BRIEF TOWNSHIP HISTORY
COUNTY - York
MUNICIPALITY - Monaghan Township
POPULATION - 2,698
AREA (Sq. Miles) - 13.38
DENSITY (PERSONS/Sq. Mile) - 202
OVER 15 - 2163
TOWNSHIP ROAD MILES - 28.21
Monaghan Township celebrated its 250th anniversary as a
Township in 1995. Not only is Monaghan one of the oldest
municipalities in York County, several other communities
were once part of Monaghan Township.
The Township was "laid out" or incorporated in
1745. At that time, it included the present day townships
of Carroll and Franklin and the Boroughs of Dillsburg and
The settlers of this region were largely Scotch-Irish,
a kind of overflow of the migration of these nationalities
into the Cumberland Valley which began in 1735. Some of
them came from the Township of Monaghan, in the County of
Ulster, and for that reason the name of Monaghan was given
to this Township which was laid out by authority of the
court at Lancaster four years before York County was organized.
For a period of sixty-four years, Monaghan retained its
original boundaries until the western portion along the
South Mountain was established as the Township of Franklin
in 1809. In 1831, Carroll Township was formed out of the
western part of Monaghan and the eastern part of Franklin.
This division made Monaghan one of the smallest townships
in the County.
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
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.
Prior to 1848 the services were held in the schoolhouse.
During that year a new frame church was built. In 1871,
the building was encased in brick.
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.