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It's not yet known whether the Brown family in this book is related to the William S. Brown clan.
Huntingdon resident publishes book
By IRIS HERSH Staff writer
Titus Wingert, a resident of Huntingdon County who grew up in the Chambersburg area, had his first book, "First Man Hanged in Huntingdon County -- the Brown Family Tragedy and other Assorted Tales," published in October.
The 171-page hard cover non-fiction book tells of the tragic murders of six members of the Brown family that occurred near Shirleysburg during May 1840 and the family member who committed heinous crimes. In addition, the book has other tales of local history from the 1800s.
The author, who works as a concrete finisher on road construction projects, attributes his deep interest in local history to his sixth grade teacher at Portico Elementary School in Chambersburg, Harry Foreman. The teacher, fondly nicknamed Pappy Foreman, had authored several local history books, according to Wingert. He added that his English teachers would be surprised that he wrote a book due to his lack of interest in English.
After moving to Three Springs in the early 1970s, he began hearing legends about the "Old Brown Place," near Three Springs, which he visited. During a visit to the area of the Brown family murders, Wingert encountered a recently placed facsimile of the original gravestone that a local rock engraver and skilled artisan had crafted and placed as a representation of the original that was vandalized several years before. This piqued the author's interest and he proceeded to meet with the engraver and then numerous others to research the topics in his book.
The Brown tragedy is about Robert McConahy who attempted to murder his wife's entire family so he could inherit their farm. He murdered six members of the Brown family, but then...you'll have to read the book to find out.
The story of the Brown murders includes many colored photographs. The exact locations of sites are identified and interesting facts relating to some of the people in the stories are presented in footnotes towards the back of the book. Other tales from the 1800's mostly involve locations mentioned in the Brown story.
The author's wife, Debra Wingert, was a tremendous help with the extensive research involved in creating the book, said the author.
Though not planning another book at this point, Titus Wingert said he enjoyed writing it and learned a lot doing the research.
In addition to local history, he also enjoys fishing, trapping, photography, gardening and anything else dealing with the outdoors.
To get the book
Copies of "First Man Hanged in Huntingdon County -- the Brown Family Tragedy and other Assorted Tales," can be ordered by sending $24 per copy to Debra Wingert/Book Order, P.O. Box 84, Three Springs, Pa. 17264. Allow two to four weeks for delivery. Save $4 postage and handling by getting the book at the Wingert's home in Spring Run. For more information, call 1-814-448-2936 or e-mail breastaxi(put the at-sign in here)yahoo.com.
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