John Gibson.

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

. (page 130 of 218)
Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 130 of 218)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

from York, eighteen miles from Carlisle and
ten from Harrisburg. Lewisberry was in the
zenith of its prosperity between the years
1830 and 1845.

Storet^. — Eli Lewis, in the mercantile busi-
ness, was succeeded by Robert Hammersly
who kept store for many years. For a period
of half a century Lewisberry became a great
center of trade and several stores prospered ;
among the names of many persons who en-
gaged in the mercantile business down to
date are Lewis & Harlan, Hugh Foster, Will-
iam Nichols, Elijah Garretson, Lewis Meri-
dith, William P. Nebinger, Joseph Upde-
graff, M. G. Einstine, George Blymire, Her-
man Kirk, R. T. Starr and John Meisenhel-

Manufactures. — ^A sketch of the important
manufacture of window springs, originated
by Hervey Hammond and now conducted by
W. S. Hammond, will be found in their biog-

Frank Wise and J. H. Brown have coach
shops; S. & J. Randolph manufacture agri-
cultural implements; R. B, Sutton manu-
factures earthen ware.

The first important article of manufacture
in this vicinity was the flint lock gun, for the
making of which the town became famous.
The business was begun as early as 1760,
and many were made here during the Revo-
lution, for the army, by order of the Commit-
tee of Safety of York County.

There were a number of gun barrel facto-





ries aloDg Bennett's Run; among the persons
engaged in the business were Samuel Grove,
John Rankin. George Blymire and John Fos-
ter. Until 1830 the flint lock gun only was
made; after that date the present invention
came in vogue. Dr. Lewis and Isaac Loyd
first made the new patent here.

William Hammond was an expert work-

Lyman Lewis introduced the manufacture
of block brimstone matches, which afterward
became an important industry. He was fol-
lowed in the same business hj Herman Kirk,
Moses Magrew, R. T. Starr and Lyman Shet-
tle, who at present manufactures them.

Ensminger's Tannery was an important in-

Soon after the Revoluticinaiy war a num-
ber of persons (on a small scale) made coffee
mi 1 Is in this vicinity. Joseph Potts early in the
present century made them in large quanti-
ties at his home a few miles north of Lewis-
berry. He also made what was familiarly
known as Potts' "Sausage Cutters and
Ladles." His sons succeeded him in busi-
ness. John Frazer made coffee mills on an
extensive scale a few miles below Lewisberry
near the Friends' Meeting House. At this
place his son Isaac Frazer. when a young
■man, began business as a merchant and
manufacturer of coffee mills. The small
8x10 room in which he did so large a busi-
ness, competing with the Lewisberry mer-
chants, is still standing, and owned by him.
Philip and Geoi-ge Shetter now manufacture
coffee mills in Lewisberry.

John Herman, about a century ago, built
the large mill a short distance above town;
it is now known as Gline's Mill, and has al-
ways done an extensive business.

Amos Clark, many years ago, manufactured
large eight-day clocks. The artistic decora-
tion on many of them was done by Miss Pa-
mela Lewis, an amateur artist and" teacher.

Aaron Frazer built a mill at the mouth of
Bennett's Run in 1760; gun ban-els were also
made here for the Revolution. Near by now
is the well-knownMickley grist and saw-mill.

AA'illiam Smith, in 1835, started a newspa-
per in Lewisberry. It was devoted mostly to
agriculture, but did not long exist.

Indian Reh'c.i.— Along the crystal waters
of Bennett's Run, here and there, Indian
relics can still be found. The writer him-
self searched for them and found some beau-
tifully formed arrow heads on the farm of
Rankin Potts; as many as 200 were found in
one cluster. Originally they were slightly
covered by the loose earth, a few protruded
which led to the precious discovery. For

nearly 200 years they were thus concealed,
being placed in that position by the sagacious
hand of the wily red man, whose skillful
archery applied them to war and the chase.
Four miles southwest of Lewisberry, on the
Conewago, is a small spot called the "In-
dian Island," on which the oldest citizens of
the vicinity distinctly remember a number of
plainly marked Indian graves. Parts of
skeletons were found, which physicians iden-
tified as Indian. Tradition has it they were
in a sitting posture, as was the Indian cus-
tom, with the implements of the chase
placed in the grave.

