Fall Dinner Program Features Linda Gilmore Speaking on Those Settlers involved in the Attack on Fort Bigham

Juniata County Historical Society’s fall dinner program will be held Wed., Oct. 19 at Walker Grange, Mexico at 6:30 p.m.

Program features author Linda Martin Gilmore who will speak on the 260th anniversary of the Indian attack on Bigham’s Fort. She will give a glimpse into the lives and hardships of the settlers who were involved and survived the attack. Copies of her book: Peril and Perseverance in the Pennsylvania Backcountry 1755-1765: Shearman’s Valley, Tuscarora Valley , and the Mouth of the Juniata will be offered for sale.

Cost is $15 for the program and family style roast beef dinner. Reservations and payment are due by Oct. 12. Call the Archives Room Tuesdays 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to noon. Mailing address is 498 Jefferson St., Suite B, Mifflintown, PA 17059. Checks should be made to Juniata County Historical Society. Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you would like tickets mailed to you.

Tuscarora Academy Fund-Raiser Is Self-Paced Tour of Historical Landmarks

The second annual Tuscarora Academy fund-raiser is to be held Saturday afternoon, August 20. Planned in collaboration with the Lower Tuscarora Presbyterian Church’s 250th anniversary, the fund-raiser is a self-guided tour of several points of interest in and nearby the area of Academia.

Tuscarora Academy & Lower Tuscarora Presbyterian Church [in background] JCHS archival Photo

Tuscarora Academy & Lower Tuscarora Presbyterian Church [in background] JCHS archival Photo

It includes historical landmarks such as the Patterson House, Pomeroy-Academia Covered Bridge, Tuscarora Academy, Lower Tuscarora Presbyterian Church and cemetery, Book Indian Mound, Spruce Hill Lunch and Wilson House B&B.

Tickets are $25 per adult ticket, $10 for children 14 and under. Ticket price also includes a box lunch with water/iced tea, and events at the Juniata Valley Winery.

Tours begin at 12:30 p.m., are self-paced and one can visit sites in any order they choose. Greeters will be at each stop and there will be a mock one-room school house and 19th century crafts for children such as a Civil War era doll making project at the Tuscarora Academy. Rides in the immediate area of the Academy, will be offered in a 1931 Ford Model A Roadster.

Visitors at the Academy that day may be interested in learning about another local landmark’s history [Tuscarora Female Seminary]. Although no longer standing, a chapter entitled, “The History of the Tuscarora Female Seminary,” written by Audrey Sizelove is within the book, Pennsylvania History – A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies. Copies will be on hand and available for sale.

Carriage rides will be available to ticket-holders at the bridge. There will be an Indian artifact collection by Andy Paige as well as history about the Book Indian Mound at that stopping point.

Visitors at the church will learn the origins of the church and that it was the spot of the first sermon 250 years ago to nearly the day [August 21, 1766]. A self-guided cemetery tour will have graves of interest identified for visitors. Bottled water, as well as a place to sit and rest will be available at the church.

Lower Tuscarora Presbyterian Church [photo courtesy of church archives]

Lower Tuscarora Presbyterian Church [photo courtesy of church archives]

Visitors at the Patterson House, owned by Sharon and Greg Hadsell, will have the chance to learn about the history of the home. They’ll be able to tour about the grounds and out-buildings such as the spring house, an unusual three hole [one-child sized] outhouse, smoke house and a story and half barn, built in the late 1700s. Bottled water will be offered.

Spruce Hill Lunch, turns 70 years old this year. Owners, Nora and Charles “Chuck” Houser and former owner Carlen McClure look forward to meeting new visitors taking the tour as well as regulars.

Tours of the Wilson House B&B and information about its history will be given at that site.

Box lunches and bottled water/iced tea, are included in the ticket cost, and will be available for pick up at the Wilson House B&B [Juniata Valley Winery] after 3:00 p.m.

Additional events to take place at the winery include a display from 12:30 – 4:00 p.m. of artifacts by members of the Lenape Indians from a PA tribe with roots still in the Allentown area. They will do a presentation from 4-4:30 p.m. and afterwards the Greenwood Community Band will perform for ticket holders. Those who don’t do the tour, but would like to hear the music, may for a $10 fee. Please bring lawn chairs for events at the winery. Toilet facilities are available at the Tuscarora Academy, Book Indian Mound, Lower Tuscarora Presbyterian Church and Juniata Valley Winery.

Tickets must be bought in advance and are available at the Juniata County Library, Juniata Valley Winery [every Friday night], and Juniata County Historical Society Archives, 498 Jefferson Street, Suite B, Mifflintown, PA 17059 [Tuesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to noon]. Telephone 717-436-5152 or email: jchs1931@juniatacountyhistoricalsociety.org. Tickets are also available from society board members or members of the Tuscarora Academy Fund-raising committee.

