Universal York

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York County Election Bets Not Paid

William Findlay is shown on the left and Joseph Hiester on the right in these images from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
Nineteenth century Yorkers took their politics very seriously, as you can see in the rather long ad that Frederick Hoke took out in February 1818 in the York Gazette. His candidate, William Findlay, narrowly defeated Joseph Hiester for Governor of Pennsylvania a few months before. Hiester supporters Joseph Blackford and Jacob Knisely evidently didn’t pay up on their election bets, and boy, was Hoke ticked.


Whereas Joseph Blackford, Vendue cryer of Warrington township, and Jacob Knisely stonemason of Franklin township, having been too much inflated with federal Hiesterical gas, and reposing too much confidence in the assurances received from their brethren in principle, of the success of their Candidate, were instigated and prompted by the hopes of gain to come to the subscriber and offer him divers wagers on the event of the Governor’s election, which wagers the subscriber did accept, on the presumption that Joseph Blackford, Jacob Knisely, were gentlemen, and in case they lost would pay their bets honorably.–In an expectation which may always be unhesitatingly entertained where gentlemen are concerned, the subscriber finds, that having to do with J. Blackford and Jacob Kinsley, he is mistaken inasmuch as they positively refuse to pay what they have bet.
This is therefore to warn gentlemen not to bet with those persons in future, as a gentleman has not an equal chance with a scoundrel who refuses to pay, but would with the greediness of a wolf receive a bet. These same persons would willingly have called on the subscriber for payment the first day they had heard that Hiester was elected. The cryer would then have been for knocking it off without any warning to owners and bidders but since the tables are turned, he has for four months dwelt on three!! three, and will never come to the times to pay.
Feb. 19, 1818.

Hoke was not without humor. Joseph Blackford was a Vendue cryer (auctioneer), so the title of the piece is a play on an auctioneer’s chant.
Heister narrowly defeated Findlay for Governor in a rematch in 1820. I wonder if Hoke bet on that election.
Click the links below for more politics in our past.
President Taft comes to town.
Reluctant 1877 candidate.
Mudslinging in the 1832 York County election.
Blazing political rally in Red Lion.
Log cabin headquarters for Harrison.
Commerce and government in Hanover.
Hartley wanted U.S. capital here.