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Past News & Events

Is your group or organization interested in viewing the Hatboro 1940 Board of Trade Film at an upcoming meeting or event, or participating in a presentation or program about relevant topics of local history?

Please contact The Millbrook Society at 215-957-1877 or

  • April 2024
    2nd Annual Crooked Billet History Fair Saturday, April 27, 2024, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Pennypack Community Center Scores of folks joined the Millbrook Society and organizations from across the region for the 2nd Annual Crooked Billet History Fair in April. Historical societies and community organizations displayed artifacts, exhibited maps and photos, told stories, and talked history. A great opportunity to learn more about our area’s past, hear what local historical societies are doing to preserve and promote our rich heritage, and discover all the wonderful resources to assist you in your own historical research was had by all attendees at the free event. Check out some pics from the event! PRESENTATION SCHEDULE: 11:00a - Privateering During the Revolutionary War 11:30a - B. Franklin, Printer (Penn's Woods Puppet Show) 12:00n - Meet a Victorian Lecturer & Lanternist from Suburban Philadelphia and his Archive 1:00p - B. Franklin, Printer (Penn's Woods Puppet Show) 1:00p - William Tennent and the Tennent House PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATIONS: American War of Independence Privateer Museum Bucks County Genealogical Society Bucks County Recorder of Deeds Farmstead Alliance Friends of Hope Lodge Friends of Northeast Philadelphia History Genealogical Society of PA Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum & Archives Historical Society of Fort Washington Historical Society of Frankford Ivyland Heritage Association Johnsville Centrifuge and Science Museum The Millbrook Society Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds Old York Road Historical Society Pennypack Questers Pennypacker Mills Upper Moreland Historical Association Warrington Historical Society William Tennent House Association
  • May 2024
    2024 Millbrook Society Annual Meeting and Montco Roots Presentation Wednesday, May 22, 2024, 7:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. at Pennypack Community Center An engaged crowd joined the Millbrook Society at Pennypack Community Center for the 2024 Annual Meeting and welcomed special guest speaker Jeanne Sorg, Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds. After brief Society business, Ms. Sorg presented her Montco Roots program discussing resources for local history research. Check out some pics from the event!
  • February 2023
    On Saturday, February 25th, 2023, local military historian Michael Jesberber presented his program - "The Valley Forge Encampment" to a capacity crowd at the Union Library of Hatboro. This joint Millbrook-Union library education program recognized President's Day and the 245th anniversary of the Valley Forge encampment. Michael talked about the miserable conditions endured by the troops and the challenges military leaders faced, particularly General Washington. The biggest challenge was disease - wet grounds and mud (more so than the cold and snow as is traditionally believed) created a breeding ground for disease. Deficient supplies were another major challenge - uniforms, equipment, meat, and bread were in short supply or unavailable - 1 of 3 soldiers was shoeless. Michael shared the inscription written on a New York marker on a monument at Valley Forge (in part) - "...its is beyond description to conceive what the men suffered." He highlighted the impact of Baron von Steuben, a 39-year-old military leader from Prussia, and his indispensable influences on molding these troops into a disciplined and formidable American army. Michael closed with one little-known story - it is believed Valley Forge was the first public birthday party for George Washington - complete with a cake made by his wife, Martha, who came up from Mount Vernon to visit and lend her support to the troops. Michael Jesberger can be reached at
  • March 2023
    The Millbrook Society recognized National Women’s History Month with a program, “Alice Paul: The Quaker Fights for Equality.” As Alice Paul (a.k.a. first-person interpreter Patricia Troilo) entered the meeting room, the audience traversed back over a century to a sunny Spring afternoon - March 26th, 1921. Before returning to Washington D.C. to continue her work and law school studies, she took time to visit us in Hatboro - a town much like Alice herself - born with and formed by Quaker values. The 19th Amendment to our United States Constitution was voted on by Congress two years ago allowing for women’s suffrage - a women’s right to vote. That Amendment became the law of the land last summer, August 1920, after Tennessee became the 36th state to vote for ratification - thus opening the way for women to vote for the first time in a presidential election. Ms. Paul has been one of the most influential leaders and voices for the cause of women’s suffrage and equality. She believed that the Quaker value of equality between men and women instilled in her by her family at an early age motivated her to advocate for these causes throughout her life. She admits that she was always interested in social issues, government, and law, and following these pursuits, she became well-traveled and highly educated (a self-described “life-long learner!”) Ms. Paul and her associates endured many struggles, suffering, and sacrifices in their fight for equality - many of which she talked about honestly and soberly during her visit at Millbrook. She shared some graphic details about the abuses she and others endured while in jail, particularly those endured after she and her fellow ‘Silent Sentinels’ were arrested in front of the White House - a time infamously known as the ‘Night of Terror.’ She met and fellow suffragettes met with President Woodrow Wilson, who did not support the suffrage movement and held steadfast to his position, which led to the ‘Silent Sentinel’ protests in front of the White House. Considering his position against women’s rights, Ms. Paul smiled as reflected on the irony of the President’s words in his speech to the joint Congress that entered the U.S. into World War I: “The world must be made safe for democracy.” Americans must fight “for the rights and liberties of small nations” and to “bring peace and safety to make the world itself at last free.” But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts - for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own Governments.”
