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

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time commissioned as a judge of the courts of York County,
and after the revolution he was commissioned to the same on
June 10, 1777, and on September 17, 1784. This upright
igistrate, and unshaken friend of his country in the days of


Johnson, March 1, 1820; Robert Cunning-
ham, March 31, 1823; William Goulston,
December 9, 1823; Joseph James, March 28,
1824; James Ramsey, March 5, 1830; Samuel
Irwin, July 8, 1830; Joseph Beunet, April 4,
1832; Thomas Henderson, February 20,



BEFORE permanent settlements were
made by the whites west of Susque-
hanna, there were traders' and missionary
routes, crossing this country from north to
south, and from east to west. These generally
followed the Indian trails, of which there
were several through the present limits of
York County. One of these trails extended
over what is now McCall's ferry road;
another over the line of what after was
known as the Monocacy road, through York
and Hanover westward. One from the
mouth of Fishing Creek, at Goldsboro,
through the valleys to the mouth of Yel-
low Breeches. Pack horse travel was very
common in early days of York County. For
nearly half a century after first settlements
were made, much of the transporting of goods
was done by means of pack horses. Huge
sacks, wallets and baskets or panniers were
constructed for such purposes. In this way
produce was taken to Lancaster, York, Balti-
more and Philadelphia. Horsemen would be
seen almost surrounded with poultry, tlax,
butter, pork, etc. ; even live calves and
sheep were thus "taken to market." Much
of the merchandise was transported in
the same manner. An old record says as
many as 500 pack horses were at one
time in Carlisle, and possibly nearly the
same number in York, at a very early day, all
on their way westward or southward.

Some of them carried '"bars of iron, crooked
over and around their bodies; barrels or kegs
were hung on either side of these. Pack
horses were generally led in divisions of ten
to fifteen horse, each horse carrying about 200
weight, going single file and managed by
two men, one going before the leader, and
the other to the rear of the last horse. Pack
horses generally had bells on them, which
were kept from jingling during the daytime,
and were put on them at night while at

Wagons came into use very early in

southern Pennsylvania. Of course they had
been in use for centuries in Europe, but
they were too expensive to transport. It
will be noticed in an article to follow this,
that wagon roads were opened in York County
as early as 1745. Sleds were put into promi-
nent use during the winter season; hundreds
of them came to York at one time as early
as 1760. There was much opposition to the
opening of wagon roads by owners of pack
horses. As an evidence however that wagons
were abundant in York County very early,
from official records it is known that in 1755
Benjamin Franklin, then postmaster general
of Pennsylvania, obtained 150 wagons, 250
pack horses in York, Lancaster and Cumber-
land Counties for Braddock's expedition
to Fort Duquesne, now Pittsburgh.

Many of the first wagons made by our fore-
fathers, were entirely of wood; the wheels
formed by sawing the trunks of huge gum,
hickory or white oak trees.

The road from Lancaster to the plantations
of John Wright (Columbia) was laid out in
1734. An Indian trail and a route for pack
horse travel and for missionaries was used,
which extended across the territory, now em-
braced in York County, to western Maryland
and Virginia many years before 1739. It
was during that year however, that, under the
authority of the Lancaster court, this route,
long known as the Monocacy road, was opened
upon the petition of numerous settlers west
of the Susquehanna in the present limits of
York County.

