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History of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present online

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The first church in the town was a brick
Union Chapel built about the year 1817 or
1818, on ground donated for that purpose
by Susanna Houston, being the same
ground that is still occupied as a Union Cem-
etery. This church antedated the form-
ation of any regular congregation in the
town of any of the religious denominations,
and was used for several years by both the
Presbyterian and Methodist preachers, who
visited the town, and perhaps by preachers of
other denominations also, as a preaching
place. This church, which was afterward
used as a schoolhouse, was torn down about
the year 1854.

The Methodisf Church. — There is no record
by which the date of the organization of the
first Methodist class or society in Wrights-
ville can be definitely fixed, but at the time
of the erection of the Union Chapel, referred
to above, the Methodists had a small society
here, and for several years the Methodist
preachers had appointments for occasional
services in that building. In the year 1828
a lot of ground was purchased from Leonard
Rathfon and wife, for the erection of a Meth-
odist Episcopal Church. This was the same
lot on which the present church building
now stands. During the next year (1829 1,
the frame church, which formerly occupied
the present site, was erected. At that time,
and for a number of years before and after,
Wrightsville was one of the appointments on
Shrewsbury Circuit. The first record we
have is in the year 1840, when Revs. John
A. Collins and Penfield Doll were the


preachers of Shrewsbury Circuit, to which
Wrightsville was still attached. They were
succeeded, in 1841, by Eev. Oliver Ege, as
preacher in charge, and Eev. Thompson
Mitchell, as junior preacher. This was the
last year that Shrewsbury Circuit extended so
far. In the spring of 1842, Codorus. Circuit
was formed, and Rev. Thompson Mitchell
appointed preacher in charge. In 1844
Rev. John Morehead was appointed to
"Wrightsville, the appointment at that time
consisting of "Wrightsville and Margaretta
Furnace, as it does at the present time. He
was succeeded, in 1846, by Rev. I. H. Tor-
rence, now secretary of the Pennsylvania
Bible Society, during whose pastorate of two
years the congregation resolved upon the
erection of a new and more commodious
house of worship, and the preliminary steps
to that end were taken, including the secur-
ing of subscriptions and the laying of plans,
but the building itself was erected in the
year 1848, during the pastorate of Rev. Dab-
ney Ball, who, by the way, afterward joined
the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and
was a chaplain in the Confederate army dur-
ing the Rebellion. In 1849 Rev. R. S. Mc-
Clay, now the superintendent of missions in
Japan, was appointed to the charge, but re-
mained only a short time, when he was sent
to another field of labor, being succeeded
for the same year by Rev. "William Reed.
In 1850 Rev. Franklin Gearhart was
appointed, remaining one year; in 1851
Rev. William Gwynn, two years; in 1853
Rev. W. C. Steele one year; in 1854
Rev. "W. "W. "Welsh, two years; in 1856
Rev. D. S. Monroe, one year; in 1857
Rev. W. S. "Wilson, one year; in 1858 Rev. ;
S. "W. Sears, one year; in 1859 Rev. Oliver
Ege, one year; in 1860 Rev. M. S. Drum,
two years; in 1862 Rev. G. W. Dunlap, two
years; in 1864 Rev. Emory Buhrmau, two
years; in 1866 Rev. J. Max Lantz, three ,'
years. During the pastorate of Mr. Lantz,
the church was repaired and painted at an
expense of between S600 and $700, and the
appearance of the building was much im-
proved. In 1869 Rev. J. W. Olewine was
appointed to the charge, remaining two years,
and, in 1871, Rev. H. M. Ash, three years.
During his term the congregation erected the
convenient and pleasant parsonage connected
with the church. In 1874 Rev. Richard
Mallalieu was appointed for two years; in
18(6 Rev. E. E. A. Deaver, for three years;
in 1879 Rev. J. Y. Shannon, for three years;
and, in 1882, Rev. J. P. Moore, the present I
pastor, was appointed. In that year exten- i
sive repairs were made to the church build-

ing, and it now presents a handsome appear-
ance, and is a pleasant and comfortable church
edifice. The present membership is a little
over 200, while there is in connection with
the church a large and flourishing Sunday-
school, having thirty officers and teachers
and 290 scholars on the roll. C. S. Bud-
ding is the superintendent.

