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A generation which ignores history has no past -- and no future.

Robert Heinlein

History of Chambersburg, (Franklin County) Pennsylvania

Featured Picture:

Court House, Chambersburg PA ca 1906

Local History Notes:

The 1854 Gazetteer of the United States by Thomas Baldwin shows:

CHAMBERSBURG, a flourishing borough, capital of Franklin county, Pennsylvania, is pleasantly situated on the Conecocheague creek, at the junction of the Cumberland Valley railroad with the Franklin railroad 45 miles S. W. from Harrisburg, and 150 miles W. from Philadelphia. It is connected by good turnpike-roads with Baltimore, Pittsburg, and Philadelphia, and by railroad with Philadelphia, Harrisburg, &c. The dwellings are mostly built of brick or stone, and the town exhibits a general appearance of neatness, comfort, and prosperity. It has a fine court house, a bank, a large academy, a female seminary, 8 churches, and 5 newspaper offices. It is surrounded by a highly cultivated, and populous country, forming part of the great limestone valley which extends along the S. E. base of the Blue mountain. The highest points of the ridge in Franklin county are estimated at about 1500 feet above the valley. It has manufactories of cotton, wool, flour, paper, and iron. Population, in 1853, about 4500.


A Biography of Edmund R. Calhoun

Edmund R. Calhoun, naval officer, was born in Chambersburg, Pa., May 6, 1821. He entered the navy as midshipman, April 1, 1839, receiving his appointment from Missouri. He served in the Brazil and Mediterranean squadrons until 1845, when he was assigned to the naval school at Philadelphia. In July, 1845, he was appointed passed midshipman and was made master Jan. 6, 1853, resigning June 27 of that year. He re-entered the navy as acting lieutenant Sept. 24, 1861; was commissioned commander Nov. 17, 1862; captain, March 2, 1869; commodore, April 26, 1876, and rear admiral, Dec. 3. 1882, when he was retired from active service. He served in the Mexican war in the first attack on Alvarado, under Conner, and in the assault on Tabasco, under Perry. In 1861-62 he commanded the steamer Hunchback of the North Atlantic blockading squadron, and took part in the battle of Roanoke Island, the capture of Newbern and the engagements below Franklin in the Blackwater River in October, 1862. In 1863 he commanded the steamer Ladona, and afterwards the monitor Weehawken, of the South Atlantic squadron, in her various engagements with Forts Sumter, Wagner and Beauregard in 1863. In 1864-65 he commanded the monitor Saugus of the North Atlantic squadron, and engaged Howlett's battery on the James River June 21, and again Dec. 5, 1864, also taking part in the bombardment of Fort Fisher. From the close of the war until 1876 he was in command of the Asiatic and South Pacific stations, and on April 17, 1877, he took command of the navy yard at Mare Island, California, where he remained until Jan. 15, 1881. He was then on special duty until his retirement in December. 1882. He died in Washington, D.C., Feb. 17, 1897.

From: Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, Johnson, Rossiter, editor

George Chambers Biography

George Chambers, jurist, was born in Chambersburg, Pa., Feb. 24, 1786. The town was founded by his grandfather. He was graduated at Princeton college in 1804, and was admitted to the bar in 1807, beginning practice at Chambersburg. In 1833 he was elected a representative from Pennsylvania in the 23rd Congress as a Whig, and was re-elected to the 24th Congress, serving until March 3, 1837. In the latter year he was a member of the state constitutional convention of Pennsylvania. He was appointed a justice of the supreme court of Pennsylvania, April 12, 1851, and occupied that position until it was vacated by constitutional provision. He wrote a history of the Cumberland Valley, the manuscript of which was destroyed when the Confederate troops burned his house during their invasion of Pennsylvania. He died in Chambersburg, Pa., March 25, 1866.

From: Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, Johnson, Rossiter, editor

A Short Biography of Moses Kieffer

Moses Kieffer, educator, was born near Chambersburg, Pa., May 5, 1814; son of Christian and Mary (Poorman) Kieffer. He was graduated from Marshall college in 1838; entered the ministry of the German Reformed church, and was pastor at Waterstreet, Huntingdon county, Pa., 1839-43, and of the First Reformed church at Hagerstown, Md., 1843-50. He removed to Reading, Pa., in 1850, where he founded and built the Second Reformed church and was pastor there until 1855. He was president of Heidelberg college, Tiffin, Ohio, 1855-63; professor in the theological department of the college, 1855-68, and pastor of churches: at Sandusky, Ohio, 1868; Chambersburg, 1869-71; Greencastle, 1871-74, and Gettysburg, 1874-87. In July, 1887, he removed to Sioux City, Iowa, where he was a missionary, and where the "Dr. Kieffer Memorial Church" was built to his memory. He had charge of the publications of the German Reformed church, 1848-63. He received the degree of D.D. He was married May 5, 1840, at Emmitsburg, Md., to Catharine Ann, daughter of George Smith, and of their sons: the Rev. Augustus Ranch Keiffer was a graduate of Hiedelberg college, 1860, and settled in Bradford, Pa., and George Smith Keiffer settled in Baltimore, Md. He married secondly, during his residence in Sandusky, Ohio, Elizabeth, widow of Charles Barney, who survived him. He died in Sandusky, Ohio, Feb. 3, 1888.

From: Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, Johnson, Rossiter, editor

Charles Pettigrew - A Biography

Charles Pettigrew, clergyman, was born in Chambersburg, Pa., March 20, 1748; son of James Petigru, or Pettigrew, the immigrant. He remained in North Carolina and obtained his education under the tutelage of the Rev. Henry Pattillo and the Rev. James Waddel. He taught school at Edenton, N.C., 1773-74, and received ordination in the established church at London, England, in 1775, from the bishop of Rochester. He was rector of St. Paul's church, Edenton, N.C., and one of the foremost movers in the organization of the Protestant Episcopal church in North Carolina, first calling a meeting of the clergy and laity at Tarboro, June 5, 1790. He was a trustee of the University of North Carolina, 1790-93, and was elected the first bishop of North Carolina, May 31, 1794, but was never consecrated, on account of the yellow fever epidemic in in Norfolk and his own ill health. He died in Tyrrell county, N.C. April 8, 1807.

From: Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, Johnson, Rossiter, editor

A Biography of Thomas Robert Bard
Edmund Ross Colhoun Biography
Thomas Hartley Crawford Biography

Pennsylvania Facts:
Tree: hemlock
Bird: ruffed grouse
Flower: mountain laurel
Nickname: Keystone State
Motto: Virtue, Liberty, and Independence
Area (sq. mi.): 45,333
Capitol: Harrisburg
Admitted: 12 Dec 1787

Franklin County Facts:

Seat: Chambersburg
Established: 1784
Formed from: Cumberland

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Chambersburg is situated 188 meters above sea level.

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