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A Brief History of 
York County 


Curator and Librarian of the Historical Society of York 

County; Member of the National Geographic 

Society; Member of the American 

Historical Association, Etc. 

Published by Request, for use of Teachers and 

others, desiring to obtain the leading facts 

relating to Local History 




A Brief History of 
York County 


Curator and Librarian of the Historical Society of York 

County ; Member of the National Geographic 

Society ; Member of the American 

Historical Association, Etc. 

Published by Request, J for use of Teachers and 

others, desiring to obtain the leading facts 

relating to Local History 




Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

Lyrasis Members and Sloan Foundation 



Soon after William Perm made his treaty with the In- 
dians at Philadelphia in 1682, under the famous elm tree, he 
laid off the eastern part of his province into three counties, 
Chester, Philadelphia and Bucks. In 1696 an emissary was 
sent to central New York, the seat of government of the Five 
Nations of Indians, who by right of conquest over the native 
tribes along the Susquehanna, claimed the territory of what 
is now Central Pennsylvania. A provisional treaty was made 
January 15, 1696, with the five nations for all the tract of land 
lying on both sides of the Susquehanna. This treaty was con- 
firmed by the Susquehannock Indians September 18, 1700, in 
a deed given by two chiefs of that tribe. But the Conestoga 
Indians, a small tribe located along the river a few miles south 
of the present site of Columbia, claimed that the Indians men- 
tioned above had no right to make a treaty conveying the 
lands to the proprietor of Pennsylvania. William Penn, upon 
his second trip to America, visited the Conestoga Indians and 
in the presence of their chiefs, unfolded the deed or parch- 
ment, laid it on the ground before them and with the gentle 
words of a loving parent, said : "The lands along the Susque- 
hanna shall lie in common between ray people and your peo- 
ple and we will dwell in peace together." 

In 1722, four years after the death of William Penn, Sir 
William Keith, governor of the province of Pennsylvania, inet 
the chiefs of the Conestoga Indians and obtained permission 
to survey a tract of 2,000 acres west of the Susquehanna ex- 
tending from the site of Wrightsville to the mouth of the 
Codorus. This he named his "Newberry Tract," which was 
believed to have rich mineral deposits. The same year, after 
another council with the Conestogas, he obtained permission 
of them to survey 64,000 acres of land on the west side of the 
river to prevent the encroachments of Maryland "squatters." 
This vast area, extending from the Susquehanna to several 
miles west of York, he named "Springettsbury Manor," in 
honor of Springett Penn, the eldest grandson of William 
Penn, who then was supposed to inherit the proprietory rights 
to the entire province ; for his father, the eldest son of William 

Perm, had recently died in England. But the real owners of 
Pennsylvania soon thereafter were John, Thomas and Rich- 
ard Penn, the three younger sons of the founder. As the re- 
gion east of the Susquehanna became settled, the county of 
Lancaster was laid off in 1729. It embraced its present area 
and included the present counties of Dauphin, Lebanon, 
Cumberland, York and Adams, without any well denned 
western and northern boundaries. Between the years 1733 
and 1736, Samuel Blunston, agent of the Penns at Wright's 
Ferry, granted permits for settlers to locate on the Springetts- 
bury Manor, and on the Newberry Tract. (These were the 
first authorized settlements west of the Susquehanna^ As yet 
these lands were not considered as purchased from the In- 
dians, for even the five nations still claimed the rights to the 
western banks of the stream. They held a council in the 
country of the Onondagos and arranged to send twenty of 
their chiefs to Philadelphia, where, on October 11, 1736, these 
"Red men of the forest/' granted to John, Thomas and Rich- 
ard Penn, "all the river Susquehanna and all the lands on the 
west side of said river, to the setting of the Sun." After the 
treaty of 1736 was confirmed in Philadelphia, the fertile lands 
west of the Susquehanna were rapidly settled, and in August, 
1749, the county of York, embracing Adams, and in 1750, 
Cumberland, covering a large area of territory, were organized 
as the fifth and sixth counties of Penn's princely domain. 

An energetic and progressive class of Scotch-Irish Pres- 
byterians took up most of the lands in the lower end of the 
county, and the region now Adams county. The rich lime- 
stone lands, extending from Wrightsville to Hanover and be- 
yond, were settled by Germans of the Lutheran, Reformed, 
German Baptist and Mennonite faith. They came in large 
numbers, most of them direct from the Fatherland, the Pala- 
tinate country of the lower Rhine, or the German portion of 
Switzerland. Of the 6,000 people in York county in 1749, 
fuHy one-half were Germans, a thrifty, frugal and industrious 
people, who came to Pennsylvania by the invitation of the 
distinguished founder, William Penn. 

The region north of the Conewago creek was settled by 
intelligent Quakers from Chester and Lancaster counties and 
New Castle county, Delaware. They, too, came rapidly and 
soon populated the northern part of the county. A number 
of them settled in and around York, which was founded in 
1741 under the Quaker rule ; for the Society of Friends, or 
Quakers, controlled the province of Pennsylvania nearly a 
hundred years after the first landing of Penn. The Friends 
organized their meetings and built houses of worship in New- 
berry and Warrington townships immediately after the first 

First Stone House. 

In 1737, John Shultz and his wife Christina, built the first 
large stone house, within the limits of York County, at a time 
when there were no other two-story houses west of the Sus- 
quehanna. It was originally in Hellam, but now in Springett 
Township. This house is in an excellent state of preservation 
even though it is now one hundred and seventy years old. 
During its early history, it was one of the old time public inns 
and if it could speak might tell many an interesting story of 
our colonial days, as well as of Revolutionary times. A well 
authenticated tradition asserts that on the 30th of September, 

The Shultz House 

1777, some of the members -of the Continental Congress,, while 
on their way from Philadelphia to York, to make that place 
the seat of government during the British invasion of Penn- 
sylvania and occupancy of Philadelphia, stopped at this house 
for rest and refreshment. They were traveling on horse- 
back and the saddles used by those distinguished patriots 
greatly excited the curiosity of the surrounding populace, who 
were then unaccustomed to see such expensive luxuries. The 
house is quaint and antique in design, though yet a convenient 
and comfortable residence. One of the walls contains the 

following words carefully carved on a sandstone tablet: "In 
the year 1737 John Shultz and wife Christina built this house." 
York county as laid out in 1749 contained 1,469 square 
miles, or about 950,000 acres, and had 1,466 taxable inhabi- 
tants. The original population of 6,000 was increased during 
the following two years to 8,000. This will illustrate how 
rapidly settlers came into the county, as the increase in popu- 
lation in two years was thirty-three and one-third per cent. 
The area of York county since the formation of 
Adams county in 1800 is 921 square miles. In 1783 
a census was taken by the township assessors, who 
reported a population of 27,007. Of this number 17,- 
007 lived within the present limits of York county. There 
were in addition 657 colored slaves, whose term of servitude 
had not yet expired under the state act of 1780, which gradu- 
ally abolished slavery in Pennsylvania. According to the 
government census report for 1790, York county had a popu- 
lation of 37,747- The next census was taken in 1800, the year 
Adams county was formed, when York county had a popula- 
tion of 25,643, which was increased in 1810 to 31,900; in 1820.. 
to 38,759; in 1830, to 42,859; in 1840, to 47,010; in 1850, to 
57,450; in i860, to 68,200; in 1870, to 76,134; in 1880, to 87,841 ; 
in 1890, to 95,548; in 1900, to 116,413. The estimated popula- 
tion now is 130,000. 


The topographical features of York County consist prin- 
cipally of easy-rolling hill and valley surface in a great variety 
of aspects. The county belongs to the open country of the 
great Atlantic' plain, with an average elevation of about 500 
feet above high tide at Philadelphia. A ridge of the South 
Mountains, about 1,000 feet high, enters the northwestern cor- 
ner of the county and terminates above Dillsburg. A spur of 
these mountains extends across Fairview township and down 
along the Susquehanna. Enclosed within the different smaller 
ridges are the fertile Redlands and Fishing Creek Valleys, 
composed of the new red sandstone and red shale formations. 
Round Top, 1,110 feet above sea level, and its quiet neighbor. 
Knell's Hill, are isolated peaks of basalt or trap formation in 
Warrington and Monoghan Townships. The Conewago 
Hills, isolated ridges of South Mountain, cross the county to- 
ward York Haven. Above Wrightsville, as far as to the 
mouth of the Codorus Creek, extending westward toward the 
Harrisburg pike, is a wooded ridge of white sandstone, known 
as Hellam Hills. Between this and Conewago Hills there is 
a wide extent of red sandstone. 

Pidgeon Hills, named in honor of Joseph Pidgeon, an early 
surveyor, extend through the western part of the county. The 


southeastern portion of the county contains slate ridges and 
hills, and extensive quarries are worked in Peach Bottom 
Township, yielding roofing slate of the very best quality. 
The Martic Ridge crosses the Susquehanna from Lancaster 
County, on which ridge there are many high bluffs along the 
west side of the river. This ridge passes westward to Jeffer- 
son. The southern and southwestern parts of the county are 
undulating, and contain here and there wooded hills. 

Conewago Creek and its branches, Little Conewago, Ber- 
mudian Creek and Stony Run, drain the northern and north- 
western parts of the county. Codorus Creek with its two 
branches, flows through the central part, past York. Muddy 
Creek with two large branches, drains the southeastern por- 
tion. These streams provide a plentiful irrigation. 

The surface of the county furnishes a variety of scenery — 
rugged and fair, mountain and river, hill and plain, glen and 
dale, purling and dashing streams. The climate is change- 
able but salubrious. The people who inhabit this fair land 
are well adapted to the cultivation of the means of enjoyment 
and prosperity so bountifully afforded them. 

York county has the shape of an irregular quadrangle. It 
borders on Maryland and lies on the parallel of latitude, 39 
degrees, 43 minutes, 26.3 seconds (Mason and Dixon's line), 
and extends northward nearly to Harrisburg, or about 15 
minutes above the fortieth parallel, which crosses the county 
through Emigsville. The county is crossed by the meridian 
of Washington, and with reference to that, its extreme eastern 
and western points are in longitude respectively 45 minutes 
east and 10 minutes west. York County extends along the 
Maryland line about forty-five miles, bordering on the coun- 
ties of Harford, Baltimore and Carroll. It adjoins on the 
north and west the counties of Cumberland and Adams. It 
contains an area of 921 square miles. The Susquehanna River 
flows for nearly fifty-five miles along the eastern boundary, 
and the extreme eastern point of its southern boundary is 
about fifteen miles north of Havre de Grace, at the head of 
the Chesapeake Bay. 

As has been stated above, the highest elevation in the 
County is Round Top, which is 1,110. feet above mean tide at 
Philadelphia. The elevation of Red Lion is 900 feet, Shunk's 
Hill, 880 feet; New Freedom, 827 feet; Maryland line south of 
Hanover, 820 feet; New Park, 812 feet; Fawn Grove, 810 feet. 
These are some of the highest points in the County. 

The elevation of Center Square, York, is 372 feet ; Dills- 
burg, 540 feet; Hanover, 590 feet; Wrightsville,.at river, 214 
feet; Dallastown,.656 feet; Lewisberry, 601 feet; Dover, 431 

State Line, at Susquehanna, is 68 feet ; Peach Bottom, on 

canal, 101 feet; McCall's Ferry, 117 feet; Muddy Creek Forks, 
121 feet. These are some of the lowest elevations in the 

Organization of Townships. 

In 1739, the same year that the Monocacy Road was laid 
out through the present sites of Wrightsville, York and Han- 
over, to the vicinity of Frederick, Maryland, the provincial as- 
sembly of Pennsylvania passed a special act, which empow- 
ered the county court at Lancaster to "lay off that portion of 
Lancaster county west of the Susquehanna into townships." 
Under the provisions of this act, in 1739, the township of Hel- 
lam, which originally included most of the present York 
County, and Pennsborough Township, embracing all of Cum- 
berland County, was laid out without any surveyed western 
boundaries. Soon thereafter the first named township was 
divided into Upper Hallam and Lower Hallam. When the 
Indian treaty was confirmed by the provincial authorities at 
Philadelphia in 1736, the rightful authority of Lancaster 
County extended west of the Susquehanna. From that date 
until 1739, the officers of Hempfield Township, which included 
the present site of Columbia, exercised authority on this side 
of the river. Samuel Blunston, the agent of the Penns at 
Wright's Ferry, was given authority to issue permits to set- 
tlers west of the river. He was born in the township of Up- 
per Hallam in the County of York, England. During the first 
thirty years after 1739, the oldest township in this county was 
called "Hallam." In 1742 the townships of Manchester, New- 
berry and Shrewsbury were laid out by Thomas Cookson, 
deputy surveyor. Manchester extended north to the Cone- 
wago Creek and had no well defined western boundary. New- 
berry then included the present Fairview township. In 1783 
it contained more inhabitants than the town of York, or any 
township in the county. Shrewsbury included the present 
Hopewells and Springfield townships. In 1745 Lower Hallam 
township was organized into Chanceford, embracing Lower 
Chanceford and Fawn, including Peach Bottom. Warrington 
was laid out in 1744. Monaghan in 1745, Dover, Codorus, 
Paradise and Manheim in 1747. All the foregoing townships 
were established by the Lancaster county court. Heidelberg 
was laid out in 1750; York, 1753; Windsor, 1757; Hopewell, 
1767; West Manchester, 1800; Washington from Warrington, 
and Fairview from Newberry in 1803 ; Lower Chanceford from 
Chanceford, 1805; Franklin, in 1809; Peachbottom from Fawn, 
in 1815; Conewago from Dover, in 1818; Springgarden from 
Hellam and York, in 1822; Carroll from Monaghan, in 1831 ; 
Springfield from Shrewsbury, in 1835 ; Lower Windsor from 


Windsor, in 1838; Jackson from Paradise, in 1857, and West 
Manheim from Manheim, in 1858. 

Early Church Organizations. 

In September, 1733, the early Lutherans took steps to 
organize a church west of the Susquehanna. It was in that 
year that twenty persons contributed each a small amount 
toward buying a record book for the congregation. These 
early emigrants lived on the fertile lands east and west of 

The first pastor of this congregation for ten years was 
John Casper Stoever, then only 25 years old, a native of 
Frankenburg, Germany. He was ordained for the ministry 
by Rev. Schulze in a barn in Montgomery county. He or- 
ganized many other churches in Lancaster, Berks and Leba- 
non counties, and died near Middletown in 1779. 

The services of the early Lutherans were held in the 
barns and houses. In 1744, three years after York was 
founded, the first Lutheran church was built in York county 
on the site of Christ's Lutheran church, on South George 
street. The pastor of this, known as "The Evangelical Luth- 
eran church of the Codorus," from 1743 to 1744, when he died, 
was Rev. David Candler, who, in 1743, organized "The Evan- 
gelical Lutheran church of the Conewago," now St. Mat- 
thew's Lutheran church, of Hanover, near which he resided. 
This parish extended from the Susquehanna to the vicinity of 
Frederick, Maryland, where he organized also "The Monocacy 

Early members of the Reformed church settled west of 
the Susquehanna, contemporaneously with the Lutherans, and 
held their first religious services in private houses, conducted 
by missionaries. Rev. Jacob Lischey was the first regular 
pastor of the first church founded in York in 1742 on the pres- 
ent site of Zion's Reformed church, on West Market street. 
The congregation was organized about 1735. 

