John Houston Mifflin Homestead

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Walking Tour Stop

John Houston Mifflin Homestead

Meet Richard Snyder:

Ladies and gentleman, please gather round! Thank you all for coming out to celebrate the life and achievements of Edward C. Shannon! We remember the life
and achievements of this man today by dedicating the armory in his honor! I am
General Richard Snyder and I will be the master of ceremonies for this tremendous Event!

Now if I may have your attention please I wish to inform you of the many achievements of Edward C. Shannon. Shannon would join Company C at the age of 18 in 1889. In just a short ten years he would have made the rank of Captain and fought in Puerto Rico during the Spanish American war. In another four years he would negotiate the purchase of a plot of land to expand the property for this very armory! Shannon would continue to serve his country by traveling to France in 1917 to command the 111th Infantry 28th division during World War I. When Shannon returned to America two years later he was awarded the Silver Star Medal as well as the Distinguished Service Medal! His men nicknamed him Old Colonel Two Yards for always keeping that distance ahead of the front battle lines of his regiment! This was a title of loyalty and admiration for it had been said his men would follow him anywhere. In 1919 Edward Shannon would return to us as a Brigadier General and serve in the Columbia National Guard. 20 years later in 1939 Edward Shannon would retire from 50 years of military service. Sadly Shannon’s life would end in 1946 but his story would live on!

Like Shannon on the battlefield who stood tall and strong, this armory has stood in this very location for over 75 years! At first it was a simple plot of land measuring 47 and a half feet wide and 160 feet deep. After many expansions, the land now measures 82 and a half feet wide and 200 feet deep. It was Brigadier General C.B. Doughetry and Colonel Alfred Logan who would lay the very cornerstone of this actual building in 1906. After several years of bravery and dedication this is the least we can do to remember and honor Edward Shannon and his many achievements. Now here we stand in the year 1960 ready to rename this structure The General Edward C Shannon Armory!

In addition to Edward Shannon there have been many great people who have
made their mark on Columbia. Take John Houston Mifflin for example. His home is
down on walnut street. It is a marvelous structure. Please take some time to observe its glory! Thank you!

165 Walnut St, Columbia, PA 17512

John Houston Mifflin, an amateur poet, studied portrait painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under I. R. Smith, Thomas Sully and John Neagle. John Houston Mifflin later followed his brother, James Mifflin, to Savannah, Georgia where he began painting and photographing portraits of wealthy families. 


From 1836-1837, John Houston Mifflin traveled through Europe in the company of other artists, studying the works of the great masters. Upon returning to Columbia, he married Ann Elizabeth Bethel Heise, a daughter of Solomon Heise of Frankfort, Germany and Patience Bethel of Columbia. 


Ann Elizabeth Bethel Heise was descended from John Blunston who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1682 and her mother was a sister of Samuel Bethel III of Columbia who had married Sarah Hand, daughter of Revolutionary War General Edward Hand of Rockford. Samuel Bethel III renovated and greatly enlarged Belmont Mansion in Columbia that was originally built by Pennsylvania Assemblyman Samuel Blunston in 1727. 


Upon renovating and greatly enlarging this dwelling in 1803, Samuel Bethel III renamed it Mt. Bethel Mansion and subsequently commissioned the construction of the elegant brick Federal-style townhouse on an adjacent lot at 165 Walnut Street.

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