  • April 2023
    The Society organized and hosted the Crooked Billet History Fair at the Pennypack Community Center. Nearly 30 local historical organizations from Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties participated and the event drew well over 200 visitors throughout the day. The program also featured four educational programs and activities for children. This event brought together in one place historical societies and similar organizations that are dedicated to showcasing our area’s past and preserving it for future generations.
  • May 2023
    Millbrook was honored to have Dr. Tom Murt, former PA House representative (and a Millbrook member!) as its guest speaker at the Annual Membership Meeting on May 10th Tom, a former state representative, military veteran, educator, author, sports coach, and inspirational leader shared many stories and perspectives. Millbrook members enjoyed talking with Tom after his presentation.
  • August 2023
    In August of 2023, the Hatboro Baptist Cemetery re-landscaped the Veterans Memorial. At that time, The Millbrook Society placed two markers in memory of Hatboro veterans who lost their lives during World War I, World War II, and the Civil War.
  • April 2022
    Millbrook members staffed a table at the Northeast Philadelphia History Fair on Saturday, April 30th at Canstatters in NE Philadelphia. Fred Moore, a Millbrook member and active leader in many Philadelphia and area historical societies, was one of the event organizers. Millbrook was one of over 30 historical societies and non-profits exhibiting at the fair, which was attended by a steady flow of history enthusiasts from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m.
  • May 2022
    Annual Meeting 2022. Millbrook on Sunday, May 15th, held its first Annual Meeting in two years. The Millbrook Board and staff were excited about assembling our members again in person! Members of the executive staff highlighted the Society’s financial statement, accomplishments and plans since 2021, and nominated Board members for election to a two-year term. The education program featured an introduction and discussion of “The Battle of Crooked Billet” documentary from 2011 presented by Dan Troilo (l) and Jim Phillbrick (r).
  • August 2022
    Millbrook staffed an information table at Hatboro’s annual National Night Out on Friday, August 12 held at Miller Meadow. On August 27th for the Annual Revolutionary War Reenactment at The Moland House in Hartsville, Millbrook staff was on hand educating about archaeology and the 'tools of the trade', as well as displaying artifacts that were found on the property by Millbrook’s archaeology team over the past two decades, some dating back to the pre-colonial period! In August of 2023 The Hatboro Baptist Cemetery re-landscaped the Veterans Memorial. At that time The Millbrook Society placed two Markers in Memory of men from Hatboro who lost their lives during WW I and II, and Civil War Vets buried there.
  • September 2022
    Just in time for the Phillies dramatic run to the post season…Millbrook hosted on September 18th an original education program, Hatboro’s World Series Wonder - the story of Steve Yerkes. Millbrook’s own Dan Troilo prepared and presented the program, which chronicled the career of Hatboro’s only major league baseball player, particularly his exploits as one of the Red Sox heroes of the 1912 World Series. We were delighted that the decedents of Steve Yerkes - Linda Faust and her grandchildren Chase and Brayden Kuntz attended the program and shared some reminiscences with the staff.
  • October 2022
    Millbrook staff joined Hatboro's Halloween festivities on a seasonable Fall Saturday afternoon, October 29th. Millbrook's display outside Union Library featured 'Classic Candies' that started in Philly and gave out sweet treats like Dubble Bubble, Goldenberg's Peanut Chews, and Candy Corn to hundreds of Trick or Treaters! Did you know... a Wunderle Candy Company employee is credited with inventing candy corn. Phillip Wunderle owned a 32-acre estate in Hatboro between York Road and south of Cemetery Avenue. Candy was made at a factory there. The Wunderle family once lived in the historic John Harrison House, now the home of Hatboro Federal Savings. October is Family History Month Mary Porter, who heads Millbrook’s collection and archives, continued her Genealogy series with a program titled, The Census: What’s in it for us Genealogists (Beyond The Obvious!) on October 1st in conjunction with the Union Library of Hatboro.
  • November 2022
    Millbrook members, donned in colonial-era costumes on a cold, brisk Autumn day, enjoyed a fun and festive walk down York Road at the 2022 annual Hatboro Holiday Parade! Millbrook is proud to join our community in celebrating this annual Hatboro holiday tradition. Mary Porter, Millbrook’s Museum and Archives department head, continued her genealogy series with a program titled, Wills and Probates, held at the Union Library on November 1st.
