Spring 2016
Tapping Into a Great Resource — CTHS Members

I wish to thank all of you for the support you are giving me as I begin my year as chairman of the board. Many thanks are extended to Cyril Ackerman, our outgoing chairman, with appreciation and gratitude for all of his work and the guidance he gave the board last year. As the current secretary to the board, Cyril has been most gracious in assisting me as I learn the procedures of the board.

At present, Cyril, Doug Cooke, and John Horner are very busy with the ongoing work of the Preservation Committee in identifying the Cumberland Township historic sites.

The Society recently had its first speaker of the year, Carly Marshall, of the Adams County Office of Planning and Development. She spoke on the critical link of planning and preservation in our county. As you may be aware, Cumberland Township is currently working with Straban Township and the Gettysburg Borough in developing the Central Adams Joint Comprehensive Plan. Her guidance will be most helpful in our efforts. [See the article below for more details on Marshall’s presentation and how you can help identify historic sites in the area.]

In 2016, we are continuing our theme “Get Involved.” At present, the board is in discussion: How can we more effectively interact with our membership?

Our members are always a great source of knowledge and expertise, and we would like to invite you to join us in our committee work. You can find more information about the committees on our website and can contact us at or speak to the board members at one of our quarterly meetings. Let us know if you would be interested in joining a committee. Or would you like to advise us of a topic about the history of Cumberland Township? Do you have any old photographs? Letters? Memorabilia? We are eager to hear from you!
-- Elsie D. Morey
CTHS Chairman
Meet Your New Chairman: Elsie Darrah Morey

Like her peers on the Cumberland Township Historical Society’s Board of Directors, new board member and chairman Elsie D. Morey’s background is diverse. She is a scientist, a published author, and a dedicated preservationist.

Elsie earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from West Virginia University and her Master of Science degree in botany and geology from Southern Illinois University. She put her academic knowledge to work in the field of paleobotany (the study of fossil plants) for 35 years.

Elsie has had many papers about fossil plants published over the years. In 1995, Elsie and her colleagues wrote a tribute to William Culp Darrah, her father and a Gettysburg College professor, titled “Historical Perspective of Early Twentieth Century Carboniferous Paleobotany in North America.”

Elsie also was a research technician in the field of nematology (the study of nematodes, or roundworms), as well as serving as a medical pathology technician.

Since returning to Gettysburg and buying the family homestead, she has been researching the history of Mount Joy Township in Adams County. In 2002, she published a book titled “The Pleasant Grove School, Mud College,” which explores a preserved one-room school in Mount Joy Township. The book explains the history of the development of schools and how classes were taught during that time — with one teacher, for example, instructing all eight grades.  

Now she is writing about the diverse history of Mount Joy Township, which includes topics ranging from stage coaches to taverns, anti-slavery meetings, the impact the Battle of Gettysburg had on the township’s residents, and more.

Elsie has been an active volunteer, serving on the Mount Joy Township Planning Commission, Zoning Hearing Board, and Strategic Initiative Committee. She began the Mount Joy Township Historical Committee, although it is not currently active.

Her volunteering continued as she served on the Land Conservancy of Adams County’s board of directors for six years as its secretary and on many of its committees over the past 19 years. She also serves on the Finance Committee of the Adams County Historical Society.   

Recently, Elsie has been devoting her time and talents to the Cumberland Township Historical Society. She served as chairman of the CTHS Finance Committee until accepting this position on the board of directors. She now serves as a board adviser to that committee.

Although she just took office in January, Elsie lost no time in getting to work. She is documenting the specific responsibilities of every CTHS committee, working with the Finance and Publicity committees to develop informational handouts on CTHS planned giving options, and suggesting new ways to engage members and build membership.

The Cumberland Township Historical Society board of directors welcomes Elsie and looks forward to the year ahead under her leadership.
Take a Photographic Tour Through Time

Do you have historical photos of Cumberland Township? Do you need help identifying who’s who or what’s what in those images?

