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From the earliest time, Silver Spring was a beautiful, bountiful area. Indians passing through the area on hunting trips camped by the spring. The early Paleo-Indians or Lenape probably migrated from the west and appreciated the beauty and fruitfulness of the valley. At least six fluted arrow points found in the Cumberland Valley resemble those found in the west. One arrow point was found at Silver Spring. Indian trails following Conodoguinet Creek were used by Delaware, Shawnee, Susquehannock, Iroquois, and Lenape Indians. Silver Spring was an important stop on the "Great Trail", the main Indian path which passed through the township. The Indian paths were also used by the early traders such as Frank Stephens. One path which ran northwest from Silver Spring led towards Stephen's Gap, named after this early trader. The path wound through the gap and led to an Indian camp in Sherman's Valley.
Before 1750 Silver Spring township was known as North Valley. The Conodoguinet Creek (loosely translated as "For a long way nothing but bends"), watered fertile lands and forests. The only untimbered region, called the Barrens, extended upwards to the Stony Ridge area west of what is now New Kingstown. From the ridge westward, the land was again heavily forested with locust, poplar, pine, and pin oak trees. The township abounded in springs which attracted an abundance of wildlife.
The first settler to the region was James Silver, who crossed the Susquehanna on December 11, 1724. It is believed he came to the water called Silver Spring with early trader Frank Stephens. The original spring near where the Silver Spring Presbyterian church now stands was named for its sparkling water, not for the man. From the time when he settled near it to the end of the Revolutionary War, however, the spring became known as Silver's Spring. After the war, it reverted to Silver Spring once again. James Silver and Frank Stephens began trade with the Indians. Copper cook pots, hatchets, ribbons, and even muskets had been carried in and found an appreciative Indian audience. Indian children were particularly fascinated by jews-harps, while their elders fingered colorful blankets.
By the 1700s the Iroquois were the dominant tribe in the area. They allowed the Shawnee access to the area on condition that the Shawnee caused no disruptions. In the summer of 1727, however, several Shawnee and Conestoga Indians were involved in a drunken brawl which resulted in the murder of a Conestoga brave. Fearing Iroquois reprisals, the Shawnee fled to the protection of the French stationed along the Allegheny, as did several other tribes.
It was during this time that James Silver blaze-marked his property, making him the first land owner in the area, although illegally. Legally, the land west of the Susquehanna River had not been purchased from the Indians by the government, and governor William Penn had not opened the area to settlement by whites. But Scots-Irish from the east were eyeing the lush valleys and, disregarding Penn's wishes, crossed the river and began clearing ground for homesteads.
After the passing of the Blunston License in 1735, Silver took out the first legal grant of land in the area consisting of 530 acres along Conodoguinet Creek and Silver Spring Run. He built a log cabin for his wife Hannah and son Francis, who is believed to be the first child born west of the Susquehanna river. The cabin overlooked the fast-moving Silver Spring Run. A busy but narrow Indian trail ran from Silver Spring to an Indian village on Shawna Creek near present-day Bowmansdale. Silver's cabin was near the junction of the trail to Hoge's meadow. Today Shawna Creek is known as Yellow Breeches.
Silver was well-known to later settlers, and was appointed to serve on a committee to lay out a road from Harris's Ferry toward the Potomac River, which would serve to funnel future settlers to the center of the valley. This was not a popular route with everyone, however, and a large group of dissenters filed a petition for a review of the road plan. They contended that their part of the valley was more thickly settled than that which was to the south. They also claimed that the eastern part of the road would be very crooked and a hardship for the inhabitants. The court named another group to find an alternate route which would sit better with the public. Three months later, they reported on a different route, which would end at the head of Great Spring. The court authorized this route to "go by the house of James Silver as recorded."
The Great Road was laid out in 1735. After leaving the point where the Harris Ferry docked, it took a direct course to James Silver's place near the present Silver Spring Presbyterian Church, then to John Hoge's meadow, the site of present-day Hogestown. This area was also known as "Sporting Green". The Great Road was not completed until 1741. By this time travelers on the road had graduated from pack horses to two-wheeled carts and sleds with young cattle to supply the power. The Great Road blossomed with a legion of tollgates, causing many drovers to use the alternate Trindle Road.
James Silver was appointed the first tax collector in the Great Valley of Lancaster County. He was well-known and very popular with the Scots-Irish who comprised about 95% of the population. The Scots-Irish gradually pushed out the Indians, who withdrew to the Juniata River area. Local traders continued to supply the Indians with trade goods brought down the Great Road past Silver's place. Anticipating the demand for acreage, Silver marked out many tracts of land, hoping to reap a future profit. By this point he had acquired over 2000 acres of land.
The Scotch-Irish settlement of Presbyterians continued to grow. Demands for relious and educational facilities were growing and must be met. The knoll of oak trees south of the spring offered the better locaiton for both the enlarged church and a permanent burial ground. Procedures were started in 1771 and a stone edifice was built in 1783. The first burial in the cemetary is recorded as early at 1747.
The Silver Spring Presbyterian Church is an historical church. The church was first know about in 1734 and the "people over the Susquehanna". In 1734, Rev. Alexander Craigheas crossed the "long, crooked river" to preach to the people where the first service was recorded. Later, the church became known as the "lower congregation of the Conodoguinet" to distinguish it from Meetin House Springs near Carlisle.
Because no legal protection wwas extended to them the settlers wer forced to take the law into their own hands. In 1749 James Solver and William Magaw petitioned the provincial council for the erection of Cumberland County. Until that time, Silver spring was a part of Lancaster County and the distance from Lancaster made it difficult to access courts and public offices. The peaceful citizens were finding it more difficult to secure themselves against abuses committed by the idle and dissolute persons. It was because of this necessity that the County of Cumberland was organized on January 27, 1750. Silver Spring Township was organized in 1757. Previous to that, Silver Spring was a part of Pennsborough Township known as West Pennsborough.
The total land area of Silver Spring Township is 33.6 square miles. The very early landowners and lawmakers found it most convenient to use some well-known landmarks to set up the boundaries. The crest of the North Mountain is our northern boundary. The Iron Ridge (or "Stony Ridge") west of New Kingstown became our western boundary. When the township was first laid out there were two roads connecting it with Hampden and Monroe Townships. The Silver Spring Road setting up our eastern boundary and the Trindle Road gave us our sourthern boundary. Today
people live in Silver Spring Township.
After the organization of our county, the area received the name of Cumberland Valley. Previously the valley was referred to as North Valley. In all probability, James Silver suggested the name. The Silver's family orignally came from the Cumberland area of northen England. James was not only respected in his settlement but by the provincial authories as well.
James Silver dies in 1776 and left behind two grist mills and a saw mill.
In about 1744 George Groghan came in the Silver's Spring area and established a business as an Indian trader. He was a blustering bragging Irishman and a most notorious character..
