Universal York

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Yorker changes mind about drinks



The Sponslers of York seem to have been an interesting family. Many members were quite musical; there was even a Sponsler family orchestra. In a previous post, I shared a 1904 newspaper account of musician J. V. Sponsler’s attempt at playing the steam whistle at Herman Noss’s lumber yard.

Another Sponsler, Mary Ann, was one of the six wives of inventor Isaac Singer. There was a bit of a problem there, as Singer seemed to have several wives at once. Blogger Jim McClure relayed some of that story in one of his posts.

I was recently talking family history with Library/Archives volunteer Cindy Doll at York County Heritage Trust. She mentioned Sponsler relatives and later shared some 1881 newspaper clippings from the York Daily that she had received from Jeffrey Bernstein. They concern Augustus Sponsler’s attempt, later reconsidered, to get “on the wagon.”

The first, dated February 14, 1881 reads:

Notice—To Inn Keepers ad Retailers of Malt and Spirituous Liquors.
Any of the above, or any other person is hereby prohibited from giving to Augustus Sponsler, a young man of intemperate habits, any malt of spirituous liquors as I am determined to prosecute such as disregard this notice.
York,, Pa. February 14, 1881.”

Sponsler evidently had a change of heart, as related in the Daily the next week:

“Birds of a Feather Flock Together
Mr. Augustus Sponsler not long ago inserted in the DAILY a notice to all the York saloon keepers to desist from selling him any intoxicating drinks. Last evening he appeared in our office in a rather dilapidated condition, and demanded the insertion of another notice retracting the former. Notwithstanding the citation of a clause in the constitution of the United States forbidding such retraction, he insisted upon his rights, and remarked that necessity has no law, that a drink in his dilemma was absolutely necessary. Not seeing the question of necessity in his light we persisted in our refusal, whereupon he departed in disgust, stating that the Age knew how to respect his rights and that he would seek redress at their hands.
Gottlieb, Lager fur Zwei.”

I’m not sure what the York Daily writer meant by the heading, but I think it was a swipe at the York Age, a rival newspaper. I wouldn’t think retracting an ad would be a constitutional offence. He also ends with a German phrase that seems to call for a bartender named Gottlieb to set up lager beer for two.