The Old Harrisburg Bridge. 1899

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The Old Harrisburg Bridge. 1899 - . - 2 It - is What do the Children Drink? Don't...
. - 2 It - is What do the Children Drink? Don't give them tea or coffee. Have you tried the new food drink called GRAIN - O? It is delicious and nourishing and takes the place of coffee. . The more Grain - O yon give the children the more health you distribute through their systems. Grain - O is made of pure grains, and when properly prepared tastes like the choice grades of coffee but costs about as much. All grocers ' sell it. 15c. and 25c. , Try Grain - O! Tnsist that vonr srocer crivea you GRAIN - O 0 Accept no imitation. . , ; 20. Patrick, present incumbent. .1897. Lancaster, Pa. : . .. - - s. M; - S.'. THE Ol HABRljBtRG BRIDGE Paper read before the Historical Society of Dauphin County.. March 9th, 1899, by William A. 'Kelker. Prior to the building of the Harrisburg bridge, the people of this vicinity and the traveling public who wished to cross the Susquehanna river at this point, resorted to the private boats and the public ferries, of which the town had two, the one at the foot of Paxton street known as Harris' ferry, crossing the river to the Kelso ferry house, and the other from the foot of North street, landing its passengers and freight at the Wormley ferry house on the Cumberland county shore. Both of these buildings are still standing, Che former having been built in 1734 and is the oldest building west of the Susquehanna. The latter was erected in 1810. The building of a bridge at Harrisburg was contemplated as early as 1809, probably prior, but it was some time before the work was commenced. Many persons did not think a bridge could be constructed that would withstand the great ice floods which visited the Susquehanna valley annually, and which were not impeded at that early day by the dams crossing the river at Clark's Ferry and Sun - bury, both tending to lessen the damage done by large floes of ice. After some talk at the several meetings held in Dauphin, Cumberland and York counties, shares were sold and the bridge building commenced in 1813. During , the second, year of the work the Harrisburg contingent of the soldiers ofie War of 1S12 returned and were greeted by the home folk with fire - works, bonfires and good things in the way of edibles. Their return was on the 8th of December, 1814, and par.t of the demonstration was a display of fire - works upon the partly finished first pier of the new bridge. It so happened that our aged townsman, Mr, George C. Fager, was born upon this day, and he avers that, owing to this great display of fire - works, he became the fireman: that he has been; and is now, we believe, the oldest volunteer fireman in the State of Pennsylvania, Whatever effect this display of fire - korws may have , had upon the baby boy of - eighty - four odd years ago, - we: all know that he has been a noted fireman during his lifetime, and has, also served the town in many ways of usefulness, r : ' "'."". T. The bridge was finished in 1817 by Theodore Burr, the contractor, and cost $192,138. The United States mail stage, however, crossed it for the first time April 1st, 1816. Early in the progress of the work many persons took advantage 01 tue one ana wo - piann wiae waiK maae c.,;n.. t.u - ; r i .1 - ",a"J '"" - " mC men engaged upon the structcure and used it frequently to cross the river. The first toll was collected October 23d, 1816, and at this point we will name the collectors in the order in which they serv 1 . . , . 1 V 1 . - I ed m that capacity, beginning with those county end of the bridge, following with those in the same w7ork at the western or. Cumberland county end. The yearly meetings of the bridge company were held from the opening of the bridge until 1844 in the log house of Mr. John Shoch, which was built in 1791 and removed in 1896 to make room for the present house be longing to the Harrisburg Club, - situated on the north corner of Front and Market streets. Since 1844 the annual meetings nave been held in the eastern toll - house. The bridge company directors met Sep tember 14th, 1816, at which time George Pearson was the first collector elected. He was to begin work on the 23d of October, 1816, at the eastern end of the bridge. He was succeeded by William Dock, on the 1st of October, 1819, who continued in of fice until the election of John Fager, on the 29th of January, 1825. The company continued to re - elect Mr Fager annually uiiUl the 31st of March, 1846 the eastern iort ion. rrf t.Viei Tm - w1tp ha - vinor Vmiti t - i - i v - 1 11 o" o away by the freshet on the 15th of March, .1 1846. Mr. Fager was the last survivor E of - ftiof - . Ka - nfl of - nion i - lio. fn - nl - - f Vi a vm. .uu'v - .J. " . - 1 . V . V U IIMVL LI IV Evangelical Lutheran Church in Harris burg. Then followed the election of Jeremiah - i. - 0 , . 