George R. Prowell.

History of York County Pennsylvania (Volume II) online

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He was married in Hellam township to Miss
Elizabeth Poff, and after marriage they settled
in Hellam or Lower Windsor township, where
Mr. Weitzel continued his occupation.

The mother of our subject was born in
Windsor township, in about 1808, the daugh-
ter of John Poff, a shoemaker of York county.
The grandfather of John Poff settled at an
early day at Green Brier, Va., but he and his
family were compelled to remove from this
place on account of the hostility of the Indians.
Consequently they crossed the Susquehanna
and located in W'indsor township, York county,
where they took up a tract of 200 acres of land,
and engaged in agricultural pursuits. John
Poff had a corner of his house for his work-
shop. To him and his wife the following chil-
dren were born : Elizabeth, Harry, John,
Samuel. Elijah, Sally, Polly. After the death
of her first husband, Mrs. Weitzel married
(second) William Anderson, by whom she had
seven children вАФ four boys, all of whom were in
the Civil war, and three girls, namely : Sam-
uel, George, Martha, William, Plenry, Sarah
and Lizzie, all of whom are deceased with the
exception of George, who lives at Gallipolis,
Ohio, and Henry, who lives in Dover county,
Ohio. John E. Weitzel, our subject, is the
only surviving child of her first marriage. In
i860, Mrs. Elizabeth (Poff) Anderson went
with her husband and children to near Spring-
field, Ohio, making the journey by teams, and
there she reared her family to maturity.

John E. Weitzel's father died when he was
very young, and he was reared by his step-

fadier. The railroads were just being built
through this section at that time, and they in-
spired young \Veitzel to become a mechanic.
There being no machinists in this section at
that time, however, he turned to the black-
smith's trade, entering- the shop of James F.
Magee, at the corner of Third and Hellam
streets, serving three years, and receiving three
dollars per_ month. After Mr. Weitzel had
been with Mr. Magee for two years, the lat-
tei"'s journeyman left him, and our subject was
put at the head of the shop and the men. Al-
though Mr. Magee was a Democrat, and young
Weitzel a Whig-, the best of feeling" ever ex-
isted between them, and the employer gave his
young assistant many ideas which in after life
proved of much benefit to him. After leaving
the blacksmith shop Mr. Weitzel went into a
machine shop at Columbia, where he worked
for a Mr. Smetley for three years, and then
engaged in business for himself, in the manu-
facturing- of brick. With William Kerr and
D. S. Cook he engaged in lime burning, the
firm then being known as Kerr, Cook & Co.,
and after Mr. Cook left the firm it was known
as Kerr, Weitzel & Co. This partnership con-
tinued for twenty-four years, the product of
the company being shipped over several States.

John E. Weitzel and Carrie Elwine, who
was born Dec. 24, 1828, in New York City,
were united in marriage in 1850 at York, Pa.
Mrs. Weitzel was the daughter of John and
Catherine (Bechtel) Elwine, natives of Wurt-
emberg, Germany. Mr. and Mrs. Weitzel now
live in their beautiful home in Wrightsville,
which our subject built in 1876. To them have
been born the following children : Henry,
who married (first) Etta Raymond, and (sec-
ond) Ella Lehman; Luther, who married Miss
Lizzie Lehman ; George, who married Miss
Upp ; Carrie ; Emma, Mrs. W. B. Reisinger.

Mr. Weitzel joined the Lutheran Church
at the time of his marriage, his wife having
been a member of that faith from girlhood.
In politics he was a Whig, and served as
school director for nine years, and also on the
town council. He has been president of the
Wrightsville Hall Association for twenty years,
and a director in the Wrightsville Bank since
1876. For two years he has been the president
of the Wrightsville and Chanceford Turnpike.
John E. Weitzel is a self-made man in all that
the term implies. Starting a poor boy. with no
capital except a pair of willing and able hands



and an undiminishable stock of energy, he
worked his way up, step by step, to the top of
the ladder of success, until he is now reckoned
one of the wealthy men of York county. Every
dollar of Mr. Weitzel's fortune has been hon-
estly made, and he bears an enviable reputation
. in the community as a man of honor and integ-
rity. He is certainly one of York county's
representative men.

JACOB ZEIGLER, for many years con-
nected with the general mercantile business,
and at present engaged in the crushed stone
and cement business in West York borough,
was born Nov. 26, 1858, son of Jesse and Leah
(Yost) Zeigler, both natives of York county.

