The Goss Family.-Peter Goss, the progenitor of the Gosses in Lancaster County, was born in 1755. He located on the farm now owned by John Kendig, and subsequently moved on to the farm now owned by Isaac Smith, where he died in January, 1830. He was the father of seven children, of whom Michael Goss, now a prominent citizen of Pequea, was one. Michael was born in September, 1806, on the farm now owned by Christian Smith, near West Willow. He is the father of twelve children, six of whom are living. His son Benjamin now lives in Pequea, and Jacob in Limestone. His daughter Ann married B. Hackman, and lives in Pequea; Elizabeth, single; Susan, married H. H. Deats, and lives in Illinois; Mary, married M. McGowan, and lives in Lancaster City.
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE.
Jacob Charles, April 11, 1854 Andrew Mehaffy, April, 1869
Daniel Fulton, April 14, 1857 J. M. Fulton, April, 1872
Andrew Mehaffy, April 12, 1859 J. D. Landis, April, 1874
Daniel Fulton, April 15, 1862 S. M. Mylin, April, 1876
Andrew Mehaffy, April 12, 1864 B. F. Groff, April 1880
John M. Fulton, April 12, 1866 S. M. Mylin, April, 1881
John Huber, April, 1867 J. H. Brooks, April, 1883
F. B. Mussleman, April 1868
West Willow.-This beautiful and enterprising little town is nearly midway along the northern boundary line of the township, and on the line of the Lancaster and Quarryville Railroad. Among its very early settlers were Christian Snavely, John Mehafffy, and the Harnish family. There was nothing peculiarly attractive about the locality as a commercial or manufacturing centre, but merely the nearness of two or three settlers to each other attracted others, and the result is a thriving town in the midst of a wealthy agricultural district. As late as 1820 there were not a dozen dwellings within the limits of what is now the village. Its growth was quite gradual from 1820 to 1875, when the building of the Lancaster and Quarryville Railroad gave a new impetus to the little town, and it now boasts of a population of about two hundred and fifty.
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The pioneer merchant at this place was Henry Huber, who kept a small store in what is now the east part of the village. His successors in that part of the town were Peter Zercher, Jacob Charles, and Dr. Green. The old Huber store stood on the site now occupied by the residence of Martin Miley. While Jacob Charles was in the mercantile business he built the store-house now owned and occupied by the United Brethren as a house of worship. The next merchant here was A. W. Harnish, who built and kept a store in the building near the railroad station now occupied by Andrew Mehaffy, Jr., as a cigar-manufactory and confectionery-store. Harnish was succeeded by Mr. Stoner, and Stoner by Joseph Herr & Brother. They were succeeded in January, 1883, by Henry S. Herr, the present merchant, who built the "Herr Block," a substantial brick structure, in 1877.
As near as can be ascertained the pioneer tavern was kept by Christian Snavely where Michael Harnish now lives., His successors at that place were Benjamin Snavely, John Overback, and Benjamin Raugh. Benjamin Martin was the first tavern-keeper on the site of the present hotel. He was succeeded by Benjamin Cochran, Jacob Charles, and John Martin, who purchased the property in 1875, and in 1878 built the present brick "West Willow Hotel," of which he is proprietor.
The pioneer blacksmith at this place was Christian Snavely, who was succeeded by his son Benjamin, who has carried on the business nearly continuously for the last fifty years. Christian Snaffle's shop was near where Michael Harnish now lives.
The railroad station at this place was opened for the transaction of business in the spring of 1875, with A. H. Harnish as ticket and freight agent. M. B. Groff is the present ticket agent. The pioneer coal and lumber-yard was established half a mile north of this place in 1875 by Andrew Mehaffy, and in the fall of 1878 he sold the business to W. G. Mellinger & Brother, who still continue the business at the old place, and also own and conduct a like business at Baumgartner Station.
Christian Miley established the harness business in the Herr Block in the spring of 1883.
A post office was established at this place April 16, 1879, and was named "West Willow," with Henry S. Herr as postmaster, who still holds the position.
New Danville.-This village is in the northwestern part of the township, four miles from the city of Lancaster. In 1830 it consisted of eleven dwellings, a tavern and two smitheries. The tavern was kept by Christian Zercher, in the same building where Jacob B. Miller now keeps a store. The wagon and blacksmith-shops were carried on by Jacob Oyman and Jacob Johnson. Mr. Zercher's successors in the tavern were John Zercher, Jacob Heiney, Michael Zercher, and Daniel Groff, who was the last landlord in that house. A hotel had been kept ten years prior to 1830 where John L. Breneman now resides.
