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

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be between the province and the city of
London. " Beside this, the lot was held "in
free and common socage, by fealty only in
lieu of all other services. "

"When the applicant had built, or in some
cases had begun to build, he received, if he
so wished, a patent. But this patent most
explicitly stated the conditions ; and if these
conditions were not _ fulfilled, he was de-
prived of his lot, and it was granted to some
one else. "

The first lot taken up in Yorktown was
that on which the tavern stands, now owned
by John Hartman, and occupied by Daniel

Then the adjoining lot toward the court
house, was taken up.

The next lots were that on which Nes '
Brewery stands, in North George Street, and
another east of it, the latter of which is still

Then a lot nearly opposite the German
Reformed Church, and the two lots adjoining
it on the west.

Then were chosen at about the same time,
the lot on which Isaac Baumgardner's dwel-
ling house stands ; that occupied by the
house of John Lay, on the corner of Main
and Water Streets ; that occupied by the
house of Doll, gunsmith ; those by Judge
Barnitz, Charles Hayes' store, the New York
I Bank, William Sayres, and the house on the
j southwest cornerof Main and Beaver Streets,
belonging to the estate of David Cassat. Esq.,

"The building of Yorktown proceeded but
slowly ; for though many took up lots, yet
few were enabled fully to comply with the
conditions ; the consequence was, the lots
were forfeited, and thereby honest industry
discouraged. And indeed the fear of not
being able to accomplish, in so short a period,
what they wished to commence, deterred
many from beginning what might end in
folly. It should be remembered that at that
time the conveniences for house-building
were few. It appears from a statement made
by George Stevenson on the 10th of April,
1851, that at that time there were fifty lots
built on, agreeably to the tickets. Three of
these lots were then occupied by churches,
viz.: two by the German Lutheran and one
by the German Reformed. Hence there
could not have been at that time more than
forty-seven dwelling houses in the town of
York, and many of them must have been
truly miserable.

"At about this period York must have been
a most desert place, very unlike what she
now is in the "splendor of her domes," and
the "richness of her profusion." In an old
record it is alleged as a heavy offence against
George Hoak, that "within the very limits
of York, he had cut down the proprietaries'
timber in large quantities for burning brick
and lime." In a letter written in 1750, it is
said that "sundry persons have cutoff the
1 wood of the town land to burn brick, and are
now burning brick on lots not granted, to
the damage of ^he inhabitants, who ought
to have the wood for firing, and of the pur-
chasers of the ungranted lots, which are
spoiled by clay holes.'' In the first settle-
ment of York many inconveniences and didi-
culties arose from persons taking possession
of lots without having, in the first place,
secured a legal title. "Some erected small
houses on different lots "without license or
entry ;" but for this they were reported to
the Governor and were obliged to leave their
tabernacles. Of this many instances are


found recorded in old jiapers. Thus Jacob
Billmayer built on lot No. 55, Jacob Falkler
OD lot No. 60, and Avit Shall on lot No. 74,
"without the proprietaries' license." Each
of them was obliged to deliver up possession; '
and this they did on the lOth of April, 1751,
"to Nicholas Scall, Esq., agent for the hon- j
orable proprietaries." I

"The early settling of Yorktown was one
continual scene of disturbance and conten-
tion ; there were warring rights and clash-
ing interests. It often happened that differ-
ent men wanted the same lot, and when the
lot was granted to one, the others were
watchful to bring about a forfeiture. The
loss of lots by not fulfilling conditions was
for a long time a serious evil, concerning
which clamors were loud.

•' We will here insert a letter dated at Lan- i
caster, the 24th of April, 1750, and addressed j
by Thomas Cookson, 'to Geo. Stevenson,
E"sq., at York.'

