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George Zacaharias

Stationmaster's House
Stationmaster's House
George Zacharias was the first stationmaster to occupy the Stationmaster's house when it was built in 1866.

The father of George Adam Zacharias was Samuel Zacharias who was born August 26, 1811 in Berks County. After Samuel moved further west to Dauphin County, he married Maria C. Milleisen who was born September 24, 1815 in Dauphin County. They were married in Dauphin County on May 2, 1833. George was born May 6, 1835 in Dauphin County. He was the first born and had seven siblings including David Joseph; John Jacob; Samuel M.; Mary C.; Margaret M.; Charles R.; and Robert B. It is interesting to note that Margaret married Edward M. Eberly, the son of Levi Eberly who was the son of David Eberly and Catharine Frankenberger, the daughter of George Frankenberger who owned the Tavern.

Samuel Zacharias and his family moved to Cumberland County between 1841 and 1847. Samuel became a grains dealer and was well known in the Mechanicsburg. George married Mary Ann Riegel, daughter of John Adam Riegel, on October 13, 1857. John Riegel was the son of Adam Riegel, one of the founding fathers of Mechanicsburg and business partner with John Coover, another founding father. According to Hauck’s 1876 Directory of Mechanicsburg, George Zacharias occupied the position of general freight and ticket agent at the Mechanicsburg Cumberland Valley Railroad Station since 1860. The 1860 Census records George as a commercial merchant. The 1870 and 1880 Censuses record George as a telegraph operator.

In addition to his work, George was involved in the Holy Royal Arch Chapter Mason Lodge No. 302 of Mechanicsburg. He was conferred the Honorary Degree of Mark Master Mason and was accepted as a Most Excellent Master Mason on July 13, 1866. He was also a member of the National Grange of Patron of Husbandry. George was part of the Mechanicsburg Chapter in charge of erecting the Centennial Encampment near Philadelphia for the accommodation of fellow Grangers attending the Centennial Exposition of 1876. Along with his father, Samuel, who was a grains dealer and lived at 24 East Main Street, George was a member of the Mechanicsburg Building Association which was organized in 1868. George was also a member of the Cumberland County Horticultural Society and in 1868 was a member of its Executive Committee. In 1872 George held the position of Assistant Burgess of Mechanicsburg working for J. Milliesen, Chief Burgess. George and Mary had two children. Frank was born on August 30, 1861 and Gertrude was born in October 1863. All resided at the Stationmaster House and were frequently joined by John Jacob, George’s younger brother. George and his family remained in Mechanicsburg and worked for the Cumberland Valley Railroad until 1878.

Rear Passenger Station
Rear Passenger Station
He was the first stationmaster in charge of the Passenger Station when it was built in 1867.

In addition to his work, George was involved in the Holy Royal Arch Chapter Mason Lodge No. 302 of Mechanicsburg. He was conferred the Honorary Degree of Mark Master Mason and was accepted as a Most Excellent Master Mason on July 13, 1866. He was also a member of the National Grange of Patron of Husbandry. George was part of the Mechanicsburg Chapter in charge of erecting the Centennial Encampment near Philadelphia for the accommodation of fellow Grangers attending the Centennial Exposition of 1876. Along with his father, Samuel, who was a grains dealer and lived at 24 East Main Street, George was a member of the Mechanicsburg Building Association which was organized in 1868. George was also a member of the Cumberland County Horticultural Society and in 1868 was a member of its Executive Committee. In 1872 George held the position of Assistant Burgess of Mechanicsburg working for J. Milliesen, Chief Burgess. George and Mary had two children. Frank was born on August 30, 1861 and Gertrude was born in October 1863. All resided at the Stationmaster House and were frequently joined by John Jacob, George’s younger brother. George and his family remained in Mechanicsburg and worked for the Cumberland Valley Railroad until 1878.

At that time George moved to Harper County, Kansas. He became the deputy register of deeds and in 1880 he was elected Register of Deeds. His son, Frank became a clerk working under his father. George remained in that position for four years until 1884. At this time he retired from active business and returned to Mechanicsburg. His son, Frank, remained in Kansas and became successful in banking.

George, Mary and Gertrude resided at the corner of South High and West Locust Streets. The property had originally belonged to Samuel Zacharias and was sold to George before he went to Kansas. During his absence, the property was sold by Sheriff Gill to John Riegel in trust for his daughter, Mary Ann Zacharias. Gertrude attended public schools of Mechanicsburg and graduated from the Mechanicsburg High School in 1881.

In October of 1907, Mr. and Mrs. George A. Zacharias celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary in the presence of invited family and friends at their residence on South High Street. George and Mary suffered a tragic loss in 1916. Their daughter, Gertrude, who never married, died on February 8, 1916 at the age of 51 years. Gertrude had been ill for some time from a complication of diseases. She was buried in Chestnut Hill Cemetery.

In 1921, Mary Zacharias suffered a paralytic stroke, which weakened her constitution. However, she lived until one month short of her 90th birthday. She died at her home on South High Street on July 9, 1926. George joined her in death a few hours later. Both were buried in the Chestnut Hill Cemetery having been joined in matrimony 68 years.

George Zacharias grave
George Zacharias's grave
Mary Zacharias grave
Mary Zacharias's grave
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Public Fountain at the Square

The Fountain in 2014
The Fountain in 2014
The fountain in 2014, behind the Washington Fire Hall.

Late in the summer of 1899, a public drinking fountain was placed on the southeast corner of the Mechanicsburg town square in front of Franklin Hall and the Market House. It was considered a very simple model being made of brown sandstone. The fountain was the first gift given to Mechanicsburg by the Mechanicsburg Women’s Club which had been organized three years earlier. When it was installed the fountain cost $54.42, and later, for the winter months when it was not in use, a cover was made for it and the fountain was painted for which the club paid an additional $1.75.

Several years later, a Women’s Club member reported that the public fountain was in good condition and thus would cool the thirst of many a wayfarer and many a weary animal. However, by the end of 1906 when Mechanicsburg was preparing to celebrate its centennial, the fountain had become damaged and the Women’s Club was considering replacing it with a “handsome new one” for which the members were prepared to pay as much as $300. The members wished to have it formally unveiled and presented to the Borough during its 100th anniversary celebration.

The Club members were successful in obtaining enough voluntary subscriptions from the townspeople, to replace the fountain to commemorate the centennial. A new iron structure costing two hundred and eighty-two dollars, with troughs for man, horse and dog, was placed near the site of the old one and opened for public use on the 14th of August 1907. This project was completed through the energy and support of the Women’s Civic Committee. The assistance of the Mechanicsburg Water Company, the Franklin Hall and Market Association, the Borough fathers and citizens were also greatly appreciated. This cast iron fountain stood on a site in front of the current day PNC Bank, formerly the First Bank and Trust Company.

The Fountain in the Square
The Fountain in the Square

During the Borough Council meeting of September 2, 1926, there were discussions concerning the removal of Franklin Hall. The Property Commission reported that permission had been granted to store the clock from Franklin Hall, at the High School Building without charge. The Light Committee reported the lighting equipment was moved from Franklin Hall to the Police Headquarters. However, no mention was made of the public fountain that was in front of Franklin Hall. Franklin Hall was then torn down.

In a letter from Charles Eberly, Treasurer of the First Bank and Trust Company, to Mr. George Z. Fishel, Secretary of the Borough Council dated April 6, 1927 described that the Bank had discussed the fountain with Miss Clara G. Titzel, President of the Women’s Club of Mechanicsburg, and she reported that the fountain had been turned over to the Borough years ago.

While preparing the pavement in front of the First Bank and Trust Company building that had been erected on the site of Franklin Hall in 1927, the two telephone companies and the Electric Light Company cooperated and moved their poles back on the line which left the fountain standing alone with the water container protruding over the curb line.

At the Borough Council meeting held on April 7, 1927, Mr. Aulthouse of the Property Committee recommended the removal of the public fountain which stood on the square.The motion for removal was seconded by Mr. Trimble and passed. The Council believed the fountain had served its purpose, and since it had deteriorated over the last twenty years, it would be appropriate to have it removed. The minutes, however, did not state the new location.

Today, you can view the Public Fountain, minus the water supply, in the lawn behind the Washington Fire Company on East Main Street. - Beverly J. Bone

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History of the Washington Fire Company

This history is found in the files of the Mechanicsburg Museum Association. The author is unknown, and it appears to have been written around 1988.

1870 Silsby
Washington Fire Company
The Engine pictured is the 1870 Silsby Steam Fire Engine

In 1856 the first water company was established in the Borough of Mechanicsburg. In November of 1857 the Water Company installed fire plugs for the protection of the borough. At that time, the borough owned a hand pumper which was known as the "WASHINGTON". On December 29, 1857, a new fire engine arrived in the borough. It was known as the "LITTLE SQUIRT". That same evening the Washington Fire Company, one of the oldest organizations of its kind in the Cumberland Valley, was organized in Mechanicsburg to offer the people of the borough protection from fire and for the promotion of civic interests.

At the organizational meeting officers were elected to govern the destiny of the new company. They were as follows: R. Wilson, President; A.N. Green, Secretary; Dr. J.B. Herring, Treasurer. William Mathews, Engineer; W. Dornbaugh, Assistant Engineer; and R.H. Thomas, D. Kimmel and.H. Dornbaugh were Directors. A committee was appointed to draft the fire company constitution and by-laws at this time. The members were as follows: A.N. Green, Joseph Sanderson, Dr. J.B. Herring, W.C. Houser and R.H. Thomas.

The Fire Company was instituted on February 22, 1858, and was named in honor of the First President of the United States. Mechanicsburg, like many other progressive towns of the era, finally had a much—needed organized fire protection.

Anyone who was a citizen of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and at least 20 years of age could become a member for a fee of $1.00. In September of 1858 it was decided to change the minimum age to 18 years old.

Company meetings were held on Friday nights in the town hall.

In April of 1858 the Borough purchased a hose carriage from the Citizen's Fire Company of Harrisburg. It was housed at the town hall on South Market Street with the hand pumper. It was determined that the hand pumper was too light to render effective service in an emergency in the absence of hose and hand tools. On May 25, 1858 a new pumper was presented to the Fire Company by the Borough.

The first Fire Company Parade was held on June 24, 1858 with music provided by the Keystone Cornet Band.

The company held its first banquet on February 22, 1859, and since then the anniversary has been celebrated as near to that date as possible.

Hand Pumper
Hand Pumper
Hand Pumper in front of original Washington Hall

On July 14, 1859, the foundation for a new town hall was laid at the corner of South Market Street and Stauffer Alley. The first floor was used to house the fire company equipment and the second floor contained a meeting room for town council.

The first permanent fire house was built in 1860 by the fire company at 53 East Main Street and has been home to the Washington Fire Company ever since. It was known as Washington Hall. It was built in the center of the borough's business district on land owned by the Union Church. The building had three floors. On December 20, 1860, the company bought its first fire bell.

In February of 1866 the company purchased a Button Suction fire engine from Trenton, New Jersey. The price was not to exceed $1000.00.

On April 5, 1866 honorary membership was bestowed upon R.H. Thomas, G. Keefer and William Matthews for five years of active membership as called for in the Constitution.

During the late 1860's the Company meeting night was changed to the first Thursday of the month and has been the meeting night ever since.

In June of 1869 town council purchased 800 feet of 10" forcing hose with the Jones patent coupling and all necessary appendages.

