Hunterstown ...Then and Now

The Historic Tate Farm


Hunterstown Battlefield, Pennsylvania


The Historic Tate Farm

This restored farmhouse and formal gardens were the scene of trade
with the Indians and settlers along Beaver Dam Creek
and later part of the Gettysburg Campaign.
On July 2, 1863 Union and Confederate cavalry
collided head on here.

President George Washington had his horse shod

at the farm's blacksmith shop on his return

from queling the Whiskey Rebellion in October of 1794.

The outbuildings at the Tate Farm are original:
a summer kitchen with walk in fireplace, a granary, spring house,
 carriage house, garden shed, outhouse, stable,
and large barn with a cannonball hole.







Our Thanks to Historic Gettysburg-Adams County!

Journey Through Hallowed Grounds ...

Tate family photos courtesy of Lorene Tate Landis
Generations of Tates lived in this farmhouse...

William Ambrose Tate, Born 1851
Mary Eliz. Meckley Tate, Born 1857, with son John Wm.

John W. Tate, Born 1878
Alverta S. Tate, Born 1880

Claire and Bessie Tate
Last Tates to live and own the farm.

Last Tate to grow up in the house.
Lorene Tate Landis, with husband Jack.



Tate Blacksmith Shop
by Edwin L. Green, Williamsburg, VA June, 2011

Photo courtesy of Adams County Historical Society
The Tate Blacksmith Shop along the Beaver Dam Creek

   "Another tale of this trip is that when Washington reached the small stream at Hunterstown, near Tate's blacksmith shop there was a halt; the cause of same does not appear in a very authentic way. The people of Hunterstown picture him near the clear sparkling stream at that point.  It may have been a horse had cast a shoe or there was a rest on account of heavy roads and that President Washington was attracted by the bright little stream. One account of this journey says the latter portion of it was through deep roads and a three days rain.

   There have been those who have contended that this journey in 1794 is more traditional than fact. It is said that both Henry J. Stable and Edward McPherson were convinced of the truth not only of the journey but of the many stories told of it. It as been more recently declared that entries made by General George Washington in his diary establish as fact the truth as above given."

Exerpt of "Memoir of John Jacob Eyster," 2 Volumes, (1782-1959), Also "Star & Sentinel," Sept. 2, 1875, Also "Gettysburg Compiler," March 9, 1904

Information sent to Hunterstown Historical Society by Dr. Charles Gladfelter, Adams County Historical Society (Fall 2010)




Gettysburg "Witness Tree"
90 feet tall

Witness Tree ... 

 September 10, 2009

White Ash located on the Historic Tate Farm, in Hunterstown, PA.

Circumference @ 12' 7"   Height @ 94'  Crown Spread  72'

Age Estimate: 231.0 years old in 2009

Started growth as a seedling in 1779.

Tree was standing both in 1794 when George Washington stopped at the Beaver Dam Creek which runs directly to the right of it, and on July 2, 1863 at the time of the Battle of Hunterstown, part of the Gettysburg Campaign.

Information was gathered and documented by Historic Gettysburg's Bruce Kile, retired forester.





Tate Barn and Blacksmith Shop / by Louis Francesco
Jeb Stuart's cavalry marched right through the Tate Farm

Tate Farm Barn, circa 1740
Barn #10 listed on HGAC's Barn Survey

Civil War Trails Plaque / Tate Farm
Dedicated in 2009

"Hunterstown, four-miles northeast of Gettysburg, was the scene of a relatively small but significant engagement on July 2, 1863, at the height of the Battle of Gettysburg. It has come to be known as the North Cavalry Field. Union Brigadier Generals E. Farnsworth and George A. Custer were in search of the left rear of the Confederate forces. CSA Brig. General Wade Hampton moved into place on the Hunterstown Road to block any Union efforts to maneuver behind Lee's lines. Custer and Hampton met at 4 PM and the fight continued until 11 PM thanks to Custer's plan to trap them on the road. The battle was strategically important because it prevented the Confederates from taking a position behind Union lines.

Custer's horse fell on him during the fight. The course of history was altered when Norville Churchill freed him and saw him to safety. A memorial dedicated to Custer is on the main road.

A number of structures have survived and a tour of Hunterstown is like stepping into the 1860s. The Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Grass Hotel was constructed in the 1700s and served as Kilpatrick's headquarters for the duration of the battle. Custer received his orders here and the door remains battle scarred. Nearby the 17th-century Conewago Presbyterian Church functioned as a Confederate hospital during the Civil War.

Tate Farm, Barn and Blacksmith Shop have numerous claims to historic status. George Washington stopped here in 1794 on his way home from Pittsburgh to have his horse shod and in 1863 it was at the center of the battle. Oral history has it that the farm was a stop on the Underground Railroad and legends point to the fact that there was a tunnel that ran from the farm to the Grass Hotel."

By Renée S. Gordon, "The Philadelphia Sunday"

New Custer Monument ... Dedicated July 2008
Located on the corner of RT 394 & Hunterstown Road

Paintings by Edwin L Green, Williamsburg, VA
The Historic Tate Farm

Back Garden View

Several of the farm's ten out buildings

"Hunterstown, PA, a quaint little Civil War era village near Gettysburg, has recently been declared a National Historic Site and as such is listed as endangered. There is a serious effort underway to preserve the area and the many treasures that still exist there. These watercolors, commissioned by Laurie and Roger Harding, are of the houses in Hunterstown which were standing during the fierce cavalry engagement of July 2, 1863. It is the Harding's and my own fervent hope that they will call attention to a story which is often overshadowed by the immensity of the struggle which took place five miles away at Gettysburg. The paintings will have served their purpose if they encourage others to work toward preserving what is so easily lost forever." 
Edwin L. Green, Artist, Williamsburg, VA.
PO Box 744, Toano, Virginia 23168

All rights reserved 2010. No use of content without written permission of Hunterstown1863.