His paternal grandparents were Daniel and
Anna Mary (Geisleman) Zeigler, and the two
families represented old and honored Penn-
sylvania names. Daniel Zeigler was a miller
by trade and devoted the earlier part of his life
to that calling, but later was engaged in farm-
ing with his son, Jesse. He and his wife had
three sons, Jesse, George and Daniel. The
family w-ere Lutherans in religion, and Demo-
crats in politics.

Jesse Zeigler was born in York county
and received his schooling in the public schools.
He '\\'as employed by the month as a farm hand
until he reached his majority, and at that time
he purchased a farm, which he operated as long
as he took an active part in life. He and his
wife, whose maiden name w-as Leah Y^ost, had
fourteen children. Reuben ; George ; Henry ;
Jesse ; Sarah J. and Eliza, both deceased ; Dan-
iel ; Leah ; Jacob ; Annie ; Laura ; Peter ; Alira-
ham ; and one who is deceased. Mr. Zeigler
died in August, 1901, but his wife is still liv-
ing, aged seventy-seven. She was formerly
a Moravian, but after her marriage adopted
the same faith as her husband, the Lutheran.

Jacob Zeigler attended the public schools
of Jackson township, and then completed his
education in East Berlin. He then worked as
a clerk in various mercantile establishments,
first in John Geisleman's general store for
three years; then went to George Snodgrass
for three years ; for two years was with Eman-
uel Myers ; and after this length of time ven-
tured out in business for himself. He carried
on a general store at La Bott for twelve years
with much success, and then in 1901 sold out
the property and stock to G. D. ]Maul, while he
himself took the position with ;\Ir. G. E.

Sprenkle, which he held until the spring of
1905. There his abilities had full play, as
manager of the general store, for in his long
experience as clerk and proprietor he had be-
come admirably fitted for the responsibilities
of the position, proving himself emphatically
the right man in the right place. In the spring
of 1905 Mr. Zeigler moved to ^^'est York
borough and engaged with the Hartley. Rieker
Company, wdio manufactured artificial stone
and did cement work, also running a stone
crusher. Mr. Zeigler acted as foreman for
them. In the fall of 1905 they dissolved part-
nership and Mr. Zeigler is now to take Mr.
Rieker's place in the firm with J. A\'. Hartley.
They sell crushed stone, do cement wOrk,
and make artificial building blocks, for which
they have a great demand.

In 1889 Mr. Zeigler was married to I\Iiss
Emma Shafifer, a daughter of Michael and
Catherine ShafTer, natives of York county.
Their children are two: Edith M. and Jacob
G. The family are connected with the Luth-
eran Church. A Democrat in politics. Mr.
Zeigler has never held office except during his
residence in La Bott, where he held the ap-
pointment of postmaster for thirteen vears.

JAMES W. GEMAIILL, superintendent
of the Martin Carriage \Vorks, was born and
reared in Baltimore county, Md. His father,
David Gemmill, is a prominent resident of
Westminster, Md., and superintendent of the
Westminster Water Company, and for twenty
years was managing superintendent of the
Ashland Iron Company. David Gemmill mar-
ried Ruth Curry, daughter of Kean Curry, a
farmer of Baltimore county, Md., and the fol-
lowing children were born to this union : Two
that died in infancy; Annie, who died at the
age of two years ; Alfred, who died at the same
age ; Elizabeth, who died at the age of sixteen
years; Fanny, married to Israel Reynolds, who
is connected with Armour & Co., Chicago;
I\Iary, who married Martin Moul. a lumber
dealer and the owner of a wire cloth factory
at Hanover, Y'ork county; William H.. chief
engineer of the Martin Carriage ^^'orks : Wal-
ter F., connected with the Hanover Water
Wheel Co. : Irene, who married Joseph Coru-
man : and James W.

James W. Gemmill was born on the old
homestead in Baltimore Co.. Md., Dec. 11,
1867, and received his education in the schools



of the district. He worked on the farm until
eighteen years of age, and then removed to
Hanover, and, after working in a sash factory
for three years, removed to York, where he
worked for the York Carriage Company for
two years. In 1890 Mr. Gemrpill connected
himself with the Martin Carriage Company,
starting at body-making, and receiving his just
promotions from time to time, tmtil, in 1899,
he became superintendent of the works, be-
ing in control of 275 to 300 men.

James W. Gemmill was married to Laura
B. Grass, daughter of Adam Grass, deceased,
of Hanover, and three children have been born
to this union, as follows : Marie, Ruth and
Gladj-s, all of whom are attending school. Mr.
Gemmill belongs to the Knights of Malta, the
Modern Woodmen of America, and the Royal
Fire Company, of the latter of which he was a
charter member. In religion he is a member
of the Methodist Church, and has been a stew-
ard in the same since 1902. In politics he is a
Democrat. Although many other duties call
for his time, the greater part of Mr. Gemmill's
energies are spent in the advancement of the
interests of the big industrial concern of which
he is superintendent.