" .sVr.-— Christian Oyster in his life time entered
for a lot in York, No. 82. The time for building
expired, but no new entry was made till lately, as I
understood, with you. The widow is since married,
and her husband has put up logs for a house on the
lol. He told me that he applied to you, and ac-
quainted you with his intentions of building, and
that you had promised him that no advantage sliould
be taken of the forfeiture of the lot, and that he
might proceed to build, and that since, through
neglect, you have suifered another person to enter
that lot, who insists on a right to it, notwithstand-
ing the building erected on it. I find that taking
advantage of the forfeiture of lots is a great spur to
the people's building. But where there is an intent
and preparation for building, I would not be too
strict in insisting on the forfeiture, as the sole intent
is to have the town improved ; and if the first tak-
ers up of lots will build and settle, their priority nf
application should be favored. A few examples
will be necessary to be made; and they should be
made of such persons .as take up lots for sale with-
out improvement. There are some others here
about their forfeited lots. But I am well satisfied
that you do everything that is reasonable and equi-
table to the people, and for the advancement of the
proprietor's interest. Our court being so near, I
could not spare time to come to York. Please let
me know in what forwardness my home is.
I am your most humble servt.,

Thos. Cookson.

"Lancaster, April 24, 1750,"

George Stevenson wrote to Eichard Peters,
York, 2()th of October, 1754. In answer to en-
quiries about Yorktown, and the lands adjao

The tract of land whereon the town stands con-
tains 437J acres, or 412 acres and allowance. On
the 1st of October, 1749, the town consisted of
sixty-three dwelling houses of wood, all built on
High Street and "Water Street (except two), about
ten of which were not finished, and also a Lutheran
and a Calvinist Church.*

All houses had Dutch stoves, but one room in
town had a fireplace. All the lot holders were Ger-

•VU Archives, 2d S.

mans. There were 210 dwellings, three of brick
and two of stone, thirty not yet finished. The
Streets were High Street,Duke Street, Water Street,
Prince Street, Queen Street.

The following letter is dated at York, the 8th of
June, 1764, and is addrissed by George Stevenson to
■William Peters, Secretary of the land office.

"Yesterday at 6 o'clock P. M., Mr. Hemel and
myself met the two Doudels together, with sundry
other inhabitants of the place, to try to settle the
difference between them about the lots lately
granted to Michael, on west side of Codorus
Creek, and south side of High Street continued.
After many things said on both sides, Michael pro-
posed to bind himself by any reasonable instrument
of writing, not to build a tan-yard on the said lots
for the space of five years next to come; which I
thousht was reasonable. But nothing would satisfy
Jacob but the lots, and he offered to give Michael
the two opposite lots on the other side of High
Street, and to plough them and fence them (for
Michael has ploughed and fenced his). This offer
gave great offence to all the company, ' what,' said
"they, ' is nobody to have a lot but the two
Doudels'? ■ For my own part, 1 do acknowledge
they are industrious men, and deserve a lot as well
as their neighbors, but at the same time there are
other people who have paid dear for lots here, and
have improved them well, and deserve lots as well
as they. Sundry persons are building on the pro-
prietors' lots on the east side of the creek, saying
they deserve and want lots as well as the Doudels.
I think an immediate stop ought to be put to this,
otherwise it will be productive of great trouble to
you. I make free to write this account of these

j things to put you upon your guard, and beg leave
to advise you not to grant any other lots until I see
you, which will be in about two weeks. In the
meantime, I shall lay out the Parson's lot for his
pasture, and shall bring down an exact draught of it
and of all the low bottom lands. Pray let me hear
from you about these people that will build, and
have built. Fas aiis nefat, I am, i&c."

Samuel Johnston wrote to William Peters,
York Town, January 12, 1765, that James
Smith had purchased from the people settled

' thereon, and applied for warrants for lands
within seven miles of York. One tract from
Garret Eummell, in Manchester Township.
Oae place belonged to Michael Kamble and
a third to one Lichteberger. The letter was
written to prevent injury to the proprietary.
People were pressing to know the price of

I lots or half lots, let otit at twenty shillings

I yearly. They would all be taken up on the
Main Street in a short time.

William Matthews wrote to William Peters,
York Town, April 15, 1765, that he had made
drafts on the west side of the Codorus, and
as Saujuel Johnston was not at home ho had
got Dr. Jameson to go with him and fix the
place for the cross streets. And as Newberry
Street would suit very well to build upon, he
had laid the lots adjoining it the other way,
and left a twenty-foot alley at the end of
them, which happens just in the swamp. " I
have laid the ground Michael Doudel holds

I out into half lots, as well as all the rest on High
Street except Jacob Doudel's two lots. It did



not suit to go so nigh Botts' land in that 1
angle, on Higii Street, as what thee mentioned
ill thy instructions, unless there could be
some land got of Bott in exchange." That
people desirous of knowing the terms " should
likewise be glad to know how many lots old
Seagler, the briekmaker, has entered for or
got the grant of, and the numbers, as he is
digging and improving several. If he is suf-
fered to go on he will ruin them for anyone
else taking them, and then leave them, as he
and some other brickmakers have done, one
whole square on the creek. If the brick-
maker was allowed but two instead of four, it
would more likely secure the quit rent."