Rev. Thomas Barton, the noted missionary and soldier, in 
1755, and for ten years later, was the first rector of the St. 
John's Episcopal church, of York, and also officiated at Car- 
lisle and York Springs. At first he was quite successful in 
preaching among the Indians in York and Cumberland coun- 
ties. But during the French and Indian war he organized his 
people for defense against their allied foes. In a letter to the 
governor of the province in 1758, Mr. Barton is described as 
having "put himself at the head of his congregation, fully 
armed, and marched either day or night at every alarm." His 
descendants formed, for a long time, a well-known family in 

The first house of worship in York county built by the 
Presbyterians was a log church at the junction of Scott's Run 
and Muddy Creek. The exact date of the organization of this 
church can not be ascertained. The building was doubtless 
erected soon after the first settlement, which was made about 
1735. Three different buildings were erected in close suc- 
cession and the fourth one, near the. Slate Ridge church, in 
1762. The Monaghan Presbyterian church, near Dillsburg, 
was founded about 1745. 

The German Baptists, or Dunkers, a church body origi- 
nated in Germany in 1708, sent its first emigrants to Pennsyl- 
vania in 1729. As early as 1738, a church of this denomination 
was organized in the western limits of York county. A church 
on the Bermudian was founded in 1741. The Dunkers and 
the Mennonites were among the first settlers west of the Sus- 

Methodism was introduced into York county by the noted 
traveling missionary, Rev. Freeborn Garretson. The first 
services conducted by him were held January 24, 1781, at the 
private house of James Worley, who resided on the farm now 
owned by Jacob Loucks, near West York. The subject of his 
sermon was, "Old things shall pass away and all things be- 
come new.';' The next evening he preached at Lewisberry. 
The first Methodist church in the county stood on the site of 
the First United Brethren church, of York. 

The doctrines of the Evangelical association were first 
preached in York county by Revs. John Erb and Matthias 
Betz, who, in 18 10 established three "preaching places" — one 
at Jacob Klinefelter's, in Shrewsbury township, one at the 
house of John Seitz, in Springfield township, and the third at 
the house of Adam Ettinger, in Dover township. The first 
church building owned by the association in this county was 
erected near Shrewsbury in 1822. It was the second church 
of the denomination in America. The first one was built at 
New Berlin, Union county, in 1815. 

The first church of the United Brethren in Christ was 
built in Windsor township during the early part of the present 
century. Philip William Otterbein, the founder of this de- 
nomination, was ordained a minister in the Reformed church 
in 1749, in Germany. He came as a missionary, in 1752, to 
York and Lancaster counties. It was during his pastorate of 
churches, near York, that he adopted his "new measures." 
In 1744 he moved to Baltimore, where he soon afterward 
founded the original church of the denomination. 

Rev. Samuel Bacon, a graduate of Harvard and an early 
teacher in the York County Academy, August 11. 1817, organ- 
ized the first Sunday school in York county at his residence on 
Philadelphia street, York. He invited all Protestant denomi- 


nations "to lend a helping hand." By the year 1819 twenty- 
six Union schools were organized in the county with 2,000 

French and Indian War. 

In 1754 there was a storm brewing in Western Pennsyl- 
vania. Insidious French settlers were laying claim to the 
Ohio valley, and in order to effect their purpose, they had in- 
cited the Delawares and other tribes of Indians to be un- 
friendly toward the English and German settlers in Eastern 
Pennsylvania. In fact the Indians became allies with the 
French in erecting forts and other defenses in Western Penn- 
sylvania. Benjamin Franklin and his two associates in 1754 
had a conference with Indian chiefs at the Croghan Fort 
above the site of Harrisburg and at the new town of Carlisle 
in the Cumberland valley. They succeeded in part in recon- 
ciling the Indians, but the French had erected Fort Duquesne, 
where Pittsburg now stands, and tw T o other forts some dis- 
tance to the north. Sir William Pitt, then the Premier of Eng- 
land, persuaded the King to send General Edward Braddock, 
an officer of distinction in the English army/ with two regi- 
ments of troops to this country for the purpose of driving the 
French from our Western frontier. Braddock landed in Vir- 
ginia, where he met George Washington, then a young man, 
who volunteered to join Braddock as an aid on his staff. Two 
thousand provincial troops were ordered to be raised from 
Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. 

Benjamin Franklin at York. 

Benjamin Franklin, then a leading spirit in the Pennsyl- 
vania assembly, came to York in the summer of 1755 and soon 
afterward met General Braddock at Frederick, Md. He found 
that this English officer had only twenty-five wagons to trans- 
port his stores and baggage across the Allegheny Mountains. 
He needed 150 wagons and Franklin returned to York and 
Lancaster and sent his son, Richard, to Carlisle, offering 15 
shillings a day for a wagon with a driver and four horses, 2 
shillings a day for each horse with a pack saddle or other sad- 
dle, and 18 pence for a horse without a saddle. By pledging 
his own property as security, and paying for each team partly 
in advance, he secured the 150 wagons. Soon afterward Sir 
John St. Clair, a Scotch baronet, quarter-master of the Brad- 
dock expedition, came to York and Carlisle to secure 1,200 
barrels of flour for this expedition. He obtained the flour 
from the grist-mills in York and Cumberland counties. Then, 
returning to Braddock's army, near Cumberland, Maryland, 
composed of nearly 3,000 men, St. Clair with 800 picked men 


cut a new road across the mountains towards Fort Duquesne. 
Against the judgment of the youthful Washington, General 
Braddock advanced too hastily and was met a few miles west 
of the present site of Pittsburg, where he was defeated, losing 
sixty officers, himself being among the killed. It was an in- 
glorious defeat to the British army. In this battle Washing- 
ton had two horses shot under him and four balls passed 
through his clothing. Only 400 men came out of the fight un- 
harmed. The provincial troops served with more valor than 
the English regulars, and Colonel Dunbar, commanding the 
survivors, marched to Philadelphia. The triumphs of the In- 
dians in defeating Braddock incited them to hostility against 
all the settlers of Pennsylvania. They began at once to make 
depredations on the frontier parts of the province east of the 
mountains, and most of the settlers fled across the Susque- 
hanna. Men, women and children came in large numbers 
through York to cross the river at Wright's Ferry. 

George Stevenson, the agent of the Penns at York, wrote 
a letter to Richard Peters, secretary of the province at Phila- 
delphia, stating that the condition of affairs at York was 
alarming in the highest degree, for he expected the town 
would soon be visited by hostile Indians with the firebrand 
and the scalping knife. James Smith, afterward a signer of 
the Declaration of Independence, John Adlum, Herman Up- 
degraff and Thomas Armour, Court Justices of York county, 
addressed letters to the Governor asking for arms and am- 
munition for companies about to be raised for defence, stating 
that one company, armed and equipped, commanded by Hance 
Hamilton, the first sheriff of York county, had already gone to 
the frontier. They further stated that hostile Indians were 
within one day's march of Harris' Ferry, and two days' march 
from York. Recruiting began at once at York and through- 
out the county and five companies were raised. Rev. Thomas 
Barton, missionary for the Episcopal Church at York, Carlisle 
and York Springs, commanded one company ; Rev. Andrew 
Bay, Presbyterian clergyman, raised another. All ministers 
of the gospel were urged by the provincial authorities to rouse 
their members to prepare for defensive operations. Captain 
Hance Hamilton, with sixty Scotch-Irishmen, marched to Fort 
Littleton, a defense in the present region of Fulton county. 
Captain David Jameson, a physician of York, went with a 
company to Fort Augusta, on the present site of Sunbury. A 
line of fortifications and blockhouses had been built from the 
Delaware river along the eastern slope of the Allegheny 
mountains to the Maryland line. 

It was determined now to send an expedition to defeat the 
Indians who were behind strong fortifications at Kittanning 
along the Allegheny River, forty miles northeast of Pittsburg. 
Colonel John Armstrong, of Carlisle, was in command. Cap- 


tain Hance Hamilton, with his sixty men from York County, 
did valiant service in this expedition, which resulted in the 
complete route of the Indians. This occurred in 1756. 

Forbes' Expedition. 

The provincial soldiers being successful with this affair, it 
was determined by Sir William Pitt, the next year, to organize 
an expedition for the conquest of the French and Indians at 
Fort Duquesne. General Forbes, a trained soldier from Eng- 
land, and with more sagacity than Braddock, was placed in 
charge of this expedition. He had under his command an 
army of 1,200 Highlanders, 350 royal Americans, and about 
5,000 Provincial soldiers from Pennsylvania, Maryland and 
Virginia, including 2,000 Virginians under the command of 
Colonel George Washington. Many of these troops passed 
through York. General Forbes then rendezvoused at Car- 
lisle. The Pennsylvania troops, about 2,000 in number, were 
under the command of Colonel Bouquet, a Swiss patriot who 
had an experience of several years in European wars. The 
Forbes expedition was a brilliant success and ended the 
French and Indian war, so far as Pennsylvania was con- 
cerned. The French were driven from Fort Duquesne down 
the Ohio River, and their Indian allies fled in dismay to the 
north and west. A new defense was built on the same site, 
which was named Fort Pitt, in honor of Sir William Pitt, the 
great English statesman, who had projected this expedition. 
Dr. David Jameson, of York, was major of the Second Battal- 
ion, commanded by Colonel James Burd; James Ewing, then 
living a few miles east of York, and who became a brigadier- 
general in the Revolution, was adjutant of the Third Battalion, 
commanded by Colonel Hugh Mercer, the bosom friend of 
Washington. Archibald McGrew, Robert McPherson, and 
Thomas Hamilton, f rom York County, were captains in Mer- 
cer's Battalion. That brilliant soldier, Hance Hamilton, was 
major of Armstrong's Battalion. 

York County in the Revolution. 

The inhabitants of York County after the defeat of the 
French at Fort Duquesne were never endangered by incur- 
sions from the Indians. They turned their attention to the 
arts of Peace. The little town on the Codorus received a new 
impetus of life. Many new houses were built and the popu- 
lation was soon increased to 1,500. But there was trouble 
ahead for these honest burghers of York and the tillers of the 
soil in the entire county and all over the thirteen American 
colonies, which had been founded and settled by authority of 
the English Government. It was charged by the American 


colonists that the mother country was enforcing tyrannical 
laws which encroached upon the civil rights of American sub- 
jects. What is known to history as the Boston Port Bill 
caused dissension from New Hampshire to Georgia. [Meet- 
ings were held in opposition to the laws' which were being en- 
forced by the King and Parliament. They were held in all 
the centres of population. One of these convened at York in 
1774, being presided over by Michael Swope, afterward a 
Colonel in the Revolution. At this meeting it was decided by 
unanimous vote that the inhabitants of York County would 
support their brethren in Philadelphia and other parts of the 
colonies in asking for redress, and. relief for the distressed 
condition of the inhabitants of Boston. Delegates were ap- 
pointed to attend the first Provincial Conference at Philadel- 
phia. James Smith attended this Conference and, soon after 

Western Entrance to York in 1844 

his return home, organized in York, in 1774, the first military 
company in America to oppose British oppression and to de- 
fend the rights of the colonists. The following year Smith 
was made a Colonel of the militia for the Province of Penn- 

York County Troops at Boston. 

The tocsin of war was sounded by the speech of Patrick 
Henry before the Virginia assembly at Richmond, which was 
soon followed by the attack on the Provincial forces of Mas- 
sachusetts at Concord and Lexington. The patriotic ardor of 
the people of York County had now been aroused to the 


highest pitch when they heard that a great battle had been 
fought at Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775. Thirteen days after 
this event a company of York soldiers, under the command of 
Michael Doudel, with Henry Miller and John Clark as lieu- 
tenants, began the march to Boston, where they arrived July 
25, being the first troops west of the Hudson and south of 
Long Island to join the American forces near that city. Al- 
though tired and worn by their long march of 500 miles, with 
undaunted courage, they offered their services to General 
Washington immediately after their arrival, and asked that 
they be permitted to capture a British transport on the 
Charles River. The commander-in-chief commended them 
for their patriotism, but thought the proposition inexpedient 
at that time. A few days later -Washington detailed them to 
capture some British sentinels, in order that he might learn 
from them the enemy's purpose in erecting certain earth- 
works in front of the American encampment. This daring 
feat was accomplished by the York County company then 
commanded by Lieutenant Henry Miller with the loss of one 
man, Corporal Cruise, a gallant soldier, who lingered for sev- 
eral months in a British prison in London. The trained rifle- 
men from York County succeeded in killing several of the 
enemy and bringing prisoners to the headquarters of Wash- 
ington at Cambridge. 

The martial spirit was now rife in the town and county of 
York, for in the fall of 1775 five battalions of militia were or- 
ganized, commanded respectively by Colonel James Smith, of 
York; Robert McPherson, of Marsh Creek; Richard McAllis- 
ter, of Hanover ; Colonel William Smith, of Chanceford, and 
William Rankin, of Newberry . township. These battalions 
were under regular drill and discipline for several months. 
Near the close of 1775, one company was selected from each 
battalion and a regiment of "Minute Men" organized, with 
Richard Mcx\llister, Colonel ; Thomas Hartley, Lieutenant- 
Colonel, and David Grier, Major. Soon afterward a part of 
this command joined the first expedition for the conquest of 

During this year and the remainder of the Revolution, the 
spirit of war was constantly impressed upon the people of 
York by the passage of troops from the southern states to join 
Washington's Army, and often British prisoners were brought 
here, or escorted to Frederick, Md., Winchester and other 
points in Virginia. 

Patriotism and Valor of York County Soldiers. 

In this brief history of York County, it is impossible to 
give in detail the part taken by the patriotic men of the town 
and county in the Revolution. Let it suffice to say that they 

showed a valor and patriotism unexcelled in any part of the 
thirteen original states. In the early part of 1776, there were 
four armed and equipped companies in the town of York, and 
about 2,000 militia thorughout the county, then including 
Adams, ready to march to the front if their services were 
wanted. Many of these soldiers took part in the battles of 
Long Island, Fort Washington, White Plains, Germantown, 
Brandywine and Monmouth. James Ewing took command of 
the Flying Camp in 1776, and rose to the rank of Brigadier- 
General ; Colonel Thomas Hartley, a man of high intellect as 
well as patriotic valor, led his men to victory on several fields 
of battle ; General Henry Miller, a bold and dashing soldier, 
received the commendations of the commander-in-chief for 
saving the left wing of the army from defeat at the Battle of 
Princeton ; Colonel Richard McAllister, after organizing the 

Colonel Hartley and Wife 

militia of York County, marched with the regiment, which 
was conspicuous for its bravery at Long Island, White Plains 
and Fort Washington ; Major John Clark received the highest 
praise for his success at Long Island, and at the request of 
Washington, was placed on the staff of General Greene, next 
to the commander-in-chief, the greatest American soldier of 
that period ; Colonel David Grier, a hero of the campaign to 
Canada, received two serious wounds at the famous battle of 
Paoli, under General Wayne; Major Joseph Prowell, with a 
battalion of 400 men, led the advance of Sullivan's expedition 
into the W'yoming Valley to drive out the hostile Indians ; 
and Colonel Michael Swope, with a regiment of 400 men, 


fought gallantly at Fort Washington, where himself and 
nearly all of his comrades became prisoners of war. The 
achievements of these sons of York County, and the gallant 
soldiers who fought under them, have added lustre to the 
pages of American history. They won a record for military 
achievement, wortliy of being handed down to future genera- 

James Smith, a practicing lawyer at York, became one of 
the signers of the Declaration of Independence. His remains 
now lie in the Presbyterian Church yard on East Market 
Street. His speeches, while a member of Congress, show that 

James Smith 

he possessed ability of high order. He died at the advanced 
age of 92. 

