York, Pennsylvania - Encyclopedia

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YORK, a city and the county seat of York county, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., about Ioo m. W. of Philadelphia and about 28 m. S.E. of Harrisburg. Pop. (1900) 33,708-1304 being foreign-born and 77 6 negroes; (1910) 44,750. York is served by the Maryland & Pennsylvania, the Northern Central (Pennsylvania) and the Western Maryland railways. Among the public buildings are the County Court House (1899) and a large Federal Building (1910). York is the seat of the York Collegiate Institute (1873), founded by Samuel Small (d. 1885) and of the York County Academy (1785). The Historical Society of York (1895) has a valuable collection of documents relating to local history. York is the commercial centre for a rich agricultural region, and has manufactures of foundry and machine-shop products, silk goods, &c. The total factory product in 1905 was valued at $14,258,696.

York, the first permanent settlement in the state W. of the Susquehanna, was laid out in 1741 in what was then the Manor of Springettsbury (named in honour of Springett Penn, a grandson of William Penn) by Thomas Cookson, a surveyor for Richard and Thomas Penn, then the proprietors of the colony, and was named after York, England. The first settlers were chiefly Germans from the Rhenish Palatinate, who were Lutherans, Reformed, Mennonites and Moravians. English Quakers and Scotch-Irish settled here also. The settlement lay on the Monocacy road, the main line of travel to the S. and S.W., and it grew rapidly, especially between 1748 and 1751. In 1749 the county of York was erected (from Lancaster county) and York was made the county-seat. In 1754 York had 210 houses and 1000 inhabitants. Troops from York took part in the Seven Years' War and the War of American Independence. In the old county court-house (built in 1754-56, pulled down in 1841) the Continental Congress sat from the 30th of September 1777 to the 27th of June 1778, having left Philadelphia on the approach of the British, and having held a day's session at Lancaster. At York the Congress passed the Articles of Confederation (13th of November 1787) and received news of the American victory at Saratoga and of the signing of treaties between the United States and France. The Conway cabal came to an end here, and the arrival here of Baron Steuben and of Lafayette in 1777 helped the American cause. In September 1778, $1,50o,000 in silver lent by France to the United States was brought to York; and Benjamin Franklin's press, removed from Philadelphia, issued $Io,000,000 of Continental money. Thomas Paine here wrote part of his Fifth Crisis. Philip Livingston, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, is buried here. In the Civil War, Confederate troops under General John B. Gordon entered York on the 28th of June 1863, and a small Federal force retreated before them; and the battle of Gettysburg was fought about 28 m. E. York was incorporated as a borough in 1787 and was chartered as a city in 1887.

See G. R. Prowell, The City of York, Past and Present (York, 1904), and C. A. Hawkins and H. E. Landis, York and York County (ibid. 1901).

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