Mr. Secretary Peters wrote to Mr. Johnston
of York, June 1, 1765, that the Governor and
the agents insist upon twenty shillings quit
rent for each inner half lot of thirty-two and
a half feet front, on the West side of Cod-
orus, and to reserve a whole sixty-tive foot lot
at each corner of a street for the proprietor.
Lots must be taken before the first of July.

Daniel Dingle applied for the two half
lots. No, 328, joining Jacob Doudel's two
patented lots on Codorus, but as Jacob and
Daniel Doudel had applied for a lot or two
there, their resolution required whether they
will take any more there at twenty shillings
per half lot.

Samuel Johnston wrote to William Peters,
York, June 8, 1765, that Daniel Doudel
thought the terms too high, and would not
.take up the lots, and Dingle could have them.
There was a project on foot to alter the
present road from about Newberry Street
to Carlisle and toward Lewis Ferry, to
pass through Wright's land, which would be
a great hurt to the town, and the jJroprietary
interest. There should be an application to
the court to prevent it.

June 6, 1765, petition by inhabitants of
Yorktown, from the court house upward,
for a road to cross the Codorus, at the north
end of George Street, thence to run until it
intersects a road which leads from York to
John Garretsons, at Big Conewago Creek.

There was another from the inhabitants of
the lower part of Yoi'ktown, near the bridge,
and another from the inhabitants of West
Manchester Township for a road to be laid
out to the north part of Manchester and New-
berry Townships, to cross the Codorus oppo-
site Water Street, and that they had raised a
subscription for building a bridge and main-
taining it seven years. The last two peti-
tions were presented in order to prevent the
first from taking effect, as the inhabitants in
the lower part of the town have at present the
first offer of everything coming to market.

Mr. Johnston himself desired a lot on the
north side of the main street, on the rise of
the hill.

The Governor's orders to Mr. Johnston, of
York, on the 9th of September, 1765, were
to give notice to brickmakers to desist till
application and its reasonableness were con-
sidered ; to prevent any waste being com-
mitted in the timber on any of the proprie-
tor's land near York.

At the time of the execution of the warrant
of survey of Springetsbury Manor, namely,
from the 12th to the 13th of Juno, 1768, there
was another survey of " the tract of land sit-
uated on both sides of the Codorus Creek,
whereon the town of York stands," returned
into the land office. The survey was made
by John Lukens, and it was found to contain
" the quantity of 421 acres and thirty-seven
perches, with allowance of six per cent for
roads and highways, 446^ acres, nea.t meas-


THE removal of the Indians to the western
portion of the state, particularly of the
Delawares and Shawanese, and the hostile
attitude of these savages towards the English,
through an alliance with the French, assumed
a terrible shape when war began for the posses-
sion of the Ohio Valley. The French claimed
the right of possession to that territory by
virtue of the discoveries of La Salle, extending
to the Allegheny mountains, and of Marquette
ard Joliet on the Mississippi, with the trib-
utary claims. The British claimed by virtue
of their purchases from the Indians and
through traditionary Indian conquests.* The
encroachments of the French upon the prov-
ince, and the building of forts by them
within the same, occasioned alarm which had
already roused the neighboring colonies to
take active measures to displace them. Not-
withstanding the call of the British govern-
ment, and of the proprietaries, and appeals
from the adjoining colonies for means and
men for the defence of Pennsylvania, the
General Assembly failed to make the necessary
preparations. On the one side it was con-
tended that it was the fault of the Assembly,
which was composed almost exclusively of
Quakers, who ostensibly opposed all assistance
and all measures looking to supplies for the
purposes of war. Indeed, it was asserted by
them that they could live amicably with the

« IrviDg's Life of Washington, Vol. I, Page 44.



