Blog: Experience John Brown and More

Abolitionist John Brown planned his raid on the Federal Arsonal at Harpers Ferry while staying at the Ritner Boarding House in Chambersburg.

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Vintage Quilt Exhibit

Plan to see the beautiful Vintage Quilt Exhibit at “The Old Jail,” opening October 18 during APPLEFEST. The museum collections date from the 1800s and  include textiles from Franklin County as well as others. The museum is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Keystone Tombstones

On Tuesday, October 21, authors Joe Farrell and Joe Farley will be sharing stories of interesting characters buried in Pa. from their new book, Keystone Tombstones, Volume III. Volume III the fourth in the Keystone Tombstones series (Keystone Tombstones Volume I and II and a special edition, The Civil War). This volume also has interesting stories of how Revolutionary War hero Mad Anthony Wayne came to be buried in two places; how a peaceful political parade turned into a violent massacre in Kelayres, Pa.; the story of Flight 93 on 9/11 and the tragic story of three young girls, who became known as the “Babes in the Woods,” found dead in the woods near Carlisle. The cover has a picture of the legendary football coach Joe Paterno’s statue which has since been removed, shortly after his death. It also contains chapters on the NFL’s first black quarterback (Willie Thrower), Revolutionary War heroine Molly Pitcher, two Pittsburgh Pirate Hall of Famers (Honus Wagner and Pie Traynor), the great actress Lillian Russell, and tells the story of a mysterious murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer who suspected CIA involvement in President Kennedy’s assassination in addition to other stories. This presentation will take place at the Grove Family Library (101 Ragged Edge Road, Chambersburg) beginning at 2 p.m.

Ghost Stories Available

Do you need some ghost stories? Copies of Franklin County Ghosts are now available in the Gift Shop at the Old Jail.

Franklin Co Ghosts


Murder at the Old Jail

Murder Mystery flyer 2014
Join us on October 31 or November 1 to see if you can figure out, “Who killed the Sheriff?” Seven suspects will be on hand to give you clues. Come any time between 6:00 and 10:00 pm. Adults $8, Children ages 6-12 $4. To obtain tickets, mail payment to FCHS-K, 175 E. King Steet, Chambersburg, PA 17201 or call 717-264-1667 to pay with credit card. Tickets will also be available at the door.

In His Own Words Author Speaking on James McCullough

James W. Houpt, author of In His Own Words, the historical narrative based on the 18th century diary of James McCullough which chronicles colonial American history prior to the Revolutionary War, has scheduled several talks at historical societies in the Pennsylvania counties documented in the McCullough diary. Mr. McCullough (1722-1781) sailed to the Americas from Ireland with his wife in 1747. They first settled in Newcastle, then moved to what is now Gettysburg, before establishing a farm in Franklin County about 1760. Along with common events in the life of a farmer and small store operator, the diary details many of battles and “massacres” visited on civilians during the French and Indian War.


Two of McCullough’s sons were captured by the Indians and carried away.  One son was never heard from. The other was located near Pittsburgh but chose to continue living with his Indian captors. At about the age of 20, he returned to his birth family and was reunited with them.  He later wrote his own story, Life with the Aborigines, which is included as the concluding chapter of James Houpt’s book. The story, which Mr. Houpt tells as a stirring narrative, covers about thirty years of McCullough family life, including children going to school, trials of the trips to Maryland for safety during the Indian raids, the building of Fort Frederick, and historical records of the events of the French and Indian War. The 166-page book comes in both soft and hard cover.


Jim Houpt was born in Mercersburg, Franklin County, Pennsylvania in 1935 just miles from the McCullough farm. His family moved numerous times to West Virginia, and to Washington County, Maryland, where he started school. He graduated from Greencastle High School 1953, left for Zion Bible College in 1954 and graduated from this college. He pastored four churches over a period of thirty years and also raised the funds and built a UHF Television Station. He did live television for some years. He retired to Florida in 1980 and has spent his retirement time indexing books, mostly for Franklin County, Pennsylvania.  He has indexed or compiled over forty books. The latest is the new five volumes of Kittochtinny Historical Society, Volumes 21-25.


On Thursday, September 25, Mr. Houpt will speak at Grove Family Library at 2 p.m. This event is sponsored by the Franklin County Historical Society.