Mercersburg and the surrounding area have both reflected and affected our national history in its people and events.
People of Interest
- Captive of the Indians from 1756-1764
- Author of Life with the Aborigines
Brig. Gen. Hugh Mercer (1725 - 1776)
- Frontier Physician
- French and Indian War Hero
- Close friend of George Washingtion
- Brigadier General in the Revolutionary War
- Died from results of battle wounds Battle of Princeton
- From whom Mercersburg was named
Robert McClellan (1770? - 1815)
- Indian scout, fur trader, and explorer
- Associate of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition
William Magaw (1744-?)
- Physician and soldier in several Pennsylvania regiments during the American Revolution
- Personal physician of General Layfayette during the Battle of Brandywine in 1777
- Jesse Magaw, his son, also a physician
William Findlay (1768- 1846)
- Member of Pennsylvania House of Representatives
- Author of proposal to move state capital from Lancaster to Harrisburg
- State Treasurer
- Governor of Pennsylvania from 1817- 1820 (Opponent- Joseph Hiester)
- United States Senator
- Treasurer of the Philadelphia Mint
- One of three Findlay brothers, William, James, and John, in Congress in 1826
Joseph Hiester (1752 -1832)
- Member of convention to ratify the United States Constitution
- Member of convention to frame the constitution of the state of Pennsylvania
- Representative to the United States House of Representatives
- United States Senator
- Governor of Pennsylvania from 1820-1823 (Opponent William Findlay)
Jane Irwin Harrison (1804 -1848)
- Wife of William Henry Harrison Jr.
- Hostess in the White House in the Presidency of William Henry Harrison in March 1841
Elizabeth Irwin Harrison (1810-1850)
- Sister of Jane Irwin Harrison
- Wife of John Scott Harrison, brother of William Henry Harrison Jr.
- Mother of Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States from 1889 to 1893
James Buchanan (1791-1866)
- Member of the United States House of Representatives
- Member of the United States Senate
- Minister to Russia
- Secretary of State
- Ambassador to Great Britain
- President of the United States from 1857-1861
Harriet Rebecca Lane (1830- 1903)
- Niece of James Buchanan
- Hostess in the White House in presidency of Buchanan from 1857- 1861
- Philanthropist as Harriet Lane Johnston
- Donor of money for the Harriet Lane Clinic for Invalid Children, now the pediatric section of Johns Hopkins Hospital
- Donor of money for establishment of St. Albans School in Washington, D.C.
- Donor of art for national collection
Michael Cromer (1827- 1893)
- Feat of cutting 12 1/2 acres of wheat from sunup to sundown on one day in July 1858
- Blade of cradle five inches wide and sixty-five inches long
- Cradle manufactured by Millard Fillmore Manufacturing Co., Claysville, New York
The blades are 5 in wide x 65 in long.
Jonathan Blanchard (1811-1892)
- Native of Vermont, member of the American Anti-Slavery Society
- Young abolitionist whose presence in Mercersburg in 1837 caused a riot
- Later president of Knox College and first president of Wheaton College, both in Illinois
John Williamson Nevin (1803 - 1886)
- Professor of Theology in the Theological Seminary of the German Reformed Church located in Mercersburg
- Originator and proponent of the Mercersburg Theology
- Author of many works explaining the Mercersburg Theology
Dr. Philip Schaff (1819 -1893)
- Professor of Church History in the Theological Seminary of the German Reformed Church
- Author of many works explaining church history
- Author of " The Gettysburg Week" first published in Scribners Magazine, vol.l6, issue 1, July 1894
The Rev. Captain John Steel (1744-1812)
- Pastor, 1752-1756
- First installed Pastor of the Presbyterian Church of the Upper West Conococheague by Donegal Presbytery.
- Built the stockade-style Fort at Church Hill and commissioned as Captain by Governor Morris.
The Rev. John King, D.D. (1740-1813)
- Pastor, 1769-1811, Presbyterian Church of the Upper West Conococheague.
- Revolutionary War Chaplain
- Friend and mentor to President James Buchanan
- He performed the Marriage for President Buchanan's parents and baptized all the Buchanan children.
- He began the church’s records.
- He is buried at the entrance to the Church Hill Cemetery.
The Rev. David Elliott, D.D. (1787-1874)
- Pastor, 1812-1829, Presbyterian Church of the Upper West Conococheague.
- He performed the Baptism for President Buchanan's niece, Harriet Rebecca Lane.
- He founded the Franklin County Bible Society and was present at the founding of the American Bible Society in New York in 1816.
- He also served on the board of trustees of his alma mater, Dickinson College, between 1827 and 1829.
- In 1837 he was moderator at the Philadelphia General Assembly that split the church between New and Old Schools; but he lived to see and take part in the exercises at the reunification of 1870.
The Rev. Thomas Creigh, D.D. (1808-1880)
- Pastor, 1831-1880, Presbyterian Church of the Upper West Conococheague.
- Created the Pastor’s Register in 1836, compiling all known church records back to 1769.
- Compiled and published the first history of the church in 1877.
- Board of Regents of Marshall College.
- One of the Founders of Wilson College.
- He is buried in Fairview Cemetery, Mercersburg, PA
Places of interest
- James Buchanan State Park, site of birthplace of James Buchanan
- The Lane House in Mercersburg, privately owned
- Fort Loudoun
- Witherspoon's covered bridge in Montgomery Township off Anderson Road
- Hays stone-arched bridge in Montgomery Township on Anderson Road
- Buchanan cabin on the campus of Mercersburg Academy
- Graves of Three Confederate Soldiers in Fairview Cemetery in Mercersburg
- Zion Union Cemetery in Mercersburg, site of burial of 38 Civil War veterans including 13 veterans of the Massachusetts 54th Volunteer Infantry with Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission marker
- Markers at entrance to the campus of the Mercersburg Academy indicating sites of Marshall College (1835- 1853) and the Theological Seminary of the German Reformed Church (1836- 1871)
- Spring Grove Cemetery, site of burials of James Buchanan's parents and Harriet Lane's parents, on road to Lemasters off route 416 at top of hill in south end of Markes
Events of Interest
- Jeb Stuart's raid on October 10, 1862
- Other multiple Civil War raids
- Use of buildings as hospitals from July 5 to July 9, 1863, during Lee's retreat from Gettysburg
Education and Religion in Mercersburg
- Marshall College (1835- 1853)
- Theological Seminary of the German Reformed Church (1836- 1871)
- Mercersburg College (1865 - 1892)
- Mercersburg Academy ( 1893 -
- Theology developed in the mid-nineteenth century in the Theological
- Seminary of the German Reformed Church located in Mercersburg by John Williamson Nevin and Philip Schaff