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Still another account from Hanover Junction

Waiting for the train? Photo courtesy of the United States Library of Congress
Waiting for the train?
Photo courtesy of the United States Library of Congress

Here is another clipping concerning whether President Lincoln disembarked from his train car at Hanover Junction, Pa. on his way to dedicate the Gettysburg National Cemetery in November 1863. This one was shared by John Hufnagel, Glen Rock historian, in response to my recent post on Mellinger family memories of that occasion. The article quotes John’s father, the late Arthur Hufnagel, a leading Glen Rock citizen for whom the public library in Glen Rock is named. It is from the November 19, 1977 York Dispatch and was written by Dave Delzingaro. It reads:

County Woman Said She Saw President Change Trains

Did President Abraham Lincoln physically set foot in the tiny village of Hanover Junction on his way to making the famous Gettysburg Address?

According to a Glen Rock resident, there seems to be some evidence that he did.

Arthur Hufnagel, of 200 Walnut St., says his dad, Francis, “recalls his Aunt Lizzie saying she saw Lincoln change trains from across the street” 114 years ago this Friday.

“Lizzie,” the late Mrs. Elizabeth Noll McCauley, was employed at Hanover Junction’s only hotel, across the tracks from the train station, at the time of Lincoln’s visit. “She is my dad’s mother’s sister,” said Arthur Hufnagel.

Mrs. McCauley was a girl of about 15 at the time. She died in 1926 at age 78.

Francis Hufnagel, now 85, first told his son Arthur about the historic visit by Lincoln to Hanover Junction over 30 years ago.

“That seemed to give the story about Lincoln’s changing trains some credibility,” Arthur said today.

Arthur recalled that when he was a boy in the 1920s and 1930s, trains frequently took what was then called the “old branch” railroad on excursion trips to Pen-Mar, near Waynesboro, and that it was necessary to change trains physically from the Northern Central Railroad, later the Penn Central Railroad, to the “old branch line,” which then went on to Gettysburg.

Although Arthur does not recall whether the two railroads had different gauges of track or were otherwise incompatible, he does remember the “old branch” terminated at Hanover Junction. “Old branch” trains would have to go in reverse when returning to Hanover, he said.

Arthur also said he remembers his dad telling him about seeing a picture of Mr. Lincoln at Hanover Junction, but he doesn’t know if it was the famous Matthew Brady photograph or a less well-known photograph.

Again, even though convincing research seems to refute some of the claims concerning the people and the trains themselves, I still contend that something important had to be going on to merit the attention of the Brady photographers. I’m still hoping that one of these days a diary or letter written on that day will help prove that the President did, or did not, step out of his train car that day, therefore making it possible, or not, that he appears in one of the photographs in question. If anyone knows of such an item, please share it.

In the meantime, I would also like to know more stories, such as the ones passed down in the Mellinger and Hufnagel families. There seems to me to be too many of them from different sources over the years not to have some grain of truth in them. Please share any accounts that you might know of. My email is ycpa89@msn.com.

A different angle Photo courtesy of the United States Library of Congress
A different angle
Photo courtesy of the United States Library of Congress