George Croghan purchawed his first land from James Silver in 1746. Croghan built his sheds and houses at the juncture of Silver's Spring and the Conodoguiet, on cross paths of the Indians. His post at Silver's Spring was a community in itself, with a house, cabins for his friends, storehouses, barns, tanyards, and corrals for his horses. His stock included such items as "shalloon, gambric, work shoes, callice, knoves, gartering and blankets." He also handled items such as jews harps, red lead, vermillion, strouds (rough blankets), shirts and rings.
His blacksmithing services aided the farmers in the area. Frequent references to the "lime pitts" point to cultivated and nutrient-added fields. If so, twenty to thiry bushels of wheat would have been an average yield per acre of new land, and wheat for whiskey was probably one of the crops. Twenty-four bushels of wheat changed into sixteen gallons of whiskey would reduce considerably the bulk in transporting.
The area was abundant in bear, wolves, deer, panther, wild cat, squirrel and wild turkeey. Therefore, the principal function of Pennsboro was that of a base and transfer point for furs. The pack-horse train averaged about twenty horses, each carrying about 150 lbs. on their pack saddles. They followed in the trail single file, with one man in front ond one in rear. The trail led them over Stephen's Gap which became known as Croghan's Gap and is now known as Sterrett's Gap. When the horses were turned loose at night to forage for food, bells were fastened to to aid in finding them again.
Croghan was the favored peacemaker at most Indian parleys. He was fluent in Indian dialects and showered the Indians with many gifts. Croghan, known by the Indians as "The Buck", set his standard value as "one buck", one fall deerskin. Its equivalent were two does or two spring buck, one large buck beaver, two doe beaver, six raccoons, four foxes, two fishers, two otters, or three summer does. In exchange Croghan valued a blanket at four bucks, a matchcoat at three, four small knives, a pint of powder, or one hundred wampum equalled one buck. A plain shirt was two bucks, a ruffled shirt four bucks, a pair of stockings or two fathoms of ribbon one buck, and six feet of calice cloth was valued at three bucks. Brass kettles were priced at one to ten bucks and tin kettles at one to three.
Croghan came into the area as an Indian trader. He had been called "king of the Indian Traders.l" Through Indian treaties and land speculation he procured large grants of land. More than any one man he was responsible for carrying English ideas into the region. He left a merchant and a diplomat.
THE YEARS 1744-1788
In March, 1744, hostilities were openly declared between France and Great Britain. The peaceful era of Pennsylvania was now at an end, and the dark cloud of savage warfare began to gather on the western frontier. The lands acquired by the Indian walk, and by purchasing lands without their consent, were now to be paid for by the blood of the citizens. The progress of the white population toward the west continued to alarm and irritate the Indians. The new settlers, impatient of the delays of the land office or unable or unwilling to pay for their lands, sought homes in districts to which the Indian title had not been extinguished. Especially was this the case with the Scotch-Irish, who seated themselves on the west of the Susquehanna. These settlements rapidly increased in spite of the complaints of the Indians.
Ben Franklin advocated that the Frontier establish a show of strength by forming an active defenseive military unit to combat the possible attacks. It was probably at this time that James Silver bought a tract of land from William Trindle. It is believed that he erected a cabin on this tract of land to which he could flee with his family in case of an attack along the base of the mountain.
In about 1746 men of the North Valley organized the Associators. In the Silver's Spring area James Silver was the captain. All able-bodied men from 18 to 60 years of age filled the ranks. Their duty was to report for meetings and drill at least once a month. If they were not in attendance they would be fined for their absence. From the very beginning James Logan wanted the Scotch-Irish to settle in this area. He felt them able suited to any task. This duty and any hardship they accepted in the defense of their homes. The main patrols of the Associators were the Indian paths at the base of the North mountain., They were charced with protecting the settlement from sneak attacks by marauding and massacring Indians.
In the spring of 1753 there were yet many Indians living in our valley, mostly along the southern slopes of the Kittochtinny Mountains. The were very friendly and visited frequently with the settlers in their neighborhood.
In the summer of 1754 a treaty was held at Albany between many Indian tribes involved in Pennsylvania and southern New York. The Delawares were promised reimbursement for the land ceded to squatters on unpurchases territory although they were willing to forget it to save friendship. Instead, the Iroquois, whom the Delaware never recognized as their warlords, sold the vast tract of land from the Susquehanna on the east to the to of the Alleghenies on the west for a mere 400 pounds. This entire area, including the vast drainage of the Juniata River was the ancient home of the friendly Delaware Indians and they became infuriated at the Penns and laid plans for reprisals on the unprotected frontier of the settlers of this valley.
Governor Morris of Pennsylvania called an Indian conference at Augwhich that autumn and tried to placate the Indians with gifts, for the loss of their hunting grounds. It was to no avail. Early that fall a settler was attachked and killed near Mt. Parnell by an unknown Indian and that marked the start of ruthless killing, kidnapping, torturing and destroying the property of settlers in this once
The French could see that England refused to protect her colonies with armed forces, so to add to French dominion they moved into the area west of the Allegheny Mountains, taking over trading posts of the English and building forts as a show of strength. The vast area had been served by the traders of Cumberland Valley. Their stock of trade material, pack trains of purchases furs, the horses and trading agents were taken into custoday.
One Michael Teaff, an Indian trader from the Silver's Spring area managed to take thirty head of horses into Sandusky, Ohio at this time. He survived the trip without being taken into custody. The great loss suffered by the traders in the French takeover of the Indian trade later became known as the "French Encroachment" and the loss of firteen traders became known as the "suffering traders".
An alarming crisis was at hand. The French applied themselves to seduce the Indians from their allegiance to the English. The dispossesed Indians from the Penn Province joined the French to harass and murder the settlers on the frontier. This danger was most imminent in our valley as it was from this area that the disgruntled Shawnees had fled to the protection of the French.
Pennsylvania was required to collect three thousand men for enlistment, to be placed at the disposal of a commander-in-chief. Their duties would be not only to protect, but to supply other troops on their arrival with provisions, and to furnish all necessaries for the soldiers for traveling, for impressing carriages, and quartering troops. The subjects within the Province were charged with the responsibility of carrying these orders out. Benjamin Franklin was commissioned to come into the counties of Cumberland and Franklin and obtain in two weeks one hundred and fifty wagons, and fifteen hundred pack-horses. Franklin gained much popularity and obtained all the equipment he needed.
On the eighth of June of 1755 General Braddock left Fort Cumberland for Fort Duquesne.
With him was George Corghan, the Indian agent from Silver's Spring, and a frontiersman of great value called the "Wild Hunter" or Captain Jack.
