John Gibson.

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

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rison at Chester, S. C, to January,

[Assigned to 18th Infantry, January, 1, 1S71.]
1873; Columbia, S. C, to August 28, 1875-
Blackville and Allendale, S. C, and Talla-
3, Fla., August 28 to December 10, 1876,


and Columbia, S. C, to July 24, 1877; in
suppressing railroad disturbances in West
Virginia and Pennsylvania, July 26 to Octo-
ber 31, 1877; in garrison at Newport Bar-
racks, Kv.. November 1, 1877 to July 2,
1878, and Atlanta, Ga., July 3, 1878.

In the spring of 1879, Captain McLaugh-
lin was ordered with his regiment from At-
lanta to Montana Ten-itory; the command
proceeded by rail to Bismarck, Dak., thence
by river and wagons to Fort Shaw. After a
temporary delay at the last named post, the
company to which he was attached proceeded
to Fort Assinnaboine, which was then being
built. In the spring of 1881, he was ordered
east to New York City; was sent from there
to Springfield. 111., thence again to New Yoi'k
City, as recruiting officer. He returned to
Fort Assinnaboine in 1883; remained there
until June, 1885, when he was ordered to
Fort Keno, Ind. T., where he is at present.


This officer was born at Gettysburg, and
was the son of Leonard Stouch, Jr., of an
old York County family. He was appointed
from the army. He entered the service as a
private, November 30. 1861. Private and
corporal, Company B, First Battalion, and
sergeant-major of Eleventh United States
Infantry to June 3. 1864. Appointed second
lieut. Third Infantry, June 3, 1864. Was
in the following engagements with the
Eleventh Infantry: siege of Yorktown, Va. ;
Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettys-
burg; wounded at Gettysburg, and with the
Third Infantry at Fort Stedman, Va. , and the
surrender of Lee. Second lieut. Stouch,
Third Infantry, was with the regiment at
Fort Hamilton, New York Harbor, from June
10, 1864, to October 10, 1864; at Washing-
ton, D. C, from October 13, 1864, to

[Promoted First Lieut. December 31. 1864.]
February 22, 1865; at Gen. Meade's head-
quarters from February 27, 1865, to July 3,
1865; at Washington Arsenal, D. C, from
July 4, 1865, to October 10, 1865; at Scho-
field Barracks, St. Louis, from October 19,
1865 to April 9, 1866; at Fort Leavenworth,
Kans., f]-om April IS, 1866, to September 23,
1866; established Fort Hays, Kans., October
19, 1866; remained there until June 25,
1866; guarded the construction train of the
Kansas Pacific Eailroad from July 1, 1867,
to September 28, 1867; at Fort Dodge, Kans.,
from November 3, 1867, to February 10,
1871; at Wheeling, W. Va., from February
28, 1871, to December 9, 1871. On sick
leave at York, Penn. , from December 10, 1871 ,
to February 18, 1S72; at Fort Columbus, New

York Harbor, from Februaryjl9, 1872, to Feb-
ruary 26, 1873; at Fort Lyon, C. T., from

March 9, 1873, to June 28, 1874; at Holly
Springs, Miss., from July 4, 1874, to Sep-
tember 19, 1874; at Jackson Barracks, New Or-
leans, from September 21, 1874, to April 29,
1876; at McComb City, Miss., from April 29,
1876, to May 2S,;i877 ; at Holly Springs, Miss.,
from June 1, 1877, to August 8, 1877; at
Helena, N. Y., from November 6, 1877, to
May 22, 1878; in camp on the Marias River,
M. T., from June 3, 1878, to October 20,
1878; Fort Shaw since November 2, 1878.
[Promoted captain April 14, 1884.]
Special Duties Performed.
Commanding Company G, February 23, 1865,
to April 14, 1865; was in command of the
company at the surrender of Gen. Lee. Am-
bulance officer and A. A. G. M, of the Pro-
visional Brigade at Gen. Meade's head-
quarters from April 14, 1865, to July 3, 1865;
commanding Company I from November 3,
1865, to July 1, 1866; commanding Company
C from July 6, 1866, to June 25, 1867. Es-
tablished Fort Hays, Kans., October 19, 1866,
A. A. G. M. and A. C. S. of the post from
October 19, 1866, to June 10, 1867; com-
manding Company F from July 1, 1867, to
January 4, 1868; A. A. G. M. and A. C. S.,
at Fort Dodge, Kans., from Jitne 8, 1868, to
July 8, 1871. On general recruiting service
at Wheeling, W. Va., from Feb. 28, 1871, to
December 9, 1871; commanding Company
C, at Fort Columbus, New York Harbor, from
Feb. 20, 1872, to Augtist 8, 1872; post
adjutant and commanding Company B,
music boys, at Fort Columbus, from May 11,
1872, to July 6, 1873; acting regimental
quartermaster and A. C. S., from July 4,
to December 29, 1874. A. C. S. at Jackson
Barracks, New Orleans, from September 20,
1874, to April 18, 1876; A,;A. G. M. and A. C.
S., at McComb City, Miss., from April 29,
1876, to May 28, 1877 ; A. A. G. M. and A. C. S.,
at Holly Springs, Miss., from June 1, 1877, to
August 8, 1877; commanding Company F,
from June 28, 1881, to October 11, 1S83;
commanding Company I from October 11,
1883, to June 9, 1884; commanding Com-
pany K since June 14, 1884.

