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

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the editorship of the .K'ej/stone, and afterward
established the Pennsylvania) i and the Staat
Zeitung; was State printer two terms, editor of
the Democratic Union, deputy secretaiy of
the commonwealth, private secretary to James
Buchanan when secretary of State (under
President Polk), and afterward editor and
proprietor of the Lancaster Intelligencer and
Journal. His wife was a daughter of the
well and favorably known Pennsylvania
German, Col. Jacob Schinidel, of Lebanon
County. On the death of their only two
children, he determined to enter the ministry
of the Lutheran Church, and did so, devot-
ing the remainder of his life to the preach-
ing of the gospel. In the course of his
preparation he had charge of the Lutheran
Book Concern, and assisted in conductinsTthe
Lutheran Observer. After his licensure he
succeeded Rev. Doctor Stork as pastor of St.
Matthew's Church, Philadelphia, where he
continued in faithful, acceptable and success-
ful Christian work until the time of his
death. Though equally opposed to slavery,
rebellion and war, he was, during the late
civil conflict, a stanch and active Union
man. He was an intimate friend of Presi-
dent Lincoln, and frequently in confidential
counsel with him. Both Dr. Hutter and
his wife were, during that trying period, act-
ively and faithfully engaged in ministering
to the wants of the sick and wounded of
both armies. Dr. Hutter was one of the
managers of the ever memorable Refreshment
Saloon at Philadelphia; one of the origina-
tors of the Soldiers' Orphan's Home;heded-

*See History of the c
Matthews and Hungerford.

icated the first Soldier's Orphan school in
America, and his memory is justly honored
by a biist of marble in the hall of that build-
ing. How grateful the task of such a record!
Well do such people deserve to live in our
histories, and so may they live throughout all

Adam Woolever (originally Wohlleber),
lawyer, orator, statesman and author. Ed-
ward Erdman (son of Hon. Jacob Erdman),
though a plain farmer by occupation, was
one of the leading men of the county, and
filled various places of public trust. Among
about a score of such as he. and who organ-
ized and established the Lehigh Agricultural
Society, one of the grandest and most suc-
cessful in the State, were no less than sixteen
Pennsylvania Germans. Such were Edward
Kohler, its first president, and his seven suc-
cessors; all of its six secretaries, and three
of its four treasurers. Joseph Seager, an
enterprising and intelligent Pennsylvania
German, introduced the first steam-engine
ever used in Lehigh Cotanty (in 1837). Of
forty chief burgesses of Allentown, at least
twenty-sis were Pennsylvania Germans, and
of eight mayors there were seven. In the
banking business of the county they have
taken a leading and active part, and in edu-
cational enterprises a large majority of them
have been fully up with their fellow citizens
of other nationalities. Of about 400 names
of the most prominent, influential and intelli-
gent citizens, whose careers have been briefly
sketched by the historians of Lehigh, and her
little mountain sister Carbon, at least 265
are Pennsylvania Germans. In the former
alone there are sixty-five teachers holding
permanent certificates, fifty- four of whom are
Pennsylvania Germans; and so are seventy-
five of her one hundred medical doctors.
From her military rosters it appears that she
sent out about 2,000 Union soldiers during
the slaveholders' rebellion, not less than
75 per cent of whom were Pennsylvania
Germans. The Allen Guard, Capt. Thomas
Yeager, was one of the fij-st five com-
panies accepted by the governor, to reach the
national capital, which they did on the even-
ing of April 18, 1861 ; thus forming, so to
speak, the head of that grander column of
2,000,000 of brave men who followed in
their footsteps in defense of the Union. The
timely arrival of those five companies prob-
ably saved Washington from falling into the
hands of the rebels, and for this they re-
ceived the thanks of Congress. The guard
numbered fifty-one men, officers and privates,
of whom at least forty were Pennsylvania
Germans. The Allen Eifles, Capt. Gausler,



(a company of the First PenDsylvania Eegi-
meat), similarly constituted, did duty bravely
in guarding the Northern Central Railway
and our own homes against the vandalism of
the rebels, just now twenty- four years ago —
May, 1861.

The York County National Bank. — What is
now the York County National Bank* was
originally (in May, 1845) organized as the
York County Savings Institution. Christian
Lanius was chosen president, and William
Ilgenfritz, cashier. Both having declined to
accept, Charles Weiser was elected president,
and William Wagner, cashier. The first
board of directors were Daniel Hartman,
Christian Lanius, Peter McEntyre, Michael
Doudel, Charles Weiser, Dr. Luke Rouse,
Abraham Forry. Thomas Baumgardner, Will-
iam Danner and John G. Campbell.

