John Gibson.

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

. (page 49 of 218)
Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 49 of 218)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

ceased); of his son John (deceased), Adams
County; of his son Jacob, late of York
County (deceased), namely: Mrs. Sarah
Spangler (widow), of Jackson Township, and
her children : Caroline, wife of Reuben
Lauer; Henry W. Spangler, Esq. ; Susan,
wife of Charles E. Smyser; Sarah, wife of
Martin Smyser; Julia Spangler; Leah, wife
of William Eyster; Dr. Benjamin F. Spang-
ler; Edward W. Spangler. Esq. and Dr. Ja-
cob R. Spangler. all of whom except four
(three of whom are unmarried) have children.
Mrs. Sarah Spangler, the venerable mother
and grandmother, now in her seventy-eighth
year, her daughter Julia and son Henry, still
reside in the old Mansion House, formerly
and for many years kept, and so well and
favorably known as the "Seven-Mile House."
a good and true old-time country hotel; a
pleasant and popular resort for sleighing par-
ties from towns and villages of the surround-
ing country. Many and pleasant are the
memories inseparably associated with the
place. And,

As the shingles lie close to the rafters,

And to gable the ivy clings fast.
So the heart of the lone, widowed mother,

To the homestead will cling to the last.


Leonard, the seventh son of Yost Harbaugh,
the elder, was born on the old homestead on
Kreutz Creek, May 10, 1749, and married
Miss Rebecca Rinebeck of Germantown. He
was the same person named among other
prominent Pennsylvania Germans, by Mr.
Scharf, as having settled in Baltimore at an
early day. From one of his sons, Benjamin,
who still resided in that city as late as 1853,
it was learned that his father removed from
York to Baltimore about 1775, where he
resided until 1792. He was an architect and
builder, and undertook by contract, the con-
struction or reconstruction of many large
public and private edifices. He was ingen-
ious in planning and designing, and skillful in
execution. On the spot where Battle Monu-


ment now stands, pfcood a very large two-ato-
ried brick building which was used as a court
house. Froai immediately under this house
he removed all the earth and replaced it with
stone arches, forming a basement; after
which the building and basement continued
to be used for about fifteen years, when it was
removed. Many of the private residences
built by him have also been removed to make
room for streets and more fashionable dwell-
ings. Among the buildings and improve-
ments erected by him in Baltimore, were
several churches, hotels, warehouses and
bridges. He also designed and constructed
the first mud or dredging-maehine that was
used for cleaning out and deepening the har-
bor for vessels and other pvirposes. In 1792
he removed to Washington, D. C. , and was
soon engaged in the erection of numerous
public and private buildings; among others,
the war and treasury offices, which were
afterward destroyed by the British troops,
(in 1814). He was also engaged (with others r
in the erection of the President's house, the
original Capitol buildings, and the recon-
struction thereof after their destruction by-
the British. Under a contract with the,'
(Potomac Company, he cut a passage through!
ian immense wall of rock that stood across the'
Iriver at Big Falls, just above Georgetown,
and made the Potomac navigable for long-
Iboats up to and even beyond Cumberland.
'Afterward he commenced a similar enter-
prise in the Shenandoah River at Harper's
Ferry and made that river navigable (for
longboats) by building locks and cutting
canals for a distance of more than one hun-
dred miles above the ferry. After the com-
pletion of this work, he removed to the settle-
ment on the Monocacy, near Frederick, Md.,
where he erected an immense stone bridge
for a turnpike road company, across the Mon-
ocacy Creek, at a cost of $55,000. Finally
he returned to Baltimore and resumed the
building of various kinds of houses. At the
time of his death, however, September, 1822,
he was engaged as superintendent of the
carpenter work on the rebuilding of the Cap-
itol. His death was caused by mortification
in the joint of one of his toes. He preferred
death to amputation, at the age of seventy-
six, and was buried in the Congressional
Cemetery at Washington. He was the father
of fourteen children, thirteen of whom were
sons. Some of them, or their numerous
descendants, are still living in or near Balti-
more and Washington. Rev. Reck Harbaugh.
one of his great-grandsons, was living at Prince-
ton or Burlington, N. J., in 1852, and was
pastor of a Presbyterian congregation. Leon-

ard, the great-grandfather, was also a devout
man, and, during the first period of his resi-
dence in Baltimore, was a member of and
eshorter in the church of Rev. Otterbein, of
blessed memory. Benjamin Harbaugh, one
of Leonard's sods, formerly of Baltimore,
married Mrs. Elizabeth Reynolds, daughter
of Maj. William Bailey of * York, an officer
in the Revolutionary Army attached to the
Pennsylvania liae, under the command of
Col. Swope.