Capt. Stouch was married to Augitsta Cath-
arine, daughter of George W. Wantz, of
York, on September 15, 1869, and has a
datighter, Florence, and a son George Wantz.


This officer was born at York, March 26,
1824. He entered the navy, September 14,
1840, and was in much active service. After


several cruises of the usual length of time,
the Mexican war broke out in which he par-
ticipated. He was present at the bom-
bardment of Vera Cruz under Com.
Conner, and in the expeditions against Tam-
pico. Alvarado, and other river enterprises of
the United States squadron during the war.
He received his commission as lieutenant,
April 18, 1855. He died on board the
United States frigate "Sabine," in the harbor
of Aspinwall, April 26, 1860. Capt. A. H.
Adams of the "Sabine" wrote: "The death of
Lieut. Welsh has cast a gloom on shipboard,
for his merits as an officer and a gentleman
had endeared him to all on board. Faith-
fully, ably and bravely he met every duty,
and all his associates bear testimony that in
him were combined all the best and noblest
characteristics of the true American sailor."
At the time of his death he was thirty-six
years of age, and lieutenant, second in com-
mand, on the frigate "Sabine." Of twenty
years' service, he had passed more than
twelve at sea. As an office)' he occupied the
highest rank for professional ability. The
remains of Lieut. Welsh were brought tc^
York, and he was buried with military and
Masonic honors, on Monday, June 18, 1860,
in Prospect Hill Cemetery.


This officer was born at York, August 23,
1825. He entered the navy in 1841. His
first cruise was to the Pacific and lasted six
years. He afterward served in the Mediter-
ranean and North Atlantic squadrons, and
on deep-sea sounding duty and the coast sur-
vey. In the war of secession he commanded
the sloop "Wachusett" in the blockading
squadron off Mobile, and was afterward
chief of staff of Adm. Palmer and in com-
mand of the sloop "Portsmouth," in the
Mississippi River. Since the war he has
been stationed at Washington and Man
Island Navy Yards, commanded a frigate
(the "Mohican") in the Pacific squadron,
having charge of the observations of an
eclipse of the sun at Behring Strait. He
was afterward in charge of the naval hydro-
graphic office of the United States Naval
Observatory, and is now in command of the
North Atlantic squadron. He was a mem-
ber, from the South American State of Colum-
bia, of the congress to determine a standard
meridian and fix standard time for the world,
which met at Washington last year. Frank-
lin is a brother of Gen. William B. Franklin.


This officer was born in Baltimore, May 25,

1825, and went to sea at twelve years of age,
as a proteg6 of Capt. Isaac McKeener,
United States Navy. He was appointed from
York, Penn., as a midshipman in 1841. H©
had his first experience in the line of battle
ship "Delaware," in the Brazil squadron.
In 1842 he was wrecked in the sloop "Con-
cord," in the Mozambique Channel, after
which he returned to the ship "Delaware,"
then in the Mediterranean. During the
Mexican war he did good service, in the gun-
boat "Reefer," in the gulf of Mexico, and:
was closely engaged in the attacks on Alva -
rado and Tobusco. For three yeai-s he waa
engaged in the coast survey on the Pacific, ii&
the schooner "Ewing." In 1849 he was as-
saulted by a mutinous boat's crew in the bay
of San Francisco, but was rescued and re-
suscitated, and received the thanks of tha
superintendent of the coast survey, foe
"characteristic gallantry." He was after-,
ward in the North Pacific Expedition iit
1853, and assisted in the survey of Caspar
Strait. He afterward oommaftded th.a-
schooner "Fenimore Cooper," and made sur,
veys of the Japan Sea and the Aleutiaa
Islands, pioneering our Russian purchase ot
Alaska, and for his services received tha
thanks of Commander (now Admiral) Rogers^,
for his zeal and energy in the dangers ancj.,
hardships of the cruise.

