George R. Prowell.

History of York County Pennsylvania (Volume II) online

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of York. .

An incident of which Mr. Daron is fond
of telling is of how, when living in Rosstown,
he had a horse stolen from his stable at the
time that the Confederate troops were passing
through that section.

JAMES L. KERR, deceased, one of the
sons of Matthew Kerr,, Sr., was, at the time of
his death, a retired farmer and lime manufac-
turer living in Wrightsville.



Mr. Kerr was laorn in York, Pa., Jan. 18,
1 82 1, and received his education in the com-
mon schools of that place. His first teacher
was his father, and the school was held in the
old frame building opposite the Methodist
Church. Another well-remembered teacher
was Peggy Parkerson. He was not over-
fond of study, and managed to get in a
good deal of fun with his school work. At six-
teen he left school and began to work for him-
self, obtaining the position of freight conductor
on the Pennsylvania railroad, between
Wrightsville, Philadelphia and Baltimore. The
freight carried on his run consisted mostly of
whiskey and fliour, which were frequently un-
loaded in the streets of Baltimore where the
Calvert station now stands. The railway sys-
tem then in vogue was peculiar. The road
was owned by the State, but much of the roll-
ing stock was the property of pi^ivate indi-
viduals. Passengers could be carried on freight
trains at a rate of two cents a mile, but the
owners of the cars received three cents for
each passenger from the State, and the State
had an agent on every train to see that there
was no cheating. The rails were held in place
by wedges which became loosened whenever a
train passed over the track, and men were sta-
tioned along the road at intervals to keep the
wedges in place. Wood was exclusively used
for fuel, and the engine drivers had no shelter.
Under such conditions it was not surprising
that the train crew^ felt at liberty to stop any
where they liked for dinner, or to spend the
night. After two years of this railroading,
Mr. Kerr became clerk in the lumber yard of
Hoover & Duck, of Wrightsville, where he re-
mained several years. He was afterward for
many years lumber inspector, and then went
into the lime business with his father, the firm
being Kerr & Son. After the death of his
father several of his brothers went into the
business with him, and the firm became James
L. Kerr & Co. In the spring of 1861 Mr. Ken-
moved to Bucyrus, Ohio, wdiere he owned a
farm on which he lived until 1865, then return-
ing home. He was afterward with his broth-
ers in the lime business for ten years, when he

In 1848 Mr. Kerr married, in Chambers-
burg, Franklin county, Sarah A. Thomson,
who was born in that county in 1827. Her
parents were Alexander J. and Margaret
(Kerr) Thomson, the former a cousin of Judge

Thomson, of Chambersburg, father of the late
Frank Thomson, president of the Pennsylvania
Railway Company. Mr. Thomson was a na-
tive of Scotland. Franklin county, where his
father, a large property owner, had lived before
him. He became a merchant in Fayette, Frank-
lin county, for a time, and then came to
Wrightsville, where for years he was the pro-
prietor of a hat store. He and his wife both
died in Wrightsville. Mrs. Thomson was a
distant relative of the family of James L. Kerr,
being a daughter of George Kerr, Sr., brother
of the father of James L. Kerr. Mr. and Mrs.
Thomson had the following children : John A.,
M. D., who died in Wrightsville; Eleanor, who
married Henry Byers, M. D., and died in Fay-
etteville. Pa. ; Hannah McKee, who died un-
married in Wrightsville; Sarah A., who mar-
ried James L. Kerr ; Samuel Rea, who died un-
married; George A., M. D., who died in Bu-
cyrus, Ohio; Dr. James W., who died in
Wrightsville; William A., who died in Wil-
mington, Del. ; Agnes E., who is the widow of
R. Frank Wilson, and lives in Oxford, Chester
Co., Pa. ; and Alexander R., who lives in Wil-
mington, Delaware.

