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been made. He is a member of the director-
ate of the First National Bank of Red Lion,
the Dallastown ^^'ater Company and the ]\Ier-
chants' Cigar Box ^Manufacturing Company,
and is a director and the treasurer of the
Southern Mutual Fire Insurance Company
and the Dallastown ^Musical Association, being
also one of those associated in the ownership
of the Dallastown market house. ;\Ir. Peters
is a charter member of Dallas Lodge. Xo.
1017, I. O. O. F.. which was org'anized in
1894. and he served as its treasurer for a
period of ten years. Both he and his wife are
members of the Lutheran Church.

On June i, 1884, \\-as solemnized the mar-
riage of ;\Ir. Peters to I\Iiss Katie E. ^Martin,



S28



HISTORY OF YORK COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



who was born and reared in York county, being
a daughter and the third of seven children laorn
to Hiram and Leah E. (Leber) Martin, who
were well known and honored residents of
\\'indsor township. Of the other children
these facts are briefly recorded : Milton D. and
David are residents of the city of York; Sam-
uel is a prominent farmer of Lower Windsor
township; Melinda (deceased) was the wife
of David G. Miller, of York ; Ida is the wife of
Jacob Livingston, of York, and Miss Sarah
resides in Lower Windsor township. To Mr.
and Mrs. Peters have been born ten children,
of whom eight are li\-ing, namely : Stacy E.,
who is a member of the class of 1908, at Get-
tysburg (Pa.) College; Martin L., who is a
popular teacher in the public schools of York
count}', and Hiram M., Florence E., William
H., Jr., Martha L., Grace V. and Miary V.,
who remain at horne in attendance at the pub-
lic schools.

ALBERT H. DIEHL, secretary and di-
rector of the ]Mt. Wolf Furniture Co., Ltd., a
flourishing concern at Mt. Wolf, is descended
from an old York county family, identified with
its history for generations. He was born Jan.
15, 1 87 1, in East Manchester township, son of
Charles H. and Lydia (Bare) Diehl.

Charles Diehl, paternal grandfather of Al-
bert H., was born Dec. 27, 1819, and for a num-
ber of years followed farming in Manchester
township, where he owned a fine farm of sev-
enty-five acres near Mt. Wolf, as v/ell as a few
smaller tracts in other parts of York county.
His wife was Miss Sarah Gross, who was born
jNIarch 26, 1824, in Manchester township, and
who died Feb. 19, 1900, aged seventy-five
years, ten months and twenty-three days. She
had outli\-ed her husband by many years, for
his demise occurred Sept. 12, 1870, at the age
of fifty years, eight months and fifteen days.
Both are buried in Union cemetery. The chil-
dren born to them numbered four, namely :
Charles H. ; John, a cigar manufacturer, who
died in York; Mary, who married S. K. Bare,
of Manchester township; and Daniel D., for
sixteen years a cabinet maker at Mt. Wolf.

Charles H. Diehl was born Sept. 29, 1849,
and on reaching manhood chose farming as his
occupation. He bought the old homestead and
farmed it for sixteen years, when he sold it to
Mathias Baker, and moved to Dover township,
settling on the Michael Gross farm. Later he



moved to Mt. Wolf, and is engaged there at
present in his son's establishment. He was
married Dec. 25, 1869, to Miss L3-dia Bare,
daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Kohler) Bare,
of Manchester township, and to their union
five children have been born, namely : Albert
H. ; Sarah, at home; Edward, of Mt. Wolf,
who married Miss Martha Feiser ;. Phebe, at
home; and Samuel, at home, a wood carver
by trade.

Albert H. Diehl was sent to the Manchester
public schools until he was sixteen, and then
he started to learn the trade of a cabinet maker
with his uncle, Daniel D. Diehl. After three
years with him he worked another three years
for the Weaver Organ & Piano Compan}- in
York and then, buying out his uncle, settled
in Mt. Wolf. He has built a substantial three-
story structure, where he is engaged in the
undertaking business, and, he also manages a
large furniture concern, carrying only the bet-
ter line of furniture. For a period of three
years he was also in business in York Haven,
but his establishment in Mt. Wolf was so suc-
cessful that it demanded his entire attention,
and he sold the former business in 1898. In
1 90 1 Mr. Diehl bought the place where he now
resides, adjoining his store, and put up a fine
double house. A self-made man, and one who
has every cjualification for success in his line,
Mr. Diehl has never' been selfishly absorbed in
his own affairs, but has always been genuinely
interested in the best welfare of the county, and
is always ready with his services to further
any good movement. He is a Republican in
politics, and in religious affiliation a member
of the United Brethren Church, where he has
been assistant class leader for seven years.