LEWIS J. MILLER, proprietor of the
Locust Grove farm, is one of East Hopewell
township's substantial and representative men,
and is a native of that township, having been
born at Muddy Creek Forks, May 6, 1857.

John Miller, father of Lewis J., was born
in Germany, Dec. 13; 1828. After having
completed his education, he learned the tailor-
ing trade, and came to the United States when
a young man, landing in Baltimore, where he
remained but a short time. Fie then located
in Hopewell township, where he followed
tailoring, and after his Ijoys had grown to
manhood he purchased a farm, upon which he
died July 13, 1885. In religion he was a
Lutheran, and in politics a Democrat. Mr.
IVIiller married in Baltimore, Md., Mary Bar-
bara Giessler, who was also boi'n in Germany,
Sept. 3, 1828, and she died April 22, 1885,
and was buried at Sadler's Lutheran Church.
These children were born to Mr. and Mrs.
Miller: John G., of East Hopewell township;
Lizzie, Mrs. Jacob Levy, of Buckner, Mont. ;
Lev>'is J. ; Mary, deceased ; Andrew, of Chance-
ford township ; George, of Hopewell town-
ship; Maggie, Mrs. William Karfold, of New

Jerse}'; James, of Peach Bottom township;
Susan, Mrs. Weber of Pliiladelphia; Harry
E., of York, and William, who died in 1895,
aged twenty-two years.

Lewis J. Miller was taken to the farm when
three or four years, old by his father. Here
he was reared to manhood, attending the town-
ship (Manifold) school. His advantages for an
education were limited, however, as he attend-
ed but three or four months each term, being
kept at home a great deal of the time. At the
age of twenty-one years he left home and hired
out to A. C. Manifold, an East Hopewell town-
ship farmer, with whom he remained one year,
and he then made a start for himself. He had
saved a little money, and this he invested in
farm implements and one horse, hiring another
horse as needed. He first rented the William
Liggett farm in East Hopewell township, and
there he remained one and one-half years,
after which he farmed on half shares for five
years. With what he had saved Mr. Miller
purchased his present place of i89_acres, from
Nehemiah Stewart, and since that time he has
made many improvements on the place. In
1898 he erected his present beautiful residence
and a fine set of farm buildings, making one
of the best farm homes in this locality.

On Washington's birthday, Feb. 22, 1883,
at Dallastown, Mr. Miller married Margaret
Sebum, the ceremony being performed by the
Reverend Lenhart, a Lutheran pastor. Mrs.
Miller was born Nov. 22, 1861, at Hanover
Junction, and received her education in the
public schools. Her father, John Andrew
Schum, was born in Bavaria, Germany, and his
parents having died in that country, he came
to the United States when about twenty-five
years of age. He had a sister living in Balti-
more, Md., and two sisters in Chanceford
township, York Co., Pa. He engaged in farm-
ing, and married in Seven Valley, Miss Ursula
Barbara Wilhelm, who was born in Germany,
and came to the United States in young wo-
manhood, also landing" at Baltimore. Mr.
Schum, after marriage, lived at Hanover Junc-
tion for a time, and then purchased a farm in
Chanceford township, and one in East Hope-
well. Fie died July 2^, 1889; he was a mem-
ber of the Lutheran Church at Conrad's Cross
Roads, and was a deacon for several years.
In politics he was a stanch Democrat. Mrs.
Schum died Dec. 30, 1904.

Mr. and Mrs. Miller are members of the



Mt. Pleasant Lutheran Church, in which he
is now serving his first year as elder. He is
a stanch Democrat but has never aspired to
public office. They have had children : Celia
Barbara (who died aged thirteen years), Car-
rie Elizabeth, Minerva Jane, Dora Leah and
Harry Lewis.

ROBERT McCOLLOM (deceased), for
many years a prominent and successful mer-
chant and farmer of York county, was a na-
tive of the Emerald Isle. In 18 18, in young
manhood, he came to America, locating in Bal-
timore, Md., where he remained for a number
of years, engaged in keeping a store. He ac-
quired his education in Ireland and in Balti-
more. In about 1833 he located in Airville,
where he kept store at Gilbert McCollom's,
who had arrived here some years previous.
He continued business there, and afterward
purchased the farm fi-om his brother, upon
which he located after his marriage. Here he
died JNIarch 9, 1863, aged sixty-seven years.
He was a member of the Airville U. P. Church.
In political faith he was a Whig, but later
changed to the Republican party.

