Looking Back: Franklin County’s history February 19th

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 February 19th.

25 Years Ago 

Feb19, 1996 –Friday

 “Dealer says he was duped by dishonest curator at the Smithsonian “ 

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Chambersburg  – Richard Keller collects World War I items for his museum in Chambersburg. He said this morning that didn’t know the two rare fabric insignia from World War I planes he bought were stolen from the Smithsonian Institution.  

Apparently, neither did the other folks who bought 18 items from Karl S. Schneide, curator of the Smithsonian’s World War I aviation collection, he said.   

“We were victims in this, just like the Smithsonian was a victim for trusting this man,” said Keller, co-owner of Great War Militaria at 240 Grant St.  

Schneide was caught selling Militaria items donated to the Smithsonian when a perceptive college professor John Hall, who teaches American history at Albion College and collects military memorabilia called Great War Militaria asking about aviation items.   

Hall was offered the insignia for $3,000.  

He called Alan D. Toelle, an expert in Bellevue, Wash., to determine their value and authenticity.   

Toelle recalled seeing pieces exactly like the ones Hall described while doing research at the Smithsonian several years earlier. Troubled, Hall asked Toelle who could authenticate the items.  

Toelle told him to call Schneide.  

“When I did, he confirmed their authenticity,”  Hall told The Detroit News, “I felt I had no choice but to notify the FBI.  Here he was, employed by the nation. It seemed just unconscionable.”  

Authorities say Schneide would accept the donations including a WWI aviator’s helmet, a WWII aviator jacket and part of an Allied plane, delete them from museum records and then sell them to a military memorabilia dealer.  

Schneide pleaded guilty in December to one count of stealing government property.  Officials claim he pilfered 18 objects between 1990 and 1994.  He was sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay $20,000 restitution.  

The New York Times reported Schneide told authorities he took the artifacts because he believed they were not being properly cared for. 

Though no charges were filed against Keller or his business, some folks who saw a Cable News Network broadcast Saturday night might think otherwise, Keller said.  

“What CNN represented on their news broadcast was appalling to us,” Keller said. “They did us a great disservice.”  

Great War Militaria has an ongoing lawsuit against Schneide, Keller said.  

50  Years Ago 

Feb19,1971 –Friday


County's history February 19th
A look at area churches: Mercersburg Academy Chapel

100 Years Ago  

Feb19,1921 –Saturday

“D. S. C. given to two soldiers of one local family“ 

With the announcement of the posthumous award of the Distinguished Service Cross to Second Lieutenant Phillp E. Krlechbaum, son of Mrs. Lucy E. Krlechbaum of South Franklin Street, two members of that Chambersburg family have been honored by the government for extraordinary heroism in the face of German machine gun fire in the World War. Captain L. E. Krlechbaum having been similarly honored within the past few days.

Lieutenant  Krlechbaum’s award, announced with two others, former members of the 112th infantry, covers his actions near Apreinont, France, on October 3. 1918.  He was killed by enemy machine-gun fire while some distance ahead of the first wave of troops.  “His Initiative and heroism were pronounced to be material factors In the operation,” says the citation.  

Captain Krlechbaum’s citation was as follows:   

“Captain Krlechbaum, who was in command of Company C, 112th infantry, won his honors in battle near Fiamette, France, August 9, 1918, when the town was held both by the enemy and the American forces. He voluntarily exposed himself to heavy close machine gun fire in order to rescue a wounded soldier, and while In the performance of this heroic act he was severely wounded in both legs.” 


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