The Presbyterian Church. — The Presby-
terian congregation dates from May 8, 1828,
when the Rev. "William F. Houston became the
pastor of the church, services being held in
the Union Chapel, on Chestnut Street, until
1847, when the lot of ground at the north-
west corner of Second and Locust Streets
was purchased, and a convenient two-story
church built. This was occupied by the con-
gregation until the year 1882, when it was
torn down and the present church built on
the same site. This building is still incom-
plete, the lecture or Sunday-school room be-
ing finished and occupied, but the interior of
the main audience chamber has not yet been
finished. When completed it will be a hand-
some and convenient church building and an
ornament to the town. The pastors of the
congregation in their regular order have been
as follows: Revs. William F. Houston, G. L.
Moore, R. W. Dunlap, Stephen Boyer, Jo-
seph J. Graff, Elijah Wilson, John J. Lane,
S. Morton Pearce, S. Henry Bell and the
present pastor. Rev. George S. Bell. The
longest pastorate was that of the Rev. John
J. Lane, wliich continued from 1853 to 1868.
The jjresent membership of the church is 120,
and the Sunday-school, which is under the
superintend ency of Mr. James H. McConkey,
is in a prosperous condition.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church. — The
Lutheran Church of Wrightsville was or-
ganized on the evening of July 11, 1852, with
seventeen members, by Rev. J. B. Christ.
The church records fail to show the date of
the commencement of the first church build-
ing, which stood on Chestnut Street, between
Second and Third, but it was completed in
the fall of 1854, and dedicated to the wor-
ship of God on the 7th of October in that
yeai-. Soon after the completion of the
church building. Rev. Mr. Christ tendered
his resignation as pastor, and the pastorate
was vacant until Rev. F. Ruthrauff took
charge of the congregation July 8, 1856.
He resigned January 1, 1858, and was suc-
ceeded on March 9, 'l858, by Rev. P. Raby.
Mr. Raby served the congregation until
April 1, 1860, and was followed by Rev. L.
B. Berry, whose pastorate lasted for over
three years. Since that time the several pas-
tors of the church have been Revs. Albert


McLaughlin, J. M. Rice, George P. Weaver,
L. Iv. Sechrist. S. E. Herring, and the pres-
ent pastor, Eev. D. Stock. April- 28,
1870, the church building oceuisied by the
congregation was struck by lightning, and
totally destroyed, and the congregation im-
mediately took steps to erect a new and more
comroodious place of worship, and the pres
ent edifice was built, the lecture-room being
finished and occupied in October, 1871, and
the entire building completed and dedicated
October 24, 1875. During the pastorate of
Rev. D. Stock, which commenced December
1, 1880, the congregation has been growing
in numbers and spirituality, and has at the
present time over 100 regular communicant
members. The Sunday-school connected with
the church, of which Mr. William Witman is
the superintendent, is also interesting and

The African Methodist Episcopal Church.
— There is a congregation of the African
Methodist Episcopal Church in the town, but
Ihere are no records by which the date'of the
organization can be obtained. The congre-
gation have a neat and substantial brick
church, which was built in the year 1855, on
Orange Street. The congregation here is
connected with that of the same denomina-
tion in York Borough, under the pastorate of
the Rev. Jacob ^\'ilksheim.