On March 12, 1893, Mr. Diehl was united
in marriage with Miss Suetta Krebs, daughter
of Henry and Suetta (Schaeffer) Krebs, of
York county. Five children have been born
to them: Charles H., Roy S., Sarah, James
A. and Esther.

LEVI A. RINELY is a native of York
county, having been born on a small farm in
Lower Windsor township, in what is now
known as Yorkana village, on Aug. 2. 1841.
His father died only three days after his birth.
He is a son of Peter Rinely, who was a day
laborer, and, owing to the latter's untimely
death, has practically no information concern-
ing the family genealogy or the personal career




O^ , J^^ ^D/f^v^C



BIOGRAPHICAL



529



of his father. His mother died in Lower
AVindsor township. Le\-i A. is the younger of
the two children born of this marriage; his
brother, Peter, died in York a number of years
ago and was sur^•ived by his widow, whose
maiden- name was Frey.

Few pleasures and fewer ad\'antag"es at-
tended the youth of Mr. Rinely, his widowed
mother being unable to provide for his main-
tenance, so that he was placed among strangers
when a mere child, and reared by various per-
sons in whose homes he lived, having no op-
portunities for securing even a rudimentary
education and being obliged to work assidu-
ously when a small boy. At the age of twelve
years he entered upon an apprenticeship at the
trade of shoemaking, receiving his instruction
under the direction of Joshua Hendle, in what
is now the village of Yorkan^f, and being thus
bound out for a period of three years, within
which period he became a skilled workman.
After completing his apprenticeship he was
employed at his trade until 1866, when he en-
gaged in business on his own responsibility.
In the meanwhile Mr. Rinely had given evi-
dence of his patriotism and his loyalty to the
Union, in 1862 enlisting in Company C, 130th
P. V. I., under Captain Jenkins and Colonel
Zinn. He enlisted for a term of nine months
and continued in active service for seven days
after the expiration thereof, when he received
his honorable discharge, at Holmesburg, where
he had enlisted. He took part in the battles of
Antietam and Chancellorsville, besides numer-
ous engagements of minor importance.

After the close of his military service Mr.
Rinely returned to York county, and in 1866
engaged in the boot and shoe business at Long
Level, manufacturing the major portion of the
goods which he sold. He remained one year
at that place and then came to East Prospect
and opened a shoe shop. He established a good
trade in the early years and his hold upon pop-
ular confidence and esteem was such that he
was able to gradually increase the scope of his
enterprise. He continued to be there actively
engaged in the boot and shoe business until
1 89 1, though he had long previously aban-
doned work at the bench to devote his atten-
tion to the management of a well equipped
store. He retired from this business in the
year named, since which time he has given his
attention principally to dealing in farm lands
and to the management of his real-estate and



other interests. In politics he is a stalwart ad-
vocate of the principles of the Republican
partv, and fraternallv is affiliated with River-
side' Lodge, No. 563, A. F. & A. M., at
^Vrightsville. He has e\'er been loyal to the
duties and obligations of citizenship and has
won success by worthy means, while he is de-
serving of the more honor on the score of being
the architect of his own fortunes. At the time
of his marriage his scholastic attainments were
represented solely in an ability to designate the
letters of the alphabet. After he engaged in
business for himself he depended to a large
extent upon his wife in the handling of his ac-
counts, but he applied himself so diligently to
study, in which his devoted wife aided him,
that he soon learned to read and write and fin-
ally to figure, becoming able to rely entirely
upon himself, while through reading and ob-
servation he has become well informed. When
he located in East Prospect he did not have
''two pennies to rub against each other," as he
states it, while his clothes were barely sufficient
to cover his nakedness. On Sundays he would
steal away to the woods, in order that he might
not be seen by those who had proper apparel
for the day. He was sober, honest, industri-
ous and provident, and thus gained a start in
life, winning success in the face of obstacles
that would baffle the average man.

