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#50 David S. Detwiler Cigar Factory in Wrightsville; Top 50 York County Factories at End of 19th Century

Portrait of David Stoner Detwiler [1856-1941] (From 1907 History of York County, PA by George Prowell; Volume II, opposite page 272)
In my post Late 1800s Factory Inspection Reports Assist in Identification of an East Prospect Photo I wrote about finding these reports in the State Library of Pennsylvania.  For this series on the Top 50 York County Factories at the end of 19th Century, I’m using data from the 10th Report of the Pennsylvania Department of Factory Inspection.

The 10th Factory Inspection Report is for the Department’s year ending October 31st 1899.  I ranked the 479 York County factories by numbers of employees; #50 has 47 employees, on up to #1 with 510 employees.  In the coming weeks, on Monday and/or Tuesday, I’ll count down to the top employer in York County at the end of 19th Century.


The portrait of David Stoner Detwiler was likely taken for the 1907 History of York County; therefore David is about 50-years-old in the photo.  David was born January 11th 1856; on a farm adjoining Wrightsville.  Therefore David was 7-years-old during the Confederate invasion of 1863.  He grew up a farmers boy however attended school until his was 19-years-old; with final two years attending Millersville Normal School.

Following completion of this schooling David Detwiler farmed for his father several years.  He struck out on his own at the age of 25-years-old; in 1881 establishing his cigar factory in Wrightsville.  The 1907 History of York County by George Prowell notes on Volume II, page 272.

His [David S. Detwiler] factory is in the building on Front Street [in Wrightsville], formerly used by William McConkey as a grain warehouse.  He buys as much as $50,000 worth of leaf tobacco a year, and the yearly output of his factory for some years has been 4,000,000 cigars.

Location of 1899 David S. Detwiler Cigar Factory pinpointed on 1876 Map of Wrightsville (Source is Plate 33 of 1876 York County, PA Atlas with Notations in Red added by S. H. Smith, 2013)

The location of the Cigar Factory of David S. Detwiler is pinpointed on this 1876 Map of Wrightsville.  Polk’s 1898 York City & County Directory confirms the location as the north-east corner of Front and Locust Streets in Wrightsville.  The David S. Detwiler Cigar Factory is also pinpointed on a 1894 Birds-Eye-View of Wrightsville.  This building is no longer standing.

The 10th Factory Inspection Report notes that on March 1st 1899 the D. S. Detwiler Cigar Factory in Wrightsville has 47 employees; 27 male and 20 female.  Of these 47 employees, 8 are under 21, but over 16-years of age.

In my count down of the 50 top factories in York County at the end of 19th Century, there are 12 cigar factories represented.  Only one cigar factory shows up in the top 15; do any of my readers care to guess where this factory, that made cigars and also cigar boxes, was located in York County.

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