Daniel Conrad established a hotel where Abram B. Harnish now resides about 1840. In this hotel Isaac Reiney, Samuel Shrode, John Good, Abram Warfle, William McAllister, George Conrad, and Henry Conrad have been landlords.
The first store was kept by John Rhorer, who sold to John Zercher, and he kept it for a time in his hotel. Another store was established by Henry Herr, and both were closed after a few years. Mr. Heiner also traded during a short time. In 1856, Daniel Conrad, Jr. and Benjamin Yerdy established
1010HISTORY OF LANCASTER COUNTY
a store, and since that time stores have been kept by William T. Youatt, Robert Green, Henry Conrad, and the present merchant here, Jacob R. Miller. At intervals the place has been without a store.
The wagon-makers have been Jacob Oyman, Andrew Zercher, Benjamin Johnson, Joseph Miller, John Ellmyer, John D. Stauffer, and Abram Snavely.
In another shop the business has been carried on by Daniel Conrad Jr., Charles Riddle, Amos Harnish, and John D. Stauffer.
The following have been blacksmiths here; Daniel Conrad, Benjamin Conrad, George Conrad, Henry Conrad, James Johnson, Samuel Hess, Benjamin Morton, Jacob Johnson, William Rote, Daniel Hess, and George Lutz. The present blacksmiths are John Myers and H. S. Hersh.
The village was formerly known as Stumptown; but when the post-office was established it was christened New Danville, because, as it is said, several people who bore the name Daniel resided here. The town now has twenty-four dwellings, a tavern, a store, two wagon and blacksmith-shops, one shoe-shop, and a physician.
Educational.-Just when, where, and or by whom the pioneer school-house in what is now Pequea township was built is as profound a mystery to the oldest inhabitants as the question of who was Cain's wife. The probabilities are, however, that it was somewhere in the lower end of the township.
According to the report of the board of school directors, made the first Monday in June, 1883, there were seven school districts and as many school-houses in the township, named as follows: Mount Parnassus, Stevens, Quarry Hall, Mount Washington, Valley School, Danville, and Harmony Hall. During the year ending in June, 1883, schools were taught seven months by five male and two female teachers, the male teachers receiving forty-four dollars and forty cents per month, and the female forty five dollars per month. There were in the township one hundred and seventy-seven male and one hundred and fifty-six female pupils of school age, with an average attendance of ninety-one. The rate of tax on the dollar was one and one-quarter mills, and the total amount raised by tax for school purposes was $2095.94. The township received from State appropriation $296.45; from county treasurer, $420.37, and balance from previous year, $316.79.
The expenses for the year were: for books, etc., $101.56; repairing school-houses, $24.23; teachers' salary, $2184; contingencies, $312.62; collector's and treasurer's fees, $87.73; salary of secretary of school board, $25.; et ceteras, $5.
The school directors for 1883 were W. G. Mellinger, secretary; Jacob Heidlebach, treasurer; John L. Brenneman, president; I. H. Shenk, John Huber, and Jacob McCallister.
Methodist Episcopal Church.-In the southern part of the township of Pequea stands an old horse of worship, built in 1791 of stone. Methodism was then in its infancy, yet so aggressive were the disciples of Wesley that they left the comforts and conveniences of the more civilized communities and pushed out into the then wilderness of this then new country and new and uninviting field of labor, gathering together where they could a few of the sturdy pioneers and their families. Near this old monument to their zeal in the cause of the Master was one of the "Methodist preaching-places," and here a class was formed, a society organized, and the stone meeting-house built, and in it for several years religious services were held. The society subsequently became weak, and for about ten years no services were held here, yet the few remaining Methodists worshipped at Strasburg.
About 1847 the society was revived and reorganized, since which time services have been regularly held in the old stone church. As its surroundings have changed, the society has at times been a part of one charge or circuit and then of another, but has never been a station. The old house, now nearly a century old, has had only ordinary repairs, and is yet in a good state of preservation. Its internal arrangements are in the style of one hundred years ago, and are curiosities to the modern church-goer, who reclines upon his upholstered pew, seeking nature's sweet restorative, while his well-paid pastor is trying to dispense the bread of life to his immortal soul,. The old meeting-house has large galleries, box-pews, and a seating capacity of about three hundred. The society has no records from which a list of the pastors can be learned. The present membership of the society is about fifty.
Surrounding the old church building is a cemetery which originally contained about one acre of and to which has lately been added two acres, making three acres in all, and here many of the early Methodists and other settlers of the vicinity lie buried.
Mennonites.-A Mennonite Church was built of stone in 1755, about three-fourths of a mile south from the village of New Danville. It was taken down in 1878, and rebuilt the same year. To this church is attached a cemetery.