July 21, 1S4:<5, Mr. Weiser resigned the
presidency and was succeeded by Mr. Camp-
bell. The new directors then chosen were
John Hoff, Adam Smyser, Adam Klinefelter,
Alexander Demuth, Daniel Loucks and
Jacob Hantz.

In 1847 the new directors chosen were W.
H. Kurtz, Daniel Kraber, John Eeiman and
George S. Morris.

In 1848 the new directors chosen were
Adam J. Glossbrenner and E. G. Smyser.

In 184y the name of the institution was
changed to that of the York Savings Bank;
when it became a bank of issue, and George
Wogan, Francis Koch and Joseph Schall be-
came newly elected directors.

In 18-30 the newly elected directors were
Charles Hay, Henry Kraber, John Fahs
farmer), and Robert J. Fisher. In 1851
Jacob Weiser and Dr. William S. Roland.
In 185'2 V. K. Keesey. In 1853 P. A. Small,
William Smith and Eli Lewis, the latter of
whom was then chosen president in the room
of Mr. Campbell.

In 1854 Eli Myers and Edward Chapin
were elected directors, and in 1855 George
Upp. In 1856 W. H. Kurtz (of C).

In 1857 John L. Mayer, Henry Small and
Alexander Klinefelter were elected directors.
In 1858 George W. Wantz, Dr. Charles M.Nes
and A. Gartman. In 1859 Samuel Ruby; and
Mr, Lewis resigned the presidency, and was
succeeded by Philip A. Small.

*The failure to procure the necessary data for a sketch of the
York National Bank, the oldest and largest in capital and
husiness, of all, is much regretted. The writer of this chap-
ter had taken it for granted that a paper with special reference
to all the banks had been prepared by others, from
which he would be permitted to extract and present in a con-
densed form, what appertained to his own particular sub-
ject; but learning, only when too late, that such was not the
case, and the publishers declaring the allowance of further
time impracticable, this explanation, for the apparent over-
sight, without reflection ou any one (but with thanks to the
bank officers named, for their kindness), seemed due to the

In 1860 Nicholas Seitz was elected a di-
rector, and in 1861 Michael Smyser, Dr.'T.
N. Haller, J. S. Croll and W. D. Elliott. In

1862, Karle Forney and John A. Weiser. In

1863, H. D. Schmidt and William Ross.
In 1864, Charles Fishel, Alexander Hay and
E. Melchinger, and in that year the institu-
tution became a National bank under its pres-
ent name.

In 1865 and 1866, there was no change.
In 1867 M. B. Spahr and Peter Wiest became
directors, and in 1868, John Fahs (merchant).

In 1869 Charles Maul was chosen a di-
rector, and in July of the same year, Will-
iam Wagner, who had been cashier from the
beginning, died, and was succeeded by James
] A. Schall, who had acted as teller continu-
ously, from February, 1853.

In 1870 Joseph E. Rosenfliiller was chosen

a director, and in 1871 David F. Williams.

I In 1872 and 1873 no change. In 1874 Enos

Frey, C. A. Keyworth and Samuel Smyser,

j were elected directors.

In 1875 the only change was the death of
the president, P. A. Small, and the election of
David F. Williams as his successor. In 1876
Michael Schall and William Laumaster were
chosen directors, and in 1877 Samuel Gott-
walt. In 1878 no change.

In 1879 F. S. Weiser and George H. Wolf
were elected directors, and in 1880, F. C.

In October, 1881, the president, Mr. Will-
iams, died, and in November following, was
succeeded by Joseph E. Rosenmiller, W. H.
Kurtz (of C) having as vice-president
acted as president in the interim. In this
year there was no change in the directorship.

In 1882 W. E. Patterson was elected, and
Dr. W. S. Roland was re-elected, director,
and in 1883 James A. Dale. In 1884 there
was no change. In 1885 David Rupp was
elected, but declining to serve, James H.
Fisher was chosen in his place. On the
10th day of March of this year, Mr. Rosen-
miller resigned the office of president, and
was succeeded by Dr. Roland.

The present officers are W. S. Roland,
president; James A. Schall, cashier; Isaac
A. Elliot (who succeeded Mr. Schall in 1839),

Mr. Lewis Eppley is and has been book-
keeper since January 22, 1873.

The present board of directors are Dr. W.
S. Roland, W. H. Kurtz, Joseph E. Rosen-
miller, Samuel Gottwalt,,Enos Frey, W. E.
Patterson, James H. Fisher, James A. Dale
and William Laumaster.