Mary Elizabeth, the oldest daughter of the
original settler, Yost, was born near York, on
Good Friday, 1753, and became the wife of
Godfrey Lenhart, an old and well-known
citizen of York, among whose descendants
are the late Mrs. Kuntz; Mrs. Genther; Mrs.
Louis Sudec of York; Mrs. Elizabeth Bailey,
and her daughter Catharine, who was the
wife of the late distinguished Prof. Samuel
Tyler, LL. D. (of Frederick, Md.) author of
Baconian Philosophy, Life of Barnes, and
various legal treatises: Rev. Henry Lenhart,
late of Williamsport, Penn., and his son. Rev.
. L. Lenhart, for seventeen years a chaplain
I in the navy, and who while serving in that
! capacity went down with the Cumberland, in
' Hampton Roads, in the spring of 1864; Will-
i iam Lenhart, the distinguished mathemati-
1 cian; and Catharine Lenhart, wife of the
late John B. McPherson, so long a prominent
and highly honored citizen of Gettysburg,
cashier of its bank, and father of Hon. Ed-
ward McPherson; William C. McPherson, his
son; Hon. John B. McPherson. associate law-
judge of the Dauphin and Lebanon District;
Mrs. Andrew Mehaffy, (formerly of Columbia,
now of Xew York City); Elizabeth, wife of
Gen. Albion P. Howe, United States Army
(Cambridge, Mass. ); J. B. McPherson, Esq.
(New York City;) Catharine, wife of Dr. Nor-
man B. Scoit; Dr. J. McPherson Scott; Mrs.
Alexander Armstrong, and Norman Bruce
Scott, Esq., all of Hagerstown, Md.


The eminent scholarship and somewhat
remarkable career of William Lenhart (al-
ready referred to) claim special and extended
mention. The few octogenarians among us
will remember an humble log-house that once
stood at the northwest corner of North George
Street and Center Square, where, nearly a
century ago, lived Godfrey LenharL, '•der
Sihrerschntidt iind Uhremacher " — the silver-
smith and clock-maker, and many a '• grand-
father's clock," after a long banishment, now
recalled by the grovring love for the antique,
bears upon is broad open, smiling face, the in-
scription "Godfrey Lenhart, Yorktown, Ponn."


That humble log-house (so faithfully sketched
by Louis Miller in his ". Chronics") no doubt
was the birthplace, January 19, 1787, of a
child, whose powers of intellect, but for his
physical misfortunes and scanty pecuniary
resources, would probably have enabled him
to "illustrate the name of his country
throughout the scientific world." His father,
Godfi-ey Lenhart, though a highly respectable
citizen, and by the free suffrage of his fellow
citizens, chosen to the (then) honorable and
responsible office of high sheriff, which he
held and faithfully filled from 1794 to 1797,
was nevertheless a gentleman of limited
means, and, therefore, really unable to give
his children more than the ordinary and very
meager common pay-school education of the
day About the year 1801, however, when

William was not above fourteen, Dr.

Adrian, then ob.sciu-e, but afterwards famous
as a mathematician, opened a school in York,
and William Lenhart became one of his
pupils. He at once began to develop that
extraordinary talent, especially for the science
of mathematics, in which he made such rapid
progress that, before he quit Dr. Adrian's
school, and before he had attained his six-
teenth year, he had become a contributor to
the"Mathematieal Correspondent," a scientific
periodical published in the city of New York,
and when only seventeen, he was awarded a
medal for the solution of a mathematical
prize- question.

About this time he quit Dr. Adrian's
school, and being an accomplished penman
and accountant, accepted the offer of a posi-
tion as clerk in a leading mercantile house
in Baltimore. At this period of his life, it
is said he was remarkable for his personal
attractions, and, always, for excellence of
manners and good conduct. As might be
expected, however, he soon tired of such a
business, and, though but little bettering his
situation, accepted a position in some clerical
employment in the sheriff's office. He re-
mained in Baltimore about four years, during
all which time, however otherwise employed,
his leisure was devoted to reading, his favor-
ite study, mathematics, and contributions to
the Mathematical Correspondent and also
to the Analyst, published by Dr. Adrian
in Philadelphia. Afterward, he became
book keeper in the commercial house of Has-
singer & Reese in the latter city. As clerk
and book-keeper his proficiency was un-
rivaled, his salary was doubled at the end
of the first year, and the accounts he made
out for foreign merchants were long kept by
his employers as models of perfection ; and
in view of his eminent personal services, the

