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

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ner had agreed to comply with the request in
the former of these propositions, that on ac-
count of the Indian disturbances, the Gov-
ernor had found it necessary to call the As-
sembly to meet in their legislative capacity
on Monday, July 18, being about the same
time the Speaker would probably have invited
them to a conference or convention in their
private capacity. That they requested that
if the mode expressed in the second propo-
sition was approved, the whole or part of
the committee appointed will meet the com-
mittees from the other eoiinties at Philadel-
phia, on Friday, the 15th of July, in order
to assist in framing instructions, and prepar-
ing such matters as may be proper to recom-
mend to our Representatives at their meeting
the Monday following. They further wrote:
"It is with pleasure we can assure you, that
all the colonies from North Carolina to New
Hampshire seem animated with one spirit in
the common cause, and consider this as the
proper crisis for having our differences with
the Mother Country brought to some cer-
tain issue, and our liberties fixed upon a per-
manent foundation."* To this provincial
meeting, which convened on the 15th of July,
1774, James Smith, James Donaldson, and
Thomas Hartley, were sent as deputies from
this county. Mr. Smith was made one of

the committee to prepare a draught of in-
structions on the situation of public affairs
to their Representatives, and request them
to appoint a proper number of persons to
attend a Congress of deputies from the sev-
eral colonies, under the ninth resolve of the
conference, viz: That there is an absolute
necessity, that a Congress of deputies from
the several colonies be immediately assembled
to consult together, and form a general plan
of conduct to be observed by all the colonies,
for the purpose of procuring relief for our
grievances, preventing future dissensions,
firmly establishing our rights and restoring
harmony between Great Britain and her colo-
nies on a constitutional foundation. They
also agreed that if redress was not granted
they would make the sacrifice of a suspen-
sion of commerce, and join with the other
colonies " in such an association of non-im-
portation and non- exportation to Great Bri-
tain as shall be agreed upon at the Con-

A General Congress had been proposed by
the "Sons of Liberty" of New York, — a title
suggested by the famous speech of Barre.
This was in the month of May, 1774. and
upon the receipt of their letter, a meeting
was called in Philadelphia, at which it was
read, as well as the letters from Boston. The
two measures for discussion were, that of
New York for a Congress, and that from Boston
for an immediate cessation of trade. That
for a Congress was received with applause.
John Penn, the proprietary Governor, was re-
quested to call together the legislature. This
was of course refused. A committee of cor-
respondence, after the manner of Boston, was
proposed, to be named for the several coun-
ties in the province, and a committee was
appointed for intercolonial correspondence,
By July, 1774, all the delegates were chosen,
and Massachusetts appointed the time and
place, which were fixed, the 1st of Septem-
ber, at Philadelphia. The Congress met iu
Philadelphia on the 5th of September, 1774.
The members assembled at Smith's tavern
and chose Carpenter's Hall as the place for
their deliberations. There were there,
George Washington, Patrick Henry, John
and Samuel Adams, Jay and Rutledge, and
others, men of wisdom and eloquence.
Though Congress showed a desire for a con-
ciliation and a desire to subvert the colonial
system, they approved the opposition of
Massachusetts to the Act of Parliament, and
declared if the same shall be attempted to
be carried into execution by force, all Amer-
ica ought to support them in their opposition.



A declaration of rights was agreed upon,
they threatened to stop imports and exports
with Great Britain, discontinued the slave
trade, prepared a petition to the King, and
an address to the British people. This rec-
ognition of the people as a source of author-
ity was a new principle in politics. The
Congress adjourned to meet in Philadelphia
on the 10th of May following.*