Colonel Hartley, famed as a soldier, also represented 
York County in Congress for nearly twelve years, and was 
the first Pennsylvania lawyer to be admitted to the Supreme 
Court of the United States. 

York, the Nation's Capital. 

To avoid being captured by the British, the government 
documents and the small amount of money then in the 
treasury, were sent to Bethlehem in wagons, carefully guarded 


by two regiments of troops. The members of Congress, 
themselves, from the thirteen original states, started on horse- 
back for Bethlehem, where they spent Sunday, and attended 
services at the Moravian church. The following day they 
proceeded toward Lancaster. Only one day's session was 
held in Lancaster when it was decided that "the Susquehanna 
should flow between Congress and the enemy," and it ad- 
journed to York, which then contained 286 houses and about 
1,500 inhabitants. 

Coming up the road from Wright's Ferry on one calm 
September afternoon of the eventful year of 1777, were these 
illustrious men, whose acts and deeds during this dark period 
of the Revolution have given lustre to the pages of American 

Among this band of patriots whose intelligence and fore- 
sight astonished the nations of the world, were John Hancock, 
Samuel Adams and John Adams, of Massachusetts ; James 
Duane, William Duer and Gouverneur Morris, of New York ; 
Roger Sherman, of Connecticut; Robert Morris, General 
Roberdeau and James Smith, of Pennsylvania; Charles Car- 
roll, of Maryland ; Richard Henry Lee, Benjamin Harrison 
(ancestor of two presidents), and Francis Lightfoot Lee, of 
Virginia; Dr. Witherspoon, of New Jersey, and Henry Laur- 
ens, of South Carolina. These men were members of Congress 
at York, and twenty-six of them the year before, had appended 
their names to that immortal document, the Declaration of 
Independence. When Congress assembled in York on the 
first day of October, 1777, in the historic old Court House, 
which stood in Centre Square, it beheld the chief cities of the 
country in the hands of the enemy and a shattered and dis- 
spirited army retreating before a conquering foe. The battle 
of Brandy wine had just ended in favor of the invading British 
army, whose numbers were nearly double those of the Ameri- 
cans. In the meantime, Washington had been invested by 
Congress, with extraordinary powers, and soon afterward 
took up his winter quarters at Valley Forge. 

The little band of patriots, which assembled daily in the 
Court House in York, had increased its membership, by the 
arrival of newly elected delegates in October. It sat with 
closed doors. . None but the members of Congress and occa- 
sionally a few government officials, were allowed to hear the 
debates on the momentous questions that engaged their atten- 
tion. In a building at one corner of Centre Square, Michael 
Hillegas, Treasurer of the United States, kept the accounts of 
the government. In the office of James Smith, on the west 
side of South George Street, John Adams presided over the 
Board of War, whose duty it was to administer to the wants 
of the army, the same as the War Department of to-day. The 


President of Congress was John Hancock, of Massachusetts, 
who was one of the wealthiest men in the United States. He 
rented a house owned by Col. Michael Swope, on the south 
side of West Market Street, near Centre Square. As the 
executive head of the nation he lived in considerable style, 
and his household expenses were paid by the government. All 
the other members were required to pay their own expenses 
and received a small annual salary paid by the states they 
represented. Early in November John Hancock resigned as 
President of Congress, and Henry Laurens, of South Carolina, 
was chosen his successor. 

Of the delegates to Continental Congress during the en- 
tire period of the Revolution none were more zealous in legis- 
lating for the prosecution of the war than Samuel Adams, of 
Massachusetts. He was a man of lofty patriotism and un- 
bounded energy. The English government blamed John 
Hancock and Samuel Adams more than any others for the 
origin of the war, and a reward of $25,000 was offered for the 
capture of either of them. Both Hancock and Adams, if ever 
captured, were to be denied pardon for their alleged treason 
to the mother country. With Adams as the leader of Congress 
while in' York, the struggle for liberty was simply a matter 
of life or death.. Success in establishing freedom would send 
him down to posterity, honored by all future generations ; 
failure pointed to the prison cell and the ignominy of a rebel 
doomed to the scaffold. Everything seemed dark and gloomy 
during the early days of October, 1777, and some of the mem- 
bers of Congress were almost ready to give up the struggle 
in despair and accept the overtures of peace by the British 

Washington had not yet loomed up as the dominant per- 
sonality of the Revolution. About this time John Adams 
made the following entry in his diary : 

"The prospect is chilling on every side, gloomy, dark, 
melancholy and dispirited. When and where will light come 
from? Shall we have good news from Europe? Shall we 
hear of a blow struck by Gates against Burgoyne? Is there 
a possibility that Washington may yet defeat Howe? Is 
there a possibility that McDougall and Dickinson shall de- 
stroy the British detachment in New Jersey? If Philadelphia 
is lost, is the cause of Independence lost?" Then he con- 
tinues : "No, the cause is not lost. Heaven grant us one 
great soul. One leading mind would extricate the best cause 
from the ruins that seem to await it. We have as good a 
cause as ever was .fought for. One active, masterly capacity 
would bring order out of this confusion and save our country." 

Philip Livingstone, a delegate from the state of New 
York, died while Congress was in session in York. His re- 


mains were first buried in Zion Reformed churchyard, and 
were later moved to Prospect Hill cemetery, where they now 

Samuel Adams' Great Speech. 

The affairs of the new born nation for a time were con- 
trolled by a few men, who met regularly in a caucus at the 
home of General Roberdeau, of Pennsylvania, who lived in a 
rented house nearly opposite Christ Lutheran Church on 
South George Street. Many of the leaders in Congress, in- 
cluding Henry Laurens, Benjamin Harrison, Dr. Witherspoon, 
Richard Henry Lee, Elbridge Gerry and John and Samuel 
Adams lodged, in this house. It was in the law office of James 


James Smith's Residence 

Smith on South George Street on one October night of 1777, 
that Samuel Adams called a caucus. After obtaining the 
views of the different members, some of whom were very de- 
spondent, Samuel Adams rose and delivered one of the most 
eloquent and impressive speeches in American history, as fol- 
lows : 

"Gentlemen: Your spirits seem oppressed with the 
weight of public calamities, and your sadness of countenance 
reveals your disquietude. A patriot may grieve at the disas- 
ters of his country, but he will never despair of the common- 


wealth. Our affairs are said to be desperate, but we are not 
without hope and not without courage. The eyes of the peo- 
ple of this country are upon us here, and the tone of their 
feeling is regulated by ours. If we as delegates in Congress 
give up in despair, and grow desperate, public confidence will 
be destroyed and American liberty will be no more. 

"But we are not driven to such straits. Though fortune 
has been unpropitious, our conditions are not desperate ; our 
burdens though grievous, can still be borne ; our losses though 
great, can be retrieved. Through the darkness that shrouds 
our prosperity, the ark of safety is visible. 

"Despondency, gentlemen, becomes not the dignity of our 
cause, nor the character of the Nation's representatives in 
Congress. Let us then be aroused and evince a spirit of pa- 
triotism that shall inspire the people with confidence in us, in 
themselves and in the cause of our Country. Let us show a 
spirit that will induce them to persevere in this struggle, until 
our rights shall be established and our liberty secured. 

"We have proclaimed to the world our determination to 
die free men, rather than live slaves ; we have appealed to 
Heaven for the justice of our cause and in the God of battle 
have we placed our trust. We have looked to Providence for 
help and protection in the past; we must appeal to the same 
source in the future, for the Almighty Powers from above will 
sustain us in this struggle for independence. 

"There have been times since the opening of this war 
when we were reduced almost to distress, but the great arm 
of Omnipotence has raised us up. Let us still rely for assist- 
ance upon Him who is mighty to save. We shall not be 
abandoned by the Powers above so long as we act worthy of 
aid and protection. The darkest hour is just before the dawn. 
Good news may soon reach us from the army and from across 
the sea." 

The patriotic fervor of the speaker on this occasion 
thrilled the small audience and gave them renewed energy in 
the passage of legislation to aid in carrying on the war. 

It was not long after this event that a relative of General 
Israel Putnam, one of the heroes of the Revolution, brought 
to Congress the glad news of the defeat of the British at Sara- 
toga by General Gates and the surrender of the entire army 
under General Burgoyne. A few days later the official ac- 
count of this brilliant victory and conquest was brought to 
Congress by Colonel Wilkinson, a member of General Gates' 
staff. He spent one day before Congress explaining the de- 
tails of the battle and surrender. The next day was given to 
a general rejoicing in the town of York. This victory at Sara- 
toga was the Gettysburg of the Revolution, for it turned the 
tide of affairs in favor of the American cause. 


First National Thanksgiving. 

President Laurens appointed Richard Henry Lee, of Vir- 
ginia, Samuel Adams, of Massachusetts, and General Rober- 
deau, of Pennsylvania, a committee of Congress to draft a 
national proclamation of Thanksgiving, the first in the history 
of the American Republic. This historic document was writ- 
ten by that eminent Virginian, Richard Henry Lee, who less 
than two years before had moved in Congress at Philadelphia, 
that "these United States are and of right ought to be free and 
independent States," and himself became one of the signers of 
the Declaration of Independence. The proclamation is re- 
markable in language and thought. Besides breathing forth 
a spirit of lofty patriotism, it also contains a deep and fervent 
religious sentiment. 

The following is the proclamation in full : 

"Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to 
adore the superintending providence of Almighty God, to 
acknowledge with gratitude their obligations for benefits re- 
ceived, and to implore such further blessings as they stand in 
need of ; and it having pleased Him in His abundant mercy, not 
only to continue to us the innumerable bounties of His com- 
mon Providence, but also to smile upon us in the prosecution 
of a just and necessary war for the defense and establishment 
of our inalienable rights and liberties; particularly in that 
He has been pleased in so great a measure to prosper the 
means used for the support of our troops and to crown our 
arms with most signal success. It is therefore recommended 
to the legislature or executive powers of these United States 
to set apart Thursday, the 18th of December next, for solemn 
Thanksgiving and praise ; that with one heart and one voice, 
the people of this country may express the grateful feelings of 
their hearts and consecrate themselves to the service of the 
Divine Benefactor ; and that together with their sincere 
acknowledgments, they may join in a penitent confession of 
their manifold sins, whereby they had forfeited every favor; 
and their humble and earnest supplication may be that it may 
please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ mercifully to 
forgive and blot them out of remembrance ; that it may please 
Him graciously, to grant His blessings on the governments of 
these States respectively and prosper the Public Council of 
the whole United States ; to inspire our commanders, both by 
land and sea, and all under them, with that wisdom and forti- 
tude, which may render them fit instruments under the Provi- 
dence of Almighty God to secure for these LTnited States, the 
greatest of all blessings, independence and peace ; that it may 
please Him to prosper the trade and manufactures of the peo- 
ple, and the labor of the husbandman, that our land may yield 
its increase; to take the schools and seminaries of education, 


so necessary for cultivating the principles of true liberty, vir- 
tue and piety, under His nurturing hand, and to prosper the 
means of religion, for promotion and enlargement of that 
Kingdom, which consists of righteousness, peace and joy in 
the Holy Ghost. It is further recommended that servile labor 
and such recreation as at other times innocent, may be unbe- 
coming the purpose of this appointment on so solemn an oc- 

This proclamation was adopted by Congress. October 

30th, and two days later the President of Congress wrote the 

following letter to each of the Governors of the thirteen 
States then in the Union : • 

York in Pennsylvania, November 1, 1777. 

Sir: — The arms of the United States of • America having 
been blessed in the present campaign with remarkable suc- 
cess. Congress has resolved to recommend that Thursday, 
December 18th next, be set apart to be observed by all inhab- 
itants throughout the United States for a general Thanksgiv- 
ing to Almighty God, and I hereby transmit to you the en- 
closed extract from the minutes of Congress for that purpose. 

Your Excellency will be pleased to take the necessary 
measures for carrying this resolve into effect in the State in 
which you reside. You will likewise find enclosed certified 
copy of the minutes which will show your Excellency the au- 
thority under which I have the honor of addressing you. 

I am with great esteem and regard, sir, your Excellency's 
most obedient and humble servant, 


President of Congress. 

The Conway Cabal. 

The story of the Conway Cabal is recorded in all works 
of American history. It was a conspiracy to remove Wash- 
ington from the head of the army, and put General Horatio 
Gates in his place. It obtained its name from Thomas Con- 
way, an Irishman who had fought in the French army and 
during the Revolution volunteered his services to aid the 
Americans in their war for independence. Congress had 
promised to promote him to a higher command in our army, 
but Washington opposed this plan. This was the cause of his 
opposition to the commander-in-chief. 

The real cause of this conspiracy was a party faction in 
Congress also opposed to Washington. Among the men who 
joined this faction were some of the most noted patriots of 
that period. Washington had not yet loomed up as a domi- 
nating personality of the Revolution. He had won the battle 


of Trenton, but had been defeated at Long Island, White 
Plains, in 1776, and at Brandywine and Germantown in the 
fall of 1777. It was the defeat at the last two places that 
caused Congress to leave Philadelphia and come to York, as 
a place for protection and safety. At this time the opposition 
to Washington in Congress had increased to so high a degree 
that it was feared, at one time, a committee would be ap- 
pointed to go to his camp at Valley Forge and report against 
him as a competent person to command the armies and lead 
them to victory. 

The friends of Washington, in Congress, now agreed to 
defend him and prevent his removal from the army. Some 
new delegates arrived who prevented the passing of a resolu- 
tion appointing a committee to go to the headquarters at Val- 
ley Forge. 

It was General Horatio Gates, of Virginia, who won the 
great victory at Saratoga, and a few clays later captured about 
6,000 British and Hessian soldiers under Sir John Burgoyne, 
an officer of high rank and station in the English army, before 
he had come to America. It was Burgoyne's intention to 
move down the Hudson River and separate the New England 
States from the Middle and Southern States. Had this been 
accomplished it would have prevented the people of v the New 
England States from communicating with Continental Con- 
gress, or with the armies in the field. 

