Part of the PAGenWeb

(aka Petersburg Borough)


Duncannon Borough is located on the western bank of the Susquehanna River, at the farthest point westward of said river.  Duncannon is a long town, extending all the way from the point where the Juniata's waters join the Susquehanna to Juniata Creek, which flows into the Susquehanna not far above where Sherman's Creek empties into the river.  Located within the limits of Penn Township; it became the Borough of Petersburg in 1844.  The name was changed to Duncannon in 1865 when it was incorporated as a borough under said name.  

The present town of Duncannon was once known as Petersburg; and the adjoining village of Lower Duncannon, lying between Juniata and Sherman's Creek, was known as Duncannon. Petersburg only extended to Ann Street.  The original borough only extended from Juniata Creek to an alley, but in 1900 it was extended to include the western end, which had been known as Baskinsville and the Carver's Hill section.  

Not included in part of the borough were the areas of Lower Duncannon, the settlement south of Sherman's Creek known as Boston and the area known as Stewartsville.  

The name Duncannon was from the iron works firm, Duncan & Morgan.  The changing of the name of the borough from Petersburg to Duncannon was done to avoid confusion with the mail, etc..., as there were other towns and post offices, with the same name, located in Somerset, Huntingdon and Adam Counties.  

The tract of land on which the original Borough of Duncannon was located was warranted on 3 June 1762 by John Brown.  It contained 267 acres of land.  Robert McHassy purchased this same land in 1777 and a portion of this tract was eventually purchased by Christian Miller in 1792.   Mr. Miller had lots laid out and it was named Petersburg.  Mr. Miller reportedly built a log house at the lower end of Market Street, near where the iron bridge crosses the Juniata Creek, in 1794.  Lot owners in 1795 were:  Robert Armstrong; Christian Miller, Dr. McNaughton, William Beatty; James Beatty; Levi Owen, Isaac Jones, James Mehaffy, James Brown, Peter Kipp, Samuel Harvies, Philip Swisher, George Glass, John Elliot, Robert Wallace, Thomas Eccles, Thomas Tweedy and Alfred Snider.

By 1820, some time after the death of Christian Miller, the property holders were:  Daniel Baker, shoemaker; Robert Clark, David Carnes, heirs of Maximilian Haines; George Jones, blacksmith; William Irwin, merchant; James Kirkpatrick, John Leedy, heirs of Christian Miller; Nathan VanFossen and Samuel McKenzie, blacksmith.  

As early as 1797, there was a schoolhouse erected in Duncannon--an act of the State Legislature in this year, designated the Union schoolhouse at Petersburg as a voting place for the residents of Rye Township. The original schoolhouse stood where the Duncannon National Bank stands (stood).  It was made of logs and chinked with clay; boards covered the outside.  It was approximately 25 feet square and had a broad fireplace at one side.  The tables and seats were of slabs.  This building was replaced by a frame structure in 1840.  It should be noted that an historical article written by Wright reports of a school building in Duncannon, near the site of the present one, that burned in 1814.  If this is so, the building was probably the one, above described, which stood where the Bank stood and the successor would have been the schoolhouse that was in use until 1840.  In 1857, Petersburg had three schools, two being designated as high schools. 

The western end of Clark's Ferry was in Duncannon; lands that were warranted by Samuel Goudy in 1766.  Goudy conveyed his 216 acres to John Clark; it was from this family that Clark's Ferry was established and run by 3 generations.  John Clark had the first tavern in this place.  

Here is a listing of various businesses in Duncannon, the date/year following the name indicates the time the business began, from the mercantile appraiser reports:  

General stores, Samuel Sheller (1905), est. by Samuel Sheller, Sr (1852); George B. Noss, est. by Samuel Noss; W. O. Miller, L. W. Miller, A. S. Hays (1890), Duncannon Merchandise Co., John S. Kennedy (1896), and C. F. Mutzabaugh.
Groceries, Wm. E. Bender (1916), George E. Boyer (1905), C. A. Hunter, George Hemperly, W. D. Owens, F. E. Wase, E. F. White (1906), Oscar Wagner.
Notations, etc.. Mrs. L. F. Gintzer, Mrs. E. G. Gladden, Mrs. N. M. Miller, Mrs. Carrie Fenstemacher (1914).
J. A. Martin, jewelry and sadlery (1906), established (1874) at New Bloomfield by J. A. Martin and removed to Duncannon (1893).
Alander & Boden, Theodore Noye, meat markets.
Sylvester Sheller (1905), est. by Samuel Sheller (1882), coal, grain and lumber.
C. N. Reed, coal & feed; C. F. Gelbach (1900), fertilizer and lime.
J. Y. Wills & Son (1890); George M. Zerfing (1917), hardware.
W. H. Zeigler (1904), Nickel Furniture Co (1920), est. by S. H. Moses (1853), furniture and undertaking.
Joseph E. Lestz, Wm. D. Kline Estate (1895), clothing.
D. W. Bell, W. H. Heffley, Chas. Mager, cigars.
Miscellaneous:  E. S. Glass, bakery (1908); Charles J. Wagner, newstand; E. C. Smith, drugs (1913); Central Garage Co. ( John S. Kennedy and Robert E. Owen, 1917); Frank Snyder, marble works; Elmer & Loy, jewelry; Ed. Michener, restaurant; M. J. Derick, musical instruments; O. S. Ebersole & Co., feed; Abram Roth, wallpaper; Miss Ida Kline, millinery.

