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

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part of the Frederick Division, the Hanover
& York Railroad, also a part of the same
road. The Berlin branch, the Bachman Val-
ley, and the Hanover & Baltimore Railroad
interests also center here. The main office
of these companies is in Hanover, and their
cars pass over the line of the consolidated
roads, called the Hanover Junction, and
Hanover & Gettysburg Railroad. A large
number of trains arrive and depart daily.


In pursuance of a resolution adopted at a
previous meeting, a large number of citizens
of Hanover and vicinity convened in the
public schoolhouse, on Saturday, the 26th of
December, 18-16, for the purpose of discuss-
ing the. project of constructing a railroad
from Hanover to intersect with the Northern
Central at the nearest and most practicable
point. Henry Reily presided at this meeting.
Mr. Winchester had made a survey of the
proposed route. After their report was read,
committees were appointed to solicit stock
subscriptions. After $100,000 had been sub-
scribed, a public mass meeting was held Au-
gust 28, 1847, which was addressed by James
Cooper, J. J. Naille and Capt. A. W. Eich-

The company was chartered March 16,
1847. The commissioners were Samuel
Mumma, Joseph W. Schmidt, Jacob Forney,
David Diehl, Jacob Young, Daniel P. Lange,
Eli Lewis, F. E. Metzger, Michael Bucher,
David Slagle, Jacob Wirt, John R. Hershey,
Jesse Frysinger, Henry Reily, A. H. Barnitz,
William S. Jenkins, H. W. Emmert, Joseph
Althoif, Peter Flickinger, Amos Lefever, D.
M. Myers, George Eichelberger, Samuel Dil-
ler, Jacob Dellone, Joseph Bittinger, John
Trimmer, Joseph Fink, Henry Leib, Henry
Sherman, Jacob Forry, John E. Zeigler, and
Andrew Deardorff. Committees were then
appointed to visit the cities and canvass the
country. Meetings were called and strenuous
efforts made to dispose of the stock. It ap-
pears, however, that delay was experienced,
as it was not until October 18, 1S49, that the
requisite number of shares (1,000) to incor-
porate the company under letters patent were
fully secured. An election was held November
10, which resulted in choosing Jacob Wirt for
President, and Jacob Young, F. E. Metzger,
Philip Kohler, H. W. Emmert, Samuel Diller
and Jacob Wortz, as managers. The board
organized on the I8th of the same month, but
it was not until October 28, 1850, that any
definite action was taken to build the road.
In addition to other causes, the estimate of
the cost of the road made by A. P. Winches-
ter, civil engineer, who had made a survey the
previovTS year, and which was far in excess of
the actual cost, as subsequently shown, con-
tributed much to discourage the friends of
the project, many of them believing it was
beyond the financial ability of the community
to build the road.

At the meeting of the directors referred to,
a resolution was adopted to put the road un-
der contract. Theophilus Sickels was em-



ployed as engineer, and necrotiations resulted
iQ making a contract with Joseph Gonder for
completing the road according to speciiica-
tions. The agreement was closed March 1
1851, by Jacob Forney, president pro-tem,
Jacob Young, Jacob Dellone, Samuel Diller
Philip Kohler and Jesse Frysinger, as direc
tors, on the part of the Company, with Jo
seph Gonder, Jr. Ground was broken at
Jefferson on the 20th of the same month, and
October 22, 1852 — about 19 months there-
after — the road was formally opened for bus-
iness, notwithstanding that some delay was
occasioned by the death of the contractor
and the loss at sea of a cargo of iron
ordered for laying that portion of the track
between the York Road and Hanover. The
location of the terminus or depot at the latter
place gave rise to an animated contest, which
was finally decided by a vote of the stock-
holders May 13, 1851.

The first train after completion of the road
arrived in Hanover on Wednesday evening,
September 29, 1852, with a large number of
passengers. Jacob Forney was elected pres-
ident, in 1851, to succeed Jacob Wirt, who
resigned. He served until 1853, when Gapt.
A. W. Eichelberger was elected. He has
occupied the same position, continuously,
ever since, and is, therefore, the oldest rail-
road president, in number of years of service,
in the United States. Until April 1, 1855,
the road was operated, for a proportion of the
earnings, by the Baltimore and Susqiiehanna
(now N. C. R. W.) Railroad Company. The
present ofiicers are A. W. Eichelberger,
president; R. M. Wirt, secretary; Rufus
Eichelberger. treasurer; directors, Stephen
Keefer, William Grumbine, Peter Flickinger
and Reuben Young of Hanover; C. W. Slagle
and William Buehler of Baltimore; Matthew
Eichelberger and David Wills of Gettysburg;
general superintendent, Hugh D. Scott;
general freight and ticket agent, Joseph Leib.