Under the orders of the Governor and Provincial Commissioners, in the summer of 1756 Col. John Armstrong of Cumberland County organized four companies of locally selected troops to march against the Indian Village of Kittanning, from whence most of the marauding Indians came.
The Scotch-Irish, who settled in the Silver's Spring area, were busy protecting their own homes, and although several compainies offered their services to General Braddock, he did not accept them. Not for the motives ascribed to him by most historians, but from the fact that they were actually required at their own firesides, which had already ben invaded by the savage foe. It should be noted that historians tell us that Ed Ware, the nephew of George Croghan, who was married to James Silver's daughter became a captain in the army. He helped wipe out the Indian village at Kittanning.
While the inhabitants, unarmed and undisciplined, were compelled hastily to seek the means of defense or of flight, the enemy, long restreained by fear of another attack and scarce crediting his senses when he discovered the defenseless state of the frontiers, now roamed unmolested and fearlessly. (This was because the chief of command of the forces of America dec ided to employ his troppse elsewhere laying the populous of our Province open to attack.) Many inhabitants in Cumberland County felt the ferocity of the savage. Appalling outrages and wanton cruelties took place in the area. Many settlements were destroyed and many of the inhabitants slaughtered or made captives, or fled in terror.
The savages still made incursions and continued the work of blood and butchery. The people of East Pennsborough Township were in imminent danger of being murdered by the dredful fiends. To save themselves, many of the people fled. Those who remained supplicated government protection. A petition was sent to Secretary Peters at Philadelphia. "The humbel supplication of the remaining inhabitants of East Pennsborough Township, in Cumberland County, letting our worship know something of our melancholy state, we are at present, by reason of the savage Indians, who have not only killed our Christian neighbors, but are coming nearer to us in thier late slaughter; and almost every day numbers on our frontiers are leaving their places and traveling down amoung the inhabitants, and we are quite incapable to holding our frontiers good any longer, unless your worship can prevail with our honorable Governor and Assembly to be pleased to send us speedy relief. May it please all to whon this shall come, to consider what an evil case we will be exposed to in leaving our places, grain and cattle; for we are not able to buy provisions for our families, much less those not removed are not provided with guns and ammunition; and we have agreed with a guard of fourteen men in number; and if it were in our power to pay for a guard, we should be satisfied, but we are not able to pay them. Begging for God's sake you may take pity upon our poor families, and that their necessities may be considered by all gentlemen that have charge of us." James silver was one of the signers of this petitionon August 24, 1756.
In 1757 the negotiations for peace were not accelerated and the area was still exposed to continued devestation from the French and western Indians, who roamed in small parties over the country. The county of Cumberland during the spring and summer months of 1757 was kept in continual alarm. Incessant anxiety pervaded every family in the county. Their slumbers were broken by the yell of demons, or by the dread of an attack. The ground was plowed, and seed sown, and harvest gathered, under the fear of the tomahawk and rifle. Scarce any outdoor labor was safely executed, unless protected by arems in the hands of the laborers. Women visiting their sick neighbors were shot or captured; children driving home cattle from the field were killed and scalped; whilst the enemy, dastardly as cruel, shrunk from every equality of force. Many of the richest neighbors were deserted, and property of every king given up to the foe. Many instances of heroism were displayed by men, women, and children in the defense of themselves and their homes, and in pursuing and combating the enemy. Temporary forts were erected and manned by Associators on a twenty-four hour basis,with partols covering the entire valley. One of these patrols reporting as having passed the "old silver's house" which would suggest that it was evacuated. A blockhouse was erected on the Lamb farm just south of Trindle Springs.
William Pitt, the new minister of England called upon the Provinces to raise as many men as possible. He also sent a force from England to America. The heavens began to brighten and the war storm to lose its power. A letter dated Carlisle, September 5, 1757, says three persons were killed by the Indians killed by the Indians six miles from Carlisle, and two persons about two miles from silver's old place.
The town of Carlisle, in 1760, was made the scene of a barbarous murder. Doctor John, a friendly Indian of the Delaware tribe, was massacared, together with his wife and two children. Captain Calender, who was one of the inquest, was sent for by the Assembly, and after interrogating him on the subject, they offered a reward of one hundred pounds for the apprehension of each person concerned in the murder. Robert Calender was and Indian trader who supposedly never lost his shirt ina deal. He was the most influential in dealings between the Indian and the white man. His trade center was located at Silver's Spring. He beame a general in the Revolutionary War in prestige only as he was an old man by then.
Many of the inhabitants of Silver Spring Township wer Presbyterians. They were patriots, haters of tyranny. No sooner had the port of Boston been closed, and fifty-three days before the continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia, when a respectable meeting of the freeholders and free men from several townships in Cumberland County, was held at Carlisle on Tuesday the 12th day of July 1774. At that meeting nine resolutions were offered and unamiously adopted. These resolutions delt mainly with the fct that the closing of the Boston port was oppressive and County of Cumberland would support the cause of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
On receiving the news of the battle of Lexington the county committee met on a very short notice. The committee voted five hundred effective men, besides commissioned officers, to be immediately drafted, taken into pay, armed and disciplined, to march on the first emergency. They agreed to import no merchandise from nor export any merchandise to, Great Britain, Ireland, or British West Indies. Jonathan Hoge, the founder of Hogestown, was a member of this committee.
Members from our valley were recruited into the Revolutionary War. "We call upon you, therefore, by the respect and obedience which are due to the authority of the United Colonies, to concur in this important measure. The present campaign will probably decide the fate of America. It is now in your power to immortalize your names by mingling your achievements with the events of the year of 1776--a year which we hope will be famed in the annuals of history to the end of tiem, for establishing upon a lasting foundation of the liberties of one-quarter of the globe. Remember the honor of our Colony is at stake. Should you desert the common cause at the present juncture, the glory you have acquired by your former exertions of strenght and virtue will be tarnished, and our friends and brethern who are now acquiring laurels in the most remote part of America will reporaach us and blush to own themselves natives or inhabitants of Pennsylvania. But your ancestors of the dear--bought fruits of your own industry and your liberty--now urge you to the field. These cannot plead with you in vain, or we might point out to you further--your wives, your children, your aged fathers and mothers, who now look up to you for aid and hope for alvation in this day of calamity only from the instrumentality of your swords. Remember the name of Pennsylvania. Think of your ancestors and of your posterity." This was the pleas used to urge men from our valey to become recruits in the revolutionary forces.
The citizenry responded to the Wiskey Insurrection and the War of 1812. They were in agreement to take up arms in the common cause of defense.
Robert Whitehill became the spokesman for the people of 1776. At this time the settlers were having a struggle for Civil Rights.
News began to reach Cumberland County of the ratification of the Constitution by some sttes. Robert Whitehill called together representatives of the townships of Cumberland County. Meeting on July 3, 1788, at "Stony Ridge," the men opposed to the Federal Constitution issues to "the friends of liberty" a circular letter now in the possession of the Liberty of Congrss. From this meeting might reasonably be traced both the founding of the Democratic Party and the Federal Bill of Rights.