10. . , wa to serve from the 20th of September, 184, to the 19th of September, 1848 He irdc hnn - oirAi va.AlAvto1 - i l srw imm - l n service, until the election of George Stein - erj, the 29th of March, 1856, who serv ed in this capacity until the 27th of Oc tober, 1867, when the board elected Samuel Denning, who, according to the minutes, was the first collector elected for an indefinite period. All the former ones had been chosen annually and, ac cording to the record, after Mr. Denning's election, the collectors were to serve "dur ing the pleasure of the said company.' Thomas Reckord succeeded Mr. Denninsr On the 25th of March, 1874, and he in turn by David Stephenson, the 24th of January, 188, who was followed on the 18th of July, 1879, by David Zarker, when on the 7th of December, 1893, he was relieved on account of ill health by the present incumbent, Solomon Rhoads, who assumed the duties the 28th of De cember, 1S93. The following named persons have act ed as collectors at the. Cumberland conn ty or western end of the bridge: The first person elected to serve there was William Dock, who took chage 011 the 23d of Oc tober, 1816. He was succeeded 011 the 25th of September, 1819, by Jeremiah Recs, who was annually re - elected for twenty years and was succeeded on the 3d of March, 1839, by Jacob Kuhn, who con tinued in office unil the 17th of September, 1847, when William Lamb was elected, who served the company until the 6th ot .November, 18;2. He was succeeded the same Tear by William Quigg, who col - leeted tolls for seven years, when, in 1859, 3d of January, his son, John F. Quigg, became the collector. At this date the company dispensed with the rule or cus torn of electing the collectors for the western end of the bridge "annually" and con cluded to have them serve "during the pledture of the said company'' instead. David Stephenson became the first collector under the new rule. He took the office 'the 21st of October, 1867. Hf successor was David Zarker, on the 7th of .Tnlv, 1873, who was followed on the 1st of March, IS 1 9, by w unani . v. Banks, a storekeeper of West Fairview. Owing to the death of Mr. Banks, which occurred in December, 1883, the present incumbent, i - ewis C JJanner. was elected and took charge of affairs the 3d day of the same month. The early toll collectors were required to receive for toll onlv specie and, such notes as were taken on deposit bv the banks of llanis - biirir. It was also part of their business to look after the replacing of planks in the floors and broken glass in the windows of the bridge. Comparatively few people know that the present old bridge, as well as the eastern section. had window sashes and that in bad weather these slides were closed, much to the comfort of the public and to secure the preservation of the timbers. The troubles of the gate - keeper were many - subjected to all sorts or annoy ances bv men andbovs. It was no won der that they sometimes felt like retaliat ing upon their tormentors. 0 cheat a corporation is not thought, to be a sin bv many individuals and to pass "bad money" upon the collector was considered legitimate and smart, especially if not de tected. As an instance in point, you all likely remember seeing the old penalty signs on and inside the bridge prohibit ing the carrying of fire, fast driving, &c, $5 to $30 the fine. One day; during Mr. Fager's administration two men were ar - , rested for fast drivinsr over the bridge and had the exteme penalty of $30 charged up to their account, which was paid, and they were allowed to proceed on their way, but on examination of the notes Mr. Fager found that the three $10 - bill3 were counterfeits. You can imagine his frame of mind on making this diseoverv. Some times he got the better of his tormentors, as the following conversation Mill prove. About 2 o'clock one August morning in 1840 two men from the Cumberland coun ty side awakened Mr. Fager by their loud cries of Open the gates, we want out, adding a great deal of profanity to their request. They continued in their rough language while he pretended to open the padlock on the gate. He then asked them m his usual quiet manner "if they were done." They replied, "We are." He in turn replied "So am I, gentlemen." With this remark he re - locked the gates and went into the toll - house and would not let them through. They had nothing else to do but to return to the Cumberland county shore and, of course, had to awaken the collector at that end of the bridge to relieve them of their dilemma. We have several reminiscences which occurred during the administration of George Steiner, nick - named by the boys of that period "Pete Steiner." He was a terror to all evil - doers and persons who tried to evade the paying of toll. The writer remembers the long "black - snake" whip which he had hanging inside the toll office near the door, and many a boy who attempted to "run the gates" felt the keen, thin lash about the calves of his legs. Another mode adopted by Mr. Steiner to stop the gate runners was to stone them, and for this purpose he kept a stock of stones on the frame work just inside the bridge, and woe betide the boy who made the dash through the gates in the presence of Mr. Steiner, for the volley of stones that was sure to follow him would do credit to a gattling gun of the present date. Mr. Steiner was fond of frogs and enjoyed the sport of hunting them, and it was the greatest pleasure imaginable for the boys of that period to worry him by lying flat on their stomach 3 back of the fence in the park opposite the toll house and croak like