The African-American Experience in Cumberland Township, Gettysburg (8/19)


Dr. Beverly Stanton of Gettysburg’s oldest African-American family will be the guest speaker at the Cumberland Township Historical Society’s 7 p.m. meeting on Sept 9.

Stanton is a direct descendant of Sidney O’Brien, who was one of James Getty’s slaves and was born in Gettysburg in 1800, one year after Gettysburg became the county seat of the newly-formed Adams County, which was separated from York County.

Sidney’s daughter, Getty Ann, married Greenberry Stanton of Maryland. Their descendants by way of their three sons sent generations of family to Princeton, New Jersey.

John Stanton’s branch became the oldest African-American family there through the Furman and Satterfield families.

Their son, Greenberry Stanton, spread from Maryland to Adkins, Texas (near San Antonio, Texas) through the Hildebrand family of Maryland.

The third son, Samuel Stanton, also returned from the Civil War where they all fought with the United States Colored Troops but unlike his brothers stayed in Gettysburg and is Dr. Beverly Stanton’s ancestor.

Samuel’s line includes Albert Stewart Stanton, who died in Luzon in the Philippines on Aug. 3, 1945, three days before the US dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. He never got a chance to see his daughter Beverly, who was born Dec. 6, 1944. Albert’s widow, Beatrice Lee Stanton, married returning soldier Charles Marshall Frealing of Taneytown, Md. Charles and Beatrice (Betty Frealing) raised Albert and Betty’s daughter Beverly Ann Stanton as one of their five children, Beverly Ann Stanton, Maria Frealing, Marcia Frealing, Rita Frealing, and John Frealing.

Dr. Stanton’s presentation will address a variety of topics about African-Americans in Cumberland Township and Gettysburg during the early times living here: Structure and practices of religion and education’ “The Fugitive Slave Act,” its effect on free and slave African-Americans in the area; Underground Railroad; significant members of the African-American community in early Gettysburg and Cumberland Township and history; and the Lincoln Cemetery.

Dr. Stanton will also discuss recent history (1930–1970) of her parents and their World War II lives in the same area. Dr. Stanton will have posters, pictures, flags and letters on display as she tells a short version of her personal history as a child, a Roman Catholic nun, Catholic campus minister, college professor, preacher, counselor, along with some other interesting facts.

Join CTHS and special guest Dr. Beverly Stanton at the Brethren Church on the Biglerville Road on Monday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m.

Contributed by Dr. Beverly Stanton on behalf of the Cumberland Township Historical Society.