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

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intruders) obtained a Maryland title for the
large island at Peach Bottom called "Mount
Johnson' there being a mountain at the head
of it. On the western shore of this island
there is now a valuable shad fishery. Set-
tlers under Maryland titles used this ferry as
a crossing place as early as 1725. About
this time Johnson named it Peach Bottom on
account of the abundance of the American
redwood or "Judas tree" which in spring
time and early summer made the hillsides
along the stream look as if they were cov-
ered with large peach orchards.

June 20, 1752, Nathaniel Morgan, John
Griffith, Alexander Wallace, Hugh White-
ford and Archibald White reported to the
court at York that they had "laid out a road
as directed, from Peach Bottom Ferry, so
called, to the road leading to the town of
York."

Robert Fulton, the inventor of the steam-
boat, was born opposite Peach Bottom in
E^ulton Township, Lancaster County.

Much of the land of this region was taken
by John Cooper, an Episcopalian, who came
from Kendall, England, about 1720. As
early as 1725 he came to Peach Bottom.
Some of his descendants reside here, and his
remains are interred on the farm of Levi
Cooper. John Cooper was married to Agnes
Gill, whose father lived on the site of Balti-
more before the city was built. They had
five sons and two daughters. The names of
the sons were John, Stephen, Alexander,
Nicholas and Thomas. The last-named, the
grandfather of Levi Cooper, in 1774 built the
house now owned by his grandson. Thomas
Cooper married Mary Abercrombie, by whom
he had four children. He died in 1799.
Stephen Thomas Cooper, his son, was married
to Kezia Bell, of Washington County, Penn.
He was a member of the Pennsylvania leg-
islature in 1S26, 1827 and 1828, 'and died in
1855. Levi Cooper, who owns the home-
stead property, is his son.

John Kii-k, an English Quaker, established
a mercantile business, and conducted a grist-
mill at Peach Bottom for many years. He
began in 1798, and afterward Maj. McConkey
became associated with him, and eventually
succeeded him. (See biographical part of
this work, page 165.)

A postofEce was established here in 1815.
The first postmaster was John Kirk, who con-
tinued in the position until 1826. Since then
there have been thirteen appointments, as fol-



lows: September 1, 1826, James McConkey;
December 5, 1835, Andrew McConkey ;
December 11, 1839, James McConkey; Jan-
uary 8, 1855, Jerry Kirk; March 29, 1865,
Isaac Parker; June 22, 1868, A. F. Wiley;
June 15, 1869, Elmira Geiger; February 16,
1870, M. C. Geiger; November 18, 1870, Elias
Fry; October 11, 1871, C. G. McGlauo-hlin;
April 9, 1875, S. D. Fry; March 9, 1876,
John Q. A. McConkey.

Joseph Webb, an English surveyor, who
once was an employe in the government land
office, and who in 1810 started Palmyra
Forge at Castle Fin, made a plan for a town
at Peach Bottom Ferry in 1815, which he
named "Sowego." It proved only to be a
paper city of 150 lots, a number of which
were disposed of by lottery. The old Mc-
Conkey majision was the only house built on
the site of the proposed town. Joseph Webl)
died in 1810, and willed sixty-nine acres of
his land to the Pennsylvania Colonization
Society.

Slate Point is an interesting geological cu-
riosity, located a short distance below Peach
Bottom Ferry. It is the eastern terminus in
York County of the valuable vein of slate.
This point is a perpendicular bluff 320 feet
from the Susquehanna, and is much visited
by lovers of romantic scenery. From its sum-
mit there is a fine view up and down the riv-
er, the waters of which seem to pass almost
underneath the observer. To the west of it
a hill rises 150 feet higher. Near by a quar-
ter of a century ago was opened a valuable
slate quarry.

Indian Hill, near by, is a romantic spot.

Shad fishing was an important business.
The fishing places are known as Independent
Battery, Boyd's Battery, Hawkin's Battery,
etc. As many as 3,000 shad were caught in
a seine fifty yards long at Slate Tavern, near
Cully's Rapids in the Susquehanna.

