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Northumberland County Historical Society

The Northumberland County Historical Society is a Pennsylvania nonprofit organization, which was chartered on October 26, 1925 and incorporated on May 21, 1998. Its leaders, members and volunteers are dedicated to the collection, preservation and exhibition of artifacts, documents, photographs, and other items which tell the story of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania and its people.[2][3][4]

Northumberland County Historical Society
Northumberland County Historical Society, Sunbury, Pennsylvania.jpg
Hunter House Museum
Location1150 North Front Street, Sunbury, Pennsylvania 17801
Key holdingsArtifacts from Fort Augusta and the French and Indian War through the American Revolution; civic and church records from the time of the region's earliest settlers to the present; historic newspapers, vintage photographs, and other items of interest to historians and genealogical researchers
CuratorJack Lindermuth[1], librarian; (570) 286-4083

Headquartered at the Hunter House Museum at historic Fort Augusta in Pennsylvania's upper Susquehanna Valley, the Historical Society is also home to the Charlotte Darrah Walter Genealogical Library, and presents programs on topics of interest to historians, genealogists and members of the general public at various times during each calendar year. The facilities, which are open from March through December (but closed during the winter months), are physically located at 1150 North Front Street in Sunbury, Pennsylvania.[5][6]


Charlotte Darrah Walter Genealogical LibraryEdit

The Charlotte Darrah Walter Genealogical Library houses materials from the time of the region's earliest settlers to the present, including biographical sketches and books published about Northumberland County families; birth, marriage, death, and cemetery records; baptismal, confirmation, burial, and other church records; historic newspapers and vintage photographs; and land deeds, tax rolls, wills, and other county records, etc.[7][8][9]

Hunter House MuseumEdit

During the early 1930s, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania took steps to preserve historic Fort Augusta and its surrounding lands through a series of preservation initiatives. Initially purchasing, in 1930, a tract of land where the original powder magazine and well of Fort Augusta were located, state officials then also purchased, in 1931, the historic Hunter House, which had been completed in 1852 by Captain Samuel Hunter, a grandson of Fort Augusta's commandant, Colonel Sam Hunter. Those properties were then acquired by the Northumberland County Historical Society, Inc. from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 2004.[10][11]

According to historian Margaret Murray Thorell, Ph.D., when the Hunter House became the headquarters for the Northumberland County Historical Society in 1987, "an extensive renovation restored the brick house [Hunter House] to its original 1848 appearance and added meeting space at the rear of the structure."[12]

The holdings at Hunter House Museum include that original powder magazine from Fort Augusta, as well as Native American and Moravian blacksmith artifacts, the uniform and drum of John Boulton Young, a drummer boy who died at the age of 13 while serving with the 47th Pennsylvania Infantry during the U.S. Civil War, and other items of historic interest which were uncovered during archaeological digs in 1937-1938, 1978-1979, and 1981.[13][14][15]

A model of Fort Augusta was built on the front lawn of the Hunter House Museum and dedicated in 2013. It is roughly one-sixth of the size of the original fort, which was built in 1756 to protect settlers during the French and Indian War.[16]

Education and outreachEdit

The society has historically sponsored educational outreach initiatives through an annual series of meetings and other special events. Topics addressed have included:

  • The debunking of local and state history myths;[17]
  • Displays of period-era uniforms, vehicles, and weapons from the American Civil War and World War II; and[18]
  • The impact of the 1918 Spanish influenza on the coal industry in Northumberland County (March 16, 2018)[19]

Historic preservationEdit

In addition to preservation of the Hunter House (see above), society members also collaborate with other organizations to advocate for and ensure the preservation of historic structures across the county. In 2015, society joined with the Old Towne Neighborhood Council in fighting to save the Northumberland County Prison (Pennsylvania), a 139-year-old castle-like structure which had recently been devastated by a major fire.[20]


Over the years, the Northumberland County Historical Society has partnered with historians and genealogists to produce books, pamphlets and other educational materials, including:[21]

In addition, past editions of NCHS Proceedings, a journal produced by the Northumberland County Historical Society, offer historians and family history researchers the opportunity to explore the region's history from the Native Americans of Shamokin to Early German and Hessian settlers and Revolutionary War and Civil War soldiers, as well as the contributions made by Thomas Edison to the region's development.[22]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Pennsylvania Coal Region subject of new history by John R. Lindermuth". Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania: Sunbury Press, September 16, 2013.
  2. ^ Thorell, Margaret Murray. Sunbury. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2014.
  3. ^ "Northumberland County Historical Society." Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: PA Museums, retrieved online April 27, 2018.
  4. ^ Northumberland County Historical Society Website. Sunbury, Pennsylvania: Northumberland County Historical Society (website), retrieved April 2, 2018.
  5. ^ Thorell, Sunbury, p. 115.
  6. ^ Northumberland County Historical Society (website).
  7. ^ Thorell, Sunbury, p. 115.
  8. ^ NCHS Genealogical Library & Research. Sunbury, Pennsylvania: Northumberland County Historical Society, retrieved April 2, 2018.
  9. ^ Bentley, Elizabeth Petty. The Genealogist's Address Book: State and Local Resources With Special Resources Including Ethnic and Religious Organizations, p. 567. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2009.
  10. ^ Northumberland County Historical Society, PA Museums.
  11. ^ Thorell, Sunbury, p. 115.
  12. ^ Thorell, Sunbury, p. 115.
  13. ^ Hunter House Museum. Sunbury, Pennsylvania: Northumberland County Historical Society, retrieved April 2, 2018.
  14. ^ Inkrote, Cindy. "Civil War drummer boy was different kind of hero." Sunbury: The Daily Item, October 4, 2009.
  15. ^ Thorell, Sunbury, p. 115.
  16. ^ "Fort Augusta Model Nearing Completion." Moosic, Pennsylvania: WNEP, retrieved online April 27, 2018.
  17. ^ Sylvester, Joe. "Historians take issue with Penn's tavern lore." Sunbury, Pennsylvania: The Daily Item, October 29, 2015.
  18. ^ Scarcella, Francis. "Historical society showcases World War II weapons, vehicles." Sunbury, Pennsylvania: The Daily Item, June 1, 2019.
  19. ^ Moore, John L. "Historical society program looks back at the Spanish influenza." Sunbury, Pennsylvania: The Daily Item, March 14, 2018.
  20. ^ Strawser, Justin. "Effort under way to preserve prison." Sunbury, Pennsylvania: The Daily Item, January 19, 2015.
  21. ^ Northumberland County Historical Society (library catalog entries, in "WorldCat." Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc., retrieved online April 28, 2018.
  22. ^ NCHS Proceedings. Sunbury, Pennsylvania: Northumberland County Historical Society, retrieved April 2, 2018.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 40°52′33″N 76°47′29″W / 40.875804°N 76.791496°W / 40.875804; -76.791496