Robert A. Jockers Repository

Located in the Moon Township Municipal Building is the Robert A. Jockers Repository.

 

The following story was written by Pat Jennette, former owner and editor of ALLEGHENY WEST magazine for our Moon Township area.

 

In 2006, Dr. Robert Jockers published “Forgotten Past: A History of Moon Township, Pennsylvania.”

 

Dr. Jockers passed away earlier this year, after residing in Moon Township for 50 year

 

His avid interest in history, particularly his hometown, led to the formation of the Old Moon Township Historical Society in 1975. As president during the next eight years, he coordinated the society’s bicentennial project by locating, then aiding in dismantling, removing, and reconstructing an original log cabin at Robin Hill Park.

 

In 1988, his manuscript on 18th and 19th century Moon Township history was published in the township’s bicentennial book.

 

In 1990, Dr. Jockers wrote and directed the historical documentary, “Born American,” depicting life in early Moon Township.

 

He was also the township’s historical archivist.

 

In honor of his many contributions to preserving the history of Moon Township, the board of directors approved the request of the Old Moon Township Historical Society to dedicate the new historical records room at the township municipal building as the Dr. Robert A. Jockers Historical Research Repository.

 

The establishment of the history room coincides with the upcoming celebration of Moon Township’s 225th anniversary. The township is asking residents, both past and present, to share their favorite stories and memories of people, and places, and how the township has changed through the years.

 

While residents will be able to share their memories over the years, Dr. Jockers carefully researched the township’s very earliest beginnings, starting with its initial settlement, the permanent settlements during the 1700s, the emerging changes in the 1800s, and the growth in the 1900s.

 

In the book’s preface, Dr. Jockers wrote, “The significance of history (then) lies in the fact that knowledge of the past enables us to stimulate new thoughts and ideas and to understand previous missteps, learn from them and establish a more positive guide for tomorrow, as we are both the heir to the past and the ancestor to the future.”

 

With the establishment of the new Dr. Robert A. Jockers Historical Research Repository, Moon Township will have a special place where residents past and present are encouraged going forward to share their memories, their memorabilia, and their stories for present and future generations.


 

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Dr. Robert A. Jockers, First President of the Moon Township Historical Society

 

The Huntsman Funeral Home had this obituary

 

80, of Moon Tszp., and North Port, FL, passed away on Saturday, May 18, 2013, surrounded by his family. He was the beloved husband of 57 years to Doris (Johnson) Jockers; loving father to the late (infant) Robert Jockers, Dr. Jeffery Robert Jockers and his wife, Eleanor, Jill Susan and her husband, Gerald Boyle, Bradley Todd Jockers, Lisa Michelle and her husband, Daniel Pagano and Darryl J. Jockers and his wife, Katherine; proud grandfather to Andrew, Matthew, Rachel, and Timothy Jockers, Erin and Aubrey Boyle and Anthony and Paige Pagano. He will be missed by close family and friends. Dr. Jockers graduated from the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Dental Medicine and practiced in Pittsburgh and Moon Tszp. He created the Olde Moon Township Historical Society and researched and authored several historical articles for the Western Pennsylvania Historical Society. He wrote and directed several documentaries and wrote the book, Forgotten Past.

 

 

Prelude to the book:

 

“PRELUDE:   Beyond the endless chain of the Appalachian Mountains the initial settlement of Moon Township began in the spring of 1773. Who were these pioneers? Where did they come from and what possessed them to leave the security of their homes to settle in a dangerous wilderness? The settlement pattern in Moon Township, often complicated by a three-stage process, was composed of not only permanent settlers but also squatters who occupied land grants that were owned by land speculators. To add to the confusion, the colonies of Pennsylvania and Virginia both claimed ownership of the Ohio Valley and each colony had its own land office and their laws conflicted.

 

 

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During the frontier period the political overtones of the Pennsylvania / Virginia boundary dispute weighed heavily on the pioneer settler regarding the authenticity of his land title as legal jurisdiction vacillated between the colonies. This controversy was of grave concern as the frontier farm was the family’s sole asset and was essential for their survival in a wilderness engulfed by poverty, hunger, disease and even death.

 

The overwhelming demands of daily life left no time for formal education or social contact, thus most of the first-born were illiterate and loneliness prevailed on the frontier. By the post frontier period the Revolution had been concluded and the nation turned its attention toward the Articles of Confederation and its failures. After many months of debating the great theories of government and practical politics the Continental Congress drafted the American Constitution.

 

With new structure and theoretical concepts of government never before tested the decade of the 1790’s became the most perilous in American history and many feared that the new republic might not survive. The dawn of the nineteenth century brought new hope in the form of the Industrial Revolution. As the family farm developed and prospered, large processing facilities such as the gristmill, sawmill and fulling mill were necessary in order to process the increased production.

 

With an expanding economy the farmers realized that their children could not compete without a basic education and so, along with a new church and blacksmith shop, a subscription school was built in the tiny village of Sharon.

 

The village became a social gathering place and a respite from the demands of daily life. By mid-century the rumblings of economic and social inequality were being felt.

 

A decade later it erupted in Civil War. The postwar period was one of transition in the township as people attempted to improve their economic circumstance utilizing new agricultural knowledge to increase production on the farm and new third generation homes to enhance their social status.

