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Winter 2014

Society Funds Signs to Mark Township Borders

With more than 30 municipalities in Adams County, it’s not always easy to pinpoint where you are. The Cumberland Township Historical Society hopes to change that to some degree by providing $1,500 for the purchase of signs to mark the township’s borders.

CTHS board member Speros Marinos broached the topic to the township’s board of supervisors in November. The Society has requested 27 signs (and posts as needed), some of which may be provided and placed by PennDOT.

Cumberland Township Manager Ben Thomas says the township submitted a request to PennDOT in early December for the placement of signs at approximately 14 locations where state roads enter the township.

“Cumberland Township is one of the most historic and traveled municipalities in the commonwealth, as we are the host municipality to much of the Gettysburg Battlefield, including the Visitor’s Center, Pickett’s Charge, Little Round Top, Big Round Top, the Peace Light, etc., with millions of tourists visiting us annually,” Thomas stated in the letter.

PennDOT recently installed a township name sign (shown above) at the new bridge on Emmitsburg Road, State Route 3001, where it crosses Marsh Creek.

The township is awaiting a response from the department before moving forward with the project.

In announcing plans at the CTHS public meeting in December for the sign purchase and placement, Marinos said he hopes the signs will help build “esprit de corps” among the township’s residents.

Welcome to Our Newest CTHS Members

  • Jim and Marie Crane
  • David Flesner
  • Steve Wolf
  • Donald, Carol, and Chris Courtney
We're glad to welcome these new members and to thank all members for their commitment to the CTHS mission: fostering identification and preservation of the township heritage and promoting the public awareness and appreciation of this legacy.

Become a CTHS Member Today, or Renew Now for 2014!

Help supoort the CTHS mission by becoming a member. If you joined last year, please consider renewing your membership for 2014.

It's simple! Complete this membership application/renewal form and submit it, along with your payment, as directed on the form.

Membership categories are:
  • Individual - $20/year
  • Family - $30/year
  • Corporate - $100/year (CTHS will post the logo of all Business Partners and Supporters on our website supporter page, along with a link to your website.)
  • Lifetime - $500/year

Teen Historian Chronicles History of the Emanuel Harmon Farm

By the time he was 14, Cumberland Township resident Andrew I. Dalton was completely engrossed in the rich but largely unknown history of the Emanuel Harmon Farm.

The property lies within the township to the west of Gettysburg, between the Chambersburg Pike and Fairfield Road. It saw intense fighting on July 1, 1863, as the Battle of Gettysburg began. By the end of the day, the Harmon house and barn had been destroyed — burned by Confederate soldiers to prevent their Union counterparts from using the buildings for cover.

That’s just one part of the property’s history, though. The more Dalton learned, the more he wanted to connect the dots. The result is a comprehensive work about a property that played significant, and very different, roles in the township over many years.

“Beyond the Run, The Emanuel Harmon Farm at Gettysburg,” was published in May, when Dalton was 16 and finishing his sophomore year at Gettysburg High School. The book walks the reader through the property’s history and ownership, from quiet farm field to Civil War battlefield, destination for and bottler of “curative” spring water, country club golf course frequented by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and now, land owned and preserved by the National Park Service.

Dalton’s book is available for loan through the Adams County Library System and can be purchased from the Adams County Historical Society and The author also offers some interesting facts on his Facebook page for the work at

CTHS will be working with the National Park Service and its Adopt-a-Position Program to clean up a portion of the Harmon Farm later this year. The NPS must first complete a survey of the site. Volunteers will be welcome to join in the cleanup, so watch this newsletter for more information.

Membership Vote Adds One New Name to CTHS Board

At the December CTHS public meeting, members voted to fill two spots on the board of directors. Terms were up for secretary-treasurer Judy Metheny and chairman Speros Marinos at the end of 2013.

Marinos was re-elected to serve a second two-year term. Metheny chose not to run, and write-in candidate Linda Clark was elected to fill that opening.

Clark (shown here) was clearly surprised by the result but says she is looking forward to working with the Society’s board and membership in the coming months.

An Adams County native, Clark is a retired school librarian and is beginning her 35th year as a Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide. She has done extensive research on local history and published several books on 1863 civilians of Gettysburg and Cumberland Township.

Metheny Honored with Lifetime Membership

The CTHS board recently honored outgoing secretary-treasurer Judy Metheny with the presentation of a lifetime membership in the Society.

Metheny was instrumental in setting up the Cumberland Township Historical Society as a 501(3)(c) (nonprofit and tax-exempt) organization.

She also managed membership, finances, and publicity for the Society during her time on the board.

The board offers special thanks to Judy as she continues to share her knowledge and expertise while transitioning her duties to other volunteers.

Volunteer Opportunity: Video CTHS Meetings for Archive

Can you shoot video? And can you spare about two hours four times a year?

If so, you could help the Cumberland Township Historical Society build an archive of its quarterly meetings and presentations.

If interested, please email

Talk Covers History of Local Taverns

They provided food, drink, and lodging. They served as polling places, post offices, jails, and military enlistment centers.

Whether known as a tavern, public house, grog shop, tippling house, ordinary, or inn, these gathering places played an important role for locals and travelers in years past.

Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide John Winkelman elaborated on the history of taverns in general as well as those specific to Adams County at the Society’s public meeting in December.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, he said, taverns had a very high standing in the community. Even further back, they were so important that in 1656, towns in Massachusetts could be fined if they failed to sustain an “ordinary.” Winkelman pinpointed the years from 1800 to 1850 as the “golden age of taverns” in Adams County — a time when stagecoaches and supply wagons headed to settlements out west kept tavern keepers hopping.

Those tavern keepers exerted a great deal of influence in their communities, Winkelman said, but they also had a lot of responsibility.

First, they had to obtain a tavern license by applying to the county and ultimately getting approval from the royal governor. Community members also had to sign off on the idea, he said, and the applicant had to post a bond.

Taverns could be easily recognized by the “pictograph” on their sign, a necessity because most travelers were illiterate, he added. For instance, the Cross Keys Tavern would show the design of two crossed keys.

Winkelman described how the role of taverns evolved over the years to keep pace with a growing population and a changing world.

More information about historic local taverns is available at

McCleaf Kicks Off CTHS Collection with 1798 Deed

In July 2013, CTHS member John McCleaf wrote in The Courier about a deed that has been in the family since his grandfather bought his Cumberland Township farm in 1921.

The oversized document, dated 1798, bears the names of John and William Penn, along with the Penn family seal. It describes land that had formed part of the Manor of Maske and is now part of Cumberland Township.

McCleaf believes the signatures on the deed are not those of the Penns but of their agent — probably a lawyer.

That doesn’t diminish the significance of this historical document, though. And at the December CTHS public meeting, McCleaf (shown here) donated a framed copy of the deed to the Society. It marks the beginning of what board members hope will be a growing permanent collection.

Mark Your Calendar for 2014 CTHS 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!
  • March 3 — The history of McAllister’s Mill
  • May 5 — Annual CTHS walking tour: the Evergreen Cemetery with caretaker Brian Kennell
  • June 2 — The agricultural history of Cumberland Township
  • Sept. 8 — The cemeteries of Cumberland Township
  • Dec. 1 — Board elections followed by a presentation on the history of the Cumberland Township Police Department
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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