For the Cause

  |  Gettysburg Histories

Saving Our History

And Passing It On

Historian and author Debra Sandoe McCauslin has made presentations to historical societies and Civil War roundtables throughout the region. Among her publications is Reconstructing the Past: Puzzle of a Lost Community (more below), which traces the history of the residents of Yellow Hill. Black Settlement on Yellow Hill, co-authored with Alisha Sanders, appeared in Pennsylvania Heritage magazine. Her work has also been published by the Adams County Historical Society, the Gettysburg Times, and Gettysburg Experience magazine. She produced the documentary Adams County USA, seen on local PBS stations. A descendant of George Washington Sandoe, first soldier to fall at the Battle of Gettysburg, Debra provided research for the story of his life written by T. W. Burger. A Certified Toastmaster®, she teaches community education courses at Harrisburg Area Community College’s Gettysburg Campus. Some of her other activities include:

  • Event Organizer   U. S. Colored Troops Graveside Salute, National Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA (2007–present)
  • Founder   Jessie Mathews Vann Memorial Scholarship, Menallen Friends Preschool, Bendersville, PA (2007–present)
  • Board Member   Healthy Adams Bicycle/Pedestrian, Inc. (2009–present)
  • Advocate   Historic Gettysburg–Adams County (HGAC) effort to include four Adams County sites in the National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom (2008–11)
  • Third Prize Sponsor   Adams County Arts Council Juried Art Exhibition, Gettysburg, PA (2009–11)
  • Presenter   Journey Through Hallowed Ground Annual Meeting, Manassas, VA (2011)
  • Sponsor & Host   Appearance and booksigning by Christopher Webber, author of American to the Backbone, Gettysburg, PA (2011)
  • Instructor   Road Scholars (formerly Elderhostel), Gettysburg, PA (2010–11)
  • Tour Guide   The Underground Railroad in Adams County for students from Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition (2010)
  • Facilitator   Facing Racism in a Diverse Nation, YWCA of Gettysburg & Adams County (2010)
  • Sponsor   “Five Guys” exhibit featuring local artists, Gettysburg, PA (2010)
  • Sponsor & Event Organizer   Re-enactment of the 1845 kidnapping of Kitty Payne and her family, and placement of wayside marker commemorating their kidnapping, Bendersville, PA (2010)
  • Presenter   The Pommerian Early Music Guild Children’s Workshop, Menallen Friends Meeting, Bendersville, PA (2009–10)
  • Speaker   Pennsylvania Historical Museum Black History Conference, Carlisle, PA (2009)
  • Presenter   Women’s History Month Celebration, Harrisburg Area Community College, Gettysburg, PA (2009)
  • Regional Advisor   Journey Through Hallowed Ground African American Presence Initiative (2008–09)
  • Research Source   A Virtual Secret of History by John Messeder, an article about the life of Mary Jemison, USA Today magazine (2008)
  • Event Coordinator   250th Anniversary of the Capture of Mary Jemison, Gettysburg, PA (2008)
  • Presenter   The Underground Railroad: Uncovering Voices of Women, Albany, NY (2007)
  • Panel Discussant   The Underground Railroad, Thomas Balch Library, Leesburg, VA (2007)
  • Tour Guide   Gettysburg College Civil War Institute, Gettysburg, PA (2006)
  • Mistress of Ceremonies   Adams County Heritage Festival, Gettysburg, PA (2001)


Reconstructing the Past

Puzzle of a Lost Community

What happened to the thriving Yellow Hill community? Follow Deb McCauslin as she searches for answers in Reconstructing the Past: Puzzle of a Lost Community. This 76-page book is available online (or you can print and mail this form) and in Gettysburg at the Adams County Historical Society (111 North West Confederate Avenue; 334-4723) and Gallery 30 (30 York Street; 334-5006).

“A fantastic, easy read that someone put a lot of research into. Thank goodness this fascinating community has not been lost to future generations . . . a learning lesson for everyone.”