Prosperity seems to have come to the York County of 140 years ago, if the ads in the December 31, 1867 issue of the York Gazette are any indication.
Entrepreneurs and agents from New York, Philadelphia, Maryland, and Adams County were offering investment opportunities.
Real estate was enticingly offered by New Oxford Agent J. C. Zouck as an appeal to:
LOOK TO YOUR INTEREST!”
Agent Zouck had available: “Two No. 1 STORE STANDS, FOR Sale or Rent, with Stock of Goods, doing a first rate business, situated near the Railroad in splendid villages, healthy locations. A good chance for those wishing to engage in the business. A rare chance is offered if applied for immediately. Possession given at any time.
Also, 150 FARMS, MILLS, COUNTRY SEATS, FOUNDRIES, MACHINE SHOPS, TOWN LOTS, &c., in Pennsylvania and Maryland, for Sale, ranging in prices from $800 to $40,000.”
What aspiring capitalist could resist?
If you didn’t want to be a merchant, there were plenty of farms for sale.
J. S. Annan & Bro. of Emmittsburg, Frederick County, Maryland advertised: “5 GOOD FARMS…one…in Adams County, Pa., the others in Frederick Co., Md., one of which is within a couple of miles of the Western Maryland Railroad.”
J. R. Shipley of Round Hill, Adams County (near York Sulphur Springs and Hampton) was selling his hundred acre farm with a “new Two-Story LOG HOUSE with Back Kitchen, (house 24 by 28 feet), a pump of never failing water near the door. Apple, Peach, Cherry and other Fruit Trees on the premises, a good and new BANK BARN, built in 1866, with all other outbuildings, five thousand bushels of lime have been put on this Farm in the last 3 years, also five thousand new Rails have been put on the farm. About 30 Acres of Heavy Timber of White Oak and Hickory. This farm has produced three hundred bushels of Wheat and five hundred bushels of Oats this season with abundance of good hay.”
Shipley goes on to extol the convenience of his farm to “Churches, Mills, Smith Shops, Stores, Post Offices.”
Ads such as these give us a snapshot of life 140 years ago. We get an idea of the value of real estate at that time and the commerce and interests of the people. We see the extent to which lime was used to improve the soil, and what crops were important. We can picture the fields and pastures with neat rail fences. We learn that they were still building new log houses in 1867, even though frame construction was pretty well established by then. Amazing what you can learn from a few ads from the past.