Maytowns 250th birthday

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Maytown 250 Event
PO Box 96
Maytown, PA

A Sketch of Maytown's
1910 Old Home Week Celebration
Commemorating The 150th Anniversary of the Birth of the Town

By W. H. Clepper


This historical sketch of Maytown's Old Home Week celebration has been written for two purposes, Viz: To give a brief authentic, account of what occurred and to inspire posterity to keep alive the Old Home Week Spirit and profit through it by celebrating the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of the town in the same spirit and enjoying as fully as did those particcipating in the first event of its kind undertaken by any town in the county. Nothing was ever undertaken in Maytown which gave such entire satisfaction or was so greatly enjoyed by young and old, nor was anything ever accomplished which received such unstinted praise or for which the workers felt they were so well commpensated. This may seem to be an overdrawn assertion, but if there were any citizens of the town who would not have willingly and gladly indorsed this statement they must have kept it to themselves, and we have no reason whatever to believe there was even one such.


During the summer and fall of 1909 there was much discussion favorable to the celebration of the founding of the town by Jacob Downer in the year 1760. This agitation finally resulted in Maytown Council No. 79, O.U.A.M., calling a town meeting on the evening of December 15, 1909, to consider the subject. This meeting was fairly well attended, temporary officers chosen, and outline given of what should be done at such a celebration and how it should be conducted. After discussion it was unanimously agreed that such celebration should be held and a committee was appointed to nominate candidates for officers and members of the principal committees.

This committee performed its duties and recommended to a town meeting held December 27, 1909, the names of the citizens and others to fill the offices and serve on its more important committees. There were a few declinations, and after these vacancies had been filled and some additions made to the committee membership the organization was completed thus:

President - James F. Johnstin
Vice President - Henry B. Haines
Secretary - William H. Clepper
Treasurer - Dr. G. A. Harter
Historian - Prof. Hiram B. Jacobs

Executive Committee
Dr. G. A. Harter, Chairman, Andrew Albright, Secretary, Charles Welchans, C. G. Longenecker, Vice Chairman, Charles C. Hicks, John R. Roath, Samuel Sload, Howard Shireman, E. Z. Hoffman

Finance Committee
Hon. M. R. Hoffman, Chairman, D. A. Hollenbaugh, Vice Chairman, Albert Risser, John A. Dehoff, C. D. Zell, Secretary, Elmer E. Grove, David L. Garber, Jacob B. Minnich, C. W. Kautz

Curio Exhibit Committee
Jacob K. Miller, Chairman, E. J. Boll, William Roath, H. H. Engle, Treasurer, John Sterner, Norman Herchelroth, William R. Frysinger, Samuel Wilgus, Peter S. Kraybill, Mrs. Emerine Francis, Mrs. Lewis Hartman, Lewis Hartman, Vice Chairman, Isaac Carpenter, Cyrus Smith, A. B. Clepper, John Kaine, Daniel B. Nissley, John White, Walter Sharpe, Elmer Brandt, Mrs. Lewis Hall, Mrs. Abram Sload, Mrs. Amelia Garber

Square Committee
C. G. Longemecker, Chairman, H. B. Haines, Chas. Welchans, Samuel Sload Sr., Dr. G. A. Harter

There were numerous other committees appointed, but the foregoing comprised the more important ones.

Thus was formed Maytown's Old Home Week Association. The executive committee was invested by the town meeting with full power to act on all questions and to whom all other committees were ordered to report for final action unless given power to act of their own volition, which was very general done upon their appointment.

Numerous meetings were held by the executive and other committees from January until the time for holding the celebration, and the program mapped out and the various duties it entailed apportioned to the proper committees. The finance committee was organized at an early date and the collection of funds commenced at once, and so well did this committee perform its duty that several months before the time finally determined upon--July 31 and August 1,2,3, 1910--the financial end of the celebration was assured.

In May the secretary had 1,000 invitations printed,(a copy of which is appended), which it was thought would be sufficient, but that number proved entirely inadequate and the supply was Soon exhausted. A post-card with the same picture as that on the invitation was then procured (a copy of which is appended) and many of these were mailed in lieu of the regular invitation. For the invitation it was decided to have a picture of the square as it looked in 1860 or previous to that date, but so far as we could learn none existed. Therefore a photo of the square was taken in the spring and from a description given him, Mr. Rene Grove, one of our high school boys, drew the picture as it appears on the invitation and post-card.

