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

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1881. The surve}' was made by John S. Mc-
Elwain. The first burgess was Dr. John
Hawkins, who served one year. T. H. Wright
was elected in 1883, and re-elected in the next
year with Jason Bradley, Asa Jones, H. S.
Merryman. William A. Webb and William
E. Brooks as councilmen. There is no hotel
in the village, as the strong temperance views
of the inhabitants discourage the sale of in-
toxicating liquors. The first store was kept
by one Hugo in the building now owned by
Misses Sarah and Martha Jay, who also kept
a store in same building for many years. A
part of the time Benjamin Gemmill was a
partner in the business. The firm was suc-
ceeded by Merryman & Wright. Dr. Mc-
Donald, a physician of considerable local
reputation, died here at an advanced age.
His wife, Deborah, was a highly esteemed
preacher of the Quaker faith.

The firm of Merryman & Hawkins now con-
duct a store of general merchandise; William
R. Webb, undertaker and cabinet-maker;
Dr. John A. Hawkins is the physican of the
village; Thomas H. Herbert, justice of the
peace ; H. S. Merryman, postmaster.

Whiteside. Chapel, -wsks built in 1865, and is
the central point of the Fawn Grove Circuit,
consisting of Mount Nebo, Mount Olivet, Del-
ta, Norrisville and W^hiteside Chapel. This
circuit belongs to the Maryland Conference of
the Methodist Protestant Church, William A.
Ramsey and William A. Channell, and Kev.
James Whiteside were the building committee
of this chapel. At the time of its erection
it belonged to Stewartstown Circuit; Rev.
James Whiteside who then presided over that
circuit died before this chapel was completed
and was succeeded by Rev. Robert Winna,
who dedicated it, assisted by Rev. C. Cox.
The succeeding pastors were Revs. E. R.
McGregor, A. S. Eversole, James W. Floyd,
William D. Litsinger and J. W. Charlton.
The present pastor is Rev. A. D. Dick, who
took charge of the circuit in 1884 The
Sunday-school of this congregation numbers
103 pupils, under the superintendence of
Oscar Herbert; church membership, about

The present house of worship of Mount
Nebo Methodist Protestant congregation,
situated two miles from Fawn Grove, was
built in 1885. It is a neat frame edidoe
33x40 feet with tower and spire, and is a great
credit to the congregation.

The Friends' Meeting House. — The history
of the Society of Friends and their meetings
in this county is found elsewhere in this

I work. The present meeting house in Fawn
Grove Borough is the third one that has been
used and is a new, neat and cosy building
and one of the most comfortable houses of
worship in the county. This meeting belongs
to the Baltimore yearly meeting; services are
held twice a week. Elizabeth Webb, a

i member of the meeting is eighty-five years old;
Hannah Jones is eighty-three. John Webb,
William J. Vansant and Nathan P. Harry,
are the trustees; James K. Brown, Hannah
Jones, Mary T. Brown and Rachael Ann Pyle,
elders; Mary E. Brooks, female overseer.
Fawn Grove Academy was chartered

i August 28, 1872. The first officers of the

' board of trustees were John B. Gemmill,
president; William R. Jones, secretary; John
A. ,C. Gailey, treasurer. The teachers in
order of succession have been S. W. Baird,

I Thomas C Galbreath, Herman Smith, J. E.

1 Green, A. N. Kirkwood, J. R. Strawbridge,
A. C. Hawkins, G. W. Devilbiss, who became
principal in 1884. The board of trustees for
1885; H. S. Merryman, president; R. W.
Anderson, secretary; J. A. C. Gailey, treas-
urer; Dr. J. A. Hawkins and A. W. Mitchell.


This village was named after Joseph
Gatchell, who purchased the land on which
the town is built, when it contained a pine
forest. He started a store which he kept for
several years. Matthew H. McCall and M.
Hyson now conduct the mercantile business.
The town is pleasantly situated and is grow-
ing. About one mile distant is the site of
"Battalion Grounds'" of militia days, on
the farm of the late Dr. Hugh McDonald.
The old Blue Ball Hotel not far from this
village, for a long time kept by J. BuUett,
was for fifty years the voting place of this
township. Tbis historic site is now owned
by Felix C. Herbert, a veteran Democrat who
yet does faithful service for his party at the
advanced age of eighty-three years. He was
county commissioner when the York Jail was
built in 1855. Felix by accident voted twice
in one day for his chosen candidate for presi-
dent of the "United States, before he was
twenty-one years old. It was not uncommon
in those days to vote "on size" as well as "on
age," and he was large of stature.