Indians, through the policy of the founder of
the commonwealth, and appai-ently they
failed of any apprehension of danger, not-
withstanding the threatening aspect of the
French invasions and the Indian outrages.
On the other hand, it was asserted that the
object of the Quakers was to maintain their
power, and that it was their jealoiisy of the
proprietaries, and of the proprietaries' gov-
ernment and its military dependents, that
prompted their refusal. The Assembly con-
tended that measures of defense were impeded
by the i^roprietaries themselves, who in
concert with the board of trade sought con-
trol of the revenues of the province, and the
regulation of the paper currency. The
Assembly were firm in their position. So
bitter was the controversy, that it was said
they "would rather the French would conquer
than they would give up their privileges to
the proprietaries."* They made money
redeemable by the excise tax in a limited
number of years, but these supplies, under
the terms, the Governor refused to accept.
Benjamin Franklin, as agent for the province
in London, presented ou the 20th of August,
1757, "Heads of Complaint," among which
was the following: "That the proprietaries
have enjoined their deputy by instructions to
refuse his assent to any law for raising money
by a tax, though ever so necessary for the
defense of the country, unless the greatest part
of their estate is exempted from such tax. This
to the Assembly and people of Pennsylvania
appears both unjust and cruel." To this the
answer was given: "The proprietaries conceive
that the last paragraph of the complaint is
extremely injurious to them, and very un-
just, as it insinuates that they would not
contribute their proportion to the defense of
the province. It is true they did instruct
their Lieutenant-Governor not to assent to
any law by which their quit rents should be
taxed. This they did because they thought
it not proper to submit the taxing their chief
rents due to them, as Lords of the fee, to the
representatives of their tenants. But that
there might not be the least shadow of pre-
tense for accusing them of cruelty and in-
justice, they ordered five thousand pounds to
be paid for the public service out of the
arrears of that very f und.f "It was also said
at the time, that the Quakers had influenced
the Germans to take part with them in sup-
port of the independence of the Assembly, by
causing them to believe that it was to their
interest to do so, if they wished to preserve
their farms; that the intent was to enslave

them and force their young men to be soldiers
and make them work upon the fortifications
and suffer as they did in Germany. That at
one time nearly 1,800 Germans voted in
Philadelphia, which threw the balance oti
the side of the Quakers, though their oppo-
nents voted 500 more than ever lost an election
before; and that the French based their
hopes on the Germans, who thought a large
farm the greatest benefit in life. Soon after
the defeat at Great Meadows and the capit-
ulation of Fort Necessity, July 3, 1754, a
petition from 1,000 families in the back part
of the colony, praying that they might be
furnished with arms and ammunition, was
rejected, although it was reported that the
French were within 225 miles of Phila-
delphia with 6,000 men and a great body
of Indians. Some Germans, of whom many
were Mennonites, had the same principles
as the Quakers, holding it unlawful to
take an oath or to take ai-ms.* We do not
know how far this conduct of the Friends
and Germans affected the jaeople of York
County, where were settled so many of the
latter. It appears, however, by the subse-
quent events of the war, that they were active
in raising men and means for the defense of
the province, led by citizens of the then
already important town of York. Notwith-
standing the peaceable and friendly policy of
William Penn, there were things beyond his
control and that of his successors. The
abuses committed in the Indian trade, thq
unjust dispossession of them of their lands,
as well as the instigations of the French, to-
gether with other instances of wrongs, caused
the alienation of the Delawares and Shaw-
anese, whom we will find foremost in the
fierce and bloody attacks upon our frontiers.
The Iroquois, as early as 1744, had warned
the government of Pennsylvania that these
tribes would join the enemy. To this it may
be said, in fact, that it appears the Six
Nations drove them to desperation. The
Delawares had to redeem their character
as men. In 1754, millions of acres, includ-
ing the hunting grounds of the Delawares
and other tribes, were sold without consulting
them, f

Gen. Braddock arrived in this country in
February, 1755. and immediately demanded
supplies from the Pennsylvania Assembly to
dislodge the French from their fortifica-
tions in this province. In order to accom-
plish this purpose, it was necessary to open
roads from the inhabited parts of it westward

* Briei accouDt. of the state of the Province from a gentle-
man in Pennsylvania to a Friend in London, 1 7.55.
t Day's Annals. Proud.