Robert Whitehill is considered the author of the Pennsylvania Constitutionand the Bill of Rights to the state Constitution because of his letter issues from "Stony Ridge."
From 1774, when he served on the county committee, to the time of his death, Whitehill feeilled almost every position in the gift of the people.
Almost illegible is his horizontal tombstone in the graveyard of the Silver Spring Churc of which he was named a trusttee in 1796.
THE YEARS 1862 - 1863
No sooner had the War Between the States begun than it became evident that Pennsylvania would be invaded. The first opportunity came to the enemy in the fall of 1862. The first evidence the inhabitants of the Cumberland Valley had of the rebel approach, was the flight of Milroy's wagon train, which was ordered to secure itself on the east side of the Susquehanna.
In June of 1863 horse and mule teas ladened with army supplies traveled in mass on the main road from State Line. Thus, the evidence of General Milroy's overthrow. Soon followed trains of farm wagons, too numeraous to find accommodations at Harrisburg or in the vicinity.
When it was apparent that the war would find its way into the Cumberland Valley, Governor Curtin urged all citizens living in the parth of the invasion to remove their livestock and other transportable property to more secure areas east of the Susquehanna River. Few persons in the Cumberland Valley took this warning seriously at first. Other than Stuart's raid in 1862 the Rebels had not come, although there had been repeated invasion scares. The farmers and merchants could not bring themselves to leave their farms and homes until the enemy appeared at their doorsteps. The views of many were changed as wagon loads of refugees from the areas south of Carlisle began appearing on the pike. A general flight set in with the alarming news that the calvary and militia were falling back in front of the Confederate advance. The flight eastward toward the Susquehanna gained in momentum.
Jacob Shrey, a veteran of the Revolutionary War from New Kingstown, was probably the only local resident who could vividly recall when an enemy had invaded his native soil. Here it was again appalingly at hand. The Farmers of Cumberland County had a grim decision to face. The herds, flocks, cultivated fields and commodious barns wer their livelihood. Should they give up their homes and farms and drive their animals east? Should they stand and face the enemy? Should they take their families and force them to suffer the hardships of a trek over dusty roads? Could the young and the elderly survive if forced to sleep in fields without shelter? Would there be guaranteed a continual supply of food, water and medical aid? Should the women and children remain to protect the homes from looting soldiers and refugees? Should the men trust their families to the mercies of the invader? Many families decided to remain but most of the able men, especially those of military age, moved out. From records found in the kanaga House we learn that besides Jacob Shrey two men joined belongins to the three months term of service. Seventeen men from New Kingstown joined the three-year service. Eight belonged to the one-year service. On man belonged to the drafted men. Four enlisted for nine months as substitutes.
Bankers bundled up their currency and valuable papers for shipment to vaults in Philadelphia. When space on freight cars wes available merchants and wholesalers began to evacuate their stores. It was too late for many of themerchants and wholesalers. The railroads were tunning their equipment to safer areas. The normal supply of cars and locomotives were not available for many trains were being used by military railroad system in the active areas of war.
During the last week of June a steady procession of refugees passed through New Kingstown from Carlisle. The roads were crowded with horses, cattle, sheep and hogs. Also could be seen long lines of wagons loaded with grain and articles of special value. In general panic the refugees sought to save their goods. Sometimes the most useless and cumbersome things were taken. This stream of animal life flowed steadily down the valley pike ever increasing in volumes.
In the latter part of June, 1863, the towns or villages along the paths of the refugees became a vast stable. Gret numbers of animals were herded along the pikes by men called drovers. On the outskirts of communites were provided corrals and watering troughs for the animals. Indoor and outdoor accommodations and food were provided for the drovers. Hotels and taverns were frequented by the drovers and refugees.
Streets, yards, and gardens were ankle deep in manure. Flies increased by the billions. Because of the added population, if only for overnight, the disposing of human waste was acute. Securing good drinking water also became a problem
Most refugees were heading to Bridgeport (Lemoyne) to cross the Susquehanna over the bridge and continue east. During the last ten days of June all roads leading to the bridge were crowded with vehicles of all descriptions, animals driven by drovers, people walking and people in distress and in need. For long periods of time no traffic moved bacause of the jam of people and vehicles.
Until this time the enemy was south and west of New Kingstown. On June 25, 1863, General Joseph Knipe pulled out of Carlisle. He had positive information of the enemy's advance. I shall fall back to Kingstown tonight. The enemy is on the pike and onthe Walnut Bottom Road, and I have asked the home guard to hide their arms and go to their homes. My cavalry will keep to the front and wtch for movement of the enemy. He awakened his slumbering militiamen and informed them that the Rebels were near. His regiments were in column on the read in five minutes and ready to march. Beside the pike was a railroad siding with a ramp and several flatcars. Two cannons were loaded onthe cars with the men's aggage and sent to Bridgeport. The rest of the battery followed the infantry back through Carlisle and on out the pike. Those on the streets in Carlisle stared in wonder at the unexplained exit of their defenders.
The march continued twelve miles to New Kingstown where in a downpour, the New Yorkers bivouacked in the on street of the village. A hundred or more crowded into the churches but the rest remained outdoors. They endured a good soaking, as their tents and blankets had been sent by rail to Bridgport.
The next day, shortly after noon, Knipe marched the brigade a mile west, where they took position on Stony Ridge facing Carlisle. (Stony Ridge is a low, rocky outcrop that runs north and south. Today its entire lingth is travered by the Appalachian Trail).
Knipe received a messge that the enemy was in possession at Carlisle. The enemy was General Genkins. The enemy actually was on the Trindle Road, two miles to the south, and was on Stony Ridge facing east while Knipe was on Stony Ridge facing west. Neither was aware of the other. Knipe was ordered to fall back to Bridgeport. Just before sunset, Knipe reached Oyster's Point after a ten-mile march.
In preparation for his advance on Harrisburg, Gen. Ewell ordered Jenkins' cavalry, supported by Capt. Richardon and his engineers, as well as tow batteries of three-inch field peices, to proceed part of the way on Saturday evening. Jenkins sent one group of pickets and three field pieces down the Harrisburg Pike near the Ridge. Jenkins took the remainder of his troops down the Trindle Roadand encamped at Hoge's Run near the Ridge.
The Carlisle authorities were unable to meet the demands for supplies issued by Gen. Ewell the day before and on Sunday all stores were forced to submit to search by squads, accompanied by officers and great quantities of needed materials were commandered.
