THE legislature on the 6th of February, 1804, authorized the erecting of a house for the employment and support of the poor in York county. The persons originally appointed to determine upon and fix the place for the erection of the Poor-House, were Martin Gardner, Samuel Collins, Abraham Grafius, Christian Hetrich, Peter Small, Peter Storm, John Heneisen, Henry Grieger, and Daniel Spangler. After a number of meetings, they made their report on the 30th of June 1804. They "fixed on the spot of ground within the bounds of the borough of York, called the town commons, being the south-west part, next adjoining Codorus Creek and Water street, containing about twenty-five acres." But in consequence of different claims having been made to the site they fixed upon, it was thought improper to erect the necessary building. This was represented to the legislature: and that body on the 1st of April 1805 empowered the then directors to determine upon such a site as to them might appear eligible, and likewise to cause the necessary buildings to be erected thereon. The directors immediately proceeded on the business committed to their charge, and on the 16th of the same month, made report of their proceedings. From their written account of what they had done, it appears that they "made purchase of a certain plantation, and tract of land, of and from Andrew Robinson, Esq., called Elm-spring farm* within one mile of the borough of York, as also one piece of timber land** containing nearly one hundred acres, within two miles of the aforesaid plantation." Shortly after this, in 1805, the old buildings were erected*** and the poor were removed thither from all parts of the county, in April 1806. The office of overseers of the poor ceased now to exist, and their duties devolved, in part, upon the directors.

The first election of directors of the poor was held on the 9th October 1804. The three persons elected met at the Court house on the 5th November following, and divided themselves into three classes. The place of the first class was to be vacated at the expiration of the first year; that of the second at the expiration of the second year; and that of the third at the expiration of the third year: - so that those who have been chosen since the first election, have been chosen to serve for three years; & one third is annually chosen. Their style is "The Directors of the Poor and House of employment for the county of York."

In the year 1828, another brick building was erected near the poor house, and connected with that institution. This was the elegant brick hospital which greets the eye of the stranger coming into York by the Philadelphia road, and is distinguished for its neatness, elegance and comfort. It is of brick, two stories high, its interior judiciously divided and the whole well fitted to the purpose for which it was erected.

The entire cost, in cash, to the county, of this excellent building, was $7800, a sum much less than it would have been but that a good deal of labor was performed, at its erection, by paupers supported at the poorhouse.

We cannot avoid naming the workmen who built and finished the hospital. The manner in which the work was executed reflects no little credit upon them. The mason was Mr. Jacob May - the carpenters, Messrs. Moore, Dietz and Straber.

The following is a list of the directors with the periods of their service.




The stewards of the poor house have been John Demuth, 3 years, George Lottman, 3 years, John Becker, 1 year, William Jordan, 9 years, George Ilgenfritz, 3 years, Geo. Schank, 4 years, Martin Gardner, from 1829 to the present time.

The Clerks to the Directors have been, at different times, Emanuel Spangler, John Stroman, George W. Spangler, Geo. Carothers, George Halter, Daniel Heckert, Henry Welsh, George Small and Michael Bentz.

The Physicians of the hospital connected with the poorhouse, have been the following gentlemen, in the order in which they stand, viz:

Dr. John Morris,

Dr. Wm. Mcllvaine, (a second time),

Dr. Thomas Jameson,

Dr. John Rouse,

Drs. Jacob & Michael Hay

Dr. Martini,

Drs. Mcllvaino and Small,

Dr. John Bentz,

Dr. Alexander Small,

Dr. Wm. Mcllvalne,

Dr. John Fisher,

Dr. Luke Rouse,

Drs. Hailer and Rouse.

