Willson Family’s Community Involvement in Columbia, Pennsylvania, 8 December 1870-5 October 1918


Collection: The Scrapbook Collection

Call No.: MG-434, Box 060

Title: Willson Family’s Community Involvement in Columbia, Pennsylvania, 8 December 1870-5 October 1918

Dates: 8 December 1870 – 5 October 1918

Extent: 1 volume

Creator: George Bolivar Willson, 1856-1929, compiler.

Repository: LancasterHistory.org (Lancaster, Pa.)

Shelving Location: Archives South, Side 22


Description: The majority of this scrapbook is composed of articles about Columbia, Pennsylvania, including the Columbia Lyceum, Columbia’s Centennial, St. Paul’s Church, and the Columbia Fire Company. The information in this volume about the Willson family primarily concerns George B., Mary, and David. George B. Willson’s activities are included with articles about the Masonic Homes in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania and Tucquan Club outings. Articles about David Willson appear with discussion about Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and the student rebellion. A few articles are about Millersville Public School. The book also contains obituaries and issues of The Columbia Spy.


Conditions for Access: Please fill out a call slip for viewing.

Conditions Governing Reproductions: May not be photocopied. Please contact Research Staff or Archives Staff with questions.

Language: English

Source of Acquisition: Source unknown.


Subjects: Masonic Homes (Elizabethtown, Pa.)


Pennsylvania — Religious life and customs.

Road design and construction — Pennsylvania.


Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)

Lancaster County (Pa.) — History, local.

Elizabethtown (Pa.).

Columbia (Pa.).

Maytown (Lancaster County, Pa.).

Millersville (Pa.).


Administrative/Biographical History: George Bolivar Willson

George Willson, Jr. migrated from Yorkshire, England to Ulster, Ireland, and then to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. George Bolivar Willson was born on 4 April 1856 in Lancaster, the son of George Willson, Jr. and Mary Rettew.

George B. Willson attended school at the Maytown School. He entered into an apprenticeship with a coach trimmer doing detail work and painting. After his apprenticeship, he became a clerk at Flinn and Breneman, a house-furnishing store. He later became a co-owner with Breneman and the store was renamed Breneman and Willson. Willson became a real estate developer; he owned and developed most of the western part of Lancaster City with John C. Hager. Willson inherited James Buchanan’s Wheatland from him mother and retired there in 1884.

Willson organized Lancaster Electric Light, Heat and Power Company on 2 February 1897. He managed three mills along the Conestoga River—Wabank Grist Mill, Slackwater Mill, and Rockhill Mill—where he generated electricity for the city of Lancaster. He was also able to convince the Pennsylvania Grand Lodge of the Freemasons to build the Masonic Village for retired masons. He became the superintendent once it was built. George B. Willson died on 14 September 1929.


Custodial History: Previously housed in the Scrapbook Collection, Book 92.

Cataloged by: CRB, October 2007.

This project was funded by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, ME60112, 2007-2008.