firm, at the end of the third year, admitted
him as a partner, without other capital. i
Before entering upon his duties, however,
and while on a visit to his parents at York,
an unfortunate accident befell him which,
doubtless, proved to be the turning point in
a career which would, otherwise, have shed
undying luster on his name and on his
country. While enjoying a rural drive, his
horse became unmanageable, ran away, break-
ing the carriage, throwing him out and fract-
uring one of his legs. On his supposed re-
covery he returned to Philadelphia, and,
sometime after, while engaged in a game of
quoits, was suddenly seized with excrutiating
pain in his back and partial paralysis of the
lower extremities. After eighteen months
of the most skillful medical and surgical
treatment by Drs. Physick and Parish, his
recovery was pronounced hopeless. What
wonder that his cup of misery overflovped in
view of the fact of his engagement at the
time to a young lady of most estimable
character, and to whom he had been attached
from early life. The injury he had received
from the fall from his carriage, most proba-
bly caused his spinal affection from which,
and a subsequent injury, he was destined to
sixteen years of suffering and torture, and
eventually to pine away and die at an age
when men, ordinarily, are in their prime.
But incredible as it may seem, we are assured
on the highest authority that during all that
long interval of constantly increasing pain
and suffering, he not only cultivated light
literature and music, but, as before, devoted
much time to mathematics. In music he
made great proficiency and was considered
the best parlor flute player in this country.
In 1828 he sustained a second fracture of his
leg, in consequence of which, and his already
existing complication of disorders, his suffer-
ings, at times, almost passed the bounds of
endurance. He was now passing most of
his time with his sister, in Frederick. But
his very lips became at length paralyzed
from the progress of his disease, and even
the pleasures of his flute were denied him.
What must have been the talents, moral
energy, and force of will, which, under
bodily afflictions like these, made such ad-
vances in abstruse science as to confer im-
mortality on the name of their possessor?
During the last year of his life he thus wrote
to a friend :

"My afflictions appear to me to be not
unlike an infinite series, composed of com-
plicated terms, gradually and regularly in-
creasing — in sadness and suffering — and
becoming more and more involved; and hence



the abstruseness of its summation; but when
it shall be summed in the end, by the Great
Arbiter and Master of all, it is to be hoped
that the formula resulting will be found to
be not only entirely free from surds, but per-
fectly pure and rational, even unto an inte

During the sixteen years from 1812 to 1828
he did not, of course, nor could he, devote
himself to mathematical science. But after-
ward he resumed these studies for the pur-
pose of mental employment, and continued
his contributions to mathematical journals.
In 1836 the publication of the Mathematical
Miscellany was commenced in New York, and
his fame became established by his contribu-
tions to that journal. " I do not design,"
says Prof. Samuel Tylor, " to enter into a
detail of his profound researches. He
attained an eminence in science of which the
noblest intellects might well be proud ; and
that, too, as an amusement, when snifering
from afSictionis which, we might suppose,
would have disqualified him for intellectual
labor. It will be sufficient for my purpose
to remark that he left behind him a reputa-
tion as the most eminent Diophantine Alge-
braist that ever lived. The eminence of this
reputation will be estimated when it is recol-
lected that illustrious men, such as Euler,
Lagrange and Gauss, are his competitors for
fame in the cultivation of the Diophantine
analysis. Well might he say that he felt as
if he had been admitted into the sanctum
sanctorum of the great temple of numbers,
and permitted to revel among its curiosi-

Notwithstanding his great mathematical
genius, Mr. Lenhart did not extend his
investigations into the modern analysis and
the differential calculus as far as into the
Diophantine analysis. He thus accounts for
it: '-My taste lies in the old fashioned pure
geometry and the Diophantine analysis, in
which every result is perfect; and beyond the
exercise of these two beautiful branches of
the mathematics, at my time of life, and
under present circumstances, I feel no incli-
nation to go." The character of his mind
did not consist entirely in the mathematical
tendency, which was developed by the early
tuition of Dr. Adrian. Possessed, as he was,
of a lively imagination, a keen susceptibility
to all that is beautiful in the natural and
intellectual world, wit and acuteness, it is
manifest that he wanted nothing but early
education and leisure to have made a most
accomplished scholar. He was also a poet.
One who knew him well says: "He has left
some effusions which were written to friends

