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XTbe Begfnninos of tbe 

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Professor of History in Pennsylvania College, Gettysburg, and Curator of the 

Historical Society of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the 

United States of America 




Copyrighted, 1916 

By the 






This Volume is Gratefully Inscribed to the 
Memory of 



^i^Blj^HE sources usually determine the stream. The 
m ■ I beginnings of a movement generally contain a 
All prophecy of its later development. For that 
^^^^F reason it has been thought worth while to 
make a study of the origin of the present Ger- 
man element in York County. The position of Pennsyl- 
vania in the affairs of the nation and the position of York 
County in the affairs of the state, make it profitable to 
investigate the earliest beginnings of the strongest ele- 
ment in the county. The study has been fruitful for it 
has dealt with virgin soil. 

It has not been possible in a single monograph like this 
to trace the history of these settlements beyond their very 
beginnings. Nor has the attempt been made to follow out 
all possible lines of investigation, such as the economic, the 
sociological, the political, the industrial, the religious, and 
the linguistic. To set forth the full history of the Ger- 
mans in the county will require a series of volumes. The 
present treatise is merely a study preliminary to such a full 
presentation of their history. It has been regarded as 
suiScient to show in this treatise how those German settle- 
ments took their beginnings, and to set forth such char- 
acteristics of the original settlers and such features of the 
original settlements as will enable the reader to understand 

6 German Element in York County, Pa. 

the relation of this element to the subsequent history of the 
county, to the general movement of Germans in this coun- 
try, to the colonial history of the state of Pennsylvania, 
and to the general course of events in our national history. 
Our study therefore has barely covered two decades and 
has in no case carried us beyond the middle of the eight- 
eenth century. But this brief span of years lies in the 
most important because the most formative period of our 

The York County with which we deal is the county as 
bounded on the map of today. Other geographical ex- 
pressions also are used with their present-day signijficance. 

An effort has been made to weave the body of the text 
into the form of a continuous narrative and so far as pos- 
sible to relegate to the footnotes all references to sources, 
all allusions merely incidental, and all details not directly 
relevant. Specific acknowledgment of all sources is made 
at the places where they are used and these are also col- 
lated in the Bibliography (Appendix D). The Blunston 
letters that are quoted or referred to are always found 
in the " Miscellaneous Manuscripts of York and Cumber- 
land Counties, 1738-1806" (see Bibliography) unless 
otherwise indicated. 

Gettysburg, Pa., 
April 30, 19 14. 


Foreword 5,6 

Table of Contents 7 

Chapter I. — The First White Men in the County . . . 9-20 

Chapter II. — The First Settlers 21-36 

Chapter III. — The First Settlement 37-68 

Chapter IV. — Other Early Settlements 69-95 

Chapter V. — ^Whence the Germans Came and Why . 96-123 

Chapter VI. — Outstanding Characteristics 124-147 

Chapter VII. — ^The Limestone Soil 148-174 

Chapter VIII. — Their Place in Pennsylvania History . 175-185 
Chapter IX. — Their Place in General American His- 
tory 186-196 

Appendix A. — Letter of Samuel Blunston 197-202 

Appendix B. — Signers of Letter to Maryland 203, 204 

Appendix C. — Inventory of Jacob Welshover's Estate . 205-207 

Appendix D. — Bibliography 208-217 


The First White Men in the County. 

^^JJ^^'ONG before the white man began to make per- 
^ll manent settlements in what is now York 

^■B j County, its valleys were trodden by the pil- 
^0^m grim, the explorer, and the trader. Already 
in the first decade of the eighteenth century 
settlements had begun in Lancaster County just east of the 
Susquehanna River. At the same time or shortly before 
that settlements began to spring up on the Monocacy in 
Maryland and in the Shenandoah Valley of western Vir- 
ginia. The settlers in these regions were for the most part 
Germans who had left their homes chiefly on account of 
religious persecutions. That there were German settle- 
ments in Virginia some years before the end of the seven- 
teenth century is shown by an old French map^ of 1687 
which marks the location of a German settlement at the 
headwaters of the Rappahannock River. This is also con- 
firmed by an English map of about the same time which 
has the words " Teutsche Staat " on the upper Rappahan- 
nock, and on the upper James River points out " Meister 

1 Now in the collection of Dr. Julius F. Sachse of Philadelphia. See 
letter of Sachse, Feb. 10, 1907, to Wayland in Wayland's "German Ele- 
ment in the Shenandoah Valley," p. 10. 


10 German Element in York County, Pa. 

Krugs plantasie." Furthermore in 1699 Daniel Falckner, 
one of the pietists on the WIssahickon Creek, was sent to 
Germany as representative of the pietistic fraternity. One 
of the expressed objects of this trip to the Fatherland was 
to solicit aid and additional recruits so that the perfect 
number of forty could be kept intact and so that the fra- 
ternity could extend their usefulness In educating their 
neglected countrymen in Pennsylvania and Virginia.^ 

It was only natural that these German pioneers In the 
different colonies should early seek to communicate with 
one another. And so as a matter of fact they did. The 
common bonds of nationality and of religious Interest soon 
operated to bring about Intercourse and conference between 
the German sectarians of eastern Pennsylvania and those 
of Maryland and Virginia on the south. Letters were 
written and journeys were made. The journal of John 
Kelplus^ shows that on October 10, 1704, that philosoph- 
ical mystic wrote from the banks of the WIssahickon In 
Pennsylvania a twenty-two page German letter to Maria 
Ehzabeth Gerber,* a disciple of his in Virginia. But the 
religious enthusiasm of the sectarians was not satisfied with 
the Interchange of letters. Visits were made for the purpose 
of exhorting and strengthening the brethren In the faith. 
Long preaching journeys were undertaken. The manu- 
script of Reverend Petrus Schaffer (written to Reverend 
August Hermann Francke) now in the archives at Halle 
shows that before the end of the seventeenth century, 
about the time that Falckner went to Germany, both Petrus 

2 Sachse, " Curieuse Nachricht," p. 371; also Sachse, " German Pietists 
of Pennsylvania," i^g^i-iyoS, p. 96 f. 

3 Journal now in the possession of Mr. Charles J. Wistar of German- 
town, Philadelphia. 

* There were Gerbers also in Lancaster County; see Rupp's "History of 
Lancaster County," p. 189. 

First JVhite Men in the County. ii 

Schaffer and Heinrich Bernhard Koster travelled from 
Pennsylvania to Virginia on such a mission.^ After Ger- 
man settlements had been made in the Carolinas in 1710^ 
the preaching and teaching trips of the Pennsylvania Ger- 
man sectarians extended beyond Virginia to what is now 
North Carolina, Thus in 1722 Michael Wohlfarth, a 
pietist from Germantown, journeyed on foot from Phila- 
delphia by way of Conrad Beissel's hut on the Miihlbach 
and through the Valley of Virginia to preach a revival 
among the Germans in North Carolina/ 

Now the route of these religious enthusiasts on their 
journeys from north to south was a well-marked one. It 
was the great natural avenue formed by the valley between 
the Blue Ridge and the Alleghany Mountains. This is 
the highway that from time immemorial had been used by 
the Indians in their wanderings from north to south or 
vice versa. It included the series of fertile valleys now 
known as the Cumberland, the Shenandoah, and the Vir- 
ginia Valleys. The first white men to set foot upon these 
regions were the German pietists of Pennsylvania and Vir- 
ginia. Before the close of the seventeenth century the 
German settlers, pilgrims, and explorers had begun to pass 
up and down over this great natural highway with its fer- 
tile soil and its well-watered bottoms and long before the 
middle of the eighteenth century the Germans were buying 
lands in the Shenandoah Valley and settling there as though 
it had been one of the outlying districts of the city of Phila- 

5 Sachse, "German Pietists of Pennsylvania," i'694-i7o8, p. 289; also 
" Curieuse Nachricht," p. 37, footnote. 

6 At Newbern, North Carolina, see Bernheim, " German Settlements and 
the Lutheran Church in the Carolinas," p. 67 ff. ; also Williamson's " His- 
tory of North Carolina." 

"^ Sachse, " German Sectarians of Pennsylvania," 1708^-1742, p. 80. 

12 German Element in York County, Pa. 

York County is not a part of this great highway but for 
the pilgrims coming from Lancaster County and the coun- 
ties east and northeast of Lancaster, York County is the 
gateway to the Cumberland and the Shenandoah Valleys. 
The German evangelists and pilgrims from eastern Penn- 
sylvania when they set out to visit their brethren in the 
South would usually call upon their countrymen in Lancas- 
ter County and then crossing the Susquehanna River would 
make their way across the entire breadth of York County 
until they reached the Cumberland Valley.^ In doing this 
they followed the path of the Indian trail which led from 
a point on the Susquehanna afterwards known as Wrights- 
ville, westward along the Kreutz Creek and across the 
Codorus Creek to a point one and one fourth miles beyond 
the present city of York and thence northwestward by 
MacAllister's Mill and through Wakely's (Moore's) Gap 
in the South Mountains to Carlisle on LeTorts Spring in 
the Cumberland Valley. Or else, instead of turning north- 
westward after leaving the site of York they continued 
southwestward and thus followed the entire course of the 
valley which extends across the width of the county from 
Wrightsville through York and Hanover and into Mary- 
land.^ These were well marked paths. They were in 
almost constant use by the aborigines before the white men 
came to America as a thorough-pass from the wilderness 
in the south and west to the wilderness in the north and 

8 Heinrich Sangmeister in his " Leben und Wandel " tells how he and his 
companion Brother Antonius left the Ephrata Cloister and reached the 
Cumberland Valley in this way. Sachse, German Sectarians, p. 345. 

^ The diaries of the Moravians (now preserved at Bethlehem, Pa.) 
indicate that they usually employed the latter route in their missionary 
journeys. And in the Virginia Magazine, Vol. 12, p. 55, footnote, we have 
the general statement: "The first part of the journeys of these Moravian 
missionaries was always the same. From Bethlehem by way of Lebanon, 
Lancaster, York, Pa., Frederick and Hagerstown, Md., to the Potomac." 

First White Men in the County. 13 

east. Long before permanent settlements had been made 
along the courses of this route its paths were trodden by 
the German missionaries and pilgrims on their way to the 
great valley highway that led to their brethren in the south. 
And when the county of York began to be populated and 
the need of roads began to be felt, a large part of this old 
Indian trail which had furnished the route for the mission- 
aries was constructed into the " Monacacy Road " ( 1739) • 
With the construction of the " Shippensburg Road" in 
1749 and the "Carlisle Road" in 175 1, the several 
branches of the historic missionary route from the Susque- 
hanna River to the Cumberland Valley disappeared en- 
tirely beneath the roadbed of the public hlghways.^*^ It is 
worthy of note that the Germans should have been the first 
white men to set foot upon these regions which were to be 
so largely settled by Germans less than half a century later 
and which were to furnish the outlet for so large a body 
of German immigration to the south and the west. 

After the valleys of York County had been in use for 
some years as a thoroughfare for the German pilgrim, the 
explorer and the trader began to interest themselves in 
these districts. The first traders appeared shortly after 
the beginning of the eighteenth century. John Harris an 
Englishman settled at the site of Harrisburg In 1705. He 
opened a trading station and carried on an extensive busi- 
ness with the Indians on both sides of the Susquehanna 
River both north and south of his station. The Indians 
in York County were situated chiefly along the river and 
Harris purchased large quantities of skins and furs from 
them. But the chief pioneer Indian traders along the 
lower Susquehanna were French Canadians. Prominent 

1° See, for example, Gibson's " History of York County," p. 321 f. 

14 German Element in York County, Pa. 

among them are the names of Martin Chartier, Peter 
Chartier, Peter Bazaillon, and James LeTort. They all 
had their stations on the east side of the river but carried 
on a large business in trading with the Indians west of the 

The first man to explore the county was a representative 
of the German Mennonites from Switzerland. It was the 
explorations of Lewis Michelle from Bern that led to the 
first Pennsylvania survey within the present limits of York 
County. Michelle (or Mitchel) was employed by his 
fellow countrymen and co-religionists of the canton of 
Bern and sent to America in 1703 or 1704 to search for a 
convenient tract of vacant land in Pennsylvania, Virginia, 
or Carolina, that might serve as a suitable place for the 
settlement of a Swiss Mennonite colony.^ ^ In the course 
of this search he came in 1706 to the Conestoga region in 
the western part of Lancaster County. On February 24, 
1707, the Conestoga Indians made formal complaint 
against Michelle for his wanderings among their lands, 
and for having pressed their people into service as guides 
and assistants.^ ^ 

Michelle was a miner according to the testimony of 
Governor Evans, and for that reason received the encour- 
agement and support of the Pennsylvania government in 
his explorations.^^ For the early colonial governments 

11 A. Stapleton in his " Memorials of the Hugenots in America," speak- 
ing of the French traders in the Conestoga Valley of Lancaster County, 
says, p. 89: "It is worthy of note that Lewis Mitchelle the advance agent 
and prospector of the Bernese Mennonites, spent a number of years with 
these traders (1703^1707) on terms of intimacy and was accused by the 
authorities on the occasion of a misunderstanding of having led the French- 
men here." 

12 Colonial Records, II : 4x34 f . Also Rupp's " Lancaster County," p. 54. f . 

13 "The Governor added that he found he {i. e., Michelle) had some 
notion of mines, and had his thoughts much bent that way; that he was 

First White Men in the County. 15 

were always keenly on the alert for even the slightest indi- 
cation of mineral wealth in the soil of the new land and 
they always encouraged the search for mines, at the same 
time exercising care to pre-empt for themselves the ex- 
clusive rights of exploitation. At one time Governor 
Evans was strongly suspected of conniving with Michelle 
to secure personal gain from the discoveries of this roving 
prospector. In 1708 William Penn wrote from England 
to James Logan, his secretary: "Remember the mines 
which the Governor yet makes a secret, even to thee and 
all the world but himself and Michelle." 
\ But the explorations of Michelle west of the Susque- 
hanna bore their first real fruit under the governorship of 
Sir William Keith, a shrewd and enterprising Scotchman 
who was quick to develop the natural resources of the prov- 
ince and who also was not beyond turning those resources 
partly to his own personal benefit. Governor Keith was 
the first governor to lead the proprietary surveyors beyond 
the Susquehanna River and into the present limits of York 
■ County. This first survey was made in 1722 and was one 
of two surveys made within the present limits of our 
county in the month of April of that year. Governor 
Keith's survey was the first and was made secretly on April 
4 and 5. The governor afterwards gave as his reason for 
making this survey that he wished to prevent the obnoxious 
intrusions of the Marylanders in this part of Pennsylvania 
soil. The circumstances under which this survey was made 
throw much light on the historical background of the 
earliest German settlements in the county. 

willing to let him proceed, and had not discouraged him; that he advised 
him to take some Indians with him; that of the persons before mentioned, 
the Governor had ordered two that he could confide in to be there, that he 
might have a full account of their proceedings." Col. Rec, II: 405. 

l6 German Element in York County, Pa. 

Sir William, it would seem, was amply justified in the 
swift and sudden measures he took to secure the territory 
west of the river. Delay might have been costly. The 
governor explained his action at the meeting of the Pro- 
vincial Council in Philadelphia on April i6, 1722, in these 
words : 

Upon some information I lately received that the Indians were 
like to be disturbed by the Secret and Underhand Practices of 
Persons, both from Mary Land and this Place, who under the 
Pretence of finding a Copper Mine, were about to Survey and take 
up Lands on the other side of the River Sasquehannah, contrary to 
a former Order of this Government; I not only sent up a Special 
Messenger with a Writ under the Lesser Seal to prevent them, but 
took this Occasion to go towards the Upper parts of Chester County 
myself in order to Locate a small quantity of Land unto which I 
had purchased an original Proprietary Right; And understanding 
further upon the Road, that some Persons were actually come with 
a Mary Land Right to Survey Lands upon Sasquehannah, fifteen 
miles above Conestoga, I pursued my course directly thither, and 
happily arrived but a very few hours in time to prevent the Execu- 
tion of their Design. Having the Surveyor General of this Prov- 
ince along with me in Company, after a little Consideration, I 
ordered him to Locate and Survey some part of the Right I pos- 
sessed, viz. ; only five hundred acres upon that Spot on the other Side 
Sasquehannah, which was like to prove a Bone of Contention, 
and breed so much mischief, and he did so accordingly upon the 4th 
and 5th days of this Instant April, after which I returned to Con- 
estogoe, in order to discourse with the Indians upon what had 

He was none too soon with his scheme to forestall the 
Maryland survey. For a company of people under Mary- 
land authority and in partnership with the Maryland Pro- 
prietor was busy sinking shafts and prospecting for mines 

"Col. Rec, II: i6o. 

First White Men in the County. 17 

in that region. They were already operating a mine far- 
ther south along the Susquehanna and had designs upon 
the very tract which Governor Keith had reserved. Among 
the unpublished Calvert Papers^ ^ is the certificate of a 
survey of 200 acres made April 24, 1722, by Deputy Sur- 
veyor John Dorsey of Maryland "by virtue of a warrant 
granted unto Philip Syng and Thomas Browne both of the 
City of Philadelphia in the Province of Pennsylvania out 
of his Lordships Land Office bearing date of March 28th, 
1722." This tract was known as " Partner's Adventure." 
Another of the Calvert Papers gives an account of the ex- 
amination of Philip Syng,^^ May 28, 1722, before the 
Governor and Council of Pennsylvania, on the charge of 
having surveyed land under a Maryland warrant within 
the bounds of the Keith tract.^"^ The evidence in this ex- 
amination shows that the survey on account of which Syng 
was apprehended and committed was the Partner's Ad- 
venture of 200 acres surveyed by John Dorsey. For this 
a warrant had been issued as early as March 28, 1722. 
Governor Keith therefore was just in time with his survey 
of April 4 and 5 to make good the Pennsylvania claim. 

The keen disappointment of the Marylanders at their 
exclusion from this region and their further designs upon 
the land are manifest from the following letter of July 19, 
1722, from the Secretary Philemon Lloyd to Lord Balti- 
more and Co-Partners in London: 

I did myself the honor of writing to you of June 1722 . . . 
have seen Roach, Sing and Brown ; the 3 remaining partners in the 

15 No. 274. In the Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, Md. 

16 No. 273. The warrant for his arrest (among the Calvert Papers) is 
dated May 27, 1722, and designates Philip Syng as a silversmith. 

" See also Col. Rec, III: ijG. 

1 8 German Element in York County, Pa, 

adventure. They seem very much disconcerted at the loss of their 
mine upon Susquehannah, of which I sent the ... in my (last). 
I have received at their hands 2 ps of Oar : the one copper and Iron 
the other silver and iron. The mine is so strictly guarded that they 
tell me they could not possibly gett any more, (but) promise a 
larger quantity against the time that I come up to them. Which I 
design in six or seven days at the farthest and will then go to the 
place where they have several men at work in opening a copper 
mine, much lower down in Maryland. 

Gentlemen, According to the worth and circumstances of this 
and other mines, I shall find myself under a necessity of doeing 
something with the discoverers rather than be wholly shut out from 
these first undertakings in case the land be allready taken up; but 
if not I will then lay warrants wherever I can hear of any probabil- 
ity of a mine. Schylers and the mine upon the Susquehannah hath 
made such a noise in the world, that the woods are now full of 
mine hunters. Many discoveries are already made; but the worth 
of them unknown untill shafts shall be sunk to find out the large- 
ness and quality of the vein. Upon which account I humbly pro- 
pose: [here follow four propositions to encourage the finding and 
reporting of mines] 

Publick reports concerning the value of the mine upon Susque- 
hannah are various and uncertain, especially of late, they have given 
out that the Governor &c after a great deal of pains and cost are 
about to quit it. On the other hand Sing, Roach, and Brown tell 
me, that such reports are spread abroad on purpose to give . . . 
oppertunity of conveying away the oar with little or no notice, they 
allso . . . they came from Philadelphia, 7 Waggons were in wait- 
ing near . . . transport the oar down to New Castle which is 50 
miles distance, & I had . . . some persons tell me allso that a much 
better way be ... to the head of one of our rivers with 30 miles 
land carriage. 

I am not a little concerned that the reserve of 10,000 Acres 
formerly advised of hath not been executed. I know not by what 
means the Pennsylvanians had notice of it, but before our surveyor 

First White Men in the County. 19 

went up (he was out of the way for some time after I sent the 
warrant to him) they had posted souldiers all about the woods So 
that our officer dared not to go and execute the warrant. How- 
ever I am resolved to be up among them and to lay the reserve if 
possible ; notwithstanding if Sir William Keith hath laid out all the 
adjacent lands for young Penn by name of Springetts Bury qr 
75,520 Acres though I believe twice that quantity may be thrust 
into those bounds, by reason of the terms more or less ; as you will 
see they are there made use of in the enclosed copy of warrant. 

As soon as Sing Roach &c went up ; a warrant was issued out by 
Sir William and Sing taken upon the mine : thence carried to Phil- 
adelphia and committed to the city goal, as you will perceive by the 
inclosed papers which I have purposely transmitted that the rigor- 
ous methods of these people may be known. I design however 
to make a survey there with all imaginable secrecy, but should be 
heartily glad if a proper instrument were sent over (for) the taking 
the Lat. of the place, or that some publick directions were given 
to the Government for the making an (exact) discovery of the 
line of 40 North.^^ 

The second survey was made on April 10 and 11, and 
covered much the same territory as Keith's survey. It 
was made upon the order of Penn's Commissioners of 
Property. The Commissioners afterwards gave as their 
reason for making the survey that they had been " informed 
that the Governor (Sir William Keith) had gone towards 
Susquehanna and had taken Jacob Taylor with him, which 
gave them some apprehension of a design which he might 
have on a parcel of land on the other (west) side of the 
Susquehanna where was supposed to be a copper mlne."^^ 
The region covered by these surveys afterwards for some 
years bore the title " Keith's Mine Tract." There can be 

18 The published Calvert Papers, No. 2, p. 25 ff. " Fund Publications." 

19 Minutes of the meeting of the Commissioners of Property held in 
Philadelphia, April 161, 1722. 

20 German Element in York County, Pa. 

little doubt therefore that the first authorized survey in 
York County was incited by the hope of finding some min- 
eral or ore, either copper or gold, and that attention was 
directed to this region by the explorations of Lewis 
Michelle, the Mennonite miner, whose prospecting for 
mines in 1706 had led to the formal complaint of the 
Conestoga Indians. It is not at all surprising that Gov- 
ernor Keith was well informed of the movements of this 
advance agent of the Mennonites. For he was keenly 
interested in the development of the natural resources of 
his province and he also seems to have been generally on 
\ favoring terms with the Germans. For it was he who in 
1723, of his own motion and with the subsequent disap- 
proval of the Proprietary, placed the Germans from Scho- 
harie, New York, in the Tulpehocken Valley. 

Just how much of the present area of York County was 
covered by the explorations of Michelle it is not possible 
to ascertain but it seems certain that they extended over the 
present townships bordering on the river from Newberry 
south, and at times must have penetrated as far westward 
as the Cumberland Valley.^^ Much of this territory after- 
wards became very familiar soil, not only to the German 
Mennonites but also to Germans of other religious faiths. 

20 For the formal complaint of the Indians (supra, p. 5) stated that 
"divers Europeans, namely: Mitchel (a Swiss), Peter Bezalion, James le 
Tort, Martin Chartiere, the French glover of Philadelphia, Flranck, a 
young man of Canada, who was lately taken up here, being all French 
men, and one from Virginia, who also spoke French, had seated themselves 
and built houses upon the branches of the Patowmack, within this govern- 
ment, and pretended that they were in search of some mineral or Ore, &c." 
Col. Rec, II: 403 f. 


The First Settlers. 

^^^■^HE earliest attempts at settlement within the 
i "m I present limits of the county were made before 
ft I L the land had been purchased from the Indians, 
^^^^ hence before any kind of title could be given 
according to established usage. Those who 
thus entered unpurchased Indian lands were known as 
squatters. The first white squatter on the territory west 
of the Susquehanna was John Grist (otherwise Crist,^ 
Krist, Greist). He was an Englishman who came 
to York County from Hempfield Township, Lancaster 
County, in 17 19 or 1720.1 Grist was accompanied in 
this move by several other persons. They settled near the 
mouth of Kreutz Creek known In Keith's survey of 1722 

iThe fact referred to in footnote 20 of Chapter I that Michelle and 
others had, according to testimony of the Indians in 1707, " seated them- 
selves and built houses upon the branches of the Potowmack within this 
Government " can hardly be taken to mean that they were the first squatters 
west of the Susquehanna. For they were merely prospectors and adventur- 
ers. They certainly made no substantial improvements such as would con- 
stitute their houses a " settlement " or " plantation." They quickly moved 
on to other fields of exploration. In fact Michelle had already many 
weeks before the complaint of the Indians moved on to Maryland soil. 
Col. Rec, II: 404. 


22 German Element in York County, Pa. 

as " White Oak Branch." We are able now to determine 
very definitely the exact spot where Grist settled and 
planted his corn. Two drafts of the Keith survey are in 
existence, one in York and one in the Department of In- 
ternal Affairs at Harrisburg. The draft at Harrisburg 
identifies the settlement of John Grist with the habitation 
>^ of Captain Beaver, an Indian. The draft in York fixes 
^^ the habitation of Captain Beaver at about the spot now 
covered by the Pennsylvania Railroad Station at Wrights- 
ville. This then was the location of Grist's house and 

But the new settlement was very short-lived. Grist 
soon came into conflict with the Indians who resented his 
intrusion upon their domain. And in 172 1, upon com- 
plaint of the Indians and after repeated warnings and 
threats from the Commissioners of Property, he was fined 
and imprisoned in the jail at Philadelphia and was given 
his liberty only out of compassion for his poor family and 
on condition that he and his " accomplices" would remove 
at once from the west side of the river and that he would 
be placed under heavy bond for his good behavior. This 
was "judged absolutely necessary for the quiet of the In- 
dians, and also to prevent such audacious behavior in con- 
tempt of the authority of this government in the time to 

2 It is evidently not accurate when Rupp says (" History of Lancaster and 
York Counties," p. 529) that Grist was accsmpanied by " divers other 
families," for the provincial authorities deal with Grist alone and the 
" divers other persons " mentioned in the Colonial Records were probably 
only his associates in labor. 

3 Col. Rec, III: 137. This same John Grist afterwards, in 1738, settled 
298 acres on the Bermudian Creek in Manchester Township in the western 
part of York County, receiving his final warrants for the same on July 23, 
1742 and October 25, 1747. Lancaster County Records. 

The First Settlers. 23 

It might seem that this treatment was severe enough to 
serve its purpose of preventing any further attempts at 
squatting west of the Susquehanna. Nevertheless it was 
not long until others crossed the river from Lancaster 
County and settled on the west bank. In 1722, shortly 
after making the survey of Keith's Mine Tract, Governor 
Keith made a treaty with the Indians guaranteeing them 
the territory south and west of the Susquehanna for their 
exclusive possession. But in spite of this agreement it was 
shortly thereafter, perhaps even beginning in that same 
year, that three Englishmen, Edward Pamell, Paul Wil- 
liams, and Jefferey Sumerford, and one German, Michael 
Tanner,^ took up their abodes on the west side of the river 
opposite the Indian town of Conojahela, about three and a 
half miles south of the former settlement of John Grist.^ 
Here these intruders remained until late in the year 1727 
and that too not without the knowledge of the Pennsyl- 
vania authorities.^ But in the fall of 1727 upon the com- 
plaint of the Conestoga Indians they were removed by 
order of the deputy governor and council. And again for 

* Tanner could not have joined the rest until 1727, for he did not reach 
the port of Philadelphia until September 27th of that year. 

5 It is a confusion of facts when Carter and Glossbrenner, the first his- 
torians of the County, assert that these men had come from Maryland and 
were known as " the Maryland intruders." They were indeed intruders 
upon the territory of the Indians but they had come from Pennsylvania. 

^ For Wright and Blunston in their report to Governor Gordon in 1732 
state that until about two years before 1729 Parnell and the others had 
been settled west of the river and " for several years had paid uninter- 
rupted acknowledgement to this Province." Archives, 1 : 3 64 and Col. Rec, 
III: 470. The deposition of Tobias Hendricks (Dec, 1732) states that 
" during the continuance of the said Parnel, Williams and Others there, 
they paid taxes to this Province, Applied there for Justice, and in all cases 
acknowledged themselves Inhabitants of Pensylvania, until they were Re- 
moved from thence by Order of the Governor of Pensylvania, at the 
Request of the Conestogoe Indians." Archives, I: 362. 

24 German Element in York County, Pa. 

a short interval the lands west of the broad river lay vacant 
for the exclusive convenience of the Indians. 

By this time it had become evident that no permanent 
or successful settlement could be made west of the river 
without securing either the consent of the Indians or the 
authorization of the colonial government. Accordingly 
the next effort at pioneer improvement on the new soil 
proceeds with the consent of the secretary of the province. 
This first authorized settlement within the present limits 
\ of our county was made in 1728, a few months before 
Lancaster County was organized and separated from Ches- 
ter County. In the summer of that year John Hendricks 
removed from the banks of the Conestoga about three 
miles north of the Susquehanna and under the authority of 
government settled west of the Susquehanna upon the tracts 
from which John Grist and his companions had been com- 
pelled to remove in 1721. The circumstances attending 
this settlement will help us to understand something of the 
conditions under which the earliest settlements in York 
County took their beginnings. 

Hendricks's removal to the west side of the river had 
been under contemplation for several years. The hunt- 
ing-trips of Hendricks and his relations had often taken' 
them across the river and thus they had become fairly 
familiar with the soil on the west bank. Early in the year 
1727 John Hendricks had applied to James Logan, secre- 
tary of the Province, for permission to take up land and 
settle west of the river. At the same time a similar appli- 
cation was made by Joseph Chapham. Hendricks told 
Logan that the Indians west of the river were desirous that 
that he should settle there. Now Logan had heard that 
some people from Maryland were about to make surveys 

The First Settlers. 25 

on those lands. Accordingly upon the application of Hen- 
dricks and Chapham, Logan ordered Samuel Blunston, a 
magistrate located on the east bank of the Susquehanna, 
to survey a tract west of the river opposite Hempfield em- 
bracing about 1,000 or 1,500 acres. This was to be sur- 
veyed to William Penn, grandson of the first proprietor, 
and was to be regarded as part of the 10,000 acres devised 
by the proprietor to his grandson. It was hoped that this 
arrangement would both forestall any claim to the land 
that the Marylanders might put forth and at the same time 
give no offense to the Indians. Logan also instructed 
Blunston that if Hendricks and Chapham could secure the 
consent of the Indians, they together with Hendricks's 
brother James should be permitted to make settlement on 
part of the tract west of the river. 

In July, 1727, Blunston crossed the river and marked 
the four corners of a tract such as he had been ordered to 
survey. The actual survey was not then made because, as 
he explained, " at that time the weeds being so high we 
could not chain it nor carry an instrument to any purpose." 
Meanwhile Chapham had given up his intention of settling 
there and had moved to Carolina. Moreover the attitude 
of the Indians had become such that John and James Hen- 
dricks did not regard it as a safe venture to settle west of 
the river. For their brother Henry together with one 
Thomas Linvil had during the summer settled as squatters 
on the Codorus Creek at a point twelve miles west of the 
Susquehanna but the violent opposition of the Indians had 
forced them to withdraw. Thus no authorized settlement 
was effected in that year. 

But John Hendricks persisted. In the fall of the year 
1727 he appealed to Logan a second time for permission 


26 German Element in York County, Pa. 

to settle on the tract which had been marked off. But he 
was now informed that since the Indians insisted upon 
their rights and were determined that there should be no 
settlements of whites within their domain, no such per- 
mission as Hendricks sought could be granted by the 
authorities. However during the year 1728 the Indians 
began to grow cool in the assertion of their rights as over 
against the Pennsylvanians. For they began to realize 
from sad experience that if they hindered the citizens of 
Pennsylvania from settling in those parts the Mary- 
landers would occupy them by force without any consider- 
ation for the rights or feelings of the Indians. Marking 
this change of sentiment among the aborigines John Hen- 
dricks during the summer of 1728 removed across the 
river with his wife Rebecca and took up his abode upon 
the former plantation of John Grist.^ This he did with- 
out any further license than that which he had already re- 
ceived, namely, permission of the secretary of the Province 
to settle on a part of the tract marked off for William 
Penn, on condition that he first secure the consent of the 
Indians. As the Indians never objected to Hendricks's 
settlement there this settlement was always regarded by 
the authorities as legal and authorized.^ The tract on 

'^ Local historians following Carter and Glossbrenner have always as- 
signed 1729 as the date when both John and James Hendricks settled west 
of the river. But these statements are erroneous, as is evident from the 
clear and reliable account of Samuel Blunston (see Appendix A) and 
from the provisional warrant issued by Thomas Penn in 17133 (vide infra, 
p. 27). This date is also attested by a third document, a letter from Samuel 
Blunston to Richard Peters dated March 25, 17140, in which he says: 
" Inclosed herewith is a draught of the tract of land I bought of John 
Hendricks . . . the land was surveyed to and settled by John Hendricks in 
the year 1728 by order and consent of the proprietary commissioners." 
Penna. Archives, Second Series, Vol. VH, p. 219. 

8 For example, the Provincial Council makes reference in 1737 to " John 

TJie First Settlers. 27 

which Hendricks lived was formally surveyed to him by 
Blunston during the last week of November, 1729. It 
included 600 acres and constituted about one half, " the 
uper side and best part," of the tract originally marked 
off for the proprietor.^ 

The proprietary warrant for this survey and settlement 
was not issued until March 20, 1733. It was then issued 
on behalf of John Hendricks, James Hendricks, and 
Joshua Minshall. For John Hendricks did not long enjoy 
the distinction of being the only authorized settler west of 
the river. About the year 1731 James Hendricks, his 
brother, came and settled on a part of the tract on which 
John lived " it always being understood to be their equal 
right." But in the early spring of 1732 James was acci- 
dentally shot and killed by his father while they were hunt- 
ing turkeys, and his widow sold out her rights in the prop- 
erty to Joshua Minshall. Minshall settled on the land 
which he had thus bought and when Thomas Penn the 
following spring approved the survey and issued a condi- 
tional grant it read as follows : 

Wheras upon the Application of John & James Hendricks & 
some others, Inhabitants of Pensilvania the Commissioners of 
Property did in the year 1728 order Samuel Blunston to lay out a 
Tract of Land of Twelve hundred Acres lying on the West Side of 
Susquehannah opposite to Hempfield ; which Land was then settled 
by the said Parties, and is now in the Possession of the said John 
Hendricks and Joshua Minshall, who holds in right of the said 

Hendricks, who for some years lived on the west side of Susquehannah, 
on a Tract of Land laid out to him by the Authority of this Government." 
Col. Rec, IV: 150. 

^The draft of this survey was promised to Logan (as per Blunston*s 
Letter). If it was ever made it has since been lost. But the location of 
the tract is well known, being identical with the former plantation of 
John Grist. 

28 German Element in York County, Pa. 

James Hendricks; and it appearing to me that the said John Hen- 
dricks & Joshua Minshall are settled upon the said Land by regular 
Surveys — ordered to be made in the Year 1 728 of which I approve 
and will order a Patent or Patents to be drawn for that share of the 
Land laid out to the said John and James Hendricks to John Hen- 
dricks and Joshua Minshall as soon as the Indian Claim thereon 
shall be satisfied — on the same Terms other Lands in the County 
of Lancaster shall be granted. Philadelphia, 20th March 

It has usually been assumed that these first settlers within 
the present limits of York County were Englishmen. It 
is impossible to trace them farther back than their settle- 
ment in Lancaster County, and in the absence of informa- 
tion to the contrary they have been regarded as English. 
The earliest historians of the county, Carter and Gloss- 
brenner, in their " History of York County " take the Eng- 
lish nationality of the Hendrickses for granted, "The 
earliest settlers were English; these were, however, soon 
succeeded by vast numbers of German immigrants." In 
this they are followed implicitly by all the other historians 
of the county from Day to Gibson and Prowell. Thus 
Day quotes the above authors with approval and remarks : 
"John and James Hendricks in the spring of 1729, made 
the first settlement. . . . They were soon followed by 
other families, principally Germans, who settled around 
them within ten or twelve miles. "^^ Other writers have 
been content to accept the statement of these early authori- 
ties on the history of the county. Their conclusion is 
doubtless drawn from the associations and the names of 
the Hendrickses. 

They came from an English Quaker community in the 

10 Now in the Land Office at Harrisburg. 

11 Historical Collections of the State of Pennsylvania, p. 693. 

The First Settlers. 29 

township of Conestoga. Here in 17 15 "James Hen- 
dricks and company" had taken up a tract of 1,100 acres 
on the Conestoga Creek. This tract was divided out 
among the members of the "company" and became a 
strong Quaker community. This James Hendricks was 
the father of James and John, the earliest settlers west of 
the river, and associated with him In his " company" were 
such men as Jeremy Langhorne, Thomas Baldwin, David 
Priest, and Tobias Hendricks. These families were 
closely intermarried. Thus John Hendricks was married 
to Rebecca, daughter of Thomas Baldwin. This would 
seem to indicate also religious affinity between the Hen- 
drickses and the Baldwins, who were English Quakers.^^ 
Moreover their Immediate associates east of the river 
were in all cases English. The elder James Hendricks 
kept an ordinary where the highway from Philadelphia 
and Lancaster forded the Conestoga Creek. When the 
Hendrlckses migrated west of the river their property 
on the Conestoga was bought by an Englishman, John 
Postlethwait. John Hendricks's first petition to settle west 
of the river was made jointly with Joseph Chapham. Here 
again the name is unmistakably English as Is also the case 
with Thomas LInvil, the man associated with Henry Hen- 
dricks, brother of John and James, in the effort made in 
1727 to affect a settlement on the Codorus twelve miles 
west of the Susquehanna. Moreover the widow of James 
Hendricks sold out her rights to the English Quaker, 
Joshua Minshall. And afterwards when John Hendricks 
removed from Hellam Township to Manchester Town- 
ship he took up land adjoining Francis Worley, another 
name prominent among the Quakers. These close asso- 

12 Rebecca Hendricks in her deposition of Dec. 29, 1732, is specifically 
designated "one of the People called Quakers." Archives, I: 361 f. 

30 German Element in York County, Pa. 

ciatlons of the Hendrickses with the Quakers may be held 
to justify the conclusion that they were themselves Quakers 
and Englishmen. It can hardly be argued as against this 
conclusion that John Hendricks took up arms and partici- 
pated actively in the border warfare between the Mary- 
landers and the Pennsylvanians. For it is a well-known 
fact that in spite of their scruples against armed force, the 
hardy pioneer Quakers did sometimes in cases of emer- 
gency and for reasons of self-defense join in the appeal to 

But when consideration is had for the names of these 
earliest settlers themselves the argument for their English 
nationality seems less conclusive. The name Hendricks 
may be either English or German. It is of frequent oc- 
currence among the pioneer Germans of Pennsylvania. 
The name Hendrick appears repeatedly, both as Christian 
name and as surname, in the lists of German immigrants 
who arrived at the port of Philadelphia between 1727 and 
1775.^^ The transition from Hendrick to Hendricks, 
like that from Myer to Myers, was easy and quite usual. 
And although John and James Hendricks were located on 
the banks of the Conestoga before these lists of German 
immigrants began to be kept in Philadelphia, nevertheless 
it is an established fact that there were Germans in Penn- 
sylvania by the name of Hendricks (not merely Hendrick) 
early in the eighteenth century. For in the list of Germans 
naturalized by act of the Assembly September 29, 1709,^* 
are found the names of Wilhelm Hendricks, Henrich Hen- 

13 Instances of such names are pointed out by H. L. Fisher in Gibson's 
" History of York County," p. 222. These lists of immigrants are to be 
seen in the Division of Public Records at Harrisburg. They were edited 
and published in substantially correct form in 1856 by Professor I. Daniel 
Rupp, Rupp's " Collection of Thirty Thousand Names, etc." 

14 Col. Rec, II: 493. 

The First Settlers. 31 

drlcks, Gerhart Hendricks, and Lorentz Hendricks.^'^ So 
far therefore as the family name of John and James Hen- 
dricks is concerned it is altogether possible that they were 

Nor does the argument from their Christian names ex- 
clude the possibility of the German nationality of these 
first settlers. The Christian name James is indeed a good 
Quaker name and may be regarded as a strong indication 
of English heritage. For it occurs quite often among the 
kin of the pioneer settlers west of the Susquehanna. Their 
father was named James. And John had a son named 
James. ^^ But too much weight must not be attached to the 
inference from names alone as they occurred in those days 
of commingling races and languages. For as a matter of 
fact, in the second generation of Germans in America the 
name James does sometimes occur. And it may perhaps 
have occurred, by translation from the German, even in 
the first generation. For instance, as early as 1738, at the 
organization of the German Baptist Church of the Little 
Conewago, one of the first elders of the Church bears the 
name James Hendrick.^'^ 

isRupp's "Collection," p. 431. Michael Hendricks paid the yearly quit- 
rent in Frederick Township, Philadelphia County, before 1734. Rupp's 
" Collection," p. 472. 

16 There was a James Hendricks in the western part of Lancaster 
County even after the death of James the brother of John Hendricks in 
1732. He was connected with the first use of violence in the border diffi- 
culties west of the river. He was a carpenter, lived east of the river, and 
was employed by James Patterson in 1733 to make trips across the river to 
look after Patterson's horses there. We have two depositions made by 
him. In the one he is called a Quaker and makes affirmation (Nov. 25, 
17132). In the other he takes oath (Apr. 7, 1733 ). In both cases he makes 
his mark for a signature. Archives, I: 348 f. and 399 f. Also Col. Rec, 
4: 655. 

17 See Falkenstein, " History of the German Baptist Brethren Church," 
p. 97. 

32 German Element in York County, Pa. 

Moreover It Is a significant fact that James Logan in a 
letter to Samuel Blunston of May lo, 1727/^ when he has 
occasion Incidentally to refer to the younger James Hen- 
dricks erroneously calls him Hendrick Hendricks. This 
is a purely German name and was the correct name of 
another brother of James and John. Samuel Blunston 
afterwards calls this third brother Henry, which is but the 
English translation of Hendrick. Then too, In the course 
of their correspondence both Logan and Blunston refer to 
the father of James and John as Jacobus. This Is the 
German for James and this fact taken in connection with 
the occurrence of the German name Hendrick among the 
sons of Jacobus raises a high degree of presumption In 
favor of the German nationality of these Hendrlckses. 

Several years later when the Germans west of the river 
felt that as a class they were being treated with Injustice 
and subjected to Indignities they united among themselves 
to assert their rights and on this occasion their principal 
leaders and spokesmen were two men named Henry Hen- 
dricks and Michael Tanner. These Samuel Blunston 
speaks of as "the most principal Note among those Ger- 
mans."^^ The Identity of this Henry Hendricks with the 
Henry Hendricks who was a son of Jacobus Hendricks 
cannot be proved beyond doubt, but neither can It be suc- 
cessfully denied. It is, however, quite conceivable that 
Henry Hendricks, son of Jacobus, having made an unsuc- 
cessful effort in 1727 to settle on the banks of the Codorus, 
should have repeated the effort after his brothers had suc- 
ceeded, that he should have been among the first to settle 
in that region when settlers began to crowd Into it, and 
that this priority as well as his former English associations 

IS See Appendix A. 

i»Col. Rec, IV: 57 and 75. 

