John Gibson.

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

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contractors, builders, architects, and civil
engineers, but men of the same national-
ity? The Schmalls, Dietzes, Gottwalts,
Weigels, Ettingers, Dempwolfs, and many
others. There is perhaps scarely a public
building, church, or line private residence
now standing that was not designed, erected
and adorned by the skill and handicraft of
Pennsylvania German mechanics. And
none have ever fallen from unskillful work-
manship or bad materials.

And going back to the records we shall
find that none of our clergy have ever been
convicted of heresy or involved in private or
public scandal. No judge has been im-
peached, and not one of the great host of our
public servants, high or low, has been con-
victed of misdemeanor in office. In all our
history, one man was declared a traitor, and
he Was not a Pensylvania German; three
were defaulters, of whom one was a Pennsyl-
vania German.

Follow these people to their settlements
in Canada, and all over the great and grow-
ing West, and we shall everywhere find them,
as a people, what we have shown them — ^or
rather what they have shown themselves — to
be, here, in these so-called German counties,
the same brave, honest, plain, and industrious
citizens; yet always ready and willing to
recognize their superiors in wisdom and
knowledge, and to sit at their feet and learn.

These German counties are the Pennsylva-
nia Palatinate. Among the Rhine Palat-
inates their motto is :

Let ours be the same, and let us fearlessly
ng :

Die Pennsylfaanisch Deutsche, die,

Sin a'li netjuscht so dumm ;
Es Recht un's Ehrlicli liewe sie,
tin hasse's Schlecht un's Krumm.

Ignorance and prejudice, with an audacity



rarely equalled, have led certain journalists
in eastern Pennsylvania and western New
York to indulge, within a few years past, in
publications like the following, concerning
the Pennsylvania Germans :

They live in low, squalid log-cabins with earthen
floors, and know of nothing better. * * * They
live more like pigs than human beings. * * * *
— Westchester Local News, Bucks County Intelli-

Dauphin County, Penn., December 24,1884. — In
this great America of ours, and in the very heart of
its oldest and highest civilization there are whole
communities whose present inhabitants, as well as
their ancestors for a century past, were born where
they now reside, and yet are almost entire strangers
to the English language, hundreds and even thou-
sands of them not being able to speak or under-
stand a word of it. Take the counties of York,
Lancaster, Lehigh, Berks, the northern half of
Bucks, and the southern half of Dauphin, besides
several other counties in the State, and four-tifths
of the people will be found to entirely ignore the
English language among themselves, and in many
communities the English-speaking traveler will
scarcely be able to tind anyone to whom he can
make himself understood, certainly no women.

These people are what are known as Pennsylva-
nia Dutch. They have no written language, their
speech being simply a dialect, the only analogy of
which with anything else of human antecedents
lies in the fact that an occasional English, German,
French or Spanish word has been sandwiched with
strange discordance into it. A great number of the
people are bitterly opposed to their children's learn-
ing to speak English, and if allowed to go to school
at all it is to a private one with a Dutch teacher,
and even at the public schools, where, of course,
English is taught, the children relapse into their
native jargon upon the play-ground, as was observed
by the writer while passing a country schoolhouse
only a few days ago. In fact, in passing through
this entire section of central Pennsylvania the ordi-
nary American will find his surroundings, as regards
both language and the social customs of the people,
just as strange and foreign to his ideas as though
he were in Westphalia or Norway.

And not only this, but he will find that he is
looked upon with the same degree of half suspi-
cious curiosity, and as being as much of an inter-
loper as would be the case in the foreign countries
mentioned. This condition of things embraces a
territory of many thousands of square miles of the
very finest section of this great commonwealth and
a population of more than 300,000 people in the
very heart of our civilization. The masses of the
Southern people have ever labored under the im-
pression that during the late unpleasantness our
army was very largely recruited from foreign coun-
tries. This view has been held up to the writer on
innumerable occasions, and made to explain our
ability to place such overwhelming armies in the
field. This belief arose from the frequent capture
of these Pennsylvania Dutchmen, who could not
in many cases speak English, and in their contact
with several regiments of troops raised in this re-
gion. And yet the ancestors of these soldiers for
generations back were born upon this soil. In fact,
so far as the matter can be traced, this language is
indigenous to this section, as no people using the
same or a similar dialect are known anywhere else
on the face of the earth. The native Hollander, be
he of either high or low Dutch origin, can no more
understand the people here than can the ordinary
American. As a rule they are not an agreeable
people to mingle with either in business dealings or
in social intercourse. Ignorance, selfishness" and
greed are their governing irnMs.— Buffalo Courier.

