Looking Back: Franklin County’s history December 22nd

Franklin County’s history

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 December 22nd.

25 Years Ago 

December22, 1995Friday

“Family treasures 40 year tradition “ 

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County's history December 22nd
The family rehearses songs at Robert Poe’s home in Scotland before caroling this year.

A band of carolers poured into Viola Gayman’s living room.  “Joy to the World! The Lord is come!”  

Gayman joined in, singing familiar Christmas carols with Robert and Edna Poe’s three-generation family.  

Just as they were wrapping up the show with We Wish You a Merry Christmas, the living room lights went out.  The room darkened, except for one shining star in Gayman’s front window.  

“Togetherness is fading out today and I thought this was nice they stick together like this,” Gayman said.   

The Poes have caroled around Chambersburg 40 years.  They have visited Gayman for more than a decade.  

Joyce Hornbaker, one of six Poe children, wrote to Public Opinion about how special the tradition is. 

In early years, everyone loaded into Robert Poe’s truck, and practiced what they would sing atop hay bales.   

Today, close to 50 relatives meet at the Poe’s Woodstock Road house one December night, pile into vans and head 30 miles through Chambersburg, greeting widows and family friends with songs and cookies.   

“It’s just been really neat over the years to see how my parents have ministered to a lot of people through this way,” Hornbaker said.  

“I’ve seen a lot of tears, a lot of smiles, a lot of hugs,” Robert Poe said.  “They sort of expect us.”  

Edna used to carol, leaving early to prepare the family meal. Now she stays home and spreads her own holiday warmth through her kitchen.  

Carolers are 2 to 78 years old.  

Some guests invite them in for goodies.  Others watch the glow of their faces in the moonlight.  Six years ago, Hornbaker and her husband were studying French in Quebec.  The school exam was the same day as caroling and both were upset they’d miss the tradition.  

So they arranged to take their test a day early and arrived home in time to carol.   “When I see the joy in the people’s faces, that’s our reward,” Robert Poe said. “I just did it as a matter of Christian goodwill for people less fortunate.”

Adds Hornbaker, “Giving of ourselves and our time is the best give we can give to others.“ 

50 Years Ago   


“Planets Will Form the Star of Bethlehem” 

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Early Christmas morning three “wandering stars” will appear together to reproduce a rare celestial event that may have led the Wise Men to the Bethlehem manger where Christ was born.  

The “stars,” actually the planets Venus, Jupiter and Mars, will mass that morning near the crescent moon in a phenomenon very like one that occurred in 7 B.C., the year the Christ child is believed to have been born.  

In that year, the planets Jupiter, Saturn and Mars came together in the heavens, an event that happens once every 800 years, said Walter N. Webb, assistant director of the Charles Hayden Planetarium of the Boston Museum of Science.  

The massing of three planets will not be a visually spectacular event this year, said Webb, nor would it have been in the year Jesus was born.  But to an astrologer and the Three Wise Men are thought to have been expert in the occult science of interpreting heavenly signs the planets’ coming together may have seemed fraught with meaning.  

Some historians believe the Wise Men came from the area of Mesopotamia.  “If so,” said Webb, “the apparent westward movement of the three planets, caused by the rotation of the earth, could have suggested to them that the new-born king they sought was to be found in the west, in the direction of Judea.  

“In those days everything in the sky was described as a star,” Webb said. “The planets were wandering stars, meteors were shooting stars, and an event like the massing of three planets would have been called a star.” 

100 Years Ago  


Managers Signed Up in Blue Ridge League 

“Blue Ridge League Jotting” 

With all managers of Blue Ridge teams selected, fans n the circuit should be favored with the appearance of well balanced teams at the beginning of the season.  

The Hagerstown Herald observes: “All of the managers will have sufficient time during the winter to look up good material and at the same time it should prove a big saving to all towns, who in years past were forced to pay out much money to candidates rushed in at the last minute in order-to make a team. ” 

As it now stands. Joe Ward, will manage Martinsburg; Buck Ramsey, Frederick; Hinchman, Chambersburg; Bert Weeden, Hanover; Country Morris, Waynesboro, and Mike Mowrey, Hagerstown.  Four of the clubs will start out with the same managers they had at the end of this season.  

“‘All of the managers are  playing ones. Country Morris will hold down first base next year, Hinchman second base, Weeden behind the bat, Ramsey in the box, Joe Ward on first and Mike Mowrey on third.” 


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