The First Settlers. 33 

should have marked him together with Michael Tanner, 
another of the earliest settlers, as leaders among their 

A similar inference may be drawn from the conduct of 
John Hendricks after he settled on the west bank of the 
river. For some years he was quite content and loyal to 
the Pennsylvania government under whose authority he 
had settled there. But then he became dissatisfied with 
the amount and the location of the land which had been 
assigned to him. In the spring of 1735 he appeared be- 
fore the proprietaries and complained of the "unfair and 
dishonest usage" he had received at the hands of John 
Wright and Samuel Blunston in relation to the land west 
of the Susquehanna. This was the occasion of Blunston's 
informing correspondence cited above. Blunston's ex- 
planations and endeavors evidently did not satisfy Hen- 
dricks for from this time forth he sympathizes warmly 
with the Marylanders. In 1736 we find him harboring 
them on his plantation and giving them aid in their aggres- 
sions. And in January, 1737, we find him imprisoned in 
the jail at Lancaster for "having unhappily engaged him- 
self on the side of Maryland and been concerned in some 
of their late riots.''^^ It is highly improbable that if John 
Hendricks had been an English Quaker in good standing 
he would have manifested such violent opposition to the 
Quaker government or such acrimony against such promi- 
nent individuals among the Quakers as were John Wright 
and Samuel Blunston. Nor would It have been necessary 
for these Friends to bring about his imprisonment and to 
bind him to keep the peace. This would have been a very 
unusual proceeding of Friends against a Friend. The prob- 

20 Col. Rec, IV: 150. 

34 German Element in York County, Pa. 

ability Is that If John was not a German he was at least not 
bound to the English Quakers of Lancaster County with 
such strong bonds of intimacy and nationality that they 
could not be severed. 

Nevertheless before the Hendrlckses crossed the Sus- 
quehanna they were evidently regarded as Englishmen by 
their fellow-citizens In Chester County. For In an old 
assessment list^^ for " Conestoga," Chester County, which 
gives the names of all the Inhabitants of the Conestoga 
district In the year 171 8 together with the rate for each, 
the inhabitants are distinguished as "English" and 
" Dutch." Here we find the names of James Hendricks 
and John Hendricks listed among the "English In- 

A similar Inference may be drawn from the case of the 
Tobias Hendricks mentioned above as one of the mem- 
bers of "James Hendricks and company" settled on the 
Conestoga in 17 15. Here the names, both Christian and 
surname, might be either English or German.^^ But this 
Tobias Hendricks was certainly regarded as English, for 
he became one of the magistrates of the peace for Lan- 
caster County about 1727^^ and served repeatedly in that 
capacity. His signature, still to be found on many docu- 
ments In the Division of Public Records at Harrisburg, 
is always in English script. From the appearance of his 
signature in 1737 and from the fact that he died as an old 
man In 1739 he seems to have belonged to the generation 

21 In the court house at West Chester. Copied by Gilbert Cope, Esq., 
and published in Egle's "Notes and Queries," Second Series, p. 131. 

22 The Christian name Tobias is of frequent occurrence among the Ger- 
mans of Pennsylvania and John Tobias is the full name of a German who 
arrived in New York port Sept. 17, 1743'. See Pennsylvania Magazine of 
History and Biography, Vol. 33, p. 21321. 

23 According to his own affirmation. Archives, I: 3-62;. 

The First Settlers. 35 

of the elder James Hendricks and was probably his 

But here again midst the conclusive evidence for the 
English nationality of Tobias Hendricks there are clear 
indications of close relationship with the Germans. For 
Tobias Hendricks, Jr., second son of the magistrate, very 
early associated himself with the Germans of York County 
in religious affairs. He was one of the founders of the 
German Lutheran Congregation of the Codorus. In the 
baptismal records of that Church his name appears as one 
of the heads of families in that congregation. All the 
other members of the Church were pure Germans. But it 
is a significant fact that a slight distinction is made in the 
Church Record between Tobias Hendricks and the other 
members of the Church. Pastor Stover, who kept the 
record, made all the entries in deep German script with 
the sole exception of the entry concerning Hendricks. 
His name is written in English script. The words of the 
entry are written in the German language and in German 
script but the English (or Latin) name of one of the 
children baptized is also in English script like the super- 
scription "Tobias Hendricks. "^^ This is a clear indica- 

24 He died in the Cumberland Valley west of the river in Nov. 1739, 
leaving a wife, Catherine, one daughter, Rebecca, and six sons. Egle's 
" Notes and Queries," Vol. II, 1896, p. 264. He was the ancestor of Vice- 
President Thomas A. Hendrix. 

25 This record is in the possession of Pastor Enders of York. The entry 
referred to is as follows (the words in English script are here in italic) : 

Tobias Hendrick 
Gab. Getauft 

[Here are records of baptisms of two sons, 
Joh. Jacob and Joh., and two daughters, 
Elizabetha and Rebecca.] 

1744 ^744 

Jan. 30. — Eine tochter Veronica zeug. Joh: Wolf. — April 15. 

36 German Element in York County, Pa. 

tion that Tobias Hendricks, though associated with the 
Germans in their worship, was nevertheless regarded by 
Pastor Stover as English. 

What conclusion may we draw from these considera- 
tions? It is highly probable, but remains without positive 
proof, that these Hendrickses were of German descent, 
that their ancestors one or two generations previous were 
Mennonites in Switzerland or in the Rhine Valley and 
had fled before persecution and found refuge in England; 
that there they quickly associated themselves with their 
English brethren in the faith, the Quakers, and with them 
came to America. In this case they might be called Eng- 
lishmen of German descent, and this would account for 
their German spirit of enterprise in pushing across the 
Susquehanna and locating where they did, while at the 
same time it would account for their English associations 
and the English form of their Christian names. Certain 
it is that soon after their location in York County the 
Hendrickses were close associates of the Germans who 
followed them into the county. They sympathized with 
them in times of adversity and cooperated with them in 
matters of religion. But while there were these strong 
bonds of sympathy and cooperation, perhaps even ties of 
blood between these pioneer Hendrickses and the early 
Germans in the county, nevertheless the places from which 
they came, their associates before their migration, together 
with the other evidence in the case, seem to leave little 
room for doubt that John and James Hendricks were 
regarded as Englishmen when they crossed the Susque- 
hanna and that the honor of the first authorized settle- 
ments in York County cannot be claimed for the pure 


The First Settlement. 

3F the first individual settler in the county was not 
a German the first community of settlements 
did undoubtedly consist of German settlers and 
those parts of the county which were first 
tamed and subdued to the purposes of civiliza- 
tion have from the beginning borne the stamp of German 
language and culture. 

It was in that same valley of the Kreutz Creek where 
the Hendrickses were settled and where unsuccessful efforts 
at permanent settlement had previously been made that 
the first stream of newcomers from the eastern side of the 
Susquehanna deposited itself. It followed very closely 
upon the settlement of John Hendricks in 1728. Even 
before that settlement was consummated many of the set- 
tlers east of the river had begun to manifest a desire to 
settle on the west bank. The Shawannah Indians of the 
village opposite Hempfield had removed into the interior. 
The false impression had got abroad among the people 
east of the river that the Indians of the Five Nations had 
resigned their claims to the lands on this part of the Sus- 
quehanna, and a letter of August 10, 1727, from James 


38 German Element in York County, Pa. 

Logan to Samuel Blunston indicates that not a few citizens 
of Pennsylvania were prospecting daily on the lands be- 
yond the river with a view to staking out claims and set- 
tling there. We have one instance of this in the effort of 
Henry Hendricks and Thomas Linvil mentioned above.* 
Such settlements were, however, prevented for the time 
being. But when the opposition of the Indians subsided 
and when Hendricks had made a beginning, a veritable 
tide of immigration began to rise and sweep into the new 
territory. Many of these settlers took the trouble to 
secure the permission of the proprietary representative. 
Others settled irregularly though not without the knowl- 
edge and tacit consent of the government. It is known, 
for example, that Caspar Spangler settled in the valley in 
1729 and that Tobias Frey had settled there prior to 1733.^ 
Already in November, 1729, Blunston could write to 
Logan: " Many people out of this province are for remov- 
ing over the River so that I doubt not but another year will 
settle most of the habitable land for they flock over daily 
in search. The remainder of that by Hendricks would 
have been settled before now had they not been prevented."^ 
These settlers all took up their claims in the valley of 
the Kreutz Creek stretching westward and southwestward 
from John Hendricks's property. Hendricks's plantation 
was the oldest and therefore the best known of the planta- 
tions in that neighborhood and so was used to designate 
the location of other places. A number of these settlers 
afterwards in their depositions in referring to the location 
of their plantations would regularly affirm that they were 

1 Vide supra, p. 315'. 

2 " The Spengler Families With Local Historical Sketches," pp. 17 and 

3 Vide Appendix A. 

The First Settlement. 39 

situated a certain number of miles westward or southwest- 
ward from John Hendricks.* The nationahty of these 
earliest settlers in the community of the Kreutz Creek was 
almost without exception German, This fact is important 
for the subsequent history of the county and for a while it 
entailed rather serious consequences upon the settlers them- 
selves. Carter and Glossbrenner remark: "The earliest 
settlers were English; these were however succeeded by vast 
numbers of German immigrants. . . . Most of the German 
immigrants settled in the neighborhood of Kreutz Creek. 
... In the whole of what was called the ' Kreutz Creek 
Settlement' (If we except Wrightsville) there was but one 
English family, that of William Morgan." We have it 
upon the same good authority that the first tailor in the 
county was Valentine Heyer, that the first blacksmith was 
Peter Gardner, that the first shoemaker was Samuel Lan- 
dis, who had his shop somewhere on the Kreutz Creek, 
that the first stone dwellings were built in 1735 on the 
Kreutz Creek by John and Martin Schultz. The first 
schoolmaster was known by no other name than " Der 
Dicke Schulmelster." Thus all the known arts of that 
primitive civilization among the county's first inhabitants 
were in the hands of Germans. The number and names 
of these earliest German settlers In the Kreutz Creek settle- 
ment, their legal status and their distressing experiences in 
their new homes we shall be able to understand after we 
have taken a glance at a parallel effort at settlement that 
was being made by Marylanders. 

This Maryland settlement within the present limits of 
York County centered about the spot from which Pamell 
and others had been compelled to remove in 1728. The 

* For example, Pennsylvania Archives, I: 523, 524; Col. Rec, III: 613. 


40 German Element in York County, Pa. 

settling of the Marylanders here began in the year 1729 
and grew rapidly during the next few years. Already on 
November 30, 1729, Blunston wrote to Logan "All the 
land about Parnels^ is surveyed and settled by Mary- 
landers." Afterwards when the dispute concerning the 
boundary had become acute the Marylanders sought to 
establish their claim to the region by proving their priority 
in time of settlement. For in 1736 after the undignified 
controversy between the provinces had led to forceful con- 
flicts and among other acts of violence the house of Col. 
Thomas Cressap, a Marylander settled at the mouth of 
Cabin Branch on the west bank of the Susquehanna, had 
been burned over his head, evidence was adduced to show 
that a number of persons living in the immediate neighbor- 
hood of Cressap's house had held lands under Maryland 
warrants for several years. Thus the evidence of Stephen 
Onion, taken at Annapolis on January 12, 1736, and pre- 
served in the unpublished Calvert Papers,^ indicates that 
in 1729 Onion had secured a warrant from the Maryland 
office for "Pleasant Garden" which he sold to Thomas 
Cressap who settled and built "soon after it was sur- 
veyed"; that by virtue of a warrant from the Maryland 
office in the same year Jacob Herrington surveyed and 
"soon thereafter settled" a tract of 81 acres called "Bul- 
ford"; that in 1730 by the same authority Thomas Bond 
secured a tract of 460 acres called" Bond's Mannour" and 
settled thereon William Cannon and John Lowe; that by 
virtue of warrant dated December 19, 1729, Onion had 
surveyed on June 2, 1730, a tract of 600 acres called 
" Conhodah " and had occupied the same in February, 

5 Parnell evidently had been located there long enough to give his name 
to the place. 

6 No. 319. 

The First Settlement. 4^ 

1732; that In 173 1 Onion had secured a tract of 290 acres 
called "Smith's Choice" which was occupied by William 
Smith. " And this deponent also saith that before the im- 
provements made on the said lands by the said settlers 
there were no Improvements on them that this deponent 
saw but a few Indian Cabbins and a little hutt made of logs 
and a small quantity of ground cleared by a White Man 
who was driven away by the Indians as this deponent was 
Informed and which hutt was sometimes empty and at 
other times possessed by the Indians and that no white 
person or persons was or were settled on any of the lands 
to this deponent's knowledge or that he hath heard of 
when the people herein beforementioned settled and im- 
proved the same, and further this deponent saith not." 

Now Cressap's log house Is known to have stood upon 
the spot cleared and Improved by Edward Parnell and 
others and relinquished by them on order of the Pennsyl- 
vania government In 1728. It was therefore about three 
and one half miles south of the property of John and 
James Hendricks.^ The other tracts referred to in Onion's 
deposition adjoined the Cressap property. For on March 
I, 1736, Rachael Evans testified that her husband Edward 
Evans lived " about one and one half miles from Cressap's 
late dwelling house " ; that Jacob Herrington lived one and 
one fourth miles westward from Cressap; that William 
Smith lived two miles westward from Cressap ; and that 
Robert Cannon lived one and one half miles north from 
Cressap. Adjoining Cannon was John Lowe less than a 
mile westward from Cressap's house.^ No dates are given 

7 The foundations and cellar of the house are still to be seen on the 
Maish property in Lower Windsor Township. A photograph of these re- 
mains in the possession of the York County Historical Society. 

8 No. 319. 

42 German Element in York County, Pa. 

for the actual settlement of these persons except in the 
case of Stephen Onion himself, and this date (February, 
1732) in all probability refers not to his first occupation 
but to a later location. But from other sources it would 
appear that Thomas Cressap was the first settler there. 
For on September 13, 173 1, Governor Gordon of Penn- 
sylvania complained to Governor Calvert of Maryland 
because for several months he had heard rumors about 
grants from the Maryland Office for lands on the west side 
of the Susquehanna. Two weeks later the Indian Cap- 
tain Civility complained to Samuel Blunston of Lancaster 
County because Cressap had settled at Conejohela and 
had been disturbing the peace of the Indians there. And 
the following January Cressap himself declared under 
oath that he had been living on the west side of the Sus- 
quehanna since March 16, 1731.^ Stephen Onion seems 
therefore to have been the first Marylander to take out a 
warrant for land in that neighborhood and Thomas Cres- 
sap seems to have been the first settler. But as Onion's 
warrant was not secured until 1729 and as Cressap did not 
settle there until 1 731 it is clear that the Maryland settle- 
ments could not have followed very closely upon that of 
John Hendricks and certainly the closing sentence in Onion's 
deposition is a mistake. Priority of authorized settle- 
ment in the Kreutz Creek Valley cannot be maintained for 
the Maryland settlers even if this had constituted a valid 
claim to the territory. But from the foregoing it is evi- 
dent that the settlements under Maryland authority were 
early enough and numerous enough and far enough north 
to constitute a real source of apprehension to any others 
who might claim jurisdiction over those parts. 

8 Archives, I: 291, 295, and 311. 

The First Settlement. 43 

Now It was the bitter conflict between the EngHsh citi- 
zens of Maryland gathered about Thomas Cressap at the 
mouth of Cabin Branch and the German citizens of Penn- 
sylvania whose plantations stretched westward and south- 
westward from John Hendricks along the Kreutz Creek 
Valley, that shaped events among the very earliest inhabi- 
tants of our county and occupied the attention of both the 
settlers and the provincial authorities for several years. 
And It Is from the documents pertaining to this conflict 
that we draw much of our information concerning those 
earliest settlers.^*^ 

10 This conflict was one of the incidents in the general contention between 
the two provinces concerning the boundary. William Penn received his 
title to Pennsylvania from the British Crown in i'68i, and for more than 
eighty years thereafter the boundary lines between his province and Mary- 
land were the source of almost constant dispute. There is now a bulky 
literature pertaining to this controversy and its tedious negotiations. Many 
of the documents bearing on the dispute are found scattered over the Archives 
and Colonial Records of the two provinces, and many of them remain un- 
published among the " Penn Papers " in the Historical Society of Pennsylva- 
nia at Philadelphia, in the Department of Internal Affairs and the Division 
of Public Records at Harrisburg, and in the Maryland Historical Society at 
Baltimore (vide, e. g., Pennsylvania Archives, Second Series, Vol. VH, 
pp. 301-400; for other literary references see Winsor's "Narrative and 
Critical History of America," Vol. IH, p. 5i'4). A brief statement of the 
issues involved and the facts of the negotiations is found in the article by 
J. Dunlop, " The Controversy between William Penn and Lord Baltimore," 
in the " Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania," Vol. I, pp. 
i63'-204. A popular statement of the case in brief compass is Chapter XI 
of Sydney George Fisher's " The Making of Pennsylvania." 

Suffice it to say here that the whole difficulty concerning the southern 
boundary of Pennsylvania grew out of ignorance on the part of the pro- 
prietors in England as to the location of the 40th degree of latitude in 
America. Lord Baltimore's grant (1632) was merely for the unoccupied 
part of Virginia from the Potomac northward, a very indefinite description. 
But in Penn's grant of 1681 the province of Pennsylvania is described as 
bounded " on the south by a circle drawn at twelve miles distance from 
Newcastle, northward and westward unto the beginning of the 40th degree 
of north lattude and thence by a straight line westward." Now the " begin- 

44 German Element in York County, Pa. 

It follows from the conditions of haste and irregularity 
under which the first surveys west of the Susquehanna were 
made and from the circumstances of intercolonial strife 

ning of the 40th degree " from the equator is the 39th parallel. But the 
39th parallel runs just north the present city of Washington. And the 40th 
parallel runs somewhat north of Philadelphia. Neither of these parallels 
falls within la miles of Newcastle. Thus the boundary was uncertain 
and while the propietary negotiations dragged on in England a petty 
border warfare began in America. The disturbances began east of the Sus- 
quehanna where the Pennsylvanians contended for lands as far south as 
the mouth of the Octoraro Creek, about 51 miles south of the present border. 
In 1723 both proprietors agreed to abstain from making further grants in 
the disputed territory for eighteen months or until satisfactory adjustment 
could be made. But years passed and no conclusion was reached. By 17132 
the controversy was carried into the region west of the Susquehanna, and 
here the Marylanders laid claim to the lands at the mouth of Cabin Branch 
and in the Kreutz Creek Valley, nearly thirty miles farther north than any 
point claimed by them east of the river. Their object was to extend the 
Maryland domain west of the river as far north as the 40th parallel of 
latitude. This region west of the river and within the present limits of 
York County, was the chief scene of the border warfare and the disturb- 
ances here are known as " Cressap's War." 

In 1732 the proprietors of the two provinces agreed to have the boundary 
line surveyed. This agreement placed the southern boundary of Pennsyl- 
vania on a parallel of latitude fifteen miles south of a parallel passing 
through the most southerly point in Philadelphia. But because of other 
stipulations in this agreement it proved distasteful to Lord Baltimore and 
under various pretexts he delayed its fulfillment and refused to let the sur- 
vey be made. So the acrimonious correspondence between the provinces 
continued but without effect. In 1735' the Penns began a suit in equity 
against Baltimore to compel him to fulfil his contract. This was not ended 
until 1750, when it was decided in favor of the Penns. Meanwhile re- 
peated appeals came from America asking that a provisional line be run 
in order to allay the hostilities between the inhabitants of the provinces. 
This resulted in an order from the King establishing the " temporary line 
of 1739" fifteen and one fourth miles south of Philadelphia on the east 
side of the Susquehanna and fourteen and three fourths miles south of 
Philadelphia on the west side of that river. The pending proceedings in 
chancery resulted in 1750 in a decree that the agreement of 17321 should be 
carried into specific execution. But forthwith a dispute arose as to the 
proper methods of mensuration. This was not settled until 1760. In 1736 

The First Settlement. 45 

attending the first settlements there, that the legal status 
of the earliest settlers is not easy to determine. It prob- 
ably was not in all cases clearly defined at the time. The 
Marylanders took out their claims and settled under ordi- 
nary warants from the Maryland Office. This gave them 
a certain advantage over those who came from Pennsyl- 
vania. For according to established custom and law in 
Pennsylvania no titles whatever could be granted to lands 
until they had been purchased from the Indians. The 
government of Pennsylvania did not begin to issue even 
temporary licenses until 1733. John and James Hen- 
dricks had settled on Indian territory before that time but 
this was by special permission of the proprietary govern- 
ment and then only on condition that they first secure the 
consent of the Indians. Their formal license was not is- 
sued until March, 1733, and even this was only a tem- 
porary license. But in Maryland no such custom obtained 
with reference to the lands of the Indians and the Mary- 
land authorities did not hesitate to grant permits to settle 
on lands that had never been purchased from the natives. 
The Maryland government did indeed early recognize 
such a purchase as desirable for the security of its people. 
For Philemon Lloyd, the proprietary agent at Annapolis, 
in a letter of October 8, 1722, to the "Co-Partners" in 
London urges at great length a treaty with the Susque- 
hanna Indians and then remarks, 

I do assure you Gentlemen that something of this Nature is very 
necessary to be don; for now, that we are about Lycencing our 

two expert surveyors, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, were sent to 
America to supervise the survey of the boundary. This survey, carrying 
out the agreement of 17132', was completed on December zG, i-]6j, and has 
given us the famous Mason and Dixon Line, celebrated now as the dividing 
line between the two sections of the country during the Civil War. 

46 German Element in York County, Pa. 

People, to make Remote Settlements, we must likewise use the 
Proper Measures to protect them; for the Lands next above our 
Settlements upon the west side of the Susquehannah, and all along 
upon the West side of Baltimore County, are cutt ofE & separated 
from the Present Inhabited Parts by large Barrens, many Miles 
over; so that as yet, the setlers there can expect very little Com- 
munication with us ; yet if they should be Cutt off & Murthered by 
the Indians we must insist upon Satisfaction for the security of our 
present Outer Inhabitants ; which may involve us in a f atall War. 
But by this Means of Purchasing those Indian Rights, we may 
think ourselves pretty secure, as well from those Indians them- 
selves as from any strange Indians that shall traverse those Woods." 

Nevertheless no such purchase was ever made by Mary- 
land and hence the Marylanders who took up lands within 
the limits of our county must be regarded as squatters and 
not as authorized settlers. They had warrants, it is true, 
> but the validity of these warrants was always denied by the 
Pennsylvania authorities who claimed that whole region 
under the terms of the royal grant to William Penn. 

Not until January, 1733, did the proprietary govern- 
ment of Pennsylvania begin to issue its first licenses to take 
up land west of the river. The settlements that had been 
made there by Pennsylvanians before 1733 had been per- 
mitted by the government authorities with the consent of 
the Indians but no titles had been given. It was hoped 
that the lands west of the Susquehanna would soon be pur- 
chased from the aborigines and thus the Indian policy of 
the Penns might be carried out. Thomas Penn (son of 
WiUiam Penn, Sr.) arrived in the province August, 1732, 
and John Penn (eldest son of William) came in October, 
1734.^2 gut the Indian purchase west of the river was 

11 Calvert Papers, No. 2, p. 54. 

12 John Penn returned to London the following year to care for the inter- 
ests of Pennsylvania in the boundary dispute with Lord Baltimore. Thomas 
Penn remained in the province until 17411. 

The First Settlement. 47 

not consummated until late in the year 1736. Meanwhile 
the incursions of the Marylanders which Governor Keith 
more than a decade before had made the excuse for his 
survey of the " Mine Tract," were becoming a real menace 
to the proprietary rights in that region. The settlers from 
Maryland and under Maryland authority were pushing 
farther and farther north and were growing constantly 
bolder and more annoying along the west bank of the Sus- 
quehanna, The provincial authorities of Pennsylvania 
became convinced that active measures must be taken to 
secure the rights of their province in that region. 

The Maryland authorities had long before felt that 
special inducements ought to be offered to settlers in that 
region. Their custom did not prevent them from issuing 
full warants for settlements on Indian lands. But even 
this, they felt, was not enough and ten years before the 
government of Pennsylvania took any measures to settle 
the new territory the proprietary agent at Annapolis had 
urged the granting of easy conditions for payment of war- 
rants in order to induce citizens of Maryland to settle in 
this district west of the Susquehanna. Thus Philemon 
Lloyd, In the letter quoted above, writes: 

If this Place were well Seated, it would be a good Barrier unto 
the Province on that Side & doubt not, but that it would in a few 
years, bring on the Planting of that other Vast Body of Rich Lands, 
that lyes something more to the Westward; & would likewise 
secure our Country against the Claims of the Pensilvanians on the 
North side; for we are allready Seated to the Northward of that 
Line, which I lay down for the true Location of Pensllvania 
upon the Back of the 12 Mile Circle, as they have encroached upon 
us to the Southward of that Line about Octeraro, & to the East- 
ward of It, which seems to be occatloned by our own too great 
Suplness; & makes me so desirous now, of Seating farther up the 

48 German Element in York County, Pa. 

Susquehannah ; & if his Lordship should be pleased to grant 7 or 
10 years Time for the Payment of the Ffines for Lands in those 
remote parts; he will, I verily am perswaded have his back part 
of his Country Seated, by more than 10 years the sooner, .... 
There are other Advantages, that will Acrrue from Setling the Re- 
moter Parts of the Province, by Conditional Warrants as above 
proposed: the Scotts Irish, & Palatines, after the news of so great 
Concessions, will I imagine fHock apace in, & Even some from 
Pensilvania it Self; 

But even without such special Inducements as were here 
proposed, the Marylanders, as we have seen, were flocking 
to the west bank of the Susquehanna much to the annoy- 
ance of the provincial government and the Lancaster 
County authorities just east of the river and to the great 
unrest of the Pennsylvanlans who had settled west of the 

In order to counteract these annoying encroachments the 
proprietary agents of Pennsylvania began to adopt the 
policy of encouraging citizens of Pennsylvania to cross the 
Susquehanna and settle west of the river acknowledging 
the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania In that region. For this 
\ purpose In January, 1733, they commissioned Samuel 
Blunston, who lived near the river, ^^ to Issue temporary 
licenses to such persons as were willing to take up lands on 
the west side of the river and settle there. These licenses 
were afterwards confirmed by the proprietor on October 
30, 1736, as soon as the lands could be purchased from the 
Indians. The full text of one of these confirmed Blun- 
ston licenses was presented as evidence In the case of Nich- 
olas Perle In 1748. It is of special Interest because It was 
doubtless the same form that was used by the proprietor 

13 At Wright's Ferry, where Columbia now stands. 

The First Settlement. 49 

in confirming the licenses of all the early German settlers 
in the county. 

Pennsylvnia ss: 

Whereas, sundry Germans and others formerly seated them- 
selves by our Leave on Lands Lying on the West side of Sasque- 
hanna River within our County of Lancaster, & within the bounds 
of a Tract of Land Survey'd the Nineteenth and Twentieth Days 
of June, Anno Domini, 1722, containing about Seventy thousand 
Acres, commonly called the Manor of Springetsbury ; 

And Whereas A Confirmation to the Persons seated on the same 
for their several tracts has hitherto been delayed by reason of the 
Claim made to the said Lands by the Indians of the Five Nations, 
which Claim the said Indians have now effectually released to Us 
by their Deed bearing date the Eleventh Day of this Instant, 
October ; 

And Whereas Nicholas Perie, one of the Persons living within 
the said Manor, hath now applied for a Confirmation of Two 
Hundred Acres, part of the same where he is now Seated ; 

I do hereby Certify that I will cause a Patent to be drawn to the 
said Nicholas Perle for the said Two hundred Acres (if so much 
can be there had without prejudice to the other settlers) on the 
common Terms other Lands on the West side of Sasquehanna River 
are granted, so soon as the said quantity shall be Survey'd to him & 
a return thereof made to me 

October 30th, 1736. Tho. Penn." 

The nature of these licenses reflects the primitive meth- 
ods of granting lands. They were variously known by the 
government as "licenses," "grants," and "certificates."^^ 
They were not real warrants but merely approved the mak- 
ing of a survey and promised to order a patent to be drawn 
at some Indefinite future time. They thus secured the 

14 Col. Rec, V: 219 f. 

15 Vide Hamilton's Warrant for Resurvey, infra, p. 53 f. 

50 German Element in York County, Pa. 

settler in his right to his settlement. The licenses had all 
the essential features of warrants with the single exception 
that they showed no previous payment of purchase money. 
In the litigations that arose long afterwards over these 
tracts the Blunston licenses were regarded by some as mere 
locations, by others as actual warrants. The distinction 
was made in the courts between "warrants on common 
terms" and "warrants to agree." The former were war- 
rants issued for lands that were not reserved by the pro- 
prietor but were offered to the public at a fixed price. The 
latter were contracts for the possession of lands which had 
been surveyed from the common stock as manors, had thus 
been withdrawn from the public market, and so could be 
acquired only by special agreement.^® The Blunston 
licenses were issued for lands that were supposed to lie 
within the Springettsbury Manor^^ and so could be acquired 
only by special contract or "warrants to agree." But as 
a matter of practice they were always issued on common 
terms. Note, for example, the closing sentence in the 
Hendricks warrant, " on the same Terms other Lands in 
the County of Lancaster shall be granted "^^ and the closing 
sentence in the Perie warrant, " on the common Terms 
other Lands on the West side of Sasquehanna River are 
granted."^^ These Blunston licenses afterwards played a 
very conspicuous part in the judicial investigation into the 
validity of the claim to these manorial lands west of the 

18 Decisions of the Supreme Court of U. S., Wheaton, Vol. IX, p. 35, 
Curtis edition. 

i'^ They were afterwards by the resurvey of 171681 actually comprehended 
in that manor. 

18 Vide supra, p. 28'. 

18 Vide supra, p. 49. 

20 Dallas Reports, Circuit Court, Pennsylvania District, Vol. IV, pp. 373- 

The First Settlement. 51 

Samuel Blunston kept a careful list of the persons to 
whom he issued permits to settle west of the river together 
with the approximate number of acres allowed to each one. 
This list he transmitted from time to time to the Land 
Office in Philadelphia. It was preserved in that office until 
1762 but has since disappeared.^^ There is, therefore, no 
way of ascertaining directly the names and exact locations 
of the earliest settlers in the county. For no surveys of 
their tracts were made at the time. Blunston had surveyed 
in person the tract upon which John and James Hendricks 
had settled. He had laid out a tract of 1,200 acres and 
had assigned one half of it to Hendricks, " the uper side 
and best part." This was done by special order of the 
secretary of the province and the exact location of this 
tract is well known. But when he issued his conditional 
grants (1733-1736) he did not undertake the work of 
making the surveys and the new territory was well dotted 
with settlers before any surveys were made.^^ Thus on 
March 18, 1735,^^ Blunston wrote to Thomas Penn: 

380. " Blunston's Licenses have always been deemed valid: and many titles 
in Pennsylvania depend upon them. . . ." Ibid., p. m. Wheaton's Reports, 
Vol. IX, pp. 34-7'3- 

21 Vide Governor Hamilton's Warrant for Resurvey of Springettsbury 
Manor, infra, p. 513 f. Perhaps it was on the occasion of this resurvey that 
the list of permits disappeared. 

22 For some years, in fact, it was the express policy of the Pennsylvania 
government to avoid making surveys in this region. For Governor Gordon 
wrote to Governor Ogle on July 26, 1732, and speaking of the agreement 
of 1723 he said that convention " notwithstanding the numerous Settlements 
made by those who forced themselves upon us from Ireland and Germany, 
has been so punctually observed by our office that there has not been one 
Survey made, as is affirmed to me by Order of that Office, within the 
Limits which it was conceived Maryland either could or would claim." 
Archives, I: 338. 

23 The date of the letter is March 18, 1734, but this was under the old 
method of dating. Under the modern method this would be March 18, 

52 German Element in York County, Pa. 

Though as much care as possible has been taken to prevent dis- 
putes yet many are like to arise which can never be well adjusted 
without surveying to each their several tracts. And as warrants 
are already lodged here for that purpose I make bold to propose 
that a surveyor of sense and honesty (if such can be had) might be 
sent up as soon as possible for that service, which if done with ex- 
pedition I am certain would be greatly for your interest and the 
only sure means of a regular settlement for I do not think it proper 
at this critical juncture to leave the people room to quarrel among 
themselves. Beside in a country so scarce of water as that is if the 
people are alowed to be their own carvers a great part of the 
land will be rendred uninhabitable. This as well as the other 
should be timely prevented. The people are now settling building 
and improving daily. This is the season for surveying which can- 
not so well be done in any other season as the six or eight weeks 
coming. This I thought to mention though I know of no person in 
these parts to recommend yet doubtless such may soon be had. . . . 
I should be glad to know thy mind herein that I may be able to give 
the people an answer for they are generally desirous and expect it 
will be done. 

It Is not at all certain that such surveys were ever made. 
No drafts of these settlements are known to exist. There 
is no trace of the confirmed warrants in the Land Office 
at Harrlsburg. The individual surveys had evidently not 
been made when the Blunston licenses were confirmed in 
1736, and the words of Governor Hamilton's warrant for 
the resurvey of Sprlngettsbury Manor leave little doubt 
that at least so far as most of the tracts were concerned 
no such surveys had yet been made In 1762.^* We are left 

17135. We shall hereafter give all dates as they would be under the modern 

2* The original survey of Sprlngettsbury Manor, made in 1722, is still in 
existence. It either had been mislaid or else was being purposely sup- 
pressed at the time the resurvey was ordered in 1762. It has recently been 
discovered by the Hon. Robert C. Bair, of York, and was published in the 

The First Settlement. 53 

therefore to inference and Incidental allusions for our in- 
formation concerning the names, the nationality, and the 
location of the earliest settlers in the Kreutz Creek Valley. 
But such sources of information are not entirely lacking. 
It is clear in the first place that the Kreutz Creek Valley 
was from the beginning regarded as settled predominantly 
and almost entirely by Germans. For example, in Gov- 
ernor Hamilton's warrant of May 21, 1762, for the resur- 
vey of Springettsbury Manor, it is set forth that the manor 
was originally surveyed for the use of the proprietor on 
the 19th and 20th of June, 1722, and that 

sundry Germans and others afterwards seated themselves by our 
leave on divers parts of the said manor but by reason of some claim 
made to those Lands by the Indians of the Five Nations (v^^hich 
they afterwards released to us by their Deed of the nth day of 
October, 1736) the confirmations of the parts so seated in the said 
manor were for some time delayed. And whereas, upon our ob- 
taining the said Release from the said Indians we did give to each 
of the persons so as aforesaid settled on our said Manour License 
or Certificate bearing date respectively the 30th day of October in 
the year last aforesaid, thereby promising that we would order a 
patent to be drawn to each of them for their respective Settle- 
Pennsylvania Annual Report of the Secretary of Internal Affairs, 1905, 
Part I, Map E, where it is shown to differ widely from the relocation made 
under Hamilton's orders. But the words of Hamilton's warrant indicate 
clearly that surveys for the grants to individual settlers had not been made 
systematically and were really not in existence. 

In the Proceedings of The Supreme Executive Council, January 25, 1787 
(Col. Rec, XV: 153), there is a suggestion as to what became of such 
copies of patents for tracts within the Springettsbury Manor as were re- 
corded in the secretary's office. The secretary was there instructed to 
deliver to the attorney of the Penns the copies of warrants which had been 
issued for such tracts, and the proceedings of the council on September 22, 
1788^ indicate that these instructions were carried out and that "several 
inclosures " had been thus delivered. 

54 German Element in York County, Pa. 

merits and plantations in the said Manor as soon as surveyed mak- 
ing in the whole by Computation i2,ooo Acres or thereabouts, as 
in and by a Record and particular list of such Licenses or Grants 
remaining in our Land Office more fully appear. And whereas 
the survey of our said Manor is by some accident lost or mislaid and 
is not now to be found but by the well known Settlements and Im- 
provements made by the said Licenced Settlers therein and the many 
Surveys made round the above said Manor and other proofs and 
Circumstances it appears that the said Manor is bounded on the 
East by the River Susquehannah, on the West by a North and 
South Line West of the late Dwelling plantation of Christian 
Esther, otherwise called Oyster (to which said Christian one of 
the said Licences or Grants was given for his Plantation) North- 
ward by a Line nearest East and West Distant about three Miles 
North of the present Great Road leading from Wright's Ferry 
through York Town by the said Christian Oysters plantation to 
Monocksay and Southward by a Line near East and West distant 
about three Miles of the Great Road aforesaid. And whereas 
divers of the said Tracts and Settlements within our Manor have 
been surveyed and confirmed by patents to the said Settlers thereof 
or their assigns and many of them that have been surveyed yet 
remain to be confirmed by patent and the Settlers or possessors 
thereof have applied for such Confirmation agreeable to our said 
Licences or Grants whose requests we are willing and desirous to 
comply with and we being also desirous that a compleat Draught or 
Map and return Survey of our said Manor shall be replaced and 
remain for their and our use in Your Office and also in our Secre- 
tary's Office. . . . 

The "well known settlements and improvements" of 
these "sundry Germans and others" were Hamilton's 
chief means of determining again the bounds of the manor, 
the original survey of which had been temporarily lost. 
The Blunston licenses confirmed by Thomas Penn In 1736 

The First Settlement. 55 

totaled about 12,000 acres.^^ The entire manor as relo- 
cated under Hamilton's orders embraced 64,520 acres. 
The Blunston licenses therefore covered about one fifth of 
the manor. In the subsequent litigation concerning these 
manorial lands the number of licenses confirmed by 
Thomas Penn is stated to be fifty-two. ^^ Now there is 
abundant evidence to show that with very few exceptions 
these fifty-two licensed settlers occupying one fifth of the 
entire fertile valley afterwards included in the Springetts- 
bury Manor were Germans. 

25 The usual grant to each settler in those days was 200 acres. The 
grant to John Hendricks was in this respect also an exception. 

26 In February, 1824, in the case of Kirk and others, Plaintiffs in Error, 
vs. Smith, ex. dem. Penn, Defendant in Error, tried before the Supreme 
Court of the United States, evidence was produced showing that the num- 
ber of licensed settlers on Springettsbury Manor in 1736 was fifty-two. 
Chief Justice Marshall delivered the opinion of the Court on that occasion 
and said among other things: 

" Now it appears from the statement of the testimony made in the charge 
of the court to the jury, which is the only regular information of the evi- 
dence given in the case, that an agreement w^as entered into, in 1736, 
between the proprietary and a number of the inhabitants, by which he 
agreed to make them titles for certain specified quantities of land in their 
possession on the common terms. This agreement is stated to have been 
afterwards carried into execution. The contract, as stated, contains un- 
equivocal proof of having been made under the idea that the survey of 1722 
was valid, that it related to lands within the lines of that survey, and that 
the lands within its lines were considered a manor. That survey may not 
have been attended with those circumstances which would bring it within 
the saving act of 1779, and certainly, in this cause, is not to be considered 
as a valid survey of a manor. It was nevertheless believed, in 1736 by 
the parties to this contract, to be a manor: and those proceedings which took 
place respecting lands within it, are consequently such as might take place 
respecting lands within a manor. We find sales of lands made to fifty- 
two persons upon the common terras, and grants made to them according 
to contract. When the final survey was made, comprehending these lands 
as being part of the manor of Springettsbury, were they less a part of that 
manor because they were granted as a part of it before the survey was 
made ? " Wheaton's Reports, Vol. IX, February Session. 

56 German Element in York County, Pa. 

For it must be remembered that the purpose of the pro- 
prietary agents in encouraging settlements beyond the Sus- 
quehanna was to preempt that soil for those who acknowl- 
edged the claims of Pennsylvania as over against the 
claims of "the Maryland intruders." This was not an 
afterthought on the part of the Pennsylvania government, 
as was so often claimed by the Maryland authorities in the 
trying times that followed. Pennsylvania's claim to this 
soil was a consistent one. From the time of the arrest of 
Philip Syng on Keith's Tract in 1722 and the original 
survey of Springettsbury Manor in that same year, to the 
final adjustment of the difficulties almost half a century 
later, Pennsylvania never relinquished her claim upon this 
region and never consented to recognize the Susquehanna 
as the boundary between herself and Maryland. This 
claim was recognized by Pamell and his associates in 1728 
and it was only with the advent of Col. Thomas Cressap 
that the claims of Pennsylvania in this region were aggres- 
sively denied and withstood. The property of these 
earliest settlers in our county, therefore, became at once 
the immediate bone of contention between the two colonial 
governments in their border difficulties. It is through the 
recorded transactions incident to these border difficulties 
that we learn how large a proportion of the earliest settle- 
ments in the county were made by Germans, and these 
records, replete in their references to the "unfortunate" 
Germans, also tell us something about their names, their 
v^ position and their purposes. 
^ Thus on December 10, 1736, the deposition of Michael 
Tanner was taken by Magistrate Tobias Hendricks as 
evidence in the case of Thomas Cressap the instigator and 
leader of the Maryland intruders. This Tanner was the 

The First Settlement. 57 

same young German who had settled west of the river In 
the company of Edward Parnell and several other Eng- 
lishmen and upon the complaint of the Indians had been 
expelled in 1728. From his deposition we learn that he 
had persisted in his effort to settle west of the river and on 
September 17, 1734, had made an authorized settlement 
of 200 acres six miles southwest of John Hendricks. 
This time he was not accompanied by English companions 
for now it was chiefly the Germans who seem to have been 
attracted across the river. Tanner also declares that in 
1734 and 1735 Cressap with pretended authority from 
Maryland had surveyed upwards of 40 tracts of land for 
the Germans living in those parts.^''^ 

27 Michael Tanner (afterwards Banner) was a native of Mannheim, 
Germany. On September 27, 1737, when he was thirty-one years of age, he 
and his wife arrived at the port of Philadelphia. He passed the winter 
among his countrymen in the western part of Lancaster County. The fol- 
lowing spring he crossed the Susquehanna, selected a tract of land near 
the mouth of Cabin Branch, where Parnell, Summerford and Williams had 
taken up their abodes. But when he applied to the government for per- 
mission to settle there and make improvement, it was refused and in the 
fall of the year he was required to remove from the west bank. In 1734 
he secured a Blunston license and effected a settlement in the Kreutz Creek 
Valley. Here he soon became involved in the Cressap disturbances. During 
these difficulties and for some years thereafter Tanner was the spokesman 
for his countrymen west of the river (for example, Col. Rec, IV: fs)- He 
stoutly resisted the claims of the Marylanders, rejecting their promises and 
ignoring their threats. In ly^^i he was surprised and captured by the 
Marylanders while he was helping to bur}'' one of his neighbor's children 
and was carried off and Imprisoned for a time at Annapolis. Michael 
Tanner was a leader of men. When a measure of peace was restored in 
York County he was one of its most prominent citizens. His name appears 
frequently in the records of the County, as witness to wills, appraiser of 
property, executor of estates, and viewer of roads. In 1749 he was one of 
the commissioners to lay off the County. His signature grows constantly 
more Anglicized with the years, indicating the influence of his contact with 
English-speaking officials. 

