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

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thence to Bedford and to Fort du Quesne
(now Pittsbui-gh). Near Sideling Hill was
erected a log fort, called Fort Lyttleton, on
this road — since the '-Burnt Cabins." This
fort was constructed of logs and surrounded
with a stockade work. Here we first find
Capt. Jameson in his military movements.
He was appointed an ensign by the proprie-
tary governor of Pennsylvania, but at what
precise period we are not informed. He very
soon rose to the rank of captain, without an
intermediate lieutenancy.

During his frontier service, Capt. Jameson
was dangerously wounded in an engagement
with Indians, near Fort Lyttleton, at Side-

* The commissions (military and civic) — now mucli worn

and obliterated by time— held by him, except that of ensign, are

I the possession of his great-grandson, Brevet Brig-Gen. Hora-

" ' "■■ " " " ■ Third Regiment of Artillery,

ling Hill, on the road from Carlisle to Pitts-
burgh, then Fort du Quesne. His sufferings
and perils (being left for dead on the field),
and rescue make a thrilling narrative.

It became necessary for him to repair to
Philadelphia for medical aid, but it was but
a few months till he assumed the field again,
though he did not recover fully for six years.
He afterward discharged the duties of brig-
ade-major, and also of lieutenant-colonel, all
of which he did to the entire satisfaction of
the appointing power, at Carlisle and at dif-
ferent points, then on the frontier of Penn-

Capt. Jameson had been educated a physi-
cian, yet his ambition had prompted him to
solicit a command and to share in the dan-
gers of the field. This did not interfere
with his humane prompting to devote a por-
tion of his time to the sick and wounded,
and we have seen a letter written by Dr.
Rush, in which he says: "I well remember
to have seen your father (Dr. J ameson) dress
the wound received in the'shoulder by Gen.
Armstrong, at the battle of Kitaning."

In Scott's geographical description of
Pennsylvania, 1805, the following is found:

"Capt. Jameson is described by Burd as a
'gentleman of education, who does his duty well
and is an exceedingly good officer.' "

"Col. David Jameson had command of
Fort Hunter, Fort Augusta, Fort Aughwick,
and was at the battle of Loyal Hanna, March
14, 1769."

Col. Jameson's age,on reaching this country,
could not have been less than five and twenty
years, for the medical school of the famed
University of Edinboro' town then, as now,
required sis years' matriculation. In the
French and Indian war, he must have
attained the ripe age of forty. When the
English colonies of America entered upon
their long struggle for national independence,
although he had passed the limit of age for
military service, and his natural force had
somewhat abated, and advancing years and
wounds bad in a measure enfeebled his physi-
cal powers, he nevertheless seems to have been
active and efficient, joining at the age of
sixty " a marching regiment" to reinforce
the Army of Washington, and otherwise aid-
ing "the grand cause" of his country.

The following letter is from the Committee
of York County to the Committee of
Safety in Philadelphia, dated December 31,

"In these times of Difficulty several gentle-
men have exerted themselves much in the
Grand Cause. Several Militia Companys
have marched; more will march from this


County, so as in the whole to compose at least
a pretty good Battalion. The gentlemen
who deserve the most from the publick are
David Jameson. Hugh Denwoody, Charles
Lukens and Mr. George Eichelberger. They
have been exceedingly useful. As most of
the Compauys who have marched have chosen
their officers, pro Tempore, an arrangement
will be necessary as to Field Officers.
We propose David Jameson, Col., Hugh
Denwoody.Lt. Colonel, Charles Lukens, Major
and George Eichelberger, Quartermaster of
the York County Militia, who now march. It
will be doing Justice to merit to make the
appointm't, and we make, no Doubt, it will
be done by your Board. We congratulate
you on the Success of the American Arms at

It is also stated, on the authority of his
son, Dr. H. G. Jameson, "that he had
despoiled his fair estate near York of acres
of its tine woodland, in order to contribute,
without money and without price, to the aid
of "the Grand Cause."

The intimate friend of Hugh Mercer, Ben-
jamin Rush, James Smith, and Horatio Gates,
and well known to other illustrious men of
the Revolution, it is much to be regretted
that the story of the life of a soldier of

"good old colony times.

When we lived under the King,"

cannot be made more complete than the frag-
mentary records left behind him enables his
descendants to do.