Previous to the adoption of the common
school system successful schools were in op-
eration here, and the town was one of the
first to accept the provisions of the law for
the establishment of public schools. The
schools of the borough, at this time, are
seven in number, under the charge of Prof.
D. H. Gardner as principal, and are properly
graded, and have an active and efficient corps
of teachers. The school term is seven
months. The district has one of the finest
school buildings in the county, having four
large schoolrooms on each of the first and sec-
ond floors, while the third floor, which is at
present not needed for school purposes, will
furnish room for four additional schools
when needed.


The societies of the town, which are all in
successful operation are Riverside Lodge
No. 503, A. Y. M.; Chihuahua Lodge No.
317, I. 0. O. F.; Lt. R. W. Smith Post No.
270, G. A. E. , and Susquehanna Council
No. 89, Jr. O. U. A. M.


The principal business interests of the

town may be briefly stated as follows: The
most important business at this time is the
manufacture of cigars, of which there are
four large manufactories, namely, those of S.
R.Kocher, Keller & Kline, D. S. Detwiler and
Thomson & Bro., giving employment to more
than 200 persons, and making and shipping
annually nearly, if not quite, 10,000,000
cigars. In this connection may also be men-
tioned the fact that these gentlemen are also
packers and dealers in leaf tobacco, and the
amount of tobacco purchased and packed by
them, as well as that packed here by Messrs.
Skiles & Fry, J. Gust. Zook and other Lan-
canster County dealers, makes Wrightsville
the center of the tobacco trade of York

Kerr, Weitzel & Co., lime dealers and ship-
pers, are largely engaged in the lime busi-
ness, and the building lime burned by tliem
has attained such reputation for its white-
ness and purity as to create an extensive de-

One of the most valuable business plants
in the town, the Aurora Furnace, of the
Wrightsville Iron Company, is now idle, and
there is no immediate prospect of its being
put in operation.

The foundry of the Wrightsville Hard-
ware Company, established for the manufac-
ture of staple and builders' hardware, iron
toys, etc., is in successful operation, and has
a gradually increasing trade. Col. Frank J.
Magee is the president of the company.

Wrightsville, many years ago, was the cen-
ter of the lumber trade for a large region of
country, but the changes made in the mode
of doing business in lumber, and the rapid
exhaustion of the timber on the upper Sus-
quehanna, has caused a large decrease in the
lumber business here. The large saw-mills
belonging to Henry James & Co., of Balti-
more, in the southern part of the town, are
now standing idle, and have been perhaps
permanently abandoned. The large steam
saw-mill of the Billmyer & Small Company
is, however, still in the full tide of successful
operation, and is perhaps doing a larger busi
ness than any other on the lower Susque
hanna. This company has also a large lum
ber yard in connection with their mill. Mr,
H. B. Beidler is also engaged in the lumber
business, and keeps on hand at his yards a
full supply of all kinds of lumber.

The Wrightsville Planing-mill and Cigar
Box Factory is in the Tiands of W^eller &
Minnich, enterprising young business men,
who are ready to receive orders for all kinds
of work in their line.

The Wrightsville Star, published by Jacob


Weltzhoffer, established in 1854, is the only
newspaper printed in the town.

The First National Bank of Wrightsville,
Henry Kauffelt, president, George K. Schen-
berger, cashier, furnishes banking accommo-
dations to the town and vicinity.

The remaining business places of the town
are as follows: general stores, Jacob Gohn.
William Witman, George Dietz, H. Keller
& Son, G. W. &. D. H. Moore, Heppenstall
Brothers and L. E. Budding; hardware
store, John Beidler; stoves, tinware, etc.,
Henry Birnstock; clothing stores, George
Dietz and J. L. Weitzel; boots, shoes and
gent's furnishing goods, J. J. Jacobs; furni-
ture dealer, Joseph Feiser; drug stores.
Grant S. Tinsley and P. S. Brugh; brick-
maker, Henry E. Weitzel; marble worker,
M. P. Decker; coal dealer, Cal. G. Smith;
harness-makers, Daniel Rudy and Oliver
Freet; confectioners, William H. Miller.
Zach. Olewiler, L. L. Haines, John A. Moore;
blacksmiths, John G. Shutter, Alfred Roth;
wagon-maker, Jerome B. Swartz; butchers,
William S. Sweeney, Abram Charles; baker,
M. G. Witman; physicians, John A. Thom-
son, L. L. Rewalt, J. C. Channell, George
A. Rebman, James L. Jamison; justices of
the peace, Frank J. Magee. W. W. Moore;
shoe-makers, Henry Oaks, Henry A. Hammer,
Henry H. Inkrott; tailors, John F. Smith,
Frank Eibel; cigar stores, W. E. Weller,
Keller & Kline, Thomson & Brother; hotels,
Daniel L. Hoke, William Hinkle, Adam
Sechrist, James McLaughlin.