Gen. LaFayette, on his way to Yorktown,
Va., in 1781, with his army, crossed the Sus-
! quehanna at Bald Friar Ferry, a few miles
below Peach Bottom.



THE BOROUGH OP DELTA. '

I The land upon which the Borough of Delta
is built was deeded by the proprietaries to
Alexander McCandless in 1744. The town,
however, is of recent origin. William Orr
built the first house within the borough limits.

[ There was a collection ~of a dozen or more

i houses before any specific name was given.
The citizens met, once upon a time, to decide
upon a name. The word Delta was suggested

i and accepted. The fourth letter of the Greek



HISTORY OF YORK COUNTY.



alphabet is Delta, but the word in English is
nsed to designate a triangular piece of land,
drained by the different mouths of a river,
and having the shape of the letter named.

The original postoffice was named "Mine
Hill," established September 20, 1866, and
situated in Harford County, Md. It was re-
moved to the young village June 15, 1869,
and changed to Delta. The court granted a
decree incorporating the town into a borough
June 24, 1880. The first municipal elec-
tion was held August 30, 1880. V.G. Stubbs
was chosen burgess, H. R. Loyd,H. C. Robert,
E. J. Blain, T. A. Battie, Howell Williams
and Robert Ramsay, councilmen. The pop-
ulation at present is 500. The town is
rapidly increasing in size. The borough is
well represented by the following business
interests: E. Ai-nold & Co., V. G. Stubbs &
Son and Loyd & Blain in general merchan-
dise; William F. McLaughlin, hardware; A.
M. Clarke, jewelry; L. B. Rankin, drugs;
Mary A. Colmary, millinery and fancy goods;
Bullet & Poist, carriage makers; Dr. J. W.
Hickman, druggist and physician. The other
practicing physicians are W. H. Kilgore and
W. McCurdy. J. T. Crawford is justice of
the peace and surveyor. V. G. Stubbs &
Son have recently started a creamery.

Corporal Baer Post No, 277, G. A. R. , of
Delta, was organized under a charter granted
August 22, 1882, with twenty four members
and the following oiScers: Commander, A.
M. Clarke; S. V. C, R. L. Jones; J. V. C, S.
M. McLoughlin; quartermaster, J. P.Baker;
Chaplain, Richard Ruff; Officer of the Day,
W.G.Macomber; Officer of the Guard, James
Poff; Adjutant, H. J. Baer. These officers
served to January, 1883, and were then re-
elected for one year. W. G. Macomber was
Commander during the year 1884. The offi-
cers for the yeajr 1885 were as follows: Com-
mander, H. J. Baer; S. V. C, Thomas Fisher;
J. V. C, James Poff; Quartermaster, A. M.
Clarke; Chaplain, Amos Stevens; Officer of
the Guard, William D. Williams; Adjutant,
W. G. Macomber.

Of the members of this post the following
belonged to Maryland regiments: Thomas
Fisher, Company C, Seventh Regiment Infan-
try; Amos Stevens, Company H, same regi-
ment; James Poff, Company I, Indiana Regi-
ment; W. G. Macomber, Company C, Thir-
teenth Regiment; Henry Fisher, Battery B,
First Indiana Artillery; Samuel Fisher, same
regiment.

The Delta Building & Loan Association
was orgauized in April, 1884. Its stock
consists of 320 shares, par value 1100, held
by 105 stockholders. Its present directors



are: A. M. Clarke, president; E. Arnold,
vice-president; J. T. Crawford, secretary;
Robert L. Jones, treasurer; V. G. Stubbs,
Dr. W. McCurdy, Richard Rees, W. S.
Whiteford and A. H. Scarborough.