Prospect Methodist Episcopal Church is
located in the west end of Gatchellville. An
old church stood near by for nearly half a
century. In 1868 the building now stand-


ing was erected at a cost of about $2,800. It
has recently been remodeled and attractively
painted. There is a burying ground adjoin-
ing it. This church is supplied by the min-
ister of Airville Circuit, a description of
which will be found in the history of Lower


This is a hamlet in Fawn, near the
Maryland line. There was a Presbyterian
Church built here in the year 18-47, and Kev.
Mr. Parke who had many years served the
congregations at Centre Church and at Slate
Ridge determined to organize a new con-
gregation. The attempt was only partially
successful. The frame building was moved
a short distance from its original position,
and, in 1882, began to be used by John
Morgan Jenkins as a store.

The postoffice was established December 2,
1878, and John B. Gemmill appointed post-

Jimmie McCandless, farmer, teacher, poet,
justice, tavern keeper and fiddler, lived near
New Parke, and was a person whom every one
knew three- fourths of a century ago. He
taught " Centre Church School " for many
years. He was a member of Centre con-
gregation and owned a pew in a prominent
place in the church. His neighbor Brooks,
who owned a pew behind his, became his
enemy. McCandless built the back of his
pew so high that his neighbor could not see
the minister while preaching. Neighbor
Brooks finally appealed in the sessions who
ordered the pew lowered. McCandless was
a jovial sort of an individual. He failed in
business, removed to the West and wrote a
letter in rhyme to the sheriff who seized his

Col. Colvin, of Lower Chanceford, and
John A. Wilson, late of York, many years
ago, were at one time prominent teachers
of Fawn.

Bald Eagle Postoffice ia in the north-
eastern part of the township and Constitution
Postoffice, established during the civil war,
in the southeastern.


Fawn has eight public schools with the
following names: New Parke, Cedar Valley,
Bald Eagle, Mount Airy, Pine Grove, Wal-
nut Grove, Fairmount, Pleasant Grove. The
members of the board of directors for the
past year were J. W. Gillipsie, R. C. Liggett,
John B. Thompson, John W. Mitchell, Joseph
Wood and John Sansberry.


'"r^HIS township was formed by a division
.-1- of Fawn. The report of the viewers
appointed by the court to make the division,
was confirmed April 5, 1815. The petition-
ers requested that the eastern part be called
Peach Bottom. The survey was made by
Col. James Steele, and according to his
draft the township contains 18,313 acres.
On the margin of the draft, representing the
line along the Susquehanna River, a house,
farm buildings, and an orchard, are drawn
and marked "John Kirk's buildings and
Peach Orchard."

Fawn Township forms the western boun-
dary, extending from what was then a stone
bridge at John Donnell's mill, to Maryland.
The land owners at the time of the division,
along Mason & Dixon's line, from the river
westward in order, were Cooper Boyd,
Stephen Cooper, John Neeper, Hugh Glas-
gow, James Steele, John Livingstone, H.
Quigley, Boyd Jones, and Col. Matthew

The northern and western part of the
township is drained by Niell's Run, Fishing
Creek, Scott's Run and other smaller streams
as tributaries to Muddy Creek which forms
the entire northern boundary, separating
Peach Bottom from Lower Chanceford and
flowing into the Susquehanna. Robison's
Run,McConkey's Run and Rock Run drain the
eastern part and flow into the river, which
forms the eastern boundary. Slate Ridge,
famous for its quai-ries of valuable slate,
diagonally crosses the township, extending
into Maryland. The York & Peach Bottom
Railroad intersects it, and the Susquehanna
Canal extends along its entire eastern border.
The Baltimore & Delta Railroad terminates
at Delta.

The real estate valuation of this township
in 1884 was $667,905; number of taxable in-
habitants, 650; population in 1880 was
2,130, exclusive of Delta Borough.

The early settlers of Peach Bottom, like
other parts of the lower end of York County,
first cleared small tracts of land, then planted
potatoes and corn, and sowed rye and a little
wheat. For the first few years fair crops
were raised, eventually the land became
poor, and the owners let it grow up with
wild vegetation, while ,they turned their
attention to the cultivation of newly cleared
tracts. Much of the land became known
as " barrefis. " The raising of wheat was
not a success. The introduction of plas-


ter as a fertilizer caused a slight revival in
the business of farming. About 1832 lime
began to be used. It was brought down the
Susquehanna in arks, flat-boats and the fa-
miliar keel-boats. About the time the Sus-
quehanna Canal opened, in 1840, the business
of farming received a healthy stimulus in
this township. Lime became cheaper. The
native stone was brought down from the
vicinity of Wrightsville, and lime was burned
by the farmers and merchants in the town-
ship. Some was brought from Maryland.
As a fertilizer, lime seemed to work like a
charm for a time, but eventuallj', at least after
the second or third liming on the same land,
it seemed of less value. Next came the South
American guano, which was considered well
suited as a fertilizer to the slate soil. Phos-
phates have been extensively used for a
number of years, and are instrumental in
producing abundant crops.