Indian "Davy," a civilized red man, and a
noted hunter, lived somewhere along the
South Mountain and visited Lewisberry as
late as 1822. He was a noted marksman.
It is said of him that he could hit a sixpence
with a ball at a distance of fifty yards, if he
were allowed to keep it. His visit caused
much interest and amusement to the inhabi-

Postoffice. — The postoffice was established
at Lewisberry November 29, 1815. The
following is a complete list of the postmas-
ters since then, together with the dates of
appointment as taken from the records at

Jacob Kirk November 29, 1815

Eli Lewis May 31, 1820

Pamela Lewis May 16, 1821

Lewis Harry April 25, 1826

Hiram Starr August 10. 1830

Samuel CruU April 20, 1833

William P. Nebinger December 28, 1840

Jacob Frankeberger March 27, 1844

William Nichols July 3, 1845

Joseph S. UppdegraflE January 18, 1849

Jacob Smith July 26, 18.53

William Shanelly October 19. 1857

Jacob G. Miller May 31, 1860

Isaac K. Hammond June 26, 1861

.Jonathan E. McGrew June 20, 1865

Isaac K. Hammond February 16, 1866

.Jacob H. Stonesifer June 1.5, 1868

Robert N. Wright October 6, 1869

Thomas Groome November 18, 1870

Herman Kirk December 26, 1871

George K. Bratten September 3, 1877

Elizabeth Bratten February 26, 1880

John L. Grove July 13, 1882

Elizabeth Bratten March 31, 1883

Military Organization. — The earliest mili-
tary companies of this section cannot be
given. About 1825 an organization was
effected and named the Lafayette Guards, in
honor of that idolized French patriot. It
regularly drilled for seven years, was uni-
formed and commanded at different times by
Capts. Lewis Cline and John Thompson. At
the expiration of this time, the Lafayette
Rifles were formed, and commanded suc-
cessively by Capts. Samuel Beck and John


M. Millard. These companies wove a grey
uniform with yellow trimmings ,had fine guns,
knapsack, and ostrich feathers for plumes.
At the time of the "Buckshot war," in 1839,
they marched to Harrisburg, expecting that
their services might be needed. It is even
hinted that some of the ostrich feathers
trembled on that occasion. They returned
during the following day. When the militia
law was in force, every section had its com-
pany; Newberry and Fairview had a number
of them. One of these organizations was
called the "Cornstalk Guards,'' another, on
account of the limited number, "The Twelve
Apostles." The captain of one of them,
while mustering, had to stand his men along
a fence to get the line straight. The "little
muster," as it was called, of all the local com-
panies was held on first Monday of May,
annually. But if you want to brighten up
the countenance of an old militia soldier,
ask him to describe the scenes and incidents
of "the battalion" or "big muster day" held
on the second Monday of May in the village of
Lewisberry and regularly at Dover or Dills-
burg on some other day with equal regularity.
Col. Bailey, of Dillsburg; Col. Steele, of
Fairview, or Col. Rankin, of Lewisberry,
comrdanded on these occasions, and a large
number of companies participated in the
muster, both of volunteer soldiers and the
militia. They were all reviewed by the brig-
ade inspector, who, in the eyes of the people,
was an important personage. It was always
a day of great hilarity, with one depreciating
feature. Ardent spirits, sometimes, flowed
too freely, and the smiling waters of Bennett's
Run were slighted. Hucksters were present
with their tables loaded with enticing viands
and dainties. Gringer-bread was plentiful
and cheap, and he or she who sold the big-
gest piece for a "big red cent," was the most
popular. "Mammy Zorger" introduced the
"white sugar cake," which was an event in
the art of cooking. She won the prize for
the best cakes. The "straight four" dance
must be participated in, and Battalion Day
was over.

Physicians. — Dr. Robert Kennedy prac-
ticed medicine in the Redland and Fishing
Creek Valleys before the Revolution, and was
possibly the first physician of that section,
having located there early in the history of
the settlement. He had a family of twelve
j)ersons in 1775, and consequently needed a
large territory in which to practice the heal-
ing art.

The first physician of note who located in
the village was Dr. Webster Lewis. He was
possessed of more than ordinary intelligence

and literary culture, and was somewhat of an
artist. At one time, he turned his attention
to the manufacture of "blister steel," and
erected works for that purpose on the Stony
Run. In this he was not very successful.
Late in life he removed to New Cumberland,
where he died. His son, Dr. Robert Lewis,
became a prominent physician of Dover.

Dr. Robert Nebinger, a gentleman of ex-
cellent literary training, practiced many

The father of Dr. Andrew Nebinger, a dis-
tinguished physician of Philadelphia, lived
here, and the early days of his son were spent
in Lewisberry. Dr. Hall practiced for a
while and was followed by the two brothers
Di-s. William and Augustus R. Nebinger,
Dr. George M. Eppley and J. C. Stem.