Although the office of Overseers of the Poor is now abolished in this county, yet perhaps it may not be unpleasant to hear a word concerning them. The first appointment of Overseers of the Poor, by the courts of York county, was on the 26th of March, 1750. The record reads thus: "At a court of Private Sessions of the Peace held at York for the county of York, the 26th day of March, in the twenty-third year of the reign of our sovereign Lord, George the Second, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland. King, Defender of the Faith &c. Anno Domini 1750. Before John Day, Thomas Cox, George Swoope and Patrick Watson, Esquires, Justices assigned &c. The following persons were by the court appointed Overseers of the Poor for the several townships in this county.

York-town. William Sinkler and Michael Laub.

Hellain. Caspar Williart and Peter Gardner.

Chanceford. Robert Moreton and John Hill.

Fawn. Alexander McCandless and John Gordon.

Shrewsbrrry. Hugh Montgomery and Hugh Low.

Codorus. Peter Dinkle and John Worthering.

Manchester. Peter 'Wolf and Valentine Crans.

Newberry. Nathan Hussey and George Thauly.

Dover. Philip Couf and Andrew Spangler.

Warrington. William Griffith and George Grist.

Huntingdon. Isaac Cook and Archibald M'Grew.

Monaghan. James Carothers and George Cohoon.

Reading. William Wilson and Mathias Maloon.

Tyrone. Robert Mcllvaine and Finley M'Grew.

Strabane. David Turner and James Stevenson.

Menallan. John Gilliland and John Lawrence.

Cumberland. John M'Farren and David Porter.

Hamilton's Ban. James Agnew and William Wagh.

Mount joy. James Hunter and William Gibson.

Germany. Jacob Koontz Smith and Peter Little.

Mount pleasant. William Block and Alexander M'Carter.

Heidelberg. Peter Shultz and Andrew Schreiber.

Berwick. Caspar Weiser and George Baker.

Paradise, Clement Sludebaker and John Rode.

Manheim. Samuel Budgel and Solomon Miller."


Among the attorneys who were admitted at York, upon the first opening of the courts of the county, were William Peters, John Lawrence, George Ross, David Stout, John Renshaw, &c. Those who have been admitted since, are;