Daniel Lehman who died some years ago,
had been messenger and watchman from the


organization of the institution to the time of
his' death, a period of some twenty-five or
thirty years. He was succeeded by Lewis J.
Wampler, since whose death Mr. John Graver,
the present incumbent, has held the position.
Of its seven presidents, four were gentlmen
of German descent. Only two of the whole
number survive — Messrs. Koland and Rosen-
miller. Of the same descent were both its
cashiers. As nearly as could be ascertained
seventy-six different persons —medical doc-
tors, merchants, manufacturers, mechanics,
farmers, and ex- editors, some of them gen-
tlemen of fortune and leisure, have served as
directors; and of these seventy-six, at least
sixty, or 78 per cent, were of German descent.
Including cashiers, tellers, book-keepers, and
watchmen, eighty-three different persons have
been concerned and employed in the control
and management of the institution; sixty-five,
at least, of whom are, or were, apparently of
German ancestry.

The First National Bank of York was
chartered February '24, 18(34, with a capital
of §200,000, which was the same year in-
creased to §300,000. Its first president was
Eli Lewis; first cashier, Hy. D. Schmidt;
clerk, S. B. Hopkins.

First board of directors: John L. Mayer,
Daniel Hartman. David E. Small, D. A.
Rupp. W. Latimer Small, J. D. Sehall, Isaac
Frazer, and Z. K. Loucks.

In 1867 (after the death of Mr. Lewis)
Hy. D. Schmidt became president, Jacob
Bastress, cashier, and C. E. Lewis, teller.
In the same \'ear, also, the presidency
changed again from Mr. Schmidt to David
E. Small, and from the latter to Z. K. Loucks.
In addition to these already named, Eli
Lewis Hy. D. Schmidt, S. S. Hersh, W. G.
Ross. John H. Small, Jacob Loucks, N. H.
Shearer, J. M. Danner, C. M. Billmeyer, and
Robert Smith have acted as directors.

In addition to S. B. Hopikins, J. B. Bas-
tress, C. E. Lewis, John J. Frick, W. H.
Souder, H. D. Rupp, H. C. Niles, R. H.
Schindel, Ivan J. Glossbrenner, and H. K.
Fox have served as clerks.

Messengers, Samuel Coble and Caleb Kep-

The ofScers now are: president, Z. K.
Loucks; cashier, J. Bastress; teller, J. J.
Frick; book-keeper, R. H. Schindel: discount
clerk, Ivan Glossbrenner. Capital, $300,000;
surplus, §100,000.

Of its four presidents, three were Pennsyl-
vania Germans; also, at least, one of its two
cashiers; and of some eighteen different
directors at least twelve. Of about twenty-
eight different persons who have been con-

nected with the bank, in one capacity or
another, at least sixteen appear to be of Ger-
man descent.

The Farmers' National Bank of York. —
The certificate of the comptroller authorizing
the bank to commence business, bears date
the first day of March, 1875; capital, |200,-
000; surplus fund, §30,000: undivided prof-
its, §14,040.11.

V. K. Keesey, president; E. P. Stair, cash-
ier. Directors: John A. Weiser, W. H. Jor-
dan, M. S. Eichelberger, M. B. Spaher, N.
Lehmeyer, Charles Spangler, S. H. Forry,
Horace Keesey and V. K. Keesey.

The bank commenced business on the 25th
of M'u-ch, 1875.

The above has been kindly furnished by
the president of the bank, to which let it be
added, that here too, it will be seen that
more than half, indeed, nearly if not all, the
gentlemen who have been instrumental in the
establishment of, and who have hitherto so
successfully conducted the business of this,
as yet young but flourishing institution, are
of German descent.

Western National Bank of York. — The
preliminary meeting which led to the forma-
tion of this bank, was held April 6, 1875, at
the American House, northwest corner of
Market and Newberry Streets.

Between this time and July 22, 1875, the
stock was sold to ninety- four subscribers, and
on this latter date the bank was organized

: by the shareholders signing the articles of

i association and the organization certificate
furnished for this purpose by the comptroller
of the currency.

After the above named instruments were
executed, the shareholders held an election
for the first Board of Directors, which re-

i suited in the following named gentlemen

I being chosen: J. H. Bear, Israel Laucks,
William H. Emig, Clay E. Lewis, Frederick

! Greiman, Albert Smyser, John Fahs Jr., Si-
las H. Forry, Daniel Kraber, Charles A.
Klinefelter, H. B. Schroeder, Solomon My-
ers and George W. Ruby.

October. 1875, the bank was chartered, and
on Monday, November 29, 1875, the bank

[ was opened for the transaction of business.
Jacob H, Baer, was elected president and M.

; J. Skinner, cashier.

