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

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of the members of this company are still liv-

Rev. -James Ross Ramsay, son of Robert
Ramsay, was born at the homestead near
Delta. For thirty years he has been a suc-
cessful missionary among the Seminoles, in
Indian Territory. He is now located at
Wewoka in the Territory named. His daugh-
ter is a teacher of a school of sixty Indian
youths, under the direction and management
of her father.

Joseph Ross, the father of Senator James
Ross, moved from Chanceford to Peach Bot-
tom early in life.

Mrs. Coulson, an aunt of ex-Gov. Kirk-
wood, died in the vicinity of Delta,
during the year 1884, at the advanced age of
ninety years. Her distinguished nephew
visited her while he was a member of Presi-
dent Garfield's cabinet.

"Coulsontown" is a small village of twelve
or fifteen houses occupied chieily by Welsh
slaters. It is located below West Bangor,
south of Slate Ridge.

Slateville Postoffice and store are now kept
by S. M. Jenness Foulk Jones, well known as
a retired slate operator, owns the property.
His residence is near by. There is a collec-
tion of a dozen houses composing the hamlet.
Hugh Whiteford and Patrick Scott, two
prominent persons among the early settlers,
were the first to erect large houses in this

Shortly after the completion of the Sus-
quehanna canal, this section had an abun-
dance of its small currency in denomina-
tions of 5 cents to $1. These "shin-plas-
ters'' at one time became nearly valueless.

Hugh Glasgow, for a number of years, con-
ducted a store between Delta and Peach Bot-
tom at the beginning of the present century.
Walton's store, sis miles west of Delta near
Fawn Grove, about the same time did a con-
siderable business. John .Kirk's store at the
ferry, did a large business as early as 1815.

Ramsay's Tavern is located in the west
end of Peach Bottom Township, and is one
of the landmarks of the "lower end." The
voting place of the two townships, before the
time of their separation, was one-half mile
north of this place. Eventually it was moved
to the tavern, which continued to be used for
a number years after the formation of Peach

Bottom. This tavern being on one of the
main highway to the Peach Bottom Ferry,
before the times of railroads, was a promi-
nent stopping place for teamsters and travel-
ers. David Ramsay was proprietor for many

In the year 1819 a duel was fought by
Dr. Brownlow and John Chauncey, members
of the Maryland legislature, near Ramsay's
Tavern. The cause was difference of views
on some political issue of the day. Brown-
low was slightly wounded in the arm at first
shot, after which the duelists and those who
accompanied them, left for their homes.

Two intoxicated persons in 1835 had a
difficulty in Roland Perry's tavern at Peach
Bottom; being much exasperated they con-
cluded the only way to settle it was with
pistols. But one weapon could be secured.
They ttten concluded to draw lots in order to
determine who should use it first. The
jovial landlord after the draw proposed to
load the pistol himself, and placed in it only
powder and a wad. The combatants stood
up bravely; the weapon was aimed and dis-
charged at close quarters, but greatly to the
discomfiture of the one who tired, the load
took no effect on his opponent and the duel
ended in a fist-fight.

The oldest citizens of the township recol-
lect when deer were plentiful and when the
howling wolves were heard and seen along
the hillsides. There were a few wild deer
until 1835. The last one killed in the vicin-
ity of Delta in 1838 was run by hounds and
caught on the ice which covered the Susque-
hanna, above Peach Bottom Ferry. Wolves
were seen as late as 1815. Some of the rug-
ged hills along the Muddy Creek were noted
resorts for these voracious animals.

"Cold Cabins" is a place familiarly known
to the people of a quarter of a century or
more ago, as a prominent stopping place for
boats on the Susquehanna canal. Consider-
able lime was landed there as there was
quite a large boat-yard, where goods of vari-
ous kinds were delivered.

Dr. Thomas Montgomery was one of the
last persons to own slaves in Peach Bottom.

Jabez Kirkwood, the father of Ex Gov.
Kirkwood of Iowa, was for many years an
elder in Slate Ridge Church.


