Pinkney, Noah

Life Span
Dickinson Connection
Sold sandwiches, fruit, and cakes to Dickinson students for decades in the late 19th century
    Full name
    Noah Pinkney
    Place of Birth
    Birth Date Certainty
    Death Date Certainty
    Sectional choice
    Slave State
    Relation to Slavery
    Slave or Former Slave
    Union Army

    Noah Pinkney (Dickinson Chronicles)

    Though never an employee of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Noah Pinkney was one of its most famous names for forty years. Known to Dickinson students as "Pink" or "Uncle Noah" for all of that time, Pinckney was born a slave in Frederick County, Maryland on December 31, 1846. During the war he became "contraband" and in 1863, he travelled to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to enlist in the Union Army. He served under General Butler and, according to the Dickinsonian, was present at the Appomattox Court House in April 1865 when General Lee surrendered.

    Following the war he made his home in Harrisburg where he lived until he moved to Carlisle in 1884. From the next twenty years, "Pink" sold pretzels, sandwiches, ice cream, cakes, and pies from under the steps East College and also made nightly rounds of the undergraduate rooms. On the coldest of winter days he would sell his treats from his three room house on West Street. Students would listen for his common line of "Fine as silk, sah. Dickinson sandwitches, fine as silk." In 1894, he was forbidden to sell his treats on campus, and after a time serving students from outside of the East College gate, he suspended his operations for a few months. By the next spring, though, his catering had once again recommenced from his home on 137 North West Street. The May 1895 issue of the Dickinsonian celebrated the fact that "Once more is heard, the old, familiar cry, 'Let's go to Pinkney's'".

    After suffering for several months after a slight stroke, Noah Pinkney died at his West Street home on August 6, 1923 at the age of 77.
    John Osborne and James W. Gerencser, eds., “Noah Pinkney,” Dickinson Chronicles,
    How to Cite This Page: "Pinkney, Noah," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,