The Bachman Valley Railroad was char-
tered May 13,1871, and road opened Decem-
ber 2. 1872. It extends from Valley Junction
on the Hanover Branch Railroad, in Codoriis
Township, across Manheim Township to Ebb-
vale, Md., a distance of thirteen miles,
and joins the Hanover & Baltimore Rail-
road near Summit station, near the Maryland
line. From Valley Junction to Summit
station it forms a pai't of the main line from
Hanover to Baltimore. This road is operated
by the Hanover Junction, Hanover and
Gettysburg Railroad Company, which sup-
plies the rolling stock. The main office is at

Hanover, Penn. Its officers are as follows:
president, A. W. Eichelberger; secretary and
treasurer, C. W. Forney; directors, Stephen
Keefer, H. C. Schriver, Henry Young, Jo-
seph Althoff, J. W. Gitt, of Hanover, Levi
Dubs, of Summit; A. W. Boyd and Jerome
L. Boyer, of Columbia, Penn.; P. R. Pyue,
of New York City; Samuel Thomas,of Hokon-
daugua, Lehigh Co. , Penn.: J. A. Klinefelter
and Adam Newcomer, of Glenville, York

That part of the road from the State line
to Ebbvale in Carroll County, Md., a dis-
tance of five miles, is controlled by a different
list of directors, with Jerome L. Boyer of
Columbia as president. The entire route of
this road passes through a country abounding
in a good quality of iron ore; immense quan-
tities have been taken out and shipped over
the road to Hanover Junction, thence to Col-
umbia and Danville, Penn.

A company had been formed in 1835, and
a board of directors elected to build a rail-
road from Wrightsville to Gettysburg, and
from thence through to Hagerstown, Md.
An act of the legislature was passed May,
1836, incorporating it as the Wrightsville
& Gettysburg Railroad Company. Hon. Thad-
deus Stevens, one of the chief incorporators,
became president of the company. The York
&Wrightsville and Wrightsville & Gettysburg
companies combined in one company to ex-
tend the road from York westward, through
Abbottstown and New Oxford, to Gettysburg.
A survey was made over a part of this route,
and a State ajjpropriation granted to the
amount of $200,000. The work came to an
end after an expenditure of .5800,000, mostly
for that portion of the route west of Gettys-
burg known as the "Tape Worm Road." A
resolution, passed by both houses of the legis-
lature, ordered further work to discontinue
after March, 1839. It was never afterward

That portion of the road lying south of
Gettysburg, and which was controlled by the
State, was subsequently transferred by the
legislature to the Gettysburg Railroad Com-
pany. A few years ago. all the rights and
interests of this road were merged into the
Hanover Junction, Hanover & Gettysbm-g


The first survey of this road was made by
civil engineer J. S. Gitt, in November, 1855.
A charter was soon after received. On the
4th of July, 1857, the work of construction
was begun at Littlestown. A speech was
tii-st made by William McSherry, the presi-




dent of the railroad, and two bands discoursed
line music. After a bounteous repast in a
grove near by, other speeches were made and
the work started. The completion of the
road was celebrated just one year from the time
of beginning. It joined the Hanover Branch
at Hanover, and the iirst trains were run on
July 1, 1858. This road was operated for
a number of years after its completion by the
Hanover Branch Railroad until its lease by
the Pennsylvania Railroad. It now forms a
part of the Frederick Division of that rail-


This line is under the control of H. B. H.
& G. R. R. Co., with the central office at
Hanover. The entire line from Hanover to
East Berlin is twelve miles. The first five
miles of the route is over a part of the
H. & Gr. R. R. to Berlin Junction. The line
from there to East Berlin is seven miles. The
Company, with a capital stock of 75,000,
organized March 30, 1876, with the follow-
ing board of officers and directors; A. W.
Eichelberger, president ; A. W. Storm of
East Berlin, secretary ; Jacob Resser, treas-
urer. Directors : William Grumbine, P.
Flickinger, S. Keefer, R. M. Wirt and Will-
iam Bittinger. Dr. Samuel Meisenhelder,
and Joseph Dellone. Joseph Gitt was civil
engineer, and Cynis Diller, Gonder & Sons,
Fleegle & Bittinger, and A Favorite, con-
tractors. The road was completed and
opened in August, 1877. The same persons
are still the officers of the company. Joseph
Wolf, of Abbottstown, Dr. R. N. Meisenhel-
der and G. W. Diehl of East Berlin are at
present directors, having taken the places of
some of the original directors.