It was not, nor is it the purpose of the writer
of the foregoing chapter (on the Pennsjdvania Ger-
mans) to enter directly into any controversy with
the authors of such productions as those above
given. They have, however, induced him to set
the truth, as taken chiefly from the records, some-
what more fully and sharply in contrast with the
libels manufactured by the irresponsible and anony-
mous scribbler who seems to have obtained his in-
formation from observations made "while passing a
country schoolhouse." Even the average Pennsyl-
vania German farmer, who lives in his spacious and
comfortable brick or stone homestead, with all the
modern conveniences, and quite as many of the
luxuries as are worth having, can well afford to
smile at, and even pity the ignorance or malice of
such traducers.




THE Society of Friends, c
arose in England about the middle of
the seventeenth century, a time of consider-
able religious excitement, when the houest-
hearted were aroused by the general preva-
lence of vice and immorality, in which the
king and court were but examples. The term
Quaker (/. e., Trembler) was first used in
1650, and was given to Friends in derision
by Justice Bennet, of Derby, because George
Fox, the founder of the society, bade him and
his companions to tremble at the word of the
Lord. Its application was further induced
by the fact, that some of the early preachers
and others trembled violently when under
strong religious exercise. They even accepted
the name Quaker, so far as to style them-
selves "the i^eople called Quakers," in all
official documents intended for publication to
the world at large. The early form of mar-
riage certificates contained the expression "the
people of God, called Quakers," but in 1734
the Yearly Meeting for Pennsylvania and
New Jersey agreed " that ye words ' of God '
in marriage certificates, between ' people '
and ' called Quakers,' be left out of that form
for the future." In 1S06 the expression was
changed to the "religious society of Friends."
Some of their principal characteristics, as
differing from other professing Christians,
was in opposition to all wars, oaths and a
paid ministry; and a belief in the " light
within," or grace of God, which is given to
every man as a guide to salvation. (Jeorge
Fox says, ' ' moreover when the Lord sent me
forth into the world, he forbade me to put off
my hat to any one, high or low; and I was
required to thee and tliou all men and women,
without any respect to rich or poor, great or
small. And as I traveled up and down, I
was not to bid people good morrow or good
evening, neither might I bow or scrape with
my leg to any one; and this made the sex and
professions to rage, but the Lord's power
carried me over all to his glory, and many
came to be turned to God in a little time; for
the heavenly day of the Lord sprang from on
high, and broke forth apace."

For refusing to pay tithes in England,

the goods of Friends were taken to many
times the value; for absence from the national
worship a tine of £20 per month was im-
posed, and when brought before the courts,
the oath of allegiance was tendered to them
as a pretext, upon their refusal to disobey
the injunction "swear not at all," for the
imposition of further penalties. Meetings
of the Friends were broken up, and in many
eases they were shamefully abused. The
sober, upright lives of Friends were a con-
stant reproach, and aroused the hatred of
many around them. It is probable that fully
one-half of their sufferings wei'e due to this
cause, as their persecutors certainly cared
little for religion.

In 165y a petition was presented to Par-
liament signed by 164 Friends, offering their
own bodies, person for person, to lie in
prison instead of such of their brethren as
were then under confinement and in danger
of their lives therefrom. More than 250
died in prison, and while some in England
were sentenced to banishment, it was only
in New England that a few were hung and
others had their ears cut off.


Persecutions were continued with more or
less severity until the accession of William
and Mary to the throne of England, when
an act of toleration was passed in 1689. Prior
to this, however, many Friends had sought
a home for religious liberty in America, and
when William Penn established his colony
in 1682, it was but natural that a large
number should have been attracted thither.
The settlement at first near tlie Delaware River,
and largely by Friends, gradually extended
backward, and though the Scotch-Irish and
Germans, after thirty years, began to pour into
the country, the Friends wielded the political
power of the Province of Pennsylvania for
more than seventy years. At length, when
others by unjust treatment had aroused the
savage nature of the aborigines, and the
mother country had become involved in a
war with France, the pressure brought to
bear upon the Province, by England and the



1 1 neighboring colonies, was too great for
continuance of a peaceful policy; warlike
■ measures must be enacted, and yielding to the
I inevitable, several Friends withdrew from the
, halls of legislation in the Pennsylvania As-
sembly, leaving their places to be filled by
j those not opposed to war.


