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

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cal observations had to be made. The line
was not completed and permanently marked
till 1784.


AFTER the controversy with Maryland was
settled, by the final agreement between
the proprietaries, James Hamilton, Governor
of Pennsylvania, on the 21st of May, 1762,
issued his warrant for the survey of the
Manor of Springetsb"Liiy, which was duly
returned into the land office in 1768, where
it has since remained. By this survey the
manor was found to contain 64,250 acres. It
extended westward from the Susquehanna
nearly fifteen miles, bounded by a north and
south line west of the dwelling plantation of
Christian Eyster, and east and west lines about
four miles distant north and south of York.
The town had been laid out for the propri-
etor's use in 1741, as within the limits of a
manor, and licenses to settle had been issued
as early as 1734, and grants confirming titles
within it had been given by the proprietary,
Thomas Penn, in 1736. It had been recog-
nized as a manor, but there was no record of
the same. It acquired the name in 1768, if
not before. The lines to be surveyed by the
warrant then issued, were specially directed.
It was in the year 1722, when the Maryland-
ers were encroaching, surveying their warrants
and pushing their settlements along the Sus-
quehanna and the Codorus, and within a
short distance of the after site of the town of
York, that Sir William Keith, Governor of
the province, issued an order to survey a
manor, after a treaty with the Indians at
Conestogoe, for the use of Springet Penn,
who was then supposed to be the heir-at-law
of his grandfather, William Penn, as the son
of his eldest son, who had deceased. This,
as has already been explained, was a mistake

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O'eore/e Ch'ster


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IN PURSUANCE of a warrant o£ re-survey under the hand o
and requii'lug me to re-survey or cause to be re-surveyed tl
re-survev the said Manor agreeable to the annexed Draft cont;
the said'Warrant I did on the 1st & 2d days of July 17GS re-sui-
Codorus Creek and within the aforesaid Manor of Springetsbi
nlui at a White Oak Tree marked lor a cnrncr of land late Ba
dred seventy lour perches and a half to a Post and stone set fo
six degrees and a half West one hundred and thirteen perclies
for a corner near the side of Codonis creek a little above a hig
of a perch to a hickory tree marked for a coruer thence by Ir
by land of John k James Wright North forty three degree
degrees East one hundred and thirteen perches to a White 0:
and four tenths of a perch to a stone set for a comer (note-
seven perches and one tenth of a perch to the first mentione
perches and the allovs'anoe of six acres p cent tor roads &c.
& behoof this 12th day of July Anno Dom. 1768







as to the proprietorship of the province. The
original documents, that is those relating to
the treaty with the Indians and the warrant
of survey, are here given.

At a council with the Indians held at Con-
estogoe, June 15, 1722.

present: '

Sir William Keith, Bart., Govr. Colo.,

John French & Francis Worley, Esqxs.

The Chiefs of the Conestogoe, Shawana & 6an-
away Indians; Smith, the Ganaway Indian,
& James Le Tort, Interpreters.
The Govr. spoke as follows:

Friends and Brothers— Yoa say j'ou love me be-
cause I come from your father. Wm. Peun, to
follow his peaceable ways, and to fulfill all his kind
promises to the Indians. You call me Wm. Penn,
and I am very proud of the name you give me; But
if we have a true love for the memory of Wm.
Penn, WE must shew it to his Family & to his Chil-
dren that are grown up to be men in England, and
will soon come over to represent Lim here. Last
time I was with you at Conestogoe, you shewed me
a parchment which j'ou had received from Wm.
Penn, containing many articles of Friendship be-
tween him & you, and between his Children &
your Children. You then told me He desired you to
remember it well for three Generations, but I hope
you and your Children will never forget it. That
Parchment fully declared your consent to Wm.
Penn's purchase & Right to the Lands on both
sides 'Sasquehanna. But I find both you & we
are like to be disturbed by idle People from Mary
Land.and also by others who have presumed to Sur-
vey Lands on the"^Banks of Susquehanna, without any
Powers from William Penn or his children to whom
they belong, and without so much as asking your