On March 27, 1866, Mr. Rinely was united
in marriage to i\Iiss Catherine Smith, who was
born in Lower Windsor township, York coun-
ty, March 26, 1842, and was reared and edu-
cated in York county, having attended school
in East Prospect. She is a daughter of Cas-
per and Elizabeth (Gardner) Smith, who were
born and reared in Germany, where their mar-
riag'e was solemnized, and where three of their,
children were born. In 1840 the family came
to America and took up their residence in York
county, where Mr. Smith followed his trade,
that of wagonmaking, for many years, while
his death occurred in East Prospect, in 1861.
His \vidow passed away in 1875, and of their
five children it is recorded that the two younger
were born in York county, and the others in
Germany, as before stated : John is now a
resident of Freeport, 111. ; ]\Iary died, unmar-
ried, when thirty vears of age : Joseph is a resi-
dent of Gibson City, 111. : Catherine is the wife
of Mr. Rinely; Theresa is the wife of Leonard
Olewiler, of York. Mr. and Mrs. Rinely ha\-e
no children. The wife is a member of the



^3*-



HISTORY OF YORK COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



United Evangelical Church, joining the de-
nomination in 1866. yh-. Rinely has been
identified with the Jr. O. U. A. M. since 1890.

DRENNIXG. The Drenning family of
Wrightsville is of Irish descent and the Ameri-
can line goes back to the great-grandfather of
Col. Richard W. Drenning, who was an early
settler in Newcastle county, Del. He spelled
his name Drennen, which some of his descend-
ants changed to Drenan, and finally Drenning,
the present form. The Drennens were linen
weavers in Belfast and Donegal, Ireland. The
great-grandfather came to this country about
the time the Swedes were settling Delaware,
and made his home near Newark, Newcastle
county, that state, where his son James was
born. The latter is believed to have been a
soldier in the Revolutionary war. The chil-
dren of James Drenning were as follows : ( i )
Ebenezer, who enlisted from Newark, Del., as
a private in the war of 1812, was with Gen.
Jackson, at the battle of New Orleans, after
which he was sent with a troop of horse to a
military post in one of the western territories.
He was never heard from thereafter and was
supposed to have been killed by Indians. (2)
Samuel, who married Deborah Garrett, died
near Newark, Del, leaving one child, Garrett.

(3) William became the father of Col. Richard
W. Drenning and William Cochran Drenning.

(4) Joseph died., unmarried, near Oxford,
Chester Co., Pa. (5) Ruth, who married Rob-
ert Mclntyre, died in Oxford, Pa. (6) Mar-
garet (known as Peggy) married James
Barnes, and died on the farm in Fulton town-
ship, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania.

William Drenning was a lifelong farmer.
- He was born in 1796 on the family homestead,
which was on the line between Chester county.
Pa., and the adjoining county in Delaware.
During the war of 181 2 he and his brother
Samuel were members of a military company
known as "The Wasps," and were on their
way to Baltimore when peace was declared.
William Drenning married Mary Boyd, of
Chester county, whose father, of Scotch-Irish
blood, was Col. John Boyd, of Revolutionary
fame. They began their married life on a
farm in Chester county,, near Oxford, and
there the family remained until 1846. In that
year Mr. Drenning went to Fulton township,
Lancaster county, wdiere he took charge of the
farm of Hon. Jeremiah Brown, which he man-



aged for eleven or twelve years. He then set-
tled on a farm of his own in Fulton township,
which he bought of Elwood Stubbs. In 1839
Mrs. Drenning died on the farm where she be-
gan house-keeping. She and her husband were
members of the Presbyterian Church. • From
early days the Drenning family have been
of that denomination, but when the split in the
church occurred many went with the newer
faction. In politics the family were always
Democrats until William Drenning joined the
Know-Nothing party, and later came over to
the Republicans. A family story tells how his
son and some youthful companions followed
him to a secret meeting of the Know-Nothings,
the boys thinking they were going to surprise
the sober-minded widower in a visit to some
lady. They hid in a loft in the unfinished house
to which they trsfced Mr. Drenning, next morn-
ing enjoying his perplexity when they alluded
to matters discussed at the secret meeting.

William and Mary (Boyd) Drenning were
the parents of the following ten children :
Mary (deceased), who married Robert Barnes;
Jackson, a farmer and dairyman, who married
Martha Merchant, and died in Chester county ;
John, a farmer, who married Mary A. Heppen-
stall and died in Wrightsville ; William Coch-
ran, who is mentioned below; James K., who
married Martha, daughter of John Reed, and
is a farmer in Lancaster county ; Helen, who
married Henry N. Flora, of Wrightsville;
Samuel, a farmer, who married Annie McCall,
and died in Lancaster county ; a child who died
in infancy; Col. Richard W., who is mentioned
below ; and his twin sister Margaret, who mar-
ried (first) a Mr. Pinkerton, and died in
Chester county.

