Residents did not ‘admire’ York County village named after atheist and critic Voltaire

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The Big Mount house in Paradise Township where Confederate Gen. Jubal Early stayed on June 27, 1863, was up for sale when this photo was taken in 2004. The next day, the three rebel brigades accompanying Early tramped through along the countryside on Canal and other roads, including those in the Admire and Davidsburg area of Dover Township before hitting the Carlisle Road at Weigelstown. Background posts: Owner seeks info on old turnpike toll house, York County photo collection adds to historical record, Jubal Early heard booming of Battle of Hanover’s guns.

The 145th anniversary of the Confederate occupation of York County brings to mind the fortunes of those villages in the path of the rebel horde.
Dover Township’s Admire is one of those settlements that Gen. Jubal Early’s men marched through on their way to York. Like most villages in York County, Admire has interesting stories attached to it.
It was originally known as Slabtown and then Newport.
According to historian George Prowell, when storekeeper Swiler Kunkle was selected postmaster, Voltaire was selected… .


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This scene is typical of bucolic Admire today.

“A long discussion followed in reference to the use of the name Voltaire, when it was discovered to be the name of a great French atheist and disbeliever in revealed theology,” Prowell wrote.
The postmaster and others searched for a new name but found in a postal directory that their preferences were already taken.
“Finally,” Prowell wrote, “the word, Admire, was chosen and has since been the name of the village and post office.”
Admire crops up again in the Jubal Early story.
When Robert E. Lee beckoned Early’s men back to the Gettysburg area, Early stopped for lunch in Davidsburg, a short distance north of Admire. He paid with four, worthless $5 Confederate notes.
Prowell says one of those notes ended up in the hands of Admire’s George W. Gross, who presented it to the York County Historical Society in 1904.

Also of interest:

- Dover Township schools focal point of national intelligent design case in 2004.
- Long list of celebrities with Dover-area links lengthens with addition of George Leader.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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