The victory at Saratoga made Gates the hero of the hour. 
He was invited, by Congress, to come to York and become 
President of the Board of War, which was the directing power 
of the army, the same as the War Department under our 
government at present. When Gates came here his friends in 
Congress and the officers of the army in York were enthusias- 
tic in praise of his military fame. Mrs. Gates, and her son, 
Robert, had come here some months before. She was a wo- 
man of English birth, and at the death of her father had in- 
herited the sum of $400,000, which made her the wealthiest 
woman in the United States. When General Gates came here 
he lived in considerable style. He was appointed to occupy 
a high position, and he was fawned and flattered by all his 
admirers. Mrs. Gates entertained all of her husband's 
friends. They first occupied quarters in a hotel on the south 
side of West Market Street, near Center Square. Later they 
rented a house on the north side of West Market, near Beaver 
Street. He remained in York about three months, occupying 
the position as President of the Board of War. Early in Feb- 
ruary General Lafayette, the youthful patriot, from France, 
was invited to York for the purpose of receiving the appoint- 
ment to command an army of invasion to Canada. Washing- 
ton opposed this project, but Lafayette consented to come to 
visit Congress and receive instructions, promising Washington 


his loyalty and patriotism. Soon after his arrival here he was 
invited to be the guest of General Gates and his accomplished 
wife. A banquet was given in his honor by the General, and 
after it was ended, toasts were offered to all the interests of 
the American army, except that of General Washington, as 
Commander-in-Chief. Lafayette seemed to be uncomfortable 
amid such strange surroundings. After the toasts had all 
been given, his commission to command the expedition to 
Canada was handed to him at the table, by General Gates. 
He arose from his chair and said to the banqueters : "I have 
listened to all of the toasts with eager interest and I appreciate 
the compliments showered upon me, but there was one toast 
entirely forgotten, and now let us all drink to the health of 
General Washington, the head of the American army. May 
he bring this war of Independence to a successful conclusion 
and live long, as the greatest of all Americans." 

There is nothing definitely known of the effect of this 
toast upon the enemies of Washington, except a small refer- 
ence made by Lafayette in his Memoirs, published thirty- 
seven years later. In this he says: "After I had offered this 
toast I looked around the table and saw the faces of the op- 
ponents of Washington redden with shame. Some of them 
put the cup to their lips and barely tasted of the wine, while 
others were entirely confused." 

With a shrug of the shoulders and a hasty good-bye he 
left the room, and thus ended the so-called Conway Cabal. 

Soon afterward he left York, went to Albany, but found 
no army ready to move into Canada. Lafayette then returned 
to the army encamped at Valley Forge. Many of the oppo- 
nents of Washington now became his friends, even General 
Conway denied that there ever was a plan set afoot to remove 
Washington from command. 

Sometime later he fought a duel with General Cadwalla- 
der. He was shot in his mouth, the bullet passing through his 
neck. For several days it. was thought the wound would 
prove fatal. During this time he wrote a plaintive letter to 
Washington denying that he was ever opposed to the General 
as the head of the army. Conway went to England where he 
died in obscurity. 

General Gates afterward took command of the army in 
the South but met with disaster in the battle with Lord Corn- 
wallis, and General Greene took his place as the head of the 
southern army. 

United States Treasury Building. 

At the northeast corner of Centre Square on the present 
site of the Spahr building, for nearly a century there stood an 
historic building. During the Revolution, this house was 


owned and occupied by Archibald McLean, who had been one 
of the most prominent citizens west of the Susquehanna in 
colonial days. He was a land surveyor for the Penns in his 
early manhood and also held several county offices. He as- 
sisted Mason and Dixon, the English surveyors who were sent 
to this country to run a line between the provinces of Penn- 
sylvania, Delaware and Maryland. As McLean was a skilled 
mathematician and a practical surveyor of large experience, in 
1767-8, with the assistance of four of his brothers, he surveyed 
most of the land from the Susquehanna River west to the Al- 
legheny Mountains, where their work was stopped by hostile 
Indians. During the war for Independence, Archibald Mc- 
Lean was an ardent supporter of the patriot cause. When 

United States Treasury Building 1777- 177S 

Congress removed to York, in the latter part of September, 
1777, and during the entire nine months of the session held 
here, the home of Archibald McLean was occupied by the 
Board of Treasury. In a vault in the cellar of the McLean 
building the money belonging to the United States Treasury 
was kept. It did not only contain the depreciated Continental 
currency, but a considerable amount of silver. This valuable 
treasure, amounting to about $600,000. was brought to York 
in the spring of 1778. The money had been sent to America 
from France as a loan to the United States Government, then 
struggling for independence. The vessel which brought this 


money from the French government landed al Portsmouth, 
New Hampshire. Captain James B. Frye, who had been a 
member of the Boston Tea Party, was entrusted with the care 
of the money to convey it to Congress at York, with the com- 
pliments of Louis XVI, who had already entered into a treaty 
of friendship and alliance with the United States government, 
through the influence of Benjamin Franklin, the United 
States commissioner at Paris. The four horse wagon that 
conveyed this money from Portsmouth through Boston, Al- 
bany and Reading, to York was guarded by a full company of 
Continental troops. The money arrived here in safety and 
was put in charge of Michael Hillegas, who had been treas- 
urer of the United States since 1776. This building was also 
the temporary depository for a large amount of Continental 
money printed at York under act of Congress passed April 11, 
1778. After the Revolution the home of Archibald McLean 
became the property of Jacob Barnitz, who had been wounded 
at Fort Washington, and afterward served for thirty years or 
more as register and recorder, and clerk of the courts for York 
County. Jacob Barnitz was the son-in-law of Archibald Mc- 
Lean. The picture of this historic building was reproduced 
from a drawing made by Miss Catherine Barnitz, great- 
granddaughter of Archibald McLean. 

Important Transactions of Congress. 

Congress had passed while in session at York the Articles 
of Confederation which, when adopted by the sufficient num- 
ber of states, made the Declaration of Independence a reality ; 
received the news of the great and decisive battle of Saratoga ; 
commissioned Lafayette a major-general in the army; received 
Baron Steuben, the military chieftain from the Court of Fred- 
erick the Great, made him a major-general and sent him to the 
headquarters of the army to drill the American troops in the 
improved tactics of that day; received the news from Benja- 
min Franklin at Paris that the King of France and his coun- 
try had agreed to help us in our struggle for Independence ; 
received the first of several contributions of money from the 
French Government to carry on the war and received the news 
of the arrival of the first French troops and fleet that came to 
our assistance. These are a few, but not all, of the import- 
ant transactions of Congress while in session at York. 

At no other place during the Revolution, except Philadel- 
phia, was there any legislation by Congress in any way com- 
parable to that transacted while in session at York. It is a 
fact, however, that sessions of this body were 'held for one day 
in Lancaster, Pa. ; a short time at Princeton, N. J. ; about two 
months in Baltimore and a brief period at Annapolis, Md. At 
none of these places do the journals of Congress record the 


passage of any legislation or the transaction of any business 
for the prosecution of the war in any degree commensurate 
with that done at York during the winter of 1777 and 1778. 

War of 1812. 

The war of ,1812. which brought so much honor and glory 
to the American arms on sea and land, aroused the patriotism 
of York county and soon after the opening of hostilities there 
were numerous enlistments in the county for the defense of 
the coast and the northern frontier. But when the British, 
under General Ross, landed on the shores of the Chesapeake, 
and August 25, i8i"4. captured Washington city and destroyed 
the public buildings, President Madison issued a proclamation 
for more troops. Governor Snyder, of Pennsylvania, re- 
sponded at once, and notified the organized military companies 
of the state to prepare for marching orders. The Pennsyl- 
vania militia from the counties of Chester, Lancaster, York, 
Lebanon, Berks, Dauphin, Cumberland and Schuylkill, in all 
5,000 men, were sworn into the service and rendezvoused at 
York under the command of Major General Watson. Some 
of these soldiers remained in the service from September 1, 
1814, to March 1, 181 5, and during that time were stationed at 
York and at points between York and Baltimore. Most of 
the time they were in camp on the York Common. In the 
meantime the York Volunteers, a noted military company un- 
der command of Captain Michael H. Spangler, 100 men, 
marched to Baltimore, starting August 29, 1814, when the 
news came that General Ross was on his way to Baltimore. 
When Captain Spangler's company arrived at Baltimore it was 
attached to the Fifth Maryland regiment and took part in the 
famous battle of North Point, near Baltimore, where two of 
the company were captured and several wounded. They won 
high honors for their courage and bravery. A company from 
the lower end of York County, under command of Captain- 
Colvin, and two companies from Hanover, one under com- 
mand of Captain Frederick Metzgar, and one under Captain 
John Bair, also marched to Baltimore and took part in the en- 
gagement. The death of General Ross and the retreat of the 
British caused the alarm to subside, and the war soon after- 
ward ended with the famous victory of Jackson at New Or- 

The Civil War. 

The bombardment of Fort Sumter, April 12, 1861, was 
followed three days later by the proclamation of President 
Lincoln, calling for 75,000 troops. This aroused the patriotic 
ardor of the people all over the North. When Governor Cur- 
tin made a requisition for the organized military of the state, 


two companies from York, the Worth Infantry, under com- 
mand of Captain Thomas A. Ziegle, and the York Rifles, un- 
der Captain George Hay, immediately responded. On Satur- 
day evening, April 20, they received orders, and at n o'clock 
at night left on a special train toward Baltimore. They were 
at first stationed in squads at various bridges along the rail- 
road as far south as Cockeysville, Maryland. In the mean- 
time the First, Second and Third Regiments of Pennsylvania 
volunteers for the three months' service from various cities 
and towns of the state passed through York and encamped at 
Cockeysville. On April 26, two Pittsburg regiments arrived 
in York, and Camp Scott was organized, which by May 7 had 
nearly 6,000 men. The York Rifles became Company K of 
the Second regiment, which was organized April 21. Worth 
Infantry became Company A of the Sixteenth Pennsylvania 
Regiment. Three other York County companies were as- 
signed to this regiment. They were the Marion Rifles, of 
Hanover, Captain H. G. Myers ; the Hanover Infantry, Cap- 
tain Cyrus Diller, and the York Voltiguers, Captain Theodore 
D. Cochran. When the regiment was organized, May 3, 
Thomas A. Ziegle was chosen colonel. The Sixteenth Regi- 
ment afterward went to the front as part of Colonel Miles' 
Brigade of the Second Division of Patterson's army in Shen- 
andoah Valley. 

Thus, it will be seen, that York County promptly re- 
sponded to her country's call in time of peril with the same 
patriotic ardor she had shown in the Revolution and in the 
War of 1812. The gallant Eighty-seventh Regiment in the 
three years' service was composed almost entirely of York 
County men. Numerous other regiments had a large repre- 
sentation in their ranks, including the First and Twelfth Penn- 
sylvania Reserves, the Seventy-sixth, Ninety-first, Ninety- 
third, One Hundred and Seventh, One Hundred and Third, 
One Hundred and Thirtieth, One Hundred and Sixty-sixth, 
One Hundred and Eighty-seventh, One Hundred and Ninety- 
fourth, Two Hundredth, Two Hundred and Seventh, Two 
Hundred and Ninth Regiments and the Eleventh and Twelfth 
Pennsylvania Cavalry. These regiments all took an active 
part in the war and served gallantly in many hard-fought 

The great battle of Gettysburg, which decided the destiny 
of the Republic and the perpetuation of the Union, was fought 
on soil for half a century part of York County, and the rumble 
and the roar of the cannonading were heard by the citizen^ of 
York. The extreme right of Lee's army, a division of Ewell's 
corps, under command of General Early, entered the present 
limits of this county June 2,7, 1863, and encamped for the n : ght 
in the beautiful Paradise Valley, ten miles northwest of York. 


General Early and his staff slept at a house in Paradise Town- 
ship, afterwards owned by George W. Trimmer, about three 
and one-half miles east of East Berlin. General John P.. Gor- 
don, of Georgia, commanding a brigade which led the advance, 
encamped about four miles south of Early at Farmer's post- 
office, along the Gettysburg turnpike. He slept at the house 
of Jacob S. Altland. At this place he was visited by Chief 
Burgess David Small, A. B. Farquhar, W. L. Small, Colonel 
George Hay and Thomas White, who were authorized by the 
Committee of Safety to enter into terms for the Confederate 
occupation of York. There were then only about 300 Federal 
troops in the town, and as they could make no defense were 
ordered to retreat to Wrightsville. An agreement was en- 
tered into by which no private property was to be destroyed. 
General Early called at Gordon's headquarters later in the 
evening, confirmed the agreement made by his subordinate 
and gave Gordon orders how to enter York. It was Sunday 
morning, June 28, at 10 o'clock, just as the church bells were 
ringing that Gordon's brigade of 2,500 men came up West 
Market Street, and took down the American flag floating in 
Center Square and passed on through town toward Wrights- 
ville. The entire Confederate forces comprising the brigades 
under Generals Gordon, Hayes, Smith and Avery, numbered 
about 9,000 men. General Early took up his headquarters in 
the Sheriff's office in the Court House and on the following 
day, June 29, he made a requisition for provisions and articles 
of clothing and one hundred thousand dollars. Prominent 
'business men got their heads together, raised $28,000 and 
turned it over to the Confederate chieftain. It was not easy 
to raise the entire amount at once, as the bank deposits had 
been taken to Philadelphia some days before. Early then 
threatened to burn the car shops and the depot buildings un- 
less the balance of the money was forthcoming. The local 
railroads were then in the hands of the government, and some 
of the car shops were making cars for transportation of troops' 
and munitions of war. General Early, therefore sent a squad 
of North Carolina troops to apply the torch to them. Early 
and the chief burgess, who was importuning him not to de- 
stroy the buildings, went to the depot. They were followed by 
a delegation of prominent citizens. Upon arriving there 
Philip A. Small stepped up to the Confederate chieftain and 
said: "General, if you will not burn these shops and this depot, 
I will give you my draft on New York, tomorrow, for $50,000." 
"I will give you my answer presently," he responded. 
"At this juncture," said General Early to the writer at his 
home in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1891, "I looked up the street 
and saw a Confederate courier galloping toward me. I walked 
away from the crowd and received the message which was 


from my corps commander. General Ewell, then at Carlisle. 
It ordered me to retreat to Gettysburg, as the Potomac Army 
was moving toward that town- I then returned to the depot, 
told the delegation of citizens that I would consider Air. 
Small's proposition till tomorrow morning, well knowing that 
we would be out of town early the next day. I then returned 
to my headquarters and issued the following proclamation : 

"York, Pa., June 30, 1863. 
To the Citizens of York : — 

I have abstained from burning the railroad buildings and 
car shops of your town because after examination I am satis- 
fied the safety of the town would be endangered ; and, acting 
in the spirit of humanity, which has ever characterized my 
government and its military authorities, I do not desire to in- 
volve the innocent in the same punishment with the guilty. 
Had I applied the torch without regard to consequences I 
would have been fully vindicated as an act of just retaliation 
for the many authorized acts of barbarity perpetrated by your 
own army upon our soil. But we do not war upon women and 
children, and I trust the treatment you have met with at the 
hands of my soldiers will open your eyes to the monstrous in- 
iquity of the war waged by your government upon the people 
of the Confederate States, and that you will make an effort to 
shake off the revolting tyranny under which it is apparent to 
all you are yourselves groaning. 