I am therefore now come to hold a Council &
consult with you how to prevent such unjust prac-
tices for the future, and hereby we will shew our
Love & Respect for the Great Wm. Penn's children
who inherit their father's Estate in this Country,
and have a just right to the hearty Love & friend-
ship of all the Indians promised to them in many
Treaties. I have fully considered this thing, and if
you approve my thoughts, I will immediately cause
to ,take up a large Tract of land on the other
side of Sasquehanna for the Grandson of Wm.Penn, j
wiio is now a man as tall as I am; For when the
Land is marked with his name upon the Trees, it
will keep off the Mary Landers and every other per-
son whatsoever from coming to settle near you to
disturb you. And he bearing the same kind heart
to tlie Indians which his Grandfather did, will be
glad to give you any part of his Land for your own
use and Convenience; but if other people take it
up they will make settlements upon it, and then it
will not be in his power to give it you as you want

My Dear Friends & Brotfiers— Those who
have any wisdom amongst you must see and
be convinced that what l" now say is entirely for
your Good, for this will effectually hinder and
prevent any Person from settling Lands on the
01 her side of Sasquehannah, according to your own
desire, and consequently you will be secure from
being disturbed by ill neighbors, and have all Land
at the same time in your own power to make use
of. This will also beget a true hearty Love & friend-
ship between you, your children, and the Great
Wm. Penn's Grandson, who is now Lord of all this
Country in the room of his Grandfather. It is
tlierefore lit & necessary for you to begin as soon
as you can to express your Respect & Love to him;

He expects it from you according to your promi.scs
m many Treaties, and he will take it very kindly
Consider then, my Brothers, that I am now giving
you an opportunity to speak your thoughts lovingly
& freely unto this brave young man, Mr. Penn's
Grandson ; And I, whom you know to be your trne
friend, will take care to Write down your Words
and to send them to England to this Gentleman'
who will return you a kind Answer, and so your
hearts will be made glad to see that the great Wm
Penn still lives in his Children to love and
serve the Indians.

The Council was continued on the next day,
the following being the minutes of that
meeting: —

At a council with the Indians held at Conestogoe
June 16th. 1T22.


Sir WILLIAM KEITH, Bart., Governour.
Colo. John French & Francis Worley, Esqs.
The Chiefs of the Conestogoe, Shawana & Ga*n-
away Indians; Smith and James Le Tort, In-
The Indians spoke in Answer by Tawcnca, as fol-
lows -

They have considered of what the Govr. proposed
to them yesterday, & think it a matter of very
great importance to them to hinder the Mary Land-
ers from Settling or taking up Lands so near them
upon the Susquehanna. They very much approve
what the Govr. spoke, and like his Council to ihem
very well, but they are not willing to discourse par-
ticularly on the Business of Land lest the five Na-
tions may reproach or blame them.

They declare again their satisfaction with all that
the Governour said yesterday to them in Council ;
And altho they know that the five Nations have not
yet any right to these Lands, & that four of the
Towns do not pretend to any, yet the fifth Town,
viz.: the Cayngoes are allways claiming some Right
to Lands on the Sasquehanna, even where they
themselves now live; wherefore, they think it will
be a very proper time when the Govr. goes to Al-
bany to settle that matter with the Cayugoes, &
then all Parties will be satisfied.

They- ask the Govr. whereabouts & what quantity
of Land does he propose to survey for Mr. Penn.
It is ans%vered, from over against the mouth of
Conestogoe Creek up to the Govrs. new settlement,
and so far back from the River as no Person can
come to annoy or disturb them in their Towns on
this side.

They proceed and say. That they are at this time
very apprehensive that People will come when the
Govr. is gone to Albany & survey this Land, where-
fore, they earnestly desire that the Govr. will im-
mediately cause the Surveyor to come lay out the
Land for Mr. Penn's Grandson to secure them, &
they doubt not but the Govrs. appearance & con-
duct afterwards at Albany will make all things
easy there.

Copy of warrant for survey of Springetsbur}'
Mannor Sir Wm. Keith Bart. Governor of the pro-
vince Pensilvania &c.

To Colo. John French, Francis Worley & James
Mitchell, Esqs. Whereas, the three Nations of In-
dians settled on the North side of the River Sasqua-
hannah, in his Maties Peace & under the protection
of this Government, viz.: — The Conestogoes, "The
Shawanose. & The Cawnoyes, are very much dis-
turbed, and the Peace of this Colony'is hourly in
danger of being broken by persons who pursuing
their own private gain without any regard to Jus-
tice. Have attempted & others do still threaten to



Survey and lake up Lands on the South West
Branch of the sd River, right against the Towns &
Settlements of tlie said Indians, without any Right
or pretence of Authority so to do, from the Propri-
etor of this Province unto whom the Lands unques
I idnably belong. And whereas, it is reasonable &
iigreeable to former Treaties with the Indians that
a' sufficient quantity of Land upon the South West
side of the River Sasquehannah be reserved in the
Proprietors hands for accomodating the said Indian
Nations when it may hereafter be thought proper and
convenient for them to remove tneir Settlements
further from the Christian Inhabitants.

