A Brief History of Adams County, and Our Adams Countians Within It
Part ofthe Pa Chapter within Volume I: Our American Immigrants of the Within The Vines Historical Family Study
Table of Contents This Page:
[Inccludes: Intro, Settlement and General History , Blunstone Licenses , Adams Co towns [boroughs] settled or laid out dates ,
Our Adams Co Families and their tnsps of residency, links to persons within the Genealogical portion of website]
Table of Contents This Page:
York was formed 1749 from Lancaster County.
Lancaster was formed 1729 from Chester County.
Chester was one of the three original shires, or counties, of Pennsylvania.
which also included Philadelphia and Bucks.
Table of Contents This Page:
Adams County's early european history involves largely Penna German and Penna Scotch Irish settlement [and includes Hollanders involved in the Two Taverns and Hunterstown region, between the regions of Penna German and Scotch Irish settlement ] . In its history is a Penn family manor [Maske in Cumberland twp] with squatters present upon it [Scotch Irish] unwilling to relinquish it to its proprietors Penn; Digges Choice, a Maryland grant, in its southwestern region [predominantly German but also involving Scotch Irish and involving today's Littlestown Adams County and Hanover, York County Pa ] epitomizing the sometimes bloody and always passionate conflict resonant in the disputed border between Pennsylvania and Maryland's proprietaries; and Indian incursions involving raids, abductions and killings in the 1750s involving all the settlers in its terror but leaving the westernmost Scotch Irish particularly vulnerable. This 1750s terror is felt the result of the disenfranchisement of the native Americans occasioned in The Walking Purchase of the late 1730s, which our direct James LOGAN of the Howard Allied Ascendancy was framer of. Because of the native American removal west and the anger and resentment among their peoples resultant, the Delaware Indians aligned with the French moving down the Ohio Valley...and terrorized the British aligned settlers occupying the lands of their recent forebears in the Pennsylvania arena of the French and Indian War.
The Conewago settlement in Adams Counties southeast , relevant to Digges Choice, [TROXELL, HOKE , and EICHELBERGER surname involved-TROXELL being in the region cut out to form Adams, while HOKE and EICHELBERGER are found in the further eastern Digges Choice region which still pertains to York in the area of Hanover ] received mostly German settlers in the early 1730s . In the north of the county Germans were settling at about the same time [MEALS, GYLOY, SCHNEIDER, BAUGHMAN, SCHNEBELE, BENTZ and BENDER relevant] . Between them, but laying west and very close to the Maryland border, the Manor of Maske saw Scotch Irish arriving at roughly the same time [McCURDY and Allied relevant] .
Within This Site
or of York Co. in that Part
Which Became Adams
McCurdyWives Surnames suppressed by
marriage to above Surnames and
who made Adams, or York Co. in
that Part Which Became Adams,
and General History
The first sale of lands to individual white settlers in Adams County did not occur by the proprietors Penn but by a Marylander, John Digges who, in 1731, initiated sale of his chosen grant from Lord Baltimore three years before the official survey defined its region known as Digges Choice. The first Adams Countian is often said to be Andrew SCHREIBER who purchased land from John Digges in 1734, but in the region of the future Fairfield there is known to have been an Indian Trader preceeding Shcrieber and present in 1718.Footnote 1 The grant known as Digges Choice established this Maryland property as lying in the region of the future Hanover, York County, Penna in the east and extending to the area surronding the future Littlestown, Adams County, Pa. in the west and the description of Andrew Schreiber's experiences and circumstances on settling gives insight into the very earliest days of European settlement in this county.
The Penn family, involved in the acquisition and purchase of land west of the Susquehanna, did not formally encourage settlement on Indian lands, but grew frustrated knowing that illegal settlement was sparsely but nevertheless occuring without benefit to them, and starting in 1734 they finally issued, before the treaty with the natives ceding lands west of the Susquehanna was signed, Blunston licensesF1 fulfilling their desire to both catalogue and profit from this expansion. Two years later the Penns purchased all the region lying west of the lower Susquehanna from the natives , and the region now known as Adams County pertained to Lancaster Co., being thus enveloped with the 1737 purchase of a sizeable tract of land involving "all the land west of the Susquehanna to the setting sun" as described in the purchase agreement. The Penns then began selling lands throughout the newly acquired territory [ including the land involved in Digges Choice thus bringing to odds settlers of that region some of whom were living there under Maryland grants]. Within a short time, mostly Scots-Irish began to settle in the Bermudian, Conewago and Marsh Creek watersheds." 3 The first mill in Adams County existed "As early as the 1730s, [when] William Wiermanís mill on the Bermudian Creek was operating. [As a result of its abundant streams milling would become the first major industry of Adams County 3 ]
Ongoing westward movement brought settlers moving into now Adams County, often settling in ethnic bundles, including the largely Scotch Irish of the considerable territory pertaining to what became the Manor of Maske, and the Marsh Creek Settlement, and the Germans locating outside of that region. As settlement grew, roads were requested; the Adams County towns mentioned to identify the area's first roads are our present day markers and regard "towns" not yet conceived but often identifable by this map . "In February 1747, people petitioned the Lancaster county government for a road to be laid out 'from the Conocheague through the gap in the mountains of Lancaster.' Known as the Blackís Gap Road, this roadway approximately followed the present trace of old Route 30 from York to a point 2 miles west off to New Oxford [ in now York County] where it bore off to the northwest and passed through the present sites of Hunterstown [ 6 miles east of Gettysburg and in now Adams Co] , Mummasburg [north of Gettysburg by about 6 miles on the road to Arendtsville in now Adams Co] and the Cashtown Pass [ Cashtown is 8 miles west of Gettysburg also in now Adams Co] .... Later that same year, a second major east-west artery was surveyed that linked the headwaters of the Antietam Creek with York and Lancaster. Later known as the York-Nicholsí Gap Road, this highway branched off the Blackís Gap Road about two miles west of New Oxford [ in now Adams County] and approximately followed present Route 30 to the site of Gettysburg [not yet a town, but in now Adams ] . From there it paralleled Route 116 through Fairfield [in now Adams Co] and the Monterey Pass."3 "As early as 1756, Thomas Butler operated a licensed tavern in Germany Township. By 1800, there were 49 such taverns in the county."3 On August 17, 1749 the provincial Assembly separated York County from Lancaster County and officially partitioned the new county, and so our Adams County pertained to York from 1749 until Jan 22, 1800 at which time Adams was formed from York and consisted of of 339, 133 acres covering 531 square miles4.
Adams County has 21 townships [see map]. Littlestown can claim it is the earliest town of Adams County being laid out by Peter Klein [Klein is Little in German] in 1765, during the Mason Dixon Survey and before the Mason Dixon Line was established. First known as Kleina Stedtle, it was then called Petersburg, and finally Littlestown, and it was just two years later that our Troxell line made their residence in its environs. Settlement in the Littlestown region occured far before the town was conceived , its area comprising the western most border of Digges Choice, the history of which involved violence and lawlessness resultant of the disupute between Maryland and Pennsylvania regarding which colony promoting its settlement actually was the area's owner...a dispute not fully resolved until the Mason Dixon Line drawn in 1768. The region of now Hanover , York County Penna, marked the westernmost area of Digge's Choice. Peter Klein, the founder of Littlestown, was granted a patent in 1760 for 311 acres which he systematically arranged into the original 48 lots of the town we now know as Littlestown. A similar concept was later followed by James Gettys in regards to Gettysburg. Nine years later, and one year after the Mason Dixon Line was determined, a major road was undertaken passing through Littlestown itself. "In 1769, a highway was laid out, part of which became known as the Shippensburg-Baltimore Road. Beginning at Sarah Blackís tavern (site of Mummasburg -editors note: ipart of Franklin township , Adams County , about 6 miles from the future Gettysburg and to its northwest reviewed in text and photo in Franklin Township Webpage),[the highway] tracked to the southeast crossing the York-Nicholasí Gap Road at 'Samuel Gateís' tavern and passing through Peter Lintelís town before crossing the province line. In 1786, James Gettys laid out 210 lots on his 116-acre tract about the intersection of those roads. In part, due to Gettysburgís central location at the intersection of two major roadways, the town was selected as the county seat of Adams in 1800, beating out Hunterstown and New Oxford for that honor. 3 In 1809, the Gettysburg-Petersburg (Littlestown) pike of ca 1807 "was proposed and granted [to] continue westward from the Gettysburg square, to connect that town with Cashtown and Chambersburg. Prior to the construction of this turnpike there was no road running westward from Gettysburg. The Hagerstown road jogged off to the southwest after reaching the crest of the ridge west of Gettysburg, and the Mummasburg Road (constructed ca. 1767-1770) ran in a northwesterly direction from the town. An old dirt road connected these two and ran from the Hagerstown Road at the crest of the ridge in a northwesterly direction, towards the Upper Marsh Creek Presbyterian, or Black's, Graveyard."
