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

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Michael Laub.

Hellam, Casper Williart and Peter Gard-

Chaneeford, Robert Morton, John Hill.

Pawn, Alexander McCandless, John Gor-

Shrewsbury, Hugh Montgomery, Hugh

Codoras, Peter Dinkle, John Wothering.

Manchester, Peter Wolf, Valentine Crans

Newberry, Nathan Hussey, George Thau-

Dover, Philip Couf, Andrew Spangler.

Warrington, William Griffith, George

Monaghan, James Carrothers, George Co-

Heidelberg, Peter Schultz, Andrew Schrei-

Manheim, Samuel Bugdel, Solomon Miller.

Paradise, Clement Studebaker, John Rode.

There were the same number of overseers ap-
pointed for each of the townships in that por-
tion of York County now embraced in Adams
County. This system of appointing town-
ship overseers of the poor is still in force in
some counties of the State.


On February 6, 1804, the Legislature
passed a special act which granted to the
county commissioners power to levy a
tax for the purpose of purchasing land and
erecting thereon, and furnishing necessary
buildings for the support and employment
of the poor of the county. Under the pro-
visions of this act, the following named
persons were directed to fix upon the place
for the erection of a poor house: Martin
Gardner, Peter Small, Abraham Graffius,
Daniel Spangler, of York borough; Henry
Krieger, of Newberry Township, John Henei-
sen, of Dover; Christian Hetrick, of Codorus;

Samuel Collins, of Lower Chaneeford; Peter
Storm, of the vicinity of Hanover. The site
of the public common was determined upon
as an eligible spot for the location of the
county almshouse by these men, and they
so reported on June 30, 1804. A conflict
of claims arose concerning the right to this
land, whereupon the Legislature was pe-
titioned, and that body by special act, April
1, 1805, empowered the newly elected di-
rectors of the poor (Daniel Spangler, Jacob
Small and Martin Ebert), to determine upon
a site as to them might appear eligible, and
likewise to cause the erection of appropriate
buildings. After short deliberation, on the
16th of April, the same year, they reported
in writing that they had purchased the " Elm
Spring Farm, "* a certain plantation and
tract of land of and from Andrew Robinson,
containing 132 acres and 156 perches, for
the sum of £4,400 currency. On this tract
is located the present county almshouse.
The " Elm Spring, " surrounded by large
elm trees, was long noted for the crystal
beauty and excellent quality of water which
it furnished to the early residents of that
section. At the same time the directors pur-
chased a tract of woodland two miles farther
northeast, containing 150 acres and 17
perches, for £600.

In the summer of 1805 the first buildings
were erected at a cost of §4,761.54, and the
poor of all the townships of the county re-
moved thither in April, 1806.

A hospital building was ereftted of brick in
1828, at a cost of $7,800. A great deal of the
labor in the construction of this building was
done by the paupers; thus decreasing its
cost. It was considered in those days a
model of architecture. Jacob May was the
mason, Messrs. Diotz and Straber, carpenters.
The original almshouse and hospital build-
ings, after various changes and needed iui-
provements are still standing. The first great
improvements were made when George S.
' Morris, of York, was elected resident director.
They have now all the best improvements
necessary to sirch an institution. For neatness,
cleanliness and efficient management, the
present York County almshouse has an ex-
cellent reputation. During the year 1885 ap-
paratus for the purpose of heating by steam
j were introduced through all the buildings. A
' portion of the original "Elm Farm" tract

*The history of this farm is as follows: On October 17,
1766, Thomas Peun and Richard Penn granted a patent to John
Hahn and Michael Hahn for a tract called " Eigen, " On the 4th
of November ,Tohn sold to Michael Hahn, On November 20
Michael Hahn sold to Mathias Sitler. On Novembar 27, 1796,
Sitler sold to George Bentz. On April 16, 1796, Bentz sold to
Henry King, On March 2, 1802, King sold to .\ndrew Robin-
son. In April, 1805, it passed to the directors of the poor.


was sold to a company on which was erected
a rolling mill. A handsome new almshouse
barn was burned down some years ago, and
the present large and commodious one erected.