The viewers to locate this important road
were Joshua Minshall, Francis Worley,
Henry Hendricks, Christian Crawl, Michael
Tanner and Woolrieh Whisler. The road
began on the line between the lands of John
Wright, Jr., and Samuel Taylor (now
Wrightsville); thence west 500 perches,
south 72°, west 562 perches to Crawl's Run,
south 70°, west 430 perches to a marked
white oak, west 76 perches to Canoe Run,
south 68°, west 454 perches, west 994 perches
to west branch of Grist (Kruetz) Creek, west
544 perches to Little Codorus (Stoney Run),
west 684 perches to Big Codorus (York, not
yet laid out), continuing westward across
Perrin's Run, IJ miles southwest of York, |
mile farther to Springer's field, 1* miles
farther to the " point of a steep hill;" thence
west to Loreman's Run, to Christian Oyster's
(Eyster's, near Wolf's Church) land, to
Nicholas Couchor's Run, to west branch of
Codorus Creek, to John Link's Run, by "the
Barrens" to Conrad Low's plantatioo, west



4^ miles to Adam Forney's land (now the site
of Hanover); thence nearly due southwest by
Kitzmiller's mill, on Conewago Creek, to the
provincial line. The entire length of the
road was 34 miles, 290 perches. It soon be-
came a prominent highway of travel from the
east to the south and southwest. This route
was taken by Gen. Wayne on his trip with
his 900 American patriots on their way to
Yorktown, Va., during the Eevolution, and
the route taken for transporting Hessian and
British prisoners to Maryland during the
same war; also the course of Gens. St. Clair
and Wayne, in 1792, on their way to Ohio to
quell the Indian troubles there. During the
war of 1812, when the British Army occupied
Washington and were threatening Baltimore,
immense trains of v^agons, conveying cotton
from Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and other
points in the South, used this route on their
way to Philadelphia and New York.

It was the first road laid out within the
present limits of York County under the au-
thority of Pennsylvania.

A petition of citizens of Manheim and
Heidelberg, 17G6. sets forth that " the road
from Conewago Settlement (now Hanover) to
Baltimore Town was laid out thirty yeai-s be-
fore, or in 1736, by order of Baltimore Coun-
ty Court, before the temporary line between
the two provinces was run, and this was then
thought to belong to Mai7land; since the
running of which line there is about ten miles
on north side of line of as useful a road as
perhaps any in the Province of Pennsylva-
nia, and not on record in this province. "

Henry Slagle, Esq., Michael Danner, Rich-
ard McCallister, Cooper Eeineka, Christian
Millheimer and Marks Forney were appoint-
ed by the court " to view the road that it
might be recorded." It began at the dwell-,
ing house of Michael Carl, north of Hanover,
and extended nearly due south over the line
of the present Hanover & Baltimore turn-
pike. Being laid out first in 1736, it was
the first road in the county.

At the November session of court at Lan-
caster in 1741 a number of inhabitants near
Codorus Creek petitioned for a road the near-
est way from " the new town on the Great
Codorus (York) to William Smith's patented
land under Maryland." Smith's land was ten
miles and thirty- nine perches south of York.
The wishes of the petitioners were gi-anted,
and the court appointed Woolrich Whisler.Mi
chael Krieger, Michael Tanner,Michael Rolke,
Adam Miller and George Copel to view and
lay out the road. Their report was confirmed
in February, 1742. The road began at a
Spanish oak on Smith's land, extended nearly

due north by way of Woolrich Whisler'smill,
which was about two and one fourth miles
south of York, and must have been one of the
first mills in the county. From thence it ex-
tended to the ■' end of the street, leading to
the ])lace intended for a court-house in the
town of York, and joining the road to John
Wright's ferry." This road was laid out the
year after the founding of the town of York.
On the 4th day of May, 1742, in answer to
petition, Robert McClure, Benjamin Cham-
bers, Hance Hamilton, Patrick Carson, and
William Bayley were appointed, and soon af-
ter laid out a road (the report of which was
confirmed), extending from Walnut Bottom,
now in Cumberland County, across the Yel-
low Breeches Creek at present site of Lisburn
to Nathan Hussey's ferry, near the site of
Goldsboro, Its entire length according to
draft was thirty miles. During August of
the following year the report of John Noblet,

I Joseph Bennett. Joseph Green and James
Crawford was confirmed, laying out a road

! " seven and three-fourth miles in length, from
Nathan Hussey's ferry to Thomas Wilkin's
ferry, over the Susquehanna below the mouth
of Conewago Creek."

Upon receiving two petitions signed by
many citizens from the Marsh Creek settle-
ment (Gettysburg) and vicinity, William Rud-
dock, Richard Proctor, John Sharp, Benjamin
Chambers and James Ruddock were appointed
to view and lay out a road to York and Lan-

j caster. It was soon after opened, and corre-
sponded very nearly to the route of the pres-
ent York and Gettysburg pike.

I The following petition is for the first pub-

j lie highway southward to the town of York.
It was long known as "the Newberry Road."

The Humble Petitioa of the Inhabitants of New-
berry and Manchester and others of the West Side
of the Sisquehanna river to the Honorable Bench,
the Justices now Sitting att Lancaster most humbly

Whereas We your humble Petitioners, having
great need of a Wagon road to york-town, therefore
we humbly pray the Honorable court that we may
have a road Laid Out the nearest and best way from
.John Day's Mill to ye said york-town and we your
petitioners, as in Duty bound. Shall Pray.

10 mo., 13 da., 1745.
Nathan Hussey, Robert Hodgin,

John Day, John Hussey,

.lohn Garretson, Charles Jonas,

Joseph Bennett, John Snell,

Peter Stout, Bartholomew Maul,

James Frazer, Adam Niller,

Thomas Rogers, George Allbright,

Patrick Carson, George Swope,

Andrew Rodgers.

This road started thirteen miles north
from York, at John Day's mill crossed the
townsl^ips of Newberry and Manchester to


York. It passed William Ewing's mill eight
miles from York.

John Day became the first president court
justice of York County. He was a Quaker,
Nathan Hussey, also of the same religious
faith, became one of the commissioners to lay
off York County.

Upon the petition of sundry inhabitants of
Warrington, Monahan, Dover and Man-
chester townships for a road from Isaac
Kutledge's mill to the town of York, the Lan-
caster Court appointed Francis Worley,
Matthew Lambert, Peter Cook, Baltzer
Knetzer and Henry Clark to view and lay
out the road. They made their report to
the court which was confirmed at the October
Quarter Session, 1747. The road began at
Kutledge's mill on the Yellow Breeches (the
first mill in that section). From that point
to Street (Straight) Hill, inWarrington Town-
ship, with devious courses was ten miles. It
continued from thence across Conewago
Creek and top of mountain to York, and
corresponded nearly to the present road
through Dover, Wellsville and Dillsburg
and what is since known as the State road.

In 1748 a joint petition, with many signers
of the "townships of Hallam and Donegal, was
presented to the Court at Lancaster for a
road from Anderson's Ferry (Glatz') to join
the road from John Wright's ferry to York."
On the petition the names of all signers from
Donegal are Scotch-Irish, and all except
two of Hallam. German. The viewers ap-
pointed to open the road were George Swope,
John Kelly, Lazarus Lowry. Martin Schultz,
and James Patterson. The road was sur-
veyed and opened by order of the Lancaster
Court April. 1749.

In January 4, 1810, in pursuance of an act
of assembly, John G. Bull, Anthony Hinkle,
and Anthony Slaymaker were appointed com-
missioners to view the road from John Park's
House in Chester County through Strasburg,
Lancaster County to McCall's Ferry on
the Susquehanna, thence southwest to Mary-
land. It was opened as a State road, and
was intended as a through route from Phila-
delphia to Baltimore and Washington. A
route very similar to this one had been
opened as early as 1748 from Stevenson's
ferry (McCall's) to Potapsco, now Baltimore.

The following is a petition for what after-
ward became the first road from the south-
east toward York. It was the last of the
roads laid out by the authority of the Lan-
caster Court.