In religious faith he was a Mennonite, as is evinced by the fact that 


58 German Element in York County, Pa. 

From similar depositions we learn that Balzer Springier 
(otherwise Spangler)^^ in the beginning of 1733 under a 
Pennsylvania grant had settled and improved a tract of 
land on Codorus Creek twelve miles west of John Hen- 
dricks, but that he had been ejected by Cressap to make 
room for another German, John Keller; that late in 1733 

he " solemnly affirmed according to law " instead of taking oath. It was 
under his leadership that the Mennonites coming from Lancaster County 
began to settle the rich farming lands in the Conewago Valley near Digges' 
Choice in 17381. He was afterwards a close friend of the Scotchman 
Richard McAllister, and it was probably due to Tanner's influence that 
McAllisterstown received the name of Hanover. His son, Jacob Danner, 
was the first elder of the German Baptist Church of Codorus, I'l miles 
southeast of York, organized in 1758, and became involved in the famous 
religious controversy with Jacob Lischy. Vide Archives, 1 : 524 f . Division 
Public Records, Harrisburg, Provincial Papers, Vol. VI: 4, 15, z$, York 
and Lancaster County Records, passim. 

28 John Balthasar Spangler was the eleventh child of Hans Rudolph 
Spangler. Born November 2% 1706, at Weiler-Hilsbach in the Palatinate 
on the Rhine, and married in April, 17132, he migrated to America and 
arrived at the port of Philadelphia on October 11, 1732. The following 
spring he made his way westward across the Susquehanna armed with a 
Blunston license for a tract on the Codorus Creek but he was forcibly pre- 
vented by Cessap from executing this grant. He soon succeeded however 
in gaining permanent possession of another tract of 200 acres. This he 
purchased from his countryman Tobias Frey and it lay one mile east of 
the Codorus, just south of the Peachbottom Road (now Plank Road) where 
it crosses the Mill Creek, in what is now Spring Garden Township. He 
gradually added to his possessions until in 1763 he owned 483 acres. Part 
of this land has been incorporated in the city of York. Balthasar Spangler 
had been preceded to America and to York County by his elder brother 
Caspar and he was accompanied to the New World by his brothers George 
and Henry. Balthasar was one of the patriarchs in the early history of the 
County. When the town of York was laid out in 1741 he was one of the 
first persons to take up a lot and build a house. When the first County 
election was held in 1749 Spangler's house was the voting-place. He after- 
wards kept a public inn there. He was one of the most prominent and 
influential members of the German Reformed Congregation. He died in 
1770 possessed of a large estate and survived by six sons and two daughters. 
"The Spengler Families With Local Historical Sketches," pp. 138 ff. 

The First Settlement. 59 

Frederick Lather, a German, had taken up his abode near 
the Codorus Creek, though at the persuasion of Cressap 
under a Maryland grant; that in 1735 Frederick Ebert, 
a German, apparently without any grant had settled and 
improved a tract of land near the Codorus only to be ex- 
pelled the next year by one of Cressap's agents to make 
room for another German, Ffelty Shults; that Martin 
Schultz and his wife Catherine were settled in Hellam 
Township (now York County) prior to 1736 and suffered 
violence at the hands of the Marylanders. These facts, 
tend to confirm the impression, reflected by other public 
instruments, that the first people to settle in any consider- 
able numbers west of the Susquehanna were Germans. 

In 1736 the "Chester County Plot" was discovered.-^ 
This was a conspiracy on the part of the Maryland sym- 
pathizers living in Chester County, Pennsylvania, " for 
ousting by force of arms those German families settled on 
the west side of the Susquehanna within the unquestionable 
bounds of this province \_t.e., Pennsylvania]." Among 
the court records at West Chester is a document which 
contains the names of many of the German settlers west of 
the river in 1736. It is the record of a " billa vera" 
against Henry Munday and Charles Higginbotham, insti- 
gators of the " Chester County Plot," in which they are 
charged with having conspired on October 25, 1736, 
against " the lands and tenements of the honorable pro- 
prietaries, county of Lancaster, on west side of Susque- 
hanna within the province of Pennsylvania then in the 
quiet and peaceful possession of 

Christian Crawl Peter Steinman 

Henry Libert Henry Pann 

Jacob Huntsecker Henry Smith 


German Element in York County, Pa. 

Methusalem Griffith 
Michael Tanner 
Henry Stands 
Martin Shultz 
Jacob Welshover 
Paul Springier 
Andreas Felixer 
Ulrick Whistler 
Nicholas Booker 
Hans Steinman 
Conrad Strickler 
Caspar Springier 
Michael Walt 
Peter Kersher 
Reynard Kummer 
George Pans Pancker 
Frederick Leader 
Michael Miller 
Martin Weigle 
Hans Henry Place 
Tobias Fry 
Martin Fry 

Jacob Landis 
Henry Kendrick 
Tobias Rudisill 
Jacob Krebell 
Michael Springle 
Jacob Singler 
Philip Ziegler 
Caspas Krever 
Derrick Pleager 
George Swope 
Michael Krenel 
Thomas May 
Nicholas Brin 
Kilian Smith 
Martin Bower 
George Lauman 
Martin Brunt 
Michael Allen 
Christian Enfers 

Nicholas Cone" 

These forty-eight names are all the names of Germans, 
except one, that of Methusalem Griffith. 

This list indicates very clearly, therefore, that as soon 
as the valleys west of the Susquehanna were opened to the 
settlement of white people there was a rapid influx of 
Germans and that the population there was from the begin- 
ning preponderatingly German. It is practically certain 
also that most of the fifty-two licenses issued by Blunston 
from 1733 to 1736 and confirmed by Thomas Penn in 
October, 1736, were taken by Germans. But it must not 

The First Settlement. 6i 

be concluded that all of the Germans In the Kreutz Creek 
and Codorus Creek Valleys had taken out " Blunston 
licenses." Most of them undoubtedly had secured these 
conditional "warrants to agree" before making settle- 
ment west of the river. Some however were not impressed 
with the immediate necessity of securing such license. For 
the Pennsylvania government was disposed to encourage 
the migration of Its citizens across the Susquehanna and 
the easiest terms possible were granted. No purchase 
money whatever was expected until the Indian claim had 
been satisfied and In many cases the purchase money was 
not paid for some years even after 1736. Moreover, 
those who chose to settle west of the river as squatters 
were no longer sought out and expelled. The securing of 
a Blunston license, therefore, seemed a mere empty for- 
mality which might easily be postponed to some more con- 
venient time, and after the migration had once begun 
many of the people in Lancaster County saw no impro- 
priety in removing and settling west of the Susquehanna 
River without even consulting the authorities. And so, 
while most of the settlers In the Kreutz Creek settlement 
had taken the precaution to secure a formal license for their 
land, a considerable number had settled there without hav- 
ing secured any license whatever but Intending to take out 
license under Pennsylvania as soon as they should be called 
upon to do so. 

It Is worthy of mention in this connection also that there 
were quite a number who secured Blunston licenses to settle 
west of the river, but who never availed themselves of 
their permission and never actually took up their abodes 
beyond the Susquehanna. For Blunston remarks in his 
letter to Thomas Penn, March 18, 1735, "I had not 

62 German Element in York County, Pa. 

timely notice of this opportunity or I should have sent a 
list of the persons licensed to settle over Susquehanah 
which amount to about 130."^^ Many of these did not use 
their licenses, at least for some years, either because they 
could not find such tracts as they deemed desirable or else 
because the growing hostilities of the Marylanders de- 
terred them. Hence Thomas Penn found it necessary to 
confirm licenses to only fifty-two persons and about 12,000 
acres was sufficient to satisfy all their claims. 

The above list of persons against whom Munday and 
Higginbotham aimed their plot, cannot, therefore, be re- 
garded as an exhaustive list of the Germans living in that 
region. It can be supplemented from another source. 
For many of the settlers west of the river, both such as 
had secured Blunston licenses and such as had not, were 
for a time induced by the dire threats and the alluring 
promises of the Maryland agents to accept Maryland war- 
rants and surveys and to acknowledge Maryland authority. 
They soon found however that they had been deceived, 
that the Maryland authorities discriminated against them 
because they were Germans, and that their possessions 
were uncertain under the Maryland proprietary. So they 
made haste to repudiate their allegiance to Maryland and 
to acknowledge again the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania in 
those parts. This action the government of Maryland 
regarded as "the revolt of the Germans" and it led to 
serious disturbances in their neighborhood including an 
invasion of a body of 300 armed men from Maryland 
and the Chester County plot to force the Germans out of 
their possessions. Their lands were surveyed to other 
persons. Their property was stolen, demolished, or 
burned. Their doors were broken down with axes in the 

29 Appendix A. 

The First Settlement. 63 

dead of winter. Their growing crops were destroyed. 
Their sons and fathers were captured and imprisoned. 
They were subjected to all sorts of indignities and in some 
cases were glad to escape with their lives to the east side 
of the river. 

Under date of August 13, 1736, a petition of the Ger- 
mans was delivered to the provincial council at Philadel- 
phia asking that their error in accepting warrants from 
the government of Maryland be imputed to want of bet- 
ter information, and praying to be received again under 
the protection of the government of Pennsylvania. The 
council unanimously declared in favor of receiving the 
Germans again and of encouraging them in their fidelity. 
The correspondence concerning this return of the Ger- 
mans to their allegiance to Pennsylvania helps us to fur- 
ther fix the names and total number of German settlers 
within the bounds of York County up to the end of 1736. 
For on August 11, 1736, just two days before the Ger- 
mans petitioned the council at Philadelphia for reinstate- 
ment as citizens of Pennsylvania, they wrote a somewhat 
similar letter to the governor of Maryland apprising him 
of their intention to acknowledge the jurisdiction of Penn- 
sylvania. This letter was suggested by Samuel Blunston 
but was not drawn up or signed in his presence. After- 
wards in reporting in person to the council in Philadelphia 
Blunston said that he had learned since coming to Phila- 
delphia that the letter " was signed by about sixty hands."^^^ 
The lieutenant governor of Maryland in writing about 
this letter shortly thereafter said it was " subscribed with 
the names of fifty or sixty persons." This document was 
published in the Maryland Archives.^i Only 22 of these 

30 Col. Rec, IV: 57L 

31 Md. Archives, Vol. 28: 100 f. Vide also Col. Rec. Pa., IV: 61 f. 

64 German Element in York County, Pa. 

names of signers are preserved in the Archives.^^ But in 
the unpublished Calvert Papers^^ we have a copy of the 
original document and this includes also a copy of the 
signatures. The signatures in this copy number fifty-six 
and they are identical with the names of fifty-six persons 
whose arrest was ordered by the Maryland authorities by 
proclamation on October 21, 1736, "for contriving sign- 
ing and publishing a seditious paper and writing against 
his Lordship and this government."^* These fifty-six 
names therefore undoubtedly constitute the full list of the 
signers of the letter of August 11, 1736. This list in- 
cludes nearly all of the names mentioned in the document 
pertaining to the Chester County Plot (which took place 
in the Fall of that same year) and in addition includes 
such German names as 

George Scobell Godfrey Fry 

Hance Stanner Henry Young 

Tobias Bright Eurick Myer 

Tobias Henricks Caspar Varglass 

Leonard Immel ' Nicholas Peery 

Balchar Sangar and 

Peter Gartner Martin Sluys. 
Michael Reisher 

A few more names and locations of German settlers 
may be gathered from the depositions concerning the ar- 
rest of John Lochman, a German living west of the river. 
From the account of Lochman himself and from that of 
John Powell, undersheriff of Lancaster County, it appears 

32 The original document went to England when the whole matter of the 
boundary dispute was to be reviewed in London, and there it was lost. 

33 No. 717. For the list of signatures vide Appendix B. 

3* The proclamation also includes in a separate list the names of four 
Lancaster County officials. These are English. 

The First Settlement. 65 

that on December 24, 1735, Robert Buchanan, sheriff of 
Lancaster County, and three others had arrested Lochman 
on a writ of debt at his house about seven miles west of 
John Hendricks's plantation and two miles south of the 
Little Codorus, within 100 yards of the main road through 
the valley, and had taken him eastward past the home of 
his countryman Peter Gartner, " a Dutch Smith," when, 
about four miles west of Hendricks's, they were suddenly 
set upon by a number of Lochman's countrymen living in 
those parts. Lochman was rescued and the Lancaster 
County officers were sorely abused. Lochman asserts that 
there were " 5 Dutchmen " in the attacking party and 
gives their names: Barnett Wyemour, Michl Risenar, 
Feltie Craw, Francis Clapsaddle, and Leonard Freerour. 
Powell asserts that there were about twenty or thirty in 
the crowd but names only six : Bernard Weyman, Michael 
Rysner, Christian Croll, Francis Clapsaddle, Nicholas 
Kuhns, and Martin Schultz. He says that these six 
together with Mark Evans " all live on the West side of 
Susquehannah River, not above one Mile to the South- 
ward of the house of John Kendricks." This incident 
therefore gives us the location of Croll, Reisher, Cone 
and Schultz, and adds the names of Welmer, Clapsaddle, 
Feerour, Lochman, and Craw (or Kroh)^^ to the above 
lists of names. ^^ 

The Maryland authorities estimated the number of 

'5 Croll's name was often spelled Crawl, especially by the Marylanders. 
But that this is not the same person as the Feltie Craw is evident not only 
from the difference in surnames but also from the Minutes of the Lancaster 
County Court for September 24, i73'6i, where it appears that both Ffelty 
Crow and Christian Croll were tried for disturbing the peace of Lancaster 
County and assaulting Sheriff Buchanan. 

36 Proceedings of the Council of Maryland for 17135, P- 83. Col. Rec, 
Pa. Ill: 612 f. 

66 German Element in York County, Pa. 

Germans in that region at fifty or sixty families. For in 
a communication of Friday, February i8, 1737 (i. e., the 
spring following the "revolt of the Germans"), from 
the Governor and Council of Maryland to the King they 
say "... accordingly not less than 50 or 60 families of 
that nation immediately took possession of those lands and 
paid their proportion of the taxes and demeaned them- 
selves in every other respect as peaceable subjects of your 
Majesty and unquestionable inhabitants and tenants of 

. this Province until very lately."^"^ 

^ Now the petition of August 13, 1736, in which the 
Germans pray the Council of Pennsylvania for reinstate- 
ment as subjects of that province, was signed by forty- 
eight Germans and was entitled "The Petition of Most 
of the Inhabitants on the West Side of the Susquehanah 
River opposite to Hempfield in the County of Lancaster." 
The list of subscribers to this petition^^ must have been 
very much the same as the list of signers to the letter of 
two days previous, and as this number forty-eight embraces 
"most of the inhabitants west of the River" this document 
serves to corroborate the conclusion drawn from the Mary- 
land letter and we have a fairly accurate idea of the num- 
ber and the names of the Germans in this part of our 
county at the close of 1736.^^ 

37 Proceedings of the Council of Maryland for 1737. 

38 The list of signers was not preserved. The petition itself and the 
statement concerning the number of signers is given in the Colonial Records, 
IV: 64 f., and in Pennsylvania Archives, Second Series, Vol. VII: 2oa. 

39 The difficulties grew worse during the winter of 173 6-1737. This was 
the height of " Cressap's War," The " revolt of the Germans " was made 
the pretext for many cruelties that were perpetrated upon them. Some of 
the Germans who had assisted in rescuing John Lochman from the Lan- 
caster County officials had been taken and lodged in the Lancaster County 
jail. John Hendricks was also imprisoned there for a time because he had 
harbored the Marylanders on his plantation which they used as a base of 

The First Settlement. G'j 

The improvements of these Germans lay in the fertile 
limestone valley of the Kreutz Creek stretching southwest- 
ward from John Hendricks's plantation, where Wrights- 
ville now stands, to the place where the Kreutz Creek 
Valley merges into the Codorus Creek Valley, where the 
city of York now stands. This is the exact region that 
was included in the Springettsbury Manor when it was 
resurveyed in 1768 under Governor Hamilton's warrant 

operations against the Kreutz Creek Settlement. On the other hand, four 
Germans (Michael Tanner, Conrad Strickler, Henry Bacon, and Jacob 
Welshover) as they were in the act of burying a child, had been seized by 
the Marylanders and carried ofiE to Annapolis. After a strenuous resist- 
ance, Cressap had been captured and was imprisoned in Philadelphia. 
But Higginbotham had succeeded to the leadership among the Marylanders 
at Cabin Branch, whom Samuel Blunston called " that nest of Vilains at 
Conejohala." Several lives had been lost in the conflicts. The Germans 
were being subjected to great inconveniences and serious dangers. Eighteen 
of their number had been seized and lodged in the Maryland jail (Mary- 
land Archives for ifn. May 23). The others became terrified when their 
leaders had been captured and near the end of December, 1736, very many 
of them deserted their habitations and sought safety east of the river. 
Early in January, 1737, Blunston wrote in a letter to the Council at Phila- 
delphia: "They have left their homes and are come over the River so that 
there are none left on that side but women and children. . . . Before this 
happened if the sheriff had gone over he might have had 30 or 40 Dutch 
to assist him, but now he has none but what he takes with him if he can 
go over." Archives, I: 317 (for the date of the letter vide Col. Rec, IV: 
II49'). This evidently refers to the number of those who lived nearest to 
the river and who could have been counted on to assist against the Mary- 
landers. Measures were taken to protect them and in a few days they 
all returned again to their homes and families. On May 23, 1737, Joseph 
Perry and Charles Higginbotham reported to the Maryland Council that 
they have " apprehended several Dutchmen and others set forth in procla- 
mation as disturbers of the peace." The twenty-two names which they 
recite as partial list of those captured include the names of Tanner, 
Strickler, Bacon, Welshover, Liphart, and others prominent in the history 
of the Kreutz Creek Settlement (vide Md. Archives for 1737). But by 
this time the negotiations between the two provinces had advanced so far 
in the direction of peace that the captives were not long detained in 

68 German Element in York County, Pa. 

of 1762. It has been asserted that the original survey of 
the Springettsbury Manor was purposely suppressed at the 
time of the resurvey because the provincial authorities 
wanted to exchange bad land for good.*^ However that 
may be, it is certain that the resurvey, differing widely 
from the original, was made to embrace part of the most 
fertile area in the county. It comprehended a tract six 
miles wide extending from Wright's Ferry along the entire 
length of the Kreutz Creek Valley to the plantation of 
Christian Eyster one and a quarter miles west of the town 
of York. The resurvey thus included nearly all of the 
plantations of the Germans, if not all, and it thus bears 
eloquent witness to the superior skill of the Germans in 
the selection of good soil for their locations. 

40 Dallas Reports, IV: 3719. "It is further argued, that the recital of the 
loss of the survey of 1722^ is a mere pretence, a fraud, to enable the pro- 
prietaries to exchange bad land for good." 


Other Early Settlements. 

ANOTHER German settlement, among the 
earliest of all settlements within the present 
limits of the county, was that made where the 
city of Hanover is now situated. In the time 
of its beginnings it followed very closely upon 
the commencement of the Kreutz Creek Settlement, but In 
its earlier years it did not grow nearly so rapidly as its 
sister settlement In the eastern part of the county. The 
history of this settlement furnishes striking instances of 
the hardships which the German pioneers In our county 
were obliged to undergo. 

This second German settlement was made under a Mary- 
land grant and was therefore the occasion of no little strife 
between the agents of Maryland and those of Pennsyl- 
vania. . The original settlement was known as " Digges' 
Choice," from the owner of the tract upon which the set- 
tlement grew up.^ John Digges was a petty Irish noble- 
man of Prince George County, Maryland. On October 
14, 1727, he obtained from Lord Baltimore a warrant 

^ In Maryland a custom obtained of naming the tracts for which warrants 
were granted. For a few instances of this vide supra, p. 40 f. These names 
usually expressed either some quality or circumstance of the tract or some 
fancy of the warrantee or some aspect of public opinion concerning the 


JQ German Element in York County, Pa. 

for 10,000 acres of land. The warrant empowered him 
to locate the grant " on whatsoever unimproved lands he 
pleased within the jurisdiction of his lordship." No sur- 
vey was made for four and a half years but the warrant 
was kept in force by repeated renewals. Meanwhile 
under the direction of the noted Indian chief, Tom, Digges 
had selected for his grant a promising tract of land em- 
bracing the whole of Penn Township, in which Hanover 
is now situated, and most of Heidelberg Township but ex- 
tending also into what is now Adams County and includ- 
ing parts of Conewago, Germany and Union Townships. 
The survey was made in April, 1732, and embraced 6,822 
acres, although the patent was not issued until October 11, 
1735. The full title of the tract in the return of the 
survey was " Digges Choice in the Back Woods." Un- 
fortunately for those who afterwards settled in those parts, 
this tract had 270 courses and these were not marked ex- 
cept on paper, only the beginning boundaries being marked 
on the tract itself.^ 

Digges's Choice soon began to be settled, and that too by 

2 Only about 120 of these courses were indicated on the return of the 
survey made by the surveyor, Edward Stevenson. About 150 of the courses 
run on the land were left out of the draft in order to produce a more 
regular figure. It was this action on the part of the surveyor that led to 
much of the confusion among the settlers afterwards. This confusion 
would have been impossible under the Pennsylvania system of making 
surveys. For under that system trees were marked on the ground and 
where there were no natural boundaries artificial marks were set up to 
distinguish the survey. Stevenson's field notes of the original Digges's 
survey contained 270 courses and embraced the full grant of 10,000 acres. 
But the return of the survey did not follow these field notes and there was 
nothing on the tract itself to indicate the courses. These facts were brought 
out in the judicial determination of the matter in the case of Thomas Lilly's 
lessee vs. George Kitzmiller, tried before Justices Shippen and Yeates at 
York in May, 1791. Vide Yeates, " Reports of Cases in the Supreme Court 
of Pennsylvania," I: 281-33. 

Other Early Settlements. 71 

Germans. Of the many squatters who had begun to cross 
the Susquehanna about 1730 and locate here and there on 
the lands of the peaceful Indians, some were attracted to 
the DIgges estate. The Pennsylvania authorities could 
grant no kind of license before 1733 and then only pro- 
visional licenses, whereas on the Digges lands, held under 
a Maryland grant, full and permanent licenses could be 
obtained at once. For the charter of the Maryland pro- 
prietor, as we have seen, permitted him to authorize settle- 
ments in western Maryland irrespective of the Pennsyl- 
vania purchase of the Indian title. This fact undoubtedly 
operated as a special inducement to attract settlers to Dig- 
ges's Choice. Then, too, Digges took active measures to 
sell his lands and to start a settlement on his tract. Both 
in person and through his agents he crossed to the east side 
of the Susquehanna River where he advertised his acres 
among the citizens of Pennsylvania and sought to make 
sales of plantations under his Maryland patent west of the 
river. This he did even before the survey of his " Choice " 
was made, and this entire agitation among Pennsylvanians 
was deeply resented by the Pennsylvania authorities. Thus 
a letter from John Wright to James Logan, April 10, 
1731,^ tells that the writer had "learned that Thomas 
Digges had come over the River and gone amongst the 
Duch to sell lands, "^ that Digges had taken up 20,000 
acres of which " 8000 lye between Conewago and Codorus 
Creeks," and that Wright had "openly resisted" Digges 
in his effort to induce Pennsylvanians to remove to Mary- 

3 Among the " Official Penn Manuscripts " in the Historical Society of 
Pennsylvania at Philadelphia. 

* Wright was in error as to the surname, and indeed, the entire letter 
shows that Wright's information on the subject was inaccurate, though 
there can be no doubt about the main fact of Digges's propaganda west of 
the river before April lo, 1731. 

72 German Element in York County, Pa. 

land. Nevertheless Digges's efforts west of the river were 
not without avail. 

The earliest purchase of lands on Digges's Choice and 
within the present limits of York County^ — the earliest of 
which we have any record — was made by Adam Forney 
on October 5, 173 1. As Digges could not at that time 
give absolute title to the land, no survey having been made 
and no patent having been issued, he gave Forney his bond 
for 60 pounds to deliver the title at some future time.® 
Forney's purchase was for 150 acres. It covered what 
is today the heart of the city of Hanover. This was near 
the " Conewago Settlement " which was also on Digges's 
Choice, but in what is now Adams County, and which had 

5 Other purchases had been made from Digges's tract about a year before 
this, but they fall within the present County of Adams and they were not 
made by Germans. 

^ This bond is typical of a number that Digges issued to the earliest 
Germans who bought lands and made settlement upon this tract: "Know 
all men by these presents, that I, John Digges, of Prince George's County, 
in the Province of Maryland, Gent, am held and firmly bound unto Adam 
Faurney, of Philadelphia County, in the Province of Pennsylvania, Farmer 
and Taylor, in the full and just sum of Sixty pounds current money of 
Maryland, to which payment well and truly to be made and done, I bind 
myself, my Heirs, Executors and Administrators, firmly by these presents. 
Sealed with my seal and dated this fifth day of October, Anno Domini, 173 1. 

" The Condition of the above obligation is such that if the above bound 
John Digges, his Heirs, Executors or Administrators, shall and will at the 
reasonable request of the above Adam Faurney, make & order by sufficient 
conveyance according to the custom and common usage of the Province of 
Maryland, a certain parcell of land containing one hundred and fifty acres 
already marked out by the above named Adam Faurney, near a place 
known by the name of Robert Owing's Spring, and on the same tract of 
land where the said Robert Owing now Dwells in the Province of Mary- 
land, then this obligation to be void, otherwise to remain in full force and 
virtue of Law. 

" Sealed and delivered in the Presence of us, " John Digges." 

George Douglass, 
JoHANN Peter Zarich." 

Other Early Settlements. 73 

been begun in 1730 by Robert Owlngs and other Catholics 
from MarylandJ 

Adam Forney came to York County from Philadelphia 
County. He was originally a tailor in Wachenheim-in- 
the-Haardt in the Palatinate, whither his ancestors had 
probably come as Hugenot refugees from religious perse- 
cution in France. With his wife, Elizabeth Lowisa, and 
four children he arrived at the port of Philadelphia on 
October 16, 1721.^ For a decade he remained in Phila- 
delphia County. By the city magistrates in Germany he 
was styled "citizen and tailor."^ In Digges's bond he is 

''Vide John T. Reily's " Conewago: a Collection of Local Catholic His- 
tory," pp. 39 flF. 

8 The ancestral family Bible of the Forneys at Hanover records this fact. 
Forney's name in Germany was Johann Adam Faurney, but, like a great 
many other Germans with Johann or Hans as an initial surname, Forney 
dropped the Johann shortly after coming to this country. 

^ The certificate of dismissal which he received upon his departure from 
Wachenheim is still In the possession of his descendants in Hanover. It 
furnishes evidence of his favorable standing among his fellow-citizens in 
Germany. The English translation published in " The Forney Family, 
1690-1893 " (pages z and 3) is as follows: 

" We, magistrates, burgomasters and council of the city of Wachenheim- 
in-the-Haardt, certify herewith that before us came the worthy Johann 
Adam Forney, citizen and tailor here, the legitimate son of the worthy 
Christian Forney, also a citizen here, and informed us that he, with his 
wedded wife, Elisabetha Lowisa, have firmly resolved to set out with their 
four children and effects, on the journey to the island of Pennsylvania and 
to settle there ; but he stands in need of an attested certificate of how he 
behaved with us and why he departed, such as he can show at the place of 
his settlement. Which we gave him according to his reasonable desire and 
truthfully; moreover because we believe it would really be required in 
order that no one may calumniate our citizen or citizen's children ; although 
we have indeed sought dilgently and earnestly to dissuade him from such 
departure, yet he remains of his first intention ; therefore after steadfast 
perseverance we have given the said Johann Adam Forney this certificate: 
That as long as we have known him he has behaved himself honorably, 
piously and honestly, as well becomes a citizen and artisan, and moreover. 

74 German Element in York County, Pa. 

described as " farmer and tailor." In York County he 
became farmer and inn-keeper.^^ Forney made his pur- 
chase in 173 1 but whether he settled at once upon the tract 
he bought cannot be ascertained as there Is no record of 
his settlement. But when in 1734 Andrew Schreiber set- 
tled on the Conewago his nearest neighbors, he tells us, 
were the family of Adam Forney, four miles distant.^^ 
And as Forney marked off his purchase in person In the 
fall of 1731,^2 it is highly probable that he settled there 
Immediately or very shortly after that. The new settle- 
ment may be said therefore to have actually begun a little 
more than three years after John Hendricks took up his 
abode on the west bank of the Susquehanna and almost 
simultaneously with the first influx of German immigrants 
Into the Kreutz Creek Valley. 

Another prominent individual among the first settlers in 
this new settlement was Andrew Schreiber, lineal ancestor 
of Admiral WInfield Scott Schley. Andrew Schreiber was 
born at Alstenborn In the Palatinate in 17 12. His parents, 
Andrew and Ann Margaretha, together with their chil- 

showed himself so neighborly that no one has had any complaint to make of 
him; he also is bound to no compulsory service or serfdom; he will not be 
unwilling to give, to show with all readiness to those of his intended 
residence all affection and kindness. To this true certificate we, the 
authorities, have affixed our city council's great seal to this statement which 
is given at Wachenheim-ih-the-Haardt, the 7th of May, 17121'." 

10 The Moravians, Leonard Schnell and Robert Hussey in the diary of 
their missionary journey from Bethlehem, Pa., to their brethren in Georgia, 
November 6, 174.3 to April 10, 1744^, remark that after leaving York on 
November 15, "Towards evening we came to the district which is called 
after the river " Canawage." We lodged in an inn. The name of the 
inn-keeper is Adam Forny. He complained much about ministers and their 
useless efforts." Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, 
1903-4, p. 371'. 

"Vide "The Shriver Family, 1684-188)8," Samuel S. Shriver, p. 14. 

12 According to the text of Digges's bond quoted above, footnote 6.. 

Other Early Settlements. 75 

dren, after "having borne many adversities,"^^ emigrated 
to America arriving in Philadelphia late in the year 1721. 
The family first settled at Goshenhoppen, near the Trappe, 
on the Schuylkill River. Here Andrew the younger mar- 
ried Ann Maria Keiser in the spring of 1733 and in June 
of that year removed to York County.^^ From John 
Digges he bought a tract of 100 acres near what is now 
Christ Church and paid for it with one hundred pairs of 
negro shoes, the price agreed upon. This location was 
four miles west of the plantation of Adam Forney. Here 
Schreiber lived on peaceful terms with the neighboring In- 
dians and subsequently made additional purchases of land 
from Digges. He hunted deer and tilled the soil by day 
and tanned deerskins in the evenings. He became the pro- 
genitor of the numerous family of Shrivers who live in 
that community at present. 

When Andrew Schreiber set out from Goshenhoppen 
for the region west of the Susquehanna in the summer of 
1733 he was accompanied by his stepbrother David Jung 
(Young) who remained with him about three weeks, until 
they had cleared a few acres and planted corn on it, and 
then returned home. But shortly thereafter, probably the 
next year. Young also bought a tract from John Digges 
and took up his abode not far from his stepbrother Schrei- 
ber.^^ Other neighbors from Philadelphia County soon 

13 These words occur in the certificate of dismissal which Andrew 
Schreiber received from John Mueller, the Reformed pastor of Alstenborn. 
This certificate is still in the hands of the Shrivers and is reproduced in 
" The Shriver Family," p. lo. 

1* A statement of the late Hon. Abraham Schriver, resident judge of the 
Frederick County court, is authority for the information concerning the 
original homestead on the Schuylkill and Andrew's marriage and removal 
to York County. Communicated to the " Star and Sentinel " for March 
1876' by John A. Renshaw. 

1^ The fact may be gathered from the deposition of Robert Owings on 

^6 German Element in York County, Pa. 

followed these two pioneers, among them Ludwig Schrei- 
ber, brother of Andrew, Peter Mittelkauff, and Michael 

Among the other early settlers In this new community 
whose names have been preserved were many whose de- 
scendants are still to be found In the thriving town of 
Hanover and its prosperous vicinity. As early as 1731 
Nicholas Forney and Peter Zarlch were there. In 1732 
or 1733 we find that John Lemmon, Adam Miller, and 
Adam Messier have had surveys made to them on DIgges's 
tract. In 1734 Conrad Eyler and his son Valentine had 
settled there, receiving their warrants in 1738. In 1735 
Henry Sell and the following year Martin Kitzmlller had 
joined the settlement. Before 1737 Peter Jungblut 
( Youngblood) , Matthias Marker, Jacob Banker, William 
Oler, Peter Oler, and Peter Welby had taken out grants. 
In 1737 at least two more additions were made, Derrick 
Jungblut and Peter Relsher (Rysher). In 1738 George 
Evanaar received his warrant and by 1741 we meet with 
such names as those of Herman Updegraf, the shoemaker, 
Peter Schultz the blacksmith, Matthias Ulrich, and Peter 
Ensmlnger, and a few years later with Martin Brin, Abra- 
ham Sell, Martin Ungefare, and John Martin Inyfoss.^® 

July 181, 1746', and the approximate date of Young's settlement is also im- 
plied there. Archives, I: 6195'. 

1^ These names and dates are gathered by inference from the Pennsyl- 
vania Archives and the Pennsylvania Colonial Records embodying the 
negotiations of the proprietaries concerning the boundaries of their respect^ 
ive provinces. The records of these negotiations are to be found chiefly in 
the Archives, I: 680-715' and Colonial Records, V: 51821-597. The names 
that occur there cannot be regarded as at all exhaustive of the list of 
inhabitants in the entire settlement. They are chiefly such as happened to 
be located on that portion of the entire tract which was in dispute between 
the two provinces. 

In the course of the correspondence between the two provinces in 1752, 

Other Early Settlements. 77 

But the lives of these enterprising and industrious Ger- 
mans were no more peaceful than those of their country- 
men who had settled about the same time or a few years 
earlier in the eastern part of the county. This was 
through no fault of their own. Their purposes were alto- 
gether peaceful and their motives beyond reproach. They 
had not even been made the victims of a scheme to pre- 
empt the soil for a particular province, as was the case 
with most of the early settlers in the Kreutz Creek Valley. 
They had ventured out upon those newlands in quest of 
quiet homes where they might worship without hindrance 
and might work undisturbed, sowing their crops and reap- 
ing the fruits of their own labors. But they had the mis- 
fortune to settle upon border land at a time when bound- 
aries were indefinite and open to dispute. The conse- 
quence was, their days were fraught with distraction and 
their lives were in many cases made miserable for years. 
The blame for this condition of affairs must rest entirely 
with the authorities. The irregular and indefinite bound- 
aries of Digges's reservation caused much uncertainty as to 

President Tasker of Maryland transmitted to Governor Hamilton of Penn- 
sylvania a copy of a warrant to collect taxes of persons settled on Digges's 
Choice under Maryland rights (Col. Rec, V: 592; Archives, II: 90 f.)- 
Governor Hamilton recognized the jurisdiction of Maryland over the 
property of the persons mentioned in that warrant and gave strict orders 
to the officers in York County not to try to collect from them (Archives, II: 
8191 £.). The warrant had been issued in January, 1750, and gives the 
names of 40 persons who were settled at that time north of the temporary 
line between the provinces but under Maryland jurisdiction. In addition 
to the names already mentioned we have in this list such German names as 

Martin Bayers George Shrier Peter Gerson 

Christian Stoner Philip Kinsfoor Henry Null, Dr. 

Casper Berkharaer Jacob Perts Michael Behlar 

Philip Sower Andrew Hanier Henry Knouf 

John Counts Conrad Eakron John Shreder 

Frederick Sheets George Frusch George Coflfman 

78 German Element in York County, Pa. 

the validity of their titles and led to frequent disputes be- 
tween Digges and the settlers on his lands. The conflict- 
ing claims of the Penns and Lord Baltimore to the pro- 
prietorship in that region only served to aggravate the 
difficulties and involved the inhabitants In greater turmoil. 
The land upon which many of the Germans had settled 
came to be known as "the disputed land." Unlawful 
claims were made and violent measures were resorted to in 
enforcing them. Jurisdiction in criminal cases was diffi- 
cult to determine, the administration of justice was im- 
peded or prevented, and lawlessness naturally flourished. 
For this reason the community was sometimes referred to 
as " Rogues' Resort," but this cannot be taken as a reflec- 
tion upon the character of the earliest settlers and the 
permanent residents In that district, for it was due to con- 
ditions brought about entirely by the neglect of the distant 
authorities in Philadelphia, in Baltimore, and In London. 
A brief narrative of some of the disturbances In this 
region will help us to understand something of the adverse 
conditions under which this settlement took its beginnings. 
Some of these Germans who were settled on and about 
the Conewago Creek on the lands claimed by John Digges 
soon began to suspect that his patent did not cover all that 
he claimed, that he was not In a position to give valid 
titles, and that some day the proprietary government of 
Pennsylvania might compel them to pay a second time for 
the lands which they occupied. Digges's boundaries were 
not marked and the Increase of settlers and the expanding 
of the colony called for a clear definition of rights. The 
Germans therefore repeatedly called on Digges to mark the 
boundaries of his claim. This he refused to do, and as he 
gave conflicting accounts of the extent of his patent, they 
began to grow solicitous about the validity of their deeds. 

Other Early Settlements. 79 

Their suspicions were turned to certainty when in 1743 
they sent one of their number, Martin Ungefare, to An- 
napolis and secured an attested copy of the courses of 
Digges's tract. Despite Digges's protests and threats of 
violence the Germans proceeded to have the courses of his 
tract run by an authorized surveyor, and then it was plain 
that he had claimed a great deal more land than he had a 
right to by his patent and that he had sold a number of 
tracts that lay without his survey of 6,822 acres. 

Digges was greatly disturbed by this revelation and be- 
gan at once to cast about for some means of securing title 
to such lands as he needed to fulfill his contracts with the 
people. To secure an additional patent under a new sur- 
vey from Maryland was now impossible. For a royal 
order of 1738^^ had fixed a temporary line (called the 

'^'' This was an order issued by the King on May 25, 17381, ratifying an 
agreement between Lord Baltimore and the Penns. In this Order the fol- 
lowing paragraphs are of interest in this connection: 

3rd, "That all other lands in contest between the said proprietors now 
possessed by or under either of them shall remain in the possession as they 
now are (although beyond the temporary limits hereafter mentioned) ; and 
also the jurisdiction of the respective proprietors shall be finally settled; 
and that the tenants of either side shall not attorn to the other, nor shall 
either of the proprietors or their officers receive or accept of attornments 
form the tenants of the other proprietors. 

" 4th, That, as to all vacant lands in contest between the proprietors, not 
lying within the three lower counties and not now possessed by or under 
either of them, on the east side of the River Sasquehannah down so far 
south as fourteen miles and three quarters of a mile south of the latitude 
of the most southern part of the city of Philadelphia, the temporary juris- 
diction over the same is agreed to be exercised by the proprietors of Penn- 
sylvania, and their governor, courts, and officers; and as to all such vacant 
lands in contest between the proprietors and not now possessed by or under 
either of them on both sides of the said River Sasquehannah south of the 
southern limits in this paragraph before mentioned, the temporary jurisdic- 
tion over the same is agreed to be exercised by the proprietor of Maryland 
and his governor, courts, and officers, without prejudice to either proprietor 
and until the bounds shall be finally settled." Archives, I: 713 f. 

8o German Element in York County, Pa. 

Temporary Line of 1739) between the two provinces 
west of the Susquehanna at fourteen and three fourths 
miles south of Philadelphia but provided that lands already 
possessed in the disputed territory should remain in the 
possession and jurisdiction in which they then were. Now 
Digges's Choice lay four miles north of the temporary line, 
and while under the provisions of the royal order it re- 
mained in Digges's possession and continued under Mary- 
land jurisdiction, nevertheless after 1739 the province of 
Maryland could claim no kind of authority over any of the 
lands surrounding Digges's Choice north of the temporary 
line between the provinces. Accordingly in November, 
1 743 J after the Germans had deliberately surveyed the 
boundaries of his claim and thus had laid bare his false 
pretensions, Digges applied to the land office of Pennsyl- 
vania for permission to take up enough land to make his 
tract a regular square. He was told that he might have 
a warrant for as much as he pleased, provided he would 
meet the common terms of Pennsylvania and would not 
interfere with the rights of some Germans who had regu- 
lar warrants for some of the lands contiguous to his tract. 
These conditions he refused to meet and he left Phila- 
delphia without coming to any agreement with the secre- 

Digges then resorted to a new measure. He turned to 
Maryland and determined to get a Maryland warrant to 
complete his original grant of 10,000 acres. In July, 
1745, a warrant was issued from the office at Annapolis 
requiring the surveyor to correct the errors of the original 
survey and to add any vacant land he could find contiguous 
to the tract originally patented. This survey was made 
two weeks later and embraced an additional 3,679 acres. 
For this Digges paid a new consideration and a new rent. 

Other Early Settlements. 8i 

The patent therefore was In direct violation of the royal 
order of 1738 and of the rights of Pennsylvania in that 
region. Digges claimed that he had merely made a resur- 
vey marking the true courses of the 10,000 acres that had 
been granted to him originally. Nevertheless, his new 
patent embraced several German plantations that had not 
been embraced in the original survey and included a num- 
ber of tracts for which warrants had been granted to Ger- 
man settlers by the proprietaries of Pennsylvania.^^ All 
of these lands Digges offered for sale and thus we have 
the fruitful cause of years of conflict and turmoil in this 

There were at least fourteen Germans who had settled 
under Pennsylvania warrants outside of DIgges's original 

18 An instance of such a grant is to be found in the following document 
now in the possession of the York County Historical Society. It is a land 
warrant granted to George Evanaar, a German, and signed by Thomas 
Penn, on October 5, 17381, a year before the temporary line was run be- 
tween Pennsylvania and Maryland. 

" Whereas George Evanaar, of the County of Lancaster, hath requested 
that we would grant him to take up one hundred acres of land situated at 
Conewago, adjoining Adam Forney and Nicholas Forney, in the said County 
of Lancaster, for which he agrees to pay to our use the sum of fifteen pounds, 
ten shillings current money of this province for the said one hundred acres, 
and the yearly quit-rent of one half penny sterling for every acre thereof. 
This is therefore to authorize and require you to survey or cause to be 
surveyed to the said George Evanaar at the place aforesaid, according to 
the methods of townships appointed, the said quantity of one hundred acres, 
if not already surveyed or appropriated, and make return thereof into the 
secretary's office, in order for further confirmation; for which this shall be 
your sufficient warrant; which survey in case the said George Evanaar 
fulfill the above agreement within six months from the date hereof shall be 
valid otherwise void. Given under my hand and seal of the land office, 
by virtue of certain powers from the said proprietaries, at Philadelphia, 
this fifth day of October, Anno Domini, One Thousand Seven Hundred 
and Thirty-Eight. 

"To Benjamin Eastburn, Surveyor-General. Thomas Penn." 


82 German Element in York County, Pa. 

survey of 1732 but within his resurvey of 1745. In April, 
1746, these Germans sent a delegation to Philadelphia 
with a petition to the Pennsylvania authorities asking for 
protection in their rights as against Digges's aggressions.^^ 
Thomas Cookson, surveyor of Lancaster County, was sent 
to the Conewago to warn Digges and the people against 
violations of the royal order.^^ But to no avail. Digges 
insisted that his resurvey and new warrant were merely 
confirmatory of the originals and therefore no violations 
of the royal order. The governors of the two provinces 
began a correspondence about the matter but without defi- 
nite results for many years. Meanwhile the settlers in 
the disputed land were kept in constant uneasiness, a num- 
ber of arrests were made and violent conflicts took place, 
thus greatly retarding the growth of the settlement. 

