Looking Back: Franklin County’s history June 9th

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 June 9th.

25 Years Ago

June 9, 1996 – Sunday

“Waynesboro’s pitch:  Continue to Learn”

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Valedictorian Jason Umlah told his fellow graduating classmates at Waynesboro Area Senior High School they can be anything they want to be.

“Perhaps one of us may even be a baseball player,” he quipped. “Maybe even for the San Francisco Giants.”

The audience chuckled.

Umlah, of course, was talking about Matt White the right-handed pitcher who was drafted by the San Francisco Giants as the No. 7 pick of the baseball draft this week.  

The two students graduated last night in the high school gymnasium of Waynesboro Area Senior High School among a class of 268 students.  White returned from the U.S. Olympic baseball team tryouts in Millington, Tenn., to attend his graduation ceremony.  He made the team’s 30-man roster, and will wait a few weeks to find out if he made the final 20-member team.  He plans to return to Millington this weekend.

At the ceremony, audience members fanned themselves with programs in the hot, overcrowded gym.  The ceremony was supposed to be held at Indian Stadium, but stormy weather brought it inside.

Dr. Corrine Caldwell, campus executive officer of Penn State Mont Alto, gave the commencement address.  She urged the graduates to remember her message a year from now, even if they can’t remember her name.

Even though some graduates may stay in Waynesboro, and enter career fields that traditionally do not require higher education, Caldwell tried to convince them that the more education or skills they attain, the better off they will be.

Umlah told the graduates, “Do what you love to do and the rest will follow.”

50 Years Ago

June 9, 1971 – Thursday

“Music Teacher is Bird Watcher”

Mercersburg – Charles Brightbill, R. R. 3, (Town Hill), has a special interest in birds, bird watching and their music.  He particularly has studied hawks, feeling they have been much maligned, especially by farmers.

Brightbill, music director in Mercersburg, Montgomery and Lemasters elementary schools of Tuscarora School District, and assistant to Scoutmaster J. Robert Grove, of Troop 28, has been instructing the classes and troop members in birds and their habits.  One class in Lemasters Elementary school is able to identify the bird calls and songs of the most familiar birds in the district.

Brightbill has been a longtime member of the Conococheague Naturalists and the Washington County Ornithological Society, Hagerstown.  He said most people do not realize the economical value of the hawk.  From his studies of this bird, he has found that the Conococheague Marsh Hawk has a diet of 87 per cent mice and rats; the red-shouldered hawk has a diet of 60 per cent reptiles, mammals, salamanders and insects; the sparrow hawk has a diet of 77 per cent insects.

Unfortunately, the hawk does like chickens, which the farmer resents, but his diet for this particular food is small.  Brightbill said, “I would hope that when a farmer sees a hawk circling overhead, he would not immediately grab a gun to shoot it.  It may be his best friend. Wait until the hawk is in your own backyard before taking the shot.”

In order for the students to better identify the birds, Brightbill has made copies of all types of hawks in life-size wooden patterns, and painted them in true colors.  Last week, he conducted demonstrations and lectured the classes on this particular study.

He said the best place to study the hawk is Tuscarora Summit.

100 Years Ago

June 9, 1921- Thursday

“School boys available for suitable farm work”

Chambersburg – The department of labor and Industry, Harrisburg, (said) that farmers of Franklin as well as the other agricultural counties of the state, can secure the services of a number of able-bodied and energetic boys and youths for suitable work upon the farms during June, July and August.  The young men are available and listed following the close of the public schools and high schools.

Application should be made to Preston Seidel, superintendent of the State Employment Office. Third and State streets, Harrisburg,


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