towards the Ohio, not ouly for the march of
troops, but to facilitate the supply of provis-
ions. Two regiments were sent to America,
and two were to be raised in the colonies, of
regulars, and inducements were tendered vol-
unteers. At this time the province contained
300, 000 inhabitants and enough provisions
to supply an army oE 100,000. It was bur-
dened with no taxes, not only out of debt,
but had a revenue of =£7,000 a year, and
£15,000 in bank* The expense of the mil-
itary roads was to be paid by the Assembly.
Among the officers who accompanied Gen.
Braddock was James Ewing, then a citizen
or York County. On the 26th of April, 1755,
Benjamin Franklin, under the authority of
Gen. Braddock, issued an advertisement for
the hire of wagons and horses for the service
of his Majesty's forces, with notice that he
would atttend for that purpose, among other
places, at York, from Thursday morning till
Friday evening, stating the terms. Frank-
lin also issued an address, in which among
other things, he said, that at the camp at
Frederick, the General and officers were ex-
tremely exasperated on account of their not
being supplied with horses and carriages, ex-
pected from this province, through dissen-
sions between the Governor and Assembly,
and it was proposed to send an armed force
immediately into Lancaster, York, and Cum-
berland Counties, to seize as many of the
best carriages and horses as should be want-
ed, and compel as many persons into the
service as would be necessary to drive and
take care of them. He then refers to a com-
plaint among the people of the back counties,
of the want of a sufficient currency, and says
that the hire of the wagons and horses would
amount to upwards of £30,000, which
would be paid in silver and gold of the
King's money. He proposed that one fur-
nish the wagon, another one or two horses,
and another a driver. This wise scheme met
with success, and the expedition of Gen.
Braddock began under favorable auspices.f
The same counties were also called upon for
laborers, who were employed in the construc-
tion of a military road at the wages of half a
crown a day and victuals. J In a letter from
Gen. Braddock, June 3, 1755, he says: "I
sent a man into the counties of York, Lan-
caster and Cumberland to purchase up 1,200
barrels of flour, " which was obtained. There
was delay in delivering flour, and in not
clearing proper roads, and the wagons and
horses to attend Gen. Braddock over the

*VI Col. Eec, .336.
til Archives, 294.
JVI Col. Eec, 379^07.

mountains, having been secured, there was
great inconvenience in not having a road from
Philadelphia to Mills Creek, the march of
the wagons being delayed. The history of
this expedition is familiar to all Americans.
A letter from Capt. Robert Orme to Gov.
Morris, dated July 18, 1755, contains the
following account of the defeat of Braddock:
"The 9th instant we passed and repassed
the Monongahela by advancing first a party
of 300 men, which was immediately followed
by another 200. The General, with the
column of artillery, baggage and the main
body of the army, passed the river for the
last time about one o'clock. As soon as
the whole had got on the fort side of the
Monongahela we heard a very heavy and
quick fire in our front. We immediately
advanced in order to sustain them, but the de-
tachment of the 200 and 300 men gave way and
fell back upon us, which caused such confu-
sion and struck so great a panic among our
men that afterward no military expedient
could be made use of that had any effect
upon them. The men were so extremely
deaf to the exhortations of the General and
the officers, that they fired away in the most
irregular manner all their ammunition, and
then ran off, leaving to the enemy the artil-
lery, ammunition, provision and baggage;
nor could they be persuaded to stop until
they got as far as Guest's plantation, nor
there, only in part, many of them proceed-
ing as far as Col. Dunbar's party, who
lay six miles on this side. The officers were
absolutely sacrificed by their unparalleled
good behavior, advancing some times in
bodies and sometimes separately, hoping by
such example to engage the soldiers to follow
them, but to no purpose. The General had
five horses killed under him, and at last re-
ceived a wound through his right arm, into
his lungs, of which he died on the 13th in-
stant. Poor Shirley was shot through the
head. Captain Morris was wounded. Mr.
Washington had two horses shot under him,
and his clothes shot through in several places,
behaving the whole time with the greatest
courage and resolution. Sir Peter Halket
was killed upon the spot. Col. Burton and
Sir John Sinclair wounded."*

After the defeat of General Braddock, the
Indians fell upon the province and abducted

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 21 of 218)