How a Crone became a Dillon in Dover, PA

Half of my life was spent growing up on Bluebird Lane in Dover, PA.  Most of my family lived in this lane including my grandparents, one uncle and one aunt and their families.  We had great neighbors outside our private lane and in Dover, we use the term neighbor loosely.  A neighbor could be up to three miles or more from our home, and they were still our neighbor.

One great family of neighbors we had was the Dillon family, living the opposite direction on Bluebird Lane, just off of Rohler’s Church Road.  Bruce Sr., Marie (Crone) Dillon and their youngest son Doug have always been part of my life.  I recently learned the last picture of Bruce Sr. was taken by me, when I stopped out of the blue to photographs their cows.  Bruce was amused that I found his cows photogenic.  He scoffed when I asked to take his picture by his truck while we chatted, but he agreed.  I only learned recently that Bruce passed away, just eight days after my visit.

March 3 2013

March 3 2013

Marie reached out to me to come visit her.  I was told Marie has a memory like a steel trap and had great stories about Dover she wanted to share.  I went back to the Dillon farm, this time prepared to hear Marie’s story of how Bruce Sr and her fell in love, and began their family of four children on Bluebird Lane.

Marie & Bruce Dillon Sr.

Marie & Bruce Dillon Sr.

“I was hanging out at Spank’s in 1952 and Bruce came in the store.”

“Spank’s?” I asked, already confused.

“Spangler’s Garage had a store too. We all hung out there, right up on Rohler’s Church Road, where Elmer Spangler lived. You know the Dover Quarry is right there before that sharp turn?” Marie answered, then followed with a question. Marie, I found, threw bits and pieces of history into her story, and I just had to keep up.

Bruce lived in York and after meeting Marie, Bruce’s father made a point to talk to his friends who knew the Crone family from church.  “Do you know this Marie Crone that Bruce is talking about?  He saw her at the store and went crazy.”  Thery were crazy in love in no time.  Marie and Bruce dated for nearly two years and when Bruce bought his first car, he hit up his girlfriend for the cash to fix the 1946 Buick convertible’s top.

The car that sealed the deal.

The car that sealed the deal.

A young Marie at work.

A young Marie at work.

“Bruce knew I had some money put back.  I was making seventy-five cents an hour at Brant’s Machine Shop, where York Apple Chevrolet is on Route 30 and Roosevelt.  I lent him the money for the convertible topper and that sealed the deal.  We were always together, sometimes it’s hard to believe he is gone.  I expect to hear him walk in the door at any moment.”  Marie teared up, clearly missing the love of her life.

Long before Bruce and Marie fell in love, married, and had their children, Marie had come from a large family of ten children.  Interestingly, the tradition in naming children was to pass the mother’s maiden name as a middle name.  All of the Crone’s middle names are Hughes, after Mary’s family name.  The first five offspring of Mary and Lincoln were delivered at York Hospital.  Those children were named Frances, Bernard, Raymond, and Richard.  Marie’s father, Lincoln, told the doctor he needed to learn how to deliver babies at Richard’s birth.  “I can’t afford to pay you to deliver anymore kids, Doc.”  So the doctor gave Lincoln a crash course in baby delivering Richard, and the births of Irene, Bernice, Ruth, Robert and Marie were done at the farm house by their father.  This unusual birth place turned into a complete nightmare for Marie.  After years of trying to show proof of her birth on a farm out in the woods, she went to Pennsylvania’s congressman, Todd Platts, and in two weeks, Marie had a birth certificate.  Sometimes, it is who you know.

Marie is very proud of the property and history that has been carried down through the Crone family.  The original house, built by Jacob Roller has historic value and Marie and Bruce were determined to keep the old, log cabin standing.  The Greater Dover Historical Society published this information about the Roller log cabin.

      “Worship services were held in private homes by the Baptists and others living within the northern part of Dover Township in the late 1700’s, as early as 1760. Such services included one conducted by Christian Newcomer, a bishop of the United Brethren denomination in the home of Jacob Roller on June 9, 1799.  The homes used for worship included a log structure, which was the sole home in the immediate area of the first house of worship. This may have been Jacob Rollers home and it is believed that services were held there as early as 1790.”

