Hunterstown ...Then and Now

North Cavalry Battlefield

July 2, 1863

~ Gettysburg Campaign ~


RT 394 & Hunterstown Road
New Custer Memorial, dedicated July 2, 2008


In Memory of Those who Fought and Died

for Our Freedom.

"These Dead Shall Not Have Died in Vain."

       ~  President  Lincoln  ~

Welcome to Hunterstown! ....

"We stopped at the new Hunterstown Memorial to General Custer and the Battle of Hunterstown.
I must say I had never heard of the battle before.
I now believe this highly overlooked battle was a major part
of the reason the Union held on to victory during that hard fought 2nd day.
Another 2100 rebel troops attacking East Cemetary Ridge surely would have turned the tide
and the day would have belonged to the Confederacy!
I shudder to think what America would be like today
if the Battle of Huntertsown had not been fought."
 ~ Harold D.Sausser, July 6, 2013

Co-Founders: Roger & Laurie Harding

In Memory of artist Anne Leslie 
who designed the silouettes,
And also to Bob McIlhenny for the  banner,
Logo Design: Troy Harman NPS

"Too often, places that matter to us can be lost in a heartbeat — sometimes even before we realize they will be missed.

 The best way to save a place that matters is to call attention to it and value it before it is endangered."

National Trust for Historic Places

Click here to

The Felty Farm/ North Cavalry Battlefield
by Edwin L. Green, Williamsburg, VA.

View the entire collection ...

Civil War Site: Hunterstown, PA

Gettysburg Battlefield Original Paintings ...

PA Civil War Trails ...

Tour of Hunterstown, by Carl Whitehill, Gettyburg Travel


"General George Armstrong Custer is an unsung hero of the Battle of Gettysburg, for without his gallant charges, the Confederates would have broken through the Union resistance. Critics often cite his high casualty rate in the battle as poor performance. General Custer knew the Rebel advance had to be stopped at all costs. He didn’t order his men into a known high casualty fight. He LED them. I wonder how many armchair quarterbacks would have changed seats with him?"

"CusterLives!" Website Quote

“The [Civil] war “proved Custer was simply the greatest cavalry tactician of the Union Army,
perhaps the greatest of either army North or South.
The fame and rewards he gained were more than earned by not just his boldness and courage but his military acuity.”


Stephen Budiansky


Living Historians ...

The Michigan Wolverines, Custer & Libby

Unveiled by GBC&VB on 7/2/09
Located at The Historic Tate Farm

Shown in picture:

Background ...Steve Alexander as Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer, Michigan Wolverines, John Volhken, & Dan Dunn

Author, Frank Meredith, GBC&VB's Norris Flowers, Authors, J D Petruzzi, Mike Nugent, & Steve Stanley,

Artist, Jared Frederick,  GNP Ranger, Troy Harman

Actors & Living Historians, Mrs. Julia Dent Grant with General Ulysses S. Grant, 

Lenwood Sloan & PA Museum's Living Historians


A GREAT read!

Central Pennsylvania's Civil War Trails Article...

Our Thanks to Bob McIlhenny & Fred Kammerer!
~ 2013 ~

Hunterstown, Pennsylvania

July 2, 1863
Known by historians as
"North Cavalry Field,"
Hunterstown was recently recognized by
the National Parks Service (Sept. '06) as part of the Gettysburg Campaign.
Unfortunately, the site is
extremely vulnerable
to development and is still unprotected.

"And though Hunterstown is a new addition (2006), Lawhon said there is still work to do to help preserve the land within the boundaries of the Gettysburg National Military Park."        

.....Evening Sun quote 

Battle History...

Another view of the battle ...

Will Hutchison's Thoughts ....

Books on the Battle of Hunterstown...

Michigan Cavalry & George Armstrong Custer

Did You Know...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hunterstown, formerly called Woodstock,
is one of the oldest towns in the country.
It was settled in the mid 1700's by David Hunter,
a Revolutionary War soldier,
for whom the town was named.
In fact, because he had been training militia here in Hunterstown,
Lord Dunmore, Govenor of the colonies
in Williamsburg, put a bounty on David Hunter's head,
"dead or alive".... To this very day,
no one knows where David Hunter is buried.