  • December 2022
    Millbrook staff updated the Society's local history display at Hallowell Elementary School located on West Moreland Avenue in Horsham. The display features photos, history, and artifacts recognizing the life of renowned local historian and author Charles Harper Smith and his wife, Helen. The Smith's owned the Kenderdine tract in Horsham, which they called "Millbrook" and is the namesake of The Millbrook Society. Millbrook shared this display space with two other local historical societies: Horsham Historical Society and Wings of Freedom Aviation Museum. Millbrook is proud to support Principal Steven Glaize and the staff, faculty, and students of the Hallowell school community!
  • History on Display!
    Linford Magaha along with David and Patt Shannon created this display in the Borough’s newly acquired Pennypack School building (130 Spring Avenue, Hatboro). The former Pennypack School will be transformed into a center for community activities. Millbrook is proud to share a part of this space to inform visitors about Hatboro's history. Stop by to see the display about Millbrook and Hatboro. The Crooked Billet History Fair will be held here at the (former) Pennypack School auditorium on Saturday, April 29th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC - FREE OF CHARGE
  • Each of us can attest that 2020 and 2021 proved very challenging for so many individuals, companies, and organizations. Millbrook’s staff adapted as best we could through the pandemic parameters in order to remain engaged and to continue fulfilling our commitment as Hatboro’s historical society. During this period, Millbrook pushed forward on several key initiatives.
    During these volatile times, we can remember these words from President Lincoln - “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” Continued engaging officials and stakeholders in protecting historic sites and structures in Hatboro, especially on the southern end of town. Working with the Hatboro Borough Historian and Historical Commission, Millbrook’s guidance contributed to creating a long overdue Historic Preservation Ordinance, which was passed in August 2021. Installed in 2021 two permanent displays in the new Crooked Billet Elementary School. The first display is dedicated to the May 1778 Battle of Crooked Billet and includes manuscripts, maps, pictures, and period reproductions of items for military and domestic use. Featured in the display are copies of letters written by General George Washington and General John Lacey just after the engagement. The second display was devoted to education in Hatboro from 1734 to the present. It is our hope that these displays will capture the attention of the school community and visitors, and motivate us all to learn more about Hatboro's history. Continued our work in cataloging data from historic deed records, and published four terrific editions of Grist, our quarterly journal. Published in 2021 a new book, "Hatboro Then & Now", a new Hatboro history in photographs with section introductions and captions. More than 250 images of what this three-century-old town looked like back THEN and what it looks like NOW. The book is dedicated to the memory of Ronald Beifuss, one of Millbrook's founders and the visionary for the Then & Now book, who passed away in August 2021. Ronald, a life-long Hatboro resident, will be remembered as the town’s longtime resident shoe repairman, who operated his family's business on Byberry Road, founded in the late 1920s by his father. Beside his active leadership at Millbrook, Ronald served on historic boards and commissions in Hatboro and across Bucks and Montgomery counties, including Hatboro’s Bicentennial Commission. He was a Revolutionary and Civil War reenactor and an avid amateur archeologist. With his passing, Hatboro and The Millbrook Society have lost a touchstone to the past and a resolute supporter of preserving our history for the future. In 2021, the Friends of Cressbrook was formed. Millbrook is represented by Dan Troilo on the Friends of Cressbrook Board, The mission of the Friends of Cressbrook is to preserve and maintain the Cressbrook properties at the southern end of Hatboro on York Road and to appropriately restore them. The properties include the historic Walton house and Tannery building. The goal is to use the properties as educational resources and event space to increase understanding of their role in Hatboro’s history and Hatboro’s role in colonial era history To honor Crooked Billet Day on May 1st, 2021, the Society has placed flowers on the Crooked Billet grave site at County Line and Park Avenue, and at the monument to Crooked Billet on Jacksonville Road in Warminster. Several members staffed a table at the Hatboro Farmers Market periodically over the summer of 2021.
  • March 16th: Genealogy Starts with YOU!
