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Discovery at Franklin County library site launches project

GUILFORD TWP., Pa. - A surprise discovery at a Franklin County construction site has launched a project to find the descendants of the people who were responsible for the item almost 80 years ago.

Workers at the site of the Coyle Free Library in Chambersburg found a weathered brown envelope as they deconstructed the building, which was an old post office.

When workers opened the envelope, they found a letter signed by the employees of the post office attached to a copy of the Public Opinion newspaper, dated July 1938.

"At that time, a new maple floor was installed in the building, and all 49 employees of the post office signed their name on the document," Mark Story, the director of development for the Franklin County Library System, said. "Those that were absent had their name typewritten in."

Now that the library is being renovated, the Franklin County Library System is hoping to find the descendants of the 49 men who signed the letter.

"One of the things we noticed and we appreciate is that everybody who worked there was included, so substitute carriers, the janitorial staff, everybody that worked at the post office had their name on this document," Story said.

Story says postal workers told him this was a somewhat common thing to do for postal workers of that era.

"For them, it was more of a 'We were here at this time,'" Story said. "They simply placed it underneath the floorboards for somebody to find, made note of the date, and simply said that 'We worked here in 1938.'"

The library system is now trying to locate the descendants of the 49 people who signed in order to honor them when the library is open later this fall. So far, about a dozen families have been identified.

"One of the library board members immediately recognized one of the names, Benjamin Slaybaugh, as one of the postal carriers and said 'That's my grandfather,'" Story said.

If you believe you are related to one of these workers, you can contact the Franklin County Library System here.