The company which controls and operates
this road was organized in the year 1877.
It connects the Western Mai-yland Railroad
at Emory Grove with the Bachman Valley
Railroad near Black Rock Station, in York
County, and these constitute, with the Han-
over Junction, Hanover & Gettysburg Rail-
roads, a continuous line from Baltimore to
Gett}'sburg. These lines of roads pass
through a well cultivated, rich and produc-
tive agricultural country. After leaving
Emory Grove on the line of the Vv'estern
Maryland Railroad, seventeen miles from
Baltimore, the road gradually ascends, run-
ning parallel with and in close proximity to
the Hanover & Baltimore Turnpike. One
great point gained to the southwestern end
of York County, by the building of' the Bal-

I timore & Hanover and the Bachman Valley
Railroads, was that they opened up a section of
country, in which the soil is susceptible of
being highly improved by the application of
fertilizers, especially lime and phosphates.
The facilities thus offered for their introduc-
tion at amoderate cost, were promptly availed
of by the industrious and enterprising farm-
ers, the results of which are now shown in
crops which compare favorably with those
raised in limestone land.


For many years the central and western
parts of York County had derived im-
portant results from being traversed by rail-
roads. There was yet a large section of
country in the southeastern portion of the
county which for 120 years was called the
" York Barrens." It is true, Susquehanna
Canal had wonderfully helped to improve the
river districts, after its completion, in 1839,
by furnishing easy means of transportation,
But what the sturdy descendants of the
Scotch-Irish needed still fiu'ther to help
them develop that now fertile and product-
ive region was the means for rapid trans-
portation. This has been abundantly sup-
plied by the York & Peach Bottom Rail-
way Company, an organization that has had

i manj- struggles and trials, but is yet destined

j to triumph and be still more highly appreci-

1 ated by the enterprising merchants of York
and the business men and the hardy sous uf

! toil of the now prosperous lower end.
Stephen G. Boyd, in 1867, a representative
in the Pennsylvania legislature from York

I County, took an active interest in developing
a favorable sentiment toward the construction
of a road through his native section, and
worked with gi-eat zeal and earnestness,

' until the much coveted road was built.
At a railroad mass meeting held in the

I village of Fawn Grove, so much interest was
manifested by the people of the lower end,
that a company was soon after organized
and plans laid for constructing the road.
The purpose of this meeting was to endorse

' the efforts of Mr. Boyd in securing the pass-
age of the bill incorporating the company.
The bill passed the Legislature, was approved
March 24, 1868. and a supplement to this
bill was passed March 29, 1872, which em-
powered the new company to construct and
operate a railroad from any point on Northern
Central Railway, between York and the Mary-
land line, eastward through the lower end of
York. and Lancaster Counties into Chester
County, joining any road leading to Philadel-
phia, and to extend its main line west, from



York to East Berlin, Adams County, further
west connecting with other roads.

The original name ^\a8 Peace Bottom
Railway Company. The line from Oxford,
Chester County, to the Susquehanna, was
completed first, a distance of twenty miles, and
called the eastern division. The line from
York to Peach Bottom, forty miles, was
termed the middle division.

For the construction of this, bonds amount-
ing to $.j()0,00() were issued, and Samuel
Felton and David E. Small were made trus-
tees for the bondholders. The company or-
ganized by electing Ste^ihen Gr. Boyd, presi-
dent; Samuel Dickey, of Oxford, vice-presi-
dent; William Wallace, secretary; A. C.
Manifold, treasurer; and Stephen McKinley,
Benjaman Tyson, Henry Neff, Rufus Wiley,
of York County; John Alexander, Slater B.
Russell, Nathaniel Morgan, of Lancaster
County; Robert Patterson and John T. Wadell,
of Chester County, directors. It was then de-
termined to construct a narrow guage road
of three feet. Work was soon begun by con-
tractors, James Freeland, Samuel Smith, D.
W. Grove and John T. Wallace. The cost
was $12,000 per mile. On July 4, 1874,
seven miles of the road was opened as
far as Dallastown Station, by an excursion
party from York. By December, 1874, it
was completed to the forks of Muddy Creek,
and the next summer to Woodbine. A pub-
lic meeting was held at Woodbine July,
1875, in order to raise funds to complete the
road to Delta. It was extended from Delta
to Peach Bottom in 1883.

