“Paper city” of Manchester, York County

Undated plan of Liverpool (now Manchester)

Undated plan of Liverpool (now Manchester)

My post yesterday was on Eib’s Landing in present East Manchester Township. When I was doing research and looking at maps for that post and a prior one on the covered bridge over the Gut, I found an undated plan in the York County Heritage Trust files for nearby Liverpool, now Manchester borough. (More on that later.)

I noticed that one of the streets on the plan was labeled “Turnpike Road to the Town of Manchester.”
It looks like it would follow Maple Street in Manchester and then Main Street in Mount Wolf and Wago Road, converging with Board Road before it crossed the Gut. How could that be, if Liverpool, later to be renamed Manchester, was just being laid out?

I didn’t find a York County map that shows another Manchester, but Joshua Scott picked up towns on the west bank of the Susquehanna River on his maps of Lancaster County. A town plan of Manchester shows up on Scott’s map at the Eib’s Landing site

George R. Prowell explains it further in Gibson’s 1886 History of York County:
Continue reading ““Paper city” of Manchester, York County” »

Posted in 1810s, 1880s, East Manchester Twp., roads, Susquehanna River, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

More on York County’s Eib’s Landing

G. Ilgenfritz later owned the Eib's Landing site, as shown on this portion of the 1876 Pomeroy, Whitman Atlas of York County

G. Ilgenfritz later owned the Eib’s Landing site, as shown on this portion of the 1876 Pomeroy, Whitman Atlas of York County

Eib's Landing site today as shown in Google Earth view

Eib’s Landing site today as shown in Google Earth view

One of my recent posts started with a Lewis Miller drawing of an 1835 covered bridge across the Gut, or “the Cud,” as he captioned it. It was an important bridge, paid for by the county, carried a road that ended a very short distance away at the Susquehanna shore at a place called Eib’s Landing.

Why was this area, as well as nearby Day’s Landing (later known as New Holland and now as Saginaw) booming in the first half of the 19th century? Answer: Lumber.

Here is what George R. Prowell, writing in Gibson’s 1886 History of York County had to say about Eib’s Landing: Continue reading “More on York County’s Eib’s Landing” »

Posted in 1830s, 1880s, commerce, East Manchester Twp., Manchester Township, maps, sawmills, Susquehanna River, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Yorker Edman Spangler maintained Lincoln conspiracy innocence

Edman Spangler confined with rigid Lilly handcuffs, probably aboard monitor at the Washington Navy Yard.   (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.)

Edman Spangler confined with rigid Lilly handcuffs, probably aboard monitor at the Washington Navy Yard. (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.)

A few months after being released from imprisonment at Fort Jefferson, Florida, native Yorker Edman Spangler’s extensive statement of total innocence concerning the Lincoln assassination appeared in many newspapers. The first half of that statement is the basis of my recent York Sunday News column and it appears below:

Edman Spangler’s eloquent statement of innocence

Native Yorker Edman “Ned” Spangler served nearly four years imprisoned at Fort Jefferson for allegedly helping John Wilkes Booth escape from Ford’s Theater the night President Lincoln was shot. Spangler was believed by many to be innocent. Three months after being pardoned by President Johnson in March 1869, Spangler’s eloquent statement was published in newspapers nationwide. It reads, in part:

“Statement of Edman Spangler

I have deemed it due to truth to prepare for publication the following statement – at a time when I hope the temper of the people will give me a patient hearing – of my arrest, trial, and imprisonment, for alleged complicity in the plot to assassinate the late President Lincoln. I have suffered much, but I solemnly assert now, as I always have since I was arraigned for trial at the Washington Arsenal, that I am entirely innocent of any fore or after knowledge of the crime which John Wilkes Booth committed – save what I knew in common with everybody after it took place.

I further solemnly assert that John Wilkes Booth, or any other person, never mentioned to me any plot, or intimation of a plot, for the abduction or assassination of President Lincoln; that I did not know when Booth leaped from the box to the stage at the theatre, that he had shot Mr. Lincoln; and that I did not, in any way, so help me God, assist in his escape; and I further declare that I am entirely innocent of any and all charges made against me in that connection. I never knew either Surratt, Payne, Atzerodt, Arnold, or Herold, or any of the so-called conspirators, nor did I ever see any of them until they appeared in custody. While imprisoned with Atzerodt, Payne, and Herold, and after their trial was over, I was allowed a few minutes exercise in the prison yard. I heard the three unite in asserting Mrs. Surratt’s entire innocence, and acknowledge their own guilt, confining the crime, as they did, entirely to themselves, but implicating the witness, Weichmann, in knowledge of the original plot to abduct and with furnishing information from the Commissary of Prisoners Department, where Weichmann was a clerk.

