Two years ago occurred the 200th anniversary of the taking of the first United States census in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. This investigation into the history of that event and its circumstances is in observance of the county's participation in an event which was a necessary part of the founding of the United States Government.
In May of 1837, James and Eliza Geddes Weakley welcomed into their home in Mill Town (Huntsdale) their youngest son, James Geddes (JG) Weakley. The grandson of Samuel Weakley, JG was also the great grandson of the patriarch of "one of the most prominent families in the western part of the county," James Weakley. What act or acts did JG Weakley, a seemingly honorable man, commit in later life that caused him to be erased from the family tree?
In the early half of the 1700s Monroe Township was still Indian land. The Shawnee held tenuous claim to it with a group of sixty families who had come up from Florida about 1689. They settled just to the north of the township with seasonal encampments along the Yellow Breeches.
The name "Hickorytown" is actually a misnomer on the word "town." What it refers to is a cluster of houses around two former taverns spread seven-tenths of a mile along Trindle Springs Road, three and a half miles east of Carlisle. It was this way in the 1840s, and little has changed over the years.
Shepherdstown is one of a score of small villages that have come and gone along the old Gettysburg Road since the beginning of the 19th century. Like the others, it commenced chiefly as an overnight stop for travelers, then later grew modestly into a trading center for farmers of the vicinity. And like most of the others, the advent of the automobile gradually put an end to its commercial role, relegating it once more to being a sleepy residential hamlet.
The word "Shireman" is of English origin meaning "the official or steward of a shire, a sheriff." "Shire" or "Shires" also is of English origin and means "dweller in the shire or county; one who came from Shere (bright), in Surrey."
White Hill is a village designation along the northern edge of Lower Allen Township, centered at the intersection of Hummel Avenue and 18th Street. Villages lack municipal boundaries, but the general area of White Hill would be considered as west of the end of the residential development in the Borough of Lemoyne on Hummel Avenue and extending westerly along the railroad track approximately one mile to the intersection of Carlisle Road and State Road. White Hill has also been used to designate the first stone house to be erected in Camp Hill, then known as Lowther Manor (Whitehill's); a railroad village started in the late 1830s; two railroad stations on two separate rail lines; and the end of the line on the streetcar run.
During ten generations the area now known as Camp Hill has borne five other names: Hendricks, Fort Pleasant, Oysters Point, Bowmanstown, and White Hall. Since 10 November 1885 an incorporated borough, it is part of the West Shore community that in 1731 was offered to Indian tribes as a reservation and in 1750 became the Penn family's Manor of Lowther.
There is no mystery about the name Carlisle Springs, and no research is required to learn its origin. What other name would anyone give to a sulphur spring of medicinal properties located only five miles from the county seat of Cumberland County? What is of special interest, however, is that Carlisle Springs was one of many springs, baths, and spas that flourished as popular resorts for health and recreation in the United States in the second third of the nineteenth century.