The Bucks County Historical and Literary Journal


Neshaminy: The Bucks County Historical and Literary Journal is a collaboration of the Doylestown Historical Society and the Bucks County Writers Workshop, celebrating the rich artistic and historical tradition of Bucks County, Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas through fiction, poetry, biographies, memoirs, interviews, photography and art.

Neshaminy publishes twice a year in Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. General submissions are welcome.

Neshaminy may be purchased from selected outlets in Bucks County and online in either print or digital versions.

Spring / Summer 2024

Vol. 9

Neshaminy’s ninth issue features a cheeky hummingbird by nature photographer, Rob Hall, plus:

A historical account of Operation ’64, Doylestown’s recovery over urban blight in the 1960s, featuring rarely seen before-and-after photography and illustrations

An essay on Pennsylvania’s sole witch trial in 1683 and what it can tell us about today’s religious and spiritual conflicts

A biographic sketch of forgotten Pennsylvania writer Christopher Morley

A look at the forgotten Newtown poet Thaddeus Stevens Kenderdine, who fought in the Civil War before leading an ox-team from Kansas to Utah

An essay on the history of William Penn’s Quaker settlers by Kimball Baker

Supernatural fiction by Don Swaim about a ghost-like family that roams the streets of Doylestown

A profile of Bucks County photographer and rockhound Rob Hall

Artwork by Jae Martin, Hollie Brown and Lucine Kaplan

Poetry by Helen Behe, Julie Bernstein, Matthew Kirby, Joseph Chelius, and Linda Andress

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Neshaminy book cover

Fall / Winter 2023

Vol. 5 No. 1

Neshaminy’s eighth issue features a gorgeous fall cover by late Bucks County painter Patricia Allingham Carlson, plus:

• An essay on controversial novelist James Purdy by Don Swaim

• A profile by local journalist Daniel Dorian on the venerable Bucks County Workshop

• A historical lookback at the fiery destruction of the former Doylestown High School in 1973, with photos from the Doylestown Historical Society’s archive

• Fiction by Natalie Zellat Dyen on ghostly happenings at the historic Black Bass Inn

• Horror by William J. Donahue on deadly doings in an insular neighborhood in the northeastern corner of Philadelphia

• Historical fiction by Don Swaim on renowned seventeenth-century scientist Joseph Priestley, discoverer of oxygen

• A conversation with novelist and playwright Ken Jaworowski

• An interview with Linda Salley of the African American Museum of Bucks County

• Poetry by Joseph Brunetti, Spencer Szwalbenest, and Hayden Saunier

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Spring / Summer 2023

Vol. 4 No.2

Neshaminy’s seventh issue includes a comprehensive history and analysis of the recent wave of book banning and censorship in America, with a focus on Bucks County, where the Central Bucks School Board is now controlled by a conservative majority. The article by Daniel Dorian shows how the Board’s actions have led to the removal of so-called “harmful” books and content from school libraries, despite the protests of teachers, students, and parents. Also in this issue an original ghost story penned in the 1920s by the local historian, archeologist, and philanthropist Henry Chapman Mercer. Accompanying the story is scholar Tom Sparrow’s article on Mercer’s place in the history of supernatural fiction. In a memoir, Jennifer Lin writes about her early acquaintance with the celebrated Bucks County illustrator Ben Solowey. Interviews with artists Harry Boardman and Tim Gibson and horror author Chuck Wendig. Poetry by Jill Lupine, Lois Perch Villemaire, and Joseph Brunetti. Don Swaim’s short fiction about a deadly bear chase in eighteenth-century Pennsylvania. Original art by Pat Achilles plus stories by Daniel Sean Kaye and Carl Reader.

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Fall / Winter 2022

Vol. 4 No.1


Neshaminy, The Bucks County Historical and Literary Journal, is a joint effort of the Doylestown Historical Society and the Bucks County Writers Workshop. In addition to the editorial staff, the journal has a seven-member advisory panel to help evaluate submissions. General submissions are welcome, and while the material must touch on some aspect of Pennsylvania and/or historic Bucks County, it must also be of interest to a far-reaching range of readers.

