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Abe Brenneman becomes an Inn Keeper in York Township

1880 York Township, York County, PA, Census Listing for Inn Keeper Abe Brenneman

In 1871 Abe Brenneman purchased a hotel and 58 acres of surrounding property in York Township.  The hotel was along the York and Chanceford Turnpike; now South Queen Street.  The hotel was the ONLY building along a one-mile stretch of that road.

Today the one-mile extends on either side of the South Queen Street interchange with I-83.  One can no longer say this stretch contains only one building!  On Monday I was discussing Brenneman’s Schoolhouse at the corner of South Queen Street and Donna Lane.  Abe Brenneman is reason the nearby schoolhouse was named Brenneman’s.

Related Brenneman’s One-Room Schoolhouse posts include:


In his early-married life, Abraham Brenneman was a farmer in Heidelberg Township.  Abe was born November 9, 1829.  He was married to Leah Lau, who was born August 24, 1830.  They had a large family of 12 children.  By the 1880 Census, 6 of the younger children were still living in their household at the hotel.

1876 Atlas of York County, Pennsylvania; Enlarged Portion of York Township (Plate 81)

The earliest written records, uncovered thus far, on Brenneman’s Schoolhouse appear in this 1876 Atlas of York County, Pennsylvania; note the ‘blued’ box marked ‘School.’  Abraham Brenneman’s 1871 purchase included the hotel and 58 acres of surrounding land.  The 58-acres are plotted from the deed and are shaded on the 1876 atlas.

The school lot was not documented in the 1871 deed; therefore Brenneman’s Schoolhouse was most likely built between 1871 and 1876 on Abe’s property.  The one-sixteenth acre school lot (42 feet along South Queen Street by 66 feet deep along Donna Lane) is documented in an 1888 deed where Abraham Brenneman sold 5 acres of surrounding land on the northeast corner of the intersection to Robert H. Heltzel.

One Monday I noted an 1860 map showed an earlier schoolhouse in the same general area; it was along Springwood Road near the opposite end of what would eventually become Donna Lane.  The initial schoolhouse was likely used for approximately 40 years; from about 1834 until the early 1870s.  I’m still trying to locate mid-Nineteenth Century school records to determine the names of these very early one-room schoolhouses.  If anyone has found a source for such records, please reply.

“Honest Abe’s Hotel” location is highlighted in yellow on the 1876 map.  Ernst C. Grevmeyer preceded Abe Brenneman as the owner of the hotel.  Gibson’s History of York County notes that E. C. Grevmeyer was in charge of the commissary at the U. S. Army General Hospital in York during the Civil War.

Leah Brenneman, Abe’s wife, died on November 25, 1894.  Abe operated the hotel for 28 years; he lent his name to the one-room schoolhouse and possibly donated the school lot.  Abraham Brenneman died May 5, 1899 and is buried with family members at Mt. Zion Cemetery in Springettsbury Township.  The executor of the Estate of Abraham Brenneman sold the hotel and his property in the area to Katie Shearer during 1900.  Katie ran the hotel as ‘Shearer’s Hotel.’

The dotted ‘Future property boundaries’ that I have placed on the 1876 map are for a future post.  The Citizens Bank at 2124 South Queen Street is the approximate location of the former Grevmeyer / Brenneman / Shearer Hotel.

Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts