York Air Cadet encounters obstacle


Jason B. Snyder headed the York YMCA for many years. Many people who remember him as a pillar of the community are probably not aware of his Florida adventure during World War I. His family recently shared a clipping from the Saturday, June 22, 1918 Fort Myers Press as well as photographs. They pretty well explain why Snyder did not become an aviator.

Here is my recent York Sunday News column on the incident: Continue reading “York Air Cadet encounters obstacle” »

Posted in 1920s, accidents, airplanes, military units, Universal York, World War I, York County | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Call put out for information on previous Camp Security finds

Hole showing distinct difference in the soil coloration

Hole showing distinct difference in the soil coloration

I stopped by the site of the Camp Security archaeology dig yesterday and took a few photos.

There have been some small Revolutionary War period artifacts found so far: brass and tombac buttons, a lead musket ball, a British copper coin and a Spanish coin (widely used in Europe and America).

I was especially interested in the holes. That is how we will find the exact location of the stockade that we know from documentary evidence was somewhere on the original 280 acre property.

Archaeologist Steve Warfel and field assistant Amanda Snyder showed me how they determined some kind of past disturbance by the color of the soil. While I was there Snyder was working on a hole that showed distinct disturbance of the subsoil. Warfel cautioned that disturbance can be from natural causes, such a long ago tree roots or an animal burrow. On the other hand, the discoloration of the soil can show where there were post holes. indicating the stockade location. They will expand that excavation to determine what may have been the cause.

Screening of soil removed from pits

Screening of soil removed from pits

Volunteers were digging other exploratory holes, calling Warfel’s attention to anything different. Others were carefully screening the soil taken out of each hole to make sure no small item might have been missed.

The dig will be going on for a couple more weeks, so there is plenty of time to further explore this area of the site. It was flagged by a remote sensing survey two years ago as an area of interest. As Warfel points out, even if little is found and the stockade not located this year, the land is now preserved, thanks to a combination of private and public donations and the cooperation of Springettsbury Township, now the owner of the preserved site. Who knows what exploration in the years to come might uncover.

Warfel and the Friends of Camp Security ask that if anyone has knowledge of anything found at the site over the years, to please share that information, as it could give invaluable evidence on where to keep looking. It is stressed that you would not be asked to return anything found when the site was private property, nor would your ownership be made public. Just call Friends of Camp Security at 717-755-4367 and leave a message so that the call can be returned.

If you wish, you can also contact me through the comment box below—the comment will not be made public without your consent. You can also send a private message through the Friends of Camp Security Facebook page.

This link will take you to the Friends of Camp Security Facebook page.

Part of the Camp Security site

Part of the Camp Security site

Here is a link to my many posts on Friends of Camp Security.

Posted in 1780s, archaeology, Camp Security, Revolutionary War, Springettsbury Twp., Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guards of Camp Security 8: John Stewart


Here is another clue from the National Archives records into life at Camp Security.

John Stewart as 77 years old when he applied for a Revolutionary War pension in Clermont County, Ohio in 1832. He states that he was born in Lancaster County, Pa. and moved to Maryland about a year before he was drafted in December 1776. From there he marched with his company to New Jersey, serving about three months.

Stewart goes on to state in his affidavit that he returned to Pennsylvania and served in the Pennsylvania militia for another four months. He states he was at the Battle of Gulph Mills [late 1777].

He next served under Captain Ford and Colonel Bailey guarding Burgoyne’s troops for two months at Camp Security. He started the tour at the end of July [1781]. Stewart states:
Continue reading “Guards of Camp Security 8: John Stewart” »

Posted in 1780s, 1830s, Camp Security, Kentucky, Lancaster County, military units, Ohio, prisoners, Revolutionary War, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Not all York County news of the past was good

Newspaper ad for 1929 Ku Klux Klan meeting

Newspaper ad for 1929 Ku Klux Klan meeting

Most of us probably think of African American persecution when we hear Ku Klux Klan. The haters cast a broader net in York County in the first half of the twentieth century. Anyone not a white protestant was fair game to be threatened by these men who hid their identities under white hoods.

The KKK state convention was held in North York in 1929 and again in 1939. Their stand was adamantly anti-immigrant, and in 1939, much against the United States becoming involved in the European War that was heating up. I am always astounded that, then and now, so many people forget their own ancestors were immigrants not that long ago.

The KKK isn’t a pleasant subject, but we need to be reminded to never let that mindset prevail again. My recent York Sunday News column below records some of the newspaper coverage of the 1939 convention:
Continue reading “Not all York County news of the past was good” »

Posted in 1920s, 1930s, immigrants, North York, organizations, Secret Societies, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

1939 news from Saginaw, Gatchelville and Wrightsville


County datelines from York County Heritage Trust newspaper microfilm

County datelines from York County Heritage Trust newspaper microfilm

What was going on in York County 75 years ago? If your family was at all known to the newspaper stringer for your area, they probably showed up on the local news pages. The events might seem trivial to us today, but the reporters give us a glimpse into the lives of our forerunners—who they knew and what they did.

