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MILTON S. STERNER, a member of the
firm of Sterner Bros., manufacturers of high-
grade cigars, was born in West Manheim
township in 1880, son of Andrew Sterner.

Samuel Sterner, grandfather of Milton S.,
was born in York county, and was a lifelong
farmer, owning a tract of 130 acres in West
Manheim township, at Bandanna. He died at
the age of eighty years. He married Elizabeth
Wanemaker, daughter of a well known black-
smith at Bandanna, and she also attained an
advanced age. Both Mr. and Mrs. Sterner are
buried in West Manheim township. Their
children were : , Emanuel, of Illinois ; Andrew,
the father of Milton S.; Henry, of Carroll
county, Md. ; Jeremiah, who lives in West
Manheim township; and one daughter who
died young.

Andrew Sterner received a common school
education in his native township, West Man-
heim, and there assisted his father at farming,
later purchasing the old home farm, upon
which he continued farming for about thirty-
seven years. In 1894 he retired' from active
life. He married Eleanor Houch, daughter of
Jesse Houch, and a member of a very old fam-
ily, and these children were born to the union :
Josiah, a farmer of West Manheim township;
Nelson, who died when eleven 3'ears old ; John,
a farmer of West Manheim township; Theo-
dore, who died when seven years old; Elias
J., a farmer of West Manheim township; Al-
verta, the wife of John Waltersdorff, of West
Manheim township; Amelia, Mrs. Kling, de-
ceased; Slyvenia, the wife of S. G. Garrett;
Mary, Mrs. Baublitz; Minerva, Mrs. Mum-
mert ; Milton S. ; Curvin, a graduate of
Bloomsburg Academy, who is his brother
Milton's partner and is also engaged in teach-
ing; and Addie, unmarried, who resides at
home. Andrew Sterner is a Democrat, and
has served his township as school director, tax
collector and assessor.

Milton S. Sterner spent his school days in
his native township, and at the age of four-



1032



HISTORY OF YORK COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



teen years commenced to learn the cigar-
maker's trade with Mr. Garrett, of Pleasant
Hill. He spent five years at Manchester, Md.,
engaged at his trade, and located at his pres-
ent place. Summer Hill, West Manheim town-
ship, in 1900, building a two-story shop,
50x14. Employment was giverr at first to two
hands, but as the business increased more have
been engaged, and Sterner Brothers are now
barely able to furnish their trade, employing
fifteen to twenty-five hands. They have several
special brands, including the well known
Baron Larrey, and find a market for most of
the product in Philadelphia and Baltimore,
also having a good patronage in the West.
Milton S. Sterner admitted his brother to the
firm in September, 1904, taking the trade
name of Sterner Bros., and as such they have
since continued. They are in the Ninth dis-
trict.

Mr. Sterner married Bessie Houck, daugh-
ter of George M. Houck, of West Manheim
township, and they have one son, Harold A.,
who is attending school. In, political senti-
ment Mr. Sterner is a Democrat. He is a
member of the Lutheran Church.

FREDERICK TYSON, employed as a
carpenter with the A. B. Farquhar Company,
at York, was born in Shrewsbury township,
York county, Dec. 29, 1858, son of Henry
Tyson.

John Tyson, grandfather of Frederick, was
a farmer of York county, who had these chil-
dren : John, of Indiana; Jacob, of Spring-
field township; Benjamin; Charles; Levi;
Henry ; Mrs. Adam Diehl ; Mrs. John Storner ;
and Mrs. Jesse Hildebrand.

Henry Tyson was born in Shrewsbury
township, where he received a common-school
education. He followed farming in Hopewell
and Windsor townships for a great many
years, and is now living retired with his son
Samuel, in York township. He married Eliza
Myer, daughter of John Myer, and she died
in July, 1902, being buried at the Dunkard
Church in Springfield township, of which she
was a member. She had these children : Fred-
erick; Noah, of York; William, who resides
in York ; Clayton and Isaac, of near Manheim,
Lancaster county ; Samuel, of York township ;
Mary A., who died in York, wife of Frederick
Lehman; Emma, the wife of Samuel Shaw,
of Hellam township; and Mamie, of York.

