More than two hundred years ago the first white pioneers settled in a very fertile and productive valley. The land was rich with many springs, great trees, and a swift running creek. Ideal for raising crops and building homes, it was called Grevious Valley. A hundred years later it was renamed Porter’s Sideling.
The early settlers were Michael and Henry Danner, Jacob Rudisill, John Moyer, and the Thomans.
They built their homes over a spring to assure themselves of drinking water in the event of an indian attacks. The land was granted to the pioneers by Thomas and Richard Penn for one penny sterling per acre, with a six per cent allowance for roads. The deeds were written on sheep skin parchments. The originals have been handed down for 8 generations in the Danner and Thoman Families. These deeds are legible and are in fine condition today.
The land for schools and churches were donated by these early settlers. Among the subjects taught were English and German.
The pioneers operated distilleries and sold the whiskey at 12 cents a quart in Baltimore, to where it was hauled by horse and wagon.
The first railroad in the community was built in 1852. Several years later a merchant named Porter asked the railroad for a sideling to ship grain to Baltimore. This is how Grevious Valley was renamed Porter’s Sideling. Later this same railroad was used to ship ore that was mined in the community. These ore holes are scattered about the countryside.
About this time the battle of Gettysburg was being fought. The sick and the wounded were brought from the battlefield in box cars. These trains often stopped at Porters Sideling and the soldiers were given food and drink by the village folks. In the fall of 1863, President Abraham Lincoln passed through Porters Sideling to make his famous Gettysburg Address.
In 1892, the railroad was built from Porters Sideling to York, using migrant laborers. This work was done by hand and on Saturday nights the workers would celebrate and great crowds would gather to watch the migrant workers dance to music by the Porter’s Band. This band served the community for seventy years.
In the 1890’s a brickyard was founded by Jacob Brillhart. The bricks were made by hand and later modern machinery was installed. Wood was used as fuel to harden the brick. The land on which the first fire house was erected was the former brickyard site. The land was donated to the fire company by Paul L. Brillhart, a son of the late brick manufaturer.
Article written by the late Norm Danner and Frank Luckenbaugh.