Mr. McCollom was married, in 1843, to
Miss Margaret Smith, born in Lower Chance-
ford township, daughter of Samuel Smith,
who came from Ireland when a young man.
Mrs. McCollom made a public profession of
Christ at an early age, and was a lifelong
member of the Airville U. P. Church. She
died at the age of eighty years. Their chil-
dren were: Margaret A., at home, received a
public school education, and also attended York
Academy and received educational advantages
in Baltimore; Jennie E., at home, also received
a fine education ;' William S. died at the age
of eight years ; Samuel Robert is deceased ;
and Daniel J. C. died at the age of two years.

Samuel Robert McCollom received his
education in the public schools, and attended
the York County Collegiate Institute, under
Mr. McDougall. He taught school in Lower
Ghanceford township for three years, and
spent one year in the local academy at Brogue-
ville. He married Anna Griffith, who still
survives. Mr. McCollom was a faithful mem-
ber of the U. P. Church at Airville, attending
that church from his childhood. He was
trustee, for a number of years served as treas-
urer, was a class teacher in the Sabbath-school,
and was one of the building committee for the

new parsonage. Two years before his death,
which occurred in his thirty-second year, he
was appointed to the position of justice of the
peace, to fill the unexpired term of Mr. S. M.
Pedan, and he was again elected for another
term. The death of so useful and beloved a
churchman was deeply deplored. The im-
pressive funeral services were conducted by his
beloved friend and pastor, Rev. A. S. Aiken,
whose admirable and appropriate sermon
touched every heart. Many years will have
passed before his influence has faded from this

HENRY A. SHOM'AKER. Eive miles
from the beautiful city of York is located the
attractive home of this prosperous business
man of York county where he has passed
his entire life. He is, in both the agnatic
and maternal lines, a representative of
pioneer stock in this section of the Keystone
State. He is engaged in the blacksmithing and
cigar business, and also carries on a profitable
horticultural enterprise on his little farm dur-
ing the recurring seasons.

Mr. Shomaker is a representative of the
fourth generation of the Shomaker family in
York county, and the lineage is traced back
to stanch German derivation, the original
American progenitor having come to the New
World in the Colonial era.

John Shomaker, grandfather of Henry A.,
was born and reared in York county, \\diere he
became a prosperous farmer, here passing his
entire life. Of his children, John likewise be-
came a farmer of prominence, his death oc-
curring in York township ; Jacob, a farmer by
vocation, died in Spring Garden township ;
Elizabeth became the wife of John Ortt, and
died in this county ; Sarah, who became the
wife of Georg'e Dittenfeffer, died in York
township; George, the father of Henry A.,
was the youngest of the children.

George Shomaker was reared to manhood
on the old homestead farm, in York township,
where he was bom Feb. 25, 1816, and he re-
ceived a fair common-school education in his
youth. He remained with his parents until
his marriag-e, and thereafter continued to be-
identified with agricultural pursuits until his
death, having become the owner of a well-im-
proved farm in York township, where his
death occurred in 1880, at which time he was
in his sixtv-fifth vear. He was a man of



sterling character, and lie commanded the re-
spect of all who knew him. In politics he gave
his support to the Democratic party, and his
religious faith was that of the Catholic church,
of which his widow also is a communicant.
Her maiden name was Dorothy Ritz, and she
was born in this county, in 1823, daughter of
John Ritz, likewise a representative of one of
the old and honored families of this county.
Mrs. Shoraaker has attained to more than
four-score years, and in the golden evening of
her life is residing with her children, who ac-
cord to her the utmost filial solicitude, while
she is exceptionally active both in mind and
body for one of her advanced age. Of the
children of George and Dorothy (Ritz) Sho-
maker, (i) John A., in the jewelry business
in York, has been twice married, first to Bar-
bara Sprenkle, who died at the age of forty-
five years, and second to Rosa Newcomer. He
has traveled very extensively, having, as he has
expressed the condition in an interesting series
of published verses, being "Once around, twice
across and three times beyond the boundaries
of the United States of America," and having
traversed more than twenty-one thousand
miles. (2) Noah who married Lena Behren-
sen is engaged in farming and trucking in
York township. (3) Amanda became the wife
of William Hardwick, who is engaged in
clerical work in the city of Baltimore, Md.,
where her death occurred in the year 18S2.
(4) The next child died in infancy. (5)
Henry A. is next in order of birth. (6) The
sixth child died in infancy. (7) Daniel P.,
who married Annie Stumpf, is a farmer of
York township. (8) Edward married Lydia
Knisley, and is a farmer of Windsor township.
(9) Ellen is the wife of Charles Koch, of