And Lastly, Whereas, at a Treaty held between
the Indians and me at Conestogoe, the IStti and
16tb days of this instant They did earnstly desire &
request me forthwith to Cause a large Tract of Land,
right against their Towns upon Susquehannah. to j
be surveyed & located for the Proprietors use only.
Because, from his Bounty & Goodness, they would
allways be sure to obtain whatever was necessary & i
Convenient for them from time to time.

These are therefore, by VirtueofthePowcrswhere-
with I am Entrusted for tlie Preservation of his Ma-
jesties Peace in this Province. & with a due and I
perfect regard to the Proprietors absolute Title & j
iinqueslionable Rights To Authorize, Impow^r &
Command you, the said Colo. John French, Francis !
Worlev & James Mitchell, with such of the neigh- j
boring' inhabitants as you shall think fit to call to
j'our assistance immediately to cross the River Sac-
queliannah, and to survey or cause to be surveyed,
marked and Located, the quantity of 70000 acres or 1
thereabouts, in the name & for the use of the Rouble
Springet Penn. Esq.. which shall bear the name
and be called The Mannor of Springetsbury, Begin- j
ning your Survey as near as you can upon the
Souih AVest Bank of the River Susquehannah, over
against the mouth of Conestogoe Creek ; from ;
thence by Line W. S. W. Distance Ten miles more
or less ; from thence by Line N. W. b N. Twelve
more or less ; thence by Line E. N. E. untill vou
meet with the uppermost Corner tree of my Settle-
ment called Newberry ; from thence S. E. b S. along
my head Line until you come at my Southern Cor-
ne"r tree in the Wood's ; from thence down the Side
Line of my Land E. N. E. until you come at the
River Sasquehannah. & from thence by the said
Rivers side unto the place where you first begin,
which Line will be the fourth Side of the taid Sur-
vey, and when it is done. & finished, You are to
make a Return thereof upon the back of this War-
rant into the Govr. & Council of Pennsylvania : For
which this shall be unto you, the sd. Colo. John
French. Francis Worley & every of you, a sufficient
Warrant Power & Authority. Given under my
hand & seal, at Conestogoe, the 18th day of June,
in the 8tli year of our Sovereign Lord George,
Annoq. Dom. 1722.

Signed, W. KEITH.


To his Excellency the Governor & the Honble
Council of Pensilva.

May it please your E.\cellency :

In obedience to the within Warrant to us directed,
We did, upon the nineteenth & twentieth days of
this instant, June, begin <fe compleat the Survey of
the Mannor of Springetsbury upon the river Sas-
quahannah. in manner following, viz : from a
Red Oak upon the said River, (by a Runs side
called Penns Run) mark'd S. P. ; West South
West Ten miles to a chestnut (by a Runs side
called French's Run) mark'd S. P. : from thence
North West & by North to a Black Oak mark'd S.
P. twelve miles; from thence East Nortli East to
Sir William Kelts western Corner Tree in the Woods
Eight miles ; from thence along the South East and

North East lines of the said Sir William Keiths
Tract called Newberry into the River Sasquahanuah
again, and from thence along the River Side to the
place of Beginning. The whole containing sevenly-
live Thousand five Hundred & twenty acres, accord-
ing to a Plan thereof hereunto annexed, all which
is humbly submitted by

Y'r Excellency's
Most humble & obedient Servants,
John French
Fran. Worle
Ja. Mitchell.
At Newberry, June 21, 1722.

These proceedings were communicated to
the Provincial Council on the 2d of July,
17'22. But that body declared that so far as
they concerned or touched with the proprie-
tary affairs they were not judged to lie before
the Board, which acted as a council of state,
and not as Commissioners of property.

