Blog Archives

George Washington was many things to many people; a celebrated war hero… the first president of our nation… a surrogate father… In his young reader’s book, “My Dear General – The Extraordinary Relationship between George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette,” author Jeffrey E. Finegan brings this last aspect to life through richly detailed descriptions and research.

Told from the perspective of the Marquis de Lafayette, “My Dear General” reveals the meteoric father-son relationship forged between Washington and the young French aristocrat who traveled from France to fight at his side during the American Revolution.  Orphaned at a young age, Lafayette finds fatherly qualities in stately Virginian, while the reverse is true for a childless George Washington.  The camps of the Continental Army and battlefields of the Revolutionary War are witness to the development of one of the most incredible relationships in history.

“My Dear General” joins Finegan’s two previous works to complete a three-part series entitled “I Knew George Washington.”  Each of the books looks at the life of Washington through the perspective of historic figures who were closely associated with him, thereby presenting a unique way to understand the father of our nation.


Jeffrey E. Finegan Sr. is a 1982 graduate of Seton Hall University with a Bachelors degree in broadcast communication. A native of New Jersey, his interest in history spans from the Norman Conquest of England to World War Two with a concentration in George Washington, the American Civil War and historic architecture. He resides in the historic village of Finesville, New Jersey, with his wife, Kimberly Ollio Finegan and two sons, Jeffrey E. Jr. and Peter J. Finegan. The creator of the “I knew George Washington” Series, he is a member of the Washington Association of New Jersey, the American Friends of Lafayette, and is an honorary member of the Association of the United States Army.

Finegan has conducted lectures and book signings at Colonial Williamsburg, National Historic Parks at Valley Forge, Morristown Saratoga, and Yorktown, as well as the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, and  Washington Crossing, just to name a few.

This lecture will take place in the Rock Ford Barn. Reservations are not required, but seating is limited.

Admission: $5 for non-members and free for members of the Rock Ford Foundation (upon showing valid membership ID card)

Dr. Timothy Trussell of Millersville University presents “The Archaeology of a Pioneer Settler’s Cabin: The 1714 Hans Graff Site.” The early pioneers of Lancaster County were extremely influential in setting the pattern for later development of broad swaths of the United States, through generations of out-migration in the 1700’s.  These flows of people carried the culture, lifeways, agricultural practices, and even architectural styles from Lancaster County to many other areas of the country.  For the first time, the original site of one of these early pioneers has been found and archaeologically excavated, giving us insights into that era which have been previously impossible.  This lecture will discuss the importance of the early settlers in Lancaster County to the later cultural and historical development of the United States, and will discuss the findings of two years of excavation at the Hans Graff site, the first original settlers cabin ever found or excavated in Lancaster County.

This lecture will take place in the Rock Ford Barn. Reservations are not required, but seating is limited.

Admission: $5 for non-members and free for members of the Rock Ford Foundation (upon showing valid membership ID card)

The Underground Railroad (UGRR) was the first interracial activist movement in the United States. It brought together people of diverse backgrounds and from a variety of regions, including Pennsylvania, in defiance of the institution of slavery. There are many myths which surround its operation. However, it becomes less mysterious upon understanding how it operated, the dangers faced by participants, and its impact upon both the South and the North. As this talk examines the effectiveness of the Underground Railroad, it also will offer insights into its significance as a catalyst for the Civil War.

Spencer R. Crew is the Clarence J. Robinson Professor of History at George Mason University.  Previous to that, he served as President of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio and Director of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.  He recently served as a guest curator for one of the permanent history exhibitions at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. He has an AB from Brown University and a PH.D. from Rutgers University.  His most recent publication is Memories of the Enslaved: Voices from the Slave Narratives, co-authored with Lonnie Bunch and Clement Price.

Dr. Crew’s presentation will take place on Thursday, February 22 in Ryder Hall at, 230 N. President Avenue in Lancaster. A speaker’s reception will begin at 4pm, followed by the main presentation at 4:30pm. The event is free and open to the public.

Join us as David Price presents a lecture based on his book, “Rescuing the Revolution.” The victories achieved by the American cause during the events from December 25, 1776 to January 3, 1777 in the war for independence from Great Britain were the product of bold and imaginative leadership on the part of George Washington and his fellow generals, miscalculation by the enemy, and the fortuitous effects of weather as it related to the movement of troops and battlefield conditions. But those storied triumphs were also due to the heroic feats of people less well known to history who remain the “unsung heroes” behind our nation’s struggle for independence during its darkest days.  The book contains a chapter on Rock Ford’s General Edward Hand. After the lecture, David Price will have copies of his book available for purchase and signing.

This lecture will take place in the Rock Ford Barn. Reservations are not required, but seating is limited.

Admission: $5 for non-members and free for members of the Rock Ford Foundation (upon showing valid membership ID card)

Join on Thursday, November 9th as we welcome historian and author Brent M. Rogers, Ph.D. for a talk on A Question of Sovereignties: James Buchanan, Utah Territory, and the Onset of a Federal West. Rogers will examine the difficult challenges faced by President Buchanan’s administration in dealing with Territorial Governor Brigham Young as well as with the settlers of the Utah Territory.

