I am fortunate to live in York County, Pennsylvania, an area replete with scores of 19th century flour mills, many of which were prominent during the Civil War. For example, the above grist mill along the banks of the Codorus Creek in Spring Garden Township was owned in 1863 by Josiah E. Myers. Typical of millers of the era, he grew or purchased oats, rye, corn, and or wheat to make flour and other products for commercial sale. He also did consignment work for other farmers. In other words, area farmers could bring in a few bushels of their own grain, and Myers would mill it for them for free, with his compensation being a percentage of the ground flour.
My grandson and I enjoyed a morning out together visiting the encampments in back of the Bonham House, a part of the York County Heritage Trust. The mini-cannon is the perfect size for the little guy!
Today, June 28, marks the 145th anniversary of the “surrender” of York to Confederate Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early, Lee’s “bad old man.” York, Pennsylvania, was the largest town north of the Mason-Dixon Line to fall to the Rebels. The last weekend of June marks York’s annual Patriot Days, which honors the town’s heritage from colonial days through World War II with reenactors, drama plays, Victorian dances, musical groups, panel discussions, and other events.
A group of reenactors stand in front of the Bonham House in downtown York. This period house was open to the public to view. Filled with 19th Century furnishings and decor, the home is among York’s finest restorations.
On June 27, Rebel raiders under Lt. Col. Elijah White visited Hanover, a bustling railroad town in southwestern York County. They procured horses, food, liquor, supplies, and any thing else of interest, usually paying in worthless Confederate scrip. A number of merchants and shopkeepers had wisely taken their most valuable merchandise into hiding. However, some procrastinators were still in town when White’s men rode into the center square. Hanover jeweler William Boadenhamer, after a late start, was frantically leaving Hanover on theYork Road.. Gun-toting cavalrymen overtook his carriage about a mile from the town and stole a large box of retail goods. Resting in the shade of a tree near Samuel Mumma’s grist mill, the Rebels opened the chest and found to their delight that it contained nearly one hundred watches and jewelry. They distributed part of the loot among themselves, and, in nearby Jefferson, a soldier passed along a brooch to a little girl he encountered on the street. It is one of the few jewelry pieces known to have been recovered from the entire inventory Boadenhamer lost to the raiders. What happened to the rest?
In a 1906 letter, Elijah White informed former fellow cavalry officer John S. Mosby that, on his way to sacking the railroad depot at Hanover Junction, “Nothing occurred on the way of any consequence, except I captured a wagon load of jewelry. After supplying ourselves, we buried the balance.” For many years, eager treasure hunters have vainly sought White’s buried treasure, if, indeed, he had truly ordered the bulk of an entire jewelry store’s inventory to be stuck in the ground somewhere in the vicinity of Mumma’s old mill along meandering Oil Creek.
By the way, it’s private property today, so don’t trespass with those metal detectors!!!