PUT A LID ON IT: The Canning Industry in Southern York County, Pennsylvania

The lecture explores the history of the canning industry in southern York County, Pennsylvania. The canning industry, which dates back to the military campaigns of Napoleon, became an important part of the economy of Pennsylvania and southern York County in the late 19th century. This presentation examines the introduction and rise of the canning industry in southern York County, which is closely linked to the introduction of the Stewartstown and Maryland and Pennsylvania railroads, and to the introduction of automated canning machinery and technological innovations such as the “Sanitary” can. Canning houses provided opportunities for area farmers, allowing them to sell their entire crops under contract and opened employment opportunities to men and particularly women during the early 20th century. During the World Wars, canned goods from southeastern PA made their way around the world to feed U.S. troops; during WWII, German prisoners of war at the camp in Stewartstown helped to harvest produce for canning and worked in some of the canning houses. 

Revealing “Patterson’s Pleasure”: A Late 18th-Century Log Farmhouse
in Hopewell Township, PA

This lecture by Dr. Donald W. Linebaugh, Professor in the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at the University of Maryland, presents research into the James Patterson property and farmhouse located near the intersection of the Plank Road and Route 24. The house, an important early survival from the founding of Stewartstown, was recently destroyed to make way for a new housing development.

James Patterson, a Revolutionary War officer, built a house and barn on the property in the 1780s and lived on and farmed the land until his death in the late 1830s. Patterson was a farmer and distiller who assembled a farm that totaled over 600 acres at one point. The property and house transferred to Edie Patterson, James’s son, in the late 1830s and Edie owned it until 1879. Edie was also a farmer and distiller and built the hotel and tavern at the corner of Plank Rd. and Route 24. The next owner was Edie’s son James G. Patterson who also continued to farm and established a successful nursery operation. The property left the Patterson family about 1880 when the property was purchased by H. B. Scott, the former minister at Stewartstown Presbyterian Church. Scott’s wife sold the property to the McElwain family in 1923 and they controlled the property into the 2000s.

Utilizing a forensic architectural approach, Dr. Linebaugh discusses the property’s history and the evolution of the 2-story, log farmhouse. The log house was clearly modified in the mid-19th century, when a central door and stair was added, the front fašade was reorganized in a symmetrical fashion, and the interior was plastered. Also in the 19th century, a 2-story, stone ell was added to the rear of the house that contained a kitchen below and a bedroom above, reached by a tight winder stair. In addition to the farmhouse, the property included an early smokehouse, a large barn, a hay barn, corn crib, pig house, and a springhouse.

The John Hyson House and Family: Cheaper by the Dozen (+ 2)

This presentation entitled "Cheaper by the Dozen (+ 2): The John Hyson House and Family" was be given by Dr. Donald Linebaugh on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, at the Stewartstown United Methodist Church.

The early 19th-century John Hyson farmhouse, located in East Hopewell Township, was demolished this past year following the construction of a new house. Dr. Linebaugh documented the house with photographs and measured drawings as the structure was torn down. The house is one of several Hyson family properties along a one-mile stretch of Round House Church Rd., including the two Hyson Schools, the Robert B. Hyson House (John's brother), the Archibald Hyson House (destroyed by fire) (John's brother), and the Hyson Mill.

John (b. 1820; died 1892) and Margaret Miller Hyson (b. 1827; died 1910) raised an amazing brood of 14 children in the house, all of whom survived into adulthood and all of whom attended the nearby Hyson School. The children, 9 girls, and 5 boys, were born between 1848 and 1873.

The Hyson House was a two-story vernacular frame farmhouse with a rear ell addition. The structure was constructed using heavy "German" framing typical of the period, and the rear addition seems to have been added in the late 1850s to early 1860s, likely to accommodate the couple's rapidly growing family. Based on several design characteristics, the house was likely built by John's brother, local carpenter Archibald Hyson. Archibald built many farmhouses (Shaw Orchard Farm, Trout-Linebaugh Farm), churches (Lutheran Church, Shrewsbury), and schools (Hyson, Trout, and possibly Mt. Pleasant) across southern York County. 

Dr. Linebaugh will examine the architectural history of the structure and explore the work of builder Archibald Hyson within the context of farms and farmhouses in the area. He will also consider the multiple Hyson family properties and the family's deep connections to Hopewell (later East Hopewell) Township.

"THAT'S ALL FOLKS": The Rise and Fall of the Ramsay Theater

By Donald W. Linebaugh

With its opening in 1920, the Ramsay Theater brought the "silver screen" to Stewartstown. This program will explore the theater's history and its impact on Stewartstown and the surrounding area.

As Ramsay kept up with new film trends, showing silent movies like "Double Speed," then talkies such as "Little Women," followed by Technicolor films like "Gone with the Wind," the theater delivered the magic of the movies and connected the community to the national imagination.

Stewartstown Area Historical Society, 1984-2024: Forty Years of Serving the Community"
Event: Stewartstown Lions Club Meeting
Speaker: Donald W. Linebaugh, Professor UMD, Vice President SAHS

Summary: This talk celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Stewartstown Area Historical Society by reviewing the organization's collections (artifacts and archives), programming, and current activities to document and research the area's threatened and vanishing history.