Universal York

Part of the USA Today Network

English Read by Minority in York County

Every now and then some people get all bent out of shape because they think there should be no accommodation for anyone that doesn’t speak or read English. Perhaps they should stop and think that their own ancestors might have been out of luck if that was the case in York County in the 1700s and 1800s.
A few weeks ago I quoted some expenditures from the 1837 York County Budget, as it was printed in the York Gazette. Click here to read about Commissioners salaries and fox scalps.
Which language did your family read and speak in 1837?

The majority of York County’s early inhabitants were from German lands and German was the language they spoke and the language in which they read their news. That wasn’t hard in York County. The year-end report on 1837 York County finances lists payments to the following printers and whether their papers were German or English:
Daniel P. Lange, for printing &c. in German paper.
T.E. & J.J. Cochran, for Printing &c. in English paper.
George Frysinger, Jr., for Printing &c. in English paper.
C. Wulzen, for Printing &c. in German paper.
Conrad Myers & Co., for Printing &c. in German paper.
Glossbrenner & Small, for printing in German and English paper.
It may be a little surprising that there were that many German papers in York County as late as 1837. Immigration to this area from Germany had slowed down many years before. Some of the families reading these German papers could have come to the area as long as 100 years before, but then we haven’t always been the fastest area to embrace change.
Click here to read more about bilingual York County.