    A group of over 20 family history enthusiasts gathered at Hatboro’s Union Library Saturday morning March 16th for a program Genealogy Starts with YOU! The program was offered jointly by The Millbrook Society and Union Library. The program was presented by Mary Porter, who is a Research Librarian at Indian Valley Library in Telford, and serves Millbrook as a Board Member and head of its Amy B. Yerkes Museum/Archives. In this two-hour program, Mary offered a framework to guide family genealogists interested in starting their research or just getting underway, and provided materials listing helpful data bases, planning worksheets, and other resources. Most people are aware of the most popular family history search sites such as, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, and the National Archives, but Mary identified a large sampling of fee-based and free websites and other resources from a vast number of places offering family history information and documentation. reported in 2017 that family history research is the second-most popular hobby in the United States, according to articles in TIME and USA TODAY. “People want to know their personal history; they want to know where they came from!” Mary told the group. She said that verification is very important for those who truly want to certify the accuracy of their family history. This requires peeling down the layers of data to connect the dots, or as Mary called it “a lot of detective work!” Mary, sharing the process and findings of her own extensive and ongoing family history, showed examples of her encounter in the ‘data abyss’ such as misspelled and evolving surnames, incomplete or incorrect vital documents, different cities and countries of origin, and much more, as well as uncovering very interesting revelations! People who embark on the path of unlocking their family history are in for a fun, interesting and amazing journey! And, like any journey, a person can choose the path and travel on it as far as they want or are able. There are many people and resources, online and in person, that are eager and happy to help. The Union Library, for example, offers both online and written resources, and The Millbrook Society can offer information related to local history sources. Millbrook and Union Library are planning a second program for this October…stay tuned for announcements! Good luck with your search!
  • April 27th: “When I Grow Up" K-12 Career Expo at Crooked Billet-Hallowell
    Hatboro-Horsham School District held its second “When I Grow Up” K-12 Career Expo on Saturday, April 27th at the Crooked Billet-Hallowell Elementary Learning Community. Led by Jeannie Hagan, Director of Community Outreach & Communications for Hatboro-Horsham School District, the program provides students from kindergarten to high school seniors awareness of many opportunities for study, vocations and avocations. Millbrook staff displayed and discussed archaeology as a path for both a career and volunteering. Parents and students learned more archaeological processes and tools of the trade, local history, and Millbrook’s archaeology program at Moland House in Warwick Township. Visitors also saw and touched artifacts uncovered at Moland House that existed when Native Americans lived in Bucks county! The Millbrook staff appreciated meeting the many students and families enthusuastic about archaeology and local history, and especially, seeing the students relating what they learned in school to the study of archaeology.
  • April 24th: “Philadelphia, Newtown & (NEVER) New York Railroad”
    The program was presented by Larry Eastwood, president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. Millbrook selected this topic to commemorate the 150th anniversary in May of the completion of the transcontinental railroad. Larry presented a capsule history that concentrated on the railroad operating history of the PN&NY railroad from 1872 through 1983, and its impact on the development of local on-line communities and institutions. The attendees enjoyed seeing Larry's unique photos of local trains and tracks and railroad sheds and stations, many of which are no longer standing or operating, but that represented a robust time of local railway travel.
  • May 8th: Our Annual Membership Meeting and featured speaker!
    Millbrook held its Annual Meeting on Wednesday evening, May 8th. Lin Magaha, Millbrook’s president and treasurer, welcomed everyone, introduced the Society’s board and staff members, and recapped Millbrook’s financial position. He then led Board member nominations for the 2019-2021 term; Lin, Dawn Dickson (Secretary), Jim Maccaroni (Grist editor) and Bob Schofield each were nominated and approved. Ralph Ciaudelli, Millbrook’s vice present, gave an overview of the Society’s accomplishments since last meeting, and its goals for 2019. Millbrook’s activities drive its mission toward preservation, protection and education of our local history. Millbrook led several educational programs coinciding with historical events, and participated in various community and school district activities. The staff continues maintaining the Amy B. Yerkes collection and displays and handling new artifacts, remains active in archaeology at the Moland House, the Crooked Billet Monument project, and creating awareness about local preservation issues. Dr. Erik Soiferman (also a Millbrook member!) who is founder, owner, and operator of Liberty Urgent Care of PA located in Horsham was the featured speaker. In addition to serving his patients and running a successful medical business, Erik is passionate about history, specifically the United States Revolution and Constitution. This passion and ongoing research led him to accumulate a manuscript collection including historic personal papers, correspondence, letters, and oral histories. Erik also previously served on the Board of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. It was once written that “letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.” Millbrook members in attendance had a rare opportunity to view such memorials! In his presentation entitled “Your Most Humble Servant: living letters of our liberty!” Dr. Soiferman displayed a number of unique, historically significant manuscripts and papers from his collection that offer insights into our country’s founding. He masterfully prepared historical background and told stories for each of the artifacts while weaving a historical chronology from pre-revolution through early 1800s, which included letters from John Hancock, General George Washington, and President John Adams. A highlight for the Hatboro area residents included correspondence between Generals Washington and Lacey on the Battle of Crooked Billet! We are grateful to Dr. Soiferman for giving his time, and sharing his knowledge and passion for local history!
  • September 14th: Living History: The Civil War comes to Hatboro!
