BRIEF TOWNSHIP HISTORY
Among the first settlers in the present area of Monaghan, coming either from England or Ireland, were the McMullens, Dares, Baileys, Parks and Elliots. Later, some German families came to this region among them were the Myerses, Kimmells, Hartmans, Shaffers, Fortneys and Brennemans.
Lime was used as a fertilizer in this Township from the early part of the last century. At first it was hauled from kilns in Cumberland County. The first kilns in Monaghan were erected on the farm later owned by G. D. Shaffer. A kiln was built on the McMullen farm at about the same time.
From the year 1800 until 1850 considerable whiskey was distilled from corn and rye grown in Monaghan Township. Establishments of this kind existed for many years on the Bailey, Rice, Fortney, Williams, Smith, Coover, Myers and Cannon farms. A distillery for making apple and peach brandy stood for many years on the Cocklin farm.
Monaghan is known in York County for growing apple and peach trees, which have been known to bear an abundant crop since the earliest recollection of the oldest inhabitants. Since 1870, the cultivation of small fruits such as the raspberry, strawberry, blackberry and the grape has been a very profitable business and has occupied the attention of nearly all the farmers in the Township. As early as 1884, the statistics show that 73,000 quarts of strawberries; 39,900 quarts of raspberries; 3,000 quarts of blackberries; and about seven tons of grapes were marketed yearly from this Township.
The sawmills of P. Laucks, near Bowmansdale; Levi Lantz, further down the Yellow Breeches; and L. T. Fortney on Fishers Run; sawed a great deal of the local timber into lumber for home use.
Iron ore was discovered and successfully mined on property that was originally owned by Daniel Landis, near the present site of Summit Street. This property was later owned by Mrs. Mary Knisely. The mined ore was hauled to Harrisburg on wagons for a few years, and after that to Shiremanstown, where the ore was shipped over the Cumberland Valley Railroad. The ore was mined from the mid-1800's to 1890.
The Lutheran and Reformed Church known as "Filey's Church" was named in honor of the person who donated the ground. This church was organized about 1800. The first building was of logs and served as a school and church.
In 1838, it was thought advisable to erect a brick church building of modern architecture. The members of two denominations elected a building committee, two of each denomination, to erect a Union church. The cornerstone was laid August 20, 1838, and the church was dedicated the same year.
The Church of God at Andersontown was organized about 1830. Reverend John Winebrenner, the founder of this denomination, was originally a clergyman in the German Reformed Church.
Mount Pleasant Bethel was organized in 1843 in an old building opposite the hotel later kept by W. K. Burns in Siddonsburg. Thomas Kerr donated a small tract of ground, and in 1844 a frame meeting house was built at a cost of about $500. In 1850, a brick church called Mount Pleasant Bethel was built in Mount Pleasant, at a cost of $2,300. In 1882, the building was remodeled at an additional expense of $1,100.
Benjamin Siddon and William Divin conceived the idea of founding a town in 1825, and it - Siddonsburg - was named after Mr. Siddon. James G. Frazer was appointed in 1826 as the first postmaster. A pottery existed in Siddonsburg for many years, originally starting on a farm owned by Jacob Cocklin. Moore and Bushey began to manufacture coaches, buggies and sleighs on an extensive scale at Siddonsburg. This establishment was later owned by Jacob Moore, son of John Moore of Fairview Township who served as an Associate Judge of the Courts of York County.
Andersontown was named in honor of Rennox Anderson, who built the first house in the area. A post office was established at this place about 1875, and Jacob A. Sultzberger was the first postmaster and also owned a general store. Most of the inhabitants in this area were engaged in the cultivation of grapes, raspberries, and strawberries, which found a ready market in Harrisburg.
Monaghan Township reached a peak in population in 1880 and then steadily declined. The population in 1880 was 1,055 and it was 1970 before the Township's population returned to this level. By 1990, the Township had surged to 2,009 residents - almost twice the 1970 population. Population census in 2000 was 2147 residents.
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