Major-General, C. S. A." 

The nearest approach to New York and Philadelphia that 
any part of the Southern army reached was on the evening of 
June 28, 1863, when Gordon's brigade arrived at Wrightsville 
and exchanged a few shots with the Pennsylvania militia, and 
the famous City Troop of Philadelphia, under Hon. Samuel J. 
Randall. Gordon was sent there to seize the railroad bridge, 
which was set on fire by the Union troops, so it would not fall 
into the hands of the enemy. Wrightsville was the high 
water mark of the Southern Confederacy. 

On the morning of June 30, while Early with his division 
was marching out the Paradise valley toward Gettysburg, 
there was a fierce cavalry engagement on the streets of Han- 
over, between 6,000 Confederate troops under General J. E. 
B. Stuart, and 5,000 cavalrymen under General Kilpatrick. 
The former was thirty-one years old, and the latter only 
twenty-six. The famous Generals Custer and Farnsworth, on 
the Union side, Fitzhugh Lee and Wade Hampton on the Con- 
federate side, were subordinates in command in this memor- 
able cavalry fight. Stuart's advance surprised and attacked 
the rear of Kilpatrick's forces while they were dismounted in 

the Centre Square of the town receiving refreshments from 
the hands of patriotic citizens. A striking coincidence of this 
engagement, is that it took place on the one hundredth anni- 
versary of the founding of the town by Colonel Richard Mc- 
Allister, a patriot of the Revolution, near whose tomb in 
Mount Olivet cemetery, the Confederates planted their bat- 

Kilpatrick defeated Stuart and drove him out of Hanover. 
The latter not knowing of Early's retreat toward Gettysburg, 
proceeded to Jefferson and from thence to Dover, Dillsburg 
and Carlisle, and did not arrive at Gettysburg till the after- 
noon of the second day of the battle. "The engagement at 
Hanover," said General Pleasauton, who commanded all the 
cavalry of Meade's army in the campaign of 1863, "discon- 
certed the plans of Stuart, and saved the day at Gettysburg, 
for Lee did not have his cavalry when he needed it most on 
the first and second days of the battle." The battle of Han- 
over was the beginning of the great conflict at Gettysburg 
which took place the following three days. 

Spanish-American War. 

.The battleship Maine, belonging to the American navy, 
was blown up in the harbor of Havana, Cuba, February 15, 
1898. By this explosion nearly 200 American sailors lost their 
lives. The government of Spain refused to make reparation 
for this calamity and war was declared by the United States 
against Spain. Congress recognized the independence of 
Cuba, and three days later President McKinley issued a call 
for 125,000 troops to serve for two years or during the war. 
In response to this call Company A, of York, commanded by 
Captain Adam Garber, and Company I, of Wrightsville, com- 
manded by Captain J. H. Drenning, enlisted in the United 
States army. Both these companies belonged to the National 
Guard of Pennsylvania. 

Immediately after enlisting in the United States service, 
these companies went into camp at Mt. Gretna, near Lebanon. 
From there they were sent to Camp Meade, below Harrisburg, 
and in August, 1898, to Camp Alger, in Virginia, opposite 
Washington. Both the York County companies were later 
transferred to Augusta, Georgia, where they remained until 
they were mustered out. The war with Spain ended before 
they were called into active service in the field. General John 
W. Schall, who led the 87th Regiment of York County troops 
in many a hard fought battle during the Rebellion, commanded 
the brigade in which the two York County companies served 
in the Spanish-American war. There were at least 100 sol- 
diers from York County who served in different commands of 
the army. A few York County soldiers served in the Fourth 


Pennsylvania Regiment, which was sent to the island of Porto 
Rico. A number of York County men also served in the 
United States navy during this war. 

Visits From Distinguished Persons. 

It was during the dark days of the Revolution that Baron 
Steuben, a Prussian nobleman, and an aide on the staff of 
Frederick the Great in the Seven Years' War, came to York 
while Congress was in session here.^ He was induced by St. 
Germain, the French Minister of War at Paris, to unite with 

General Wayne's Headquarters 

the Americans in fighting for independence. Steuben arrived 
at Portsmouth, N. H., in December, 1777, proceeded at once 
to Boston, where he received a letter from Washington, hand- 
ed him by John Hancock, who had lately arrived from York. 
After an enthusiastic reception by the citizens of Portsmouth 
and Boston, accompanied by Duponceau, a learned French- 
man, and two aides, Steuben started for York, arriving here in 
February, the day after Lafayette had left York for Valley 
Forge. He stopped at the house of Eva, wife of Colonel 
Swope, who was then a prisoner of war in New York City. 
John Hancock occupied the same building when he was Presi- 


dent of Congress. Steuben was met the day after his arrival 
by a committee of Congress, of which Doctor Witherspoon, of 
New Jersey, was chairman. He appeared before Congress 
and proposed to serve in the American army without pay, if 
the colonies failed to establish their independence. He was 
then made a major-general in the American Army and sent to 
the encampment at Valley Forge, where he began his success- 
ful experience in training the American soldiers in the mili- 
tary tactics used in European armies. 

Thomas Paine, the noted patriot, who wrote many po- 
litical documents which commanded the greatest attention 
during the Revolution, spent a short, time in York as secretary 
to the Congressional Committee on Foreign Relations. While 
here he wrote a part of the "Fifth Crisis," which he published 
at Lancaster. 

During the winter of 1777-8, Martha Washington passed 
through York. She was met here by one of Washington's 
aides and with other attendants proceeded to the headquar- 
ters of the army at Valley Forge, where she remained for sev- 
eral months. Mrs. Washington also passed through York on 
her way from the army to Virginia in the year 1779. 

General Washington, never came here during the nine 
months that York was the seat of government of the United 
States. He remained during this whole period with his army 
near Philadelphia and at the military encampment at Valley 
Forge. He visited York during his early manhood when he 
was a surveyor, on his way to the land office at Philadelphia. 
In 1791, shortly after the session of- Congress had closed at 
Philadelphia, Washington began his tour of the Southern 
States, going as far south as Charleston. Upon his return, 
after spending several weeks at Mt. Vernon, he started for 
Philadelphia, passing through Frederick and Hanover, arriv- 
ing in York at 2 P. M., of July 2. 

A delegation of York citizens went several miles west to 
meet him and escort him to town. Rev. Mr. Roth, pastor of 
the Moravian Church of York, made the following interesting 
entry in his diary: "Upon the arrival of the President all the 
bells in the town rang in honor of the event, as if the voices of 
the arch-angels were sounding in harmony and commanding 
attention. I could not repress my tears at the thought of all 
this. Indeed, I cried aloud, not from a sense of sadness, but 
from a feeling of joyfulness. In the evening there was a gen- 
eral illumination, and at the Court House in each pane was a 
light, forty-nine pounds of candles being used. The Inde- 
pendent Light Infantry, commanded by Captain Hay, paraded, 
and, being drawn up in front of his Excellency's stopping 
place, fired fifteen rounds in honor of the fifteen states now in 
the Union." 

The following morning Washington was called upon by 


a deputation of citizens including Colonel Hartley, then a 
member of Congress, who delivered a lengthy address in the 
course of which he said: "The citizens of York cordially join 
in the general satisfaction and joy, which all the people of 
America feel in seeing you, the nation's chief executive. We 
feel that there is a universal sentiment of regard, esteem and 
veneration for you. May the Supreme Governor of the uni- 
verse long continue a life, so eminently distinguished in se- 
curing and preserving the best rights and happiness of the 
citizens of this highly favored country," 

The President afterward handed the committee the fol- 
lowing response : 


"Gentlemen : — I receive your congratulations with pleas- 
ure and I reply to your flattering and affectionate expressions 
of esteem with sincere and grateful regard. The satisfaction 
which you derive from the congeniality of freedom with good 
government which is clearly shown in the happiness of our 
highly favored country at once rewards the patriotism that 
achieved her liberty, and gives an assurance of its duration. 
That your individual prosperity may long continue among 
the proofs that attest the national welfare, is my earnest wish." 
Washington made this entry in his diary: "After receiving 
and answering an address from the inhabitants of York, I de- 
cided to go to church. There being no Episcopal minister in 
the place, I went to hear morning service in the Reformed 
Church, which being in the German language, I did not un- 
derstand a word. There was no danger of the eloquence of 
the preacher causing a proselyte of me. After service, accom- 
panied by Colonel Hartley and half a dozen other gentlemen, 
I set out for Lancaster, and the following day, July 4, was 
present in that borough at the celebration of the fifteenth an- 
niversary of American Independence." 

There is no record of any other visit of Washington to 
York except that he dined in the town in 1794, on his way to 
Philadelphia upon his return from Western Pennsylvania. 
The boat in which he then crossed the Susquehanna River at 
Wrightsville caught in the rocks and remained there two 

In 1825, Lafayette, who was making a tour of this coun- 
try as the "Guest of the Nation," arrived in York from Balti- 
more, January 29. He proceeded to Harrisburg accompanied 
by Dr. Adam King, who the next year was elected to Con- 
gress from York County ; Colonel M. H. Spangler, who so 
gallantly commanded the. York Volunteers at the battle of 
North Point in 1814, and Jacob Spangler, then Surveyor- 


General of Pennsylvania. They returned to York on Wed- 
nesday, February 2, and upon their arrival at the turnpike 
gate at 4 P. M., were met by a battalion of volunteers com- 
posed of Captain Nes' artillery, Captain Smith's rifle com- 
pany, four other companies under Captains Small, Barnitz, 
Freysinger and Stuck, and a vast multitude of people from 
the town and county. The tour of Lafayette of all the 
twenty-four states then in the Union had caused a wave of 
patriotism to pass over the entire land such as had never 
before been known, and the enterprising editor of the York 
Gazette, in the issue of February 8, 1825, says : 

"The people of York County poured forth overflowing 

The McGrath Inn 

hearts of gratitude and welcome to him whose name is a pass- 
port to the heart of every American." 

General Lafayette entered York in a barouche drawn by 
four gray horses, and as the procession passed through the 
principal streets, all the bells of the town were ringing and all 
the sidewalks, windows, doors and porticoes were filled with 
people, shouting their "Welcome, thrice welcome, Lafayette." 
The general stopped over night at McGrath' s Inn, at the 
southwest corner of Center Square, where he held a reception, 
after which 100 persons sat down to a sumptuous banquet. 
•Among the many toasts was the following: 


"Lafayette : We love him as a man, hail him as a deliv- 
erer, revere him as a champion of freedom and welcome him 
as a guest." 

To which he responded : "The town of York, the seat of 
our American Union in our most gloomy time. May her citi- 
zens enjoy a proportionate share of American prosperity." 

The next day he reviewed the military and left for Balti- 
more. Some of the old soldiers of the Revolution "could not 
receive the last adieu of the aged general without testifying 
their emotions in tears." 

John Adams, who was one of the leading spirits of Con- 
gress while its sessions were held in our colonial Court House, 
visited York in June, 1800, while he was President of the 
United States. He was met on his approach by the cavalry 
commanded by Lieutenant John Fisher and Captain Philip 
Gossler's Light Infantry, and escorted to town, where he was 
received by the inhabitants with ringing of bells and other 
demonstrations of respect. He remained here over night and 
the following day the borough authorities waited upon him 
and presented him with an address of welcome. President 
Adams responded with the following address : 

"To the Corporation and Inhabitants of the Borough of York : 
"Fellow Citizens : — I received with much satisfaction 
this friendly address. In revisiting the great counties of Lan- 
caster and York, after an interval of three and twenty years, 
I have not only received great pleasure from the civilities of 
people, which have deserved my grateful acknowledgments, 
but a much higher delight from the various evidences of their 
happiness and prosperity. The multiplication of inhabitants, 
the increase of buildings and utility, commerce and ornament, 
and the extensive improvements of the soil have everywhere 
given to the appearances around us a polish in some measure 
resembling those countries where art, skill and industry have 
been exhausted in giving the highest finishing and the cultiva- 
tion of the lands for many hundred years. 

"In return for your kind wishes, I pray for the confirma- 
tion and extension to you and your posterity of every blessing 
you enjoy. "JOHN ADAMS." 

Shortly afterwards the President proceeded on his jour- 
ney, escorted by the same military corps which met him on 
his arrival. 

General Andrew Jackson, accompanied by several officers 
of the army, arrived here in February, 1819, stopping one hour 
for supper at Hammersly's Hotel. The same evening the 
party proceeded to Lancaster and the following day started 
for the United States Military Academy at West Point. The 


general and his associates had been appointed by President 
Monroe to visit that institution. 

General Zachary Taylor, the hero of Buena Vista, came to 
York, August 10, 1849, arriving here from Baltimore on a train 
which stopped at West Market and Water Streets. He was 
enthusiastically received by the people of all political parties 
and escorted by the Worth Infantry, commanded by Captain 
Thomas A. Ziegle, a soldier of the Mexican War, and a dele- 
gation of citizens in carriages, passed up Market Street to the 
Washington Hotel. After taking dinner at this noted hos- 
telry, he held a reception and made a brief speech. He then 
proceeded on his journey to Philadelphia. General Taylor 
made his visit to York about six months after his inauguration 
as President of the United States. 

Among the other men of fame and distinction who hon- 
ored York with a visit were Charles Dickens, the English 
novelist ; Black Hawk, the famous Indian chief ; Henry Clay, 
Daniel Webster, Lewis Cass, James Buchanan, Admiral Far- 
ragut, and General Ulysses S. Grant. There were many inci- 
dents relating to the visits of these distinguished men which 
cannot be told in this brief story of historic York. 

Though Abraham Lincoln was never a visitor at York, he 
passed across the county from Hanover Junction to Gettys- 
burg in November, 1863. While the train stopped for a few 
minutes at Hanover, President Lincoln walked to the platform 
of the rear car, and in response to the enthusiastic calls for a 
speech, addressed a large assemblage of people for about three 
minutes. It was the following day that he made his great 
speedi at Gettysburg during the ceremonies when the battle- 
field was consecrated. 

Two interesting and important facts of history can' only 
be referred to in this brief story. The first iron steamboat 
designed in America was made at the shops of Davis and 
Gardner, at York, in 1826. It was the invention of John El- 
gar, of York, who afterward won distinction as an inventor in 
the employ of Ross Winans, of Baltimore. At the same shops 
in the year 1831, Davis and Gardner made the first locomotive 
in America that burned anthracite coal. It was put into suc- 
cessful operation on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad and won 
a prize of $4,000. The inventor of this locomotive, called 
"The York," was Phineas Davis, a noted citizen of York, who 
afterwards moved to Baltimore. 

Notable Men of York County. 