Here are a few items from around the county, as reported in the October 13, 1939 York Dispatch:

“SAGINAW, Oct. 13—Luther Mohr, Hanover visited Mr. and Mrs. George Horner, Sunday.

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Krebs and children Barry, Gerald, Linda Lou and Warren, Mt. Wolf; Mr. and Mrs. Purless Gingerich, Manchester; Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Horner and children, William and Gladys; Mrs. John Leader and children, Nancy and Joan; and Lester Brenner visited Mr. and Mrs. Russel Reneberger.

C.C. Kohr and children, Gertrude and Edwin, and Hubert Elvery were guests of the latter’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Elvery, McConnellsburg on Sunday.”

Some of you might remember participating in pageants at church. They weren’t anything like beauty pageants, but little plays or shows with songs. I remember participating in Children’s Day pageants at New Harmony Presbyterian Church at the Brogue when I was a child. Crepe paper costumes turned little children into flowers and the like. Remember crepe paper? If you got it wet the bright colors stained your clothes.

“GATCHELVILLE, Oct. 13.—A sacred pageant, ‘Lest We Forget,’ will be presented in the Prospect Methodist Church Sunday evening at 7:45 o’clock.

The cast of characters is as follows: ‘Miss Helpful,’ Nellie Druck; ‘Anne,’ Marie Dunlap; ‘Margaret,’ Verna Gray; ‘Dorothy,’ Ethel Gray; ‘May,’ Leona Jamison; ‘Florence,’ Lavia Jamison; and ‘Elsie,’ Ruth Kimmons.”

Here are more travelers, none venturing too far:

“WRIGHTSVILLE, Oct. 13.—Pauline and Ruth Young, South Second Street, were dinner guests on Wednesday evening at the home of their cousin, Evelyn Gerfin, Columbia.

Mrs. Paul Kinard and daughter, Darlene, and Miss Lucy Kinard motored to Dallastown, Wednesday, where they spent the day as guests of the former’s brother-in-law and sister, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Dougherty.

Charles Kline, of Ardmore, was a guest over the weekend at the home of his mother, Mrs. Annie Kline, Hellam Street.”

I’m willing to bet that these visits involved rolling out food, perhaps a full Pennsylvania Dutch meal, or at least substantial snacks. How about some homemade pies and cakes? Homemade ice cream, anyone?

Posted in 1930s, churches, food, newspapers, travel, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Local families motored to the 1939 New York World’s Fair.


A recent post told of York Safe and Lock Company taking 14 train cars of employees and their families on a special excursion to the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

A couple of local ladies shared their stories of traveling by automobile to that fair when they were children.

Old friend Janet Fauth Becker of Red Lion went with her mother, father, aunt and uncle. The adults and Janet, age seven, drove up for the day. They brought back the ash tray pictured above, complements of the Firestone Tire Company. Janet remembers scary lighting inside a building. That was probably the General Electric pavilion, whose engineers did create indoor lightning.

Gladys Fourhman Wright, originally from the Steltz area of southern York County, was nine years old when she went with to the fair. Her uncle, Harry C. Miller, was originally from York County too, but in the 1930s he was living in Collingswood, New Jersey, where he and his wife, Elizabeth, both taught at the high school. Gladys was visiting them, and they drove into New York in their maroon Ford for the fair. She remembers sitting for a long time in the Holland Tunnel when the car in front of them had a flat tire.

When they got to the fairgrounds at Flushing Meadows, Gladys remembers being told by her proper aunt not to look at the naked statues that were part of the art on display. One of the wonders that impressed Gladys was seeing themselves on that new marvel, television. RCA introduced television to consumers at the New York World’s fair, changing the way we look at the world forever.

Posted in 1930s, fairs, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Guards of Camp Security 7: Henry Baumgardner


The pension act of June 7, 1832 extended benefits to some Revolutionary War veterans that had not qualified under the 1828 act. The war had been over for 49 years, so most applicants were at least seventy years old, with many in their eighties.

From the introduction to Revolutionary War Pension Records at the National Archives: “The act provided that every officer or enlisted man who had served at least two years in the Continental Line or State troops, volunteers or militia, was eligible for a pension of full pay for life. Naval and marine officers and enlisted men were also included. Veterans who had served less than two years but not less than six months, were eligible for pensions of less than full pay. Neither the act of 1832 nor the one of 1828 required applicants to demonstrate need.”

Since the tour of duty as militia guards at Camp Security was two months, and some men served as little as one tour, the old soldiers had to cobble together several different drafts/enlistments to qualify. Henry Baumgardner is an example. In his affidavit before Judge Walter Franklin of York County, he states:

“That he was born in Frederick County, Maryland in seventeen hundred and fifty eight… . That he lived with Geo. Kitzmiller in that part of York County now Adams County, Penna. in seventeen hundred and seventy six, when the said George Kitzmiller was drafted as a Militia Man in the company of Capt. Thomas Fisher near Littlestown in said county, which said company…marched thro. Lancaster, Phila., Trenton & to Amboy, where it remained until the end of two months. …That at the end of the two months he enlisted in the company of Capt. Nicholas Bittinger in the Flying Camp and served six months… . That Capt. Bittinger was taken prisoner at Fort Washington. That he with others escaped to Fort Lee. That he marched with this detachment of the Army from Fort Lee through New Jersey to Trenton, crossed the Delaware, and at the end of his term of six months was discharged… . That the following year he served a tour of duty of two months in guarding the prisoners taken with Burgoyne, but does not remember the name of the officer under whom he served.”