Annual Meeting Set – Amended Bylaws Vote

The Annual Meeting of the Juniata County Historical Society will be held at 6:30 p.m., Apr 13, 2016, at Walker Grange, Mexico. Active members of the Society may vote to elect the Board of Directors, and to approve the Amended Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.

Copies of the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws can be viewed right here by downloading the Proposed Bylaws and Proposed Articles of Incorporation, or by visiting the Archives Room, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Copies will also be made available at the Meeting.


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Spring Program to Feature Centralia Mine Fire Presentation

Author David DeKok shows a photo of what the street behind him used to look like, before residents in Centralia, PA, relocated and houses were torn down. Photo by Sheila McCarthy Yorks.

Author David DeKok shows a photo of what the street behind him used to look like, before residents in Centralia, PA, relocated and houses were torn down. [Photo by Sheila McCarthy Yorks.]

The JCHS Annual Meeting and Spring Dinner Program will begin at 6:30 p.m., April 13, 2016 at Walker Grange, Mexico, PA. There will be 50/50 tickets sold to benefit the Tuscarora Academy. After the meal, a short business meeting will be held to elect board members.


Membership may also be asked to vote on Society bylaws and articles of incorporation, if revisions are complete. This will be followed by author David DeKok’s presentation, “Fire Underground: The Ongoing Tragedy of the Centralia Mine Fire.” DeKok, a former journalist for the Shamokin News Item, has been reporting on the mine fire for nearly 40 years.

Tickets cost $15 per person, for a family style meal of oven fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, broccoli with bacon dressing, coleslaw, beverages, and cake and ice cream. Guests are limited to 100, and $5 from each ticket benefits the General Operating Fund.

The deadline for reservations and payment is no later than April 6, 2016. Reservations can be made by contacting the Archives Room, lower level of the Juniata County Library building, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., at 717-436-5152. If you leave a phone message, please state your name, number of tickets requested, and a phone number.


Tickets may be picked up at the Archives Room, or mailed to you if you include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your payment. Checks should be made payable to the Juniata County Historical Society, at 498 Jefferson Street, Suite B, Mifflintown, PA 17059.

Successful Academy Fund-raiser Thanks to You

The First Annual Tuscarora Academy Fundraiser was a big success that could not have happened without: a lot of hard work by our fund-raising committee; great community support by sponsors of the event; use of the Juniata Valley Winery grounds and facilities; and the auction services of Steve McLaughlin. In addition, hundreds of individuals donated items for both the silent and live auctions, including books,pottery, rifles, photographs, collectibles, and artwork, as well as a shoo-fly pattern, civil war reproduction fabric quilt by the Juniata Valley Quilters Guild.

The committee members were: Audrey Sizelove, Austin and Nancy Willi, Sheila Yorks, Waynett Dunn, Chuck and Nora Houser, Bill Rohm, Laurie Cox Gilbert, Tennille Shetron, Becky Smith and Mike Hower.

Sponsors at various contribution levels were: Trustee, $500 – DuMor, Inc., Miller & Gentry CPA’s, Maple Lawn Associates, Inc., Brown Funeral Home Inc.; Principal, $250 – Baum Transport, Inc., Sausman Insurance Agency; Teacher, $100 – Byron Gray, Jack Gaughen Network Services Hower & Associates, Robert D. Hower Mifflintown Storage, Leonard Insurance Agency, Kauffman Insurance Agency, Regester Chevrolet, Inc., Spruce Hill Body Shop, Roger Snyder Insurance LLP, Fayette Trailer Sales, Casner’s Service Center, Mahantango Enterprises, Stuart and Janice Kehler, Jane Marhefka; Student, $50 – Marilyn’s Pool Supplies, Jim and Brenda Clark, Juniata Lumber, Joe Zook Accounting Service, Walter Rex Funeral Home, Long’s Store, Oxbow Customizing Processing, Benner’s Butcher Shop LLC, John H. Sheaffer Dodge, Taylor Service Center, Donna Grentz, Nancy Wolfgang, Seth Mosebey, Dorothy Sheaffer, Karen Henry, and Laurie Cox. The JCHS Board of Directors also thanks: Century 21 Above and Beyond, Fox’s Pizza, WJUN Radio, Swartz Signs, Bread of Life Restaurant, Loveshine Rentals, Absolute Bliss, Serendipity Day Spa, Locust Grove Retirement Village, Geisinger, Willa’s Gym, Thompsontown Emmanuel Lutheran Church, and the musicians, Fever Trees, East Juniata High School Jazz Band, and Faces 4 Radio.

Without the buyers who attended the event it also could not have been such a great success. Hats off to you!

Thanks to everyone for their support of this first annual fund-raiser event which will help to keep the Tuscarora Academy open as a Museum.