Very shortly after Cookson's visit to Digges's Choice in 
April, 1746, Thomas Norris, deputy sheriff of Baltimore 
County, at the suit of John Digges arrested Matthias 
Ulrich and Nicholas Forney (son of Adam Forney), two 
of the German settlers on the disputed land. This was 
done because these men failed to give Digges their bonds 
for the lands which they held. The sheriff took his pris- 
oners as far as Adam Forney's house. Here Adam Forney 
remonstrated with the sheriff, insisting that the prisoners 
were settled under- proper Pennsylvania warrants and of- 
fering to go bail for them. This was refused, whereupon 
Forney boldly told the two men to return to their homes. 
The sheriff drew his sword and Forney's party drew theirs, 
but without coming to blows the sheriff and his assistants, 
Dudley Digges and John Roberts, mounted their horses 
and fled towards Maryland. Then Forney wrote an ac- 

19 Archives, II: 28). 

20 Archives, I: 681-683. 

Other Early Settlements. 83 

count of the affair to Cookson, pleading for his interven- 
tion and assistance and concluding: "For if this matter is 
not rectified, & we do not get help speedily, we must help 
ourselves, & should it be with our last Drop of Blood, for 
I am well assured that we will not be put upon by no 
Digges that ever lived under the sun. . . . Digges also 
troubled many more, in short all them that lives in his re- 
survey'd Additional Line, & was a going to have them ar- 
rested, but some sent them a packing in the Striving. . . ."^^ 
The troubles grew worse and Digges discovered that 
the Germans were as stubborn in maintaining their rights 
as he was determined to force them into submission. On 
January 26, 1747, John Wilmot, an under-sheriff of 
Maryland, and six others, all armed with heavy clubs, 
arrested Adam Forney at his home and carried him off to 
the Baltimore jail on the charge of resisting the officers of 
the law. Forney was subjected to very rough treatment 
and in the struggle that attended the arrest his wife, 
Louise, and his daughter, Eve, were badly beaten with 
clubs. In Baltimore Forney entered bail for his appear- 
ance at court. The provincial authorities of Pennsyl- 
vania at once took measures to defend Forney on the 
ground that the arrest was made within the jurisdiction of 
Pennsylvania. A Maryland lawyer was retained to de- 
fend Forney at the trial. But a little investigation re- 
vealed the fact that the house where Forney had been ar- 
rested was actually within the limits of Digges's original 
tract. The case thus ceased to interest the Pennsylvania 
authorities and Forney was left to his own defense. How 
the case was settled is nowhere recorded but there was 
probably nothing more than the imposition of a fine, for 
we soon find Forney at his home again. ^^ 

21 Archives, I: 685 f. and 694 f. 

22 Archives, I: 724-733. 

84 German Element in York County, Pa. 

During the week following Forney's arrest a formal 
complaint was drawn up by the German settlers on the 
"Disputed Land" and sent to Thomas Cookson, setting 
forth the facts of Forney's arrest and brutal treatment and 
asking Cookson to intercede with the governor " that sum 
Releef may be spedely, for it is vary hard for us to live 
af ter this manner, to be toren to pesis." This was signed 
by Martin Kitzmiller, Martin Brin, Abraham Sellen 
(Sell), Hanry Sellen, "and numerous others. "^^ 

In 1749 a petition was presented to Governor Hamilton 
signed by Hendrick Seller (Henry Sell) and thirteen 
others, stating that they were all settled on the tract in- 
cluded by Digges in his resurvey of 1745, that they all 
held Pennsylvania warrants for their land, that Digges was 
threatening to sue them unless they would pay him 100 
pounds Maryland currency, and that they were in con- 
stant danger of being forced from their plantations, car- 
ried to Maryland and there confined. The petitioners 
asked that some speedy means be devised for their relief .^^ 

This unsettled condition of affairs continued until in 
1752 it led to the tragic shooting of Dudley Digges, son 
of John Digges. Martin Kitzmiller, with his wife and 
three sons, Jacob, Leonard, and John, was settled on a 
tract of 100 acres continguous to Digges's Choice. Kitz- 
miller had bought the improvements on this tract from 
John Lemmon in 1736. Lemmon had recognized the 
right of Digges to the land but had not yet paid Digges 
for the land when he sold the improvement to Kitzmiller. 
When Kitzmiller came into the possession of the improve- 
ments he refused to acknowledge Digges's right to the 
land and secured a warrant from Pennsylvania for the 100 

23 Archives, I: 724 f. 
2* Archives, II: 28. 

Other Early Settlements. 85 

acres. This plantation, including a mill and a blacksmith 
shop, lay entirely outside the limits of Digges's original 
survey but within the bounds of his resurvey. Accordingly 
Digges sought to force payment from Kitzmiller. This 
Kitzmiller resisted. On February 26, 1752, the sheriff of 
Baltimore County accompanied by several other persons, 
among them Henry and Dudley Digges, went to Kitzmil- 
ler's mill and placed Martin under arrest, Kitzmiller re- 
sisted arrest, his sons came to his rescue, and in the strug- 
gle a gun in the hands of Jacob Kitzmiller was discharged, 
killing Dugley Digges. The Marylanders then left the 
premises and Jacob Kitzmiller went to York and delivered 
himself into custody. John Digges represented that his 
son had been murdered and appealed to the Maryland 
authorities for justice. The president of the Maryland 
council at once laid claim to jurisdiction in the case and 
demanded that Kitzmiller be delivered to Maryland for 
trial. But the council of Pennsylvania established the fact 
that at the time of the royal order of 1738 Digges was not 
in possession of the land where the tragedy had taken 
place and that any possession that he may have acquired 
under Maryland authority subsequent to 1738 was in vio- 
lation of the royal order. The case therefore was ordered 
to be tried at York on October 30, 1752, and the province 
of Maryland was invited to submit at the trial whatever 
evidence they had to show that the place of shooting was 
In their jurisdiction.^^ But at the trial of the case before 
the court of Oyer and Terminer held by the supreme 
judges at York the jurisdiction over the disputed land was 
shown to belong to Pennsylvania. It also appeared from 
the evidence In the case that the shooting of Dudley Digges 
was in all probability an accident, and Jacob Kitzmiller 

25 Colonial Record, V: 582-597:; Archives, II: 70-83. 

86 German Element in York County, Pa. 

and his father were acquitted.^^ But this tragedy helped 
to sober the disputants somewhat and no further acts of 
such violence occurred, although the land disputes con- 
tinued to disturb the peace of the settlement for almost a 

Thus did the German pioneers in York County unwit- 
tingly become the means of resisting the encroachments of 
the Marylanders at both of their points of collision with 
the Pennsylvania authorities. But both in the eastern 
part of the county and in the southwestern part, they stood 
their ground for the most part quite loyally and with true 
German tenacity endured the hardships of improving their 
lands and maintaining their rights until at length the cum- 
bersome negotiations of the proprietaries determined the 
respective spheres of the two provinces and thus brought 
to the settlers the peace and prosperity in search of which 
they had left their native land. The running of the 
"Temporary Line of 1739" according to the royal order 
of King George II settled forever the difficulties in the 
Kreutz Creek Valley. Thomas Cressap, who had been 
captured and imprisoned in Philadelphia, was released and 
returned to Maryland.^''' The Pennsylvanians who had 
been carried off from that region and imprisoned in Balti- 
more jail were also set free.^^ The Kreutz Creek Settle- 
ment then began to grow rapidly. 

But the German settlements on Digges's Choice were 
not freed from the disturbances of border difficulties for 
some years after the royal order had been issued. The 
vexed question of the exact bounds of Digges's grant under 

26 From the full account of the trial which Richard Peters, secretary of 
the province, wrote to the Penns in England immediately after the trial. 

27 Col. Rec, IV: 266. 

28 For example, Nicholas Perie, Col. Rec, V: 22-51. 

Other Early Settlements. 87 

his original survey and the further question concerning 
his right to lands north of the " temporary line " under a 
Maryland "resurvey" of 1745, continued to disturb the 
settlers in the southwestern part of the county and tended 
to discourage settlement there. The confusion continued, 
as we have seen, until 1752 when at the noted trial of 
Jacob Kitzmiller at York, in the presence of the attorney- 
generals of both provinces, the bounds of Digges's original 
survey were accurately determined and the principle was 
recognized that the lands north of the temporary line of 
1739 which Digges had added to his original survey by 
his resurvey of 1745 were Pennsylvania property accord- 
ing to the royal order, and that therefore the Pennsylvania 
titles of the German residents on those lands were entirely 
valid. This decision, although it did not determine ulti- 
mately in what province those lands were, nevertheless 
served greatly to pacify the settlers In the southwestern 
part of the county and gave impetus to the influx of immi- 
grants into that fertile region. Finally with the amicable 
adjustment of the boundary question by the proprietors in 
England in 1763 and the completion of Mason and Dixon's 
line in 1767 all the inhabitants of this neighborhood of 
Hanover found themselves the unquestioned citizens of the 
province of Pennsylvania. 

Meanwhile the two settlements whose beginnings we 
have described were gradually growing in numbers and 
extent. New accessions were being made in constantly 
increasing numbers. The Kreutz Creek Settlement nat- 
urally grew more rapidly than that on Digges's Choice. 
As new immigrants arrived in the valley they pushed 
farther and farther to the west and southwest, selecting 
always the choicest farming lands for their settlements. 
Thus the settlement expanded from the Kreutz Creek 

88 German Element in York County, Pa. 

Valley into the Codorus Creek Valley and up this valley 
until it joined the German settlement at Hanover. So that 
in 1749 when York County was erected there was an 
almost continuous stretch of German plantations across 
the entire breadth of the county from the mouth of the 
Kreutz Creek in the east, across the very center of the 
county, to the banks of the Conewago in the southwest. 
This stretch of valley has been the home of the German 
element in the county ever since the planting of these 
earliest settlements. In 1740 the number of taxables in 
the county is said to have been over six hundred. More 
than three fourths of these were Germans, the rest being 
the English who had settled in the northern part of the 
county and the Scotch-Irish who had taken up their abode 
in the southeastern part. In 1749 the number of taxables 
reached almost fifteen hundred, the same proportion of 
Germans still obtaining. 

But more than a decade before York County was sepa- 
rated from Lancaster County events had begun to shape 
themselves for the formation of a third German settle- 
ment in our county. Already in September, 1733, Rev. 
John Caspar Stoever, coming from Lancaster County, 
visited his German brethren west of the Susquehanna, 
gathered them together from the whole district of the 
Kreutz Creek and Codorus Creek Valleys, and organized 
them into " Die Evangelisch-Lutherische Gemeinde an der 
Kathores." The first Church Record of this congregation 
contains on its fly-leaf the names of twenty-four of these 
earliest Germans who contributed to the purchase of the 
book.^^ Pastor Stoever baptized 191 persons and married 
34 couples in this congregation before the close of his 

29 Now in the possession of the Rev. Dr. G. W. Enders, the present 
pastor of the Church. 

Other Early Settlements. 89 

pastorate at the end of 1743.^^ His successor, Rev. David 
Candler, organized the Lutheran Church on Digges's 
Choice, " Die Evangelisch-Lutherische Kanawagische Ge- 
meinde," in April, 1743. These organizations were some 
of the guarantees of permanency and the harbingers of 
healthy growth of these settlements. 

By the year 1739 the settlements immediately west of 
the Susquehanna had become so numerous and their Penn- 
sylvania citizenship so obvious that the Provincial As- 
sembly by special act added a new township to Lancaster 
County, the township of Hellam, which included most of 
what is now York County. In that same year a petition 
was presented to the Lancaster court by the inhabitants of 
Hellam Township praying for the opening of a public 
road between the Susquehanna and the Potomac. The 
petition was granted and of the six viewers appointed to 
locate this the first public road in the county at least four 
were Germans, namely, Michael Tanner, Christian Croll, 
Henry Hendricks and Woolrich Whisler. The road be- 
gan at a point between the lands of James Wright and 
Samuel Tayler on the west bank of the Susquehanna im- 
mediately opposite the plantations of John Wright^^ and 
extended thence along the entire route of the German 
plantations through the Kreutz Creek and Codorus Creek 
Valleys, past Adam Forney's land (now Hanover) and 
Kitzmiller's Mill on the Conewago Creek, to the provin- 

30 A history of this Church is to be found in the article by the Rev. Dr. 
B. M. Schmucker in the Lutheran Quarterly, Vol. XVIII, i8i88, pp. 473-5^9, 
" The Lutheran Church in York, Pa." A general history of the Lutherans 
on the Codorus and the Conewago is presented in Schmauk's " Lutheran 
Church in Pennsylvania," Vol. I, Chapter XIV, pp. zsT-193' 

31 To this point a road had been constructed from Lancaster in 1734. 

90 German Element in York County, Pa. 

cial line. ^2 It was known as the Monocacy Road and 
covered a distance of 34 miles. 

Thus the steps were taken in the German valley which 
were soon to lead to a county-seat for a new county and 
ultimately to give to Pennsylvania one of her most flour- 
ishing cities. For it was only two years after the ordain- 
ing of the Monocacy Road that a movement began which 
resulted in the establishing of a third German settlement 
in the county, destined in the course of time greatly to out- 
grow the other two and to play a significant role in national 
affairs. This was the town of York. In October, 1741, 
by order of the Penns, Thomas Cookson, Surveyor of 
Lancaster County, crossed the Susquehanna River and pro- 
ceeded " to survey and lay off in lots a tract of land on the 
Codorus where the Monocacy Road crosses the stream." 
This point is as far west of the Susquehanna as Lancaster 
is east of it. The prospective town on the Codorus re- 
ceived the name York, a neighboring city of Lancaster In 
England. The site selected for the new town lay on both 
sides of the creek but only the part east of the stream was 
laid off Into lots. Applications for lots were then invited 
and in the month following the survey, November, 1741, 
twenty-three lots were reserved by Intending citizens. Of 
these at least twenty-one were taken by Germans, George 
Swope purchasing four, George Hoke two, and the others 
each one as follows: 

Jacob Welsh Michael Laub 

Baltzer Spangler Zacharlah Shugart 

Michael Swope Nicholas Stuck 

Christian Croll Arnold Stuck 

32 Vide Gibson's " History of York County," p. 322. Michael Tanner 
was also one of those appointed in 1766 to view the road southward from 
Hanover to the line between the provinces. 

Other Early Settlements. 91 

Samuel Hoke Matthais Onvensant 

Hermanus Butt Martin Eichelberger 

Jacob Grebill Henry Hendricks 
Joseph Hinsman and 

Andrew Coaler John Bishop. 

All except the last two are certainly German. Hendricks 
is probably German, and John Bishop Is very probably 
the Anglicized form of Johannes Blschof, who arrived at 
the port of Philadelphia October 27, 1739. 

But an application for a lot did not in every case mean 
that residence in the new town was effected. A yearly 
quit-rent of seven shillings sterling was required by the 
proprietors for every lot that was taken up. James Logan, 
who was sent to regulate and supervise the affairs of the 
incipient town. Imposed a condition upon the applicants 
by which each applicant was required within one year of 
the time of his application "to build upon his lot at his 
own private cost one substantial dwelling-house of the 
dimensions of sixteen feet square at least, with a good 
chimney of brick and stone, to be laid in or built with lime 
and sand" ; otherwise his claim should be void. This was 
not an easy condition for the poor immigrants of that day 
to comply with. Few of the pioneer settlers had the 
means to build such houses, and of the few who had the 
means nearly all had gotten them through farming and 
this occupation they intended to continue now that they 
had crossed the Susquehanna. Consequently most of the 
newcomers to the county were not disposed to take up 
their residence in town but preferred to locate upon the 
fertile farms adjacent.^^ Accordingly the town grew 

33 George Swope and Baltzer Spangler afterwards kept public houses in 
the town. But Adam Miller was the first person to receive permission to 
keep a public house there. Vide Rupp's " History of Lancaster and York 

92 German Element in York County, Pa. 

slowly at first. Two years after it had been laid out 
seventy lots had been applied for, but many of these had 
been forfeited because of the failure to build and only 
eleven houses had actually been built, although several 
more were in prospect, among them a Lutheran and a Re- 
formed house of worship.^^ Practically no public im- 
provements had been made. In 1746 forty-four addi- 
tional lots were reserved and in October, 1749, when 
York became a county-seat, the town consisted of sixty- 
three dwelling houses and two churches. ^^ During the 
next five years under the efficient supervision of George 
Stevenson the town began to thrive and by the end of 
1754 contained 210 dwelling houses. In 1764 when the 
town of Hanover was laid out, York was already grow- 
ing rapidly. It was in the very center of a flourishing 
agricultural community and had attracted wide attention. 
Its population was predominantly German and it was to 
the thrifty German farms lying all about it that the town 
owed its growth and prosperity.^® 

The origin and the growth of this settlement at the 

Counties," p. 5714. In 1754 George Stevenson wrote from York: "The 
timber of the town land was all destroyed before I came here; the inhabi- 
tants ever since, have bought all their timber for building and firewood, 
very dear, of the adjacent farmers, which is discouraging to poor settlers, 
and few rich people settle here." See letter of October 26, quoted in 
Gibson, p, 5161. 

3* Vide letter of James Logan to Thomas Penn, August 30, 17(43. Among 
the OfRcial Penn Manuscripts, 

35 A few persons had taken possession of lots and built homes on them 
without securing a legal title. The names of such town squatters are Jacob 
Billmeyer, Jacob Fakler, and Avit Shall. They were required to give up 
their possessions to the agent of the proprietaries in 1751. Rupp's " His- 
tory," p. 575. 

36 Referring to the German citizens who constituted nearly the entire 
population of the town Thomas Penn wrote in 17615' of " the flourishing 
state to which the town hath arrived through their industry." 

Other Early Settlements. 93 

intersection of the Codorus Creek and the Monocacy Road 
cannot be understood entirely apart from the settlers in 
the country round about. Eight or nine years before 
York had been laid out as a town a number of Germans 
had taken up their abodes on the inviting lands in that 
vicinity. They had not come from the same region as 
that from which the original settlers on the Kreutz Creek 
had come. And in their new homes in York County they 
were for the most part too far west to be affected by the 
border disturbances which embroiled the settlers in the 
Kreutz Creek Valley, although they had migrated into the 
county almost simultaneously with the settlers on the Kreutz 
Creek. Their plantations lay about the point where the 
Kreutz Creek Valley ceases and merges into the Codorus 
Creek Valley. From that point they stretched north and 
northeast along the course of the Codorus and some of 
them also stretched southwest along that creek. 

Here these Germans had settled chiefly as squatters, 
undisturbed by the Indians and tacitly tolerated by the 
Pennsylvania authorities who knew that these settlers 
would secure warrants in the course of time. For a long 
time they constituted a group quite distinct from the set- 
tlers in the Kreutz Creek Valley farther east.^^ Many of 
them had arrived here as early as 1733 and it was from 
their number that Pastor Stoever, in September of that 
year, gathered the members for the first church organiza- 
tion west of the Susquehanna. The location of the mem- 
bers of this congregation gave the new organization its 
name, the "Church on the Codorus." And the list of the 

37 The Lancaster County authorities knew that there were Germans 
settled at the west end of the Kreutz Creek Valley, for Blunston wrote on 
January i&, 1737 : " Most of the Dutch not taken are come away that live 
towards this end of the valley." 

94 German Element in York County, Pa. 

names of the Individuals who helped to purchase the first 
record book for that Church doubtless embraces the names 
of most of the German settlers In that neighborhood In 
the fall of 1733. Of this list of twenty-four names only 
four (Christian CroU, Philip Zlegler, Jacob Ziegler, and 
Michael Walck) are familiar to us from our study of the 
names of settlers In the Kreutz Creek Valley. The 
others^^ were beyond the reach of those disturbances.. 
Some of these German settlers along the Codorus after- 
wards drifted Into the town of York. But most of them 
remained upon their thriving plantations and constituted 
the base of supplies and the ground for the prosperity of 
the new town. These settlers and their plantations must 
therefore be regarded as an Integral part of the third 
German settlement In the county. 

These, then, were the earliest German settlements In 
York County. After five years of border difficulties in the 
Kreutz Creek Valley and two decades of turmoil over the 
boundaries of DIgges's Choice, the development of these 

38 These are as follows: 

Martin Bauer Christof Kraut Heinrich Schultz 

Johannes Bentz Gottfried Mauch Valentine Schultz 

Joseph Beyer Nicholas Koger George Schwab 

Paul Burkhardt Jacob Scherer George Ziegler 

John Adam Diehl Mathias Schraeiser Heinrich Zanck 

Carl Eisen George Schmeiser and 

Baltzer Knetzer George Zimmermann One illegible. 

A complete list of males to whom Pastor Stoever ministered during the 
ten years of his pastorate (1733-1743) as gathered from the entries in his 
record, includes exactly 100 names. Of these at least 14 are names that 
occur in the documents concerning the Kreutz Creek Settlement. This 
indicates that some of the settlers in that first settlement, probably those 
who were Lutherans, availed themselves of the ministrations of the pastor 
who served the settlement on the Codorus. 

Other Early Settlements. 


German settlements, stretching from one end of the county 
to the other, went steadily and peacefully forward until 
the outbreak of the French and Indian War. They con- 
centrated, as we have seen, along the line of the Mon- 
ocacy Road and this In turn followed for the most part 
the ancient Indian trail which had marked the course for 
early German missionary and pilgrim. 

twenty Jiollars. Ko, 

F/^ Bn.L entities 
r«f -^ Bearer ftf neetVe 

ITWENTY Spanish 

^^Q!«z Gold or Silver,' 

^^Krr^/rf, at Torktowriy 
'^' 'fuf,fApril,j778. 


Whence the Germans Came and Why. 

^^^rOW that we have seen how the German ele- 

I ^L^ ment in York County had its beginning there, 

T*«— 5k we cannot fail to be confronted by the larger 

0^ ^k and prior question as to the origin of these 

Germans before they settled on the banks 

of the Kreutz Creek, the Codorus and the Conewago. 

Why did they come to America? Where did they come 

from when they settled in York County? And how did 

they come to settle the particular parts of the county which 

they did and which their descendants have occupied to the 

present day? 

Of the reason why the Germans left their native homes 
and braved the discomforts and dangers of an ocean voy- 
age to take up their abodes upon the unsettled newlands 
of America we have a very clear intimation in a declara- 
tion wrung from them by their distresses in our county 
shortly after their settlement here. In the course of the 
proceedings concerning the "revolt of the Germans" in 
the Kreutz Creek Valley from Maryland authority and 
their return to Pennsylvania allegiance, the Germans had 


Whence the Germans Came and Why. 97 

occasion to send an answer to the Governor of Maryland 
(1736). In this statement they take occasion to explain 
why they left Germany and how they came to locate in 
what is now York County. For they set forth 

" that being greatly oppressed in their native country, principally 
on account of their religion, they resolved, as many others had done 
before, to fly from it. That hearing much of the justice and mild- 
ness of the government of Pennsylvania, they embarked in Holland 
for Philadelphia, where on their arrival they swore allegiance to 
King George and fidelity to the proprietors of Pennsylvania and 
their government. That repairing to the great body of their 
countrymen settled in the County of Lancaster, on the east side 
of Susquehannah they found the lands there generally taken up 
and possessed, and therefore some of them by licenses from the pro- 
prietors of Pennsylvania, went over that River and settled there 
under their authority, and others according to a common practice 
then obtaining sate down with a resolution to comply as others 
should with the terms of the government when called on, but they 
had not been long there until some pretending authority from the 
government of Maryland, insisted on it that that country was in 
that province, and partly by threats or actual force and partly 
by very large promises, they had been led to submit to the com- 
mands of that government." Then they recount the ill treatment 
they have received at the hands of the Marylanders. " This un- 
common and cruel usage" is only one of a number of arguments 
by which " we are persuaded in our own consciences we are clearly 
within the province of Pennsylvania." " We could not therefore 
but believe ourselves obliged in conscience in the honest discharge 
of the solemn engagements we had entered into at our first arrival 
in Pennsylvania, to return to our obedience to its proprietors as 
soon as we discovered we were truly seated within its limits." And 
in conclusion they appeal to the Governor's consideration against 
" the treating of a parcel of conscientious, industrious, and peaceable 
people, like rebels, for no other reason than . . . because we are 

98 German Element in York County, Pa. 

convinced of the mistakes we had been lately led into by the false 
assertions of persons of no credit."^ 

From this writing it is clear that these Germans had left 
their native land for a threefold reason, partly because of 
political oppression and severe religious persecutions at 
home, partly because of the example of many who had 
preceded them, and partly because of the alluring accounts 
they had heard about Pennsylvania. They had gone first 
to Lancaster County because most of the Germans in 
Pennsylvania were located there. They had continued 
through Lancaster and across the river and into what is 
now York County and had settled there, most of them as 
squatters without licenses but intending to take out licenses 
in course of time. Here their ignorance of the language 
of the government and their lack of acquaintance with 
political intrigues made them the easy victims of evil 
schemes. Their own motives v/ere peaceful but they were 
inveigled into procedures which involved them in strife and 
unrest. The stubborn dispute of the provincial govern- 
ments concerning the jurisdiction over the lands on which 
the Germans had settled entailed unhappy consequences 
for the newcomers and for a time threatened seriously to 
disturb the peace and permanence of their settlement. 

Now the grounds of this religious persecution and the 
other kinds of oppression which these Germans had suf- 
fered in their native country and which they give as their 
reason for fleeing from Germany, are of no little impor- 
tance for our subject. They carry us across the ocean and 
back more than two centuries into the past but they help 
us to understand the character and class of the immigrants, 

1 Archives, 1 : 492 f . This statement was signed by about sixty hands. 
Col. Rec, IV: 57. 

Whence the Germans Came and Why. 99 

the circumstances under which they left their homes and 
came to the New World, and the distinctive characteristics 
which they manifested in their lives and habitations after 
they arrived in York County. For that reason we must 
pause to enumerate, in outline at least, the causes of the 
German immigration to Pennsylvania in the eighteenth 

The chief causes are of two kinds. A long series of 
destructive wars, continued religious persecution, and re- 

2 The sources of information concerning German immigration to Amer- 
ica are many and varied. A complete bibliography of works relating to 
Germans in the United States far exceeds 10,000 titles. The first volume 
of Professor A. B. Faust's " The German Element in the United States " 
(1909) gives a faithful summary of the history of German immigration 
into America. Chapters II — V deal in a general way with the immigra- 
tion into Pennsylvania. At the close of Volume II Professor Faust pre- 
sents a rather full bibliography compiled from European and American 
sources and containing nearly two thousand titles. 

In the first chapter of Professor Oscar Kuhns's reliable volume on " The 
German and Swiss Settlements of Pennsylvania" (1901) we have a brief 
but thoroughly accurate portrayal of " the historic background " of the 
immigration, and chapter two gives a very clear account of " The settling 
of the German counties of Pennsylvania." This work when read in con- 
nection with Professor Faust's two volumes serves to impress the student 
with the distinctive history and the distinctive qualities of the Pennsylvania 
Germans in contrast with the more modern waves of German immigrants. 
This distinction is not clear in Faust. The original Pennsylvania German 
settlers were part and portion of the American colonists and their spirit 
and ideals and characteristics were very diflFerent from those of the modern 
German Americans. Professor Kuhns's volume also contains a bibliog- 
raphy far less extensive than Faust's but much more useful for the general 

For our brief survey of the story of Pennsylvania German immigration 
at the beginning of this chapter we have used besides general works like 
those of Faust and Kuhns and besides the works referred to in the other 
footnotes, such special works as Hausser, " Geschichte der Rheinischen 
Pfalz," Heidelberg, 1856; O. Seidensticker, " Geschichte der Deutschen Ge- 
sellschaft von Pennsylvanien, 17164-18716," Philadelphia, 1876; and the 
volumes of " Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society." 

loo German Element in York County, Pa. 

lentless oppression by petty tyrants, had rendered exist- 
ence at home almost unendurable, while favorable reports 
from earlier settlers beyond the Atlantic, more plentiful 
means of transportation, and an innate desire for adven- 
ture (Wanderlust) , made the attractions of the foreign 
shore almost irresistible. These two sets of historical 
causes operated as mighty forces leading the Germans to 
turn their backs upon the homeland which they loved and 
to embark for a land of peace and plenty, as they thought. 
The first of the series of wars that rendered life in Ger- 
many intolerable was the Thirty Years' War. This was 
the most awfully destructive and demoralizing struggle in 
history. Its horrors beggar description. It set Germany 
back in the scale of civilization at least two hundred years, 
so that she is only in the present day recovering her pris- 
tine position in the onward march of the nations. The 
dire consequences of the war fell most heavily upon the 
peasants, the foundation of the nation and the root of its 
growth. In many parts of the country in the course of the 
war 75 per cent, of the inhabitants were destroyed, 66 
per cent, of the houses, 85 per cent, of the horses, and 
over 80 per cent, of the cattle.^ These multiplied woes of 
war fell with greatest force upon southwestern Germany, 
especially the Palatinate. The Palatinate may be roughly 
defined as that part of Germany which lies about the left 
bank of the Rhine between Mayence and Spires. Two 
centuries ago it was one of the integral parts of the empire. 
It was this fair province that suffered most from the 
ravages of war in the seventeenth century. The Elector 
Palatine Frederick V himself precipitated the war and thus 
attracted to his own fertile land the full fury of that awful 

3 Gustav Freitag, " Bilder aus der deutschen Vergangenheit," Vol. Ill, 

Whence the Germans Came and Why. loi 

storm. In 1619 the Elector accepted the crown of Bo- 
hemia and thus became involved in war with the strong 
house of Austria. Retribution came swiftly and terribly. 
He was very quickly driven from his winter throne, de- 
prived of his new crown, put to the ban, and robbed of his 
lands on the Rhine, which became at once the object of 
repeated spoliation for all the lawless hordes of dissolute 
soldiery. For years in succession the grim shadows of 
famine and pestilence brooded darkly over the land. So 
great was the desolation that in the last years of the war 
neither friend nor foe any longer entered the Palatinate, 
the melancholy fact staring them in the face that there was 
no longer anything to steal, — the most fertile area of Ger- 
many had become a desert. 

The peace of 1648 endured but a few years so far as 
southwestern Germany was concerned. The survivors of 
the war had begun the tedious work of reviving their 
homes, their fields, and their fortunes. The new Elector 
granted religious freedom and this fact together with the 
liberal terms under which lands were granted to colonists 
attracted some of the best products of neighboring coun- 
tries. The country began to prosper anew and was well 
on the way to recovery from its recent distresses, when in 
1674 the blood-curdling cry of war rang out once more 
through the land, and the painful efforts of more than two 
decades remained fruitless. This time France was the ag- 
gressor. War was on between France and Holland, the 
War of the Protestant Netherlands, 167 2-1 67 8. From 
its position the Palatinate was most exposed to the ravages 
of the contending armies. For it was one of the border- 
lands of the German Empire, fair and prosperous, an at- 
tractive mark for the marauding bands of military robbers 

I02 German Element in York County, Pa. 

and therefore destined to be crushed between the two mill- 
stones of the opposing powers. Louis XIV ordered the 
beautiful Palatinate to be devastated, to render it useless 
to his enemies. The work of devastation was done thor- 
oughly. Once more the doleful tale of destruction and 
misery, of burning city and homeless peasant, is recorded, 
and It was at this point In the history of the Palatinate that 
the first faint beginnings of the emigration to Pennsyl- 
vania took place. But greater woes were yet to come to 
the Rhineland. 

After a brief respite of less than ten years the War of 
the Palatinate (1688-1697) was begun. Louis XIV had 
laid claim to the entire Palatinate In the name of his 
sister-in-law. When the countries of northern Europe 
leagued themselves together In a mighty coalition to with- 
stand this new effrontery Louis hurried a large army Into 
the country. Then, because he could not hold the con- 
quest he had made and because the Palatines had har- 
bored the Huguenots expelled from France, the covetous 
French monarch gave summary orders to "burn the Pa- 
latinate," Breathing forth fire and slaughter his base 
hyenas of war leaped wildly upon the defenceless land. 
Crops were destroyed, villages and towns were reduced to 
ashes, and more than a hundred thousand innocent and 
helpless peasants were rendered homeless. 

The war lasted seven years and when at length in 1697 
the smoke lifted from the last glowing embers of the 
various parts of the Palatinate, there sat upon the throne, 
one John William, an ardent Romanist. Now religious 
persecution was added to economic bankruptcy. The per- 
secution of Protestants, Lutherans and Reformeds, was 
carried on systematically. Their Church property was 

Whence the Germans Came and Why. 103 

confiscated to a very large extent and the worshippers in 
many cases expelled from the country. The sects, such as 
the Mennonites, Quakers, and Huguenots, were summarily 
driven from the land. Hundreds of petty persecutions on 
person and property were made. And this continued for 
nearly a century. The ravages of war followed one an- 
other in rapid succession. The War of the Palatinate had 
scarcely closed (1697) when the War of the Spanish Suc- 
cession broke out ( 1 701-17 14) . Then followed the War 
of the Austrian Succession (1741-1747). All of these 
were sorely felt in the Palatinate and other parts of south- 
western Germany. Meanwhile the cruelties of religious 
persecution continued unabated. For a long period each 
new prince of the Palatinate forced a change of religion 
on his subjects. The injustice and the petty tyrannies of 
the rulers made life a constant burden and fostered a wide- 
spread discontent. The continued disturbances of war and 
religious persecution soon began to entail dire effects of a 
social and economic nature. For in the course of the late 
seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries nearly 500,000 
Palatines, Wuertembergers, and Swiss, were ruthlessly ex- 
pelled from their homes. Exile was followed by famine, 
famine by pestilence, and at last all the finer impulses of 
the heart were threatened with complete extinction in the 
gross wretchedness of brutalizing despair. It is not a 
matter for surprise, therefore, that the Germans in the 
midst of such trials set their faces resolutely towards the 
west in the hope of finding a better land where peace and 
quiet reigned and where there was liberty of conscience. 
And coming as they did from such conditions of long-con- 
tinued oppression and ruin, we cannot expect them, after 
they arrive in the New World, to take a place at once in 
the forefront of social and literary circles. 

104 German Element in York County, Pa. 

If we take a general view of the streams of German im- 
migration which flowed into Pennsylvania before the Rev- 
olutionary War, we can distinguish three well-defined 
periods.* The first period extends from 1683 (when the 
first settlement was made under William Penn at German- 
town) to 17 10. During this period the number of those 
who came was small, probably not exceeding in total 500 
souls. They all remained in or near Philadelphia, and 
this period of immigration had therefore no direct influence 
upon York County. The second period from 17 10 to 
1727, is marked by a considerable increase in the number 
of immigrants, although there is as yet no steady influx of 
large numbers. Perhaps 14,000 would be a liberal esti- 
mate for the immigration during the second period.^ The 
year 1727 marks an epoch in this matter for it was then 
that the immigration began to assume large proportions 
and that official statistics began to be kept. The third 
period therefore begins with the year 1727 and extends 
to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. During this 
period the numbers of German immigrants swell to enor- 
mous size, and by the year 1775 the grand total of Pennsyl- 
vania Germans must have been no less than 110,000 or 
about one third of the total population of the state, a pro- 
portion which seems to have kept itself practically un- 
changed down to the present day. 

When the Germans fled from the hardships of their life 
in southwestern Germany and in Switzerland they invari- 
ably took their course down the Rhine. The earliest set- 
tlers of Germantown made their way directly from Hol- 

*This division of periods is the one presented by Kuhns, p. 31. 

5 Vide Kuhns's refutation (German and Swiss Settlements, pp. 52^-54) of 
Rupp ("Thirty Thousand Names," pp. i f.) and Wayland ("German 
Element of the Shenandoah Valley," p. 27'). 

Whence the Germans Came and Why. 105 

land to America. But after a few years, at the instigation 
of Queen Anne who had compassion on the suffering exiles 
and who was earnestly seeking settlers for her own Amer- 
ican colonies, the exiles began to cross the Channel into 
England where they threw themselves upon the kindness 
of the Queen's government. Their numbers sometimes 
embarrassed the English government. In 1709 as if by 
sudden common impulse over 13,000 Palatines swarmed 
into London and asked to be sent to America. Of this 
number over 3,000 were sent to the colony of New York 
and settled along the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers.^ Here 
after a decade of varying fortunes, insuperable difficulties 
arose in regard to the titles to their land. They were 
forced to leave the homes which they had built with the 
labor of many years and in 1723 three hundred of them 
painfully made their way through the wilderness of south- 
ern New York to the headwaters of the Susquehanna and 
floated down the river until they came to the mouth of the 
Swatara Creek, opposite the northern part of York County. 
Up the Swatara they made their way to the district now 
known as Tulpehocken, where they settled Heidelberg and 
Womelsdorf.^ They were followed In 1728 by a large 
party from New York under the leadership of Conrad 
Weiser. Thus we have the beginnings of Pennsylvania 
Germans in Berks and Lebanon Counties. This became 
one of the gathering points for German Immigration into 
Pennsylvania and from this region came not a few of the 
very earliest settlers In York County. The Germans had 

^ The experiences of the Germans in the colony of New York are graph- 
ically depicted by Rev. Sanford H. Cobb in his " The Story of the Palatines: 
an Episode in Colonial History," 18197. 

'' Vide supra, p. 20. For an accurate and detailed history of the Tulpe- 
hocken settlement and its subsequent development, vide Schmauk's " Lu- 
theran Church in Pennsylvania," Vol. I, pp. 433-576. 

lo6 German Element in York County, Pa. 

made their first and last effort in colonial New York. 
They began to advertise among their people in the home- 
land what ill treatment they had received in New York 
and how favorable were the conditions for settlement in 
Pennsylvania, and henceforth the Germans began assidu- 
ously to avoid New York and the mainstream of their im- 
migration came to Pennsylvania. 

Another important distributing center of Pennsylvania 
Germans before the Revolution was Lancaster County. 
The settlement of this county was due primarily to the 
religious persecutions of the emigrants rather than to 
economic causes. The movement began in 17 lo and had 
its chief source in Switzerland. For nearly a century the 
doctrines of the Mennonites had been flourishing in Switz- 
erland.^ But like the Quakers in England and New Eng- 
land, the Mennonites in Switzerland were the victims of 
systematic persecution. From time to time individuals and 
families made their way across the Swiss frontiers and 
sought refuge among their brethren in the faith on the 
banks of the Rhine. Thus was formed a chain of Men- 
nonites all the way from Switzerland to Amsterdam. And 
when these plain but serious people heard the favorable 
reports concerning the peace and prosperity of their breth- 
ren at Germantown, Pennsylvania, and when their awful 
persecutions in Switzerland continued undiminished, many 
of them resolved to try their fortunes in the land of Wil- 
liam Penn. Accordingly in 17 10 some hundreds, perhaps 
thousands, of the most desirable citizens of Switzerland 
and the Rhine Valley arrived at Philadelphia and selected 
as their settlement a tract of 10,000 acres on the Pequea 
Creek, Conestoga, just east of the Susquehanna River, in 
what is now Lancaster County. These industrious and 

8 D. Musser, "The Reformed Mennonite Church," 1873. 

Whence the Germans Came and Why. 107 

gentle Mennonites lived on good terms with the Indians 
and by the aid of the German immigrants that soon poured 
into the count}^ they made Lancaster the garden-spot and 
pride of Pennsylvania. 

After these successful beginnings had been made, In 
Germantown, in the Lebanon Valley, and in Lancaster 
County, the tide of German immigrants began to flow 
strongly. The influence was contagious. The ancient 
Wanderlust of the Teutons revived in the breasts of their 
descendants. The settlers in America returned favorable 
reports to their friends and relatives still bearing their hard 
conditions in the homeland. Tracts were published de- 
scribing Utopian conditions of the New World. Ship- 
owners hired agents to stimulate the exodus from the val- 
ley of the Rhine. Lands, farms, and plantations were 
freely offered to every settler for a small amount of pur- 
chase money. Many representatives of every class of 
society in that overburdened population of Europe yielded 
to the alluring prospect held out by the New World so full 
of opportunity for the industrious. Besides the great body 
of political refugees and those persecuted on account of 
their religion there were also considerable numbers of 
others, such as the Industrious artisan seeking opportunity 
to maintain his family, the overburdened tenant groaning 
under a load of taxes and labors, the unfortunate merchant 
looking for better Investments and more promising specu- 
lations, the impecunious nobleman seeking a chance to re- 
trieve his lost fortune, the romantic spirit in search of ad- 
venture and desiring to hunt and trap unrestrained in the 
primeval forests, and the poverty-stricken redemptioner 
fleeing the starvation that threatened him at home. All 
these helped to swell the stream westward. With the year 

io8 German Element in York County, Pa. 

1727 the Germans began to come in such large numbers 
that the colonial government grew alarmed and began to 
keep official lists of these immigrants exacting from each 
man an oath of allegiance to the British government. The 
largest contingent of Germans continued to come from the 
Palatinate but there were also considerable numbers from 
the neighboring states of Germany. 

If now the question be asked why this German immigra- 
tion focused thus upon Pennsylvania to the exclusion of 
the other provinces the answer is fourfold. In the first 
place, before the German immigration began, William 
Penn, himself half German by birth, had made two jour- 
neys to Holland and Germany and had made many ac- 
quaintances among those who were the objects of religious 
persecution in the Fatherland. When therefore the great 
Quaker received his grant of land in America these people 
among whom he had visited in Germany were naturally 
interested in his project to establish a colony in the New 
World and specially susceptible to the arguments pre- 
sented in his pamphlet calling for colonists. When they 
crossed the ocean they were received by Penn and settled 
at Germantown. Those who followed them across the 
ocean naturally followed them also into Penn's province. 
Thus the tide began to flow into Pennsylvania.^ 

In the second place, when the stream of German immi- 
gration into America grew stronger and the influence of 
the English government tried to determine its direction, 
the experiment of sending Germans to New York was 
tried. But, as we have seen, it was unsuccessful. The 
Germans in New York soon became involved in serious 

» John Fiske in his "Dutch and Quaker Colonies" (Vol. I, p. 351) agrees 
with Diifenderffer in assigning Penn's travels in Germany in 1671 and 1677 
as the chief cause in directing German immigration to Pennsylvania. 

