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ADAMS COUNTY was formerly a part of York, from which it was separated by the Act of 22d Jan. 1800. Length 27 m., breadth 24; area, 528 sq. miles. Population in 1800, 13,172 ; in 1810, 15,152 ; in 1820, 19,370 ; in 1830, 21,378 ; in 1840, 23,044. The lofty chain called the South Mountain, sweeps around the northern and western boundaries, passing into Maryland and Virginia under the well-known name of the Blue Ridge. The prevailing rocks of this mountain are the massive silicious sandstones of Formation I. of the great secondary series, according to the classification of the state geologist. The old red sandstone also appears in some places. The lower hills and valleys which compose the remainder of the county belong principally to the “middle secondary series," composed of blue, red, and green shales, talcose rocks, and gray sandstones. Here and there a bed of limestone has been protruded—a valuable acquisition for the neighboring farmers. Iron ore is found in several localities, and the dense forests of the mountain furnish abundance of charcoal for smelting it. Copper ore has also been found in some places, in the shape of green and blue carbonate, with a little native copper ; but the furnace built for smelting it by Mr. Thompson in the southwestern part of the county, has been abandoned as unprofitable. There have been occasional rumors and surmises of the existence of gold and silver mines; but hitherto the most successful mode of obtaining gold in Adams county, has been by that peculiar mixture of lime and red shale so well known and skilfully practised among the German farmers during the last fifteen years.
Several iron furnaces are or have been in operation, among which the Caledonia furnace, on the Chambersburg road, and the Maria furnace, owned by Messrs. Stevens and Paxton, in Hamilton Ban township, are the most prominent.
The silicious and broken lands of the mountains are poorly adapted to agricultural purposes ; but the rolling slate lands in the lower and middle portions of the county furnish some excellent farms, on which there thrives an industrious and frugal people.
There are no navigable streams in the county, yet it is well watered, and useful mill seats are abundant. Rock, Marsh, Middle, and Toms creeks, branches of the Monocasy river, drain the southern and middle sections of the county, and flow into Maryland. Latimore, Bermudian, and Opossum creeks, water the northeastern section, forming the sources of the Conewago creek, which flows through York county into the Susquehanna.
There are fifteen or twenty well-built public bridges, and, in all, about ninety miles of excellent turnpike roads. A track has been graded, at an expense to the state of about $700,000, for a railroad from Gettysburg to the Maryland line, intended to connect with the Baltimore and Ohio road; but the rails have never been laid, and the work is now suspended-perhaps abandoned. This is the road which, from its very circuitous and expensive character, has been stigmatized by some state politicians as “the Tape-worm."
About the years 1734–6, a band of emigrants from Scotland and the north of Ireland, more usually known in Pennsylvania as Scotch-Irish, settled on the “red lands” in the southeastern part of York county. Not long afterwards, and probably about the year 1740, a number of the same race made the first settlement in what is now Adams county, among the hills near the sources of Marsh creek. At that time the limestone lands in the lower part of the county, now so valuable in the hands of the German farmers, were not held in high estimation, on account of the scarcity of water, and the Scotch-Irish passed them by to select the slate lands, with the pure springs and mountain air to which they had been accustomed at home. These settlers were of the better order of peasantry, and brought with them the characteristics of their native land. They were moral, industrious, and intelligent; and for the most part were rigid Presbyterians, or “Seceders."
“ Seceders.” They were frugal, as the Scotch always are-plain in their mode of living, but cordial and hospitable. They were universally men of undaunted courage and high patriotic feeling; and when the alarm of the revolution first rung through the land, it called no truer or more willing hearts than those of the ScotchIrish Presbyterians. The manners and character of the early settlers have been very generally inherited by their descendants—many of whom still cultivate the same farms, worship in the same old churches, and hold fast to the rigid and venerated “ form of sound words” of the Presbyterian church. The Scotch rarely leave their learning behind them. One of the first Latin schools established in the state was taught here by an old Scotsman, who continued to fill the station for many years. He was succeeded by the Rev. A. Dobbin, as we infer from the following notice in an old Gettysburg paper of 1804. 6. The students of the Rev. A. Dobbin hereby solicit the public to favor them with their attendance at the courthouse in Gettysburg, where they hope to entertain them with some short discourses on interesting and amusing subjects.”