The following is a complete list of the
postmasters of Wrightsville. with the dates
of their appointments, as copied from the rec-
ords in the postoffice department, at Wash-

William White, appointed January 13,
1816; James Jordan, January 30, 1823; James
Kerr, May 26, 1828; George W. Hinkle,
November 12, 1838; William S. Cochran,
May 21, 1841; John Kerr, February 25,
1845; George W. Oberdorff, January 13,1849;
Joseph A. Wolf, December 13, 1852; James
Kerr, May 11, 1855; Alexander J. Thomson,
August 3, 1861; Jacob G. Leber, July 29,
1867; William McConkey, July 15, 1869;
John L Smith, December 1, 1879; Jacob H.
Freet, August, 1885.


THOUGH a considerable portion of the
present area of York County was settled
before 1739, it was not until that year that
the Provincial Assembly of Pennsylvania
passed a special act which empowered the
county court at Lancaster to lay off " that
portion of Lancaster County west of the
Susquehanna into townships." Under the
provisions of this act, the same year of its
passage, the Township of Hallam, which
originally included most of York County and
Pennsborongh Township, which originally
embraced all of Cumberland County, were
erected, without any surveyed boundaries.
Lancaster County was erected in 1729. The
Indian treaty of 1736 extended its limits
west of the Susquehanna, in consequence of
which all settlers on this side of the river,
after permits to locate land were granted,
were under the authority of the Lancaster
court, and from 1736 to 1739 the authorities
of Hemptield Township, which included the
present site of Columbia, had authority west
of the river. Charles Jones, the constable of
Hempfield, lived in the present area of Hel-
1am in 1736. Samuel Blunston, an intelli-
gent Quaker, who located at the eastern ter-
minus of Wright's Ferry, became an agent of
the Penns, by whom he was empowered to
grant permits for land to settlers who located
west of the river. He was born in the Town-
ship oE Upper Hallam, in the county of
York, in England, after which this township
was named. During the lirst thirty years of
its history, the name was written "Hallam,"
in official records, eventually the present
mode of spelling became general, though the
original would seem preferable and was never
legally changed.


Gradually new townships were formed,
and Hellam was reduced to its present size
by the erection of Spring Garden, in 1822, out
of the western part of this township and the
northern part of York Township. Hellam is
bounded on the north and east by the Sus-
quehanna, on the south by Windsor and
Lower VVindsor, and on the west by Spring
Garden. Extending through the entire
northern part of the township is a wooded
ridge, known as the Hellam Hills, jiarts of
which furnished timber for charcoal used at
the forge, once located at the mouth of the
Codorus, whose history will be found on
page 484 in this book. The greater portion



of Hellam is fertile and highly productire.
It is crossed by the limestone belt, which
enters it from Lancaster County, making the
beautiful Kreutz Creek Valley, one of the
garden spots of Pennsylvania. Upon these
valuable lands the prudent German emigrant
located, and soon felled the huge trees of
the forest and began to cultivate the cleared
tracts which ever since have been continu-
ally increasing in value. The use of lime
as a fertilizer began here as early as 1825,