"A major Alton (Illinois) developer, Charles Hunter, was one of Alton's best known Underground Railroad conductors. His Hunterstown area, founded in the 1830's, had many free Blacks as residents, some of whom were escaped slaves. He was also the only landowner who allowed Elijah Lovejoy to live on his property. "

To

National Trust's "This Place Matters"
Members of Hunterstown Historical Society/Tate Farm

To View the Historic Village of Hunterstown...

Mrs. Linda Cleveland
HHS 2010 "Historian of the Year"


"A small but significantly Historical Village"

Hunterstown, Pennsylvania is located on Route 394 one mile east of the Hunterstown Exchange of Route U.S. 15 North of Gettysburg.

After the American Indians made their trade routes west of the Susquehanna River through this area, immigrants started to settle along their trails. Many were Scotch-Irish. The Penn proprietors of the land through this area, which is now Hunterstown, granted Michael Drumgold a warrant for 100 acres on June 8, 1749. In October the same year surveyor Thomas Cookson laid out a total of 182 acres for Drumgold. It was on October 8, 1760 Michael and Margaret Drumgold sold this land to David Hunter. On March 14, 1764 the Penn heirs awarded Hunter a patent deed for the 182 acres granting him the full and complete title he desired to establish a village.

On April 2, 1764 David Hunter gave William Galbreath a deed for the first lot "situate in the town of "Straban" as it was called then. Later it was referred to as "Woodstock". As lots were sold, small log homes were built. Later weather-board and brick dwellings appeared.

As the year 1800 was drawing nigh the village was appropriately named after its founder and called Hunterstown. A county seat was being sought for the new county of Adams and Hunterstown vied for that status. It was centrally located as far as population in the county and it was located on "The Great Road" from York to Pittsburgh by the way of "Black’s Gap". The town of Gettysburg received the final honor as County Seat.

One special landmark in Hunterstown is the Historic Tate Farm and Blacksmith Shop. In October 1794 President George Washington had the occasion to stop here. Because of the taxation put on liquor, many in western Pennsylvania were rebelling and decided they were not going to abide by the law. President Washington called up troops from four states and he himself went by carriage and horseback to review the troops, 15,000 strong, in Carlisle and Bedford and planned how they were to quell what was called the Whiskey Rebellion. This was accomplished without any major fight. On returning to Philadelphia, the capitol at that time, a horse in the President’s party threw a shoe and they stopped in Hunterstown at the Tate Farm blacksmith shop near Beaver Dam Creek to have it shod.

Just fields away from the Tate Farm is the Felty and Gilbert Farms where Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer’s Cavalry under the direction of Brigadier General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick met in battle with General Wade Hampton’s Division of J.E.B. Stuart’s Cavalry on July 2, 1863. This battle, now referred to as North Cavalry Field, is viewed as having a significant bearing on the remainder of the Battle of Gettysburg. Here Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer set a "trap" for the enemy in which he narrowly escaped losing his own life. Kilpatrick reported 32 dead and wounded of his division of some 3,500. The confederates suffered around 100 casualties in the fighting of 2,000 involved.

In the center of Hunterstown is the Grass Hotel built before the Civil War. The hotel served as temporary Union headquarters for Brig. General Judson Kilpatrick during the battle of Hunterstown and afterwards served as a hospital for the north and south. A number of officers died here.

The Great Conewago Presbyterian Church was organized in 1740. They met in a log structure until a fieldstone church was built in 1787. It is still in use today. It also served as a hospital during the Civil War. The adjacent cemetery contains gravesites of Revolutionary War soldiers and Civil War veterans along with generations of local inhabitants.

In 1885 the Galloway Brothers opened a copper mine just north of the village. After several years it closed and the township used the copper/gold bearing rock for the streets and roads. So they claimed "the roads were paved in gold." The mine was opened once again by the Reliance Mining and Milling Company of Arizona in 1905. Although it was not hugely successful it employed 20 local men working "around the clock." The mine was abandoned in 1916.

