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Planning Moreland Township’s 200th Anniversary

By Staff | Oct 2, 2012

Anita Wagner and Warren Fenstermaker stand beside a sign denoting Opp Lane. Opp is the only village located in Moreland Township.  

Both Warren Fenstermaker and Anita Trick Wagner have strong ties to Moreland Township, and both are at the forefront of a committee planning a celebration for its 200th year in 2013.

Several months ago, Fenstermaker found himself in the chair seat after alerting township supervisors of the approaching anniversary. Since then, interested persons have attended planning sessions while Wagner volunteered to serve as the committee’s secretary.

Both Fenstermaker and Wagner have strong ties to the community. Fenstermaker is a native residing on the farm and in the house built by his grandfather, John P. Opp. Located along Ridge Road in Moreland Township’s southwest corner, the ancestor had purchased the land in 1888 where he built a double walled brick home somewhere around 1892.

“My mother and I were both born at the farm. She was the late Thelma Opp Fenstermaker residing here her entire life of nearly 87 years, and me, now seventy years and counting,” Fenstermaker said.

A dedicated lifelong farmer, Fenstermaker plans enrolling his acreage in the Agricultural Preservation Program to assure the land continues to be invested in agriculture.

The chairman’s community service and interests included a six year term as township supervisor and currently its emergency coordinator. For more than fifty years he’s been with the former Muncy-Creek Area Fire Company and the fire police at Clarkstown. A twenty year member of the Canusarago Grange, Fenstermaker is also a 1960 graduate of Hughesville High School.

Fenstermaker’s interest in history prompted him to make people aware of the approaching date and urges others to join in paying tribute to the area.

Of the 42 townships in Lycoming County, Moreland ranks nineteenth in size. Opp is the only village and farming has been the chief occupation. One may anticipate the type of land when hearing references to areas such as Stoney Batter and Hard Scrabble.

According to Fenstermaker, in 1768 the local Opp family immigrated to Pennsylvania from Germany by way of Amsterdam. Landing in Philadelphia, over the years they worked their way north to the Muncy area. In 1785, Phillip Opp Sr. and three of his children took out warrants for a total of 1200 acres, presumably in what later became Moreland Township.

Men from both Fenstermaker’s families served during the Civil War, including the well documented service of Col. Milton Opp, who suffered a fatality in the fight.

In the battle of Gettysburg, John Fenstermaker, the paternal great-great-grandfather, was disabled and afterward received a monthly pension of two dollars. Three of John’s brothers also served, all being the sons of Henry and Elizabeth Fenstermaker of the Pine Summit area.

Volunteer secretary Anita Trick Wagner, currently a Moreland resident, cites her local connection as the John Trick family who came to Moreland in 1837. Born in Germany, the shoemaker’s son Jacob was a carpenter and farmer on what is now Stoney Batter Road north of Route 118.

Surnames of spouses in Anita’s Trick family include Snyder, Miller, Crawley and Campbell. Her grandfather George Carl Trick, served in the Philippines during WWII receiving numerous Army citations and decorations.

Wagner, spouse, Jesse and children Jacob and Jordana, reside along Exchange Road on acreage they’ve named ‘Stoney Acres Stable.’ She is a nurse, developing software for electronic health records at Geisinger Medical Center.

Involved with the 4-H youth organization, Wagner teaches knitting, crocheting and photography. She is certified with the Pennsylvania DCNR as an ATV safety instructor. The Hughesville High School graduate is a member of the East Lycoming Historical Society.

The next meeting of the committee for Moreland’s celebration is scheduled for Wed. Oct 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the township building. Subsequent meetings will restart in January and tentatively held monthly the fourth Wednesday until the day-long celebration arrives Sept 14, 2013.

Interested individuals, churches and organizations in Moreland Township are encouraged to send liaisons to the organizational meetings for the 200th celebration.