Greencastle AME Church & Underground Railroad

Greencastle AME Church & Underground Railroad

The Rev. Thomas W. Henry (1794 to 1877) was born into slavery in Leonardtown, MD. Henry became a free man in 1821 and in 1835 became a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. When Henry married his first wife, she was enslaved. He saved money and was able to buy her freedom, and that of two of their four children. The other two children were sold before he could raise the money to purchase them. Although they were his children, they were enslaved and required their freedom be bought. Rev. Henry worked as an abolitionist to free the enslaved in MD via the Underground Railroad.

Discovered after the raid on Harper’s Ferry, Rev. Henry’s name was on papers belonging to John Brown. As an itinerant preacher, Rev Henry preached in AME churches in Frederick, Hagerstown, Greencastle, Chambersburg, and beyond.  It is known that he helped enslaved adults and children get from Frederick to Hagerstown. Hagerstown, located in a slave state, is six miles south of the Mason-Dixon Line- the traditional demarcation between slavery & freedom.  From Hagerstown north, Greencastle was the next closest town located on free soil with an AME congregation. There are no government validated UGRR sites in the town of Greencastle but to travel from Hagerstown to Chambersburg would have been a 24- mile trip, which could not have been easily made in one night.

From 1816 to circa 1873, Greencastle’s Bethel AME church was a log building at 227 South Carlisle St. The “new” AME church, pictured here, was built about 1873 on the same site where the log structure was located. ~ There had to be a stop or stops (run by both black and white families) in Greencastle, but as aiding and abetting escaped enslaved people was illegal, there were very few written accounts throughout the states.

In Antrim Township, Timothy Anderson Sr, a free black man living on Ridge Road, was a conductor on the UGRR.  Anderson was a member of the Greencastle Presbyterian Church and hired free black men and formerly enslaved men at his sawmill business. From Hagerstown, the routes fanned out in other directions- one to the east to the Shockey farm in Ringgold, MD, across the Maryland Line to the Christian Shockey farm east of Waynesboro, and then to Hiram Wertz. From Hagerstown westward, the route connected to Mercersburg, which had the largest African American population in the county.

Article is excerpted from the Allison-Antrim March 2023 Newsletter. For more information, please visit:, Facebook, on Twitter @greencastlemuzm, or call 717-597-9010.  Allison-Antrim Museum, is open regularly Tuesday to Friday, from noon to 4 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Middleburg/Mason-Dixon Line Historical Society, Monthly Meeting

The Middleburg/Mason-Dixon Line Historical Society, Monthly Meeting

Thursday December 15th, 2022 * 7:00 PM
The Middleburg/Mason-Dixon Line Historical Society will meet at the State Line Ruritan Building,
15481 Park Drive, located off Route 11 at the State Line, PA Community Park. 
Guest speaker is Scott Mingus, an historian and author of 28 books on the Civil War and Underground Railroad.
Mr. Mingus is a retired scientist and executive in the global pulp and paper industry.
The program will be “Targeted Tracks.”
The Cumberland Valley Railroad connected Hagerstown, MD to Harrisburg, PA.
Because of its proximity to major cities in the East, the CVRR was an enticing Confederate target.
When the Northern military and railroad officials failed to protect the line, Southern horsemen tore up tracks, seized and torched supplies, and destroyed warehouses, engine houses, and passenger depots.
The public is invited, free.  Visit or call 301-739-0357.
230th Thaddeus Stevens Birthday Celebration Comes To Caledonia

230th Thaddeus Stevens Birthday Celebration Comes To Caledonia

The new tribute to Thaddeus Stevens is a bronze statue called Men in Pursuit of Justice Must Never Despair.  It is a quote of Stevens. The statue shows 6-ft. tall Stevens’ clutching a copy of the 14th Amendment, one of his greatest achievements. The base of the statue is shaped like Pennsylvania. A celebration is slated for April 1, 2, and 3.

The Thaddeus Stevens Society launched a fundraising effort in 2015 to raise $55,000 for the statue. By 2018 the Society had amassed pledges of $15,500. A lifetime member and lifelong admirer of Stevens, Michael Charney, offered to pay the remaining $39,500, making the statue possible.

