John Gibson.

History of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present online

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1862. The regular meetings of this company
are held monthly in Dallastown. A large
amount of insurance has been taken since its
organization. The following named persons
are its directors: D. S. Mitzel, president:
John F. Geesy, vice-president; H. S. Bai-sh-
inger, secretary; A. K. Frey, treasurer;
Andrew Barshinger, Daniel Warner, Henry
Wallick, William Wineka, Jacob Stabley,
Henry Stover, John S. Keech, Henry


The Spring Garden Mutual Fire Insurance
Company of York County was incorporated
April 14th, 1864. Commenced business
May 2, 1864. The office of the company is
in East-York, 383 East Market Street. The
first board of directors were Daniel Gotwalt,
A. P. Hiestand, David Witmer, John Flory,
John H. Freed, Michael Weidman, John


Emig, Henry Sleeger, Jr. , Samuel Ritter, Ja-
cob Dietz, Charles Sultner and Samuel
Hively. The first president of thel company
was John^Flory who held the office up to
May 2, 1873, \when he was succeeded by
Elias Ebert who tilled the office up to the
time of his] death, May 8. 1885. John
Freed the first secretary served one year, and
was succeeded by Charles H. Fry, who held
the office twenty-one years. The present
board of directors is as follows : Daniel L.
Gehley, Samuel Hively. John Emig, Solomon
Rupp, A. K. Anstine, Charles Sultner,
Charles Haines, John S. Hiestand,
Daniel Gotwalt, Levi Cannon and Charles
H. Fry. Number of policies in force at
present 2,053. Ajnount of insurance in force



FOR the purpose of keeping the patriot
army in the field, during the war of the
Revolution, continental currency was issued,
and while congress sat in York, a great deal
was made here. The continental dollar, which
at first passed for its face value, was, in Sep-
tember, 1777, reduced to 78. 6d. One month
later it had fallen to 7s.; November, to 6s.
3d. It will certainly prove interesting to
show its downward tendency. By January,
1778, the dollar was worth 5s. 2'd.; Febru-
ary, 4s. 8d. ; March, 4s. 3d. ; April, 3s. 9d. ;
May, 3s. 3d. ; June. 2s. 2d. ; July, 2s. 6d. ;
August, 2s. 2d.; September, Is. lOid. ; Octo-
ber, Is. 7 |d. ;' November, Is. 4d. : December,
Is. 4d. January, 1779, Is.; February, lOJd.;
March. 9d. ; April, 8d. ; May, 7^d. ; June,
6^d. ; July, 6d. ; August, old. ; September,
5d. ; November, 4d. ; December, 3-i-d. Jan-
uary, 1780, 3d. ; March, 2^d.; and up to May
18, 1780, 2Jjfd. After this, as government
money, it was not worth anything. In Penn-
sylvania, however, as late as February 1,
1781, the supreme executive council re.solved
that continental mooey should be received,
for public dues, atao exchange of 75 cents for
II in specie. This I'ule was in force until June
1st, of that year, when, by order of an act of
assembly, only specie, or bills of credit equal
thereto, were allowed to be received for taxes
or other public dues. Thus ended the con-
tinental money. It was greatly through
Robert Morris, the eminent financier of Phila-
delphia, who placed his own private fortune

at the disposal of congress, that the patriot
cause was triumphant. The depreciation
of the continental currency brought great
distress upon the government, and many
people were ruined. Those who suifered
most were the soldiers of the army, who re-
ceived it as pay for services.


Rev. William Miller, " the prophet " and
founder of the Second Adventist, was born in
Pittsfield, Mass., in 1782. He was a man of
considerable education; was a brave soldier
in the war of 1812. at Plattsburg, N. Y, af-
ter which he became an assiduous student of
history and the Bible. He began to advocate
that the fifth monarchy predicted by Daniel,
the prophet, was to be consummated, and
that it indicated the end of the world to come
in the year 1843. Several different days
were set apart, during that year, for the im-
portant event. He traveled and lectured on
the '• Second Coming of Christ," and was
listened to by large audiences. Among his
first followers in York Covmty, was one Dr.
Gorgas, who lived iu the village of Yocum-
town. Newberry Township. There were a
number of other followers; earnest, enthusi-
astic religious people, too, most of them,
who resided in that section of the county.
On the day appointed for the " end of the
world" a party of about 100 persons, believ-
ers and curious followers, from Middletown,
Dauphin County, and that section of York
County, went to the summit of "Hill Island,"
in the river, there to await the momentous
event, which, to the delight of all, did not