Edward Shippen, admitted Apr. 30, 1751

Lindsay Coates Jan. 29, 1765

John Mather, Jr. do

James Reed Apr. 30, 1765

Samuel Morris July 30, 1751

Jasper Yeates May 29, 1765

Joseph Galloway do

Andrew Allen July 23, 1705

Hugh Bay Jan. 28, 1752

Alexander Wilcox do

Thomas Olway Apr. 25, 1753

Henry Eleves do

William Parr do

Richard Peters Jr. do

David Henderson July 29, 1755

Stephen Porter do

Samuel Johnson Oct. 28, 1755

James Sayre do

James Bisset Jan. 23, 1759

Robert Gllbraith Oct. 22, 1765

William Atlee July 24, 1759

WillIam Swoney do

William M'Clay Apr. 28, 1760

Edward Biddle do


James Wilson Oct. 27, 1767


Jacob Moor Jan, 24, 1769


Thomas Hood do

Jacob Rush Apr. 25, 1769

John Wilkes Kittera Oct. 28, 1783

Stephen Watte do

James Riddle Jan. 25, 1785

CoL Casper Witzal do

Jacob Hubby do

Christian Hoake do

Ross Thompson Apr. 26, 1785

Thomas Hartley July 25, 1769

Andrew Dunlap Oct. 25, 1785

John Hubley July 24, 1770

Joseph Hubby do

James Lukens Apr. 23, 1771

James Carson Jan. 24, 1786

David Grier do

William Montgomery Apr. 25, 1786

David Espy do

Peter HufTnagle do

Andrew Scott July 23, 1771

John Joseph Henry do

Peter Zachariah Loyd Apr. 28, 1772

John Woods do

Andrew Ross July 28, 1712

John CaIdweil July 25,

George Ross jr. July 27, 1773

James Hopkins Apr. 26,

John Reily July 27, 1773

Charles Smith do

Robert Buchanan do

James Campbell July 29, 1788

John Stedman Oct.26,1773

George Fisher do

John M'Gill do

John Lukens Jan. 27, 178~

Thomas Smith Jan. 25, 1774

Ralph Bowie July 28, 1'189

Charles Stedman do

Thomas Nisbit July 29, 1789

David M'Meeken do

John Moore July 30, 1789

Jaspar Ewing Oct. 25, 1774

Mathias Barton do

William Barton Apr. 25, 1775

John Montgomery Apr.26, 1790

James Wilson Jan. 26, 1779

James Kelly July 27, 1700

Col. Thomas Hartley do

David Waltz Oct.26, 1700

Maj.John Clark Apr. 27, 1779

James Orbison Jan. 25, 1791

George Noarth July 27, 1779

Samuel Riddle Jan. 26, 1791

Col. Wm. Bradford do

John Smith do

Stephen Chambers(*10) Apr. 24, 1781

Charles Hall Apr. 6, 1791

James Hamilton do

George Smith do

Col. Robert M'Gaw July 24, 1781

Mathias Slough Mar. 7, 1792

Stephen Porter July 23, 1782

David Moore June 5, 1792

Thomas Smith Apr. 29, 1783

Jacob Carpenter do

John Lawrence July 29, 1783

Mathew M'Alister do 

John Ross  June 6, 1892

Michael W. Ash May 12, 1818

Samuel Roberts  do

 John Wright Aug. 9, 1818

William Barber   Mar 2, 1793

James Lewis Aug. 1, 1820

William Ross   June 3, 1793

Daniel Durkeo Oct. 30, 1820

John Shippen  Dec 2, 1793

 William C. Frazer do

Charles William Hartley    do

Thomas Kelly Oct. 31, 1820

Thomas Elder do

Webster Lewis Dec. 28, 1820

David Cassat Mar, 4, 1794

Walter Franklin, Jr. Jan. 2, 1821

Parker Campbell June 2, 1794

Joseph C. Cohen Jan. 4, 1822

Samuel Scott Gllbraith do

Jacob A. Fisher Mar. 28, 1822

James Smith Sept. 7, 1795

Charles B. Penrose July 21, 1822

Thomas Baily do

 John Evans Aug. 3, 1822

Thomas B. Zantzinger Sept. 4, 1797

 Calvin Mason Aug. 5, 1822

Robert Hays  Dec 4, 1797

Henry C. Campbell Aug. 8, 1822

Joseph Miller  Mar 5 1798

Charles Worthington Aug. 28, 1822

Charles Hare  June 5 1800

George W. Klein Aug. 29, 1822

Richard Brooks  Do

John S. Wharton Sept. 16, 1822

Andrew Buchanan  June 18 1801

John Bowie Nov. 4, 1822

James Dobbins June 19, 1801

Eman'l C. Reigard Nov. 5, 1822

John Strohman Feb. 19, 1805

James Findlay Jan. 7, 1823

John M'Conaughy Feb. 18, 1806

Henry H. Cassat Apr. 7, 1823

Bushnell Carter Apr. 3, 1810

Samuel M. Barnitz do

George A. Barnitz  Apr 2 1811

Edward Chapin Apr. 9, 1823

Henry Shippen    Nov 5 1811

F. M. Wadsworth Apr. 15, 1823

John Gardner     Aug 4 1812

George W. Harris Aug. 6, 1823

Jasper Slaymaker   Oct 21 1814

John Smith Nov. 3, 1823

