John Gibson.

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

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most of which lies in York County.


■The Susquehanna River, at this point, is
quite narrow. For several miles up the
river from here it is very rocky, most of the
water passes down on the Lancaster County
side in a rapid current. In 1853 a company
was formed, of which Mr. Bair was president
and William Campbell secretary, with a
capital stock of $40,900. A pier bridge, on
the Burr plan, was built across the Susque-
hanna consisting of four spans on the east
side over the main channel, and one span on
the west side. The bridge was commenced
in 1855 and completed in 1857. It was nearly
completed earlier and used from October,
1855, to April 5, 1856, when the super-
structure of the four spans on the east side
was blown over by 'a wind storm and went
down the river. It was rebuilt at a cost of
$20,000. It was finished to within a few
planks of the last span when the entire
bridge was taken away by an ice-flood
February 7, 1857, and has never pince been
rebui It.


Early iu our colonial history, this ferry was
a prominent crossing place. Many of the
first settlers came over the Susquehanna here.


and later, as described in the chapter on |
"Early Boads" in this book, it was on the j
line of a leading highway from Philadephia
to the south and west. The shad fishing
interest was very extensive at one time.
William Kirkpatrick & Co., May 20,
1820, purchased a tannery and currying
establishment near the river, which did a
large business for many years. There is now
a hamlet, with two stores and a hotel. The
ferry is owned by Elias Fry. Richard Por-
ter, on the 4th of March, 1816, advertised
at private sale his " noted stand, in Lower
Chanceford, on the great road leading from
Philadelphia to the Western country, via
McCall's bridge, about four miles from said
bridge, seventy miles from Philadelphia and
forty miles from Baltimore. The tract of
land contains 160 acres, on which is a valua-
ble store and tavern which has been in use
twenty years."

An act of the legislature approved April
2, 1811, appropriated money to companies
thereafter to be formed, to build bridges
across the Susquehanna at Harrisburg,
Northumberland and McCaiJ's Perry. A
company was formed and the bridge was
built here, between the beginning of the year
1815 and the close of the year 1816. In
the fall of the last-named year, Thaddeus
Stevens, then a young man on his way from
Bel Air to Lancaster, narrowly escaped
drowning by his horse taking fright while
crossing the bridge, " the superstructure of
which was not quite finished." A flood, dur-
ing the following year, took away the bridge
and it was never rebuilt. The bridge prop-
erty was sold by the sheriff in November, 1819.

Centrevilleis a hamlet about two miles south
of Airville. It is familiarly known as "The
Jack." Four hundred acres of the surround-
ing land were once owned by "Jack" Dough-
erty. In the year 1849, William C. Colvin
bought the property, and built the large and
commodious hotel. He conducted the hotel
business himself for a number of years, and
also owned a store. The store is now kept by
Joseph Longenecker and the hotel by J. C

"Corner Ketch," not far distant, has a
history which can not all be told, for lack of
authentic information. When the Susque-
hanna Canal was being constructed that
tavern was the resort of the Irish and other
workmen. It was claimed that the proprietor
would " catch " all the money they earned,
hence the origin of the name. There is no
hotel now.

Airville, formerly called McSherrysville, is
a pleasantly located village in Lower Chance-
ford, twenty two. miles from York. Joseph
McSherry came to the vicinity in 1796, at the
age of four years, and grew to manhood with
a Frenchman who was a nail-maker, and
lived near the site of the United Brethren
parsonage. He married when nineteen, and
started a blacksmith shop, near the site of
Joseph Pearce's store. He kept tavern for
thirty- five years. The second house of the
town was built by Aqviila Montgomery, a
colored man. Of this race there are now quite
a number in the vicinity. Jackson McSherry
built the next house, and afterward moved to
Warrensburg, Mo. Frederick McSherry
built a store house in 1846, on the site of
Mr. Pearce's property, where he conducted
the mercantile business until 1872, when he
moved to his present stand. John Manifold
conducted a store at an early period, and
Robert McCollins opened one a short distance
up the York road. '

