~ GEORGE FRANKENBERGER ~
by Beverly Bone
© 2005-2014 Mechanicsburg Museum Association.
All rights reserved.
In 1736 a young man named Johannes Frankenberger
came to America on the “Harle” from Rotterdam. When he landed in
Philadelphia, Johannes was only 18 years of age and he went west to York
Johannes was born in Berlin, Germany and he founded the village of East
Berlin, Pennsylvania which was in York County at the time it was settled
but is presently in Adams County. He and his wife, Barbara Miller, were
married in 1745 and they lived in Paradise Township, York County.
Johannes was naturalized on April 10, 1753. He was a tavern keeper and a
farmer but he also held many township and county public offices.
Johannes and his wife, Barbara, had thirteen children between 1746 and
1768. In 1777, he wrote his will designating the two oldest sons, John
and William, executors. His estate was divided up between his wife,
Barbara, and his thirteen children: John, William, Henry, Elizabeth,
Phebe, Philip, Margaret, Jacob, Conrad, Barbara, George (who is the main
subject of this document), Catherine, and Molly.
George Frankenberger was the youngest son. He was born in York County,
probably in Paradise Township sometime during 1764 - 1765.
In 1793 George was listed in the tax records for Monaghan
Township having 50 Acres and one cow. His profession was a joiner
In 1798 George bought lot #5 in the village of Lisburn, Allen Township,
Cumberland County. The lot of 36 perches had a two story wood house with
one window. In December 1800, George and his wife, Catharina Kitch moved
again. George sold the Lisburn lot to David Offley and purchased 21
acres from Leonard Fisher in East Pennsborough Township. In 1801, he
followed his father’s profession and obtained a tavern license.
The Frankenberger Tavern was located in the soon-to-be village of
Mechanicsburg. His tavern was one of many on the way west that fed and
sheltered wagonloads of pioneers. In 1811, after ten years of tavern
keeping, George sold all his land in the “Mechanicsburg” area and bought
95 acres in East Pennsborough Township from the heirs of George
Fortney. Apparently, he decided to go back to being a farmer and a
In 1821 George sold ten acres and six perches to Daniel Miller for
$502.00. This was part of the tract he had bought from George Fortney’s
estate. In this same year, Samuel Frankenberger died at the age of 29.
It is believed that Samuel was George’s son and had helped George farm
Apparently farming was not sufficient to maintain George Frankenberger’s
livelihood. In 1823, George petitioned the Court as an insolvent debtor.
His land was sold by sheriff sale. Sheriff Peter Ritter sold the 90
acres to John Sailor. The land was in East Pennsborough and was bound by
the land of Daniel Miller, William Boor and Mr. Eichleberger. There were
two log houses and a log barn with 40 acres cleared and a young apple
orchard. It sold for $10,390.00, which is almost double what George had
paid for it. As an insolvent debtor, his property included one cow,
three beds and bedding, 6 chairs, one stove, two sheep and small
articles not noted.
George continued to live in Cumberland County. The tax records showed a
George Frankenberger living in either Silver Spring Township or Allen
Township from 1823 to 1841. A cow was listed as his only property
throughout this time and no occupation was listed.After 1841, no records
of George Frankenberger could be found.
George Frankenberger’s Family
George Frankenberger was still a minor (between 14 and 11 years of age)
when his father, Johannes, died. Philip Ziegler was his court appointed
guardian. It is not known where he grew up and became a man. It is
believed that in the late 1780’s he met and married Catharina Kitch.
Catharina was born on August 15, 1764 in Derry Township, then Lancaster
County, now Dauphin County. Her parents were John Michael Kitch and
Elizabeth Frantz. The Kitch family moved to Allen Township, Cumberland
County in the 1780’s thus George may have moved to Cumberland County
Although no definitive records have been found thus far, it is believed
that George and Catharina Frankenberger may have had five children. The
first may have been Catharine who was born on December 27, 1790. The
second may have been Samuel, the only son, who was born 1792. In 1800
another daughter, Sarah, was born and Rebecca was born February 14,
1809. The last child born was Elizabeth on September 24, 1812. Thus far,
no baptismal records have been found for any of these children.
Through the years, George and Catharina participated in life events with
their children; however, the records never define the exact
Samuel Frankenberger married Jane Campbell on August 13, 1818 at the
Silver Spring Presbyterian Church. They had one daughter, Curdilea, born
November 17, 1819 and baptized at the Trindle Spring Lutheran
Church. Samuel, Jane, and Curdilea were recorded in the 1820
Census for East Pennsborough. In 1821 at the age of 29 years,
Samuel died. His burial location is unknown. George Frankenberger became
the executor of Samuel’s estate when Jane signed a renunciation
document, declining the position of executor and appointed George in her
place. On August 16, 1821, a $500.00 administrative bond was issued to
George as the executor. The whereabouts of Jane and Curdilea
Frankenberger are unknown from this point forward.