Jesse Kersey, an eminent minister of the
Society of Friends, was born in York, eighth
month, fifth day, 1768. His father, William
Kersey, who was clerk of the Yovk and War-
rington Meeting, was married to Hannah
Bennett, daughter of Joseph Bennett, one of



the first settlers in the vicinity of Lewisberry,
this county. Jesse Kersey went to Philadel-
phia in 1784 to learn the trade of a jjotter,
but was a constant and devoted student of
sacred literature. In 1789 he became a
teacher in Chester County; in 1790 was
united in marriage with Elizabeth Coates,
moved to York, and pursued his trade until
1794; the following year he traveled a dis-
tance of 1,700 miles in three months, through
Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina, and
until 1804 spent most of his time traveling
in America, visiting Friends and preaching.
In the latter year he visited England and
Ireland, returned home in 1805, and became
a prominent preacher of the Philadelphia
Yearly Meeting. In 1814 he visited the
South under a concern in especial relation to
American slavery and the mode of deliver-
ance from its evil consequences. On his re-
turn he visited President Madison, to whom
he presented his views on this subject, and
was received by the president with great
cordiality. He then continu.ed his travels
through Virginia, holding meetings and
discussing the great question of human bond-
age. On account of his kind and persuasive
manner he was treated courteously even by
his strongest opponents. He continued to
preach until his death in Chester County, in
the fall of 1845. Jesse Kersey was a man of
remarkable purity and simplicity of character,
and is declared "to have gone to his grave
with the benedictions of many thousands who
knew him, and without the enmity of one
living being." He was a man of extraordi-
nary endowments, and one of the ablest and
most eloquent speakers among the Society of
Friends. Immense congregations always
greeted him on his travels, as his fame had
gone before him. There was a dignity and
nobleness about him that always commanded
respect, and gave evidence of an exalted aim.
Says an able writer, "no more gratified and
impressive powers of sacred eloquence have
been heard in America or England than
those which proceeded from the lips of Jesse


THE county of York existed nearly a
century and a half before this or any
other attempt was made to write an extended
history of it and of its people. This being
the case the preparation of the present vol-
ume, with minute details of local history,

i was accomplished under great difiiculties,
and only after a persistent efibrt to reach all
the sources of original information accessible.
Old documents and books were sought, and
some of their historic contents used. Church
records were searched; many of them were
in German script, which required translation.
Every nook and corner of the county was
visited to obtain available information, and
much time and labor spent in the rooms of
various historical societies.

The authors of this volume being "native
here,and to the manner born," had an abiding
interest in the work, and hence used every
effort to accurately and authentically record
the most interesting and inost valuable facts
of our county's history. A verdict of the
success attained is left to the calm judgment
of the good people of this ancient bailiwick,
trusting that the difficulties encountered in
the preparation of such a work within the
space of one year will be borne in mind be-
fore passing judgment upon it.

I Certain articles on special subjects were

I written by persons whose names will be
found in connection with them. All of these
persons are residents of the county, except

I Dr. Persifor Frazer, of Philadelphia, who
prepared the "Geological Sketch of York
County." This article is a very valuable
one, as its author, who recently completed
his work on the State survey, is one of the
ablest geologists in America.

For favors granted the author of the
Special History and the Borough and Town-
ship History is under many obligations to
the distinguished genealogist Gilbert Cope,
of West Chester; to the unassuming yet
famous antiquary, Abraham H. Cassel, of
Montgomery County, this State, who freely
gave access to his invaluable collection of
rare books and documents, which contained
rich treasures of ancient lore; to Dr. Will-
iam H. Egle, of Harrisburg, author of the
"History of Pennsylvania;" to Samuel Evans,
Esq., of Columbia, author of the "History of
Lancaster County," and to James M. Swank,
secretary of the American Iron and Steel
Association; to the clergy of York County,
who gladly allowed the use of church
record books, or furnished material for church
history themselves; to the officials in the
court house for courtesies extended while
searching among the ancient county records,
and to a score or more of venerable citizens
in every section of the county, who have
spent nearly a century within its bounds, and
who faithfully assisted "to trace the tale to
the dim past, where records fail."

G. E. P.




The Evangelical Church organizatioQ was
formed in 1859, by Rev. G. Hunter. The
first building in which the society worshiped
had been a blacksmith shop. In this build-
ing the worship took place of both the Evan-
gelical and Methodist people up to 1871,
when each organization erected new and
commodious buildings, in which they have
since worshiped. The same pastors who had
charge of Shrewsbury Circuit, had also
charge of these congregations. The Evan-
gelical Association was the lirst Protestant
Church organized in the borough. There is
a flourishing Sunday-school connected with
the church.

The Lutheran congregation was organ-
ized in 1869, by Rev. A. Berg, and worshiped
for some time in Hildebrand's Hall, now
Gore's Hall. In 1877 the congregation
erected a fine church edifice, which has since
been occupied. This congregation is also
served by the same pastor that serves Shrews-
bury charge. There is a strong Sunday-
school connected with the church.

