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

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panorama unfolded includes one -half the
area of York County, and equally as much
of several other counties.

Dover is drained by the Great Conewago
in the north, and the Little Conewago, which
crosses its southeastern extremity.

The population in 1880 was 2,378; value
of real estate in 1884 was $1,340,784; there
were then 741 taxable inhabitants, county
tax paid for same year, $4,980; State tax
$246. Nearly all land in the township was
first settled by the Germans, and the language
of that industrious people yet predominates.
English is taught in the schools exclusively.


On a slightly elevated spot about three-
fourths of a mile southwest of the village of
Dover,stands the large and commodious build-
ing, familiarly known as the Dover Church
(Strayers, or Salem). Here for about 130
years have the inhabitants of this delightful
country met in solemn worship. The pres-
ent building is the third that has been erect-
ed since the formation of the congregation.
The situation is peculiarly interesting, as the
observer has, from it, an excellent view of the
broad acres of fertile fields in Dover Town-
ship of which the church is exactly in the cen-
ter. The first German settlers of this region
located here about 1736. though not many that
early. The oldest land warrants bear that
date. The earliest religious services were
held in the small houses of the first settlers.
On the 30th of May, 1757, the following



twenty-eight members of the German Lu-
theran and German Reformed denomina-
tions, entered into an agreement for the pur-
pose of founding a church:

Peter Streher.
Jacob HofEman.
Martin Reisinger.
Philip Jacobs.
George Kochener.
George Kann.
Nicholas Herrmann.
Hans Adams Bartmess.
Hans George Spaar.
Joseph Klepser.
Michael Spaar.
Jacob Kirstler.
Jacob Meyer.
Jacob Kimmel.

Hans George Stauch.
Dietrich Danner.
Valentine Flohr.
Christopher Kobler.
Leonard Shetrone.
Henrv Shetrone.
John Zinn.
George Harbold.
Jacob Bupp.
Andrew Gross.
Barnhart Miieller.
Michael Bunslob.
Jacob Lambert.
Henrv Rahauser.

The first building of logs was located
within the old graveyard, west of the present
church. The land for it and the church
were purchased from die Ecke, the corners
of the plantations of Peter Streher, Jacob
Lambert and Jacob Upp. George Spaar and
Peter Streher were first elders. Hans Adam
Bartmess and Nicholas Hoffmann, first trust-
ees. Carl Albert, Wendell Gross and Mat-
thew Swartz, deacons. Some of the articles
for sacramental service and for other purposes
in 1767, were one black altar cloth, bought
by congregation, cost £3 English currency;
one round altar table, two white cloths for
communion, presented by Henry Shetrone;
three towels, one bought from Philip Jacob
Julig (Julius), by Widow Eahauser; one
pewter baptismal font, 15s.; one great can
and cup for communion, one box of wafers,
one small plate and two pewter plates and
one bell, klingelbeutel.

Several Lutheran missionaries conducted
services in the locality at an early period,
among them Eev. Schaum and Eaus of York,
Eevs. Candler and Eager, of Hanover, and
Rev. Jacob Lischy, the German Eeformed

In 1763, Eev. Lucas Eaus organized the
Lutheran congregation, and Rev. Lischy,
the German Eeformed, with the above-named
elders and deacons. The original Lutheran
Church book, written in German, and from
which valuable treasure was obtained much
of information herein given was found. The
title page of this old relic contains the fol-
lowing inscription in German, neatly written:

"Church Book of the Evangelical Lu-
theran Congi'egation in Dover Township over
the Susquehanna in Pennsylvania, was
bought in 1763, by me, Lucas Eaus."

The genealogy of some of the first mem-
bers is here given: The asterisks designate
the names of those who died in childhood.

John Peter Streher was born in the Prov-

ince of Starkenburg, County of Sponheim,
June 22, 1718. He was married in 1751, on
his birthday, to Anna Barbara Burghart,
widow of John Nicholas Hantz. The last
named died in 1737, leaving four children,
John Andreas, Anna Elizabeth, Mary Mar-
garetta, Catrina Elizabeth* and Maria Cat-
rina. Peter Streher and his family immi-
grated to America in 1740. He became the
teacher and was empowered with certain
privileges to conduct religious services in
Dover Church, in the absence of a regular
clergyman. His first wife died in 1761,
and he married Jacobina Stouch, in 1766.
His children by both marriages were
John Nicolaus,* John Mathias,* Anna Catha-
rine, John Peter, John Nicolaus, Catharine
Elizabeth, John Jacob and John Peter. Ac-
cording to the record these children all died
except three before growing to manhood and

John Adam Diehl, born along the Eiver
Moselle, Germany, in 1734, came to America
with parents in 1739, married Magdalena
Burghart, 1760, she was born, 1740. Their
children were John Nicolaus and Anna

Math'as Hartmann, born in Frederick Tal,
in Hohenlohe, Germany; 1718, came to
America, 1749; married Anna Catharine
Horcb, in 1750; children were Maria Doro-
thea, Catrina and Elizabeth.

