after year, outscoring Old Farmer’s Almanac and even the National Weather Service! 

For more on JOHN GRUBER AND HIS FAMOUS ALMANACKclick here