Through the 19th and 20th century the village had a two-room country school and a Methodist Church on the main street, both are still existing but not used today.

Among the early inhabitants of the village were a doctor, undertaker, watchmaker, shoemaker, carpenter, tailor, and wagon maker. During the 1830’s John C. Studebaker, a blacksmith, and his skilled employees built conestoga-type wagons in a shop between Hunterstown and Heidlersburg. He ventured to Ohio and then to South Bend Indiana to have the largest company for manufacturing wagons and carriages and later through his descendants the Studebaker automobile.

Over the years Hunterstown had many small country stores, a post office, creamery, fruit-packing house, millinery shop, gun club and horse race track. As many as ten families made chairs as early as 1830’s into the early 1900’s. It once had a military guard unit and a baseball team. The village currently has two churches, a dog kennel and grooming establishment, a horse-boarding farm with lesson programs, a childcare center, a tea room, go-cart track, car body shop, transmission shop, and vintage car shop.

Hunterstown, population 100, a village rich in history where the desire of its people is to restore and preserve what it now has to share with others. Here you can’t help but feel the heart beat of the past and imagine those who walked and rode these once dusty roads. You may hear the distant toll of the school bell, the happy sounds of children at play or music from the old church pump organ. You may hear the hoof beats of the cavalry approaching or the sound of the artillery that echoed over the village. Memories linger of the mournful groans of the injured and dying in the fields and makeshift hospitals and the prayers of the faithful as they gave their last full measure here.Hunterstown, Pennsylvania – A quaint little village with

A story to tell!

Linda K. Cleveland

Straban Historical Reflections

Historian – Hunterstown Historical Society

Revised - 2009

To Read More!

Local and National Contacts...

Civil War Preservation Trust

Also, Jim Campi, CWPT

Senator Robert P. Casey

Congressman Scott Perry

Senator Rich Alloway

State Representative
Dan Moul

Email Dan Moul

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Hunterstown Flag Raising and Dedication

Bernard Gilliland speech

Given at Hunterstown

Flag Dedication Ceremony

November 11, 2008

Veteran’s Day


"It is an honor to be here today and to be a part of a program designed to pay tribute to our nations veterans and to dedicate this staff that will be used for generations to fly our nation’s flag.

We are especially proud to honor those veterans who are from here in Adams County. Many of those veterans were there in the very beginning, during the American Revolutionary War, and are buried right here in Hunterstown. At the Great Conewago church cemetery, just a stones throw from here, are the remains of over 38 Revolutionary War soldiers who pledged their fortunes, their honor and their lives to the cause of freedom and to what would become the United States of America.

The cemetery is especially meaningful to me because many of my family members are buried there, including my Gr/Gr Gr Gr Grandfather, William Gilliland, who was a Lt. Col. in the Pa. Militia during the Rev. War and Maj. Gen. during the war of 1812. He was also the very first postmaster in Adams Co, the first Associate Judge and a State Senator during the very early years of our country.

The strong character, values and sense of patriotism that was born and bred into the early pioneers did not end here in Adams County. Many of these pioneers moved on to new frontiers, taking their values and love of country with them.

One of those was the Gr.Gr. Grandson of Maj. Gen. William Gilliland, his name was George Harold Gilliland. He was a veteran of WW1. He was a chaplain with the American Legion and in the 1950’s thought it would be a good idea to add the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance.

The original Pledge was written by Francis Bellamy way back in 1892. There were many programs for school children that year because it was the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the new world. Bellamy wrote the Pledge while he was editor of The Youths Companion, a publication that was widely distributed to the nation’s schools throughout the country.

There were several changes made along the way to today’s Pledge. For example, in 1923 "my flag" was replaced with "The flag of the United States".

In 1942, right in the middle of WWII, the Pledge received official recognition by Congress and the Pledge was formally included into the U. S. Flag Code. Congress also established the current practice of rendering the pledge with the –right hand over the heart.

In 1954, George Harold Gilliland, a WWI veteran, was very active in the ‘back to God’ movement while a Chaplain with the American Legion. In that year he put forth a resolution to add the words ‘under God’ to the Pledge. The resolution went on to be passed at the National Convention and was then dispatched to a coalition of American Legion members who had been elected to Congress.