The first postofQce of the vicinity was
called Lower Chanceford. William Cowan,
now ninety-five years old, was postmaster in
1828 and for several years later. The office
was then a mile from the site of the present
town. The mail for many years was carried
on horse back by a dwarf called "Little
Philie Cole," over a route extending from
York to Bel Air, Md. It took him one week
to make the trip. "Little Philie" was a
brave boy, and was afraid of nothing but
thunder. If he saw an approaching storm,
he would go into the nearest house and at
once conceal himself in a feather bed, till it

Joseph McSherry succeeded Mr. Cowan
as postmaster, and moved the postoffice to
the new village. A change in the national
administration made James McCall post-
master who moved the office near to McCall's
Ferry. The other postmasters since have
been E. P. Skelton, Frederick McSherry in
1865. Since 1869 Joseph Pearce has held
the office. William F. Smith is the physi-
cian of the village. Drs. McDonald and
Gordon, attended the sick of the community
at an earlier date. Airville cornet band, con-
sisting of sixteen pieces, was organized in
1874. N. B. McSherry is leader. Coplin^
Hall was built, a number of years ago, for
the meeting of literary societies, and for other
public occasions. It contains a public li-
brary. S. B. McSherry was appointed post-
master in 1885.

Orson's Mill, erected three-fourths of a



century ago, is now owned by D. W. Grove.
In 1820, and later, John Patterson manu-
factured wooden chairs in large quantities
near Airville.


A postoftice, with the above name, was es-
tablished at this place March 4, 1835,
and John Manifold appointed postmaster.
He served continuously until March 25,
1878, when the present postmaster, J. P.
Moffit was appointed. Near this place was
Nicholson's Mill, which, by act of assembly
of 1776, was made the common voting place
for several township, of the lower end of the
county, and continued so for many years.
There are now no vestiges of the old mill,
nor of Turner's nail factory and the fulling
and carding-mill, which stood near by.


A hamlet by this name is located on the York
& Peach Bottom Railroad, twenty-eight miles
from York, and twelve miles]from Peach Bot-
tom, near the line between Lower Chance -
ford and Fawn. The surrounding land was
known in early history as "Spring Valley
farm." In 1792 John Donnell advertised
for sale the farm ' ' of 400 acres fit for grass,
hemp or wheat equal to any land in the south-
east end of county, a tine growth of oak and
hickory, and 100 acres of undergrowth of
hazel, and thirty acres of timothy grass that
could be mowed twice in a season; a tine ap-
ple orchard; a merchant-mill recently built
furnished with buhr and country stones; a
saw-mill rebuilt three years ago. This mill
is forty-tive miles from Baltimore."

The name Woodbine originated when the
railroad was completed, and was confirmed
when a postofSce was established. George W.
Ilgenfritz, of York, owns the mill, and T. H.
Murphy conducts a general store, purchases
grain and sells fertilizers.

Orson's Glen, near by, is a resort for pic-
nic parties. The scenery along Orson's Run
here is quite romantic.

Bridgeton, a short distance up the railroad,
is an important business place.


Before 1835 most of the wheat consumed
in Lower Chanceford, was brought from
near York. Frederick McSherry introduced
the one horse tread threshing-machine in
1842. Before this date all the wheat of the
township was threshed with the flail or by
tramping with horses. In fact very little

wheat could be raised in the "lower end"
before this date. In 1846 there were four
such machines in Lower Chanceford. Every
reader who is familiar with the fertility of
the soil at present, and the abundance of the
crops of this prosperous township, knows
what important changes have taken place
since 1S40. It was about that year, possibly

, a little earlier, that William Cowan, Peter

I Smith, Robert Smith, John Kilgore, Na-
thaniel Scott and others introduced lime as a

[ fertilizer. The limestone was brought down

I from the valleys above, on the Susquehanna
Canal, then just completed. It was burned
in kilns built on the farms. Of late phos-

t phates and other fertilizers have wrought a
marvellous change. "Sixty years ago," says
an old citizen, "people went to Chanceford

[ church on ox carts and two horse wagons.

! The church woods on Sabbath day were full
of such teams. There were very few fences
there." In 1830, a "Yankee" clock peddler
visited the neighborhood with a "fancy
buggy." Its appearance created a great
deal of interest, because of the novelty.
Rev. Dr. Martin, about this time, bought a
gig, which was then a new vehicle to the
sturdy Scotch- Irish.

Shad fishing was a very prosperous busi-
ness half a century ago along the Susquehan-
na, where it borders on Lower Chanceford.
There were a number of good fisheries.
William Cowan recalls the time when he saw
3,000 shad captured at one "haul," with a
large seine, at "Jackson Battery," near Cul-
ley's Falls. Immense numbers of them were
caught in former times, and some are still
caught at McCall's and Shank's Ferries, and
other points. The shad season was a rich

j harvest for rivermen; some fishermen, as
employes, were known to make $300 in one
season of six weeks, and rested the remainder
of the year. Hundreds of teams came to the
river, near these fisheries, to purchase shad
and haul them south and west to dispose of
them. "In fact," says an intelligent old cit-
izen,"the shad fishing industry is what greatly
helped to support the people of Lower
Chanceford before 1840." Since that year
the business has greatly declined. At Indian
Steps, Fulton Rock, and at York Furnace
many have been caught in large "scoop nets,"

I in imitation of the nets by which this palat-

I able fish was caught by the aborigines. In
1825 about 800 were caught in one day in that

I way at Fulton Rock Fishery, now owned by
John Bair of York Furnace.


The Lower Chanceford Volunteers, a com


pany of 100 uniformed men, were commanded
by Capt. James Cameron. They were called
out in 1844, at the time of the Philadelphia
riots, but after going as far as Wrightaville
on the wa)', the order was countermanded, as
their services were not needed. John Mc-
Pherson and Stephen McKinley commanded
militia companies. The militia of Lower
Chaneeford paraded on the farm of James
Cross, and sometimes at the famous muster
grounds of Dr. McDonald, in Fawn Town-
ship. Capt. Thompson commanded a volun-
teer rifle company before the war. There was
another volunteer company in the township.
It had seventy-seven members. John Stew-
art, a Revolutionary soldier of Lower Chance-
ford, died in 1820. He was the grandfather
of Judge Stewart, late of Mansfield, Ohio.
John McKinley, of Lower Chaneeford, was a
wagon master during the Revolution. This
township during the civil war sent a great
many soldiers "to the front." John Maugh-
lin, who died a few years ago aged ninety-
three, was one of the " old defenders" in the
war of 1812.


Lower Chaneeford was one of the first
townships to accept the provisions of the act
of 1834, establishing the common school sys-
tem in Pennsylvania. There ai'e now in the
township thirteen schools, as follows: Castle
Fin, Fairview, Mount Pleasant, River View,
Centre, Chaneeford, Spunk Hill, Orson's
Run, Stone, Smith's, River Hill and Pleasant
Grove Academy.


Rev. Joshua Williams was born in Chester
County, son of Lewis Williams, an emigrant
from Wales. When he was two years old he
moved with his parents to Lower Chaneeford.
He was one of the first pupils of York County
Academy; entered Dickinson College and
graduated in 1795. in the same class with
Roger B. Taney, afterward Chief Justice of
the United States, His intellectual powers
were strong and vigorous, and he was very
proficient in the science of Mental Philosophy.
The title of Doctor of Divinity was conferred
upon him by Jefferson College. He was pas-
tor of the historic Paxton and Deny Churches
in Dauphin County, from 1799 to 1802. He
died August 21, 1S3S, while pastor of Big
Spring Church, Cumberland County.

Hon. James Stewart, of Mansfield, Ohio,
was born in Lower Chaneeford, on the farm
now owned by James W. Stewart; when yet
young he removed with his parents to Seneca,
Ontario Co., N. Y. After attaining man-

hood he was admitted to the bar, and soon
after moved to Mansfield, Ohio, where he at
once won distinction in his profession. He
was elected president judge of the county
court, and served two terms; he was after-
ward chosen judge of the circuit court of
Ohio, embracing several counties. He died
in 1856. One of his daughters married the
Hon. John Sherman, of Ohio, the distin-
guished secretary, of the treasury, and five
times elected United States senator from
Ohio, and brother of Gen. Sherman.

William Cowan, of Lower Chaneeford, on
January 24, 1885, was ninety-five years old.
His parents, Robert and Catharine (Davison)
Cowan, emigrated from Ireland to America
before the Revolution. A brother of Mr.
Cowan's father came to New York in 1778,
when in possession of the English. He paid
the guard a guinea, escaped into the Ameri-
can lines and came to York County to find
his brother in the patriot army. William
Cowan was born January 24, 1790, and now
is the last representative of Capt. Colvin's
company of soldiers that marched in 1814
from York County to the defense of Baltimore
when endangered by the invading English
army. He describes with vividness the
scenes which transpired about the time of
the death of the British commander. Gen.
Ross, and the retreat of his army. Capt
Colvin's company of 150 men belonged to
Chaneeford, Hopewell and Fawn. They
were nearly all tall men of fine stature. Hugh
Long who lived near the Brogue was first
lieutenant; J. McDonald, second lieutenant.
The company met and started on the march
from the farm now owned by David Wilson.
They were in the service but fifty-five days;
after the retreat of the British they were

Mr. Cowan was born during Washington's
first term. He remembers the election of
John Adams, the second president of the
United States, 'and went with some friends
to the common voting place at the lower end,
at Nicholson's Mill, near Muddy Creek
Forks, at the time of the election of Thomas
Jefferson, in 1801; voted the Federalist
ticket at the second election of James Mad-
ison. He was appointed postmaster in 1826;
elected a member of the legislature in 1834,
and served with Thaddeus Stevens when the
common school bill was passed, through the
influence of that distinguished "American
Commoner." He became an elder of Chance-
ford Church in 1835, and served in that
oifice just one-half a century. He and Rob-
ert Ramsay, of Peach Bottom Township, now
ninety-threfe old, are the last representatives



of the "old defenders" now living in York
County. His father died in 1799 and his
mother in 184'2.

Col. John Kelley, of militia fame, owned a
large tract of land surrounding what is now
Laurel Station on the York & Peach Bottom
Railway. He was noted as a great fox and
wolf hunter. The late Thomas Kelley, Esq.,
a lawyer of York, was his son. Mary, his
daughter, when a little girl, once went into
a den and brought to her father a half-dozen
little wolves, while the old wolf was hunting
food in the woods. Her father's famous dog
had gone into the den first; when he returned
they knew fi'om his actions that the old wolf
was not at home. Eev. William Bingham of
Oxford, Chester County, is a grandson of
Col. Kelley. Mary Kelley afterward be-
came the wife of Dr. McDonald, of Fawn.


HOPEWELL was formed by a division
of Shrewsbury. A petition was pre-
sented to the court at York, in April 1767,
which stated that "the inhabitants of
Shrewsbiu'y are under disadvantage on ac,
count of the great extent of the township-
the same being by a moderate computation
twenty-five miles long and sixteen miles in
breadth. We therefore request a division of
the township by a line commencing at Will-
iam Sinclair's mill; thence up the Codorua
to the Fork; thence leading the branch of the
Codorus past Charles Diehl's mill; thence
in a straight line to the head branch of Deer
Creek, continuing along it to the provincial
line." The petitioners asked that the new
township be called "Hopewell." William
Earhart, Peter Brillhart, John Orr, Michael
Geiselman, William Gemmill and William
Nelson, were appointed commissioners to
make the division. They reported to the
court on the 23d of June, 1767, making the
division as requested by the petitioners. The
report was confirmed during the July session
of that year, by Justice John Blackburn and
his four associate justices. This township
was erected the year before Mason and Dix-
on's line was run along its southern boun-
dary. The name, Hopewell, is given to a
number of other townships in the Middle
and Southern States.

This township as organized in 1767 by the
provincial court until 1885, had its original
limits and is the largest township in York

County. During the summer of 1885, a
majority vote of the electors- decided in fa-
vor of dividing Hopewell into three town-
ships. The court appointed B. F. KoDer,
M. H. McCall and Thomas G. Cross, com-
missioners to lay off the new townships.

The northwestern part of the township is
drained by the tributaries of the Codorus;
the northern and eastern part by the
Muddy Creek, and the southwestern part by
the head waters of Deer Creek. The sur-
face is undulating, though certain parts are
quite level. There is yet considerable wood-
land, and here and there scattered over the
cultivated land and along the i-oadside, gi-
ant oaks and chestnuts, which the intelligent
farmer delights to let stand. The soil in
general now is exceedingly fertile and pro-
ductive, and the land valuable, though a
century ago (as will be seen by the assessed
valuation of 1783 given below), was then
estimated at a low rate. Hopewell, for the
year just named, contained 136 dwelling
houses, 91 barns, 4 grist-mills, 15,223 acres
of cultivated land, 10 negro slaves, and a
population of 866. The original settlers
were generally Scotch-Irish Presbyterians.
A few Germans settled in the northern part
a few years later. The population in 1880,
including the boroughs was 4,275; real es-
tate valuation in 1883, was $1,130,976.


The following is a complete list of the
taxables of Hopewell for .the year 1783, to-
gether with the amount and valuation of

real estate:


.John Anderson, 74 acres £91

Robert Anderson, 106 acres 103

Widow Anderson, 150 acres 86

Samuel Adams 8

John Adams 10

Jacob Alt 6

Patrick Burn, 50 acres 33

John Brown, 60 acres 60

.John Blasser, 150 acres 125

Abraham Blasser, 100 acres, 3 mills 201

Christian Bliudmyer, 100 acres 127

John Beard, 30 acres 33

Barnet Blindmyer, 100 acres 98

William Bell 16

*William Brackenridge 14

Frederick Brose, 30 acres 33

Andrew Brown, 50 acres 41

William Collins, 150 acres 124

James Criswell, .50 acres 108

Casper dimmer, 106 acres 99

Nicholas Dipple, 50 acres

William Douglass 14

Samuel Dickson, 150 acres 139

Anthony Duncan. 201 acres 1!56

Jerry Belong, 150 acres. 155

Robert Dickson, 100 acres 113

■^Tather of Hugh Brackenridge. judge of the Supreme
Court of Pennsylvania, who was born in Hopewell.