Col. French, one of the surveyors, who
executed the warrant, then undertook to vin-
dicate the conduct of Sir William Keith to
the Council, stating that "the warrant speci
fied his true reasons; and that it was, under
all the circumstances, the only effectual
measure for quieting the minds of the Indi-
ans and preserving the public peace." The
warrant and survey could not be retwrned
into the land office at that time; for, it was
said, that the land office continued shut from
the death of "William Penn m 1718 until the
arrival of Thomas Penn in 1732. Nor does
it appear that they were ever tiled in the
land office at any subsequent period.* But
it is elsewhere said: "It has generally
been supposed that the land oifice was
closed from the year 1718, when "William
Penn died, itntil the arrival of Thomas
Penn in the year 1732. It maybe suggested
that there were other reasons why the survey
was not returned into the landofSce at that or
any other time. The warrant itself was not
issued from the land office, but under the
private seal of Gov. Keith, at Conestogoe.
The land had not been purchased from the
Indians, the office was not open for the sale
of them, and it was out of the usual course
to grant warrants for tmpiu-chased lands.
The Council on the report of the proceedings
seemed cautious about it, and refused to in-
terfere further than to permit the warrant,
and return of survey to be entered on their
minutes. Although Col. French defended
the proceedings, because the facts and cir-
cumstances recited ii3 the warrant were truly
stated, "and in his opinion of Springet
Penn, in whose name the warrant issued, was
the late proprietor's heir-at-law, And what-
ever turn the affairs of that family might
take to resettle the property and dominion of

Kliue, i Dallas, 4u5.


the province, he did not conceive this meas-
siire would be interpreted or deemed to the
predjudice of a family for whose service it
was so plainly meant and intended. Ent
although the land was out of the purchases,
as the Indians consented to the survey, the
measure itself cannot but be considered as
having been founded on the soundest and
wisest policy, and Sir William Keith con-
ducted himself with great zeal for the pro-
prietary interest."*

The grant to William Penn of March 4,
1681, contained special powers to erect
manors. On the 11th of July, in the
same year, he agreed with " the adventurers
and purchasers" in England, who were in-
terested in his grant and the settlement of
the province on certain "conditions and con-
cessions." The ninth of these was, that "in
every one hundred thousand acres, the Gov-
ernor and Proprietary, by lot, reserveth ten
to himself which shall lie but in one place."
The name of "manor" was given to these
portions of reserved land in its genuine legal
sense. The nineteenth section of the char-
ter empowered him. "his heirs and alienees,
to erect manors, with a court baron and view
of frank pledge (or court leet), to be held by
themselves, or lords of other manors, and
every person erecting such manor, shall grant
lands to any person in fee simple, to be
held of the said manor so as no further ten-
ures shall be created, but further alienations
shall be held of the same lord and his heirs
of whom the alien did then before hold."t
And such seems to have been in William
Penn's own mind when on his last visit he
gave a paper agreeing to give land on a quit
rent "holding of the said manor, and under
the regulations of the court thereof when
erected. "|; He empowered the Commission-
ers of property to erect manors, with juris-
diction thereto annexed. But the Commis-
sioners declined exercising the power, which
would have been repugnant to the freemen
of the province. Afterwards in judical
opinions, the manors were construed not to
mean such in a legal sense with its court and
train of feudal appendages. It was held to
mean a portion of country, separated from
the rest, so as to be open to purchasers on
"common terms," or to settlers. Whatever
was granted was by special agreement in the
several manors. It was originally intended
that title should be given by warrant and

survey, but titles afterward grew by settle-
ment and improvement. This practice be-
came prevalent from 1718 to 1732. They
were to be consummated by payment of the
purchase money and issuing of the patent.
The warrant lixed a price and time of pay-
ment, and when there was no warrant, the
price at the time was to be paid, which was
called "on common terms." The most of
the country was opened through the land
office, but this did not include proprietary
tenths or manors.

