By A. M. GHER
Written Especially for the Carlisle Evening Herald
This sketch of one of the oldest towns in the Cumberland Valley is a description of the village and its people as we have seen and known them.
Carlisle, Pa., 1913.
LISBURN IN THE SEVENTIES
By the Lisburn school house stands a walnut tree. The procession which has passed that tree during the past half-century has included the iron-workers of earlier years, the Confederate cavalrymen
on their way to the battle of Gettysburg, political campaigners in the stirring times which followed the Civil War, men prominent in business and public affairs and the great army of men and women who, in the common walks of life, have served their day and generation.
Standing beneath that walnut tree, in 1867, the scene was much the same as at present, except the village has shared in the modern advance. Looking northward we could see the great charcoal wagons traversing the Creek Road to Liberty Forge; turning to the west the forge teams with their load of iron blooms could be seen lumbering up the distant hills on their way to the shipping point, Shiremanstown; to the east we could look down the street to the town mill; to the west the street led on toward Mechanicsburg and Carlisle; by stepping back of the school house-one could see the Yellow Breeches Creek and the hills and mountains stretching southward toward York.
It was an iron town. From its early history this little business center of 150 population has been an iron town. The sound of the heavy forge hammer reverberated through the surrounding hills, by day and night, and only the great industrial changes of modern times have silenced the roar of the bellows and the boom of the hammer. These sounds and the high-pitched whir of the circular saw in the saw-mill constituted the hum of industry which was heard throughout six days of every week.
In those days the town had its mill, saw-mill, clover mill, shingle factory, wagon-making shop, two blacksmith shops, a match factory, two shoemaker shops, a tailoring establishment, a cooper-shop, a store and a hotel. Just across the creek was a tannery and three miles down the creek was a wooden mill. The town had its physician, justice of the peace, musicians, story-teller, weather-prophet and all those adjuncts which went to form the village life in those golden days.
There was one church, located about the center of the town, with a two-story school house nearby. The mail and stage-route had Lewisberry and Mechanicsburg as its terminal and the railroad stations were Mechanicsburg and Shiremanstown, although Bridgeport was liberally patronized as a freight depot.
Passing down through the village in those clays, the residents John Shaw, Joel Fetrow, Robert Hull, David Bricker, George Anderson (farmer), John Warner, John Watt, Michael P. Smyser, Thomas Thornburg (blacksmith,) Joshua Gher (blacksmith), Samuel A. Gher, (wagon-maker), Margaret Mateer, George Fisher, Isaac Barton, Dr. LaRue Lemer, Mrs. Isaac Lloyd, William Penn Lloyd, Hiram C. Orth, Banes Costello, John G. Abram Brower (merchant), William Kirkiand (Miller), Jacob Krall, Christian Scherich, Allen Floyd, James S. Starr, William Krall, Samuel Gher (tanner), James Finney, Frank C. Smith (shoemaker), S. C. Peipher (saddler), Philip M. Boyer (Miller), Abram Brown (merchant), William Kirkiand (Miller), Jacob Howerter (gunsmith), Lyman Lewis (match manufacturer).
Across the bridge lived William Henry (teacher) Christian Otto (mason), Michael Hart (farmer). William Stone was tenant on James S. Starr’s tanyard farm and Philip Banner (shoemaker) resided in the spring-house.
The three farmers at the upper end of the town were John Scherich; his son, John Andrew Scherich, and Jacob Barber (later county commissioner.)
Liberty Forge had a settlement of its own. The mansion farm was the residence of the iron-master, Israel L. Boyer, and the row of houses which lined the embankment opposite the works, were the homes of forge employees: Joseph Trafford (foreman), Thomas Butler (colored), Henry Butler (colored) and several others.
The farmers residing along the various roads radiating from the village were: On the forge road, David Z. Miller, Samuel McClure, Henry Smyser; the farms on the opposite side of the creek from the forge were the homes of Henry Atticks and Henry Hoff; on the back road to New Cumberland, starting at the bridge were Michael Hart, William K. Seitz, Melancthon McLeer, Elijah Hoover, Jacob Greenfield, George Lefever, George Leach, Jacob Shell, David Smith and Michael Hale; on the road leading to Mt. Zion church were Elizabeth Hart, Andrew Hart, Jonathan K. Lutz, George Sheafer Theodore Negley, Stephen Holland (colored) Adam Drawbaugh; on the road to Lewisberry were John Millard, Michael Yencil, Samuel Sunday; on the road to Moore’s church were William Stone, John M. Hart, Daniel Karnn, Ex-Judge John Moore with Philip Walter (later of Harrisburg) nearby; on the creek road to Andersontown were Jacob Nailor, Abram Bowman, John Sprenkle and William Anderson; with Jeremiah Meser, Harvey Bell and David Traver on the road leading to Pinetown.
Lantz’s Mill, two miles above the Lisburn bridge, was the homestead of Levi Lantz, Samuel Drawbaugh, the miller, occupying the tenant house. Over the hills to the north, a mile’s distance from Lantz’s was Gingrich’s Mill, with the Moser limekilns adjoining.
This is the first chapter of the sketch. The remaining chapters will appear exclusively in the Herald. They will include the history of the town and vicinity until the present time.