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Life in 19th century Wrightsville


Even small newspaper items and advertisements can give clues on life in the past, such as these ads from the May 7, 1857 York County Star and Wrightsville Advertiser, These two are for Wrightsville businesses, Reuben Simpson’s barber shop and Daniel T. Lehman’s restaurant, but other ads in this issue are for varied establishments in York, Columbia, New Bridgeville and even Philadelphia. More on them later.

Notice that the restaurant and barber shop are very near each other, using Samuel M. Smith’s store as a reference. They both give their location as Hellam or Turnpike Street, today know by only the former name.

Simpson had been running his poetic ad regularly for three years, as indicated by the date and “tf,” which stands for “till forbid.” In other words, it was to run until the person placing the ad cancelled it.

The undersigned takes pleasure in announcing to his old friends and customers that he still continues the above business in
Hellam or Turnpike Street,
Next door to Samuel M. Smith’s Store, Up Stairs
where it will always afford him much pleasure to serve all who may be kind enough to patronize him, and where he will shave you as clean as any city broker, and cut and dress your hair to suit the contour of the face.
“My room is neat and towels clean,
Scissors sharp and Razors keen,
And all my art of skill can do
If you’ll just call I’ll do for you.”
My friends will always find me at my post ready to accommodate all who may be pleased to call.
Wrightsville, April 6, 1854.—tf


Oysters, Fried, Roasted, Stewed, &c., &c.

Philadelphia and York Ale and Beer,
AND all kinds of Fruit in Season, Confectionary, &c., can be had served up in every variety, at the Refectory of the subscriber in Hellam or Turnpike Street, in the Borough of Wrightsville, Second door above S.M. Smith’s Store.
Wrightsville, April 9, 1857.

“Refectory” is usually defined as a dining hall in an academic or religious institution, so Lehman broadened the definition somewhat to include his restaurant’s dining room.