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A Brief History of
By GEORGE R. PROWELL
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
By GEORGE R. PROWELL
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
GEORGE R. PROWELL
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
Lyrasis Members and Sloan Foundation
A BRIEF HISTORY OF
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.
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
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
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-
"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 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
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-
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
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-
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.
T. A. EARLY,
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.
.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
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 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 :
"TO THE CITIZENS OF YORK:
"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
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
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
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.
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 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
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
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
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
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-
The other townships of the county accepted the system
during the succeeding ten years.
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-
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-
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
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
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
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
33. Tell something about the first stone house in York
34. Name four creeks in York County, and tell where
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-
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.