Delta Methodist Protestant Church. —
About the time of the incorporation of Delta
(1880) a few of the members of Mount Nebo
Methodist Protestant Church arranged for
religious services here, and secured preach-
ing at irregular intervals by Rev. Mr. Litz-
inger, pastor of that congregation. Having
purchased a lot from R. S. Parke they, in
1883, uuder the pastoral care of Rev. J. W.
Charlton, commenced the erection of a house
of worship, which, when fully completed,
will cost about $3,000. The building com-
mittee were: Rev. J. W. Charlton, John
Macomber, J. W. Stanley and James Ritch-
ies. The trustees are: John Macomber,
J. W. Stanly, Daniel Culp, Thomas Holden,
Robert M. Moore and E. C. Garrettson. The
present pastor is Rev. A. D. Dick, and the
membership is 110. The Sunday-school is
under the charge of John Macomber, as super-
intendent, and seven teachers. The number
of pupils in 1884 was 107.

Peacli Bottom Baptist Church.— This con-
gregation was organized in 1872 in a school
house about four miles northeast of Delta
under the leadership of Rev. John W. Jones.
The congregation then elected James W.
McCurdy, deacon; L. J. Dodson, church clerk,
and Henry J. McCurdy, treasurer. The same
church officers are still serving. Upon the
death of Rev. Jones, in 1873, Rev. A. W.
Eastman became his successor, and served
until 1879, when the present pastor, Rev.
Alfred Wells, was called. He is also pastor
of the Drumore Baptist Church in Lancaster
County. There are thirty-tive members in the
Delta congregation. In 1883 the convenient
and comfortable frame church was built in the
borough of Delta at a cost of $1,800. The
building committee were: Rev. Wells, W. J.
McCurdy, L. J. Dodson, H. J. McCurdy and
H. A. Johnson. After the completion of
this new building, the Baptist congregation
at Phcenixville, Peun., presented the Delta
congregation with a pipe-organ, valued at
$800. Miss Allie McCurdy is organist.

BRYANSVILLE.

This hamlet was named after Dr. J. Y.
Bryan. It was first a schoolhouse site, and
being located on a slight eminence was
originally called "Mount Pleasant." Evans



PEACH BOTTOM TOWNSHIP.



Gregg opened the first store. J. W. Van-
sant, who was engaged in the mercantile
business here, secured the establishment of a
postoflice in 1850. For many years Dr.
Bryan himself was postmaster, and interested
in the mail routes through the lower end of
the county. His daughter, Mrs. Belle Gal-
laghei', is postmistress here at present.

Dr. James Yeaman Bryan was born in
Bucks County, Penn., in 1805. His ances-
tors are of French Huguenot stock, and emi-
grated from France to England, during the
religious persecutions in the former country.
The original family name was LeBrene,
which in England was contracted to Bryan.
Dr. Bryan became a medical student in the
ofiice of Dr. George McClellan, of Philadel-
phia, father of the late Gen. George B.
McClellan. In 1832 he moved to the present
site of Bryansville, which was named after
him. He had a large practice for many years
and died October (3, 1874.

Byransville Seminary was kept by him for
a time. Among the instructors were J. A.
Lippincott, now of Dickinson College; Revs.
T. R. Vickroy and J. B. Ackers.

The church of the Evangelical Association
at Bryansville, was completed iu 1882, and
dedicated the same year; Rev. P. W. Raida-
baugh officiated at these services. Rev. G.
H. Schleh was then pastor. The church is
a neat frame structure delightfully situated.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

Peach Bottom was one of the first town-
ships to accept the public school system.
The names of the schools are as follows:
Bellview, Union, Byransville, Mount Holly,
Slate Dale, Glenwood, Pleasant Valley,
Mount Joy, Pike's Peak, Slateville, Peach
Bottom, Graded School. The members of
board of directors for the past year were
James A. Stewart, T. C. Ramsay, Robert S.
Parke, James H. Fulton, John I. Davis and
Thomas Watson.

THE TEMPORARY LINE.

At or near the fourth milestone, west of
the Susquehanna, this line between Pennsyl-
vania and Maryland is clearly defined by re-
ference to old deeds and maps, now in pos-
session of James Powell. It runs at this
point about forty-five rods south of Mason
and Dixon's line; it seems to run a little
north of west, thus causing the two lines to
converge.

