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Friday, August 29, 2014

The "Gathering around 'The Witness Tree': Part II" Story

This is an Artist's Proof of "Donegal Springs".  The artist's name
I cannot decipher.  It is a beautiful etching and perhaps my
favorite of all the work on display.  Others can be seen below.
It was an ordinary day.  My grandson Caden and I are halfway through our tour of the Donegal Presby- terian Church in Mount Joy, PA.  After visiting with Mr. Brian and learning about the main church, he escorted us to the newer part of the church where we got to see the Education Building.  Throughout the halls are artist's paintings and etching which depict the church and "The Witness Tree".    
This is the very large painting of the church with "The
Witness Tree" in front of it.  You can judge the size of
it by viewing the 4x8 foot tables in front of it on the floor.
I have posted some at the end of my story to give you an idea how others view this historic church.  We did see and photograph one very unusual painting that we were told is for sale.  It is about 8 feet wide and 4 feet tall and was at one time hanging on the wall in the Green's 5&10 Department Store in downtown Lancaster, PA.  I was tempted to make an offer, but had no idea where I could hang it in my home.  
This is the beautiful area where the spring (small circular area
in the mid-left side of photo) and waterway are located.
Eventually we exited the church and asked if we could walk to the nearby spring to take some photos.  Mr. Brian told us that the natural spring pumps million of gallons of water an hour.  Pretty impressive amount of water!  As we walked along the path to the spring and waterway, we saw a pair of white ducks who I assume were the homeowners of the waterway.  Caden and I both snapped photos as we looked at the water.  He pointed out quite a few very large rainbow and brown trout that were swimming in the water.  We were told that the water had been stocked with trout and one day a year the youth of the area are allowed to fish the waterway.  As we walked the ducks escorted us with a constant barrage of quacks letting us know that it was their territory.  
The red brick building on the right side of the photo is
known as the Kerr Study House which was built in 1810.
On our return we headed past the Kerr Study House which is a small brick home that is next to the church.  It was built in 1810 when the Rev. William Kerr was the pastor.  The house is used by the pastor and the church secretary.  
Nearby entrance into the Cemetery
The final stop today was at the Donegal Cemetery that was said to have been laid out when the original church was built, but didn't have any gravesides until 1732.  The stone wall and iron gates that enclose it were built in 1790.  
One of the gravesides marked with a War 1776 plaque.
As we walked through the graveyard we saw quite a few unmarked tombstones.  There were also small metal plaques that told who fought in our country's wars since the beginning of the cemetery.   As we headed back to the car we noticed quite a few very large trees that had been cut into pieces for firewood.  A recent twister had passed through the area and downed half a dozen trees, one which damaged the spouting on the main church and another that knocked over the large sign that announced to visitors the name of the church.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

I believe this to be a pen and ink drawing of the church and tree.  Artist's names on the three paintings I have pictured here I could not identify.
This is said to be one of the very few wintertime paintings of the spring and church that exist.  It is a watercolor.
Another beautiful painting of the church and "The Witness Tree".
A panorama of the cemetery.
Damage from a recent twister in the Mt. Joy area is witnessed here.
This is one-half of the entrance into the grounds of the Donegal Presbyterian Church.
Many of the photos for this story were taken by my grandson Caden.  This one is a "selfie" that he took in the car as we headed home.

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