Justices of the Peace. — Joseph Hutton was
commissioned a justice of the peace for New-
berry Township, under the king of England,
in October, 1764. He resided in what is now
Fairview. He was followed by Col. William
Rankin, who was appointed by the same
authority in March, 1771, and in September,
177G, was commissioned by the colonial gov-
ernment under the constitution. Col. John
Rankin was commissioned in May, 1780, and
Robert Hammersly in 1785. These appoint-
ments were held for life, or during a term of
good behavior, and the justices were liable
to be called on to assist in holding the county
courts, which were then presided over by jus-
tices of the peace and not law judges.

James Todd was commissioned in 1799;
Isaac Kirk, in 1814; Col. John Rankin. Jr.,
in 1827; Jacob Kirk, in 1830. Until the
constitution of 1838 went into force requiring
that justices be elected by the people and not
appointed by State authority, they all held
the office for life. Those who were elected to
date were John Foster, William Hammond,
Herman Kirk, George Smith, and George K.

Methodist Church. — The Rev. Freeborn
Garrettson, a distinguished Methodist divine,
introduced the doctrines of that denomina-
tion in the Redland Valley in 1781, the
same year that he organized a congregation
in York. The followers of Methodism here
were only occasionally visited by clergymen
of the York Circuit until 1794, when the
Lewisberry congregation formed a part of the
Carlisle Circuit, when they were frequently
visited by the Rev. Nelson Reed, presiding
elder of the Carlisle Conference, and Rev.
Philip Cox. Religious services at first were
held in the houses of members, and for a
long time in a stone house of Hugh Foster.
This old relic, which has stood for a century.


is located on the corner of Front Street
and the Harrisburg road. December 28,
1806; Eli Lewis, the founder of the
village, donated to the congregation a lot on
which to build a church. The following
church officers constituted the committee who
received the grant: Philip Frankelberger,
Hugh Foster, Moses Pike, David Pike, An-
drew Holopeter, Frederick Holopeter, Peter
Stickel, John Brinton and Thomas Brinton.
There was no church built, however, until
1811, when a stone structure was erected,
which was used until 1856. The minister in
charge was Kev. James Eeid, who afterward
became somewhat noted in the history of
Methodism. Benjamin Siddon was the

August 23, 1856, Kev. Archibald Marlott,
president of Irving Female College, at Me-
chanicsburg, laid the corner-stone of the pres-
ent brick church. November 30, of the same
year. Rev. Dr. Charles Callin, president of
Dickison College, preached the dedicatory
sermon. The cost of this building was

In 1813 the remains of R. Foster and
John Pike, two prominent citizens of the
village were the first to be interred in the
adjoining cemetery.

Rev. W. W. Carhart ministered to the
wants of this congregation for the past year.
The membership is about eighty.

Sunday-schools. — Rev. Samuel Bacon, a
man of eminent distinction as a soldier of
the war of 1812. lawyer, and afterward as a
clergyman of the Episcopal Church, in 1818
organized the first Sunday-school in Lewis-
berry, in the schoolhouse. Isaac Kirk,
Hugh Foster, Elisha Hammond, William
Frankelberger. Daniel Pike, Abraham Stick-
el, Jacob Kirk, and others, assisted him.
The same school was continued for many
years. It was organized a second time, after
being discontinued for awhile, by Mr. Jen-
nison, in 1832. In 1853, under the ministry
of Rev. J. A. Baldwin, it became a denomi-
national school, and has since been held in
the Methodist Church. Robert Foster was
for many years its efficient superintendent,
and was a member of the original school, in
1818. He is still a member.

The Ltdheran and Reformed Church was
built in 1792. In January, of that year.
George Ensminger deeded to Jacob Reiff and
John Felker,one acre of ground for a church
southwest of town. The building stood more
than half a centuiy. Some of the clergymen
who ministered to the small congregation
were Revs. Lauer, Kessler, Speck, Wibely,
Seiffert, Dasher, and Pfahler. The present

church was built in 1873. Mr. Wollet donated
the land. It is located a short distance
northwest of the town. It was built under
the auspices of John Strominger, Jacob M.
Kilmore and Henderson Bare, as trustees.
There are now no regular services.