John M. Hood, who was president of the
Western Maryland road, was first civil en-
gineer in constructing the road. He was
followed by J. E. Matthews, and by the
present one S. M. Manifold.

L. J. Dodson has been a conductor on the
road since it was first operated. W. C. Lick-
ing, now a conductor, has been an employe
of the company since organization.

Stephen G. Boyd was president of the
company from January, 1871, to January,
1877, when he was succeeded by Charles R.
McConkey, of Peach Bottom, who is now the
efficient president. The secretaries in order
of succession have been, William Wallace, J.
V. Geesey, E. C. Bender and F. G. Metzgar.

The road is now imder excellent manage-
ment, and is considered a deeply felt neces-


A line is now (1885) being constructed from
the borough of Stewartstown to join the
Northern Central.


The electric magnetic telegraph was in-
vented by Prof. Samuel B. Morse of New
York. The first line ever built was stretched
from Washington to Baltimore, and the first
news message transmitted was the result of
President Polk's election in November, 1844.
This line was extended to York in 1850, and
from thence to Columbia and Philadelphia,
and also a line from York to Harrisburg. The
line to Columbia followed the turnpike. It
was soon afterward removed, and now a line
follows the railroad. The wires from Balti-
more through York were first called the
American line. A few years later, this line
came into possession of the Independent & In-
land Telegraph Company, and subsequently
was purchased by the United States Telegraph

The Western Union Company purchased
all interests about the time of the Civil War,
and now own them. There are also private
wires on these lines owned by the railroad
company, and there are a great many offices
at the different railway stations in York
County. George W. Schock has been the
efficient manager of the Western Union office
at York for many years. There are now in
the United States nearly 200,000 miles of
telegraph wire in operation.


In 1858 a private telegraph company was
organized at Hanover, with a capital stock of
$800, to run a line from the Junction, on the
Northern Central Railway, to Hanover, and a
line was completed in the spring of 1860.
The first despatch, received April 10th, of
that year, was a congratulatory one from
Hanover Junction which was replied to by
Geo Thomas, president of the Hanover Com-
pany. The interest of the local company
was soon purchased by the Inland & Inde-
pendent Line, and by them transferred to the
United States Telegraph Company, and
soon after the last-named company sold
their interest to the Western Union. The
first operator was W. H. Shock. He
taught Daniel E. Trone of Hanover, who
soon took charge of the office. For a
time Mary Harris was operator. During
the time of the Battle of Gettysbm-g all
the important dispatches to President Lin-
coln and war department at Washington, and
to the New York and Philadelphia journals
were sent from this office by the late Daniel
E. Trone, as operator. ~


The Bankers & Merchants' Line, of two



■wires, was nin from Harrisburg to Baltimore
in 1883, extending across Fairview, New-
berry, Conewago and Manchester Townships
to York. It extends from York to Baltimore,
via York & Maryland Line Turnpike. The
line is now owned by the Atlantic & Pacific
Telegraph Company. In 1884 two more
wires were added.

The line, which crosses the Susquehanna at
McCall's ferry and passes diagonally through
Lower Chanceford and Fawn Townships, via
Bridgeton and Gatchelville, was originally
constructed by the Insulated Telegraph Com-
pany in 1871. It contained four wires on
plug insulators, which were soon after re-
placed by brackets and glass insulators, and
at this time the line passed into the hands of
the Franklin Telegraph Company, and was
operated by it until November 1, 1874, when
the Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Company
leased it, rebuilt in the summer of 1880, and
added two new wires. The line was then com-
posed of six wires. The two new wires are
No. 6 gauge, the other four No. 9 gauge.
Four of the wires are put on cross arms, with
screw pins and screw glass, considered the
best insulator made. The Atlantic & Pacific
Company was consolidated with the Western
Union in the spring of 1881, and this line
has been worked by that system ever since.

There is one office along this line near the
village of Centreville. It is, however, known
as the Airville office, with John M. Easton
as the efficient operator..


