Did you know Richard Nixon’s brother went to school in York County in a military uniform?
Gold coins such as this can be found everywhere in York County’s past.
My past two posts tell of a couple precious moments in the county, specifically in West Manchester Township.
The township enjoys a book telling the story of one-room schools and trolley cars, better than those literary resources found in most other parts of York County.
A committee overseeing the 200th anniversary of the township in 1999 put forth one of the best of all municipal history books: “A History of West Manchester Township, York County, Pennsylvania, 1799-1999.”
The thick book is packed with hundreds of photographs and stories from a township that always seemed to be in the middle of things, possibly because it is somewhere near the center of the county and straddles key transportation routes… .
Local history books are helpful to understand our county. For example, it’s interesting to learn about the key families in an area. In West Manchester, some of the prominent families can be identified by the names of the one-room schools that sat on their properties: Smyser, Hoke, Sprenkle, Bear, Bott, Neiman, Eyster, Loucks, Markel and Weigel.
But it’s the golden nuggets that excite me — tidbits that pique the imagination. Often, if they involve places, I traipse around these areas and landmarks and try to envision days gone by.
Here are several precious pieces from the West Manchester book:
— Taxville is so named because local tax collectors waited at the intersection of Taxville and Baker roads for people to come to pay their taxes
— Carlisle Road is far different today than 60 years ago. It was straightened and regraded in 1949 to eliminate its “Roller Coaster” hills. Haviland Road, part of the old road to Dover, was created this way. (Haviland Road received its name from a well-known family who lived along there. Katharine Haviland-Taylor, nationally known writer of light fiction, lived there.)
— Attorney Paul C. McCleary Jr. recalls a representative from a family that later became world famous: “I remember that in 1946, Richard Nixon’s brother, Edward, attended West York High School, and I recall seeing him in a Navy uniform.” Nixon’s parents lived in York County at that time.
— Earl V. Shaffer (yes, the famous Appalachian Trail through hiker) and his brother John wrote about WWII Marine Walter Winemiller: “My last letter from Walter was written when he was aboard ship offshore of Iwo Jima. In it he wrote, ‘If I’m still afloat after the noise, I’ll tell you more.’ Winemiller never returned, but his brother, Gord, came home.
The book is itself an artifact of history, as Thomas L. Schaefer points out in an introduction:
“Its structure, content, rhetoric and energy all reflect the citizens who currently live in the Township. These structures and arrangements will help those who study local cultures two centuries hence to understand what West Manchester Towship was like as it entered its next century.”
The book came about, in part, because the township has one of the county’s most energetic historical societies.
The book can be ordered via the historical group’s Web site: http://www.wmths.com/.