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Gettysburg Festival Fringe event benefits Monterey Pass battlefield preservation

June 09, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • Julie Shindle of Waynesboro, Pa., spins yarn from alpaca wool Sunday at a Civil War event hosted at Martin House Bed and Breakfast in Fairfield, Pa. Proceeds from the event benefited the Battle of Monterey Pass cause in nearby Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.
Photo by Jennifer Fitch

FAIRFIELD, Pa. — The compass, measuring chain and hand-drawn map displayed by Bob Angle and Wayne Twigg during a Gettysburg (Pa.) Festival Fringe Event on Sunday bore little resemblance to the tools the men use in their daily work as surveyors.

In fact, when volunteer surveyors with the Mason & Dixon Line Preservation Partnership set out in recent years to locate stones placed by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in the 1760s, they used GPS technology to document what they found.

Still, the more primitive tools used for five years in the 18th century established the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania that put an end to land skirmishes. Mason and Dixon established Philadelphia as part of Pennsylvania, after directives from England accidentally placed the key city south of the 40th parallel latitude line and in Maryland.

Colonial surveyors did not have the knowledge and training to successfully delineate what became the Mason-Dixon line, according to Angle and Twigg.

So Mason and Dixon, who had already worked in Africa and India, were dispatched from England to do the work, Angle said.

“They were astronomers and surveyors,” he said.

Angle portrayed Mason and Twigg portrayed Dixon during the event hosted at the Martin House Bed and Breakfast on Jacks Mountain Road in Fairfield. Also available to visitors were trolley tours of the route taken by Gen. Judson Kilpatrick and Gen. George Armstrong Custer, guest speakers, displays of artifacts, food, wine samples and book signings.

Proceeds from trolley tours and other aspects of the event benefited battlefield preservation efforts for the Battle of Monterey Pass, which was fought on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line the night of July 4, 1863.

Fringe events were promoted with the Gettysburg Festival, scheduled for June 8 to 16. That festival celebrates local talent with visual arts, food, theater, film, music and children’s activities.

Martin House Bed and Breakfast owner Lynn Martin said she appreciated seeing visitors learning about the Civil War and specifically the Battle of Monterey Pass.

“I hope they take away a knowledge and wanting to spread the word about Monterey Pass,” she said.

The Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors purchased land off Pa. 16 in 2011 to preserve the Monterey Pass battlefield. They are working to develop an interpretive center there.

Township Manager Mike Christopher praised Lynn Martin and her husband, Duke, for hosting the fundraising event for the past two years.

“It’s an opportunity to reach out to other folks who may or may not know what happened in our area,” he said.

Shane and Karen Jaeger live at a Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., property where Civil War artifacts have been found. Karen Jaeger said she has noticed an increase in visitors at Monterey Pass Battlefield Park.

“I like the attention to the area,” she said, adding that she hopes it helps businesses.

Shane Jaeger said he plans to invite friends from the West to visit during the Martin House event next year. The Jaegers were disappointed they did not get to take a trolley tour because the tours were sold out, but they said they would make reservations next time.

Vince and Palma Imbro of Gettysburg stopped by the bed and breakfast after friends from the Gettysburg Poetry Society mentioned that they would be reading. The couple said they enjoyed the friendly atmosphere, knowledgeable presenters and educational aspects of the event.

Steve Tanner of Waynesboro, Pa., showed off his collection of artillery artifacts. Some of the items he purchased, but man he found on his own with a metal detector.

One day, he found two cannonballs and a firearm shell about three feet underground. He found a belt buckle on a different day.

“I was dancing in the woods when I found it,” he said with a laugh.

A Waynesboro Area School District teacher, Tanner shares his finds with students and at events similar to the one at the Martin House.

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