During the celebration a former resident produced a picture taken with the stone wall around it. When it was found, Mr. Grove's drawing was a very creditable picture of the square as it appeared fifty or more years ago. This picture also appears on the Souvenir button.

The well in the square at this time (1910) was surrounded by an iron fence erected in 1879 by Honorable Simon Cameron, (a photo of which is appended). In the South-east corner stands a beautiful tulip pcplar tree and a number of rose bushes adorned other portions of the enclosure. The space within the fence, however, was only 25 feet from front to front, and Mrs. Anna M. Harris of Lancaster, a former resident, agreeing to give $200 to beautify the square in honor of her husband, also a former resident and author of a history of Lancaster County, the Square Committee decided to increase the size to 45 feet from front to front, have the well cleaned and install a new wooden pump, the Old Home Week Association agreeing to defray from its funds the cost of the latter. This well was undoubtedly dug a very short time after the founding of the town and an oaken bucket and windless to draw the water used for many years thereafter, when a wooden pump was secured, to be followed in later years by an iron pump, which did not give general satisfaction. Cement walks running north and south and east and west, with a cement copeing, instead of a fence, surmounted by iron pipe for railing completed the changes at this time.

The plan for the Square was designed by Howard J. Longenecker who supplied the railing and erected it. From the commencement of this work until the close of the visible evidence that the Old Home Association was in earnest and determined to have a successful celebration. This work was completed June 27, the enclosure filled up with soil and sown in wheat, which by July 31, gave us a beautiful green covering. Blooming flowers were planted and on each post stood a vase with growing vines or plants.

In a small glass jar were placed the following items by Mr. Lewis Hartman, after which it was sealed and put in because a part of one of the posts supporting the railing (This front will be marked on the drawing appended): A paper on which was written Mr. Hartman's name, age, birthplace and occupation; the name of the orgination of the Old Home Week Celebration; that Samuel Sload and his son, Samuel, did the cement work; that Jeffries Shireman did carpenter work, and that both were completed June 27, 1910; also these items; A gold dollar minted in 1852, with a note telling what shall be done with it should it be found in later years; A Lincoln penny of 1909; half-dime of 1860; Indian head penny of 1903; Souvenir Old Home Week pin; a printed sheet relating to the event; a tin sheet with Mr. Hartman's age and birth place stamped on it; and two very fine Indian Arrow-head points.

On another post, which will be marked on the drawing before mentioned, was placed a bronze tablet with this inscription in raised letters: "This Square beautified by Honorable Simon Cameron 1879. Reconstructed by Mrs. Anna M. Harris 1910."


The committee having the Curio exhibit in charge secured two of the public school rooms for their display. The main room was tastefully decorated and the articles placed on tables and on the walls back of the tables, so as to be in plain view of those who wished to see them. A screen of wire netting enclosed the tables. Members of the committee were at all times present to assist the visitors, of whom there were as was shown by the number of tickets sold, a small admittance fee having been charged so as to prevent overcrowding by the merely curious and help display exhibits.

In the second room were placed the larger and more cumbersome articles. Guards were stationed at these rooms from the time the first exhibit arrived until the last one was taken away on August 5, the rooms having been kept open one day after the general celebration was over. Everything was given cheerfully and gladly, nothing was lost, broken or spoiled and had it been desired several more rooms could have been filled with interesting articles of by-gone days. There were 108 contributions, and including the Indian Arrow points, nearly 4000 pieces. Mr. Jacob K. Miller, chairman of the committee furnished the following list and description of the more important articles exhibited.

To attempt to describe all the articles exhibited would require a volume of no small size, and therefore but a glance will be given at some of the more important, although it is possible and even probable that many having just as interesting local histories may have been overlooked.