    Captain John Green and his troops of Company C of the 28th PA Volunteers set-up camp in the middle of Hatboro on the front lawn of the Hatboro Baptist Church Saturday, September 14th. About 50 onlookers came by from mid morning to mid afternoon to meet the troops, and learn first hand about life in a typical Union Civil War camp. The troops conducted marching drills and firing demonstrations, talked about aspects of camp life, detailed personal and military accouterments and weaponry, and demonstrated camp cooking. The troops also offered a memorial service with three gun salute honoring those Civil War troops interred at the Hatboro Baptist Church cemetery.
  • September 25th: The History of Hatboro: Second Hundred Years
    David Shannon, a founding father of Millbrook and former Hatboro Borough Historian, presented his sequel Hatboro history program: History of Hatboro: Second Hundred Years on Wednesday evening, September 25th to an audience of about 35 interested and en­gaged attendees. The two-hour program travelled through Hatboro from the post Revolutionary War period through the Civil War and into the turn of the 20th century. He highlighted the people, places and events that formed Hatboro from a settlement into a town, a hub of industry, and a center for learning.
  • October 4th: The History of Hatboro: First Hundred Years
    David Shannon and Millbrook's president, Lin Magaha, pre­sented the History of Hatboro: First Hundred Years program to the Warrington Women’s Club at its Friday, October 4th meeting held at the Warminster Library. This program begins when the soon-to-be settlement was just part of a manor and York Road was a Native American trail. Founding Fathers formed the fledgling settlement, known then as Crooked Billet, from its first cabins, mill, and hat factory into a bustling village that witnessed the American Revolution, hosted General George Washington, and established itself into a hub of education.
  • October 13th: Celebrating PA Archaeology Month
    October was Archaeology Month in Pennsylvania! Sybil Johnson and Millbrook's staff recognized this event with an archaeology education program held at the Moland House on Sunday, October 13th. The Millbrook Society has been leading the archaeological work at Moland House for over a decade for the Warwick Township Historical Society who oversees this historic property. This twelve acre park is named for John Moland and the house he and family lived in during the 18th century. He was a provincial councillor for the British Crown when Pennsylvania was a British colony. Ironically, the Moland family still owned the property when the Continental Army decided to camp in the area nearby and the house became Washington’s Headquarters from August 10th through 23rd of 1777. Millbrook over the years applied its expertise to uncover Moland's history by preparing site maps, excavating, screening, journaling the historic process, and cleaning and cataloguing thousands of artifacts dating back to the pre-colonial period. It was a beautiful warm day for enjoying Moland House's bi-weekly open house and experiencing aspects of archaeology! About 20 people stopped by the event and viewed artifacts excavated at Moland, learned about the archaeologist’s ‘tools of the trade,’ and participated in soil screening and artifact cleaning.
  • October 19th: Celebrating Family History Month
    Mill­brook with the Union Library of Hatboro recognized Family History month with a program titled Exploring PA Genealogy. Mary Porter, who is a Research Librarian at Indian Valley Library in Telford and heads Millbrook's museum and archives, facilitated the program to nearly 20 eager participants. The program explored the general and specialized resources available for genealogy in PA that include online and print repositories which may hold records useful in your search.
  • Philadelphia, Newtown and (NEVER) New York
    In mid April, Millbrook set up a display at Hatboro’s Union Library in advance of our "Philadelphia, Newtown and (NEVER) New York" education program. The display focuses mostly on aspects of the Hatboro railroad. You can see the display to the end of July. The Society thanks Union Library Director Micahel Celek and his staff for this opportunity to use their display case and to share efforts and resources to educate our community about our local history. We look forward to working on future displays!
  • April 24th, 26th: Junior Historians and Archeologists Visit Moland House!
    Students and teachers visited Moland House in April for a first-hand experience in archeology and local history. Homeschooled students and their parents visited on April 24th and students and teachers from Titus Elementary visited on April 26th. The program was led by Moland House staff, and by Sybil Johnson, who heads the Archaeology Department for The Millbrook Society. Several learning stations were set up at the house where students rotated through every 20 minutes. The overall experience included a tour of Moland house and hands-on introductions to colonial clothing, toys and games. At the Archeology station, Sybil gave a brief history of the archaeological initiative at Moland House. She explained all of the steps involved in an archaeological investigation before, during and after an excavation. The students encountered an artifact display table highlighting interesting artifacts excavated over the years on the property. The students also reviewed several site maps, ground penetrating radar results at Moland, the Munsell soil color book, and typical equipment used such as a trowel and dust pan. They also explored several bags of catalogued artifacts which included bones (which are always popular) and several types of ceramics.
