On what is now Grantley Hill adjacent to Wyndham Hills, stood the mansion of George Small, a member of the prominent York firm P. A. & S. Small. During 1878 the residence was named “Grantley” in honor of Mary Grant, the maiden name of Mrs. Small; thus the origin of the naming of Grantley Road and ultimately the naming of Yorkco’s Grantley Plant.
On the hillside to the east of “Grantley” stood “Edgecomb,” the 1875 mansion of industrialist A. B. Farquhar. On the hillside to the west of Grantley stood “Brockie,” the 1873 mansion of Judge Jeremiah S. Black. Judge Black entertained a large number of distinguished people at Brockie, including his lifelong friend President James A. Garfield.
With all the elaborate mansions springing up on the hillside, William H. Miller decided to procure land to establish a large estate in the flats below the hillside. With six purchases between 1877 and 1888, William H. Miller established his 80-acre estate, which he called “Oakland.”
Other posts in this series or related posts include:
- Johnson Controls leaving the Grantley Plant may be only partially correct
- History of YORK’s Grantley Plant, Part 1; Borg-Warner, Patriot Tech Center
- History of YORK’s Grantley Plant, Part 2; Sequence of Seven Industrial Owners on this parcel prior to YORK (Johnson Controls)
- History of YORK’s Grantley Plant, Part 3; 1938 Aerial View & Looking For People who worked at McGann Manufacturing in 1943
- McGann Manufacturing Company in Spring Garden Township; Harold L. Smith during WWII
At the time William Miller was acquiring land for “Oakland,” he already owned nearly 300-acres only a short distance west along the Codorus Creek in Spring Garden Township. That tract was known as “White Oak Plains;” today it encompasses most of Regents Glen development and Golf Club, plus part of the Country Club of York. “White Oak Plains” had previously been owned by Christian Miller; the father of William Miller.
The Biographical Volume II of George R. Prowell’s 1907 History of York County, Pennsylvania, records the following about William H. Miller on page 431 [corrections to spelling of two names are per William’s obituary]:
WILLIAM HENRY MILLER, a prominent farmer of York County, was born in Spring Garden Township Sept. 29, 1848, son of Christian and Elizabeth (Louckes [Loucks]) Miller. He had one sister, Margaret L., who makes her home with him.
Mr. Miller attended the public schools first and later studied at the State Normal, at Millersville. After leaving school he decided to make farming his occupation and has been steadily engaged in agriculture ever since. He has been very successful in his operations and is well-known not only among the other farmers of that section, but among the business men of York. He is one of the active managers of the York County Agricultural Society, is president of the Farmers’ Fire Insurance Company, and for the past twenty-six years has been on the Board of Directors of the Western National Bank of York.
On Dec. 25, 1873, Mr. Miller was united in marriage with Miss Alice J., daughter of Frederick and Lydia (Gibson) Schetzbauch [Sultzbach], of Hellam Township, and to their union has come one son, Harry S. Mr. Miller is a man of considerable influence locally, and the family is held in high esteem.
William H. Miller died in 1918 at the age of 71. His obituary reprinted much of this biography from the 1907 History of York County. The obituary added that he had been vice-president of the Central Market company. His wife Alice and son Harry S. Miller survived William Miller. His death notice stated:
MILLER—On March 9, 1918, at 8:30 a.m. at his residence “Oakland” Spring Garden Township, William H. Miller, aged 71 years, 5 months and 22 days. Relatives and friends are invited to attend the funeral service, at his residence, “Oakland” Spring Garden Township, Tuesday afternoon at 2 o’clock. Interment in Prospect Hill Cemetery.
William Miller spent 11 years, between 1877 and 1888, making the six purchases to establish his 80-acre estate. After William died in 1918, the following year his wife sold this large contiguous flat parcel adjacent the Northern Central Railway to industry. If William had not spent 11 years carefully assembling six smaller parcels to create the 80-acre plot, where else might have YORK Manufacturing Company expanded their operations in 1923?
This is my 112th post. An inventory of the general topics and locations that have been the subjects of my first 100 posts are presented in a 100-tile mosaic that breaks down these posts into seven general categories.