The first election of directors of the poor was
held on October 9, 1804. The following is a
list of the directors who served since that
time, together with the years of their election:
Daniel Spangler, 1804; Jacob Small, 1804;
Martin Ebert, 1804: Jonathan Jessop, 1808;
George Lottman, 1808; Martin Weiser, 1809;
George Barnitz, 1810; Gotlieb Ziegle, 1812;
Jacob Sheaffer, 1812; George Spangler,
1813; Philip Kissinger, 1814; Jacob Upp,
1815; Michael Wel^h, 1816; William John-
ston, 1817; Andrew Kramer, 1817; George
Spangler, 1817; Thomas Taylor, 1818; John
Fahs, 1819; Jacob Laucks, 1820; Michael
Eurich. 1821; Henrv Stover, 1822; Jacob
Diehl, 1823: Clement Stillinger, 1824; Casper
Laucks, 1825; John Strickler, 1826; Henry
Smyser, 1827; John Emig, 1828; Henry
Wolf, 1829; Alexander Small, 1830; Nich-
olas Diehl, 1831; John Kieman, 1832;
Christian Hildebrand, 1833; John W. Hetrick,
1836; Samuel Myers, 1837; John Lauer,
1838; William Strecher, 1839; Jacob Smyser,
1841; Martin Carl, 1842; Peter Peter, 1843;
Daniel Louoks, 1844; T. W. Haller, 1845;
Adam Free, 1846; Peter Wilt, 1847; George
S. Morris, 1848; James Klinedinst, 1849;
John Fahs, 1850; George Loucks of C,
1851; Peter Becker, 1852; William Spangler,
1853; Killian Small, 1854; Joseph Mc-
Curdy, 1856; Charles Underwood, 1858;
James Ross, 1859; William Stokes, 1860;
David Small, 1801; James Ross, 1862;
William Stokes, 1863; David Small, 1864;
Henry Koehenour, 1865; William Kilgore,
1866; David Small, 1867; David Bentzel,
1868; William Kilgore, 1869; David Small,
1870; George Hamm, 1871; Samuel Hively,
1872; F. T. Scott, 1873; A. B. Reynolds,
1874; _Mathias Reigart, 1875; John B. Say-
ers, 1876; Adam Kohr, 1877; John Henry,
1878; William Gilberthorpe, 1879; Solomon
Bover, 1880; Isaac Hovis, 1881; Alexander
Kidd, 1882; Andrew Bentz, 1883, Enos
Hively, 1884.

The physicians of the hospital connected
with the poor-house, have been the following
gentlemen, in the order in which they stand,
viz. — Dr. John Morris, Dr. Thomas Jameson,
Dr. John Rouse, Dr. Martini, Dr. John Bentz,
Dr. William Mcllvaine, Dr. Liike Rouse,
Dr. William Mcllvaine, (a second time;) Drs.
Jacob and Michael Hay; Drs. Mcllvaine and
Small, Dr. Alexander Small, Dr. John Fisher
Drs. Haller and Luke Rouse, Dr. E. C. Pentz,
Dr. M. J. McKinnon, Dr. J. T. Perkins. Dr.

John Ahl, Dr. O. C. Brickley, Dr. Z. C.



The office of county commissioner in
York County has always l)een elective. At
the first election held, there were three com-
missioners chosen, who were divided into
three classes, one of them to serve one year,
one two years, and one three years. From
1749 to 1875, one commissioner was. elected
annually, to serve for three years. The new
constitution of 1873 provided for the elec-
tion of three commissioners in 1875, and
every third year the same number thereafter.
This constitution also provides that the polit-
ical party in the minority shall be entitled
to one member of the board of commission-
ers. The following is a list of the commis-