Mrs. Sarah A. (Thomson) Kerr died while
visiting her brothers in Wilmington, in August,
1899. She was a member of the Presbvterian
Church in Wrightsville. Mr. Kerr also at-
tended the Presbyterian Church. For many
years he was a member of the I. O. O. F., but
had withdrawn from the order. He was al-
ways a stanch Democrat, and cast his first vote
for James K. Polk. He had a family of four
children-, of whom the only one living, Hannah,
is at home. The others were : ^Margaret, who
died in 1901, at home; Eleanor, who died at
home; and Thomson, who died in Bucvrus,
Ohio, at the age of nine. Mr. Kerr passed
away March 15, 1905, at his home in Wrights-
ville, widely mourned among the circle of
friends and acquaintances with whom he had
been associated for so many years.

NOAH S. BRILLHART, of Xorth Hope-
^^'ell township, York county, resides in one of
the comfortable homes of that locality, which
is beautifully situated in the midst of a well
cultivated farm. He was born on his father's
farm in North Hopewell township, ^lax 17,

Abraham Brillhart, grandfather of N'oah
S., was born Nov. 11, 1763. He came from



Germany to the United States with his brother,
Samuel, who settled somewhere in York
county. Abraham Brillhart died in Shrews-
bury township, the father of several children.

Joseph Brillhart, the father of Noah S.,
was born in Shrewsbury township, York
county, July 15, 1804. On Dec. 24, 1824, he
married Elizabeth Strayer, born April 4, 1810.
After their marriage they located in North
Hopewell township, where Mr. Brillhart pur-
chased over 200 acres and some mill property
At the time of the property's purchase an old
woolen mill stood upon the land, and a man
was hired to operate it. It was afterward re-
placed with a grist mill. Mr. Brillhart was a
blacksmith by trade, and operated a shop on
his farm. A very skilled blacksmith, he was a
fine worker in steel, making axes and all kinds
of edged tools, such as jack-knives, table
knives and forks, and also made all of his own
horse-shoe nails. He followed smithing up. to
the time of his death, in February, 1887. He
possessed a fine education and taught subscrip-
tion school. He was a fine penman, and a great
reader, the Bible being his favorite reading.
Originallv a Whig, he changed to the Know
Nothing, and then to the Republican party, and
he held a number of township offices. He was
a faithful member of Mt. Zion Evar^-elical
Church, and was superintendent of the Sunday-
school. Mrs. Brillhart died on the home place
in 1895. To Joseph Brillhart and wife were
born children as follows: Jacob, born June
25, 1 83 1, married Elizabeth Venus and died
in Maryland; Mary, born Aug. 5, 1833, mar-
ried Levi Sheffer, and died in North Hopewell
township; Henry, born Oct. 6, 1835, married
Mary Ellen Grove, and died at Mt. 01i^■et,
York county; Elizabeth, born March 25. 1837,
died at the age of twenty-seven years ; Joseph,
born in 1839, died in infancy; John W., born
Jan. 10, 1842, married Mary A. Gemmell and
died in April, 1904, at his home in Virginia;
Sarah Jane, born Sept. 19, 1844, married Al-
bert Wise, and died in Dallastown ; Noah S. ;
and Catherine, bom Aug. 23, 1849, married
William Bortner, and died in Shrewsbury

Noah S. Brillhart attended the school on
his father's farm, his first teacher being Mar-
tin Heathcote, and his last Squire A. R. J\Ic-
Cann. He assisted his father in the black-
smith shop to some extent, luit his principal

work was on the farm, as a boy cradling and
mowing with a scythe. After reaching his
majority his father paid him wages, which he
carefully saved, being enabled after the death
of his father to purchase the home farm from
the estate. Here Mr. Brillhart carries on gen-
eral farming very successfully. He has been a
lifelong Republican, and cast his first vote for
General U. S. Grant. He has served as tax
collector, school director for three years, and
was a director in the Shrewsbury Savings In-
stitution for a like period.