The Baptists at one time had an organi-
zation in the town, and erected a church edi-
fice, but the membership was small, and
finally it was suspended and the church edi-
fice was sold to the Reformed people.

The German Reformed people have had
an organization in the town, but having no
regular place for worship, met with only par-
tial success, until Rev. A. Driesbach became
the pastor of the charge, when it began to de-
velop, and they recently purchased the church
edifice of the Baptist people, and now is com-
pletely organized, and promises to become one
of the strongest congregations of the town.

Freedom Lodge, K. of P., was organized
in December, 1884, with an excellent mem-
bership which has since grown, and the lodge
promises to become strong and influential.

A strong and influential literary society
has been in existence in the town for some
time, and is doing a good work among the
young people of the place.

The terminus of the Stewartstown Rail-
road has recently been effected at the town,
which will add considerably to the interest
of the place.

The town has 3 stores, 1 lumber yard, 2
harness shops, 2 cigar factories, 3 shoe-maker
shops, 2 blacksmith shops, 1 ice cream fac-
tory, 2 wheelwright shops and 2 physicians.
This shows it as considerable of a manufac-
turing town.

The following-named York County soldiers were
among the "Continental Troops," page 144, not
mentioned in the general history:

Third Pennsylvania Regiment — Frederick Walt-
raau, died in York County, August 23, 1825, aged

Sixth Pennsylvania Regiment— Archibald Camp-
bell, of York County, Captain Lieutenant, February
15, 1777; died in 1788,

Ninth Pennsylvania Regiment— David Bell,
York County, 1776; died in hospital, South Caro-
lina. 1782.

Tenth Pennsylvania Regiment— John Ohmet,
May, 1777-78; died in York County. April 16, 1823,
aged sixty-five. Leonard Weyer, wounded at Bran-
dywine and Red Bank; resided in York County,
1826, aged sixty-eight; blind.

German Regiment — Jacob McClean, Capt. Wei-
ser's company, died February 18, 1824, In York
County, aged sixty-six. John Richcreek, Dover
Township, York County, wounded at Germantown,
and transferred to invalid corps. Jacob Cremer,
resided in York County, 1818, died May 19, 1832,
aged seventy-eight; was also in Col. Hazen's Regi-

"Ninety-second Regiment of Pennsylvania Vol-
unteers, Ninth Cavalry." In addition to those
named on page 189, in this corps, were the following
York County men:

Henry W. Heffner, Company G; William H.
Swartz, Company G; Josiah M. Jones, York. How-
ard W. Clark, Company I; Sylvester I. Eckenrode,
Company I; John H. Serff, Company ]■'; Lewis F.
Kraft, Company L; George Trone; Hen. y S. Grove,
Company L; Hanover. William B. Showalder,
Company E; Charles Neiman, Company E; John
M. Brubaker, Company K; John Kirk, Company
L: Edward Sweigart, Company L; Newberry.
William H. Sherwood, Company K, Chanceford.
John D. Hoover, Company H, Manheim; Ambrose
Baylor, Company H, Fairview.

Ninety-third Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry —
Henry Fisher, Company I; John Fisher, Company
I; Sanford Fisher, Company I; Frederick Koch,
Company I; Wilson Danner, Company I; Fair-


Biographical Sketches,


JOHN AHL, M. D., is a native of York, born
April 15,1823, son of Peter and Mary (Stroman) Ahl,
the motlier a daughter of ex-Sheriff Stroman of
York County, and of German descent. The father
was born in Virginia and is also of German descent.
Peter Ahl, subject's grandfather, was a native of,
Germany and came to America prior to the Revolu-
tionary war, in which he was a surgeon. The father
of our subject came to York when a young man,
was a butcher, and died in 1874. Subject's' mother
died in 1875. Dr. Ahl was educated at the public
schools and York County Academy. He began the
study of medicine in 1843 under Dr. William Mcll-
vain.of York.also attended Washington Universit}^,
of Maryland, and graduated in 1845. He located
immediately in York, but in 1846 moved to Dover,
and after a number of years returned to York. He
was married November 6, 1853, to Mrs. Elizabeth A.
Cone of Baltimore County, Md., daughter of Sam-
uel Cone. Politically he is a Democrat and, was
elected first coroner of York County about 1849,
served two terms and was again elected in 1878, and
again served two terms. Dr. Ahl is the oldest resi-
dent physician now practicing in York. He has
been a Mason thirty years.