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Spring / Summer 2022

Vol. 3 No. 2


Among the exclusives in this issue of Neshaminy: “George Washington Slept Near”: how the hero of the American Revolution prompted a boasting competition as to where he slept — while a romantic rivalry developed between James McHenry and Alexander Hamilton. In “Dearest Friend, Annie,” an English widow abandons her past life in a vain attempt to wed Walt Whitman. A poetic appreciation of Whitman by Jim Brennan. The story of a group of nineteenth century feminists who launched the first community hospital owned and operated by women in the United States. How Pennsylvania Quakers helped to propel the mission of doomed abolitionist John Brown. Interview with romance author Mazey Eddings. Poetry by Darlene Versace and the forgotten William Satterthwaite. Fiction by Jill Lupine and Philip William Stover.

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Fall/Winter 2021

Vol. 3 No. 1


• Editor’s Introduction: William J. Donahue
• Biography: Edward Hicks and the Peaceable Kingdom: Don Swaim
• History: Historic Home: Pat Achilles
• Interview: Christian Bauman: Melissa D. Sullivan
• Biography: Jere Knighs, More Than Mrs. Lassie: Debra Wolf Goldstein
• Fiction: Oyer and Terminer: Bill Stieg
• Poetry: Bucks County Dream: Maximillian C. Bogus
• History: The Right Stuff ant the Right Place: Stu Abramson
• Fiction: Playwicki and the Creek of Two Ways: Rusty Allen
• Poetry: Rest Now Heart: Ashara Shapiro
• Contributors

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Spring/Summer 2021

Vol. 2 No. 2


• A Note From the Publisher. Stuart Abramson
• Editor’s Introduction. William J. Donahue
• Biography: Robert Beck: A Painter Grapples With History. Daniel Dorian
• Interview: Novelist Jenni L. Walsh. William J. Donahue
• Biography: Lassie Come-Home. Don Swaim
• Poetry: Black Cherries. W. S. Merwin
• Biography: Stephen Sondheim: Composer, Lyricist, Student, Teacher. Natalie Zellat Dyen
• Fiction:American Shad. Jim Brennan
• Biography: Chorus of the Cane. Don Swaim
• Poetry: Spring. John Watson
• History: Doan Outlaws: The Plumstead Cowboys. Jennifer Rogers
• Poetry:She. Darlene Versak
• Biography: The Door Between: The Divided Selves of Pearl S. Buck. D. Constance Wrzesniewski
• Contributors

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Fall/Winter 2020

Volume 2 Number 1



• A Note from the Publisher: Stuart Abramson
• Editor’s Introduction: David L. Updike
• Biography: “The Things Joseph Pickett Left Behind”: William J. Donahue
• Memoir: Sketch of Doylestown (plus sidebar by the editors): James A. Michener [never published before]
• Biography: “Knight of the Loyal Heart: The Strange Death of Ralcy Husted Bell”: Don Swaim
• Poetry: “Two Poems”: Matilda Bray
• History: “Fear and Expectation: A Theatrical Experiment”: Daniel Dorian [history and future of the Bucks County Playhouse]
• Poetry: “Say Their Names”: Amy Liu
• Fiction: “Midnight in Solebury”: William J. O’Toole Jr.
• Poetry: “The Rose” [originally published 1823]: William C. Ely
• Biography: “The House Dorothy Parker Lived In”: Don Swaim [exclusive photos]
• About the Contributors

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Fall/Winter 2019

Volume 1 Number 1


• Publisher’s Note
• Managing Editor’s Note
• Poem: Nishën Mene (Neshaminy Creek) by H. A. Callum
• Fiction: The World Famous Bucks County Casino by William O’Toole
• Biography: Oscar Hammerstein, Highland Farm, and the Sound of Music: by Natalie Zellat Dyen
• Fiction: Behind the Rebellion by David Jarret
• History/Fiction: Cudjo’s Relegation by Flip of Guinea by Will Kirk
• History/Fiction: December Sunday, 1941 by Don Swaim
• Fiction: One April Day by Linda Wisniewski
• Fiction: The Battle of Paunacussing Creek by David Jarret
• History: The Lenape Stone by Don Swaim
• Poem: Portrait of Dorothy Parker by Connie Wrzesniewski
• Fiction: Recovered Diary Entries of Pearl S. Buck by Rachel Leopold and Reema Kalidindi, Central Bucks H.S. South
• Interview: James A. Michener by Don Swaim
• About the Contributors

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Length should be no more than 8000 words. May be of any genre — non-fiction, fiction, biography, memoir, poetry. Fiction must pertain to some aspect of Pennsylvania, non-fiction to historic Bucks County in particular. Submissions must be properly formatted Word documents (double-spaced, 12-point serif type, etc.). Submissions will be judged on the basis of storytelling, quality, clarity, interest, and relevance to Pennsylvania. A contributor’s copy is provided to the author of each submission used in the journal.