 

The enormous growth and development of industry during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries produced a period of great affluence.

 

The “new rich” now found the confines of Moon Township’s conservative farm community an ideal place in which to live and raise their families.

 

Purchasing large farms they proceeded to create numerous grand estates in an area that became known as the “Heights”.

 

Unfortunately, the excesses of the 1920’s gave way to the great depression and a decade of pain and hardship only to be followed by the Second World War.

 

The post war era was dominated by social demographics as the population shifted away from the city to the suburbs and Moon Township found itself evolving into an upscale bedroom community.

 


 

Be sure to read Dr. Jockers online!

 

“Speculators and Squatters, the Frontier Beginnings of Moon Township,” in Western Pennsylvania History, p. 25-27, Vol. 87 No. 2, summer 2004 Available free online at:

 

https://journals.psu.edu/szph/article/viewFile/5196/4979

 


 

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Pat Jennette

 

In May of 2014, State Senator Mark Smith recognized Pat Jeannette’s many contributions to the community in his newsletter.

PAT JENNETTE:

 

Keeping the Pulse of the Community for Over 15 Years:

 

Senator Mark Smith wrote:  “I had the pleasure of presenting Pat Jennette with a citation recognizing her years of service to the community. Fifteen years ago she founded Allegheny West Magazine.

 

“In the years since, Pat has grown it into a positive source for what’s going on in the western suburbs. Although Pat has retired from publishing, we will no doubt continue to see her at events throughout the community.

 

“Doug Hughey has transitioned from writer and assistant editor to become publisher and editor of Allegheny West Magazine. Like Pat, Doug is a part of the community and will continue her legacy of positive storytelling.”

 

 

Thanks Pat, Doug and Senator Mark Smith!

 


 

We are grateful to “Buck” and his grandfather, Earl Edwards, for the incredible job Buck  and Earl did of  making sure the items in the Jockers Repository were catalogued for future reference.

 


 

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Earl  and Lora were pictured in front of the Jockers’ Repository display at the Township’s Municipal Building, and featured in the IN THE COMMUNITY section, p. 7 of the MOON MESSENGER, Winter 2015 issue.

 

The above article mentions how Moon Township is the oldest township in Allegheny County, and how it has transformed many times from farmland to industrial to an airport community to today, and how it has always been able to adapt with the changing times.  But sometimes its good to also look back on Moon’s earlier years.

 

The story relates how Earl and his intern spent 2 months cataloging the files, books and other items that Moon Township had acquired over the years.  Now, the archives are all logged into a computer database that makes searching for information very simple.

 

There are old township maps to early church histories  to family biographies. The information contains info from Moon, Coraopolis, Crescent, Robinson and more.  Just stop by the Township Administration office to gain access, or if you would like to donate something to the township, contact Lora Dombrowski at ldombrowski@moontszp.us.


 

Newsletter Update on the Jockers Repository, January, 2016

 

More historical materials have been donated to the Dr. Robert Jockers Memorial Archives:

 

Charles Cooper has assembled a draft map showing current streets overlaying patent maps of original settlers .  When complete, this will allow present residents to trace their property to the first owners!

 

Carl Griffith donated several old newspapers, including one that shows the 1947 opening of a new Coraopolis facility for the Shafer Bus Lines. Shafer Buses served the community for many years, eventually becoming part of PAT.

 

Doris Jockers added to our repository by donating Dr. Jocker’s research papers for his book, FORGOTTEN PAST, and  other material about the early Moon Township Historical Society.  Doris was Secretary of the Society for a long time and kept detailed records.

 

Ron Potter, Past President of the MTHS, donated a number of DVDs and videos, including “Born American,” “To Secure This Land,” and raw research to create these local documentaries.

 

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Debby Kennedy, who served as Program Chair for many years before stepping down, donated materials related to the many theatrical productions produced at the Moon Schools of which she served a very important role as Director of Productions.

 

Perhaps we should take this opportunity to let our readers learn more about Debby’s Educational contributions to Moon Schools.

 

Debby is a graduate of Moon Area High School. She graduated summa cum laude from Robert Morris College with an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts.  She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education-History, graduating magna cum laude from Slippery Rock College.  She holds a Masters Degree in Secondary Education-History from Slippery Rock, as well.

 

Debby was the first recipient of the Robert D. Duncan Award for Outstanding Graduate Student by the History Department of Slippery Rock.  She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Phi Alpha Theta and Kappa Delta Pi honor organizations.  She has been recognized four times by Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.  In addition, she was chosen for Who’s Who in Moon Area School District and the Tiger Paw Print Award.

 

In her 33 years of teaching in the Moon Area School District, Debby taught a dozen different Social Studies courses, two of which she developed for the department.  In addition, she was involved in a number of extra curricular activities during her tenure at Moon High School.  Among these were: sponsoring the Class of 1982, co-sponsoring the Classes of 1994 and 1999 with Mrs. Paula Bobola, sponsoring EMIAC and co-sponsoring The Hasty Pudding Society with Mrs. Bobola and Moon Drama Club with Mrs. Amy Pozycki and Ms. Laura Mitchell.

 

Debby is proud of the fact that Patty Zerishnek, another one of our fine Board Members, was a student of hers!

 

Thanks to all!  

 

Donations Welcomed.

 

 

Save Our Heritage!