First Class. George Schaabe, qualified
October 31, 1749; Bartholomew Maul,
October 29, 1751 ; Peter Shugard, October,
1754; Martin Eichelberger, October, 1757;
James Welsoh, October, 1760 ; William
Douglas, October, 1763 ; Joseph Updegraff,
October, 1766 ; John Heckendorn. October
81, 1769 ; John Hay. October 20, 1772 ;
Michael Hahn, October, 1775 ; William
Ross, 1776-77 ; Philip Rothrock, October
30, 1778 ; Jacob Schmeiser, October 12, 1781 :
Michael Hahn, October 29, 1784 ; Godfrey
Lenhart, October 29, 1787 ; John Spengler.
October 26, 1790 ; Joseph Welshhans, Octo-
ber 17, 1793 ; John Forsythe, December 6,
1796 ; Daniel Spengler, October 29, 1799 ;
Christopher Lauman, October 16, 1802 ;
Abraham Graffius, November 4, 1805 ; Jacob
Heckert, November 7, 1808 ; Peter Small,
November 5, 1811 ; Jacob Spengler, Novem-
ber 2, 1814 ; John Barnitz, November 5,
1817 ; Michael Doudel, November 7, 1820 ;
Henry Schmeiser, November, 1823 ; John
Voglesong, November, 1826 ; Peter Ahl, No-
vember, 1829 ; Jacob Dietz, November, 1832 ;

Second Class. Walter Sharp, qualified
October 31, 1749 ; William McClellan,*
October 30, 1750 ; ■ John Mikel, October,
1752 ; Thomas M'Cartney, October 28, 1755 ;
William Delap, October. 1/58; George
Meyers, October 31, 1761 ; Philip Ziegler,
October. 1764 ; Hugh Dunwoodie, October,
1767 ; John Monteith, October 15, 17/0 ;
Henry Tyson. October 20, 1773 ; John Hay,
October, 1776 ; John Sample, October, 1/79 ;
William Cochran, October 29, 1782 ; Robert

* As there was no return of an election in York County in
17.50, the court continued the former commissioners ; hut as .Mr.
Sharp had died, the surviving commissioners and the assessors
elected Mr. McClellan in his place. Here, hy the way, it may be
remarked of George Schwaabe that he was requalified in October,
1750, for regularly his period of office had terminated.



Morrison, November 1, 1785 ; William
McClellan,* November 1. 1786; John Mor-
row, October, 1 791 ; Henry Welsh, October,
1794 ; John Edie, December 4. 1794 ; An-
thony Hinkle, October 28, 1800 ; Robert Ram-
sey, October 24, 1803 ; Christopher Hetrick,
November 3, 1806 ; Fredrick Hoke, Novem-
ber 7, 1809; John Kauffelt, November 2,
1812 ; Joseph Reed, November 7, 1815 ;
Andrew Kitterman, November 2, 1818 ;
Michael Newman, November 6, 1821 ; Mat-
thew Clark, November, 1824 ; Philip Henise,
November, 1827 ; William Patterson, No-
vember, 1830 ; John Shultz, November, 1833.

Third C/as-s. Patrick Watson, qualified
October 31, 1749 ; James Agnew, Octo-
ber 30, 1753 ; Robert McPherson, October,
1756 ; John Frankelberger,t October, 31,
1758 ; John Adlum, October 30, 1759 ;
Samuel Edie, October, 1762 : Thomas Stoc-
ton, October, 1765; William Gemmill. Octo-
ber 27, 176S ; William Nelson, October,
1792 ; James Black, October, 1795 ; James
M'Candless, December 8. 1798 ; Samuel
Nelson, October 26, ISOl ; Jacob Heckert,];
November 10, 1802 ; Jacob Glancy, October
29. 1S04 ; William Collins, November 6,
1807 ; John Klein, November 5, 1810 ; Peter
Reider, November 2, 1813 ; Charles Emig,
November 5, 1816 ; Stephen T. Cooper, No-
vember 2, 1819 ; Peter Wolfhart, November,
1822 ; Charles Diehl, November, 1825 ;
Daniel Kimmel, November, 1828 ; John W.
Hetrick, § November, 1831 ; Samuel Harnish,

The date of the election is given in the fol-
lowing list: John Beck, 1836; William Nich-
olas, 1837; John Rieman, 1838; Jacob New-
man, 1839; David Maish, 1840; Henry Logan,
1841 ; Valentine B. Wentz,1842; Thomas Kerr,
1843; Joseph Detweiler, 1844; George Eich-
elberger, 1845; Daniel Ginder, 1846; John
Emig, 1847; John Moore, 1849; David Leber,
1850; Philip Sheffer, 1851; George Dick,
1852; Felix C. Herbert, 1853; John Myers,
1854; Aaron G. Blackford, 1855; Jesse Work-
inger, 1856; Daniel Meisenhelder,1857; Jacob

*Mr. Morrison removed from the county shortly after his
election to office. To complete his term Mr. McCl'ellan was
elected Octoher 10, 1786; and when that term had expired,
he was re-elected October 14, 1788, for three years, and was
qualified on the 29th of the same month.

tGen. Forbes in 1758, marched with an army from Phila-
delphia and reduced Fort Du Quesne, which is now PittsburRh.
As Mr. McPherson joined him in this, as it was then called
" Western Expedition," it was to supplv his place as commis-
sioner that Mr. Frankelberger was elected for one year.

tMr. Heckert was appointed till the next election to supply
the place of Samuel Nelson, deceased ; he was nominated by
the commissioners, and the nomination was assented to by the

g.John W. Hetrick, was, in 1833, appointed prothonotary,
and the two other commissioners (Jacob Dietz and William
Patterson), appointed Samuel Harnish to supply the vaoancj
" Q. At the election '~ "

- - — the last Tcarof tl:

Hetrick had been elected.

Greenfield, 1858; Adam Paules, 1859: Adam
H. Smith, 1860; John Hyde, 1861; Henry
Miller, 1862; John E. Anstine, 1863; Will-
iam Reeser, 1864; Henry Hammond, 1865;
Daniel Miller, 1866; William Wintermoyer,
1867; R. Duncan Brown, 1868; Peter Strick-
houser, 1869; Lewis Strayer, 1870; Jacob
Kohler, 1871; David Smyser, 1872; Michael
Knisely, 1873; N. E. Leber, 1874; Thomas
Piatt, 1875_: John Pfaltzgrofif, 1875 ;_ John
Beard, 1878; Jacob Lamotte, 1878; J. ^
Klinedinst, 1878; Stephen Keefer, 1881;
Charles Haines, 1881; Jacob S. Bentz, 1881;
George Anthonv, 1884; Henry Anstine, 1884;
John F. Beck, 'l884.


This office was appointive from 1749 to
1871. A special act of the Legislature was
approved May 16, 1871, providing for the
election of one clerk to the county commis-
sioners; to be elected every second year, and
serve at SI, 000 per annum. The following
is a list of clerks from 1749 to 1885:

John Reed, appointed, 1749; John Red-
dick, 1757; Henry Harris, 1757; William
Leas, 1764; John Morris, 1776; George
Lewis Leoffler, 1780; Jacob Spangler, 1792;
Peter Spangler, 1815; George W. Spangler,
1823; Daniel Small, 1829; John W. Hetrick,

; Christian S. Picking, ; John M.

Heiges, ; Amos Shearer, ; Emanuel

S. Smith, ; Edward D. Zeigler, elected,

October, 1871; Emanuel S. Smith, 1873;
Samuel A. Firestone. 1875; Samuel A. Fire-
stone, 1877; Frank G. Metzgar, 1879; A.
Duncan Thompson, 1881; A. Duncan Thomp-
son, 1883.

County Auditors. — The board of county
auditors is composed of three members. Up
to the year 1809 they were appointed by the
judges of the court. An act providing for
the annual election of three auditors was
passed by the Legislature, March 16, 1809.
By a special act of 1814 the law was modified
as to require the election of one new auditor
annually thereafter. The constitution of
1873 provided for the election of three audi-
tors in 1875. and the same number every
third year thereafter, the minority party in
politics to be represented by one auditor:
John M. Anderson, 1836; Adam Paules,
1838; S. McKinley, 1839; Jacob Miller,
1840; Matthias Nes, 1841; Samson Smith,
1842; Jacob F. Krone, 1843; Joseph Hart-
man, 1844; Edie Patterson, 1845; George
Klugh, 1846; Felix C. Herbert, 1847; J.
Gehley, 1848; John Reeser, 1849; William
Snodgrass, 1850; James Fulton, 1851;
James Ross, 1852-53; John S. Keech,


1854; Anthony Dessenberg, 1855; Ezra May,
1856; Z. B. Heindel. 1857; Henry Brubaker,
1858; J. W. Landis, 1859; Calvin Ritchey,
1860; Samuel Newman, 1861; Abraham
Klinefelter, 1862; Charles Smith, 1862;
Elijah Garrettson, 1864; William B. Mor-
row, ; John W. Landis, 1865; David