To ye WorshipfullJustices of the County of Lan-
caster now sitting the Borough of Lancaster;

The petitioners Having frequent occasion to The
Town of New York (meaning the new town of

Daniel Laverty,
Paul Martin,
John Campbell.
Edward McMahon,
Manasa Lamb,
Thomas Carson,
John Carson,
William Buchannan,
Charles Caldwell,
Hugh Ross,
Matthew Long,

York) and No roads Being Made Amongst us. it is
very Difficult for yoiu- Petitioners To Travell Es-
pecially in ye Winter for Reason of ye Swamps and
Savannahs, That is betwixt us and said Town of
York. Therefore we your petitioners. Humbly
crave That your Worships Would Be Pleased To
Grant an order for laying out and making of a Road
from John Nelson's ferry to ye 4 said Town of New

Therefore, your Petitioners Pray that your Wor-
ship your Wisdom would be pleased to Take the
Pettition into Consideration, and order your Petition-
ers What you shall Think Proper, and your Peti-
tioners as in Duty Bound shall Pray.
Maj' Sessions, 1740.

John Nelson,
Alex. Nelson.
Morton Mahaffey,
Finley Gray,
James McCartley,
Benjamin Saylor,
Daniel Johnson,
Thomas Johnson,
J,imes Anderson,
William Anderson,
George Baughman.
The names of these petitioners are all of
English or Scotch-Irish origin, except the
last one, which is, doubtless, German. They
were some of the first settlers, having only
been living there a few years. The petition
asks for a road from Nelson's ferry (now Mc-
Call's) to York. Action was taken by the
court, during the May sessions of 1749, and
Charles Caldwell, John Campbell, Robert
Smart, William Buchanan, Eobert Morton
and Nathaniel Morgan appointed to view and
lay out the road. Their report was made
and confirmed at the next session of the
Lancaster Court. Its courses and distances
nearly correspond to the present Peachbot-
tom public road.

The Honorable pettition of the people, the Inhab-
itants on the Branches of the Burniudian, in Mona-
han Township.

To the Honorable, the court at Lancaster, now
Sitting, we, your humble pettitionars take leave to
inform you of our great Disadvantage we labor un-
der, for want of a Road being Made or opened from
our settlement to York Town, it being_ our Nighest
& best way to Lancaster &-Philadelphia, our places
of market, & likewise our Court. We humbly peti
tion your Court, that you would grant us an order
from your court to open said Road sufficient for
wagons to Travel between Archibald McAllister's
Mill and York, and that you would appoint such
men as you see best, as prospectors and overseers
of said road. We remembering the favours granted
to us by your honours already Comfort our selves
in the hope of your granting in this favor, & we, as
in Duty bound, shall Ever pray.
April 7, Anno Domino

John Griest.
Andrew Miller,
Henry Wilson,
Charles Coulson,
Jtatthew Dill,
Tho. Dill,
Wm. Underwood,
John Hendricks,
Thomas Pettit,
Caleb Hendricks,

James Pettit,
Edward How,
Joseph Dennis.
John Douglass,
John Lease.
Mathew Mellon,
Edward Robbards,
Rieh'd Cox,
Alexander Underwood,
Jacob Beals,


John Jesper, William Beals,

James Hendricks, Samuel Cox,

John Powell, Abraham Nesbitt,

John Brandon.

This petition being made the same year
that York County was formed, the Lancaster
Court deferred the matter, whereu[)on a simi-
lar petition, which was the first presented to
the York Court upon its organization after the
erection of the county, was granted, and the
road ordered to be opened from '"McAllister's
mill, on the Bermudian Creek, to the town of
York." The viewers were John Beales, Will-
iam Cox, J ohn Greist, Abraham Lerew, John
Lease and James Pettit. This i-oute is what
is at present known as the "Shippensburg
road." McAllister's mill was in what is now
Adams County. The names were all signed
in well written English.

