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Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1843,

By GEORGE W. GORTON, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Pennsylvania.


49 14
Astor, Lenex and Tilden




Tue design of this work is not to present a history of the state in the usual form, and with the ordinary chronological arrangement, but to embody and preserve in one volume its local history; and while it comprises all the great events in the general history of the state, these events are so located in the order of arrangement as to associate them more intimately with the places where they occurred. There are many important, but isolated facts, and a hundred little episodes and anecdotes, of thrilling interest to the inhabitants of the region where they occurred, which History, in her stately march, cannot step aside to notice. The short biographical sketches, in. terspersed throughout this work, of men distinguished in their own community, but not much known beyond, seldom find an appropriate place in a history of the ordinary form ; and yet it is important that they should be preserved.

The proverb says" Charity begins at home.” The study of history ought to begin at home also : yet how many men are there in this state, as in others, who are far more familiar with the history of England, or with the career of Alexander, Cæsar, or Napoleon, than with the events that have occurred upon the very fields which they themselves are tilling! And this arises not so much from the want of intelligence on the part of the people, as from the lack of proper books and documents within their reach. It is believed, therefore, that a work of the kind here presented is needed by the intelligent yeomanry of the state, for whose use it is especially intended ; and the compiler hopes that, while it may serve to enliven their long winter evenings, it will awaken in their minds a spirit of inquiry into the history of their own immediate neighborhoods, and at the same time furnish them with a fund of instructive incidents relating to the more dis. tant sections of the state.

The Outline History has been brought down to a period many years later than in any of the histories of Pennsylvania hitherto published. The topographical and statistical information em. bodied in the work, is designed to connect the history of the past with the present state of manners and improvements, and to present the features of the two periods in striking contrast : and although to some minds these details may seem out of place in an historical work, yet it should be remembered that the statistics of to-day may become the history of ten years hence. Many of the facts here recorded, both statistical and historical, may seem trivial, or tediously minute to the general reader ; and yet such facts have a local interest, and for that reason have been inserted.

In accordance with the prevailing taste of the age-and a laudable taste it is—the work is embellished with wood engravings. These, with very few exceptions, are from drawings made on the spot expressly for this work. Some of them will preserve the appearance of ancient edi. fices and monuments now rapidly yielding to the hand of time; and those representing towns, villages, and modern edifices, will not only convey to the readers of the present day some idea of those objects, but enable posterity, if the book should ever reach them, to contrast our age with theirs.

Care has been taken in selecting the extracts which compose the main body of the work, to exclude mere dry details and tedious official documents, and to give selections of such a character as will interest the sympathies of the heart, while they refresh the memory and instruct the mind. In making extracts from newspapers, and from other writings originally intended for a special class of readers, the compiler has frequently taken the liberty of abridging their language, in order to include the material facts within the restricted limits which must be here assigned to them.

The materials for the work have not been gathered without great personal labor, and heavy expense. Recourse has not only been had to the valuable libraries in Philadelphia, but the com. piler has been compelled to undertake personally the tour of the entire state ; spending much time in each county, examining ancient newspapers and musty manuscripts ; conversing with the aged pioneers, and collecting from them, orally, many interesting facts never before published, which otherwise would probably not have been preserved. He has often had occasion to regret, in the course of his pilgrimage, that this research had not been commenced some fifteen years earlier. Many aged men during that time have gone down to the grave, whose memories trea. sured up a thousand interesting facts, which their descendants have neglected to preserve.

It is scarcely to be expected that a work embodying such a multitude of facts, gathered too from such a variety of sources, should be entirely free from errors : yet as much attention as possible, under the circumstances, has been given to insure authenticity. The compiler feels the more diffident on this subject, knowing, as he does, that the work will probably pass into the hands of many readers whose opportunities of testing the accuracy of local facts are far greater than his own could possibly be. He will feel obliged, should any important errors be detected, if gentle. men conversant with the facts will furnish a correction to the publisher.

To the many gentlemen who have kindly lent their assistance in procuring and imparting information, either orally or by correspondence; and for numerous instances of personal hospi. tality and civility during his tour, the compiler takes this occasion to return his


sincere thanks.

To the authors, both ancient and contemporary, from whom extracts have been made, credit has generally been given in the body of the work ; but the compiler desires here to record his special acknowledgments for the aid derived from Hazard's Register of Pennsylvania, a periodical work in 16 volumes, published between the years 1828 and 1835 inclusive. This work ought to be in the library of every public man who has frequent occasion to refer to important statistical, historical, and political documents. It is indeed a rich mine of Pennsylvania history. In it have been collected and published a vast number of facts and documents relating to the important period—the era of the construction of the public works—when the work was published.

To the city and county of Philadelphia, as much space has been allotted in this volume as was consistent with the attention due to other counties in the interior. Those of our readers who desire to study more at large the history of Philadelphia, are referred to Mr. John F. Watson's able and fascinating Annals of Philadelphia, from which we have taken the liberty of making a few brief extracts.


Errors and Omissions. The brief anecdote of Lord Percy, on page 213, extracted from the History of Chester Co., was derived from local tradition. It now appears that this tradition is

Lord Percy lived many years afterward, and became Duke of Northumberland. The Compiler regrets that, amid the crowd of subjects that presented themselves to his atten. tion, under the head of Philadelphia Co., he omitted to insert a short biographical notice of John Fitch, the original, but unfortunate inventor of steamboats. In 1788 he started a boat on the Delaware, which went to Burlington at the rate of eight miles an hour. The name of Oliver Evans, who invented a steam wagon as early as 1804, and who predicted the future success of rail. roads and locomotives, deserves honorable mention in this connection. These distinguished inventors, though not natives of Pennsylvania, yet first put their inventions into practical operation at Philadelphia. Full biographical sketches of both may be found in Howe's Lives of Eminent Mechanics.

Highspiretown, a pleasant village, 5 miles below Harrisburg, was omitted under the head of Dauphin Co.

The Wyoming monument referred to in a note on page 431, has been finished-in Oct. 1843.

Rev. Dr. Krummacher, of Germany, referred to on page 357, has declined the invitation to become a professor at Mercersburg.

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