The bill to add the words "under God" was passed unanimously by both Houses of Congress and President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the revised Pledge of Allegiance into law, taking effect on Flag Day, 1954.

Today, the wording of the Pledge of Allegiance, as set forth in The US flag Code, includes the words ‘under God’ as suggested by a descendant of a Hunterstown Veteran.

Yet today, there are several well-funded organizations who are attempting to remove those words from the Pledge. Two years ago, at the urging of the National Headquarters, I joined the American Legion and initiated a resolution to keep the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Along the way, I discovered that every State in the Union recognizes God in their State Constitution and I campaigned to get an American Legion resolution from all 50 states in support of keeping the words ‘under God’ in the Pledge. The result was that twenty-six states responded with resolutions and that became a record number of state resolutions in the one hundred year history of the American Legion. Keeping the words in the pledge is now the official stance of the Legion.

Ironically, this story has come full circle. In 1953 George Harold Gilliland originally conceived of the idea of adding the words "under God" to the pledge of allegiance. 1953 was also the 90th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. Abraham Lincoln was from Illinois and Illinois was the birthplace of George Harold Gilliland. Lincoln state in part of his Gettysburg Address "…that we highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that his nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom…". It is possible that that phrase, as part of an anniversary celebration, helped influence Geo. Harold Gilliland 90 years later to submit a resolution to add the words "under God" to the pledge of Allegiance.

Now, here we are coming full circle again, - from a Revolutionary War and War of 1812 soldier, William Gilliland, buried just a short distance away, to one of his descendants, a WWI veteran veteran adding the words ‘Under God’ to the pledge of allegiance to the flag, possibly influenced by a President who made those very words immortal here in Adams County – to a WWII veteran, whose gravesite I just visited yesterday at Arlington National Cemetery, my father, James Elmo Gilliland, and to another descendant, a Viet Nam Era Veteran, who is back in Hunterstown, to help dedicate a staff to hold our nations flag, on November 11, honoring our nations veterans.

Thank you so much for allowing me to be here and to be a part of this special day.

Thank you."

Bernard Gilliland,
Marietta, Georgia

12:36 am est          Comments


2008...Another AMAZING year in Hunterstown!
People continue to ask.."What's new in Hunterstown?"

Well...on the 145th Anniversary date of the Battle of Hunterstown,
we saw the dedication of our first monument (as there will be more)
honoring Norvell Churchill, General Custer, and the Michigan Wolverines.
Almost 70 members of the Churchill family travelled from all around
the United States to be with us that day! Not to mention all our Michigan
friends who were instrumental in raising the funds for this beautiful monument!
Out THANKS to all the authors, artists, living historians, public officials,
and friends for their support!

Early in the fall, we had the great pleasure of meeting the
"Founding Fathers" of Hunterstown...
Ian Hunter and Bernard Gilliland, 10th-generation descendants
of Hunterstown's founders. Dr. Hunter travelled from Ireland
and Bernard Gilliland drove up from Marietta, Georgia to add
"their story" to our ever-growing history of this amazing little "hamlet."

Then on Veteran's Day, 11-11-08 at 11:00 am, Hunterstown
raised its first flag right in the center of town,
honoring all the Veteran's that have served our great nation,
The United States of America. (more about that on
our new page entitled "Founding Fathers." Once again,
Bernard Gilliland travelled to be with us here that day and
was the keynote speaker. What an honor!
Our Thanks to Jake King, Linda Cleveland and Frank Thomas
who spear-headed this event! A special THANKS to Chaplain
Chuck Teague (HGAC) for his stirring benediction!
A very proud day for all Hunterstown residents!

2008 was a busy year, but 2009 looks like more of the same!
To all our friends and supporters...
THANK YOU very much for you help and your financial support!
You all play a very important part in telling an important part of our nation's history...
much of which is being told for the first time!
Hope to see you all again at this year's July 2nd, event!
                                                                                                 ~ LH
9:16 am est          Comments

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