I was arrested on the morning of the 16th of April, 1865, and with Ritterspaugh (also a scene shifter) taken to the police station on E street, between Ninth and Tenth. The sergeant, after questioning me closely, went with two policemen to search for Peanut John (the name of the boy who held Booth’s horse the night before) and made to accompany us to the headquarters of the police on Tenth street, where John and I were locked up, and Ritterspaugh was released. After four hours confinement I was released, and brought before judges Olin and Bingham, and told them of Booth bringing his horse to the theatre on the afternoon of the 14th of April (1865). After this investigation I said: “What is to be done with me?” and they replied: “We know where to find you when you are wanted.” and ordered my release. I returned to the theatre, where I remained until Saturday, when the soldiers took possession of it; but as the officer of the guard gave an attache and myself a pass to sleep there, we retired at 10 P.M., and at 1 A.M. a guard was placed over me, who remained until 9 A.M. Sunday morning, when I was released. I did not leave the theatre until Sunday evening, and on our return this attache (Carland by name) and myself were arrested by Detective Larner. Instead of taking us to the guard-house he said he would accompany me home to sleep there, but we all went to Police Headquarters on Tenth street, and when Carland asked if we were wanted, an officer sharply said “No.” I returned to the theatre that night, and remained the next day till I went to dinner, corner Seventh and G streets. That over I remained a few minutes, when Ritterspaugh (who worked at the theatre with me) came, and meeting me, said: “I have given my evidence, and would like now to get some of the reward.”

I walked out with Ritterspaugh for half an hour, and on returning to lie down left word that if anyone called for me to tell them that I was lying down. Two hours after I was called down stairs to see two gentlemen who had called for me. They said that I was wanted down street. On reaching the sidewalk they placed me in a hack and drove rapidly to Carroll Prison, where I was confined a week. Three days afterward, Detective, or Colonel, Baker came to my room, and questioned me about the sale of a horse and buggy (which belonged to Booth), and I told him all about it freely and readily. On the day following I was called into the office of the prison in order to be recognized by Sergeant Dye, who merely nodded his head as I entered and then he left. (Dye subsequently testified that he was sitting on the steps of the theatre just before Booth fired the shot, and to seeing mysterious persons about.)

I was allowed on the fourth day of my imprisonment to walk in the prison yard, but from that evening I was closely confined and guarded until the next Saturday at midnight when I was again taken to the office to see a detective, who said: “Come Spangler, I’ve some jewelry for you.” He handcuffed me with my arms behind my back, and guarding me to a hack, I was placed in it and driven to the navy yard, where my legs were manacled and a pair of Lillie handcuffs placed on my wrists. I was put in a boat and rowed to a monitor, where I was taken on board and thrown into a small, dirty, room, between two water closets, and on a bed of filthy life preservers and blankets, with two soldiers guarding the door. I was kept there for three days. I had been thus confined three days on the vessel when Captain Monroe came to me and said: “Spangler, I’ve something that must be told, but you must not be frightened. We have orders from the Secretary of War, who must be obeyed, to put a bag on your head.” Then two men came up and tied up my head so securely that I could not see daylight. I had plenty of food, but could not eat with my face so muffled up. True, there was a small hole in the bag near my mouth, but I could not reach that, as my hands were wedged down by the iron. At last, two kind-hearted soldiers took compassion on me, and while one watched the other fed me.

On Saturday night a man came to me and, after drawing the bag so tight as to nearly suffocate me, said to the guard, “Don’t let him go to sleep, as we will carry him out to hang him directly.” I heard them go up on the deck, where there was a great rattling of chains, and other noises; and while I was trying to imagine what was going on, and what they intended to do, I was dragged out by two men, who both pulled me at times in opposite directions. We, however, reached a boat, in which I was placed, and rowed a short distance, I could not say then where we stopped, for my face was still covered. After leaving the boat, I was forced to walk some distance, with the heavy irons still on my legs. I was then suddenly stopped, and made to ascend three or four flights of stairs; and as I stood at the top waiting, some one struck me a severe blow on the top of the head, which stunned and half threw me over, when I was pushed into a small room, where I remained in an unconscious condition for several hours. The next morning someone came with bread and coffee. I remained there several days, suffering torture from the bag or padded hood over my face. It was on Sunday when it was removed and I was shaven. It was then replaced.