Frederick Tyson attended the common



schools of York and Windsor townships, and
when a lad hired out with Henry Heins, in
Spring Garden township for three years, after
which he was with Jacob Trout, of Spring-
field township. His next employer was Harris
Lentz, who is now his father-in-law, under
whom he learned the carpenter's trade. He
remained with Mr. Lentz six years, and then
engaged in farming in Springfield township,
at which he remained sixteen years, operating
successfully a seventy-five-acre farm. In 1902
he located in York, making his home at No.
622 West York avenue, and being employed
by the A. B. Farquhar Company.

In 1882 Mr. Tyson married Sarah A.
Lentz, born May 23, 1861, daughter of Harris
and Malinda (Beek) Lentz, and to this union
these children have been born : Sadie, the wife
of P. Lentz, of Dallastown; Harry, who mar-
ried Lottie Bortner; Claude J.; Chauncey;
Maggie; and Gertrvide. Mr. Tyson served as
tax collector, township supervisor and county
committeeman for two terms in Springfield
township. He is a member of the Paradise
Lutheran Church. Mr. Tyson is one of the
good citizens and reliable men of York, be-
longing to that class which gives a city its
honorable standing before the world.

HOWARD GISE, the well-known con-
tractor, builder and real estate dealer of York,
who resides at No. 903 West Princess street,
was born in Paradise township, York county,
June 16, 1873, son of William and Caroline
(Strasbaugh) Gise.

Howard Gise was reared on his father's
farm in Paradise township, and his education
was received in the p'ublic schools. At the age
of seventeen years he began the trade of car-
penter with his brother Charles, following this
line in York,as a journeyman, until 1902, when
he began business on his own account, erect-
ing buildings on his own property of which he
affterward disposed. Mr. Gise puts up an
average of twenty buildings each year, in the
west end of York, all of which are of brick
and of modern construction. Mr. Gise is his
own architect. He handles . a considerable
amount of real estate, and prepares empty lots
for building. He is also of an inventive turn
of mind, and in company with Charles E.
Mickley invented an automatic railway gate.

Mr. Gise was married in November, 1895,
to Miss Frances J. Lewis, daughter of John
L. and Elizabeth J. Lewis, and five children



BIOGRAPHICAL



roJX



have been born to this union : Bessie Marie,
Myrtle Elizabeth, Charles William, Edwin
Leroy and Lillian May. Mr. Gise is a mem-
ber of the Eagles, and of Vigilant Fire Com-
pany, No. I.

JOHN • W. SPAHR, an enterprising
young farmer of York county, who is actively
engaged in working his farm of 123 acres in
Dover township, was born March 27. 1870,
in Dover township, son of David and Cather-
ine (Zinn) Spahr, and grandson of Jesse
Spahr.

Jesse Spahr was a son of John and Polly
(Fox) Spahr, prominent people who lived and
died in Washington township. He married
Elizabeth Baker.

David Spahr was born in Paradise town-
ship, York county, Sept. 23, 1835, and was
educated there in the subscription schools. He
followed an agricultural life, and after his
marriage located on a farm in Paradise town-
ship, some eleven years ago removing to Big
Mountain, where he now lives retired. In
i860 Mr. Spahr married Catherine Zinn,
daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Emig) Zinn,
and she died in 1885, being buried at Holtz-
Schwamm Church, Paradise township. The
children born to David and Catherine Spahr
were as follows : Annie is keeping house for
her father; Jacob married Lucy Bowersox,
and lives in Dover township ; Jane died the
day after her mother was buried, aged twenty
years, and was buried at the Holtz-Schwamm
Church in Paradise township; Emma married
Peter Hobaugh, and lives near Brookside
Park, in Dover township ; Aaron, a carpenter
of York, married Alice Smith, and lives in
Dover borough; William married Emma
Spangler and lives in Dover township ; Alice
married Albert Weir, and lives in West ^lan-
chester township ; and John W.