John Blanchard   Mar 31 1815

James Anderson do

Samuel Bacon   April 1815

Richard Porter Feb. 17, 1824

James Merrill    Nov 3 1815

Xerxes Cushman  July 27 1824

Samuel Merrill  Oct 29 1816

William C. Carter  Aug 4 1824

Thaddeus Stevens Nov. 4, 1816

George A Barnitz  Nov 16 1824

Edwin A. White Dec. 17, 1816

Robert S. King  Aug 1 1825

Daniel Raymond Jan. 6, 1817

Wm. WilIer  Aug 10 1825

Colin Cooke Apr. 9, 1817

Morgan Ash    May 9 1826 

Isaac Fisher July 28, 1817

James Buchanan  Aug 21 1826

Molton C. Rogers Mar. 20, 1810

Edward Coleman do

William Gemmill Apr. 0, 1818

William H. Brown May 11, 1818

David F. Lammot Apr. 2, 1827

Thomas C. Hambly Apr. 7, 1829

George Heckert May 14, 1827 

Robert M. Lee Aug. 8, 1832

William B. Donaldson Nov. 7, 1827

William W. Haly Sep. 4, 1832

William H. Kurtz Jan. 7, 1828

Ebenezer M'Ilvaine Oct. 15, 1832

Ellis Lewis Jan. 10, 1828

Benjamin Rush Jan. 9, 1833

James Kelly Mar. 3, 1828

Daniel M. Smyser Aug 7, 1833

Miner T. Leavenworth Aug. 9, 1828

John L Mayer Feb 20, 1834

Robert J. Fisher Nov. 4, 1828 

John I Allen Mar 5, 1834

Benjamin Chainpneys do

E. G. Bradford Apr 11, 1834

* The history of this farm is as follows: On the 17th Oct. 1766, Thomas Penn and Richard Penn granted a patent to John Hahn and Michael Hahn for a tract called "Rigen." On 4th of Nov. John sold to Michael Hahn. On 20th Nov. Michael Hahn sold to Mathias Sitler. On 27th Nov. 1790 Sitler sold to George Bentz. On l5th April, 1796, Bentz sold to Henry King. On 2d March 1802 King sold to Andrew Robinson. In April, 1805, it passed to the directors of the poor, In consideration of 4400 pounds, the tract purchased containing 132 acres, 156 perches and allowance.

** This tract, which is known by the name of the "Hermitage farm," contains 159 acres and 17 perches, with allowance and was purchased for 600 pounds.

*** the price of "Elm-Spring" and "Hermitage" farms was $13,333.33. The cash expended for brick, lime, stone, sand, and other materials towards building the poor house amounted to $4761.34.

**** Mr. Barnitz was commissioned on the 26th March, 1813, an assistant Judge of the courts of York; and it was on his account that the court of quarter sessions on the 6th April 1813, appointed Mr. Spangler as Director.

(*5) Mr. Spangler was, after his appointment, elected Director on 12th Oct. 1818: he resigned his office on August 7, 1815, when the court appointed Mr. Upp, who was afterwards, viz, on Oct. 10, 1815, "elected" to the office.

(*6)Mr. Small who was elected a second time on Oct. 4 1800, resigned on April 6, 1808, when 'the court appointel Mr. Jessop.

(*7) Mr. ZIeg]e, who was elected a second time on Oct. 11, 1815, died on the 21pt of December 1810; and to fill the vacancy in office, the court appointed Mr. Kramer.

(*8)Mr. Taylor was appointed in room of Mr. Spongier, resigned.

(*9) Mr. Lottman died on the 25th of January 1812; and the court at their next session appointed Mr. Ziegel to fill the vacancy occasioned thereby.

(*10) Mr. Chambers was a native of Ireland, whence he came to this country before the Revolution. During the war of our independence he signalized himself as a warm and worthy friend of the country; and afterwards was honored with several exalted stations in Pennsylvania. Among other things it may be mentioned that he was one of the council of censors in 1783, and was a member of the state convention in 1787. On Monday, the 11th May, 1789, he received a wound in a duel fought with Dr. Jacob Rieger, on Wednesday mortification was discovered, and on Saturday the 16th of the same month, he died at his house in Lancaster.

Source:   Page(s) 53 - 61, History of York County From its Erection to the Present Time; [1729-1834]; New Edition; With Additions, Edited by A. Monroe Aujrand, Jr.