as letters, that for wit, humor, sjirightliness
of fancy, pungent satire, and flexibility of
versification, will not lose in comparison with
any of Burns' best pieces of a similar kind."
Mr. Lenhart was of a verj- cheerful and san-
guineous temperament, full of tender sympa-
thies with all the joys and sorrows of his
race, from communion with whom he was
almost entirely excluded. Like all truly
great and noble men, he was remarkable for
the simplicity of his manners. That word,
in its broad sense, contains a history of
character. He knew he was achieving con-
quests in abstruse science, which had not
been made by . the greatest mathematicians,
yet he was far from assuming anything in
his intercourse with others.

"During the autumn of 1839, intense suf-
fering and great emaciation indicated that
his days were almost numbered. His intel-
lectual powers did not decay ; but like the
Altamont of Young, he was "still strong to
reason and mighty to suffer." He indulged
in no murmurs on account of the severity of
his fate. True nobility submits with grace
to that which is inevitable. * * *

Lenhart was conscious of the impulses of his
high intellect, and his heart must have
swelled within him when he contemplated
the victories he might have achieved and the
laurels he might have won. But he knew
his lot forbade that he should leave other
than "short and simple annals" for posterity.
He died at Frederick, Md., July 10, 1840, in
the fifty-fourth year of his age, with the
calmness imparted by philosophy and Chris-
tianity. Religion conferred upon him her
consolations in that hour when it is only by
religion that consolation can be bestowed;
and as he sank into the darkness and silence
of the grave, he believed there was another
and a better world, in which the immortal
mind will drink at the very fountain-head of
knowledge, unencumbered with the decaying
tabernacle of clay by which its lofty aspira-
tions are here confined as with chains.*


Mr. Miller was an "old Yorker" and a very
remarkable man, well known to many of our
old readers, to whom the following sketch of
his family, life and character will doubtless
be interesting :

Lewis, or "Loui," Miller as he was famil-
iarly called and known among the peo-
ple of York, was the eighth son, and the
tenth and youngest child of John Ludwig
Miller, a native of Nui-emberg, Germany, and



his wife, Catharine Rothenberger, of Heidel-
berg, Germany. The parents were married
in 1770, by Rev. Joseph Miller in Erbach,
in the Odenwald, a wild and romantic tract
of Upper Germany, the seat of the famous
family of Katzenellenbegen, and of the
castle of the Baron Von Landshort, aronnd
which our immortal Irving has woven his en-
chanting romance of ''The Spectre Bride-
groom." John Ludwig Miller was born
A. D. 1747, was educated at a gym-
nasium, or high school, foanded by Melnnch-
thon, and was a classmate of Heinrich Schu-
bart. At a very early age he was appren-
ticed to learn the "art and mystery" of
making white crockery -ware, (or as ''Loui"
says in a recent letter, •'China, to set on


Soon after their marriage, in 1771,
John Ludwig and his wife, Catharine, emi-
grated to North America, taking ship, first
at Rotterdam, last from Cowes, England, in
the ship "Minerva," Capt. Johnson, bound
for Philadelphia. On the voyage their first
child, Michael, was born, baptised, died and
buried in the briny deep. Their next child,
Elizabeth, was born in Philadelphia in 1775.
She became the wife of John N. Kolb, of
York, by whom she had seven children, all
sons, several of whom survive and reside in
New York City. Elizabeth died in 186-1, or
1865, aged about ninety years.

The family of John Ludwig Miller, must
have resided in Philadelphia for several
years, for it appears that beside Elizabeth,
two sous. David and Philip, and probably
John, were born there, David in 1777 and
Philip in 1780. These were the stormy

"times that tried men's souls," and ah! howl
much more interesting the family traditioril
would be, could it now be gathered from the]
lips of Ludwig and Catharine who so peace-
fully sleep in the little graveyard in the rear
of the old German Lutheran Church.

Between 17S0 and 178"2 the family must
have removed to Montgomery County, Penn.,
for there, on the Rittenhouse farm, in the
latter year, his brother John died; and there,
in 1784. was born his brother Joseph, who
removed to Montgomery County, Va., and
there died in 184'2, in his fifty-eighth year.