Some hours after General Hartranft came and read to me several charges; that I was engaged in a plot to assassinate the President, and the day following I was carried into a military court and still hooded before all of its members. I remained but a short time, when I was returned to my cell for another night and day and then again presented in this court. Mr. Bingham, Assistant Judge-Advocate, read the charges against me, and asked if I had any objection to the court, and I replied “No,” and made my plea of “not guilty.” They then wished to know if I desired counsel, and, when I answered affirmatively, General Hunter, the president of the court, insisted that I should not be allowed counsel. He was, however, overruled, but it was several days before I was permitted legal aid, the court in the meantime taking evidence with closed doors. On every adjournment of the court, I was returned to my cell, and the closely-fitting hood placed over my head. This continued until June 10, 1865, when I was relieved from the torture of the bag, but my hands and limbs remained heavily manacled.”

On June 30 the Military Commission delivered the verdicts. Seven of the eight accused (Herold, Surratt, Powell and Atzerodt) were found guilty of conspiring to assassinate President Lincoln and sentenced to be hung. Three (O’Laughlen , Arnold and Mudd) were to serve life in prison. Spangler, pronounced guilty only of helping Booth escape, was sentenced to six years incarceration.

I had seen the photograph above before, but I never noticed the nasty bar-type Lilly handcuffs on Edman’s wrists.

This link will take you to my previous posts on Spangler.

Posted in 1860s, crime, Lincoln Conspiracy, prisoners, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Lewis Miller’s view of Lincoln tragedy


Today is the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Lincoln. After he died the next morning, plans were put in place for the long journey from Washington to Springfield. The funeral train route traced much of the same path of his inaugural train four years earlier in reverse, giving much of the northern part of the nation a chance to publicly mourn his passing.

The train stopped briefly in York, allowing some prominent local women, accompanied by a free African American to place a wreath in the funeral car. Click here to read more from fellow blogger Jim McClure, quoting Judge Henry Niles, who was six years old in 1865, relating his memory of ladies of York and Aquilla Howard taking a wreath on board the train.

No known depictions are known by York folk artist Lewis Miller of the funeral train passing through York County. The Miller drawing above commemorates the crowds that turned out in New York. It includes a fanciful memorial to Lincoln imagined by Miller. He probably knew of the “immense turnout” from newspaper reports, although, since he visited relatives occasionally in New York, he could possibly have been there.

Miller’s captions on the drawing read:
Continue reading “Lewis Miller’s view of Lincoln tragedy” »

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Lewis Miller celebrates the end of the Civil War


On April 9, 1865 Union General Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate General Robert E. Lee met at Wilmer McLean’s house at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. General Lee surrendered to General Grant. Even though there were some battles and skirmishes later, this date is usually accepted as the end of the Civil War.

As I indicated before, even though York’s folk artist Lewis Miller had numerous relatives in Virginia, his art shows that his heart was with the Union. His watercolor above, rejoicing in the end of the conflict, has a lot of detail and symbolism. The words are transcribed below, from top to bottom, for easier reading, but also look closely at the drawings themselves.

Rebellion is over, peace and union.
Honour to all officers of the Navy, and Commander of our fleet.
Ship of war.
U.S. marine.
News to Europe.”

Union rooster to Confederate rooster]
“Your comb is cut.
I know it, the Yankees done it.”

Scales with the Union side “Heavy” and the Confederate side “light,” labeled: “No balance.”
On the Union side are depicted its resources: “North. Coal, iron and wheat.”
On the Confederate side: “Tobacco, cotton & corn.”
A lion, symbol of strength, is on the side of the Union, while the Confederate resources are resting on the back of a slave.

Miller sums up the war:
“The war in the United States, the Southern Confederates
Surrender to the north, Changed their tone. A Health
To our brave footmen, Who handle Sword and gun, in time of need.
We’ve—General Sheridan, Weitzel, Grant, Thomes, Sherman
and Kilpatrick. To one and all Glory and honor for the union.

‘Our gun is pois’d our aim is Sure, our wish is good, our End is pure;
To virtue we are Sworn allies, And Shoot—at folly as it flies.’”