After the close of his military service un-
der the province of Pennsylvania, David
Jameson practiced his profession in York,
(interrupted only by the period of his service
ill the Revolution), and died in York during
the last decade of the last century, leaving a
widow and children. In a memoir, prefacing
a sketch of his services during the French
and Indian war, and under the Province, by
his son, Horatio Gates Jameson, M. D., the
following reference is made to his abode near

"The spacious domain near the ancient
borough of York, which, with a refined and
cultivated taste, he adorned and beau.tified —
though not after the manner (which could
not be), of his ancestral home in "Bonnie
Scotland," yet adding to its natural beauty
all that art could devise to make it fair to
view; and where he dispensed a generous and
graceful hospitality — has passed, as usual in
our country, out of the hands of his posterity;
the last possessor of the blood (about 1869)
being his great-grandson, Gates Jameson
Weiser, Esq."

Col. Jameson married Emily Davis, by
whom he had eleven children. — Thomas,
James, Horatio Gates, David, Joseph, Nancy,
Cassandra, Henrietta, Emily and Rachel.
His sons all became physicians. Thomas
settled in practice in York, James in Allen-
town, Penn., Horatio Gates in Baltimore,
and David and Joseph in Columbus, Ohio,
and all left descendants.


was born in York in 1778, and married
August 3, 1797, Catharine Shevell [CheveU),
of Somerset, Penn. , (where he then abode),
and had issue: CJassandra, Elizabeth, Rush,
Catharine, Alexander Cobean, David Davis,
Horatio Gates. He seems to have sojourned,
after his marriage, in Somerset, Wheeling,
Adamstown and Gettysburg, until about
1810, when he removed to Baltimore, where
he established himself permanently in prac-
tice, founded and became president of the
Washington Medical College, and, at one
time. Health Officer of the city. About 1S:1I»
Dr. Jameson with his wife and daughter,
Elizabeth Gibson, made a voyage to Europe
on one of the packets runniug from Balti-
more to the ports of Germany, and visited
several places on the continent, but sojourned
longest at Copenhagen, Denmark; to and
from the American representative at whose
court he was accredited as a special bearer
of dispatches by the government at Washing-
ton. While on his return from a trip to
Texas, (where he had purchased land.s), the
faculty of the Ohio Medical College at Cin-
cinnati, composed of Drs. Gross, Drake,
Rives and Rogers — all celebrities in their
profession — tendered him its presidency; ac-
cepting which, he removed with his family
from Baltimore to Cincinnati in October,
1835. The ill health of his wife compelled
him to return to Baltimore in March, 1836,
and resume practice there. On one (or two)
of his journeys between Texas or the West
and Baltimore, he was severely injured by the
upsetting of a stagecoach on the mountains
of (West) Virginia, and was unable to rejoin
his family for months. His wife, Catharine
(Shevell) Jameson, died in Baltimore, No-
vember 1, 1837; and he married in 1852, a
lady of Baltimore, Hannah J. D. Ely, nee
Pearson, (the widow of Judah Ely, Esq.,
with a son, Jesse Pearson Ely). Within the
last year of his life, he left Baltimore and
went to York, to spend his last days among
the scenes of his childhood — so fondly re-
membered and graphically described by him
in a Baltimore journal in 1842. But the hope


and ambition of his life — to obtain and re-
store to the family his patrimonial homestead
and estate — he never realized; and he died,
unpossessed of its acres and domicile, while
on a visit to the city of New York in July,
1855 — the same year in which the ancient
homestead was destroyed by lire. His widow
survived him nearly thirty years, and died in
the city of Baltimore, August 19, 1884, at
the ripe age of eighty years.

Dr. Jameson was celebrated for his surgi-
cal skill and knowledge, and also had a wide
repute for his successful treatment of cholera
— epidemic in Baltimore and Philadelphia,
1793-98 and 1832. He wrote several med-
ical works, which were accepted as authority
by the profession, and was an able and ear-
nest advocate of the "non-contagion" theory.
Like the great Dr. Rush, he belonged to the
school of the immortal Sangrado of Gil Bias
fame, whose theory of practice obtained even
unto the days of the writer. The earliest recol-
lection of the writer's youth is that of a fine
old English engraving, which hung over the
mantel in his grand- father's office. It repre-
sented Galen discovering a skeleton in a for-
est; and neither it, nor the lines engraved
beneath, has ever been effaced from the wri-
ter's memory. The latter are reproduced here,
as a suggestive indication that the disciples
of Galen, in those days, were devout men,
fearing God:

Forbear, vain man, to launch with Reason's eye

Into the vast depths of dark Immensity;

Nor thinli thy narrow but presumptuous mind,

The least idea of thy God can find;

Though crowding thoughts distract the laboring

How can Finite INFINITE explain.