Agreeable to notice given to the free-
holders and inhabitants of York County,
entitled to vote for members of Assembly, a
respectable number of them met at the court
house, in York, December 16, 1774. James
Dickson, Philip Rothrock, John Hay, Mich-
ael Hahn and Eichard Bott were appointed
judges of the election. Whereupon the elec-
tors proceeded to vote by ballot, and the fol-
lowing persons were duly chosen as a com-
mittee for the county: Henry Slegle, Joseph
Donaldson, George Eichelberger, George
Irwin, John Hay, Archibald McLean, David
Grier, David Kennedy, Thomas Fisher, John
Kean, John Houston, George Kuntz, Simon
Coppenheffer, Joseph Jefferies, Robert
MeCorley, Michael Hahn, Baltzer Spengler,
Daniel Messerly, Nicholas Bittinger, Michael
Davis, Jacob Dahtel, Frederick Fischel,
James Dickson, William McClellan, of Cum-
berland Township, William Cathcart, Pat-
rick Scott, Michael Dautel, Michael Bard,
Casper Reinecker, Henry Liebhard, John
Maxwell, George Oge, John O. Blenes, Will-
iam Dill, Henry Banta, Sr., William Kil-
mary, William Chesne, Francis Holton, Peter
Reel and Andrew Finley, and ten of whom
with their President or Vice-President(if their
attendance can be had) to do business, except
in such cases in which other regularities may
be made.

"This committee is chosen in such a man-
ner, that there is at least one of that body in
each township of the county, so that the in-
habitants of the several districts will have
the earliest intelligence of any material trans-
actions, or may be assembled upon impor-
tant business on the shortest notice." On
the day following the election, the committee
met at the same place, when they elected
James Smith, President; Thomas Hartley,
Vice-President; John Hay, Treasurer, and
George Lewis Lef ler. Clerk of the Committee.
They formed rules to direct them in the
course of their proceedings, entered into meas-
ures for the raising of a fund to defray the
expense of communicating intelligence, and
gave instructions for the forwarding the sub-
scriptions for the poor in Boston. They then
adjourned to Thursday, the 29th day of

December, instant, of the court house. York.*
"Geokge Lewis Lefler,
" Clerk of Committee."

The Committee of Correspondence of
Philadelphia, on the 22d of December, 1774,
addressed a letter to the several counties,
transmitting the following resolves: That
this committee thinks it absolutely necessary
that the committee of the counties of this
province, or such deputies as they may ap-
point for this purpose, be requested to meet
together in Provincial council as soon as
convenient. That it be recommended to the
county committees to meet in said convention
on Monday, the 23d day of January next, in
the city of Philadelphia. From a view of
the present situation of public affairs, the
committee have been induced to propose this
convention, that the sense of the province may
be obtained, and that the measures to be
taken thereupon may be the result of the
united wisdom of the colony, t There were
chosen as delegates to this convention, from
York, James Smith, Thomas Hartley, Jos-
eph Donaldson, George Eichelberger, John
Hay, George Irwin and Michael Smyser, who
attended the convention which continued in
session six days.

The Provincial convention of the 22d of
January, 1775, resolved, that this convention
most heartily approve of the conduct and pro-
ceedings of the Continental Congress; that we
will faithfully endeavor to carry into execu-
tion the measures of the association entered
into and recommended by them; that as it
was necessary to lay a restraint on importa-
tion and supply of articles necessary for sub-
sistence, clothing and defense must be pro-
vided, it was resolved that no person should
use, sell, or kill for market any sheep under
four years old, and recommended that woolen
manufactiu'ies be set up, especially, coating,
flannel, blanket's, rags, or coverlids, hosiery
and coarse cloths ; that flax and hemp be
raised; that salt be made in the manner used
in other countries; that saltpetre be made;
that gun powder be manufactured as largely
as possible; the manufacture of iron into
nails and wire; the making of steel; of dif-
ferent kinds of paper, and that old linen and
rags be preserved for that pm-pose; that more
glass houses be set up; the manufacture
of wool combs and cards; of copper into
sheets, bottoms and kettles; the erecting of
fulling mills, and mills for breaking, swing-
ing and softening hemp and flax, and the
making of grindstones; that as the brewing
of malt liquors would tend to render the con-


sumption of foreign liquors less necessary,
that proper attention be given to the cultiva-
tion of barley; that all the inhabitants of
this province promise for themselves to use
our own manufactiires, and those of the
other colonies, in preference to all others;
that societies be established and premiums
be granted in the several counties to persons
who may excel in the several branches of
manufactory; that any manufacturer or vender
of goods shall take advantage of the neces-
sities of this country, to sell his merchandise
at an unusual or extravagant profit, shall be _
considered an enemy to his country, and be
advertised as such by the committee; the
making of tin plates; that printers use the
types made by an ingenious artist in German-
town in preference to any which may be
thereafter imported. That the commitee of
correspondence of Philadelphia be a standing
committee for the several counties, and to
give notice if a Provincial council is rendered

At a meeting held at York the 14th of j
February. 1775. the Committee took into
consideration the proceedings of the late
Provincial convention.

