Universal York

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York County’s Love Affair with Oysters

Lewis Miller drawing of Polly Waltemyer Opening Oysters
Ah–fall, when York County thoughts turn to–Oysters. On Sunday, October 18, York County Heritage Trust will hold the 35th annual Oyster Fest at the Colonial Complex, W. Market St. and Pershing Ave. Oyster lovers can have them fried, stewed, or raw. Non-oyster eaters, like me, won’t go hungry. Pulled pork sandwiches and steamed shrimp will tempt, along with the traditional apple fritters. Beverages include soft drinks, cider and beer.
The family event with free colonial activities runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Click here for the full schedule.
To get back to Polly Waltemyer, pictured above with a giant oyster–Polly was the cook, and possibly the owner of a York tavern in the early 1800s. Artist Lewis Miller’s caption of the drawing reads:

“Polly Waltemyer, opening Oysters for a Sup to Gentlemen. Well who are they? I tell you–Mr. John Stroman, George Spangler, John Miller, Adam Leitner, and Jacob Wisenthal, do the[y] pay you for your trouble. I before the[y] leave my house, one dollar each of this gentleman. I warn you to give notice.”

In other words, Polly let them know she would collect their bill before they left, possibly before they washed the oysters down with too much good York beer or spirits.
Click the links below for more about Yorkers and oysters.
Oysters and Ice Cream.
By the quart, peck or bushel.
And beer.
Good Barnitz beer.
See you Sunday. I’ll probably be helping out at the Museum Shop stand (unless I’m eating).