Monday, September 18, 2017

123. Famous Visitors and a Famous Guide

An article in the Gettysburg Times on Saturday, March 5, 1949, included the names of famous people who visited the historic town. The list was compiled by Dr. Charles H. Huber, the former director of the women’s division of Gettysburg College.* 

Among those mentioned in Dr. Huber’s memoir were the Count of Paris, the Queen of Hawaii and Teddy Roosevelt who apparently attracted larger crowds than those who gathered in Gettysburg to welcome Abraham Lincoln in 1863.

According to documents from the Adams County Historical Society, sixteen presidents  visited Gettysburg while they were in office. One of those presidents was Jack Kennedy, and his guide for that visit was Col. Jacob “Met” Sheads. 

Sheads was a popular history teacher when Nancy and I were students at Gettysburg High School 1945 to 1949.

Sheads was a battlefield guide during the summer, and it was common knowledge that he knew more about the battle than anyone else. Undoubtedly, that’s why he was chosen to be the guide for President Jack Kennedy and Jackie when they toured the battlefield on March 31, 1963.

It is reported that Col. Sheads suggested Kennedy return to Gettysburg on November 19 for the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s Address. Kennedy responded, “I’d like to, but I can’t. I have to go to Dallas and mend fences.” President John F. Kennedy  was assassinated in Dallas on Friday, November 22, 1963,
* Dr. Huber was the Headmaster of the Gettysburg Academy in 1921 when   Nancy’s mother, Grace Mae Hartman was a senior there. Dr. Huber also served as president of the Gettysburg National Bank where Charles Ogden, Nancy’s father, worked for forty-six years. Grace and Charles were married on April 17, 1924. 

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