Resolved unanimously, That we heartily
approve of the proceedings of that con-
vention. 2. The Committee, apprehend-
ing, that from the non- importation agree-
ment, and the present state of public affairs,
unless great care be taken, there would, in a
short time, be a scarcity of gunpowder, which
is 80 necessary to our Indian trade, and the
hunters of this province. Therefore

Resolved, That we recommend it to the
several members of this Committee, that they
in their respective townships, with the assist-
ance of the Township Committee men, do
discoui-age the consuming of that article,
but for the most useful purposes. 3. It
being represented that sundry persons in this
county had formed themselves into military
associations, and that they would discontinue
them, if disagreeable to this Committee;
upon consideration of which.

Resolved ixnanimously. That we would by
no means discourage these proceedings ; on
the contrary we are of the opinion, that
said associations, if conducted with jarudence,
moderation, and a strict regard to good order,
under the direction of a man of probity and
and understanding, would tend much to the
security of this country against the attempt
of our enemies.

Resolved unanimously. That we recom-
mend to the inhabitants of this county, a
strict adherence to the Association of the

Continental Congress, and the directions of
our late Provincial Convention; and that, in
case any Township Committee, should meet
with obstructions in carrying the same into
execution, that we will, and the rest of the
county ought to assist them.

Resolved unanimously. That the Town-
ship Committeemen in this county ought, as
soon as possible, to collect the flour and
grain subscribed for the poor of Boston, and
convert same into cash; and that they imme-
diately lay such cash and all other moneys sub-
cribed into the hands of Messrs. John Don-
aldson and George Irwin, who with the direc-
tion of any ten of the Committee are to
remit the same in Bills of Exchange to the
Committee of Boston, for the poor of that

Resolved unanimously, That in case
the committee of correspondence of this
Province appointed at the last convention
shall think proper, or if a majority of the
county Committee shall consider it expedient
that another Provincial convention shall be
held, we do a^ipoint James Ewing, Michael
Swope, James Smith, Thomas Hartley, and
Henry Slegle, Esqrs., and George Irwin,
George Eichelberger, David Kennedy and
John Houston, or any five or more of them,
as the deputies of this county to attend such
committee, and to agree to such matters and
things as may be deemed necessary for the
safety and welfare of this province, or the
common cause of American liberty.

Extracts from the proceedings of the said
George Lewis Leflee, Clerk of Committee*
The following is the letter to the Boston

YORKTOWN, April 13, 1775.
Honored Friends and Countrymen:

Sorry are we to hear that the hand of oppression
still bears hard on yom- city, and that the distresses
of your poor are not yet alleviated. If your misfor-
tunes and sufferings could be divided, the inhabit-
ants of this county would cheerfully bear a part.
This, it seems, cannot be done; your destined town
must stand the shock alone. We want words to
express the high sense we have for your conduct
and virtue; few men in the world would have op-
posed despotism and stood the torrent of ministerial
. vengeance with so much steadiness,..intrepedity and
resolution, as the inhabitants of your town and
countr}' have done. You have true notions of
liberty. You have purchased it. You ought to
enio\' it. The noble stand made by the Massa-
chusetts Bay, if faithfully adhered to, has laid the
foundation of establishing American liberty on the
most firm basis. The other colonies will be equal
gainers by a favorable termination of the conquest,
and will not desert you in tlie time of danger; they
will doubtless grant you the most effectual assist-

This county, upon the earliest intelligence of

* Eupp, 604-6.


your distress, forwarded subscriptions for the port
of Boston. Grain was generally subscribed; we
expected to have sent it last fall, but could not col-
lect it in any se.aport before the winter season came
on, so that the shipping of it was postponed till spring,
Upon the meeting of the committee of this county
in February last, shortly after the receipt of the
King's speech to the Parliament, it was thought it
would not be safe to send grain. The committee,
therefore, determined to convert the grain into
cash, and remit the sum in specie or bills of ex-
change to you. Your poor have suffered much by
this resolution, as the price of wheat is greatly
fallen. The subscriptions of but a part of the
county are yet come in. We send you the sum of
246 pounds, 8 shillings and 10 pence, to be remitted
to you by bills of exchange, or specie, by Messrs.
Jonathan B. Smith, and John Mitchell, nierchants
of Philadelphia, which, be pleased to distribute
among our poor and unhappy countrymen in your
town, or in its neighborhood in such manner as you
shall think proper. As there are a few disafEected
people in this province, we must trouble you to
publish the receipt of the donations, as is mentioned
in the enclosed paper.

Your friends here are numerous, and most
heartily interest themselves in your favor. As soon
as the rest of the subscriptions in the county
are paid, we shall cheerfully remit the same to

We wish you a speedy relief from all your suf-
ferings, and are, gentlemen, with tlie greatest re-
spect, your real friends, and most obedient humble

Jambs Smith, President Committee.

George Eichelberger, Michael Dandle, David
Grier, Michael Irwin, James Donaldson, Michael
Smyser, Balzer Spangler, John Hay, Committee of
Correspondence of York County.*

The conamittee of Boston received the sum
of £246, 6s., lOd, valued at the rate of Penn-
sylvania money, being donations from a part
of the county of York, in the Province of
Pennsylvania, to the poor of Boston, and its
neighborhood ; subscribed as follows :

Yorktown £124 10s 9d

Heidelberg Township 36 17 5

Germany Township 16 3

Manheim ;

By the hands of Adam Eichelberger 5 15 6

By the hands of Michael Karl 5 9 9

By the hands of David Newman. . 3 16 3
Manchester Township from the following;

By the hands of Michael Smyser.. . 6 12 1
By the hands of Simon Cappennoffer 2 17 6

By the hands of Jacob Hark 6 18 6

Shrewsbury Township 10

Dover Township 6 9

Fawn 6

Codorus 2 16 6

Dover Township, 62| bushels of wheat,
andi bushel of rye ; Manchester Town-
ship, 394 bushels of wheat ; Paradise
Township, 20 bushels of wheat; Codo-
rus Township, 5 bushels of wheat, and
\ bushel of rye ; York Township, 4
bushels of wheat, part of which grain
was made into flour and sold here.f . . . . £16 13s 3d

Total £246 8s lOd

The Pennsylvania Assembly, which met on

* Rupp, 599,

the 8th of December, 1874, was the first Pro-
vincial Legislature to which report of the
congressional proceedings were made, and the
Assembly unanimously approved them, and
delegates were appointed to the next Con-
gress * which was to meet on the 10th of May,
1775. In the meantime, events were hasten-
ing on with startling rapidity toward open
war. The attempt of Gen. Gage to de-
stroy the public stores at Concord, roused the
people to resistance, and after a battle the
British troops were compelled to retreat, and
"Lexington and Concord" were names borne
throughout the land to arouse patriots and be
forever watchwords of liberty. The troops
were driven into Boston, and by the next day
the Americans had that city in a state of
siege. To this camp rushed the men of Massa-
chusetts, and as the news spread over the
country, volunteers flocked to this great open-
ing scene of the war of independence, and
from our own town of York went a band, whose
march and career form one of the brightest
incidents of American history.

To the Pennsylvania Assembly on the 2d
of May, 1775, John Penn, the Governor, sent
a message, accompanying a resolution of the
House of Commons, proposing a plan of rec-
onciliation to this effect, that an exemption
from any duty, tax or assessment, present or
future, except such duties as may be expe-
dient for the regulation of commerce, shall be
the immediate consequences of proposals on
the part of any of the colony Legislatures, ac-
cepted by his Majesty, and the two Houses of
Parliament, to make provision according to
their respective circumstances, for contribut-
ing their proportion to the common defense,
and the support of the Civil Government of
each colouy.f

This was the first assembly on the conti-
nent, to which this resolution was comuni-
cated. The assembly replied, that " if no
other objections to the plan proposed occurred
to us, we should esteem it a dishonorable de-
sertion of sister colonies, connected by an
vtnion on just motives and mutual faith, and
conducted by general councils, for a single
colony to adopt a measure so extensive in con-
sequence, without the advice and consent of
those colonies engaged with us, by solemn
ties in the same common cause. For we wish
your Honor to be assured that we can form no
prospect, appearing reasonable to us. of any
lasting advantages for Pennsylvania, however
agreeable they may be at the beginning, but
what must arise from a communication of
right and property with the other colonies,

♦Egle's History of Pennsylvania.
tX Con. Eec, 252.



and that if such a prospect should be open to
us, we have too sincere an affection for our
brethren, and too strict a regard for the in-
violable performance of our engagements, to
receive any pleasure from benefits equally
due to them, yet confined to ourselves, and
which, by generously rejecting them at pres-
ent, may at length be secured to all."