Reference is made to this line in a
lease dated February 13, 1755, for a tract of
land called "Tom's Knolls Resurveyed"
wherein "the Hon. Edward Lloyd, Esq., agent



and receiver-general of the Right Hon. Lord
Proprietary of the Province of Maryland"
lets for the term of ninety-nine years the said
tract to Asbel Brannon. This tract was sold
in 1788 to Thomas Steel, and in all the deeds
the temporary line is mentioned. (See page
55.)

THE SLATE QUARRIES.

The slate quarries of this township for
half a century have been famous. They
have given popularity to the name Peach
Bottom over a large extent of country. In-
dustrial statistics show that five-eights of the
slate used in America is quarried from North-
ampton and Lehigh Counties, in this State,
and the valuable quarries of Peach Bottom.
For roofing purposes the slate of this town-
ship is unexcelled on account of its durabil-
ity. The roof of the Slate Ridge Church
was placed on it in 1805, and is still well
preserved. The quarrying of the slate of this
region for use as tombstones began at a very
early period, but for roofing purposes slate
was quarried only in small quantities before
1800.

The land on which the quarries are locat-
ed, was originally the McCandless property
and now owned by the Williamson estate. A
Baltimore company opened some quarries and
did a considerable business as early as 1812.
Peter Williamson, a native of Scotland, be-
came the lessee and Ma j. Thomas S. William-
son succeeded, and eventually purchased the
lands. He quarried slate extensively for
many years. The slate is first blasted out,
then hoisted by steam to the bank in large
irregularly-shaped blocks. These blocks are
then broken or "scalloped" into smaller
blocks, and then split into sheets of required
thickness. For that purpose a chisel or
knife about eighteen inches long is used.
The slate as it lies in distinct veins, splits
readily wherever the knife is put in, if in-
serted when the block is wet, or "green," as
it is called by the workmen. They denomi-
nate the original moisture in the slate "sap."
After the blocks become dry, they harden
and cannot be split easily. After the blocks
are split, the sheets are dressed or trimmed
into shingles of the required shape, by means
of a machine worked by foot-power, which is
from 6x12 inches to 14x24 inches.

Slate is packed and sold in "squares,"
which contain 100 square feet, or sufticient
to cover a space of 10 feet by 10 feet, when
laid on the roof. One square of slate covers
the same area as 1,000 shingles. For more
than a third of a century the quarries at
Peach Bottom have been operated by the
Welsh, among whom are John Humphreys



HISTORY OF TORK COUNTY.



&Co., William E. Williams & Co., E. D.
Davies & Co., James Perry & Co., William
C. Roberts, Thomas W. Jones & Co., John
W. Jones & Co., Foulk Jones, Hugh E.Hughes
& Co., Kilgore & Co., and others, all of
whom are intelligent men. Many of
them worked in the slate quarries of
North Wales before coming to America.
John Humphrey located here, coming from
Wales in 1849. The means at the disposal
of miners for getting out and dressing the
slate were then very limited and chiefly con-
fined to an ordinary crane and derrick. At
that time the mines were not deep like now.
The slate ridge which crosses the township
south of Delta is neither high nor steep, but ]
preserves a rather uniform outline as far as '
it can be followed by the eye from the valley
below.

From 3,000 to 3,500 squares of slate of ;
the best quality and 1,000 tons of second
quality have been obtained yearly from some
of the best quarries. Some of the quarries
are 200 feet deep. Prof. Agassiz, the great
naturalist, visited these quarries in 1870.

Enos Frey & Co. have recently commenced
operations in mining slate on an extensive
scale in this region. There is a valuable
vein of serpentine in Peach Bottom Town-
ship.

WEST BANGOR. -THE WELSH.

The village of West Bangor is situated on
the summit of the slate ridge, and contains
a population of about 300, all of whom are
Welsh. The town was started about 1850,
and a postofiice was established July 31,1861,
which became a money-order office July Q,
1876.