George Spaar, born in Altenberg, three
hours from^Tuebingen, in Germany, on the
11th of December, 1699; married, in 1724, to
Mary Catrina Kauifman, who was born in
1703. He immigrated to America in 1740.
Their children were John Frederick, Anna
Maria,* Maria Barbara,* Eva Margaretta,
Sophia Margaretta,* Susan Maria. Maria
Catrina,* John George, John Casper,* John,*
John George,* John Casper, John, Philip,

Martin Eeisinger, born in Heyebronn,
Germany, in 1722, came, with his father, to
America in 1737; married in 1747 to Anna
Magdalena, daughter of Lorentz Bingmann.
They had nine children: John, Barbara, John
Martin, John Conrad, Mary Magdalena, Mary
Margaret, Catharine, Anna Elizabeth, Anna

John George Stauch, born in 1717 in Bueb
lingen. Kingdom of Wurtemburg, Germany,
married Anna Margaretta Deish in 1774,
immigrated to America and came to Dover
Township in 1752. The ship called
"Brothers," set sail from Eotterdam in Hol-
land, from which city nearly all German emi-
grants embarked, especially the Palatines.
His children by his first wife were Maria



Jacobina, Maria Barbara,* John George,*
John George. These children were born in
the fatherland. He brought with him three
children then living, and one year after their
arrival, married Maria Catrina Winegarten,
by whom he had four children, namely:
John Leonard, John Andrew, John George
and John Jacob.

Gotfried Stauch, born in Germany, 1724,
married in 1751 to Anna Maria Dartl, came
with his brother to America in 1752, al-
though he did not sail in the same vessel with
his brother. It was the ship, "President,"
commanded by Capt. Donlap. He had one
child by his first marriage, John George.
This boy, while yet an infant, and his mother
died on the sea while on their way to Ameri-
ca. He was married in Dover Township to
Charlotte Kessler, on Christmas day, 1754, it
being her birthday. They had four children,
namely: Elizabeth, John, Philippina, Su-

Some of the first births recorded were
John, son of John and Susanna Lenhardt,
born, February 18, 1762. Susanna, daughter
of Casper and Anna Barbara Banner, born
April 8, 1762. John William Grim, born
June, 1762. Ten births are recorded for the
same year and about twenty each of the fol-
lowing years to 1766. The first death re-
corded, was that of George Frederick Scheatl
(Shettle), who died of apoplexy, May 20,
1763, aged fifty years, buried on Whit-Sun-
day, "III die neue Kirchof." "There was a
large assembly of people present," says the
record book. The second death was that of
a child of John Peter Streher, July 5,
1763, aged five years, ten months and fifteen
days. George Adam Diehl and Christine
Spangler were married May 30, 1758. The
first marriage on record. Matthew Meyer
(widower) and Christine Dorothea Nueller
were married November 19, 1758.

The first confirmation services on record
were held November 7, 1762. The persons
confirmed were George Adam Oberdi'er, sev-
enteen years old; Susanna Oberdier, fifteen
years; Margaret Gensart, Mary Barbara
Gensart, Catrina Burgart. On Ascension day,
1765, there were twenty-eight persons con-
firmed, most of them children, and new set-
tlers. April 13, 1766, there were twenty-
two confirmations; many of them from "Peter
Wolf's Church, in Manchester Township."
April 26, 1767, there were thirty-six confirm-
ations. Confirmation services were held
once every two years. John Peter Spaar and
Andreas Gross, young men, were designated
on record of confirmationin 1767 "children
of good hopes."

The following is « copy of a legal record:

I, Peter Streher, of Dover Township, in the
county of York and I'lovince of Pennsylvania,
farmer, in consideration of tlie esteem and ailection
I bear toward the German Lutheran and German
Reformed congregations of said township, for the
Sum of .5 Shillings paid by George Stouch and Adam
Bartmess, trustees and representatives of the Lu-
theran congregation, Jacob May and Jacob Meyer,
trustees and representatives of the German Re-
formed congregation, do convey unto them and
their successors forever in trust for said church con-
gregations. 3 acres of land.

