Juniata County

The COURT HOUSE, Mifflintown, Pa.;  The JUNIATA GLOBE, Thompsontown, Pa.; TUSCARORA ACADEMY, Academia, Pa.


Excerpt from the February 1986 Monthly Report

A Pic 1986 Other Feb 12 1986 Juniata Co Court House

Juniata County Court House, February 12, 1986.

The visit to Juniata County was a true challenge. One intriguing event early in the day resulted in our having to contact a Judge for a court order to visit a vault in the [Juniata] County Court House where the newspapers were stored. We finally did gain access to the vault and were able to catalog its newspapers, working atop the containers where the Election Ballots were stored. Supervision was provided by Mr. David Shellenberger (Curator at the Juniata County Historical Society) who, despite a recent bout with hypothermia, nevertheless spent much time with us in the chilly vault.

Also, on the first day of this visit, we were gratified to find in the home of a private collector the entire backfile of the defunct Juniata Globe¹ from Thompson-town (77 years worth)! It is listed in Rossell with no holding institutions.

But then! A snag in our carefully arranged schedule arose later that day. Our contact for the next day’s visit called us at 8:30 p.m. that night to say she was ill and unable to provide entry to the Tuscarora Academy in Academia, where the bulk of the county’s papers were kept…

Here’s how it all played out…

Letter from Becky to Judge Quigley, thanking him for his assistance with a Court Order… since the newspapers were in a vault with the Election Ballots, we needed the Court Order to access them.

Juniata Co Quigley Ltr Feb 19 1986


THE COURT HOUSE – Mifflintown, Juniata County, PA


Wednesday, February 12, 1986

On the road again – left Huntingdon at 8:00 am. Headed to Mifflintown, Juniata County.

Arrived at downtown Mifflintown at 9:00 am. Took 5 min. for coffee at the local coffee shop.

9:30 am Went to the Court House and met Mr. David Shellenberger.

B Pic 1986 Other Feb 12 1986 Beck & David

David Shellenberger, Curator, Juniata County Historical Society, shows Beck his index to the newspaper collections, February 12, 1986.

After he rested we then climbed the stairs to the Juniata County Historical Society. The only thing we could learn from Mr. Shellenberger was an index which he showed us.

Had OR [paper] copy as well as microfilm (positive and negative copies) [of newspapers].

Beck and I looked in another room and decided to go through the papers – mostly later copies of the Port Royal Times and the Juniata Sentinel.

We did find some other earlier papers.

After we finished we then went downstairs to meet David and were taken to the basement to where the vault was located [with Court Order in hand].

C Pic 1986 Other Feb 12 1986 Junita Co permission from Judge
Downstairs in the VAULT. We had to get permission from the County Judge before we were allowed access, February 12, 1986.

Mr. Shellenberger stayed with us while Beck and I went to work.

There were several (3 – 4) 20-volume- deep piles of various titles.

We worked around and on top of the specially sacred Voting Boxes.

We had to move a few but Mr. Shellenberger was there to supervise.

We worked straight thru till 2:00 pm.

D Pic 1986 Other Feb 12 1986 David

David Shellenberger supervised us while in the Vault, Juniata Co. Court House, February 12, 1986.

[David was a real trouper; he was recovering from a recent bout with hypothermia and yet stayed with us in that damp, chilly basement so we could get our work done…]

All in all cataloged 7 titles and LDRed 4 others. Then went to Zimmie’s for lunch.




E Pic 1986 Other Feb 12 1986 Juniata Co Court House vault

Inside the Vault, Juniata County Court House, February 12, 1986.


THE JUNIATA GLOBE – Thompsontown, Juniata County, PA

Wednesday, February 12, 1986 (Cont’d)

At 2:00 pm drove to Thompsontown to visit w/Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Leiter. Mrs. Leiter’s first husband published the Juniata Globe (it ceased publication in 1970).

Beck and I went thru the backfile, Beck standing on a ladder looked thru each bundle while I recorded the holdings.

F Pic 1986 Other Feb 12 1986 Juniata GLOBE

77 Years of the backfile of the Juniata Globe at the ex-publisher’s house. Mr. & Mrs. Wayne Leiter, Thompsontown, Pa, February 12, 1986.

Mr. and Mrs. Leiter looked on as we worked – after much digging we came upon volume 1, no. 1, 1873. Mrs. Leiter had never seen it before. [We found 77 years of the paper in their attic – the entire backfile!]¹


Mr. and Mrs. Leiter then showed us around the Press Room area and their living quarters – even showed us his radio set-up. Left the Leiters’ house at 4:30 pm.

Headed back to the motel! Went out for supper.

Back at the motel around 8:30pm got a call from Ruth Waters. Ruth said that Miss Banks would not be able to meet us tomorrow – she was sick w/the flu. Mrs. Waters said she would not take us either because she had been sick – so… Who could take us??

Beck suggested David Shellenberger.

Beck called David and he finally agreed to take us – he would meet us at STOP 35.

Boy – Beck and I almost didn’t get into the Academy; it came so close to not happening.

[But how close was “so close”? Well, the story continues…]


¹ The paper file of the Juniata Globe (Thompsontown) is now listed on the Chronicling America website; the file is available at the State Library in Harrisburg. Previous to the work on the Project, its location was unknown.