Sometime between 1784 and 1787 the fam-
ily removed to York; since here, in the latter
year, was born another sou, Benjamin, who
emmigrated to Upshur County, W. Va., where
he died in 1864, aged seventy-six years and
seventeen days. John M. Miller (a second
John), was born in York in 1790, emigrated
to Rockingham County, Va., where he died
in 1866, at the age of seventy-five years, nine
months and ten days. Catharine, the second
sister, and ninth child, was born in York,
January 8, 1793, died at the age of eleven
months, and lies buried in a little school-
house graveyard near the old John Roth mill,
Manchester Township. Her father, John
Ludwig Miller, was the "schoolmaster at that
schoolhouse at that time; but the schoolhouse
is no more to be seen," says "Loui."

Lewis Miller, the principal subject of this
sketch, was born on the 3d day of December,
A. D. 1795, in York, in a small onestory
frame, weather-boarded house, then and for
many years afterward, standing on the east
side of South Duke Street, where the neat
little cottage of Rev. John Fritz now stands.
On the rear end of the German Lutheran
Church-lot, stood a small schoolhouse, where,
according to a time-honored and pious Ger-
man usage, a parish school was kept, some-
times by the chorister, foresinger or organist,
of the congregation. Whether Louis's father
served in any of these otfices is not known;
but certain it is that for many years he bore
the high, more dignified and honorable one
of Schulmeister, in the little old log school-
house that once stood in the rear of the Ger-
man Lutheran Church. Here he taught both
German and English at one and the same
time, and here it was that "little Loui"

German and English in the same school at
the same time by the same master! No won-
der our good old Pennsylvania German dia-
lect became sadly mixed up, for this was a
common practice in many parts of the State.

On the completion of his education, Loui
was apprenticed to his brother John (M.) to



learn the art and mystery of house-carpenter-
ing. After the completion of his term of
apprenticeship, he worked at the business as
a journeyman, successively, for Peter Small,
Henry Small, George Small, Abraham Gart-
mau, Jacob Gartman, George Jacobs, James
Connelly, and, perhaps others, for a period of
nearly forty years, and was employed on
most, if not all, the principal public and
private buildings, built or rebuilt in York
during that period.

His father died in 1822, aged seventy-five
years; his mother in 1830, aged eighty years,
and they (as already said) and their daughter
Catharine (Mrs. Kolb), lie buried in the Ger
man Lutheran graveyard in York

In 1840 Loni and several other Yorkers,
among them Mr. Henry Hertzog and the late
Dr. Alexander Small, crossed the Atlantic,
and Loui made a tour chiefly on foot, of
some of the principal countries of Europe.
They took passage at New York in May, in
the good ship " Garrick," Capt. A.S. Palmer,
bound for Liverpool, making the passage in
twenty-two days. In Liverpool they " put
up " at the Waterloo Hotel, kept by William
Lyon. "Thence," as Loui says, " to Bir-
mingham, etc., etc., to London, etc., etc.,
and saw all in England. " Dr. Small, after
spending a few days in London, parted
company with the rest and went to travel on
the continent. Loui and Hertzog remained
in London about a week, seeing all that could
be seen in that time. During theii* strolls
about the great metropolis, Hertzog, occa-
sionally in doubt about their own whereabouts,
inquired as to the names of the streets, etc.,
whereat Loui, lest the distinguished Ameri-
can travelers might be mistaken by their
English cousins for ignorant country-Jakes,
became very indignant. And, as Mr. Hert-
zog says, on an occasion of unusual excite-
ment in the streets — great crowds of people,
splendid civic and military displays— he
ventured to inquire the cause. A policeman
very politely answered that the Queen was
passing on her way to the palace. This was
too much for Loui, who, though remarkably
observant, and, as we all know, booked
everything, was ever too proud to seek infor-
mation at the hands of those whom he con-
sidered his inferiors.

From London they went to Holland, up
the Rhine to Mainz, where they parted, Hert-
zog going to Strasburg (France), bis native
place, and Loui proceeding further up the
Khfne, visiting all the chief towns and
cities of German}', Switzerland, Austria, Bo-
hemia, Bavaria, France, Italy and Poland :
keeping a complete diary and making numer-

ous sketches of places, monuments, and other
objects of historic interest. The parties all
returned at different times. Hertzog in No-
vember, 1840, Loui in the fall of 1841, and
the doctor, perhaps, somewhat later.

On his return, Loui resumed his trade, and
continued to work at it in the employ of the
principal bosses then carrying on the carpen-
ter business in York. He was a man of a very
social and genial nature, though withal, some-
what peculiar, eccentric, and at times even
comic. In his humorous mimicry be was almost

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 49 of 218)