John W. Spahr attended the township
schools, and in 1892 married Sallie Jacobs,
daughter of Edward and Sarah (Baker) Ja-
cobs, of Dover township. ]\Ir. Jacobs died
at the age of seventy years, and his wife re-
sides with Mr. Spahr. After his marriage
^Ir. Spahr located on his father's farm for
five years, and then removed to Paradise town-
ship, where he remained one year, from there
removing to Washington township. Here he
remained for five years, and then returned to
Dover township, and, in 1902, bought his
66



father-in-law's farm of 123 acres, settling oa
this farm in 1904.

To Mr. and Mrs. Spahr five children have
been born, all of whom are at home : Romaine,
Katie, Emma, Raymond, and Sarah. The
family all belong to the Reformed Church at
Strayer's. Mr. Spahr is a Democrat, but has •
never been actively interested in politics. Mr. .
Spahr is a very enterprising and energetic
young man, and possesses most excellent busi-
ness judgment. He has a standing in the com-
munity as a man of honor and integrity, and.
as one of the first-class agriculturists of thej'
township.

JOHN K. GROSS, freight agent of the-
Northern Central Railway Company in the
city of York, is a representative of one of the
old and honored families of the Keystone
Commonwealth, with whose annals the name
has been identified from the Colonial epoch to
the present.

Capt. John Gross, grandfather of our sub-
ject, served under Gen. Washington in the
war of the Revolution, and after the Colonies
had gained their independence he returned to
Pennsylvania, where he passed the remainder
of his long and useful life.

Daniel W. Gross, father of John K. Gross,,
was one of the prominent and influential citi-
zens of the capital city of Pennsylvania and
was well known throughout the State. He-
was for many years a member of the board of
trustees of Franklin and Marshall College, at:
Lancaster, and was a trustee and treasurer of
the State lunatic asylum, at Harrisburg, ixt
which city he was one of the oldest and most
prominent druggists up to a short time before-
his death. He was a brother-in-law of Hon.
John C. Kunkel, who represented Pennsylva-
nia in Congress, and for whom the subject of"
this review was named. Daniel W. Gross
died at the age of eighty-six years, honored
by all who knew him. His wife, whose name
was Elizabeth Kunkel, was a daughter o£
George Kunkel, a prominent dry-goods mer-
chant of Harrisburg and a sister of John C^
Kunkel, previously mentioned. George Kun-
kel was one of the Associators under Washing-
ton. IMrs. Elizabeth (Kunkel) Gross was.
summoned into eternal rest at the age of sixty-
years. In the family were eight children, of
Avhom three died in early childhood, Robert,
Daniel and Mary, George A., who was a



1034



HISTORY OF YORK COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



. druggist ill Harrisburg, died at the age of
fifty years, and of those surviving \ve record
that Joshua W. is hving retired in Harris-
burg; Edward Z. is engaged in the drugbusi-
ness in Harrisburg and is now mayor of that
city; Henry S. is a civil and mining engineer,
in the employ of the Pennsylvania Steel Com-
pany, and resides in Steelton; and John K. is
the immediate subject of this sketch.