The war of the Rebellion breaking out, hev
went into the contest, and in July, 1862^
was commissioned as lieutenant-commander,,
and was put in command of the steamer
' 'Yankee, " in the Potomac flotilla. He was in
all the operations on the James River, while
Gen. McClellan occupied Harrison's Lauding;
and guarded his recrossing of the Chickahomi-
ny. Com. Wilkes thanked him for his capture,
of several vessels on a night expedition up the>j
Chip Oaks Creek. He commanded the gun-
boat "Seneca, " the iron-clad "Catskill, "steam-
ers "Nipsie" and "Sonoma," the iron-clad" Le-
high" and steamer "Mahaska," and rendered;
good service in blockading and destroying the
rebel war steamer "Nashville," and in the at-
tacks on Fort McAllister. He was in the fre-
quent engagements with the batteries near
Charleston, in the joint expedition to St. Marks
and received the thanks and. praise of Adms.
DuPont, Dahlgreen and Rowan, and of Maj.-
Gen. Newton, and finally, was thanked by
the British Government for aid rendered to
the Bahamas, after riding, out a hurricane
near those islands.*

* The followiDg. beariog on this incidentof Commander Gib-
son's naval service is introduced here:

"The following letter was forwarded (to CommanderGibson)
by the secretary of state through the secretary of the navy.
Commander Gibson visited Nassau after having himself on th*^-




He is now a commander in the United
States Navj and attached to the Hydro-
graphic office.

Commander William Gibson is a lineal
descendant of David Jameson, of York County,
a grandson of Dr. Horatio Gates Jameson,
whose memoirs are in this work. Before he
had reached his eleventh year, he manifested
remarkable talents of a poetic character.
His youthful jiromise was fulfilled by bis
more mature productions, which have made a
mark in the world of letters, and the gener-
ous praise and admiration of his brother
American poets — especially Longfellow and
Bayard Taylor — and of the London literati,
have made sure his place among the poets of
America. He published in 1853, a volume
entitled "A Vision of Faery Land, and Other
Poems," and in 1881 another styled "Poems
of Many Years and Many Places," and also
in 1884 his latest work, "The Poems of
Goethe, consisting of his Ballads and Songs,
done into English Verse," which has re-
ceived the highest commendation from the
leading British and American periodicals.

He married December 26, 1868, at New Or-
leans, Mary Murray Addison, daughter of
Lloyd Dulaney Addison, Esq., of that city,
and a niece of Rear- Admiral Sands.


1~^HE judiciary, the "most essential mem-
. ber of the governmental triumvirate,
has always held a high place in the esteem
of the citizens of York County. The dig-
nity of the office would alone command
great respect, but to command esteem re-
quires learning and probity in the men who
may be the incumbents of the office. The
county is one of the oldest, and the county

"Tahoma" (his last command) encountered the hiirricaEe re-
ferred to by Sir Frederick Bruce ; and he won the praise of liis
brother officers throughout the service, for the skill which saved
his vessel, when close to her the "EveningStar" went down with
her living cargo, and land and seain all the region of the Baba-

(Copy.) Washington, January 7, 1867.

Sir : [ am instructed to bring under the notice of the govern-
ment of the United States the friendly conductor Capt. Gibson,
of the United States ship "Tahoma." and of Capt. Cooper, of the
"Winooski," in rendering aid to the Bahama Islands, after the
severe hurricane that lately visited them.

I enclose copies of the dispatches fiom the governor of the
Bahamas and the Colonial Office on the subject, and am directed
by Lord Stanley to request that the beat thanks of her Majesty's
Government may be communi -.ated to those officers, for the kind
assistance and co-operation aflorded by them in repairing the
damages caused by that calamity.

I have the honour to be,

With the highest respect.

Your most obedient, humble servant,

*By R. F. Gibson.

courts have hence experienced all the changes
of the judicial system. At one time the
justices of the peace constituted the local
judiciary, any citizen of good character be-
ing eligible; then "learned in the law" be-
came the qualification, the judges being ap-
poiutable; now, "learned in the law," they
reach the office through suffrage. It was
perceived very early that the intrusting of
this important charge must be kept above the
muddy stream of politics, and it was hoped
that when tbe position should be tilled by
appointment this would be accomplished.
In reality the only result was to make an
agreement of political opinion with the exec-
utive the chief qualification. Unavoidably,
therefore, during this period, at some time or
times, expressions of dissatisfaction were to
be expected. It was left finally to the dis-
cretion of the people to say who should judge ■
them, and the thirty and more years' expe-
rience of this latter plan has proven that
judicial reform then reached its limit.