  • May 4th: Millbrook kicks off Hatboro Summer Nights 2018 at the Crooked Billet Monument
    Hatboro Summer Nights 2018 is featuring Hatboro historic site visits and collectible postcards. Starting May 4th, 10 historic sites in Hatboro will be featured. Historians will explain each site's history and give collectible postcards to all participants. The Millbrook Society's David Shannon led the charge on May 4th, and offered a brief history lesson at the program's first stop, the Crooked Billet monument. This visit held a special meaning for all gathered since the monument in June is being removed and restored while the new Crooked Billet elementary school is being constructed on the same site. The monument will be rededicated in conjunction with the new school opening in 2020.
  • May 9th: Annual Meeting and Cemetery Symbology presentation
    The Millbrook Society held its annual meeting Wednesday evening, May 9th at the Fellowship Hall in Hatboro Baptist Church. During the business portion, staff members provided a financial update and highlighted activities completed since May 2017 and those planned for the balance of 2018. Highlights for the balance of 2018 include archaeology activities at the Moland House starting in August, a Civil War encampment scheduled for September 15th, and work on a new book focusing on Hatboro "then and now." Members voted to renew the terms of current Board members Mary Porter, Ralph Ciaudelli, and David Shannon. Millbrook Society staff members are serving with Hatboro-Horsham school district, borough representatives and other stakeholders on moving the Crooked Billet monument and refurbishing as part of the new Crooked Billet school project. This team also will be working together on establishing a museum and collection at the new Crooked Billet school honoring Crooked Billet and Hatboro history. The Crooked Billet report was an appropriate segue to introducing the Society's guest speaker, Tammy Schane, who opened the meeting imploring attendees to "remember your ancestors! Who they are, this is who you are!" This certitude motivated Tammy to begin her personal journey back through her family history, and as one would expect, to their final resting places, the place where their names, dates and symbols still quietly yet powerfully speak to us and hold us close to them. During Tammy's pilgrimages, the symbols on the gravestones in front of her and all around also spoke to her and she asked: What are they? What do they mean? What were they or are they trying to tell me and us? Her curiosity about 'cemetery symbology' led from intrigue to avocation, passion, and ultimately, to extensive research and a self-developed expertise on this interesting slice of our collective history. A fundamental learning about this topic is understanding how communities perceived death in time and place across the centuries. This provides context for the symbols we see and what our ancestors wanted to share. In the 18th century, for example, Ms. Schane explained a more pragmatic, fatalistic and "hellfire" mindset prevailed, in which people knew they were not going to live long, death was something that happened frequently, and people died and were buried. Consequently, 'death head' or skull and cross bone symbols were common on gravestones in that era. Later in the 18th and into the 19th century, this 'Age of Enlightenment' influenced new thinking here and in Europe, including concepts of death and dying, and hence, the symbolism they used to honor the departed. Death was now viewed as a transition from earth to eternity, or as Ms. Schane described it "a softer way of thinking about death." Symbols such as 'soul effigies' bridged the former 'death heads' and those of cherubs or angels that become prevalent later in the 19th century. The 19th century ushered in the birth of cemeteries as we know them. Schane explained that death was then viewed as "a step in the journey" and that loved ones were "sleeping, not dead." Cemeteries were moved to open areas outside of cities to create a more bucolic, aesthetically pleasing, comfortable and peaceful place for mourners and for families and friends to visit their departed loved ones. Family plots were formed. Since many people were still illiterate, symbols provided a powerful medium to express what people wanted to say about and to honor their loved ones. Many gravestones and symbols were and are beautifully compelling visual expressions and true works of art. Schane showed during her presentation just a sampling of the thousands of pictures she accumulated from research at hundreds of cemeteries across eight states. In her presentation she highlighted and delved into many familiar symbols and some that are more obscure, and masterfully translated for us the language of the cemetery symbols from across the centuries. Tammy Schane regularly conducts cemetery tours of the Doylestown Historic Cemetery. Her book "Engraved: the meanings behind nineteenth-century tombstone symbols" informs readers with pictures and descriptions of 32 different gravestone symbols and other interesting historical facts and background. For more information, visit Tammy Schane at or at
  • October was Archaeology Month in PA!
    Millbrook's program at Moland House on October 14th included a display sampling of interesting and diverse artifacts dating back to the pre-colonial period that were collected at Moland House. See attachment to learn more about the event! Also, visit the Archaeology page on this website under the "About" tab for more information about Millbrook's archaeology activities and schedule.
  • Nov 3rd: Hope Lodge Annual Reenactment, 270th Anniversary!
