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New local books pack history of cemeteries, Civil War

LEWISTOWN — The Civil War and local cemeteries are the topics of two new books published this fall by the Mifflin County Historical Society.

“Dear Mary: The Civil War Letters of A.T. Hilands,” was compiled and edited by Daniel McClenahen, and “Tombstone Tales from the Cemeteries of Mifflin County,” is a new work by Forest K. Fisher.

In addition, the society has announced a limited reprinting of “Mifflin County — Then & Now,” by Fisher and Nathaniel Thierwechter.

The authors will be available from 5 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 1 in the society’s library in the Mifflin County Historic Courthouse to sign books. They will also appear from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 17 at Friendship Bookstore  in Mifflin County Commons, Burnham.

The society has also announced that the 2017 Picture the Past calendar is now available for sale. The front features a 1969 photograph of the downtown redevelopment in Lewistown, taken by Bob Robb, formerly of Juniata County.

In his 375-page soft cover book, McClenahen, local historian and past society president, details the letters Union soldier A.T. Hilands sent home to his wife, Mary, in Mifflin County. Hilands wrote from many of the major areas of engagement during the war.

In the society’s fall newsletter, McClenahen explains: “Hilands’ letters offer a great insight into the experiences of a local man encountered in the Civil War. In the letters, he mentions numerous Mifflin County men and gives information about their daily lives. The letters also offer a view of the human side of war, and of a father and husband missing his family. Hilands and his wife also discuss events at home during the war.”

Fisher, current society president, has written a 60-page soft cover book that highlights the stories of 13 Mifflin County individuals, with visits to their final resting places in various county cemeteries. From the tragic death and harrowing burial of an infant, to the grand coffin used by the most recognized Civil War veteran in Mifflin County, this small book packs history in every page.

The second book in the Then & Now series, “More Mifflin County — Then & Now,” and the accompanying DVD highlighting long-gone buildings and businesses are also still available.

Sales of all publications directly benefit the Mifflin County Historical Society.

For more information, call 242-1022 or e-mail the society office at, or visit the society’s internet retail outlet at and click on Store.