William Cochran Drenning, for nearly
twenty years a resident of Wrightsville, was
born Jan. 26, 1828, near Oxford, Chester Co.,
Pa., and received his education in the sub-
scription schools of the neighborhood. He was
brought up to farm work, and remained with
his father until he was twenty-three years old.
He was apprenticed to the tanner's trade with
James Thomas, a Quaker, and for a time fol-
lowed that calling. In 1847 he went to Balti-
more to learn the trade of a furrier with John
Jay. Even in that day secession was in the
air, and, although the politics of young Dren-
ning were satisfactory to his fellow-citizens,
the fact that he was from the North was against
him. He became involved in a brawl, and at



BIOGRAPHICAL



531



the end of a year returned to Pennsylvania.
He worked at his trade in Lancaster county
until 185 1, when he went to Cuba and be-
came overseer of slave labor on a plantation.
Plis first six months' work gave such satisfac-
tion that he was made major domo of the
plantation, with the entire management in his
hands, and he remained in that position seven
years. Returning to Pennsylvania he found
employment with Mr. Thomas, of whom he had
learned his trade. In the meantime his brother-
in-law, Henry N. Flora, had died, and Mr.
Drenning came to Wrightsville to straighten
out the business affairs of his sister. He has
ever since remained there, engaged in various
occupations. When the new cemetery was
opened, in 1871, he was made superintendent,
and continued in that position until 1897, when
he retired from active business life. In church
matters he inclines to the Presbyterian faith.
He has always been a Democrat in politics.
His first Presidential vote was cast for Polk ;
before that he had voted at a township election,
where, to please his father, he cast 'his ballot
for Judge Brown, one of his father's friends.

Col. Richard W. Drenning is a wealthy
hardware merchant of Wrightsville, where he
has been a prominent citizen and business man
since 1880. He was born in Oxford, Chester
■county, in October, 1838, and his mother died
when he was three months old. Until he was
ten or twelve years old he was cared for by
two aunts. His father then took charge -of the
farm of Associate Judge Brown, in Lancaster
■county, near the Quaker settlement of Goshen,
in the neighborhood of Penn Hill church, two
miles and a half from the birthplace of Rob-
ert Fulton (now Fulton township), and there
Richard grew to manhood. He attended school
at Goshen in 'a little brick building, 10x16 feet
in dimensions. His schooling was much in-
terrupted, as he was obliged to remain at home
nearly every other day to assist in threshing
and other farm work, and he left school alto-
gether when he was seventeen.

Col. Drenning worked for his father on the
farm until the outbreak of the Civil war, and,
after the crops had been harvested, went to
Philadelphia to join the army. On Oct. 2,
1862, he enlisted for four years' service in the
U. S. Marine Corps, and was ordered to Wash-
ington for instructions. He was assigned to a
heavy ordnance testing battery at Geisborough
Point, and. after four months there, was sent



to the navy yard at Washington for eight
months, during that period being promoted to
the rank of corporal. During his assignment
at Washington a battalion of 500 marines was
detailed to co-operate with General Gilmore
in his attack on Fort Sumter. The attempt
failed with a loss of many marines and blue-
jackets. At the end of twenty-eight months
Mr. Drenning received his discharge through
the Secretary of the Navy. He then went to
Philadelphia to receive instruction from Gen-
eral Taggart in tactics and maneuvers, that he
might take charge of a body of colored troops.
However, he did not receive his commission.
He remained in Washington a short time, and
then returned home. In 1865 he married
Sophia Wicks, whose home was in the neigh-
borhood of Penn Hill, Lancaster county, and
who was a daughter of Samuel and Eliztibeth
( Reynolds ) Wicks.

After his marriage Col. Drenning engaged
for a time in farming on shares in Lancaster
county, and in 1869 located near Wrightsville,
York county, upon the farm of his brother-in-
law, Henry N. Flora, the husband of his twin
sister Margaret. There he remained until the
spring of 1880, when he came to Wrightsville
and established a hardware business, handling
also farm implements, fertilizers, etc. He has
been very successful in this enterprise and has
built up a large and flourishing trade. Four
boys have been born to Col. and Mrs. Dren-
ning, as follows : Silas Casey, chief train dis-
patcher on the Pennsylvania railway system, at
Baltimore, who married a Miss Shenberger;
Horatio Clifton, in the employ of the Penn-
sylvania Railway Company, at Baltimore, who
married a Miss Eichelberger, of York ; William
Herbert, clerk in the office of the superintend-
ent of the Pennsylvania Railway Company at
Baltimore, unmarried ; and Walter Lee, tele-
graph operator and collector for the Pennsyl-
vania Railway Company at Wrightsville, who
served as a private in Company I, 8th P. V.
I., in the Spanish-American war.