Whence the Germans Came and Why, 109 

difficulties with the English there. They became con- 
vinced that the colonial authorities were unjust to them, 
and that, too, because they were Germans. Many of them 
removed to Pennsylvania where they found conditions quite 
satisfying. Then they sent word back to the Fatherland 
establishing a veritable prejudice against New York and 
strongly urging their friends to come to Penn's land.^*^ 

Thirdly, Pennsylvania was far more widely advertised 
in Germany than any other of the thirteen colonies. Im- 
mediately after Penn's grant received the royal confirma- 
tion in 1 68 1 he published his ten-page compilation en- 
titled " Some Account of the Province of Pennsylvania in 
America." This was translated into German" by his 
counsellor Benjamin Furley and circulated broadcast in 
the valley of the Rhine. In 1682 Penn sent forth his 
second advertisement of his province. It is entitled " In- 
formation and Direction to Such Persons as are inclined to 
America, More Especially Those related to the Province 
of Pennsylvania." This was a pamphlet of three and a 
half pages. It was quickly translated into German and 
spread abroad in the hope of attracting colonists to Penn- 
sylvania. And another work that was translated and pub- 
lished in German^^ was Penn's " Brief Account of the 

10 " The Germans, not satisfied with being themselves removed from 
Nev7 York, wrote to their relatives and friends and advised them, if ever 
they intended to come to America, to avoid New York, where the govern- 
ment had shown itself so unjust. This advice was of such influence that 
the Germans who afterwards went in great numbers to North America 
constantly avoided New York and always selected Pennsylvania as the 
place of their settlement." — Peter Kalm's "Travels in America" (1747 and 
1748), Vol. I: 271. Kalm ascribes the comparatively slow growth of 
colonial New York to this treatment of the Germans. 

11 " Eine Nachricht wegen der Landschaft Pennsylvania in America," 
Amsterdam, i6'8i. 

12 Kurtz, " Nachricht von der Araericanischen Landschaft Pennsylvania," 

no German Element in York County, Pa. 

Province of Pennsylvania." Then followed a number of 
more accurate and more detailed descriptions from the 
learned pen of Pastorius, leader of the original settlers 
of Germantown. These were all intended to arouse inter- 
est in Penn's colony among mercantile and pietistical cir- 
cles. In this they succeeded, as results show. The chief 
of Pastorius's contributions to the advertisement of early 
Pennsylvania among the Germans was his "Umstandige 
geographische Beschreibung der zu allerletzt erfundenen 
Provintz Pensylvaniae," published in 1700. But among 
the advertising influences tending to draw German immi- 
gration to Pennsylvania, more important than any we have 
mentioned is Daniel Falckner's " Curieuse Nachricht von 
Pennsylvania."^^ When Falckner returned to Halle after 
some five years of experience and observation in Pennsyl- 
vania, his friend, August Hermann Francke, who was then 
at the head of the Pietistic movement in Germany, pro- 
pounded to him one hundred and three questions concern- 
ing the voyage to America and the condition of the country 
and its inhabitants, both European and Indian. To these 
questions Falckner replied in writing with frank and ex- 
haustive answers. Questions and answers were published 
in book form at Frankfurt and Leipsic in 1702, and the 
work constituted for years the chief source of information 
for intending German immigrants. It passed through 
several editions, and became a mighty factor, not only in 
stimulating immigration to America but more particularly 
in directing it to the province of Pennsylvania. This vig- 
orous advertisement among the Germans of the colony of 
Pennsylvania is entirely without a parallel in any other of 
the original thirteen colonies and it serves in no small de- 

13 Edited by Julius F. Sachse and published in Volume XIV of the " Pro- 
ceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society," 1905. 

Whence the Germans Came and Why. in 

gree to account for the fact that German immigration to 
America concentrated upon this province.^^ 

Finally, Pennsylvania made a special appeal to such as 
were driven from their homes on account of their religion. 
And for the majority of German immigrants to this coun- 
try in the early eighteenth century the chief cause of their 
flight was religious persecution at home. The avowed 
purpose of Penn in establishing his colony was to provide 
religious freedom for the persecuted. He called his gov- 
ernment a " Holy Experiment." His plan as embodied in 
his " Frame of Government" was to extend the benefits of 
complete religious and political liberty to all. This was 
one of the chief arguments advanced by Penn and his 
agents in advertising his province. Freedom of conscience 
was the glittering gem that they held out before the long- 
ing eyes of the oppressed. It was an argument that natu- 
rally appealed to multitudes in those days of chaotic re- 
ligious conditions. Those who settled in Pennsylvania 
found their expectations In this respect entirely fulfilled. 
The result was that, among the Germans at least, Pennsyl- 
vania came to be regarded as preeminently a place of reli- 
gious liberty, a refuge for the persecuted. And thousands 
upon thousands of those who were distressed in heart and 
conscience looked longingly towards the west and when 

1* We have enumerated only the most important of the literary works 
that helped to induce German immigration to Pennsylvania. A detailed 
list of such works is found in Sachse's "Pennsylvania: the German In- 
fluence on its Settlement and Development. Part I: The Fatherland (1450- 
1700)," pp. i26-i'68i To this is added an Appendix, pp. 173-228, con- 
taining fac-similes of the title pages of the books and pamphlets that influ- 
enced the German emigration. This work is a reprint from Volume VII 
(1897) of "The Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society." A 
critical account of these works is also found in Winsor's " Narrative and 
Critical History of America," Vol. Ill: 495-516. 

112 German Element in York County, Pa. 

the opportunity came to cross the ocean they aimed directly 
for the province of Pennsylvania.^^ 

Such, in brief, are the reasons; why Pennsylvania re- 
ceived the great preponderant mass of German immigra- 
tion in colonial times.^® From the very beginnings of the 
history of the commonwealth the Germans have consti- 
tuted one third of her total population and have at all 
times exercised a profound influence upon her progress 
and development. Other colonies had their German set- 
tlements. New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, 
North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana were 
not without their representatives from the Fatherland. 
But none of these, nor all of them combined, could com- 
pare in number or in influence with the German settlements 
in Pennsylvania, where they have always been the most 

15 Christopher Saur, the celebrated Pennsylvania German printer and 
publisher, himself a Dunkard, says in his " Pennsylvania Berichte " of 
October i6i, i75'4j: 

Pennsylvania ist ein solches Land, von desgleichen man in der gantzen 
Welt nicht horet oder lieset; viele tausend Menschen aus Europa sind mit 
verlangen hierher gekommen, bloss um der giitigen Regierung und Gewis- 
sensfreyheit wegen. Diese edle Freyheit ist wie ein Lockvogel oder Lock- 
speisse, welche den Menschen erst nach Pennsylvanien bringt und wann 
der gute Platz nach und nach enge wird, so ziehen die Menschen auch von 
hier in die angrentzende englische Collonien und werden also die eng- 
lischen Collonien um Pennsylvanien willen mit vielen Einwohnern aus 
Deutschland besetzt zum Nutzen der Krone." Quoted in Seidensticker, 
" Geschichte der Deutschen Gesellschaft," p. I2. 

16 Once the stream of German immigration had begun to flow strongly 
into Pennsylvania this fact itself served as an argument to attract others 
to this province. Thus in 171 1 Moritz Wilhelm Hoen published the advice 
of the German pastor in London, Anton Wilhelm Bohme, under the title, 
" Das verlangte nicht erlangte Kanaan by der lustgrabern, etc." in which 
it is said: Im Gegentheil ist by Pennsylvanien zu mercken dass daselbst 
mehr Teutsche Colonien sich gesetzt haben als in einem einigen andern 
Theil der Englischen Plantationen in America; welche die jenigen zu- 
mercken haben die etwa von Lands-Leuten einige Hulfe und Hand-Reich- 
ung bey ihrer ersten Ankunft erwarten mochten." 

Whence the Germans Came and Why. 113 

important single racial element within the borders of the 

Coming into the province through the port of Phila- 
delphia these immigrants only gradually made their way 
into the interior. Step by step they spread out in all direc- 
tions from the city of Philadelphia. Germantown, the 
pioneer of all German settlements in America, now the 
twenty-second ward in the city of Philadelphia, remained 
predominantly a German city for more than a hundred 
years after its settlement and was chiefly prominent during 
the eighteenth century as the base for distribution of Ger- 
man immigration to the interior counties in southeastern 
Pennsylvania. The steady expansion of the German col- 
ony westward and southward in the eighteenth century is 
as interesting as the movements of their Alemannic ances- 
tors in the fourth century and would be a fruitful theme 
for study. At the very beginning of the century we see 
the hardy German pioneers move out from Germantown 
and enter the unbroken wilderness, clearing the lands and 
turning the primeval forest into grain-covered fields. First 
they were content to remain in the vicinity of Philadelphia, 
in the counties of Montgomery, Lancaster, and Berks. 
Then as the population increased they made their way 
further and further to the west. As good lands became 
scarcer they crossed the Susquehanna and founded the 
counties of York, Adams, and Cumberland. Then they 
pushed northward into Dauphin, Lebanon, Lehigh, North- 
ampton, and Monroe Counties. Towards the middle of 
the century Pennsylvania herself became a center of dis- 
tribution of German immigration, which spread out from 
the Quaker commonwealth to all points south and west. 
As early as 1732 promising settlements had been made by 


114 German Element in York County, Pa. 

Pennsylvania Germans in Western Maryland and in the 
Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. ^''^ Germans from Berks 
County had settled at various places in the central and 
western parts of North Carolina. ^^ When Ohio was 
thrown open to colonists after the successful issue of the 
French and Indian War, Germans from Pennsylvania 
were among the enterprising pioneers who settled there.^^ 
Still later they were in the forefront of that vast move- 
ment which wave by wave swept over the broad expanse 
of the west and northwest and won it to the purposes of 
civilization. The settlement of York County, Pennsyl- 
vania, is therefore simply one small step in the Teutonic 
occupation of colonial Pennsylvania and the general west- 
ward expansion of American population before the Revo- 
lution. Its relation to subsequent American history can 
easily be seen when it is regarded as one of the very first 
steps preliminary to the " winning of the west," an achieve- 
ment in which the Pennsylvania Germans and the more 
recent German-Americans have always borne a highly im- 
portant part. 

More specifically it may now be asked from what part 
or parts of Pennsylvania the Germans came who first set- 
tled York County. Few of them came to our county 
directly from the port of landing as untried European im- 
migrants. Most of them had reached America before the 
official lists of German arrivals began to be kept in 1727 
and hence had some taste of American life before the val- 

17 J. W. Wayland, "The German Element of the Shenandoah Valley" 
(1907), p. 33; Faust, Vol. I, pp. 188 ff. 

18 Williamson, " History of North Carolina," Vol. II, p. 71 ; Bernheim, 
"German Settlements and the Lutheran Church in the Carolinas " (1872), 
pp. 150 f. ; Faust, Vol. II, pp. 2281 ff. 

iS'Vide, e. g., Roosevelt, "The Winning of the West," Vol. I, Chapter 
V, pp. 139 f. (Sagamore Edition). 

Whence the Germans Came and Why. 115 

leys of York County were thrown open to settlers. Then 
in the late twenties and early thirties when proprietary re- 
strictions and Indian claims were lifted west of the Sus- 
quehanna, they were moved by various considerations to 
dispose of their former lands and improvements and to be- 
gin life a second time on American soil by taking up lands 
on the inviting stretches of the newly opened county. It 
was this class of people, with several years of pioneer ex- 
perience behind them, who constituted the great majority 
of the original German element in York County. 

Some of the earliest settlers did, indeed, come directly 
from their landing-place and made our county their first 
American home, but such are comparatively rare instances. 
Of the known names of earliest settlers in the Kreutz 
Creek Valley and on Digges's Choice more than four 
fifths had arrived in this country before those settlements 
were begun and hence must have settled elsewhere before 
coming to York County. A search of the official lists^*^ of 
German immigrants reveals the fact that less than one 
fifth of those mentioned above (pp. 59 f, 64, 75 ff ) are to 
be found among the arrivals from 1727 to 1740. Nor 
does the identity of name always identify the person. 
Tobias Frey, Philip Ziegler, Nicholas Bucher, Nicholas 
Perie, Michael Miller, Caspar Spangler, and John Leh- 
mann arrived in 1727. Peter Mittelkauf, Frederick 
Leader and John Morningstar arrived in 1728.^^ Jacob 

20 Division of Public Records, Penns}^lvania State Library, Harrisburg. 
Vide Rupp's " Thirty Thousand Names." 

21 Peter Mittelkauf is known to have settled first in Montgomery County, 
as did also Michael Will (Vi^iill) who arrived in 1732. Vide supra, p. 76. 
Johannes Morgenstern's name occurs as late as June, i7'34, on the baptismal 
register of Pastor Stoever's Record for the Lutheran Church of the Trappe 
in Montgomery County. Vide " Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German 
Society," Vol. VI, pp. 1781, 179 and 180. 

Ii6 German Element in York County', Pa. 

Krebell and Christian CroU arrived in 1729. John Counts 
and Henry Smith arrived in 1730. All of these had ar- 
rived before the German migration across the Susquehanna 
had begun. Hence they must first have settled elsewhere 
in Pennsylvania. But Jacob Welshover, Henry Bann and 
Martin Schultz arrived in 173 1 and may have gone directly 
to York County. Likewise the following : Martin Weigle, 
Martin Bower, Adam Miller (arrived 1732), Hans Stein- 
man (1733), Ulrich Whistler (1733), Jacob Huntzecker 
(1733), Michael Spangler (1737), Martin Buyers 
(1738), and William Oler (1737). Matthias Ulrich 
arrived in 1738 but from his deposition of August 29, 
1746, it is evident that he did not settle on Digges's Choice 
until 1742, just before making his visit to Germany.^^ 
Peter Ensminger arrived in Philadelphia in 1733 but first 
settled in Lancaster County where he was naturalized in 
1734 or 1735.^^ It is clear, therefore, that at all times 
the great mass of the immigrants into our county used 
some other part of Pennsylvania as a stepping-stone,^^ 

Some few may have come from Maryland but the num- 
ber of those who came from that direction could not at 
any time have been very considerable. It is known, for 
example, that in 1765 Richard MacAllister sold several 
of his town lots to " George Naes, tanner, of Baltimore 
town, in the province of Maryland," and that after that 
the Nace family resided in Hanover.^^ The road on the 

22 Archives, 1 : 700. 

23Rupp's "Thirty Thousand Names," p. 436. 

2* In the statement of the Germans of August 13, 1736, they say: "being 
many of us then newly arrived in America," Col. Rec, IV: 64. But in the 
light of the above facts this expression cannot be taken to preclude several 
years residence in this country. It simply serves to explain their lack of 
acquaintance with political conditions (" altogether strangers to the bound- 
aries") and accounts for their susceptibility to "plausible pretences." 

25 Lucy Forney Bittinger's "The Forney Family, 1690-1893," p. 59. 

Whence the Germans Came and Why. 117 

line of the present Hanover and Baltimore turnpike had 
been laid out by order of the Baltimore County Court as 
early as 1736.^^ This highway early established direct 
communication between Baltimore and the Conewago set- 
tlements. But there is no evidence to indicate that such 
transfers of German residence from Baltimore to York 
County took place earlier than that of George Naes in 

1765 or that they were at all frequent even at so late a 
date as 1765. The same is true of the Germans in the 
Kreutz Creek Settlement. The Germans whom Cressap 
placed on the improvements of those whom he succeeded 
in expelling from the west side of the Susquehanna had 
not been brought from Maryland. They were in all 
probability impecunious Pennsylvania German squatters 
from York or Lancaster County whom Cressap and his 
agents had seduced by fa,ir promises. For in all the nego- 
tiations concerning the border difficulties between the 
provinces the distinction is sharply drawn between "the 
Marylanders " and " the Germans." The Maryland 
authorities assume that the Germans before settling west 
of the Susquehanna had been within the proper bounds of 
Pennsylvania, they protest against the action of the Penn- 
sylvania authorities in securing the sworn allegiance of the 
Germans to the province of Pennsylvania immediately 
upon their arrival at Philadelphia, and they never claim, 
as they certainly would have done if there had been the 
least semblance of support for the claim, that the Ger- 
mans had come from Maryland before taking up lands on 
the controverted territory. Everywhere the assumption 

26 According to a statement in a petition of the Conewago citizens of 

1766 asking that the northern ten miles of the road be viewed and recorded 
in Pennsylvania. This petition is quoted in Gibson's " History of York 
County," p. 322. 

ii8 German Element in York County, Pa. 

is that the Germans in that settlement had come from 

It would seem that as a class the settlers on the Codorus 
and about the future site of York had less American ex- 
perience when they came to our county than those in the 
other German settlements. They had come more directly 
from the Fatherland. An unusual proportion of those 
gathered together by Pastor Stoever in 1733 had arrived 
in America after September, 1727. At least two thirds 
of the original members of that congregation were recent 
arrivals (5 of them had arrived in 1727, i In 1729, 5 
in 173 1, and 6 in 1732) while in the other settlements, 
as we have seen, less than one fifth of the whole number 
had come after 1727. And this settlement continued to 
draw more extensively from the newest arrivals than the 
other settlements. For of the 100 names of males entered 
in Stoever's baptismal register before 1741 at least 49 
had come to America since September, 1727 (5 in 1727, 

1 in 1728, I in 1730, 10 in 1731, 23 in 1732, 6 in 1733, 

2 in 1734, and i in 1737). It is safe to conclude, there- 
fore, that as a class the German settlers in the central part 
of the county had not tarried so long after landing in 
America before they came hither. But even they did not, 
except in a very few instances, come to York County 
directly from the port of landing. When the town of 
York was founded the earliest lot-owners came from among 
the Germans already living in the county.^^ In the course 
of its growth and until it became a county-seat the town 

27 Colonial Records, IV: 13a and 142. 

28 Among the names of the first applicants for lots (p. 90 f) those of 
Baltzer Spangler, Michael Swope, Christian Croll, George Swope, Jacob 
Grebell, and Henry Hendricks are familiar to us as the names of early 
residents in the Kreutz Creek Valley. 

Whence the Germans Came and Why. 119 

continued to draw its citizens from the outlying districts 
of the county and from Lancaster County. After the 
progress of the earliest settlements was well under way 
and after the border difficulties were adjusted it occurred 
more frequently than earlier that Germans settled in York 
County immediately upon their landing on our shores. 
We have one striking instance of this in the case of Lorentz 
Schmal. He arrived in Philadelphia on September 2, 
1743, and went at once to take up a farm at what is now 
Maish's Mills, six miles southeast of York, where he be- 
came the progenitor of the numerous and influential Smalls 
of the county.^^ But up to the middle of the century when 
Yorktown began to attract attention, this class of settlers 
directly from the Fatherland formed no considerable part 
of the community. 

The great majority of the German settlers In York 
County came from the fertile lands of Lancaster County 
just across the Susquehanna. This was the chief source 
of recruits and reinforcements for the York County settle- 
ments but it was not the only source. Some of them came, 
as we have seen, from Philadelphia and Philadelphia 
County. Such was the case with Adam Forney, the con- 
spicuous pioneer among the Germans on Digges's Choice, 
who had been living in Philadelphia County fully ten 
years before he removed to the southwestern part of York 
County.^*^ Such also was the case with George Albright 
and his son Anthony, who had settled in Philadelphia upon 
their arrival from the Palatinate and had remained there 
some eight years or more before taking up lands in the 
valley of the Codorus near the newly founded town of 

2^ " Genealogical Records of George Small, etc.," p. 4. 
30 Vide supra, p. 73. 

I20 German Element in York County, Pa. 

York.^^ Some of the Immigrants into York County came 
from the banks of the Schuylkill in Montgomery County. 
Such was the case with Andrew Schreiber, also one of the 
earliest settlers on Digges's Choice, who had been settled 
at Goshenhoppen near the Trappe for nearly thirteen years 
before he took up his abode near Christ Church. His 
brother Ludwig, their stepbrother David Young, Peter 
Mittelkauf, and Michael Will also came from Mont- 
gomery County.^^ The Tulpehocken settlements in Berks 
and Lebanon Counties also made their contribution to the 
valleys of the Codorus and the Conewago. 

But while these counties along the course of the Schuyl- 
kill sent of their valued citizens to strengthen the settle- 
ments of York County, yet their combined total output to 
that county was not nearly so great as that of the single 
county of Lancaster on the Susquehanna. As the eastern 
counties furnished the first settlers for Digges's Choice 
and the Conewago, so Lancaster County furnished the 
first settlers for the Kreutz Creek and Codorus Valleys. 
And the indications are that throughout the first three 
decades of the history of these settlements the greater 
number of the Germans on the Conewago in the south- 
western part of the county came from the more remote 
regions of the Tulpehocken, the Schuylkill, and the Perki- 
omen, while the vast mass of those in the valley of the 
Kreutz Creek came from the nearby lands of the Cones- 
toga and the Pequea.^^ 

When the German settlements in York County began 
Lancaster County was already well settled. Hundreds of 

31 " Genealogical Records of George Small, Philip Albright, Johann 
Daniel Diinckel, etc.," pp. 991 f. 

32 Vide supra, pp. 75. 

33 Of many of these it is definitely stated that they formerly resided in 
Lancaster County. 

Whence the Germans Came and Why. 121 

Swiss Mennonites had settled in the western part of the 
county in 17 10 and for several decades thereafter their 
brethren in the faith, both in Switzerland and along the 
Rhine, made Lancaster County their objective when they 
decided to forsake their European homes. Then people 
of other religious persuasions who were persecuted on ac- 
count of their faith, Lutherans and Reformeds, joined the 
stream to Lancaster County. Its picturesque seclusion 
made it appeal also to that class of religionists who were 
given to extreme pietism and a semi-weird mysticism. The 
reputation of its fertile soil made it specially attractive to 
people who must needs devote themselves to agriculture.^* 
All of these factors helped to swell the procession of Ger- 
mans from the port of Philadelphia to the fertile soil of 
Lancaster County. Thus in course of time this county 
came to be known as the chief gathering-place of Ger- 
mans in the province, the location of " the great body " of 
them, and hence most of the newcomers in those early dec- 
ades began their experience in America by " repairing to 
the great body of their countrymen settled in the county of 
Lancaster on the east side of the Susquehanna."^^ The 
York County Germans were simply doing what " many 
others had done before " them when they set out for Lan- 
caster County immediately upon their arrival in America. 
What the causes were that led the German people to 

34 George Ford's MSS., quoted in Rupp's " History of Lancaster County," 
p. 115, says: "Their success, the glowing, yet by no means exaggerated 
accounts given by them, of the scenery of the country, the fertility of the 
soil they cultivated, the abundance of game with which the forest teemed, 
the quantity and delicacy of the fish which the rivers yielded; but above 
all, the kind and amicable relationship they cultivated and maintained 
with their Indian neighbors, all conspired to make them the objects of 
attention, and afterwards one of the prominent points whither immigra- 
tion tended in an increasing and continued stream." 

35 See the statement of the Germans quoted above pp. 97 f. 

122 German Element in York County, Pa. 

cross the Susquehanna River into the bounds of York 
County they themselves imply in their statement that " they 
found the lands there [i. e., east of the River] generally 
taken up and possessed and therefore . . . went over the 
River." It was not because of political oppression or un- 
satisfactory religious conditions such as had moved them 
to leave the Palatinate. It was not because of dire eco- 
nomic necessity, such as had impelled the Germans of New 
York to leave the Mohawk Valley and settle in the Leba- 
non Valley, Pennsylvania. It was not race prejudice such 
as helped to determine the movements of the early Scotch- 
Irish in America. It was not the love of adventure, such 
as operated in the settlement of Ohio. Nor was it the 
desire for great financial gain through speculation in lands, 
such as contributed to the German settlement of the Shen- 
andoah Valley of Virginia. But it was simply the next and 
most natural step in the expansion of the population in the 
search of the most comfortable means of subsistence and 
the most convenient soil upon which to invest their meager 
savings and fix their humble dwellings. The continuous 
stream of German farmers into the territory just east of 
the Susquehanna had occupied the best and most conven- 
ient farming districts there and in the third decade of the 
century many of those who had settled there found them- 
selves crowded and so sold their lands and improvements 
to their neighbors or to newcomers and moved on to where 
lands were more plentiful and convenient.^^ It was a 
short step across the Susquehanna.^^ The soil promised 

36 " Dahero gehen sie iramer weiter fort in das wilde Gebiische. Solche 
die . . . aus Noth weiter fortgehen miissen in die noch ungebauten Einoden, 
schreiben bisweilen die beweglichsten Briefe, sie erzahlen wie gut sie es 
gehabt." H. M. Muhlenberg in his Hallesche Nachrichten, I: 342. 

37 As the Susquehanna could not be forded, ferries were established at 

Whence the Germans Came and Why. 123 

well. Fathers saw better prospects there for securing 
lands for their growing sons. They had spent several 
years in the New World and had become accustomed to 
the pioneer life. The period of stress in their history 
was passed and they were now in a better position to en- 
dure the struggle with the untamed forests than they would 
have been immediately after their arrival in the country. 
And above all the persuasions and inducements held out to 
them by the proprietary agents who wished to preempt 
the soil west of the river under Pennsylvania authority, 
helped to encourage them in their expansion and furnished 
the immediate occasion for it. 

Such was the combination of immediate causes that 
brought the Germans to the Kreutz Creek Settlement. And 
very similar must have been the motives of those who settled 
Digges's Choice. There is evidence that these settlers in 
the southwestern part of the county also had gathered 
somewhat of possessions in the way of farming imple- 
ments and equipment before emigrating from their former 
abodes, so that they too had some experience and were not 
the raw and unprepared victims of pioneer conditions. It 
is worthy of note also that in the case of these settlers on 
Digges's Choice we must count as a contributory cause, in 
addition to the causes mentioned above, the personal work 
of John Digges through his soliciting agents. 

an early date. The earliest and most important of these was John 
Wright's Ferry, chartered in ly'so. It crossed the river at the point where 
the road from Lancaster and the Monocacy Road afterwards met the river. 
Wright's Ferry was established to meet the needs of intending settlers in 
York County. But once established it also helped to give direction to 
subsequent immigration into those parts by providing the only convenient 
crossing-place. For more than a century it was part of the great highway 
from Philadelphia to the West. In i8ii4 it was converted into the Colum- 
bia bridge. 


Outstanding Characteristics. 

^^^^^ROM the foregoing account of the steps in the 
^M B movements of the Germans from the time 

^m r they left their native land until they reached 
j^^^ York County, it must be evident that the 

original element in our county had two out- 
standing characteristics, namely, that by occupation they 
were almost exclusively farmers, and that in character they 
were hardy, aggressive and self-reliant. Both of these 
characteristics serve to indicate the distinctive relation of 
the German element in York County to the general move- 
ment of Germans in this country and help to determine 
their distinctive contribution to American civilization. 

The resoluteness and independence of spirit which char- 
acterized the York County Germans from the very begin- 
ning distinguishes them from most of the other German 
settlements in America at the time of their beginnings. 
For as a rule the German pioneers in this country had fled 
from their homes and had reached our shores under cir- 
cumstances that left them broken in spirit, practically desti- 
tute of means, satisfied with a mere livelihood, and not at 
all disposed to resist the injustice of the authorities or the 


Outstanding Characteristics. 125 

impositions of their neighbors. Neither their class nor 
their condition permitted them to make any immediate 
contribution to the stream of American civilization. 

The very earliest settlement, that of Germantown, had, 
it is true, manifested a high degree of aggressiveness and 
self-confidence and had attracted the respectful attention 
of all the other colonists. But that was due not only to 
the more favorable conditions under which these settlers 
had emigrated but also to the fact that the members of this 
closed German community on the banks of the Delaware 
enjoyed the personal acquaintance and the special favor of 
the great founder of Pennsylvania, who was their brother 
in the faith and who had been their companion in persecu- 
tion. Moreover, for a whole generation this settlement 
had the great benefit of the leadership of the learned and 
distinguished Pastorius. For these reasons the inhabitants 
of Germantown were able to begin at once and to maintam 
throughout a flourishing German civilization and at the 
same time compel the esteem and respect of their English- 
speaking neighbors. 

But quite different was the experience of the other Ger- 
man settlements in America. The thousands of Palatines 
who came to New York in 17 10 were not the bold, self- 
reliant souls who go forth in search of religious freedom, 
else their history in New York might have been very dif- 
ferent from what it was. Rather were they the pitiable 
victims of economic bankruptcy, fleeing from their homes 
in search of the necessaries of life. They were willing 
and able to work and some years later, when they could 
make the opportunity, they proved themselves to be really 
expert farmers. But when they first arrived in this coun- 
try, through no fault of their own they were placed, in 

126 German Element in York County, Pa. 

circumstances that precluded the free exercise of their 
agricultural talents and compelled them to engage In an 
ungrateful task and one to which they were not at all 
adapted. Their unhappy past had filled them with in- 
finite patience and endurance and had made them all too 
wining to be led and ruled, though they were without 
leaders and rulers among their own ranks. Even before 
crossing the ocean they had become the objects of English 
scorn. For when In 1709 some 14,000 of these economic 
fugitives from the Palatinate and from Wiirtemberg 
flocked aimlessly into London, their destitute condition 
aroused the pity of the English and even of the visiting 
Indian chiefs, and out of commiseration for the "poor 
miserable Germans" a camp was provided for them on 
Black Heath where as the objects of charity they were kept 
from starvation during the winter. And when in the 
spring they were sent by thousands to Ireland and to the 
American colonies, 3,000 of them were dispatched to New 
York. Those who survived the horrors of transportation 
across the ocean were driven into veritable slavery on the 
banks of the Hudson and set to work under government 
overseers to make tar for the English navy. This colony 
the English settlers had once entered on their own Initia- 
tive and with high and hopeful mien. The German immi- 
grants now came to it as hirelings, almost as slaves, hum- 
bled and bent, led by taskmasters and under the paternal 
direction of the government even In the details of their 
lives. With great humility and with a deep sense of their 
Inferiority to their English masters, as faithful " bounden 
servants of His Majesty," they drew out their weary lives 
and constantly measured their strength against poverty and 
want. Flight from the valley of the Hudson availed them 

Outstanding Characteristics. 127 

little, for the English authorities pursued them to the val- 
leys of the Schoharie and the Mohawk and there continued 
to embitter their hves. But the constant dangers of life 
in the wilderness developed among them men of leader- 
ship like the Welsers, strong spirits capable of breaking 
the net that had been thrown over them. And when after 
two decades of American bondage the New York Ger- 
mans finally gained the right to hold their lands with a 
sense of security and to enjoy the fruits of their labors, 
they swung themselves higher and steadily higher to posi- 
tions of useful and independent citizenship and in the 
course of time took their places alongside of the best in 
their province. Their early misfortunes had only delayed 
the inevitable development of their German culture on 
American soil. 

The German settlements in Pennsylvania, east of the 
Susquehanna, had preliminaries far less dismal than those 
antecedent to the German settlements in New York. The 
conditions under which the Pennsylvania Germans came to 
our country were not nearly so hopeless for the future, the 
circumstances under which they settled In the new country 
were not nearly so humiliating nor so compromising of 
their personal dignity, as was the case with their country- 
men in the neighboring province to the north. Neverthe- 
less the early Germans in eastern Pennsylvania were char- 
acterized by great modesty and reserve. They asked 
only to be left alone. They had no desire to impress 
themselves upon their neighbors. They seemed to stand 
in awe of their more numerous and more aggressive Eng- 
lish neighbors. Theirs was not the cringing attitude of 
those who are reduced to dire economic necessity. They 
were for the most part religious refugees fleeing before 

128 German Element in York County, Pa. 

the oppression of intolerant rulers and seeking their in- 
alienable right of freedom to worship God. They devoted 
themselves diligently to their work and to their worship. 
But they led a quiet, unobtrusive life, yielding a passive 
obedience as citizens but allowing others to have charge of 
public affairs, living at peace with all men and preferring 
to yield every point rather than to become involved in 
strife. Their entire bearing in those early years of their 
life in the New World was not the bearing of aggressive 
American citizens but that of a people who, for the time at 
least, seemed to regard themselves as strangers in an Eng- 
lishman's country. 

This attitude of apathy, this lack of aggression on the 
part of the Germans when they arrived in southeastern 
Pennsylvania, was not due entirely to the quietistic prin- 
ciples of their religion. It is to be explained also on the 
ground that the English in those parts could claim priority 
of settlement and great preponderance of numbers. The 
English had determined the language of the province and 
the Germans were regarded as "foreigners" in the land 
even after they had taken up their abodes in due legal 
form. The first generation of newcomers naturally did 
not learn to speak English and this made them the objects 
of connivance and suspicion not only on the part of their 
English-speaking neighbors but also on the part of the 
proprietary authorities. Even the Quaker Assemblymen 
were persuaded to enact special legislation in the case of 
these Germans, because they felt that such special meas- 
ures were necessary to secure the allegiance of the Ger- 
mans to the British King and to the proprietors of Penn- 
sylvania.^ After submitting to such measures the Ger- 

1 On September 14, 1727, Governor Gordon called a special meeting of 
the council to report that large numbers of Palatines were arriving from 

Outstanding Characteristics. 129 

mans in those early decades of their American life could 
not but feel that they were guests in the English colony 
and that their presence there was largely by sufferance of 
the English authorities. 

Another reason for the unequal position of the Germans 
among the English in southeastern Pennsylvania during 
the first half of the eighteenth century Is to be found in the 
extreme poverty in which most of them arrived in this 
country. Most of the German emigrants had not the 
means to pay their ocean passage. They were persuaded 
therefore by the agents of the ship-owners to take trans- 
portation on the basis of a contract binding them to a cer- 
tain period of service (usually from five to seven years) 
after they should arrive In America. On reaching America 
these contracts were offered at public sale by the ship- 
owners and the scenes enacted at the port of landing were 
often pathetic and revolting and always humiliating to the 
German colonists In America. Those who thus sold them- 
selves into service were known as " redemptloners." Their 
fate usually amounted to practical slavery.^ Comparatively 
very few of this class of immigrants came from any other 
country than from Germany. Another class of German 
Immigrants, but less numerous than the redemptloners, 

Holland and advised them that " it would be highly necessary to concert 
proper measures for the peace and security of the province, which may be 
endangered by such numbers of Strangers daily poured in, who being 
ignorant of our Language & Laws, and settling in a body together, make, 
as it were, a distinct people from his Majesties Subjects." One week 
later the Council approved the oath of allegiance which all of " those 
Palatines" arriving thereafter were required to sign. Col. Rec, III: 282 f. 
2 The revolting experiences of the redemptloners, both on shipboard and 
after their arrival in America, are vividly portrayed by Gottlieb Mittel- 
berger in his " Reise nach Pennsylvanien in Jahre 1750 " and " Riickreise 
nach Deutchland ira Jahre 1754" (Stuttgart, I75'6) and by Heinrich 
Melchior Muhlenberg in Die Hallesche Nachrichten, page 997. 


130 German Element in York County, Pa. 

had sold all of their possessions to pay for their transpor- 
tation. Arriving in this country penniless they would 
make their way through the inhabited parts of the land, 
begging as they went, until they reached the borders of 
civilization where they would settle as squatters.^ This 
made a very unfavorable impression upon the early in- 
habitants of English blood, who enjoyed the utmost per- 
sonal freedom and a satisfying abundance of this world's 
goods and who in addition were well provided with lead- 
ers. This moving picture of time-serving and poverty- 
stricken Germans, in groups and in companies, an army 
without officers,* greatly reduced the favorable impression 
that had been made by the Germantown community under 
Pastorius. Their resigned attitude and the utter help- 
lessness of their position gradually brought the Germans 
into the contempt of their English lawgivers and in every 
measurement they were placed at least one degree lower 
than those who spoke English. When they finally brought 
themselves into positions of prominence and equal influ- 
ence with the English they did so against great odds. 

These facts just related furnish the necessary perspec- 
tive in which to view the York County Germans if we wish 
to determine their place in the general history of Germans 
of America and in the development of our national char- 
acter. For, to this inferior standing of the earliest Ger- 
mans among their neighbors in their original settlements 
in New York and in eastern Pennsylvania, the German 

3 It is from these conditions that Charles Sealsfield has drawn his doleful 
picture of the early Germans in his voluminous works on America and 

* Friedrich Kapp in his " Geschichte der Deutschen im Staate New York 
bis zum Anf ange des 19. Jahrhunderts " has said : " Zur Eroberung des 
neuen Weltteils stellten die Romanen OfEziere ohne Heer, die Deutschen 
ein Heer ohne Offiziere, die Englander dagegen ein Heer mit Offizieren." 

Outstanding Characteristics. 131 

settlement of York County presents a striking contrast. 
It marks a ntw step, one of the first in the Americanization 
of the Germans in this country.^ In the settlement of 
York County we have a stage in the political and cultural 
evolution of the Germans in our country that was not at- 
tained in other German communities until the middle of 
the eighteenth century or until the Revolutionary War. 
The first generation in this county occupied a position and 
influence and manifested an aggressiveness of character 
that was only attained by the second or even the third 
generation of their countrymen east of the river. From 
the beginning of their history York County affairs received 
their color and their trend from the German element in 
the county, and from the beginning, too, German customs 
and peculiarities have shown great tenacity here. 

The Germans who first settled in York County belonged 
to that hardy class of individuals who are not afraid to 
venture forth even in the face of danger. When they 
came to this county they placed the broad Susquehanna 
between themselves and the great body of their country- 
men and in many instances they separated themselves by 
wide stretches of wilderness from the habitations of civil- 
ized man. Men of daring and men of brawn they were, 
determined to stand on their rights and to resist any en- 
croachments upon their liberties. Nearly all of them had 
spent several years upon American soil and were now be- 
ginning life anew. Their experience had been valuable. 
They had become acclimated to America and inured to the 
soil of the New World. They had passed the period of 
strain and stress which always came to every immigrant 
when he first arrived. Though by no means rich, they had 

s It was paralleled perhaps by the case of those New York Germans 
who had fled to the Lebanon Valley. 

132 German Element in York County, Pa. 

passed beyond straitened circumstances and had usually 
accumulated enough to provide their own equipment and 
a fair degree of comfort. They had not been preceded 
west of the river by a large number of English-speaking 
neighbors who could thus lord it over them. The settle- 
ments of the English in the northern part of the county 
and those of the Scotch-Irish in the southeastern part had 
begun almost simultaneously with their own, certainly not 
earlier, and these settlements had not grown nearly so 
rapidly as their own. The Germans were able therefore 
to make York County predominantly a German county 
and their life manifested an independence of spirit ;and a 
self-reliance that was quite unknown in the incipient stages 
of other German settlements. 

This view is amply substantiated by a scrutiny of their 
conduct during the early years of their settlement in York 
County. The difficulties occasioned by the border con- 
troversy between the two provinces concerning the lands 
in the Kreutz Creek Valley furnished abundant oppor- 
tunity to show the mettle of the Germans who had settled 
there. They had been invited into those parts as a buffer 
against the intrusion of Marylanders and they served this 
purpose well. Their tenacity of purpose and their stout 
resistance was a matter of no little surprise to those who 
sought to intrude upon their domain. It cost them many 
conflicts and not a few real hardships but under the ca- 
pable leadership of men like Michael Tanner, Henry Hen- 
dricks, Christian Croll, and Henry Liphart, they succeeded 
In maintaining themselves and preserving their allegiance 
to Pennsylvania until the exact determination of the bound- 
ary line settled the whole difficulty. Some of their num- 
ber had been persuaded or forced to acknowledge the 

Outstanding Characteristics. 133 

authority of Maryland for a while but they were quick to 
observe that the Maryland government discriminated 
against them In its dealings with its subjects, and their 
resentment at this, together with other arguments of rea- 
son,*^ led them fearlessly to disown the authority of Mary- 
land, to refuse payment of taxes to Maryland agents, and 
to prepare to stand their ground as citizens of Pennsyl- 
vania. In their statements to the governor of Maryland 
they give unmistakable evidence of their fortitude and 
determination. In their communication to him under date 
of August II, 1736, they protest against being "seduced 
and made use of, to answer purposes which are unjusti- 
fiable."^ And In a subsequent reply to the governor they 
firmly declare themselves unwilling to tolerate the " impo- 
sitions" of the Maryland agents and " the uncommon and 
cruel usage " to which they had been subjected. They re- 
count their reasons for concluding " upon their own obser- 
vations " that they are within the rightful bounds of the 
province of Pennsylvania, and then register an emphatic 
refusal to act " against the manifest convictions of our 
consciences."^ Later they explain their action on the ground 
that "we believed in our consciences it was our duty."^ 
For freedom of conscience they had come to America and 

6 Among these other considerations which weighed with the Germans to 
convince them that they were within the proper bounds of Pennsylvania 
was the fact that the Maryland government persistently failed to give 
them certificates or warrants for their lands, the observation that their 
own countrymen east of the river were settled may miles farther south 
than they themselves and had been settled there for twenty-five years 
under the undisputed jurisdiction of Pennsylvania, and the conclusion that 
it was impossible for the Susquehanna to be the boundary between the 
provinces. Col. Rec, IV: 493. 

7Md. Archives, Vol. 281: 100 f.; also Col. Rec. Pa., IV: 61 f. 

8 Col. Rec, IV : 492 f . 

»Col. Rec, IV: 75- 

134 German Element in York County, Pa. 

freedom of conscience they are now determined to main- 
tain in York County though it be necessary tO' fight for it. 
They were accused of having revolted from their allegiance 
to Maryland because of the influence and persuasion of the 
agents of Pennsylvania. This they deny very emphat- 
ically. They stoutly insist that they have acted solely upon 
their own initiative and in a special statement they set 
forth at length that they have taken these measures entirely 
" of our own mere motion and freewill, without any pre- 
vious persuasion, threatening or compulsion. "^^ And this 
there is every reason to believe. It was always doubted 
by the Maryland authorities, but it is substantiated both 
by direct statements and, what is more, by the clearest of 
implications on the part of the Pennsylvania authorities.^^ 

10 Ibid. 

11 The full and confidential statement of Blunston gives no intimation that 
he has persuaded them to this action but plainly Implies that they have 
taken the initiative in the matter (Col. Rec, IV: 57), and the personal 
appeal of the Germans in Philadelphia (Col, Rec, IV: 188' f.) shows their 
sincerity in their move. Furthermore the unmistakeable implications of 
several private letters from Blunston allow no reasonable doubt that the 
Germans proceeded without his Instigation. Already on January 2, 1735, 
almost eighteen months before the Germans actually transferred their 
allegiance to Pennsylvania, Blunston wrote to the proprietary: "A few 
days since twelve or fourteen Dutch Inhabitants on the other side opposite 
to us were here and desired to be admitted to take licence under you. 
They think they have been imposed upon by the Marylanders and most of 
Em incline to be Pennsylvanlans." Afterwards during the difficulties that 
followed upon the " revolt of the Germans " there arose between Blunston 
and Penn a slight difference of opinion as to the policy that ought to be 
pursued and on January I's, i7'37, Blunston wrote to Penn protesting that 
Penn's letters implied a conviction " that he receiving the Dutch as tenants 
to this government (who had once been under that of Maryland) was an 
act of favor to them and not a benefit to your proprietary interest. . . . 
Now if that be the case I must acknowledge the principles 1 have acted 
on have been wrong, for when the Dutch informed me of their inclinations 
to change I believed it would be for your benefit." This clearly indicates 
that the Germans had taken the initiative, for if Blunston had tried to 

Outstanding Characteristics. 135 

The action of the Germans in refusing to pay taxes to 
Maryland and In declaring themselves citizens of Penn- 
sylvania called forth retaliatory measures from the Mary- 
landers. They sought to collect taxes from them by force. 
They harassed and plundered them and threatened them 
with fire and ejectment. The Germans used peaceful 
means of defence as long as that course seemed feasible. 
On one occasion when the Marylanders were seizing the 
goods of some of the Germans " under pretence of publick 
Dues" the Germans sent Michael Tanner to remonstrate 
with them. He went alone and met them " six miles back 
from the River" and by reasoning with them succeeded in 
getting them to withdraw under a truce of two weeks.^^ 

In the hope of adjusting the difficulties without resort- 
ing to force they sent to the Council at Philadelphia and 
asked that their tracts be laid out In accurate surveys so 
that they might have clear titles under Pennsylvania.^^ 
Later they proposed to go In a body to Annapolis and lay 
their case before the Governor In person, acquainting him 
with the violence and the Inconveniences to which they 
were exposed by " HIgginbotham and his lawless crew," 
and seeking his Intervention for the betterment of their 
conditions.^* And they even took measures to apply to the 
King himself for the redress of their grievances,^^ But 
neither of these latter proposals seem to have been carried 
into execution. 

persuade them to disown Maryland and to acknowledge Pennsylvania he 
would certainly have used this fact as an argument here in this confidential 
letter. And Penn evidently knew nothing of such efforts to persuade the 
Germans and even doubted the expediency of receiving them when they 
had applied. 