The Rev. Joseph Smith, now the highly
esteemed pastor of Slate Ridge congregation,
in October, 1868, published in pamphlet
form, an extended sketch of this historic
church, from which most of the following
facts were obtained: The original and suc-
ceeding members of this church have dwelt,
and its present members now dwell in part
of York County, Penn., and in part of what
is now called Harford County, Md.

The first settlers here were Scotch and
Scotch-Irish. It is stated that the influx
from 1718 to 1740, was wholly Protestant,
and largely Presbyterian. -The newspapers
of that time furnish accounts of the extent
of the immigration of this class, especially
from Ireland. In September, 1736, 1,000
families sailed from Belfast, in Ireland, on
account of the difficulty of renewing their
leases; on the 9th of the same month, 100
Presbyterians from Ireland arrived at Phila-
delphia, as many more soon afterward at
Newcastle, and twenty ships were daily ex-
pected fi-om Ireland. Wodrow, the Scottish
historian, says "the departure of the people
in shoals, excited the fears of the English
government, lest Ireland should be wholly
abandoned to the papists."

The Scotch and the Scotch-Irish, when
they emigrated, brought their church and
school with them. One of the first arrange-
ments, therefore, made by the primitive Pres-
byterian settlers west of the Susquehanna,
was to have the Gospel preached in their
midst. At the time, or shortly after the set-
tlement of this place, an event occun-ed
which, no doubt, increased their desire for

Gospel ordinances. It is stated, "There was
so great a revival in Baltimore County in
1746 and 1747, that it seemed like the first
planting of religion there. It was in what
is now Harford County, and extended from
Deer Creek to Slate Ridge and Chanceford."
This was an auspicious beginning for Slate
Ridge Church. The first house consecrated to
the worship of God in this part of the country,
was a log building near Muddy Creek. Tra-
dition indicates the site of it at the junction
of Scott's Run and Muddy Creek, east of the
former and south of the latter. We think
the reason why this place was chosen for the
site of their sanctuary was, that it was cen-
tral to the people of Chanceford and Peach
Bottom. When a house of worship was
built and a church organized in Chanceford,
a more central and convenient place was
chosen. Although difficult in getting to and
from it at present, yet the scenery around the
site of the old sanctuary is pleasing to the
eye. Two streams, running in opposite di-
rections, the meeting of the waters, the
wooded range rising gradually behind where
the ancient sanctuary stood, all unite in
forming one of nature's very pleasing pict-
ures. It reminds one of some of the places
in Scotland where the persecuted Covenant-
ers were wont to assemble and worship
Jehovah. The log building at Muddy Creek
was burned. A second, and temporary build-
ing, was then erected about three miles fur-
ther south, in the State of Maryland, on land
then owned by Michael Whiteford. A vague
tradition indicates that this "temporary build-
ing" was erected near where John Beattie now
lives. This building was soon deserted, and
a third house of worship v?as erected, either on
or near to the place where the present church
stands. In 1762 a fourth house of worship
was built. It is described as "a new, better
and fourth church, built of squared logs, on
the same site." About the year 1800 this
house was burned, being set on fire, it is said,,
by an incendiary. Soon after this the pres-
ent and fifth house of worship was built.
One statement of the organization of this
church says: "A congregation was formed,
and church erected prior to 1750." Another
account is, that it was organized, not before
1750, and probably in 1751. The man to
whom, as is generally believed, belongs the
honor of constituting this church, was the
Rev. Eleazer Whittlesey, who was born prob-
ably in Bethlem, Conn. He spent some time
at Nottingham, in Cecil Co., Md. , where a
Mr. Fin ley taught an academy. He graduated
in 1749, at Nassau Hall, then located at New-
ark, and was licensed to preach by the Newcas-


