Indian Artifacts Set for July 23 at Academy

Indian artifact collectors will be at the Tuscarora Academy Museum Sunday, July 23 from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m.

   Steve Zeiders, an enthusiastic collector from Mifflintown who has been collecting since 1962, will bring his vast collection of artifacts. Some that will be displayed on his tables include bannerstones, drills, mini-axes, knives, hammer stones, sharpening tools, celts, engraved tools, stone bowls, scrapers, sewing needles, clay and stone pipes, and a fire starter rock. This year alone he’s found an additional 55 artifacts, he notes.

  Andy Paige, another avid artifact collector from Thompsontown, will bring his collection again this year. Things he plans to have on display are a granite celt, large pestle (used for grinding or crushing), and a bell axe (somewhat rare). His unique pieces include the Susquehannock tubular trade beads from a Washington Borough site in Lancaster County. He explains that these are glass tubular shaped beads brought here by Europeans and were used as trade with the American Indians.

   Along with Paige, he’s bringing another devoted collector who has an immense collection and will be right alongside the other two men. He’ll be showcasing over 50 years’ worth of items.

   All three will be willing to inspect your items that you’ve collected and possibly identify them as artifacts.

   As last year, there will be a free ice cream sundae giveaway provided by The Creme’ Stop. There will be a limited amount, so make sure you’re there early. 

   You won’t want to miss this Sunday afternoon’s event!


The Juniata County Historical Society’s Archives Room is closed so that our volunteers can celebrate the founding of our Country on July 4 and 5. Regular hours resume Tuesday, July 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Wednesday, July 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

NEW: Saturdays that the Archives is open this summer are: July 22 and August 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Tuscarora Academy Museum is open every Sunday during the summer months of June, July and August from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m.

We also just became aware that we have been approved for the Keystone Historical Preservation Grant!!! This will give us half of the cost of the window project at the Academy Museum which amounts to $25,797.20!!!!

Archives Room Is Open

The closure at the corner of Cross Street and Jefferson Street has been open since early May. We are officially open for business every Tuesday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Opening Sunday at Tuscarora Academy Museum

For our first Sunday of the season, we’re holding extended hours & will have special guests! Save the Date – June 4th!

Stolen Antiques Returned to Historical Society

By Jane Cannon Mort

Two firearms and a Civil War-era fife that were stolen from the Juniata County Historical Society’s museum, the Tuscarora Academy, almost 45 years ago, are back where they belong.

Jess Guyer, society volunteer and museum curator, worked with Philadelphia-area authorities for more than two years to identify and verify items that the society had reported missing in March 1979. The items included a Revolutionary War-era Sharpe flintlock pistol that belonged to an ancestor of Guyer’s, a World War I-era pistol and a Civil War fife.

On March 13, Guyer attended a repatriation event at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, where she was given the items to bring home. The items were among a large number of antiques, mostly firearms, stolen from 16 mu-seums in Pennsylvania and nearby states. In 2021, the thief, Michael Corbett, was indicted by a grand jury for possession of some of the firearms stolen from museums during the 1970s. He entered a guilty plea and led authorities to other stolen items.

Society volunteer Susan Bassler, Montgomery County Detective Brendan Dougherty, and Tuscarora Academy Museum Curator Jessica Guyer (l-r) were at the March 13 ceremony.

Guyer has planned a special day, Noon– 5 p.m., June 4, at the Academy to showcase the returned items. Special guests involved in the case are invited. The items are:

A Sharpe flintlock pistol that had been in the Culbertson family for 200 years before being donated to the society. It can be traced back to the donors’ great-great-grandfather, a Revolutionary War soldier named Samuel Culbertson, a captain in one of the “Flying Camp” battalions, who was taken prisoner at the Battle of Fort Washington in 1776. He spent four years in captivity.

“This return is especially personal to me because these Culbertsons sit on a branch of my own family tree,” Guyer said. It was Samuel’s grandson, James, who moved the family to Juniata County. His grandchildren, Viola and Wayne, were the donors.

Viola Culbertson also donated the Colt 45 that was used in World War I by Alfred J. Bartran. He was born in England in 1887, and after a tragic childhood, eventually made his way to a school in America and became a citizen. Bartran was sent over-seas to fight in World War I. He became a 1st Lieutenant in a machine gun battalion, and was badly wounded on the first day of the Argonne Offensive. He was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart. After the war, Bartran worked in government foreign service in Washington D.C. In 1927 he married a Juniata County native, and, when the couple resided in Wash-ington, another Juniata Countian, Viola Culbertson, lived with them. She was a graduate of Tuscarora Academy and also worked at a government agency. After retiring, the three moved to Juniata County where they remained for the rest of their lives.

An Albert System Fife used by Civil War veteran J. Marshall Donnelly of East Waterford. He served two enlistments during which he led the drum and fife corps. Donnelly was injured twice, including being shot in the ear. After the war, he contin-ued fifing ceremonially at parades and other veterans’ events.

Three stolen item have been returned to the Society and will be displayed ONLY June 4 at the Tuscarora Academy Museum.