Allison-Antrim Museum to highlight Black History Month
In honor of Black History Month, the special exhibit at Allison-Antrim Museum, 365 S. Ridge Ave., Greencastle, for the month of February will be “African Americans in Greencastle-Antrim, Franklin County, and Pennsylvania Who Made a Difference.”
Among others, the exhibit will focus on such individuals as Timothy Anderson and one of his sons, Rev. Dr. Matthew Anderson, both from Antrim Township, the Shirk brothers from Shippensburg, Alexander McGrew of Greencastle and Martin Delaney of Chambersburg.
Timothy Anderson was the son of a Presbyterian Scotsman and an African American mother. He owned land in Antrim Township and operated a lumberyard, where he employed former slaves. Rev. Matthew Anderson was born in Antrim Township on Jan. 25, 1845 and was educated in a one-room school house, but he made national history by being the first African American to live on campus at the Princeton Theological Seminary. On June 12, 1878, Anderson was ordained by the Carlisle Presbytery. He later earned his doctorate from Lincoln University.
John Shirk and his two brothers, natives of Shippensburg, made their way to Readville, Massachusetts where they enlisted in the 54th Massachusetts, the first Northern U.S. Colored regiment of the Civil War. John Shirk was wounded in the battle of Fort Wagner and was mustered out on August 20, 1865 with the 54th Regiment. He is buried in the North Queen Street Cemetery in Shippensburg.
Alexander McGrew, of Greencastle, served valiantly in the Eighth Regiment Infantry U.S. Colored Troops. As a draftee, McGrew was mustered into service as a corporal on Aug. 24, 1863. The Regiment traveled by transport ships to Jacksonville, Florida where they landed on Feb. 7, 1864. The 8th Regiment U.S. Colored Troops suffered great losses at the battle of Ocean Ponds near Olustee on Feb. 20, 1864. McGrew received a gunshot wound to the left leg and was taken to a Confederate hospital at nearby Lake City. Over a year later, he was part of a large exchange of Union prisoners, and as a wounded soldier, McGrew was taken to the Union hospital at Camp Parole, Annapolis, Maryland.
The fate of Alexander McGrew will be revealed through the archive collection on exhibit. The McGrew collection includes an original letter which he wrote to his wife, Nancy, on Feb. 3, 1864.
The exhibit opens Feb. 6 and closes Feb. 26. The museum is open Monday through Friday, from noon to 4 p.m. There is no admission fee, but donations are gratefully accepted. For more information, visit the museum’s website site at www.greencastlemuseum.org, Facebook, on Twitter @greencastlemuzm, and at 717-597-9010.