York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

Window honors Wantz and Brillinger families: Beautiful First Moravian Church in York, Pa., Part 13

This stained glass window at York, Pa.’s, First Moravian Church, one of 31 designed by noted York County artist J. Horace Rudy, provides a colorful window transom.This is another in a series on those windows. Also of interest: All Rudy stained-glass window posts from the start and York native Steve Zirnkilton’s ‘Law & Order’ voice known to the world and York County enthusiasts could find historical event, site to visit every day.

Terrence Downs, who has provided yorktownsquare.com readers with so much insight into First Moravian Church’s magnificent windows, has presented a look at a window honoring the Wantz and Brillinger families.
He also offered insight about the appearance of the windows.
When I suggested the photograph of this window appears slightly out of focus, he pointed out that the building of other structures near the church change the view through the window.
“Seems Rudy put mottled colors of greens on that elevation and that was before a large office building was set there, creating tall shadowing and adding to the challenge. (Architect) Bill Dize complained of that for many years,” he wrote.
Interesting nuance.
Here’s Terry’s description of this transom window:

“I’ve an anchor safe and sure, that can evermore endure.” The Hymn
“My Anchor Holds” by William C. Martin in 1902, based upon Hebrews 6:19.

The hymn line given is known by old timers that recall this evangelistic piece; such was the flavor of Christianity in the early 20th Century. Metaphors such as anchors indicated the steadfastness of God in life’s trials. The window transom exemplifies what Christians of this era felt as identities to their Faith walk. Imposed with the anchor are vines, possibly grape leaves by their shape. The window is one that is steeped in old York ‘nameology’ – In Memoriam – G. A. Wantz, Sr. Wife by J. A. & C. S. Brillinger.
The names of Wantz and Brillinger are well grounded in York’s growth in the 19th Century; these families are also integral parts of the heritage at York First Moravian. They have shown stamina and flavor within the life of this congregation and of greater York.
George A. Wantz, Sr. was a member of York Moravian Church and extensively involved in the music program of the church (as Moravians have a penchant for music in worship). In Rev. S. C. Albright’s 1927 book on the York church, it states Mr. Wantz in 1858 serving as High Director of the choir under Miss Emma Fahs, Organist. Noted in George Prowell’s “History of York County” is that Mrs. Wantz served in the Ladies’ Auxiliary of York Women, Ladies who tended wounded soldiers during the American Civil War. The family name Wantz has been continually involved at York First until 7 years ago, when Mrs. Charlotte Weltzhoffer Wantz died; husband Howard Wantz for many years was a prominent jeweler in West York Borough on South Highland Avenue, obtaining his start at Sievers & Devers Jewelers. Interestingly, Mrs. Wantz played piano for the York First Sunday School, served many years on the Chancel Choir – and also participated in plays, monologues and readings from time she joined our church in the 1920’s up to her latter days of active participation into the late 1990’s.
John A. Brillinger was a well known businessman in York, as his father before him: John started in the trade of milling: He and wife Catherine resided on handed down family farm land east of present day Harrison Street – now known as Elmwood, and the Georgian white manse with colonnade and verandas was residence of his family. For 2 generations, the Brillingers operated a farm and milling operations on approximately 150 acres. At the turn of the 19th & 20th Centuries, the place known as “Brillinger Farm” (as referenced on a 1902 McKinnon Map) shows ownership as George Small and in quotations – “Brillinger Farm”, for it was well established in the region.
Numerous improvements soon occurred in order for the new Elmwood Neighborhood to be created adjacent to Vincent Keesey’s lands to east, and the eastern extent of newly annexed parcels now part of York City immediately west; city streets all but meeting up to the farmstead. At this time, the mansion house was moved eastward (rolled on logs, as noted in varied accounts) to nearly where it is situated today – now part of Memorial Osteopathic Hospital. George Small also was member at York First Moravian, a third generation miller who prospered thru acumen of business – obtaining the Brillinger farmstead complete with mill operations and set up his family’s residence and trade there. It is not known when milling operations under Mr. Small ceased, but much of the farm outbuildings and millhouse structures were demolished to make way for growing York’s progress – Interstate 83.

Also of interest:
Window in memorial to Beauchamp H. Smith: Beautiful First Moravian Church in York, Part 10.
Window in memorial to S. Morgan Smith, Part 5.
First Moravian’s website.
– The York Daily Record/Sunday News profiles First Moravian’s pastor.
All York Town Square posts from the start. (Key word search by using “find” on browser.) Or search Google. For example: search yorktownsquare first moravian.
Previous posts on First Moravian or its historic windows.