Covid-19 Update July 29th, 2021 - We are OPEN with Summer Hours: Historic Programming Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 5pm, Visitor Center and Gift Shop Saturdays 10am to 5pm. Additional programs/library/genealogy by appointment. Grounds and Trails are open daily from Dawn to Dusk.

Please visit safely, and follow all health and safety guidelines.

For more information, please contact Matthew Wedd at or call at 717-328-2800 and leave a voicemail.

Board of Directors and Staff

Welcome Warden: Jacob Davis hired as our new Historic Warden and Programming Lead

We announced in February that we were looking for a new employee to help fuel our 2021 growth. After a extremely competitive application and interview process, the CI Board of Directors is pleased to welcome on board Jacob Davis.

Jacob brings a wealth of experience in Living History to CI's programming. After graduating from Frostburg State University Jacob did a Internship at Fort Necessity before starting his career at Fort Frederick State Park where he further developed his knowledge and skills of 18th Century Life. More recently Jacob worked for the Washington County Historical Society, where he learnt more about the operating side of Non-Profits.
The origin of Warden is Middle English (originally denoting a guardian or protector): from Anglo-Norman French and Old Northern French wardein, variant of Old French guarden ‘guardian'.
As Warden Mr. Davis will ensure CI's grounds and buildings are kept in impeccable condition, both to guard them for future generations and allow todays visitors to appreciate them at their best.
As programming lead Jacob will be spear heading new interactive programming to engage local families on Historical and Natural education. It also allows us to offer regular weekly programming. Stay tuned for updated hours of opening, but for now you are sure to see Mr. Davis in the Garden every Saturday from 10am to 4pm. There is plenty to do right now for Spring, so be sure to stop by and lend him a hand.

Board Officers Announcement

The Board of Directors of the Conococheague Institute at the historic Rock Hill Farm in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, is pleased to announce that it has elected its new slate of Officers for 2021. The following Board Officers were elected unanimously in the Board’s January Meeting:

Betsey Lillard - President

Chuck Holland - Vice President

Josh Faust - Treasurer

Bob Schwartz - Secretary

Former Board President Carol Zehosky's term having expired she was extremely happy to hand over the reins to such talented successors.  Having seen CI through some interesting years (including a Global Pandemic), Zehosky was glad to be able to end her term with the organization being stronger than ever, both financially and in terms of its staff, programming, and member engagement. “With this talented leadership team, I have every confidence that CI is well-positioned for future success.”

Lillard is a long-time resident of Washington County, MD, and enjoyed a career in the medical profession where she always strove to provide excellent communication with patients. A supporter of the arts and numerous charities such as the Friends of Fort Frederick where she served as chairperson of the 250th Anniversary Celebration of the fort.

Lillard also has a family connection to CI, as founder Dr. John Stauffer recently reminded her- that he and Lillard's father were both in Boy Scouts together as youngsters as well as being colleagues as physicians. "I look forward to assisting in bringing CI up to its full potential- now and into the future," Lillard said at her confirmation.

2021 will be Vice Presidents Holland's second year after he stepped up to the title last summer but his background in business leadership makes him a steady rock of support: and someone to count on when a job needs doing.

Faust and Schwartz will be serving their first year as Officers having been elected to the Board by the General Membership in October 2020, but have already instigated a lot of positive changes to the organization as well as their countless volunteer hours. In addition to serving as Treasurer and Secretary, Faust and Schwartz demonstrate the new energy of the next generation of pioneers. As well as their Board Offices, they both will be spearheading History and Nature volunteer management and training in 2021 (Faust is a passionate Historic Interpreter, and Schwartz an Environmental advocate and professional forester) to ensure that CI’s dedicated volunteer corp can serve the public in programming and education to their best degree.

The Board Officers Election is but one more step in expanding CI’s Frontier. With new growth and direction, CI looks forward to bringing the Cultural and Natural Resources of the site to a wider audience than ever before.

Please join the board of directors of the Conococheague Institute in welcoming the new Officers to our community.

If you would like to support this new growth you can donate online through PayPal, or mail a check payable to The Conococheague Institute to 12995 Bain Road, Mercersburg, PA 17236. The Conococheague Institute is a 501c3 Non-Profit and all donations are tax-deductible.   