Posted in 1860s, artists, Civil War, Lewis Miller, slavery, soldiers, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

York County’s Lewis Miller celebrates the capture of Richmond


Folk artist Lewis Miller, a York native, had relatives on both sides of the Civil War. He and his brothers and sisters grew up in York, but in adulthood, three of his brothers settled in Virginia. Miller left a number of watercolor drawings depicting his view of the Civil War. There is no doubt that his sympathies were with the Union.

Some of the instances, such as the marching of the companies of local men that were to become the core of the 87th Pennsylvania Volunteers from training at Camp Scott to the York railroad depot, were probably witnessed by Miller himself.

Others of the Civil War drawings were surely put together from newspaper accounts and illustrated periodicals, such as Harper’s and Leslie’s. Whatever the inspiration of drawings, such as the one above, Miller shows his patriotism and his clever use of symbolism to get the message across.

Note the eagle holding part of the broken chain in each claw and the thankful former slave in front of Liberty, who holds another chain with what is probably a collar that no longer restrains.
A sea of blue uniforms floods the foreground with the stars and stripes flying high over the city in the background. The rifle and sword have been laid down.

The captions read: Continue reading “York County’s Lewis Miller celebrates the capture of Richmond” »

Posted in 1860s, African Americans, artists, Civil War, Lewis Miller, soldiers, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Carrie Nation’s 1907 York County crusade


In 2006 York Daily Record columnist Jim Hubley wrote that the temperance crusader Carrie Nation was signed as top attraction at Hanover Fair in Sept 1902, speaking between horse races. She was also scheduled to give a lecture, Why I Smash, at the Hanover Opera House. Only 12 people showed up at the opera house, possibly because the new Hanover Hotel was at the same time handing out free beer at its opening. Ever resourceful, Nation went to the hotel, dumped beer on floor and gave the lecture there.

She then caught train to York to make her railroad connection. During her two hour layover in York, she stopped at the Green House, the Washington House and Northern Central Railway Hotel, breaking beer glasses and knocking cigars and cigarettes from mouths. Then it was back to the station, where she sold her little souvenir hatchets to a crowd before boarding.

Perhaps remembering how much work could be done in York County, Nation returned here five years later, spending a very active week this time. See my recent York Sunday News column below, drawn from the extensive local press coverage of the 1907 visit:
Continue reading “Carrie Nation’s 1907 York County crusade” »

Posted in 1900s, 1920s, drinks, drunkenness, liquor, police, taverns, tobacco, Universal York, women, York County | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Losing landmarks made news in 1860s York County

Lewis Miller's drawing of Thomas Hartley's house

Lewis Miller’s drawing of Thomas Hartley’s house

I think of the 1960s as a sad period for York County landmarks. In the city alone the City Market House, an architectural gem by the Dempwolf firm, was torn down, and the imposing Variety Iron Works fountain was removed from Penn Park. Churches, stores and businesses throughout the county were replaced by “modern” buildings or remodeled beyond recognition.

It turns out the 1860s were not so good either for local buildings. An article in the April 17, 1866 York Gazette is titled “OLD LAND MARKS GONE.” It starts out:

“The old white house on East Market street, in the rear of which the new German Reformed Church has recently been built, was taken down last week. The house was built upwards of one hundred years ago, occupied during the revolutionary war by the Hon. Thos. Hartley, who subsequently, for many years, represented York County in Congress. During the revolution and whilst the American Congress sat in this place, this house was the head quarters of Gen. Washington, in his official visits to York. In later years is was for a long time occupied as the Post Office, and afterwards was used for various occupations.”

The site of Hartley’s house is now the lawn with the cross-shaped fountain in front Trinity United Church of Christ. This is the same building that the writer refers to above as the new German Reformed Church.

The account isn’t entirely accurate concerning Washington. According to fellow blogger Jim McClure, Washington probably visited York at least four times during his lifetime, but he was occupied elsewhere during the Revolutionary War.

Washington is said to have stayed with Hartley when he did visit York in 1791, during his presidency. During that visit Washington attended worship at First Reformed Church, a predecessor of Trinity. It was just a few lots west, on the site of the building many remember as Woolworth’s. He is quoted as saying he was not in any danger of being converted (from his Episcopal faith) as the sermon was in German, and he did not understand it. Hartley was the first congressman from the area under the Constitution, serving from 1789 to 1800.

The newspaper writer goes on to decry more building demolished during the 1860s. I will share more of these later, as well as some of the buildings that replaced the old ones and still stand.

