Hope for Camp Security Preservation
Virginians (camp shown above) didn’t want to give up prisoners-of-war, but we got them
I am encouraged that Springettsbury Township has approved some funds to aid in the acquisition of the land known as the Rowe farm. Part of Camp Security, the only Revolutionary War prisoner-of-war camp that has not been built over, may have covered part of the site.
Roses then to the township, as well as The Conservation Fund; Preservation Pennsylvania; Friends of Camp Security; Historic York, Inc.; the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the many other organizations and individuals that have been working for over thirty years toward identifying and preserving Camp Security for future generations.
As I pointed out in my York Sunday News column on Camp Security two years ago, the camp took up at least 40 acres of David Brubaker’s 280 acre farm in 1781. The bulk of the original Brubaker farm is now divided into two large tracts–the Rowe farm and the former Weist farm. A limited dig on 16.5 acres of the Weist portion in 1979 turned up many artifacts, including nearly 2,000 pieces of pottery and buttons of the regiments known to be held captive here. Another archaeological report references a surface observation and 24 shovel-dug test pits over 5.5 acres in 2000, which turned up additional items.
Here’s hoping that both the Rowe and Wiest farms will ultimately be preserved, giving archaelogists and historians time to do the explorations and research connected with this important site. Carefully exploring the soil and unearthing objects takes time, as does poring over documents and rolls of microfilm, but little by little research comes together to make our history come alive. Several of us, probably more people than I know, are actively involved in that research.
Jonathan Stayer, Head of Reference Section at the Pennsylvania State Archives, has been researching Camp Security since he was a boy growing up nearby. He is still delving through records and has gathered an impressive amount of information.
I have been having a good time plowing through rolls and rolls of microfilmed papers of Congress and of the War Department at the National Archives, turning up an occasional tidbit. For example:
On January 6, 1782, a frustrated Colonel North wrote Secretary of War Benjamin Lincoln that he was getting no cooperation in Virginia to carry out his mission to move British prisoners from Winchester to York and Lancaster as he had been ordered. He was “shocked that the inhabitants…want the prisoners to stay to make money off them.” At the same time, the Pennsylvania legislature was trying to get the prisoners sent to other states, so that they wouldn’t have to help support and guard them. Congress prevailed, and the prisoners joined those already held here.
Click the links below for more on Camp Security.
Numbers at Camp Security hard to pin down.
Another clue to Camp Security.
Camp Security site.
Camp Security called “Cuckoos Nest.”
Revised Camp Security Marker.