2009-07-16 / Local & State

Historical Society News

The summer meeting of the Fulton County Historical Society took place at the historic Tonoloway Primitive Baptist Church the evening of July 10. Following a short business meeting conducted by President Dick Miller, society members and guests heard a presentation by Historical Society board member John Mentzer on the 19th century signatures that were uncovered when wallpaper was removed during a interior restoration of the church in 2004.

Mentzer, who is also a board member of the Friends of Tonoloway Primitive Baptist Church, spent two years identifying, researching and writing "Tonoloway, If Its Walls Could Talk." The 140-page book was published by the Friends in August 2008 and identifies some of the Union soldiers who signed Tonoloway's walls in 1862 when the church was used as a federal hospital during Stonewall Jackson's bombardment of nearby Hancock.

Mentzer gave a brief history of Tonoloway, which was established in 1745 and is the 10th oldest Baptist church in the United States. He shared details about the lives of some of the soldiers who signed the church walls, including Pennsylvanians Archibald Griffin, who, after the war, was employed at the Keystone Foundry and Machine Shops in Hopewell, Pa., and John Madison Cruse, who was wounded by friendly fire and hospitalized at Tonoloway.

Accounts of the lives of civilians Mary Hart Bowles, born 1825, of Hancock and Bazil C. Cattlet, born 1830, of Fulton County were also shared.

Mentzer was honored for his documentation of the Tonoloway signatures by the Historical Society with a 2008 Historian of the Year award at the society's annual meeting in April.

Copies of his Tonoloway book are still available for $25 plus $3 shipping and handling. Contact Marlin Douglas, 215 Meadow Lane, Chambersburg, PA 17201, telephone 717-263-9860 or e-mail dougmar@yellowbananas.com

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