TUSCARORA ACADEMY – Academia, Juniata County, PA


From the February 1986 Monthly Report

[As previously mentioned…]

A snag in our carefully arranged schedule arose later in the day [on Feb. 12, 1986]. Our contact for the next day’s visit called us at 8:30 p.m. that night to say she was ill and unable to provide entry to the Tuscarora Academy in Academia, where the bulk of the county’s papers were kept.

Could anyone else let us in?

No, she didn’t think so.

Almost a whole day was scheduled to be there; we needed to get in.

Too many problems, she said.

  • There was no heat
  • No facilities
  • A path had to be shoveled through the snow just to get to the door
  • She didn’t have the key, etc., etc.

(Yes, this was a planned, pre-arranged visit)!

We called David Shellenberger [Curator, Juniata County Historical Society] and explained the problems. His reluctance to help was acute.

  • He was just recovering from hypothermia
  • His wife had just had a serious operation
  • He had spent one whole day with us already
  • He had a funeral in two days and hadn’t started to dig the grave yet [he is manager of a cemetery]
  • There was no time

We begged, pleaded, nagged.

To sum up: David did take us.

G Pic 1986 Other Feb 13 1986 Path shoveled! Tus Acad

Path is shoveled! February 13, 1986.

H Pic 1986 Other Feb 13 1986 Sue shoveled path Tuscarora Acad

Sue shoveled a path to the door of the Tuscarora Academy, February 13, 1986.


I Pic 1986 Other Feb 13 1986 Inside looking for key Tus Acad
Inside the Tuscarora Academy, we had to look for the keys on the door ledges, February 13, 1986

…there was no heat

…there were no facilities

…the 3 rooms we needed to be in were locked

…and David had to drive back to Mifflintown to get his keys

…he locked us in the Academy and left.

We then carried all the newspapers downstairs to the staff room and worked by a window where the sun was shining in and psychologically providing us with some warmth.

J Pic 1986 Other Feb 13 1986 Tus Acad COLD

Carrying the newspapers back upstairs (we cataloged downstairs because it was


K Pic 1986 Other Feb 13 1986 COLD Tus Acad

We did catalog some newspapers upstairs in the COLD (we were here in the COLD for 6 hrs.).

David called hourly to check on us and to see if we had frozen to death, and finally returned at 4:30 p.m. to let us out and lock up. (He had managed to reschedule his funeral by one day so he could assist us).

David then led us to his home for hot chocolate and Danish, where we told him more about the project and thawed out. We thanked him profusely for all he had done. [Here’s the original account…]


Thursday, February 13, 1986

After breakfast at Zimmie’s – off to the Juniata Sentinel Office [Mifflintown, Pa].

Arrived at 8:45 am – Beck and I went thru their backfile. About 1½ hrs. later we were finished. Cataloged only 2 titles and LDRed two.

Beck and I then went to STOP 35 and waited for David Shellenberger. Around 11:10 he came – he had breakfast while we waited – then went back to his house. David made a few phone calls (he was to dig a grave today but his changed plans, and then we got ready to go to the Academy.

We got ready to go – grabbed a broom and shovel. Drove to the Academy – some 10 – 15 miles away at Academia, Pa.

12:30 We got to the Academy. Beck and David went to pick up the key while I shoveled a path to the door. David unlocked the door – we all went in – went upstairs and found the two rooms we needed to get into … locked!

David made a call to Ruth Waters – she had no idea where the keys were. David hung up the phone – he had personal keys at home that he would go home and get.

Beck and I waited there – we sat in the sun to keep warm. [There was no heat; no facilities].

About ½ hour later, David came back and unlocked the doors to the important rooms where the papers were located.

David then left and let us get to work. Beck and I decided to bring the papers downstairs to work in the sun.

We worked till 2:00 pm then decided to stop to eat lunch. (We had picked up sandwiches while at STOP 35). Beck and I sat up on the window ledge in the sun and had lunch. We were both so cold.

We then went back to work – we quickly finished up all the titles we brought downstairs and then went upstairs to work. We were so cold!

We jumped up and down to warm up!

We went thru the remaining titles and then began going thru the microfilm. We didn’t need to use the reader. Everything we saw on paper was also on FM [microfilm].

Every hour or so David called to see if we were frozen or not and whether we were finished yet.

At 5:00 pm we were finished. David came and locked up the rooms and the Academy. All in all cataloged 12 new titles.

We then went to David’s house for a hot drink and Danish. We stayed till 6:45 then left.

Beck and I then went to the Juniata County Library. We arrived at 7:00. We quickly LDRed their two titles.

Finally finished for the day!!!

Went to Zimmie’s for supper – we were so tiredthat we couldn’t even finish our supper.

David S Snip Capture



Letter from Becky to David Shellenberger, thanking him saving the day (twice)…

Juniata Co Shellenberger Ltr Feb 19 1986

Letter from Becky to Mr. and Mrs Leiter, following our site visit to see the Juniata Globe

Juniata Co Leiter Ltr Feb 19 1986


Handwritten note from Becky to David Shellenberger, accompanying the pictures we sent him, shown above….

David S hand written note Capture

Post Script Capture



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