John Kunkel Gross was born in the city of
Harrisburg, Pa., June 15, 1845, and in the
schools of his native city secured his early ed^
xicational discipline, which was supplemented
liy a course in Franklin and Marshall College,
from which he was graduated as a member of
.the class of 1867, of which he was valedicto-
rian. He received the degree of A. B., and A.
M. three years after graduation. Alter leav-
ing college Mr. Gross took up the study of law
.under the preceptorship of his uncles, Hon.
John C. Kunkel and Judge John W. Simon-
ton, of Harrisburg, laut owing to impaired
health he was obliged to abandon his technical
■reading, and, after a needed rest, he came to
York, in 1870, to clerk in the railway service
for a period of sixty or ninety days. His iden-
tification with the business, however, passed
the maximum interval set, extending into
months and years, and we find him still in the
harness and now the incumbent of an import-
ant and responsible office, which he has won
through able and faithful service. From 1871
to 1890 he served as passenger and freight
agent for the Northern Central and the Penn-
sylvania railroads in York, and in 1890, on
account of the growth of the business, he be-
came exclusively freight agent. He is held
in the highest esteem as an official and business
man and also as a loyal and public-spirited
citizen. He is an appreciative member of the
Masonic fraternity. In politics Mr. Gross is
a stalwart Republican, and he represented the
Sixth ward in the municipal council for a total
of twelve years of consecutive service. In the
council he was chairman of the highway com-
mission, and for two terms was president of
the select council. He is a member .of the
Pennsylvania German Society, in whose af-
fairs he takes a deep interest. In fact, he
makes himself felt wherever he may be, gain-
ing firm and loyal friends on every side. While
a student in Franklin and Marshall College,
so many years ago, he led the college choir of
twenty-eight voices, and his interest in music
has never abated.



Reverting to Mr. Gross' genealogy, we
may say that the original American ancestor
was Jean de Gros, a native of France, who, to
escape religious persecution incident to the rev-
ocation of the famous edict of Nantes, fled
to French Flanders and thence to America,
where the present form of the nanle was in the
course of time evolved. The authentic family
history is traced back to 1610, when occurred
the destruction of Lisle, France, during a re-
ligious war, and one of the name likewise fled
to Flanders, and there married a daughter of
William Von Heppenheim Von Dem Sahle.

On April 25, 1874, Mr. Gross was united
in marriage to Miss Anna M. Messick, daugh-
ter of Rev. John Fryer Messick, D. D., who
is a clergyman of the Dutch Reformed Church
and who is now living retired in York, Pa.,
at the patriarchal age of ninety-three years,
while he is in full possession of all his facul-
ties at the time of this writing, in January,
1906. His father died in Catskill, N. Y., at
the age of ninety-six. Mr. and Mrs. Gross
have five children, namely : Elizabeth Kunkel,
John Messick, Janet LaRue Perrine, Marga-
retta Allison, and Edward Louis Durkee. All
of the children are graduates of the York Col-
legiate Institute except Edward L. D., who
is a member of the class of 1905 in the York
County Academy. John M. is now in the em-
ploy of the Pennsylvania railroad at Altoona.

WARREN E. FASTNACHT merits rep-
resentation in this compilation as being one of
the representative young business men of
York, where he has built up a prosperous en-
terprise as an electrical contractor and dealer
in electrical supplies. Mr. Fastnacht is a na-
tive of Adams county, having been born in the
city of Gettysburg Nov. 26, 1876, son of Rev.
Abraham G. Fastnacht, the honored and be-
loved pastor emeritus of the Union Lutheran
Church in York.

Rev. Abraham G. Fastnacht was born in
the vicinity of Ephrata, Lancaster Co., Pa.,
June 30, 1845, ^""^ after completing the curri-
culum of the common schools of the locality
he entered Pennsylvania College, in the city of
Gettysburg, where he remained as a student
for several years. He engaged in teaching dur-
ing the intervals of his personal educational
work, meeting with marked success in his ped-
agogic endeavors, which he initiated when but
seventeen years of age. He was graduated
from the theological department of Pennsyl-



BIOGRAPHICAL



1035



vania College as a member of the class of
1865, and was forthwith ordained to the min-
istry of the Lutheran Church. His first pas-
toral charge was that of Mt. Holly Church, at
Boiling Springs, Cumberland Co., Pa., where
he remained until October, 1875, while in
1877 he accepted the call to the Union Luth-
eran Church in York, where he labored with
all of consecrated zeal and devotion for more
than a quarter of a century and up to the time
when failing health compelled him to resign
his pastoral office, in 1903, since when he has
lived retired in York, where his friends are in
number equal to the number of his acquaint-
ances. On June 10, 1873, Rev. Abraham G.
Fastnacht was united in marriage to Miss
Mary E. Warren, of Gettysburg, where she
was born and reared, she being a daughter of
Henry and Susan (Flemming) Warren. In
the family are three children, of whom the
subject of this sketch is the second in order of
birth.

