York Town Square

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Winterstown: Beautiful borough with 2 ugly moments – The boroughs of York County series, No. 6

Winterstown, Pa., is the closest borough to the Hex Murder house in Rehmeyer’s Hollow, and some have tied community events – haunted hayrides, for example – to the 1928 murder of a suspected witch. (See another photo of the house below.) Also of interest: Whatever happened to Hex Murder defendants, convicted in York County, Pa., 80 years ago? Part IV and Southeastern York County, Pa., made for Saturday morning drive and Part III: ‘Yesteryears’ chock-full of southern York County, Pa., sites.
Sixth in a series of occasional posts about York County’s 36 boroughs (see Felton, Yorkana, Lewisberry and Hanover.)… .
For years, the southeastern York County borough of Winterstown was the closest incorporated area to the Hex Murder of 1928 and sometimes voluntarily links itself with that infamous case.
Another terrible moment visited the borough in 2001 when a machete-wielding madman attacked students and teachers at the Red Lion Area School District elementary school there.
That has become a defining moment for the beautiful, rural community, located on the ridge on the rolling highway that connects Red Lion and Stewartstown. For more discussion on this point, visit: Amish kindness after Nickel Mines influenced York County principal to offer forgiveness to machete-wielding assailant… .

Doug Winemiller of the Stewartstown Area Historical Society provided these photos of the house where Nelson Rehmeyer was murdered by three assailants.
What others say about Winterstown: Historian George Prowell does not describe the town, as he does many other York County settlements. Perhaps it could be said that one reason for existence is that the town was – and is – the largest stopping place between the railroad and agricultural market towns of Red Lion and Stewartstown on what is now Route 24. The green views on either side of the road beg for the route to be part of a Sunday afternoon drive. Prowell concentrates on the personality of a prominent landowner who lived there, Andrew Finly, the so-called “King of the Barrens.” Prowell wrote about Finly: “He was a modern Shylock, demanding not a pound of flesh, however, from every person to whom he loaned money, but a quart of old rye, together with the principal and interest. The inspiriting fluid was all placed in one demijohn and dealt out to his friends who visited him on convivial occasions.”
Population in 2000 – 546. (York County census numbers.)
Incorporated: Jan. 2, 1871. (York County founding dates.)
Business: The first store was kept by Emanuel Klinefelter. In 1907, four cigar factories operated there, pointing to the farms and agribusinesses that have fueled the town since its beginning. In recent years, an AMP plant operated there, offering the opportunity for Winterstown residents to live and work in the same town. AMP has moved out, as it has in other communities around York County.
How Winterstown was named: Townsend Winter came to the village in 1830, purchased a large piece of land and sold off lots. He planted an Apple Orchard on the land he retained, giving the settlement the name “Apple Grove.” By the time he left for Galesburg, Ill., 45 years later, the town was known as Winterstown.
Also of interest:
To see other posts in this boroughs of York County series, visit this blog’s York County towns category.
To see all Hex murder posts from the start, click here.
All York Town Square posts from the start. (Key word search by using “find” on browser.)
– Of course, you can always search for York Town Square posts on Google. For example, search for yorktownsquare and Winterstown and you get this.
Sources: George Prowell’s “History of York County,” “Gazeteer of York and Adams Counties.” Photos: “Hanover Area Pictorial Directory,” 1995.