Universal York

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Another random dip back into York County’s past.

Note the frequent train departures and arrivals in February 1873  From York Gazette microfilm at York County Heritage Trust)
Note the frequent train departures and arrivals in February 1873
From York Gazette microfilm at York County Heritage Trust)

Below are some items from across the York County, as reported in the February 18, 1873 York Gazette. Each snippet entices you to learn more.

WIDENING THE CODORUS.—A meeting of the Judiciary (local) Committee has been arranged for Thursday next, (20th inst.) at 3 P.M. or earlier if the committee can convene earlier, for the purpose of hearing the views of those favoring or opposing the proposed widening of the Codorus creek in the borough of York. Should any contingency arise that will prevent the meeting, notice will be given in the Daily, on Thursday morning. GEORGE W. HEIGES.

Why was consideration being given to widen the Codorus? Did it happen? What office did George W. Heiges hold?

We have been informed that John M. Heiges, Esq., of West Manchester township, has disposed of a half interest in his patent Cultivator, in the United States, for $5,000.

Who was John M. Heiges? Was he a close relative of George W. Heiges? Does Esq. mean he was a lawyer, or just a “gentleman.” Who bought the patent? Did Heiges make any money off the half interest he retained?

FORNICATION.—Ellen____, of Lower Chanceford township, was arrested on a warrant issued by Justice Metzel, charging her with having committed the crime of fornication with a certain Samuel F. ____ of the same township. The arrest was made by Officer Boyd, of Lower Chanceford township, where she was taken before a justice of the peace in that township, where she entered into a recognizance to appear at the next Quarter Sessions of the Peace to answer.

Why was Ellen arrested in the first place? Did someone file a complaint? Was Samuel arrested too? What was the outcome of her court appearance? Was there a resulting illegitimate child?

SURGICAL.—On Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Thos. Hay of Philadelphia, assisted by Dr. Meisenhelter, of this place, performed a surgical operation on Mr. Daniel Ilgenfritz of South Beaver street, by removing a tumor from is back. Mr. Ilgenfritz is doing well.

Did Dr. Hay travel from Philadelphia just for the operation? Did Ilgenfritz travel to Philadelphia previously to consult with Hay? Did Dr. Meisenhelter call in Hay for specialized surgery? What size and what type was the tumor? Did Ilgenfritz completely recover?

These examples show that an old news item is often just a jumping-off point. Many of these and similar queries can be answered through research. It takes a lot of time and persistence, but the resulting “ah-ha” moments can be quite rewarding.