New Mennonites.-A church of the new Mennonites was built at New Danville many years since, and to his is attached a cemetery of about an acre. In the south part of the township a house of worship was built by the Old Mennonites in 1848. It was a stone building, and it stood till 1879, when it was taken down and a brick structure forty-two by sixty feet in size was erected in its place. To this church a cemetery of about an acre and a half is attached.
United Brethren.-A society of United Brethren was organized at Willow Street in 1860, but it erected no house of worship. Meetings were occasionally held in a public hall at West Willow till the spring of 1883, when a lot, on which stood a house, a part of which was a store-room, was purchased for the
Society by Benjamin Frick, and the store-room was converted into a place of worship and Sunday-school room. Services are held in this room on alternate Sabbaths.
Groff's Mill, located on Conestoga Creek, in the southern part of the township, was originally built in the early part of the present century by Michael Haverstick. It was a stone structure, forty by fifty in size, and contained four run of French burrs. The mill was subsequently sold to George Christ, who in 1832 sold it to Abraham Snavely. Snavely sold it in 1862 to Dr. Muser, of Lancaster, who sold it in 1872 to Gabriel Smith, and it was again sold in 1874 to Daniel G. Groff. In October, 1876, the mill was destroyed by fire, and at once replace by a frame structure upon the site of the old one, with, however, only three runs of stones. It is still owned and operated by Mr. Groff as a merchant and grist-mill.
Baumgardner's Mill.-This mill is on Pequea Creek, about eight miles from Lancaster. It was built about 1800 by Jacob Smith. It was a stone mill, with on water-wheel, one run of rock-stones and one of burrs. It remained the property of Mr. Smith and his heirs till 1846, when it was purchased by Abraham Mylin, who erected an addition to the building and put in another water-wheel. He owned and conducted the mill till 1857, when he sold it to Benjamin Harnish. In 1868 it was sold to Jacob B. Good, and two years later to Thomas Baumgardner, the present owner. Mr. Baumgardner repaired the mill and put in new machinery. It is both a merchant and custom mill, and has four runs of burr-stones.
Burnt Mill.-In 1814, Isaac Heiney built a brick mill about a mile below the one now owned and run by Thomas Baumgardner. It had four runs of stones, and did a large business. It became the property of the Lancaster Bank, and in 1830 it was purchased by John Keeports, who owned it till 1842, when it was purchased by Joseph Good, and by him sold in 1849 to Henry Eshleman, who soon afterwards conveyed it to John K. and Jacob Good. They owned it till 1860, when it was sold to Jacob B. Good, and it was owned by him till it was burned, some twelve years since. The property is now owned by Thomas Baumgardner.
Iron Mine.-In 1816 an iron-mine was opened on land owned by John Bean, in the eastern part of Pequea township. The ore was taken to the Conewingo Furnace, but the mine was worked only a short time. It then remained idle till about 1845, when it was reopened by Christian Geiger, and was worked by him till operations were suspended about five years later. Work was again resumed by a Mr. Knotwell, who was succeeded by John P., John and Michael Grove. They continued to work it, with the exception of about a year, during which it was sub-leased to Jacob and Henry Bushong, of Reading, till its abandonment in the fall of 1882.
During this time there were intervals in which the mine was idle. The ore taken from this mine was smelted in Lancaster and at various other furnaces in this State. It is of the variety called hematite, and is of good quality.
The land where the mine is located has been owned successively by John Bean, Samuel Stover, Samuel Charles, and the present owner, Eli K. Mylin.
William G. Mellinger
Benjamin M., the grandfather of William G. Mellinger, was of German parentage, and resided near Safe Harbor, in Manor township. He married Annie Eshleman, and had children,-John E., Jacob E., Henry, Benjamin, Martin, David, and a daughter Elizabeth. Mr. Mellinger spent his life in the township of Manor, where his death occurred. His son, Jacob E., was born Oct. 7, 1811, in the same township where, with the exception of a brief interval, he was a resident. He began his business career as a farmer, later engaged in milling pursuits, and subsequently resumed his agricultural labors. He was married about the year 1834 to Miss Elizabeth Graeff, of Manor township, born in 1816, and whose father, Mathias Graeff, still survives in his ninetieth year. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Mellinger are Abram G., William G., Matthias G. (deceased), Albert G. (deceased), Franklin G., Benjamin G., Ephraim G., and daughters, Maria (Mrs. Abram Neff), Elizabeth
1012HISTORY OF LANCASTER COUNTY
(deceased), Annie, (Mrs. Charles Deitrich). Mr. and Mrs. Mellinger still reside in Manor township. Their son, William G., was born Sept. 12, 1840, at the paternal home, where his boyhood was passed. His educational opportunities were confined to instruction at the neighboring school, and later attendance at the graded school in Millersville. He then engaged in farm labor, and at twenty-eight years of age married Miss Elizabeth H., daughter of George Kreider, of Pequea township. Their children are Elizabeth (deceased), Jacob K., Catherine K., Annie K., Susan K., Henry K., Benjamin K., and Amos K. Mr. Mellinger, in 1874, removed to West Willow, in Pequea township, and devoted himself to farming pursuits. At a later period he embarked with his brother in the coal and lumber business, which still engages his attention. In politics he is an ardent Republican, but seldom devotes his energies to the political conflicts of the day. He was honored by election for his third term as school director of this township. His early religious training was in harmony with the creed of the Mennonite faith.