Mr. Brillhart was married in Glen Rock,
Feb. 8, 1876, by the Rev. Jesse Kohler, a Lu-
theran minister, to Miss Isabella Diehl, born
Feb. 8, 1850, in Shrewsbury township, daugh-
ter of Adam and Anna (Tyson) Diehl, both
deceased. The children born to Mr. and Mrs.
Brillhart have been: (i) James Clarence,
born May 20, 1878, died in infancy. (2) Hylas
Clyde, born Aug. 3, 1880, was educated in the
public schools, the York County Normal at
York, Pa., and spent one year in the York
County Academy at York; he began teaching
in his fifteenth year, taught five years in North
Hopewell township, and is now in his third year
in Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pa. (3)
Irvin Hunter, born June 26, 1882, was edu-
cated in the public schools, spent three terms at
the York County Normal, taught school three
terms, and then accepted a position wath the
First National Bank of Glen Rock as book-
keeper. He was there one year Avhen he was
taken sick, and went to Texas for his health,
\A-here he spent four months, and was return-
ing home when, just prior to reaching Kansas
City, he died. (4) Harry Lester, born May 8,
1884, '^vas educated in the public schools, and
the Stewartstown Academy, and is now attend-
ing Millersville Normal school, having taught
one }'ear. (5) Bessie Gertrude, boi-n Aug. 6,
1886, died at the age of thirteen years. (6)
Chester Roy, born Jan. 4, 1890, is at home.
Carrie E. Craimer is being reared by Mr. and
Mrs. Brillhart, her parents being deceased.

WILLIAM FOUST, one of the old and
highly esteemed residents of Glen Rock, York
county, was born April 25, 1836, in Shrews-
bury township, this county, son of John S. and
Rebecca (Ehrman) Foust.

The Foust family is of German extraction,
but as far back as the o-randfather of William


f£lJU^ ^



has been American born, he being a native of
Somerset county, Pa., where he carried on the
business of miUing and farming. liis mar-
riage associated him with another old and
prominent German family, that of Shaffer,
and he and his wife had three sons — Henry,
John S. and Jacob — and one daughter, the lat-
ter marrying Philip Shaffer. Samuel Ehrman,
the maternal grandfather of William Foust,
was also of German ancestry, and he followed
farming in Shrewsbury township. His chil-
dren were : Samuel ; Julia Ann, wife of Jacob
Gerwick ; a daughter that married a Messer-
smith ; Sarah, wife of Jacob Hess ; and Re-

John S. Foust, father of our subject, died
in 1867. In 1840, in connection with farm-
ing, he began operating a distillery, beginning
in a small way, but gradually improving his
facilities until his plant produced an average of
two barrels of whiskey per day. He married
Rebecca Ehrman, and they had children : Na-
thaniel; Joshua E. ; Albert; William; Alice A.,
wife of Henry Howard; and Angeline, wife of
Daniel Dehuff.

William Foust attended the common
schools of Springfield township, and in boy-
hood assisted his father in the operation of his
distillery, working at home until twenty-four
years of age. He then started into business
for himself, confining- his operations to farm-
ing until 1858, when he opened a small dis-
tillery. This business has grown under his
fine management until it is one of the largest
industrial plants in this section. His annual
output is something like 3,000 barrels of
whiskey. Mr. Foust has all the accommoda-
tions necessary for the proper and successful
carrying on of this large enterprise. In addi-
tion to a U. S. bond house with capacity of
5,000 barrels, is the- old distillery (a two-
story building 40x50 feet), with so many barns
and sheds surrounding, a general store, a num-
ber of comfortable residences, and new ware
iioyse 100x36 feet, three and one-half stories
in height, with a capacity of 3,500 barrels, the
whole bearing a striking resemblance to a
thriving village. The location of the plant is
one of natural beauty. Mr. Foust also owns a
retail liquor store and a general grocery here,
as w.ell as his own residence and the homes of
some ten of his employees. His three sons
occupy handsome homes here also, and are in-
terested in the business. In addition to all the