tie Presbytery soon after. Writing to Bel-
lamy, May 8, 1750, from Mr. Finley's he says,
he had beau directed to ride abroad in March
and April, and supply vacanies. Finley writes,
December 3, 1752, that "Whittlesey, whom I
tenderly loved for his zeal and integrity, left
my house on a Thursday morning, cheerful,
and in pretty good health, and preached the
next Sabbath at Muddy Run, not designing
to continue there longer. On Monday he
was taken sick with pleurisy. He continued
in pain until Saturday, and then gave up the
ghost. The last words he was heard to utter
were: 'O Lord, leave me not.' The Susque-
hanna was frozen and no messenger could
come to me till all was over. He died De-
cember 21. To Bellamy he bequeathed his
watch, and requested Rodgers to take his
horse at what price he pleased." A tradition
worthy of belief, asserts that the body of
Whittlesey was buried in a graveyard near
where James Johnson, of Peach Bottom Town-
ship, now lives. The successor of Whittle-
sey was Evander Morrison, of Scotland, who
joined the New Castle Presbytery in 1753.
During his ministry the second house was
built. He was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Black,
but how long these clergymen each served is
not known. There was no pastor in 1759.
Rev. John Strain, who was probably born in
1728, and was graduated at Princeton Col-
lege in 1757, licensed to preach in 1759, was or-
dered by the Presbytery to supply Slate Ridge
and Chanceford in July the same year, and
ordained December 17, 1760, was next pastor.
At the meeting of the Presbytery, October
14, 1760, a number of members of Slate
Ridge congregation asked "that their meet-
ing-house be continued where it is." At the
ensuing meeting a committee was appointed
by the presbytery to go to the spot and de
cide the matter, consisting of Messrs. Blair,
Bay, James Finley and S. Finley, moderator.
They reported "they had met the Slate Ridge
congregation and determined the place of
building their new meeting-house. A good
spring may be had by going a little way
from that place." This was doubtless the
spring now owned by the congregation. Mr.
Strain was installed pastor of the Slate
Ridge and Chanceford by Messrs. Sterling,
Bay and Finley, November 17, 1762. Not
long after his installation, he and his con-
gregations were annexed to the Donegal Pres-
bytery, the sessions of which he and his
elder James Smith met, June 29, 1763.
Some of the ruling elders of Slate Ridge
and Chanceford, at this time, were Hugh
Whiteford, Rowland Hughes, Joseph Wat-
son, John Steel, James Leeper, James Gor-

don, James Clarke, James Smith, Patrick
Scott, J. Cowan and Thomas Scott. The
oldest grave now marked in the present Slate
Ridge burying ground is that of a child of
Alexander McCandless, in 1764.

Mr. Strain purchased a farm adjoining
lands of John Edmundson and James Whito
in 1765, within the joresent limits of Peach
Bottom Township. He was not a man of
great physical endurance. Hezekiah James
Balch, a graduate of Princeton, pursued
the study of theology with him about this
time, for one year. In 1768 Revs. Strain
and DuflSeld, received a call to become joint
pastors of the Second Presbyterian Church
of Philadelphia, at a salary of £200 each.
The next session of Donegal Presbytery as-
sembled at Slate Ridge, when a joint address
from the congregations of Chanceford and
Slate Ridge, remonstrated against the remo-
val of their pastor. He yielded to their
wishes, and remained as their minister until
his death, in 1774. He is traditionally re-
membered as "one of the most eloquent
ministers of the Presbyterian Church of his
time, and very earnest and zealous in his
work." There are a number of eulogies of
his character, delivered at the time of his
death, still in existence, and the Pennsylva-
nia Gazette, then the leading paper in
Philadelphia, published were extended obit-
uary of him. His remains were interred in
the graveyard adjoining the Slate Ridge
Church. On the tombstone neatly carved is
the following inscription: "In memory of
Rev. Dr. John Strain, who departed this life
Ajjril 12, 1774, aged forty-three years."
During a part of the period of the Revolu-
tionary war, this and the Chanceford con-
gregation was without a regular pastor;
Rev. William Smith was for two years of this
time a supply; other supplies were Messrs.
Sample, Luckey, Finley, Tate and Joseph