THE Hon. Pere L. Wickes, president judge
of this judicial district, was born August
14, 1837, in Chestertown, Kent Co. , Md. He is
the youngest son of Col. Joseph Wickes, who
was a lawyer of distinction in Maryland
and a nephew of the late Judge Chambers,
who was for many years the chief justice of
that State. Judge Wickes was educated at
Princeton College, New Jersey, and received
the degree of Bachelor of Arts in June, 1856.
Subsequently the degree of Master of Arts
was conferred upon him by the same insti-
tution. He studied law with his brother
Judge Joseph A. Wickes, of Maryland, and
afterward with the Hon. S. Teackle Wallis, of



Baltimore, and was admitted to the bar of
Kent County, Md., April 18, 1859. He con-
tinued to practice his profession in Chester-
town, until 1866, when he removed to York.
Judge Wickes, in a short time became the at-
torney for the Northern Central and Pennsyl-
vania Railroad Companies at this point, and
was in the enjoyment of a lucrative practice,
when he was, in the fall of 1875, elected ad-
ditional law judge of this judicial district.
In January, 1882, at the close of the term of
oiSce of the Hon. Eobert J. Fisher, Judge
Wickes was commissioned president judge of
the district, which position he fills at this
time. His term of oifice expires on the first
Monday of January, 1SS6, and he has re-
fused to be a candidate for re-election. On
the bench. Judge Wickes has displayed abil-
ities of the highest order. He will be re-
membered a? a judge who combined with a
quick, active, comprehensive intellect, and
unimpeachable integrity, great administrative
abilities. Consequently his courts are char-
acterized by a speedy dispatch of business,
perfect decorum, and an economical admin-
istration of the law. He has sulfered few re-
versals by the supreme court of the State,
which is evidence not only of his success on
the bench, but also of his fairness as a judge.
On February 27, 1862, Judge Wickes mar-
ried Henrietta Catharine Welsh, daughter of
the late Henry Welsh, of the borough of
York, who was for many years prominent and
influential in the politics of Pennsylvania.


The great-grandfather of John Gibson on
the mother's side was David Jameson, M. D.,
colonel in the Provincial and Revolutionary
forces of Pennsylvania, who was a native of
Edinburgh, Scotland, and a graduate of the
medical department of its university. He
came to America about the year 1740, and
settled first in South Carolina. He after-
ward moved to York, Penn., and was pos-
sessed of a homestead and plantation in York
Township, within two miles of the town.
He was married to Elizabeth Davis, and his
sons, Thomas, James and Horatio Gates, be-
came eminent physicians in this neighbor-
hood. The last named, the grandfather of
Judge Gibson, married Emily Shevelle, of
Somerset, and moved to Baltimore, where he
founded the Washington Medical College,
and spent the greater part of his life in prac-
tice there, moving to York a few years before
his death, which occurred in 1855. His
daughters were Cassandra, married to Rev.
William J. Gibson, D. D., late of Duncans-
ville, Blair Co., Penn. ; Catherine, married

to Hon. Robert J. Fisher, late president
judge of the York Judicial District, and
Elizabeth, married to Rev. John Gibson, who
died at Duncansville in 1869. His great-
grandfather, on his father's side, was Robert
Gibson, born in the county of Down, Prov-
ince of Ulster, Ireland, whose son Will-
iam Gibson, was a celebrated preacher of the
Reformed Presbyterian Church,* otherwise
called Covenanters, came to America in
1797, and settled in Ryegate, Vt. He after-
ward went to Philadelphia, and was pastor
of the Reformed Church there. He died in
1838. His sons, Robert, John and William,
were all distinguished divines in the Presby-
terian Chiurch.

John Gibson was the third son of John and
Elizabeth (Jameson) Gibson, and was born in
Baltimore, April 17, 1829. He received his
education in York (where he came early in
life) at the hands of such teachers as C. D.
Joint, Daniel M. Ettinger and Rev. Stephen
Boyer, and Daniel Kirkwood (the eminent
astronomer, now of the University of Indi-
ana), at the York County Academy, which is
his alma rnater. He studied law under his
uncle, Hon. Robert J. Fisher, and was ad-
mitted to the bar September 30, 1851, and
practiced law at the York bar until his elec-
tion to the bench in 1881. June 22,
1865, he married Helen Packard, youngest
daughter of the late Benjamin D. Packard,
Esq,, of Albany, N. Y, a distinguished joui -
nalist and publisher, who founded the Al-
bany Eoening Journal. He has held no
political oifice. He was chosen a delegate to
the Democratic national convention in 1868,
held in New York City, and which nominated
Horatio Seymour for president. In 18/2 he
was unanimously chosen a delegate from
York County to the constitutional convention
of Pennsylvania, together with Hon. Thomas
E. Cochran, from York, and Hon. William
McClean, from Adams, the three being the
representatives from the Nineteenth Senator-
ial District; Hon. Jeremiah S. Black, from
York, being a delegate at large to the same

In 1881 he was nominated by the Demo-
cratic County Convention for judge of the
Nineteenth Judicial District, comj^osed of
the county of York, and was accepted by the
Republican convention, and was elected
without opposition, succeeding the Hon.
Robert J. Fisher, who had held the position
of president judge for a period of thirty
years, and who was not a candidate for re;elec-

In 1875 an additional law judge was pro-

*See Dr. Sprague's Annals of the American Pulpit.



Tided for the district, to which Hon. Pere L.
Wickes was elected. Owing to the provis-
ions of the new constitution, Judge Wickes
became president judge by seniority of com-
mission. Judge Gibson was commissioned
additional law judge. By the expiration of
the term of Judge Wickes, January 1, 1886
(who was not a candidate for re-election),
Judge Gibson became'president judge.


James W. Latimer was born in Hamilton
Village, now West Philadelphia, June 24,
1836. He is of Scotch-Irish and French
Huguenot descent. His great-grandfather

and two sons were soldiers of the Revolution,
and the British offered a reward for their
captm'e dead or alive. Mr. Latimer has.
lived in York since he was two years old,
and was educated in the York County Acad-
emy under the late George W. Ruby, Ph.
D., and Daniel M. Ettinger. He read law
with the late Edward Chapin, Esq., waa
admitted to the bar July 5, 1859, and has.
practiced at York ever since. He is married
to Anne Heleu, a daughter of the Hon.
Robert J. Fisher. October 3, 1885, he waa
elected additional law judge of the courts of
York County as an independent candidate,
assuming the duties of that office on the tii-st
Monday of January, 1886.




THE town of York, having now within its
recently extended limits a population
of nearly 20,000, never in its history of 145
years, has developed so rapidly as during the
last decade. Its growth has been slow and
sure like that of the century plant and it ex-
isted for nearly 100 years without being
specially known as a manufacturing place.
Since 1850 it has rapidly grown in impor-
tance and influence. Its manufacturing in-
dustries have steadily increased and devel-
oped; new ones were started; until now the
full force of its life is plainly observable to
the admiring gaze of the oldest inhabitants,
who remember it as a small inland borough,
populated by a staid and conservative people.
It was known half a century ago, mostly on
account of its historic associations, and the
rich agricultural land that surrounds it, the
latter of which greatly contributes to its wealth
and influence. The dwelling houses, until
within a recent date, showed few signs of im-
proved architecture. The town was laid out
and built after the style of the old English
city, after which it was named. This was
done at a time when its founders never
dreamed of the advancement in civilization,
now known to the enlightened world, to
which our American people have contributed
so much. Could those sturdy settlers who,
coming from a foreign land and were first to
populate "ye town on the Codorus," now
look upon the industry and energy that have
asserted their power, in the rumble of pon-
derous machinery, the whistle of the high-
spirited iron horse, the hum and whir of re-
volving wheels, the stately magnificence of
some of the public institutions, and the im-
provements in modes of life and living, they
would feel gratified that their children's
grandchildren are so bountifully favored in
this land of freedom and independence, of
which they were the hardy pioneers.

Great events have transpired m the world's

history since the founding of York. Once
was our town threatened by hostile Indians,
and twice by the invasion of a foreign foe,
coming from our mother country. During
the Revolution our streets were trod and the
old court house occupied by the noblest
patriots the history of mankind has ever
known. Every intelligent reader knows the
personnel of the Continental Congress which
sat in York during nine months of the dark-
est period of that great struggle, delibera-
ting upon momentous questions that after-
ward proved to be the foundation stones
upon which our constitution, the Magna Char-
ta of American freedom, rests.

In 1814, thousands of Pennsylvania sol-
diers and militia rendezvoused at York, ready
to march at any minute to Baltimore to im-
pede the progress of an invading English
foe, who, under a bold and unprincipled
leader, had devastated the national Capitol,
and were then threatening our neighboring
city. By the skilful soldiery of the Ameri-
can patriots then in that city, some of whom
went fi-om York, the British were defeated,
their commander killed, and the soldiers at
York sent home. The second war with
Great Britain soon afterward en led.

