Descendants of German Immigrants
Union Mills was established in 1797 by brothers Andrew and David Shriver, Jr. They were grandsons of German immigrants who had settled in the early 1730s near what is now Littlestown, Pennsylvania, between Union Mills and Gettysburg. The skills the brothers possessed were passed down by their father and grandfather. Their grandfather was a skilled shoemaker and tanner, in addition to being a farmer. Their father, David Shriver, Sr., and his wife, Rebecca Ferree Shriver, settled a tract of land on the other side of Westminster, Maryland in the 1760s, where the Shrivers farmed and operated a variety of businesses, including a grist mill and tannery.
Prosperous Business and Community Leaders
David Shriver, Sr. rose to prominence as a patriot during the Revolutionary War, serving as an officer in the Maryland Militia during the Revolution and also serving as a member of Maryland’s Constitutional Convention in 1776. He was a well-regarded legislator who served over 30 years in Maryland’s General Assembly.
Andrew and David Shriver, Jr.’s joint enterprise at Union Mills continued in their father’s milling and tanning footsteps. The two brothers centered their operations around a large, fully-automated grist mill that allowed them to achieve a high degree of commercial success. They also became leaders in their community.
Within just a few years, David Shriver, Jr., relinquished the business interests at Union Mills and moved to Westminster. Soon after leaving Union Mills, he accepted an appointment as Superintendent of Construction of the Reisterstown Turnpike. The construction of this road, which led directly to Union Mills, was significant in Union Mills’ commercial success.
Andrew Shriver Grows the Union Mills Enterprise
Andrew Shriver continued on without his brother and grew the enterprises at Union Mills. In addition to milling, Andrew Shriver and his descendants operated a tannery, a store to sell merchandise, and a variety of other businesses, as well as engaging in farming typical for the era.
Soon after arriving at Union Mills, Andrew Shriver became active in the public affairs of the neighborhood and state. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace, a position of considerable importance, which he held for most of the remainder of his life. He was also appointed postmaster for the area. He was politically active, as schooled by his father, David Shriver, Sr. Andrew Shriver and his family identified with the Jeffersonian Republican and Democratic parties. His influence in directing popular sentiment in the area was considerable. Descendants of Andrew Shriver continued to live in the family homestead over the next 160 years.