Historical Presentation: Traditional Powder Horn Craft

Please mark your calendars for Sunday, June 26th at 2:00 p.m. and plan to attend the Durham Historical Society’s next offering in our lecture series.

Join Frank Willis of the Honourable Company of Horners as he presents a lively and interesting program of how the colonialists and their descendants  (up to the time of the invention of plastic) used animal horns to make powder horns, storage vessels, buttons and spoons. Mr. Willis is an expert in the construction of Pennsylvania style powder horns, as well as many other items, and will bring many of his creations with him.

The presentation will be held on the Durham Village Green (weather permitting). Bring a chair or blanket if you desire. In case of inclement weather, the event will be held in the Durham Mill. There is no charge for the program although contributions to the mill’s restoration fund will be appreciated. Light refreshments will be served following the program.

News Article Correction

We received the following correction notice from Bucks County Herald reporter Kathryn Finegan Clark, regarding a column she wrote with information about Durham Historical Society:


The By the Way column appearing in the Bucks County Herald on May 18
contained an error. A fish-shaped mold was donated to the Durham Historical
Society by the William Little family. Les Williams donated a grain level.

The correction I meant to include in my June 2 column did not happen.
Mea culpa.

Kathy Clark

What’s New in Old Durham

Hopefully, this will be the first in a series of periodic notices highlighting the changes that are occurring at the old mill and the surrounding area. So many people are unaware of the important role that Durham played in national and even world history. We should all take a great deal of pride in the background of our village and the purpose of these notes is to help people remember our history and to make people aware of the efforts being made to preserve the things we have, so future generations will be able to enjoy them as well.

Some significant measures have been taken at the mill during the time of COVID. Most of the windows in both the old and newer portions of the mill have been replaced. Money to finance this undertaking was received from a grant, and not only were the windows thusly replaced but an ADA compliant restroom was installed as well as a new viewing area surrounding the water wheel. With this work completed, the building “envelope” is secured, the restroom facilities will now make things easier for guests when lectures, workshops, and other events are scheduled and young children as well as those folks in wheel chairs will be able to see the water wheel through glass panels that replaced the old wooden wall surrounding the wheel.

Stop by some time and check out how fresh the new windows make the building look.  Keep watching for notices publicizing events at the mill. By attending, you’ll get the opportunity to see some of the other work that has been completed.
When you have a chance, take a look at our website at www.durhamhistoricalsociety.org, our Instagram presence, or our Facebook page and you’ll be kept up to date on the many happenings here at the mill. All the work being accomplished is done through grants and contributions so tax dollars can be expended on other township priorities. If you’d like to contribute to the cause, instructions on how to do so can be found at our website.

David Oleksa, President

Old windows and/or openings
New windows
New water wheel viewing area

Original early-20th-century painting of Durham Mill donated to DHS

The Durham Historical Society recently came into possession of an original oil painting by the late Berks
County artist, Paul “Papa” Horning. Mr. Horning, born late in the 19th Century, was a self-trained artist
who expressed his talent basically in oil painting depicting rural and agricultural scenes of Eastern
Pennsylvania. Mr. Horning painted from memory, studying the subject area carefully and then returning
to his studio, he painted the scene as it had been stored in his mind.

The painting, a gift from Mrs. Ronny Riegel, depicts a team of six horses with a covered wagon standing
by the old Durham Grist Mill. The painting shows the mill as it would have looked prior to 1913 (when
the warehouse portion of the structure was built. Durham Road and Old Furnace Road are shown as dirt
roads and the old Durham General store is proudly displayed as well.

The painting ad originally been owned by Dr. Richard Riegel, Ronny’s late husband. Dr. Riegel was born
in Durham and had a father and brother who were both millers at the Durham Mill. Dr. Riegel served in
the Korean War in a M.A.S.H. unit and was a scrub nurse for Dr., Richard Hornsberger, who under the
pseudonym, Richard Hooker, wrote the original book that the M.A.S.H. TV series and movie were based

The painting will be on loan to Durham Township to be displayed at the township meeting room.
The Society sincerely offers their thanks to Mrs. Riegel for her generosity.