This company built a line across York
County during the winter of 1883-84. It
crosses the Susquehanna River at McCall's
ferry, and passes through Lower Chanceford
and Fawn Townships about half a mile south
of the line above described. It was at lirst
composed of two compound wires on four
wire cross arms. Two more wires, one com-
pound and one of solid copper, were run in
the spring of 1884. This is known as the
Mackey-Bennet system. It is a main line
from the East to the West. There are no
offices connected with it in this county. It
passes from McCall's ferry through Nailer's
fording on the Muddy Creek, into Maryland
at a place on Mason and Dixon's line known
as Constitution Postoffice.


The National Transit Telegraph Company
constructed a single wire line from Millway,
Lancaster County, crossing the Susque-
hanna at Yoi-k Furnace, thence via Woodbine
to Canton, near Baltimore. It is a private

line in connection with the National
Transit Oil Company's Pipe Lines and was
built during the months of May and June,
1883. There is a test office near Airville of
which Mr. Easton is operator.

There is an oil pipe line from Millway near
Litiz, Lancaster County, crossing the Susque-
hanna River at York Furnace, extending
from thence through Airville and Woodbine
in a direct line to Canton near the city of
Baltimore. At Millway there are two im-
mense oil tanks, each one hundred feet in
diameter, and eleven feet high, together with
engines and aparatus for forcing the oil to
j other stations which are located on the lines
branching out from this central one. The
line from Millway to Baltimore, crossing this
county, was laid in 1883. The pipe used, is
made of wrought iron live inches in diameter.
The oil is pumped from Millway, by means
of the engines mentioned, to Canton. The
company paid land owners in York County 25
cents per rod for right of way. Being laid
in the early summer, all destruction to the
growing crops, caused by laying the pipe,
was also paid for. This is called the Balti-
more line, being a branch of the Pennsyl-
vania line from Millway. From the great
oil region in northwestern Pennsylvania,
there are a number of lines directing toward
the large cities. There is one from Bradford
to New York, one from near the same place
via Millway to Philadelphia, under the man-
agement of the National Transit Company.
The Standard Oil Company, which possibly
controls them all, has lines extending south
and west.

There have been many new inventions and
discoveries during the past half ceutui'y, but
none that startled the world more than the
invention and successful use of the telephone,
which, like the invention of the electrical
telegraph and steam navigation, is the
product of American genius. They are
all now intimately related to each other, and
have an important bearing in the economy
of mankind. It is impossible in a short
article to show the relations of the telegraph
to the telephone, and of the various forms of
electrical or magnetic communication which
led to scientific research resulting in these
wonderful inventions. The telephone is
marvelous for its simplicity, and can be put
to so much practical use that it is now a



The practicability of the telephone in
York was clearly established, and soon the
"Exchange System" was adopted. This
system consists of a number of circuits run-
ning first to offices, stores, factories and
private residences of subscribers to a central
oflice, where they are joined to a switching
apparatus by means of which the operator
can answer calls and place any two subscrib-
ers in communication with each other.

J. K. Gross, general freight agent of the
Northern Central Railway, in 1882, put the
telephone on the exchange system into effect-
ive use in York. VV. Latimer Small built
the first wire from his residence to the Cod-
orus Mills, three miles from York. Soon
after, a number of instruments were put in
position in various business establishments
and offices of York.

The interest of Mr. Gross was purchased
by the Southern Pennsylvania Telephone Com-
pany. In January, 188:^, this company was
consolidated with the Pennsylvania Tele-
phone Company, comprising in its territorysix-
teen counties, with Hon. Francis Jordan of
Harrisburg as president; William Kerr as
general manager. At this time Isaac Rudi-
sill was chosen general solicitor, and in
the interest of the same commenced the
publication of the Telephone, a monthly
journal. The use of the telephone as a
mode of communication soon became
popular in York under its new management.
Territorial lines were built to connect it with
Harrisburg, Lancaster, Reading and other
exchanges. In York County, lines were ex-
tended to Spring Grove, Glen Rock, Logan-
ville, Seitzland, Wrightsville, Hanover,
Railroad Borough, New Freedom, Hellam.
Paradise, Emigsville, York Haven, Golds-
boro, Dallastown and along the line of Peach
Bottom Railroad to the river. There are
now about 150 instruments in York County.


THE art of agriculture is older than his-
tory, but the science of agriculture is
comparatively modern, and understood by
very few who are engaged in its honorable

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 71 of 218)