(aka Petersburg Borough)
HOME | BACK
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.