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Letter Writer Questions York County Commissioners

Why did Lowmaster get the contract from the York County Commissioners to build a bridge if Webb’s bid was $500 lower? ($500 in 1826 would be equivalent to about $12,000 today.) That’s what the writer of a letter to the editor, printed in the August 8, 1826 York Recorder wanted to know:

Mr. Printer,
I have not yet been told
Why the Commissioners of York County gave Mr. Lowmaster the contract for the Muddy Creek Bridge, though his proposal was FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS higher than the one offered by Mr. Webb.
I have waited both a reasonable and an unreasonable time for an answer, and hope it will not be much longer deferred.
I wish to know likewise
Whether the Commissioners did not give Mr. Lowmaster some extra compensation for building Kuhl’s bridge?
If they did grant such extra compensation what was the reason for it, and what was its amount?
Satisfactory explanations are expected.–There are things which the PEOPLE have a right to know, which they ought to know and which they shall know.

I don’t know if Hezekiah, as he signed himself, ever got an answer but Jacob Laumaster was still building bridges for the York County nine years later, as can be seen in the Lewis Miller drawing above of the “Cud” [Gut] bridge over the Conewago Creek near York Haven. Miller’s caption reads:

The County Commissioners appoint[ed] three men to survey the new bridge over the Cud, near the river Susquehanna. The viewers were Henry Small, Lewis Miller, Jacob Gartman. Build by Jacob Laumaster. The Commissioners were Kimmel, Heneise and Peter All. And a company of old citizens from town, John Barnitz and Samuel Ritter, Charles Fisher, George Spangler, Jacob May, Daniel Willhelm.

Click this link for more on the Gut bridge.