History of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania


The present work, "History of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania," will, it is confidently believed, commend itself to the people of that historic old region of Pennsylvania, and not only to them but to various Libraries, Historical Societies, and also to many individual investigators throughout the Commonwealth and Nation.

These volumes contain much valuable information which has hitherto lain inaccessible to the people at large. Of special importance are the numerous lists of Taxables and Land Owners, the Military Rolls of the Dauphin County Territory in the wars with the French and Indians, of the Revolution, the Whiskey Insurrection, the War with Great Britain in 1812-14, the Mexican War, the War of the Rebellion, and the Spanish-American War; also the early Church Records of Births, Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths. These compilations have been made with painstaking care, in large part by Mr. Luther R. Kelker, and in their entirety under his immediate supervision. To this monumental labor, as well as to directing the compilation of the general history, that gentleman has brought the highest qualifications — diligent study of local history for many years, warm enthusiasm based upon reverence for the pioneers who here planted the institutions of civilization, and a laudable pride of ancestry. He was possessed of a love of historical and genealogical subjects from his youth. During his convalescence following a serious illness he began a systematic study of what had been gathered in the Colonial Records and Pennsylvania Archives, and on recovering his health procured permission to examine the unpublished records in the basement and attic of the Capitol Building in Harrisburg. While he was thus engaged the American Historical Association appointed a committee to examine into the condition of published and unpublished archives in the various States of the Union. Dr. Herman V. Ames, Professor of American History in the University of Pennsylvania, represented that body for investigations in Pennsylvania, and, on reaching Harrisburg, consulted with the various heads of departments, by whom he was referred to Mr. Kelker on account of his familiarity with the subjects in question, and, in his report in 1901 to the American Elistorical Association, Dr. Ames gave credit to Mr. Kelker "for generous services and valuable information." About this time Mr. Kelker took up historical and genealogical research as a profession. On April 14, 1903, Governor Pennypacker approved a bill constituting a new department to be called the Division of Public Records, and on June 1st following Mr. Kelker was appointed to organize it. This duty he successfully performed, and it was his distinction that this department was the first of its class in the United States, and of which he has had charge from its inception, his official designation being Custodian of Division of Public Records of Pennsylvania. He has performed diligent labor upon the twenty-two volumes of the Pennsylvania Archives, the editor of which testified to Mr. Kelker's devotion by saying that the production of that series would have been practically impossible without the aid of one w^hose enthusiasm was so well sustained. Mr. Kelker's plans in the organization and conduct of his department met the warm approval of leading historical students throughout the country, and proved a great stimulus to the investigation of original documents by students for universities and colleges throughout the country. In a letter to the publishers of this work, John W. Jordan, LL.D., of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, says of Mr. Kelker: "He is an enthusiastic delver in the historical mine, and in his knowledge of the German counties of the State, the people and their history, he Is well considered. As Custodian of Public Records he is efficient and energetic."

As a proper accompaniment to the narrative history contained in this work, is presented a department of Genealogical Memoirs, linking the active people of to-day with their honored forbears, in the conviction that

"It is indeed a blessing when the virtues
Of noble races are hereditary.
And do derive themselves from the imitation
Of virtuous ancestors."
The pages of these genealogical and personal memoirs have been prepared with all due care from such data as were accessible from the hands of family representatives and from extant records. In each case the sketch has been submitted to the immediate subject or to his proper representative for correction and revision. It is beheved that the present work, in both its features — historical, and genealogical and personal — will prove a real addition to the mass of literature concerning the people of the historic region under consideration, and that without it much valuable information therein contained would be irretrievably lost, owing to the passing away of many custodians of family records, and the disappearance of such material.


