Lebanon County Bicentennial

Lebanon County
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South Mountain on the South – watered by the Swatara, Quittapahilia, Tulpehocken and many other streams, with a surface somewhat rolling, and beautifully diversified, it is indeed a farmer’s “Paradise.” Entering it at the proper season of the year, the eye falls upon large and luxurious fields of wavering grain, large extents planted with Indian corn, while at greater or less interMountain and the Swatara Creek. Both played a key role during the Indian wars that took place from 17501760. The township was a bulwark of defense for interior settlements within the region, home to a key fort, but within close proximity to a hostile enemy. Many fierce battles occurred and the men of Bethel were said to be courageous. Williamsburg, founded by William Jones, a Welshman, was laid out in 1761. In 1771, the town’s name was changed to “Jonestown” because its mail was frequently confused with that of Williamsburg, VA. The postal service also played a role in the naming of Fredericksburg. Originally founded as Stumpstown in 1761, by Frederick Stump, the town grew and prospered for more than 60 years. In 1926, when the first post office was established, postal authorities did not care for the town’s name, considering it undignified and associating it with tree stumps. The citizens agreed, and the name was changed to Fredericksburg, which created the same confusion that postal officials had previously tried to avoid with Williamsburg. “The township of Bethel has great prospects for the future. With its diversified surface and numerous streams, it has some of the finest water power in the country, and plenty of it. The geological position demonstrates that it must contain valuable deposits of iron ore. Which, sooner or later, will be discovered, and add a mining industry to the upper valley. The Blue Mountain will, in the course of time, be rendered valuable for many purposes. Now that the South Mountain Railroad is soon to be opened, its timber lands will no longer go begging for a market. Bethel has men of means who have the future prosperity of their township near at heart, and who will neglect no method to secure it,” wrote F. W. Beers in 1875. Two additional municipalities – Jonestown Borough and Swatara Township, have since developed from the original township of Bethel. LONDONDERRY TOWNSHIP From a history of Berks and Lebanon counties published in 1844, Beers quoted directly, “Derry township, organized in 1729, was then bounded as follows: Beginning at the mouth of the Conewago, thence up the Susquehanna to the mouth of the Swatara; thence up the Swatara to the mouth of the Quittapahilla; thence south to the Conewago, and down the same to the place of the beginning. As then bounded, it embraced all within its limits known to the West End, and to the east end of Derry, or, as subsequently called, Derry and Londonderry. Derry was settled prior to 1720.” “Though the original settlers in this township were principally Irish, but few of their descendants are residing here now.” The area was resettled predominantly by Germans.

which may have compounded the problem. Annville Township was formed in 1799 from portions of Lebanon and Londonderry Townships. In 1845, Annville was split into North Annville and South Annville using the Berks-Dauphin Turnpike (now Route 422) as the line of delineation. In 1866, Lebanon Valley College was founded by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. Much later, in 1908, the current Annville Township was established. In 1875, Beers described Annville as follows, “The village of Annville lies between the two townships, and is one of the finest villages in the Lebanon Valley. There is no doubt but that Annville village is destined to be a place of considerable importance ere long, as it has excellent manufacturing facilities and plenty of room to grow. All considered, Annville promises a brilliant future.”