Two principles were early settled, namely,
that no sales were to be made, nor settlements
permitted, until the Indian title should be ex-
tinguished, and that no title could originate
but by grant from William Penn. He and
his descendants were trustees by virtue of the
concessions and agreements for such indi-
viduals as should acquire equitable rights to
particular portions of laud. They erected an
office, reserving the right to appropriate one-
tenth of the whole to themselves, for their
private and individual uses. No right could
be acquired except by agreement with the
proprietaries. In grants of lands to pur-
chasers the only distinction was, that the
lands not reserved were sold at stated prices,
and those reserved, that is within the man-
ors, were sold by special contract. Although
settlements had become notorious within it,
and licenses were issued and titles conferred
by grant, the appropriation of the Springets-
bury Manor was not sufficiently notorious,
prior to the warrant of survey of 1762, to
effect with constructive notice subsequent
purchasers and settlers. The wai'rant of
1762 affected all persons with notice of the
existence of the manor. The judicial diffi-
culties arose from the fact, as alleged, that
the survey of Sir William Keith, in 1722,
was without authority, and that survey was
never returned to the land office. The ques-
tions involved did not arise until after the
Revolution, and Pennsylvania had become a
sovereign State. The cases in which these
titles are investigated, both arising in the
County of York, are Penn's Lessee vs.
Kline, reported in the fourth volume of
Dallas Eeports, * and in Kirk and Another
vs. Smith, ex-demise of Penn. reported in
the ninth volume of Wheaton's Tnited States
Supreme Court Eeports. f In this last case
the counsel for the plaintiff were Daniel
Webster and Henry Clay, and the counsel for
the defendant were the Attorney-General,
William Wirt, and John Sergeant, and the
opinion was delivered by the Chief Justice,

^Sergeant's Land Laws, 196.


John Marshall. The following is the war-
rant in that case :
Pexnsylvajsia, SS. — By the Proprietaries.

WHERE.4.S. Bartholemew Sesrang, of the County
of Lancaster, hath requested that we would grant
him to take up 200 acres of land, situate between
Codorus Creek and Little Conewago Creek, adjoin-
ing the lands of Killian Smith and Philip Heintz,
on the west side of the Susquehanna River, in the
said county of Lancaster, for which he agrees to
pay to our'use the sum of £1.t 10s. current money
of this province, for every acre thereof. These are,
therefore, to authorize and require you to survey, or
cause to be surveyed unto the said Bartholemew, at
the place aforesaid, according to the method of
townships appointed, the said quantity of 200 acres,
if not already surveyed or appropriated ; and make
return thereof into the secretary's office, in order
for further confirmation ; for which this shall be
your sufficient warrant; which survey, in case the
said Bartholemew fulfil the above agreement with-
in six months from the date hereof, shall be valid ;
otherwise void.

Given under my hand and seal of the land office,
by virtue of certain powers from the said proprie-
taries, at Philadelphia, this eighth day of January,
Anno Domini, one thousand seven "hundred and
forty-two. George Thomas.

To William Parsons,

The warrant of resurvey of Gov. Hamilton
set forth : " That in pursuance of the prim-
itive regulations for laying out lands in the
province, W. Penn had issued a warrant,
dated the 1st of September, 1700, to Edward
Pennington, tlie Surveyor-General, to survey
for the proprietor, 500 acres of every town-
ship of 5,000 acres ; and generally the pro-
prietary one-tenth of all the land laid out,
and to he laid out ; that like warrants, had
been issued by the successive proprietaries to
every succeeding Surveyor-General; that the
tracts surveyed, however, are far short of the
due proportions of the proprietary ; that
therefore by order of the then Commis-
sioners of property, and in virtue of the gen-
eral warrant aforesaid to the then Surveyor-
General, there was surveyed for the use of the
proprietor on the 19th and 20th of June,
1722, a certain tract of land situate on the
west side of the river Susciuehanna,then iu the
county of Chester, afterward of Lancaster,
and now of York, containing about 70,000
acres called, and now well known by the ,
Dame of the manor of Springetsbury; that
sundry Germans and others, afterward
seated themselves by leave of the proprietor
on divers parts of the said manor, bttt con-
firmation of their titles was delayed on I
account of the Indian claim; that on the 11th
of October, 1736, the Indians released their
claims, when (on the 30th of October, 1736),
a license was given to each settler, (the whole ;
grant comptited at 12,000 acres), promising
patents, after surveys should be made; that I
the survey of the said tract of land, is either i

I lost or mislaid; but that from the well-known
! settlements and improvements made by the
I said licensed settlers therein, and the many
surveys made around the said manor, and other
' proofs and circumstances, it appears that the
said tract is botinded east, by the Susque-
hanna; west, by a north and south line west
of the late dwelling plantation of Christian
Eyster, called Oyster, a licensed settler;
north by a line nearly east and west, distant
about three miles north of the present great
road, leading from Wright's Ferry through
York Town, by the said Christian Oyster's
plantation to Monockassey; south, by a line

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 19 of 218)