On June 28, 1863, York was invaded and
occupied for about two days by a real enemy
but "not a foreign foe. Nearly 20,00©
of our fellow countrymen, valiant sol-
diers too as they were Americans, were our
uninvited guests, and trod our streets with
more authority than any of our citizens.
Tens of thousands of brave boys went
through York on their way "to the front"
dm-ing the four long years of that direful
war, and our public common was used for a
government hospital. The blessings of peace
have changed all these conditions, and now
North and South are joined together for the
common good of the whole country, and
England, proud pf her great oflspring, recog-
nizes the United States, in many respects the
greatest nation on the face of the globe.




There were at least 2,000 inhabitants
in the present area of York County be-
fore it was Contemplated to bnild a town.
The proprietaries of Pennsylvania granted
permits to settle west of the Susquehanna
eleven years before the founding of York,
and a number of Germans had purchased
lands in the immediate vicinity of the
site of York, as early as 1734. Among these
was Martin Fry, who owned the land now
embraced in the northeast part of the town,
having located there in 1734 and obtained a
patent for 250 acres on October 30, 1736,
from Thomas Penn. He died there in 1739,
leaving a wife and three children, viz. : Tobias,
Martin and a daughter. The widow married
Isaac Eondebush who, on December 19, 1741,
transferred his and his wife's rights to Mich-
ael Schrwack, who in 1743 assigned his title
to Bartholomew Maul. Some time after Mar-
tin Fry's death, and during the orphanage of
these children, 137 acres of this land were
surveyed by the proprietary's commissioner,
contrary to the intent of the warrant, for the
proprietary's private use and benefit, and he
sold a part of the same on grant to the inhabi-
tants of York. Bartholomew Maul, in 1747, had
Thomas Cookson survey this disputed tract.
Maul by his will, dated April 4, 1755,
bequeathed to his wife and children all his
real and personal estate. These various trans-
fers brought about conflicting claims to this
land; when Tobias and Martin Frv, the sons
of the original grantee, became of legal age,
they asserted their rights. John Hay, who
married Julia, daughter of Bartholomew
Maul, in 1762, for £260 purchased a part of
the original tract. Suits and counter-suits
were brought by various claimants. The
Hon. James Smith and George Stevenson
were interested in these suits. John Hay
became the owner of the lands northeast of
the town, and some concessions were made
by persons who owned lots of this land which
they had purchased of the proprietary.

Most of the original plat of the town of
York was land owned by the Penns, having
never been deeded to any one. John, Thomas
and Richard Penn, sons of William Penn, and
then proprietaries, in October, 1741, directed
Thomas Cookson the deputy surveyor of Lan-
caster County, which then embraced York
County, "to survey and lay off in lots a tract
of land on the Codorus where the Monocacy
Road crosses the stream." Monocacy Road
■was laid out and opened in 1739, named after
a stream near which it terminated, and
• extended from Wrightsville through York
and Hanover to the Maryland line. In 1741

a road was laid out from York toward Potap-

sco, now Baltimore.

The site for the town of York, as selected
by Mr. Cookson, was on both sides of the Codo-
rus. He, in 1741, laid out that part of the
original plat east of the stream into squares,
by order of the Penns, after the manner of
Philadelphia as follows:

The square to be 480 feet wide, .530 feet long; the
lots 330.\tj.5 feet; alleys 20 feet wide; two streets
80 feet wide to cross each other, and 65 feet sqiuire
to be cut oS the corner of each lot to make a square
for any public building or market of 110 feet each
side; the lots to be let at 7 shillings sterling; the
square to be laid out the length of two squares to
the eastward, of Codorus when any number such as
twenty houses are built.

The margin of Cooksoa's draft contained
the following:

The squares count in each 480 feet on every sid^
which, in lots of 60 feet front and 240 deep, will make
16 lots, which multiplied by the number of squares,
namely, 16, gives 256 lots in all, which, together
witli the streets 60 feet wide, will not take up above
l02 acres of land."