Authors published in Neshaminy retain their rights to reproduce, distribute, and revise their own works in any format as long as attribution to Neshaminy is included.

Electronic submissions only. Email with attachment to Bucks County Writers Workshop: neshaminyjournal @



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Neshaminy thanks our sponsors and retail partners!

Neshaminy is thankful for the support of our local sponsors and retail partners! Without them, Neshaminy wouldn’t be able to continue sharing great Bucks County history and art. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or retail partner, please contact us.


Chris Bauer, author of COBALT

Available February 2024 from Severn River Publishing

Retail Partners

Doylestown Bookshop, Doylestown, PA

Lahaska Bookshop, Peddler’s Village, Lahaska, PA

Exhibit B Gallery, Souderton, PA

Commonplace Reader, Yardly, PA

Farley’s Bookshop, New Hope, PA

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Inaugural Abramson Art & Artist Lecture: No ‘Destitute Scribbler’: Henry C. Mercer’s Adventure in Publishing

Wednesday, July 26, 2023 at 7:00 pm

Doylestown Historical Society, 56 S. Main Street Doylestown PA 18901 

The Doylestown Historical Society and Neshaminy: The Bucks County Historical and Literary Journal are proud to present the inaugural lecture in its Abramson Art & Artist series: No ‘Destitute Scribbler’: Henry C. Mercer’s Adventure in Publishing.

Drawing upon archival documents from the Mercer Museum, Professor Tom Sparrow will illuminate Henry Mercer’s foray into the world of fiction, his use of local Doylestown landmarks including Fonthill Castle and Doyle’s Tavern, and why his only collection of ghost stories November Night Tales, though hailed as comparable to Edgar Allen Poe and Ambrose Bierce, ultimately fell into obscurity.

Local writer Daniel Dorian will also speak on censorship and book banning, placing recent developments in Bucks County and across the country in historical context.

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $10 here or by calling the Doylestown Historical Society or $15 at the door.

The latest edition of Neshaminy featuring Professor Sparrow’s work, Dorian’s essay and Mercer’s ghost story “Castle Valley” involving the discovery of a mysterious crystal that seems to have unmitigated supernatural powers will be available for purchase at special event-only pricing.

The Abramson Art & Artist Series is a lecture series named in honor of the first publisher of Neshaminy and former President of the Doylestown Historical Society, Stuart Abramson. Neshaminy: The Bucks County Historical and Literary Journal is a co-publication of the Doylestown Historical Society and the Bucks County Writers Workshop. More information at and

Raised in the Poconos Mountains, Professor Tom Sparrow currently teaches in the Department of Philosophy at Slippery Rock University. His previously published work includes many books and articles of academic philosophy, most recently The Alphonso Lingis Reader (University of Minnesota Press, 2018) and True Detective and Philosophy: A Deeper Kind of Darkness (Wiley-Blackwell, 2017). Inspired by a visit to Henry C. Mercer’s Fonthill, he has expanded his research to include the study of Gothic literature and the antiquarian ghost story.

Daniel Dorian was born in Paris in 1937. In 1962, as an actor he performed for the Renaud-Barrault Theater Company before immigrating to America. In New York, he attended Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio, DJed a radio Hit Parade show for Radio Luxembourg, and performed a French poetry recital in U.S. universities. In the 1960s, he covered America for two major European outfits as a foreign correspondent. In the ’70s, he became PR for Air France; in 1979, he headed Sygma-USA, one of the top photo-news agencies in the world. In the ’80s he started his own New York-based film production company.