Col. Hance Hamilton, the first sheriff of
York County, and one of the most influential
of the early settlers, was born in 1721, and
died February 2, 1772, aged fifty-one years.
In the first legal records of York County, he
is generally alluded to as of Cumberland
Township (now Adams County), though he
probably died at his mill property in Menal-
len Township; his will having been ex-
ecuted in that township. The executors
named in it are his brother, John Hamilton,
Eobert McPherson, Esq., and Samuel Edie,
Esq. The active executor was Col. Robert
McPherson. His remains were first interred
in what is known as Black's graveyard, the
burying-ground of the Upper JVIarsh Creek
Presbyterian Church, where they repos.ed for
eighty years, and were then dis- interred and
placed a short distance south of the eastern

entrance of Evergreen Cemetery, at Gettys-
burg. Concerning the headstone, which is
now much weather-beaten, the following re-
ceipt will be perused with interest:

Received 3nd of September, 1773, of Robert Mc-
Pherson, fifteen shillings, for making a headstone
for Hance Hamilton's grave. Adam Linu.


The signature to this document is in Ger-
man. Among the first public trusts with which
Hamilton was charged, was the will of his
brother James Hamilton, made June 23, 171:8,
" in the County of Lancaster." York County
was formed the next year. It was acknowl-
edged in the presence of Abraham Lowry,
William Brown and James McGinly. The
will was proven before " Sa. Smith, Esq., of
Newberry Manor, west of the Susquehanna,"
December 22, 174S, The estate amounted
£139 13s 7d. York County was erected by
an act of Assembly, August 19, 1749. In
October of that year an election was held
for sheriff and coroner, when Hance Hamil-
ton was elected to the former office, and
Nicholas Ry land to the latter. These officers
were at that time elected annually, and at
the next election in 1750, a serious riot en-
sued between the supporters of Hance Ham-
ilton, and those of his opponent, Richard
McAllister, the founder of Hanover, as a
result of which the sheriff refused to go on
with the election. The coroner.Ryland, opened
another box, with other officers and took
votes until evening. At the general county
election in those days, all persons who voted,
were required to go to York. There was
but one poll in the county. At the election, the
sheriff is represented, in his own statement,
as having declined to assist in counting the
tickets, and to make a return, giving as his
reason that he was " drove by violence from
the place of election, and by the same vio-
lence was prevented from returning there,
whereby it was not in his power to do his
duty, and therefore could not make no re-
turn," On a public hearing by the Provin-
cial Governor and Council at Philadelphia,
it was unanimously agreed " that it was not
owing to Hamilton that the election was ob-
structed, and likewise that he could not, in
his circumstances, as proved by the witnesses,
make a return." The governor, therefore,
granted Hamilton a commission as sheriff
during his pleasure. The court of York, in
view of the absence of a return, directed
that the commissioners and assessors for the
previous year, serve for another year until
there shall be a new election. As a result
of this riot, and consequent want of a return,
York County was without representation in


the General Assembly for that year. In
17[)1, Hance Hamilton was again re-elected
sheriff, with Alexander Love as coroner.
After the expiration of his term of office as
sheriff, Hamilton became one of the judges
of the court of common pleas of York
County. In April, 1756, as captain, he com-
manded a company of Provincial troops
from York County, that took part in the
French and Indian war. He was at Fort
Littleton (now in Fulton County), where he
wrote a letter describing the capture by the
Indians of McCord's Fort. He was at Fort
Littleton in the fall of 1757, He was also in
Armstrong's expedition against Kittaning,
where a bloody and important victory over the
Indians was won by the " Scotch-Irish of the