The Welsh, who began to locate in Peach
Bottom as early as 18-43, coming from the
slate region of North Wales, are an intelli-
gent and industrious people. Many of
them have become remarkably prosperous
as operators of the mines. There are
in all 500 Welsh people in this commu-
nity who speak a language which had its
origin as far back as the sixth century,
or 700 years before the origin of the
English language. They are representatives
of an ancient Celtic race, of which there are
1,500,000 in AVales, and 400,000 in America,
mostly in the West. Welsh children are all
taught English in their native country as well
as in America. In Peach Bottom they attend
the public schools; most of them are bright
and intelligent pupils. They are taught,
however, to hold in great reverence their na-
tive tongue, scarcely a word of which is iden-



tical with the English. All of their religious
services are conducted in Welsh in a solemn
and impressive manner. There is no nation-
ality more faithfully devoted to the cause of
Christianity. As a people, the Welsh are
matter of fact, and do not read frivolous
stories. There are no works on infidelity pub-
lished in the Welsh language, and none were
ever written by a Welshman. Infants are
baptized only when their parents are mem-
bers of church. The remains of the dead are
placed in the tomb facing the east. As a
people they love sacred music, and some are
great singers.

In the Slateville churchyard among many
Welsh tombs, is one with the following in-
scription: "ErCof am WilliamMorris YCan-
,or,BufarwHydref 27. 18611. Oed44." Will-
iam Morris, who died here at the age of for-
ty-four years, was a noted singer. On one
occasion, with his sister, he sang the Un-
broken Covenant with great feeling and ef-
fect to an audience of thousands collected in
Caernarvon Castle, the birth place of the first
Prince of Wales.

The Calvanisfic Methodist Church at West
Bangor was erected in 1854, on land donated
by the late Maj. Williamson, under the
direction of John Humphrey, D. E. Will-
iams and Robert Davis, the first trustees.
The first pastor was Rev. E. J. Hughes, who
was succeeded by Rev. Evan F. Jones, who
remained about eleven years, after which the
pulpit was vacant for three years, when Mr.
Hughes returned to the charge, which he
continues acceptably to till. Mr. Jones went
to Wales, where he has attained celebrity as
a pulpit orator. The membership of this
church numbers about 100, composed entirely
of Welsh immigrants and their descendants,
1 the services being conducted in that lan-
guage. The Sabbath-school numbers 150, of
which Timothy Morgan is superintendent.

The Welsh Congregational Church, of West
Bangor was organized November 21, 1855, at
Slateville, with thirty-seven members. Hugh
Williams and William Morris were first dea-
cons. The worship was then held in the vestry
of the Presbyterian Church, and the con-
gregation had no regular pastor. In 1857 the
society purchased, for a nominal sum, a lot
j in West Bangor, of Thomas S. Williamson,
I and in the same year erected a commodious
frame church. The trustees then were Grif-
fith Davies, Robert Hughes, David C. Will-
iams, Hugh Williams and Elias Rowlands.
The church was dedicated in 1858, by Revs.
Morris R. Remsen, of New York, and David
Price, of Utica. The late William Morris
assisted greatly in paying for the church,



PEACH BOTTOM TOWNSHIP.



By the
il farm-house.



Rev. Thomas Williams, now at East Bangor,
this State, was the lirst pastor and served
ten years. In 1884, after being nearly ten
years vyithout a pastor, Kev. Dglyn Jones, a
young man from Wales, was called. On
account of ill-health he returned to his
native land. In 18S5 the present pastor,
Rev. John Cadwallader, then of Columbus,
Ohio, accepted a call to this church. The
church membership is seventy, with a con-
gregation of 250; membership of Sunday-
school, 100 pupils.