The Celebration at Caledonia State Park

Sunday, April 3, Events at Caledonia State Park, at Rt. 30 and Rt. 233, near Chambersburg, PA in the main office conference room.

10 a.m. to noon — Economist William A. Darity of Duke University, author of From Here to Equality, Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century, will talk about Stevens and reparations. A. Kirsten Mullen, co-author of From Here to Equality and a folklorist and founder of Artefactual, an arts-consulting practice, will  also present “Finishing the job, Thaddeus Stevens and the true Radical Republicans started,” examining the material basis for black Americans’ full citizen rights which he and Sen. Charles Sumner and abolitionist Wendel Phiillips  recommended consistently from 1861 to 1866 — Free, light lunch will be served

1 p.m. — 3 p.m. — Thaddeus Stevens Society business meeting and tour of park’s blacksmith shop

Allison Antrim Offers Virtual Presentation of Timothy Anderson By Bonnie Shockey

Allison Antrim Offers Virtual Presentation of Timothy Anderson By Bonnie Shockey

Allison-Antrim Museum focuses on Timothy Anderson Sr. He was born a free Black. His father Robert Anderson was white, Scot-Irish, and Presbyterian having been born in Northern Ireland in 1760.  His mother was African. She was born somewhere along the Ivory Coast of West Africa.  How the Robert Anderson family made its way to Franklin County, PA is unknown.  Three of their sons are known to us at this time – William (born in 1792 in PA), Elias (born 1793 in PA), and Timothy Sr. (born in 1796 in Franklin County, PA).

Timothy Sr. owned 58 acres of land in Antrim Township, about two and half miles north of the Mason-Dixon Line. His home was a stop on the Underground Railroad and Timothy Sr. was a conductor and engineer.  It was illegal to harbor fugitives who escaped from slavery. If caught the conductors could be jailed and heavily fined. The Underground Railroad existed but those involved and the “stops” on the “line” were closely kept secrets.  So, 170 years later, how do we know Timothy Anderson Sr was a conductor on the Underground Railroad?  The well-kept family secrets will be revealed during the PowerPoint, which can be accessed at:

For more information, please visit:, Facebook, on Twitter @greencastlemuzm, on Instagram at allison_antrim, or call 717-597-9010.  Allison-Antrim Museum, 365 S  Ridge Ave, Greencastle, PA is open, by appointment, Tuesday to Friday, from noon to 4 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please call 717-597-9010 to make an appointment.

African American History Is American History

African American History Is American History

The Franklin County Visitors Bureau is hosting its annual African American History Is American History presentation on Saturday, February 22, at the 11/30 Visitors Center. The event begins at 1 PM in the second-level Great Room of the 11/30 Visitors Center. The 2020 installment of African American History Is American History focuses on Underground Railroad to USCT (United States Colored Troops).

Franklin County’s location on the Mason Dixon Line attracted many freedom seekers from 1830 to 1860. It was during this time that the anti-slavery movement gained momentum and became known as the Underground Railroad. In addition to being just over the Maryland-Pennsylvania line, Franklin County is situated in the central area of the Great Appalachian Valley and offered the protection of forests and caves. It was a key passageway on the Road to Freedom. Franklin County, also, offered opportunities in farming and labor for freedom seekers to have a livelihood.

Out of location, landscape, and livelihood, a sizeable African American population rooted in Franklin County. The Mercersburg area African American population was the largest. The Kerrstown area of Chambersburg was another sizeable population as well as areas adjoining the Caledonia Ironworks of Thaddeus Stevens.

By July 1862, the U.S. Congress passed the confiscation Act and Militia Act, emancipating slaves of the Confederacy in Union-controlled territory and allowing persons of African descent to participate in the military and Navy. Franklin County African American population answered the call and joined the USCT. Today, the county’s and the country’s USCT are interred in three local cemeteries—Mount Vernon, Zion Union, and Locust Grove. The presentation will conclude with an optional visit to the graves of USCT at Mount Vernon Cemetery.

Complimenting Saturday’s presentation is the “Beauty of Diversity” exhibit, displayed in the 11/30 Visitors Center lobby and presented in conjunction with regional photographer Phillip Whitely. African American History Is American History is a free event. Register here.