The Lycoming County Historical Society hosted Melissa Hancock and Jonathan Schau, speaking on the similarities between Muncy Farms resident Henry Brock and Jay Gatsby, the main character of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby on October 31, 2018.
Henry Brock was a wealthy playboy enjoying the good life in Philadelphia, with any number of girlfriends by his side and a flask in his pocket. On the night in question, Henry Brock was inebriated and was placed in the back seat of his car. His lady friend, a wealthy socialite, was also inebriated when she took the wheel. As fate played out, the car struck and killed a woman alighting from a streetcar. Being a true gentleman, Brock stepped forward, shouldered the blame, and received a 12 year sentence at Eastern Penitentiary. While there, he was instrumental in prison reform including a mentoring system. His willingness to aid prisoners led to an early pardon by Governor Pinchot. Seeking a life away from the notoriety of newspaper headlines (a story which made headlines all over the world), he moved to Muncy Farms. His life may have provided the inspiration for the memorable character of Jay Gatsby in Fitzgerald’s classic story. Ms. Hancock, along with Jonathan Schau, have been researching the topic for approximately ten years and the lecture discussed the results of their research.