  • The most important exhibit was a Bible, in very fair condition, printed in German in 1532 or 378 years ago, or two years after Martin Luther's translation. It was the property of Solomon Hoover of Donegal Springs and had been in the Hoover family more than 170 years, 110 years of this time at Donegal Springs
  • A German Bible by John K. Miller, 180 years old
  • A German print by H. H. Engle, 240 years old
  • A number of deeds and conveyances covering a period of more than 160 years
  • An ox yoke used by the fore runners of Rev. Peter Nissley of Donegal Springs more than 100 years ago
  • A Flaxbreak by Mr. Michael Grove used on a farm adjoining the town half a century or more ago
  • A number of Spinning Wheels, flax heckles, and weaving machines of primitive designs
  • Fire arms used in the Mexican and Civil Wars
  • A stone jug about five inches in height unearthed at Palestine
  • A piece of Oriental tapestry from the Mosque of Sophia, Constantinople, Turkey, the largest Mohammodon temple, the Sultan's monogram and writings from the Koran, the Star and Crescent, all from the Sultan's harem. Exhibited by Mrs. Jacob H. Geigler

Among the many reunions perhaps none were more out of the usual line than that of John Fletcher of Maytown, John Green of Bainbridge, John Webbert of Allen, Cumberland county and Henry Johnstin of London, Ohio, who had been engaged in brickmaking in Cumberland Co. 50 years ago and had not again met together until this time.

Mr. James F. Johnstin on his way to the High School Campus one noon saw citizens of four States and the District of Columbia on one porch, all former residents. This will give the reader some idea of how widely our invitation to the old town's birthday celebration has accepted.

  • A grandfather's clock made by John Esterle of Maytown nearly 100 years ago, the property of A.B. and W.H. Clepper
  • Coverlets, quilts, embroideries and many kinds of art and needle work in Silks and other goods. There were a number of coverlets made by John Gebhart of Maytown in 1848 in very good condition
  • There was quite a display of furniture, much of which had been manufactured more than 100 years ago by the cabinetmakers of our own town
  • A large collection of drawings by Mr. Rene Grove, one of our High School boys
  • A fine display of fancy work in laces, etc., by Miss Minnie J. Clepper, of Maytown, who became blind in her youth, and who through her own efforts achieved rare skill in needle work
  • Hundreds of pieces of China and glassware, inlaid chests made in Switzerland 115 years ago, chairs from 110 to 140 years old, rare pieces of coins and jewelry of ancient designs, together with many other articles of by-gone days, helped to complete the display
  • Mrs Lewis Hartman had the largest individual display, among which were a large collection of Indian arrow points, bow and arrows, stone hatchets, moccasins, etc., old-time lard-oil lamps, implements of various kinds, cooking utensils, different makes of fire arms, swords, etc., old coins, paper money and many other articles of interest totalling above 3,000 pieces


The decorations throughout the town were the finest and most extensive in our history. The only buildings not having any being those the owners or tenants of which failed because of recent heath, sickness or from other good reasons. In many of the yards fronting on the main Streets were maypoles--large and small--made of various colored bunting, not only making beautiful pictures, but recalling the earlier and larger poles which for several generations stood in the Center of the Square, and without mention of which no history of the town would be complete. It required over 600 yards of bunting for the maypole in the Center of the Square.

The Old Home Week Colors --green and gold together with the National Colors--were used, while strings of electric lights from the top of the pole - to the railing made it look as beautiful at night as during the day. In the north west, north east, and south east angles of the Square were beautiful Maypoles erected by the owners of the adjoining properties and across each Street leading to the Square were Strings of electric lights. We trust at least some of the pictures to be placed with this history will be well enough preserved to give those who follow as a fair idea of how the Square and the enclosure looked at this time. The committee having charge of changes made in the Square was continued and urged to further beautify it.


The celebration proper was inaugurated by the ringing of all the church and School bells early Sunday morning, and the program, copies of which will be enclosed, was carried out almost in to-to. Nothing was omitted, everything was on time and all exceeded our brightest anticipations. The Services in the Churches Sunday morning and evening were largely attended, while an immense audience was present at the Union Religious Services held on the High School Campus in the afternoon.

The prayer at the opening of Tuesday's exercises was delivered by Rev. Geo. Zeigler, D. D., of Mechanicsburg, Pa., who a little more than 50 years ago organized and became the first pastor of the Church of God, Maytown. Prof. H. H. Apple, President of Franklin and Marshall College, made a very interesting and instructive address, much of which will not be forgotten by many of those present while memory lasts. The most beautiful compliment Maytown received during the four days exercises was paid by him when he said that "After the Almighty had made the earth and declared it good, he must have looked in the direction of Maytown."

