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Fall 2014

From the Chairman:

The State of Your Society

The 265th anniversary of Cumberland Township is over. I thank all of you who worked for and attended the soggy celebration. About 55 visitors came to the Gettysburg Times location and about 30 visited the Cumberland Township municipal building. Eighty-five visitors is not too bad for a rainy day! Weis Markets donated $120; thank you to Weis for being a corporate sponsor.

Our Preservation Committee has been meeting and will be providing a “job description” soon. Our Finance Committee met Nov. 3. Please see more about the Finance Committee and its members below.

Our December meeting will be an important one. The topic is the history of the Cumberland Township Police Department and local constables. This meeting will also be our “Membership Renewal Night.”

In addition, we need to update our bylaws. At the December meeting, we will discuss a revised proposal to amend the bylaws and then all CTHS members in attendance will be asked to vote on the measure. More information on this proposal also appears below.

A happy society is a well-fed society! The December meeting will again feature our annual light buffet. Thank you in advance to Dale Molina, Carolyn Greaney, and Lisa Burt for making this possible.

This meeting will be a good end to a successful year!

Yours through history...
— Speros Marinos, CTHS Chairman

Gauging Interest in a Bus Trip

The Cumberland Township Historical Society wants to know how many people might be interested in taking a bus trip to the Epley Blacksmith Shop at the Landis Valley Museum in Lancaster County. The trip would be in the spring, and the cost would be based on the number of participants.

The blacksmith shop, owned by John William Epley, was located in Cumberland Township from 1904 to 1960. It was disassembled, placed in storage, and then reassembled in 1969 as part of the Landis Valley Museum. The shop now interprets the blacksmith trade during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

If you might be interested in this trip, email with the number of people in your party. You may also call John Horner at (717) 334-8916 or express your interest at the membership table set up at the December CTHS meeting.

Photo of blacksmith at Landis Valley Museum courtesy of

CTHS Members to Vote on Bylaws Change and Elect Board Members in December

After questions arose during the September meeting about the wording of proposed changes to the Society’s bylaws, the board did some rewriting and has a new proposal.

At the December meeting, the board will ask members to vote on changes that affect term length for the board of directors and also the length of time an individual may serve as chairperson or vice chairperson.

The proposed changes to Article III, Section B — Terms of Service, follow, with the words to be changed appearing in red.

CURRENT WORDING: The chairperson and vice chairperson serve a term of
two years and may succeed themselves for one term of office. Following the term of office as chairperson/vice chairperson, they may serve two years as a member of the board of directors.

Terms of office for other board members will be
two years renewable with no limit on succession.

PROPOSED WORDING: The chairperson and vice chairperson serve a term of
one year and may succeed themselves for five terms of office. Following the term of office as chairperson/vice chairperson, they may serve as a member of the board of directors.

Terms of office for other board members will be
three years renewable with no limit on succession.
REMINDER: CTHS members will also be voting at the December meeting to fill open seats on the board. Be sure to attend so you can cast your ballot!

Meet the Finance Committee

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: This Society thrives because of its dedicated volunteers — including the following members who are donating their time to serve on the Finance Committee:
  • Linda Seamon is the treasurer of the Cumberland Township Historical Society. She is a Gettysburg Licensed Town Historian.
  • Philip Magaldi is retired from the former Gettysburg Travel Council. He has been a history advocate for many years and is well-versed in the budgeting process.
  • Elsie Morey led the Historical Committee in Mount Joy Township, just east of Cumberland Township. Many interesting projects blossomed under her direction.
  • Don Sangirardi is a Cumberland Township resident from New York. He has a strong respect for both history and accounting.
  • CTHS Chairman Speros Marinos also serves on the committee as a representative of the board.


Finance Committee job description

The Finance Committee will:
  • consist of no less than three members;
  • meet with the Society treasurer;
  • meet no less than once each calendar year and as frequently as necessary to perform needed tasks;
  • have oversight of all financial activity;
  • advise the Society board in financial matters;
  • research and implement an endowment fund if needed;
  • research and advise the Society board concerning the financial implications of owning, preserving, and maintaining real estate and historic structures within Cumberland Township; and
  • address all other pertinent issues.

Welcome New & Renewing Members!

Thank you to the following new and renewing CTHS members for your support of the Historical Society and its mission:
  • John and Lisa Burt
  • Russell Campbell
  • Charlotte Clowney (lifetime member)
  • Alfred and Jeanne Crosby
  • Ed Duffy
  • Alan and Louise Mains
  • Debra Novotny
  • Gerry and Arlene O’Brien
  • Barbara Stokes
  • Ruby Warren
  • John Zervas

Membership Renewal Night

Please note that the December 1st CTHS meeting is "Membership Renewal Night!" It's the perfect time to renew your membership or, if you have not yet joined the Historical Society, take that important step.

Your membership dollars help make the very popular quarterly programs possible and will allow the Society to embark on projects to help promote and preserve the history of Cumberland Township.

Memberships are available in a variety of categories (individual, family, lifetime, and corporate) starting at $20 per year. To join
, print and fill out this membership application and bring it to the next meeting or submit it, along with your payment, to CTHS, P.O. Box 3203, Gettysburg, PA 17325.

Celebration Honors Cumberland Township’s 265th Anniversary

Despite the fact that Oct. 13 dawned cold, wet, and gray, more than 80 residents and well-wishers took part in Cumberland Township’s 265th anniversary celebration.