I Friends were among the first settlers in
York County, and they came from New Cas-
tle County, Delaware, then a jsart of the
"Territories" of Pennsylvania, and the
southern part of Chester County. We
naturally think of them as coming up to
York County by the rich valleys of the Pequa
and Conestoga to their new settlements on
the "west side of the Susquehanna, " and in
the northern part of York County, extending
their settlements on west into what is now
Adams County. When Friends emigrated
from one place to another in which they
wished to locate, permission was granted by
the meetings to which they belonged, and
the record of it was placed on the minute
books. Among the first emigrants who came
to this country are recorded the names of
Garretson. Day, Cox, Bennet, Finch er;
Hussey, Frazer, Hodgin, Carson, Davison,
Elliot, Mills, Key, Smith, Underwood and

John Day built the first mill, in the north-
ern part of the county, before 1740. It was
twelve and one-half miles north of York.
He became the first president justice of the
York court. Nathan Hussey opened a ferry
in 1736, near the present village of Golds-
boro. At that point some of the early
Quaker emigrants crossed the Susquehanna.
John Wright, who in 1730 obtained a right
for a ferry at the present site of Columbia,
and who named Lancaster County, and after-
ward for sixteen years was president justice
of the county court there, was a Quaker, and
many of his Society, as well as Germans and
Scotch-Irish, crossed the Susquehanna at his
ferry. Another prominent Quaker was
Samuel Blunston, the agent of the Penns,
who granted permits for lands west of the
Susquehanna for several years, and had a
controlling influence in the settlement of
York County, from 1730 to 1735. He lived
at John Wright's Ferry. John Wright, Jr. .
located at the present site of Wrightsville.
Nathan Hussey, Thomas Cox and he, all
Friends, became three of the five commis-
sioners who laid off York County in 1749.
Few people now living have a correct idea
of the number of Friends who emigrated to,
and resided in York County a century ago.

About the beginning of the present century
the western emigration fever began to draw
them away, and hundreds of them helped to
establish new meetings in Ohio, Illinois,
Iowa and other points.

Much earlier than that many of them
moved to North Carolina, Virginia and
western Pennsylvania.


The organization and subordination of the
meetings of Friends are as follows: One or
more meetings for worship constitute one
preparative meeting; one or more preparative
meetings constitute one monthly meeting;
several monthly meetings constitute one
quarterly meeting; several quarterly meetings
constitute one yearly meeting, which is an
independent body; yet the different yearly
meetings maintain more or less of corres-
pondence with each other.

The preparative meetings are held monthly,
and generally in the week prior to the re-
gular monthly meeting, for the preparation
of reports and other business, to be presented

The monthly meetings are the principal
executive branch of the society for the exer-
cise of the discipline over the members, and
keep regular and voluminous minutes of
their proceedings as also records of births,
deaths and marriages. "Indulged" meetings
for stated periods are held by sanction of
monthly meetings, but all meetings subordi-
nate to, are established permanently by
authority of the quarterly meetings, and
these in turn by the yearly meeting.


The first monthly meeting established in
what is now York County, in 1747, was called
Warrington, composed of the preparative
meeting at Newberry, the meeting for wor-
ship at Warrington, and "indulged" meeting
at Menallen, and perhaps one at Huntingdon,
(York Springs). These all then belonged
to Chester (now Concord) quarterly meeting
and Philadelphia yearly meeting. In 1758
the western quarterly meeting was established
and held at London Grove in Chester

Warrington and Fairfax quarterly meeting
was set apart 1776, the first meeting being
held at Warrington, 3 mo., 18 da., 1776.
This was again divided in 1787, and Warring-
ton quarterly meeting held afterward at War-
rington, this county, and Pipe Creek, Md.,
the fii-st being held at the later place 5 mo. ,
28 da., 1787.

In 1789 it was agreed that ihe quarterly


meetings of "Warrington and Fairfax should
be joined to the Baltimore yeai'ly meeting,
they having theretofore, been branches of the
Philadelphia yearly meeting.

Tracing back tlie line of settlement, we
find that Warrington monthly meeting was
formed in 1747 by division of Sadsbury
meeting in Lancarts County, which itself
was formed in 1737, from New Garden in
Chester County, and this in turn in 1718
from Newark (now Kennet). Newark monthly
meeting was estabished in 1686, by aiithority
of Chester quarterly meeting, the members
thereof being at that time mostly within the
county of New Castle (now Delaware).

In 18j!7-28 the Society of Friends was
divided into what are popularly known as
"Orthodox" and '•Hicksite" branches, the
latter being so called from Elias Hicks, a
noted preacher among them. Neither party
accepts the distinctive title applied to it,
but simply that of "Friends." In York
County the Orthodox members were so few
that they did not, so far as is known, hold


The name of this meeting on the Friends'
record books is spelled two ways, viz. : New-
berry and Newbury. The former is now used.
Sir William Keith in 1722, and then gov-
ernor of Pennsylvania, had surveyed fur his
own use a tract of land in the northern part
of what is now York County. He was there
himself once, and dated a letter "at my
settlement called Newberry, August 12,1722."
From that source the name originated. The
following sketches of the Friends' meeting-
houses in York County are largely absti-acts
from the minutes of proceedings. They were ^
obtained after searching through more than
a dozen large record books.

At Sadsbury Monthly Meeting. 3 mo. 7tlr, 1739:
"There being Divers families of friends of late
settled on the west side of Susquehanna; some of
them have produced Certificates to this meeting
from Kenett meeting, where they formerly Dwelt,
their being four mentioned In one Certificate bear-
ing Date ye 10th of ye 3 mo., 1738, Viz.: Nathan
Hussey, Ann his wife,' John Garretson & Contentr-r
his wife; .John Day and Ann. his wife; Christopher
Husse,y & Ann, his wife, & another Certificate
from The same place bearing date ye 4lh of ye 5 mo. [
1738, Recommends Joseph Benett & Rebecka, his |
wife; all wch this meeting receives in membership
with us.

■' The Friends of that Settlement being desirious
of a Toleration fi^om this meeting to keep meetings
of worship Every first day and fourth day of ye
week for si.x months time wch request Is Granted."

9-.5-1739: "The new meeting setled on the west
side of Suskahana, haveing had some time past a
tolleration from this meeting to hould meetings of
worship Every first Day and fourth day of the week
and ye time being E-\pired, att the request of sev-

eral of them, being in this meeting, friends allows
them twelf monts longer to be held as afore."

6-5-1745: "Andrew Moore, Calvin Cooper, Jonas
Chamberlin and Thomas Bulla are appointed to
visit the meetings on the west side of Susquahana,
to see how they fare in the Truth, and report to
next meeting."

8-7-1745: " Friends Expressed their Satisfaction
in respect of a visit made to friends on the west
side of Susquahana."

9-4-1745: "Friends of Newbery Requests to
have a meeting settled, sent to ye Quarterly meet-
ing for aprobation."

At Concord Quarterly Meeting, 9-11-1745: "Lea-
cock [Sadsbury] Monthly Meeting Concurring with
the friends on the west side of Susquehannah who
Continues their request of having a meeting for
worship and a preparative meeting settled amongst
them, in regard thereto this meeting appoints our
friends, John Smith. John Baldwin, Jacob Way,
John Way, .loseph Gibbons, William Levis and
Robert Lewis, to give those friends a visitt and Con-
sider how far they may be able to keep up a meet-
ing with reputation; as also to view and judge of a
place sutable to build a meeting-house on, and make
report thereof at our next meeting."

13-10-174.5: "The Friends appointed by the
last Quarterly Meeting to visitt friends on the west
side of Susquehannah report they gave those friends
a visitt, and after some time spent and Considera-
tion had on the affair, do judge as it appeared to
them that the friends of Nevvbery and those of
Warrington may keep up a meeting for worship, as
also a preparitive meeting with reputation, and Lea-
cock Monthly Meeting Continuing their approba-
tion of the affair this meeting agrees that the
friends of Warrington build a new meeting-house
for worship on the land agreed on when friends
were there, and to keep their meetings of wor-
ship on everj' first and fourth days of the week,
and that Wanington and Newbery have liberty to
keep one pieparitive meeting till further order."

At Sadsbury Monthly Meeting; 1-3-1745-6: "The
Request that went to Last Quarterly Meeting was
Granted, i. e. that Newbery Meeting has Liberty to
hold meeting of Worship every first day and fourth
days of the week, as Warrington has on Every first
day and fifth days of the week, and those two meet-
ings to make up one preparative meeting: To be held
at each place turn about."

2-7-1 746: "Newberry preparative meeting recom-
mends John Day and"- William Garretson for over- —
seers in that meeting, which is approved on in this
meeting till further orders, "

At Warrington Monthly Meeting,3-9-l 771: "This
meeting received written answers from each of our
preparative meetings except Newberry; and it ap-
pears that the care of this meeting towards that
meeting is necessary, which is left under considera-
tion until next meeting,"

4-13-1771; "William Garretson, William Under-
wood. ^Villiam Matthews, William Willis, William
Penrose, John Griest and Peter Cleaver are ap-
pointed to attend Newberry Preparative meeting
and give such assistance as they may be enabled to

.5-11-1771: "Four of the committee appointed to
attend Newberry Preparative meeting, reports they
did, and that the cause is not yet removed; this
meeting Leaves the case of that meeting under con-
sideration until next meeting."

7-13-1771: "Newberry meeting continued under
care of a committee."

13-14-1771: "The former committe is Continued
to visit Newberry preparative meeting and William
Matthews, William Penrose, WilliamNevit.William
Willis and Harman Updegraff, is added to their
assistance; and this meeting also appoints them to



visit Monallin and Huntington Preparative Meetings
andmalse report to next meeting." i

5-9-1773: "Part of the Commitee appointed ' to ]
visit Newberry preparative meeting reports that
they have performed that service, and also reports
that they decline answering the quaries, as they ap-
prehend it will cause a broach of unity amongst
them, which is to be liinted in the reiDort to the
Quarterly meeting for their advice and assistance.

6-13-1773: "Agreeable to the request of last meet-
ing part of a committee from the Quarterly Meeting
attended this meeting, and after some time in delib-
eration on the afiair advised the meeting to appoint
a committee to sit with Newberry and Huntington
friends at their preparative meetings, proceeding
the Quarterly Meeting, which is left under consid-
eration till next meeting."

10-10-1773: "Three of the Committee appointed
to visit Newberry preparative meeting, reports that
they have performed that service and also report j
that they are of the mind that a visit of solid friends
would be of benefit to that meeting, therefore this
meeting appoints William Willis and Benjamin Un-
derwood, Ann Steer and Miriam Hussey to sit with
them at their next preparative meeting and make
report to next meeting."

1 — 9—1773: The case of Newberry meet-
ing left under solid coDsideral-ion.

7 — 8 — 1775: "Some friends living a consid-
erable distance from Newberry meeting, near
Yellow Britches request to be indulged with
holding a week-day meeting at the house of
William Maulsby." This place was in
what is now Fairview Township. At the last
session of the monthly meeting, Isaac Ev-
erett, Peter Cleaver, John Qarretson Sr.,
Joseph Elgar, John Underwood, Record
Hussey and William Underwood were ap-
pointed to sit with them at the place pro- j
posed to hold said meeting and report. Of
the female members of the committee were ,
Mary Chandlee. Jane Taylor. Joanna Heald, 1
Ann Penrose, Hannah Cadwalader and Mar-
tha Everett.

A favorable report was granted to allow
them to hold a meeting on the fifth day of
each week, except the day of Newberry pre-
parative meeting, which they were urged to
attend. William Mathews, Ellis Lewis,
Herman Updegraff, Timothy Kirk, William
Garretson, William Penrose were asked to
attend their meeting at William Maulsby's
house whenever convenient. Of the female
members Hannah Mathews. Sarah Kirk,
Lydia Updegraff, Ann Penrose, Mary Chand-
lee, Rebecca Machlon and Miriam Httssey
were appointed to meet with them and join
the male friends appointed to that service.

A discussion arose, about building a meet-
ing house near the residence of Widow
Maulsby's house, in what is now Fairview
Township, the religious services having

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 58 of 218)