The most notable man of the early colonial period in York 
County was Colonel Hance Hamilton, a native of Scotland, 
who came with the early Scotch-Irish settlers, first to New- 
berry Manor, then to the Marsh Creek country, near Gettys- 


burg. He was chosen the first sheriff of York County in 
1750; next he became one of the justices of the Court of Com- 
mon Pleas. In 1756 he led a company in the French and In- 
dian war, and in 1758, commanded a battalion of the First 
Pennsylvania regiment, under General Armstrong, against the 
Indians at Kittanning. He died at the early age of tifty-one, 
just before the Revolution. 

Colonel Richard McAllister, the founder of Hanover, was 
a very conspicuous personage in colonial days, as well as dur- 
ing the Revolution. He led a York County regiment in sev- 
eral engagements, then was appointed to organize all the 
militia west of the Susquehanna. He was the first president 
justice of the county courts under the constitution of 1776, 
and later was vice-president of the Supreme Executive Coun- 
cil of Pennsylvania. 

James Smith, member of Continental Congress and signer 
of the Declaration of Independence, was one of the earliest 
members of the York County bar. He was born in Ireland, 
and when quite young came with his parents to America, set- 
tling in the lower end of York County. When the Revolu- 
tionary sentiment was gathering force, he was an ardent pa- 
triot and soon became the most influential man west of the 
Susquehanna. He died in York at the age of 93, and his re- 
mains rest in the Presbyterian church yard. The ablest 
statesman west of the Susquehanna, immediately after the 
, Revolution, was Colonel Thomas Hartley, a lawyer by pro- 
fession, who served with high honor and distinction as an of- 
ficer in the Revolution. He was chosen a member of the First 
Congress of the United States in 1789, and proved himself to 
be a fine orator and a useful legislator. The first speech in 
favor of a protective tariff ever made in Congress was deliv- 
ered by him during Washington's administration. Colonel 
Hartley was the first member of the Pennsylvania bar to be 
admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States. He died 
in York December 21, 1800, and his remains were buried in 
the Episcopal church yard on North Beaver Street, where a 
monument has been erected to his memory, through the efforts 
of the Yorktown Chapter of the Daughters of the Revolution. 

General Henry Miller, the first burgess of York at the 
time of the incorporation in 1787, was a man of note and dis- 
tinction. He was born near Lancaster, and came to York in 
1760. At the opening of the Revolution he became a lieuten- 
ant in Captain Doudel's Rifle company, which on June 1, 1775, 
began the march from York to Massachusetts soon after hear- 
ing of the battle of Bunker Hill. Although still a young man 
he was promoted from one post to another until he received 
the commission of a brigadier-general. He took an active part 
in many battles, including White Plains, Trenton, Monmouth, 
Brandywine and Germantown. He received high commenda- 


tion from General Washington for his bravery in the battle 
of Monmouth, where two horses were shot under him. After 
the war he served as a member of the State Constitutional 
Convention in 1790, then removed to Baltimore and subse- 
quently to Carlisle, where he died in 1824. 

Ellis Lewis, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Penn- 
sylvania, was born in Lewisberry, which town was named in 
honor of his ancestor, Eli Lewis, who wrote the famous poem, 
entitled "St. Clair's Defeat." 

Major John Clark, of York, who as a young man of 24, 
became an aid to General Greene in the Revolution, won the 
highest commendations from General Washington for his ser- 
vice in the army. He was a lawyer of exceptional ability. 

General Henry Miller 

Colonel David Grier was a member of the York bar in 
1771. When the Revolution opened he was chosen captain of 
a company of volunteers, and later was lieutenant-colonel of 
the Seventh Pennsylvania Regiment. He was wounded at the 
battle of Paoli, and became one of the original members of the 
Society of Cincinnati. 

General James Ewing, of the Revolution, resided at his 
country seat in Hellam Township, near Wrightsville, and died 
there in 1806. He was a soldier in Braddock's army in 1755, 
and three years later, held the commission of a lieutenant in 
Forbes' expedition against Fort Duquesne. He was a briga- 
dier-general of York County militia before the Revolution, 
and at the opening of hostilities commanded the first brigade 
of the Flying Camp. 

No soldiers of the Revolution gained more lasting fame 


for their daring courage and bravery, than General Richard 
Butler and his brothers, who were born in the western part of 
York County. They were known as "a gallant band of patriot 
brothers." Richard Butler, for whom one of the leading coun- 
ties of the state was named, served under Colonel Bouquet in 
his western expedition before the Revolution. He com- 
manded a regiment at the surrender of Burgoyne, led the 
Pennsylvania troops at Monmouth under Washington, and at 
Stony Point under Wayne. In 1781 he was second in com- 
mand under General Wayne in the famous march from York, 
Pennsylvania, to Yorktown, Virginia, where they took a 
prominent part at the surrender of Cornwallis. General But- 
ler's three brothers were officers in the Revolution. 

A man of great note and distinction in his time, a de- 
scendant of sturdy Scotch-Irish ancestry, was Hugh Henry 
Brackenridge, of Hopewell Township. He was first a chap- 
lain in the Revolution ; afterward a distinguished lawyer in 
Western Pennsylvania, and a justice of the Supreme Court of 
the state. He wrote a brilliant satire entitled "Modern Chiv- 
alry" after the order of "Hudibras," which attracted wide at- 

On the fertile plains of Lower Chanceford Township; near 
the village of Airville, the ancestors of William McKinley set- 
tled with the early Scotch-Irish immigrants west of the Sus- 
quehanna. After taking an active and honorable part in the 
struggle for independence, the President's ancestors migrated 
to Western Pennsylvania and from there to Ohio. 

The most distinguished lawyer York County has pro- 
duced was James Ross, who was born near Delta, in Peach- 
bottom Township, in 1762. Early in life he migrated to the 
city of Pittsburg, where he won national fame as an advocate, 
taking the highest rank at the bar, with no superior in the 
state. He was a close and intimate friend of Washington, and 
managed the estates of the first president in Western Penn- 
sylvania. Mr. Ross served two terms in the United States 
Senate. In 1802 he attracted the attention of the whole coun- 
try by an eloquent speech in the United States Senate, favor- 
ing war with Spain or the purchase of Louisiana territory, 
which included nearly all the land west of the Mississippi. 
This speech created a deep interest on the subject, and led to 
President Jefferson sending Monroe to France, which mission 
resulted in the purchase of Louisiana. Senator Ross was an 
orator and statesman, ranking with the leaders of the great 
Federalistic party, of whose policy and principles he was an 
ardent advocate. 

In Hopewell Township, not far west from the birthplace 
of Senator Ross, the eminent jurist John Rowan was born, in 
1773. He became a great criminal lawyer in Kentucky, served 
six years in the United States Senate from Kentucky, was 


commissioner of claims against Mexico, and first president of 
the Kentucky Historical Society. He attracted wide attention 
in 1827 by a speech delivered in the United States Senate 
against imprisonment for debt. 

The third of the trio of United States Senators from York 
County is Matthew Stanley Quay, whose father was pastor 
of the Presbyterian church at Dillsburg from 1830 to 1839. It 
was in that borough that this distinguished Pennsylvanian 
was born, in 1833, and was graduated from Washington and 
Jefferson college at the age of 17. In 1861 he enlisted as a 
lieutenant in the Pennsylvania Reserves, and later was chosen 
colonel of the One Hundred and Thirty-fourth regiment, 
which he led in a famous charge at the battle of Fredericks- 
burg. Soon afterward Governor Curtin made Colonel Quay 
his military secretary. He afterward filled many important 
public positions, including two terms in the United States 
Senate. He was recognized as one of the ablest political lead- 
ers this country has ever produced. 

The city of York was the birthplace of Rear Admiral 
Franklin, who won honor and fame in the Civil war as a naval 
commander. His brother. General William B. Franklin, also 
born in York, commanded a division in the battle of Antietam ; 
the First and Sixth corps of the Army of the Potomac, and 
was second to General Banks in the Red River expedition He 
was made a major-general in 1865. General Edmund 
Schriver, a native of York, r-ose from the position of lieutenant- 
colonel, in 1861, to that of major-general in the regular army 
in 1865. 

General Horatio Gates Gibson, a grandson of Dr. David 
Jameson, of York, and brother of the late Judge Gibson, gradu- 
ated at West Point in 1847, took part in numerous engage- 
ments and was promoted to a brigadier-general in. 1865 for 
"gallant and meritorious service during the war." General M. 
P. Small, of York, a graduate of West Point in 1855, was first 
an officer in the artillery service, became a brigadier-general 
of volunteers in 1865 "for faithful and meritorious services." 

Valentine Meisheimer, known in scientific circles as the 
"father of American entomology," lived many years in Han- 
over as pastor of the Lutheran church. Thomas Barton, the 
famous missionary, and father of Benjamin Barton, the first 
teacher of botany in America, founded the Episcopal church 
at York. For thirty years or more Jeremiah S. Black, one of 
the greatest jurists of his time, resided at his country seat near 
York, afterward the home of his honored son, Chauncey F. 

Court Houses. 

The County Courts were held in the houses of the jus- 
tices, or at some public inn, at York, from 1749 to 1756. In 


1754 the County Commissioners entered into an agreement 
with William Willis, an intelligent Quaker of York, to build 
the walls for the court house in center square. Henry Clark, 
of Warrington, contracted to furnish the lumber, and John 
Meen and Jacob Klein were the carpenters. Robert Jones, of 
Manchester, was to furnish seven thousand shingles. This 
court house was completed in 1756 and stood until 1840, a 
period of eighty-four years. It was in this building that Con- 
tinental Congress held its sessions for nine months of 1777-78. 

Figure of Justice in Colonial Court Hous. j 

When it was decided to build a new court house, a great con- 
troversy arose as to its location. The commissioners finally 
selected the one wmere the court house now stands. Jacob 
Dietz and Henry Small were the builders ; Charles Eppley the 
mason. The county commissioners then were John Reiman, 
William Nichols and John Beck. The granite pillars in front 
of the court house were brought from Marvland. The cost 


The Second Court House 

of the building was $100,000. The first court held in it was 
opened August 26th, 1846. The cupola was built on it and 
the bell placed in position in 1847. 

This building was poorly ventilated, and no longer adapt- 
ed to the increased demands of the court business, and was re- 
placed in 1898-1900, by the present elegant structure, one of 
the most ornamental temples of justice in the state of Penn- 
sylvania, or anywhere in this country. The commissioners of 
York county at the time of the erection of this court house 

' 1 "" a \J=liii_ ' 

The First York County Jail 

were George W. Atticks, Robert S. McDonald, and Andrew K. 
Straley. This beautiful building with an imposing front, sup- 
ported by six granite columns of Ionic architecture, is a 
graceful ornament to the city of York. It is surmounted by 
three domes, the middle one rising to a height of 155 feet. 
The interior of the building is a model of architectural beauty,' 
and every department is admirably adapted for the purposes 


designed. The materials vised in the construction of this court 
house are of excellent quality, which makes it both attractive 
and durable. The architect who designed and planned it was 
J. A. Dempwolf, of York. 

The judges who presided over the courts of York county 
in the order of succession since 1790 are as follows: William 
Augustus Atlee, John Joseph Henry, AA^alter Franklin, 
Ebenezer G. Bradford, Daniel Durkee, Robert J. Fisher, John 
Gibson, Pere L. Wickes, James W. Latimer, John W. Bitten- 
ger, W. F. Bay Stewart and Nevin M. Wanner. 

James Ross, for thirty years leader of the Pittsburg Bar 
and nine years United States senator, was born at Delta, Pa., 
and Jeremiah S. Black, the great jurist and statesman, spent 
the last twenty years of his life as a resident of York. 

The Judiciary. 

The early courts of York County were presided over by 
justices of the peace, who were appointed and commissioned 
by the provincial authorities. This plan was in force under 
the first state constitution of 1776. There was one president 
judge and either two or four associates. Under the constitu- 
tion of 1790, the state was divided by the legislature into ju- 
dicial districts, in each of which a person of knowledge and 
integrity, skilled in law, was appointed and commissioned 
president judge ; and in each county either three or four per- 
sons, not learned in the law, were appointed associate judges. 

William Augustus Atlee, of Lancaster, who was ap- 
pointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 1777, 
under the first state constitution, in 1791, under the new con- 
stitution became president judge of the Second Judicial dis- 
trict, embracing Chester, Lancaster and York Counties. His 
associate judges in York County were Henry Schlegel, John 
Edie, Jacob Rudisill and William Scott. Judge Atlee died of 
yellow fever while holding court in Philadelphia in 1793. His 
successor was John Joseph Plenry, of Lancaster, who as a 
young soldier of the Revolution had injured his health in the 
famous expedition against Canada, of which he became the 
historian. He was captured by the British at the storming of 
Quebec, and held for a year as a prisoner of war. In 1793, at 
the age of 35, after eight years of experience at the bar, he 
was appointed by his friend, Governor Thomas Mifflin, the 
president judge of the Second District. In 1806 Chester was 
separated from the Second District, and the new county of 
Dauphin annexed to it. January 10, 181 1, Judge Henry re- 
signed. The state awarded him $1,600, "for his services and 
sufferings in the Revolution." He died in April, 1814. 

Walter Franklin, a native of New York city, for years a 
member of the Philadelphia bar, and attorney-general of Penn- 


sylvania in the administration of Simon Snyder, the first Ger- 
man governor of the state, was appointed president judge of 
the Second" District January 18, 1811. It then embraced York, 
Lancaster and Dauphin Counties, but Cumberland and Leba- 
non were added soon afterward, and Dauphin placed in an- 
other district. Judge Franklin continued in office for the long 
period of twenty-seven years, until his death in 1838 at Lan- 

In the meantime, a district court had been established for 
York County, by legislative enactment in 1826, having con- 
current jurisdiction with the court of Common Pleas. Eben- 
ezer G. Bradford was made president judge of this county and 
Alexander Thompson associate. The latter was succeeded by 
Alexander L. Hayes, of Lancaster, and Lancaster County was 
made part of the district. 

From 1833 to 1840 York was a separate district with 
Daniel Durkee as judge. In 1835 York and Adams were sep- 
arated from the Second Judicial District of the Court of Com- 
mon Pleas and they formed the nineteenth, which title York 
County still bears. Judge Durkee, who had been judge of 
the District Court, which then ceased to exist, was appointed 
judge of the nineteenth district and presided over all the courts 
of York and Adams counties until 1845, when he was suc- 
ceeded by Judge Irwin, who resigned, and Judge Durkee suc- 
ceeded him until 1851. Of the associate judges who served on 
the bench with Durkee, Judge Barnitz, of York, held the po- 
sition twenty-seven years, and Judge John L. Hinkle, of Han- 
over, twenty-three years. 

Robert J. Fisher, son of George Fisher, a leading member 
of the Dauphin County bar, was chosen judge in 185 1, under 
the provisions of the revised constitution of 1838, which made 
the office elective. He was re-elected in 1861 and again in 
1871, and served in all the long period of thirty years. 

In the revised constitution of 1873 tne office of associate 
judge, not learned in the law, was abolished in counties form- 
ing a separate district. Counties having 40,000 inhabitants 
were to constitute separate districts. York county having 
76,000 itself became the nineteenth district. The last of the 
associate judges were John Moore, of Fairview, whose term 
expired in 1875, and Valentine Trout, of Chanceford, whose 
term expired in 1878. 

