Browse Encyclopedia

The Cumberland County Historical Encyclopedia is an expanding publication on the history of the Cumberland County. Covering a wide range of topics and the entire Cumberland County geographic region, the Encyclopedia seeks to be an initial entry point to those interested in the County's history. Entries seek to provide a list of resources available as well as showcasing some of the Cumberland County Historical Society's own collections.

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Hamilton Library Association

Photo of the Hamilton Library Building with group of men in front. Building decorated with bunting for the 1909 Old Home Week.

James Hamilton, Jr., founder of the Hamilton Library and Historical Association, was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania on October 16, 1793, the only son of Judge James Hamilton (born 1752 in Belfast, Ireland, died February 13, 1819) and his wife Sarah Thomson, daughter of Rev. William and Susanna Ross Thomson.

Emmeline Hamilton (1804-1823)

Emmeline and her brother and sisters lived their lives in this three-story brick house on West High Street near the corner of Pitt Street in Carlisle.

Emmeline Veazey Hamilton, daughter of Judge James and Sarah Hamilton, was born on December 8, 1804, and although she lived for only eighteen years, her name was carried on in her relatives’ families for several generations. (Emmeline Hamilton Parker Grubb, Emmeline Cruse and Emmeline Bradish.)

James Hamilton, Jr. (1793-1873)

Image of James Hamilton Jr.

James Hamilton, Jr., founder of the Hamilton Library Association and what became the Cumberland County Historical Society, was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania on October 16, 1793, the only son of Judge James Hamilton (born 1752 in Belfast, Ireland, died February 13, 1819) and his wife Sarah Thomson, daughter of Rev. William and Susanna Ross Thomson.

Mary Hamilton (1796-1831)

Scan of a letter from Mary Hamilton to James and Susan Hamilton from Lancaster, PA. 1830

Mary Hamilton, daughter of Judge James and Sarah Hamilton, was born in Carlisle on August 2, 1796. Letters between Mary’s father and his friend John Brown of Philadelphia provide details of her early life. Mary was nine years old in November 1805 when she was sent to Mr. and Mrs.

Regina Hartman

A pageant in front of the First Presbyterian Church, in 1934, showing people dressed in colonial costumes, in celebration of the church's 200th anniverary.

During the colonial era, Cumberland County was on the western frontier of colonial settlement. Although treaties had been signed allowing legal settlement, peaceful relations with Native Americans was not achieved until the 1770s.

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