Table of Contents

Chapter I.
Indian Occupancy — The Susquehannas — Mohawks — Iroquois — Algonquin Tribes — The Five Nations — Many Indians Burned Alive — Treaty of 1683 — The Shawanese Stay of a Quarter of a Century on the Conestoga and Pequea Creek — Indian Manners and Customs — Penn's Description of them — Streams of the County 1

Chapter II.
Early Settlement — Captain John Smith of Virginia Comes up as Far as Great Falls — The French People First to Lo- cate at Mouth of Paxtang Creek — The Appearance of John Harris — The Quakers and French Papists — John Harris the Trader — Trouble With Indian Bands — The Scotch-Irish — William Penn's Visits — Persecution of the Scotch-Irish — Original Letter of Harris — Penn's "Articles of Concession" — Produce Values in 1740 — Invasion of the French and Indians — A Regiment of "Fighting People" — Murder of John Armstrong by the Indians 15

Chapter III.
Formation of the County — The Origin of the Name "Dauphin" — First County Officials — Courts — Original Town- ships — Lebanon County Taken from Dauphin — Present Townships — Recorded Plots 43

Chapter IV.
Dates of First Events — Freemasonry Before County was formed — Arrested for Sedition — Indian Visitors — Indians at the Grave of Harris — Traveling a Century Ago — Indian Council at Harris Ferry — First Courts — First Newspapers — A Slave Advertised — Indians Revenge — Dauphin Against the Amendment — List of Slaves — Tomatoes First Used — The Last Slave in the County — Maple-Sugar Making in 1864 — The Centennial Anniversary —Celebrated Mill Dam Case 84

Chapter V.
County Government — The Several Court Houses — Early Court Cryers — The County Prisons — Alms Houses — Finances — National and State Representation — Judges — Biographers of First judges — County Officials — -Biography of Alexander Graydon, First Prothonotary 105

Chapter VI.
Military Record — The French and Indian War — Whiskey Insurrection — Revolutionary War — War of 1812-14 — The "Buckshot War" — Mexican War — Civil War — Spanish-American War 130

Chapter VII.
Forts of Dauphin County — Fort Harris — Fort Hunter — "Indian Fort Hunter" — Fort Halifax — Manada Fort and Fort McKee 189

Chapter VIII.
Religious History — The First Church Founded — First Edifice Built — Old Derry Church — Hanover Church — Paxtang Church — Derry "Memorial Church" — Harrisburg Churches — Middletown Churches — Lykens Churches — - Upper Paxton Churches — Steelton Churches — Berrysburg Churches — Lower Paxton Churches — Hill Church — Halifax Churches — Dauphin Churches — Hummelstown Churches — Earliest Mennonite Church — "Parson Elder's" Sermon Heads — Biographies of Pioneer Ministers — Rev. William Bertram and Rev. John Elder — The Old Conewago Church 224

Chapter IX.
Grant of the "Harris Ferry" Right — Navigation and Railroads — Proposed Sloop and Steamboat Navigation— Convicts Executed at Harrisburg — Assessed Valuation of County — School Statistics — Political — Postoffices — Population 1790 to 1900 — County's Development — Current Prices in 1800 — Agriculture — Prices in 1903 — Coal Mines — The Brownstone Quarries — Dauphin Historical Society 305

Chapter X.
The Newspapers — The Legal Profession — The Medical Profession 330

Chapter XI.
Townships: Derry — Londonderry — Paxtang — -Lower Paxton. 373

Chapter XII.
Townships: West Hanover — East Hanover — Middle Paxton — Conewago 405

Chapter XIII.
Townships: South Hanover — Hanover (Original) — Rush — Jackson — Jefferson — Wayne — Reed — Upper Paxton 419

Chapter XIV.
Townships: Wiconisco — Washington — Susquehanna — Lykens Mifflin — Williams — ^Halifax — Lower Swatara — Swatara. 444 — Mifflin — Williams — Halifax — Lower Swatara — Swatara 444


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Prior to 1600, but how long before is not known, the Susquehanna Indians were seated upon the river of that name. By the "Relations" we find that they had previously come into collision with the Mohawks, then the most eastern of the Iroquois, by which, in a war that lasted for ten years, the former nearly exterminated the latter. According to Captain John Smith, who explored the Chesapeake and its tributaries, the Susquehannas were then (in 1608) still at war with the tribe referred to. In 1633 they were at war with the Algonquin tribes on the Delaware, maintaining their supremacy by butchery. They were friendly to the Dutch, and when the Swedes arrived on the Delaware, in 1638, they renewed the friendly intercourse begun by the former. According to Hazard, they purchased lands of the ruling tribe, and thus secured their friendship. Southward, also, they carried the terror of their arms, and from 1634 to 1644 they waged war on the Yaomacoes, the Piscataways, and Patuxents, and were so troublesome that in 1642 Governor Calvert, by proclamation, declared them public enemies.