They stopped by the Gettysburg Times to see the historical displays on the lawn and chat with CTHS members, and some even toured the Times office. Later that day, township manager Ben Thomas welcomed a crowd to the municipal building, where various citations and proclamations honoring the anniversary and the work of the Historical Society were presented. Following are a few excerpts from those documents:  

“This milestone is exceptional…I congratulate your efforts to celebrate and preserve Cumberland Township’s heritage and promote public awareness and appreciation of its legacy.” — Congressman Scott Perry

“A valuable presence in this commonwealth, Cumberland Township is a community which has always been blessed with steadfast citizens, concerned community and civic-minded leaders, lasting traditions, and a resilient spirit that have helped it to thrive for two hundred sixty-five years and prepared it to meet the challenges of the future.” — Citation from the Pa. House of Representatives sponsored by Rep. Dan Moul

“Throughout its history, Cumberland Township has been blessed with dedicated civic leaders who have helped it to grow and flourish, as well as diligent and productive citizens who have helped it become an inspiring presence in the commonwealth.  — Congratulations from the Senate of Pennsylvania initiated by Sen. Richard Alloway II

The photos below (left to right) show:
  • Congratulations and citations from state and federal legislators, as well as a proclamation issued by the Cumberland Township board of supervisors in recognition of the anniversary.
  • CTHS Vice Chairman John Horner (right) accepting a letter of congratulations presented by Holly Sutphin, a field representative for Congressman Scott Perry, while township supervisor Al Ferranto looks on.
  • Carol Hegeman, supervisory historian with the Eisenhower National Historic Site, answering questions during the event.
  • Jim Tennyson portraying a township settler from 1749, the year of the township’s founding.
Citations and proclamations from legislators, township
John Horner receiving a letter of congratulations from the office of Rep. Scott Perry
Carol Hegeman at 265th anniversary event
Jim Tennyson portraying a 1749 township settler

Fire Department Museum Offers Look at Long History

CTHS members learned about the more than two centuries of history surrounding the Gettysburg Fire Department during a members-only tour of its museum in August.

Special thanks to Charlie Underwood, chairman of the fire museum committee, and committee members Jamie Gallagher and Gary Frederick for sharing their knowledge and answering many questions from those in attendance.

Here are just a few of the dozens of facts that Underwood shared with the group:
  • The GFD has operated under several different names, including the Union Fire Company and General Meade Steam Engine Fire Company.
  • The GFD is the 21st oldest active volunteer fire department in the country.
  • An 1806 borough ordinance required every family to have two fire buckets, which were made of leather and often highly decorated.
  • In the 1700s, fire equipment was purchased from England. In 1806, the department ordered a fire pumper from Philadelphia that was delivered by Conestoga wagon.
  • The department’s first engine house was built in 1809. Several others followed.
  • The Gettysburg Fire Department was organized in 1885.
  • The current station was dedicated in 1992.
  • At one time, only Cumberland Township residents within three miles of the borough line had access to the department’s services. That later increased to seven miles. There was a charge of $25 for service within three miles and $50 outside that range.
Learn more by contacting the GFD to schedule your own museum tour. A book detailing the department’s history is also available for purchase.

The photos below (left to right) show the following items from the GFD museum:
  • The six-ton Silsby steam fire engine, purchased in 1885, which was pulled to fires by men, not horses.
  • One of two hose reels purchased for $250 each for use with the steamer.
  • Gear worn by firefighters over the years that is now on display in the museum.
  • A bookcase, a gift from the Adams County Mutual Insurance Company, that holds leather water buckets and other historic items.
The Silsby steam fire engine
GFD hose reel
Fire gear
Donated case holding leather fire buckets and other items

Duo Shares Lessons on McAllister's Mill

At the September CTHS meeting, Curt Musselman and Kendra Debany teamed up to share their insight into the history of McAllister’s Mill, a Cumberland Township landmark that sheltered hundreds of slaves making their way toward freedom on the Underground Railroad.

According to the presenters, the mill was built in the late 18th century, possibly by slaves, and was purchased by James McAllister in 1827. Mills were known for serving not just their intended purpose but also as social gathering places. McAllister’s Mill was even more: On July 4, 1836, McAllister hosted a meeting of local abolitionists at the mill that resulted in the publication of 14 bold anti-slavery principles. It’s no surprise, then, that the property became an important link in the region’s Underground Railroad.

Mill operations ceased during the late 19th century, and the property now contains only remnants of the former structures. Tours of the site are available through Historic Gettysburg-Adams County from May through August.

Photo: Kendra Debany, chair of the Civil War Roundtable, and Curt Musselman, chair of the Preservation Committee for Historic Gettysburg-Adams County, take questions about McAllister’s Mill from the crowd at the CTHS meeting in September. Learn more about the history of McAllister’s Mill and tours of the site at

Bring Your Holiday Shopping List to the December Meeting!

CTHS commemorative items make unique and thoughtful holiday gifts. Several items will be available for purchase at the Society meeting on December 1st.

You'll find a cozy throw depicting Sachs covered bridge, along with pens, letter openers, and other items made with wood from a tree that witnessed President Lincoln traveling toward Soldiers National Cemetery.

All items will be on display and available for purchase at the meeting. See below for a sneak preview!

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!
  • Dec. 1, 2014 — Board elections followed by a presentation on the history of local law enforcement with Cumberland Township Police Chief Don Boehs. This is also Membership Renewal Night. Please come prepared to renew your membership or, if you’re not yet a member, join us! Our volunteers will also be preparing our annual light buffet to say "thank you" to everyone in attendance for your support.
  • March 2, 2015 — Presentation on Evergreen Cemetery
  • June 1, 2015 — Presentation on the Marine Corps maneuvers and reenactment of Pickett’s charge that took place in 1922 at the Gettysburg National Military Park
  • Sept. 14, 2015 — Presentation on the history of the Mason-Dixon Line
  • Dec. 7, 2015 — Presentation on Fantasyland, Gettysburg’s former theme park
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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