Wildasin Meeting House

Manheim Township,

York County, Pennsylvania


The following was excerpted from "History of St. Paul's (Dub's) Church, 1853-1999"

Around 1829, the inhabitants of Heidelberg Township in York County, Pennsylvania began to feel the need for community worship and a public burial ground.  Prior to 1829 there was located on a knoll along a private road or path joining the present Hanover-Glen Rock Highway with the Black Rock Road a private burial ground known as Wildasin's Graveyard.  Since then a frame building (see photos above and below) has been erected and the area used for public school, worship and burial.  The adjoining farm from which it gets its name was tenanted by Richard Bankert, a descendant of the original Wildasin family, until the existence of Codorus State Park.  It was first used for a burial ground by George and Magdalena Wildasin and their family.  On September 9, 1829, Maxwell McMaster and Daniel Dubs, Jr., both of Manheim Township, bought the burial ground of 40 perches for $1.00 to be used as a public burial ground.  It is stated in the deed that it was made public because "private graveyards decay and grow wild through inattention and negligence of posterity".  Apparently the Wildasins permitted people of the community other than their own family to use this graveyard, even before it was made public.  It is also stated in the deed that strangers who might die in the vicinity and have no means for burial would be buried free and all others were to pay not more than $1.00 for the right of burial and maintenance to the original buyers, who became the first trustees.  On January 23, 1841, these trustees bought an additional 20 perches from George and Magdalena Wildasin, also for $1.00, for the purpose of erecting a house of public worship and a school house.  It is presumed that the building, still standing in a fine state of repair, was built during the year 1841.  All evidence indicates that services were conducted for Lutheran, Reformed and Brethren people of the community following its erection and continued under the guidance of the two original trustees until April 2, 1847, when the first election of trustees was held.  Then three trustees, representing each of the forenamed congregations, were elected: Maxwell McMaster, 1 year, Brethren; Daniel Dubs, 2 years, Reformed; and George Wildasin, 3 years, Lutheran.  As these terms expired, they were elected for a term of three years.  The trustees, three in number, will always be taken out of the three denominations, namely Lutheran, German Reformed and Baptist (Brethren). 

Pastors from both St. Matthew's Lutheran Church and Emmanuel's Reformed Church, both located in Hanover, preached at the school house.

The oldest stone in the burial ground is that of Oswald Dubs, who died May 31, 1782.  While the Lutherans and Reformed built a church (St. Paul's, or Dubs, Union Church), the Brethren continued to use the Meeting House at least annually until World War II, when services were discontinued due to the gas shortage.  The descendants of this Brethren group now worship in Pleasant Hill Church from which congregation a trustee is provided.

On April 29, 1889, a third parcel of 41-1/2 perches of land to enlarge the graveyard was bought from John M. Wildasin and wife Lydia for $25.00.


Above photos contributed by John H. Mummert

Below photos contributed by John B. Hartman


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Created for use in the USGenWeb Archives by

Kathy Francis 2007-2008



Page last updated May 31, 2008


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