Whether you know all the details of your photo or would like some help with identification, CTHS encourages you to share your images of Cumberland Township-related people, places, objects, and events with us. CTHS will include those photos in its online and printed newsletter and on its website,

The best option is to email a scan of your photo to If you know the details, include them in a caption (a few words, sentences, or a paragraph or two). If you don’t have any information, that’s fine. CTHS will ask readers of The Courier, and website visitors, for their input and publish the responses.

Was this boy a Cumberland Township resident?
CTHS Chairman Elsie Morey is kicking off this column with questions about the boy shown in the photo here. This is a photo of Addison Horner (1871-1948). The Horner name, Morey says, is associated with both Cumberland Township and Mount Joy Township.

“The photograph is from the Elsie Smith Geiselman home in Barlow,” she says. “The photograph looks like a school picture from when Elsie Smith Geiselman attended Horner’s School.”

Although the school was in Mount Joy Township, Morey says the children walked 1 to 1 1/2 miles to this school, and Addison could have lived in Cumberland Township. She would welcome any additional information readers can offer.
Thanks to New and Renewing Members

The Cumberland Township Historical Society board of directors thanks the following new and renewing members — along with all members — for their support:
  • Ann Harnsberger
  • Nick and Carolyn Ivanoff
  • Richard C. Mancini
  • Rodger and Vickie Rex
  • Barbara Stokes
If you are not yet a CTHS member, consider showing your support by downloading a membership form or joining at the June 6 public meeting.
County Planner Urges Residents to Participate in Comprehensive Plan, Historic Sites Survey

Local land use and historic preservation are two topics that, in Cumberland Township and elsewhere, go hand in hand and can spark both emotions and controversy.

Carly Marshall (shown at left), who works with the Adams County Office of Planning and Development, told CTHS meeting attendees on March 7 that these two topics are up for discussion locally and urged residents to participate.

“You, as a community of like-minded individuals, have the collective power to advocate not only for each other but for what you care about,” Marshall said. “In addition to preserving the resources and landscapes, you have the opportunity to take it a step further and encourage new development that respects the historic context in which it is located and furthers the sense of character that you value about this region.”

Marshall noted two initiatives that she hopes Cumberland Township residents will get involved with. The first is the development of a joint comprehensive plan among Cumberland and Straban townships and Gettysburg Borough. The county Office of Planning and Development is facilitating the process.

This effort, known as the Central Adams Joint Comprehensive Plan, recognizes that the need for and impact of planning is regional. It does not stop at one community’s borders and start up again at another’s.

“The goal of this effort is to develop a blueprint for the future of the region while providing continuity across municipal boundaries and land use decisions,” Marshall said.

She encourages residents to participate in informational sessions on the plan and visit the county’s website to learn more. The website also offers an interactive map that shows the current and draft “Future Land Use” map and designated growth areas.

Historic Sites Survey
The comprehensive plan will also take into account historic sites and structures. Identifying those places poses its own challenges, so the county planners are turning to residents for help in that area, too.

“An inventory of potentially significant buildings, structures, sites, and landscapes is a fundamental building block for creating effective historic preservation policies, programs, and projects,” Marshall said.

And yet, no such inventory in one current, comprehensive format exists. That’s where residents come in.

“We created a different kind of survey, which is an online mapping survey, to allow the public to enter information about heritage resources that have significance to them,” she added.

Anyone is welcome to view or add information to the Historic Sites Survey, which covers all of Adams County. The survey is divided into Civil War and non-Civil War sites. The latter is grouped into the categories of Native American and Prehistory, Early Settlement, Agricultural, African American and Underground Railroad, Civil War, Early Tourism and Lincoln Highway, and Eisenhower.

To view information that has already been entered about a site, click on the list at the left of the map screen or on the markers on the map. Entries can be added from the survey’s main page or by clicking the orange button at the bottom left corner of the map pages.

CTHS Secretary Cyril Ackerman urged anyone with knowledge of historic sites or structures not already listed to add them to the survey or contact the Cumberland Township Historical Society. CTHS has been adding information and will be glad to help with entering new data.