CAPT. JOHN ALBRIGHT was born in Balti-
more, Md., in 1826, is a sou of Christopher and Mary
(Burk) Albright, and is of Hungarian origin. The
father of Mr. Albright was born in Lancaster County,
Penn.,and his mother in the same county. In early
life his father came to York County.remained a short
time and then removed to Baltimore, Md. When
subject was ten years of age, he, with his parents,
came to York County, and here he received a com-
mon school education. His father died in 184.5,and
his mother in 1876. At eighteen years of age, Mr.
Albright began learning the cigar-maker's trade, and
as a journeyman he labored for twenty years. In
1861 he enlisted in Company K, Second Pennsylva-
nia Volunteers, for three months and was appointed
orderly-sergeant; in August of the same year, he re-
enlisted in Company K, Eightj^-seventh Pennsylva-
nia Volunteers, and was commissioned first lieuten-
ant, and as captain in October, 1861. He partici-
pated in the battles of Monocacy, Fisher's Hill and
Winchester, at which last he was taken prisoner,
and was an inmate of the famous Libby prison for
eleven months, and a prisoner of war for twenty-one
months and fifteen days. He was mustered out of
the service in 1865. His marriage took place in
1845 to Miss Mary Ann Shell, a native of Wrights-
ville, York County, and daughter of Nancy Shell.
To this union have been born three children, viz.:
Arvilla, Alfred and Mary M. Mr, Albright is a
member of the G. A. R. and is a Republican.

Since 1867 he has been engaged in the cigar and
tobacco business.

S. A. ALEXANDER, general foreman of loco-
motives and car affairs for the North Central Rail-
way at York, is a native of Philadelphia, was born
August 31, 1839, a son of Andrew and Virginia
(Clark) Alexander, and is of Scotch-Irish origin.
His parents and grandparents were all natives of
Pennsylvania. The father of Mr. Alexander was
lost at sea in 1832. Our subject received a common
school education at Philadelphia. In 1843 he joined
the United States Navy and spent five years in that
service. Since 1848 he has been engaged at his
present occupation. He came to York in 1875 and
here has since resided. He has invented a cross-
head pusher, hydraulic jack, balanced slide valve
and a rotary steam engine. He is also the author of
a very popular book on the subject of running and
care of locomotive engines. He was married, in
1850, to Miss Jemima James of Pottsville, Penn.
To the marriage were born seven children. Mrs. Alex-
ander died In 1866 and two years later our subject
was married to Mrs. Elizabeth McAlister, of Cumber-
land County, Penn. One child has been born to this
union. Mr. Alexander is a Mason, Republican and
a member of the Episcopal Church. Mrs. Alex-
ander is also a member of that church.

ABRAHAM K. ALLISON, baker and confec-
tioner, was born in Codorus Township, November
7, 1829, to Adam and Magdalene (Kesler) Allison.
In a family of twelve children, Mr. Allison is the
eighth, and is of English-German origin. The
paternal grandfather of our subject came to Amer-
ica some time in the last century, and settled in
Codorus Township, York County, where he died.
In this township the parents of Mr. Allison were
born, his father in 1801, and his mother in 1797.
They were members of the Lutheran Church for
almost half a century. They were among the early
settlers of Codorus 'Township. The father died in
York in 1869, and the mother in the same place in
1874. The boyhood of Mr. Allison was spent on
the farm, and there he remained until twenty- four
years of age. In 1863 he came to York, and, in
partnership with his father, engaged in the grocery
business, which he continued until 1874, when he
began the baking business, and this he yet success-
fully continues. He also learned the milling busi-
ness, in which he was interested for about four
years. He was married in 1860, to Miss Louisa Lau,
a native of Jackson Township, and a daughter of
John and Rebecca Lau. To this marriage were
born twelve children, the following of whom are
living: Laura K., John A., Jacob H., Mary V.,
Maggie E., Anna L., Hattie R. and George W. Mr.


Allison is a Democrat, and has held offices of asses-
sor and councilman— councilman when rebel Gen.
Early took possession of York. He and his wife
are prominent members of the Lutheran Church.