vals, comfortable and commodious farmhouses break the horizon in every direction; often attaining a beauty of architecture and surroundings calculated to strike the beholder, born and reared among the hills of the East or North, where nature deals her favors with a less bounteous hand, with wonder and admiration.” “The agricultural importance of the county of Lebanon is a theme on which the tongue or pen need never tire. Nor are the resources of the county of Lebanon confined to the productions of the soil. Nature has seen fit to bestow upon this county rich mineral treasures, to the true value and extent of which her citizens are even yet only partially awakened.” “Words fail, in our limited space, to do justice to the possibilities of Lebanon county.” ORIGINAL TOWNSHIPS OF LEBANON COUNTY LEBANON TOWNSHIP Diverse resources make up much of the story of Lebanon Township; natural resources like the plentiful water, rich soil, iron ore, limestone and hearty woods in the south, to the man-made Union Canal in the north, to the well-designed layout of small tracts of land that eventually became the City of Lebanon. When a city emerges from a town, its influence spreads to a larger geographic region. The City of Lebanon, founded in 1750 by George Steitz, is no different. As the county seat, the city played a central role in the development of Lebanon County. George Steitz was issued a warrant for 313 acres and 81 perches of land in 1737, in what was then Lebanon Township, Lancaster County. Steitz was described as a “shrewd German” by William Egle in his book “History of the County of Lebanon in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” Subsequently, Steitz purchased additional land, and working with fellow land owner Francis Reynolds, decided to develop the land into lots in the 1750s. The town was planned in a neat, orderly manner with alleys and streets laid out at regular intervals. Each lot was numbered, and along with the home built upon it, had specific dimensions and requirements to adhere to. Both Lutheran and Reformed congregations were given lots where churches could be built. Steitz named the town “Steitztown” as it was commonplace at the time for a town to be named after its proprietor. The town was also sometimes called “Quittapahilla” after the creek on which it was founded. Subsequently, Moravians applied pressure to change the name to Lebanon, after the township in which it was located; and following their tradition of giving Biblical names to their settlements. The Biblical translation of Lebanon is “white mountain.” According to research done by Gladys B. Sowers, “by 1758, the word “Steitztown” was no longer placed on official records and the word “Lebanon” was used instead.” Steitz died in 1767 and the name “Lebanon” was adopted in 1778. During the Revolutionary War, Lebanon played an important role as a depot of supplies of provisions and a storehouse for ammunition during the occupancy of Philadelphia by the British. Additionally, there were a large number of gunsmiths, tanners and shoe manufacturers. In 1875, Beers wrote, “… the growth of the place has been steady, both in wealth, population and commercial importance, until it ranks in proportion to its population among the first manufacturing towns, not only of the State, but of the whole country. True, as have all other towns, it has had its eras of panic, financial distress and general stagnation of all enterprise and improvement; but in the following years of prosperity it has always made up for its enforced losses of the past. Its business men are shrewd, cautious, and far-seeing, and its industries rest mostly on too broad a basis to be shaken by the first breath of adversity.” “The town is regularly laid out, and occupies a beautiful and healthy situation near the source of the Quittapahilla. Lebanon has good schools and fine church facilities; excellent streets and side-walks over most of the town. It is supplied with good water, and with gas, and is fully up to the times.” The City of Lebanon was chartered in 1885. Since its inception, eight municipalities have developed within the boundary of the original township: City of Lebanon, the Cleona and Cornwall boroughs and the townships of North Cornwall, North Lebanon, South Lebanon, West Cornwall and West Lebanon. BETHEL TOWNSHIP According to “Three Hundred Years of Pennsylvania, Lebanon County 1683-1983,” Bethel was named by the Moravians who were conducting their mission work in the 1730s and had established a church by 1743. Located in the northeast part of the county, the most notable geographic influences on Bethel are Blue

EAST HANOVER TOWNSHIP Beers states, “East Hanover was first settled, mostly by Scotch and Irish, (the Irish predominating) and was a part of Hanover township, Dauphin county, and it originally included Union, Cold Spring, and a part of Swatara in Lebanon County. The town of Hanover was erected about 1736-‘7, from Peshtank or Paxton, and for several succeeding years was divided into the east and west end. The latter is mostly embraced at present in the limits of Lebanon county. The early settlers were mostly Presbyterians, and had the full characteristics of the wild, impulsive Irish blood. They were a proper people to defend a frontier against the incursions of a savage foe. It was from this township (the original Hanover) that many of the principal actors in the massacre of Christian Indians at Lancaster came. In fact, it was often called the Paxton affair.” “In 1813 East Hanover became a township of Lebanon county. It is mountainous in the northern part, and gently diversified in the southern. The town is well-watered; several fine streams make an abundant waterpower. The Swatara flows along the southern border. In 1840, no less than six Revolutionary pensioners were still living in the (area); and no that the South Mountain Railroad passes through the township, there can be no doubt but that East Hanover is destined to be one of the leading townships, both in population and manufactures in the count.” Union Township has subsequently developed from within the original boundary of East Hanover Township, as have parts of Cold Spring Township (a portion of which also came from Union).

HEIDELBERG TOWNSHIP Heidelberg Township is located in the very fertile, limestone laden area of southern Lebanon County. It originally included Millcreek to the east and Jackson to the north when it was established; still a part of Lan-