In provincial times young men of promise,
who aimed at distinction in the law, re-
mained in the great political and commercial
centers, the large cities. Since wealth and
the seats of learning were there, it was
natural that there the professions should be
the most generously supported, and that
their ability and integrity should be the
most quickly rewarded. And, too, the rural
settlers, the tillers of the soil, in the outly-
ing districts, were for the most part unedu-
cated, and therefore distrustful of those who
apparently made their living from others'
troubles. It took a long time to conquer this,
still longer to introduce that now fast-grow-
ing preventive department of practice which
advises against litigation. Thus the city
bars flourished in reputation above those of
the counties, and in later years their fame
even drew to them young men from sections
presenting less inducements. Nevertheless,
this centripetal attraction was not so ex-
haustive as one would suppose. A bar that
can boast such names as Ralph Bowie. James
Kelley, David Cassat, Charles A. Barnitz,
James Lewis, Daniel Durkee, John Evans,
Edward Chapin, Thomas C. Hambly, John
L. Mayer, John G. Campbell, Thomas E.
Cochran, Jeremiah S. Black and Robert J.
Fisher must have very early become a cen-
ter, exerting a counter gravitation. The
York bar early attained a high professional
standing, which since has ever been on the
increase. Skill, learning and a love of
equity have ever attended their councils.
The patriotism of the justices and attorneys
in the Revolution carried them to the extent


of actual neglect of official duty. For, for
more than a year during that war, there were
no courts held in the county. It is true there
were other very serious reasons for this, but
the delay would have been materially les-
sened had the best men of the district not
been away fighting for liberty. Nor have
they been found wanting in the wars since.
When the bar was founded this country was
a dependency of Great' Britian. The colo-
nists were frontier posts of civilization, for
the Indians roamed even within their limits.
The transition, at that time, from law as ad-
ministered at York to that dealt out a little
further west was short and sharp. However,
as time went on, slowlj' but surely was the
border line moved west. State after State
has been added to the original thirteen., until
we have this great Union. Very similar has
been the history of the bar. Its beginnings
were small, but firm. With this country it
has grown in size and influence and esteem,
and to-day it stands a noble and able sup-
porter of that land whose fortunes it has thus

August 19, 1749, the General Assembly of
Pennsylvania passed an act erecting certain
lands west of the Susquehanna into York
County. In this act it was enacted, among
other things, that a competent number of
justices should be commissioned; that these
justices should hold courts of General Quar-
ter Sessions of the Peace, Common Pleas
and Orphans' Courts, and that Thomas Cox,
Michael Tanner, George Swoope, Nathan
Huffey and John "Wright, Jr., be authorized
to purchase a lot in a convenient place, and
thereon build a court house. The justices
were not men learned in the law, but any
citizens who were influential and popular
enough to be elected. Two were elected in
each district, one of whom the governor
commissioned. Any number of these, not
less than three, could hold a court. An ap-
peal from their decision lay in the Supren\e
Court. Two justices, with the register of
wills, formed a register's court for the trial
of the validity of wills, to settle administra-
tion accounts and make distribution of

On October 31, 1749, was held at York, a
court of Geneial Quarter Sessions of the
Peace, the first court of any kind that ever
dispensed justice within the limits of York
County. We do not know where the court
met, except at "York." There was no re-
porter present to describe for us that memor-
able event. But we need no reporter to tell
ns that Adam Miller, on that day, did a good
. at his public house in Centre Square;

that the "Law-full" counsellors, who came
here to assist at the opening were gazed at
as some new species of being; that the seat-
ing of the justices was the signal for a grand
burst of enthusiasm from the assenibled
crowd; that in Other words, our honest fore-
fathers were intoxicated with pure joy, a joy
that evidenced their redemption from a
species of slavery. Previous to this York
County had been part of Lancaster County.
The county seat was Lancaster. There the
courts were held, there were the county
officers, there were the attorneys. To Lan-
caster, a dozen miles beyond a broad river,
were the dwellers here compelled to resort for
defense of rights or redress of grievances.
Traveling at that time was as dangerous as
inconvenient. The presence of "idle and
dissolute persons, who committed thefts and
abuses," is recorded. By reason of the
smallness of the population, and the
abundance of woodland, they were hard to
capture, and, when caught, often found means
of escaping during the long ji.)urney to Lan-
caster. This deplorable condion of arfairs,
of course, bore hardest on the poor, and they
were, for the most part, constrained to sub-
mit to indignity and injui-y. This state of
things is shown by many disturbances which
assumed importance, most notably by the Cres-
sap troubles. The pent-up indignation and
despair of the people, at last, in 1747, took
the form of a petition to the Governor and
Assembly to erect the lands west of the Sus-
quehanna into a county, but it was unheard.
In 1748, they petitioned again, and on Aug-
ust 19, 1749, their prayer was granted.