above mentioned property, Mr. Foust owns a
farm of 240 acres adjoining and surrounding,
which is some of the most valuable land in
Springfield township, and is situated within a
mile and a half of Glen Rock. It is a privilege
to be invited to visit this thriving industry and
to witness the results obtained from the use of
the improved machinery over the methods gen-
erally accepted when Mr. Foust entered upon
'the business. The difference is notable also in
the product, the aim at present being the pro-
duction of a pure article under the best sani-
tary conditions and under the direction of sci-
entific chemists. The success of this enterprise
speaks well of Mr. Foust's executive ability,
and it has made him a large fortune.

In i860 Mr. Foust was married (first) to
Henrietta Bricker, daughter of John Bricker,
of York county, and the following children
were born to this union : John Q. A., who
married Mary K. Horst ; Luther, who died un-
married, aged twenty-two years ; William, who
married Maggie Heathcote; Maggie, who mar-
ried John Menges; Robert, who died aged
twenty-nine years; Frederick, who married
Alice Richart; Lestella May, who married
Amos Huffman. The mother of these chil-
dren died Jan. 14, 1890. In October, 1895,
Mr. Foust was married (second) to Laura
Taylor, a daughter of Charles Taylor, of
Shrewsbury township.

In politics Mr. Foust is one of the town-
ship's active Republicans, and in 1893 he was
the party's candidate for the office of sheriff
of York county. He has numerous business
interests here, and belongs to a number of di-
recting boards, being one of the directors of the
First National Bank of Glen Rock; a director
of the Southern Trust and Deposit Co., of
Baltimore, Md., and also a director in the
Building and Loan Association of Baltimore.
His fraternal connection is with the Knights
of Pythias. Mr. Foust is a progressive, pub-
lic-spirited citizen, and is as noted for his pri-
vate charities as for his first-class citizenship.
He is widely known, and bears the reputation
in the business world of being an honorable
and upright man.

WILLIAM H. BARND, a director of the
Glen Rock National Bank, and an enterprising
farmer of Springfield township, York county,
was born in North Hopewell township. Nov.
26, 1857, son of John Barnd.



John Barnd was born in Hesse Darmstadt,
Germany, July 28, 1832, and at the age of
twenty-one years came to America, landing at
New York. He remained there but a short
time, however, and then came to York county,
Pa., where he married Mary Hildebrand. They
located 'in North Hopewell township, where
he followed his trade of stone and brick mason,
and later came to Springfield township, and
purchased Adam Hildebrand's farm of 100
acres. Upon this farm he erected a new set of
buildings and made many improvements. He
did not occupy this farm, but continued work-
ing at his trade until 1895, when he retired
from active life, living since that year wifh his
son, our subject. Mrs. Barnd died in 1903,
and was buried in ]Mt. Zion cemetery. They
had these children : William H. ; Rosa A., wife
of Rudolph Newman, of Red Lion; Matilda,
wife of Charles Myers, of Windsor township ;
and Samuel, in the mercantile business in Glen
Rock. In politics Mr. Barnd is a Republican.
During the Civil war he served his country as
a member of Company K, i66th P. V. I., under
Capt. Daniel Stout. He was in service eighteen
months, and participated in several small en-

William H. Barnd attended the schools of
Springfield township until seventeen years of
age, at which time he left home for a year to
work on the Hersh's farm, near York City.
He married Sophia Smith, daughter of Charles
Smith, of Springfield township, and they have
had these children : ]\Iary Ellen, wife of Claude
S. Gohn, living at Red Lion ; John ; Ida ; and
Alverta. Mr. Barnd is a stanch Republican,
and has served his township as school director
for two terms, being president and later secre-
tary of the board. He also served as super-
visor of the township, and on the election board,
and has been a delegate to the county conven-
tions. He is a director in the Glen Rock Na-
tional Bank, and has other business in-
terests. Mr. Barnd is the owner of a fine col-
lection of old and rare coins, which it is his
great pleasure to display to a large circle of
interested friends.