Duncannon Presbyterian Church.  Records states that in October, 1793 Presbytery appointed supplies for Sherman's Creek, Dick's Gap and "at the mouth of the Juniata,"  a Sabbath to be spent at each of these places.  Although this is the first mention of the place in records, it is not mentioned as a "new" place, perhaps signifying that it was already a place where services were held.
Around 1804, a log church, 25x30 feet, was built on the bluff, above Duncannon, on lands purchased from Cornelius Baskins-- the place occupied by the Presbyterian cemetery.  Rev. James Brady was established as pastor in October, 1804.  
In August, 1841 a frame church, 40x50 feet, was built and dedicated.  The new church was located on High Street. 
A new brick church was erected on this same site and dedicated on 27 April 1888.  In 1901 the old parsonage was sold and a new one was built on Market Street.
Some of the early ministers of this church, following Rev. James Brady were:  Revs. Cornelius Loughran; John Niblock; Matthew Patterson; Charles B. McClay; Hezekiah Hanson; William B. Craig; Wm. B. Thompson; George Robinson; W. W. Downey, James W. Gilland and O. B. McCurdy.
It is thought that the local tradition connected with the building of the first church at its elevated location at the mouth of the Juniata appears to be incorrect.  The statement is made that it was built so that Indians could be seen even at far-away points. Since it wasn't built until c1803/4, and as the Indians had reportedly left this place before the Revolutionary War, it doesn't appear to be plausible.  However, the graveyard does appear to be located there, as it dates farther back.  

Duncannon Methodist Church.  Abraham Young, an early pioneer of this place, allowed his home to be used for services, as early as 1809.  His farm was about 1/4 mile west of Duncannon, on the New Bloomfield road.  An adjoining farm to the north was owned by Young's nephew, Christian Young.  Christian Young gave ground for a burial place and the erection of a meeting house.  The land was on a level plateau, at the top of a hill.  The building, 20x20, was dedicated in 1827.  The first members of the church board were:  Christian Young, John L. Morgan, John Young, Sr. and Henry Branyan.  The building reportedly faced the highway and had a rough, high pulpit and slab seats.  This church came to be known as Young's Church and the congregation was part of the Concord Circuit (Franklin Co.).  This building was in use until about 1840, when it was sold to the school board.  The only thing left of this site is the old burying ground, at the top of the hill.
Since the town of Petersburg (Duncannon) had grown much in size, a new church was erected here.  A lot of ground was purchased from Jacob Clay; it was located on the corner of High Street and an alley.  This new church was dedicated January 1, 1841.  The church board was composed of:  Jacob Bruner, Sr., Jonathan Beck, Henry Branyan, Abner VanFossen, and George Bruner.  In 1882, a brick parsonage was built.  

Christ's Lutheran Church.  In November, 1842, Rev. Andrew Berg held the first Lutheran services in the Methodist Church. A stone church was built and dedicated on 10 November 1844.  The building committee included:  Andrew Hantz, Dr. Philip Ebert and Edward Miller.
In 1885, the old stone church was torn down and a new church was built. It was a frame (white) structure, 34x55 and was dedicated on 25 November 1885.  It was mounted with a large steeple.  The building committee consisted of: S. H. Moses, John Shively and B. F. Wert.  The church was incorporated as "Christ's Lutheran Church of Duncannon" on 6 April 1865.  

Duncannon U. B. Church.  The United Brethern Church of Duncannon was organized in 1845.  Up until 1870, it was a part of the Perry Circuit and served by pastors of that charge.  In 1870, it was detached from this circuit and became part of the circuit known as Duncannon Mission Charge.  
In 1903, a new church, built of brick and of modern design was erected.  

German Reformed Church.  The Duncannon Reformed Church was organized on 16 May 1858; many of the members were from the congregation of St. David's in Dellville.  The congregation purchased the building/church of the United Presbyterian Church for its use.  This church was used until c1913, when it was sold to the Duncannon School Board.  It was eventually destroyed by fire.
A new church was built on High Street and was dedicated on 16 December, 1913.  

Duncannon Church of God.  The first meetings of this group were held in May, 1871, in the Lower Duncannon school building.  Eventually a plot of ground was purchased on Lincoln Street and a new church was erected, it was dedicated in January, 1873.  

This site is maintained  by Cathy Wentz-Eisenstadt
Copyright 2003-2010.  All Rights Reserved.

This page was last updated on:   03/14/2009

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