Just west of Mechanicsburg, a small company of cavalry scouts under Capt. Murray were keeping watch on Jenkins' activities. As Jenkins advanced on the town early on Sunday morning; Murry and most of his men, entered town about 8:30 A.M., going directly to the telegraph operator at the railroad depot to send his last message from this place. After sending the message, the operator took his instruments and left town by way of East Main Street, with a group of Murray's men. About 8:45 A.M. the read guard of Murray's unit galloped through town toward Harrisburg.
Jenkins made his usual cautious advance down the Trindle Road and into Mechanicsburg, giving his pickets time to cover the lateral roads and lanes and insuring himself against a surprise attack. Jenkins' troops hesitated at Main and York Streets until his pickets, coming from the north and south, could report on the absence of Federal troops. The pickets assigned to the southern edge of town noted freshly turned soil on Chestnut Ridge and thinking this might be some advanced position of entrenched defense, warned Jenkins of the same. It was later found to be the newly out road to the recently organized Chestnut Hill Cemetery. As a precautionary action, Jenkins sent tow of his orderlies to the Square with a soiled white rag on a stick as a flag of truce, inquiring whether the town would surrender without bloodshed. When informed that no troops were in the area and no defense would be offered, the orderlies road out West Main Street to the awaiting troops, and the entire mounted contingent, clanked slowly to the Square. Jenkins continued east on the Trindle Road to the junction of Brandy Lane, where the troops bivouacked along the south side of the road between the Neidig and Rupp properties.
On Monday morning Jenkins dispatched his pickets in all directions, covering all lanes and byways as far north as Enola and to Lewisberry on the south. A battery of four three-inch field pieces was placed on the hillside between old St. John's and Peace Churches, to cover the advance of Jenkins' mounted infantry into Oyster's Point, which was at the junction of the Trindle Road and the Harrisburg Pike. Federal troops under Gen. Knipe were stationed at Oyster's Point and they were covered with a battery of Miller's guns, placed on the pike at our present 26th Street in Camp Hill. A skirmish resulted as the enemies came face to face and each withdrew, while the batteries exchanged several rounds of shells until they learned they were out of range. Many of the defenders thought this was the beginning of a powerful thrust at the Capitol, it was only a patrol skirmish in which as far as the reporters could learn, ther had been no casualties. The troops in Fort Washington for the first time began to realize the serousness and entrenchments, while others labored frantically to eliminate possible points of vantage from which confederate sharpshooters could operate. Monday night the Rebel forces were withdrawn to their camp on the Trindle Road. On Tuesday troops from the Fort Washington area braved their way to Sporting Hill on the Harrisburg pike and set up several pieces, knowing that a detachment of Confederate troops were doing reconnaissance from the Salem Church as a base. Some Rebel sharpshooters were concealed in a nearby barn and opened fire on the gun crews who returned the fire with a direct hit on the barn, causing the sharpshooters to retreat. The Confederate battery at the Salem Church opened fire with three-inch Reed shells but quickly discontinued when they saw they were out of range. The Federal troops withdrew when they saw they were being outflanked with Rebel cavalry along the Conodoguinet Creek. Jenkins dispatched reinforcements from the Trindle Road by was of the old Brandy Lane and this hastened the Federals to limber their battery and retreat to Oyster's Point.
On Tuesday afternoon Jenkins was ordered to withdraw his troops to Carlisle, at which place he would receive additional orders. The troops from Trindle Road site retreated through Mechanicsburg about dusk and set up their battery west of town. After firing a few shells to discourage any attempts to follow, they departed for Carlisle. Jenkins' troops from the Salem Church site, withdrew about the same time and units joined at Carlisle about 11:00 P.M., having been ordered to the Gettysburg area.
Thus the Mechanicsburg area was freed of all Confederate troops.
Oyster's Point deserves attention, as it was designated in 1963 as the "high water mark" of the Confederate invasion. In 1830 a two-and-one half story brick building was built here. It became know as the Oyster's Point Hotel. In 1886 the old hotel was purchased by Clarence Hempt.
There were no reports of casualties from Jenkins' brigade during the entire campaign. However, the people who lived in the vicinity told General Ewen that the Rebels carried away in wagons twenty to thirty woulded. Some must have died on the way to Carlisle, for a number of fresh graves were seen in the fields west of Kingstown, particularly near a little cemetery.
CUMBERLAND VALLEY RAILROAD
In 1837 the Cumberland Valley Railroad was completed. The initial trip was from Carlisle to Harrisburg on August 19.. The engine of the train was called "The Cumberland Valley." Three hundred fifty people jammed the little yellow passenger cars. The fare one way was fifty cents. The second locomotive was called "Carlisle." The Cumberland Valley Railroad was a local undertaking in its financing, planning and management. It was designated to "begin at Carlisle and run to the river." The third locomotive was named the "nicholas Biddle," after a Mr. Biddle who, as president of the United States Bank, made it possible for the company to borrow the money it needed to build the railroad.
However small the railroad, it was important in the sotry of the nation's development. To the old-timers, the railroad which passes through Silver Spring Township is still called the Cumberland Valley. However, it is a part of the vast system of the Penn Central Railroad.
The following is a description of New Kingstown as first published in "Wing's History of Cumberland County." "New Kingstown is a post village in Silver Spring Township, on the road from Harrisburg to Carlisle, six and one-half miles from the latter place and twelve from the former. It is situated in the heart of a well-improved fertile county and consists of 84 dwellings, two stores, two confectionary shops, two carriage shops, one baacksmith shop, three churches, on school building, one hotel, and the usual number of handicraft found in country villages." Today this is, the only post office remaining within the boundaries of the township and the "road" in now a multilane divided highway. Bounded by fine farms on the north and south, the village has expanded primarily in an east-west direction where farmlands have yielded to housing demands and to businesses needed for the populace.
The land on which New Kingstown is situated is well know as part of the estate of Joseph Junkin, Sr. Early historians, lacking identifyying dates for people and events, have been a source of some confusion to anyone interested in the history of the area. A serious effort is made here to try to correct some of this. Joseph Junkin, Sr. (circa 1720 - 1777) came from the counties of Down and Antrim in Ireland. He "tarried" awhile in Chester County, evidently seeking employment until he reached maturity. The date he "plunged into the wilderness" of the present Cumberland County is indeed lost in posterity. Tradition says about 1740. There seems no record of activity in his name at the State Land Office in Harrisburg during the period this county was part of Lancaster, i.e., prior to 1750. Undoubtedly he made a "hatchet" claim at an earlier date, but his name first appears when a survey warrant was issued to him on January 1, 1753 for 100 acres in East Pennsboro Township of Cumberland County. Joseph was listed as a "taxable" on the first tax list of the county (1750), and he was listed on the 1762
list as woning 100 acres of warranted property. Undoubtedly his "claim" was more equal to the traditional 500 acres as surrounding tracts di not encroach. On the north in 1768, a warrant was issued to an elder John Douglas for 306 acres. In 1771 this warranted property was sold to Martin Herman (Harman) the immigrant, who subsequently pattented it shortly as "St. Martin's Tract." To the east of Junkin was James Bell with 300 acres adjoining the ridge. On the west the expanding acreage of Mathew Louden touched, or almost touched the Junkin tract, so enough has been shown to prove that was a large acreage reserved for Junkins. To those unfamilar with the terms, warranted property was temporary ownership and carried the lesser seal of the Proprietors or later the Commonwealth and patented property was permanent ownership carrying the Great Seal. Generally speaking, certain requirements were to be met between the times of warranting and patenting property, and both were subject to the annual quit rent. This was usually one penny sterling per acre per year paid to the Proprietory family, i.e., the Penns. Also, both classses of land were subject to 6 percent allowance for roads. Our pioneers had a modern problem of today's landowners, with no compensation for their losses to road building. Property for which a survey warrant had not been issued was simply a claim. Survey recorded shows a previouse servey by John Armstrong and includes an additional tract. It was Joseph Sr's. family who did the actual patenting in his name, as Joseph died interstate in 1777.
