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Summer 2014

From the Chairman:

The State of Your Society

It was a tough decision to cancel the March public meeting due to weather concerns, but the Board doesn't want any of our members to become history due to an accident. Safety first was and will be our rule. However, Curt Musselman worked with the Board to reschedule his March presentation on the history of McAllister’s Mill for Sept. 8. We hope to see you there.

With the 2014 quarterly meetings planned and well under way, scheduling for the 2015 agenda is in progress. Member suggestions are always welcome.

In other news, the Society has presented the Cumberland Township Board of Supervisors with a check for $637.89 to begin posting boundary signs on township roads. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this fund. (See a photo of the presentation below.)

Also, the township government is recognizing Oct. 13, 2014, as the official 265th anniversary of Cumberland Township. Both the township and the Gettysburg Times have scheduled an open house that day. The Times has offered to allow our Society the use of its lawn for historical displays and perhaps a township birthday party. Please consider volunteering by calling me, Speros Marinos, at 717-752-0293.

While on the subject of volunteers, I am still amazed with the progress of this Society. We have three committees — Publicity, Finance, and Preservation. Soon we hope to have a Nominations Committee and a Refreshment Committee, too. Please volunteer if you are willing and able to serve!

I look forward to seeing our members at the members-only tour in August. (See below for more details.) 
— Speros Marinos, CTHS Chairman
BELOW: Cumberland Township Historical Society Chairman Speros Marinos (center) presents a check for $637.89 to Cumberland Township supervisors Al Ferranto (left) and Jim Paddock (right) for the purchase and installation of 11 “Cumberland Township” signs and posts. The Society is funding the purchase of the signs to be placed where roads enter the municipality.


Members: Tour the Gettysburg Fire Department Museum Aug. 20

The Gettysburg Fire Department has a rich history of serving the community, including the central and northern areas of Cumberland Township. Reminders of that history are on display in the department’s museum at 35 N. Stratton Street in Gettysburg.

Members of the Cumberland Township Historical Society are invited to tour the museum on Wednesday, Aug. 20, at 7 p.m.

Come view the antique horse- and hand-drawn firefighting equipment, along with many other interesting artifacts.

This annual members-only tour will be limited to 30 attendees. If you would like to attend, please RSVP by Friday, Aug. 15, to Speros Marinos at 717-752-0293 or email

Get Set to Celebrate Township’s 265th Anniversary

No one is sure of the exact date that Cumberland Township was established, but there is consensus on the year: 1749. The answer may lie in a document somewhere in England because the United States was not formed until after the township was founded. In any case, we know that the community has been thriving as a township for 265 years.

The board of supervisors has designated October 13 as the anniversary date, and the Historical Society is pleased to be participating in the festivities.

The township building, at 1570 Fairfield Road, will be open for tours of the offices and roads department, and police vehicles will also be on display.

The Gettysburg Times, a short distance away at 1370 Fairfield Road, will also host an open house, and shuttle bus service will be available between the two sites.

CTHS will have historical displays on the lawn at the Times depicting Camp Colt in 1918 and early farming in the township. An official from the Eisenhower National Historic Site will be on hand, as well.

“We are also seeking participation from our local fire departments, schools, and other organizations,” CTHS Chairman Speros Marinos says.

Food vendors will also be on-site.

“It’s our intent to celebrate the anniversary every five years,” Marinos says. “We hope to have a strong start with this year.”

If you have ideas for the celebration, please share them with a CTHS board member or email them to To volunteer your time that day, call Speros Marinos at 717-752-0293.

Meet the Board: Tom Clowney

Originally from Montgomery County, Pa., Tom Clowney and his family moved to Cumberland Township in 1960. In the 1950s, he had started to see fertile farmland growing houses instead of crops. Development was beginning, land prices were rising — and the trend continued.

Tom was able to purchase a dairy farm in Cumberland Township from the late Grover Yingling. It was the perfect place for Tom and his wife, Joanne, to raise their five children.

Today the land is still “in dairying,” Clowney says, but has been turned over to Tom’s two sons, Bob and John. The farm and the Clowney family were featured in the film Beyond Gettysburg: Adams County USA, produced by Jake Boritt, also of Cumberland Township.