The deed of the three acres as a site for a
church and burying ground, was dated Janu-
ary 5, 1765.

Upon the death of Peter Streher, his two
sons, who inherited his property, had the
church land surveyed, and in accordance
with letters patent on the 8th day of May,
1797, executed another deed in trust for
same tract of land to John Overdier and Ja-
cob Stouch, trustees of the German Lutheran
congregation, Peter Upp and Jacob Lauer,
trustees of the German Reformed congrega-
tion. The second indenture was made in
order to make the title to the church proper
ty good after the surrounding land was pat-

A charter of incorporation was granted^to
the two denominations that worship in
Salem's Chui-ch, on the 29th of May, 1824.
The persons named in the charter were as
follows: Peter Streher, Frederick Stough,
Peter Lecron, John Sheffer, elders; Nicholas
Hoffman and John Hantz, wardens of the
Lutheran congregation; John Lauer, Jacob
Zinn, Christian Hamm, William Caldwell,
elders; Jacob March and Jacob Kann, war-
dens of the Reformed congregation.

The pastors of the Lutheran congregation

were Lucas Raus from organization to 1776;

Jacob Goering from 1776 to 1783; N. Kurtz

\ and John Groop. A. G. Deininger, for fifty-

j two years, consecutively until his death in

1880, aged eighty-five years. D. Sell is the

present pastor of the Lutheran congregation,

' whose communicant membership is 800. As

many as 500 persons have communed in one


The Reformed congregation as nearly as
can be determined, was served by pastors
Vandersloot, Charles Helfenstein, Daniel
Ziegler, D. D., for twenty seven years; Jacob
Kehm, four years; Jacob Ziegler, eight years,
and by I. S. Weisz, the present pastor for
twelve years. The Reformed membership is
400. The combined membership of this church
is over 1,200 communicants, the highest num-
ber of any church in York County.

Jacob Fink died in Dover, in 1882, aged
ninety-two years, seven months and eighteen



days, he and his wife, Elizabeth, had been
married, sixty-seven years at the time of his
death. Near the center of the burying ground
adjoining the Dover Church, rest the remains
of John G. Quickel, who died November 7,
1870, aged one hundred years, eight months
and eleven days. In this graveyard two acres
in area, there were about 3,000 interments
from 1763 to 1883. A beautifully located
cemetery was laid off by Dr. Lenhart, a short
distance southeast of the church. The first
interment was the remains of Elizabeth Nei-
mau, who died September 6, 1870. There are
now many fine monuments in this cemetery.
Daniel Hamme, who died in 1874, aged nine-
ty-five years, was here interred.


In 1752 Gerhart Greaflf, who afterward •
wrote his name Graves, petitioned "the
worshipful justices of the county of York,
to grant him their recommendation to the
Governor of the Province of Pennsylvania,
for a lycence to Keep a public house, on the
road leading from York to Carlisle, being
greatly Burthened with travelers passing. To
remedy that inconvenience he has furnished
himself with Liquor and other Necessaries
suitable for the Entertainment of travellers,
and is desirous of Keeping Tavern." His
petition was granted and doubtless "mine
host" Gerhart kept an orderly house. He
also started the first store there. In 1776
he organized a company of soldiers in his
township, which joined Col. Swope's regi-
ment, then forming in York. Before leaving
Dover for York, however, his men made a
certain Tory stand on a stump and give three
cheers for Gen. Washington, and the Con-
tinental Army. Capt. Greaif and his brave
German soldiers, all except eighteen, were
captured in the battle of Long Island, and
for a time languished in a British prison.
Before the Revolution, and during the year
3 762, Gerhart Greaif had a new neighbor in
the person , of Jacob Joner (pronounced as in
German Yoner), who purchased 203^ acres of
land, and in the year 1764 laid out the town
of Dover. This was twenty-three years after
the founding of York, and one year after
Hanover. Joner had his new town regularly
platted, and sold the lots subject to a quit-
rent. The deeds were printed at Epbratae,
Lancaster County, he having lived in Lea-
cock Township, that county, before moving
to York County. Dover was the original
name of the town, and is so mentioned in
Joner' s deeds; "Joner's town" and "yoner-
stettle," for more than half a century, were

the names locally used. In fact the town
was rarely called Dover, until 1815, when a
postofSce was established there. The orig-
inal deeds, called for an annual quit-rent of
7s. 6d, and required that a house of at least
sixteen feet square, with chimney of brick or
stone, must be built by the purchaser of a lot,
within three years from date of purchase.
Joner's signatures were in a clear legible
hand. Most of the original houses of the
town were built of logs, and a few of these
old relics are still standing.