In July of 1869 the Fire Company purchased a hose carriage from the Neptune Fire Company of Philadelphia, PA, at a cost of $275.00 plus $5.71 in shipping charges. It is still owned by the Fire Company and was completely restored in 1975 at a cost of over $5000. Today it is valued at over $10,000. The hose carriage was built in the early 1820's by Young Carriage builders of Philadelphia. It is still pulled by company members in firemen's parades today. The company parade uniform consists of a red shirt, dark blue work pants, rubber boots and an aluminum helmet. This uniform represents the type of dress worn by all firemen in the early years of our country.

On July 18, 1870 the town council purchased a third class Silsby Steamer model 9600 for the fire company from the Silsby Manufacturing Company of Seneca Falls, New York. It was rated at 600 gpm and was drawn by horses.

On July 5, 1872, the fire company placed hooks and ladders at six different locations around the town to be used in case of fire to rescue people.

On February 16, 1873 parade uniforms were adopted. They consisted of red flannel shirts, New York fire helmets and white belts with blue trim and the fire company name on them. They also wore blue New York style caps before and after the parades.

On May 6, 1875 the first fire police were appointed.

In 1876 a second hose carriage was purchased by the company.

The company apparatus for the year of 1876 consisted of the Silsby Steamer, the Button Suction hand pumper, 2 hose carriages with approximately 1,000 feet of leather hose anti 800 feet of carbolized rubber hose and a double—brake hand pumper. A hose carriage with 300 feet of hose was sold to New Kingston later in the year.

Hose Carriage
Hose Carriage

The Mechanicsburg Fire Department was formed in 1888 and rules and regulations were drawn up for a Borough Chief and Assistant Chiefs.

In 1901 there were no fires in the Borough.

On September 6, 1906 an agreement was signed between the fire company and the Union Church to build a new fire house on the site of the present building. The deteriorating condition due to falling bricks made it a necessity. The building was torn down on July 6, 1907 and a new two—story firehouse was erected. The cost of the construction was $8,585. Today it would cost over $250,000 to build the same building.

The company sold its first bell on December 5, 1907. The new building was accepted by the company on February 6, 1908 and held its first meeting there on February 20, 1908. On May 5, 1908 a new fire bell was presented to the company by a Miss Hummel.

It was during 1908 the fire company celebrated its 50th Anniversary.

On September 10, 1914 the company purchased a hose wagon from the Vigilant Hose Company of York, PA for $150.00.

The Fire Company held its first Christmas Party for the children of the town on December 25, 1914. It has been held every year since then.

On May 21, 1916 the Mechanicsburg Fireman's Relief Association was formed with other two borough fire companies. It was reorganized on June 19, 1924.

On May 5, 1917 the company received a Luverne Chemical truck. For several years it was the only motorized apparatus in the borough.

In 1924 the company received an American laFrance 750 gpm pumper. It was purchased by Borough Council to replace the Silsby Steamer. It was the first gasoline pumper places in service in the borough.

The Luverne Chemical truck was sold on December 3, 1925.

On January 30, 1931 the first rural truck was placed in service by the company. The late S. Harper Myers, a local funeral director, presented to the company a Sayers and Scovill hearse which the members of the company redesigned and built as a fire engine. This truck was equipped with the first portable pump unit adapted for fire protection. The truck was used to give fire protection to the large rural district bordering Mechanicsburg.

Contracts with the townships of Hampden and Silver Spring were first drawn up on May 7, 1936.

On July 9, 1938 the company purchased a Ford chassis with a 500 gpm Darley pump for the rural fire service replacing the Sayers and Scovill.

A contract was signed with Lower Allen Township for fire protection on April 4, 1940.

In 1942 the first siren was installed on the fire house to alert firemen in the event of an emergency.

Also in 1942 a Diamond-T engine with a 500 gpm pump arrived to replace the American LaFrance pumper.

The Ladies Auxiliary was formed on October 3, 1946.

In 1948 the company replaced the Ford pumper with another Diamond-T engine. It had a 500 gpm Darley pump and a 400 gallon booster tank. The Borough purchased another 500 gpm Diamond-T pumper. Its delivery resulted in having 3 Diamond-T pumpers placed into service by the company.