The Clowneys are members of the Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church and belong to a number of agricultural organizations. In addition, Tom is a charter member of the Cumberland Township Historical Society and is proud to serve as a board member.

Snap Photos for Historical Sites Survey Project

If you have a digital camera and can snap a good photo, the Cumberland Township Historical Society could use your talent.

Volunteers are needed to photograph buildings listed on the “Historic Sites Survey of Cumberland Township.” This survey was performed by Paula Stoner and Douglas Reed in 1979, and 176 of the buildings documented are still around today.

The digital photos will be compared with the older ones to note changes to the structures over the last 35 years.

If you would like to volunteer, please contact CTHS Vice Chairman John Horner at 717-334-8916.

Evergreen Cemetery Is Home to Area History

Tim Smith says the Evergreen Cemetery holds thousands of stories, and he shared as many as he could on the annual CTHS walking tour on May 5.

Wander through the cemetery, at 799 Baltimore Street in Gettysburg, and you’ll see names well-known in the area: Beitler, Burns, Bushman, Culp, Gettys, Herbst, McConaughy, McFarlane, Schmucker, Troxell, Wade, Weikert, Wills — and the list goes on and on.

Historian Smith, a member of the Evergreen Cemetery Board of Trustees, said that while the cemetery opened in 1854 and was dedicated in 1855, some headstones bear dates from a much earlier time. Those, he said, were moved from other local cemeteries and reinterred at Evergreen.

Peter and Elizabeth Thorn were the cemetery’s first superintendents. A 7-foot bronze statue there honors Elizabeth and all women who dedicated themselves to service throughout the Civil War years.

Evergreen Cemetery is now in the hands of caretaker Brian Kennell, who Smith said will soon be tackling the annual task of repairing broken headstones so they remain monuments to area residents for many years to come.

Learn more about the cemetery, and about Elizabeth Thorn’s story, at 

Welcome New & Renewing Members!

Thank you to the following new and renewing CTHS members for your support of the Historical Society and its mission:
  • Gabor and Liz Boritt
  • D.L. Dickey
  • Sandy Dixon
  • Philip and Peggy Magaldi
  • Gary Maring
  • Sonda Newby
  • Don Sangirardi
  • Robert G. Signor
  • Harman Spence
  • Steve and Patricia Ann Tallman
  • Gale Underwood
Memberships are available in a variety of categories (individual, family, lifetime, and corporate) starting at $20 per year. To join, sign up at the next CTHS meeting or print and complete this membership application and submit it, along with your payment, to CTHS, P.O. Box 3203, Gettysburg, PA 17325.

Members Vote to Update Bylaws

During the June CTHS meeting, members voted unanimously to update the bylaws. The change was simple but important to keep the Society functioning well as it prospers and grows, chairman Speros Marinos said.

The secretary-treasurer position was separated to allow two people to fill those distinct roles. The Board will be putting forth other proposed bylaws changes in the coming months. These would increase a board member’s term from two years to three and direct board members to elect officers annually instead of every two years.

Exploring Agriculture

Larry Swartz, right, spoke to a full house at the June 2 CTHS meeting about the history of agriculture in Cumberland Township. Many farm-related implements (some shown below) were on display, along with details on land that has been farmed for generations — including that of CTHS board member Tom Clowney, who developed the program with Swartz.

Thanks to everyone who shared their stories and their pieces of agricultural history throughout the evening.


Commemorative Items for Sale

Doing some early holiday shopping? Need a special gift? Look for the CTHS commemorative items available for purchase at the next Society meeting or contact the following board members for more details and pricing on:

  • a cozy throw depicting Sachs covered bridge — contact Tom Clowney, 717-334-5406; or
  • pens, letter openers, ornaments, and other items made with wood from a tree that witnessed President Lincoln on his way to Soldiers National Cemetery — contact John Horner, 717-334-8916.

Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming Programs

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!
  • Sept. 8 — The history of McAllister’s Mill (rescheduled from March)
  • Dec. 1 — Board elections followed by a presentation on the history of law enforcement in Cumberland Township
Watch your email for more information on each event about two weeks before the scheduled date. Details will also be posted on the CTHS website.
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