On May 5, 1877, the Board unanimously
deposed Mr. Baer, and on May 12, 1877, Al-
bert Smyser was elected president, and so

I M. J. Skinner died Januaiy 11, 1879, and
January 13, 1879, Clay E. Lewis was elected
cashier, and so continues.

Duringr the existence of the bank, in addi-


tion to the men who were first elected as di-
rectors, JDavid Smyser, Samuel Lichteaber-
ger, William H. Bott, Frederick Klinepeter
and James A. Dale, have served in that ca-

The present Board of Directors is com-
posed of Albert Smyser, Samuel S. Sprenkle,
William Ejster, Michael Miller, Israel '
Laacks, William H. Miller, Charles A. Kline-
felter, Albert Smyser, Joha Zellar, E. L.
Schroder, John Fahs, Solomon Myers and
Frederick Greiman. j

Both the presidents, but neither of the j
cashiers, were Pennsylvania Germans; al-
though Mr. C. E. Lewis, the present cashier,
speaks the dialect.

Of some twenty-six different persons who
have served as directors (including the present
board), twenty-four are of German descent,
and all except one are Pennsylvania Germans.
Of about thirty different persons who have
served this bank, either as officers, directors,
or employees, at least twenty-five were of
German descent.

The Drovers and Mechanics' National
Bank of York, was organized May 22, 1883,
with N. F. Burnham as president and J. V.
Giesey as cashier. The first board of direc-
tors were Samuel Lichtenberger, Edward
Smyser, H. J. Gresly, Dr. B. F. Spangler,
W. H. Bond, George F. Shive, Israel F.
Gross, Frederick Grothe, Jacob Brodbeck and
George W. Holtzinger. Edward Smyser has
since died; H. J. Gresly and Dr. B. F. Spang-
ler have resigned, and Frank Loucks and
Samuel Butter have taken their places. A
glance at the names shows that all the ofiicers
except the president, and all the directors ex-
cept perhaps, one, are Pennsylvania Ger


This is made up, chiefly, of words from
several of the foreign German dialects, such'
as the Allemannisch, the Pfalzisch, the Sch-
wabisch, etc. , as well as some from the Ger-
man projser, or south German ; and, as spoken
here, with a rather free admixture of English.
Its mixed character is, of course, owing to
the mixed^ character of the original German
settlers; people, as we have seen, from all
parts of Germany. It is sometimes claimed
to be a true dialect of the south German — a
language more prolific of dialects than, per-
haps, any other — but strictly this claim is
hardlj' well-founded, inasmuch as the term
dialect would seem to imply a somewhat
nearer relationship to the parent language
than the Pennsylvania German does to the
south, or high German. It might, perhaps,
not inappropriately be ranked as a collateral

rather than a lineal relation of the pure Ger-
man. Or, if lineal, then a descendant in the
second, rather than the first degree. With
this single qualification (somewhat reluct-
antly introduced), there can be no more faith-
ful description of the real character of Penn-
sylvania German and its relation to south
German than that given by Prof. J. H. Stahr,
in a very ably written article on the subject,
and printed in the Mercersburg Review, Octo-
ber, 1870, from which (with his kind permis-
sion) the following quotations are made:

It might naturally be supposed that the Pennsyl-
vania dialect would undergo important changes
during the lapse of so many years, so as to vary
considerably from its original form or forms. Dia-
lects change rapidly, particularly when there is no
written language to keep them in proper bounds,

* * * But that the type of Pennsylvania German
is south German, and that no Changes of any im-
portance except the introduction of English words,
have taken place, is put beyond all doubt, by the
fact that there are now dialects spoken in south
Germany, which, not only bear a striking resem-
blance to Pennsylvania German, but are really
almost identically the same, particularly the Pfiilzer
dialect. * * * We find these different dialects
throughout the entire history of the German nation,
from the earliest period down to the present time.
•St «- * Pennsylvania German, as a High German
dialect, having its origin and history altogether sep-
arate from the Dutch, gives expression to a partic
ular phase of German life, molded by the plastic
hand of culture, custom, soil, climate, etc. As such
it has, perhaps, elements of strength, advantage and
excellencies not now found in the literary High
German; whilst it is no doubt also deficient in many
of the best traits of the cultivated High German.