frogs. This per formance would certainly bring him out with his "black - snake" whip. The boys of that date seemed to have more business over the river than those of the present day. Swimming at the isl and was a great enioinent. There was a rrtn w ,nf tw r.,i,i u to tbe lad who frequently took x - Ma.r' ,.a cv. - o - oi ""J" " F'"IU " with them on these evening excursions and for no other purpose than to make trouble for Mr. Steiner. They can be heard yet in imagination coming through the carriage way of the bridge, say 9:30 or 10 P. M., and trotting out to the closed gates A. A'i.) WfeSMA. iawua OUU .J lilt V. va atco th a Ioud Svho!d. as if it was a team of horses. Of course the crate - keeper had to get up and open the large gates to leave them out, for the foot gate was too nar row to allow its passage. In the bridge destroyed by fire at mid night; 25th of May, 1866, the base of the arches were not covered" with planking at the abutments, as is the case with the present structure. This opening enabled the boys who had climbed the abutments from the river shore to enter the bridge. Many a boy performed this rather perilous feat and made his way to the island, and just as many were surprised to find Mr. Steiner waiting on them to come through the opening and nearly have the life shaken out of them while being escort ed by him out of the gateway. It is said that in eaily times, the company had tarred the timbers at these openings, but this did not prevent the boys from climbing o thfUvo benches (which you hv6 often ftt The toll houe) aero the doorway while the gate - keeper was taking his afternoon nap, and then call out as if a team had come, which would awaken the sleeper and in his half - wakened condition would stumble over the bench. In his confusion the culprits would hurry over I niuiuuu ua,rni urai win. auuiuci through the gateway, each oue saying "the ,ast n?an s thc and thJ tIfe ,agt one would make a break and follow his companions, who by that time were mid way to the first pier. One more of the many pranks and I will stop on this sub iect. .towards or 1U o clock; 1. JV1. a party of boys would come through the bridge bleating as sheep do after a. long drive. The gate - keeper, thinking that it was a belated drover with his flock, would hurry to open the gates, only to be met by a troop of noisy boys, who would dash by him, the last, one of the crowd generally receiving a few spanks if he was so unfortunate as to fall into the hands of Mr. Steiner Previous to the period of transporting cattle of all kinds by rail, it was the custom to drive them to the great cities oyer the country roads,and owing to heavy toll rates they were often compelled to ford the Susquehanna at this point on their way to the eastern markets. Sheep and hogs were ferried over and .in later years brought through the bridge in great droves, while cattle were sometimes driven thorough at the ford, which, after leaving the Cumberland county shore, crossed the lower end of Maclay's, now Watts' Island, and came out at the foot of Paxton street. Some little distance from the west end of the bridge on the south Fide there was (and it still remains) a gate used by the collector by which to confine the droves that thev might be countctd, for they passed throngn it at o driving them through one at a time, thus much a score, this counting was done bv insuring a fair count. How the boys en joyed the fun of assisting the drovers in bringing the cattle through the bridges The Homeliest Man in Harrisburg As well as the hauasomet, and others, are invited to call on any druggist and get a free trial bottle of Kemp's Balsam for the throat and lungs, a remedy that i guaranteed to cure and relieve all i chronic and acute coughs, asthma, bron - enitiK and i - nnsumrjtion. Trii - nrl j 50c GOLD DUST. Brooms and must be cleaned often, else they lectors. Hair brushes demand standpoint of both health and quietly ana uzarougniy Dy wasmng IB) Gold Dust cleans everything ana saves Dotn time and THE N. K. Chicago. St. Boston. and going down to the Black Horse tavern at the head of Race street. Here the droves were taken into the . tavern yard to rest and feed, while the drovers ate their noon meal. Few were the boys who did not own a whip of plaited leather, nicely rounded, with an A Xo. 1 cracker at the end of the lash. Many a waxed end was begged from Mr. John Edwards or Mr. Mvers or Mr. X. Miller, out of which to make crackers for our whips. The sheep always followed their leader, and it was no unusual sight to see the leader (instead of going through the gateway on coming out of the bridge) suddenly turn to his right and leap the low. wall, thus gaining the green grass of the park sooner than going by the roadway followed by the whole drove before the drovers could stop the panic among them. . Mules also were brought over in great numbers and in nearly every case the person leading the drove rode a sorrel horse This leader greatly amused the youngsters by continually calling out "Come boys, come boys !" to the mules following him The drove was usually rounded up by a couple of mounted drivers who knew how to use the long - lashed whips they carried with them The writer remembers crossing the bridge with his father on an errand