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Neshaminy, the Bucks County Historical and Literary Journal, has elevated William J. Donahue to the post of Managing Editor, replacing David Updike, who will remain on the editorial staff. Executive Editor Don Swaim also announced that Melissa Sullivan is joining the staff as editor.
Donahue is a 10-year member of the Bucks County Writers Workshop with more than 20 years of experience as an editor, writer, and journalist. He is currently editor of the monthly lifestyle magazines Suburban Life and Philadelphia Life. Donahue’s print and on-camera reporting has earned him nearly a dozen regional and national awards for excellence in business journalism. His published works include the novel Burn, Beautiful Soul and three short-story collections: Too Much Poison, Filthy Beast, and Brain Cradle.
Sullivan is a writer, journalist, attorney, and a 2019 Pushcart Prize nominee. Her work has appeared in Hippocampus Magazine, Nightingale & Sparrow, Sum Journal and elsewhere<, and her short story “Last Run” placed second in the 2019 Bucks County Short-Fiction Contest. Most recently, her fiction was published in the locally-produced anthology Jersey Devil.
Also on the editorial team is Bill Stieg, former editor of Men’s Health magazine. David Updike, Director of Publications of the Barnes Foundation, is former publications editor of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Rounding out the staff is well-known Bucks County illustrator Pat Achilles, whose art has appeared in The New Yorker and in countless books and magazines, and veteran graphic designer John Errichetti of Tinhouse Design.

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In 2018 and 2019, the Bucks County Book Festival was a successful event, running two years in a row, and both the Bucks County Writers Workshop and the Doylestown Historical Society had booths. But after the pandemic hit, in late September 2020 the fest went virtual, which did not allow the DHS and the BCWW any sort of presence.

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“The journal is the work of the Bucks County Writers Workshop and published by the Doylestown Historical Society. It’s named for the waterway that wends its way from north to south in the long county, ending at the Delaware River near Bristol.It’s history and fiction wrapped around history, tidbits that draw from legend and news, back to the Native American settlers, the Lenni Lenape, and into William Penn’s time through the Revolution and a recent war. It draws on the lives of artists and writers—there’s so much to be said.”
–by Bridget Wingert, publisher, Bucks County Herald.

Read the full review of Neshaminy’s inaugural issue in: the Bucks County Herald, Oct. 17, 2019 — HERE

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Where To Buy Neshaminy

Neshaminy‘s second issue Fall/Winter 2020.  Available from: Amazon as well as at Bucks County, PA, area bookstores.

Neshaminy‘s inaugural issue published in October 2019. Available from: Amazon as well as at Bucks County, PA, area bookstores.

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Pat Achilles

An artist’s view of the famed Neshaminy Creek — with a Lenape Indian by the water.

Check Pat’s home page at: Achilles Portfolio

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Ron Moran, photographer extraordinaire

Ron Moran 1950-2020.
Ron, of Fairless Hills, PA, died March 1, 2020, at the age of 69. Born in Philadelphia, he was a veteran of the Army National Guard, a tour bus driver for Starr Tours, and a highly talented photographer who volunteered his talents to the Doylestown Historical Society as the staff photographer. His multitudes of photos of the Neshaminy Creek are expected to grace the journal’s cover for as long as there is a journal.
Check Ron’s page on Facebook

Ron was Neshaminy‘s staff photographer

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The awards, totalling $500 in cash prizes, were announced on August 1, 2019, by Nathan Halter, a member of the journal’s nine-member advisory panel.

Winning Entries
1) World Famous Bucks County Casino — Bill O’Toole
2) Oscar Hammerstein, Highland Farm, and the Sound of Music — Natalie Dyen
3) Behind the Rebellion — David Jarret

Honorable Mentions
4) December Sunday 1941 — Don Swaim
5) (tie) The Battle of Paunacussing Creek — David Jarret
5) (tie) The Lenape Stone — Don Swaim
6) (tie) Cudjo’s Relegation — Wil Kirk
6) (tie) One April Day — Linda Wisniewski

Article in the Bucks County Herald. READ HERE

Neshaminy book authors

Neshaminy Editorial Staff


Melissa D. Sullivan

Executive Editor

Don Swaim, Founder, Bucks County Writers Workshop

Managing Editor

William J. Donahue

Associate Editor

Leigh Stuart

Graphic Designer

John Errichetti, Tinhouse Design, Ltd.


Pat Achilles


Ron Moran (1950-2020)


Daniel Dorian

Original Magazine Design by Rebecca Quinn

Publisher Emeritus

Stuart Abramson, President Emeritus, Doylestown Historical Society