From the Chairman: A Changing of the Guard and a Call to Get Involved
Editorâ€™s note: Speros Marinos has resigned his position on the CTHS board due to time constraints. Board members have elected Cyril Ackerman as their chairman, and this is his first â€œFrom the Chairmanâ€ column.
Please join me in expressing our deepest appreciation to outgoing CTHS board member Speros Marinos for all his efforts as chairman. Under his leadership, we saw the purchase and posting of signs to mark the boundaries of Cumberland Township in locations throughout the community. He also spearheaded the effort to celebrate the 265th Anniversary of Cumberland Township. This is a humble salute to these and countless other actions Speros dedicated himself to as our chairman of the CTHS board of directors.
Now that Speros has stepped down from his position on the board, I ask that you please join me in offering a warm welcome to Doug Cooke, the newly appointed board member who will fill Sperosâ€™s term.
Dougâ€™s energy and expertise will be put to good use. He is already chairing our Preservation Committee and doing groundbreaking work for CTHS in that area.
Allow me to thank our membership and supporters for your dedication and continued support of our organization.
As a result of the boardâ€™s 2015 reorganization, here are a few thoughts for you to consider. Our members are an incredible source of knowledge and expertise, and tapping into that will make CTHS more efficient and effective as an organization. We are adopting a â€œGET INVOLVEDâ€ theme to guide CTHS through the next year of growth. We want to invite all members to join us in our committee work in whatever capacity your comfort level allows you to do.
Soon you will find a list of all of our committees and members posted on the website. The board wants to recognize that CTHS members are truly our greatest resource and acknowledge the potential contribution that you can make as we move forward.
If you are interested in joining an existing committee or perhaps see a need we are not currently addressing, let us know. Work with us to make CTHS the best it can be. Get involved!
â€” Cyril Ackerman
Donations Honor the Memory
of Renee Clowney
At its March meeting, the Cumberland Township Historical Society took up a collection for a donation to 4-H Clubs of Adams County in memory of Renee Clowney.
Renee, granddaughter of former CTHS board member Tom Clowney, lost her life in a vehicle accident in December at the age of 20.
Agriculture had been a big part of Reneeâ€™s life. She loved animals and had been employed with the familyâ€™s dairy operation, Lagging Stream Farm. While in school, she was also an 11-year member of Adams County 4-H.
The collection raised $135, and CTHS added $100 to that for a total $235 contribution. The CTHS board offers special thanks to all who gave in Reneeâ€™s memory.
Sharing Stories of Evergreen Cemetery
At one time, Deb Novotny thought Evergreen Cemetery was private land that was off-limits to the public â€” that she shouldnâ€™t go in. â€œIâ€™m glad I did,â€ she told those attending the quarterly CTHS meeting in March.
Novotny, a Licensed Battlefield Guide and Evergreen Cemetery board member, shared her knowledge of the cemeteryâ€™s past, present, and even its future.
The cemetery was the first of its kind in the area, she said â€” a garden cemetery that invited visitors with its trees, winding paths, and peaceful setting. PÃ¨re Lachaise Cemetery in Paris pioneered the concept in 1804, and the idea took hold across the Atlantic, beginning with Mount Auburn Cemetery in Massachusetts.
Gettysburg followed suit in 1854, when a group of area residents came together and purchased 17 acres that would become what was then called â€œEver Green Cemeteryâ€ â€” 75 percent of which Novotny says lies in Cumberland Township.
During the presentation, CTHS founding member Al Ferranto displayed two early plot deeds that he happened upon in the bottom of a box at a Hanover estate sale. Both were from December 1854, meaning they were among the first plots sold. One secures two plots for William Culp at a cost of $20.50 and the other a single plot for Mrs. Julian Hoke for $10.25. The deeds were signed by David McConaughy, the first president of Evergreen Cemetery, and secretary Henry J. Stahle, editor of the Gettysburg Compiler newspaper.
Peter Thorn, shown here with his wife, Elizabeth, was hired as the cemeteryâ€™s first caretaker for an annual salary of $150 and rent-free living in the iconic gatehouse, Novotny said. A statue dedicated in the cemetery in 2002 honors the role that Elizabeth and all women played before, during, and after the Battle of Gettysburg.
Novotny gave a glimpse into the lives of those buried in the cemetery, including the Thorns, and how the gravestones and monuments tell stories of their own.
They show, for instance, that Gettysburg founder James Gettys died on March 13, 1815, a day after his mother and four days before his wife, telling, as Novotny said, â€œthe story of some disease.â€ (Gettysâ€™ son had the familyâ€™s remains moved from Blackâ€™s Graveyard to Evergreen Cemetery in 1865.)
Gettysâ€™ story comes with a dose of humor, too. The photo here shows what his monument used to look like. The cast-iron dog has long since gone missing â€” stolen, Novotny said. â€œThe dog had a collar tag that read, â€˜Iâ€™m James Gettysâ€™ dog; whose dog are you?â€™â€ she added, signalling Gettysâ€™ ire over the local councilâ€™s levy of a dog licensing fee.
Every gravestone, of course, tells its own tale. Consider visiting Evergreen Cemetery and weaving some stories for yourself, whether of well-known names or those less famous. More information is available atevergreencemetery.organd gettysburgdaily.com/evergreen-cemetery, where Novotny shares abundant information in numerous videos.
Plots are still for sale in the cemetery, and Novotny has secured one for herself. â€œI do have a permanent Gettysburg address,â€ she quips.
The CTHS board extends a big "thank you" to Deb for speaking at the March meeting and for her generosity in donating her speaker stipend back to the Society.
Below: Detail from a deed for two â€œEver Green Cemeteryâ€ plots for William Culp.Click the image to view a larger version.
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!
June 1, 2015 â€” Retired Dickinson College professor Beverley Eddy discusses Camp Sharpe, the World War II military installation in Gettysburg. Eddy is the author of â€œCamp Sharpeâ€™s â€˜Psycho Boysâ€™: From Gettysburg to Germany.â€ (Quarterly meeting)
Aug. 24, 2015 â€” Learn about the Mason-Dixon Line 250 years after its completion. (Quarterly meeting moved from September)
Aug. 29, 2015 â€” Walking tour of the Mason-Dixon Farms Dairy. It straddles the Mason-Dixon line, with part in Cumberland Township. (Details will follow closer to the date.)
Dec. 7, 2015 â€” Get a glimpse of Gettysburgâ€™s long-ago theme park: Fantasyland. (Quarterly meeting)
Watch your email for more information on each event about two weeks before the scheduled date. Details will also be posted on theCTHS website.
Thanks to New and Renewing Members
The Cumberland Township Historical Society is able to work toward its goals of education and preservation thanks to membersâ€™ support. The following were new or renewing members as of March 2015:
The CTHS board was hoping to invite members on a road trip to Lancaster County this spring to see the Epley Blacksmith Shop at the Landis Valley Museum. Unfortunately, the trip would have been scheduled for a weekday to see the shop in operation, and few would have been able to attend.
The blacksmith shop was located in Cumberland Township from 1904 to 1960. It was disassembled and reassembled as part of the Landis Valley Museum in 1969.
If interested in seeing this one-time Cumberland Township landmark on your own, you can learn more atwww.landisvalleymuseum.orgor by calling the museum at (717) 569-0401.
Own a Piece of History
These handcrafted keepsakes are made from a tree that witnessed President Lincoln as he rode toward the National Cemetery to deliver what we now know as his Gettysburg Address.
Give yourself or someone special the gift of a pen, letter opener, magnet, paperweight, or ornament and support CTHS. Contact John Horner at (717) 334-8916 or email@example.com for details.