"In 1742, John Garrettson, one of the first Quaker settlers, built the first mill along the
Conewago Creek, although it is uncertain if it was on the Newberry side or the Conewago side.
The large mill was built north of Strinestown setting the stage for milling to become one of the
first industries of Conewago Township.
The Township was formed out of Newberry and Dover Townships in 1818. The eastern
third of the Township came from Newberry while the western two-thirds came from Dover.
The original survey was made in October 1814 by Jacob Spangler and Daniel Small and
showed that the Township contained 11,000 acres. At the time it was formed, the Township
had 245 taxable inhabitants. The largest land owner at the time of the Township’s formation
was Colonel Henry Stover with approximately 328 acres valued at $6,275. The Township
was confirmed in the January term of court in 1818 and was named after the winding streams
that border the north, south and east. The name Conewago is an Indian name which means
“at the rapids” and was chosen because the Big Conewago flows into the river at the foot of
the rapids. The wedge shaped Township is nestled in between Manchester on the east, Dover
on the west and Newberry to the north.
In 1811, George Falsgraff produced pottery on a 21-acre farm in Conewago Township. The
Pfaltzgraff Company traces its roots this Conewago Pottery. In 1820, a very large mill used for
grinding grain, was built on lands owned by H.B. Strine, three- quarters of a mile northwest of
Strinestown, known at that time as Mount Pleasant. Cigar manufacturing was an important
industry for half a century. A tannery, run by Martin Copenhaffer, was once located between
Quickel’s Church and Lewisberry. Another important industry for the Township was basket-
making. The hills of Conewago were home to the Township’s basket-makers. Native clay
pottery was made by John Steffe and after his retirement the business was taken over by his
sons, Gabriel and Adam. Gabriel made pottery near the “Seven Stars Hotel,” while Adam was
near Strinestown. The township's oldest village, Strinestown, was founded in 1800, and had a
population numbering160 by 1886.
According to a historic survey done in September 1991 by Historic York and Architectural
Warehouse, there were at least 250 historic sites dated before 1900. There were another 60
that were listed after 1900. Some of these include: Baker Historic District (1780) S.R. 1201
and Conewago Creek; Col. Jacob Bear Mill (1849) 100 Hykes Road.; Bowers Bridge (1889)
Bowers Bridge Road; Mechlin Property (1860) at Bowers Bridge; Adam Miller House (1774)
440 Closerleaf Road; George Neuman House (1797) 475 Jug Road; and Nieman House
(1860) East Canal Rd just east of Zion View."
In September 2018, Conewago Township held their 200th anniversary. Their celebration and
printed history flyer has been provide for posting on this website for all to enjoy. Click here.
This eight foot tall lantern can be seen at the
house near the corner of Canal Road and the
Susquehanna Trail. It is from the Market Street
Bridge in Harrisburg. In the mid-1960s, it was
removed during bridge renovation by G.A. &
F.C.. Wagman’s. One of the owners of the
business lived there at that time. A sister lantern
is located in front of Wagman’s business just a
few miles south on the Trail. Read about these