These noble words of union were three
days after followed by the election of the
noble champion of our rights in England,
Benjamin Franklin, just returned from her
inhospitable shores, unanimously a deputy to
the coming Congress.

Events, civil and military, are here closely
blended, and the hearts of the people and
their representatives were cheered by tidings
of the captui-e of Ticonderoga with its valu-
able cannon and stores, on the 10th of May,

1775, by Ethan Allen, and his undisciplined
volunteers "in the name of the Great Jeho-
vah and the Continental Congress."

Whatever discussions there may have been
as to separation, or reconciliation with the
King, as war was actually existing, the Con-
gress which met on the 10th of May, 1775,
took measures for organizing and paying a
Continental Army. George Washington was
made Commander-in-Chief on the 15th of
June, 1775. On the 17th of June, 1775, oc-
curred the famous battle of Bunker Hill.


A Provincial Conference was held at Phila-
delphia, which began on the 18th of June,

1776, and continued until the 25th. This
is the minute: "This day a number of gen-
tlemen met at Carpenter's Hall, being depu-
ted by the committees of the several coun-
ties to join in , the Provincial Conference, in
consequence of a circular letter from the
committee of the city and liberties of Phila-
delphia, inclosing the resolution of the Con-
tinental Congress of the 15th of May last.*
'In Congress, May 13. 1776:

Whereas, His Britannic Majesty, in con-
junction with the Lords and Commons of
Great Britain, has, by a late act of Par-
liament, excluded the inhabitants of these
United Colonies from the protection of His
Crown. And whereas, no answer what-
ever, to the humble petition of the col-
onies for redress of grievances and recon-
ciliation with Great Britain, has been, or is
likely to be given, but the whole force of
that kingdom, aided by foreign mercenaries,
is to be exerted for the destruction of the

•Constitutions of Penn., p. 35.

good people of these colonies, now to take
the oaths and affirmations necessary for the
support of any government, under the Crown
of Great Britain; and it is necessary that
the exercise of every kind of authority, un-
der the said Crown should be totally sup-
pressed, and all the powers of government
exerted, under the authority of the people of
the colonies, for the preservation of internal
peace, virtue and good order, as well as for
the defense of their lives, liberties and prop-
erties against the hostile invasions and cruel
depredations of their enemies. Therefore,
Resolved, That it be recommended to the re-
spective assemblies and conventions of the
United Colonies, where no government suffi-
cient to the exigencies of their affairs has
been hitherto established, to adopt such gov-
ernment as shall, in the opinion of the repre-
sentatives of the people, best conduce to the
happiness and safety of their constituents, in
particular, and America in general. By or-
der of the Congress.

John Hancock, President.'"
The deputies from York County to this
Conference were, ,Col. James Smith, Col.
Kobert McPherson. Col. Richard McAlister,
Col. David Kennedy, Col. William Rankin,
Col. Henry Slagel, Mr. James Edgar, Capt.
i Joseph Read and Mr. John Hay. The Chair-
j man, Thomas McKean, Dr. Benjamin Rush,
and Col. James Smith were made a committee
1 to draft a resolution, declaring the sense of
j the conference, with respect to an independ-
j ence of the province from the Crown and Par-
liament of Great Britain. The resolution
reported by them declared unanimously:
" Our willingness to concur in a vote of Con-
gress declaring the United Colonies free and
independent States; provided the forming of
the government and the regulation of the in-
ternal police of this colony be always re-
served to the people of the said colony."
This conference resolved, that it is necessary
that a Provincial convention be called for the
express purpose of forming a new govern-
ment in this province, on the authority of the
people only. It was recommended to the
convention to choose and appoint delegates,
or deputies, to represent this province in the
Congress of the United Colonies ; and also a
Council of Safety, to exercise the whole exec-
utive powers of government, so far as relates
to the military defense and safety of the prov-
ince, to continue six months, unless a govern-
ment should be formed within that time. It
made provision for raising 4,500 militia in

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 25 of 218)