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Directing motorists to Camp Betty from the I-83 Mount Rose Avenue interchange at Haines Rd. (Photo by S.H. Smith, 2022)

Mt. Rose Interchange sign to Camp Betty

Eric Lehman noticed the Mt. Rose Interchange sign to Camp Betty asked, “Are the rumors true, of why the Camp Betty Washington Road sign was shortened to just Camp Betty?”

In driving south on Haines Road, from Mount Rose Avenue; at the new I-83 interchange, one can either turn right to enter the on-ramp to head north on I-83, or wait at these stop lights, to turn left and continue along Haines Road in Springettsbury Township, which becomes Camp Betty Washington Road in York Township.

Directing motorists to Camp Betty from the I-83 Mount Rose Avenue interchange at Haines Rd. (Photo by S.H. Smith, 2022)

The naming of Camp Betty Washington Road

A Girls’ Friendly camp, located at Burnt Cabin in the river hills of Hellam Township, was forced to relocate because they were polluting Wild Cat Run; which filled the main reservoir for the Marietta Gravity Water Company. Neville Smith became their benefactor, by procuring a site to relocate the camp in 1928. Neville Smith named the new camp to honor Betty Washington, the sister of George Washington.

Fully understanding the naming of Camp Betty Washington Road came about years ago during a visit to the Genealogical Reading Room at the Library of Congress. A book on Washington Family descendants included a Stephen Smith entry. This was Stephen Fahs Smith, although he often went by just S. Fahs Smith, as a son of S. Morgan Smith. S. Fahs Smith was Vice President of the S. Morgan Smith Company from 1896 until 1936, and President of the company from 1936 until 1942.

The maiden name of S. Fahs Smith’s wife is Lucy Neville Mitchell; although she also preferred her middle name. Neville Smith is Betty Washington’s great-great-great-granddaughter. Betty Washington’s one-year older brother is George Washington. Therefore Camp Betty Washington, and the Road by it, was named to honor Neville Smith’s great-great-great-grandmother.

The following is John Wollaston’s painting of Betty (Washington) Lewis [1733-1797]; done shortly after her marriage to Fielding Lewis. Betty is the only sister of President George Washington to live into adulthood.

Betty (Washington) Lewis [1733-1797] in a painting by John Wollaston; done shortly after her marriage to Fielding Lewis. Betty is the only sister of President George Washington to live into adulthood. (Source: Wikimedia Commons, courtesy of Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association).

A concise summary of this lineage follows: August Washington married Mary Ball in 1731. Their first child was George Washington, born in 1732. One year later George Washington had a sister; Elizabeth Washington, although she always went by Betty Washington. Betty Washington married Col. Fielding Lewis. Betty Washington’s son Fielding Lewis was born in 1751. Fielding Lewis married Mary Ann Alexander; Robert Lewis is one of their children. Betty Washington’s grandson Robert Lewis was born in 1769. Robert Lewis married Judith Walker Browne; Betty Burnett Lewis is one of their children.

Betty Washington’s great-granddaughter Betty Burnett Lewis was born in 1808. Betty Lewis married George Washington Bassett; Judith Frances Carter Bassett is one of their children. Betty Washington’s great-great-granddaughter Judith Frances Carter Bassett was born in 1836. Judith Bassett married Charles Tunis Mitchell; Lucy Neville Mitchell is one of their children. Betty Washington’s great-great-great-granddaughter Lucy Neville Mitchell was born in 1872.

Location of Camp Betty Washington

Details that tie together the naming of Camp Betty Washington come from property Deed Book 24H, Page 196, made October 18, 1928. In that deed, Neville Mitchell Smith conveyed four plots of land, totaling 8.9-acres, to the Girls Friendly Society of the Diocese of Harrisburg, as a Girls’ Camp and Holiday House. Two acres of land are on the west side of Mill Creek, then known as the Little Codorus Creek, and is mainly in Spring Garden Township, but also runs south just into York Township. The remaining 6.9-acres of land are on the east side of Mill Creek in Springettsbury Township.

The following terrain map points to the location of Camp Betty Washington; i.e. where the boundaries of Springettsbury, Spring Garden and York Townships meet. The camp was on both sides of the road; in the vicinity of the present neighboring properties at: 1351 Haines Road in Springettsbury Township and 1353 Camp Betty Washington Road in York Township.

Camp Betty Washington Road in York County, PA; shown on a Google terrain map. The road follows the winding valley carved out by Mill Creek as it flows north through this hilly region in York Township. (Annotated by S.H. Smith, 2022)

Neville Smith named the camp to honor her great-great-great-grandmother Betty Washington.. Documents as early as November of 1928 use the full name: Camp Betty Washington Girls Holiday House of Harrisburg Diocese. The road, by the camp, shows up as Camp Betty Washington Road, within newspaper articles as early as 1932.

At the south end of the road, the York Township road sign spells out the full name, Camp Betty Washington Rd.; as it ends at Springwood Rd.

York Township road sign at intersection of Springwood Road & Camp Betty Washington Road (Photo by S.H. Smith, 2013)

After Eric Lehman noticed the sign to Camp Betty at the Mt. Rose Interchange, he asked three friends and heard these varying explanations of why the State chose to use just a Camp Betty sign at that location:

[1] Camp Betty Washington Rd. has too many characters to fit on a road sign. (However, York Township managed to do it on their road sign.)

[2] With all the cost overruns at that interchange, the shorter sign is a cost-saving item; the State can boast about.

[3] In pointing to the no longer existent Camp Betty, the confusion of which of the two road names in that direction the arrows are pointing too; i.e. Haines Road or Camp Betty Washington Road.

Click on this LINK for a yorkblog.com Full View of the photos and illustrations in this post.

Links to related posts:

Burnt Cabin was site of the Girls’ Friendly camp before Camp Betty Washington

Gotwalt’s Mill at the S-curve in Camp Betty Washington Road

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