George Washington, mentioned his journey through this region on his way to York. See diary entry
Relevant to our specific ascendancy are families involvedin the earliest history of both northern and southern Adams County with precense in the county far predating the first "town" where are earliest ancestor can be found. Members of all families can be found in Evergreen Cemetery. The Boroughs and Townships to which the Boroughs pertain in Adams County follow.
Adams County Township Formation
Included are Adams County Townships to which they pertain when the area is relevant to our forebears in Adams County
Map copyright C Swope and Within the Vines
More Towns than here evident are found in the List of Adams County 1900 from Genweb
Towns of Adams County, Settlement and Formation History
[ Below this list are the townships of relevance to our forebears of Adams County , who they were, and links to their own pages]
Abbotstown is found straddling Berwick and Hamilton Townships.map [ Berwick was formed 1747 while part of Lancaster Co., Hamilton formed 18102]
[See Link to the Surnames present in Adams County by date of first known ancestor]
In Aggregate our Surnames involve North Adams [Bendersville, Menalen and Butler Townships] Southern Adams [Gettysburg Borough, Cumberland Township [and the Manor of Maske within it] , and possibly Eastern and Southeastern Adams [Mt Joy Township and Hunterstown, Straban Township], felt to be the in the as yet unproven ascendancy of the Slentz line found in Gettysburg.
Northern Adams and our Surnames:
Gettysburg, Cumberland Tsp and the Manor of Maske within it, and Littlestown , Germany Township
Cumberland was formed 1749 while part of York Co and Highland was formed from Cumberland in 18632
Gettysburg is surrounded by Cumberland Township.
Our later Swope line [1910 and beyond] are also found in Cumberland township as their home in now northern Gettysburg was in the country surronding the borough until that area saw more development and so became part of the borough of Gettysburg itself.
Gettysburg was founded 17801 [incorporated 1806] [See Brief settlement and town History of Gettysburg]
Gettysburg Borough involves our
[Adams was part of York, previously part of Lancaster , and was formed 1800]:
BENDER, Jacob [son of Jacob BENDER whose will was probated in Philadelphia County]
Adams County GenWeb [Rootweb] page, many links to geneological sources, and historical information. A Must Have Resource for Adams County history.
ROOTS-L Pennsylvania: History many many links. GREAT RESOURCE FOR ALL PENNA, includes histories on Lancaster, York....Bird in hand is described here, as are most regions relevant to all are forebears areas of Penna.
Adams County, Penna From US Cities Online Offering Links to all of The Cities and communities of Adams County, Pennsylvania which themselves provide useful information on those cities and comunities, sometimes yielding specific history links
Littlestown, Penna History, Littlestown, Penna General Information Links and Borough Map
See ACHS own publications page and thenbsp ACHS Information Website
ADAMS COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY (of PA) PUBLICATIONS PAGE
Franklin Twp History pages
Adams County Page from Time Voyagers Pennsylvania Counties
News, Events, History, & Culture of Northern Frederick County Md./Southern Adams County Pa. from Emmitsburg.net
See Slavery In Pennsylvania, Adams County Pages [part of the Slavery in Pennsylvania webpage]
Map Links and fundamental history links repeated from top or contents of page:
Wilt's map accomplished in 1940s, and of Adams County in year of formation 1800, very detailed [from Penna State Archives]
see also comments on the information revealed in Wilt's map by the Penna State Archives
Adams COunty Borough and Township formation by year
Adams County Bicentenniel Tidbits [VGreat resource; history of the county given in seperate pages and researched by the Adams County Bicentennial Committee.
[and some Historical] Links:
2. See Township formation with chart and map from Rootweb.
3. Adams County Bicentenniel Tidbits. mounted by the Adams County Bicentenniel Committee and presenting an indispensable website regarding the early history of the county.
4. Pennsylvania State Archives Documents Pages. Wilt Historical Map of Adams County and Text detailing history involved in that map. From County History. Manuscript Group 11: Map Collection, Leo Wilt Historical Maps, 1941-1946, Adams County, 1942
5. the Manor of Maske: Its History and Individual Properties, a small part of the text available through the Adams County Historical Society
6. Littlestown History Page from Littlestown.net
7. York Daily Record. History of York County pre 1700
|To Within The Vines Homepage|