Gemmill, 1866; J. B. Pfaltzgroff, 1867, John
Seiffert, 1868; John Heidelbaugh, 1869;
Henry Rudy, 1870; Jacob Altland, 1871;

William H.' Croll, 1S72; , 1873;

Jeremiah Brown, 1874; Andrew Maffet, 1875;
Wentel Gross, 1875; John Stallman, 1875;
Thomas Brubaker, 1878; Henry J. Deitch,
1878; J. W. Lamison, 1878; T. B. McDon-
ald, 1881; William Kunkle, 1881; William
Douglas, 1881; William H. Croll, 1884;
George W. Evans, 1884; Jesse S. Crone,


The office of jury commissioners was cre-
ated by a general act of Legislature, passed
April 10, 1867. Before this time the jurors
for the trial of cases before the different
courts were selected by the sheriff and the
county commissioners from the qualified
voters of the county. The first election in
York County for jury commissioners was held
in October, 1867, when, under the provisions
of the act, two persons were selected for a
term of three years, and the same number to
succeed them at the end of every third year.
They are to select a number of names desig-
nated by the court and then place them in a
jury wheel in the presence of one of the
judges of the court. Grand, petit, and tra-
verse juroi-s are thus drawn by the sheriff
and jury commissioners.


From 1749 to 1846, nearly 100 years, only
dealers in imported goods were required, under
the then existing laws, to take out a county
license, in order that they might sell their
merchandise. By act of April 22, 1846, all
dealers in goods, wares, and merchandise,
were required to take out a county license,
and under this act the county commissioners
were empowered to appoint a mercantile ap-
praiser yearly whose duty it is to assess and
classify all dealers, and furnish a list of them
to the county treasurer.


The English laws introduced into the
Province of Pennsylvania in 1676 provided
that justices of the peace should nominate
three persons within their jurisdiction, one
of whom the governor may appoint a sheriff
to serve for one year. Under the " Charter

of Privileges" granted by William Penn to
his new province in 1701. the inhabitants of
each county were authorized to choose two
persons to present to the proprietary for the
offlce of sheriff, one of whom should be commis-
sioned by him to serve for three years. This
law was in force until the first State consti-
tution was adopted in 1776. This prescribed
that two persons should bo elected annually
in each county, and one of them selected to
be sheriff by the president of the State.
Under the constitution of 1790 elections were
also held, but the term was extended to three
years, and the commission issued by the
governor. No person was allowed to serve
two terms in succession. Under these con-
stitutions, it frequently happened that the one
who received the lowest number of votes was
commissioned. The amended constitution of
1838 provided that but one person should be
elected, and under the constitution of 1873
there is no change.

Hauce Hamilton became the first sheriff of
York County, assuming the duties of office at
the first session of the York County Court,
which opened October 31, 1749.


At the election held in October, 1750, a
serious riot ensued between the supporters of
Hance Hamilton and Richard McAllister,
the two candidates for the office. The
former lived in the present vicinity of Gettys-
burg, and was urgently supported by the
Scotch-Irish, the latter lived at the present
site of Hanover, which town he afterward
founded, and although a Scotch-Irishman
himself, was the candidate of the Germans.
The whole county, which then included the
present territory of Adams County, was one
election district. Tlie voting place on this
occasion was at the unfinished public inn of
Baltzer Spangler in the town of York. The
votes were received through the opening be-
tween two logs of the building. The dif-
ferent clans came riding on horseback into
the then small village of York, in squads from
the north, the east, the south and west. Some
of them rode a distance of twenty-five or more
miles, for the purpose of enjoying theelective
franchise on this important occasion. The
forenoon passed without any disturbance, but
by the noon hour, hundreds of gallant fron-
tiersmen,nearly every one born on foreign soil,
speaking two different languages, and repre-
senting four uationalitieg, after partaking of
a meal at one of the six public houses of en-
tertainment in the frontier town of York, or
as was much the custom in those days, sat by
the banks of the Codorus, and ate a cold din-


ner of victuals they brought with them, with
grfiat determination and impetuosity began
to clamor for their favorite candidates, and
crowd around the voting place. McAllister's
Germans, marshalled by their audacious
leader, were bold and defiant, and the impetu-
ous Scotch-Irish were at iirst equally deter-
mined and demonstrative.