Original log cabin 1760

Original log cabin was built in 1760

Brick farmhouse with log cabin on left

Stone farmhouse– cabin on left

Detached Roller log cabin on left

Detached Roller log cabin on right

Marie states she is certain this was Jacob Rollers’ home because the original barn has a marker dating it with Hanna & Jacob Roller engraved, establishing this land as their property.  The marker has slowly deteriorated over the years and is in need of restoration.  Jacob Roller was from Hellam, PA and met Hanna Crone.  They married and moved onto a piece of the Crone family property.  The properties in this area of Dover is heavily populated with Crone’s and their descendants.

The openings are to let air through to dry the day.  It is still in use.

The openings in the barn are to let air through to dry the day. It is still in use.

The Dillon's replaced the rotted wood.

The Dillon’s replaced the rotted wood.

It is difficult to read the marker, but HANNA is clear right above the broke section.

It is difficult to read the marker, but HANNA is clear right above the broke section.

Empty field...must be feeding time.

An empty field means it is feeding time!

Now that I have everyone's attention.

Now that I have everyone’s attention.

Cow 2

One lets me know what he thinks of being photographed.

Cow Peek

Cow Peek

Enough with the cow silliness, there is the inside of the historic Jacob Roller to see.  Jacob’s last name has evolved over the years, as many names do, but is a permanent element in the history of Dover.  Rohler’s Church Road, Rohler’s Union Church, Rohler’s Assembly of God and Rohler’s Lutheran Church, all have their names tied to Jacob Roller.

Original heat vents

Original heat vents

Beautiful original floor that I never expected to see on the second floor@

Beautiful hardwood that I never expected to see on the second floor.

Sturdy steps

Sturdy steps

Original fire place had a metal hook to hold the kettle for cooking.  The Dillon family converted it but due to chimney problems, it can't be used for wood fires.

Original fire place had a metal hook to hold the kettle for cooking. The Dillon family converted it but due to chimney problems, it can’t be used for wood fires.

The original cabin door remains, though sealed closed.

The original cabin door remains, though sealed closed.

Original walls

Original wall and beam.  The hole was there to let heat from the fire place reach the back room.

Holes from years occupancy.

Holes from years occupancy.

Marie and her oldest son, Bruce Jr.  Marie also has two daughters, Reba and Pam and her youngest child is Douglas.  Bruce Jr. and Doug maintain the Dillon farm.

Marie and her oldest son, Bruce Jr. Marie also has two daughters, Reba and Pam and her youngest child is Douglas. Bruce Jr. and Doug maintain the Dillon farm.

Thank you for your interest in Dover, PA.  A great little town out in the sticks.  It was my pleasure to talk with Marie Dillon and hear about the past, and nice to see Brucie, who happened to stop by just as I was leaving.  ~P.

Comments

  1. Hi, great story! However, I would think that Marie and Bruce met in 1958, not 1985. You also left out the name of my grandfather, Luther Crone, who was Marie’s brother. Thank you for sharing and posting the pictures! I knew the farm well as I lived down the road on the next farm.

  2. Bonnie Moritz says:

    Very nice story about the Dillon family. Bruce, Sr will be missed by all who knew him.

    You should visit the next farm on Bluebird Lane formerly owned by Luther Crone who was well known for raising strawberries and other produce. David and Lora Hartzell now continue the tradition and have named it Barefoot Farm in honor of Luther, who never wore shoes and also their kids, who always preferred to be barefoot. The beginning of Oct. Would be a great time to visit. It will be “pick your own pumpkin” season and there will be great opportunities for pictures. There phone number is 717-292-1390. Best to call after mid August.

  3. Gary Crone says:

    Pattie, Came across your blog while researching Crone family history. Am writing a book on my Crone family. Would like to use the two photos of Marie’s house with log cabin, with your permission. Use is for non-commercial purposes. Please let me know. Great article!

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