Steinman History

Christian Frederick Steinman, a Moravian immigrant from Dresden Germany, arrived in the colonies around 1750. Christian was the great-great grandfather of the builder of Drumore. Steinman and his wife, Anna Regina, settled in Bethlehem, where they had a son, John Frederick Steinman – the great grandfather of the builder of Drumore. Soon after his birth, the family moved to Lititz, where Christian Frederick died in 1760. Anna Regina remarried a man named Johann Christian Heyne.

Heyne moved the family to Lancaster where he purchased John Miller’s “Iron House” on West King Street. This would become the Steinman Hardware store and the beginning of the Steinman empire.

In 1777, John Frederick married Sybilla Margaretha Mayer. Among their seven children was John Frederick Jr. – the owner’s grandfather — who would take over his father’s hardware business in 1811 and become one of Lancaster’s most prominent citizens. He helped incorporate the Conestoga Navigation Company in 1825 — the company responsible for building the Slackwater Canal along the Conestoga River from Lancaster to Safe Harbor, connecting the city with river- and ocean-going traffic.

John Frederick Jr. married twice: first, in 1811, to Maria Gill, who died shortly after the birth of their daughter Mary Gill Steinman; and second, in 1824, to Mary Smith Fahnestock. It would be their youngest child, Andrew Jackson Steinman – the owner’s father — who would bring the family into their most notable business – the newspapers.

Andrew Jackson Steinman was born in 1836. He was educated in Lancaster public schools and later graduated from Yale. He was a staunch Democrat and member of the Lancaster City Democratic Committee. He also practiced law. In 1866, he became an editor and publisher of the Lancaster Intelligencer, a newspaper that had served the community since 1794. He worked at the paper until his death in 1917.

In 1882, Andrew Jackson Steinman married Caroline Morgan Hale. Their two sons, James Hale (born in 1886) and John Frederick (born in 1884), would eventually take over the business in 1915 and expand it into Lancaster Newspapers, Inc. It would be this John Frederick – the great-great grandson of Christian Steinman, who would come to build Drumore.

In 1923, the brothers began publishing the Sunday News and in 1928 they bought the Lancaster New Era. They also, for a time, tried their hand radio and television, owning WGAL from 1929 to 1979, until anti-trust laws forced them to sell. James Hale married Louise McClure Tinsley in 1922 and had three daughters – Louise, Caroline and Margaret (Peggy).

James Hale died on December 30, 1962, leaving the media empire in the capable hands of his brother, John Frederick.

John Frederick attended the Yeates School, the Hotchkiss School and graduated from Yale in 1906. Although he was rather shy, he was active in the community. He served on the board of Lancaster General Hospital and founded the John Frederick Steinman Fellowship that provided for the training of qualified persons in advanced study of psychiatry, psychology and social work. The Fellowship was part of the John Frederick Steinman Foundation. A lifelong, avid hunter, he was also a member of the Groundhogs, an affiliation he felt was necessary since he lived in the southern end of the county.

The Steinmans did lots of entertaining. The Eisenhowers were guests. And, it is rumored that Bobby Kennedy spent the night here.