Under this confused state of aifairs, Hance
Hamilton, who was then the sheriff, assumed
an authority for which he was afterward
sustained, and refused to go on with the elec-
tioti. A general commotion and confusion en-
sued. A lusty German, insisting on the right
to deposit his vote, tripped up the heels of
one of the Scotch-Irish guards. An affray
began, which in a few minutes become gen-
eral and quite exciting. Saplings cut along
the Codorus were used as offensive and defen-
sive weapons, and blows were dealt with un-
sparing hands. Hamilton and his party Hed
west of the Codorus. During the remainder
of the day the Scotch- Irish were not seen
east of the creek. There were a few limbs
broken and considerable blood was shed, but
no lives were lost in the affray. At the time of
this riot the Scotch-Irish present were greatly
inferior in numbers, as most of them lived a
long distance from York, while the Germans
were quite abundant in and around the town.
Hamilton was not the man to beat a retreat,
unless for good cause or from necessity. He
was then but a young man of twenty-nine.
His future career as a military commander,
against the French and Indians, showed that
he was a bold, daring and courageous man. On
the occasion of this riot, being sheriff him-
self and having charge of the election poll,
he represented the law-abiding element, and
it would seem, showed manly courage, by
retreating with his adherents, out of contact
with his violent and tumultuous opponents.
The Quakers, of whom there were a great
number present from the northern part of
the county, being a non-resistant class of
people, took no part in the affray.

Nicholas Kyland, the coroner, who was ap-
pointed with Hance Hamilton the year before,
opened another election box with new offi-
cers, and proceeded to take votes until eve-
ning. Nearly all votes cast at this place
were in favor of Richard McAllister, who,
when the day ended, it was claimed by his
followers, was triumphantly elected sheriff
of York County. But now came the time for
Hance Hamilton to assert his official right.
He thereupon declined to assist in counting
the votes and make official returns to the
Provincial Government at Philadelphia, stat-
ing as his reasons that he was " driven by vio-

lence from the place of voting," and by the
same violence was prohibited from return-
ing there, whereby it was not in his power
to do his duty, and therefore could make no
returns."' On a public hearing by the Pro-
vincial Governor and Council at Philadelphia
it was unanimously agreed "that it was not
owing to Hamilton that the election was
obstructed, and likewise he could not in his
circumstances as proven by witnesses, make a
return." The Governor therefor granted
Hance Hamilton a commission as sheriff",
during his (the Governor's) pleasure. At the
next session of court beginning October 30,
1750,the following wasordered to be recorded:

Whereas, Hance HaniiUon, Esq., high sheriff
of this county, hath by his remonstrance in writing
to this court set forth, that by reason of the tumul-
tuous behaviour of sundry persons at the last
election held here for this county, and of the ballots
or tickets not having been delivered to the inspec-
tors on three several pieces of paper, as directed by
an act of the General Assembly of this province,
entitled "an act for raising the county rates and
levies." he could not make such returns as by the
aforesaid act is enjoined: It is therefore considered
and ordered; by the court here, that the commis-
sioners and ass ssors who served this county in their
several stations the last year, shall (in pursuance
of the act aforesaid), serve for the ensuing year, or
until there shall be a new election.

As a consequence of this riot, York County
was without representatives in the General
Assembly for that year. Hamilton* served as
sheriff until January, 1753, when he was
succeeded by John Adlum, but was re-
elected in 1755, serving until he led a com-
pany of York Cotinty soldiers in 1756 to take
part in the the French and Indian war.

The following is a complete list of the
sheriffs of York county, from 1749 to 1885 :
Hance Hamilton, elected October, 1749; John
Adlum, October, 1752; Hance Hamilton, 1755;
Thomas Hamilton, October, 1756; Zachariah
Shugard, October, 1758; Peter Shugard, Octo-
ber, 1759; Robert McPherson, October, 1762:
David McConattghy, October, 1765 ; George
Eichelberger, October, 1768 ; Samuel Edie,
October, 1771 ; Charles Lukens, November,

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 64 of 218)