The lists of militia guards at Camp Security show Baumgardner on Captain Henry Moore’s pay roll, August 20th to September 20th, 1781.

In my next post, I’ll share why Baumgardner, who was living in Frederick County, Maryland in 1832, went to court in York instead to give his statement, and what other proof he had to submit.

Click this link for previous posts on Camp Security.

This link will take you to the Friends of Camp Security website and lists of York County Militia Guards at Camp Security, transcribed by Blake Stough from the published Pennsylvania Archives.

Posted in 1780s, 1820s, 1830s, Adams County, Camp Security, military units, prisoners, Revolutionary War, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

York County history, food and books coming up

Conrad's Cornet Band, possibly at a St. Luke's picnic

Conrad’s Cornet Band, possibly at a St. Luke’s picnic

It’s time for two of my favorite York County events, and you are all invited too. I’ll be volunteering at each one, and I hope to see you there.

First, tomorrow, Thursday, August 7 is the annual St. Luke’s picnic at New Bridgeville in Chanceford Township, starting at noon. Lots of food will be available along with live music. This is one of the dwindling number of old fashioned church picnics that still serve up lots of homemade chicken corn and ham bean soup, hot sandwiches, cakes and pies. I will be ladling the take out soup, sold by the quart container.

The photo above, from the early 20th century, might have been taken at a St. Luke’s picnic. Conrads (pronounced then as Coon-rods) was a popular name for New Bridgeville. My grandfather, Ed Shelley, is the second from right in the middle row.

St. Luke’s was founded in 1772, so many of you might also have ancestors in the picturesque cemetery. Some of the earlier stones are in German.


Then, next week is the annual Book Blast at the Agricultural and Industrial Museum on West Princess Street in York. Thousands and thousands of donated books of all kinds–fiction, health, history, cookbooks, classics, biography, religious, inspiration, crafts–will be sold to help support York County Heritage Trust’s mission to preserve and interpret our rich history.


Book Blast opens free to the public at 9 a.m. on Thursday, August 14. See above for pricing and hours. As an added bonus, anyone who buys a minimum of $5 in books can then take their time touring the entire amazing Agricultural and Industrial Museum free. Farming equipment, industrial machinery, a covered wagon, a trolley car, automobiles, even an airplane—all with York County connections—fill the spacious galleries.

Here are opportunities to experience and support York County history through the purchase of food and books—two of my favorite things.

York County Heritage Trust's Agricultural and Industrial Museum

York County Heritage Trust’s Agricultural and Industrial Museum

Posted in 1770s, books, churches, exhibits, fundraisers, museums, music, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

York Kiwanis warned of marijuana 75 years ago

1939 Gazette & Daily headline

1939 Gazette & Daily headline

Here is an interesting topic presented to the York Kiwanis club 75 years ago, as reported in the October 27, 1939 Gazette & Daily, quoted below. I guess some things have been around longer than I realized.

Williamsport Detective Tells Kiwanis Club of Effects of Drug

‘The Evils of Marihuana’ were explained to members of the York Kiwanis club and their guests, Mayor Anstine and Police Chief Ferber, at the weekly dinner meeting at the Yorktowne hotel last evening, by Joseph M. Schmucker, captain of detectives in Williamsport and a marihuana specialist since the dread drug was found circulating in that city nearly two years ago.

Captain Schmucker stressed the fact that York, too, may be affected by the drug as many cities in this section as well as the country as a whole have been. He said that last week in Baltimore one raid netted enough marihuana to drug every person on the east coast. One hundred tons have been harvested in one batch in Philadelphia and much has been found in and around Harrisburg and Steelton. It was found four places in the Harrisburg city limits within one week.
Continue reading “York Kiwanis warned of marijuana 75 years ago” »

Posted in 1930s, drugs, organizations, police, Universal York, York County | Tagged , | Leave a comment

1939–Yeager and Fitz battle for York County title


What competition attracted 3,000 people on October 18, 1939? According to a lengthy account in the Gazette and Daily the next day: “A large tent was erected on the farm and refreshments were sold to the crowd by the auxiliary of the York County Farmers organization. The grounds somewhat resembled a county fair with displays of seed corn and farming implements.”

It might have seemed like a fair, but it was the annual York County Corn Husking Contest. The article reads, in part:
Continue reading “1939–Yeager and Fitz battle for York County title” »

Posted in 1930s, agriculture, competitions, contests, farming, Universal York, York County | Tagged , , | Leave a comment