Rev. John Slemons, a graduate of Prince-
ton College in class of 1760, became supply
to Slate Ridge and Chanceford congregation
in 1781, and was installed in 1783. He had
been pastor of Lower Marsh Creek congrega-
tions (now Gettysburg) from 1765 to 1774.
He purchased a farm in Peach Bottom, con
taining 238 acres for £500, and continued to
serve these congregations until September,
1791, when he resigned, and there was no
regular pastor until 1795, when Rev. Samuel
Martin, D. D., was chosen. He was born in
Chestnut Level, Lancaster County, January 9.
1767, of parents who belonged to the Asso-
ciate Church. He was graduated at the Uni-
versity of Pennsylvania in 1790, and licensed


to iireach three years later by the Baltimore
Presbytery. He, at first, was pastor of this
church only, but April 1, 1800, the congrega-
tion of Chanceford asked for one-half of his
time for a consideration of £100. He con-
tinued pastor until 1812. During this period
"the new and better and fourth church built of
squared logs" was burned. He lived on the
farm, where his successor in the ministry,
Rev. Mr. Parke afterward resided. For a
time he kept a classical school near the

August 10, 1814, Ml-. Parke was ordained
and installed pastor of this church: "For
forty- three years he continued to preach the
word, administer the sacraments, visit, cate-
chise, comfort the mourning and bui-y the

The present pastor began his labors here
September, 1860. The congregation numbers
200 members and the Sunday-school, 120
members. The congregation having been in
existence since 1750, is now (1885') 135 years


This church is located near what is known
as the "old slate quarry," about one mile
from the Maryland line, and one mile from
the borough of Delta. It was organized in
the year 181:9, by a few members, who with-
drew from the Slate Ridge Church. James
Galbreath. and Robert Dinsmore were the
first ruling elders. Immediately upon its
organization, seventeen more members were
received, and three additional ruling elders,
viz. : David Mitchell, Joseph D. Wiley and
Archibald Cooper. Thus this chui-ch began
its history with fifty-two members and five
ruling elders.

The corner stone of the church was laid
September 7, 1849, the date of its organiza-
tion. The building was used for worship in
January, 1850, and dedicated June 8, of the
same year. The pulpit was for some time
supplied by the presbytery of Donegal.
Among the supplies furnished by the pres-
bytery was one of its licentiates. Rev. T. M.
Crawford, who labored at intervals in this
field until the 17th of February, 1851, when
the congregation, being so much pleased
with his services, unanimously elected him
as pastor of this church. Mr. Crawford
faithfully served this congregation for twen-
ty-one years. Under his ministrations it
rapidly grew and prospered. In the year
1872, owing to failing health, Mr. Crawford
was compelled to relinquish the charge very
much to the regret of the congregation, j
Happily he preferred to reside within the

bounds of this congregation, and he may be
seen every Sabbath day, when not called
away, sitting in the pulpit and engaging in
the service of Christian worship. Rev. D.
M. Davenport, was called as pastor of this
congregation on the second Monday of May,
1873. In 1868 the congregation finding
their first church too small built a new one
at a cost of nearly |7,000. This building
was renovated and improved in 1884.

The present membership is about 200, with
seven ruling elders as follows: James S-
Powell, George A. Davis, Hugh M. Stokes,
William James Barnett, J. W. Hickman, M.
D., William R. Galbreath and Samuel P.
Caskey. The congregation owns a parson-
age and five acres of land, which is beauti-
fully located about two miles from the


The region about this ferry, on both sides
of the stream, up and down its banks and on
the alluvial islands in it, was a favorite re-
sort for the Susquehannock Indians, noted
fortheir size, prowess and endurance, accord-
ing to the description of them by John
Smith of Pocahontas fame, in the James-
town colony, who ascended the Susquehanna
to within a few miles of Peach Bottom in
1608, while exploring the Atlantic coast.
Indian relics, such as mortars, pestles, bat-
tle-axes, darts, spear-points, etc., have often
been found in this locality. Indian hiero-
glyphics are carved on the rocks and clifls
bordering the stream at different points.

In the river opposite Safe Harbor, a dis-
tance up the stream from Peach Bottom, are
the interesting Seulptui-ed Rocks. The In-
dian inscriptions on these rocks have been
viewed by a number of archajologists and
reproductions of them were made. They
have been greatly injured by time and
weather, and ice floes, so that the aboriginal
tracings are scarcely recognizable now. On
Mount Johnson Island the relic-hunters find
evident traces of the Indians. Susquehanna
itself is an Indian name and one of its many
meanings given is "River of Islands," pure-
ly conjectural though. About one-half mile
below the Maryland line are rocks called the
"Bald Friars" which contain many curious
inscriptions made by our aborigines. These
have become famous, especially those on
Mile's Island and Barrow's Island, where
every large boulder contains some f gui'es,
which are, however, considerably aefaced

In the year 1725, Thomas Johnson (the



father-in-law of Col. Thomas Cresap, who
owned a ferry near the mouth of the river
and was afterward noted in the history of
York County as the leader of the Maryland

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 155 of 218)