Visit of Lorenzo Dow. — This singular and
eccentric man, whose name was known in
every section of the United States, as an
evangelist, visited Lewisberry in the year
1825, and preached to a large audience in
the old stone Methodist Church. He re-
mained one night with Hugh Foster, and the
next day was driven toward Harrisburg, In
the northern part of the county he preached
in the woods to a small audience. At the
conclusion of the service he announced that
in two years from that day, at 2 o'clock in
the afternoon, he would preach from the
same stump. He fulfilled his promise, and
an immense audience gathered to hear him,
as he came riding up alone on horseback, at
the appointed time. In stature, he was a
large man, wore an exceedingly long, sandy
beard, and parted his long, shaggy hair in
the middle. Beards were unusual in those
days. To gaze upon a person with so long an
one, was a novel sight. His voice, as re-
membered by Robert Foster, of Lewisberry,
a highly i-espected citizen, was loud and deep.
It was not particularly pleasant to the hear-
er, on account of the guttural tones. When
accosted by some inquisitive inhabitant of
Lewisberry as to who commissioned him to
preach, he curtly responded, "Who commis-
sioned Saint Paul to preach?"

Schools. — A short distance above Lewis-
berry one of the first schoolhouses of the
valley stood. In it Isaac Kirk taught soon
after the Revolution. He was followed by
Elisha Hammond and others. The habit of
"barring out the teacher" was a common
sport among boys in bygone days. Very
few teachers escaped such adventures. It
was attempted on a teacher of this school
about three- fom-ths of a century ago. All
his petitions for them to open were of no
avail. In order to conquer, he climbed to
the top of the roof and dropped some burn-
ing sulphur down the chimney, and then
placed a board over the top to prevent the
fumes and odor from escaping upward. It
is sufficient to say that the door was volun-
tarily opened, the teacher admitted, and the
room ventilated. That teacher was never
afterward troubled with such capricious con-
duct. In the year 1816 a schoolhouse was
built by subscription, on the site where the
present one stands. It is still in existence,
though removed from its former place.


In it Hon. David Flemming, Hervey Ham-
mond, Josepli Wickersham, Hon. Jacob Kirk,
and other successful teachers, presided.

The Public Hall, in which are two school-
rooms, was built in 1855. It is surrounded
by a large open public common belonging to
the borough.

Edmund Burke, Arthur Gilbert and others,
at different times, taught a select school for
advanced pupils in it.

The Society of Social Friends. — This was
the name of a lyceum formed in the year
1827. Its members were composed of the
most intelligent young men and old men of
the town and neighborhood, for many miles
in circumference. The records of this society
are still preserved, containing the names of
the members and the topics discussed in de-
bate. It continued as an organization for
twenty or thirty years. Among the names
we found the following: Dr. Eobert Neb-
inger, Col. John Kankin, Col. John Steel,
Capt. John Thompson, Hon. David Flem-
ing (now of Harrisburg), Jacob Kirk (the
first county superintendent), Joseph Wicker-
sham, Herman Kirk, Elijah Garretson, John
Eppley, Joseph Foster, Hervey Hammond,
Jesse Meredith, Joseph Nichols, William
Hammond and Jesse Kirk. This being an
abolitionist community before the civil war,
the question: "Is slavery a curse to human-
ity?'' several times caused spirited debate.
"Should the United States encourage pro-
tection to home industries?'' was another
lively topic discussed during the Clay cam-
paigns. It was, without doubt, a literary
society that enlightened the community.


About one-fourth mile west of the Newberry
Friends' Meeting House, for many long years
stood the old log-schoolhouse. It has dis-
appeared, and now no vestiges of it are left.
Who all the teachers were it would be iaterest-
ing to tell, if we knew, but even tradition say-
eth not. Thomas Garrettson, a kind-hearted
and gentle Quaker, for more than twenty
years successfully enlightened' the minds of
the young, belonging mostly to the families
of the same religious belief, long before the
common school system had been adopted.
Kind old Thomas, as he is still remembered
as such by a few of the oldest citizens still
living, offered the young followers of Elias
Hicks an inducement of an extra hour to
play, if they would all spend one hour of
each fourth day with him at regular meet-
ing. His schoolhouse, with its sixty or
seventy pupils, was, as nearly as could be

, an example of neatness. To the
pious Friend neatness is next to godliness.
It is said that he once told a boy who came
to his school one morning with soiled hands:
"The best way for thee to observe an inter-
esting chemical experiment is to wash thy
hands, using plenty of soap."

On the east and on the west side of this
characteristic old building, along the walls,
were the writing desks, at which the pupils
sat for that purpose only. Above them were
the long narrow windows, five feet long and
two feet wide.

Jesse Wickersham (aught school in' this
building about the year 1812. At a much
later date Joseph Wickersham, now a prom-
inent citizen of Newberry Township, was a
popular teacher of this school.


