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Muncy Native Part of 250 Year Celebration

By Staff | Sep 11, 2019

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY MUNCY HISTORICAL SOCIETY John Dewald, of Pennsdale, will be one of several re-enactors participating in the 250th anniversary of Muncy Farms, scheduled rain or shine on Saturday, Sept. 21. Dewald will be showcasing his mastery in scrimshaw, which is scrolling and engraving in bones or horns.

In each issue this month, The Luminary will highlight specific articles provided by the Muncy Historical Society regarding the 250th anniversary of Muncy Farms.

This once-in-a-lifetime event is scheduled rain or shine on Saturday, Sept. 21, noon to 6 p.m. The public is encouraged to follow the signs and park at Lycoming Mall where they can board free trolley shuttle service to and from the property. There is a cost for admission.

The Muncy Historical Society is honored to have a local man participate in the 250th Muncy Farms anniversary experience. John Dewald, Jr. will demonstrate and share his masterful artistry all during the six-hour event.

John is a native of Muncy and has been engraving and making horns since he was 12 years old. He is a self-taught artist who credits his early advancements in his work to his mentors that include his high

school teacher, Nella Godbey Storm, and fellow artists, Skip Hammaker, and Dave Aucker.

After serving with the army, this veteran of the Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm returned to Muncy and entered into the Correctional Services field.

In 2009 John joined the Honorable Company of Horners (HCH), a guild dedicated to the education and preservation of horn work. Since then, he has progressed from a Freeman to Journeyman and obtained his rank of Master Horner in 2016.

To be recognized as a master horner by the guild, John had to “demonstrate a superlative level of ability in carving, heating and pressing, turning, engraving, and integrating woods and metals with cow horn” and to present three horn objects for jurying, plus provide an original written and oral presentation on some aspect of horn working or its history. Recognizing his mantel of leadership, the HCH has slated John is slated to be their Guildmaster in 2020-2021.

His work has earned him numerous first place ribbons and accolades from his peers and professional organizations, and has been featured in Frontier, Gun, Muzzleloader, and Muzzleblast magazines, American

Tradition, the Horn Book, and other national publications.

John is an avid re-enacter and craftsman, working out of his basementin his 18th century home in Pennsdale while working for the Federal Bureau of Prisons for over 20 years. Following his retirement in 2021,

John plans to open a shop on his property where he’ll make horns and 18th-century accouterments full time.

When asked what fuels his passion, John replies: “It is a dying art kept alive through caring hands and will be a legacy for my daughter and generations to come. Maybe, some piece I have done will inspire others to keep this ancient craft alive long after I am gone.”