It is believed this 1906 painting by W.R. Maxwell may depict a Carlisle area church. 

There are mysteries to be solved in the photo archives of the Cumberland County Historical Society.

These are images that lack a name or a context that are just waiting for that one clue from a Sentinel reader who could bring the meaning into focus.

This week’s Tour Through Time features a mystery photo of a framed painting showing what could be a Carlisle area church. Susan Carson of Carson, Virginia, first made the society aware of this painting in an August email to photo curator Richard Tritt. Here is what is known about the painting:

  • The artist was W.R. Maxwell who painted this structure in 1906. The frame is about 19 by 26 inches.
  • The painting was given to Clivis and Josephine Harris, Carson’s grandparents, in the early 1970s while the couple was visiting Carlisle. They were told it was a Carlisle-area church.
  • The couple owned the painting until their deaths in 2015. It was passed down to Carson who returned it to Carlisle in mid-August 2018 while researching her family genealogy.
  • The great-grandfather of Clivis Harris was descended from the Henwood family of Carlisle, who lived in Carlisle Springs and downtown Carlisle.
  • Some family members were baptized in the First Lutheran Church and married in the First United Church of Christ. It is believed family members attended a small church in Carlisle Springs.
  • Clivis Harris, a native of Carlisle, mustered out of South Carolina during the Civil War. He never made it back to Pennsylvania and died in Virginia.
  • One daughter of the Harris family married into the Zeigler family.

Those are the clues that may solve a mystery.

Tour Through Time runs every Saturday in The Sentinel print edition. Reporter Joseph Cress will work with staff at the Cumberland County Historical Society each week to offer a look at Cumberland County through the years.

Send any questions, future ideas or tips on the Mystery Photo to Cress at jcress@cumberlink.com.

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Email Joseph Cress at jcress@cumberlink.com.


Education/History Reporter

History and education reporter for The Sentinel.