Rihl to be symbol of 38th Old Home Week

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

....a young solider, brave and dashing in life, but now a martyr to the cause of liberty."

— from a History of Franklin County

A young Philadelphia man who gained fame in the Greencastle-Antrim community for his bravery, but by happenstance, will be honored during the 38th Triennial Old Home Week celebration.

Old Home Week is set Aug. 3 to 10 and the committee in charge of bringing the celebration to fruition voted Monday to recognize the contribution of Corp. William H. Rihl and the mark he left on the local area 150 years ago.

Rihl was the first Union solider killed on soil north of the Mason-Dixon Line during the Civil War. The 150th anniversary of Rihl's death will be marked on June 22, just over a month prior to the Old Home Week celebration.

"It just so happens that 2013 is the 150th anniversary of the incident," said Brad Barkdoll, chairman of the badge committee.

A monument to Rihl has stood for many years on the site where he was killed, on the west side of U.S. 11 just north of Greencastle near what is known as the Fleming Farm. That monument will be depicted on the badge that is used as a symbol of the celebration and as entrance to the many events that will be held. The representation of the monument will also likely be placed on the cover of the official program, along with hats and T-shirts.

Barkdoll added, "We decided to go with red, white and blue this year, instead of the green and white."


Rihl was a member of the 1st New York cavalry regiment of 43 men that made a push back on a Confederate scouting party in a wheat field south of the Fleming house. Another Union solider was wounded and Rihl was killed in the skirmish. The Confederates buried Rihl in a shallow grave, however townspeople removed his body and buried him in the Lutheran graveyard.

In 1886, Rihl was reinterred at the site where he had been killed. Members of the Greencastle G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) Post carried out this project and later were responsible for raising money that resulted in the erection of the monument that now marks the final resting place of this soldier.

Planning continues

The Old Home Week committee continued planning Monday. Nearly 50 sub-committees are at work on details of the many events.

Recent developments include:

The Community Worship will include a tribute to Richard Besecker, longtime director of the cantata who has passed away. The cantata will be performed at 5 and 7:45 p.m. Sunday.

A walking tour of the town was discussed as a possible event.

Arrangements are in the works for the 553rd Air Force Concert Band to play prior to the fireworks display.

A suggestion was made that a canopy be added to the stage on the square.

The bicycle race committee is considering a possible trail ride at Antrim Township Community Park rather than a road tour.

The Greencastle-Antrim Alumni Band will be playing a concert at the Jerome R. King Playground Bandshell Sunday afternoon. Other groups are being lined up for nightly concerts at the bandshell.

Garon Gembe is collecting official program event information. Forms are available on line at oldhomeweek.org

Mike Bock noted that the Train Station is available for use during Old Home Week.

Bonnie Shockey expressed the need for volunteers for events at the Allison-Antrim Museum during the celebration. Those interested can call 597-9325.