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Second & Third Union Church Buildings at Canadochly

Maps (1876 and 1860) and Photographs (early 1940s and 2012) Depicting Locations of Second & Third Union Church Buildings at Canadochly, Lower Windsor Township, York Co., PA (Annotations and Layout by S. H. Smith)

If you read my post on Friday, you now know where those old York County steps are located; see the yellow leader lines in the illustration.  I’ll explanation my five clues later in this post.

The first Canadochly Union Church building for members of the Lutheran and Reformed Congregations was constructed of logs in 1763.  The log church was located east of what is now Canadochly Road, i.e. surrounded by the old cemetery.  This post concerns the second and third Canadochly Union Church buildings; build of brick in 1801 and 1867 respectively.


The early 1940s photo in the oval at the center of the illustration comes from a portion of the aerial photograph in the introductory pages to the publication Canajohela 1753 to 2003, Celebrating 250 Years at the Canadochly Evangelical & Reformed Church.  This portion of the photograph shows the third Canadochly Union Church building; built in 1867.  Using descriptions within the publication, I’ve added a depiction of the second Canadochly Union Church building; built in 1801.  As seen in my 2012 photo, only the steps and retaining wall that once was around the 1867 church building remain from either of these church buildings.

Quoting from page 17 of Canajohela 1753 to 2003:

In the year 1800 the Lutheran and Reformed members resolved to replace the primitive log structure with a new brick church.  A building committee comprised of Michael Kauffelt and Anthony Keller representing the Lutherans, and Conrad Leber and Jacob Dritt from the Reformed, was appointed along with Mathias Becker as Treasurer.  In the year 1801, a subscription was made to collect money to build the new church.  The Canadochly records state the corner stone was laid the same year, and upon completion of the building, an organ was purchased from Christian Rathfon for the church.

Besides details about the 1801 Church, this paragraph raised two questions.  The Christian Rathfon that I previously wrote about, owning two-thirds of Pleasant Garden and operating a sawmill; was he also an organ dealer?  Anthony Keller is my 4th-Great Grandfather.  Through this paragraph I’ve learned he was a Lutheran.  Several of my ancestral branches go back generations through this Union Church; so far all are Lutheran.  Was there not much intermarriage between the Lutheran and Reformed Congregations?

Page 17 of Canajohela 1753 to 2003 continues:

Reverend Garrett recorded in his “History of the Kreutz Creek Charge” in 1924 the foundations of this [1801] church were still visible in the roadbed of the Canadochly Road [a dirt road in 1924].  The course of this road being changed in 1867 in order to straighten the old cemetery line with the field on the opposite side of the road, which belonged to Samuel Leber.  The original road ran to the west through the new cemetery, beginning to branch off about where the cemetery storage shed stands today.

The 1860 Map shows what was then called the Wrightsville Road [now called Canadochly Road]; when traveling south, it veers off westward from its current location so that it exits onto East Prospect Road about where the 1867 church steps are located.  The 1860 map also shows that the new cemetery west of the 1801 Church was underway in 1860 [the map surveyor likely saw the grand circular designs and special plantings] although it is uncertain if any burials had yet taken place in the new cemetery. Here is a link for post on: The making of Shearer’s 1860 Map of York County, PA.

A deed was made December 20, 1825, securing the Penn Warrant dated March 9, 1753 for the original 25-acres to be used by the Congregations of the Canadochly Union Church.  In this 1825 deed, John Gilbert for the Lutherans and Michael Paules for the Reformed paid $46 to obtain legal right to the property originally issued in trust.  John Gilbert had been elected Elder in the Lutheran Congregation during 1818; he is the John Gilbert that I wrote about in a previous post, and in 1846 was buried next to the east wall of the 1801 Church.

Page 33 of Canajohela 1753 to 2003 notes:

During the pastorate of Rev. Daniel Zeigler, the third church building was erected in 1867.  It was built of brick in the same style as the Kreutz Creek Church.  Peter Keller was the contractor; John Leiphart and Samuel Leber were the Reformed members of the Building Committee and George Keller and Samuel Gilbert, the Lutheran members.  The Lutheran Pastor was Rev. Jonathan Oswald.

The contractor is Peter Keller, Jr., a grandson of the Anthony Keller noted earlier in this blog.  Samuel Gilbert is the son of John Gilbert previously discussed; Samuel was buried in 1884 within the new cemetery just to the west of the 1867 Church and close to East Prospect Road.

The 1876 Map shows what was then called the Wrightsville Road [now called Canadochly Road] realigned as it currently exits onto East Prospect Road; i.e. directly over former location of the 1801 Church.  The 1876 map also shows the old cemetery east of Canadochly Road; although it does not show the new cemetery west of the 1867 Church; maybe the new cemetery looked more like formal gardens to that map surveyor.

Flint Stone in the Retaining Wall Marks Location of the South Wall of the 1801 Church (Photo by S. H. Smith)

The 1867 Church was originally enclosed by a white picket fence.  Eventually the fence was removed and the current retaining wall was built.  As a link to the memory of the 1801 Church, two flint stones were embedded in this retaining wall to mark the locations of the south (front) and north (back) walls of the 1801 Church.  I selected 1:30 O’clock in the afternoon for my photograph, so that the sun highlighted the flint stone marking the front wall location.  The back wall flint stone is a little over 30 feet to the north; that flint stone is more vertically orientated.  I wonder if there is any significance to one stone being horizontal and the other being vertically orientated?

When the Reformed Congregation constructed their own modern church in 1907 west of the Union Church, the 1867 Church was purchased outright by the Lutheran Congregation; ending a union of 154 years.  The 1867 Church was torn down in the early 1970s, several years after the Lutheran Congregation constructed their modern church east of the former Union Church sites.

Steps which led from East Prospect Road to the Third [1867] Union Church (Photo by S. H. Smith)
These are the mystery steps from my Friday post.  The 5 clues now make perfect sense.  The steps are located at the place of the original road to Wrightsville.  The church building was constructed in 1867, i.e. two years after the Civil War ended.  There is a Union association, i.e. a Union Church.  Building still there until about 40 years ago; the 1867 Church torn down in the early 1970s.  Photo was taken at 1:30 Thursday afternoon; look at the shadows of the left column onto the steps, indicating the lower steps roughly are at the south side of the steps.  Let me know if these clues were hard or easy; I’ll adjust them accordingly next time.

Links to other step related posts:

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