A look at administrative records in the Orphans Court of Cumberland County in regard to settlement of Joseph Sr's. personal estate is a reminder that the law of primogeniture was still in effect at this date i.e., wher there was no will to the contrary, the eldest son received a double portion. This law did not survive the century, as the new county was anxious to shed itself of all feudalistic abuses.
The formal deed of division between the two surviving sons in 1795. Joseph Sr's. children in seemingly proper order were: Mary; Joseph Jr. (1750 - 1831); Agnes; John (died young); Benjamin (ca. 1759-1807); and Elizabeth. A number of seemingly unrecorded deeds hamper research, but John Carothers is known to have acquired a goodly size of the Junkin tract, and in 1814 sold it to John King. "In the spring of 1818 King laid out the village, and it was named for him, Kingston." Later, in order to obtain a post office the village was renamed New Kingstown (1851).
The first house built after the village was laid out was the log home of John Wynekeaf, shoemaker, and the same year log buildings were added by Henry Miller, wagon maker; and George Miller, shoemaker. Three stone homes were built by the Junkins years prior to the laying out of the village. The first was that of Joseph Sr., due north of town immediately on the east of Locust Point Road. This was formally called Creamery Road. The date of this is only traditional, but that of Joseph Jr. was begun in 1775 and completed after his service in the Revolution. This is now located at the western edge of town with a lane off the north bound lanes of Route 11. Joseph sold the property about 1805-6 when he moved to Mercer County, to Henry Kanaga, Sr. and the home now known as "kanaga" remained in this family for three generations. This home was the show place of the town as shown on the 1872 Atlas. The last of the three Junkin homes of stone, with the original section being the largest of the three, was built in 1783 by Benjamin Junkin in the hollow just over the ridge on part of his inheritance. A portion of Benjamin's land, aparently including Joseph Sr's. "Prospect Hill" was sold to Jonathan King, then to Peter Kissinger in 1830. Peter Kissinger laid out additional lots know as "kissinger's Addition" and either before he died in 1867, or the next owner, W.D. Wonderlick, build the large brick home just opposite Joseph Sr's. home. This last home as shown on the 1872 Atlas was called "pleasant Hill."
Benjamin Junkins is said to have built a stone hotel within the boundaries of the future village, but this was razed and later replaced by another owner. The first school building was built on the grounds of "kanaga" in 1836 and later moved to the back part of the Lutheran Church. From the church it was moved tothe site where it now stands.
At the west of the town, in the beautiful grove of trees at the base of Stony Ridge, and about across from the place where the Bell family built a tavern in about 1775, the first Convenator Communion in America was held on August 21, 1752. The widow Junkin's "Tent" also called the Buchanon "Tent" were held later at this spot, continuing for a number of years, apparently after the construction of the Bell Tavern.
The Bell Tract was divided on the east by a sale to Samual Musselman about 1830. His manor home has been recently lost to road and suburban expansion, but the cemetery at the west of town, begun by the Evangelical Association (with adjoining church), is on Musselman property as shown by deeds. A Lutheran Church was organized just south of New Kingstown by the Rev. D. F. Shaeffer (near the present Longsdorf Cemetery). Both of the above church buildings were moved within the confines of the town about mid-century.
The original Cumberland Valley Railroad passes a short distance south of the town and undoubtedly was instrumental in the town's retention of a post office.
It was a New Kingstown that Rev. George Junkin was born in 1790. As a son of Joseph Jr., this should have been in "kanaga." The Joseph Junkin, Jr. family moved to Mercer County, apparently to live on Joseph's "donation" land. Here Joseph died in 1831. His noted son the Rev. George Junkin, D.D., L.L.D. became the first president of Lafayette College, and was father-in-law of General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson of the Confederate Army.
Many people question the irregularity of the houses in New Kingston. This irregularity is due, not to the changing of the road, as alleged bysome, but to the probable fact that the original lots did not run quite to thepike and hence the owners were obliged to purchase additional places between their lots and the pike. Many of the new houses wer, therefore,built on the pike, while the old ones stood back on the original lots.
This village is situation on a small stream known as "Hoge's Run" which rises at Stony Ridge and empties into the Conodoguinet Creek at a beautiful grove called "Sporting Green." Thus, is Hogestown described in earlier historiesl.
William Hoge came to America in 1682 from Musselburgh, Scotland. Landing in Delaware he soon settled near Winchester, Virginia. His son, John (1699 - 1749), traveled up the valley and settled on the area which bears his name, atleast by the early 1730's. John's wife, Guintheleum Davis, is said to be a descendant of the royal family of Wales, and that money obtained from the sale of her jewels was used to purchase their land.
John owned all the land on whcih the twon is built and other land south of it. He died while this county was still part of Lancaster, and his will probated there names his sons as: Benjamin (killed by the Indians); David (died 1804); John, Jr. (Rev. John graduated from Princeton in 1784, ordained Presbyterian minister dies 1855); and Jonathan (1725 - 1800).
The first stone home in the village was erected on David's share of the land at the west end of the village where the road from Mechanicsburg at that time, directly intersected. Both the Borough of Mechanicsburg and the Village of Hogestown lay in the future, and this stone home, later used as a tavern was the only building for many years until the village was laid out about 1820.
Besides "Sporting Green," another favorite resort of the earlier citizens was Salmon Plum, or the "Jumping off Place!" This was on the same loop of the Conodoguinet as "Sporting Green" but was south of the creek nearer Jonathan Sample's home. Another resort of more recent times was the resort health farm with the religious overtone operated by Ray DeWalt. Mr. DeWalt was a poet and inventor of a well-known chain saw. It was not until his health failed that Willow Mill was sold for commercial recreation. The manor house there by tradition dates from the early 1800's and the date that Huston's later Willow Mill, was constructed is still under research.
The stone home built upon Jonathan's share of his father's property was owned duringmost of the last century by the Haldaman family. Just at the east end of the village, this home is believed begun by Jonathan and completed by his daughter. This home was purchased by the late Senator George N. Wade in 1931. It is now owned by Dr. George Wade, Jr. and goes by the name of "Shadow Oaks."
The McCormics just north of Hogestown are the ancestors of the Harrisburg McCormicks. James Oliver, Esq. who lived on the ridge west of Willow Mill and north of Hogestown was a liewtenant in the Revolutionary War, a country justice, and a distinguished mathematician. His daughter, Isabella, was a poet of some fame in her time.
At the turn of the century, Hogestown was widely known as a place of excellent horse and cattle shows.
In the early days the tavern in Hogestown was the mail stop between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
During the nineteenth century the Bricker House served as the mansion house for Jacob Bricker. Jacob had moved to Cumberland County with his family in 1812 from Brickerville, Lancaster County, where his German ancestors had originally settled. He owned the Silver Spring Mill for over 40 years, earning the Brickers a reputation as one of the foremost families of Cumberland County. At the time of his death in 1867, Jacob Bricker had accumulated a considerable fortune. His holdings consisted of six farms totaling over 900 acres, the Mill property and the Bricker House at 42 Woods Drive, Mechanicsburg, in Silver Spring Township.
It is difficult to determine exactly when this house was built. Stylistically, it appears to date to the 1820-30s. A few years before his death in 1867, Jacob began transferring large portions of his estate to his sons, Peter and Lewis.
After Jacob’s death, his son Peter became a prosperous miller like his father. Upon Peter’s death in 1875, the Bricker House was inherited by his son, Samuel Bricker.
This home presents as a three-bay, two story, stone house with a four-bay (two story) kitchen attached to the main structure at the gable end facing northeast. The kitchen is recessed approximately 10 feet from the facade of the main block and has a double stacked portico running the full length of its two door facade. Sometime after 1879, a one-story frame summer kitchen was added to the kitchen ell, with an open passageway between the ell and the addition. As well, a stone smokehouse was built about 30 feet from the summer kitchen.
The main block is a two-thirds Georgian plan with a double chimney at the gable end facing southwest. Inset windows, including extended inset lintels, have 6 over 6 panes on the second floor and 9 over 6 panes on the first floor. Both the front and back doorways have three pane transoms and handsome paneling. The front doorway has a plain portico with a shallow-pitched roof.
This home, currently owned by Wendell and Ann Pass, retains much of its original interior finish. The restrained elegance of the paneled doors, baseboards, window trim, stairway banisters, and marbled and paneled fireplaces suggests the affluence of its earlier owners. Mr. And Mrs. Pass continue to restore and maintain this home to its original character.
The construction of Kanaga House, originally called Prospect Hill, began in 1775.The owner/builder was Joseph Junkin II.He and his first wife Elinor were of Scotch-Irish descent and were devoutly religious.The property has been established as the location of the first communion service offered in America of the First Reformed Presbyterian Church, also called “Covenanters”.On August 23, 1752, this communion was conducted by the Rev. John Cuthbertson.It was held in what was called the Junkin Tent, located not far from the limestone home.
It is said that about 250 pioneers attended this day long service.All attendees were given communion tokens as was the custom of the time.Although referred to as a tent, it is believe that the setting in actuality was comprised of a raised platform from which the minister would preach.A board nailed to a tree served as his lectern.
This stone mansion was sold to Joseph Kanaga in 1806 and remained in the Kanaga family until 1900 at which time it was sold to Andrew Bowman.Around 1948, new owners John and Julia Shobert completed an authentic restoration of the mansion . In the 1960's, the property was owned by Mr.and Mrs. G.A. Kessler, Jr.Current owners are the Kretzing family and Kanaga House is now an exquisite bed and breakfast establishment.
This historic structure can be seen from the Carlisle Pike at the western end of New Kingston.
1.History of Pittsburgh and Environs, by George Thornton Fleming, 1922, American Historical Society, Inc. New York, NY.
2.The Reverend George Junkin, D.D., LL.D.A Historical Biography, by D.X. Junkin, D.D., J.B. Lippincott & Company, 1871, Philadelphia, PA, pg. 536.
"Walnut Hill" as it has been called for the last 24 years, is situated just north of Exit 18 from Interstate 81 at 50 Pleasant Grove Road, Mechanicsburg, Silver Spring Township, Cumberland County, PA. It is a 2½ story Federal Period house.
The exact date the house was built is not documented. The deed refers back to John Trimble, who on March 26, 1785 was granted 206 acres. Ultimately, this parcel was split among John Trimble’s heirs, George Trimble, becoming the recipient of this property on Pleasant Grove Road. The dated panel on the front door was originally in raised numbers. As it had become barely legible, the numbers "1812" were carved into the front door in 1960 as a means of preservation. The front door opening is a plain graceful arch. This heavy wooden door has 10 panels, eight square ones above and two oblong ones below.
The house is a five bayed, bilaterally symmetrical Georgian structure with low gabled roof and twin inside end chimneys. On the rear northwest side stood the original summer kitchen.
Now painted white with tan trim, the house was originally of red brick made form a nearby kiln. In either gabled end is a semi-circular fanlight. Most windows outside have "bulls eye and reeding" lintels. As usually designed there are louvered shutters on the upper floor, and three-paneled ones on the first story. These replacements were probably put on about 1940.
The present owners removed the small square porch at the front and replaced it with a Federal portico in 1960. It extends across the three central bays, has four columns, and a flagstone floor. Curving staircases with wrought iron railings sweep up from each side and a low balustrade tops the portico.
The kitchen area was once the summer kitchen. There is a small curved wooden stairway leading to a bedroom. Looking inside the first floor from the front, one finds a typical Georgian floor plan: center hall with stairs at the rear, two rooms on either side downstairs, as well as on the second floor. Every room in the main part of the house is 14'8" and the halls are 7'4" wide to honor the symmetry of the architectural design.
The outside walls are about 17" thick, housing 10" deep set window sills. The original walls are old plaster combined with animal hair. The hand-carved pine mantels and woodwork are the most outstanding features of this home. Most floors have been restored to their original pine finish.
All rooms contain fireplaces with the exception of the SE bedroom. The kitchen originally had a walk-in fireplace which was covered over before the present owner purchased the property. The carvings and designs on the mantels of the other fireplaces are exceptional for a farmhouse. Beside every 2nd floor fireplace is a long narrow closet which connects with the one in the adjoining room; a secret little passageway of sorts.
