Looking Back: Franklin County’s history Dec 23rd

County’s history Dec 4nd

Take a look back at Franklin County’s history through news and photos that appeared in local newspapers 25, 50, and 100 years ago on Dec 23rd.

25 Years Ago

December 23, 1996 –   Monday

December snow, rain push county to a record

“Wetter Than Ever”

Rain, snow, sleet.  Franklin County has had them all, and plenty of them. Enough to push us to a new wetness record.

So far this year, with 63 inches of precipitation, the county has had the wettest year on record, according to William Rense, professor of geography and earth science at Shippensburg University.  The previous record was 59.13 inches in 1937.

The record-breaking rain and snow have been caused by the jet stream forming a persistent trough long area of low pressure across the area, Rense said.  

Groundwater tables are 20 to 25 inches above normal, and streams are higher than normal for this time of year.  Those factors create a greater possibility of flooding.

With 45,000 miles of streams and rivers, and 2,388 communities in flood plains, Pennsylvania is prone to floods.  

“Every time it rains now, I get nervous,” said Marcella Sheffler of Edgewater Drive, a victim of the Sept. 10 and 17 flooding from Back Creek.  “Harriet, my poodle, is nervous, too.”

When Back Creek overflowed into the Sheffler home, Harriet was stranded there alone for two days.

The wet weather left behind more than nervous homeowners.

About $750 million was lost this year in production costs and retail sales and another $300 million from structure damage.

As a result of flooding, President Clinton declared parts of the state disaster areas five times, setting another record.

Sheffler is still cleaning up from the flood. Her antiques were so laden with mud that no matter how many times she’s washed them, mud still appears.

The carpet in her family room was replaced with a tile floor, just in case this ever happens again, Marcella said.  The paneling and furniture also had to be replaced after several feet of water poured into her home.

Twin Bridge Meadow Family Campground, which is located where Back Creek, Dennis Creek and Wilson Run merge, bore the brunt of much of the floodwaters.  The rising waters of Dennis Creek trapped Mariam Stafford, 72, in her recreational vehicle in at least 5 feet of water. She was rescued by workers who used an 8-foot fishing boat . Four other people were rescued from the flooded campground and 40 to 50 were evacuated.

“This year has been the most difficult,” said Florence Mackey, who has co-owned the campground since 1968.

“The grounds were so wet we couldn’t rent, many of the campsites during several weekends.”  All the rain also created ongoing health concerns.

 So much precipitation has increased the chances of polluted wells. Shallow wells are especially susceptible to coliform bacteria.

 Steve Upperman, president of Upperman’s Water Treatment Service, said the risk has driven a lot of people to get their water tested.  Upperman also said he’s selling a lot of ultraviolet sterilizers, which cost $600 to $700.

While farmers rely on rain for their crops, too much rain can have a negative effect.

“We’ve had a bountiful harvest, but it’s hard to harvest due to the wetness,” said Carl Hartman, a St. Thomas farmer.  Some crops in low places were drowned out, he said.

Hartman said it was difficult for him to find three consecutive dry days this year to make hay from alfalfa.  As a result of the rainfall, hay prices rose 60%.

And with high-priced or scarce hay, milk production suffered.  

Milk production was down about a gallon a day for each of Hartman’s 65 cows, and that meant milk prices at the store rose.  

“The wet weather has made it hard to get things harvested,” said Wilma Mickey of Shatzer’s Orchard, Hamilton Township. Teach and apple skin was more rusty looking.”

More fruit was sent to Knouse Foods as seconds, producing less profit, she said.

50 Years Ago

December 23, 1971 – Thursday

“Long Time Grocery Owner Dies At Home”

Chambersburg – Blake E. Martin, 68, R. R. 3, long-time grocery store owner, died early this morning at his home following an illness of several years.

Mr. Martin was born April 27, 1903, in Culbertson, son of the late John L. and Blanche Eckenrode Martin.  He was a member of the First United Methodist Church and of the Pennsylvania Grocers Association.

Starting in the grocery business 48 years ago with the late J. H. Clymans, Mr. Martin operated the Martin Brothers Grocery Store at Lincoln Way West and Franklin Street until his retirement in March of this year.   He was a president and secretary of the former Home Service Wholesale Grocery Company.

Surviving are his widow, Mrs. Edna Mae Senseny Martin; a son and daughter, Attorney Blake E. Martin, R. R. 3, and Miss Nancy Louise Martin, at home; a foster son, C. Paul Gladfelter, 431 S. Fourth St.; a foster grandson; two brothers and two sisters: Glenn C. Martin, 62 Fifth Ave.; William H. Martin, Chestnut Ridge; Mrs. John (Esther) Green, R. R. 2; Mrs. Abram S. (Martha) Mills, 624 S. Main St.; a half-brother and two half-sisters: Richard K. Martin, 171 W. Main St., Fayetteville; Mrs. Arthur (Miriam) McCanns and Mrs. Edgar E. (Grace) Lehman, both of R. R. 2; two step-sisters: Mrs. John (Ethel) Martin, 454 S. Fourth St., and Mrs. John (Elsie) Slimmer, It. R. 2.  A number of nieces and nephews also survive.

Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday in the Sellers Funeral Home, with the Rev. Robert E. Reasey officiating.

Burial will be in Norland Cemetery. Friends may call at the funeral home from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday.

100 Years Ago

December 23, 1921 Friday

“350 sacks of mail handled at local post office”

Chambersburg – An index to the volume of Christmas shopping is furnished by the mail matter handled at the local post office yesterday when approximately 350 bags of mail were dispatched and received at the office.

While there is no way to compare the amount of business this year with that handled last year, the number of pouches in use indicates that the business is above the average.  This Is shown by the shortage of sacks yesterday, when the volume of business was at its peak.

 In order to provide increased facilities, the registering window has been converted into a stamp sales window, making three windows for stamp and parcel post service.