Where is Mulberry in York County, how did it get its name and what happened there?
In my last post, I shared the April 13, 1904 news from Mulberry. The name refers to the area around the Conewago Creek and Red Run Church, which is on the Davidsburg Road in Washington Township. Here is the history of Mulberry from Prowell’s 1907 History of York County, Pennsylvania:
“Mulberry was known for more than half a century as ‘Raffensberger’s Store.’ In 1824 Christian T. Raffensberger began the mercantile business and continued it until 1854 when his son Amos succeeded him until 1864, when another son, Jacob, followed him for five years, then Amos returned. He was succeeded by J.C. Bower and John C. Harlacher. M.L. Strayer, who succeeded John C. Harlacher, continued the mercantile business here. In 1893 both the store and the dwelling house were destroyed by fire, while owned by M. L. Strayer, who immediately rebuilt them. Soon afterward he was succeeded by Samuel Eberly, who has continued the business with success. L. W. Lighty began the store business in 1881.
In 1864 when application was made for a post office at this place, a difficulty arose as to its name. A large mulberry tree stood in front of the store, and the venerable Christian Raffensberger, who lived to the age of eighty-six years, asked ‘Uncle Sam’ to call the new post office ‘Mulberry’ in honor of his tree. The old tree passed away before its original owner, but a new one was planted on the same spot. The large bridge over the Conewago at this place was taken away by the flood of 1884, after having served the public for fifty years, and an iron bridge placed there in 1886.
In 1863, when Amos Raffensberger was store-keeper at this place, he loaded his goods on two large wagons and concealed them in a dense growth of trees and bushes along the Conewago, on the approach of the Confederate army toward York.
They escaped capture from Early’s division of soldiers on their way eastward, but on July 1, when Stuart’s cavalry passed northward through Warrington Township, a squad of horsemen who were foraging through this region, discovered Mr. Raffensberger’s wagons. They too possession of all the goods and wearing apparel to the amount of $900, for which Mr. Raffensberger never received any payment either from the Confederates of the United States government. What was known as the ‘Border Raid Claim’ never became a law, neither through Pennsylvania statute nor by an act of Congress, and Mr. Raffensberger, like many other citizens of southern Pennsylvania, failed to recover what rightfully seems to be a just and equitable claim.”
Click this link to the PA Civil War Civilian Damage Claims database created by Scott Mingus on the York County Heritage Trust website. Search by Mulberry and it will bring up a dozen claimants.
This link will take you to Scott Mingus’s Cannonball blog post on the raid, with maps and photos.