ADA:\I F. STRAYER, deputy collector of
revenue of the district of York, is a son of
David W. and Lydia (Strayer) Strayer, and
though born in Lancaster county has spent al-
most all of his life in York county, his parents

having removed to Hopewell township when
he was two years old. Mr. Strayer's bu'th oc-
curred Feb. 25, 1846, at May town, Lancaster
county. He received his education in the pub-
lic schools and at Pleasant Grove x\cademy,
and remained on the parental farm until 1863,
when he enlisted in Company C, 21st Penn-
sylvania Cavalry, in which he served nine
months, after which he enlisted in Company
B, i88th P. V. I. At the battle of Chapin's
Farm he was wounded in the right arm, which
v'as subsequently amputated. After the close
of the war Mr. Strayer followed school teach-
ing in Hopewell township, York county, for
thirteen years. In 1881 he was elected justice
of the peace for the borough of Winterstown,
which ofiice he filled with great credit. In
1868 he had been appointed postmaster at Ap-
ple Grove, later Winterstown, which office he
held until 1881. In 1890 he was one of the
census enumerators of York, Pa., and has also
filled other minor positions. On March 2,
1903, he was appointed deputy collector of in-
ternal revenue of York county by Collector
Hershey, and has proved a most faithful and
efficient official, his civil record having been as
creditable as his military career, the fidelity he
has shown in his many years of official life
being of the same quality as the patriotism
which led him, a mere youth, to put aside cher-
ished hopes in order -to assist in the defense of
his country.

Mr. Strayer was married in 1867 to Sarah
E. Snyder, daughter of Jacob Snyder. No
children have been born to this union. Mr.
Strayer is a member of the LTnited Brethren

DAVID BENTZ, a veteran of the Civil
war, now living retired on his excellent prop-
erty in Washington township, York Co.. Pa.,
was born in this county, in Warrington town-
ship, in September, 1842.

Until he was eleven years old Mr. Bentz at-
tended the school known by his family name,
and then went to work on the farm. At the
age of nineteen years he enlisted in the army
as a teamster and drove a Government team
from 1862 until 1863. He then re-enlisted in
Company E, 200th P. V. I., and participated
in several severe eng^agements, notably Fort
Steadman and Petersburg. He was mustered
out at Harrisburg in May, 1865, having a rec-


29 s

ord of never being off duty in all this long-
period. He had many ad\'entures and on two
■ occasions came very near sudden death, a bul-
let once tearing his clothing from his right
shoulder and another tearing away a part of his

After his return from the army the young
man worked for his father and for neighbor-
ing farmers for about five years, and then spent
two years working at Deardorff's mill. After
his marriage in 1872 he spent two years on
a farm belonging to his father-in-law, and then
rented other farms until 1891, when he bought
his present property, which consists of 105
acres formerly belonging to Adam Minear. The
land was good at the time of purchase, but I\Ir.
Bentz has erected all the new buildings and
made all the improvements. He continued to
farm until 1903, and then retired from active

In 1872 Mr. Bentz was married to Cath-
erine Gentzler, daughter of John and "Catherine
(Speck) Gentzler. They were some of Wash-
ington township's most prominent people.
Their old homestead is now owned by C. C.
Kimmel. The children born to Mr. and Mrs.
Bentz were : Alice M., wife of J. C. Strayer,
a member of the firm of Strayer Bros., in the
feed business at York: Catherine J., wife of
Curtis Bushey, a farmer of AVarrington town-
ship; and John A., immarried, who is inspector
in the air brake department of the Pennsyl-
vania Railroad, at Harrisburg.

Mr. Bentz votes independently, using his
judgment as to the best man for the place, or
the best measure for the public good. He
served three years as school director, and was
president of the board. For seven years he
has been an elder of the Barrens Lutheran
Church, of which he has been a deacon. He
is a man of high standing in his community.

