Journal Browse

Washington: Revolutionary War Arsenal at Carlisle

As a source of manpower, leadership, and vital supplies, Carlisle and its vicinity played a significant role in the Revolutionary War effort. Nevertheless, and notwithstanding the fact that much of its present population has roots reaching well into the era of America's struggle for independence, the eastern region of Cumberland County has not until recently had its own chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. Instead, interested and eligible residents affiliated with groups centered on Harrisburg, York, Gettysburg or Shippensburg.

Wasu, Student at the Carlisle Indian School

Editorial Introduction. Mary Jane (Rippey) Heistand was born in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, in 1856 of a family long settled in that town and part of the county. In 1878 she married Lieutenant Henry O.S. Heistand, who had graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in that same year. She accompanied him to the West, where he was stationed at the Poplar Creek Indian Agency in Montana Territory and at Forts Abraham Lincoln and Yates in Dakota Territory. Subsequently Captain Heistand was assigned as instructor to the Ohio National Guard, and there Mrs. Heistand became intimately acquainted with Mr. and Mrs. William McKinley of Canton, with whom her husband's family were friendly. As Mrs. McKinley was an invalid, she gladly and gratefully accepted the many services and kindnesses provided her as Governor McKinley's wife by her friend Mrs. Heistand. When McKinley was elected president in 1896 the Heistands accompanied him to Washington, the major assigned to the Adjutant General's Department with duties at the White House, and Mrs. Heistand running errands, arranging appointments, and acting almost as a substitute hostess for the First Lady, as in Ohio. She had made herself indispensable by "cleverness and push," a journalist wrote; the wives of the Cabinet members did not approve; and the arrangement soon came to an end.

We are Not in the Cumberland Valley Any More, Toto! The Great Migration to Kansas in the 1870's

Since Cumberland County was first settled, the Cumberland Valley has been a stopping-place for many people on the way to somewhere else, whether it was on down the Valley to Virginia and Kentucky, or, later, into the Ohio Country. In the decades before the Civil War, migration was continuous. As some people moved in, others moved out. Place names like New Carlisle, Ohio and Mechanicsburg, Indiana bear witness to the Cumberland Valley origins of many of the first settlers of the fertile prairies of the Midwest.

Some ventured even further, and Pennsylvanians were among those who in the 1850's participated in the settlement not only of the new states of Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota but also of the newly opened lands in the northeastern quarter of Kansas Territory. In Kansas, some sought opportunity in thriving new towns like Lawrence and Leavenworth, where they also became embroiled in the savage political struggles between pro- and anti-slavery forces.

We, the People Identified: Cumberland County, Pennsylvania and the First United States Census, 1790-1791

Two years ago occurred the 200th anniversary of the taking of the first United States census in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. This investigation into the history of that event and its circumstances is in observance of the county's participation in an event which was a necessary part of the founding of the United States Government.

Weakley Family Black Sheep: Why James Geddes Weakly Was Disowned

In May of 1837, James and Eliza Geddes Weakley welcomed into their home in Mill Town (Huntsdale) their youngest son, James Geddes (JG) Weakley. The grandson of Samuel Weakley, JG was also the great grandson of the patriarch of "one of the most prominent families in the western part of the county," James Weakley. What act or acts did JG Weakley, a seemingly honorable man, commit in later life that caused him to be erased from the family tree?

What's in a Name: Hickorytown

The name "Hickorytown" is actually a misnomer on the word "town." What it refers to is a cluster of houses around two former taverns spread seven-tenths of a mile along Trindle Springs Road, three and a half miles east of Carlisle. It was this way in the 1840s, and little has changed over the years.

The name comes from the large number of hickory trees in the area when the first farmers settled the land. The early surveyors used these trees (as well as stones, stumps and other impermanent items) to mark the comers of the early surveys. Who named the village is not known, but the term was in use by the 1850s.

What's in a Name: Shepherdstown

Shepherdstown is one of a score of small villages that have come and gone along the old Gettysburg Road since the beginning of the 19th century. Like the others, it commenced chiefly as an overnight stop for travelers, then later grew modestly into a trading center for farmers of the vicinity. And like most of the others, the advent of the automobile gradually put an end to its commercial role, relegating it once more to being a sleepy residential hamlet.

What's in a Name: White Hill

White Hill is a village designation along the northern edge of Lower Allen Township, centered at the intersection of Hummel Avenue and 18th Street. Villages lack municipal boundaries, but the general area of White Hill would be considered as west of the end of the residential development in the Borough of Lemoyne on Hummel Avenue and extending westerly along the railroad track approximately one mile to the intersection of Carlisle Road and State Road. White Hill has also been used to designate the first stone house to be erected in Camp Hill, then known as Lowther Manor (Whitehill's); a railroad village started in the late 1830s; two railroad stations on two separate rail lines; and the end of the line on the streetcar run.