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of the city, tell of bygone days, before the railroad and canals were constructed, when the streets and yards were crowded every evening with long trains of “Conestoga wagons,” passing over the turnpike, by which nearly all the interior of the state was supplied with merchandise. They tell, too, a sad tale of the ravages of that disease of good-fellowship which has blighted the prospects of many a worthy family of the city and county, and carried its promising sons to an early grave. It is to be hoped that the temperance reformation will soon exterminate the disease, and that the young men of the growing generation will be spared to honor and usefulness.
Lancaster contains the usual courthouse, public offices, and jail, two Lutheran, German Reformed, Episcopalian, Catholic, United Brethren, Presbyterian, Methodist, Independent Methodist, Quaker, Swedenborgian, and African churches, an academy endowed by the state, a female seminary, a mechanics' library, containing 1,000 volumes, two iron foundries, manufactories of rifles, axes, coaches, and cars. Population in 1800, 4,292 ; in 1830, 7,704 ; in 1840, 8,417. Lancaster was incorporated as a borough on the 19th June, 1777, and as a city on the 20th March, 1818. In the ancient borough charter, provision was made for fairs to be held for two days together, in the months of June and October. There was also a clause imposing a fine upon persons refusing to accept of office when elected! (See a similar clause at length in the charter of Bristol, p. 165.) The town was, from 1799 to 1812, the seat of government of the commonwealth. Franklin College was established here by the legislature in 1787; it was well endowed, and spacious buildings were erected, but after a few years of sickly existence the institution expired.
The following lively sketch of the appearance of Lancaster in olden time is extracted from a communication in the Lancaster Journal of 1838, purporting to be written by“ a bachelor of eighty.”
When I was a boy, our good city of Lancaster was quite a different affair from what it is at present, with its Conestoga navigation, its railway, and improvements of every kind. At the formerly quiet corner of North Queen and Chestnut streets, where lived a few old-fashioned German families, making fortunes by untiring industry and the most minute economy, there is now nothing but bustle and confusion, arrivals and departures of cars, stages, carriages, hacks, drays, and wheelbarrows, with hundreds of people, and thousands of tons of merchandise. In other respects that part of the city is not the same. New houses have started up in every direction, and old ones have been altered and dressed anew. Many of these buildings are very handsome, and about all there is an air of what moderns call prosperity, which was formerly unknown. Among the improvements are the handsome buildings about Centre-square, in place of the onestory stone houses with which the corners were occupied. Then there are the two banks and the places of Worship, all of which are new, or materially improved, during my remembrance. The most remarkable of the latter is the Episcopal church, which occupies the place of the venera. ble and time.worn edifice that I remember. If I recollect aright, it was built under the charter granted by George II. It had never been entirely finished, and I am informed that, so great was its age and infirmities, the congregation were obliged to have it taken down, to prevent its tumbling about their ears. I shall never forget the last time I sat in it. Every thing about the antique and sacred structure made an impression on my mind not easily to be effaced ; even the old sexton, John Webster, a colored man, and his wife Dinah, who used to rustle past in her old-fashioned silks, with white sleeves, apron, and “kerchief.” Another remarkable character was old Mr. McPall
, with his glass-headed cane, bent figure, and hoary locks. This patriarch was never absent in time of worship from the broken pew in the corner, except when prevented by sickness from attending.
While I am in Orange-street, I cannot help contrasting its present appearance with what it was in my boyhood. At that time it was little more than a wide lane, with half a dozen houses, nearly all of which are yet standing. The peaceable and retired-looking mansion, with the wil. low-trees in front, at present inhabited by the widow of Judge Franklin, I remember as a commission store, where trade was carried on with a few Indians still in the neighborhood, and also
ith those from a greater distance, who exchanged their furs and peltries for beads, blankets, utlery, and rum, as is still done in many parts of the western country. The house in which the North American Hotel is kept, was occupied by the land commissioners a few years later.
I remember the forest-trees standing in East King-street, nearly as far down as Mr. McGoni. gle's tavern. What is now called Adams-street, then Adamstown, was the most thickly inhabited place about. It was a village unconnected with Lancaster. The old two-story brick house now owned by Mr. Donelly, was used as an hospital for the sick and wounded soldiers of the rev. olution, and numbers lie buried in the lot on which it stands. What is now the old storehouse, was then the new college, at which I was placed, by way of making me a “gentleman.”
Annually in those days a fair was held on the first Thursday and Friday in June. You could hardly see the street for the tables and booths, covered with merchandise and trinkets of every kind. There were silks, laces, and jewellery, calicoes, gingerbread, and sweetmeats, such as the ladies love; and that was the time they got plenty of them, too, for the young fellows used to hoard up their pocket-money for months together to spend at the fair; and no girl felt ashamed to be treated to a fairing, even by a lad she had never seen before. This was the first step towards expressing admiration, and she who got the most airings was considered as the belle. Then the corners of the streets were taken up with mountebanks, rope-dancers, and all the latest amusements. To see these, each young man took the girl that pleased him most; or, if he had a capacious heart, he sometimes took half a dozen.
Then there were the dances, the crowning pleasures of all. In every tavern there was to be heard the sound of the violin. * *° Even the mode of dress has changed. In my young days the girls wore shortgowns and pe but I dare not pronounce the word in this refined age. One thing I know, the girls looked very neat and trim in their linsey-woolsey short-jackets or gowns.
