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Muncy Farm’s 250th Anniversary

October 13, 2019 - Cindy Knier
Even though the anniversary has come and gone, I still marvel at last month’s outstanding open house of Lycoming County’s oldest active farm in Muncy Township. A tremendous effort made by volunteers of the Muncy Historical Society and the willingness of sibling-owners Malcolm and Sheila Barlow to share the history of the property stands out, first and foremost.

Other thoughts that come to mind were the sheer amount of visitors at the observance—approximately 2,000 in attendance, according to Bill Poulton, executive director of the society. This number includes accounting for those rascals who snuck in, Poulton said, as well as children under the age of 12, who were given free admission.

The temperature of the day soared to the mid-80s, and those in period costume were surely feeling the effects of humidity. At one point, Linda Poulton was seen running about on the grounds as the crowd swelled to long lines waiting to enter the house. Thelma White, in her beautiful gown, seemingly unaffected by the sun; the campfire smoke from the native American encampment, combining with the grill smoke from the concession stands to shroud the crowd; the echo of music instruments in the air as the Muncy band marched down the gravel road, making history themselves. It was a great day.

Concessions providing cold beverages and hand-held food were depleted of both a few hours into the six-hour celebration and had to purchase additional items to stave off the heat-weary, hungry mass.

Re-enactors were also on hand, and all of them top-notch in their field of expertise. Unforgettable was the sudden cannon blast immediately following a duet by Emma Hogan and Marshall Rothrock, Muncy students who sang “God bless America.” The explosion startled many of the present crowd as resonated along the valley hills.

As I crossed the original iron railroad bridge and turned to take photos of those making their way to the homestead, I couldn’t help but notice nearly everyone extending a hand to touch the ancient past, admiring the strong workmanship that has withstood the centuries.

Overhearing conversations between people was also a highlight for me, and if I had the opportunity to learn of everyone’s memories that are associated with Muncy Farms, it is certain that an extremely thick book would be published of both history and extending stories. One particular woman was overheard saying that her father used to drive Henry Gibson Brock to the dog races every Saturday. How I wish to have known more!

I didn’t tour the house interior due to the long line that extended a distance from the entrance and while that was a personal decision, I left feeling more than satisfied with what I had seen, heard and experienced.

Once again, deep-felt thanks to all involved for making the observance possible.


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