Nov 8
David McConaughy (1823-1902) attended Pennsylvania College (now Gettysburg College) from 1834-1838 and transferred to Washington College now (Washington and Jefferson College) where he graduated in 1840. He studied law in Gettysburg under Thaddeus Stevens and Moses McClean. McConaughy was instrumental in establishing Evergreen Cemetery and the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association, the forerunner to Gettysburg National Military Park. This view was taken circa the 1860s.

Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Deb Novotny is a retired American History Teacher from Gettysburg High School. She has been a Licensed Battlefield Guide since 1975 and serves on the board of the Evergreen Cemetery Association. She is the host for our series on Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg’s civilian cemetery.

To contact Licensed Battlefield Guide Deb Novotny, please click here to reveal her email address.

See the previous parts to the Evergreen Cemetery tour here

In today’s post, Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Deb Novotny describes some highlights of the life of David McConaughy, one of Gettysburg’s prominent lawyers, and the person who was important in establishing Evergreen Cemetery and the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association.

This map shows the location of where our Evergreen Cemetery videos were produced. Videos #1-#53 were shown in our previous Evergreen Cemetery posts. Videos #54 was taken at the site of the David McConaughy House on Chambersburg Street. Video #55 was taken at the site of McConaughy Hall on Carlisle Street. Video #56 was taken at the grave of David McConaughy in Evergreen Cemetery. This map was created facing north at approximately 6:00 AM on Sunday, November 6, 2011.
Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Deb Novotny is standing on Chambersburg Street. Across the street and above Deb is a light green building. This was the home of David McConaughy. It is now the home of the Mama Ventura’s Restaurant. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 5:30 PM on Thursday, August 18, 2011.

In Video #54 (Videos #1-#53 were shown in our previous Evergreen Cemetery posts) Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Deb Novotny is standing on Chambersburg Street and introduces us to David McConaughy. She explains McConaughy’s education background and how he was a rival with another Republican lawyer, David Wills. This view was taken facing northwest to east at approximately 5:30 PM on Thursday, August 18, 2011.

The David McConaughy House on Chambersburg Street. McConaughy helped to preserve the battlefield in 1863 by purchasing land on Cemetery Hill and East Cemetery Hill. He became president of the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association in 1864. Many Gettysburg historians believe that if it wasn’t for McConaughy’s vision to preserve land soon after the battle, there wouldn’t have been much undeveloped land for the War Department to save when it took over in 1895. This view was taken facing north at approximately 5:30 PM on Thursday, August 18, 2011.

The light green David McConaughy House is in the middle of two other interesting structures (at least interesting to us). To the right of the McConaughy House is the peach colored structure that was the drugstore and bookshop of Alexander Buehler for many decades, and at the time of the Battle of Gettysburg. To the left of the McConaughy House is a red brick structure. On the second floor of the red brick structure was the headquarters of Gettysburg National Military Park from 1895 until they moved to the Federal Post Office building on Baltimore Street (now the Adams County Public Library) in 1913. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 6:00 PM on Thursday, August 18, 2011.

Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Deb Novotny is standing west of the town square/circle/Diamond. She is pointing to the red brick home of David Wills, where President Lincoln stayed the night before he gave his Gettysburg Address. This view was taken facing east at approximately 6:00 PM on Thursday, August 18, 2011.

Licensed Battlefield Guide Deb Novotny is standing by the site of McConaughy Hall on Carlisle Street. The structure currently in this location was built to house the Gettysburg Times newspaper. Today it is an general office building. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 6:00 PM on Thursday, August 18, 2011.

In Video #55 Deb Novotny is standing along Carlisle Street at the site of McConaughy Hall. She explains the purpose of McConaughy Hall and how it housed a troop of the 10th New York Cavalry the year before the Battle of Gettysburg. This view was taken facing southwest to south to northeast at approximately 6:00 PM on Thursday, August 18, 2011.

Deb Novotny is standing by the grave of David McConaughy is Evergreen Cemetery. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 6:00 PM on Thursday, August 18, 2011.

In Video #56 Deb Novotny is standing in Evergreen Cemetery at the grave of David McConaughy. She explains his political background, his Civil War military/intelligence career, and his efforts to establish a Soldiers Cemetery at Gettysburg and the establishment of the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association. This view was taken facing south at approximately 6:00 PM on Thursday, August 18, 2011.
If you can find it for a decent price, the best book on Evergreen Cemetery is by the current Superintendent of the Cemetery, Brian Kennell. It is titled Beyond the Gatehouse: Gettysburg’s Evergreen Cemetery. For ordering information from Amazon (again probably not the best price), click here.

To see other posts by Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guides, click here.


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