into Cumberland county during the Civil War. On the way over a small drove of seventeen mules were being brought to Harrisburg. By the time we reached the center of the old "camel - back" bridge, we heard great cries of "Drive on; drive on!" from a couple of teamsters back of our carriage. The old bridge was doing its best to jump off the piers, so greatly was it swaying, and it was all caused by these seventeen contrary mules, who had turned on their drivers and recrossed the bridges at a break - neck speed, terrifying everyone who they overtook during their - mad charge. Not being able to quiet our team, we jumped out of the vehicle and got. into the footway and took the horse by the head, but he soon got the better of us and went along with the runaway mules - who passed out the gateway with a grand rush, leaving our team to be captured by a soldier who was doing guard duty at the western end of the bridge The stone tablet now to be seen in the wall at the eastern toll - gate .was ordered by the board of directors, 30th October, 1819. The work was done by ueorge O'Donnel, and , the inscription which he cut upon the stone reads: ' - This Bridge Built by . Theodore Burr, 1813 - 1817. Cost 192,138, Dollars. On the 27th of November, 1819 the well which has been doing; duty fo the past eighty years at the western toll - house was dug, and many a person has quenched his thirst by its cool water. It was on the 27th of January, 1820, that William Ross asked permission to place a floating mill in the eddy of one of the piers. The kind of a null he proposed to erect ana whether his request, was granted, is not known. The old - time market on Tuesday and Friday mornings of each week originated and were continued during tne incum bency of, John Fager, The benches in front of the toll - house were occupied by the baskets of the nearby farmers of Cum berland and York counties, who brought for sale their butter, eggs and poultry all of the best quality. These markets were a great convenience to the townfolk. Mr. Fager was so obliging that citizens often left their baskets and money with him with orders to purchase supplies for them. Wagons were stationed on either side of the toll - house in the berry season, and when oeaches, apples and eider were brought to town. It should be stated that after the de struction of the eastern section of the bridge by the ice flood in March, 1846, a ferry was established from the eastern shore to the island. A new superstructure was erected upon the old piers in 1S1. This structure was in turn destroyed by fire on the night of the 25th of May, I860, when the ferry to the island was re - estab - ns nea, ana u cuuuua , , pc. ent structure was erected in 1867. rhese ferries were immediately above the bridge, Durins the summer mo nth 3 in years gone by, the eastern toll - house was a fa - " !rr Lw rCG: iy timtH1 ICMUlll ill i v - iuiin - c - uia. - .c uwu - borhood. Ihev would, usually assemble there between the hours of three and four o'clock in the afternoon. The current news of the time, politics and the gossip of the town were the themes of conversa tion. It was not an uncommon sight for the passers - by " on the other side of the street to observe the Vorthv old gentle men sitting on the benches and chairs pro vided by the genial gate - keeper, last asleep. In those happy days of old the village was small and there was a degree of warm - heartedness which does not now seem to exist for all is hurry and unrest, and every family is fed by the daily newspaper with news good and bad, es pecially the latter, gathered up from all ends of the earth. Ihe generation of that day has been gathered to their fathers, and rest from their labors in the quiet cemetery. Industry, honesty and fru gality were the notable characteristics of their lives, m marked contrast with the indolence, fraud and wasteful extrava gance which prevail to such a great extent at the present time. A POCKET CURE. Dr. Von Stan's Pineapple Tablets, are put up in neat com pact form, convenient lor the pocket. They're the newest and best known aid to digestion and a cure lor Uyspepsia and all kindred stomach troubles. Cany them with von and you'll never be at the mercy ot stomacn irouuiw, ineipienr, acute or chronic. One 1 ablet gives quick relief. 35 cents. f5. Bold by W. H. Kennedy, J, N. Clark, G. A. Gorgas. In certain conditions of the atmosphere electricity is so abundant on the top of one of the big volcanoes in Hawaii that an English "geologist 'found that he could trace electric letters with his fin - eers on his blanket. Itchiness of t lie skin, horrible plague. Mosl, everybody .aftlicied in one way or aii - ol.her. Only one sale, never failiri" core : llrun't Ointment, At. anv .Im.T ci,. - . ' . wv I ceiita. I

Clipped from
  1. Harrisburg Telegraph,
  2. 25 Mar 1899, Sat,
  3. Page 7

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  • The Old Harrisburg Bridge. 1899

    oldisbest – 26 Dec 2013

  • CosmoTopper
    Great article, transcribed same some time ago to add several links to my family tree. Two Great Grands were toll collectors along with several other cousins mentioned in this crossing in time.

    CosmoTopper28 Dec 2013

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