HISTORICAL NOTES.

village of Delta stands an histori-
Originally it was built of
logs, by Ale.xander McCandless, one of the
first settlers in that section. It became his-
toric by being the birth-place of that eminent
orator and statesman, James Ross, who
afterward lived in Pittsburgh, and who for a
number of years was a representative in
Congress from the western part of the State,
and from 1797 to 1803 was United States
senator. In 1805 and 1808 he was the Fed-
eralist candidate for governor of Pennsyl-
vania. The tirst time against Gov. Mc-
Kean and the second time against Gov.
Simon Snyder. There was a singular co-
incidence in his life, worthj' of notice.
While he was a farmer's boy in Peach Bot-
tom, his future political opponent for gover-
nor of Pennsylvania, Simon Snj'der, was
learning the tanner's trade in the town of
York. The gubernatorial contest of 1808
was one of the most animated in the annals
of Pennsylvania. It was just after England
had insulted our American seaman off the
coast of Virginia, and during the bitter con-
troversy concerning the management of State
affairs. Senator Ross, late in life, paid
regular visits to his place of birth. The old
Ross mansion is now owned by Robert Ram-
say, whose late wife's mother, Elizabeth
Ross W^hiteford, was a sister of the senator.
Mr. Ramsay, who has lived here since 1827,
in 1814 was a soldier in Capt. Amos's com-
pany of 100 men, who marched to the de-
fence of Baltimore when attacked by the
British. The company started from the
village of Dublin, Md., in the month of
August; on the way remained one night in
the court house at Bel Air, and the nest day
arrived at Baltimore. This was two weeks
before the arrival of the British. Mr. Ram-
say, now at the age of ninety-one, is tall and
erect, and walks witk a firm step and steady
tread. He delights to talk of the past, and
pictures with great accuracy the bombard-
ment of Fort McHenry, as he saw it amid



the booming of cannons and the explosion
of shells on that eventful night, when Fran-
cis S. Key wrote the "Star Spangled Banner"
while a prisoner of war on a British vessel.
In 1805, while on his way to school, near
Ramsay's Tavern, Mr. Ramsay narrowly
escaped being captured by a drove of wolves.
At the election in November, 1884, he cast
his sixteenth presidential ballot, voting first
for James Madison. His wife, Jane White-
ford, died in 1876, fifty-five years after their
marriage.

John Flehearty, who lives near the village
of Fawn Grove, was born in the year 1790,
during the tirst term of Washington's ad-
ministration, which fact makes his life some-
what historic. When young he was employed
as a teamster from Harrisburg and points
east to Pittsburg. He is nearly ninety-six
years old, and is strong, healthy and vigor-
ous.

Joshua Kilgore, who died in this town-
ship in 1885, aged ninety-one years, was a
soldier of 1812.

William Edgar, William Rowland, Will-
iam Luckey, Robert Luckey, David Smith,
■John Morrison and Robert Martin were ap-
pointed viewers in 1748 of "a road from the
Ashmore ferry-road to York running south
to the temporary line to David Smith's
Xaatented land."

Dr. Whiteford, born in Peach Bottom Town-
ship, was a surgeon in the war of 1812, and
at Baltimore, and afterward a very prominent
physician.

Dr. James Montgomery, one of the tirst
physicians of the lower end, after removing
to Baltimore, won distinction and prominence
in his profession.

Rev. Dr. Martin, Hugh Glasgow, Rev.
Mr. Parke, Joseph Wiley, Nathan Beamis
and Hugh Whiteford were among the tirst
persons to introduce pleasure carriages into
this section. They were then a novelty.
Patrick Scott and others soon followed their
example. As these nabobs approached Slate
Ridge meeting-house with their "wheel con-
cerns," they were the observed of all ob-
servers.

For a period of ten years there were only
eight persons in .this township who voted the
old Federalist ticket. They were John
Kirk, James McConkey, Joseph Webb, John
T. Cooper, Daniel Mitchell, Wilson Mitchell,
Joseph Mitchell and Robert Ramsay. The
last mentioned is still living. Most of the
voters here in the early part of the present
century were followers of the principles of
Thomas Jefferson.

Col. Mathew Clark was, as early as 1810,



HISTORY or YORK COUNTY.



a prominent commander of volunteer and
militia companies. He was a member of
legislature in 1804 and 1805, and was elected
county commissioner in 1824 Major Andrew
IMcConkey succeeded him, and organized a
uniformed company during the year 1827,
which served a period of seven years. A few



Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 156 of 218)