Historical Collections

Photographs, books, maps, letters, genealogy & more: 1700s to today.

I have always heard that everyone is a 50th cousin. The point of this website is not to prove or disprove this idea, but to express one small part of this story. One's family history can often help piece together a larger puzzle from which many can benefit.

Over the past few years, I have been organizing documents which describe my family history in a more detailed way than I ever thought possible. Combining the written words with photographs, I have slowly been able to piece together my family tree into something much more meaningful. These documents were not, however, in any sort of order and many, unfortunately, have begun to deteriorate to an almost unrestorable point.

For these reasons, I have decided to share this information, not only to preserve what may have otherwise been lost, but to help others in their historical research. I do not know the source for many of the documents contained on this website, but I have tried to provide a copy and citation, where possible, of the original documents from which I obtained the information. If you or someone you know is the owner of any of this information, please contact me.

Photographer W. L. Worley

My Great-Great Grandfather's name was Willis L. Worley. He was a general store manager, school director, and farmer, but was also well-known as a professional photographer. He practiced the art of photography, from the late 1800s and into the early 1900s, during which time he took thousands of photographs of local residents, family members, and school students. He spent his early years apprenticing in York, Pennsylvania, after which he returned to York Springs, PA, where he worked with local photographer H.J. Harman. Before long, Willis began to mark his own photographs with the familiar stamped signature of "W.L. Worley". This collection consists of my Great-Great Grandfather's photographic equipment, the photographs he took, and the memories he preserved. Please enjoy the W.L. Worley Photographic Collection.

Gigapixel Imagery

Maps, posters, & rare letters presented in stunning resolution for maximum detail.

Worley's Nurseries

Chester Worley, my Great-Grandfather, began Worley's Nurseries in 1913 when he planted his first peach seeds in Latimore Township, Adams County, Pennsylvania. From that day on, Worley's Nurseries grew until it was one of the largest nurseries east of the Mississippi. Over the years, several pictures of the nursery were taken and numerous price guides and advertising materials were produced. These materials will help trace the history of the nursery from its beginnings until the present day.

World War II: Letters from a Lineman

My Grandpa, Jerome Davis Van Brakle enlisted in the army during World War II. Though few of these letters remain after more than 50 years, presented here are the ones which still exist, arranged in chronological order from when his service first began to the final days before returning home.

The Deardorff Estate

It began as a 200 acre land grant purchased from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the amount of 10 pounds per 100 acres. At that time, the mill was a part of York County, as Adams County would not be formed until 1800. The town of Petersburg (now York Springs) was also not in existence at that time. The mill was not the only business present at the location, but was rather part of a complex of buildings and businesses. There was a blacksmith shop, a creamery, and even a newspaper published at the mill called the Bragtown News. The mill itself was used as an oil mill, grist mill, and saw mill.

Pennsylvania Quakers

The Religious Society of Friends holds as the basis of its faith the belief that God endows each human being with a measure of the Divine Spirit. The gift of God's presence and the light of God's truth are available to all people. All people have the capacity to discern spiritual truth and to hold direct communication with God; no clergy, rite, or outward sacrament is necessary. Inspiration and guidance may be realized through meeting with others in group worship. Love, the outworking of the Divine Spirit, is the most potent influence that can be applied in human affairs, and this application of love to the whole of life is seen by Friends and the core of the Christian gospel. Quakers are Christians in the true sense of the word.

York Sulphur Springs

The borough of York Springs is located on the eastern line of Huntington Township on the Carlisle and Hanover road, west of the Sulphur Springs, and on a branch of Latimore Creek. The village was plotted in 1800 and named Petersburg in honor of Peter Fleck. Mr. Fleck's cabin was the first home built and his store was the first mercantile venture. There are 56 springs in the borough.

The One Room Schoolhouse

My first real experience with a one-room schoolhouse was through an oral history project conducted by a history professor in my 9th grade class at Bermudian Springs High School. On that occassion, I took the opportunity to interview a gentleman who had been a student at a one room schoolhouse and then, later, visited Miller's School, located just outside the borough of York Springs. Presented in this collection are school photographs of students and teachers along with other items and pictures related to the experience of teaching, and being taught, an education in the one room schoolhouse.


Charts tracing Worley & Deardorff descendants.

Photographs in Modern Times

A collection of black & white and sepia toned photographs which I have re-colored for a unique presentation.

The Wright House

Located in York Springs, Pennsylvania, this house was part of the underground railroad. It is unknown whether any part of this structure still exists.