On the 31st of May, 1758, he was com-
missioned by William Denny, Lieutenant-
Governor, as " Lieutenant Colonel of the
First Battalion of the Pennsylvania Regi-
ment of foot soldiers in pay of the Province."
Col. Hamilton carefully kept all his business
documents, and many of them, including the
executors' accounts, are now in possession of
Hon. Edward McPherson of Gettysburg.
Among them is his will, dated January 27,
1772, only four days before his death. It
was probated March 11, 1772, a receipt of
James McClure was given 10s 6d''for ex-
penses laid out in attending at York to prove
the will," also a receipt of Sarah Black for
£3 28 6d for two gallons of liquor and three
gallons of rum, "'expended at the funeral"
of Hance Hamilton. At the "wakes" in
those days, it was a common custom to use
licpors. His personal property was sold
March 19-20, 1772. Among the articles
advertised were ' ' six negroes, two of which
are men well acquainted with farming busi-
ness, one very likely wench, two fine prom-
ising boys and one child. " There were quite
a number of slaves in his township at the
date of his death. What they brought is
not known. On the 26th of September,
1760, "William Buchanan, of Baltimore
Town," signed a receipt to Hance Hamil-
ton of £200 for one negro man; £70 for
one negro boy, Hamilton's real estate was
sold April 1, 1773, to David McConaughy,
Esq., Dr. William Cathcart and John Ham-
ilton as "trustees for his heirs," The en-
tire estate was about £3,000 in Penn-
sylvania currency, nearly equally divided
between personal and real property. This
was a large amount for these colonial
days. Nothing is definitely known of his
children, except that one of them " was ap-
prenticed" in September, 1767, to Dr, Robert

Boyd, of Lancaster, to study physic and sur-
gery, to stay two years, for a fee of £70
for instruction." He graduated at the Uni-
versity of Pennsylvania in 1768. The chil-
dren mentioned in his will are Thomas,
Edward, Harriett Sarah, married to Alexan-
der McKean ; Mary, married to Hugh Mc-
Kean; Hance Gawin, George, John, William
and James. None of his descendants are
now living in either York or Adams County.
In his will among many other bequests, he
left to his son, Thomas, a pair of silver-
mounted pistols, valued at £10; to his son,
Hance, a pair of brass-barreled pistols
and holster, valued at £5 ; one silver
mounted sword, valued at £10; one silver
medal, valued at 5s ; to his son Gawin, a
silver snuff box, valued at £2, and to his
son George, a long gun valued at £2 10s ;
George also received a pair of silver buckles
appraised at 12s, and John, a silver watch
appraised at £5 10s. It would be exceed-
ingly interesting to trace the history of
these trojihies, but of them nothing more
can be authoritatively said, neither is it
known where one of them now is. Hance
Hamilton was a man of enterprise, great
force of cliaracter and activity in public
affairs. Had he lived during the Revolu-
tionary period, he would doubtless have be-
come a very conspicuous officer of that event-
ful war. He was a typical frontiersman, and
located as nearly as can be determined at
first in Sir William Keith's tract, called
Newberry, and in 1746 became one of the
most influential members of the Scotch
Irish settlement on Marsh Creek, near the
site of Gettysburg. He was first chosen
sheriff of York County, when but twenty -
eight years of age, and died suddenly, when
but fifty-one. Those twenty-three years were
devoted to the care of his family, to the
affairs of the community, and to the common
dangers of the period. He died as the Rev-
olutionary movement was gathering force.
Had he lived he would, no doubt, have em^
braced the cause with ardor, and spent his
strength, and if need be, his life, for the
freedom of his country. Among the roll of
" the forty-nine officers of Scotland in 1649,
was Sir Hance Hamilton, who obtained adju-
dicated lands in the Province to the amount
of 1,000 acres. From him Col. Hance Ham-
ilton of York County doubtless descended."


Col. Robert McPherson was the only son
of Robert and Janet McPherson, who settled
in the western portion of York County, in
in the fall of 1738 on the "Manor of



