In the Jan. 9 column, The Scribbler suggested solving the “knight’s tour”' on a chessboard was “child’s play” for Samuel S. Haldeman, the brilliant 19th century scientist and linguist from Lancaster County.
In fact, Haldeman sweated it out.
A friend of Franklin & Marshall College geosciences Professor Emeritus Roger Thomas discovered a couple of Haldeman letters in the archives of Yale University. They deal with linguistics, primarily, and are addressed to Professor J.D. Dana.
The passage that most interests Thomas is a paragraph in which Haldeman described his encounter with the “knight’s tour” — a problem he eventually solved and wrote about in a short book.
“For several years I relaxed by studying the Knight’s move in the game of chess — but the ‘relaxation’ turned out to be a swelter upon wh(ich) I put as much hard thought as upon anything I have ever undertaken,” Haldeman wrote.
Haldeman sent Dana one of his little books and added the study of the tour “is considered a branch of mathematics... .”
The Scribbler’s mention of Henry Leman's rifle at the Alamo in the Aug. 28 column prompted Lloyd and Brenda Jocobson, of Lancaster, to recall they had seen another Leman rifle, traded to Indians, while touring the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois.
The Jacobsons wonder how many Leman muzzle loaders were used in the Indian wars, on both sides, and how many remain. Leman’s Lancaster factory turned out thousands of guns over several decades in the mid-19th century.
Gregg Overmeyer, of Strasburg, says the list of Lancaster County buildings designed by Philadelphia architect Frank Furness (Scribbler column, July 17) also should include the former Reading Company’s East Petersburg railroad station, which now serves the Strasburg Rail Road.
G. Paul Musselman, mentioned in this column last week as the probable author of a Saturday Evening Post article about the Amish in 1940, failed in business before he succeeded in the ministry. His grand-nephew, Steven Musselman, of Lancaster, provides details.
Paul Musselman founded a concrete plant in New Holland a century ago. The plant went bankrupt, so Musselman switched from concrete to something more abstract. He became an Episcopal minister. He also co-authored (returning, so to speak, to the concrete) "The Twelve Step Recovery Program of Alcoholics Anonymous.''
Steve Musselman vouches for his great uncle's knowledge of the Amish. Paul Musselman grew up a Mennonite surrounded by Amish. He attended a one-room schoolhouse south of New Holland, which is now an Amish school.
Jack Brubaker, retired from the LNP staff, writes “The Scribbler” column every Wednesday. He welcomes comments and contributions at firstname.lastname@example.org.