The winding stream which drains this
fertile and historic valley, is now known as
Kreutz Creek, which seems to be a corruption
of the German word "Kreuz" meaning
' 'Cross." It is mentioned in legal documents
at the time of the early settlement and for
nearly half a century later, as Grist Creek
and the valley as Grist Valley, after one of
the first English settlers, John Grist who
located near the head of the stream prior to
1721, together with John Powell and a few
others, before the proprietaries of the prov-
ince, authorized settlements to be made
west of the Susquehanna. By the time this
township was erected in 1739, the entire
valley was thickly settled, mostly by indus-
trious Germans, some of whose descendants
now own and occupy these . valuable farms.
The population, in 1880, was 1,963, the
value of real estate for the year 1884, was


""^The following document will explain the
troubles encountered by one of the early sur-
veyors west of the Siisc

To', the Eonble Thomas Penn, Proprietor of the
Province of j^ensilvcmia, <&c.


That your Pettitioner haveing accepted your
benevolent favour of being Deputy Surveyor of all
the Lands and Maunors in that part of Lancaster
County which lyes on the west .side Susquehanna
river. When the Same was attended with utmost
DilBculty and Scarcitj' of Bread; Yet notwith-
standing j'our humble Pettitioner hatli hitherto
Carried'on the affair with the utmost integrety and
Resolution; Have suffered no person to' impose on
the Interest of the Honble Proprietors in the Ex-
ecution of his office; have Endeavoured all peace as
possible among the Sittlers: Have laid out the
Lands as regular as posible the places will bear —
In performafice of which your Pettitioner hath
many Times been in hazard of Life many ways;
Sometimes threatened to be shott by Insolent per-
sons ^lany weeks at a time have seen no sort of
bread have Suffered much Cold Lying in the woods
many Nights Together Took all patientl}'- hopeing to
be Continued in the Honble Proprietors good Ser-
vice When Times Should mend Bread more plenty
and the aSair Settled between the Honble Pro-
prietors & Lord Baltimore. But your Pettitioner
liaveing of Late seen warrants Directed to another
person to E.xecute surveys within the Bounds af-

forsaid and that on the most valueable part for
advantage — pi'oves very Discourageing to Your
Pettitioner in his undertaking

Now if the Honble Proprietor Out of goodness
to your humble Pettitioner Con.sidering the Hard-
ships he has undergone will be please to Continue
him in your Hons good service — according to the
Limitts as above sduntill Something Shall appear to
make him unworthy of your Hons benevolent
favour; And your humble Pettitioner in Gratitude
Shall ever pray

Zach Butcher
Septem 10th 1738

Zachariah Butcher, son of Edmund Butcher of
Birmingham, Chester Co., died in East Notting-
ham about 1755, leaving seven daughters. He in-
vented an instrument called the "Pennsylvania

A Philadelphia paper of 1762 says:
These are to give Notice, that there is an Instru-
ment of Brass called the Pennsylvania Theodolite,
invented by Zachariah Butcher that will run any
Course by "the Sun, without any Variation an Ac-
count of Mines or Minerals, with written Direct
tions how to make Use of it, at the House of Robert
Oldam, in East Nottingham, where any Person in-
clining to purchase * * * Op-
portunity so to do at said Robert Oldam's.


The incidents of the border troubles at the
time of the first settlement west of the Sus-
quehanna, will be found in a special chapter
on that subject in the general history pages
47-73. Most of the thrilling incidents
there narrated occurred in the present terri-
tory of Hellam and Lower Windsor Town-

The following document concerning the
"Chester County Plot" (see page 64) was
obtained from the court records at West
Chester and contains the names of many of
the German settlers west of the river in
County or Chester (


