York Town Square

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Window honors Lanius family: Beautiful First Moravian Church in York, Part VI

This window, another by noted York, Pa., artist J. Horace Rudy, is dedicated to a well-known York County family – the Lanius family. Also of interest: All First Moravian stained-glass window posts from the start and York native Steve Zirnkilton’s ‘Law & Order’ voice known to the world and Easter in York County, 1919: Sadness, joy, hope.

Terrence Downs continues his series of essays on the 31 J. Horace Rudy-designed windows at First Moravian Church. Downs accomplishes more than a description of the colorful window. He continues to detail the families – some well-known and still achieving today – honored with the artwork. And he places the families in historical context. Here is the writer’s description of a window on the north side of the building’s sanctuary:

“Adornment of King Solomon’s Temple emulates the sabre and lilies as depicted in ‘Song of Solomon Ch 3 & 4’.” The ongoing theme of Easter is exemplified in ribbon, sword and lilies, shown in this rococo/arts-and-crafts intermingled transom on the North Side of the Moravian Sanctuary. Death is vanquished! The motif of this Rudy Brothers design has been utilized at various churches where their windows were installed. This unit is presented In Loving Memory – Henry Lanius and Angeline Miller Lanius. This tribute is emblematic to style of the 1910 windows at York First Moravian Church, and nevertheless – a founding family member of this Congregation hearkens to its chartering: The surname Lanius holds distinction within the annuals of York’s Colonial and Industrial history: Angeline Miller Lanius has few remarks notating her lineage: marriage records to Henry Lanius was administered April 1840 at the First Reformed Dutch Church of Newtown (Long Island, NY) that indicate her place of location as Flushing (L.I.), New York. It is not evident when he brought his bride to York. Records of Springettsbury Township, George C. Prowell’s History of York, Rev. S. C. Albright (1927) book and web-searches provide little data on Angeline Miller herself. Henry Lanius and his family bloodline is the link to establishment of York First: Lanius origins in the U.S. start in 1731, emigrating from Germany. Henry’s great-grandparents established their homestead at Kreutz Creek (the birth-place of York First Moravian). Several Lanius heirs removed to North Carolina Moravian & Pennsylvania settlements. Additionally, one of Henry & Angeline’s sons (10 children born, of which 8 survived) served in Ministry of the Moravian Church, the Rev. C. C. Lanius – Principal of the Nazareth (PA) Moravian School. Henry Lanius was integral to the York’s growth – serving as Burgess of York Borough in 1860-1861 and proprietor of a lumber milling operation at Wrightsville. During the American Civil War, to thwart the advance of Rebel Soldiers advancing across the Susquehanna, it became clear for Union Soldiers to destroy the wooden covered Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge. This bridge was the longest wooden covered bridge in the U.S. at that time. By this action, the Lanius Lumber Yard and supplies – of its proximity to the bridge rampart also was torched to deter any supply to the advancing Rebel Troops. Mr. Lanius resumed the lumber operation at this site, but never received compensation from the government for his losses in this military action. He died June 26, 1879. Captain William Henry Lanius, noteworthy son to Henry & Angeline started out in business under his Father in the family lumber operation at Wrightsville. At age 17, William Henry enlisted at the outbreak of the American Civil War, signing on with the 87th Pennsylvania Army (Rev. S. Morgan Smith was chaplain). Lanius was commissioned a Captain in 1864 prior to his troops’ deployment to Frederick, MD. Upon discharge from 3 year enlistment, Capt. Lanius resumed his post, operating his Father’s well-established Lumber Milling operation, and years after developed the York’s West End (now Roosevelt Avenue) into choice housing lots for the developing Country Club site. William Henry, having served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1884, he was selected as President of the Baltimore & Harrisburg Railway in 1888, served as a Trustee of the York Academy, and President of the York Trust Company when established in 1890 to name a new accomplishments. Descendants of this illustrious family yet remain in York.