Yorker Hides Goods from Confederates, Bribes Servant
Lewis Miller drawing of Confederates arriving in York
In a September 1905 newspaper item, York County historian George R. Prowell relates storekeeper Isaac Runk’s dealings with the Confederates during the June 28-30, 1863 occupation of York. Runk’s store was in Freystown, which comprised what is today the 400 through 800 blocks of East Market St. 1876 and 1903 maps of the area show Runk on the north side of Market St. about six houses west of Diehl’s Mill Rd. (now Sherman St.).
Knowing that a good portion of the Confederate army was coming their way, York County residents spent several days taking valuables, household goods and livestock across the Susquehanna River, where they hoped they would be safe from plunder. For some reason Runk decided that, instead of sending his goods away like so many others, he would pack his stock in large boxes and put them in the barn at the rear of his house. He then quickly harvested two large loads of hay and covered the boxes.
The story goes on that shortly after arriving in York on June 28, Confederate soldiers stopped in at Runk’s store, buying the few items he had left on his shelves, paying with Confederate notes as well as those issued by Virginia and Georgia. When asked if he had sent most of his goods across the river, as so many others had, Runk said that had done so. Captain Cline and Lieutenant Heindel from Virginia, who Prowell attributes as having York County roots, were among the shoppers.
The next day Captain Cline’s servant, Tom, came to Runk’s store to tell him that Cline wanted hay for the Confederate army horses and they knew Runk has recently filled his barn. Tom took away one load and came back for another, uncovering the boxes of goods. Runk gave Tom a silver dollar, which might be the reason neither Tom nor any other southerner came back for the goods. Runk also attributed the good will to a story Tom told him–a critically wounded Cline had been healed the year before by a Yankee surgeon in a Yankee hospital.
Prowell ends with: “Tom went away. He never returned, for the next day General Early and his troops were ordered to Gettysburg where Captain Cline was killed and Lieutenant Heindel wounded, and Tom had lost his master in the war.”
Click the links below for more on the Confederate occupation of York.
Flour from Smalls’ mills.
General Gordon and Mary Ann Rewalt.
Cherries at Springwood Farm.
Confederates at Mt. Pisgah.