In the southwestern portion of Newberry
Township is a section long since known as
the "Ball Hills" or "Bald Hills." Most of
the land is a pure red shale. The "red rock"
protrudes to the surface, making some of the
hills "bald" or devoid of vegetation. The
summits of them are the shape of a "ball" so
either name may apply. Mr. Ashenfelter, a
dozen or more years ago,introduced the culti-
vation of { small fruits in this section, which
has since proven to be a productive industry.
Besides the immense amount of strawberries
raised, large quantities of grapes and peaches
are also grown by many farmers.

In this section there are two churches, one
owned by the Church of God, and the other
by the Lutherans and Evangelical Associa-


This village, located at the foot of the
Conewago Rapids of the Susquehanna, and
in the extreme southeastern part of Newberry
Township, was for more than a third of a cen -
tury, one of the most important business cen-
ters in southern Pennsylvania. The history
of the Conewago Canal once located here is
given in the chapter on "Public Internal Im-
provements," page 331. The interests of
this place were first managed by the Conewa-
go Canal Company, composed of intelligent
and wealthy men, mostly from the city of
Philadelphia. On November 20, 1810,
Thomas Willing Francis,, of Philadelphia,
who then represented and managed the com-
pany, whose interests consisted of a large
merchant-mill, nail factory, ferry and land
all assessed at $40,000, transferred all right
and title to John Weatherburn, Wil-


■son and Joseph Townsend,of Baltimore, rep-
resenting a number of merchants of that city,
•who, on September 24th, of the same year,
formed a company for the purchase of this
property. The names of these gentlemen
Tvere as follows: William Cole, William
liVilson & Sons, W^illiam Gwynn, Joseph
Townsend, Hackman & Hoppe, Isaac Burn-
ston, Thomas Hillen, John Weatherbnrn,
Dennis A. Smith, Jacob Stansbury. William
McMechen, George Repold, James Nelson,
John Davis and Joshua Stevenson. They
were prominent and influential citizens of
Baltimore, and associated themselves together
for the purpose of purchasing wheat of this
section, and the large quantity that was then
floated down the Susquehanna in flat-boats.
and manufacturing it into flour in the large
merchant-mill already erected, and others
which the company designed to build. This
new company was formed with a capital of
$100,000, divided into twenty-five shares of
$4,000. Thomas W. Francis who disposed
of the property for the Philadelphia com-
pany, retained an interest in the new enter-
prise to the amount of four shares, or §16,000.
Joseph Townsend became manager for the
Baltimore company; Joseph Weatherburn
and John Wilson, trustees. The land pur-
chased at this time was a tract of 151 acres,
a tract of 64|- acres called "Hopewell," and
another tract of 12 acres, projecting into the
5-iver called "Cape Francis." The first two
-tracts were conveyed to Thomas W. Francis,
in 1801, by Charles Willing Hare, a lawyer,
of the city of Philadelphia. The conveyance,
in 1810, granted to the new company all the
"ways, woods, water-courses, water, mill-works,
rights, liberties, privileges, hereditaments and
appurtenances." The contract signed, sealed
and delivered in the presence of Elisha Powell
and John Amy, before Willigin Tillingham,
chief justice of the State of Pennsylvania.
The interest at once began to loom up. Three
new mills were built, one having a capacity
of 150 barrels of flour a day ; for that time
this mill had the largest capacity of any in
the State. Cooper shops, hotels and private
residences were soon built.

The Town of York Haven was laid out in
1814, when a neatly designed plan was pre-
pared under the direction of the "York
Haven Company." There were two sections:
ihe '"upper towu" was located on the hill to
the west of the present site of the railroad,
and the "lower town" was down by the canal.
The lots were thirty feet wide and 130 feet
•deep. Several hundred of them were laid
off. This being before the era of railroads,
river navigation was the subject of great

public interest, and it was expected that
York Haven would become an important
town, and great business center. The names
of streets parallel with the river were Canal,
Baltimore, Hillen, Stansbury, Wilson, Town-
send, Weatherburn, Cole, and Gwynn, after
members of the company. The alleys were
named after the creeks flowing into the Sus-
quehanna. The cross streets were numbered
from first to seventh in order. The plan in-
cluded a large public square. On the print-
ed deeds of the town lots the name David
Cassat, of York, appears as attorney for the
company. On each of the deeds the com-
pany's seal was beautifully stamped, which
was circular in form, with the representation
of a canal and lock, and an overhanging wil-

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 130 of 218)