By act of April 12, 1875, York County was given an addi- 
tional law judge, and Pere L. Wickes was elected to the posi- 
tion. At the general election in 1881, John Gibson was chosen 
to succeed Judge Fisher, and Judge Wickes, by seniority of 
commission, was made president judge, serving until 1886, 
when James W. Latimer was elected additional law judge. 
John W. Bittenger was elected to succeed Judge Gibson, and 


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Present Court House 

W. F. Bay Stewart to succeed James W. Latimer in 1896. 
Nevin M. Wanner was chosen his successor in 1906. 

U. S. Senators and Representatives in Congress. 

Three United States Senators were born in York County 
— James Ross, in Peachbottom Township ; John Rowan, in 
Hopewell, and Matthew Stanley Quay, in Dillsburg. 

Colonel Thomas Hartley, of York, was chosen a member 
of the First Congress, and served in all twelve years in that 
body. John Stewart, of York, who succeeded him, was elected 
in 1801, and served two terms. James Kelley, a native of the 
lower end of the county, and a member of the York bar, served 
from 1805 to 1809. Dr. William Crawford, a graduate of the 
University of Edinburg in the classical course and in medi- 
cine, a physician in the Marsh Creek settlement, was a mem- 
ber from 1809 to !8i7,' representing York county four of those 
years. Hugh Glasgow, of Peachbottom, for twelve years an 
associate judge, was a member from 1813 to 1817, as a Demo- 
. crat, when he was succeeded by Jacob Spangler, of York, a 
Federalist, who resigned in 1818, when his successor, Jacob 
Hostetter, the noted old-time clockmaker of Hanover, was 
elected by the Democrats. James Mitchell, of Warrington, 
served from December, 1821, to March, 1826, and then moved 
to the West. Dr. Adam King, of York, for many years one 
of the proprietors of the York Gazette, served as a Democrat 
from December 4, 1827, to March 4, 1832, when he was suc- 
ceeded by George A. Barnitz, a follower of Henry Clay, and 
for twenty years the leader of the York bar, who served one 
term. Colonel Henry Logan, of Carroll Township, was 
elected as a Democrat in 1834 and re-elected in 1836. Dr. 
James Gerry, of Shrewsbury, .was elected in 1838, and re- 
elected in 1840. Dr. Henry Nes, who succeeded as an inde- 
pendent candidate in 1842, was elected as a Whig in 1844 and 
1848 and served till 1850. During his term he was one of the 
attending physicians to John Quincy Adams, who was stricken 
with apoplexy, while making a speech in Congress. William 
H. Kurtz, of York, served as a Democrat from December, 
1851, to March, 1855. 

For several terms in succession York County was repre- 
sented by Lemmuel Todd and John A. Ahl, of Cumberland ; 
B. F. Junkin and Joseph Bailey, of Perry, until 1864, when 
Adam J. Glossbrenner, another part proprietor of the York 
Gazette, was elected and served two terms. Richard J. Hal- 
deman, of Cumberland, succeeded in 1870; John A. Magee, of 
Perry, in 1872; Colonel Levi Maish, of York, in 1874; Frank 
E. Beltzhoover, of Cumberland, in 1878 ; William A. Duncan, 
of Adams, in 1882, who died soon after his second election, 
and was succeeded by Dr. John Swope, of Adams County, in 


January, 1885. The members elected since Dr. Swope in 

order were Colonel Maish, F. E. Beltzhoover, James A. 

Stahle, George J. Benner, Edward D. Ziegler, Robert J. 
Lewis, and Daniel F. Lafean. 

First Public Roads, Canal, Railroad, Banks and Newspapers. 

The first public road laid out west of the Susquehanna, 
under Penn's government, was authorized by the courts at 
Lancaster in 1739, ten years before York county was formed. 
It extended from Wright's Ferry through the present sites of 
York and Hanover to the Monocacy settlement, near Fred- 
erick, Maryland, a distance of thirty-five miles from the point 
of starting. It soon became an important line of travel from 
the east to the south and the southwest. This route was taken 
by General Wayne in 1781, when he marched with his forces 
from York to Yorktown, Virginia, to the surrender of Corn- 
wallis. It was also the route over which the British and Hes- 
sian prisoners were removed during the Revolution to West- 
ern Maryland and Virginia. President Washington passed 
over it in 1791 on his way from Mt. Vernon to Philadelphia, 
and Generals Wayne and St. Clair in 1791 and 1792 on their 
way to quell the Indians in the Ohio valley. During the war 
of 1812 when the British captured Washington and threat- 
ened Baltimore, immense teams of wagons, conveying cotton 
from Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, 
used this route on their way to Philadelphia and New York. 
The war with England prevented trade with the south being 
carried on by water. 

A road was laid out to the Conewago settlement at Han- 
over in 1736, by authority of the Maryland courts. 

A company was chartered by the state in 1791 to con- 
struct a canal around the Conewago falls at York Haven in 
order to improve the navigation of the Susquehanna. Among 
the fifteen directors empowered by the state to build and 
operate the canal, were Robert Morris, the financier of the 
Revolution ; David Rittenhouse, the first great American as- 
tronomer ; Dr. William Smith, Tench Francis and Alexander 
James Dallas, all of Philadelphia. 

The company received state aid to the amount of $20,000 
and the canal, one mile in length and forty feet wide, was com- 
pleted in 1795 at a cost of $102,000. It was the first import- 
. ant step in developing the internal improvements of the state 
and was the first canal built in the middle and southern states. 
The canal was opened to public use with imposing ceremonies 
November 22, 1797. Thomas Mifflin, the first governor of the 
state, and the state legislature came up from Lancaster, then 
the state capital, on horseback, and crossed the river in flat 
boats. Governor Mifflin made a speech on that occasion. 


The Baltimore and Susquehanna railroad, now part of the 
Northern Central Railway, was started in Baltimore in 1830 
and completed to Owing's mills in 1832. It did not reach 
York until August, 1838. A line was completed from York 
to Wrightsville in 1840, and at Columbia joined the state road 
to Philadelphia. The line from York to Harrisburg was fin- 
ished in 1850. 

The telegraph was first put into operation from Baltimore 
to York in 1850, only six years after its invention by Morse. 
The same year lines were extended to Harrisburg and to Co- 
lumbia. The first telegraph line to Hanover was built in 1858. 

J. K. Gross in 1882 first put the telephone on the exchange 
system into effective use in York county. W. Latimer Small 
put up the first wire in the county, from his residence to the 
Codorus mills. 

The York bank, founded in 1814, was the only financial 
institution in York until 1835, when the York County bank 
was founded. The Hanover Saving Fund society was found- 
ed in 1835. 

The printing press was brought to York county during 
the Revolution when Continental Congress, in 1777, while sit- 
ting in York, ordered the press of Hall & Sellers, of Philadel- 
phia, to be removed to York. On this press many public 
documents were published, likewise much Continental money. 
The "Pennsylvania Gazette," a weekly paper founded by 
Franklin in Philadelphia, was also published in York during 
1777-78. The first paper started in York was the Pennsyl- 
vania Chronicle and Weekly Advertiser, in 1787. It lasted 
only two years and was succeeded by the Pennsylvania Her- 
ald, the files of which are now in the Historical Society ol 
York county. 

The Davis Engine. 

In 183 1 the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company 
offered a premium of $4,000 ''for the most approved and $3,500 
for the engine which shall be adjudged the next best." There 
were four competitors for these premiums, among them Davis 
& Gardner, of York, Pa., to whom was awarded the first pre- 
mium. Their first locomotive was named the "York" and 
was built in their shops at the corner of King and Newberry 
Streets, and shipped to Baltimore on wagons. They after- 
ward built two locomotives in York named respectively the 
"Atlantic" and the "Indian Chief." The latter was afterwards 
christened the "Traveler." "No authentic drawing or other 
representation on any of these engines," says the noted me- 
chanical engineer, M. N. Forney, in the Railroad Gazette for 
1903, "has ever been known to be extant until a short time ago, 
when the York County Historical Society discovered a seal of 


the Borough of York County," of which an engraving is given 
herewith. This seal was engraved by William Wagner, of 
York, at. some time between the years 1831 and 1835. The 
name P. Davis on the boiler is engraved on the seal and indi- 
cates that the people of York were then proud of the achieve- 
ment of one of their citizens, as they well might be, for he in- 
vented and built at York the first locomotive burning anthra- 
cite coal that was put into successful operation. Phineas 
Davis in 1833 moved to Baltimore, where he became superin- 
tendent of the shops of Ross Winans, of that city. He was 
killed accidentally in 1835 while running one of his locomo- 

tives over the B. & O. road between Baltimore and Ellicott 

Big Floods. 

The flood of 1817 caused great destruction of property in 
York and throughout the county. A remarkable downpour of 
rain fell for several hours and the Codorus became a roaring 
torrent nearly half a mile wide, rolling-through streets of York 
like a mighty river. 

The most destructive flood in the history of the county 
occurred on the night of June 25 and the morning of June 26, 
1884. The rain began to fall early in the evening of the 25th, 
gradually increasing in amount, and it continued one pelter- 
ing, pouring stream of rain as if the floodgates of Heaven had 


been opened, until 3 A. M. During the night the astonishing 
amount of twelve inches of rain had fallen in various points in 
York County. 

The Codorus and Conewago and other streams in the 
county swelling up to the size of raging, rushing, roaring 
rivers. A careful estimate made by the writer soon after the 
flood credits -the amount of 130,000,000 tons of rainfall in the 
territory drained by the Codorus. Most of this water passed 
through York, widening the stream on Market Street from 
beyond Newberry Street nearly to the York National Bank, 
and increased its depth twenty-five feet. The entire destruc- 
tion of property in the city and county was about $700,000. 
The county commissioners, Messrs. Haines, Keefer and Bentz, 
were required to expend $91,000 for the erection of twenty-one 
bridges, that had been taken away in the county. 

One Hundredth Anniversary. 

The centennial of our existence as a nation was celebrated 
amid great enthusiasm in York, July 4, 1876. There was a 
grand paean of all the bells in town from midnight till one 
o'clock A. M. Then followed huge bonfires and a brilliant 
display of fireworks and the roar of guns and cannons. The 
streets were rife with people and at daybreak music filled the 
air. The town in general was handsomely decorated but the 
fire companies excelled all precedents by a tasteful and ele- 
gant display of ornamentation. At 6 A. M. a vast concourse 
of people witnessed the raising of a large and elegant Ameri- 
can flag on a pole erected in Centre Square. In the forenoon 
a parade of military companies, firemen and various orders, in 
all, 5,000 men, passed through the leading streets escorted by 
many bands discoursing patriotic music. Captain Frank 
Geise was chief marshal and his aids were Major H. S. Mc- 
Nair, George W. Heiges, John Blackford, Horace Keesey. 

Following the parade were commemorative exercises in 
Centre Square, on the site where Congress met during the 
Revolution. Rev. Dr. Lochman delivered the opening prayer, 
the Hadyn quartette sang "A Hundred Years Ago." Fitz 
James Evans read the Declaration of Independence and Hon. 
John Gibson read an historical sketch of York County. In 
the evening the people again assembled in Centre Square and 
listened to a grand chorus led by Prof. Gipe, the reading of a 
poem "One Hundredth Birthday" by E. Norman Gunnison, 
and an oration by George W. McElroy. A splendid exhibi- 
tion of fireworks on the fair grounds ended the day's celebra- 

York was founded in 1741 by Thomas and Richard Penn. 
It became the seat of justice in 1749, when York County was 
organized. During the Revolution the population was about 


1600. It was incorporated as the Borough of York in 1787. 
and was chartered by the State of Pennsylvania as the City of 
York in 1887. It was never officially known as "Yorktown," 
even though this name was applied to it frequently during the 
Revolution and as late as 1800. The population of York in 
1790 was 2,076; 1800, 2,503; 1810, 3,201; 1830, 3,545; 1830, 4,- 
772; 1840, 5,840; 1850, 6,963; i860, 8,605; 1870, 11,103; l88o > 
13,971; 1890, 20,793; 1900, 33,708. The estimated population 
of the city and its suburbs in 1906 is 43,000. 

Hanover was founded in 1763 by Colonel Richard McAl- 
lister, who commanded a regiment of troops in the Revolution. 
The town was incorporated in 181 5. Its population in 1820 
was 946; in i860, 1,630; 1900, 5,302. The population in 1906, 
including the villages adjoining the borough is about 8,000. 

Wrightsville is situated on historic ground. While Con- 
gress was in session at Philadelphia, and a permanent seat of 
government was being discussed, either the east side of the 
river at Columbia or the west side at Wrightsville was desig- 
nated as a suitable place for the capital of the United States. 
At one time in the discussion, there were strong indications 
that the bill would pass both houses of Congress and the place 
known as Wright's Ferry would become the seat of the United 
States government. About the same time, at the direction of 
Senator Maclay, of Pennsylvania, a territory ten miles square 
with York as the centre, was surveyed for the purpose of pre- 
senting a bill to Congress to make York the capital of the 
United States. Washington was made the seat of government 
in 1801. Wrightsville was founded in 181 1, and incorporated 
as a borough in 1834. 

Among the older towns in York County are Lewisberry, 
founded in 1798; Newberrytown in 1791 ; Dillsburg in 1800; 
Dover in 1764; Shrewsbury, originally called Strasburg, in 
1800; Stewartstown in 1814; Loganville in 1820; Glen Rock, 
1837; Manchester Borough in 181 5; York Haven in 1810; Jef- 
ferson in 1812 ; Franklintown in 1813 ; Wellsville in 1843 ; New 
Market in 1807; Goldsboro in 1850. 

There are a number of towns in the county that are of 
recent origin. Through the energy of the citizens and the 
business and manufacturing enterprises in these towns, they 
have grown rapidly in population. Among these are Red 
Lion, Dallastown, Spring Grove, Delta, Mt. Wolf, Yorkana, 
Yoe Borough, Jacobus, Hellam, East Prospect, Windsor and 
Emigsville. Some of the other centres of population are 
Weiglestown, Davidsburg, Kralltown, Rossville, Round Town, 
New Holland, Pleasureville, Alpine, Fawn Grove, Cross 
Roads, Gatchelville, Seven Valley, Railroad Borough, New 
Park, New Freedom, West Bangor, Siddonsburg, Airville, 
Strinestown, Big Mount, Yocumtown, Baughmansville. 


York Borough Centennial. 

An event of special interest and importance was the one 
hundredth anniversary of the incorporation of York, cele- 
brated September 24 and 25, 1887, with imposing ceremonies. 
On that occasion 30,000 visitors were in attendance. The 
town was filled with people. Public buildings, stores and pri- 
vate houses were decorated with flags, evergreens and bunt- 
ing and the anniversary day was ushered in by the ringing of 
bells and the firing of cannon. During the forenoon 3,000 
school children marched in procession through the principal 
streets. The boys wore uniform caps and the girls were 
dressed in white. They were reviewed from a stand in Centre 
Square by Governor James A. Beaver, who at the close of the 
parade delivered an address. He was followed by Deputy Su- 
perintendent of Schools Henry Houch and Prof. W. H. Shelly. 
Five hundred young ladies on a large platform sang several 
patriotic selections. During the noon hour the chimes of 
Trinity church played the national airs as well as sacred music. 

