West Manchester Township historian recounts an incident during the Gettysburg Campaign
The old Cicero G. Weigel house at 1931 Derry Road in West Manchester Township, York County, Pennsylvania, has witnessed a lot of York County’s changes. it dates back to before the American Civil War, when the township was agrarian, dotted with mills and farms. Now, the township is marked by bedroom communities, sprawling shopping complexes, and at times maddening traffic. Photo courtesy of Mel Miller.
I met Mel Miller back before all my eye problems when I was speaking at the March meeting of the Greater Dover Historical Society. We had a pleasant conversation, and Mel remarked that he was the historian for the West Manchester Township Historical Society. I shared with him that portion of my county-wide database of all Civil War damage claims that I have compiled over the years (more than 800 claims), and Mel has since invited me to speak to his organization on Confederate activity in the township during the Gettysburg Campaign. He and I are working on a date to get together to combine our efforts and exchange knowledge (and to take photos for this blog and for an upcoming new book).
Mel graciously provided me with an article he wrote for the newsletter of the West Manchester Township Historical Society. The society is open to any interested persons, and they maintain a website with some historical information of use, particularly the cemetery information for those of you readers with ancestors buried in the area. If you are interested, membership in the group starts at only $20 a year.
Confederate raiding parties were quite active in the area of Taxville and Derry roads in West Manchester Township. The red rectangles mark farms where the Rebels are known to have taken horses or supplies. Undoubtedly, many more farmers were also visited, but no damage claims were filed.
The old Cicero G. Weigel house as seen in 1973. Photo courtesy of Mel Miller of the West Manchester Township Historical Society. Used by permission.
Here is Mel’s article, with following commentary by me…
“One house that was unintentionally overlooked in the historical homes chapter of the History of West Manchester Township was the brick house at 1931 Derry Road.
The original farm, that this house was built on, consisted of 168 acres and was deeded to Peter and Catherine Weigel, Cicero Weigel’s grandparents, by the heirs of William Penn on December 11, 1810. On May 4, 1841, his grandfather sold 84 acres to Cicero’s father, Peter Weigel, Jr. who, in turn, sold 27 acres to Cicero and his wife Cassie on February 4, 1871. This is the tract that the house is located on. The house is not shown on the Lake and Shearer 1860 map but is shown on the Pomeroy, Whitman & Co. map of 1876
On July 1, 1863, which was the first day of the battle of Gettysburg, Henry Leckrone saw some rebel soldiers from General Jeb Stuart‘s cavalry pass his house with three horses belonging to Cicero Weigel. Henry lived in the farmhouse of the farm which was later developed and now known as Wellington Greens. Two of the horses were mouse colored and the other black. The three were valued at $425 according to a claim filed with the State in 1868.
Cicero died November 22, 1917 and his wife October 31, 1916. His son, Charles F., died June 9, 1929 and on March 26, 1930 Cicero’s estate sold the property to William Weigel and others. The tract remained unchanged and on November 18, 1965, along with another tract directly south of the house that was purchased by Cicero from Jacob Holtzapple (6 acres), was sold by Everett Weigel and others to Harry Wright. Wright subdivided both tracts and Cicero’s house became Lot 9 of Twin Brooks Second Addition. The frame barn was located on what is now 1951 Derry Road (Lot 7) and a pig sty on Lot 8 (1941 Derry Road).
Through the years many adverse conveyances have been made to the original land grant of Peter Weigel. In 1810 the farm included all of the lots on the south side of Sunset Lane Extended west of Derry Road to Walnut Bottom Drive, south to Loman Avenue and east to Derry Road. All of the streets east of Derry Road consisting of Loman Ave., and Thelon, Pearson and Lycan Drives were also part of the farm.
Peter Sr. & Maria Catherine are buried in the old section of Shiloh Union Cemetery, as well as Peter Jr. & his wife Lovina. Cicero and Cassie and their son & daughter-in-law, Charles F. & Minnie M. are buried in the new section of Shiloh Union Cemetery on Third Ave.”
I thank Mel Miller for this interesting information. I read the Cicero Weigel damage claim in Harrisburg a couple of years ago. His filing is one of 54 damage claims from West Manchester Township, many of which were from J.E.B. Stuart’s passage through the township on the night of June 30 and early morning of July 1 en route to Dover from the Battle of Hanover. Henry Leckrone witnessed a patrol of Confederates leading away Cicero Weigel’s 8-year-old horse and two other horses.
Leander Weigel, a relative of Cicero’s I presume, had a 3-year-old gray mare taken from the barn of Samuel Bentzel by the Rebels. Both Leander and Leah (Welcomer) Weigel died in the summer of 1866 and did not live to see their claim resolved.
A scan of my database indicates that a total of 87 horses were taken from West Manchester Township residents, as well as 3 mules and various personal property. Residents filed claims that totaled more than $14,000 in 1863 dollars.
Not far from Weigle’s house was this impressive old farmhouse, which Mel Miller identifies as the Peter Eisenhart / Hans Groff home. According to my research, Peter Eisenhart’s 5-year-old sorrel was taken from the barn in the early morning hours of July 1 by members of J.E.B. Stuart’s division. He later filed a damage claim asking for $150 as compensation for his lost horse.
Another view of this nicely restored and maintained historical house and barn (which has a swimming pool attached, by the way!!!).