The Brogue, Chanceford Township, Pa.: There was once a village named after a shoe
In this York (Pa.) Daily Record file photo from 2005, June Grove is seen in Brogue’s St. Luke Cemetery. Her ancestors are buried there along with Revolutionary War veterans George Keener, 1757-1841, John Stermer, 1760-1855, Henry Tome, 1754-1846. Background posts: ‘Painting pastor’s’ work survives devastating southeastern York County blaze and On York County parks, Susquehannocks and carved river rocks and How many Amish have crossed the bridge from Lancaster to York County?.
Information in a post on fellow blogger Joan Concilio’s Only in York County site gives a possible explanation for why the Chanceford Township village of Brogue is often called The Brogue.
The short answer is that it was a shortened version of someone saying “I’m going over to the Brogue Hotel,” a landmark there for years.
But where did the village name of Brogue come from?
June Grove knows more about the Chancefords (which includes Lower Chanceford Township) than anyone… .
A pair of young buffalo lay in the snow at the West End Bison Farm near Brogue.
She doesn’t offer insight into the addition of “The,” but she gives two theories about the origin of the village’s name in her “A History of Chanceford Township, York County, Pennsylvania.”
She acknowledges the traditional stories found in county histories that the name came from a traveler who saw John Finley’s house/tavern without a sign. He hung up a wooden shoe, known as a brogan, and said “let that be the sign.”
She also offers a second explanation. When the village was surveyed in 1767, it was roughly shaped like a shoe. (Indeed, old maps of the township’s boundaries show that it appears a bit like a work shoe with a blunt toe end.)
“It is not known where the tavern or the land was named first,” she wrote.
So, short of a discovery bearing an alternative explanation, that’s the best we’ll do for now on the village’s name.
Joan Concilio quite rightly observed that Brogue has not appeared much on my blog up to this point. I’ll have to fix that!
Related post: Southeastern York County made for Sunday drive, including stop at West End Bison Farm.