Col. Drenning is prominent in fraternal
circles, being a member of the F. & A. M.,
Riverside Lodge, No. 503, Wrightsville, of
which he is past master ; a member of the
Golden Eagles, Wrightsville: a member and
past commander of Lieut. R. W^ Smith Post,
No. 270, G. A. R., and nuw serving his sec-
ond term as colonel on the staff of the depart-
ment commander of the G. A. R. of the De-



53^



HISTORY OF YORK COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



partment of Pennsylvania. He was made
notary public to serve from Feb. zy, 1900, for
five years. Col. Drenning is not a church
member, but was reared in the doctrines of the
Presbyterian Church. In politics he is a Dem-
ocrat, although he cast his first vote for Lin-
coln. His second Presidential ballot went for
Gen. McClellan. Col. Drenning is active in
town affairs ; has served twice as chief burgess
of the council, twice as constable and twice as
member of the school board, having filled every
office in the gift of his fellow-citizens. His
fortune was once told by a gypsy, who warned
him that as a seventh son he would never die
in bed ; otherwise, he appears to have been born
imder a lucky star.

Capt. John H. Drenning is a son of John
and. Mary A. (Heppenstall) Drenning, and
was born in Wrightsville, Aug. 6, 1865; his
widowed mother is still living there. When
John H. Drenning was eight years of age his
parents moved to Chanceford township, where
he was brought up on the farm until he was
fifteen years of age, when they returned to
Wrightsville. His educational opportunities
were few and his school days were much inter-
rupted. His first teacher was Mr. Woods, well
known in the country schools, who was then
teaching in Chanceford township. Mr. Dren-
ning never attended any but country schools,
but supplemented their training by hard study
at home, and he has never outgrown his studi-
ous habits. He acquired a thorough knowledge
of farming, as he was obliged to work at that
vocation early and late, from the time he was
a boy. At sixteen he was apprenticed to the
• cigar trade with S. R. Kocher, and then worked
as journeyman under Jacob Kline, D. S. Det-
wiler and Jacob Lessing in Hellam, having
pursued that trade at intervals ever since. He
also learned the business of house-painting and
paper-hanging, and accjuired considerable skill
as a carpenter, doing inside finishing and be-
ing able to turn his hand to many kinds of
work connected with house-building.

At the age of eighteen Mr. Drenning en-
listed in Company I, 8th Pa. N. G., for five
years. During that period he was promoted
to the rank of corporal and re-enlisted for
three years, rising to the rank of quarter-mas-
ter sergeant. After serving his term he again
re-enlisted for three years, was again promoted
to the position of quarter-master sergeant,
then to that of first lieutenant, and finally cap-



tain. Fie was captain of his company when, in
April, 1898, the regiment was ordered to Mt.
Gretna to be mustered into service for duty
in the Spanish-x\merican war. In that capacity
he went with his company to Can^p Alger, Va.,
where the troops remained from May i8th
until the latter part of August, when they
were ordered to Camp Mead, at Middletown,
Pa. Thence they were ordered in No\ember
to Camp Augusta, Ga., where they remained
until spring, being held as reserves in readiness
to take the field. Peace being declared they
were mustered out March 17, 1899. Mr. Dren-
ning then returned home, and has not since
resumed his connection with the militia, his
health having been impaired by the exposure
and hardship of camp lite. He had seen active
service before the war, having been on duty,
at the head of his company, during the home-
stead riots and the strike at Hazleton.

Previous to the war Capt. Drenning had
been in business for himself as a cigar manu- '
facturer, but left his private interests to an-
swer his country's call. After his return he
took the position of foreman in the cigar fac-
tory of B. F. Able, at Hellam, and remained
there until 1902, when he again established
himself in business. He manufactures a fine
grade of five and ten cent cigars, and has estab-
lished a good trade, wow employing eight hands
steadily throughout the year.

Capt. Drenning married, in Wrightsville,
Elinora Ruby, daughter of George and Susan
(Arnold) Ruby. They have three children, as
follows: Stuart R. ; John W., born Feb. 14,
1892; and Catherine R., born Dec. 17, 1903.
Capt. Drenning votes the Democratic ticket,
and does what he can for party interests, albeit
he is no politician. He is a member of the I.
O. O. F., Chihuahua Lodge, No. 317, and the
Encampment, at York, and in religion is affili-
ated with the Methodist Church. He began life
as a poor boy and had no outside aid in his
struggle for success but founded his own for-
tune by steady industr}" and by energetic appli-
cation to whatever he undertook.

JOFIN C. GEHLY. The Gehly family J
has been resident in Pennsylvania since at least ■



Online LibraryGeorge R. ProwellHistory of York County Pennsylvania (Volume II) → online text (page 101 of 201)