The most ornate room in the house is the southeast parlor which features an elaborate corner cupboard and an equally ornate fireplace mantel with identical architectural detailing. The corner cupboard is the height of the room (11'6"), and has two paneled doors below the chair rail level and above; an upper cabinet with four shelves. A lunette with gothic-arched lights tops the glass doors. The cupboard is topped with a crown of ellipse-shaped motifs in relief and a massive projecting cornice. These particular details are repeated on the fireplace mantel and shelf. No other documented Cumberland County farmhouse of this period is known to contain, much less retain, woodwork of comparable craftsmanship and elaboration.
The George Trimble House was purchased by Helen and Briner Ashway in 1957. They happily raised three daughters in this home. Although Mrs. Ashway has since passed on, Mr. Ashway continues to share his time between this home and another on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
John Carothers Property
160 Rich Valley Road
This large plantation was first deeded to John Carothers in 1767. It was built by the early Scotch Irish who settled in the Hogestown area. The property is comprised of two farm homes and numerous out buildings. The main house, originally called Pennsfield Farm, is a banked, center chimney limestone house. It sits at the end of a tree-lined drive on Rich Valley Road, just south of the Conodoguinet Creek. Still beautiful, the limestone home has had substantial alterations, including re-location of the front entrance. Retained are the yellow pine floors and five original fireplaces.
The stone barn, wagon shed, milk house and twentieth century guest house are of original design.
The other home on the property, originally called Mt. Pleasant, is a two- story brick house with attic and basement. The first floor walls are 5 bricks thick and the second floor, three bricks thick. The integrity of the house is excellent with original woodwork, fireplaces, and wide plank floors on the second floor. Although restored in 1999, the house still retains much of the original glass and hardware. On the property is a brick bake house containing a smoke room. The large fireplace has a brick bee-hive oven in the rear wall.
Both of these properties were approved and added to the Cumberland County Register of Historical Homes in March, 2000.
On a curious note, Pennsfield Farm was the cite of one of the most frequently cited murder cases to occur in the area. According to
, June 20, 1798, Sallie Clark, a domestic helper, was accused of poisoning John and Mary Carothers by placing arsenic into a pot of leaven. Allegedly, her intent had been to kill the couple’s daughter, Ann, who Ms. Clark felt had stolen the affections of John Douglas, her beau. A poem titled
Melancholy Instance of Human Depravity
was written in 1805 by Isabella Oliver to describe this murder.
Matthew Louden House
(a/k/a Louden - Cathcart House)
ref. Nancy Van Dolson
use pix of house and spring house
Matthew Louden (1729-1801) came to the United States from Scotland between 1754 and 1760. He first settled in Perry County in what was called Racoon Valley. He relocated to this area on the heels of Braddock’s defeat in 1755, which had incited an Indian uprising. Many Perry County settlers fled from the torches and scalping knives of the Indians.
Louden purchased the land upon which this house stands about 1762. Elizabeth McCormick became his wife and they had three children, Mary, Archibald, and Catherine. Sometime between 1760 and 1770, Elizabeth died and Matthew remarried, to Ann Copenger. This union brought five children, Elizabeth, John, James, Catherine and Ann.
Matthew Louden served as a trustee of the Silver Spring Presbyterian Church. He and his two wives are buried in the same plot of this church cemetery. Many other family members rest there as well.
Upon Matthew’s death, his son James took residence in this Scotch design limestone home. In addition to parceling out the remainder of his estate to his other children, the will directed that "Black Sall, his negro slave" become a free slave when she turned thirty years old. Until then, she was to remain with the homestead.
The estate appraisal of 1801 stated that located on the property in addition to the main house, summer kitchen, and spring house, were a lime kiln, a still, a windmill and an apple mill. Still standing, in excellent repair, are the main house and spring house.
When viewing the house, the eastern block is the original home, with the west end being added in the late 1700's to early 1800's. It is said that the first floor of this addition was used as a meeting room. There is a low, very wide door leading from the outside to this room referred to as a "coffin door". One can surmise that funeral services may have been held in this room. All windows are very deep set. The original front door faced the Carlisle Pike. Sometime around 1950-1955 a more elaborate entrance was constructed on the northern side of the house.
This home has been owned by Richard and Barbara Maffett since 1988. In 2006, a large addition was constructed, utilizing the limestone foundation of a similar era barn that was being demolished to accommodate a new townhouse development. This barn was located on the southern side of the Carlisle Pike, but before the Carlisle Army War College grounds.
The home, as it stands now, is 5 bedrooms, a study, a parlor with original angled fireplace, formal dining room, living room with 5' x 8' original fireplace, new kitchen/family room, three porches, and garage. The old portion of the house retains its original, random-width plank floors. Behind the drywall are animal hair and plaster walls and ceilings. The separate spring house, showing original animal hair and plaster walls and ceilings, is one room with a large cooking fireplace, loft, enclosed porch, and basement. An active spring still runs through the basement. In the ceiling, iron hooks can be seen, and protruding from the walls are the remnants of old wooden braces for shelves to store food. The spring was accessed by a handpump and trough which are located on the enclosed porch.
This historic home, accessed by a private drive, can be seen from the Carlisle Pike. It is situated on the ridge, behind, and immediately west of, the Cumberland Valley Educational Park.
David Sponsler House
Chris Contino - credit
use picture of house and pix of mural
The origins of the David Sponsler House can be traced back to the early 1800's. It is difficult to ascertain who actually built the first house on this property. Records refer to a small log cabin-like structure being here around 1770. At the time, the land would have been owned by John Trindle, son of William Trindle. The first mention of a limestone structure is in the Silver Spring Township tax records dating to 1837, the time period when David Sponsler was the owner.
Currently owned by the Karkuff family since 1985, this home lies at the end of a gravel drive to the north side of State Road, Mechanicsburg. The property consists of a limestone house, a barn, and several sheds. The house was built in a style very popular at the time, referred to as a three bay, two-thirds, Georgian structure. This design was often found in Quaker culture and is sometimes called the Quaker Plan. This house is characterized by its simple and balanced layout. The design focuses on symmetry within and between rooms. The Sponsler house features a modified Georgian layout. Divided into three main bays, or rooms, it also has a four bay wing to which stone additions have been made.
This home is one of four in Silver Spring Township that presents this three bay/four bay plan. Additional characteristics are six over six windows, five fireplaces, floor to ceiling cabinetry, and the deep set windows that are common to farmhouses built in the early 1800's.
A special feature in this home is a large mural in the dining room, painted by the present owner and her mother. The painting is done in the style and proportions of 18th century artist, Rufus Porter. Mr. Porter painted hundreds of murals featuring American rural scenes of houses and inns all along the East Coast. He always painted his scenes in certain order. They sky first, followed by the clouds, then the mountains and waterways. Next came the villages and lastly, people, animals and other details. The mural in the Sponsler House was done in this fashion. Within the mural are many local historic buildings, including the David Sponsler House.
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