JACOB H. BAER, banker and financier, is a
native of and a descendant from an old family of
York County. He was born April 3, 1830, and is a
son of Daniel and Susan (Hershey) Baer. His life
was passed upon his father's farm until he was
eighteen years of age, attending the schools of his
neighborhood, and as an assistant upon the farm.
Being ambitious for a more extended field in life, he
entered the York County Academy and engaged
upon a regular course. He graduated in 1853, and
soon after engaged in the commission business in
York, which he continued for twelve years. He
then began his career as a financier and banker,
starting a private bank, which he conducted two
years. This enterprise was merged into the
Western National Bank which he organized and of
which he was president for two years. Resigning
this position he again embarked in a private bank-
ing business which is recognized as one of the sound
institutions of the county. In the latter enterprise
he has been ably seconded by his sons Charles F.
and J. Allen. Mr. Baer possesses rare attributes as
a business manager, and as a citizen has the confi-
dence and esteem of his fellow-men. He formed a
matrimonial alliance in June, 1860, with Miss Mary,
daughter of John and Maria Winters, of York
County. They have four children: Charles F., J.
Allen, Annie M. and Howard D. Mr. and Mrs.
Baer are members of the Lutheran Church.

ROBERT M. BARNITZ learned the watch-mak-
ing and jewelry business under F. R. Polock, of
York, after which he formed a partnership with his
father, Edwin A. Barnitz, who was also a watch-
maker and jeweler, and who had been engaged in
that business in York since 1843, and who died in
1880. Our subject continues the business under the
old firm name of E. A. Barnitz & Son, it being one
of tbe oldest establishments of the kind in the

GEORGE J. BARRY, seventh of eleven children
of James and Roseanna (McLaughlin) Barry, was
born October 31, 1846, in York, Penn., and after
receiving a common school education went to Fred-
erick City, Md., in 1861, to clerk in a store. After
six years' stay in Frederick he went to Chicago, and
thence to Cincinnati, where he lived about one year;
returned to Frederick after his brother's death to
accept the position of book-lieeper in the packing
establishment of L. McMurray & Co. September
2, 1879, our subject married B. V" . Carr, daughter of
John and Susan Carr, of York, Penn. Three chil-
dren were born of this marriage: Mary, born July
6, 1880; James Howard, born July 21, 1883; and
Rose Teresa, born January 1, 1883. Our subject's
father, James Barry, was born February 9, 18il, in
Tullamore, Kings Co., Ireland, and came to this
country in his eighteenth year. Roseanna'
(McLaughlin) Barry was born in Dromore, Tyi-one
Co., Ireland, and came to America with her parents
when three years old.

THE BAYLER FAMILY. Henry Bayler was
born in York, Penn., in the house in which he now
resides, September 14, 1819, and is a son of Jacob
and Mary (Lanius) Bayler, and is of Swiss-German
descent. His father was born in York County,
Penn., in 1796, and died in 1857; his mother was
born in 1796 and died in 1859. In 1846 Mr. Bayler
engaged in the tanning business, which he contin-
ued until 1865, when he began the lumber business,
which he carried on for some years and then re-
tired from active life. He was married in 1841 to
Sarah A. Klinefelter, a native of York County, and
a representative of one of the early families, and
daughter of Adam and Sarah A. Klinefelter. The

marriage has been blessed with seven children, four
of whom are living: Adam K., Albert, Charles A.
and Sarah A. Mrs. Bayler died in 1876, a member
of the Lutheran Church. Mr. Bayler is a Demo-
crat, and cast his first presidential vote for Martin
Van Buren. He is a member of the I. O. O. F. and
of the Lutheran Church.

Adam K. Batlek, cigar manufacturer, was born
March 3, 1846. His boyhood was spent in York,
his native town, where he availed himself of the
advantages offered by the public schools and York
County Academy. In 1864 he entered the United
States naval service, and was with Admiral Farra-
gut's fleet in the passage of the forts at the entrance
of Mobile Bay, and at the evacuation of Charles-
ton, S. C. In 1865 Mr. Bayler went to China in
the United States store-ship "Supply;" remained two
years, and then returned to America. He made
three cruises to China during- his service of thirteen
years in the United States Navy. In 1872 he went
to Europe and China via the Suez Canpl in the
United States flag-ship "Tennessee," and in 1877 re-
turned to York, where he has since remained. In
1883 he engaged in the manufacture of cigars, his
factory being one of the most extensive establish-
ments of the kind in York. He was married in
1880 to Ida M. Leader, daughter of Joseph (de-
ceased) and Harriet Leader. Mr. Bayler is a stanch
Republican, and cast his first presidential vote for

Albert Bayler was born in York, Penn.,
September 1, 1847, and is the second of a family of
seven children. He attended the public schools of
York and the York Academj^, and at seventeen
years of age began serving a three years' appren-
ticeship to the machinists' trade, at the North Cen-

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 157 of 218)