The Frankenberger and Miller Stories

By Margaret (LaMonte) Gagliardi
December 2006

Chapter I:
The Frankenberger Family of Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania

George Frankenberger was born about 1770, possibly in York County, Pennsylvania. Of his early life, not much is known, and most of his adult life was not reflected in public records. What we do know, however, is that Samuel Knisely sold to George Frankeberger May 7, 1798 in the village of Lisburn, lot #5 on the street leading to Carlisle, in Allen Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. The next transaction for George, was his purchase of 21 acres from Leonard Fisher & Ann his wife of East Penns bora Township, on December 2, 1800. George then sold his first purchase, of lot #5 to David Offley on June 8, 1801.

With the purchase of the 21 acres, George built his log home. The first floor consists of one large room, with a cupboard and a large fireplace. With the latter, Catherine cooked their meals, made coffee, heated water for washing clothes, and taking baths, and heated the downstairs for warmth in the winter months. There are two doors - one at the front and one at the back. Behind or to the side of their home would have been their vegetable and herb garden.

At the June 1801 Session of the Cumberland County, Court of Common Pleas, George applied for a tavern license, as indicated by the following court record:

"To the honorable President & his associate Judges of the Court of common Pleas, of Cumberland County at June Session MDCCC&I.

The Petition of George Frankeberger of the Township of East Pennsborough respectfully showeth. That your petitioner, has accommodated himself with a convenient house and other necessary things for keeping a house of Entertainment on the public road, commonly called Trinnels road, about ten miles from the borough of Carisle. That the said road is deserted owing merely to the circumstances of the inconvenience attending Travelers for and of Tavern.

Your petitioner therefore prays that your honors would recommend him to his excellency the governor, as a fit person to keep a house of public Entertainment, and your petitioner as in duty bound will ever pray. Signed Georg Frankeberger (actual signature)

We the Subscribers, are of opinion that praying of the petitioner should be granted."

From the court records we have learned that George ran this tavern until 1810 and that he and his family lived in the tavern.

The travelers would stop at the tavern to warm up by the side of the big fireplace, eat a hot meal and learn the news of the Mechanicsburg area, as well as news that other travelers had passed on to the Frankenberger family. They would share the news from the direction they had come and thus, this was one manner in which news was passed.

These travelers included drovers, moving cattle to market, farmers taking their produce to be sold, salesmen who would go door to door selling their wares, families moving west, men traveling to the courthouse at Carlisle and any number of other reasons. An average traveler made about 10 miles each day, so taverns were spaced out in that manner along the major roads.

There are three rooms on the second floor of the tavern, and those travelers needing a place to sleep would be given a bed in one of these rooms. The other rooms were reserved for the Frankenberger family and their belonging.

By 1811, in deed records George is listed as a carpenter and is no longer running the tavern, as he sold all of his land in June of 1810. However, from tax records we learn that he did stay in the East Pennsboro area. In April 1811 George bought 96 acres from the heirs of George Forney.

George married Catherine Kitch, date unknown, and by the 1800 census, they had 5 children. The names and birthdates of all their children are not yet known, but we do know they had, Catherine, Rebecca, Sarah and Samuel. George was deceased by 1839 and his wife Catherine by 1850.

Today the Frankenberger Tavern has been fully restored and is now open to the public. At the time these pictures were taken, the restoration was complete, but the rooms had not been fully furnished.

Frankenberger Tavern, Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County, PA