DOVEE IN 1783.

In 1783 the village of Dover contained a
population of 81; of this number 44 were
males, and 37 females. Jacob Joner owned
twenty five lots and a house on the square.
Various trades were represented. Nicholas
Joner and Henry Matthews were cordwain
ers, and made boots and shoes for the sur-
rounding populace. George Marik owned a
house and six lots. John Gross, Samuel
Wilt and Jacob Bigler were weavers, and
with the old style tread machines, manufac-
tured the cloth for the wearing apparel of
themselves and neighbors.

John Swan, a good-natured Irishman, was
the village blacksmith. W^hile diligently
working at his trade, he related many stories
of his war history to the little boys and girls
who frequently gathered around him. John
Urban was a locksmith. Joseph Spangler
and Barnhart Rudy, inn keepers; Martin
Reisinger, tailor; Peter Trien, tanner, John
Cook, Thomas Metzler, Michael Gross, James
Montgomery, John Stewart, Conrad Miller,
Abraham Fisher and George Stouch, each
owned houses and lived in Dover. Daniel
May was justice of the peace.


The town of Dover was incorporated in
1864, just one hundred years after it was
founded. Reuben Hofflieims, now of York,
was the first chief burgess, and Jacob B.
Fink, secretary of the council. There are
now two hotels and several stores. It is
a very pleasant village, with a population
of 550, and a real estate valuation of

The hotel on the square was kept by
George Darrone, father, son and grandson,
from 1809 to 1859, without change of name.
It has been kept in the Wiest name, father
and son, for thirty years~ continuously.

Dr. Lewis, a prominent physician of this
town, was the agent of the "underground
railroad," through Dover during times of
slavery in the South.


The oldest person of the village, Elizabeth
Fink, is ninety years; Daniel Gross is
eighty- sis and John Rodgers eighty. . The
Dover cornet band was organized, and at
first was connected with Capt. Worley's vol-
unteer military company. It now has a
membership of eighteen, with Roman Bower-
Box as leader.

Carriage building for many years past, has
been an important industry, and large num-
bers are now being made. Reuben Hofif-
heins, in 1858, began the manufacture of a
reaper of his own invention. In 1860 he
began to make also the "Ball reaper" in
large quantities.

The postoffice was established in 1815.
Soon after the Revolutionary war, Israel
Melchinger, an ex-Hessian soldier located
here, and so far as can now be stated, be-
came the first postmaster. He was still in
office in 1830; he prospered in business.
His son Englehart Melchinger, succeeded
him. O. J. Yost and Samuel Aughenbaugh
were also postmasters.

A destructive fire occurred in Dover, in
March, 1844. Two houses, a tavern and a
stable were destroyed, on the Public Square.
Soon after this event the town purchased the
old engine from the Vigilant Fire Company,
of York. It is tept in an engine house on
the square.

The carriage shop of Theopholus Gross
burnt down a few years ago. There being
too small a supply of water in the vicinity,
the engine could not be effectively used.

As early as 1770 a parochial school was
started in a building connected with the
Dover Lutheran and Reformed Church. At
this place most of the youths of the vicinity
received their mental training. Early in the
present century schools were held in the
private houses of the villagers. A house
was built in the northern part, and another
in the southwestern part of town. They con-
tinued in use until they became very much
dilapidated. There arose a great contention
about the erection of a new graded school
building. In the year 1S81, during the
same night, both old buildings were destroyed
by tire, and the same year two new ones
built on the same sites, at a combined cost of

Near the village of Dover was a noted
place for the "big musters" and other mili-
tary parades. - The battalions drilled on the
most eligible fields. As many as ten or fif-
teen companies of militia and some volun-
teercompanies annually collected here during
the month of May. and were reviewed by
Brigade Inspector Archibald S. Jordon and

later by Cols. Henry Stover, S. N. Bailey and
George Hay. The local companies, toward
the last of militia days, were commanded by
Capts. John Worley John Sharp, Samuel
Miller and others. These annual gatherings
ceased about 1856. Conrad Kline, the last
Revolutionary soldier of Dover Township,
died in the village at the advanced age of
ninety-seven years. His remains were in-
terred with the honors of war by a local vol-
unteer company. He was one of many brave
Germans who, early in the war for American
independence, championed the cause of their
adopted country. He followed the occupa-
tion of a gunsmith.