The German population now so large in the county, and which threatens soon to outnumber the Scotch-Irish, came in at a much later dateprobably about the close of the last century. As late as the year 1790, the inhabitants of all these townships were obliged to go to York postoffice for their letters, 25 or 30 miles. In an old York newspaper of that date, there is an advertisement of letters remaining in the office; and it is remarkable that nearly all the names from the region now Adams county, are Scotch and Írish—the McPhersons, McLellans, and all the other Macs; the Campbells, Alisons, Wilsons, Morrisons, Worrells, &c. &c.—while a German name seldom occurs. It will not escape observation, too, that the names of the townships in Adams county are nearly all of Irish origin.
The region around Gettysburg, including all of Cumberland and part of Strabane townships, was originally known as “the Manor of Mask,” established by warrant from the Penns in 1740, previous to which time many settlements had been made. Some dispute arose concerning the title; but a compromise was effected by the original settlers through the agency of Mr. McLellan in 1765, when the boundaries of the manor were marked, and a list of the names of the first settlers, with the date of their settlement, was returned to the land-office, to prove the incipiency of their title.
Another segon of the county, around Millerstown, is known as "the tracts," or the surveyed and held by the Carroll family under Lord Baltimore's title,
Carroll tracts, upper and lower. These were large tracts
, before the southern boundary line of the
state had been definitively marked.
The separation from York was agitated first about the year 1790 ; and in June of that year James Cunningham, Jonathan Hoge, and James Joknston, were appointed to fix upon a site for the county seat. They selected a tract of 125 acres belonging to Garret Vanosdol, in Strabane township, between the two roads leading from Hunter's and Gettys' towns to the brick house, including part of each road to Swift's run. In 1791 the subject was again agitated; but it was not until 1800 that the act passed the assembly, and the present site for a county seat was selected.
A strong motive for the division was doubtless the antipathy and jealousy existing between the Irish and the Germans of York county. They spoke different languages, had different social habits, and were of opposite politics. The Germans were democrats. The people of Adams county were federalists, strongly attached to the administration of John Adams, and they therefore conferred his name upon their new county. Party feeling was then at its height between the old federalists and democrats. During the McKean administration, a law was passed ordering the state troops to wear the blue and red cockade ; but the federalists, who held to the old black cockade, refused to mount the other. Quite an excitement ensued : the obstinate were court-martialled, and in some instances their horses and other property seized to pay fines and costs of prosecution.
Gettysburg, the county seat, was laid out by Mr. James Gettys, the proprietor, a few years previous to the organization of the county. It is
Gettysburg, from the railroad. a plain, but neat and well built town, situated on elevated ground, at the intersection of several important turnpike roads, and is surrounded by a delightful and well-cultivated country. It contains the usual county
buildings—a bank—an academy-Presbyterian, Seceder, Methodist, and German Lutheran churches-a Theological Seminary, and the Pennsylvania College, both under the patronage of the Lutheran denomination. The society of the place is highly respectable and intelligent. It was formerly noted for its extensive manufacture of coaches, but that business has declined with the change of the times. Gettysburg is 114 miles from Philadelphia, 36 from Harrisburg, and 52 from Baltimore. The principal trade of the region is carried on with Baltimore, to which place there is an excellent turnpike road. There are also turnpikes to York, Chambersburg, and Mummasburg. Population in 1840, 1,908.
The following facts were gathered from aged citizens of the vicinity:
The Upper Marsh Creek Presbyterian Church was the first erected in the county. The ven. erable Mr. Paxton, now over 80, has recently retired from the pastoral charge, which he held for about fifty years. The old edifice is demolished, and a new one erected on another site. The old “hill church” of the Seceders is also of nearly equal antiquity. They had also another church near the town, at which the Rev. Alexander Dobbin officiated for 36 years, until 1809. The site of the present Seceders' church in town was formerly shaded by a beautiful grove, called Federal Grove—a name indicative of the political bias of the citizens of that day.
The Presbyterian congregation now under the charge of the Rev. Mr. Watson, in town, for. merly worshipped at the Lower Marsh Creek Church, in the country. Rev. John Black was their first minister. Rev. David McConaughy succeeded him, and preached about forty years; and then the church removed into town.
