York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

Horse, buggy, one-room school make York County comeback

The cover of “The River and the Ridge,” (Gateway Press, 2003) shows a Peach Bottom slate quarry pit that opened about 1900. The book’s jacket states: ‘The cable hoist was used to move blocks of good slate and waste slate out of the quarry. The logs protected the steam pump that was used to move water out of the quarry. The bell-ringer’s shanty at upper left was usually occupied by a young boy. He sent signals to the cable hoist engineer because the engineer could not see over the edge of the pit.’ Background posts: Coroner responds to quarry calls and Pinchgut vs. The Gut and Black soldiers from York County served in ‘Glory’ unit – Part I.

Anytime someone asks about the Delta area, (see Wanted: One slate-roofed privy from Delta, Pa., I immediately refer him or her to the massive local history of that area, “The River and The Ridge.”
The book is among the best histories written about a township or section of York County. (See post on another well-done history: West Manchester book contains valuable gold coins) … .

Roger B. Wilson, Donald C. Robinson, James L. Morris, and David B. Glenn penned the 370-page volume.
The book contains so much rich information, it’s hard to pick just highlights.
So I’ll settle on information from David Glenn’s introduction, which discusses successive groups of settlers coming into this southeastern York County region.
It also clears up a common misconception. The area and its slate resources were not founded by the Welsh who came in the 1840s. (Slate was discovered as early as 1730s and roofing slate was first mined in the 1780s.)
A few of David Glenn’s observations:

– In the 1840s, Welsh quarrymen were encouraged to come to York County because of their prowess in mining quarry slate.
– In the 1960s, Marylanders seeking rural living, started coming north. These folks came mostly from Baltimore.
– Recently, Amish from Lancaster County have crossed the river, just as the original Scots-Irish settlers did. “The horse, the buggy, and the one-room schoolhouse have made a comeback,” Glenn wrote.