The McCormicks

The McCormicks were way more influential in the history and development of our country than most people now realize.

The Harrisburg branch of the family rose to prominence by Colonel Henry McCormick (1831-1900) who married Annie Criswell in 1867. They had five children; Henry B, Vance, Mary Cameron, Isabella and Annie

Three of the McCormick siblings chose to have summer Estate homes along the Yellow Breeches Creek. These estates were at Rosegarden, Cona, and Cedar Cliff. The McCormick’s clearly had a special attraction to this area and chose it over all the other beautiful places they likely could have lived at the time.

Henry B. (1869-1939) and Mary Boyd McCormick purchased the Lantz property in 1902 and built a summer home on the mountain side across the Yellow Breeches Creek. The Lantz property included the homestead and Glen Allen Mill at the time. McCormick Rd. is named after these McCormicks.

Can you imagine Mr. & Mrs. Henry McCormick arriving by train in Bowmansdale and taking a carriage ride along McCormick Rd. and across the bridge by the Glen Allen Mill to their mountainside retreat at Cona? And what conversations might have occurred in these homes which affected history?

Vance (1872-1946) became the most prominent of the children (see below) and built his estate at Cedar Cliff in 1904.

Ann (1879-1964) moved to Rosegarden following the Colonel’s death in 1900.

From the Center for Pennsylvania Culture Studies at Penn State Harrisburg:
The McCormicks were a prominent family in South Central Pennsylvania who greatly influenced history and commerce in that area of the country. This site is dedicated to making personal papers, pictures and other documents of that family available to historians, students and the general public for the first time.

The purpose of this site is to facilitate research and an appreciation for the impact of a prominent family in a region’s culture and history. In addition to family information, therefore, the site contains texts and images that can be useful in American studies, social history and culture studies in exploring themes such as gender, class, local history, youth culture, philanthropy, politics and visual culture. To make this kind of research possible, you can enter key words in the search engine, which will direct you to texts, images and essays relating to the key word. (Common key words include: politics, prominent family members [such as Vance McCormick, Colonel Henry McCormick], essays on gender, the Versailles Treaty.)

To get the most out of this site, therefore, we suggest that you visit our Featured Sections page, showcasing our most extensive/salient, most popular, and recently updated material, or enter search words in our search engine (to be implemented shortly), as mentioned above. We also offer general information about the McCormick family, listed in the black navigation bar at the left of each page.

This site is sponsored by the Center for Pennsylvania Cultural Studies at the Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg, in cooperation with the Historical Society of Dauphin County, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Director of the McCormick Family Papers Project at the Center is Professor Michael Barton.

Web site content editor/designer: MaryAlice Bitts, 2003:

From the Wikipedia page on Vance McCormick (May 22, 2021):
McCormick was born in 1872 to Henry McCormick and Annie Criswell. He attended Harrisburg Academy and Phillips Andover before completing a civil engineering course at Yale University. McCormick graduated from Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School in 1893, and was given an honorary MA degree by the university in 1907. While at Yale he was a member of St. Anthony Hall. A born athlete and leader, he became captain of the class football and baseball teams his freshman year and was on the university football team his junior and senior years. Vance was named to Walter Camp’s All American Team as the first team quarterback. He served as president of Intercollegiate Football Association his senior year and garnered other university honors and awards, as well, including class deacon.[1] He was also student body president of Yale in 1893.

Business and politics
In 1902, McCormick began his career as journalist and publisher. He was president of The Patriot Company, publishers of several area newspapers including The Patriot (1902 to 1946), The Evening News (1917 to 1946), and Harrisburg Common Council (1900 to 1902). He was also president of the Pinkey Mining Company, located in Harrisburg.[1]

In 1902, McCormick was elected mayor of Harrisburg and as part of the growing City Beautiful movement he immediately set about to improve the city. Today, he is credited with expanding the city park system (which eventually included 1,100 acres), built steps along the Susquehanna River (which still exist today), paved seventy miles of roads, and improved the city water system. During this time, the population of Harrisburg increased from 51,000 to 73,000.

Stackpole Books 2004

In 1912, he served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania. McCormick was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Pennsylvania in 1914, finishing second in a seven-candidate field. Republican nominee Martin Brumbaugh, Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, defeated McCormick on the strength of a strong performance in Philadelphia and Allegheny counties.[2] From 1916 to 1919,[3] McCormick served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee and went on to be appointed chair of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace (1919) at Versailles, under President Woodrow Wilson, heading up numerous clubs and organizations along the way. He also served as Wilson’s 1916 campaign manager, as chair of the War Trade Board (1916 to 1919) and as a member of many local, state, national and international organizations throughout the later years.[4]

He helped professor Thomas Garrigue Masaryk legions especially in Russia in 1918. [5]

Later life
McCormick remained a bachelor until the age of 52, when he married the widow of Martin Olmsted, an eight-term Republican Congressman. They announced their engagement on December 29, 1924.[6] Vance died at his country estate (Cedar Cliff Farms), June 16, 1946, near Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. Mrs. McCormick died in 1953.[1][7]



2. Center for Pennsylvania Culture Studies (2006). “About Vance C. McCormick”. Penn State Harrisburg. Retrieved 2007-01-04.

3. ^ “PA Governor”. Election Results. Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 11, 2013.

4. ^ “Vance M’Cormick Resigns As Head of Committee”. The Herald-Journal. January 15, 1919. Retrieved January 2, 2013.

5. ^ “Descriptions of the Edward M. House Papers and Associated Collections in Manuscripts and Archives”. Yale University Library. 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-12-11. Retrieved 2007-01-04.

6. ^ PRECLÍK, Vratislav. Masaryk a legie.(T. G. Masaryk and Legions), pages 84 – 145, (in cooperation of the Masaryk Democratic Movement, Prague, CZ) Karviná: Paris, 2019. 219 s. ISBN 978-80-87173-47-3,

7. ^ “Engaged”. Time magazine. December 29, 1924. Retrieved 2007-01-04. “Vance C. McCormick, onetime chairman of the Democratic National Committee, to Mrs. Gertrude Olmsted. widow of Representative Marlin E. Olmsted of Pennsylvania.”

8. ^ “Vance McCormick, Publisher, 73, Dies. Harrisburg Ex-Mayor, Head of Wilson campaign in ‘l6. On All America ’11 in ’92 Directed Wilson Campaign Elected Mayor at 30 Futile Plea to Wilson League of Nations Advocate”. Associated Press. June 17, 1946. Retrieved 2010-10-30. “Vance C. McCormick, Harrisburg publisher and industrialist, died today at his home in nearby Cumberland County after a brief illness.”

Also see “Happy Yellow Breeches” by Paul A. Miller; hardcover edition reprinted October, 2020 and available at

Special thanks to Mr. Henry Rhoads for alerting us to these additional books on the McCormicks:

“Citizen Extraordinaire – The Diplomatic Diaries of Vance McCormick, Edited by Michael Barton” Stackpole Books 2004

“Across the Continent in 1865 – As told in the Diary of the Late Colonel Henry McCormick” The Patriot Company 1937 and 1944

It is hoped that other supporters may be able to expand on this post and provide further “color” and information on the McCormicks.

Ms. Sharon Beach, our wonderful researcher, came upon these news clippings about the McCormick’s of days gone by:

June 23, 1889

August 19, 1889
Harrisburg Telegraph, August 6, 1894

November 23, 1895 July 26, 1902