Warren E. Fastnacht was an infant at the
time of his parents' removal to York, and thus
he has ever claimed that city as his home. In
its public schools he received his early educa-
tional training, completing the curriculum of
the York County Academy and then entering
the York Collegiate Institute, from which he
was graduated as a member of the class of
1896. He the entered the employ of the firm
of J. E. Graybill & Co., of York, with whom
he remained three and one-half years, during
the greater portion of which period he was
devoting his attention to apprentice work in
the electrical department of the firm's business.
Later he was employed for one year by the
York Telephone Company, and in 1900 he
engaged in business on his own account as an
electrical contractor, also putting in an excel-
lent stock of electrical supplies, at 276 West
Market street. In the comparatively short in-
tervening period he has built up a prosper-
ous enterprise, having secured good contracts
in York and in neighboring towns, while he
is recognized as a skilled and reliable work-
man and executive in his line. Recognition
of his technical ability has been given in a
significant way, since he is serving as superin-
tendent of the municipal fire alarm and police
telegraph system of York. Mr. Fastnacht also
conducts a confectionery store at No. 274
West Market street. He is a stanch Repub-
lican in politics, and both he and his wife are
valued members of Union Lutheran Church,



of which his father was pastor for so many
years. Mr. Fastnacht has, in addition to his
pleasant home in York, an attractive summer
cottage on the old Indian camping grounds at
Long Level, near the town of VVrightsville,
this county, and at the head of Cabin Branch
creek, and there he and his family spend their
vacation.

On Aug. 5, 1902, was solemnized the mar-
riage of Mr. Fastnacht to Miss Elsie E. Sta-
bley, a daughter of Franklin Stabley, a promi-
nent citizen of York, and of this union has
been born one son, Luther Kuhlman.

JOHN WESLEY MILLER, who is well
known to the citizens of York as a milk dealer,
having been engaged in business as such since
May 15, 1900, was born in 1869, in Windsor
township, York county, son of Andrew and
Elizabeth (Lutz) Miller.

Mr. Miller attended the public schools
until he was eighteen years old, and remained
at home with his father until twenty-one. He
then spent about one year at the cigarmaking
trade, and then came to York and learned the
baking trade with James Peeling, with whom
he remained six years, engaged in baking.
Meantime, in 1894, he was united in marriage,
with E-Tima E. Stoner, daughter of Henry and
Sarah (Fahringer) Stoner, of Hellam town-
ship. The young couple soon went into the
bakery business on their own account, first lo-
cating on South George street, and later on
Newberry street. Mr. Miller sold both to en-
gage in his present line, which he started May
15, 1900, locating at his present place of busi-
ness. No. 713 West Philadelphia street, where
he also resides. He has been very successful.

In politics Mr. Miller is an ardent Repub-
lican. He and his wife are active members
of the Heidelberg Reformed Church of York,
taking a prominent part in its work.

HOWARD SMYSER MUSSER occu-
pies the responsible position of receiving and
paying teller of the Drovers' and [Mechanics'
National Bank of York. On his mother's side
Mr. IMusser is related to one of the largest and
most influential families of York countv. and
his father's family is equally well known al-
though not so numerous.

John Musser, his grandfather, was a
farmer of Hellam township, and his father,
Henry Musser, is president of the Littlestown
Silk Company, of' Littlestown, Pa. Henry



1036



HISTORY OF YORK COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



Musser married Emma Jane Smyser, daugh-
ter of Daniel Smyser, a prominent farmer of
Spring Garden township, who fell dead at his
plough, dying literally "in harness." The chil-
dren born to this union were as follows : Wal-
ter E., teller in the Farmers' National Bank
of York; Mabel Jane, a student in the York
high school, class of 1906; and Howard
Smyser.

