was born at Chockley, York Co., Pennsylvania
, on 12 September 1806. He was the son of Peter Shickley Sr.
and Anna Maria "Mary" Potts
. He married Mary Myers
. Peter was listed as the head of a family on the 1850 Census at Turtle Creek Twp., Warren Co., Ohio
. Peter was listed as the head of a family on the 1860 Census at New Jasper Twp., Greene Co., Ohio
. In an autobiographical sketch, Peter wrote between 1 January to 3 January 1868:
"My grandfather, George Shickley, was born in Germany (time unknown). My father, Peter Shickley, was born in the U.S. I think in Pennsylvania perhaps near Philadelphia. Mother's maiden name was Spotts (Potts), born perhaps in York County, Pennsylvania. I, Peter Shickley, was born in York County, Pennsylvania, on the 12th day of September 1806, in Chockley, near a Lutheran church, called Staley's Church, in which I was baptized. My cousin, Peter Staley, standing in for me as my Godfather. He at that time, (as I understand) being an Elder in that church and my parents, Peter and Mary Shickley, members of that church. The first thing I can recollect was when my father moved to York County on Tritts Islands in the Susquehanna River that divides Lancaster County from York County. I think I was then between three and four years old. Perhaps in the Spring of 1810. Those islands, composed of three, contained perhaps 3,000 acres of ground of very good quality, one having been cleared. They lay side by side and were named Big, Middle and Little Islands, the big one on the York side, the little one on the Lancaster side. The house and barn stood on the little island nearest the Lancaster side, about half a mile from the Lancaster shore, and there we had to go for our drinking water in hot weather. The river at that place was about two and a quarter miles wide. We lived on those islands perhaps two or three years and did very well (so far as I know), till the time of the great Pumpkin Flood which swept away all of my father's crops and left us bare except for four horses and a few cattle. That flood covered all of those islands except where the house stood on a kind of knoll, higher than any other part of the islands, and the water was within 30 feet of the house all around it. There we gathered our little stock which the river was carrying with the rapid stream, pumpkins, haystacks, stables, barns and houses, chickens crowing in stables and barns as they floated down the rapid stream, and of course swept away everything we had, only leaving what was in and around the hours. This state of things lasted perhaps three or four days and our horses and cattle began to suffer for food. The good people on the Lancaster side, seeing our condition, procured two large flat boats, dragged them upstream about one mile and worked them with care and landed them at our house. We put the horses and cattle in one boat and perhaps a few hogs and our household goods and so on in the other. So we bid good bye to Tritts Islands and landed about a mile below on the Landcaster shore, stripped of all we had except the above named chattels. We lived there in Lancaster County in a newly laid out town called Washington in Manor Township, about two and one-half miles below Columbia and about the same distance above Turkey Hill Halls. This town at that time one tavern with the sign of the Father of our country, namely General George Washington, and kept by Abraham Bitner, one store kept by George Brush, our blacksmith ship carried on by one Mr. McAshere from the city of Lancaster for one or two years. This place grew very fast on account of great lumber places, grain and coal business that was carried on by the Susquehanna River. Speculators came in from every quarter, buildings sprang up as by magic, some four or five hotels sprang up to entertain men and licquor flowed like water. Drinking, gambling and horse racing were the order of the day and of course boozing and fighting in abundance. Everything went on smoothly seemingly for a time, but the day of reckoning came very soon and a relapse took place. Those that had built and speculated lost their money and only those that stood out from under the fall escaped. The sheriff and under-sheriff visited the place very often. Stores and taverns were still up and real estate sold by the officers at low rates and but few escaped destruction and you might see the proprietors and speculators walking from one tavern to another like walking pickles to drawn sorrow in licquor, a habit contracted when everything was going on fine. I saw the rise and fall of these things in a very few years, and when but a child of course, saw little good in those years although young, I was an apt scholar. This was just before or about the time of the War of 1812 with England. About this time my mother (who was lingering with consumption) died in August, perhaps about 1812 or 1813. Right here I want to relate a certain thing that took place that I always thought of through life. As I stated before, my father and mother were members of the Lutheran church. My mother was a praying woman and often put her hand on my little head and asked God to take care of her youngest child. I often saw and heard her pray but had never known God in the pardon of sins. The day before she died two Elders of the Church, George Beets and Esq. Kauffman, came to see her about the middle of the day. While they were there, Mother fell into a sweet sleep; my oldest sister was fanning her. She slept perhaps one hour when she awoke. My sister told her that she had a sweet sleep. Mother said that iwas a happy sleep and that now the Lord had opened the door of mercy to her heart. Now she could rest, before she could not and she clasped her hands to her heart and praised God aloud. The Elders, not having the Spirit of the Lord in them, concluded she was crazy and would soon die. She did die that night, but she died happy with the Love of God in her heart. I have often thought about those Elders of the Lutheran Church of God, for they were better judges of a bottle of whiskey than of the Grace of God in the heart. The next spring my father took sick and died on the first day of April 1813 or 1814. I was then going on eight of nine years of age. My oldest sister Margaret by this time was married to a man by the name of William English. My next sister was married before this to a man by the name of Christian Binkley. Her name was Christine. After my father died, I lived with English for a short time. Then went to live with Binkley who was then keeping a tavern out in the country two and one-half miles from Washington Manor Township on cross roads sign of The Queen Tree. There I learned to sell whiskey and dance. I lived there till Binkley broke up from the effects of the Washington speculation. The sheriff sold him out and at that time it was a sell out for certain, for the law left him nothing. His friends bought the things and gave them to him. He moved back to Washington and commenced his old trade of butchering. I lived with them that summer then went back to the English's and lived with them a short time. In the spring of 1818 or 1819, I hired to David Herr to work on the farm for $1.00 per month. I lived with Mr. Herr four years. While with him I plowed, harrowed, drove team and worked in the stillhouse making whiskey and as a matter of course learned to drink some of the 'O Let Us Be Joyful'. Mr. David Herr's father was a member of the Albright Methodist Church (Dutch) and Jon Whisler the boy distiller was a class leader. The old gentleman, Christian Herr, had preached every other Sunday in the afternoon. We then thought stillhouses were necessitites. When once in blast we dare not stop until we stopped for good. Consequently they had a run on Sunday as well as on weekdays. On Sunday we would commence work at 3 o'clock in the morning in order to get our work done by meeting time. After preaching, Whisler led the class and had good David Herr, who was not a member but the old gentleman having given David his farm had reserved the right to have meetings in the house and family worship which was duly attended night and morning. He would get his Dutch Bible and Hymnbook, read a chapter and sing a hymn then get down and pray fervently. After prayers, he put away the books and walked up to the table where the big bottle stood (for you must remember whiskey was one of the necessities of life) and took his bitters and all of us would follow suit. Now let no one think that these men were not good men for they were good men in their day. That was the custom of the time and country. If I am so fortunate to get to the good world, I expect to meet old Christian Herr and John Whisler there, for they knew no better, but they could not do so in this day and generation. Then God winked at their ignorance but now commands all men everywhere to repent. In those days we had fairs and harvest frolics, not such fairs as we have in this day and country. The fairs did nto consist of stock and produce shows but fiddling, dancing, gambling, drinking, fighting and so on. The Lancaster fair was held annually on the first Thursday in June. Boys and girls would gather from all parts of the country and spends the day and perhaps part of the night at and going to and from the fair. It was nothing uncommon for girls to walk ten or twelve miles to the fair barefooted carrying their dancing pumps (slippers) till they neared the city, stop at a stream of water (which abound in that country) and wash their feet, put on their pumps, go in and dance all day, and walk home in the evening. Ask them in the morning where they were going and they would answer in a slow, tired tone, to the fair. We also had fairs or rather Harvest Frolics after harvest in nearly all of the small country towns, carried on in the same way. While at Mr. Herr's, I got all my schooling I ever got, nearly nine months. I worked nine months in the year for $4.00 per month, clothed myself and paid $3.00 for three months schooling, fed the stock night and morning, chopped the wood and worked on Saturday for my board and went from two to four miles to school. Thus you see my schooling was limited, but very handy to me, what little I got. Surely the rising generations should be thankful for the privileges of schooling they have in this day compared to my day. After leaving David Herr, perhaps in the fall of 1822, I took a notion to go to Hagarstown in Maryland to see a brother by the name of Adam Shickley, that was about 100 miles from the city of Lancaster. I started on that route sometime in October, made my bundle and left Lancaster on my journey for Hagarstown on foot. The first day I walked from Lancaster to near Little York, about 20 miles (it being my first trip on foot), I felt very boot sore and put up at a tavern, stayed all night, got supper, bed and breakfast, took my bundle and started on my journey. That day I made better time, passed though Little York, Abbots Town and another small town and got to Gettysburg where the great battle was fought and General Lee was defeated by General Meade. Stayed all night in Gettysburg and next morning I started for Millerstown at the foot of the South Alaganier Mountains, stopped there and took some refreshments and started up the mountain which is fourteen miles across and got on top of the mountain a little before sundown. On top of this mountain was a tavern called Ripply's Tavern and appears to stand on the highest peak of the mountain, and there is a fountain pump with the clear pure water spouting out of it some three or four feet from the ground. To look at the way the land lays it looks strange that such a fountain should be there, but it is stranger than it looks. There I inquired of the landlord how far it was to the nearest tavern, she said there was one at the foot of the hill, and I not knowing the distance to the foot of the hill (and the sun being up some distance) I thought I could make the foot of the hill. But low and behold, it was several miles to the foot and it got night on me before I got half way to the foot and it was dark for earnest Egyptian Darnkness that night befell. So I thought I could make the foot, but there I was afoot and alone in the mountains and the wolves howling on every side of me and as I thought this the hair standing nearly straight on my head, one thing was in my favor as the road was a good pike made over the mountain and wilderness on both sides, I could not miss the road. So I took to my heels and skiddadled as fast as I could, every time a wolf would howl, twould give me a fresh start. But soon as luck would have it I overtook two wagons loaded for Pittsburgh making for the tavern at the foot of the hill. So I considered myself safe for the time and kept them company till we got to the tavern. It was kept by a good clever Irishman by the name of Johnny McGuire. The house was a large hewn log house, two story chunked and daubed and was comfortable. There we got a warm supper and I felt at home. After a good warming and a pleasant chat, I was taken to a good room with a good bed in it and the good Irish landlord bid me goodnight and a good rest and I truly felt good over the good hospitality so I commenced getting ready to go to bed. Went to bed and found five or six good heavy blankets and quilts on the bed, this surprised me. I raised the feather bed, this surprised me furthermore for I could hardly lift it (no don't laugh at me for I never slept on feathers in all my life and did not then know that any person did or even dared do such a thing). So I gathered up resolution and lifted the feather bed and crept in under the feather bed on the under bed with feather, blankets and quilts on me. So you may well guess I slept warm that night. A snow fell 5 to 6 inches deep that night and in the morning I was awakened by the sound of the hunters horn and the howl of dogs. The good Irish host was calling his dogs up to feed and get them ready for the fox chase. I crawled from under my feather bed having slept rather an uncomfortable night of it on account of having too much cover on me. I did not feel any the better for the good Irish hospitality but I dressed and came down and was met by my good host who inquired after my welfare and hoped I had passed a pleasant night of it. I assured him all was right and so it is often the kindness of our best friends becomes a curse to us if we are ignorant to the use of the article. After eating a good breakfast, I felt some better. Bidding them goodbye for that time, I started on my journey and entered the beautiful valley that contains Hagarstown in the State of Maryland. I came to a small town called Lightersburg and crossed Antietam Creek perhaps near where the Great Antietam Battle was fought in the great southern rebellion and that evening I landed at my brothers house finding them all well and very glad to see me. I was the youngest brother and had never seen his wife. I spent the winter in that region, made my home at my brothers, drove team two months for Capt. Jacob Barns who came from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in an early day. I think he had twelve slaves, but he treated them well and they worked well. But still he would not trust any of them to drive his team. That was my first introduction to slavery. That winter I found out some of the cruelness of that system, thought it existed there in mild form. On adjoining farms lived a man by the name of William (Bill) Fitsten, who owned 40 or 50 half starved and half naked slaves (for the raised them for market like we do hogs and cattle). They would steal everything they could get their hands on. They seemed more like brutes than humans, you could hear the sound of the lash every day on the Fitsten farm. Capt. Barns never whipped a slave while I was there, he told me he never did whip his Negroes. A few others in the neighborhood, Jacob Horer, Wm. Billmine also treated their slaves well. Their slaves farmed as well as if they were