“This township contains nearly twenty-six thousand acres of land, some of the best and some of the worst in the county. The middle portion is level; limestone soil, and some good gravel and slate. The northern part is undulating. The south and south-west is hilly, and much of it is covered with Sienite boulders of large proportions.” In Donald L. Rhoads Jr.’s book about Campbeltown, he explained, “The year 1768 was a significant date in the township history. The inhabitants of then Derry Township (at the time, Lancaster County) petitioned the courts to divide Derry into two. The reasons for this petition were that the boundaries of Derry were very extensive, and the inhabitants labored under many inconveniences as a result.” The formation of Londonderry Township was the result of this dispute. One of the more significant villages in Londonderry Township was Palmstown, founded by Dr. John Palm in 1766 with 100 acres of land he purchased. The name was later changed to Palmyra. Its economic stability and growth was assured in 1857 when the railroad passed through town. Sinceitsinception,fourmunicipalitieshavedeveloped within the original boundary of Londonderry township: the boroughs of Mt. Gretna and Palmyra, and the townships of North Londonderry and South Londonderry. ANNVILLE TOWNSHIP According to Beers’ “County Atlas of Lebanon Pennsylvania,” “the Scotch-Irish were the first settlers in

caster County. The township extended into the area that became Berks County in 1752. South Mountain separates it from Lancaster County to the south. The origin of Heidelberg Township’s population is explained by Beers. “It was first settled by German Jews, in the vicinity of Schaefferstown. They must have came here as early as 1723, as they had a church and a cemetery here only a few years later. Here, with others of their religious faith from many miles around, they gathered to hear their Rabbi read the Scriptures to them, and perform the religious rites of the Jewish Church. The cemetery is all that remains to show that they once were here, the church having long since crumbled into ruins; and as the march of civilization surrounded them with a class of neighbors who were somewhat prejudiced against their religion, they disposed of their effects and went away; where, tradition does not tell.” Schaefferstown was founded by Alexander Schaeffer, a Palentine and native of Wurtemburg, Germany. From 1740 – 1760, he acquired more than 900 acres of land around the town that became his namesake. Though not an educated man, Schaeffer displayed considerable business acumen. One of his earliest buildings, the King George Hotel (renamed George Washington after the Revolutionary War) still stands, now known as the Franklin House. Schaeffer was also notable for establishing a gravitational water conveyance system by underground pipes. The Fountain Company was

the eastern part of the township, which then belonged to Lebanon.” Settlement took place in the early 1700s, but primarily occurred on land they did not own. By the 1730s, Swiss and German immigrants were applying for warrants for property in the area. Then, in 1747, Andrew Miller purchased 232 acres of land that was inhabited by the Scotch-Irish squatters. He allowed them to pay rent and remain in their homes, but as Germans and Swedes moved into the area, the Scotch-Irish moved away. Miller laid out streets and lots for a village he called “Millerstown” in 1763. After experiencing difficulty selling some lots, he sold more than half of his property to Adam Uhlrich. This was area was combined with land owned by Abraham Raiguel, and enabled a larger town to be built – Annville. The new name took some number of years to catch on. Early records show a variety of spellings – “Anvile,” “Annwill” and “Anvil,”

founded sometime between 1744 and 1750. Another notable citizen of Heidelberg Township was Baron Stiegel, the famous colonial manufacturer of iron and flint glassware. He was known for the castle he built and the lavish parties he hosted. Beers describes, “he at times indulged in the riotous festivities common to his native country. On the tower of the castle was a cannon, which, on the occasions of the Baron’s visits, was fired to notify the neighborhood of his arrival, so that his friends might gather to welcome him, and enjoy his lavish hospitality. He is said to have died bankrupt.” Heidelberg Township is separated from Lancaster County by the South Mountain, and it is in this area that Mill Creek and Hammer Creek are located. Five additional municipalities have developed from the original Heidelberg township: Myerstown and Richland boroughs and Heidelberg, Jackson and Millcreek townships.

SOURCES: The Lebanon County Historical Society, Lebanon, PA., “2013 Historic Calendar,” by Donald L. Rhoads Jr., Gladys B. Sowers and Brian Kissler, Published by the Lebanon County Historical Society, 2012. “Three Hundred Years of Pennsylvania, Lebanon County 1683-1983, In Old Words and Pictures,” Published by the Lebanon County Commissioners and Lebanon County Historical Society, 1983. “Lebanon County Pennsylvania Area Key, Second Edition, A Guide to Genealogical Records of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania Including Maps, Histories, Charts, and Other Helpful Materials,” by Florence Clint, Published by Area Keys, Denver, CO, 1977. “County Atlas of Lebanon Pennsylvania From Recent and Actual Surveys and Records Under the Superintendence of F.W. Beers,” Published by F.A. Davis, Reading & Philadelphia, PA, Maps Engraved and Printed by J.B. Beers & Co., New York, NY, 1875. “History of the County of Lebanon in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: Biographical and Geneological,” by William Henry Egle, M.D., M.A., author of “History of Pennsylvania.” “Bicentennial Postcard Series,” Published by the Institute of American Deltiology, Myerstown, PA, 2013. Lebanon County Bicentennial Logo Designed by: Logan Echard, Cornwall-Lebanon School District, Cedar Crest High School, 2012.

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