In 1949 the company co—hosted the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Fireman's Association convention and parade.

A new house siren was installed on February 14, 1950 and could be activated from the borough hall.

A kitchen was built on the rear of the firehouse on May 4, 1950.

New parade uniforms were ordered May 8, 1950.

A contractual agreement was drawn up with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission on November 6, 1952 for fire protection.

Radios were first installed in the trucks on October 6, 1955.

In 1956 the company purchased its first emergency truck. It was an International which the company members installed with shelving for equipment and mountings for air masks.

In 1958 the front of the firehouse was remodeled and the narrow doors were replaced with the present overhead door.

In the same year the Fire Company celebrated its centennial year with a gala banquet in the engine house on Saturday, February 22 with Lieutenant Governor Roy Furman as the principal speaker. In August the company co—hosted the Cumberland Valley Fireman's Association Convention and parade.

Also in August of 1958 a GMC with a 750 gpm Howe pump was placed into service. It was purchased by the Borough to replace the 1942 Diamond—T which was sold to the Silver Spring Fire Company.

In 1961 the company purchased a GMC van which was converted into a rescue truck replacing the 1956 International. In 1962 the company purchased a GMC engine with a 500 gpm pump and 800 gallon booster tank for rural service. It replaced the 1948 Diamond-T.

1962 was the first year in which all three companies had a combined fund drive by passing out coin cards.

In 1972 the Borough purchased a GMC with a three-stage 750 gpm pump. It replaced the other 1948 Diamond-T which was moved to the borough garage and used as a reserve pumper.

In 1975 the company purchased another GMC van to replace the 1961 GMC rescue truck. The company members installed windows, flood lights, shelving for equipment, a generator and mounts for air masks. An electric winch was also placed on the front.

During 1976, our nation's Bicentennial, the firehouse was remodeled and repainted inside. The backyard was beautified and the water fountain, which use to be in front of Franklin Hall, was restored to its original style.

The company also co—hosted the 49th Cumberland County Volunteer Firemen's Convention and parade. The parade was held on July 3rd of that year in conjunction with Jubilee'76.

On March 5, 1980 the company bought a Lukas Rescue Tool and Cutters at a cost of $8,900.00.

Early Hydrant
Early Hydrant
1850s Design Fire Hydrant

In June of 1980 a Fire Alarm System was placed in the firehouse.

In July 1981 the company took delivery of a 1980 Ford engine with a Darley 1000 gpm pump. This was bought by the Borough. It replaced the 1972 GMC which was placed back at the borough garage. This was the first diesel-powered engine.

In September of 1981 the company purchased a set of Maxi Force Air Bags. It is the 3-bag 50 ton system.

In August of 1980 the Borough sold the 1948 Diamond-T, the last of the Diamond-T's in the borough.

In November of 1981 the Borough sold the 1958 GMC.

In December 1981 the company purchased a Maxim Squad truck from a company in New York. It featured a 250 gpm PTO pump, a 200 gallon booster tank, an electric generator and a rear mounted winch.

On November 4, 1982 the first woman was elected into membership.

On December 1, 1983 the 1975 Squad was sold to the Barlow Volunteer Fire Company, Barlow, PA.

On November 15, 1984 the Fire Company sold the 1962 GMC to Pete Gunn of Daulton, Georgia.

On March 11, 1985 the Fire Company took delivery of a new engine. It is built on a Ford C8000 chassis with a Darley 1250 gpm pump and 1000 gallon booster tank.

On February 20, 1986 a Cascade System was added to the Maxim Squad.

In March of 1987 the Fire Company purchased a Squad from Arundel, Maryland. It is built on a Ford C800 chassis with a Swab compartmental "box". The Cascade System located on the Maxim Squad was added to it.

On October 1, 1987 the Fire Company changed its By-Laws to allow 13 to 15 year olds to join the Fire Company as Junior members.