GEORGE K. SPAXGLER, who is act-
ively engaged in contracting and building in
York, was born March g, 1850, in Dover
township, York county, son of Samuel and
Eliza (Kling) Spangler.

Jonas Spangler, grandfather of our sub-
ject, was born in 1771, and followed farming
in Warrington township, where he died in
1856. He was a soldier of the war of 181 2- 14,
in which he served gallantlv. Jonas Spangler
married Sarah Slepp, and they became the

parents of the following children : John and
Joseph, who died at ^It. Royal ; Peter, who
married Catherine Wiest, and died in Jackson
township; Elizabeth, who became the wife of
Jacob Krone, and died in Dover townships
Mary, who died in Dover township, in 1896,
wife of John Leathery; Catherine, who died
in Dover borough, wife of Jacob Kahn; Lydia,
who married David Snellbecker, and died in
Do\-er township ; Samuel ; Jonas, who married
. Vnna Kendig, and lives on Broad street, York ;
and George, who married Sarah Grove, and
died in Washington township.

Samuel Spangler was born in 1820, in
Warrington township, where he received a
common-school education. He married Eliza
Kling, and located in Dover township, where
he followed fanning until his death in 1892,
while his wife, who was born in 1822, sur-
vived until 1901, when she passed away, and
they are both buried at Weigel's Church, Dover
township. They were the parents of : Henry,
who was killed in the second battle of Bull
Run ; AVilliam, a retired farmer, who married
Elizabeth Runkle, and died in York; Jacob,
who married Mary Boyer, and lives on the
old home in Dover townsliip; Sarah, the wife
of Philip Crone of Mt. Royal ; George K. ;
Samuel, Jr., who married Emma Rawhauser,
and resides in Dover borough ; Mary, wife of
Emery Harlacker, of Mt. Royal ; Jonas, who
married Amelia Koch, and lives at Eberton,
or West York borough ; and Levi, who mar-
ried Lizzie Rinehart, and resjdes at York,
where he is in business with our subject.

George K. Spangler attended the schools
of Dover and Warrington townships, and
learned the blacksmith's trade, which he fol-
lowed for fourteen years. He then went to
farming, in Warrington township, at which
he continued two years, and then learned stone
masonry. In 1888 ]\Ir. Spangler located in
York and built a home on North W^est street,
later building his present home at No. 901
West Locust street. In 1892 Mr. Spangler
engaged in the contracting and building busi-
ness, at which he has since prosperously con-
tinued. Most of his work has jjeen done in
stone, but he also contracts for brick. Some
of the buildings for \\hich Mr. Spangler has
contracted are: The large Alonarch silk
mills, the central school house and the Gar-
field school house. In 1904 ]Mr. Spangler took



his brother Levi, as a partner, the firm now be-
ing" known as Spangler Bros., and is considered
rehable and substantial in business circles of

George Spangler has been twice married.
■ On June 16, 1875, he married (first) Susan
Ziegier, daughter of Henry Ziegler. She was
born Jan. 9, 1857, and her death occurred in
her twenty-seventh year. May 26, 1883. To
this union were born three children : Sarah
Jane, born Feb. 15, 1876, married Warren
Beitzel, a coach blacksmith of York; Eliza
Ann, born May 20, 1878, married Washington
Bender, stone mason; and Mary Ellen, born
Feb. 2-j, 1882, married Curvin Dick, a ma-
chinist of Yoi'k. Mr. Spangler's second mar-
riage was to Lovina March, daughter of Sam-
uel and Susanna (Rowland) March. -Samuel
March in his younger days had been a school
teacher, but later took up farming. He and
his wife both died in Warrington township,
leaving children : Samuel R., Jacob R., and

Online LibraryGeorge R. ProwellHistory of York County Pennsylvania (Volume II) → online text (page 56 of 201)