Non-Profit Internet Source for News, Events, History, & Culture of Northern Frederick & Carroll County Md./Southern Adams County Pa.


Underground Railroad Tours Are Gettysburg's Newest Attraction

(7/11) There's something new to do while visiting Gettysburg - Underground Railroad Tours of Adams County are underway. The new tour, created and guided by Debra McCauslin, allows visitors to get acquainted with those who sought freedom and those who fought for it last approximately 2 ½ hours and costs $15 for adults and $5 for students. Proceeds from the tour are donated to historic preservation. Tours are provided in your vehicle or a chartered bus or van can be provided for groups. Tour reservations can be made by calling 717-528-8553 or by email at

The tour showcases several people who were involved in the Underground Railroad in Adams County including Gettysburg’s Basil Biggs, Bendersville’s Edward Mathews, the founder of the Yellow Hill Settlement and Menallen Township’s Cyrus Griest, a Quaker who aided Kitty Payne and her children during their 1845 kidnapping from their Bendersville home. The Quakers who lived near Bendersville were related to and worked with William and Phebe Wright who aided over 1,000 freedom seekers in their York Springs’ home.

"The Underground Railroad was a contributing cause of the Civil War and two million visitors come to Gettysburg each year to see the affects of its largest battle. Maybe we could help those visitors understand a cause of the war by talking about the freedom seekers and freedom fighters that once walked on this land prior to that war seeking a free life away from the horrors of slavery," states tour creator and tour guided Debra McCauslin. Stops on the tour include the Yellow Hill Cemetery where a pre-Civil War African American community existed and the Menallen Friends Meetinghouse and cemetery where Quakers still have meetings for worship today. Both were named to the National Park Service’s National Network to Freedom in 2006 for their involvement in the Underground Railroad.

Historic Gettysburg Adams County, a member-supported preservation organization assisted Deb McCauslin by crafting an access agreement with a Butler Township landowner to allow foot traffic over private property to see the Yellow Hill Cemetery. The Yellow Hill Cemetery is not open to the public and access is allowed only with a pre-scheduled and pre-approved tour under McCauslin’s guidance.

McCauslin is a lifelong Adams County resident and is related to George Washington Sandoe, the first soldier killed at Gettysburg who died near McAllister’s Mill which was reputed to be a station on the Underground Railroad. McCauslin is a member of Toastmasters International and she teaches at Harrisburg Area Community College. She has spoken to groups and organizations throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, and Virginia. The author of Reconstructing the Past Puzzle of a Lost Community at Yellow Hill, Deb donates book sale proceeds, tour proceeds and speaking fees to several local preservation organizations.

For more information or to schedule a tour, contact Debra McCauslin at 717-528-8553 or visit or

Read other articles on Gettysburg