In October of 1987 the Maxim Squad was sold.

In February 1988 the Fire Company purchased an Amkus Rescue Tool and Cutters at a cost of over $15,000. The Fire Company presently has 2 rescue tools and 2 cutters in service.

Throughout the long history of the company it has paraded in the following states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. The Fire Company has been rewarded with.many trophies and cash prizes, the most treasured being the three large first place trophies the Company won at the 1974 Pennsylvania State Firemen's Parade in Conshohocken.

The company has in its possession a lot of old pictures, marble top tables, statues, collections of parade badges and other firefighting memorabilia. In the backyard there can be found the bells of the old Franklin Hall and Irving College. An old water fountain which was located in front of Franklin Hall can also be seen there.

The Washington Fire Company of Mechanicsburg is one of the oldest Fire Companies in Central Pennsylvania. It has a rich history of providing protection for the lives and property of the citizens of Mechanicsburg. They have long thought of the Washies as a hard—working group of men who have a certain spirit to meet the challenge that is brought forth at the scene of a fire or any other emergency. It takes a person with a great desire, probably even an inner need, to be challenged to the extremes of his personal abilities to make a good fireman. Not all fire company members are good firemen but there is a place in a company like the Washies for all those who are willing to come to the aid of their neighbors in any way they can.

In recent years there has been an effort made by the membership of the Company to interest the youth of the Borough in fire fighting and the many skills which a knowledgeable fireman must have to go with a desire to meet a most formidable challenge of Life or Death! The Washies today have a large active membership in Cumberland County made up mostly of young men and women between the ages of 13 and 40. They have a great desire to learn about fire fighting from the fine group of experienced firemen who have worked to build the Company into what it is today.

The Company has always been active in all civic movements in the community. Members of the Company have always served their country in the armed forces. They have come from all walks of life and also have been politically involved in the Borough of Mechanicsburg. The Washington Fire Company thanks the Borough of Mechanicsburg for all it has done for it and hopes to continue to serve the community in what ever capacity its citizen's request of it.

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George Frankenberger

by Beverly Bone

Frankenberger Tavern
Frankenberger Tavern

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 County.

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 (woodcrafter).

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 craftsman.

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 his acreage.

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.

Frankenberger Tavern Room
Frankenberger Tavern Room

George Frankenberger’s Family Life

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 before 1800

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 relationship.

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 Sarah.

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 estate.

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.

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Freight Station Research

by John Klinger - July 20, 2014

1858 map detail
1858 map detail

In his History of the Cumberland Valley Railroad, Paul Westhaeffer cites CVRR sources saying that Mechanicsburg had a fuel wood and water facility in Mechanicsburg from the start of operations in 1837. The 1858 County Atlas shows the current Freight Station property occupied by the CVRR. It shows a long structure on the current Freight Station property, spaced back from the single track main line. This would be consistent with an open shed for wood cutting and storage, where the wood had to be carried by hand or cart to the locomotive tenders. It makes sense to have the wood and water where the passenger trains stopped, the Railroad Hotel, which the 1858 map shows as a fairly small building on an extension of Railroad Avenue between Strawberry Alley and the tracks. There may have been some freight handled at the CVRR facility here as well, but the CVRR only owned a small number of freight cars in the early days, due to lack of money. Most freight on the CVRR was hauled in cars owned by the freight forwarders, who loaded them at their warehouses. Westhaeffer describes this situation, and the American Railroad Journal in 1849 reported that the CVRR had "no burthen cars" other than for maintenance.

1872 map
1872 map

The 1872 Cumberland County Atlas shows a slightly different footprint for the structure, beside a two track main line. It is hard to tell, but it may have been torn down and rebuilt when the second line was added in 1871.The CVRR was still using wood burning engines, so a wood shed was still needed.