In the afternoon there was a parade of the military, the 
Grand Army of the Republic, the firemen and secret orders. In 
all there were 2,000 men in line, while thirty bands and drum 
corps furnished the music. Colonel Levi Maish was chief 
marshal. His aids were Major Ruhl, Captains Fahs, Greene- 
wait and Reynolds, Dr. McKinnon, Thornton Hendrickson, 
Daniel Fishel, Stephen Wilson and Augustus Flury. After 
the parade the governor held a reception in the opera house 
and in the evening there was a brilliant display of fireworks on 
the public Common. The succeeding day there was an im- 
mense parade of Odd Fellows, Red Men, American Mechanics 
and a long succession of floats representing business houses 
and manufacturing establishments followed by an illustration 
of farming as it was conducted 100 years ago and today. 
When the parade was ended Hon. Chauncey F. Black deliv- 
ered an eloquent oration in the opera house, and then Judge 
Gibson read an excellent historical sketch of the town. The 
exercises closed by a grand chorus singing "A Hundred Years 
Ago," and "A Hundred Years to Come." 

Sesqui-Centennial of York County. 

The celebration in 1899, of the Sesqui-Centennial, or the 
one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the erection of York 
County, was one of the most interesting events in the history 
of York. The plan originated with the York Board of Trade, 
and at a meeting of citizens held May 13, 1899, a general com- 
mittee was appointed, composed of Milton B. Gibson, Presi- 
dent; George S. Billmeyer, Treasurer; Houston E. Landis, 
Secretary; and M. L. Van Banian, Isaac Rudisill, J. Frank 


Gable, S. M. Manifold, Captain W. H. Lanius, Grier Hersh, 
John Garrety, H. E. Powell, Dr. E. T. Jeffers, H. C. Niles, R. 
F. Gibson, George W. Gross, and William A. Froelich. This 
committee decided to hold a four days' demonstration in the 
City of York on September 3, 4, 5 and 6. The ceremonies 
opened with a meeting held in the auditorium of the York 
High School on Sunday, September 3, presided over by Rev. 
H. E. Niles, D. D., when the religious history of the county 
was discussed by Rev. James Drummond and Rev. W. S. 
Freas, D. D. 

The celebration was formally inaugurated in an address 
of welcome by M. B. Gibson, chairman of the General Com- 
mittee, on the morning of September 4, at the York Opera 
House. The purpose of this meeting was to listen to an his- 
torical review of the city and .county. Dr. E. T. Jeffers, Presi- 
dent of the York Collegiate Institute, presided. Addresses 
were delivered relating to the three classes of people who com- 
posed the original settlers of York. Hon. John W. Bittenger 
spoke of the Germans ; Robert C. Bair, of the Scotch-Irish ; 
and George R. Prowell, of the Friends or Quakers. This part 
of the exercises was followed by an address on the early his- 
tory of York by H. C. Niles, and an original poem by William 
M. Gamble. In the afternoon of the same day the people wit- 
nessed an impressive pageant composed of nearly 5,000 school 
children, marching to a flag raising in honor of the dedication 
of the magnificent High School which had just been com- 
pleted. Addresses were delivered by Hon. E. D. Ziegler, 
member of Congress from York County ; Charles H. Stall- 
man, President of the School Board, and Captain Frank 
Geise, Mayor of York. 

The greatest concourse of people ever assembled in York, 
possibly not less than 100,000, witnessed the industrial parade 
on the second day of the celebration. This included one hun- 
dred and sixty-eight floats', besides the large number of men 
representing the industrial establishments and large corpora- 
tions. The civic parade of the succeeding day was no less 
imposing, about one hundred and twenty-five companies and 
secret organizations of various kinds being in line. The peo- 
ple of York, particularly those who had assumed the arduous 
task of preparing for the four days' demonstration, could 
justly congratulate themselves upon the successful outcome 
of their labors. 

Education in York County. 

The early Quakers who took up the fertile lands within 
the present area of York County, beginning as early as 1735, 
established schools for the education of their children. The 
Scotch-Irish who by nature were an educating people, also 


brought the church and school with them. Church schools 
similar to those established in Scotland during the latter part 
of the seventeenth century were connected with the early 
Presbyterian churches of York County. 

The first German churches in this county had parochial 
schools, yet no systematic effort was made to improve the 
schools among the Germans in Pennsylvania until 175 1, when 
Michael Schlatter was sent to this country on that mission and 
did excellent work. A plan was laid by some noblemen of 
Europe, for the instruction of the Germans and their descend- 
ants' in Pennsylvania; consequently through the efforts of 
Rev. Muhlenberg on the part of the Lutherans and Rev. 
Schlatter on the part of the German Reformed people, paroch- 
ial schools were very early established in this county. These 
schools continued till about 1830. In addition to these paroch- 
ial schools, private schools were established in places remote 
from churches or meeting houses. 

The York County Academy is the oldest chartered insti- 
tution, of learning, west of the Susquehanna River. It was 
founded in the year 1787. Among its first Board of Trustees 
were Colonel Thomas Hartley and General Henry Miller, dis- 
tinguished soldiers of the Revolution. The institution was 
founded by Rev. John Campbell, rector of St. John's Episcopal 
Church, of York. Thaddeus Stevens, the great American 
statesman, and Daniel Kirkwood, the noted astronomer, at one 
time were instructors at this school. George W. Ruby was 
principal of the Academy for a quarter of a century. Stephen 
Boyer served the same length of time. Principals of a later 
date have been George W. Gross, David H. Gardner, E. E. 
Wentworth and James H. Crowell. 

Act of 1834. 

The act of 1834 establishing our present system of public 
schools caused an exciting discussion in the legislature. Its 
final passage was considered a triumph by its advocates.. 
This act was passed and signed through the influence of 
George Wolf, then governor of Pennsylvania, and Thaddeus 
Stevens, who represented Adams County in the State Legis- 
lature. It was entitled "an act to establish a general system 
of education by common schools." 

A convention of delegates assembled in York on Tuesday, 
November 4, 1834. Jacob Dietz was president and Daniel 
Small, secretary. "Will this convention accept the provisions 
of the school law as passed in April of this year, and shall a 
tax be laid for the expenditures of each district?" was brought 
up for consideration. 

The following named persons voted in the affirmative, in 
the order given : Samuel Prowell, representing Fairview ; 


Luther H. Skinner, Hanover; Jacob Emmiti, South Ward, 
York ; Godlove Kane, North Ward, York ; James H. Smith, 
Chanceford ; Robert Gebby, Lower Chanceford ; John Living- 
stone, Peachbottom. 

The other townships of the county accepted the system 
during the succeeding ten years. 

County Superintendency. 

During the first twenty years after the establishment of 
the public school system in Pennsylvania, there was no gen- 
eral supervision of schools. An act w 7 as passed in 1854 creat- 
ing the office of county superintendent. Jacob Kirk, of Fair- 
view Township, was the first person who filled that office in 
York County. He served one year, and then resigned. G. 
Christopher Stair, of York, was appointed his successor and 
after filling the position for fifteen months, resigned on ac- 
count of ill health. Dr. A. R. Blair, of York, was appointed 
to complete the term and was elected in 1857 for a term of 
three years. He was re-elected in i860, and in 1862 he re- 
signed to become a surgeon in the United States army. Dan- 
iel M. Ettinger, of York, was appointed to complete the term. 
Samuel B. Heiges, of Dillsburg, was elected in 1863 and re- 
elected in 1866. Stephen G. Boyd, principal of the schools of 
Wrightsville, was elected in 1869. He was succeeded by Wil- 
liam H. Kain, of West Manchester Township, a recent gradu- 
ate of Pennsylvania College. He served two terms and was 
succeeded in 1878 by David G. Williams, who was twice re- 
elected. In 1887, H. C. Brenneman, of Warrington Township, 
then principal of the York High School, was elected and re- 
elected in 1890. During the last year of his second term the 
state school law went into effect providing free text books. 
David H. Gardner, principal of the Wrightsville schools, and 
for many years connected with the York County Normal 
School, was elected in 1893. He was three times re-elected, 
serving in all twelve yearsj Charles W. Stine, principal of 
the public schools of Dallastown, was elected to the office of 
county superintendent in 1905. 

In 1855, the first county superintendent reported 279 
schools in York County, conducted under the act which estab- 
lished the public schools. The official report of 1905 recorded 
523 teachers in the county, and 156 in the city of York. 

The public schools of York County have gradually im- 
proved since the introduction of the system in 1834. Origi- 
nally plain and unpretentious school buildings were used. 
During the past thirty years the advancement has been so 
successful as to command the admiration of all persons inter- 
ested in public education.' Some splendid school buildings 
have been erected in all the townships of the county, and high 


school buildings of modern architecture have been built within 
the past few years in Hanover, Spring Grove, Delta and Dills- 
burg. A township high school is kept up at Glenville, in Co- 
dorus Township. 

The number of pupils enrolled for the year 1906 is 20,000. 

The Schools of York. 

The City of York is noted for its superior educational ad- 
vantages, and large commodious public school buildings and 
excellent private institutions of learning. Soon after the town 
was founded there were parochial schools connected with all 
the churches. Bartholomew Moul, one of the first settlers, 
taught the school belonging to Christ's Lutheran church and 
Ludwig Kraft had charge of the school connected with Zion 
Reformed church. For nearly a century thereafter the boys 
and girls of the town of York obtained their education in pri- 
vate or church schools. 

The first public school buildings owned by the town were 
erected in 1838. From 1854 to 1871 the York schools were 
under the supervision of the county superintendent. In 187.1, 
William H. Shelley was chosen the first borough superintend- 
ent. With the aid and advice of an active and efficient Board 
of Education, of which Dr. Samuel J. Rouse was secretary, 
he soon established a graded system of schools and founded 
the High School. During this period, many of the old school 
buildings were replaced by new ones, which were fitted up 
with modern school furniture. The erection of school build- 
ings has been continued with commendable activity, and at 
present (1906) there are twenty-seven school buildings con- 
taining all the modern improvements of school architecture 
and equipments. The aggregate valuation of the school prop- 
erty in York for 1906 is $740,000. The valuation of school 
property in 1876 was $125,000. 

In 1898, the School Board purchased a site facing Penn 
Park and upon it erected for the City High School a building 
of modern architecture. It is one of the most imposing build- 
ings of its kind in this country, costing $170,000. The large 
auditorium has a seating capacity of 1,600 persons. B. F. 
Willis, of York, was the architect. C. B. Pennypacker has 
been principal of the High School since 1903. The number 
of teachers in all the public schools is 157; the number of pu- 
pils enrolled for 1906 is 6,500. A. Wanner has been super- 
intendent of schools since 1890. 


Questions on the Text 

The answers to the following questions will be found in 
the preceding pages. 

i. What were the names of the three original counties in 
Pennsylvania, and when were they organized? 

2. When was York County laid out, what did it include, 
and what was its area and population when first organized? 

3. When was York County divided, and what is its pres- 
ent area? 

4. What was the population of York County in 1783, in 
i860, and in 1 900? 

5. When was the town of York laid out? 

6. How many people then lived in York County? 

7. What is the highest point in York County? 

8. What is the elevation of York, Hanover, Wrights- 
ville and Red Lion? 

9. When and where was the first township laid out, the 
first canal built and the first railroad constructed in York 
County ? 

10. What three nationalities first settled in York Coun- 
ty, and from what countries did they originally come? 

11. When and where were the first houses for religious 
worship built, and by what denomination? 

12. When and where did the first troops of York County 
join the army under Washington? Tell something about 
this company. 

13. Name some of the noted soldiers from York County 
who served in the Revolution. 

14. Name some battles in which York County troops 
participated, in the Revolution. 

15. When did Continental Congress remove to York? 

16. Name some of the noted men who served in Con- 
gress at York. 

17. Who was the first president of Congress at York? 

18. . What great victory gave rise to the First National 
Thanksgiving Proclamation ? 

19. Under what circumstances did Samuel Adams make 
a great speech at York? 

20. Where was Washington and his army when Con- 
gress was in session at York? 

21. For what purpose did Baron Steuberv come to York? 


22. Tell something" about the United States Treasury 
Building at York, and Archibald McLean, its owner. 
2^. What can you. tell about the Conway Cabal? 

24. Tell something about York County in the War 
of 1812. 

25. Tell what you can of the Confederate occupation of 
York in 1863. 

26. Where did Early's troops go when they left York? 

27. W r hat two companies from York County first entered 
the Union army? 

28. Tell something about Washington's visit to York. 

29. Give an account of Lafayette's visit to York. 

30. When was the act of the legislature passed estab- 
lishing the present school system of Pennsylvania? 

31. How many Court Houses have there been at York? 

32. Tell something about the locomotive made by 
Phineas Davis. 

33. Tell something about the first stone house in York 

34. Name four creeks in York County, and tell where 
they flow. 

35. Bound York County. 


Questions on Current History 

The following- is a list of questions, prepared at the sug- 
gestion of the County Superintendent, for use in examination 
of teachers : 

i. What can you say of the recovery and recent burial 
of the remains of John Paul Jones? 

2. What was the treaty of Portsmouth, and between 
what nations was it made? 

3. What countries of Europe, recently one nation, are 
now separate kingdoms? 

4. Name the present rulers of England, Germany, Rus- 
sia and Italy. 

5. What is wireless telegraphy, and who invented it? 

6. Name the different kinds of vessels in the American 

7. Wnat were the causes and what were the results of 
the recent war between Russia and Japan? 

8. What is the Hague Tribunal, and for what purpose 
was it originated? 

9. What may be considered the main objects of the re- 
cent treaty, signed between England and Japan? 

10. Who is the speaker of the fifty-ninth Congress and 
what are his principal duties? 

11. Describe the projected Panama Canal and show its 
advantages when completed. 

12. What recent possessions have been acquired by the 
United States, and how are they governed? 

13. Name the cabinet officers of President Roosevelt. 

14. What can you say of the new capitol at Harrisburg? 

15. How many judges compose the United States Su- 
preme Court? Who is the present Chief Justice of this Court? 

16. Name some of the noted generals of the army now 

17. Name some of the marriages that have taken place 
in the White House at Washington. 

18. What can you tell about the proposed law relating 
to railroad rebates? 

19. What territories were designated for admission into 
the Union by Statehood Bill presented to the fifty-ninth Con- 
gress ? 

20. What are the causes of difficulties between the coal 
miners and operators? 


21. Name five of the leading railroads in the United 
States. What is meant by abolishing railroad rebates? 

22. What does Walter Wellman propose to accomplish 
in his airship? 

23. What are the arguments in favor of the Income Tax 

24. Tell what you know about the recent volcanic erup- 
tion of Mt. Vesuvius. 

25. Describe the recent earthquake in California.