Benjamin G. Mellinger.
The subject of this biography is a grandson of the late Benjamin M. and a son of Jacob E. Mellinger, now living in Manor township. He was born Jan. 23, 1853, in the above township, and spent his youth upon the farm during which time he attended the neighboring school, and later the Millersville Normal School. The tilling of the lands, embraced in his father's estate, occupied his time until twenty-three years of age, after which he engaged in the burning of lime in Manor township, where he remained three years. He then removed to Baumgardner's Station, in Pequea township, and became a partner with his brother, William G., in the coal and lumber business, the firm being William G. Mellinger & Brother. Their business venture has been a successful one, a large and increasing trade having rewarded their efforts. Mr. Mellinger is a Republican, but not an active worker in the political field. He is a contributor to the support of all religious denominations, though of Mennonite predilections.
Benjamin G. Mellinger was on the 27th of January, 1876, married to Miss Annie F., daughter of Christian Charles, of Manor township. Their children are Albert C., Annie C., Fannie C., and Lizzie C.
The ancestor of the Sener family came form Germany about the middle of the eighteenth century and settled in Lancaster County, where several generations have succeeded him, and where his descendants have been characterized by industry, thrift, integrity, and as good citizens. The family was early identified with the Lutheran Church at Lancaster, and many of its members are still connected with that religious denominations.
Jacob, grandfather of John Sener, and son of the progenitor, was a mechanic, and owned a small farm in Manor township, where he died in his forty-first year. His wife, Magdalene Neff, who died in her eighty-sixty year, bore him children, Godlieb, Jacob, drafted in the war of 1812; John, Christian, Frederick, Barbara, wife of John Wagner; Mary, wife of Jacob Bletz; Elizabeth, wife of John Neff; Anna, wife of John Rupley; Susan, wife of Henry Shepard; and Catherine, wife of Benjamin Lawrence. Of these children, Godlieb (formerly spelled Gottlieb) succeeded to the homestead property in Manor township, was a farmer during his active business life, a plain and unostentatious man, was a Mennonite in religious faith. He died in June, 1865, in his eighty-first year. His wife, Elizabeth, a daughter of Jacob Eberly and Barbara Funk, of East Hempfield, who died in 1860, aged seventy-four years, bore him children,-Mary, wife of Amos B. Shuman, of Manor township; Elizabeth, deceased, wife of Christian Lintner, of Lancaster township; Jacob, deceased, was a farmer in East Hempfield; Anna, wife of Benjamin Herr, of West Lampeter; John, subject of his sketch; Godlieb, a merchant in Washington borough; Harriet, Kate, wife of Benjamin Getz, of Mountville; Martha and Frederick, of Lancaster.
John Sener, son of Godleib and Elizabeth Sener, was born on the homestead in Manor township, Aug.
22, 1813. He received a practical education in boyhood, and remained at home until he was twenty-nine years of age. In 1842 he engaged with others in dealing in cattle, and continued this business for twenty five years in connection with farming. He purchased stock, mostly in the State of Illinois, and disposed of them in Lancaster and Chester Counties, Pa. In 1843, Mr. Sener purchased some two hundred and three acres of land in Pequea township, his homestead since, and added by purchase in 1855 some thirty-five acres more, upon which he erected his present brick house in 1856, and barns and other buildings the following year, the latter of which were subsequently destroyed by fire, and since replaced by the present ones. Outside of general farming, Mr. Sener has grown annually large quantities of tobacco for the past twenty eight-years. He has led a quiet business life, avoided political strife, and never sought the emoluments of official place. His sociability, frankness, and integrity in all the relations of life, his general intelligence in agriculture, and good sound sense in all that makes a worthy citizen are recognized by all who know him. He married, Oct. 25, 1849, Elizabeth, daughter of Jacob and Mary (Barr) Kreider, of Fulton township. Their surviving children are Celia, Milton K., Ella, Harriet, and Katie Sener.
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