This is a hamlet near the southern bound-
ary of Dover Township, about five miles from
York. Among the first settlers in this sec-
tion were two men by the name of Weigle.
One of them was a tavern keeper, and the
other a blacksmith. The village received its
name about 1825, at which time there was a
collection of half a dozen houses. It is lo-
cated on an inclined plane of the character-
istic mesozoic red sandstone, of which most
of the township is composed. The first store
was kept by John Noss. The postoffice was
established in 1878, and William Weigle
appointed postmaster. He still fills the
position, and keeps a store and tavern.
In the same spot where his house now stands
there was recently removed an old stone one
which was erected by Jacob Weigle near the
middle of last century. At the sou^h end of
the village, in 1S78, St. Paul's United
Brethren Church was erected. It is the only
house of worship in the village. The pres-
ent population is about 100. A few hiindred
yards north of Weiglestown, at the forks of
the Dover and Shippensburg roads, Capt.
Sharp was killed in the autumn of 1814.
The circumstances of his unfortunate death
were as follows: He was commander of a
company of militia of Dover Township. At
the time of the approach of Gen. Ross with
the British Army to Baltimore, his company,
together with all others in the county, was
called to the place of rendezvous at York,
where many thousands of soldiers had col-
lected. Upon the news of the death of Ross
and the retreat of his army from Baltimore,
nearly all the soldiers who had gone to York
were discharged. On his way home Capt.
Sharp was riding a race, when the horse, at
the forks of the road, threw his rider against
a tree, and he was instantly killed.




This is an interesting little village on the
Shippensburg road near the west end of the
township. It was the home of Dr. Frederick
Ernst Meleheimer, the distinguished ento-
mologist, a sketch of whose life will be found
in the history of Hanover, in the medi-
cal history in this work..

There are two stores here and a tavern.
The population is about 100, a short distance
south is the plea?ant little hamlet of New-
port or Slabtown.


Mennonite Meeting House. — On the 10th
of May, 1825, John Lethra, Henry Sipe and
Joseph Hershey as trustees for the Menno-
nite congregation of Dover Township pur-
chased of John Brubaker for $1, eighty
perches of land on which to build a
meeting-house. The land was deeded to the
above named members in trust, and to their
successors forever who may be appointed by
a majority of the members of said congrega-
tion after the death or resignation of said

The land was located on the road leading
then from Jacob Friek's Mill to Philip
Symser's Mill. This church now belongs to
the Codorus charge, which includes a church
in Washington and one in Codorus. Daniel
Bare and Abraham Roth were among the
early preachers of this church in York County
organized in 1753. Next ministers were
Josiah Hershey, Benjamin Hershey, John
Frantz, Isaac Kauffman, Jacob Hershey and
S. L. Roth. The last three are the present
ministers The membership is forty -five.

Rohler s Union Church. — This church is lo-
cated in the northeast end of the township, was
built in 1870 of excellent native sandstone
at a cost of $800, and dedicated by Revs.
Raber, Craumer and Brickley. Philip Crone
and John H. Myers, did the mason work.
The trustees and building committee were
Samuel Runkle, John H. Myers and Henry
S. Crone. It is now used by the United
Brethren in Christ only. There are thirty

Oq the 19th of March, 1800, Jacob Rohler
for 1 pound and 10 shillings deeded "one
acre of land adjoining a graveyard to Hugh
Laird, John Richcreek and John Miller,
trustees, on which land was to be built a new
schoolhouse and Union meeting-house for
any that preach the gospel." Near this same
spot the old Dover Baptist congregation
worshiped, of which mention is made on page

Lutheran Church.— A. few hundred yards

west of Rohler's Church stands the new
Lutheran Church, built in 1870. The con-
gregation previously worshiped in the Union
Church built in 1800. The new church cost
about $1,000. The following named clergy-
men have officiated here : Revs. Finfrock,
Focht, Dasher, Seiffert and Ehrhard.

United Brethren Church is located on the
Bull Road, in Dover Township, near the
boundary line with Conewago. It was built
in 1858.


On the road leading from Dover to Strines-
town. on farms now owned by Henry Stouffer
and Henry Rahauser, along Fox's Run, In-
dian graves, mounds, arrow heads and other
traces of our aborigines have been discovered.
That section was doubtless a favorate hunting
ground, and evidently for a time the site of
an Indian village. A mortar, which was the
common instrument used by the Indians to
grind corn or maize, was found on this spot
by George Ensminger of Strinestown. There
is a large stationary mortar near Harmony
Grove Church, in this township. It was
hewn out of a large rock.


Strawberry raising has lately become an im-
portant industry in the northern part of Dover
Township. In 1884 Jesse Crone, county audi-
tor,raised 7,700 boxes on two acres, which were

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 138 of 218)