Both Ackerman and Marshall noted that the age of a structure does not factor into its “historic” designation. Instead, Marshall said, “Look at the contribution to the community’s character, not just its historical value.”

The county and townships will be factoring information from the online survey, as well as other documentation, into the draft comprehensive plan. Once that is approved — and following what Marshall hopes will be plenty of local input — participants will have to turn their attention to the revising of local zoning ordinances.

“That is your chance to be very specific about what you want your community to look like,” Marshall said, “but keep in mind that while zoning ordinances can be very specific, they’re also designed to be flexible. Fortunately, Adams County has a wealth of residents who understand the value of and are active in the defense of historical and cultural resources.”

Anyone with questions may contact Marshall at 717-334-6781, ext. 351, or
Marking History: McAllister's Mill

Part 3 of our look at the historical markers in Cumberland Township, erected by the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission, stops at 1360 Baltimore Pike. This was the location of McAllister’s Mill, an important component of the Underground Railroad.

Visibly, foundations and waterways are all that remain of the operation. Historically, the site offers an ongoing legacy. Historic Gettysburg-Adams County conducts tours of the site from May through August. Details are available at or by calling 717-659-8827.

Put Your Research and Writing Talents to Work

On the fourth Tuesday of every month, Gettysburg Times readers get a glimpse into Cumberland Township’s history through a column supplied by the Cumberland Township Historical Society.

Board members, CTHS members, speakers, and other volunteers have been writing these columns but would welcome some assistance. If you enjoy research and can distill your findings into a few easy-to-read paragraphs, contact a CTHS board member or email for more information.

This column is a great way to share the history of the township well beyond its borders.

Mark Your Calendar!

The Cumberland Township Historical Society holds quarterly public meetings, each featuring a special presentation on a specific aspect of the township's history. All presentations are free and open to the public.

All events are held at 7 p.m. at the Church of the Brethren, 1710 Biglerville Road, Gettysburg, unless otherwise noted. Come and explore our local history!
  • May 17 (6 p.m.) — SPECIAL MEMBERS-ONLY EVENT — A Walking Tour to Remember Fantasyland Storybook Park. CTHS members are invited to take a walking tour with Jackie White, whose family owned the park. Meet at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center in Parking Lot 3. The tour will begin there on the walking trail.
  • June 6 — James Rada discusses the “1922 March, Battles, & Deaths of U.S. Marines at Gettysburg.” In 1922, more than 5,000 Marines marched from Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. to Gettysburg. It was a training exercise, a public awareness campaign, and much more.
  • August — Walking tour — watch for details.
  • September 6 — The Church of the Brethren has more than 210 years of history in and around Cumberland Township. Learn more about it from past to present.
  • December 5 — Licensed Battlefield Guide Chris Brenneman discusses Paul Philippoteaux’s cyclorama painting “The Battle of Gettysburg.”
Watch your email for more information on this event about two weeks before the scheduled date. Details will also be posted on the CTHS website.

Purchasing a CTHS keepsake allows you to give a wonderful gift to someone else or yourself. It also supports the Historical Society's ongoing mission. Browse the options below, and make your purchase at the CTHS quarterly meetings or by contacting CTHS member Tom Clowney at (717) 334-5406.

This cozy throw ($36) depicts Sachs Bridge, as well as the Cumberland Township logo.

The handcrafted keepsakes shown below are made from a tree that witnessed President Lincoln as he rode toward the National Cemetery to deliver his Gettysburg Address.

Pricing for the items shown above follows:
  • Magnet – $15
  • Hanging ornament – $15
  • Paper weight – $20
  • Letter opener – $25
  • Pen – $45
The following printed documents are also available:
  • The Inhabitants of Cumberland Township During the Civil War ($10)
  • The Agricultural History of Cumberland Township, 1749-2014 ($5)
Thank you for your purchase and your support of the Cumberland Township Historical Society.
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