At the reunion of the Alumni Association in the evening addresses were made by Misses A. L. Longenecker of Millersville, Charles Workman of Lancaster and D. H. Widder of Harrisburg, former principals of the High School. Hon. A. L. Martin of Harrisburg, Director or Farmers' Institutes, was the principal Speaker on Tuesday, and was listened to by a large and interested audience of farmers and others as he compared the methods and the Surroundings of the farm and farms of 1760 and those of the present day a very appropriate theme for the occasion, handled in a pleasing and instructive manner. He was followed by Mr. J. Aldus Herr of our own county in a short address on farm topics. The fantastic parade Tuesday evening was a grand Success and was viewed by a large crowd who greatly enjoyed the dress and anics of the paraders. Especially entertaining were the reminiscent talks at the campus in the evening by Mr. James B. Albright of Washington, D. C., Mr. Paul Y. Albright of Fairhope, Ala., and Mr. George Morton of Renova, Pa., all of whom were former residents.

Wednesday's exercises brought the largest crowd, without doubt, that Maytown ever had within her borders in the first one hundred and fifty years of her history, a conservative estimate of the crowd being 5000. Mr. H. B. Jacob's address had been looked forward to for weeks with eager expectation, because he was our own representative among the literary men of note present and was to give us a historical Sketch of our Village from its founding to the present time. Mr.Jacob spoke for one hour and a half upon the early history of our state, county, and town, and was listened to with marked attention by the large audience present. As it is Mr. Jacob's intention to write a history of the town in the near future and which it is expected will be printed in book form, no attempt will be made here to give even a digest of his address.

Hon. W. W. Hensel's address was also along historical lines and commendation of the citizens of the town for inaugurating the Old Home Week movement in Lancaster County. Mr. Hensel is one of the most noted public speakers in the State, and his presence had much to do with the Size of the Audience at this the last day of our Celebration --- The parade of Maytown Council, No. 79, O.U.A.M., and visiting Secret Societings was Marshalled by Mr. John Brady of Marietta, a former resident and one of the founders of No. 79. He had as aids three mounted State Policeman. The parade took place in the early evening hours and was witnessed by a large concourse of people. At 8 P.M. the patriotic orders met aleral of their State officers. This Session was followed with a band concert by the Saginaw Band of York County, Pa. The celebration was fittingly closed by a fine display of fire works on the lot just east of the campus.


  • Heads of families consisting of 2 persons - 41
  • Houses occupied by one person - 11
  • Houses with 3 to a family - 30
  • Houses abandoned - 5
  • Houses without owners - 2
  • Houses having no children of school age - 81
  • Post-Office with 2 mails daily-ll:30 A.M. and 7 P.M.
  • Reformed, Lutheran and Church of God (S. S. Schools 3)
  • School Building with 5 rooms and 6 Teachers
  • General Merchandise Stores - 3
  • Tobacco Warehouses - 3
  • Cigar Factories - 5
  • Hotels - 2
  • Cabinet-maker Shops - 2
  • Barber Shops - 2
  • Blacksmith Shops - 2
  • Tin Shop - 1
  • Wagon-Paint-Shop - 1
  • Restaurants - 2
  • Grocery - 1
  • Cobb1er(Shoe)Shop - 1
  • Saddler Shop - 1
  • Marble Yard - 1
  • Butcher Shop - 1
  • National Bank (organized 1910)
  • Bakery - 1
  • Coach Trimming Shop - 1
  • Undertaking and Cabinet-maker-Shop - 1
  • Ministers - 3
  • Physician - 1
  • Dentist - 1
  • Justices of the Peace - 2
  • Photographer - 1
  • There are enrolled in the public Schools in the Town 216 pupils; 87 over 14 years of age and 129 under 14
  • There is a lodge of the Order of United American Mechanics with a membership of 100 or more in good standing
  • The Citizens Band has a membership of 18


Among the older former residents to return for the Celebration were:

  • Mrs. Sarah Beseren of Mt. Holly Springs, Pa., aged 90
  • Mr. Angustus Shaffner of Philadelphia, aged 82, left 65 years ago
  • Mrs. O.A. Hartzellnee Algier, of Calisle, Pa., aged 79, left 60 years ago
  • William DrabenStadt, Middletown, Pa., aged 80, left 55 years ago
  • William Shireman, Middletown, Pa., aged 67, left 43 years ago
  • Christian Shireman, Lafayette, Ind., aged 64, left 43 years ago
  • John Klugh, Harrisburg, Pa., left 48 years ago

Six representatives of the Morton family, whose combined ages are 394 years, were present, as follows:

  • John Morton, Renova, Pa., aged 75
  • Aaron Morton, York, Pa., aged 71
  • Jacob Morton, Mt. Joy, Pa., aged 67
  • Alpheus Morton, Florin, Pa., aged 65
  • Margie Geistrohite, Mt. Joy, Pa., aged 61
  • Sabilla Zellers, Mt. Joy, Pa., aged 55

Besides those just mentioned, younger representatives of the Morton family were present in the persons of Robert, of Harrisburg; John of York; George, William, Miriam, G. Bryson and Herbert of Renova, Pa., and Mrs. Lizzie Tome of Quarryville, Pa.

Among the former residents coming the longest distance were:

  • Mrs. Chauncey Wiltse of Fullertown, Neb.
  • Mr. B.T. Sherbone, Hartley, Iowa
  • Mrs. Sallie E. Bracht, Olmstead, Ill.
  • Paul Y. Albright, of Fairhope, Ala.
  • Mrs. William Snyder, New Haven, Conn.
  • Mr. Henry Johnstin, Cuba

The registry book contains nearly 2200 names.

The list of the entertainers and the number entertained will give a very fair idea of who were the householders or tenants at this time, as there were but a very few residents who, on account of sickness, were unable to entertain. As the population at this time is less than 700, our citizens entertained at the ratio of 4 people to every man, woman and child in the town.

There was a marriage, a birth and two burials during the time of the celebration.

To the foresight and good will of 2 of our former and 1 of our present citizens are we indebted for the collection of pictures which will be placed with this sketch and which we sincerely hope will be in at least fair condition when the time arrives for the next Old Home Week Celebration. While these photos are a fair exhibit they do not nearly cover the ground or show the greatest crowds, simply because no attemp was made to folow out any general plan of gathering pictures, and because the largest crowds were to be seen in the evening, when it was too late for the kodaks to do good work.

During the entire celebration no unpleasant -incident- of any kind occurred to vex or mar the pleasure of the participants. This may appear to be a strong statement, but it is the literal truth. There was no drunkenness, no quarreling, no reckless driving, either of horses or motor cars, no accidents, nothing lost or stolen, no rain, nor excessive heat, and with every one filled to overflowinq with the spirit of brotherly love and good fellowship, taking it all in all, it was the most enjoyable four days the citizens of Maytown ever spent, and the expressions of our guests leave us to beleive their pleasure was second only to our own.

There were over 200 contributors to the fund to meet the expenses. The total amount collected was between $900 and $1000 and the expenses more than $600, leaving; a balance of about $300. This, no doubt, will seem to you a puny amount to conduct an affair of this kind, but it should be remembered that while the treasurer's accounts will show the receipts and expenditures of the association, it cannot tell anything of what was so freely donated by the citizens generally. To wish a thing done needed only a request of someone to do it and, presto, it was done. It was to the spirit of the occasion largely and not to money alone that the credit is due for our successfull celebration.

It was the writer's earnest hope that someone better able than he would write this history, if it may be so called, but no one volunteering and for fear that no record at all might be left is the only excuse that it has been written by one so unworthy.

W.H. Clepper, 1911

*This typed copy was typed from the original hand written account by W. H. Clepper, in May and June of 1960 by students in Mrs. Betty Lutze's 10th grade typing class at Donegal High School, R.D., Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. The following Maytown pupils were in the class: Avis Cross, Sandy Felty, Larry Johns, Richard Peters, and Donna Singer. It was typed to preserve it for the coming years.

*In January 2010, one hundred years after the Old Home Week celebration and as Maytown prepares for it's 250th Anniversary celebration, Bob Lauver has re-formatted W.H. Clepper's sketch of "Old Home Week 1910" and posted it on the internet.