For the past few years, Albert Rose, long-time volunteer at the York County History Center Library/Archives, has been documenting war memorials throughout York County. He has visited and photographed many of them and also verified some that no longer remain. But he looking for still more, such as the ones described in the 1907 newspaper clipping transcribed below.
With its Civil War involvement, in addition to its sons and daughters that have served in conflicts, Wrightsville abounds in commemorations. Two pictured here concern the Civil War. The one with cannons reads:
THESE GUNS PRESENTED BY U.S. GOVERNMENT MARK WRIGHTSVILLE AS THE FARTHEST POINT EAST REACED BY THE CONFEDERATE FORCES JUNE 18, 1863 DURING THE CIVIL WAR
DEDICATED BY POST NO. 270 G.A.R. JULY 4, 1900
REPLACED BY WRIGHTSVILLE ROTARY CLUB 1954
The marble marker above stands in Mt. Pisgah cemetery in Wrightsville. It says:
IN MEMORY OF THE BLACK MILITIA MAN WHO DIED JUNE 28, 1863 DEFENDING WRIGHTSVILLE AGAINST CONFEDERATES DURING A CIVIL WAR SEIGE AIMING TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE SUSQUEHANNA RIVER BRIDGE
AND ALL BLACK VETERANS THAT HONORABLY SERVED IN THE ARMED FORCES
Several remember those who served in World War I. One reads:
ERECTED BY WRIGHTSVILLE CHAPTER OF THE AMERICAN WAR MOTHERS IN HONOR OF OUR BOYS WHO SERVED THEIR COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WAR.
THESE MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE
WILTON H. ABEL
DAVID E. POFF
GEORGE H. LEITHISER
“GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS, THAT A MAN LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FORE HIS FRIENDS.”
The Road of Remembrance was a World War I memorial project carried out by women’s clubs, including the Woman’s Club of York, across the country on the Lincoln Highway. The trees they planted are long gone but York County’s segment is still marked by heavy brass tablets on granite at Wrightsville and at Abbottstown. This link will take you to my York Sunday News column on the Road of Remembrance.
Veterans Memorial Bridge, linking Wrightsville and Columbia, also commemorates World War I veterans, with appropriate plaques in place.
Rose is looking for still another set of tablets, if they were ever erected in the first place. These would have been on the railroad bridge that used to run parallel to the Veterans Memorial Bridge.
Here is the article he found in the November 28, 1907 York Gazette:
TABLETS TO COMMEMORATE BURNING OF BRIDGE OVER SUSQUEHANNA DURING WAR
Wilbur C. Kraber of this city [York], chairman of the committee that has been organized to place memorial tablets on the Pennsylvania railroad bridge, at Columbia and Wrightsville, to commemorate the burning of the bridge in 1863, by the civil war forces, says he had received word from H.W. Kapp, general agent and superintendent of the Northern Central railroad, that the tablets can be erected, providing the plans are submitted to the railroad company in advance of the unveiling exercises.
The burning of the bridge that spanned the Susquehanna river was a memorable event in the civil war and it is understood that the citizens of Columbia and Wrightsville are greatly interested in the project and will help financially and otherwise to see that the tablets are erected. The bridge was burned on Sunday evening, July 28, by order of Jacob G. Frick, colonel commanding the Union forces in Columbia and vicinity. The day before an effort was made to blow up the bridge, but the fuses failed and then Colonel Frick ordered that it be burned, so that the Confederate men would not cross the river.
Plans for the tablets have been submitted to E.G. Smyser company in this city, and every effort will be made to have the tablets placed in position early next spring.
The metal railroad bridge was torn down in the early 1960s. Does anyone know of the plaques described above? If so, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.