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Jim McClure (YDR photo)

York CWRT: Author James McClure to speak on June 20, 2018

On June 20, 2018, please join the York Civil War Round Table as it commemorates the 155th Anniversary of the Confederate Invasion of York, in welcoming editor Jim McClure of the York Daily Record as the scheduled speaker. Mr. McClure will be presenting a PowerPoint program based on his master’s research: “Who was Chief Burgess David Small, at York’s helm when the Confederates came to town in 1863?” The monthly meeting is at 7 p.m. at the Historical Society Museum, Library and Archives, 250 E. Market Street, York, Pennsylvania. Admission and parking are both free, and the meeting is open to the public. Bring a friend.

The life of York’s David Small (1812-1885), grandson of a German immigrant and York’s Civil War-time chief burgess, demonstrates how relative newcomers to the American frontier achieved success in the 19th century. In Small’s case, he produced a partisan newspaper that, when combined with personal political involvement, abetted his fortunes.

While many newspaper editors displayed a wandering nature, David Small published a newspaper in the Pennsylvania town of York, Pa., for 49 years. This lengthy tenure, combined with Small’s highly partisan and anti-Lincoln activities, enabled him to strike a mark- some would say a scar- on his community that remains visible today.

This Lewis Miller sketch shows Brig. Gen. John Gordon’s Confederates lowering the massive US flag in the town square of York PA on Sunday, June 28, 1863, during the Gettysburg Campaign. (YCHC)

That scar was the surrender of York in 1863. As chief burgess, David Small was instrumental in that decision — he was one of the five community leaders to travel to Farmers to meet Confederate Brig. Gen. John B. Gordon and his invading Confederates in the days before Gettysburg. Then, he wrote about and defended his decision in his newspaper, the York Gazette, the county’s leading Democratic voice.

The backdrop for this presentation is how the York area –- with the surrender eclipsing other war-time accomplishments — largely ignored York’s Civil War story much of the 20th century. Many recent forces, including the York Civil War Round Table, have helped York County discover its many and varied brave contributions to the war, and we’ll cover those in this presentation.

James McClure has been editor of the York Daily Record/ York Sunday News since 2004. He also serves as Atlantic Group Editor for Gannett, USA Today Network.

He received the Pennsylvania Newspaper Foundation’s John Fisher Internet Vision Award in 2010, the Pennsylvania News Media Association’s Ben Franklin Award for Excellence in 2013 and numerous awards from York County community organizations. He headed York Daily Record/ Sunday News journalism/history teams that received two PNA Foundation statewide awards for coverage of race/civil rights issues in York County.

McClure is the author or co-author of seven books on York County history. He writes regular entries, or posts, in his York County journalism/ history blog, York Town Square.

He holds a master’s degree in American Studies from Penn State Harrisburg, where his research focused on York County journalism history.

McClure is past president of Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors and past president of the Pennsylvania Society of Newspaper Editors.