ADAMS COUNTY
BY AARON SHEELY, GETTYSBURG

(With acknowledgments to Edward McPherson,  D .J. Benner, and Joseph  S. Gitt.)

Taken from the Book "History of Pennsylvania" by William H. Engle- 1883
Transcribed by Margaret Steen
 
 

Adams county was originally included within the ample limits of Chester county. Soon after the settlement of Pennsylvania by William
Penn, in 1682, the Province was divided by its proprietor into three counties, Bucks, Chester, and Philadelphia. Lancaster county was separated from Chester by act of  May 10, 1729, and was the lrst county established subsequent to the formation of the three original counties. The first division of Lancaster county was by act of August 9, 1749, when York county was separated from it. York, which then included what is now Adams, was the first county erected west of the Susquehanna river, and embraced all that territory bounded on the west and north by the South mountain, on the east by the Susquehanna, and on the south by Maryland. The county being very large, and the distance from the upper end to the county seat being great, a movement looking to the formation of a new county was set on foot as early as 1790.  Much feeling was soon developed in reference to this matter. Those living within easy reach of the old county-town manifested their selfishness by violently opposing the measure, while those residing within the limits of the proposed new county were Just as active and zealous in favor of a separation. Public meetings were held, petitions for and remonstrances against the election of a new county were industriously circulated, signers to each obtained, and presented to the Legislature. Finally, after ten years of contention and strife, the separation took place by virtue of an act of Assembly dated January 22, 1800. The new county was named ADAMS, in honor of John Adams, who was President of the United States from 1797 to 1801. The commissioners to mark and run the line dividing Adams from York county were Jacob Spangler, deputy surveyor of York county, Samuel Sloan, deputy surveyor of Adams county, and William Waugh.
 

In June, 1790, when the formation of a new county was first agitated, James Cunningham, Jonathan Hoge, and James Johnston were appointed commissioners to fix upon a site for the county seat. After some deliberation the Commissioners selected for this purpose a tract of one hundred and twenty-five acres, in Straban township, belonging to Garret Vanasdal, and described as “lying between the two roads leading from Hunter’ and Gettys’ towns to the Brick House, including part of each road to Swift run,” and being in part the present site of Hunterstown. In 1791 the subject was again agitated. The Reverend Alexander Dobbin and David Moore, Sen., were appointed trustees for the new county, with foil powers, for them and their representatives to take assurances of all ofters for the payment of money, or for the conveyance or transfer of any Property in trust, for the use of public buildings to be erected in the town of Gettysburg.

page 281 

History of Adams County, PA to be continued soon !

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