News and Events: 2017

August 19th:  Civil War Series, Program 3  "Living History!  Civil War Encampment in Hatboro"


Civil War history was brought to life on the grounds of the Hatboro Baptist Church when troops from Company C of the 28th PA Volunteers Infantry Regiment set-up camp while on a recruiting campaign for men in the Montgomery and Bucks County areas!


Gentleman, ladies and children from the area visited the troops during their 6-hour stay in Hatboro.  The company's officers and troops welcomed the visitors and shared first-hand what typical camp life was like.  They conducted marching drills and demonstrated how to load and fire rifles.  They explained that troops typically drilled about eight hours a day.  Soldiers were also assigned camp duties to help support camp viability and discipline while keeping troops active and engaged in the often boring and tedious camp life.




Some of the Company C troops relaxed by their tents and talked about the equipment troops regularly carried with them, as well as some of the personal effects that provided them some peace, comfort and the sentiments from home.  Click here for more images and information about the accouterment and effects of the typical troop.  The Company captain welcomed visitors to stop by his headquarters and to learn about his responsibilities.  All the while, the camp cook was busy preparing an aromatic corned beef and cabbage lunch as a welcomed respite for the troops from their busy day of drilling and working.    



June 26th:  Civil War Series, Program 2  "Women in the Civil War; Camp William Penn"


In the second program of Millbrook's Civil War Series, local historian and reenactor, Michael Jesberger, along with his captain of Company C of the 28th PA Volunteers, John Green, took attendees onto two fronts of the war: the role and contributions of women during the war; and, an overview of Camp William Penn in Cheltenham, PA.

The Civil War marked the first time women left their homes to actively support the war effort.  Traditionally, a woman's role was raising the children and providing for a clean, comfortable and nurturing home. 

With men from the North and South at war, women not only became heads of their households, but also played integral roles during the war.  For example, women influenced the founding of the U.S. Sanitary Commission (approved by President Lincoln in 1861), a civilian effort for raising funds and collecting supplies to provide for the health and wellness of Union troops.  Armies of women volunteers in major cities formed groups that collected donations and held events that raised funds.  Women also provided for sewing clothes, making bandages, cooking, packing food and other goods, and serving as nurses in military hospitals.  One of the grandest sanitary commission events was held on Logan Square in Philadelphia in June 1864, and was visited by President and Mrs. Lincoln. 

All that is left today of Camp William Penn, located in the La Mott section of Cheltenham, are two stone pillars that held part of the gates to the complex.  Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, paved the way for black troops to serve in the federal army and the establishment in May of the U.S. Bureau of Colored Troops (USCT) by the War Department.  In June, Camp William Penn was established as the first and largest facility to train black federal soldiers.  The land was owned by a relative of abolitionist Lucretia Mott and the camp was adjacent to her estate.   

Over 10,000 black soldiers and 11 regiments were trained at Camp William Penn.  Renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglas visited the camp and spoke to the 3rd USCT in July 1863 about their importance to the Union war effort and the positive impact of their service on their race.  These soldiers wanted to prove they were just as good as white soldiers.  Despite the formal recognition of black troops in the Union Army, racial animosity was relevant in the north, including Philadelphia.  For example, the 3rd USCT was not allowed to parade through Philadelphia while departing from camp to war.  These troops also were equipped less and paid less than white soldiers.  After the 3rd USCT regiment and other USCT troops from other cities fought bravely in battle, subsequent troops were able to march proudly and were cheered loudly as they departed Camp William Penn for the battlefield.        

May 10th:  Annual Meeting Recap

David Shannon, Millbrook's President, welcomed attendees and opened the Annual Meeting with a special presentation recognizing the commitment and contributions of Christy McDuell, who concluded her long tenure as editor of Grist, the Society's journal.  Christy started as a Millbrook student intern, then briefly led the student intern program, and assumed responsibility as Grist editor.  Thank you, Christy! 


Lin Magaha highlighted operational budget items in the Treasurer's Report, and Ralph Ciaudelli reviewed Millbrook's 2016 accomplishments and updated goals for 2017.  Current Board members Jim Maccaroni (and new Grist editor), Lin Magaha and Bob Schofield were elected for another 2-year term. 



David Shannon is flanked by Mike Jesberger (l) and John Greene.


After the business portion of the meeting concluded, guest speaker Michael Jesberger and Captain John Greene, both reenactors with the 28th PA Militia Volunteers "mustered in" Millbrook's Civil War Series.   Michael presented the series' first program, "Overview of the American Civil War on the home front. President Lincoln and Philadelphia."  Mr. Jesberger's passion and style of uncovering history's time line with lesser known and local facts and anecdotes and images, left attendees not only more informed, but more reflective and appreciative of our history.  His program highlighted Abraham Lincoln's four visits to Philadelphia, and especially how Lincoln was deeply impacted by his visit to Independence Hall.  But, closer to home, his program also paid tribute to area soldiers, particularly the 20 known Civil War veterans whose final resting place is Hatboro.

Brownie Troop 7434 stopped by Millbrook for a closer look at Hatboro history.  On May 17th, about 15 girls and three leaders from Brownie Troop 7434 stopped by Millbrook.  This activity was designed to introduce the girls to local history in Hatboro.  David Shannon shared interesting facts and stories about Hatboro and called attention to many artifacts in the collection.  But, the highlight of the visit was each girl ringing the Hatboro Baptist Church bell!  

The Society hosted Cub Scout Den 3 from Pack 17 in early March.  About 10 cub scouts and 10 

parents came to see the 1939 Board of Trade Movie.  The silent film presents the way people, places and things looked at this time in Hatboro's history.  David Shannon and Kathy Burgess presented the program.

The Queen Anne's Lace local Quester group visited Millbrook on Monday, January 9th.  The members viewed items in our collection, and then Millbrook's president, David Shannon, presented a program on early land owners in Hatboro and Horsham based on information from Millbrook's recently published Charles Harper Smith book compendium. 


The Questers are an international organization consisting of state and local chapters of members with a strong desire to see the best of American heritage is preserved for future generations through preservation, restoration and education.