WELSH RUN >> How did our ancestors live? Consider their circumstances, a time with no electricity or running water, no grocery or hardware stores and no automobiles — all things we take for granted today.

The Conococheague Institute, located on Rock Hill Farm at 12995 Bain Road, Mercersburg, will provide answers to some of these questions in a living history event to take place Aug. 15 and 16.

Exploring farm life in the 1820s will be the highlight of the two days, with a farmer on board to explain the challenges of running a farm during the Federal period and a visit to a typical farm home to learn about hearth cooking and other domestic arts women employed to maintain a household and raise a family.

Local businesses of the time — such as tobacco trading and tavern keeping — will be represented by historical re-enactors. Behind it all, there will be music provided by the Weavers.

The farm will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

"This is an opportunity for folks to get a taste of what it was like to live in rural Pennsylvania in the early 19th century with our historic buildings and gardens. It's a great way to spend the day with the family," said Rachel B.K. Nichols, Conococheague development coordinator.

The event will be presented by the Historical Interpretive Branch of the W.S. Hancock Society. This is a non-profit educational and historic organization dedicated to the life and memory of Major General Winfield Scott Hancock.

"This period of our nation's history is often overlooked, but it's important as a transition period, the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the U.S.," said Bruce Stocking, historian and educational program coordinator of the Hancock Society.

The Conococheague Institute sits on 35 acres within Rock Hill Farm, a historic, 18th century farmstead, located in the village of Welsh Run. It includes two historic house museums with outbuildings, a research library, two relocated historic log structures, a replicated eastern Woodland Indian village, walking trails with access to a pioneer cemetery and several historical gardens.

All activities will take place around the Negley House (circa 1810) and its outbuildings, although visitors are welcome to explore the entire site.

Food will be available on site. The entry fee is $5 a car.

For more information, call 717-328-3467 or visit

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