Forgotten Places: Conestoga Centre’s Horse Hollow

Horse Hollow

On the remote banks of the Pequea Creek outside of Conestoga [Centre] is Horse Hollow. Luther Heisey said, “Few hills in the county made the old pioneer motor cars chug so energetically as a climb out of this Hollow, either by the elbow corner to Marticville or up Sand Hill to Centre.”

Topography map of Horse Hollow.

Sickman’s Mill and the magnetic iron ore mine nearby helped make the place known to the outside world. Otherwise, few would have learned of its existence.

How did the name Horse Hollow attach itself to the place?

One source tells of the presence of horses tethered there as the Confederates threatened to pour across the Susquehanna, and had they proved successful, the retreating Union troops planned to retrieve their mounts and hastily flee.

A variation of the story was the Union Army herded reserve horses there during the Civil War.

The “Hollows” About Conestoga Centre in 1899.

But it would appear the name was established long before the Civil War.

David Eshleman, who lived near the Hollow, repeatedly told his son, H. Frank Eshleman, Esq., of an accident that occurred there. Driving along “Mud Lane,” which ran from the present Marticville Methodist Church to the Hollow, on an icy, wintry day, the driver, as he approached the hill, found his team slipping toward the cliff, unable to make the turn in the lane leading to the Hollow road. Down over the high bank went wagon, horse, and driver with fatal results. Ever after that accident, the place was known as Horse Hollow.

It may well be that the fatal accident of Frederick Pfeifer on December 1, 1845, inspired this story.

Obituary from the Lancaster Democrat December 10, 1845.

Mr. Pfeifer, a member of the Lancaster County Poor Board, and father of a former mayor of Lancaster City, Frederick, Jr., lost his life when driving to the mill on the Pequea in a dearborn carriage loaded with wheat. While going down the icy, hilly road, his horse slipped, and Mr. Pfeifer, jumping from the wagon, got caught in the harness, and was thrown under the horse, with tragic results.


3 thoughts on “Forgotten Places: Conestoga Centre’s Horse Hollow

  1. Frederick Pfieffer was my 4th-Great Grandfather. Family lore tells he was on his way up the icy hill rather than down but either way met his fate under horse and cart that December day.

  2. I have been told that the Conestoga Centre Municipal Building also has the same name for the ethnic enclave centering around Pow Wow Doctor Harriet Sweeney’s AME Church. She owned the second AME Church. This is helping perpetuate the myth that Conestoga Centre was a “Sundowner town.” This claim, although erroneous, is being promoted by some people. This could not be further from the truth. Afro-Americans were welcomed there, although there was a campaign of serial arson against them. Which my future book will document. Tim Niesen

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