free, only they were slaves, but there were exceptions to that rule. I only worked the two months, the rest of the winter I looked around to see sights in that region. I crossed the Potomac River int Virginia at Williams port at the mouth of the Antietam Creek. In that state I saw more of the cruel memories of slavery. Then I went back to my brothers, settled down for a few weeks and began to think about matters and things in general. Then it was that I became Anti-slavery, dyed in the wool. In my own mind swore vengeance against it and pronounced it (in the language of John Wesley) the 'the Sum of all Villainy' and have since set my face against it. I remained in that neighborhood till abut the middle of March. After visiting Hagarstown and other small towns, mingled with the crowd as young and old, after which I again made my bundle and started back for old Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. My first days travel bought me back to my old Irish friend John McGuire at the foot of the hill and there I again stayed all night. They all knew me and seemed glad to see me. I slept in the same good bed. I forgot to say that with the many other things, I learned to sleep on feathers and liked it pretty well. So that night I slept on feathers and felt better the next morning. After breakfast, I paid my bill (which was a very modest one) bid the kind Irish family goodbye and started for home. That day I made it over the mountain and landed in Gettysburg in the evening. Stayed all night there, next morning I started for Little York. There I stopped with an old acquaintance by the name of George Smith who kept a tavern in that place. Stayed all night there with him, then started for Lancaster County, crossed the Susquehanna River at Columbia, went down the river two and one-half miles to Washington to my old stomping grounds. I stayed with my brother-in-law, Binkley found them all well and glad to see me, stayed around there visiting my old friends for about two weeks, or until about the first of April. During these few weeks, I made up my mind to learn the shoemaker's trade. So I went to Lancaster City. My brother-in-law English lived there then. I made a bargain with an old gentleman by the name of Michael Donadinger to learn the book and shoe trade. I was to stay three years, he was to board me and do my washing and mending. I was to find my own clothes, and as soon as I could make a pair of shoes and I was able to amek him six pair a week and for each pair over that he was to pay me 50 cents per pair coarse shoes and four pair of fine shoes for him per week and he paid me 75 cents per pair overwork. Coarse boots three pair per week for him and one dollar and fifty cents per pair for overwork. Fine boots two pair for him per week and $2.50 per pair overwork. In two weeks I made a pair of coarse shoes everyday, and not very long after that I made nine pair a week and so on. I worked too hard and sat too studious at first. I worked about eight months. When I began I weighed 135 pounds and at the end of eight months I only weighed 96 pounds. I had to lay down every day part of the day. So I was forced to quit that business. My boss did not like to part with me. He and I got along very well but I had to quit, and think it would have killed me and remember all this time we all drank whiskey more or less. This was the custom of the times and country and I (as others) wanted my bitters just as much as my meals. My brother Joseph Shickley and William English my brother-in-law worked in partnership at the carpenter trade. They agreed each of them to take an apprentice and they agreed to take me for one. I, feeling some better in a few weeks got tin with them to learn the carpenter trade. They were then hewing timbers on Buckers Hill in Strawsburg Township for a house and barn. They had taken another apprentice by the name of William Muckelvain, a big stout young fellow about 19 years old and was used to working with the axe. To me it was rubbing it in a new place. But I set in with him scoring timber. He on one side of the log and I on the other. I kept side by side of him 'til about the middle of the afternoon, when I could do no more that day. Muckelvain commenced laughing at me and said he thought English and Shickley had made a very poor fist of it to take such a baby of a fellow as an apprentice to work beside him. You may guess how I felt over such talk from a fellow I had never met before. I looked at him a little while, my blood boiling in me. I mustered up strength and rose to me feet (the bosses both standing by) and said to him, 'I have just come off of the shoemakers bench nearly dead, but weak as I am I can throw you down as fast as these two men can pick you up. More than all that, after I gain a little more strength, you and I will settle this matter in a different way than handling axes. You may depend upon it you unprincipled rascal you. I will whip you and you must whip me if you and I stay together.,' Neither of the bosses said anything and that evening Muckelvain had an errand home but never came back." Peter was listed as the head of a family on the 1870 Census at New Jasper Twp., Greene Co., Ohio
. Peter died on 30 May 1873 at Greene Co., Ohio
, at age 66. His body was interred in 1873 at Jamestown, Greene Co., Ohio
, at Jamestown Cemetery.