    Despite a rainy Friday and a windy Saturday, Colonial and British troops, sutlers and many visitors converged on historic Hope Lodge located near Fort Washington on Saturday, November 3rd to commemorate this important time in our local history. The event commemorates the time from November 2 to December 11, 1777 when General George Washington and the Continental Army were encamped in the Whitemarsh Hills. The Millbrook Society staffed a table at the event. Visit Hope Lodge at
  • Nov 14th: Remembering World War I
    Millbrook coordinated an informal roundtable discussion commemorating the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, November 11, 1918 and the end of troop engagement in the first World War. About 10 of us gathered casually to share facts, figures, thoughts and opinions related to WWI. Some particularly shared interesting information about the war's impact locally, for example: Hatboro sent 52 of their sons to the war, and of that group, Frank Girard died in Europe. Millbrook shared information it acquired recently about his family here in Hatboro and communication between the Army and Mr. Girard's mother regarding eligibility and payment of Mr. Girard's pension. Stay tuned for more information and maybe a Grist article on this. The U.S.S. Olympia still docked in Philadelphia, was used as a transport ship in WWI. It transported U.S. troops to a northern Russian port, ran humanitarian trips in Italy to provide food and medical aid to those in need. Most notably, the Olympia transported the body of the unknown soldier eventually interred in the tomb at Arlington National Cemetery. Philadelphia's parade and war rally led to one of the worst influenza epidemics in the country. Millbrook members can read more about this in their Fall quarterly Grist. Check the website for more roundtable and other educational programs in 2019.
  • Nov 18th: Hatboro Holiday Parade...Reindeer Games!
    Millbrook staffers donned colonial garb and joined in the festivities and fun of this traditional Hatboro community event! Our baskets and haversacks were filled with goodies to share with our fellow citizens, along with our glad tidings and good cheer!
  • Dec 7th & 8th: Hatboro's Annual Christmas Events!
    Five members of The Millbrook Society dressed in colonial-period attire joined in the merriment of the Borough's annual Christmas tree lighting festivities on Friday evening, December 7th. A large crowd of the local citizenry converged upon Union Library and listened to rousing speeches by local dignitaries, sang Christmas caroles, lighted the town's Christmas tree, enjoyed cookies and cider, and greeted Santa and Mrs. Claus, who arrived in grand style on a very large, red, four-wheeled sleigh that closely resembled a fire engine! The Millbrook group then strolled up York Road to the Hatboro Dish to partake in more holiday cheer! During the evening, Millbrook members celebrated the evening with representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, Borough government, Union Library Board/Staff, and PA State Representative Tom Murt (far right). On Saturday evening, December 8th, Millbrook staff opened the Amy B. Yerkes Museum during the Hatboro Baptist Church's Small Town Christmas celebration, and welcomed visitors stopping by to see our renovated space and updated displays.
  • Millbrook kicks off 2018 with an education program for local Questers.
    David Shannon and Lin Magaha of Millbrook facilitated the Hatboro Board of Trade film to about 30 Questers at the Heritage Creek community center in Warwick Township. David and Lin narrated this silent, black & white film which showcases the people, places and things representing life in Hatboro in 1939-1940.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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.
  • 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 Millbrook Society kicked off 2016 with a presentation to a joint group of the Questers as Millbrook's president, David Shannon, narrated the 1940 Board of Trade movie "See yourself and your town in the Movies" on January 13th. The group of 27 members of the Damian House and Willow Springs Questers groups enjoyed the 30-minute black and white, silent film as they traveled 75 years back in time through the streets of Hatboro. The film presents the way Hatboro's people, places and things looked in 1940, and showcases Hatboro as a place of community, commerce and camaraderie. David's commentary throughout the film provided background which stimulated interest and recollections of Hatboro in a very different era. The Millbrook Society and The Questers both are non-profit organizations dedicated to the study, education, and preservation of history and historical objects and landmarks. The 1940 Hatboro Board of Trade short film was in high demand during Hatboro's 300th anniversary last year. It was presented to over 2,000 students and teachers at Crooked Billet and Pennypack elementary schools and Keith Valley Middle School. Other groups such as The Hatboro Rotary, The Craven Hall Historical Society of Warminster and Saint John's Lutheran Church of Hatboro also invited Millbrook to conduct showings. The program prompts interaction and inspires various responses: the students and younger audiences marvel at the differences between their Hatboro today and that of their grandparents or great grandparents, while the more senior groups recollect, reminisce and share stories about the Hatboro of their youth.
    Mary Porter, the Society's librarian and head of Archives and Research, hoped her presentation "helps people with family roots in Pennsylvania to find the information they need for their search." Her one and one-half hour program explained what online and print resources are available in PA for those researching their genealogy. It offered information about where and how to access data, and the parameters one needs to follow. Each participant received a PowerPoint presentation of her program which provides helpful reference information and tools.
