Universal York

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Lewis Miller’s York Fair–1801

Lewis Miller drew the fair of his childhood in the drawing above. The caption reads:

Yearly Market, or publick fare.
Held in the Borough of York, June 9th, 1801,
the[y] had privilege of a stated yearly market.

Carter & Glossbrenner’s History of York County (1834) cites a Pennsylvania “charter of privileges” granted in 1765 stating “Whereas it has been represented to us that it would be of great service and utility to the town and county of York, that two fairs would be held yearly in said town, for buying and selling goods, wares, merchandise, and cattle… .”
The fairs would be held June 9th and 10th and November 2nd and 3rd in the High street [now Market Street].
Even though Lewis Miller’s drawing looks peaceful, the fairs reportedly became more rowdy. Directly below the caption quoted above, Miller wrote several more sentences about the fair, as follows:

In 1816, the[y] prohibited the holding of fairs within the Borough of York, and declared such holding a common nuisance. In some dispute at Lewis Wampler tavern–Michael Hahn stop [stabbed?] Robert Dunn; and at the same time–Nickolas Scheffer cut Barnhard with a knife, at Eberhart tavern.

More on the incident, and its consequences, in my next post.
Click the links below for more York Fair posts.
Harness racing and Bury’s burgers, 2010.
History and some photos.
Harness racing thrives at York Fair.
Bury’s burgers a fair tradition.
East King Street fairgrounds.
Glenalvin Goodridge wins photography awards.
1867 Fair racing news account.
1929 York Fair racing.
Still both harness races and races with jockies at 1959 fair.
Nosses may have captured some York Fair racing on film.
1877 flooding strands fairgoers at High Rock.