Universal York

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Part of Camp Security area to be preserved

A few days ago, around dusk, I saw a small herd of about eight deer in this field. I was extremely pleased today to read the news today that the funds have been secured to purchase this property, 116 acres of the 280 acres that made up the Brubaker tract, the site of Camp Security during the Revolutionary War. A big thanks is due to the Conservation Fund, Springettsbury Township, the York County Commissioners, the Rowe family heirs and everyone else who have been working together to secure the land.
The land will be used for recreation and preserve a nice swatch of green space that is nearly surrounded by development. My hope, and that of many others, is that the neighboring approximately 50 acres known as the Wiest farm can somehow also be preserved. Together the undeveloped Rowe and Wiest properties make up close to two-thirds of the area of the original Brubaker property. About 40 acres were leased from Brubaker, but the military in charge seemed to spread out over more of the property. In a claim David Brubaker filed in December, 1781 with the Pennsylvania Provincial Council, he complained that 30 acres had been cleared of trees for material, his tenant’s Indian corn was trampled and fence rails destroyed.
Camp Security is the sole undeveloped Revolutionary War prisoner of war camp. The camp operated from 1781 to 1783 and held troops captured at the battles of Saratoga and Yorktown. Limited archaeological digs turned up coins, military buttons, over 600 straight pins (perhaps used to make lace to sell) and over 2,000 shards of pottery. Most of the items are now in the collections of the Pennsylvania State Museum.
Continuing research has yet to determine how many prisoners, some with families, were detained at Camp Security, but it could have been thousands. Accounts of prisoners who were buried on the property also vary. Some say hundreds died of a fever that swept through the camp shortly after it was opened. The fieldstone markers are said to have been removed for farming during the last century.

The photo immediately above, taken around a hundred years ago, is of a cornfield in the same area as the one above that I took today. Pictured is Dr. Israel Betz, who wrote many articles on local history. He mentions the British soldiers interred there. The detailed histories of York County written in the late 19th and early 20th centuries also mention the prisoner of war camp as do many articles written over the years. The site has never been completely lost, but further exploration needs to be done to pinpoint the exact location of the stockade and huts.
Click the links below for more detail on Camp Security.

Hope for Camp Security.
Camp Security called “Cuckoo’s Nest.”
Another clue to Camp Security.
More to be explored.
Dig results at the Schultz House, the original 1750s house on the property.
Documenting Camp Security
Prisoner numbers hard to pin down.
Endangered historical site.