Brent Rogers, Ph.D., Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsBrent M. Rogers, Ph.D. is the associate managing historian for The Joseph Smith Papers. He earned a BA with honors in history from San Diego State University, an MA in public history from California State University, Sacramento, and a Ph.D. with emphasis in nineteenth-century United States history from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Rogers is the author of Unpopular Sovereignty: Mormons and the Federal Management of Early Utah Territory (University of Nebraska Press in 2017) and several articles including “A ‘distinction between Mormons and Americans’: Mormon Indian Missionaries, Federal Indian Policy, and the Utah War,” Utah Historical Quarterly (Fall 2014), which won the Western History Association’s 2015 Arrington-Prucha Prize for Best Article on the History of Religion in the West. Rogers has also co-edited several volumes of the Joseph Smith Papers including Journals Volume 3: May 1843- June 1844 (Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2015).

Event Information: This event takes place in Ryder Hall at A speaker’s reception begins at 4pm, followed by the lecture at 4:30pm. The event is free and open to the public.

To commemorate the 300th anniversary of the arrival of Jacob Böhm, (the progenitor of the Boehm family) to present day Lancaster County, Darvin L. Martin will discuss the genetic background and the land records of local 1717 Mennonite families.

Martin has been exploring the DNA of Swiss-German Mennonite families, since 2010, and has used this data to reconstruct the ethnic origins of local Anabaptist families back into medieval Europe or beyond. kicks off the 2017 Presidential Lecture series on Friday, September 29, 2017 with Dr. Michael F. Holt for Sink Hole: How Kansas Crises Doomed the Presidencies of Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan. Holt’s presentation will explore how the two critical changes in the United States’ rule of law, the 1854 Kansas Nebraska Act and the 1857 Dred Scott Decision, created political tripping stones that destroyed the Presidencies of the 14th and 15th Presidents of the United States. 

Michael F. Holt, Ph.D. is the Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History Emeritus at the University of Virginia. Dr. Holt received his Bachelor of Arts at Princeton University and his doctorate at Johns Hopkins. He is the author of six books, including the award-winning The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party and By One Vote: The Disputed Presidential Election of 1876. One the United States’ most prolific and influential scholars on antebellum politics, Dr. Holt served as a keynote speaker at the 2008 President James Buchanan National Symposium at 

Event Information: This event takes place in Ryder Hall at A social gathering begins at 4pm, followed by the lecture at 4:30pm. The event is free and open to the public. Ample parking available on-site. 

On Thursday, May 18, will welcome Winifred Woll for The Nurses of Pearl Harbor. This colloquium tells the stories of the United States Army and Navy nurses stationed at both Pearl Harbor and Oahu on December 7, 1941. A Lancaster-native, Ms. Woll’s mother, Teresa Stauffer Foster, was among the nurses stationed at Tripler Army Hospital on the day of the attacks.

Winifred Woll, a resident of Reading, PA, is the daughter of Army nurse Teresa Stauffer Foster who was a survivor of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Woll attended several national meetings of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association with her mother and met othe rmilitary nurses who were also survivors of the attack. The stories of these women became the foundation for The Nurses of Pearl Harbor. Since the last Pearl Harbor White Cap nurses died in 2013, Winifred continues to honor these women by focusing on the many accomplishments they attained in both their military and civilian lives. Many stories are told about the military men, but seldom are stories told about the women of Pearl Harbor.

Ms. Woll is currently a teacher in the Career Program at Reading Area Community College. She is also a member of the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors (SDPHS).

The colloquium, The Nurses of Pearl Harbor, will take place on Thursday, May 18, 2017 in Ryder Hall at, 230 North President Avenue, Lancaster. A speaker’s reception with refreshments will begin at 4pm, followed by the main event from 4:30-5:30pm. Pearl Harbor memorabilia will be on display for attendees to view. This event is free and open to the public.


Jim Christ, Vice President of the Paoli Battlefield Preservation Fund, will present a lecture on the Battle of Paoli, sometimes called the Paoli Massacre, which was fought on the night of September 20th, 1777 and was the 9th bloodiest battle of the Revolutionary War.  The nighttime bayonet raid by General Charles “No Flint” Grey on the camp of General Anthony Wayne left the continentals reeling and left the door open for the British to finally capture Philadelphia with no opposition.

This event will be held in the Rock Ford Barn. No reservations required.  Seating is limited.

Admission: $5 for non-members.  Free for members of the Rock Ford Foundation.

On Thursday, April 20, The Edward Hand Medical Heritage Foundation, Lancaster General Health (LGH), and will come together to present The History of Orthopedic Medicine in Lancaster County. A distinguished roster of LGH physicians are slated to speak in this panel presentation, including Doctors Gerald Rothacker Jr., Christopher Cooke, Wayne Conrad, Timothy Tymon, David Hughes, Thomas Westphal, and Paul Carroll.

This program is the second collaboration between the Edward Hand Foundation, LGH, and to present our county’s medical history. The 2016 panel focused on the History of Cardiology.

This event will take place on Thursday, April 20, 2017, in Ryder Hall at, 230 N President Avenue, Lancaster. A speaker’s reception with refreshments will begin at 4pm, followed by the lecture from 4:30-6pm. This event is free and open to the public.