Upon the petition of Joshua Lowe and
others, a road was laid in April, 1750, from
his ferry, at what is now Y'ork Haven, from
Lancaster to Shippensburg. It passed
through the site of the present villages of New-
berry, Lewisberry and Lisburu. In early
history it was a prominent route of travel.
In 1794 many of the soldiers, going to quell
the whisky insurrection in western Pennsyl-
vania, passed over it.

In January, 1752, Nathan Morgan, John
Griffith, Alexander Wallace, Hugh White-
ford and Archibald White were appointed
to "view and lay out a road from Peach
Bottom ferry, so called, to I'ork. They
reported at the June session of court that,
after viewing said road, are of the opinion
that there is a necessity fdr such road; but
the season of the year being so unfit for tak-
ing the courses and distances, and being a very
busy time for farmers, they asked to have the
return of the report made at next session of
coui't. The same year the order was granted
to open a road to York to join a road from
Chanceford to same point already laid out.
A temporary private road was laid out from
Peach Bottom Ferry to join the Ashmore Ferry
road, in 1749, to York under the authorities
of the Lancaster Court before the formation
of York County.

The road above mentioned, extending
south from York to Smith's patented land,
was declared "to be crooked and hilly,
and a good wagon road was needed over
more level ground." A petition was pre-
sented to court in 1765 to extend it to "the
temporary line toward Joppa and Potapsco."
Joppa, now a small village on the Gunpowder
River, a few miles east of Baltimore, was
then the most important town in Baltimore'
County, and the county seat.

The same year, 1752, a road was laid out

from George Crogan's place, near the mouth
of the Yellow Breeches, to Cesna's fording
place by Frazer's mill on same creek; length,
three and one thii-d miles. A road was peti-
tioned for in 1752 to pass through Newberry
and Warrington from Frazer's mill through
the gap in the mountain to intersect the road
leading from Rosebury's mill to York between
the creeks of Beaver and Couewago. Henry
W^illis, Allen Robinet, John Farmer, Thomas
Heald and Joseph Bennet viewed and opened

Jacob Miller and sundry inhabitants in
and around York petitioned for a road from
his mill to York Town. The mill was located
about one mile northeast of York.

In 1753, the inhabitants of Warrington and
Paradise seciu-ed the opening of a road from
" Christopher Hussey's mill in Warrington, to
John Lane's mill, and from thence through the
Pidgeon Hills so as to fall in the road that
leads to Potapsco." Pidgeou Hills were
named after Joseph Pidgeon, an English sur-
veyor from Philadelphia County, who assisted
iu laying off the first townships in York
County. Potapsco is now Baltimore.

Alexander McCandless, Nathaniel Morgan
and Hugh Whiteford in 1753 laid out a road
from Robert Morton's plantation, in Chance-
ford, toward Rock Run and the temporary line.
Upon the petition of Peter Wolf and sundi-y
persons, the Monocacy road was changed from
its course in 1754, to avoid hills, at a distance
five miles west from York, where it forks with
the Marsh Creek Road.

On September 27, 1754 Conrad Holtzbaum,
Baltzer Spangler, Henry Hendricks and Hugh
Low presented to the court at York, Patrick
Watson president justice, a report of a road
review from York, through the townships of
York and Shrewsbury to the temporary line

I between the provinces of Pennsylvania and
Maryland. The length of this road accord-

j ing to their survey was 18| miles. Beginning
"at the court house door," it extended nearly
in a due south direction. The report was

j confirmed.

j Abraham Burkholder established a ferry
across the Susquehanna in the year 1762. In
1766 he petitioned for a road from his ferry
"to William Nicholson's mill at the forks of
Muddy Creek, and thence to the road lead-
ing to Potapsco. " The viewers were Thomas
Scott, David Kirkpatrick, John McCall, Will-
iam Edgar, and W' illiam Gemmill. A road
had been laid from Stevenson's ferry (now
McCall's) to Read's mill, thence to Leeper's
mill, about ten years before.