Posted in 1790s, 1860s, architecture, buildings, churches, Continental Congress, German Reformed Church, government, historic preservation, Lewis Miller, Revolutionary War, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Guards at Camp Security 11: Manuel Zeigler


(A public meeting with information on the May/June 2015 dig at Camp Security will be held at the Springettsbury Township building, 1501 Mount Zion Road at 7 p.m. Wednesday March 25.)

There are 42 pages in the Revolutionary War pension file of Manuel Zeigler [Frederick Emanuel Zeigler] at the National Archives. He seems to have first applied on March 27, 1852, at age 89, even though he was applying under the act of June 7, 1832. The 1832 act allowed a full pension if the soldier had served a total of two years during the war and partial pensions to those who served from six months to two years.

I have noticed in other pension applications that even though they would have been eligible much earlier, some applicants did not apply until they were destitute. In some cases, the old soldiers might not have known they were eligible for pensions. Living in Gettysburg among family and friends, I doubt this would have been the case with Manuel Zeigler.

Correspondence with the pension office went on for nearly two years. Zeigler’s attorney, R. G. McCreary of Gettysburg, wrote eloquent letters to Commissioner of Pensions L. D. Waldo stating Zeigler’s case. At one point McCreary seems to have personally appeared before Waldo in Zeigler’s behalf.
Continue reading “Guards at Camp Security 11: Manuel Zeigler” »

Posted in 1780s, 1830s, 1850s, archaeology, Camp Security, military units, Revolutionary War, soldiers, Springettsbury Twp., Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bridging York County’s Gut

From the 1821 Small & Wagner map of York County

From the 1821 Small & Wagner map of York County

From the 1860 Shearer & Lake map of York County

From the 1860 Shearer & Lake map of York County

From the 1876 Pomeroy, Whitman atlas of York County

From the 1876 Pomeroy, Whitman atlas of York County

Present day map of the Gut from google.com/maps

Present day map of the Gut from google.com/maps

My recent post was on the specifications advertised in 1828 by the York County Commissioners for . According to the Lewis Miller drawing, it was completed in 1835. Where was/is the Gut?

The Gut is in East Manchester Township. You can easily see the site on these four maps. (Keep in mind that some place names have changed. East Manchester Township was formed from Manchester Township in 1887. Liverpool is now Manchester and New Holland is Saginaw.)

On the three nineteenth century maps (1821, 1860 and 1876) you can see how the Conewago Creek forked just east of Brunner’s Island. The north fork continues today to form the mouth of the Conewago at York Haven. Part of the south fork still exists for a short distance in a series of large ponds. It seems to have been filled in between there and Hartman Run, where it again follows the original route. That part is marked on modern maps, such as the one shown, as Black Gut and empties into the Susquehanna just north of Saginaw. Gut Road runs parallel to it. You can again see clearly where the road crossed the Gut on the old maps. Present Board and Wago roads follow the route to the bridge from present day Manchester and Mount Wolf. The road would have taken the traffic across the Gut bridge to Eib’s Landing, a now disappeared, but once thriving, port for offloading lumber coming down the Susquehanna River. A ferry in this area crossed to Bainbridge, just over the river. It was operated over the years by ferryman named Lowe, Logan, Galbraith, Wilken and perhaps others. The maps show that Brunner’s Island and Lowe’s Island were once separate islands, whereas they can hardly be called islands today.

In 1886 George R. Prowell wrote in Gibson’s History of York County:

“The Gut is a singular freak of nature. Some time, not long before the settlement of York County by the whites, the Big Conewago Creek, on account of high water, overflowed its banks, and cut a deep channel two miles in length, causing this, the southern branch, to flow into the Susquehanna at New Holland, while the main branch of the creek flows into the river, three miles farther up the stream at York Haven. During times of high water the Gut is a rapid stream, but in dry seasons it is sluggish and sometimes altogether dry. Within this irregularly shaped delta is contained about five square miles of excellent alluvial soil. ‘The River Gut’ is a branch of half a mile in length, passing from the Gut to the Susquehanna. A singular phenomenon is illustrated: When the river is high it flows toward the creek, when the creek is high it flows toward the river. It is a true bifurcation.”

I think by ‘The River Gut,’ he is referring to the channel that was between Brunner’s and Lowe’s islands.

I will share more later about the tremendous volume of lumber floated down the river to York County.

Click here for more on Eib’s Landing.

Posted in 1820s, 1860s, 1870s, 2010s, bridges, ferries, Manchester Township, maps, roads, Susquehanna River, Universal York, York County | 3 Comments