The Grand Inquest for our Sovereign Lord the
King, upon their Oath and AfBrmacon respectively
do present That Henry Munday late of the County
of Chester Sadler and Charles Higginbotham late
of the same County, Labourer, contriving and with
all their might purposing and intending the Peace
of our Sovereign Lord the King within the Prov-
ince of Pennsylvania sd. Majesties just and lawful
Authority which of right his sd. Majesty liege Sub-
jects ought to bear and exercise as much as in them
lay to impugn, due and legal Administration of
.lustice within the same Province to hinder, & his
sd. Majesties faithful Subjects with great fear and
terror to have associated to themselves divers other
Persons of Evil Name, Fame and Conversation to
the Number of forty and upwards, the twenty fifth
Day of October in the tenth year of the reign of
our Sovereign Lord George the Second by the Grace
of God of Great Britain France and Ireland King,
Defender of the Faith &c., and divers other Days
and times as well before as after at the Townshiio of
London-Grove in the County of Chester within the
Jurisdiction of this Court in Pursuance of their
wicked and 'unjust Intentions aforesaid and being
united and confederated together between them-


selves wickedly and unlawfully did conspire and
combine with armed Force & with a Multitude of
People in hostile manner arrayed into the Lands
and Tenements of the Honourable John Penn,
Thomas Penn and Richard Penn true and absolute
Proprietaries and Governors in chief of the Province
of Pennsylvania, County of Lancaster on west side
of the Susquehanna within the Province of Penn-
sylvania then in the quiet and peaceable Possession
of Christian Crawl, Henry Libert, Jacob Hunt-
hecker, Methusalem Griffith. Michael Tanner,
Henry Stands, Martin Shultz, Jacob Welshover,
Paul Springier, Andreas Felixer, Ulrick Whistler,
Nicholas Booker. Hans Steinman, Conrad Strickler,
Caspar Springier, Michael Walt, Peter Kersher.
RevnardKummer. George Hans Pancker. Frederick
Leader, Michael Miller, Martin Weigle, Hans Henry
Place, Tobias Fry, Martin Fry, Peter Steinman,
Henry Pann, Henry Smith, Jacob Landis, Henry
Kendrick, Tobias Rudisilly. Jacob Ki-ebell, Michael
Springle, Jacob Singler, Philip Ziegler, Caspar
Creve'r, Derick Pleager, George Swope, Michael
Krenel, Thomas May, Nicholas Brin, Kilian Smith,
Martin Bower, George Lauman, Martin Brunt,
Michael Allen, Christian Enfers and Nicholas Cone
Tenants holding and occupying the same Lands
and Teuemts under the Honourable Proprietaries of
the Province of Pennsylvania afd. unlawfully and
unjustly with Force and Arms &c. to enter & them
the sd. Christian Crawl, Henry Libert. &c. * * *
and Nicholas Cone from their quiet and peaceable
Possession afd. with an armed Force in hostile
manner to expell eject and remove and the same
Christian Crawl, Henry Libert * * * and
Nicholas Cone so being expelled and ejected from
the Possession of the Lands and Tenements of
aforesaid with an armed Force to withold & keep
out and the Possession of the Lands and Tenements
aforesaid against the said Honourable Proprietaries
and against them ye sd. Christian Crawl, Henry
Sibert * * * and Nicholas Cone and against all
Persons whatsoever claiming or to claim ye sd.
Lands and Tenements by from or under the sd.
Proprietaries of the Province of Pennsylvania afd.
violently and with an armed Force to keep hold
and maintain and the Persons of them the sd.
Christian Crawl, Henry Sibert, Jacob Hun-
thecker, Methusalem Griffith, Michael Tanner,
Henry Stands, Martin Shultz, Jacob AValshover,
Paul Springier, Andreas Felixer, Ulrick Whistler,
Nicholas Booker, Hans Steinman, Konrad Strickler,
Caspar Springier, Michael Walt, Peter Kersner,
Reynard Kunimer, George Hans Pauker, Frederick
Leader, Michael Miller, Martin Weigle. Hans Henry
Place, Tobias Fry, Martin Pry, Peter Steinman,

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 123 of 218)