John Pritiskutch Reproductions

History of Lebanon County - Lebanon County

The following is reproduced from the 1875 Atlas of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania

The County of Lebanon has been called, not inappropriately, the "Garden Spot of Pennsylvania" and surely no one who has ever passed through it can wonder at the designation. Lying between the far-famed Blue Mountain on the North, and the South Mountain on the South-watered by the Swatara Quittapahilia, Tulpehocken and many other streams, with a surface somewhat rolling, and beautifully diversified, it is indeed a farmer's "Paradise." Entering it at the proper season of the year, the eye falls upon large and luxurious fields of waving grain, large extents planted with Indian corn, while at greater or less intervals, comfortable and commodious farmhouses break the horizon in every direction; often attaining a beauty of architecture and surroundings calculated to strike the beholder, born and reared among the hills of the East or North, where nature deals her favors with a less bounteous hand, with wonder and admiration.

Barns, almost like castles in their great magnitude, and magnificent in their beauty and adornment; out-buildings, fences, &c., all show the same disregard of expense. And, on many farms in this highly-favored county, the barn or out-buildings alone will far exceed, in expense and attractions, the entire establishment of a well-to-do New York or. New England farmer; orchards and meadows show the same thrift and prosperity ; and the agricultural importance of the county of Lebanon is a thence ion which the tongue or pen need never tire. Nor are the resources of the county confined to the productions of the soil. Nature has seen fit to bestow upon this county rich mineral treasures, to the true value and extent of which her citizens are even yet only partially awakened. It is here that the far-famed Cornwall Ore Banks are located, undoubtedly the largest and most valuable deposit of the kind in the commonwealth. Travelers from far and near have visited this great store-house of God's greatest mineral gift to man, only to go away impressed with the belief that the "half had not been told," and that the word exhaustless had not been misapplied in describing the quantity of ore awaiting the day of its application to the uses of civilized man. Besides the tens-of-millions of mineral wealth contained in this County in a developed and undeveloped state; there can be no question that in many parts the soil possesses a remarkable adaptation to the manufacture of Brick, and that the day is coming, when, from the geographical position of the county the Brick trade will be an industry of great importance.

The large quantities of Lime-stone scattered over various sections of the county, in some places lying on or near the surface, convenient to avenues of transportation, and so near the coal regions, as to render the transportation of coal for the purposes of burning Lime a matter of small expense, will in course of time make the burning of Lime another of the great industries of the county. Particularly as the avenues of transportation will ere long open new markets now not accessible. Much Limestone will also be quarried in the future, for the uses of the Iron trade.

In the south-eastern part of the county, in Heidelberg township, are large quantities of brown Sand stone, which is immensely valuable for building purposes, and which in future, will no doubt be opened for market by the building of a new railroad from Lebanon toward the south-east across the Conewago Hills into Lancaster co. In the north-western part of the county, in Cold Spring township, coal exists in large quantities, but of a poor quality. The researches of the future may, however, bring to light excellent mines of this valuable mineral, and raise the mining of coal to a high rank among the producing and employing industries of the county. Among the long ranges of hills covering the northern and north-western portions of the county, many minerals undoubtedly are in existence, as yet unknown, but awaiting the coming of the mineralogist; while among the ravines, is lying dormant, many an excellent water-power yet to be developed and turned to account as the propelling power of many a factory and mill, when that great avenue of transportation, the South Mountain Railroad, shall be opened to the public, thus giving this region, rich in agricultural and natural wealth, what it so long as lacked: a means of ready communication with the outside world.

Words fail, in our limited space, to do justice to the possibilities of Lebanon county, and ceasing our prophecies on the future, we will say a word of the past.

Lebanon county was formed by an Act of the Assembly, passed Feb. 16th, 1813, so that it is now nearing the 63d year of its existence as a county organization. The land embraced within its borders belonged, until the years 1732-3, to that branch of the great Indian or aboriginal tribe, known as the Leni Lenape or Delawares, who inhabited nearly all of Eastern Pennsylvania, and portions of New Jersey and New York States, and whom that gifted writer, J. Fennimore Cooper, has made immortal in his unequalled romances of savage North American life. The particular subdivision of this numerous and powerful tribe to whom the historian has assigned the territory now embraced in the county of Lebanon, was called the Minsi or Wolf, and as were all of the branches of the Leni or Lenape, a brave and hospitable people. Generous and warm-hearted in friendship, but cruel and unrelenting in war. As in times of peace, nothing was too good for a friend; even so when on the war-path, no death was too terrible for an enemy. They asked no mercy and they gave none. In their relentless path all distinctions were forgotten; men, women and children alike became the victims of the tomahawk or scalping knife, or were borne away as slaves, or to die a death still more terrible, in lingering tortures at the stake. That they were capable of appreciating honest and Just dealings, and of meeting them in like spirit, is abundantly shown from the fact that they for a long term of years remained the warm friends of the English; in fact, never became their enemies so long as they maintained the fair and open course they manifested during the lifetime of William Penn. Such was the open and honest character of the aboriginal inhabitants; a character, perhaps, inherent to the soil, as it is still preserved by its present
owners. A section of land, in which was embraced the present county of Lebanon, was purchased of the Indians by Thomas Penn, sometime during the years 1732-3, the exact date not being preserved. Of the consideration paid by him, the historian does not treat; but as the original purchase of Pennsylvania, made by Wm. Penn, of all the territory around the present city of Philadelphia was made for a few blankets, fish-hooks and other trinkets, it is probable the purchase of the entire county of Lebanon, with its millions of agricultural and mineral wealth, was made for a less sum than would now suffice to buy a building lot, even in a back street of its enterprising county seat. What a change in less than a century and a half. The county of Lancaster at that time embraced all of what is now Lebanon and Dauphin, and continued so until 1785, when Dauphin county was established, containing all of the present county of Dauphin and a part of Lebanon, so that from 1785 until 1813 Lebanon county was contained in both Dauphin and Lancaster counties, and was established from portions of both. As we have seen, although small Lebanon county is, rich both in agriculture and minerals, it is about 17 miles long and equally broad, containing 288 square miles. The original inhabitants of the county were most of them German, although many Scotch and Irish settled in various parts. For instance, the flourishing town of Londonderry was originally almost entirely settled by them, although to-day the German prevails, and not much remains to tell the story but now and then a name which shows the origin, although manners, customs and language are thoroughly Germanized-or better, Americo-Germanized-for the Pennsylvania German is a language peculiar to itself. It seems the settlers had already learned the modern method of acquiring a title from the Indians, i.e., right of force; for, although the land belonged to the Indians until 1732-3, we have authentic testimony that as early as 1724, and even earlier, many white people had settled near the site of the present borough of Lebanon, and some in other parts of the county.

F.H. Ebur
Prothonotary and Clerk of Oyer and Terminer
Jno. M. Sherk
D.E. Miller
W.S. Bordemay
Clerk of Orphans Court
W.H. Boeshore
Gideon Light
E. Botz
District Attorney
Wm. G. Lehman
Directory of the Poor
W.E. Hoffman, S. Bowman, John Light
County Commissioners
Sam'l Hauck, D.W. Zeller, Simon Blouch
H.H. Kreider, C.D. Zehring, S.M. Crall
Clerk of County Commissioners
A.S. Light