At the establishment of the county, in 1729, a jail and temporary courthouse were built at Postlewaite's, five miles from Lancaster, but this site did not satisfy the settlers on the Susquehanna. Gov. Hamilton, accordingly, at the request of the proprietaries, laid out Lancaster, in 1730, at a place where George Gibson then kept a tavern, with the sign of the hickory-tree, on the public road, by the side of a fine spring. "A swamp lay in front of Gibson's, and another of some extent lay to the north." Near the spring there once stood a tall hickory-tree, which tradition says was the centre of a little hamlet of a tribe called the Hickory Indians. Another small tribe took its name from a poplar-tree standing near their village, which was on a flat by the side of the Conestoga, northeast of the residence of William Coleman, Esq. Roger Hunt, of Downingtown, was Hamilton's
surveyor, and built the first house after the plot was made. The following paragraphs are culled from the collections of Mr. Conyngham :
The swamp north of Gibson's is supposed to have extended from the centre of the square bounded by Duke, Queen, Chestnut, and Orange streets, to the swamp along the run, now Water. street. Gibson's pasture, afterwards Sanderson's pasture, was leased at an early period by Mr. Hamilton to Adam Reigart, Esq. An old letter mentions "the log-cabin of the widow Buchanan." She was probably merely a tenant, as her name is not among the purchasers.
Among the early deeds may be found the names of Jacob Funk, Frederick Stroble, John Pow. el, and George Gibson. Their deeds were dated in 1735, except Gibson's, which was dated in 1740, and granted lot No. 221. Gibson's original tavern is said to have been situated where Slaymaker's hotel now is, and the spring was nearly opposite.
1734. Seat of justice removed from Postlewaite's to Lancaster, and the first German Lutheran church and schoolhouse built.
1745. The German pastor of the Lutheran church united a portion of his congregation with the Moravian. A great ferment was excited among the Lutherans: they told the governor they were compelled either to hear a doctrine which they did not approve, or resign their church. The governor told them he could not interfere, but that the law would protect them in their rights.
1751. House of employment erected; farm connected with it, and manufacturing implements. Lancaster became remarkable for the excellent stockings made in that establishment.
1759. Barracks erected to contain 500 men, for the security of this part of the province, (and to accommodate Gen. Forbes's returning army.) Mr. Bausman, barrack-master.
1760. Lancaster co.: 436,346 acres of land, 5,635 taxables-each taxed £1 28. Total tax, £6,178 10s.
1763. House of correction erected.-1765. Presbyterians put up a large meetinghouse; building committee, William Montgomery, John Craig, James Davis.-1769. The German Reformed church completed; the Episcopal church enlarged ; and several other religious denominations—Friends, Roman Catholics, Baptists-mentioned as being in prosperous circumstances.
Gov. Pownal visited Lancaster in 1754. In his journal he says, "Lancaster, a growing town and making money; a manufactory here of saddles and pack-saddles. It is a stage town—500 houses, 2000 inhabitants.” In the same book, (an ancient copy,) some one has written in man. uscript—"When Gov. Pownal visited Lancaster there was not one good house in the town; the houses were chiefly of frame filled in with stone, of logs, and a few of stone. When Lancaster was laid out, it was the desire of the proprietor to raise an annual revenue from the lots; no lots were therefore sold of any large amount, but settlers were encouraged to build and receive a lot, paying an annual sum as ground-rent. Hence the large number of persons in indigent circumstances, who were induced to settle in Lancaster. The Lancaster town was therefore too large, at an early period, in proportion to the population of the surrounding country, and its inhabitants suffered much from a want of employment; as from its local situation, remote from water, it was not, nor could it ever possibly become, a place of business. The proprietor was therefore wrong in forcing the building and settlement of Lancaster. The town outgrew its strength, and looks dull and gloomy in consequence."
The ground-rents above mentioned have continued on many lots down to the present day. A few years since there was considerable excitement on the subject among the citizens, and some attempts were made to get rid of the vexatious encumbrance.
A treaty was held in 1744, at Lancaster, between the chiefs of the Six Nations and the governors of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland. The business related chiefly to the purchase of lands in the two latter provinces. From the minutes of this treaty, we learn that the Six Nations complained that "their cousins the Delawares, and their brethren the Shawanees," had been annoyed by the white settlers on Juniata, and requested their removal. They also acknowledged that the purchases made by the Marylanders of the Conestogas were just and valid; but as they (the Six Nations) had conquered the Conestogas, they insisted that purchases should be made of them. They also said that “the Conoy (called in former treaties Ganaway) Indians' had informed them, that they had sent the governor of Pennsylvania a message, some time ago, complaining of ill usage by white people, and their determination to remove to Shamokin; and requested some satisfaction for their land.
Few subjects have caused more excitement in their day, in Pennsylvania, than the murder of the Conestoga Indians. The people of Philadelphia were astounded with the news of this horrible massacre ; and, in the first moments of alarm, exaggerated narratives were published, embellished with the pictures of editorial fancy, and tinged with the sectarian or political prejudices of the narrators. The affair was intimately connected with the political disputes at that time hotly carried on-between the people of the interior counties and those on the Delaware, between the proprietaries and the landholders, and between the Quakers and the men of the frontier-in regard to the policy to be pursued towards the Indians. The feeling that existed among the Scotch-Irish party in Lancaster may be estimated by reference to the documents on this subject inserted on pages 278, 279, 280. The following narrative of the massacre is compiled from the various conflicting accounts:
On the night of the 14th Dec. 1763, a number of armed and mounted men from the townships of Donnegal and Paxton, most of them belonging to the company of frontier Rangers of those townships, concerted an attack on the Indians at Conestoga, for the purpose, as they alleged, of securing one or more hostile Indians, who were harbored there, and who were supposed to have recently murdered several families of the whites. The number of the Paxton men is variously