Mr. McPherson's ancestors, near town, settled about 1741–42, when the patent is dated. Mr. Warrell's ancestors settled about the same time up in the mountains, and purchased their farm of four hundred acres, upon which he now resides, from a man who had become tired of it, for a pair of shoes! It is now worth twenty dollars per acre. Mr. William McLellan, the well-known and obliging landlord at Gettysburg, says that his ancestor obtained his patent from William Penn, at Newcastle, but did not settle till about 1740. The land still remains in possession of the family, and the graves of the deceased members are all there. There are very many instances of the same kind in the county, where the descendants are still cultivating the farms which their fathers opened one hundred years since. The venerable Capt. David Wilson, of the revolution. ary army, was born “out on the tract” in 1752, and still lives upon the same place. The old veteran still retains his zeal in the affairs of his country, and presided in a political meeting at Gettysburg in 1842. “Capt. Nicolas Bittinger died in Adams county in 1804, aged seventy-eight. He was one of the first who took up arms in the war of the revolution. He was taken a prisoner fighting at the head of his column, at Fort Washington. He endured a tedious captivity and hard treatment, which induced the complaint that terminated his life.”
The following is extracted from the “ Lutheran Almanac," for 1842:
Theological Seminary.-As early as the year 1820, the subject of a theological seminary was agitated, and a number of ministers in Maryland and Virginia had taken up collections for this purpose at the monthly associations which had been formed by them. But nothing further was accomplished till the general synod determined to establish such an institution, and elected the Rev. S. S. Schmucker, then pastor of the Lutheran church in New Market, Va., as the first pro. fessor. In 1825 the Theological Seminary commenced operations in Gettysburg, with Dr. Schmucker at its head, having but a few students and no funds. But by the efforts of the pas. tor elect and other ministers, and especially the self-denying labors of the Rev. Benjamin Kurtz, who visited Germany, the Seminary was established on a firm basis, and has already proven of incalculable benefit to our branch of the church. In 1830 Rev. E. L. Hazelius, D. D., was elected to fill the second professorship. In 1831 the corner-stone of the Seminary building was laid, with religious services, and the edifice was put under roof, and the next year fitted for the reception of students.
The Seminary edifice, of which a view is here given, is situated about one fourth of a mile from Gettysburg, and is a four-story brick building, one hundred feet by forty. A number of rooms are furnished by congregations and benevolent individuals. At a short distance on each side of the Seminary are the dwellings of the professors, likewise of brick.
Present Faculty.--Samuel S. Schmucker, D. D., Professor of didactic and polemic, homiletic and pastoral theology, and chairman of the faculty. Charles P. Krauth, D. D., Professor of sacred philology and exegesis. Henry I. Smith, A. M., Professor of German language and literature.
By the liberality of the friends and brethren in Europe and this country, and by purchase, a library has been collected, of between seven and eight thousand volumes. It consists of works
Theological Seminary, at Gettysburg. of almost every age, language, and size. There are two societies in the Seminary; one the "So. ciety of Inquiry on Missions,” the other the “Theological Society.” Tuition and use of library, gratis.
Particular attention is paid to the German language, and the course of studies so regulated, that a due portion may be pursued in that language by all the students who wish.
From the year 1825, there have been connected with this institution one hundred and fifty-four students. During the past year thirty-two have attended the lectures of the professors. Within the last twelve months eighteen persons have left the Seminary:
The Seminary is in a very flourishing condition, and the healthiness of the situation, the mod. erate expense, the advantages of a good library, the acknowledged high standing of the faculty, warrant the hope that this institution is destined to become yearly more and more useful to the cause of the Redeemer.
Efforts are now making to establish a second professorship.
Pennsylvania College, at Gettysburg. The new College edifice is a chaste specimen of the Doric order. It is 150 feet in length, and contains 75 apartments, 54 of which are designed for the lodging of students; the others are a college hall, library and lyceum, two rooms for literary societies, four recitation rooms, refec. tory, and apartments for the steward and his family. The trustees intend to erect another build. ing
for the use of the preparatory department.
The College had its origin in the wants of the German portion of the community, and especially of the Theological Seminary. Some of the applicants for admission to that