The records extant with regard to this time
are very few and slight. The unembellished
facts are: That on October 31, 1749, the
first Quarter Session Court for York County
was held at York before John Day, and his
associate justices. The first act of the court
was to grant a petition of certain citizens to
keep public houses of entertainment. The
first indictment was brought against the over-
seer of the highway for neglect of duty.
The first jaanel of jurors was returned by
Hance Hamilton at this court. The jurors,
seventeen in number, were Michael McCreary,
William M'Lellan, James Agnew, Richard
Proctor. Hugh Brigham, John Pope, James
Hall, William Proctor, William Betty, Nathan
Dicks, Jeremiah Louchridge, Thomas Hosack,
James Smith, Richard Brown, and Thomas
Neily. On 1st of November, the next day, the
first Orphans' Court was held before John
Day, Thomas Cox and Patrick Watson. The
first act performed by this court was to bind
out an orphan boy, two years old, by name




of George McSweny, to John Witherow of
Hamilton's Band, till he should come of age:
"In consideration whereof, the said John
Witherow covenants and oblidges himself to
furnish and Allow the said Apprentice
Sufficient Meat, Drink, Apparel, Washing and
Lodging during the said term, and to teach
or cause him to be taught to read and Write;
and Arithmetic as far as the Rule of three Dir-
ect, and at the Expiration of the said Term to
give him two suits of Apparel, one whereof
shall be new." The first suit in the court of
Common Pleas was brought to the January
term, 1750.

After this successful inauguration, the
courts continued to be held regularly and the
added prosperity and peace soon proved that
the Governor and Assembly had not made a
mistake in vesting York County with a dignity
of its own. This erection might have law-
fully taken place some years earlier, and the
delay is really unaccountable. The dwellers
west of the Susquehanna had now all the
rights which the government could give them,
yet their progress was somewhat interrupted
owing to what are known as the "Border
Troubles." On October 30, 1752, the Court
of Quarter Sessions was the scene of a re-
markable murder trial — that of the Tvitz-
millers for the killing of Dudley Digges. In
it was involved the question of the jurisdic-
tion of the courts of the respective States of
Pennsylvania and Maryland. It was proven
that though the scene (and cause) of the
quarrel and murder was a Maryland grant,
it was above the temporary line, in violation
of the royal order. Therefore the court of
York County rightly claimed jurisdiction.
The trial resulted in an acquittal. The in-
habitants of that section of the country,
"Digges' Choice," and of all the land along
the line, did not know to which province they
belonged. Some took advantage of this to
refuse the payment of taxes to either, though
they claimed the privilege of using the courts
of both. These troubles wei'e not settled
until the running of Mason and Dixon's line
in 1767.

It is a difficult matter to state just when
the York bar was established. Whether to
give it the date of the first court or the date
of admission of the first attorney who hung
out his shingle in York, is a question. Mem-
bers of the Lancaster, Philadelphia and other
bars would come here at the different terms
of court, stay through the term, and then
leave. It is true that, when they came, they
would move each other's admission, and be
admitted as ' 'attorneys of the courts of Com -
mon Pleas and Quarter Sessions of York

County"; which seems to imply the existence
of a bar. But the most reasonable and just
plan is to give as the date of the foundation
October 28, 1755, on which day Samuel John-
ston was admitted. For five years he was the
York bar. In 1760, the bar became plural,
James Smith being admitted. In 1764:, it
again became of the singular number, Mr.
Johnston becoming prothonotary, Mr. Smith
i being, according to Graydon, the only prac-
ticing attorney. In 1769, Thomas Hartley
was admitted, and then the accession of home
lawyers became more frequent.
i Although the before mentioned trustees had
been appointed in 1749, by act of Assembly,
to build a court house, yet nothing was done
toward performing that trust until 1754. In
that year, the commissioners made a number
of contracts for the material and construction
and the long- looked- for and much needed
house of justice was commenced. But it was
not completed until the beginning of the year
1756. Up to this time the courts had been
held in private houses, * probably those of the

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 88 of 218)