Catherine Frankenberger married David Eberly on March 7, 1808. David
Eberly was born on November 3, 1781 and his parents were John Eberly and
Elizabeth Bricker. Catherine and David lived their entire lives in
Cumberland County and had eleven children: Anna who married Abraham
Hertzler; Mary who married Samuel Cocklin; Catherine who married Jacob
Eichelberger and when Jacob died she married Samuel Cocklin who was
Mary’s husband until she died; Levi who married Elizabeth Meily Shuey;
David Junior who married Fanny Hurst and when Fanny died he married Mary
Jane, maiden name unknown; Sarah who married John Heicher; John who
remained a bachelor; Rebecca who married Christian Hertzler; Jacob who
married Mary Hertzler; Elizabeth who remained single; and Fanny who died
at the age of 17 years. David was a veteran of the War of 1812. David
Eberly and his family were listed in the 1830 Census and appear to be
living next door to George Frankenberger in Allen Township. In the 1840
Census, David Eberly’s family was still in Allen Township. There was no
record of George Frankenberger in the 1840 Census apparently he was no
longer a head of household. In the 1850 and 1860 Census, David and
Catharine Eberly were living in Upper Allen Township. David died October
6, 1860. His wife, Catharine, died on July 3, 1864. Both were buried at
the Slate Hill Mennonite Cemetery.
Sarah Frankenberger was born in 1800. It appears that she never married.
In 1840 and 1850 Census, she was living with Susan Yeager (Yenger) in
Mechanicsburg. Sarah and Rebecca Frankenberger along with Susan Yeager
were members of the Sunday School Class of the First United Methodist
Church on Simpson Street. The 1850 Census is the last known record of
Rebecca Frankenberger was born in 1809. She never married but she was
listed in the 1850 and 1860 Census as residing with Jacob Coover in
Mechanicsburg. Mr. Coover had three minor children living with him, so
it is possible Rebecca was a nanny and/or housekeeper. In 1850, she
bought two lots in downtown Mechanicsburg, one lot on Locust Street and
the adjoining lot on Union Alley between Stouffer Alley and Locust
Street. In the 1870 census for Mechanicsburg, Rebecca was living with
her sister, Elizabeth Jones, who was a widow with two sons. Rebecca died
August 13, 1872 and was buried in the Trindle Spring Lutheran Cemetery.
Elizabeth signed the renunciation document declining being the
administrator for her sister, Rebecca’s estate and appointed Robert
Wilson, a lawyer, to act as the administrator. David Eberly, Jr., a
nephew of Rebecca and Elizabeth, was one of the appraisers of the
Elizabeth Frankenberger married Josiah Jones, a stone mason who was
deaf. Josiah and Elizabeth had a daughter, Elmira, who was born November
27, 1848. Unfortunately on September 24, 1859, she died of typhoid fever
and was buried at the Trindle Spring Lutheran Cemetery. In 1851, they
had a son, Theodore and in 1854 another son, Washington was born. They
lived in Silver Spring Township near Mechanicsburg. In 1860, Josiah was
walking on the railroad tracks near Mechanicsburg when he was hit and
killed by a train. He died March 11, 1860 at the age of 51 years and was
buried next to his daughter at the Trindle Springs Lutheran Cemetery. It
was after Josiah’s death that Elizabeth and her sons moved in with
Rebecca. After Rebecca’s death in 1872, Elizabeth continued to live in
the house on the northwest corner of Locust Street and Union Alley. In
the 1880 Census she was living alone and Theodore was living in
Harrisburg with his wife, Jennie. They had a daughter, Minnie who was
born in 1874 and a son, Robert B. who was born in 1878. Theodore’s
occupation was cabinet making. There is no known record of his brother,
Washington Jones. Elizabeth died on October 27, 1887 and was buried in
Trindle Spring Cemetery with her sister Rebecca, her husband Josiah and
her daughter Elmira.
The death of a “Mrs. Frankenberger” was recorded by the Reverend Emanuel
Keller of the Lutheran Church which covered the area of Mechanicsburg
including Trindle Spring, Longdorf, and the town of Mechanicsburg. Rev.
Keller also recorded that prayer meetings were frequently held at the
Frankenberger Tavern. “Mrs. Frankenberger” was buried on September 13,
1834 according to Rev. Keller. Rev. Keller noted that he read
Revelations 14:13 at the grave site but did not record the burial
location. It is not definitive whether this Mrs. Frankenberger was
actually Catharina, the wife of George Frankenberger, but it remains an
excellent possibility since there is no record of any other married
woman with the name, Frankenberger, that has been found thus far.
The search for George and Catherina Frankenbergers’ death dates and
burial locations has not been fruitful. George’s death was probably
around 1841 since he was no longer recorded in the tax records after
that date. There are a few possibilities for their unknown grave site.
One is the Trindle Spring Lutheran Cemetery, but with no surviving
tombstone. Another possibility is the Cedar Hill Cemetery which was
active during their life time but was abolished in the late 1800’s. This
cemetery was located at the corner of West Main and West Streets. Of
course, with no definitive documentation found thus far, these scenarios
are simply conjecture on the part of the writer.