Antietam Historical Association (AHA) sponsors The Hereditary Societies of Waynesboro (PA), a series of hereditary organizations commemorating historical figures by recognizing their living descendants.

Through membership in The Hereditary Societies of Waynesboro, applicants honor the memory of their ancestors; they enjoy the association with their ancestors’ accomplishments; they assist AHA in its work; and they create family records which can benefit future generations of researchers.

Applicants receives a certificate, suitable for framing, evidencing their membership and their qualifying ancestors. Eligible persons may receive more than one certificate. Certificates will be presented at the Annual Meeting of Antietam Historical Association unless an applicant requests that the certificate be mailed to him/her.

Membership in one or more of The Hereditary Societies of Waynesboro is a great way to honor your ancestors, and to take pride in descent from noteworthy persons through a continuous blood line. At the same time, membership applications generate valuable genealogical information which should prove helpful to other researchers, both now and in the future. Please click here to download Instructions for Applications to all societies.


AHA plans to introduce The Hereditary Societies of Waynesboro in phases. The inaugural Society is the Alexander Mack Society, which confers membership upon proven descendants of the recognized founder of the Church of the Brethren. Many descendants of Alexander Mack have resided in the Antietam country. Please click here to download the application for the Alexander Mack Society.

The second Society is the Captain Thomas Wallace Society. Thomas Wallace was captain of the militia for part of what is now Washington and Quincy townships, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and a brother of the found of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. Descendants of the men listed on the militia rolls of Captain Wallace for the years 1789 and 1790 will be eligible for membership. Please click here to download the application for the Captain Thomas Wallace Society.

The third Society to open for membership is the Captain John E. Walker Society. John Edmund Walker, a native of Waynesboro, was the youngest of five sons of Dr. Thomas Walker to serve the Union during the Civil War and the only one of the five to be killed during the war. He was among the first volunteers for the federal army from Waynesboro. He received several promotions, was detailed as a recruitment officer, was wounded at the battle of Stones river, and was promoted to captain of his company not long before being mortally wounded during a skirmish near Atlanta, Georgia, in 1864. His friends never recovered his body, but a cenotaph to his memory was inscribed on one side of the Walker family monument which now stands in Burns Hill Cemetery, Waynesboro. Please click here to download the application for the Captain John E. Walker Society.

Although Waynesboro men served in numerous companies of infantry, cavalry, and artillery in both the Union and Confederate armies, these are the two companies of Union soldiers most associated with Waynesboro:

Company E, 126th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry

Company G, 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry

The fourth of The Hereditary Societies of Waynesboro is the James Burns Society. This group recognizes descent from Americans who served in either of the two companies raised at what was then called “Waynesburg” to fight in the War of 1812. Please click here to download the rosters of Captain Samuel Gordon’s Company and Captain John Flanagan’s Company. (It is interesting to note that few of the men in Captain Gordon’s company actually resided at or near Waynesburg.) Rather than choose between the captains who led these companies, AHA has named this Society in honor of the soldier who emerged from our second war with Great Britain as the leading military man of the community. James Burns served as third lieutenant in Captain Gordon’s company during the war; but following that conflict, he was steadily promoted until August 3, 1821, when the governor of Pennsylvania commissioned him Brigadier General in the Pennsylvania Militia, placing him in command of the Second Brigade, Eleventh Division, which comprised the militias of Cumberland, Perry and Franklin counties. Please click here to download the application for the James Burns Society.

For more information, please email us at or write us at 119 West Main Street, Waynesboro, PA 17268.