Hanover Democrats celebrated victory graciously

Politics could be rough in the past, but the Hanover Democrats were pretty civil in celebrating the party’s win in the November 1882 Pennsylvania election for Governor. Here is the story from the November 28, 1882 York Dispatch, picked up from the Hanover Citizen:

DEMOCRATIC JOLLIFICATION IN HANOVER.–The Democrats of Hanover and vicinity had a torch-light procession and general jollification on Friday evening, the 17th inst., in honor of the grand victory achieved at the late election. By 7 o’clock Fountain Square was well filled with people, and promptly at that hour the procession started, headed by the Hanover Band. The second section was headed by the Hanover Drum Corp. The Heidelberg and Penn Township delegation, headed by the Moulstown Band, brought up the rear. In all there were nearly 1,000 persons in line. The banners–bore humorous and unique inscriptions, but nothing vulgar or offensive to even the most solid Republican. A decidedly good feature of the affair was a “float” upon which was a true representation of labor and industry. Perhaps a dozen men were hammering, planing and working on the float. It took several hours to pass over all the streets, and it is a great satisfaction to state that not a drunken man was seen in the crowd nor a single disturbance occurred during the whole parade. The entire column was under the marshallship of Col. R.M. Russell, with a number of aides, and much credit is due those gentlemen for the success of the demonstration. All along the line of march Democrats had their houses and places of business illuminated. In Fountain Square the Central Hotel was particularly brilliantly lighted. The whole affair was a grand success, though many people from town and country were prevented from participating on account of the inclemency of the weather.

The Hanover Democrats were celebrating the election of Robert E. Pattison, one of only two Democrats elected governor between the end of the Civil War and 1954.  In 1882 Pattison won over Republican candidate and Civil War veteran James A. Beaver by over 40,000 votes. York County Democrat Chauncey Forward Black served as Pattison’s Lieutenant Governor. Pattison could not run again in 1886, since at that time Pennsylvania Governors could not serve two consecutive terms; so in 1886 Black faced Beaver for the post of Governor, and this time Beaver was the victor by over 42,000 votes. Pattison ran again in 1890, winning by a smaller margin, beating Republican candidate George W. Delamater by only 16,554 votes. Except for George H. Earle’s victory in 1934, the Republican streak was not broken again until York County Democrat George M. Leader prevailed over Lloyd H. Wood in the 1954 election.

You can find all kinds of Pennsylvania gubernatorial election statistics on the Wilkes University website, including maps showing that York County was a Democratic stronghold during the late 19th century.

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