Preserving History Since 1923

The Cochran-Anspach House

About the Cochran-Anspach House

The Cochran-Anspach House was built in 1821 by Isaiah Clark, for Thomas Cochran, one of the first settlers and a larger landholder in Millerstown. This was the third stone house Mr. Cochran had built in town. Thomas Cochran was born in 1776 in Londonderry, Ireland. Thomas and his three brothers purportedly owned large tracts of land, but because they were Protestant, chose to leave Ireland and come to this country. Thomas arrived in Millerstown by 1798. Records state that Thomas Cochran was “an elegant looking gentleman of courteous and pleasant manners and an excellent penman.” In 1802, he married Sophia Maria Porter of Lewistown, who was also born in Londonderry in 1776. The couple would have six children together.

The first stone house constructed in Millerstown by Cochran was the longtime VFW and was completed in 1801. Here Cochran kept a store and post office, as well as an inn known as the “Cochran Hotel.” The first sermon preached in Millerstown was by Reverend John Hutchinson of Mifflintown in the barroom of the hotel in 1806. It was the beginning of the Millerstown Presbyterian Church which was later built in 1831-32 on lands donated by Thomas and Sophia Cochran. Cochran built his second stone house, on the northeast side of the square, in 1813. He kept store in the house beside this second house until 1834. When Thomas Cochran died in 1846 at the age of seventy, he had vast holdings of land in Pennsylvania and Missouri, as well as stock in a Harrisburg bank.

According to his will, Thomas Cochran bequeathed the stone dwelling in Millerstown, “all household furnishings, his riding horse and barouche, two milch cows, and the income from 200 shares of bank stock to his wife during her natural life.” At her death the furnishings were to be divided among his children and “none else.” His other holdings were willed to his surviving children. To his son, Thomas Preston Cochran, he bequeathed a farm in Pfoutz Valley, as well as the Daniel Hoffman farm and the stone house in Millerstown, his church pew #56 and another pew #2.

Thomas Preston Cochran was born in Millerstown in 1813. His primary education was at the common schools of Millerstown which he attended until the age of ten. He then attended a preparatory school prior to entering Jefferson College. Due to failing eyesight he returned home after graduation and became a clerk in his father’s mercantile business. On his father’s retirement in 1835, Thomas Preston succeeded running the establishment and became a successful merchant. Later in life, Mr. Cochran disposed of the store and bought a farm in Greenwood Township where he busied himself in agriculture and mining pursuits. In the course of time, he acquired seven farms. In 1864 he retired from actively running the mercantile business, selling all but two farms but still managing his iron ore interests.

Thomas P. married Jane Patterson of Juniata County in 1835. She died in 1836 leaving a son Robert P. Cochran. In 1839 Thomas married Rebecca Black of Tuscarora Township who died about 1884 leaving five children. In 1886 Mr. Cochran married Hannah Maria Kauffman, a widow from Juniata County. After Thomas’ death, the property passed to Hannah, whose son Charles A., purchased it in 1916 later passing to his daughter Anna Kauffman Anspach (born 1883), wife of Irvin Anspach-a druggist from York Haven. Their son Irvin Kauffman was born in 1909. Anna and Irvin Kauffman, Sr. divorced in 1922. Kauffman and his mother lived in Harrisburg until returning to Millerstown in the 1950s. Upon his mother’s death, the property passed to Kauffman. Irvin Kauffman worked in Harrisburg for many years, but lived in the stone house in Millerstown until his death in 1981. The dwelling was bequeathed to the Historical Society of Perry County in 1981. Although structurally sound, the house was in a serious state of disrepair, and was slowly restored to a Victorian-era appearance.

The central hall with the suspended stairway is spacious. The large front door is enhanced with a graceful double arch with six overhead panes. New, Victorian-era lights were installed on either side of the door as well as overhead. There are four large rooms downstairs, each with its own fireplace. The upstairs contains four large rooms as well as a small room at the front. Three of the upstairs rooms have fireplaces and reproduction wallpaper has been re-applied in several of the rooms. Outside, an herb and flower garden is located on either side of the patio at the back of the house. During the restoration, a unique walkway made of millstones was uncovered and restored.