12 Col. Rec, IV: 69; also a Blunston letter to Penn of Sept. 8, 1736. 

13 Col. Rec, IV: 70. 
"Col. Rec, IV: 155. 
"Col. Rec, IV: 156. 

136 German Element in York County, Pa. 

The Germans sought first of all to keep the peace so 
long as that was possible without doing violence to their 
consciences, but when peaceful measures did not avail and 
when they were threatened with attack they did not scruple 
to employ more strenuous measures of defense.^® When 
the governor of Maryland threatens to treat them like 
rebels and enemies they prepare to defend their homes. 
They meet force with force. When unable to do this alone 
they call for constables and assistance from the other side 
of the river. When Cressap captures one of these con- 
stables and is hurrying off with him towards Maryland he 
is " warmly pursued " and the constable is rescued.^'^ When 
the outrages of the Marylanders continue without abate- 
ment they send a delegation of their number to Phila- 
delphia with representations to the provincial council con- 
cerning their distresses and praying for aid against the 
turbulent enemy.^^ When a force of 300 comes from 
Maryland the provincial government of Pennsylvania 
takes a hand in the defense but not without the valiant aid 
of the Germans themselves. ^^ 

By the beginning of 1737 several of their leaders had 
been taken captive and the guerilla tactics of the Mary- 
landers had so depleted the numbers of the Germans that 
the rest of them became terrified and fled across the Sus- 
quehanna for safety.^^ In May, 1737, many of them are 
reported in prison at Annapolis.^^ But meanwhile their 
stout resistance west of the Susquehanna had permitted 
the cumbersome negotiations between the two provinces 

"Col. Rec, IV: 148. 

17 Col. Rec, IV: 58,. 

18 Col. Rec, IV: i8S> f. 
i»Col. Rec, IV: 63 fiF. 

20 Col. Rec, IV: 1491. 

21 Vide supra, p. 681, footnote 39. 

Outstanding Characteristics. 137 

and between the proprietors in England to take their 
course without prejudice to Pennsylvania and their service 
to their state had been rendered even though they were 
now for a time driven from the field. Another year saw 
the royal order of 1738 and its temporary conditions after- 
wards led to the permanent jurisdiction of Pennsylvania 
over all that disputed region. 

The Germans were always encouraged by the Lancaster 
County authorities and by the provincial council of Penn- 
sylvania^^ and their firm unyielding attitude was appre- 
ciated by those authorities. The council sympathized with 
the Germans in the hardships and distresses to which they 
were exposed but at the same time they felt that for the 
Germans to yield to their adversaries and quit their habi- 
tations west of the Susquehanna would mean the over- 
throw of an important principle and might involve serious 
consequences for the future of the province of Pennsyl- 
vania. For when Samuel Blunston raises the question be- 
fore the council "whether it may be more elegible to order 
the Removal of all those who are seated under Pennsyl- 
vania on the west side of Susquehanna, than to use further 
Endeavours for their Defence, since it is now apparent 
these cannot be effectual without coming to Blows," the 
council sets itself strongly against the suggestion, on the 
ground that " it is not consistent either with the Honour 
or Safety of this Province, to remove those of its Inhabi- 
tants who are seated within its unquestionable Bounds, 
since such an Act might be construed a Cession of those 
parts to Maryland, who would not fail thereupon to take 
possession of them; and in all probability from such ar^ 
Encouragement, would endeavour at further Encroach- 
ments on this side of the River, in pursuance of their late 

22 £. g.. Archives, I: 317; Col. Rec, IV: 195. 

138 German Element in York County, Pa. 

exorbitant Claims. "^^ It was felt that the honor and 
authority of the province depended upon the tenacity of 
the German settlers.^* This responsibility they discharged 
by insisting upon recognizing the jurisdiction of Pennsyl- 
vania until the crisis of the controversy between the prov- 
inces was passed. This function they performed for the 
history of Pennsylvania not so much out of a consciousness 
of their mission as out of their native hardiness and ag- 
gressiveness of spirit. And these qualities of character 
were a source of no little gratification to the provincial 
authorities. For, says James Logan, President of the 
Council, in a writing to Governor Ogle dated September 
18, 1736, in which he speaks of the encroachments and the 
hostilities west of the river: "This province, especially 
those parts are filled with people of more spirit than to 
brook such treatment, and if any mischief ensue on their 
opposition to your attacks, you cannot but well know who 
must be accountable for it."^^ Where the poverty-stricken 

23 Col. Rec, IV: 150 f. 

24 Blunston wrote to the proprietary on October 17, 1734, suggesting that 
the tracts of the Germans be laid out to them and that they be given sur- 
veys, and observing: " Tis true the sellers are at present generally poor 
and unable to pay for their lands (or even the surveys) but we look on 
them as persons suitable to keep possession." The sentiments of this letter 
were endorsed by John Wright. The Lancaster County officials evidently 
appreciated the resoluteness and tenacity of these Germans, and two years 
later when the forceful Conflicts west of the river have begun and when 
Thomas Penn suggests that some of the Germans be removed, Blunston 
sets himself against the suggestion and remarks (letter received by Penn 
on December i, 1736) : " For those who are most in danger by staying 
are those who are most resolute and active and by whom the rest are 
directed." The York County Germans evidently did not lack aggressive 
leaders among their own numbers. 

25 Col. Rec, IV: 78^ This sentiment concerning the "spirit" of the 
Germans was echoed a few months later by the governor and council of 
Maryland in a communication to the King dated February i8, 1737', in 
which they say the government of Pennsylvania " was pleased to issue a 

Outstanding Characteristics. 139 

squatters would not have ventured In the first place, where 
the enslaved redemptioners could not have gone, where 
the Germans of New York would have been compelled to 
flee, and where the peaceful Mennonites east of the Sus- 
quehanna because of their religious convictions would have 
refused to resort to force, the Germans of York County 
firmly stood their ground in the maintenance of their rights 
and In following the dictates of their consciences. Their 
Independence and aggressiveness of spirit is therefore of 
no small importance In the history of their county and 
state and In the history of German Americans in general. 

Similar qualities of character and disposition are found 
in prominence also among the early German settlers on 
DIgges's Choice. This is evident from the account of the 
beginnings of that settlement as given In Chapter IV.^® 
These settlers had ventured farther out on the frontier, 
but In many respects their fortunes, as we have seen, paral- 
leled those of their countrymen In the eastern part of the 
county. A few references will suffice to indicate the same 
unquenchable spirit of independence and the same unwill- 
ingness to endure imposition. 

With keen discernment they conclude from Digges's 
conduct in refusing to survey the bounds of his tract and 
from Inconsistencies in his utterances, that he cannot make 

proclamation under the specious color of preserving peace, but really to 
inflame and incite the inhabitants of those borders (which that government 
then acknovyledged vras filled with people of more than ordinary spirit) 
to the commission of horrid and cruel violences." 

The Lancaster County authorities had had occasion to test this spirit of 
the Germans. For during the short time that they had acknowledged the 
jurisdiction of Maryland the German settlers did not scruple to resist the 
Lancaster County officers when they felt they were being imposed upon. 
See, for example, the incident of the rescue of John Lochman from Sheriff 
Buchanan, supra, p. 56; also Col. Rec, IV: 194. 

26 Vide supra, pp. 69-85, for the facts referred to here. 

140 German Element in York County, Pa. 

good all of his claims. They coolly plan to have his 
bounds surveyed on their own account, and this determina- 
tion they carry into effect despite Digges's opposition. 
When it thus becomes clear that they had been imposed 
upon, they proceed to take out warrants under Pennsyl- 
vania. Then when their lands are still claimed by Digges 
under a resurvey, they petition the Pennsylvania author- 
ities for advice how to proceed.^'' A warning from the 
secretary of the province does not deter Digges from try- 
ing to force some of the Germans to pay him for their 
lands. Then they meet force with force, and drive off the 
officers that try to carry them to Maryland. They ex- 
press in no uncertain terms their determination to stand 
on their defense and to insist upon their rights.^^ Several 
times they make petition for authoritative adjustment of 
matters, on the ground that they do not wish to be put in 
the position of resisting government but that they cannot 
tolerate the abuses which are being practiced on them.^^ 
And several instances are on record of strenuous resistance 
to what they regarded as the injustice of Digges. The 
dealings of Adam Forney with the Maryland officers and 
the shooting of Dudley Digges may serve as examples of 
the tenacity of these Germans in maintaining their rights. 
Thus they manifest much the same stern qualities of char- 
acter which their countrymen in the Kreutz Creek Valley 
manifested, though, of course, with less vital consequences 
for the future of the province. 

27 Archives, I: 680 f. and 6813. "The people hope that Your Honor [i. e., 
the governor] will direct inquiries to me made into the true state of this 
matter and give them your directions for their behavior with Mr. Digges." 

28 Vide supra, p. 83 f. 

29 " For -ppe are no people that are willing to Resist government, but 
rather to semit, if we do but know how, and whare; and further Beg you 
would advise us how to behave most safely in the main Time." Archives, 
I: 724. 

Outstanding Characteristics. 141 

Another characteristic of the early Germans in York 
County is worthy of note in this connection. It was one 
that they shared with all of the early Germans in this 
country with the possible exception of the Germantown 
settlement. They were at a great disadvantage, both so- 
cially and politically, because they could not speak the 
English language. For while the provincial authorities of 
Maryland recognized the Germans of our county as a 
resolute, determined people whose resistance it was almost 
impossible for them to break, and while the provincial 
authorities of Pennsylvania recognized those hardy Ger- 
mans as a very fit element with which to withstand the 
encroachments of the Marylanders, nevertheless there is 
unmistakable evidence that on both sides of the line those 
who made the laws and enforced them looked down upon 
these Germans with a certain degree of contempt and dis- 
dain. The records of the unhappy incidents growing out 
of the boundary dispute between the provinces indicate very 
clearly that the spirit of nativism was already at work in 
that early day and that the Germans were regarded as 
"ignorant and unfortunate Dutchman," the helpless vic- 
tims of circumstances and suitable objects for the com- 
miseration of their English-speaking superiors. 

In a deposition of December 2, 1736, John Starr relates 
an interview that he had with the governor of Maryland a 
few months previous in the course of which " the Gover- 
nor said that there were some Unfortunate Dutch Men 
that had lately Apply'd themselves to him for those Lands, 
& that he went there & Settled them, & and that he con- 
doled the Misfortune of the sd Dutch Men for declining 
to be Subject to the Government of Maryland, & turning 
to the Proprietors of Pennsylvania, And that the sd Dutch 

142 German Element in York County, Pa. 

Men had Revolted through Ignorance or Perswasion, And 
that the Governor further said that if the sd Dutch Men 
did not Return again to the Government of Maryland 
he would not Suffer them to Live on those Lands any 
Longer. . . ."^° This was evidently the general attitude 
of the Marylanders towards the Germans. For ten days 
later Edmund Jennings and Daniel Dulaney, the two 
Maryland commissioners who had come to Philadelphia 
to treat with the Pennsylvania council concerning the 
troubles west of the Susquehanna, in the course of a lengthy 
communication to Logan and his council observe concern- 
ing the Germans : " they must certainly be ignorant For- 
reigners or they would never have been so far deluded as 
to imagine it to be in their power to divest the Lord Pro- 
prietary of Maryland of whom they received their posses- 
sions, of the Rents and Services due from them as Ten- 
ants."^^ And in the communication of the Maryland 
authorities to the King on February 18, 1737, they declare 
that they have exercised " the utmost care to disabuse these 
deluded people," and that " this government might reason- 
ably conclude these unfortunate people had been privately 
encouraged by some persons daring enough to protect them 
against any prosecution. "^^ 

Much the same attitude of lofty superiority towards the 
Germans was held by their fellow-citizens in Lancaster and 
Philadelphia, though without the element of bitterness 
which naturally entered into the feelings of the Mary- 
landers. When in August, 1736, they decided to re- 
nounce the authority of Maryland in the Kreutz Creek 

30 Archives, 1 : 509. 

31 Col. Rec, IV: 132. 

32 Md. Archives, for 1736. 

Outstanding Characteristics. 143 

Valley and to acknowledge the jurisdiction of Pennsyl- 
vania in those parts, they sent several representatives to 
state their case to Samuel Blunston and to ask his advice. 
Shortly thereafter Blunston reported the matter in person 
to the provincial council at Philadelphia and in explanation 
of their conduct stated that they were " ignorant people 
who had been seduced, and now being sensible of it, were 
desirous to return and live under our proprietor who alone 
they believed could truly be their landlord." He said that 
he " told them, since it was their ignorance, and the false 
information of others, and not malice by which they had 
been misled, they need not doubt but they would be re- 
ceived and treated as the other inhabitants."^^ ^ fg^ 
weeks later the Pennsylvania council in a letter to Gov- 
ernor Ogle of Maryland remarked concerning the " natu- 
ral Honesty and Simplicity" of "those Palatines" and 
then added: "they have been made Sufferers by their 
Weakness and Credulity in believeing those busie Emis- 
saries."^* Repeatedly they are referred to by the council 
simply as "those poor people. "^^ And on one occasion 
the council wrote of them as " those poor ignorant for- 
eigners who had transported themselves from Germany 
into Pennsylvania."^^ 

In a petition to the King, dated December 11, 1736, 
the Pennsylvania council charged Cressap with having 
persuaded "some innocent German people lately come 
into Pennsylvania, who were ignorant of our Language 
and Constitution " to take possession of Lancaster County 
lands under Maryland jurisdiction, and in the same docu- 

33 Col. Rec, IV: 57. 
3* Col. Rec, IV: 77. 

35 £. g., Col. Rec, IV: 114, 12a. 

36 Col. Rec, IV: 122, 

144 German Element in York County, Pa. 

ment these Germans are referred to as *' the miserable 

It would appear then that the "misfortunes" of these 
"poor Dutchmen" were due primarily to their "igno- 
rance" (they themselves called it "want of better infor- 
mation") and this in turn was due to their lack of famil- 
iarity with the English language. ^^ This ignorance made 
them susceptible to plausible pretences and the objects of 
wilful machinations. Their ignorance of the language of 
the government had led the government authorities to 
take special precautions to secure their allegiance. Hence 
the oath of allegiance to which they were obliged to sub- 
scribe upon landing at the port of Philadelphia. When 
in the course of the negotiations concerning the difficulties 
in the Kreutz Creek Valley the Maryland commissioners 
protested against these previous " engagements of Fidelity 
to the Proprietor of Pennsylvania "^® the Council of Penn- 
sylvania made reply: 

The Germans who yearly arrive here in great numbers, wholly 
ignorant of the English Language & Constitution, are obliged, on 

37 Col. Rec, ia6 f. 

38 In all their negotiations with the authorities in those first few years 
of their settlement in York County, their leader and spokesman was 
Michael Tanner. He was a young man, had been associated with the 
English at Parnell's in 1728, and certainly was better acquainted with the 
language of the government than most of his countrymen. This quality 
alone was sufficient to make him one of their chief leaders. 

The Germans as a rule employed an interpreter in their dealings with 
the authorities. As late as 1747 before the Provincial Council in Phila- 
delphia, " Nicholas Perie desired that as he was a German & did not 
understand the English Language, that he might be permitted to speak 
by an interpreter " and received the assistance of " Mr. Christian Grass- 
hold, who is usually employed in this Service by the Germans." The 
" incivility of his Language " was excused on the ground that " it was 
owing to his Ignorance of the English Language." Col. Rec, V: 2i8' f. 

39 Col. Rec, IV: 132. 

Outstanding Characteristics. 145 

Account of our too near northern Neighbors, the French, whose 
Language many of them understand, not only to swear Allegiance 
to our Sovereign, but as a farther Tie upon them they promised 
Fidelity to our Proprietors & this Government, a Practice only 
used with them & no others.'*'^ 

Their chief offense therefore seems to have been in the 
fact that they could not speak English immediately upon 
their arrival from Germany, and that some of them knew 
somewhat of French. 

Very similar was the attitude towards the Germans in 
the southwestern part of the county. In 1747, when 
Adam Forney was arrested on Digges's Choice by a Bal- 
timore County sheriff, ^^ the correspondence indicates that 
the secretary of Pennsylvania, Richard Peters, after a 
personal examination of Forney, is not a little fearful that 
the witnesses who will attend the Annapolis court will be 
Unable to make themselves understood. He writes to 
Thomas Cookson, surveyor of Lancaster County, that the 
witnesses who are to accompany Forney to his trial must 
be able to testify " in a clear, positive manner, and there- 
fore they must be sensible people, and people who know 
Digges' tract well, and Adam Furney's house, and can 
give a satisfactory account of things, so that the Court 
may understand them. I must, therefore, beg of you to 
attend Adam Furney in finding out such persons, and 
examine them yourself and be satisfied that they will 
answer the purpose effectually by giving a plain evi- 
dence."*^ The difficulty, it would seem, was to get per- 
sons as witnesses who would be able to speak English well 
enough to be understood in Maryland. For, a few days 

40 Col. Rec, IV: 1381. 

41 Supra, page 83. 

42 Archives, I: 728. 


146 German Element in York County, Pa. 

later Cookson replies to Peters that he has now had op- 
portunity to examine certain citizens from Forney's gen- 
eral neighborhood. "They are clear, intelligible men, 
and speak English well." This leads Cookson to a differ- 
ent conclusion from that which had been reached upon 
examining Forney himself.^^ Whereupon Peters writes 
to Annapolis and dismisses the counsel he had retained for 
Forney's case and says: "Mr. Cookson had examination 
of some sensible people in Furney's neighborhood."*^ The 
inference is that Forney was not sensible, clear or intelli- 
gent. This was because of his lack of facility with the 
English language, a fact that is very manifest from his 
own letter to Cookson on this occasion.*^ This corre- 
spondence, therefore, is one instance of several which 
show that the Germans were often regarded by the gov- 
ernment officials and by their English-speaking neighbors 
as unintelligent and unreasonable, simply because they 
were unskilled in English. 

The Governor of Maryland had thought that "the 
Dutch Men had revolted through Ignorance or Perswa- 
sion." But the clear logical arguments which they put 
forth in support of their action, and their emphatic dis- 
avowal of outside persuasion, showed that they were not 
so ignorant or so ^easily persuaded as the governor had 
supposed. And the subsequent determination of the 
boundary by the highest authorities completely vindicated 
them in this action. The governor had spoken of them 
as "unfortunate Dutch Men" whose misfortunes he con- 

43 " Let Adam Forney defend his own Cause, since he has entirely mis- 
represented the situation of the place where he was arrested." Archives, 
I: 731. 

4* Ibid. 

45 Archives, I: 725. 

Outstanding Characteristics. 147 

doled. But the decision of conduct and the tenacity of 
purpose which they manifested in the course of the con- 
troversy, as well as the outcome of the whole difficulty, 
showed that his commiseration was quite superfluous. 

The conditions imposed upon them by their pioneer life 
and their critical position in the conflict between the two 
provinces, together with the fact that they did not as a 
class speak the language of the governments under which 
they lived, naturally tended to diminish the respect in 
which they were held by those in the distance who were 
more comfortably established. But their "natural hon- 
esty and simplicity" and the fortitude and hardiness which 
they manifested in their difficult circumstances did not fail 
of appreciation, and those who knew these Germans well 
did not regard them as helpless creatures and objects of 
pity. For in their own county they have from the begin- 
ning been the most important single racial factor, polit- 
ically, socially, and industrially. 


The Limestone Soil. 

3N setting forth the original settlement of the 
primitive soil in this country and the subse- 
quent readjustment of communities the effort 
is not infrequently made to show a relation 
between the preponderating nationality of a 
given settlement and the geological formation of its soil. 
The attempt has sometimes been made to indicate that 
such a general relationship applies to the German farmers 
of the eighteenth century. Thus it has occasionally been 
asserted in a general way that the Germans who came to 
this country before the Revolution regularly settled on 
limestone soil. Professor Faust says that when we study 
on a map the location of the Germans in America before 
the Revolution we are impressed with the fact that " the 
Germans were in possession of most of the best land for 
farming purposes. They had cultivated the great lime- 
stone areas reaching from northeast to southwest, the most! 
fertile land in the colonies. The middle sections of Penn- 
sylvania were in their possession, those which became the' 
granaries of the colonies in the coming Revolutionary; 
War, and subsequently the foundation of the financial" 


The Limestone Soil. 149 

prosperity of the new nation."^ This tendency to settle' 
a particular kind of soil, he says, was manifest among the 
Germans in other colonies as well as in Pennsylvania.' 
"They continued to settle in limestone areas in every new 
territory, as for instance in Kentucky, where they entered 
the Blue-Grass Region in very large numbers during and 
immediately after the Revolutionary War. It is an inter- 
esting experiment to examine the geological maps of the 
counties in Pennsylvania where there were both German 
and Irish settlers, such as Berks or Lancaster counties. 
The Germans are most numerous where the limestone ap- 
pears, while the Irish are settled on the slate formations. 
This phenomenon is repeated so often that it might create 
the impression that the early settlers had some knowledge 
of geology."^ 

Professor F. J. Turner is a little more specific when he 
says: "The limestone areas in a geological map of Penn- 
sylvania would serve as a map of the German settlements. 
First they filled the Limestone Island adjacent to Phila- 
delphia, in Lancaster and Berks counties; then they crossed 
the Blue Ridge into the Great Valley, floored with lime- 
stone. This valley is marked by the cities of Easton, 
Bethlehem, AUentown, Reading, Harrisburg, etc. Fol- 
lowing it towards the southwest along the trough between 
the hills, they crossed the Potomac into Central Maryland 
and by 1732 following the same formation they began to 
occupy the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia."^ " The 

i"The German Element in the United States," Vol. I, p. 2165. 

2 Ibid., Vol. II, p. 34. 

3 " Studies of American Immigration," by Frederick Jackson Turner, in 
the Record-Herald's " Current Topics Club," Record-Herald, Chicago, 
August 28 and September 4, 1901, " German Immigration in the Colonial 
Period." Cited in Faust, Vol. I, p. 138. 

150 German Element in York County, Pa. 

limestone farms of the [Pennsylvania] Germans became 
the wheat granaries of the country."* 

Another keen observer of conditions among the Penn- 
sylvania Germans, Professor Oscar Kuhns, testifies to this 
same general fact. "The best soil in Pennsylvania for 
farming purposes is limestone, and it is a significant fact 
that almost every acre of this soil is in possession of Ger- 
man farmers. ... It is due to the fact that Lancaster 
County is especially rich in limestone soil and is largely 
inhabited by Mennonites that it has become the richest 
farming county in the United States."^ This author also 
cites in this connection the statement of the late Eckley B. 
Coxe that a letter from Bethlehem written to his grand- 
father asserts that in Pennsylvania, if you are on limestone 
soil, you can open your mouth in the Pennsylvania Dutch 
dialect and you will always be understood.® 

Still another writer points out this same general fact 
and shows its effect upon the Lutheran Church in the 
United States. Dr. Sylvanus Stall in an article on " The 
Relation of the Lutheran Church in the United States to 
the Limestone Districts,"^ shows how the Germans who 

4 Faust, Vol. II, p. 34. 

5 " German and Swiss Settlements of Pennsylvania," p. 86 f. 

6 Sometimes this observation that the Germans followed certain natural 
features of the country is expressed in terms of timber rather than in 
terras of soil. Then the comment is that the Germans selected districts 
that are heavily wooded. Mrs. Kate Asaphine Everest Levi, in " How 
Wisconsin Came by Its Large German Element" (1892), p. 17, says: 
" Thus the Germans are seen to be massed in the eastern and north central 
counties, a position that corresponds markedly with that of the heavily- 
wooded districts; they have shown their preference first for the wooded 
lands near the main routes to travel, namely the eastern counties, and 
from there have spread to the north central parts of the State into the 
deeper forests." 

''Lutheran Quarterly, Vol. XIII, 1883, pp. 509 fiE. 

The Limestone Soil. 151 

had been placed at Newburgh on the west bank of the 
Hudson In 1708 were dissatisfied with the soil there and 
gradually migrated to the limestone districts of that state. 
He also shows how the Palatine refugees whom the Eng- 
lish government had located on the east bank of the Hud- 
son In 17 10, speedily removed to the Schoharie and Mo- 
hawk valleys with their clear water and their limestone 
rock. " When the migrations of this colony of Germans 
who constituted the beginnings of the Lutheran Church in 
the state of New York are followed, It will be found that 
when they moved In any considerable numbers their even- 
tual settlement was upon the choicest lands, and when 
uncontrolled by foreign circumstances. It was upon lime- 
stone bottom. The same Is true in Pennsylvania. . . . 
These tendencies of the earlier Immigrants are to be found 
not only in Lancaster County, but are clearly defined In 
the broad limestone belt which sweeps across the State, 
including In Its area the cities of Easton, AUentown, Read- 
ing, Lebanon, Lancaster, York and Harrlsburg. The in- 
fluences may alike be followed In Ohio, Illinois, Indiana 
and other States, and may account in a large measure for 
the absence of Lutheran congregations In New England." 
Now these general statements concerning the prefer- 
ences of the Germans for the limestone soil have never 
been verified by more exact determination. They are, 
however, confirmed in a remarkable way by the location 
and distribution of the Germans In York County. A study 
of the German settlements In this county In their relation 
to the geology of the county and In their relation to other 
nationalities, reveals the fact that ethnologlcally York 
County is an epitome of the country at large. The rela- 
tions of the Germans in our county serve to bear out the 

152 German Element in York County, Pa. 

general observations noted above concerning the Germans 
in other parts of Pennsylvania and in other states of the 

The geological map of York County furnishes an inter- 
esting analogy to the geological map of the whole United 
States.^ Each of the five great areas of geological time 
has its representatives within the borders of our county 
and they occur in much the same order and the same 
manner of contact in which they occur in the country at 
large. We have in this small compass parts of the ocean 
bottoms that were formed during each of the five geolog- 
ical ages. The general trend of the formations is from 
northeast to southwest. They are, in a general way, the 
continuation of the geological plains of Lancaster County 
and in their turn they merge into the formations in Adams 
County and Maryland. A brief survey of the geology 
and topography of the county is necessary to an under- 
standing of the early German settlements in their relation 
to the soil and to other nationalities. 

The oldest part of the county belongs to the Eozoic 
period. It constitutes a broad belt in the southern part of 
the county. Its southeastern boundary is on a line with 
the last course of the Muddy Creek. Its northwestern 
boundary lies approximately on a line beginning at the 
southeastern extremity of Lower Windsor Township ex- 

8 Professor Persifor Frazer (professor of chemistry, Franklin Institute, 
Philadelphia) who supervised the Second U, S. Geological Survey of York 
County, says, " In a rough and general way, York County is a partial 
imitation, on a very small scale, of the United States; inasmuch as, like 
that part of the American continent, it consists of a belt of Archaean rocks 
in the northwest, of another in the southeast, and its intermediate portions 
are made up of newer formations containing fossils." And this analogy 
he carries into great detail. Vide Gibson's " History of York County," 
p. 463. 

The Limestone Soil. 153 

tending thence westward, passing north of Windsor Post 
Office and then due southwestward between Dallastown 
and Red Lion, through the center of Glen Rock and north 
of Black Rock. It thus includes all of Upper Chance- 
ford, Lower Chanceford, Hopewell, Fawn and Shrews- 
bury Townships, the western part of Peach Bottom Town- 
ship, and parts of Windsor, Lower Windsor, Springfield, 
Codorus and Manheim Townships. This part of the 
county constitutes the geological floor upon which the 
other parts were laid. 

These Eozoic rocks are destitute of valuable minerals 
in York County but the soil formed from them is com- 
paratively fertile, second only to the fertility of the lime- 
stone soil. Its composition is generally slaty. It is ca- 
pable of sustaining heavy timber growths and contains at 
present large woods of strong trees. When the earliest 
settlers came to the county there were large tracts in the 
southeastern part that were bare of all timber. This is 
accounted for by the Indian custom of burning the trees 
and other vegetation in certain sections either for the pur- 
pose of increasing the facilities of hunting or to provide 
land for the cultivation of beans and corn.^ This Eozoic 
belt of the county has received in history the uncompli- 
mentary title of " The Barrens." This was not due to the 
character of the soil but to the absence of trees in the early 
days and to the methods of agriculture afterwards employed 
there.^*^ The earliest settlers who took up their abodes on 

^ Carter and Glossbrenner say that this was done to provide hunting 
grounds, but it seems more probable that these bare spaces in York County 
may be accounted for by the general observation of William Penn, " There 
are also many open places that have been old Indian fields." In a letter 
written to the Duke of Ormunde in i'68'3, quoted from Egle's " Notes and 
Queries " by Swank, " Progressive Pennsylvania," p. 76. 

1° Philemon Lloyd says in his letter of October 8, 1722, "But from the 

154 German Element in York County, Pa. 

this belt were unskilled in the art of agriculture and in the 
proper rotation of crops. They would select a tract of land 
and put out their crops but by unwise methods of culture 
would soon drain the soil of its substance. When one 
tract was exhausted they would desert it and move on to 
new tracts. Thus in the course of time there came to be 
a number of tracts In this region that were deserted on 
account of their sterility. Thus was perpetuated the name 
of " Barrens," a name that is quite at variance with the 
present flourishing condition of the soil brought about by 
the importation of wiser methods of cultivation.^^ 

The next oldest geological formation in the county Is 
found just north of the Eozoic belt. This belongs to the 
Cambrian period of the Paleozoic era. It is only about 
three fourths as wide as the Eozoic belt, but stretching as 
It does across the central part of the county it has a much 
greater length than the older belt and embraces a larger 
area In the county. Its northern boundary begins at the 
southern mouth of the Conewago Creek and extends with 

Heads of Patapsco, Gunpowder, & Bush Rivers, over to Monockasey is a 
Vast Body of Barrens; that is, what is called so, because there is no wood 
upon it, besides Vast Quantities of Rockey Barrens." Calvert Papers, 
No. 2, p. 56. 

11 Christoph Daniel Ebeling in his " Erdbeschreibung und Geschichte 
von America," Vol. 4, 1797, p. 681, speaking of York County, says, " Das 
Land ist ziemlich angebaut, und man rechnete vor einigen Jahren schon, 
dass an drei Viertel desselben von Pflanzern besezt waren. Allein ihre 
Besitzungen sind lange nicht alle urbar gemacht, sondern viele davon noch 
mit dicken Waldungen besezt. Jedoch treiben viele, sonderlich die 
Deutschen, guten Kornbau, haben grosse Obstgarten mit Aepfeln, Pfir- 
sichen, etc. und weitlaufige Wiesen mit Timotheusgras etc., zum Theil auch 
etwas Kleebau. Hopfengarten giebt es gleichfals hie und da. Die Acker- 
pferde, welche hier fallen, werden wegen ihrer Starke und Grosse ge- 
schatzt." These efficient methods of the Germans afterwards spread to 
other nationalities in the County and helped to abolish the wasteful con- 
ditions and inefficient methods of which Ebeling writes. 

The Limestone Soil. 155 

much irregularity in a general southwesterly direction to 
Abbotstown just beyond the Adams County line. It thus 
embraces the whole of Hellam, Spring Garden, North 
Codorus, Heidelberg, Penn, and West Manheim Town- 
ships, and most of Manchester, West Manchester, Jack- 
son, Paradise, Lower Windsor, Windsor, York, Spring- 
field, Codorus, and Manheim Townships. It also in- 
cludes Conewago and Union Townships in the south- 
eastern part of Adams County. This kind of rock Is 
also found on the southern side of the Eozoic floor and 
covers a large part of Peach Bottom Township. ^^ 

This Cambrian belt consists of four fairly distinct layers 
of rocks. The oldest of these are the chlorite schists, com- 
posing about one third of the entire belt and stretching 
along the southern portion of the area. Next in order Is 
the Hellam quartzite, found chiefly in the township of 
that name but with outcroppings at many other places In 
this belt. Then come the hydro-mica schists, or limestone 
schists as they are sometimes called. These occupy In 
general the central and northern portion of the belt and 
encase the fourth and most recent layer which is the nar- 
row ribbon of limestone stretching across the entire length 
of the Cambrian belt. 

The presence of the Hellam quartzite lends an undulat- 
ing effect to the landscape here. For the quartzite is very 
hard and enduring In composition. It undergoes but little 
decomposition either through chemical or mechanical 
action. Thus the less durable rocks, the argillltes and the 

12 This rock in the southeastern extremity of our county is the source of 
the celebrated Peach Bottom roofing slate. This economic value of the 
Cambrian rock as found in this Township grows out of the fact that it 
occurs there with a fine grain, an even texture, and an almost perfect 

156 German Element in York County, Pa. 

calcltes, are disintegrated and carried away, leaving the 
quartzlte outstanding In the form of hills. But the most 
important part of the Cambrian belt, so far as the history 
of the county Is concerned, Is the limestone formation. 
This is but a continuation west of the Susquehanna of that 
limestone formation which constitutes the major portion 
of Lancaster County. It is a comparatively narrow strip 
and extends continuously across the center of the county 
and Into the southeastern corner of Adams County. The 
tract embracing the pure limestone soil is not more than 
two miles wide on an average, though at a few points It 
reaches a width of four miles. It begins at the mouth of 
the Kreutz Creek on the Susquehanna and extends along 
the whole length of that creek from the town of Wrlghts- 
ville to the city of York. From York there Is a narrow 
extension northeastward along the Codorus to Its mouth, 
and one directly west among the sources of the Little 
Conewago. But the general direction of the limestone 
strip continues from York southwestward up the valley of 
the West Branch of the Codorus Creek and including 
Hanover, McSherrystown and LIttlestown. An isolated 
tract of this formation also occurs at the mouth of Cabin 
Branch In Lower Windsor Township. 

This limestone is a dolomltic composition containing 
varying amounts of carbonate of magnesia. It is popu- 
larly known as the "York limestone." Some of it is so 
hard as to furnish excellent building material. But most 
of it decomposes and mingles with the soil. Thus it has 
produced the most fertile soil in the county and, together 
with the related soil that was formed from the neighboring 
schists, it constitutes the richest farming area in the county, 
not unlike that of Lancaster County east of the river. It 

The Limestone Soil. 157 

Is well watered and the rolling contour of the ground 
makes It exceptionally well adapted to agricultural pur- 
poses. When the first settlers came to the county these 
limestone hills and valleys were covered with heavy tim- 
ber, and under wise methods of culture the soil has con- 
tinued highly productive ever since, and this belt has 
always been the scene of the county's chief industry and 

A third main geological division of York County em- 
braces practically the entire northern part of the county. 
This belongs to the Triassic period of the Mesozolc era. 
It Is very sharply defined from the Cambrian belt just 
south of It. It is that same red sandstone formation which 
begins in the extreme northern part of Lancaster County 
and covers nearly all of Adams County on the west. The 
line of demarcation from the Paleozoic era Is quite clear 
and distinct because there are no traces whatever of the 
Silurian, the Devonian, or the Carboniferous periods of 
that era. The soil of this region differs widely from that 
of the other parts of the county. It is composed primarily 
of beds of red shale, red sandstone, and quartzlte con- 
glomerate. Extensive areas of trap also occur, and this 
Is practically Identical with the so-called "Gettysburg 
Granite " In Adams County. This material offers strong 
resistance to disintegrating forces and this has produced 
a number of elevated ridges and hills in this part of the 
county. It Is also the geological cause of the bothersqme 
falls In the Susquehanna near York Haven. Everywhere 
traces of Iron abound, and It Is this that gives the soil of 
the region its characteristically red color. On the rocks 
In this region occasionally occur deceptive stains of green 
and blue carbonates of copper. These were doubtless the 
cause of those nervous and Illusive searches, surveys, and 

158 German Element in York County, Pa. 

mining shafts, made by Sir William Keith and the Mary- 
land adventurers in the hope of obtaining copper or some 
other valuable metal. There are many evidences of 
brownstone in this Triassic region of somewhat the same 
quality as the celebrated Hummelstown variety, but it has 
not yet been discovered west of the river in sufficient quan- 
tities to give it commercial value. Farming has always 
been the chief industry in this part of the county as in the 
other parts, although from the above description of the 
geology it must be clear that the soil here is not nearly so 
well adapted to agriculture as In other parts of the county.^^ 
These are the three main geological divisions of our 
county. If now we examine the nationality of the earliest 
settlers In the county we find that they are three In number 
and that each one of them gravitated strongly towards one 
of the three general kinds of soil furnished by the geolog- 
ical divisions. Germans, Scotch-Irish, and English crossed 
the Susquehanna in rapid succession and settled within the 
limits of York County in the fourth and fifth decades of 
the eighteenth century. Of these the Scotch-Irish took up 
their abodes on the Eozoic belt in the southeastern part of 
the county where the ground required little clearing and 
where the soil was ready to produce at once. The Ger- 
mans laid out their plantations on or near the limestone 
ribbon of the Cambrian belt in the central part of the 
county with Its heavy timber, Its rolling hills and Its many 
streams. While the English Quakers chose to settle the 
Triassic region In the northeastern part of the county with 
its secluded lands, its red soil, and its mining prospects. 

13 To complete our outline of the geology of the county it should be 
mentioned that the Cenozoic era is represented in the county principally 
by the marl bed north of Dillsburg in Carroll Township. Thus the great 
eras of geology are all present in some form or other. 

The Limestone Soil. 159 

These choices were not promiscuous. But we are con- 
cerned here only to establish in detail the correctness of 
the statement concerning the Germans, and to indicate its 
probable causes and its results. 

In the absence of individual surveys for the plantations 
of the earliest Germans in the county we are left to infer- 
ence and general statements to show where they were. 
But these are so many and so varied as to permit a high 
degree of accuracy in locating the early German settle- 
ments upon the map. The very name of the Kreutz Creek 
Settlement indicates its general location. And the Kreutz 
Creek Valley, as we have seen, belongs entirely to the 
Cambrian belt and is composed almost exclusively of pure 
limestone soil. The pioneer plantation of this settlement 
was that of John Hendricks. He occupied a part of that 
1,200-acre tract which was marked off for the younger 
William Penn in July, 1727, and surveyed in November, 
1729. The whole tract is described In the warrant as 
" opposite to Hempfield," that is, due west of the town of 
Lancaster. Hendricks's part of this tract embraced 600 
acres and it is described by the surveyor as " the uper 
side and best part of the tract." The lower part, i. e., the 
part nearest to the mouth of the Kreutz Creek, was occu- 
pied several years later by James Wright, son of John 
Wright. This embraced the landing-place of Wright's 
Ferry, the heart of the present town of Wrightsville. The 
entire tract therefore lay just north of the future " Mon- 
ocacy Road,"^'^ the present turnpike from Wrightsville to 
York, and Hendricks's 600 acres on the upper part of the 
tract was therefore but a short distance north of Wright's 

1* This road is described as beginning between the lands of James 
Wright and Samuel Tayler on the west bank of the Susquehanna immedi- 
ately opposite the plantations of John Wright. Vide supra, p. 89. 

i6o German Element in York County, Pa. 

Ferry and embraced the plantation from which the squat- 
ter John Grist was compelled to remove in 1721.^^ This 
is entirely within the limestone ribbon, as a reference to 
the geological map shows. 

The other plantations in the Kreutz Creek Settlement 
are determined chiefly with reference to the Hendricks 
plantation. Michael Tanner, we have seen, was settled on 
a tract of 200 acres six miles southwest of John Hen- 
dricks.^^ He had previously been seated for a short time 
near the mouth of Cabin Branch, which is also limestone 
soil, but from this location he was obliged to remove in 
1728 together with several English squatters there. In 
1734, however, he took up his permanent abode on the 
limestone of the Kreutz Creek. Among his immediate 
neighbors were Conrad Strickler, Henry Bacon (Bann or 
Bahn), and Jacob Welshover. With these persons Tan- 
ner was engaged in burying another neighbor's child when 
they were all taken captive by the Marylanders. Another 
close neighbor of Tanner was John Lochman who said 
that his house was seven miles west of Hendricks, about 
two miles south of the "little Codorus " and within 100 
yards of the main road through the valley. About one 
and one half miles east of Lochman along the main road 
lived the blacksmith, Peter Gardner. Farther east in the 
same limestone valley and on both sides of the road were 
the dwellings of Bernard Wiemar, Michael Reisher, 
Christian Croll, Francis Clapsaddle, Nicholas Kuhns, 

15 The exact location of Grist's improvements is fixed by the two drafts 
mentioned, supra, p. 22. Blunston's letter of January z, 1737 (Archives, 
I: 319), says: "I suppose you know Hendrix's House stands just by John 

i^Vide supra, p. 57', and Archives, I: 524. 

The Limestone Soil. i6i 

Valentine Kroh, and Martin Schultz.^"^ Samuel Landis, 
the German shoemaker, had his shop on the Kreutz 
Creek.^^ This valley was also the home of the other 
Germans in that first settlement. It is not possible now to 
locate precisely the individual claims of each one of the 50 
or 60 German planters who settled in this part of the 
county before 1737, but it is clear that they lay in the same 
general valley with those we have already fixed. For 
Michael Tanner in his solemn affirmation declares that in 
1734 and 1735 Thomas Cressap " came into the neighbor- 
hood of this Affirmant and Surveyed upwards of forty 
tracts of Land for this Affirmants Countrymen, the Ger- 
mans living in those Parts."^^ This same idea is expressed 
or implied in a number of other depositions and docu- 
ments relating to the border difficulties. The Germans 
who signed the papers to the governor of Maryland and 
to the council of Pennsylvania in August, 1736, spoke of 
one another as "neighbors." Their place of assembling 
in self-defense was John Hendricks's house at the foot of 
their valley. They regularly referred to their individual 
plantations as lying southwest of John Hendricks. The 
Marylanders in their attacks upon the Germans never met 
any opposition nor found any victims until they had come 
into the immediate neighborhood of the Kreutz Creek, 

17 Vide supra, p, 651. When John Powell, under-sheriff of Lancaster 
County, affirms that these men lived " on the West side of the Sasquehannah 
River, not above one Mile to the Southvpard of the house of John Hen- 
dricks" (Col. Rec, III: 613), he evidently does not mean to say that they 
all lived within one mile's distance of Hendricks's house, but merely that 
they were within the undoubted bounds of Pennsylvania because they all 
lived north of a line passing east and west through a point one mile south 
of Hendricks's house. Thus they lived in the valley just north of the 
Kreutz Creek. 

