3rd Annual Rally Day Fundraiser

Contains an image of Rally Day that was published in the newspaper as well as the detailed program.

Join us for a day of music, fun, food, and a great opportunity to support the Friends of Tolson’s Chapel’s mission to preserve and interpret historic Tolson’s Chapel! This year we will feature Shana Oshiro, Executive Director of HALO, Inc. (African American women barbershop quartet) to introduce to us their “Race and #RealTalk” program (we’ll be bringing the whole group back in the 2019 season!), and Pastor Walter Jackson from the Wainwright Baptist Church in Charles Town, WVA to sing traditional common-meter hymns, Fanny Crawford will share her storytelling talents, and the Tri-State Drum Circle is returning to help us find our rhythm. We’ll have silent auction items (look for item posts in this event beginning September 1 for early bidding!) and raffles through the day, and the traditional fried chicken, pie, and ice cream Rally Day lunch fare will be available for purchase.




4th Annual Gala Fundraiser Dinner!

Please join us for our 4th Annual Gala Fundraiser Dinner, scheduled for Saturday, April 8, 2017, from 6:00-9:00pm, honoring the People of Tolson’s Chapel.  Come see our new display of historic photographs featuring historic members of the Tolson’s Chapel congregation!

The event will be held again this year at the Academy Theater Banquet Hall, 58 East Washington Street in Hagerstown, where a delicious buffet dinner will be provided by Applause Catering.  Entertainment by the always enjoyable jazz sounds of Bob Sykes on piano, joined this year by Lou Hines on bass and the return of Wanda Stewart’s soothing vocals.  Our own Renee Emanuel (FOTC board member) will regale us with some of her remarkable storytelling to cap the evening off!  Cash Raffles and Silent Auction items will help the Friends of Tolson’s Chapel raise funds for our annual budget and special programs.

Tickets are $65.00 per person ($55 if you are an FOTC member!), available via PayPal (find the link to the registration page on our home page) or by check to FOTC, P.O. Box 162, Sharpsburg, MD 21782.

Please be a Friend of Tolson’s Chapel and join us for an evening of good food, good friends, and great entertainment!

Closing out the Celebratory Year

Tolson’s Chapel Sesquicentennial Year of Special Events Coming to a Close with a Final Community Event, Christmas by Candlelight, December 10, 2016 at 7:00pm.

For More Information:


Sharpsburg, Md. – The Friends of Tolson’s Chapel (FOTC) celebrated the chapel’s


Dr. Hari Jones – photo courtesy Ron Lytle

Sesquicentennial year with a series of events held at the chapel through the spring/summer/fall season.  On October 1, 2016 FOTC hosted their penultimate event with a day-long Rally Day celebration.  With 65 people in attendance the event began with Renee Emanuel leading the audience in several joyful hymns.  Dr. Dean Herrin, Chief Historian, NPS National Capital Region, shared his thoughts on the significance of Tolson’s Chapel as a Freedmen’s Bureau school.  Dr. Hari Jones, independent historian and inspirational speaker, followed with a rousing talk entitled “Emancipate, Enfranchise, Educate:  The Role of the Church in Achieving this Social Trinity.” The son of a preacher, Dr. Jones filled the room with his booming voice and inspired all in attendance!  Following a traditional Rally Day lunch of Fried Chicken and sides (by Bonnies at the Red Byrd), pie (by Burkholder’s Bakery), and ice cream (courtesy Nutter’s), the Tri-State Drum Circle brought the group together with African rhythms.  The day came to a close with the beautiful gospel harmonies of The Spears Sisters.  It was a day no one in attendance will forget!

FOTC will finish out this celebratory year with a final community event, Christmas by Candlelight, a non-denominational service featuring several area ministers and plenty of traditional Christmas music.  This event will take place at Tolson’s Chapel on Saturday, December 10, 2016 at 7:00pm.  The chapel is currently without electricity or heat so the service will be lit by plenty of battery-powered candles and we encourage folks to dress warm!  Please join us in celebrating this joyful season in a traditional setting at Tolson’s Chapel.

Tolson’s Chapel is located at 111 E. High St. in Sharpsburg, Maryland.  For more information please contact Edie Wallace via email at tolsons.chapel@gmail.com.



150th Anniversary Rally Day Event

rally-day-flierPlease join us for the 150th Anniversary Rally Day Event, scheduled Saturday, October 1, 2016

We are welcoming back Dr. Hari Jones as our keynote speaker, sharing his thoughts entitled: “Emancipate, Enfranchise, Educate: The Role of the Church in this Social Trinity”

Come share in traditional Rally Day fare, music, activities, tours, and even a USCT encampment!

Tolson’s Chapel Celebrates Black History Month

Happy Black History Month! The Sharpsburg Library will be hosting a display of Tolson’s Chapel history through the month of February. Please stop by to view our exhibit!

Also, mark you calendars for February 20th at 4:00pm in Sharpsburg Town Hall – ZSun-nee Matema, retired history teacher, author, artist, and all-around interesting person, will present her genealogical research on her family, enslaved on the Mt. Vernon plantation, following the Washington, Custis, and Lee lines.

GeoWoodstock XIII and Memorial Day Parade Open House

Welcome GeoWoodstock XIII geocachers and Sharpsburg Memorial Day Parade goers!

Tolson’s Chapel will be open for tours on Saturday, May 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Geocachers attending the GeoWoodstock XIII, we hope you will stop in for a tour! Sharpsburg Memorial Day Parade-goers, come see what Tolson’s Chapel is all about!

Sun Shines on Tolson’s Chapel Dedications!

On Saturday, March 21, the Friends of Tolson’s Chapel dedicated the new gravestone marking the final resting place of Mary Virginia Cook, the last member of the Tolson’s Chapel congregation who passed away in 1996. Her grave site was never marked with a stone. In April 2014, the Mayor and Council of the Town of Sharpsburg initiated the Virginia Cook Memorial Fund, collected over $1,000 for the purchase of a gravestone. Most of the donations came from local residents who fondly remembered Ms. Cook. A gathering of family members, friends and neighbors, Mayor Speilman, and Julianna Albowicz representing Senator Barbara Mikulski, attended the dedication of the new headstone.


Bathed in the exceedingly welcome warm sunlight of the day, the gathering also marked the unveiling and dedication of the new wayside exhibit at Tolson’s Chapel. Funded by grants from the Community Foundation of Washington County (Mary K. Bowman Fund) and Preservation Maryland, the outdoor exhibit was designed by Interpretive Direction, LLC of Harpers Ferry and installed by the maintenance crew from Antietam National Battlefield. The exhibit provides much-needed interpretive information and illustration for the chapel, which is open for tours only on special occasions or by appointment. Central to the theme is the Freedmen’s Bureau school, housed in the chapel from 1868 to 1870, represented by a photographic recreation of the first day of school (April 6, 1868). Twelve local children volunteered to pose for the photograph and costumes were provided by the Antietam National Battlefield educational program. The part of the white teacher from Philadelphia was played by Andrew Rowand, a recent graduate of Shepherd University and a Civil War reenactor. Many thanks to all who helped make this possible!