Board of Directors Announcement

CI is proud to welcome our new slate of Board members who were voted in by the Membership at our 2020 Annuals Members Meeting. With such a diversity of skills, they are sure to help CI prosper!


Eric Bryan has a long background of work experience and education in the History field. Receiving a Master of Arts in History from James Madison University, Harrisonburg VA, he has over decades of experience in Historic Museums, serving as the Director of Operations of the Frontier Culture Museum of Staunton, VA.

Eric’s primary motivation in applying to your Board of Directors is to attempt to rise above localism, bridging the gaps between Historical sites in order to forge a stronger love of history in our communities, and use the administrative knowledge and skills he has developed in libraries and a museum over the course of thirty years to support related a historical enterprise in a place with deep historical links to one that he had lived and worked in for most of his adult life.


Josh Faust has a passion for Living History and making connections between people. Living in Frederick MD, Josh studied at Clarion University Clarion, PA and received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Communication. With a background in outreach, policies, and Management, Josh has a strong organizational work experience that will be a boon to CI, in addition to his love of History. Josh’s background in volunteering has put him in touch with a wide network of Living Historians from Fort Ticonderoga, to the Old Barracks. He currently serves as Recruiting/Communications Director for HM 17th Regiment of Infantry Living History Group.


Ellen Kinzer is originally from Illinois and moved to Maryland after attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earning a degree in Wildlife Ecology. She is a passionate conservationist and enjoys teaching people about the surrounding natural environment. Ellen works as a Development Associate for the C&O Canal Trust. Before that, she worked as a seasonal Park Ranger at Fort Frederick State Park in Maryland. She currently holds the position of secretary of Antietam Conococheague Watershed Alliance.


Dennis Kubicki has been associated with the Conococheague Institute for many years beginning with the tenure of Walter Power and continuing through to the present. He began by working to clean out the basement of the Davis-Chambers House and cataloguing books in the library, continued by developing and presenting history programs for school groups, and has recently been supporting the “open houses” here, among other supporting activities. He has lived in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, for the past twelve years after retiring from the federal government where he spent most of his career as a fire protection engineer in the nuclear industry. In addition to an engineering education, he has completed three-degree programs in History, including a Master’s Degree from the American Military University. He is a musician and a published author. And he has spent over thirty years interpreting history at a number of state historic sites and national battlefields including, but not limited to, Historic Saint Mary’s City, Fort Frederick, and Antietam Battlefield.


Robert Schwartz is a plant geek and committed conservationist. The Illinois native currently works for the Maryland Forest Service as a forester. He earned a bachelor of science in forest science and political science from the University of Wisconsin- Madison and is currently a master's student at Hood College studying climate change. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Antietam-Conococheague Watershed Alliance assisting with grant writing, implementation, trash cleanups, and tree planting efforts.


Leighton Wolfe resides in Salt Lake City and with his wife and is a proud father of a 21-year-old daughter. He has a strong background in leadership varying from Management at Harvard University, Hospitals, and Energy Companies. He currently serves as Vice President of Strategic Services ETC Group, President of GrowFit Analytics, and Co-Founder of Principal NorthBridge Energy Partners. He considers CI a very special place. In 2006, Dr. Stauffer, Mary Hartman, and Gay Buchanan were instrumental in helping to uncover his family history in Welsh Run dating from 1752.

Board of Directors

Elizabeth P. Lillard “Betsey", President

Chuck Holland, Vice President

Josh Faust, Treasurer

Robert Schwartz, Secretary

Will Sheppard

Carol Zehosky

Eric Bryan

Ellen Kinzer

Dennis Kubicki

Leighton Wolfe

Dr. John C. Stauffer, Founder and President Emeritus


Matthew Wedd
Executive Director

Mary Hartman
Library and Genealogy Aide

Jacob Davis
Historic Warden and Programming Lead

Summer 2021 Living History and Historic Gardener Interns

Sarah Hoffeditz

Daniel Corcoran

Scott Seburn

Advisory Board

Avery Cook

Tom Finucane

Dr. Doris Armstrong-Goldman

Gay Buchanan

Martha E. Stauffer, MD

Roger Swartz