18 According to Carter and Glossbrenner, vide supra, p. 391. 
i» Archives, 1 : 5215. 


l62 German Element in York County, Pa. 

and they never proceeded farther north than that valley. 
The Springettsbury Manor, whose bounds were relocated 
In 1762 by means of the German plantations, lay wholly 
within the Cambrian belt spreading a short distance on 
each side of the limestone ribbon in the Kreutz Creek 
Valley. And at the judicial Investigation In 1824 evidence 
was presented proving that in 1736 at least 52 Germans 
had settled on that area In a regular manner. There can 
be no doubt therefore that most of the original German 
settlers In the eastern part of the county were located on 
the pure limestone just north of the Kreutz Creek, that 
the rest of them were settled on the fertile soil of the ad- 
jacent limestone schists, and that practically all of them, 
If Indeed we may not say all of them without exception, 
were seated within the Cambrian belt. 

The same kind of soil continues to be the abode of the 
Germans as we follow their settlements westward across 
the county. The settlement which had gathered on the 
Codorus about the future site of York,^^ occupied the 
limestone strip at its place of greatest breadth. Here the 
limestone valley of the Codorus meets the prolongation 
of the Kreutz Creek Valley and the combination produces 
an unusually favorable location for a flourishing farming 
community. This region therefore supports the densest 
population in the county and the original German settle- 
ment here flourished from: the beginning. 

Among the most prominent families In the early history 
of this settlement on the Codorus were the Spanglers. 
About 1730 Caspar Spangler settled 711 acres about a 
mile and a half east of the Codorus and extending across 
the future Monocacy Road but lying chiefly north of that 

20 Vide supra, p. 90. 

The Limestone Soil. 163 

road.^^ His brother Baltzer arrived in the community in 
'1732 and took up 200 acres about a mile east of the 
Codorus somewhat to the south of Caspar's land about 
the spot where the present Plank Road intersects with the 
first run. 22 Contiguous to this was the abode of Tobias 
Frey. About a mile north of Tobias Frey was the land 
of his father Martin Frey, who had settled there in 1734 
and whose property is now embraced in the northeastern 
part of the city.^^ Before 1738, Caspar Spangler's sons, 
Jonas and Rudolph, settled upon a tract of 719 acres seven 
miles west of the Codorus "near the Little Conewago 
Creek on the Conogocheague Road," now the York and 
Gettysburg turnpike. This was a part of the westward 
extension of the limestone ribbon, which forms as it were 
an offshoot from the main southwestward direction, and 
which contains many of the large springs that supply the 
sources of the Conewago. Another settler in this com- 
munity and "near Codorus Creek" was Frederick Ebert, 
whose lands were in 1736 possessed by Valentine Schultz. 
About three miles northwest of the present site of York 

21 Edward W, Spangler, Esq., describes this land as follows: "seven 
hundred and eleven acres of limestone land about one and a half miles 
east of that portion of the banks of the ' Katores ' on which Yorktown was 
thirteen years later laid out. The plantation began at the northern range 
of hills and extended across what was later designated as the ' Great 
Road leading from York-town to Lancaster.' ... A deed for 385 acres 
thereof was executed by Thomas Penn to Caspar Spengler October 30, 
17136. . . . The southern portion, bisected by the ' Great Road,' was con- 
ducted by Caspar in conjunction with his youngest son Philip Caspar 
Spengler." " The Spengler Families with Local Historical Sketches," p. 18. 

^"^Ibid., p. 1381 

23 This land was afterwards owned in turn by Isaac Rondebush (174.1), 
Michael Schwack (1741), and Bartholemew Maul, the schoolmaster (1743). 
By 1750 Hermanus Bott, one of the earliest lot-owners in York, also pos- 
sessed about 300 acres on the west bank of the Codorus adjoining the 
town on the northwest. Gibson, p. 514. 

164 German Element in York County, Pa. 

lay the adjoining lands of Michael Walck and Martin 
Bauer, and about five miles southwest of the town were the 
properties of George and Jacob Ziegler.^* From this 
point the German plantations stretched off northeastward 
down the Codorus Valley and southwestward up the val- 
ley of the west branch of the Codorus, and these limestone 
bottoms were the main support of the town of York dur- 
ing its early years. 

Precisely the same rule obtains with reference to the 
German settlements on Digges's Choice in the south- 
western part of the county. This tract was chiefly lime- 
stone soil and it was settled chiefly by the Germans. From 
the definition of Digges's Choice already given^^ and by 
reference to the geological maps of York and Adams 
Counties it will be observed that these 10,000 acres lay 
wholly within the Cambrian belt and almost wholly on the 
limestone ribbon, embracing all of its southwestern ex- 
tremity. About six miles of the end of this strip was cut 
off from York County when Adams County was erected 
in 1800, and thus a few of the original plantations now 
fall within the bounds of Adams County. But this fact 
only serves to impress upon the historian the regularity 
with which the Germans settled upon the limestone, for 
this southeastern extremity of Adams County is the only 
limestone soil in the whole county and to this day is the 
only German community in the county. The limestone 
ribbon across York County reaches a greater width on 
Digges's Choice, the present neighborhood of Hanover, 
than at any other point except where it crosses the Codo- 
rus, the present site of York. And the farms adjacent to 

2* Vide Map F, Report of Secretary of Internal AflFairs of Pennsylvania, 
190S', Part I. 
25 Supra, p. 70. 

The Limestone Soil. 165 

Hanover are among the most beautiful and prosperous In 
the county. 

Adam Forney, the first German settler in this settle- 
ment, located his claim on the present site of Hanover. 
Andrew Schreiber soon thereafter settled near what is now 
Christ Church, about four miles southwest of Hanover. 
This is also on pure limestone soil, though now in Adams 
County. The German neighbors of these two pioneers 
located on the fertile lands between them and just north 
of them. Digges's original survey of 6,822 acres extended 
four miles north of the temporary line of 1738 and in- 
cluded the present site of Hanover. His addition of 3,679 
acres adjoined his original survey on its north side and 
was situated therefore wholly on the limestone formation, 
as a reference to the geological map will Indicate. This 
inviting soil was the disputed land and on this area lay the 
plantations of most of those whom we have learned to 
know as the earliest settlers of Digges's Choice. 

From the recorded incidents In the early history of this 
settlement it Is clear that Adam Forney's land lay within 
Digges's original survey and just south of his addition, 
that Schreiber's land and that of his neighbors from Phila- 
delphia County also lay within Digges's first survey and 
that Martin Kitzmiller, John Lemon, Nicholas Forney, 
Matthias Ulrlch and practically all the other Germans 
whose names are mentioned In the course of the disturb- 
ances, were settled upon Digges's additional survey on soil 
contiguous to his original survey. Their location there 
was the reason why they were involved in disturbance and 
why their names are preserved for us. The Germans had 
been induced to begin their immigration into this com- 
munity partly by the personal persuasions of DIgges and 

i66 German Element in York County, Pa. 

his agents. But the location of their Individual tracts 
they determined for themselves. They invariably located 
on the limestone bottom. DIgges's misfortune, therefore, 
lay In the fact that he had not at once Included In his orig- 
inal survey all the limestone soil in that neighborhood. 
For this German settlement on the Conewago would have 
been spared many years of strife and contention If the 
bounds of DIgges's Choice had coincided throughout with 
the limestone belt. 

There is therefore a remarkable coincidence between 
the location of the early German settlers In the county and 
the length and breadth of the limestone ribbon that runs 
across the county. In the few instances where the German 
plantations did not perhaps lie directly on the pure lime- 
stone soil, they coincided with the nearby limestone schists 
or hydro-micas, also a part of the Cambrian belt. From 
this the original home of the German element in York 
County It has since spread out over the entire Cambrian 
belt with Its fertile soils related to limestone. And even 
on the isolated outcropplngs of limestone rock near New 
Market in the extreme northern end of the county, and on 
the small district north of Dlllsburg In Carroll Township, 
we have today the homes of German communities. A 
more striking Illustration than York County affords of the 
tendency of German settlers to occupy limestone soil can 
probably nowhere be found. 

English speculators took out large tracts of land In these 
valleys of our county but It was the Germans who settled 
them. The Englishman, Samuel Blunston, issued the 
licenses and English surveyors laid off the tracts, but Ger- 
man immigrants occupied them. Englishmen supervised 
the affairs of Yorktown but Germans were the lot-owners 
and the citizens. An Irishman held the claim to DIgges's 

The Limestone Soil. 167 

Choice but it was chiefly the Germans who settled the 
tract. Both English and Irish sought to establish them- 
selves on the limestone island at the mouth of Cabin 
Branch south of the Kreutz Creek Valley, but in the 
course of time the Pennsylvania claim to that neighbor- 
hood prevailed and the limestone island was swallowed 
up and assimilated into the general German belt. On this 
kind of soil the Germans took up their abodes in the begin- 
ning, from this soil they excluded practically all represen- 
tatives of other nationalities, and to this soil they have 
themselves clung most tenaciously to the present. 

The frequent recurrence of this phenomenon in eastern 
Pennsylvania and the striking regularity and precision 
with which it occurs in York County encourages us to seek 
for its causes here. It appears then that the reasons for 
this rule of choice among the Germans in our county are 
two. In the first place, the Germans chose good farming 
land and in Pennsylvania the best soil for agriculture is 
limestone soil. It is highly improbable that the German 
immigrants had any knowledge or concern about the geo- 
logical formations of the different districts. They had 
regard first of all to the vegetation which the different 
sections had produced in their natural state and they made 
choice of those regions where the trees were largest, the 
timber the thickest, and where the vegetation was most 
luxuriant. Then, too, the German insisted that his pro- 
spective farm must be well watered. These marks he 
always found on the acres that were underlaid with lime- 

The German instinct for the selection of good soil is 
traditional. It was soon observed by their neighbors in 
eastern Pennsylvania. The eminent Quaker, Dr. Ben- 
jamin Rush, the Tacitus of early Pennsylvania, has noted 

l68 German Element in York County, Pa. 

the fact In his classic pamphlet entitled! "An Account of 
the Manners of the German Inhabitants of Pennsylva- 
nia."^^ Speaking of the German farmer he says: "They 
always prefer good land or that land on which there is a 
large quantity of meadow ground. From an attention to 
the cultivation of grass, they often double the value of an 
old farm in a few years, and grow rich on farms, on which 
their predecessors of whom they purchased them nearly 
starved."^^ This intuitive knowledge of good land and 
this agricultural success was the inheritance of thirty gen- 
erations of ancestors. The crowded conditions of life in 
the Rhine Valley had led to very intensive methods of cul- 
tivation, a fine skill in agriculture, and the highest degree 
of wisdom in the husbanding both of soil and of crops. 
These qualities had made the Palatinate the "garden 
spot" of Germany, and transferred to the rich soil of 
eastern Pennsylvania they made It the pride of the Key- 
stone State. ^^ The native tenacity and the indomitable 

26 This essay was written in 1789, edited and republished by I. D. Rupp 
in 18715, and revised with a full introduction and copious annotations by 
Theodore E. Schmauk in 19 10. Dr. Schmauk's edition appeared as Part 
XXI of "Pennsylvania: The German Influence on its Settlement and De- 
velopment" in the Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society, Vol. 
XIX. In his discerning account Dr. Rush gives many interesting details 
concerning the methods which the early Pennsylvania Germans employed 
in their farming and of the characteristics which distinguished them from 
other nationalities in Pennsylvania. 

27 Pp. 516 f. Schmauk edition. Sydney George Fisher in his " The Mak- 
ing of Pennsylvania " gives a brief resume of Dr. Rush's observations on 
this subject. He puts it thus: "They [the Germans] were good judges 
of land, always selected the best, and were very fond of the limestone 
districts." But Dr. Rush made no mention whatever of " limestone " and 
there is no evidence that the Germans consciously and purposely sought 
out this particular geological formation. They were only looking for good 
land and if this could have been found on any other kind of rock they 
would have been attracted thither. 

28 This inherited agricultural skill, together with the regular selection 

The Limestone Soil. 169 

industry of the Germans, together with the hard condi- 
tions under which they left their native land, made them 
willing to undertake heroic tasks when they arrived in the 
New World. Undaunted by the size of the trees or the 
thickness of the wilderness they boldly attacked the 
forests, for they realized that where the heaviest timber 
grew the soil must be most capable of producing rich 
crops. This was undoubtedly the guiding principle that 
led the Germans to the limestone soil. Other nationalities 
such as the Scotch-Irish clung to the lands that were more 
easily cleared. They were less inured to heavy manual 
labor and were guided by their bucolic instincts, while the 
slowly plodding German looked farther into the future 
and was guided entirely by his sharper eye for good soil.^^ 
Thus in Pennsylvania he invariably preferred the lime- 
stone regions and in York County this preference always 
placed him on or near the fertile ribbon that stretches 
along the central Cambrian belt. 

After the Germans had begun their settlement in these 

of good soil, made the limestone farms of the German farmers in Lancaster, 
York and the other German counties without a superior in this country. 
Their value to the State of Pennsylvania was early recognized by Governor 
Thomas who said to his council on January 2, 1739: "This Province has 
been for some years the Asylum of the distressed Protestants of the 
Palatinate, and other parts of Germany, and I believe it may with truth 
be said that the present flourishing condition of it is in a great measure 
owing to the Industry of those People; and should any discouragement 
divert them from coming hither, it may well be apprehended that the 
value of your Lands will fall, and your Advances to wealth be much 
slower; for it is not altogether the goodness of the Soil but the Number and 
Industry of the People that make a flourishing Country." Col. Rec, IV: 315, 
29 Dr. George Mays refers to this contrast between the German farmer 
and the Scotch-Irish farmer in a brief and popular article on " The Early 
Pennsylvania German Farmer " in the Pennsylvania German magazine, 
Vol. II, No. 4, October, 1901, pp. 184 f. Vide also Kuhns, " German and 
Swiss Settlements," p. 85, and Lutheran Quarterly, Vol. XIII, 1883, p. 509 f. 

170 German Element in York County, Pa. 

fertile valleys other nationalities also began to recognize 
their value and in some instances looked upon them with 
covetous eyes. As early as 1733, when Cressap and some 
of his associates were trying to fix their abodes and estab- 
lish their claims upon the cleared limestone lands at the 
mouth of Cabin Branch, Governor Gordon of Pennsyl- 
vania wrote to Lord Baltimore, " I could not but be of 
opinion that as some Gentlemen of your Lordship's Prov- 
ince, who, casting an Eye on those Lands, now rendered 
more valuable by the Neighbourhood of our Inhabitants, 
had attempted so unjustifiable a Survey, it might suit their 
purposes to have Cressop and some others of the like 
turbulent Dispositions settled there, to give some Coun- 
tenance to their claim. "^"^ Others recognized also the 
value of the arable lands in the Kreutz Creek Valley and 
were very willing to take charge of them after the Ger- 
mans had cleared them with the heavy toil of years, had 
made improvements upon them, and had begun their cul- 
tivation. In the fall of 1736, when the Germans, as we 
have seen, were already occupying many tracts west of the 
Susquehanna, and when the Chester County Plot was laid 
against their lands, the impelling motive of the plotters 
was to secure possession of the "good land" which the 
Germans occupied. This is indicated repeatedly by the 
affidavits concerning the incident.^^ These efforts to seize 
the lands of the German are real compliments to his wis- 

30 Pennsylvania Archives, Fourth Series, Papers of the Governors, Vol. 
I: 505. 

31 For example, Henry Munday, one of those implicated in the plot, 
testified before the Pennsylvania Council on November 27, 1736, that he 
and others had met Cressap and " that Cressap had shown them some 
vacant Plantations, and Some that vpere inhabited by Dutch People, with 
a very large Tract of good Land." Col. Rec, IV: 1071. This idea recurs 

The Limestone Soil. 171 

dom in the choice of soil and to his skill in methods of 
clearing and cultivating.^^ 

But there is also a second reason why the Germans in 
York County settled with such regularity upon the kind 
of land that they did. This is found in the general ethno- 
logical principle that when people migrate from one coun- 
try to another, or even from one neighborhood to another, 
they tend to take up their new abodes upon land whose 
natural features resemble those of the abodes they have 
left. This tendency has often been observed and it has 
been evidenced by many nationalities.^^ It applies notably 
to the many Scotch-Irish in Pennsylvania and it applies to 
the Germans. These early German immigrants into our 
state were chiefly Palatines. Their native land lay about 
the banks of the middle and upper Rhine. It included 
more than the present Bavarian Palatinate; it stretched 
across to the eastern side of the river and embraced parts 

32 In 1744 Daniel Dulany of Annapolis made a trip to the more remote 
parts of his province, evidently the neighborhood of Digges's Choice, and 
upon his return wrote a letter to Lord Baltimore which indicates that he 
valued the limestone soil of that region. 

" I have not been long returned from a journey into the back woods, as 
far as to the Temporary line between this province and Pennsylvania, 
where I had the pleasure of seeing a most delightful Country, A Country 
my Lord, that equals (if it does not exceed) any in America for natural 
advantages, such as a rich & fertile soil, well furnished with timber of all 
sorts abounding with limestone, and stone fit for building, good slate & 
some marble, and to crown all, very healthy. The season of the year was 
so far advanced towards Winter that I could not possibly go to the neck 
of land in the fork of the Patomack. . . ." Calvert Papers, No. z, p. ii6. 

33 Faust calls attention to it briefly thus: "This principle of selecting 
land similar to that which was found good at home prevailed even on a 
second and third choice. Remarkable instances have occurred in the cases 
of families who have migrated farther and farther westward, generation 
after generation, of the choice of a farm or homestead almost identical in 
appearance with the one owned by them in the original locality." Vol. 
II. P- 3S- 

172 German Element in York County, Pa. 

of Hesse, Baden, and Wiirtemberg. From all parts of 
southwestern Germany they came. Now If we examine 
the topography of this part of Germany we find that It 
resembles closely the topography of the limestone districts 
of southeastern Pennsylvania including the Cambrian belt 
of York County.^^ 

The geological formation of the Rhenish Palatinate and 
her nearest neighbors, It Is true, Is not limestone. The 
Bavarian Palatinate consists of four distinct sections 
measuring north and south, the level plain nearest the 
Rhine, the rolling hills which mark the approach to the 
Haardt, the wooded heights of the Haardt itself, and the 
foothills of the western district. Southwards all of these 
sections merge into the forests of the Vosges. The geol- 
ogist discerns three geological groups, the alluvial deposits 
on the plain, the red sandstone soil of the rising hills, and 
the coal regions of the third section. In the countries just 
east of the Rhine the red shale of the Triassic period pre- 
dominates again and lends the soil its chief character- 
istics.^^ This part of Germany is not entirely without its 

3* An understanding of the geology and topography of the Palatinate 
and southwestern Germany may best be gathered from the following works : 
W. H. Reihl, " Die Pfalzer," pp. 1^691. E. von Seydlitz, " Handbuch der 
Geographie," 25th edition, pp. 4515-462. Cf. map of forests, p. 432. F. 
Ratzel, " Deutschland," pp. 23-132. 

" Deutschland als Weltmacht," pp. 4^-27', Chapter on " Deutsche Erde 
und Deutsches Volk," by Professor W. Goetz. 

Franz Heiderich, " Landerkunde von Europa," pp. 94-112. 

35 Ratzel says : " Weit verbreitet sind von den nordlichen Vegesen an 
durch den nordlichen Schwarzwald, den Odenwald, Spessart, das hessische 
Bergland, Thiiringen und das obere Wesergebeit die roten, oft leuchtend 
purpurbraunen Gesteine des Rotliegenden und des bunten Sandsteins, eine 
machtige, aber einformige Bildung, die dem Walde giinstiger als dem 
Acker ist. In weiten Gebeiten Mittel- und Siidwestdeutschlands breitet 
sich iiber Ackerland und Stadtarchitektur einen rotlichen Hauch. Von 
Basel bis Frankfurt sind die Miinster und Dome aus rotem Sandstein 
gebaut." " Deutschland," p. 30. 

The Limestone Soil. 173 

limestone but It Is almost negligible in quantity and It Is of 
that firm unyielding variety which only constitutes a bar- 
rier to the farmer. Thus the Rhenish province of Hesse 
contains a considerable region of durable limestone with a 
strong dolomitic admixture and a very narrow strip of this 
rock extends across the Rhine and southwards acrosis most 
of the Palatinate, appearing here in the form of brec- 
clated limestone conglomerate. So that nearly every- 
where It Is the Trias of the Mesozoic era which gives 
color to the soil. Geologically, therefore, it cannot be 
maintained that the Germans in our county settled upon 
the same kind of formation as that from which they had 
come when they left Europe. And herein lies a very 
strong indication that these people did not consciously seek 
out the limestone tracts when they settled in the New 

But when we turn from the geology to the topography 
of the middle Rhine valleys and of southwestern Germany 
we find that It Is very much like that of the districts upon 
which the German Immigrants settled In York County. 
Not level like north Germany, not mountainous like south 
Germany, but a medium between the two, an undulating 
plain and easy rolling hills. The most familiar features 
in the configuration of the country are the gradual emi- 
nences which mark the steps In the elevation from the 
level of the Rhine in the center to the heights of the Haardt 
In the west and the Vosges In the southwest and to the 
Swablan Jura in the east and southeast.^^ The numerous 
valleys between are well watered by the many streams that 
ultimately empty Into the Rhine. The red soil of the 
Trias is not so well adapted to agriculture as some other 

36 " Wellenformige Flache " and " Hugellandschaft " are the expressions 
most frequently used to describe the rolling surface of this country. 

174 German Element in York County, Pa. 

kinds of soil and in this part of Germany it required a 
hand that was highly skilled in agriculture to make the 
soil yield sustenance for its dense population. But this 
soil is well adapted to forest growths and to this day it 
contains large stretches of sturdy timber. Its dense forests 
with their luxuriant foliage constitute one of the most 
striking characteristics of the Palatine hills and indeed of 
southwestern Germany in general. From the Odenwald 
in the north they stretch to the Black Forest in the south 
and across the Rhine to the Vosges Forest in the west. 
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries this region 
must have been even more heavily wooded and it was only 
natural for the Palatines when they reached York County 
to welcome the sight of the thick timber growths on the 
central belt. The general contour of the Palatinate the 
Germans found reproduced in the undulating central re- 
gion in York County with its rich forests and its many 
springs and streams.^^ The unconscious charm of the 
homeland and an instinct for the best soil led them there- 
fore to fix their abodes upon the limestone soil and begin 
the work of taming the wilderness. And this fact has 
had a marked significance in their subsequent fortunes in 
this county. 

87 The writer can testify from personal observation to the striking simi- 
larity between the configuration of the land in the Rhenish Palatinate and 
that of the limestone valleys in York County. 


Their Place in Pennsylvania History. 

SHE part which the York County Germans of 
that early period played in the history of 
colonial Pennsylvania and in the general course 
of American history may be gathered from 
the facts and events already narrated. They 
were a valuable support to the provincial authorities of 
Pennsylvania at a time when that Im'portant province 
was passing through its most formative period. The 
Germans of York County contributed in their small meas- 
ure to the support and strength of the provincial govern- 
ment both In Its conflicts with Maryland and in its con- 
test with certain opposing elements among its own popu- 
lation. Then, too, these pioneer settlements stretching 
out into the primeval forest seem like an index finger 
pointing westward to an empire of land and wealth whose 
conquest and acquisition by successive steps of similar 
communities was to make the future greatness of our 
nation. And finally, these first German settlers In York 
County constituted a small but relatively Important part 
of that numerous and growing body of farmers In our 
province who early got into the native soil and drew from 


176 German Element in York County, Pa. 

it the materials that formed the basis for the prosperity 
of colonial Pennsylvania, even as today they constitute the 
backbone of the nation. 

In the first place their significance for the political his- 
tory of the province during those early years grows out 
of the fact that they were on friendly terms with the 
Quaker Assembly at Philadelphia. The province of Penn- 
sylvania shared with New York the place of greatest 
prominence and importance among the middle colonies of 
the North American coast. Now the government of 
Pennsylvania, though at first apparently under the abso- 
lute control of one individual, was nevertheless in reality 
more completely democratic than any other in America. 
In this respect Penn's province presented a striking con- 
trast to the government of the Puritans in New England, 
that of the Episcopalians in Virginia, and that of the 
Catholics in Maryland. Government in Pennsylvania 
was thoroughly representative.^ Other colonies, notably 
Massachusetts and Virginia, had enjoyed a fair degree of 
self-government at first but had later forfeited their priv- 
ileges into the hands of tyranny. But the history of 
Pennsylvania before the Revolution is a continuous story 
of the unintermittent development of civil liberty. This 
contrast is due to the complete ascendancy of the Quakers 
in Pennsylvania during that long, formative period from 
1682 to 1776, when they suddenly disappeared from 

1 This is only cited as one of the achievements of the Quakers in colonial 
Pennsylvania. Others may be gathered from Chapters IV-VII of Isaac 
Sharpless' " A Quaker Experiment in Government." 

W. A. Wallace in a lecture before the Pennsylvania Historical Society in 
i8Sz on " Pennsylvania's Formative Influence upon Federal Institutions, 
i6Sz-i7'Zfj " shows by a clear statement of actual facts what remarkable 
results colonial Pennsylvania achieved for the nation. Vide also Penny- 
packer, "Pennsylvania in American History," pp. 202 ff. 

Their Place in Pennsylvania History. 177 

power. Until the middle of the eighteenth century the 
political history of Pennsylvania is a history of the Quakers 
and from' 1755 to the Revolution it is a history of the un- 
successful efforts on the part of the Scotch-Irish and the 
Church of England people to displace the Quakers. 
Throughout the period of their ascendancy the Quakers 
were warmly supported by the numerous German element 
in the province.^ For the Germans never forgot the debt 
of gratitude they owed to the Quakers, and then, too, they 
had their own grounds of animosity against the other ele- 
ments in the colony. After the middle of the century it 
was only the vigorous support of the Germans, who held 
the balance of power, that enabled the Quakers to main- 
tain their hold upon the political helm.^ But decades be- 
fore that the Germans were cooperating with the Quakers 
and supporting them In their government. Palatine and 
Quaker labored together as builders of the common- 
wealth.* And herein lies the significance of the first two 

2 Rufus M. Jones says: "Until the Revolution the Quakers and the 
Presbyterians constituted the rival political forces of the provinces. The 
Episcopalians tended towards the Friends and the Germans were also 
usually sympathetic." " The Quakers in the American Colonies," pp. 494 
et passim. 

8 " Parties were now [after i7'63] formed on new lines. They had 
largely disappeared during the twenties and thirties, but at this time we 
find a marked difference, growing more emphatic with the years between 
the proprietary party and the * country ' party. The Quakers were now 
in considerable minority in the Province, but were practically all on one 
side. The Proprietors had left the Society and joined the Episcopal 
Church and that body rallied around them. So also did the Presbyterians, 
and all who believed in a vigorous, warlike policy. These stood together 
for proprietary rights and interests, and had as their stronghold the Gov- 
ernor and Council. The Friends and the Germans and their sympathizers 
maintained their ascendancy in the popularly elected Assembly, where they 
did practically as they pleased." Sharpless, " A Quaker Experiment in 
Government," pp. 103 f. 

* " The Palatine and Quaker as Commonwealth Builders," by Frank 

178 German Element in York County, Pa. 

decades of York County Germans for the early political 
history of Pennsylvania. 

The York County Germans, like the great body of their 
countrymen east of the Susquehanna and between the 
Schuylkill and the Delaware, were generally on good terms 
with the provincial assembly. And these kindly feelings 
were mutual. They are reflected in the above narrative 
of the earliest German settlements in the county. The 
provincial authorities favored these Germans where they 
could and these Germans for the most part loyally sup- 
ported the authority of the provincial government. The 
government allowed the Germans very easy terms of pur- 
chase for their lands west of the river. So long as the In- 
dians did not complain the board of property winked at 
the settlement of squatters upon unpurchased lands. And 
finally in 1733, in the matter of the Blunston licenses, the 
provincial authorities even strained a point in their tradi- 
tional Indian policy in order to accomplish the settlement 
of the Germans in the Kreutz Creek Valley without delay. 
Afterwards when the Germans recovered from the illu- 
sion into which some of them had been misled concerning 
the jurisdiction over their lands and when they frankly 
acknowledged their error and asked to be restored to 
citizenship in Pennsylvania, the Council of Pennsylvania 
received them promptly and kindly, encouraged them in 
their allegiance and took measures to help them defend 
themselves. On this occasion the discussions in the pro- 
vincial council and their letters to the governor of Mary- 
land indicated very kindly feelings towards the Germans 
west of the river and a sincere sympathy for them in their 

Ried DiffenderflFer, is a very discerning discourse, showing the immense 
significance of colonial Pennsylvania in American history and the mo- 
mentous influence which the combined forces of Germans and Quakers were 
able to exert upon that crucial colony. 

Their Place in Pennsylvania History. 179 

trying circumstances. And from that time forward none 
of these Germans ever again swerved in their loyalty to 
the Quaker government, though It cost them many serious 

It was the tenacity of the Germans in insisting upon 
their rights and in maintaining the Pennsylvania claims 
over those parts that prevented the Marylanders from 
taking possession of their lands and thus giving a large 
semblance of correctness to the Maryland claim of juris- 
diction in the Kreutz Creek and Codorus Creek valleys. 
Whatever the Quaker officials may have thought about 
the Intelligence and culture of these Germans they recog- 
nized them as a good element to serve the Important pur- 
pose of resisting the encroachments of the Marylanders. 
This service they performed and It was recognized by the 
government. But for the good understanding between 
these Germans and the Quaker government the boundary 
history of Pennsylvania might be very different from 
what It Is. 

Moreover, the substantial support which the York 
County Germans in company with the great body of their 
countrymen throughout the colony gave to the Quaker 
government was the decisive factor In helping the Quakers 
to maintain their ascendancy In the legislative assembly. 
For the Quakers had their political opponents within their 
own province. At first these consisted chiefly of the ad- 
herents of the Church of England, a class that was not 
numerous enough to be troublesome. But after the third 
decade of the eighteenth century the Scotch-Irish began to 
pour into the province In Increasing numbers and as a class 
they aligned with the political enemies of the Quakers. 
Then began the political contest against the power of the 
peaceful Quakers which dragged on until the Revolution 
when the Scotch-Irish finally triumphed. But meanwhile 

i8o German Element in York County, Pa. 

the Quakers had achieved remarkable results. Slowly, 
very slowly, through their continual disputes with the gov- 
ernors and proprietors, they had evolved for their province 
a body of constitutional liberty. Patiently, persistently, 
unconsciously they wrought, striving to maintain the honor 
of Christian civilization in the province's dealings with the 
Indians, and gradually working out the great constitutional 
principles which were the political pride of provincial 
Pennsylvania. This they accomplished in spite of the op- 
position of the Scotch-Irish and the Church of England 
people. And they accomplished it because they were regu- 
larly supported by the ballot of the Germans. The Ger- 
mans had no political ambitions for themselves. As a 
class they were politically indifferent.^ They were satis- 
fied with the government of the Friends, they had their 
own grounds for gratitude to them, they disliked the 
Scotch-Irish and they regularly voted with the established 
power. A great many of the Germans were religiously 
akin to the Quakers, and everywhere they came into con- 
flict with the Scotch-Irish. The Scotch-Irish as a class 
were settling on the outer belt of civilization on lands 
contiguous to the Germans and this brought about many 
conflicts between the two nationalities. And it has been 
suggested that it was these conflicts that eventually evolved 
a political self-consciousness on the part of the Germans 

s They were capable of being stirred by great principles, as is abundantly 
evidenced by their brilliant part in the French and Indian War and by 
their early rush to the cause of the Revolution, where they proved to be the 
most skilled soldiers in the Continental Army. And they soon developed 
great leaders among themselves and men of political influence, like Weiser 
and the Muhlenbergs. Nevertheless, the very earliest German settlers as a 
class had no ambitions to interfere in the affairs of others or to participate 
actively in public politics, and years elapsed before they developed a 
political self-consciousness. 

^ This suggestion is made by Julius Goebel, who says : " Es scheint dass 

Their Place in Pennsylvania History. i8l 

This is the perspective in which to view the relation of 
the York County Germans to the colonial history of Penn- 
sylvania. For the documents concerning the early settle- 
ments in York County and the difficulties with the Mary- 
landers reflect not a few instances of this partisan national 
spirit. When the German settlements in York County 
were taking their beginnings the Scotch-Irish had not yet 
arrived there and the chief opposition to the Quaker gov- 
ernment and their faithful subjects west of the river came 
from Irish Catholics and from adherents of the Church of 
England. Thomas Cressap was an Irish Catholic from 
Maryland and so were his close associates at the mouth of 
Cabin Branch.''' When Cressap was captured and im- 
prisoned In Philadelphia the troubles west of the river 
were continued and even intensified under the leadership 
of another Irishman, Charles Higginbotham. Shortly 
thereafter Samuel Blunston wrote to President Logan that 
there Is now not so much to fear from the Marylanders as 
from " our own people," that band of " Irish ruffians with 
Higginbotham." The reference Is to the aftermath of 
the unsuccessful Chester County Plot. That plot had been 
headed by three Irishmen, Charles Higginbotham, Henry 
Munday, and Edward Leet, and was participated In by 
others with Irish names. ^ But the great majority of the 
participants were English or Scotch and the entire plot was 

sich die Deutschen am politischen Leben der neuen Heimat vor der Mitte 
des i8, Jahrhunderts wenig beteiligten. Wie Hesse sich auch von den 
Verfolgten und Gedriickten, die aus dem Vaterland kein politisches Em- 
pfinden mitbrachten, anderes erwarten? Erst langsam, wohl im Kampfe 
mit den Irlandern und Schotten, die seit den zwanziger Jahren nach Penn- 
sylvanien zu stromen beginnen hat sich ihr poltitisches Selbstbewusstsein 
entwickelt." " Das Deutschtum in den Vereinigten Staaten von Nord- 
Amerika," p. sz. 

■^ Vide, e. g., Archives, I: 516. 

8 Vide the list of those involved, Col. Rec, IV: 102. 

1 82 German Element in York County, Pa. 

carried by the Pennsylvania enemies of the Quaker govern- 
ment. It was a minister of the Church of England who 
conceived the plot and directed its execution.^ The gov- 
ernor and council of Maryland wrote to the King, Feb- 
ruary 1 8, 1737, relating how the Germans on the Kreutz 
Creek had renounced the authority of Maryland and add- 
ing this comment: " and in order to account for this their 
extraordinary proceeding they declared their unwillingness 
to contribute towards the support of the ministers of the 
Church of England by law established in this province." 
And about a month later Governor Ogle of Maryland 
wrote to the Pennsylvania authorities : " Suppose a num- 
ber of your Inhabitants touched with a tender Regard for 
the Church of England and the support of its Ministers 
(and such a Case certainly is not impossible, however im- 
probable it may be judged to be) should all of a sudden 
renounce your Government in the same formal manner 
that these People did ours for contrary Reasons, pray what 
would your Government do in such a Case?"^^ These 
expressions serve to indicate the national and ecclesiastical 
element that entered into the conflict. 

Moreover in the face of the Chester County Plot Samuel 
Blunston wrote to Thomas Penn, October 21, 1736, re- 
questing that vigorous efforts be made to prevent "the 
Irish from Chester County" from helping to dispossess 
" the Dutch west of Sasquehannah " on the ground that 
" it might be difficult to get the Donegal people to go 
against their country men." The Donegal people and 
others east of the Susquehanna were expected to help de- 

^ Henry Munday wrote to Rev. Jacob Henderson, November 14, 17136, 
"You being the first that projected the settling the said Lands and Plan- 
tations." Col. Rec, IV: 103^ Henderson was also one of the Commis- 
sioners for Maryland. 

10 Col. Rec, IV: 188. 

Their Place in Pennsylvania History. 183 

fend the Germans if necessary even as they had helped to 
capture Cressap and four of his associates. Now the posse 
of 25 persons who had effected the capture of Cressap and 
his associates was officially described as consisting "mostly 
of German Protestants & other Europeans of the Com- 
munion of the Churches of England and Scotland, of late 
years arrived here."^^ Hence it is clear that Blunston, 
himself a Friend, realized that he could not depend upon 
the aid of the Church of England people and the Presby- 
terians to support the authority of the Quaker govern- 
ment when that authority conflicted with the wish of other 
members of those faiths. No love was lost between the 
Germans west of the river and those of the English just 
east of the river who were not Quakers. In one of the 
forceful conflicts between these two parties in 1735 one 
of the Germans specially laments the fact that he "was 
knocked down by an Irishman. "^^ 

The contest with the Scotch-Irish in York County did 
not begin until after the period which we have studied but 
the coming feuds were foreshadowed. Very shortly after 
the Germans had made a beginning of their settlements in 
York County the Scotch-Irish had begun to settle in that 
part of the Cumberland Valley which drains into the 
Potomac. And they were making an unfavorable im- 
pression. Scotch-Irish immigration into Pennsylvania had 
begun about 17 15. James Logan had early complained 
to the proprietor against this class of Immigrants, their 
crowding In where they are not wanted, and their cruel 
treatment of the Indians. " It looks as if Ireland Is to 
send all her Inhabitants." But with 1734 the Scotch- 
Irish began to come In much larger numbers. In that year 
they first settled In the Cumberland Valley, and already 

11 Col. Rec, IV: 12S. 

12 John Lochman in Proceedings of Council of Maryland for 1735, p. 83. 

184 German Element in York County, Pa. 

on. August 1 5 of that same year, Samuel Blunston, writing 
to Thomas Penn concerning the terms for warrants west 
of the river, expresses his opinion of these Scotch-Irish in 
these words : 

How far these terms may be liked by the loose setlers on potomac 
I know not, for though they may be easy in themselves, yet to them 
who were always a sort of free-booters they may seem strict enough 
for tis generally at present settled by such people who in all prob- 
ability wil never be able to comply with the terms prescribed, nor 
are many of them at present able to pay for their warrants or 
surveys; nevertheless I think considering the dispute between the 
provinces they ought to be encouraged & I am of opinion it would be 
well they had warrants & surveys though it remained a debt on 
the place for those who come after to pay, for tis very probable 
few now settled there will be the possessors at the end of seven 
years But for some consideration assigning their rights to more 
industrious & able persons will stil remove further, such idle trash 
being generally the frontiers of an improving colony. However 
poor as they are since they are the present Inhabitants as I said 
before I think they should be encouraged to keep them in possession, 
but I only speak this of those Inhabitants towards Potowmac. 

Blunston evidently wishes to draw a sharp distinction be- 
tween the earliest settlers in the Cumberland Valley and 
his German neighbors just west of the Susquehanna. 

Blunston's expectations that these earliest Scotch-Irish 
settlers among the headwaters of the Conococheague would 
not long remain there but would soon be succeeded by a 
different class of settlers, were abundantly fulfilled by the 
subsequent course of events. For when the Scotch-Irish 
began to settle in York County violent conflicts took place 
between them and the Germans.^ ^ For the sake of the 
peace of the province, therefore, the proprietors in 1749 

13 Vide, e. g., Rupp's " History of Lancaster and York Counties," pp. 

Their Place in Pennsylvania History. 185 

instructed their agents not to sell any more lands in York 
County to the Irish but to hold out strong inducements to 
people of that nationality to settle further north. This 
suggestion, however, seems to have had little effect in the 
way of diverting the stream of Scotch-Irish immigration 
from the immediate neighborhood of the Germans. But 
meanwhile the Germans themselves had begun to sup- 
plant the Scotch-Irish, so far as they were settled upon 
good soil, by buying out their lands and improvements. 
From York and Lancaster Counties and the counties far- 
ther east they crossed Adams County and the South Moun- 
tain into the Cumberland Valley and purchased the hold- 
ings of the Scotch-Irish there, while these removed north 
across the Susquehanna or west beyond the Blue Ridge. 
This process of supplanting the Scotch-Irish began as early 
as 1757 and by the time of the Revolution the limestone 
Cumberland Valley was occupied predominantly by Ger- 

The significance of the early York County Germans 
for contemporary history of Pennsylvania, therefore, grows 
out of their warm support of the Quaker regime, their 
stout opposition to the Maryland claims, and their contact 
and conflicts with the Scotch-Irish. And this last, as we 
have seen, is involved in their regular choice of limestone 

14 Egle's " History of Pennsylvania," p. 615. Rupp has also noted this 
same process of Germans supplanting Scotch-Irish in Northampton County, 
Rush's "Account of the Manners of the German Inhabitants of Pennsyl- 
vania," Schmauk edition, p. 57', footnote 35- Also Rupp's "History of 
Lancaster and York Counties," p. 57^', footnote. 

Ascherwall in his "Observations on North America" in zj^7 says: 
" Scotch and Irish often sell to the Germans, of whom from 90 to 100,000 
live in Pennsylvania, and prefer to put all their earnings into land and 
improvements. The Scotch or Irish are satisfied with a fair profit, put 
the capital into another farm, leaving the Germans owners of the old 
farms." Ascherwall received his information from Franklin the year 
previous. Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 27, p. 5: 

Their Place in General American History. 

3T remains but to Indicate with a few strokes the 
position of these early communities in the 
general course of American civilization. Of 
course in so far as colonial Pennsylvania was 
a formative factor in American history and 
in so far as these Germans helped to give direction to 
events in colonial Pennsylvania, their place In American 
history may be gathered from the preceding chapter. But 
they have also another significance for American history, 
a significance that comes not indirectly from the part they 
played in the history of their own province but directly 
from their own Influence upon American life and civili- 

So far as numbers and possessions are concerned they 
constituted only a very small part of the American nation 
and their significance In themselves when weighed in the 
balances of the whole continent must necessarily be very 
small except In so far as they are Indicative of a larger 
movement and prognostic of a greater future. In fact 
they constitute but a small portion even of the German 


Their Place in General American History. 187 

element in the population of colonial America. But when 
viewed in the perspective of nearly two centuries they are 
seen to be the very van of a great movement that has made 
the American nation and moulded the American character 
and fixed American institutions. In the light of what has 
already been said concerning their distinguishing charac- 
teristics it must appear that their national significance is 
entirely disproportionate to their numbers and their hold- 
ings. Their significance for the history of American civil- 
ization and the evolution of American institutions lies 
partly in their location, partly in their occupation, and 
partly in their quahties of character. 

In the first place, the Germans in York County before 
the middle of the eighteenth century were upon the very 
frontier of American civilization. Now the whole his- 
tory of the American advance even down to our day is the 
history of the western frontier. The peculiarity of Amer- 
ican institutions is the result of successive waves of west- 
ward expansion. The forces dominating American char- 
acter today are the outgrowth of the gradual development 
from the simplicity of primitive industrial society to the 
complexity of modern manufacturing civilization. Over 
and over again this process has been repeated on each new 
frontier line as the population from decade to decade has 
marched with steady step across the American expanse. 
This continual rebirth of American life has given Indelible 
stamp to our national character and our national institu- 
tions. The European has conquered the wilderness but 
during the process the wilderness has reacted upon the 
European and made him over into a new character with 
new Ideas and new Ideals. The frontier has been the 
meeting-point between civilization and savagery and thus 
it has constituted the crucible in which the different Euro- 

1 88 German Element in York County, Pa. 

pean nationalities have been moulded into an entirely new 
product known as the American. 

