BROOKVILLE — “It’s kind of like ‘Indiana Jones’,” said Ken Burkett, the director of the Jefferson County History Center. “We’ve got the secret journal with the codes in it, and we’ve got the rocks out there that we’ve got to find. It’s kind of a fun way of putting things together.”
He was referring to a locally-famous series of historical artifacts in Jefferson County — the Scripture Rocks. Carved in the early 1900s by Brookville resident Douglas Stahlman, some of them dedicated to God, the rocks are inscribed with scripture, philosophy, politics and a few personal notes related to their creator. They’ve since become a popular piece of Brookville history.
Burkett delivered a presentation — “Douglas M. Stahlman’s Dedicated Rocks” — at the History Center last month. The presentation provided an update on the center’s research, particularly that of North Fork Chapter 29 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, into the rocks and also told what is known of Stahlman’s life story.
“There’s a lot of fallacy out there about Scripture Rocks and about Doug Stahlman in particular,” Burkett said.
Much of the information known about him is derived from the rocks themselves, in addition to Stahlman’s journals, of which the history center possesses eight of the known nine, as well as independent research.
“We don’t have the complete story,” Burkett said. “But I think I know what part of that story is as of today.”
To learn the history of Stahlman's Scripture Rocks, pick up Friday's print edition of The Punxsutawney Spirit.