    The Annual Meeting was held Wednesday evening May 11th with close to 50 members attending. Millbrook President David Shannon welcomed everyone and called the business meeting to order: Four board members were voted to new 2-year terms, Lin Magaha provided a budget update and Ralph Ciaudelli reported on the Society's accomplishments in 2015 and goals for 2016. Our guest speaker, historical reenactor, Michael Jesberger, offered an inspiring presentation about how people and places of Bucks and Montgomery counties were forever shaped and marked by their place among the major battles and troop actions of the American Revolution. He wove many interesting stories--many little known--about historical events at places like Langhorne, Core Creek Park, Warwick, Springhouse, Skippack, Whitemarsh, and of course, Hatboro, all of which dot the historical landscape across the counties. With the assistance of his son, Eric, Michael, enhanced his stories with maps, manuscripts and artifacts. Most compelling was his recounting those soldiers lying in unmarked graves, never to be known to history for giving the last full measure of devotion to the cause and to their country.
  • August 20th, Annual Revolutionary Reenactment at Moland House.
    His Excellency, General George Washington, selected the Moland House as his headquarters from August 10th through the 23rd in 1777. The house was the hub for strategic planning between Washington and his generals and staff, and over 10,000 troops encamped on and in close proximity to the house during these 13 days. Visit the Moland House website for great information about the history of the house and the encampment at Each year, the Moland House commemorates this significant historical period in its history and of our local history. The Millbrook Society manages archeology at the Moland House throughout the year. During the annual reenactment, we demonstrate and discuss a typical screening process and showcase artifacts found on the property, including items dating back to the period when Native Americans lived in Bucks County.
  • Several Millbrook members staffed an information table at the Hope Lodge Reenactment held Saturday, November 5th in Fort Washington, PA.
    This activity commemorated the Whitemarsh Encampment when George Washington and the Continental Army were encamped in the Whitemarsh Hills area November 2 to December 11, 1777. Originally known as Whitemarsh Estate, Hope Lodge was built in the mid-1700s by Samuel Morris, a prosperous Quaker entrepreneur. The house represents an excellent example of Georgian architecture. Visitors on this pleasant autumn day were treated to many sights and sounds one might have witnessed during the colonial period. Colonial and British troops set up campsites, and ran drills and maneuvers. Sutlers were peddling their wares. Reenactors provided lessons on medicine, clothing-making, and children's games. John Adams gave an inspiring talk from the steps of Hope Lodge and Dr. Benjamin Franklin demonstrated several of his numerous inventions. Click here for more information about Hope Lodge.
  • The Millbrook Society brought sights and sounds of a colonial yuletide to Hatboro's annual Small Town Christmas at the Hatboro Baptist Church on Saturday, December 10th.
    The church's meeting room was splendidly adorne in colonial-period accoutrement and activities! The room over all was dressed in evergreens and bows and candles, while a dining table displayed period ware, utensils and decorations, and a fireplace was warmed by a display of greens, fruits, candles and candle holders. Children enjoyed playing colonial-era games and activities, including the always popular clove-orange decorations. A highlight of the evening was a young Jack Thompson dressed in a colonial costume and playing Silent Night and other selections on his violin! Thanks to the Millbrook members who helped with setting up and breaking down our colonial room, and to those who dressed in colonial attire during Small Town Christmas.
  • The Millbrook Society extends sincere thanks to Hatboro Federal Savings for its donation of $500.00 to support the Society's new history activity book.
    This book is geared primarily to children, but will no doubt contain fun and interesting information for everyone. It introduces Hatboro and its rich history to those new to our town, and to remind those who live here of our valued past. The activity book will be available free of charge at Hatboro Federal and other locations in Hatboro. They will also be available to 5th graders at Pennypack and Crooked Billet schools. Pictured: Millbrook Board member and activity book designer Jim Maccaroni (l) and Millbrook's President David Shannon proudly receive the donation check from Hatboro Savings President/CEO Linda Roehner.
    As part of Hatboro's 300th anniversary celebration, a Colonial Christmas open house was held at Cressbrook Farm (former Isaac Walton house) located on York Road across from the Hatboro YMCA. The YMCA hosted the event with support from several members of The Millbrook Society staff who served as colonial-costumed interpreters.
    Small Town Christmas is an annual tradition at the Hatboro Baptist Church that offered planned activities for the entire family. Staff from The Millbrook Society dressed in costume and recreated a colonial-themed holiday room that included colonial-era games and activities for the children.
    Hatboro's Tricentennial year culminated the night of New Year's Eve with the rededication by borough and state officials of the Lukens Clock in the resplendent Loller Academy tower. As the refurbished clock struck 7 o'clock, its bells rang proudly to hearty applause and to signal the start of the closing fireworks display in Miller Meadow across York Road. The Millbrook Society has been working with the Borough of Hatboro in the restoration and preservation of the Isaiah Lukens Clock at Loller Academy.
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