'^^ <^




Mathew Drohrbach 20

William Edgar, 130 acres 121

Christian Ealy, 150 acres 155

William Edie, 200 acres 184

Alexander Allison, 100 acres 75

John Forkner. 17 acres 35

Samuel Fulton 17

Andrew Fulton, 100 acres 183

David Fulton, 100 acres 150

William Farress, 100 acres 88

Andrew Pindley, 100 acres 174

Jacob Feaster, 62 acres 57

John Forsythe, 50 acres 68

Widow Godf rys, 35 acres 29

John Garting, 300 acres, 3 slaves 376

James Gibson, 150 acres 95

Widow Gibson, 350 acres 137

Willam Gemmill, 150 acres, 1 slave 350

William Good, 60 acres 53

Johnston Griffith, 136 acres 115

David Griffith, 100 acres 101

John Griffy, Jr., 100 acres 131

David Gamble, 300 acres 313

John Graton, 300 acres, 1 slave 305

Jacob Houshalter, 60 acres 103

Henry Houshalter, 50 acres 81

Robert Henry 14

James Hutchison, 80 acres 63

James Harper, 150 acres 134

John Herring, 100 acres 70

StofEel Harkle, 100 acres 163

Michael Hively, 100 acres 70

Samuel Harper, 100 acres 134

Lawrence Heindel, 100 acres 119

Boston Hickman, 100 acres 60

Jacob Hiestand, 150 acres 132

Nicholas Heney, 144 acres 91

Rudy Yount, 150 acres 257

William Jameson, 160 acres 51

Thomas Jamison, 50 acres 46

Jacob Junt, 100 acres Ill

Christian Krug, 50 acres 37

Barnet Kousley, 150 acres 80

James Kerr, 113 acres 137

Joseph Kooper, 80 acres 118

Widow Killwell, 100 acres 64

David Kennedy, 150 acres 144

Henry Kirsmoyler, 45 acres 20

Christian Leib, 100 acres 153

Jacob Landmesser, 50 acres 39

Wm. Liggett, Sr., 300 acres 154

Wm. Liggett, Jr., 200 acres 138

Herman Miller, 25 acres, 1 slave 132

Anthony. Miller, -50 acres 61

John Miller, 50 acres 46

John Marshall, 100 acres 91

Richard McDonald, Sr., 350 acres 268

Richard McDonald, Jr., 160 acres 84

George McMullen, 100 acres 209

William McEUing 14

Conrad Miller, 50 acres 41

William McClark, 50 acres 80

James McDonald, 156 acres 188

Daniel Miller, 50 acres 53

Benjamin Manifold, 119 acres 103

Thomas MoCarrol 12

Joseph Manifold, 322 acres 306

John Manifold, 136 acres 114

James Maffet, 105 acres 89

William Morrow, 80 acres ■ 77

Thomas McKell, 160 acres 127

Alex Moore, 150 acres 118

William McClurg, 100 acres 153

Michael Morrison, 150 acres 128

Conrad Miller, 60 acres 41

John Montgomery, 50 acres 88

William McClevey. 50 acres 67


Hugh McClurg, 66 acres 51

Samuel Martin, 150 acres 153

Samuel Mosser, 60 acres 54

Henry Miller, 50 acres 38

David Manson 41

James McFarland, 200 acres 120

John McCleary, 300 acres 126

Moody Moine, 100 acres 50

Widow Mclsaac, 50 acres 61

James McAllister, 50 acres 57

Martin Obermiller, 180 acres 125

William Orr, 200 acres 100

John Pearson, 170 acres 136

Andrew Proudf oot, 300 acres 171

Widow Pain, 60 acres 47

Patrick Purdy, 100 acres 89

David Proudfoot, 55 acres 68

Robert Proudfoot, 160 acres 104

John Quartermau, 30 acres 30

Robert Richey, 50 acres 35

Alexander Ramsey, 135 acres 140

John Richey, Jr., 71 acres 60

John Richey, Sr., 60 acres 73

Adam Reed 29

John Raney, 170 acres 141

Samuel Rosebrough 76

Jacob Saddler, 300 acres 195

James St. Clair, 100 acres 85

William St. Clair, 110 acres 57

Nicholas Streher, 50 acres 42

Jacob Sherer, 100 acres 154

Frederic Saddler, 30 acres 52

Samuel Smith, 150 acres 121

Jacob Shafer, 150 acres 106

John Shafer 12

Abraham Sinnerd 40

James Steel 16

James Smith, Sr., 210 acres, 1 slave 309

James Smith, Jr. 16

Francis Siechrists, 200 acres 144

John Shiunard, 80 acres

John Sharer, 50 acres

Joseph Smith, 200 acres 217

John Smith, 50 acres 53

William Smith, 300 acres, 3 slaves 343

Robert Slemmons, 25 acres 24

Jonathan Smith 16

Peter Strayer, 100 acres 77

Philip Taylor, 156 acres 96

Peter Drexler, 60 acres 64

Alexander Thompson, 150 acres 115

David Waltemeyer, 50 acres 54

Charles Waltemeyer, 100 acres 58

James Wilson, 100 acres 39

David Wiley, 150 acres, 1 slave 263

Henry Wiest, 200 acres 169

James Wilson, 149 acres 109

William Wilson, 150 acres 106

John Wilson, 100 acres 90

Francis Weinmiller, 150 acres 101

Andrew Warrick, 80 acres 106

Thomas Kelly, 100 acres 61

Michael Zeigler, 100 acres 61

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 152 of 218)