* * * If we ask, now, What is the literary value
of Pennsylvania German? it is not difficult to find
an answer. As its construction is simple, and less
involved and its words shorter, it is, of course, more
fluent than High German. It flows easily and
naturally, so that it seems to be the easiest thing in
the world to talk on the part of Pennsylvania Ger-
mans, whilst High German is rather precise and
cumbrous. * * « High German may be com-
pared to a well-trained horse, saddled and bridled,
moving regularly, according to the most approved
priiiciples of horsemanship; whilst Pennsylvania
German reminds us of an unbridled steed careering
over the fields, for his own gratification, in joyous
freedom. High German bears us along with the
stately step of the regular soldier, in close ranks,
according to the drill of some famous sergeant,
whilst Pennsylvania German allows the freedom of
the route step, and puts us more at ease. The
straightforwardness of the Pennsylvania Germans,
their honesty and want of ceremony, are all ex-
pressed in their dialect; must be expressed there
if the principles above laid down are correct. Let
it be borne in mind that these people are Germans,
among whom "vows bind less than clasped hands;"
people who hate hypocrisy, deceit and pride of
every kind. If some of them have degenerated,
"the more's the pity." (He might have added but
such degeneration is not peculiar to them.) * # *
Now, just as we find the people do we find their
language, and neither can Be understood without
understanding the other.

But is Pennsylvania German adapted or qualified,
if we may use that word, to become a literary lan-
guage? We do not hesitate to answer in the nega-
tive; and yet we do not wish to be classed -with



those who sneer at Pennsylvania German poems
and call them mere jargon. The dialect has now its
literary language— High German — and this answers
every purpose as fully as if Pennsylvania German
itself were exalted so "as to become a literary lan-
guage. It must, therefore, remain a dialect, but
as such it is not excluded from the domain of
literature. It has its office as a dialect, a work, a
mission to which we have already referred. It is to
give expression to a particular phase of German
life; to serve as the organ or mouth-piece of feel-
ings and states of mind which lie deeper, become
more special than those expressed by high German
philosophy, theology, and the loftier themes of
poetry lie beyond its domain; but it claims, and has
a right to claim, a domain of its own, within which
popular songs, lyric poetry in different forms may
appear from time to time, manifesting a poetical
power in the bosom of a single community which
sings what is peculiar to it in strains as sweet as
those in which Goethe expressed the consciousness
of the whole German nation. It has always been
thus. Popular songs and popular poetry are made,
not for the people, but by the people; whether this
be done Ijy the whole community, so that poetry
grows insensibly, as was the case in the first clas-
sical period of German literature, or whether one
individual becomes the organ of the rest, and thus
expresses what all feel. * * * There are ele-
ments of feeling, phases of life, which appear only
in a certain sphere, and these can best be expressed
in particular dialects. Thus we find Scotch poetry,
than which none can have charms more sweet to
the native of fair Caledonia, or to him who has
learned to understand and appreciate this dialect.
We find in German literature a Hcbel and a Clau-
dius, who labored in similar fields; and we have
to-day Fritz Reuter and others who make use of
particular dialects, and carry the hearts of the peo-
ple with them as they could in no other way. It is
not surprising, therefore, that the attempt should
be made here in America. Indeed, the only wonder
is that it was not made much earlier."

The reason would seem obvious enough.
High German scholars, as a class — the regu-
lars, those who mount and ride the " well-
trained horse, saddled and bridled, according
to the most approved principles of horseman-
ship," or who move along "with the stately
step of the regular soldier, " have always been
influenced by a prejudice (against the dialects,
and especially the Pennsylvania German),
similar to that cherished by the soldiers of
the regular army against the ' ' homespun
militia," and, consequently, they not only
refrained themselves, from speaking or writ-
ing in the despised '"mongrel," but sneered
at every attempt to do so on the part of others,
until finally, Dr. Harbaugh, whose heart was
ever with the common people; who never be-
came ashamed of his rustic origin, nor forgot
the debt of gratitude and reverence he owed
to his plain, honest and faithful Christian
parents, and who, though he commenced his
studies in the rugged furrow, attained to the
first and highest scholastic honors, boldly
defied the ridiciile and narrow-hearted con-
tempt of many of his learned contemporaries,
and gave vent to his feelings on his homely

harp while singing to us, " 'S Alt Schulhaus
an der Krik " and "Heemweh" in the dear
old dialect he had learned at his mother's
knee. In the production of these and other
poems in the dialect he became at once the
pioneer in Pennsylvania German literature, as
well as an inspiration to all others who have
since attempted or produced anything worthy
of the cause.

It may not be deemed out of place here, to
give some illustrations showing the similarity
of our Pennsylvania German (when properly
written) to several of the foreign German
dialects, and first the Allemannisch, a dialect
which is spoken in that nook or corner of
the Rhine between Frickthal and what was
formerly Sundgau and beyond, even as far as
to the Alps, throughout Schwarzwald and a
great part of Swabia. Take, for example, a
few stanzas from Rebel's "Der Wegweiser."

'■ Weisch wo der Weg zum Mehlfass isch,

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 54 of 218)