When the town was thus laid out, appli-
cants for lots were required to enter their
names. The first applications were made in
November, 1741, when twenty- three lots were
"taken up" as follows:

John ]5i^li^.p Lol Xn. .57; Jacob Welsh, 58;BaUzer
Span-liT, :it. 3lir!i:i..l S\vope,75; Christopher Croll,
85;Mifh,.(l l.iiuh. M); George Swope, 87, 104, 134 and
140; Zachariuh Shugart, 93; Nicholas Stuck, .101;
Arnold ^ituck. 103; Samuel Hoke, 105; Hermanus
Bott, 106; (ieorge Hoake, 107 and 117; Jacob Grebill,
108; Matthias Onvensant, 118; Martin Eichelberger,
120; Andrew Coaler, 131"; Henry Hendricks, 122 and
Joseph Hinsman 133. Each applicant was required
"to build upon his lot at his own private cost one
substantial dwelling-house of the dimensions of six-
teen feet square at least, with a good chimney of
brick and stone, to be laid in or built with lime and
sand, within the space of one year of the time of his
entry for the same."

The town of York did not, during the first
few years of its history, grow as rapidly as
some frontier 'towns now grow in the great
West. Few of the lot owners could comply
with the conditions, and some lots were for-

The following letter from James Logan to
Thomas Penn describes the town of York
two years after it was founded:

Stenton. 30th, 8th, 1743.
May it please your Honor;

As you were ple.ased to commit to me the care
and regulation of ye gentlemen of the town of York
on Codorus, Ipresume an account of my Progress of
it will not be disagreeable. First then, after ye peo-
ple had notice of a town to be laid out. They had a
General meeting and entered their Names with me
for 70 lots & for promoting immediate Buildings,
then the principal persons concerned in applying for
ye Town had their iirst choice of ye Lots, and after
them such as first applied with an intent to build
immediately. The people were satisfied with this,
and we 7tave eleven houses already Built in it, and
several others on foot. I annexed conditions on





entering their names, that unless they Built in one
year, their claim should be void.

Water has been got at about 16 feet, pretty near
ye highest part of town which gives great encourage-
ment to those settled from the creek. The houses
built are from ye Creek towards ye Centre & several
Lots are taken up eastward of ye Centre. The peo-
ple are very intent on ye thing and have opened a
road to Potapsco (Baltimore). Some trading Gen-
tlemen there are desirous of opening a trade to York
and ye country adjacent. The inhabitants seem
willing to close with them and ye shortness of ye
cut not being above 45 miles; from Philadelphia
they are about 90 miles, beside ye Ferriage over
ye Susquehanna. The 2^religious societies of which
the town and country adjacent consist, viz.: ye Lu-
tierans and ye Calvinists (Pteformed), have each ap-
plied for a Lot for a House of worship which in
your name I have promised them, and they are going
U build immediately. The prospect of its being a
County Town some time or other pleases most of
ye people, though some pains are taken to frustrate
any such Expectations. I have taken a skillful per-
son with me and viewed the Creek well for a con-
veniency for a Saw Mill, but can not find a place
anyway convenient. There is a tine Run on ye
tract adjoining this in ye possession of Bernard
Lauman,' Ijy virtue of a grant or license by your di-
rection under Samuel Blunston. on which a mill
might at an easy expense be erected, and very com-
modious to ye town. * * * I intend to survey
a tract of 600 acres on Great Conewago for ye Pro-
prietaries next week. I am informed of another
tract of 800 acres of good land high up ye same
Creek which I shall also run out. The lands on
Bermuddean creek are chiefly settled. The people
settled on my district west of ye Susquehanna are
hastening to procure warrants for their lands.

I will beg leave to offer my Duty & service to your
Brothers & to assure you that nothing in my power
relating to my ofHce shall be wanting. I shall
always entertain a grateful sense of your favors to
me. I am

Humble Sir

Your Most Obedient

James Logan.*

At the time of the lirst settlement of York,
some pei-soEs took possession of lots without
having secured a legal title, and built houses
thereon. They were reported to the provin-
cial authorities, who required them to com-
ply with the law. Among those who built
"without license" were Jacob Billmeyer, on
Lot No. 55; Jacob Fakler, on Lot No. 60;
Avit Shal 1, on Lot No. 74. They were required
to deliver up possession on April 10, 1751,
to Nicholas Scull, Esq., agent for the propri-
etaries. There were other local troubles
which gave rise to considerable contention
among the first residents.

It was claimed by some that Thomas Cook-
son, who made the first survey of 256 lots

*James Logan, who wrote this letter from his county seal
named ".Stenton " near Philadelphia, was born at Lurgan, Ire-
land, October 20, 1674, of Scotch parentage. At the age of thirteen
he read Latin, Greek and Hebrew. He afterward became a
mathematician, and was well versed in the French, Spanishand
Italian languages. William Penn invited him to come to Penn-

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 105 of 218)