Maske." He was born presumably in Ire-
land, about 1730, and was a youth of eight
years on his parents becoming a part
of the well-known Marsh Creek settlement.
He was educated at Eev. Dr. Alison's
school at New London, Chester Co., Penn.,
which academy was afterward removed to
Newark, Delaware, and became the foundation
of the jjresent college at that place. His
father died December 25, 1749, and his
mother September 23, 17(37. In 1751 he
married Agnes, the daughter of Robert Miller
of the Cumberland Valley. In 1755 he was
appointed treasurer of York County, and in
1756 'a commissioner of the county. The
latter ofSee he resigned on accepting a com-
mission as captain in the Third Battalion of
the Provincial forces, May 10, 1758, serving
under Gen. Forbes on his expedition against
Fort Duquesne. From 1762 to 1765 he was
sheriff of the county, and from 1764 to the
beginning of the Revolution vvas a justice of ;
the peace under the Proprietary, serving
from 1770 as President Justice of the York
County Court, and was re-commissioned a
justice under the first constitution of the
State. From 1765 to 1767 he was a member
of the Provincial Assembly, and in 1768 was
appointed county treasurer to fill a vacancy.
He was a member of the Provincial Confer-
ence, which met at Carpenter's Hall, Phila
delphia, June 18, 1778; and was one of the
Representatives of York County in 1776, which
formed the first constitution of the State of
Pennsylvania. At the outset of the war for
Independence, he was commissioned a colonel
of the York County Battalion of Associators,
and during that and the following year he
was in active duty in the Jerseys and in the
subsequent campaign around Philadelphia.
After his return from the field he was em-
ployed as the purchasing commissary of
army supplies for the western end of York
County. In 1779 he was one of the three ■
" auditors of confiscation and fine accounts." j
From 1781 to 1785 he served as a member of
the assembly of the State. Col. McPherson
was one of the charter members of the cor- i
poration of Dickinson College, and continued |
to act as trustee until his death. He was an
elder in the Upper Marsh Creek Presbyterian
Church, which was organized in 1740, or
within two years of the beginning of the
settlement. His death, from paralysis, oc-
cured February 19, 1789, his wife surviv-
ing him until September 13, 1802. He had i
a large family. Two of his sons, William j
and Robert, were officers in the service of the
Revolution. Some of his descendants remain j
in Adams County, but the great majority are

scattered over the various States of the Union.
For over thirty years he was one of the most
active, influential and conspicuous citizens of
York County.


William McPherson, son of Col. Robert,
was born December 2, 1757, on the farm set-
tled by his grandfather in 1738. He died in
Gettysburg, August 2, 1832. He tilled sundry
public trusts of a local charecter, and was,
from 1790 to 1799, a member of the general
assembly of the State for York County, ex-
cept in 1793. He actively pressed and partic-
ipated in the movement for the erection of
Adams County, which was accomplished the
last year of his public service. During the
Revolutionary wai-, he served as a lieutenant
in Capt. A.lbright's company, Col. Miller's
regiment, and was captured in the battle of
Long Island. The British held him a pris-
oner of war for over a year, during which
time he endured many hardships. After the
war he became a prosperous and influential
citizen in his vicinity. He was twice married,
first in 1780 to Mary Garrick, of Frederick
County, Maryland, and second in 1793. to
Sarah Reynolds of Shippensburg. He was
the father of fourteen children, a few of
whom were married. One of his sons, John
B. McPherson, was a prominent citizen of
Adams County, and for forty- five years was
cashier of the Bank of Gettysburg. Hon.
Edward McPherson, of Gettysburg, for a
number of years representative in Congress,
lor nearly a quarter of a century clerk of the
United States House of Representatives, and
the distinguished American Statistician, is a
son of John B. McPherson, and great-grand-
son of Col. Robert McPherson of Revolu-
tionary fame. His sons are of the sixth gen-
eration of McPhersons, who have lived in the
same vicinity since the arrival of their worthy


Archibald M'Clean was of Scottish ori-
gin. In the year 1715, a portion of the
clan M'Clean, or McLean, who were support-
ers of the Stuarts, sought a home near Glen-
airm, in the County of Antrim, Ireland, and
with others soon after emigrated to southern
Pennsylvania. Among them was Archibald
McClean, who in 1738 located in the Marsh
Creek district of York County, near what is
now Gettysburg. He soon became a promi-
nent surveyor in the Province of Pennsylva-
nia, assisted in establishing the "Middle
Point " between Cape Henlopen and the
Chesapeake, and in locating the great "Tan-


gent Line" through the Peninsula, and in
tracing the well laio\vn " arc of the circle"
around New Gastle, Delaware. This was
during the years 1760, 1762 and 1763. As a
surveyor he was the chief associate of the
celebrated mathematicians. Mason and Dixon.
In running the famous line which bears their
name, six of his brothers were also em-
ployed in assisting to establish the line from
1763 to June 4, 1706, when the party arrived
as far west as the summit of "Little Allegha-
ny," and were there stopped by troublesome
Indians. On June 8, 1767, Mason and Dixon
and Archibald M'Clean began to continue
the survey from the top of the "Little Alle-
ghany, accompanied by a delegation of
friendly Indians as an escort, against the
savages. On the 14th of June they reached
the top of the "Great Alleghany," where four-
teen more friendly Indians joined them as
interpreters. At this time there were thirty
assistant surveyors, fifteen ax-men, and a
number of Indians. They continued west-
ward 240 miles from Delaware to "Ditnker
Creek," as marked on their map. This was
thirty-six miles east of the western limit of

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 81 of 218)