The Biggest & the Best of York County
I guess it is human nature to want to have the biggest and the best. We are always impressed by the tallest buildings and the most gigantic pumpkins.
Our forebears were no different, as we can see by the Lewis Miller drawing above of a huge pumpkin. Miller captioned it: “1809. Christian Leaman, big and large pumpkin grown in his garden. It was as large as a barrel and more in circumference around. Old Dr. John Fisher bought it and sent it to Baltimore to let them see what old York can raise and examine it. No man could lift it from the ground.”
The citizens often made sure the local newspapers knew about their accomplishments. Short items from all over the county in the York Gazette in the autumn of 1877 list several examples:
“Mr. John D. Manifold, of Hopewell township, has left at our office a corn stalk, which has thirty-two joints, and measures eleven feet in length.”
“The Hanover Citizen is informed that on Friday a week, Mr. John P. Houck shot a black snake near his home, in Manheim township, which measured over six feet in length.”
“There are sixteen passenger trains arriving at and departing from York daily.”
“During the present season Mr. Jacob Loyer, of West Manheim township, shot one hundred and fifty-six gray squirrels.”
“There will be a shooting match for a hog supposed to weigh near 500 pounds at the public house [tavern] of Charles Snyder on the Chanceford turnpike [Queen Street], 5 miles south of the borough of York in York township….”
And finally, proof that buying the best can be a good investment:
“Henry Blauser of Spring Garden Twp. sold on Saturday morning at market a very beautiful bronze turkey weighting 35 1/2 pounds. Mr. Jacob Raffensparger was the purchaser and the price paid was $5. The turkey was chanced off and drawn by John W. Heller, Esq.”
I wonder how much Raffensparger made on the raffle.