Henry A. Shomaker was born on the home-
stead farm, in York township, near the vil-
lage of Spry, Nov. 30, 1857, and was reared
to the sturdy discipline of the farm, while his
educational training was secured in the Pine
Grove school in York township. Here he con-
tinued in attendance during a portion of each
year until he had attained the age of fifteen
years, and he continued to be associated with
his father in the work and management of the
home farm until he was twenty-two years old,
when he entered upon an apprenticeship at the
blacksmith's trade, in Windsor, where he re-
mained two years, after which he was similarly

under training for six months in Loganville,
and for an ecjual period in the city of York.
He then located in Lower Windsor township,
where he was successfully engaged in the work
of his trade for the ensuing three years, being
there married in the year 1883, and shortly
afterward locating at Stoners Station, Hellam
township, where he was engaged in the same
line of enterprise for two years. He then re-
turned to Lower Windsor township, where he
purchased land and erected a good residence
and also a shop, remaining there established in
the work of his trade for the ensuing six years,
at the expiration of which, in 1893, he dis-
posed of his property and took up his residence
in his present location, in York township. He
purchased fifteen acres of fine land on the
Chanceford pike, about five miles distant from
the county-seat, and here he has erected one
of the most attractive modern residences in
this section. He has also built and equipped an
excellent blacksmith shop where he continues
to work at his trade to a greater or less extent,
his skill as an artisan bringing his services into
much demand in this line. His land is under
eft'ective cultivation, being devoted principally
to the raising of vegetables and fruits, for
which he finds a ready market in the city of
York. Since 1893 he has also conducted a
cigar manufactory on his place turning out a
high grade product and giving his attention to
this enterprise more especially during the win-
ter months. He is a progressive, energetic and
reliable business man, and is held in uncjuali-
fied esteem by all with whom he has come in
contact in the various relations of life. Taking
a loyal interest in local affairs of a public na-
ture, he is found stanchly arrayed as an advo-
cate of the principles of the Democratic party,
and both he and his wife are prominent and
valued members of the Lutheran Church at
Dallastown, in which he has held the ofiice
of deacon, while he was formerly a popular
teacher in its Sunday-school.

On Oct. 14, 1883, was solemnized the mar-
riage of Mr. Shomaker to Miss Charlotte Mil-
ler, who was born and reared in Lower Wind-
sor township, being a daughter of George and
Susan (Poff) Aliller.

OTTO GEUCKE, of York, was born Oct!
29, 1846, in Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germany,
son of Louis and Elizabeth (Haupt) Geucke,
the former of whom was a brick maker in Ger-


many, where he died, while the latter is still
]i\'ing ill Berlin, ag'ed eighty-six years. The
grandfather of our subject was in the secret
service department of the treasury department
of Frederick \\'illiam IV., of Germany.

Otto Geucke attended school in his native
country until fifteen years of age, after which
he engaged as a merchant's clerk until 1870,
when he entered the German army as a private,
and with his regiment was a participant in the
war with Napoleon III. At the close of the
war, through A\-hich Mr. Geucke served gal-
lantly, he returned to his home and resumed
his occupation as a clerk until 1872, when he
came to the United States, landing at New
York City, where he remained six months, at
the end of which time he went to Saratoga,
N. Y., and engaged in the hotel business, con-
tinuing there until 1886. He then located in
York and bought the "M'etzel Hotel," now the
"Hotel York," which he conducted until 1896,
in which year he built and located in the "Key-
stone Hotel."

Mr. Geucke has taken a very prominent
part in I. O. O. F. circles of York, and is a
member of Harmonia Lodge No. 853 ; past
grand master of York Encampment No. 67,
and while in Saratoga was the representative
to the Grand Lodge. He is also a member of
the Patriarchs ]Militant, and is considered one
of the most prominent Odd Fellows in the city
of York, if not in the State. He is colonel of
the first regiment. In religion he is a member
of the Lutheran Church. In politics Mr.
Guecke \'otes independently.

Mr. Geucke was married in New York
State to Miss Theodora Plank.

W. H. ZEIGLER was born in Springfield
township, York Co.. Pa., in 1869, a son of John
N., and a grandson of Michael Zeigler.

Michael Zeigler was a farmer in Hopewell

Online LibraryGeorge R. ProwellHistory of York County Pennsylvania (Volume II) → online text (page 137 of 201)