I have heard that there is a deed showing that the CVRR bought the property in 1873. I have checked the records at the county courthouse, but I cannot find any CVRR purchases near that time or earlier of the property on the corner of Market and Allen. The PRR Centennial History states that the Mechanicsburg Freight Station was built in 1874.

1885 map
1885 map

I recently found some very detailed Sanborn Mechanicsburg insurance maps on the internet, from 1885, 1890, 1896, 1902, and 1911. There is a wealth of historical information on these maps, especially about businesses and industries.There is a copy of these on a disk in the research area.The 1885 map shows a rectangular, one story, walled frame "Freight House" against Market Street, with an attached open walled frame "Freight Shed" attached to the west side.There is a frame "R.R. Water Tank House" at the west end of the Freight Shed. The Freight House has a single platform, trackside.The Freight Shed and Water Tank House are beside the railroad tracks, with no platforms. The Freight House has a tin or slate roof, and the Freight Shed and Water Tank House have shingles.There is a water pipe from the water main under Main Street to the Water Tank House. As the last wood burning locomotive on the CVRR was retired in 1882, there was no longer a need for a wood shed. North of the Freight Shed, along Allen Street, there is a small wooden stable, with a wooden building against it with three closed sides, and the south side open. There is fence extending from these structures forming an enclosure to the Freight Shed and railroad. To me, this suggests one or two horses, a wagon shed, and a pasture for the horse(s).

1890 map detail
1890 map detail

The 1890 map shows a new railroad siding running through where the previous structures were located. There is a new Freight House and Freight Shed beside the new siding, and well west of Market Street. The Freight House is a 1 1/2 story enclosed frame structure, with a two story tower on the west end. This appears to match the shape and location of our current Freight Station. There are platforms on the north and south sides. The Freight Shed is an enclosed frame structure with platforms on the north and south. The south platform appears to be at a different height from the Freight House platform. The Freight Shed extends well west of the Freight House. A copy of a December 1885 deed in our files shows that the CVRR purchased property to the west of the "freight depot" of the time. The sum of all of this leads me to believe that the current Freight Station was probably built in 1886. The Freight House has a slate or tin roof, while the tower and the Freight Shed have shingles. The structures on Allen Street, and the fences, are gone.The water main on Railroad Avenue is no longer shown crossing the tracks or attaching to any CVRR facility. With coal fired, longer range motive power on the CVRR, there was probably no more need for locomotive fuel and water in downtown Mechanicsburg.

These structures appear the same on the 1896 and 1902 maps.

1911 map detail
1911 map detail

The 1911 map shows the side of the Freight Shed toward the railroad now open, with a composite roof, and the northern platform is gone. The trackside platform now appears to match the height of the Freight House platform. Together, this indicates a significant change in structure and use, with no more access from Allen Street, and one side open to the weather. This map also shows a platform added to the Market Street end of the Freight House.For the first time, the map shows 2 partitions running north and south inside the Freight House, with one on the east end consistent with one wall of the gift shop, and the other between the main floor and the two story tower. Structurally, it makes sense that the wall at the tower end was always there, so this may be more about adding detail to the map than adding the partitions.

The 1923 Sanborn map we have in the MMA files was corrected in 1962 and again in 1964 by pasting in changed sections.It is difficult to see through the patches, but it appears that the whole Freight Station was the same in 1923 as in 1911. The corrected portion shows the Freight Shed gone, and a much smaller frame structure, open on the north and south sides, replacing it. I don't have an electronic image of this map, only the book in our archives. Due to its large size, it would have to be sent out to be scanned, which I have chosen to not do at this time.

5 June 1966 the Pennsylvania Railroad deeded the property to Robert W. Smith and Elizabeth J. Smith

26 June 1969 the Smiths deeded the property to R.W. White Inc.

30 June 1972 R.W. White deeded the property to Kuhns-Harnish Inc.

8 June 1977 Kuhns-Harnish deeded the property to J&R Ford Tractor Sales Inc.

6 March 1987 Drivecor Inc. deeded the property to Mechanicsburg Museum Assoc.

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