The birth of Howard Smyser Musser oc-
curred in York, March 16, 1879, and he was
educated in the public schools and in York
County Academy. He began business life as
a clerk in the freight office of the Northern
Central Railway Company, at York, where he
remained five years. He then became book-
keeper in the Drovers' and Mechanics' Na-
tional Bank of York, assuming the position in
February, 1901. Such was his ability and in-
terest in the business that in December, 1903,
he was promoted to the position of receiving
and paying teller. This rapid promotion is
felt by his business associates to be as de-
served as it was rapid.

WARREN J. RAFFENSBERGER, in-
surance agent and real estate dealer located in
the Guardian Trust Company Building, York,
was born Feb. 9, 1885, and is descended from
ancestors who came from Germany and settled
in Adams and York counties, in about 1778.
His grandfather, John Raffensberger, was a
contracting carpenter.

Jacob D. Raffensberger, father of Warren
J., is located at No. 248 East Poplar street,
York, and is superintendent of Billmyer &
Small's works. Mr. Raffensberger married
Sallie A. Ilgenfritz, daughter of Joseph W.
Ilgenfritz, a scale maker of York, who pur-
sued his occupation up to the age of seventy-
eight years, but is now retired. Four chil-
dren were born to the parents of our subject:
Hattie M., wife of Charles Fox, foreman of
Fox & Ottmyer, of York; Raymond J., em-
ployed at Billmyer & Small's; Clarence L., at
school ; and Warren J.

Warren J. Raffensberger received his edu-
cation in the public schools of York. After
leaving school he found employment as a clerk
at the Martin Carriage works, where he re-
mained for a little over a year and then en-
gaged with Billmyer & Small, with whom he
remained four years. In February, 1904, Mr.
Raffensberger entered the insurance field, and
on July 7th, of the same year, embarked as an



independent agent and adjuster, occupying:
Room 10, in the Guardian Trust building,.
where he represents some of the best known
companies, among them being the Royal In-
surance Co., of Liverpool, England; Western
Insurance Co., of Pittsburg, Pa. ; Armenia In-
surance Co., of Pittsburg, Pa. ; Union Insur-
ance Co., of Philadelphia, Pa. ; Alliance In-
surance Co., of Philadelphia, Pa. ; Insurance
Company of the State of Pennsylvania, of
Philadelphia, Pa. ; Girard Fire and Marine In-
surance Co., of Philadelphia, Pa. ; Security
Fire Insurance Co., of Baltimore, Md. ; Fed-
eral Insurance Co., of New Jersey; United
States Fire Insurance Co., of New York City;.
Milwaukee Mechanics' Insurance Co., of Mil-
waukee, Wis. ; Milwaukee Fire Insurance Co.,
of Milwaukee, Wis. ; American Fidelity Co.,
of Montpelier, Vt. ; Travelers Insurance Co.,
of Hartford, Conn. ; Phoenix Mutual Life In-
surance Co., of Hartford, Conn.; United Sure-
ty Co., of Baltimore, Md. ; and Empire State
Surety Co., of New York City. As will be
seen his insurance covers that of fire, life, acci-
dent, health, plate glass, boiler inspection, em-
ployers' liabilities, etc., and he also conducts
an extensive real estate business, buying, sell-
ing and renting.

Mr. Raffensberger belongs to SandilanBs-
Commandery, No. 152, A. & I. O. K. of
Malta; to York Conclave No. 124, Improved.
Order of Heptasophs ; and Manitou Tribe, No.
93, I. O. R. M. ; and in all of these, as also in
St. Paul's Lutheran Church, of which he is a.
member, he takes an active interest.

Mr. Raffensberger very lately has been
elected as an honorary member, one of the



Online LibraryGeorge R. ProwellHistory of York County Pennsylvania (Volume II) → online text (page 197 of 201)