ON THE 17th October 1777, Congress, then sitting in York, "resolved that the committee of intelligence be authorized to take the most speedy and effectual measures for getting a printing press erected in York town for the purpose of conveying to the public the intelligence that Congress might from time to time receive." The press of Hall and Sellers of Philadelphia and one of the oldest in the state, was shortly afterwards brought to York, where divers public communications were printed, as was likewise much continental money.* This was the first printing press erected in Pennsylvania, west of the Susquehanna. Congress removed from York in June 1778, and the press, with all the appurtenances, accordingly accompanied them to Philadelphia.
There was now an "aching void" for about nine years. In the year 1787, Matthias Bartgis and T. Roberts established a printing office in York; in the month of October in that year they issued the first number of their newspaper, which was entitled "The Pennsylvania Chronicle and York Weekly Advertiser." It was "printed and published by M. Bartgis and Company." This paper was continued about two years, when, Edie and Wilcocks having commenced a paper in York, the press, types &c. were shortly afterwards removed to Harrisburg, Pa.
The next paper printed in York was the "Pennsylvania Herald, and York General Advertiser," the first number of which was issued by James Edie, John Edie and Henry Wilcocks, on the 7th of January, 1789.
The types employed in the printing of the Herald were cast in Philadelphia by Mr. Bane, a gentleman who was educated in Edinburgh, in Scotland, and who had been, in this country, a partner of Dr. Wilson. The press was made in York under the direction of Henry Wilcocks, the iron work being executed by Jacob Small. The printing ink of the first number was manufactured in Germantown.
The Herald preserved its title for about eleven years, though as to minor things, such as ownership and the like, it underwent sonic changes; thus, for example, we find it in 1799 "printed every Wednesday by John Edie; price to subscribers fifteen shillings per annum."
In the year 1800, Mr. Edie took Mr. Robert M'Clellan as a partner; and changing the title of the Herald they commenced a new paper entitled the "York Recorder." The "Recorder" was, in truth, the "Herald" continued; its first number issued on the 29th of January 1800.
The "Recorder," although it passed through the hands of about twenty different editors, was regularly continued until the year 1830. The last editor of the "Recorder" was Samuel Wagner, Esq. The establishment passed from Mr. Wagner, into the hands of Thomas C. Hambly, by whom a paper was published at first called the "York Republican," and afterwards the "Pennsylvania Republican." Mr. Hambly transferred the establishment in 1834, to Samuel E. Clement, by whom a paper is now published bearing the title of the "Pennsylvania Republican."
Until the year 1796, there had not been two papers published in York at the same time. In the spring of that year Solomon Meyer** commenced the publication of a german paper, entitled "Die York Gazette." This was the first paper printed in this county in the German language. It afterwards passed into the hands of Christian Schlichting, under whom it ended in the year 1804. In that year, the press, types, &c., were purchased by Mr. Daniel Heckert, by whom they were sold to Stark and Lange, of Hanover, by which latter gentlemen the "Hanover Gazette," a German paper, was established, in 1805.
The paper next established in the borough of York, was "Der Volks Berichter," the first number of which was published by Andrew Billmeyer, on the 25th of July 1799.
There were now three papers published together in York, one in the English and two in the German language.
The "Voiks Berichter" was continued four years.
"Der Wahre Republicaner" was the third German paper printed in York, its first number being issued on the 20th of February, 1805. This paper, which was a continuation of the "Berichter," or rather a revival of it, was at first published by Schlichting and Billmeyer, afterward by Daniel Biilmeyer alone, until his death, which was in the year 1828. Shortly after Mr. Billmeyer's decease, the establishment was purchased by Mr. Samuel Wagner, at that time Editor of the York Recorder, who from that time until the year 1830, published an English and a German paper, the latter of which bore the title of "Der Republicanishe Herald." At the time that Mr. 'Wagner transferred the "York Recorder" to Thomas C. Hambly, as before mentioned, he sold the "Republicanische Herold" to Messrs. Glossbrenner and May, by whom the paper was published for about two months, when Mr. Glossbrenner transferred his share of it to Benjamin Flory, and the paper was published by May and Flory, for about one year, when it was purchased by Thomas C. Hambly, and united to the establishment of the "York Republican." In 1834, Samuel B. Clement purchased both papers, and they continue to be published by him to this time.
Until the year 1808, there had not been two English papers published here at one and the same time. In the month of May in that year the first number of the "Expositor" was issued, a weekly paper printed and published every Thursday by Daniel Heckcrt and Daniel Updegraff. The Expositor was continued until August, 1814, when both Editors suddenly relinquished their employment, and went forth, with signal patriotism, to the field of fame and danger. After their return from North Point, whither, with other "hearts of oak," they had marched as volunteers, they did not resume the publication of the Expositor.
In the year 1815, a new German paper, entitled "Der Union's Freund," was commenced in York, the first number of which was issued on the 19th of January, 1815, by Charles T. Meisheimer and James Lewis, at that time joint editors of the "York Recorder." This paper was continued nearly two years - the last number of it was issued in October, 1816.
In the year 1815, an English paper, with the title of "The York Gazette," was commenced in York; and the first number was issued in May of that year, by William Clawson Harris. The publication of the Gazette was continued by Mr. Harris until the time of his death, (the 5th of December 1818). It immediately passed into other hands, and has been regularly continued to the present time. At this time it is edited and published by Adam King and George Augustus Barnitz.
In connexion with the above English paper, its German sister, of the same name, should be mentioned. The first number of the German York Gazette was issued on the 16th of March, 1821, by Adam King and Richard Abbott, who were at that time, partners in the publication of the English paper, then as now, printed at the same office. The present Editors of the German Gazette, arc Messrs. King and Barnitz, the Editors of the English paper.
In August 1819, a monthly literary gazette was commenced at York, which was at first published by P. Hardt, at that time Editor of the "York Recorder." This periodical was called the "Village Museum," and was continued four years.
The Theological Seminary of the German Reformed Church having been removed to York in the fail of the year 1828, the "Magazine" of that church has, since that time, been published here. The first three or four numbers published in York, were printed by Samuel Wagner, since which time it has been published successively by Glossbrenner and May, May and Flory, and by Daniel May. At present, the Magazine is edited by Dr. L. Mayer, and printed by Daniel May.
In 1830, a German religious paper was commenced in York, by the Rev. John H. Dreyer. The paper was called "Die Evangclische Zeitung," and continued in existence, with occasional suspension of publication, for about two years.
In the year 1830, the publication of the "Harbinger," an English paper, which had been commenced and published for about three years at Shrcwsbury, in this county, was removed to York. It is still in existence, and continues to be published, in an enlarged and improved form, by its original Editor, Mr. William C. Smyth. It now bears the title of "The Harbinger and States' Union."
In December 1831, the "York County Farmer," an English paper, was commenced. This was the first paper, of imperial size, ever published in the county. It was edited by Adam J. Glossbrenner, and published by Glossbrenner and May. The "Farmer" was discontinued at the end of its second year.
Having noticed all the periodicals ever published in the borough of York, we will proceed to look after those published in other parts of the county. There was no paper printed in what is now Adams county, before the year 1800, when it was separated from York,
The first paper printed at Hanover was a German one entitled "Die Pennsylvanische Wochenschrift," the first number of which was issued by Lepper and Stellinius, in April, 1797. Mr. Lepper became, not long afterwards, the sole proprietor of the establishment, and he continued the paper until February, 1805.
The "Wochenschrift" had but just been discontinued, when the "Hanover Gazette," another German paper, was commenced, the first number of it being issued in April, 1805. It was published under the firm of Stark and Lange, until November, 1816 - from which time to the present, with the exception of a short period, during which Koehler was associated in the publication, it has been published by Daniel Philip Lange alone.
The next paper printed at Hanover was a German one of short existence, for the first number was published in August, 1809, and the last number in March, 1810, at which time one of the Editors, Mr. Melsheimer, removed to Frederick-town.
The first English paper printed at Hanover was entitled the "Hanover Guardian," the first number of which was issued by J. H. Wiestling, in September, 1818.
This paper was published but for a few years, during which time the establishment passed through a number of hands; and the publication was at last discontinued for want of sufficient patronage.
After the discontinuance of the "Guardian," another English paper, with the title of the "Hanoverian," was commenced in Hanover. This paper shared the fate of its English predecessor, perishing in a short time, for want of patronage.
In 1824, a new German paper was established in Hanover, entitled the "Intelligenzblatt," the first number of which was issued in April of that year, by P. Mueller and J. Schmuck. This paper was soon after its commencement, removed to Adams county.
The "Hanover Gazette," a German paper, is now the only paper published in Hanover.
A German paper is now published in the village of Jefferson, in this county, by George Sprung. This paper was established in April, 1834.
* A circumstance connected with the printing of continental money In York, shews that some of workmen employed by Congress, or the agents of Congress, were not quite so honest as they should have been. In the year 1821 repairs were made to the house in which the continental money had been printed; and under the hearth of a room in the second story of the building, bills to the amount of some thousand dollars were found concealed no doubt with the object of filling them up with counterfeit signatures - the execution of which object, It Is presumable, was prevented by accident or the fears of those who secreted the bills.
** Mr. Meyer was commissioned Brigade Inspector of the first brigade, composed of the militia of York and Adams counties, on the 25th of April, 1800. He died at Winchester, Virginia, on the 28th of February, 1811.
Source: Page(s) 82- 87, History of York County From its Erection to the Present Time; [1729-1834]; New Edition; With Additions, Edited by A. Monroe Aujrand, Jr.