In October 1765 "a bridge road was opened
from Nicholas Wierman's mill to the great


road leading through Warrington from Car-
lisle to Baltimore, and along said road to the
old Friend's meeting house road and along
said meeting house road unto Rev. Samuel
Thompson's meeting house."

Petitions, in 1769, from a number of peo-
• pie called Quakers of the townships of New-
berry, Warrington, Huntingdon, T3'rone and
Menallen, were presented for a road leading
westward through the different townships
mentioned, for them to pass and repass to and
from their diiferent places of worship; to be-
gin at McGrew's mill, thence along by the
ujeeting houses at Huntingdon (York
Springs) and Warrington, and to intersect
the road leading from Low's Ferry to Car-
lisle, at or near the Newberry meetinghouse.
The road was opened by John Blackburn
Ellis Lewis, Charles Coleson, Robert Nelson
and James Rankin. It terminated near the
present village of Newberry. A petition ol
sundry inhabitants of York County was pre
sentecl to court January, 1769, for a road for
the passage of large wagons from Tate's ferry
and William Willis' mill, into the great road
from Carlisle to York near widow Noblet's
house, which would be some miles nearer for
the Baltimore trade. "

The same year a petition was presented for
division of Chanceford and Windsor town-
ships, and from parts of both to form a new
township, to be called Eossel Township; not

In April, 1769, inhabitants of Hellam,
Windsor, and Chan(!eford requested that a
road be made from Hellam Forge at mouth
of Codorus across said townships toward
Rock Run and Baltimore Townships and
join the road already laid out to John Fin-
ly's tavern. Viewers were appointed and
road opened. It is still known as the "old
Baltimore road."

In 1769 citizens of York and Codorus
townships asked for the opening of a road in
behalf of Thomas Usher and Joseph Donald-
son, who, "at a great expense, had erected a
merchant mill on the land formerly owned by
Zachariah Shugart near lands of David Jami-
son, Esq., Henry Spangler and Michael
Hanks. This road would be of great advan-
tage to the town of York." The road was

In July, 1770, a road was opened from
Yonerstown (Dover) to George Ilgenfritz's
mill in Dover Township by Michael Quickel
and others.

In 1767 a road was opened in Chanceford
from "John Finley's tavern house to Jacob
Grove's mill, lately erected."

The same year a road was opened from the \

Brogue tavern to Nicholson's mill at forks of
Muddy Creek, thence to temporary line," by
David Kirkpatrick, Thomas Scott, John Mc-
Cally, William Gemmill, Benjamin Johnson
and James White.

A petition, in 1768, of divers inhabitants
of Shrewsberry and Codorus stated that "a
road, formerly made by themselves, which
led from Maryland road to the mill of Chris-
tian Meckley, was stopped up by Peter Seis
and others." William Ehrhart, Frederick
Fishel, Michael Geiselman, Peter Runk, Kil-
ian Divinger and Moses Lawson were ap-
pointed by the court to open the road.

The inhabitants of Chanceford and Fawn,
in 1768, stated, in a petition, that "they
needed a road from Samuel Leeper's mill,
which is now fitted for merchant work, and
has on hand a quantity of flour ;" the road
to begin "at the great road leading from York
to Peach Bottom Ferry; to pass between Rol-
and Huss and James Hill to said mill, and
from theuce to Provincial Line, where James
Webb lives."

On motion of James Smith, Esq., on behalf
of Caleb Lowe and others, viewers were
appointed April, 1768, to open a road from
Lowe's ferry (now York Haven) to intersect
the road leading from York Town to Car-
lisle.'' This afterward was known as the
"Canal Road."
I The petition of sundry inhabitants of New-
berry and Dover, July, 1768, apprehended
I that " a road from James Rankin's house fo
Great Conewago, at or near a place called
the wolf pit, and from thence to a ferry on
the Susquehanna, would be useful. Where-
upon the court appointed James Welsh, Esq.,

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 67 of 218)