The westward advance of the frontier has taken place 
in well-defined stages marked by natural boundary lines. 
At the end of the seventeenth century the frontier was the 
fall line, the edge of the tide-water region of the Atlantic 
coast. By the middle of the eighteenth century it had ad- 
vanced to the Alleghanles. During the Revolution the 
frontier crossed the Alleghanies and by the end of the 
century reached the Ohio. At the end of the first quarter 
of the nineteenth century it had advanced to the Missis- 
sippi. By the middle of the nineteenth cenutry it lay 
along the Missouri. Shortly thereafter it leaped across 
the Rockies and by the centennial year it had reached 
the Pacific and had begun to swerve northward towards 
Canada and Alaska. Thus has the retreating frontier 
marked the stages in the growth of the nation. 

At each of these boundary lines the process of Amer- 
ican transformation has been very similar. First came 
the Indian trader's frontier. The Indian had followed 
the buffalo trail. Now the trader, the pathfinder of civili- 
zation, follows the Indian trail and begins the disintegra- 
tion of savagery. He is soon followed either by the miner 
or the rancher, and the trail is widened into a road. Then 
comes the pioneer farmer to exploit the soil, render it 
"barren," and then move on to virgin lands. He is fol- 
lowed by the steady farmer who devotes himself to inten- 
sive culture and permanent settlement, and he converts the 
road into a turnpike. This denser farm settlement is fol- 
lowed by city and factory with all the complexity of manu- 
facturing organization. The turnpike has now been trans- 
formed into a railroad and the process of Americanization 
is complete. Each of these stages has wrought political 

Their Place in General American History. 189 

and economic transformations and has contributed some- 
thing towards the finished American product.^ 

In this process of American history it is not difficult to 
determine the place of the York County Germans as they 
appeared during the period which has come under our 
view. They fall within that stage when the Atlantic coast 
was yet the only settled area and when the frontier was 
slowly advancing up the courses of the Atlantic rivers 
towards their headwaters and towards the Alleghanies. 
But in this transition from the coast to the mountains the 
York County settlements constitute an important step. 
The first to settle west of the Susquehanna in this region, 
and among the first of all the settlements west of this 
natural dividing-line, the early German communities of 
York County stand like an auspicious prognosticator point- 
ing westward beyond the South Mountain and the Blue 
Ridge and inviting to the conquest of the Alleghanies and 
the promising lands beyond. Like an entering wedge into 
the Indian country this tongue of German settlements 
pushed forward indenting the wilderness, broadening the 
national horizon, and inspiring to almost limitless acqui- 
sition of empire. 

When the Germans settled in York County the Indian 
trader's frontier had passed. The Indian had withdrawn 
Into the interior and with him had gone the trader. The 
mining explorer had also had his day in York County. It 
was time for the farmer's frontier and this was the posi- 

1 For this view of American history we are indebted to Professor F. J. 
Turner, of Harvard. A brief statement of Professor Turner's philosophy 
of American history together with valuable suggestions as to the concrete 
influence of the frontier upon certain phases of American character and 
American institutions, is found in his article " The Significance of the 
Frontier in American History " in the Annual Report of the American 
Historical Association for the year iS^S, pp. i97'-247'. 

igo German Element in York County, Pa. 

tlon occupied by the Germans. Throughout colonial times 
Pennsylvania was the basis of distribution of frontier 
emigration and the settlement of York County is signifi- 
cant as one of the earliest steps in this Pennsylvania ex- 
pansion southward and westward. The observer who 
takes his stand among the Delaware and Shawnese Indians 
on the west bank of the Susquehanna at the opening of the 
eighteenth century will see the successive stages of the 
American frontier passing before his view in exactly the 
same order in which they afterwards pass the many nat- 
ural boundaries in their westward course to the Pacific. 
With the beginning of the fourth decade of that century 
Indian resistance will have ceased, the farmer with inten- 
sive methods of culture will have arrived, the next to the 
last stage in the process of complete Americanization will 
have been reached, and there will remain but one more 
step to make this region one of the most populous and 
thriving communities in the New World. The place of 
the first decades of York County Germans in general 
American history may be seen from the fact that they con- 
stituted the farmer stage of the American frontier during 
a critical period in the frontier advance. The settling of 
these Germans was like the formation of an artery in the 
embryo of the nation that was yet to be. 

The movement of the Germans across the Susquehanna 
was a decided step in advance. Others had come as far as 
that river but had halted and hesitated to cross. Before 
the first authorized settlement had been made in York 
County the Quaker settlements had been slowly pushing 
westward along the northern part of Lancaster County. 
In 1727 a number of Quakers, among them Samuel Blun- 
ston, John Wright, and Robert Barber, had settled at 
Hempfield, on the east bank of the Susquehanna. But 

Their Place in General American History, 191 

here the westward migration of the Friends halted for 
more than a decade. The cause of this delay in their prog- 
ress was the boundary dispute with Maryland and the 
Cressap War which resulted from that dispute. Not until 
1738 did the Quaker movement continue across the river 
and begin the belt of Quaker settlements which extends 
across the northern part of York County.^ Meanwhile 
the German wave of westward immigration had arrived. 
This tide suffered no serious check either from the river or 
from the Cressap War. These hardy and resolute Ger- 
mans quickly crossed the river, plunged boldly into the 
forest, and bore the brunt of the border difficulties with the 
Maryland intruders. Not until this critical and difficult 
stage in the history of that frontier had been passed and 
quiet had been restored did the other nationalities sweep 
into the county after them. To the Germans, therefore, 
was reserved the special mission of occupying in a peculiar 
sense the very forefront of the farmer stage of the frontier 
In this part of the American advance beyond the Susque- 

But even within the farmer stage of the American ad- 
vance there are usually two or three distinct periods In each 
case. Two or three classes of farmers follow one another 
across the frontier. First is the pioneer farmer whose 
wants are few but who seeks quick results. He searches 
out the bare spots or those most easily cleared and begins 
to exploit the virgin soil. He has no ambition to become 
the owner of his holding for he expects soon to take up his 
march again. With the simplest implements of agricul- 
ture, a rude log cabin, and a rough shed for a stable, he 
occupies his range until he has completely drained the soil 

2 Albert Cook Myers, " The Immigration of the Irish Quakers into 
Pennsylvania, 168121-17'So," pp. 1612 and 180. 

192 German Element in York County, Pa. 

of its strength or until he is crowded by neighbors. Then 
he disposes of his "improvements" and moves on to new 
soil to carry out the same process again. 

The second class of farmer is the settler who stakes out 
his claim, takes measures to secure a survey, and negotiates 
for the purchase of that which he occupies. He welcomes 
neighbors into his community, builds a church and school- 
house, and practices the arts of civilized life. He builds a 
substantial house and often a more substantial barn. His 
house is of hewn logs, with windows of glass and a chimney 
of brick or stone. His barn is made to shelter a large 
number of domestic animals and to store the products of 
careful cultivation. He rotates his crops and fertilizes his 
lands so as not to exhaust the soil. He adds to his fields 
from year to year and settles down to plain and frugal but 
contented living. This is the class of farmer that usually 
continues to occupy his improvements and thus forms the 
nucleus of permanent settlement. 

Sometimes this second class is followed by a third class, 
the capitalist. This man of enterprise buys out some of 
the substantial properties of the second class. Industrial 
enterprises are begun on a larger scale. Villages are laid 
out and soon grow into town,s. Large edifices arise; 
higher education begins; the finer arts of civilization are 
practiced; and above all manufacturing industries begin, 
factories loom into view, and the community has brought 
forth a city. This class marks the transition to the final 
stage of the American frontier. 

Now the York County Germans before the middle of 
the century belong almost exclusively to the second class 
of the farmer stage. The third class did not make its ap- 
pearance among them until somewhat later. And the 
first class mentioned above never did have a place in the 

Their Place in General American History. 193 

German belt of York County. The typical pioneer farmer 
with his superficial methods of cultivation was well repre- 
sented, as we have seen, among the earliest inhabitants of 
the southeastern part of the county. But the German set- 
tlers on the limestone belt belonged entirely to the second 
class. They came intending that their settlements should 
be permanent and they proceeded accordingly in their 
methods of clearing and improving.^ And it is a remark- 
able fact that these early settlers usually continued to oc- 
cupy their original possessions until their death. They 
added to their belongings but in very few cases did they 
migrate from their settlements. The good soil had at- 
tracted them to these valleys and their own skillful meth- 
ods of cultivation kept them there. As their growing 
families demanded more lands they spread out and occu- 
pied more and more of the Cambrian belt but usually re- 
mained In the same general neighborhood. 

Despite the difficulties that confronted them in their new 
homes these German farmers in the first half of the eight- 
eenth century flourished rapidly. Many of them when 
they died were possessed of property whose value is a 

3 These intensive methods were the result of inheritance and of experi- 
ence and hence it was a rare thing to find a German exhibiting the 
characteristics of the earliest class of pioneer farmers. Where the Ger- 
mans have gradually occupied large farming areas they have done so not 
by migration but by expansion. An appreciative description of the char- 
acteristics of the German farmer in colonial Pennsylvania is that from 
the pen of their contemporary, Dr. Rush, in his " Account," Schmauk 
edition, pp. 54-73- 

The preference of the German farmer for forest land, his intensive 
methods of culture, and the consequences of this combination in the sub- 
sequent prosperity of the German farmer in the northwest, are described by 
Emil Rothe in his article on " Die Entwicklung des Deutschtums im Nord- 
westen," in Jahrgang II, z. Heft (April 1870), p. 55 et passim, of " Der 
Deutsche Pioneer." 


194 German Element in York County, Pa. 

splendid monument of their industry and economy.* In 
their position as a flourishing farming community they 
were not without significance not only for the early history 
of Pennsylvania but even for the general course of Ameri- 
can history. It has been asserted that these " farms of the 

* This rapid prosperity of the original settlers is abundantly proved by a 
study of their wills and by the inventories of their property at their 
death. Thus the inventory of Christian Croll (completed on August 22, 
17581) indicates a remarkable growth to wealth during the 25 years of his 
settlement in York County. Among his possessions are the following: 

" Houses and Lots in Yorktown 

2 Houses and lots in High Street £490 

House and lot at the North and Water Street £50 

One do at the east end of Race Street £451 

One do adjoining Jos Adlums House £80 

Improvement bought of Geo Albright £380 

Improvement bought of Jacob Hoague £120 

Patent Lands on west side Conewago £140 

Part of the improvement in partnership with Mr. Stevenson. £70 " 

The list of " chattels " covers 19 pages. Of these there are articles to the 
value of £ 351 10 s. 81 p. in "the Shop," and others to the value of £ 4 
I s. 6 p. in " the Bar." The " book debts " cover 9 pages and amount 
to about £ 750. Two pages of these are called " debts due for smith 
work." The inventory indicates that the total of his possessions at his 
death amounted to £3,476 8 s. 9 p. 

But Christian Croll had become a blacksmith in York and his extra- 
ordinary prosperity may have been due partly to that fact. More typical 
perhaps is the inventory of Jacob Welshover (17518) and for that reason this 
inventory is reproduced in full in Appendix C. 

The inventory of the property of John Jacob Kuntz (September 171, 
17154) estimates his plantation alone at £ 320. The inventory of Fred- 
erick Lether (made July 8, 1746, that is, before York County was estab- 
lished) estimates his " Blandation or Improvement" at £150 and his 
total possessions at £ 232 6 s. 6 p. For Micheal Spengler whose inventory 
was made on March 20, 1748^ the "Big Plantation" is placed at £350 
and his " Chattels" at £292. The inventory of Balser Shamberger (made 
April 28, 1751) estimates his "improvement and winter grain" at £ 2CX3. 
John Kuhns (inventory dated May 26, 1753) had personal estate alone 
valued at £ 371 5 s. 8 p. These inventories are thoroughly typical and 
indicate a remarkable degree of early prosperity on the part of these first 

Their Place in General American History. 195 

Germans became the wheat granary of the world."^ From 
this point of view their significnce might be traced in a 
great many directions. Suffice it to say here that not until 
we have formed a correct estimate of the service of the 
American farmer to the American nation will we be able 
to determine with precision the place of the early York 
County Germans in general American history. As a p^rt 
of that great body of prosperous farmers who have always 
constituted the very bone and sinew of our national exist- 
ence, the York County Germans of the first half of the 
eighteenth century have more than ordinary significance 
for the national history of their times. 

And finally, the Germans of York County before the 
middle of the eighteenth century occupy a distinct place in 
general American history because they fulfilled a special 
mission In the general movement of Germans in this coun- 
try. That the great body of Germans In the United States 
has at all periods of our history had a decided cultural In- 
fluence upon American institutions is now freely recog- 
nized on all sldes.^ The relation of the early German set- 
tlements of York County to the other German settlements 
of that time has already been set forth In detail.'^ Their 
significance lies in the fact that they occupied advance 
ground. They had moved out on the frontier farther 

5 By Professor Turner as quoted in Faust, I: 138 and II: 36. 

6 For a general evaluation of the German element in this country see 
Faust, "The German Element in the United States," Vol. II; Rudolf 
Cronau, " Drei Jahrhunderte Deutschen Lebens in Amerlka " ; and Bosse, 
" Das Deutsche Element in den Vereinigten Staaten." 

■^ Supra, Chapter VI. 

The position of the Pennsylvania Germans in general among the other 
nationalities in colonial Pennsylvania, and the circumstances that led to 
the prominent part of the Germans in the Revolution from England, are 
suggested in Pfister, " Die Amerikanische Revolution 17715-1783," pp. 51-97 
and 1281-170. 

196 German Element in York County, Pa. 

than any other of the numerous German settlements In 
Pennsylvania. This was both a result and a cause of cer- 
tain distinguishing elements of character which they mani- 
fested in their lives and conduct. These Germans made 
a new frontier but the frontier made them over into a new 
nationality. The peculiarity of their position coupled with 
their previous experience and their special characteristics 
gave them freer rein for self-government than any other 
German community had and it made them more susceptible 
to the reflex influence of the New World. Separated from 
the great body of their countrymen in America and free 
from all ties that might bind them to the Fatherland, they 
soon began the process of Americanization. The uncon- 
scious charm of the locality quickly made its impress upon 
their plastic German souls. The length, the breadth, the 
giant height and the rich depth of the new continent left 
an indelible stamp upon their characters and quietly trans- 
formed them into a new people. From the soil of their 
new homes and from the incidents and circumstances of 
their new life arose the inexorable forces that compelled 
them to stand forth a new type of world's citizen. The 
period which we have studied marks little more than the 
beginning of this important process of transformation. 
But already at the: time of the Revolution the process is 
fairly complete. At the report of the first shot at Lexing- 
ton they showed themselves the best Americans of us all 
and when General Washington in camp at Valley Forge 
felt that he was in the enemy's country the center of the 
German belt in York County was the home of the national 
capital. The first two decades of York County Germans 
constituted one of the first chapters in the Americanization 
of the great and influential German element in this country. 

^ O <!& O 

appeuMy a. 

Letter of Samuel Blunston to the Proprietors, 
April 9, 1735. 

May it please the proprietors: 

By John Hendricks I received a letter which informs me of his 
complaint of the unfair & dishonest usage he has met with from 
John Wright & me in relation to the land opposite to us. As I 
well know we are clear of any such charge I shal according to your 
desire give a full relation to the whole affair & coppys of letters 
sufficient I hope to satisfy you that no imputation of unfair practice 
can justly be charged on either of us. 

In the later part of the year 1 726 John Hendricks being over the 
river Turkey Hunting with some of his relations through a stupid 
carelessness or fatal mistake shot a young man his first cousen & 
killed him. This accident & some ill management of his affairs 
put him upon selling the place where he lived & to gain a new 
settlement in the spring of the year 1727 he applyed to J: Logan 
for leave to settle over the river oposite to us teling him the In- 
dians were desirous he & his brother James should settle there. J : 
Logan haveing heard the Marylanders designed to survey that land 
upon this application of John & also of one Jos : Chaphem wrote me 
the following letter: Friend Saml Blunston: I am informed that 
some persons from Maryland have proposed to survey & take up 
that tract of land where the Shawanna Indians were lately settled 
on the west side of Sasquehannah opposite to Hempfield to pre- 
vent which & for their own accomodation John Hendricks & Hen- 
drick Hendricks sons of Jacobus Hendricks are desirious to seat 
themselves there as also Joseph Chapham would willingly make 
some settlement. Therefore if thou please to run lines about the 


198 German Element in York County, Pa. 

best part of that tract taking in about 1000 or 1500 As or more for 
William Penn grandson to the late proprietor who devised 10,000 
acres of land in this province to his grandson by will. And return 
the draught thereof to me, I shall satisfie thee for thy trouble 
therein. And if the sd Brothers & Jos Chapham can obtain the 
consent of the Shawannah the chief of those Indians we should be 
willing they should make settlements on those parts of the tract as 
may be convenient for themselves & at the same time the least in- 
jurious to the remainder of it & be pleased to inform me what 
thou does herein who am with respect thy loving friend J Logan 
Philadelphia May 10, 1727. 

This is the letter & the only letter or pretense on which J Hen- 
dricks founds his claim & by this you will see the land was not 
apparently laid out for him, & by this both he and his brother 
James (who is there called Hendrick) & Jos Chapham were but 
to settle on part of it the least Injurious &c But the letter speaks 
for itself & I proceed. In the month of July following pursuant 
to sd order I went over & marked four corners including the 
greatest part of the tract after surveyed & no more was done at 
that time the weeds being so high we could not chain it nor carry 
an instrument to any purpose. 

About this time or a little before the afsd Henry Hendricks & 
one Thomas Linvil went & settled at Codorus a Creek about I2 
miles west of sd River which settlements disturbing the Indians 
they threatened to burn their houses and obliged Em to quit their 
settlements & return back to this side. The Indians opposing the 
peoples settling hindered John Hendricks from removing thither 
that year as he had intended for as some of the chief of the Indians 
told me John had no liberty from them as he had falsely reported 
to J: Logan Now as all the 3 persons before mentioned were to 
have but part of that tract & Jos Chapham wholy declined settling 
there & went to Carolina John Wright & I thought we might 
without any injustice ask leave to secure a part of it for ourselves, 
some further attempts being made to settle it. Accordingly when 
John Wright went to town the August following & spoke to J: 

Letter of Samuel Blunston to Proprietors. 199 

Logan in behalf of himself upon which & some other affairs J L 
wrote the following part of a letter : 

Phila 10 August 1727 

My f rd S. B : J Wright spent the last evening with me & informs 
me that the people having got a notion that those Indians of the 
5 nations who were here lately had assigned all their claim to the 
lands about Sasquehannah were now crowding upon those lands 
beyond the River in order to settle them though this part of the 
Indians is surely a mistake. As he desires a part of that lOOO 
acres formerly mentioned to be secured for one of his boys. I am 
very willing he should be favoured in any thing that is practicable 
of that kind, and that the land should be kept for him from all others, 
if it may be done & in order to it would have him take some 
proper methods to secure it. But people must be no means be 
allowed to take up lands & make settlements on that further side, 
otherwise then as it may answer some other necessary end. Nor 
would we by any means have the Indians to quit their settlements 
there or abandon those parts of Sasquehannah. I mean princi- 
pally the other side of it. 

In the fall of the year the Marylanders continuing their in- 
croachments Jno Wright & I in a letter joyntly to J Logan gave 
him an account thereof & made request that we might have some- 
thing from them to show a right to part of the afsd land (which 
then all lay vacant) that we might be the better able to prevent 
others who had designs to come there. John Hendricks also 
being with him about that time to make a second request for leave 
to go to that tract J Logan thereupon wrote to us joyntly a letter 
upon the subject of the Maryland incroachments, & upon the pres- 
ent affair, the part thereto relating as follows: 
Phila 30/8/1727/ Jno Wright & Sam'l Blunston: Loving frds: 
In answer to yours of the 28th instant I must observe &c here he 
gives a pretty large account of a former agreement between the two 
provinces about the boundaries & then says ... I wish we could fal 
on any possible measures to prevent their settlements, if you can 

200 German Element in York County^ Pa. 

think of any it would be very acceptible, if at the desire of the 
Commisioners which you may take as expressed in this letter you 
would be pleased to put Em in practice. I prompted John Hen- 
dricks to write of his affair to you though I can say nothing further 
than what I told himself viz : that since he has not yet settled which 
I thought he had done long since, & the Indians insist on our 
former agreement not to suffer any such, it woud be extremely 
Irregular in us at this time to agree to it. As to the land opposite 
agt you I believe we shal all be very willing that you should take 
any measures to secure it without giving offence to the natives we 
can make no grant at present but any thing else in our power we 
should readily consent to. 

From the concessions or promises in these letters mentioned rose 
our expectations that in a proper time we might be able to make 
some of that land our own upon the credit hereof with much care & 
pains prevented it from being settled by others which we till this 
time have done. 

In the year 1728 the Indians grew more cool as they perceived 
if they hindered our people the Marylanders would have it. John 
Hendricks without any further licence removed over and took his 
choice of the whole tract settling where he now lives Now though 
by the first letter of J L it plainly appears that ( i ) the whole tract 
was never intended to be the sole property of J Hendricks. So it 
also appears by that & the other letters already quoted which will 
also be corroborated by what follows that the tract though ordered 
to be surveyed for the use of W. Penn was not strictly so intended, 
that survey then made (& his name used as most proper to secure it 
from the Marylanders they not being then willing to have any sur- 
vey made to private persons lest others might claim the like power. 

In the year 1 729 the Marylanders made a fresh attempt upon us 
& that produced the following paragraph in a letter from J Logan 
to me bearing date the 29th of Novemb 1729 where he thus con- 
cludes : " I am told just now here that they are surveying all the 
Land over Sasquehannah from Maryland and sel it again to our 
people. Pray discourage it to the utmost & do thou also survey 
to perplex Em. And in another letter dated the 4th of December 

Letter of Samuel Blunston to Proprietors. 201 

following are these words : I wish thou would exert thyself & make 
surveys in any name whatsoever Sec From all which the intention 
of these surveys I think plainly appear; according to the fore- 
going orders & some others I wrote him a letter dated the 30th 
of November Afsd which among other things contains what fol- 
lows: I have laid out the Land for the Donegal Congregation ac- 
cording to thy order & I think to the satisfaction of all parties & 
have given them a draught thereof. I have also this week per- 
fected a Survey of that piece of Land over the River on which 
J. Hendricks is settled of which I shall return thee a draught by 
the first opportunity. The whole contains about 1200 Acres, Six 
Hundred whereof regularly divided being the uper side & best part 
of the tract and on which J. Hendricks has settled we have left to 
him But he is so far from being satisfied with it that Except he 
could have it so as to spoil the whole tract he will I suppose apply 
for a Maryland right for redress. All the land about Parnels is 
surveyed & settled by Marylanders & many people out of this prov- 
ince are for removing over the river so that I doubt not but another 
year will settle most of the habitable land for they flock over daily in 
search. The remainder of that by Hendricks would have been 
settled before now had they not been prevented. John Wright & 
I desiring it may be kept vacant at present that when opportunity 
presents we may obtain grants for it. . . . 

About the year 1 73 1 the before mentioned James Hendricks went 
& settled on the back part of the tract on which John lived It always 
being understood to be their equal right & early in the Spring 
1732 John & James and their father Jacobus went down together 
on that side with their Guns intending to shoot some turkeys at the 
place where John had before shot his cousin, and in the way the old 
man's Gun went of by accident & killed James Dead on the Spot his 
Death occasioned his widdow to leave the place which she after sold 
to Joshua Minshal who now lives on it. Nothing more was done 
till after the first of you arrived when J Hendricks Jos Minshal 
John Wright & myself altogether applied to the Honourable Pro- 
prietary for the Grants for our several parts of the sd tracts as itt 
had been last surveyed and divided & John Hendricks then made no 

202 German Element in York County, Pa. 

demand or claim to any more then his share with Jos Minshal in 
the six hundred acres. How the other wild notion since got into 
his head I know not. 

Thus having traced it down from the first beginning to this 
present it is time so conclude. And I hope enough is said to con- 
vince you that we never had any the least intention to act an unjust 
part therein towards J Hendricks or any other person. And as you 
desired an account from me I hope you will be so kind as to let 
me know your sentiments of our Behavior therein. And if any 
Scruple yet remains with you that the licence or grant which I 
rec'd is on a bad foundation I am ready to resign it. Though the 
pains I have taken to secure it & my endeavours to prevent the mis- 
chiefs which have hapened on that side has been to me a source 
of continued care and trouble. I do not mention this to make merit 
of any thing I have done nor do I expect or desire any reward but 
what proceeds from a consciousness of having done my duty. The 
land I am ready at all times to pay for if it be thought I am honestly 
in possession of it, otherway I made no claim. 

For the rest of the letter I need only say I have not heard of the 
taxgathers being up. If they come with an evil intent I shall us 
my endeavours to circumvent Em. 

As to the Behavior of John Wrights Sons or any other persons 
on this side towards Hendricks he is so far from having any Ground 
for complaint that they and many others have long borne & yet do 
bear his intolerable abuses & insults purely upon your account which 
else would never be suffered. 

As to Cressops Complaint agt the Magistrates the Charge is too 
General to receive any other answer than that I know nothing of it. 
I am with great regard your assured ffrd 

Sa Blunston 

Apr. 9th in the evening 1735 

The Messenger staid a little longer than expected which gave me 
time to finish this. 

Names of Those Who Signed the Letter of the 
Germans to the Governor of Maryland, 
August ii, 1736 (Calvert Papers, 
No, 717). 

These names are all included In the list of those for 
whose arrest a warrant was issued on October 21, 1736, 
" for contriving signing and publishing a seditious paper 
and writing against his Lordship and this government." 
The names are here given as copied by the clerk in Mary- 
land and that accounts for the peculiar spelling. 

Jacob Grable 
Jacob Seglaer 
Conrade Lowe 
Christian Lowe 
Jacob Seglaer, jr. 
Michael Aringall 
Philip Seglaer 
Dennis Myer 
Hans Stanner 
Tobias Sprlght 
Tobias Hendricks 
Leonard Immel 
Balchar Sangar 
Methusalem Griffith 

Gorrick Cobell 
Kelyon Smith 
Nicholas Peery 
Micheal Tanner 
Micheal Wallack 
Micheal Evat 
Micheal Miller 
Jasper Carvel 
George Swope 
George Philier 
Nicholas Butchier 
Andrew Phlavlere 
Henry Stantz 
Henry Lephart 

204 German Element in York County, Pa. 

Peter Gardiner 
Jacob Lonus 
Nicholas Conn 
Bartholemew Shambarrier 
Henry Young 
Caspar Varglass 
Bryonex Tander 
Christian Crowle 
Conrade Stricklaer 
Henry Bowen 
Francis Worley, jr. 
Martin Sluys 
Jacob Hoopinder 

Michael Raisher 
Tobias Fray 
Martin Fray 
Henry Smith 
Jacob Welchhutter 
Henry Henricks 
Charles Jones 
Adam Byer 
Godfrey Fray 
Nicholas Hatchley 
Micheal Waltz 
Martin Wyngall 
Eurick Myer 

Inventory of the Estate of Jacob Welshover. 

Jacob Welshover's will was made on November 15, 
1757, and witnessed by Heinrich Schmidt and Heinrich 
Libhart. It was probated on June 29, 1758. The ap- 
praisement was made on August 24, 1758, by Heinrich 
Schmidt and another German. The inventory totals £495 
18 s. o p. The items are as follows: 

£ — s — p 

7 Cows 1 7 — o — o 

the other young horn Cattle 12 — o — o 

5 sheep I — 10 — o 

2 Wagon horses 20 — o — o 

I Meare 6 — o — o 

thre Hogs o — 15 — o 

10 Hives of Bees 3 — 10 — o 

1 high Wagon 1 3 — o — o 

6 ould wagon wheals 5 — o — o 

2 Blows I — 10 — o 

I Iron Harrow i — 5 — o 

5 braks o — 10 — o 

4 collers Iron trasis brich bands bridle 4 — 10 — o 

Doung plows forks Shoffels pitch forks o — 17 — o 

the wind mill & Sives Riddels i — 10 — o 

the thrash mill o — 18 — o 


2o6 German Element in York County, Pa. 

the cottin box 

2 large Roaps and a blow line O — 4 — O 

Wheat and Rey of 16 Acre of ground 16 — o — O 

2 acre of Hemp in the field 3 — 10 — O 

the Still & the Iron & worm blongin to it 18 — O — O 

9 Tobs in the Still house i — 12 — o 

a box where the keep the Chopt Rey in o — 5 — O 

washing Tobs & other tobs & rails & Halbushel . . i — o — o 

Clean Hemp 6 — O — O 

Earthen pots dishes & plats o — 6 — o 

the hogsheds & other casks in the Seller 3 — 10 — o 

Rey Liquer four Barrels 9 — 10 — o 

Talow about 15 pound O — 6 — O 

butter Cands or boxis & pokeds O — 5 — O 

meal and wedges from broad ax i — 10 — O 

Draw Knife Oagers Chisels i — 5 — O 

four plains and 2 Saws O — 9 — o 

2 Cross Cut Saw & the Brand mark i — 10 — o 

the wagon or hand screw i — 15 — O 

2 old bells & a pair of Stilliels o — 9 — O 

2 Hatchets i — 2 — o 

Brass Cettels & other Brass 5 — O — O 

2 Tables & 4 Chairs i — 10 — o 

the Iron of an ould Chist a Cobbert & Doadrough . i — O — O 

Dresser in the kitchen i — 10 — o 

a Cloathbed 2 — 10 — o 

A Clock : 4 — o — o 

A water Cand & baskeds o — 8 — o 

Iron pots & pans & other things 2 — o — O 

Tea pot a pair of Ballons o — 12 — o 

All the Beuter plats dishis spoons &c 2 — 15 — O 

Tinn quarts fonnel & other things O — 6 — o 

Bowls tea Cups &c o — 3 — o 

Bibles & other books 2 — o — o 

Sacks & Cloth for a wagon Cloth 3 — i — O 

Blankets vinegar Cask a gun Spining wheals 2 — O — O 

Inventory of Estate of Jacob Welshover. 207 

2 Beds & bed Sted Slats 5— 0—0 

a Flower Chist 15— o — o 

Coat & Chacket britches & Shirts 2 — 5 — o 

Table Cloth Sheets & other lining i — o — o 

Linsy woolsy i — 4 — o 

2 Chains o — 1 5 — o 

Bees wax o — 10 — o 

an ould Spining wheal & sum yearn o — 12 — o 

30 bushel of Wheat 3 — 15 — o 

20 bushel of Rey i — 13 — o 

40 bushel of oats 2 — 10 — o 

5 bushel of flax Seed o — 12 — o 

a mans Sattle & a womens Saddle i — 5 — O 

Tenn Pounds in money 10 — o — o 

One Stove 3 — 15 — o 

for the improvement 250 — o — o 


I. Primary Sources. 

The Pennsylvania Archives. — Of direct value for our subject 
among these are chiefly the early volumes of the First Series, 
Volumes I-III. The designations in the text, Archives I, Archives 
II, etc., always refer to the corresponding volume of the First 
Series. These were selected and arranged from original docu- 
ments in the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth by 
Samuel Hazard in 1851 and 1852. Some of the others that come 
into consideration for our suSject are Volume VII of the Second 
Series, containing " Papers relating to Provincial Affairs in Penn- 
sylvania, 1 682-1 750," edited by John B. Linn and W. H. Egle, 
1878; and Volumes I and II of the Fourth Series, containing the 
Papers of the Governors, edited by George E. Reed, 1900. 

The Colonial Records; or Minutes of the Provincial Council 
of Pennsylvania from the Organization to the Termination of the 
Proprietary Government. — Materials bearing directly on our sub- 
ject are found principally in Volumes II-V containing the acts of 
the Council from 1700 to 1754. These records were published by 
the State in 1851 and 1852. The designation in the text "Col. 
Rec." always refers to the Colonial Records of Pennsylvania. 

The Proceedings of the Provincial Council of Maryland, pub- 
lished as the Maryland Archives under the auspices of the Mary- 
land Historical Society. — Of chief interest for our subject are the 
proceedings for the years 1 735-1 737. 


Bibliography. 209 

York County Court Records. — Deeds, wills, and inventories, 
beginning with the year 1749. 

Lancaster County Court Records. — Deeds, wills, and inven- 
tories, beginning with the year 1729. 

The Calvert Papers. — These are deposited in the Historical 
Society of Maryland, Baltimore. Most of these remain unpub- 
lished but some were published in the Maryland Archives, and the 
No. 2 which contains materials bearing on our subject was published 
separately as one of the Fund Publications. 

The Original Church Record of Christ Church, York, Pa. 

The original Church Record of St. Matthew's Church, Han- 
over, Pa. 

Documents in the Department of Internal Affairs (Land Office) 
at Harrisburg. Letters, Ledgers, Journals, and Day-Books, De- 
positions in Internal Affairs, Personal Papers, Warrants and 
Patents, and files of old Grants and Drafts. 

Documents in the Division of Public Records, State Library, 
Harrisburg. Especially the Provincial Papers (1681-1776) and 
the lists of names of German immigrants from 1727 to i775- 

" Miscellaneous Manuscripts of York and Cumberland Counties, 
1 738-1 806," in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadel- 
phia. One letter from this collection is reproduced in full in 
Appendix A. 

" The Penn Papers " — Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

" The Logan Papers " — Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

The Collections of the York County Historical Society gathered 
in the Court House at York. This includes a host of valuable 
manuscripts, historical objects, maps, and drawings, which have 
here been used directly or indirectly. 

A Scrap-Book of Mr. M. O. Smith of Hanover, Pennsylvania, 
containing newspaper articles constituting his " History of York 
County," 1869-1875. 

II. Secondary Sources. 

Following is a list of the books that have been used in the 
preparation of this study and cited in its presentation: 

2IO German Element in York County, Pa. 

Bernheim, Gotthardt Dellmann. History of the German settle- 
ments and of the Lutheran Church in North and South Caro- 
lina, from the earliest period of the colonization of Dutch, 
German, and Swiss settlers to the close of the first half of the 
present century. Philadelphia: The Lutheran book store, 1872. 
xvi, 557 PP- 12°. 

Bittinger, Lucy Forney. The Forney Family of Hanover, Penn- 
sylvania, 1690-1893. Pittsburgh: 1893. iv, 59 pp. 4°. 

Bosse, George von. Das deutsche Element in den Vereinigten 
Staaten. Stuttgart, 1908. 

Carter, W. C. and A. J. Glossbrenner. History of York County 
from its erection to the present time. York, 1834. 16°. 

Cobb, Sanford H. The Story of the Palatines. An episode in 
colonial history. New York and London : G. P. Putnam's Sons, 
1897. ix, 319 pp. Maps. 8°. 

Cronau, Rudolf. Drei Jahrhunderte Deutschen Lebens in Amer- 
ika. Eine Geschichte der Deutschen in den Vereinigten Staaten : 
mit 210 Illustrationen. Berlin, D. Reimer (Ernst Vohsen), 
1909. xiii, 640 pp. 4°. 

Day, Sherman. Historical Collections of the State of Penn- 
sylvania, containing a copious selection of the most interesting 
facts, traditions, biographical sketches, anecdotes, etc. Philadel- 
phia; George W. Gorton, 1843. 708 pp. 8°. 

Dallas, George Mifflin. Reports of the proceedings of the Circuit 
Court of the district of Pennsylvania. Volume VL 

Der Deutsche Pioneer. Eine Monatsschrift fiir Erinnerungen aus 
dem Deutschen Pioneer-Leben in den Vereinigten Staaten. Cin- 
cinnati: 1870. Jahrgang H. 2. Heft. Article by Emil Rothe, 
" Die Entwicklung des Deutschtums im Nordwesten," pp. 50-54 
and 84-89. 

Diffenderffer, Frank Ried. The Palatine and Quaker as Com- 
monwealth Builders. An Address delivered before the Penn- 
sylvania Historical Society at Philadelphia, March 14, 1898. 
Lancaster: 1899. 30 pp. 8°. 

Ebeling, Christoph Daniel. Erdbeschreibung und Geschichte von 

Bibliography. 211 

Amerika. Die Vereinigten Staaten von Nordamerika. Vierter 
Band. Hamburg: 1797. 914 pp. 12°. 

Egle, William Henry, (i) Notes and Queries, Historical and 
Genealogical, — chiefly relating to Interior Pennsylvania. In two 
volumes. Harrisburg: 1895 and 1896. Volume I. 1895. Vol- 
ume II. 1896. ix, 471 pp. (2) An Illustrated History of the 
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, civil, political and military, 
from its earliest settlement to the present time, including histor- 
ical descriptions of each county in the State. Harrisburg: 1876. 
xii, 1 186 pp. 8°. 

Falkenstein, George N. History of the German Baptist Brethren 
Church. Illustrated. A reprint from the proceedings of the 
Pennsylvania German Society for 1900. Lancaster: 1901. 
X, 154 pp. 8°. 

Faust, Albert Bernhardt. The German Element in the United 
States, with special reference to its political, moral, social, and 
educational influence. Illustrations. Maps. Boston and New 
York: 1909. Volume I, xxvi, 591 pp. Volume II, xvi, 605 
pp. 8°. 

Fisher, Sydney George, (i) The Making of Pennsylvania. (2) 
Pennsylvania, Colony and Commonwealth. Philadelphia: 1897. 
xiii, 442 pp. 8°. 

Fiske, John. The Dutch and Quaker Colonies in America. In 
two volumes. Boston and New York: 1901. Volume II, xvi, 
294 pp. 8°. 

Freytag, Gustav. Bilder aus der Deutschen Vergangenheit. 5. 
Aufl. Leipzig: 1867. Volume III. 

Gibson, John. History of York County, Pennsylvania, from 
the earliest period to the present time, divided into general, 
special, township and borough histories, with a biographical de- 
partment appended. Illustrated. Chicago: 1886. ix, 772 and 
207 pp. 4°. 

Glossbrenner, A. J. and W. C. Carter. History of York County 
from its erection to the present time. York: 1834. 16°. 

Goebel, Julius. Das Deutschtum in den Vereinigten Staaten von 

212 German Element in York County, Pa. 

Nord-Amerika. i6. Heft. Der Kampf um das Deutschtum. 

Miinchen: 1904. 90 pp. 8°. 
Goetz, W. Deutsche Erde und Deutsches Volk. Chapter two 

in the collection " Deutschland als Weltmacht." Berlin: vii, 

848 pp. Chapter two, pp. 4-27. 8°. 
Hallesche Nachrichten. Nachrichten von den Vereinigten Deut- 

schen Evangelische-Lutherischen Gemeinen in Nord-Amerika, 

absonderlich in Pennsylvanien. Mit einer Vorrede von D. Johann 

Ludwig Schulze, Halle, in Verlegung des Waisenhauses, 1787. 

Neu herausgegeben von W. J. Mann, B. M. Schmucker, unter 

Mitwirkung von W. Germann, Erster Band. Allentown, Pa: 

Verlag von Brobst, Diehl & Co., 1886. x, 723 pp. 8°. 
Hausser, Ludwig. Geschichte der Rheinischen Pfalz. Heidel- 
berg, 1856. 
Heiderich, Franz. Landerkunde von Europa. Sammlung Go- 

schen. Leipzig: 1897. 182 pp. 12°. 
Hoen, Moritz Wilhelm. Das Verlangte nicht erlangte Canaan 

bey den Lustgrabern. Franckfurt und Leipzig: (Andrea), 

1711. (16), 127 pp. 16°. 
Jones, Rufus M. The Quakers in the American Colonies ; assisted 

by Isaac Sharpless and Amelia M. Gummere. London: 191 1. 

xxxii, 603 pp. 8°. 
Kalm, Peter. Reise durch Nordamerika. Translated by J. R. 

Forster. Warrington; 1 770-1 771. In 3 volumes. Illustrated. 

Volume I. 
Kapp, Friedrich. Geschichte der Deutschen im Staate New York 

bis zum Aufange des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts. New York: 

1867. vii, 410 pp. 8°. 
Kuhns, Oscar. The German and Swiss Settlements of Colonial 

Pennsylvania: a study of the so-called Pennsylvania Dutch. 

New York: 1901. (2), v, 268 pp. 12°. 
Levi, Mrs. Kate Asaphine Everest. How Wisconsin came by its 

large German Element. Madison, Wisconsin: 1892. 38 pp. 

8°. Folded map. Reprinted from State Historical Society of 

Wisconsin Collections, volume 12. 

Bibliography. 213 

Lutheran Quarterly. A quarterly theological magazine. Pub- 
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in the United States to the Lime-Stone Districts," Sylvanus Stall. 
Article in Volume XVIII (1888), pp. 473-529, "The Luth- 
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Lutheran Church Review. A quarterly theological magazine. 
Published at Philadelphia. Article in Volume XV (1896), pp. 
I34ff., "The Lutheran Church and Pennsylvania in the 17th 
Century," T. E. Schmauk. Articles in Volume XXII (1903), 
pp. 14^., 3i3fE., 565ff. "The Lutheran Clergy of London 
and How They Aided the German Migration during the i8th 
Century." J. F. Sachse. 

Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Volume I. 
Article by J. Dunlap, pp. 163-204, " The Controversy between 
William Penn and Lord Baltimore." 

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im Jahr 1 750 und Riickreise nach Teutschland im Jahr 1754. 
Frankfurth und Leipzig: 1756. (8), I20 pp. 16°. 

Myers, Albert Cook. The Immigration of the Irish Quakers into 
Pennsylvania, 1 682-1 750. With their early history in Ireland. 
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477 PP- 8°. 

Pastorius, Franz Daniel. Umstandige geographische Beschreibung 
der zu allerletzt erfundenen Provintz Pennsylvaniae, in denen 
End-Grantzen Americae in der West-Welt gelegen. Etc. 
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Penn, William, (i) Some Account of the Province of Pennsyl- 
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214 German Element in York County, Pa. 

vania. (5)) Kurtz Nachrlcht von der Americanischen Land- 
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Pennsylvania Annual Report of the Secretary of Interior Affairs, 
for the year 1905. Part I. Harrisburg: 1906. 199 pp. 8°. 

Pennsylvania German Society. Proceedings and addresses. Vol- 
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Illustrations. Plates. Portraits. Facsimiles. Maps. 4°. 

"The Pennsylvania German." A magazine. Published at Leb- 
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VII-XIV, monthly. Discontinued 1913. Volume II, No. 4, 
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George Mays. 

Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. Volumes 
27 and 33. 

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Pfister, Albert. Die Amerikanische Revolution, 1 775— 1783, 
Entwicklungsgeschichte der Grundlagen zum Freistaat wie zum 
Weltreich unter Hervorhebung des deutschen Anteils. Zwei 
Bande. Mit einer Karte. Stuttgart und Berlin: 1904. Erster 
Band: x, 400 pp. 8°. 

Prowell, George. History of York County, Pennsylvania. Illus- 
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Ratzel, Fredrich. Deutschland. Einfiihrung in die Heimat- 
kunde. Leipzig: 1898. viii, 332 pp. Illustrated. Maps. 

Reiley, John T. Conewago: A Collection of Catholic Local His- 
tory. Gathered from the fields of Catholic Missionary Labor 
within our reach. Martinsburg, West Virginia: 1885. 220 
pp. 8°. Illustrated. 

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vania from A.D. 1681 to the year 17 10. Lancaster: 1845. 750 
pp. 8°. (2) A Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thousand 
Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and other Immigrants 
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