More going on at York’s Weiser tavern

WeiserTavernPour

Lewis Miller recorded the quirks and humor he found in the citizens of 19th century York County. No detail was too small to escape his pen and brush.

In a recent post I shared Miller’s depiction of a dog stealing an unattended sausage at the tavern run by Martin and Catharine Weiser. There are a couple more things going on at the Weiser tavern in the drawing above. The caption on the right reads:

“Claus Hufschmit, lately from Swiss. At the Butter Churn, at the vessel in which butter is made. Ha—ha—it comes.”

The rest of the caption lends light on the problem with the butter:

“Martin Weiser & wife, 1810, in his tavern
Hufschmit was call’d by Mrs. Weiser and Employed to see what is the matter, in the Butter churn. No butter I can make. I- it is bewitch? He throw a piece of Silver coin in the churn—and make Butter, bud [but] he was struck with the Stumber in his face. His cheeks where Swollen for Some days. This is Witchcraft in full, and in Earnest.”

By stumber, Miller might mean stuma, which is another name for goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid gland, usually caused by iodine lacking in the diet. This wouldn’t be the cause in this case as the swelling was in the cheeks, not the neck. Perhaps mumps?

Miller ends the captioning by showing how a mix of English and German could surprise travelers, especially those that did not speak German.

“Mrs. Weiser Saying, Eat hardy travelers. I’ll pore you more in, bud saying I Schidt you more in half German.”

(Schütten means pour in German—it didn’t come out so well when Mrs. Weiser mixed it with English.)

Posted in 1810s, inns, Lewis Miller, taverns, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

More on Ned Spangler’s life as a prisoner after the Lincoln Conspiracy trial

The only entrance to Fort Jefferson.  The Lincoln prisoners were at one time housed in the area right above the portal.

The only entrance to Fort Jefferson. The Lincoln prisoners were at one time housed in the area right above the portal.

Edman “Ned” Spangler wrote letters to friends and relatives describing his experiences while a prisoner from 1865 to 1869 at Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas. Spangler was sent there after being found guilty of helping John Wilkes Booth escape from Ford’s Theater, a charge he vehemently denied the rest of his life.

See my recently York Sunday News column below for excerpts from some of those letters:
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Posted in 1860s, Civil War, Lincoln Conspiracy, museums, prisoners, prisons, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weiser tavern scene of York sausage snatching

Weiser-dog

The drawings of York folk artist Lewis Miller are often used to illustrate 19th century American life. An example is the illustration above of a dog stealing Mrs. Weiser’s sausage out of the pan. It shows the three-legged frying pan set over the coals on the hearth, the right height for the dog to snatch the meat without getting too close to the fire. The kitchen could have been in a separate small building, as they often were as a fire precaution and to keep the main house or tavern cooler in the summer, giving the hound time to snatch the sausage.

Catharine and Martin Weiser kept a tavern into the early 19th century in York. Martin was born in Berks County and seems to have been a grandson or a great-nephew of the noted interpreter and treaty maker with the Native Americans, John Conrad Weiser. Several of Weisers came to York County. The Samuel Weiser below, who was renting out perhaps a different tavern space in 1816, could be a brother or grandson of Martin. As anyone researching Pennsylvania Germans quickly realizes, our forebears didn’t choose from a large pool of given names. Both Martin and Samuel Weiser are portrayed in Lewis Miller’s People recently published by York County Heritage Trustm<> (see below).

Miller’s caption for the drawing reads:
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Posted in cooking, dogs, inns, Lewis Miller, taverns, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What young ladies learned in York in the 1820s

EducationGirls

The advertisement transcribed below, from the September 29, 1829 York Recorder, gives us an idea of some of the things young ladies in York County had the opportunity to study, if they were so inclined,and their parents were willing to pay the instructor.

It also sent me to Google to see who Bolman and Pestalozzi were. I struck out on Bolman, but Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (Swiss, 1746-1827) is sometimes called one of the fathers of modern education. He advocated teaching children to think instead of by using rote memorization, and he also championed training of teachers.
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York County lower end property, near McCall’s bridge, for sale in 1816

McCallBridge

Newspapers of the past give a good look at the lives of our forebears. The advertisements can sometimes reveal more than news items. The ad below, from the York Gazette, for Richard Porter’s tavern, store, house with barn and other outbuildings, livestock, farm equipment, furniture and land, including an island with fishery, paints an especially clear picture.
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Posted in 1810s, advertising, bridges, Lower Chanceford Twp., newspapers, public sales, real estate, retail stores, roads, Susquehanna River, taverns, transportation, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Escape from Camp Security

CS-EscapeeBruce
How easy was it to escape from Camp Security near York? It doesn’t seem to have been very difficult. Many of the first group of British Revolutionary War prisoners confined there, the so-called Convention Troops surrendered by Burgoyne at Saratoga in the fall of 1777, seems to have lived in an unstockaded village of huts after they ended up at Camp Security in the summer of 1781. Some were also allowed to be hired out to work for local citizens.

Accounts indicate that the second contingent of British prisoners at Camp Security, those captured with Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia in October 1781, were more closely confined in a stockade. There are, however, also accounts of some of the Yorktown prisoners also escaping.

Below is an excerpt from a letter dated Easton, March 30, 1782 from Robert Levers, one of the Justices of Northampton County, to Secretary of War Lincoln about one such escapee. The original document, previously discovered by my friend, Jonathan Stayer, is in the collections of the Pennsylvania State Archives. (PA State Archives, RG-27, Supreme Executive Council, Executive Correspondence, 30 March 1782.)
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York County jail empty and other news.

Recorder 6-9-1829

News from the York Recorder, June 9, 1829:

This didn’t happen very often:

“The jail of this county is at present empty—not an individual being confined therein for crime or debt. The like has not occurred before for nearly two years.”

At that time many positions were political appointments, leaving the previous office holder, usually of the party previously in power, suddenly jobless Some top county office changes were announced in the same newspaper:

Appointments by the Governor.
FREDERICK EICHELBERGER, Esq. to be Register and Recorder for the county of York…Jacob B. Wentz, Esq., removed.
RICHARD PORTER, Esq. to be Prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas and of the District Court…Michael W. Ash, Esq., removed.”

The editor’s sarcasm that day was reserved for a federal appointment:

“Mr. DANIEL SMALL (Surveyor) has been appointed Postmaster for this borough, in place of Thomas McGrath, Esq., removed.

As this change was certainly not made by the Postmaster General, except by compulsion of higher authority, we must take leave to consider it an appointment by Andrew Jackson, by and with the advance and consent of Duff Green.

Mr. Small will no double be a very good and competent officer:–our only objection to him, besides protesting against proscription for opinion’s sake, is that the Post office has already been sufficiently long an heirloom in the family.”

Wonder who Duff Green was? Click this link.

And then there is the exotic sounding European doctor who has just come to town, bringing a cure all medicine with him: Continue reading “York County jail empty and other news.” »

Posted in 1820s, cures, disease, doctors, medicine, newspapers, politics, post office, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

York blacksmith offers sizable award for return of apprentice

Runaway$30

It is obvious that I find old newspapers fascinating. The items serve as snapshots of the time, giving a picture of what was then happening in the same spaces we occupy today. In addition, the incidents described and unfamiliar terms used are often springboards for further exploration.

The $30 reward offered for the return of this runaway blacksmith’s apprentice is a fairly high one for the period. That would be the equivalent of around $725 today. He also had a nice wardrobe for apprentices of the time, in comparison with similar ads for runaways. It is interesting that his companion isn’t sought, although it seems like he might also work for blacksmith Matson. Perhaps he is a paid worker, not a legally bound apprentice. Both young men seem to have more names than necessary.

See below for transcription of the March 1837 York Gazette ad and explanations of some of the terms used:
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Posted in 1830s, 1850s, advertising, apprentices, blacksmiths, occupations, Universal York, Wrightsville, York County | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Recently discovered correspondence of folk artist Lewis Miller shines light on his later life

Recently acquired Lewis Miller drawing showing Yorkers having a drink after their candidate lost the election for Governor in 1821

Recently acquired Lewis Miller drawing showing Yorkers having a drink after their candidate lost the election for Governor in 1821

Call it providence, serendipity, fate, karma or whatever you want, but in the study of history, as with many things, it is remarkable how undiscovered resources appear at exactly the right time. Just as York County Heritage Trust came out with a new book of mostly previously unpublished drawings by well know York folk artist, Lewis Miller, the Trust was offered a series of touching letters between Miller and his great-nephew, describing how the creation of many of the newly published drawings came to be.

See below for the transcriptions of the letters as recorded in my recent York Sunday News column:
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Posted in 1790s, 1800s, 1860s, 1880s, artists, books, carpenters, Lewis Miller, publications, Universal York, Virginia, York County | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When did York High officially become known as William Penn Senior High School?

First York High on South Duke Street

First York High on South Duke Street

A friend asked me this the other day. I remembered that there were four different high schools in the city of York over the years and where they were, or still are, located, but I didn’t recall the exact dates.

Others, such as fellow blogger Jim McClure, have written on the subject before, but it keeps coming up, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to write about again. I headed to the York County Heritage Trust Library/Archives to verify dates and look for photos.

See below for a rundown and photos of the buildings:

Continue reading “When did York High officially become known as William Penn Senior High School?” »

Posted in 1870s, 1890s, 1920s, architecture, buildings, celebrations, education, parades, schools, Universal York, York City, York County | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment