Dallastown, Dallas and Geesey
Following the Wednesday evening Unraveling York County History ‘Heroes and Villains’ event, at Wyndridge Farm, I was questioned how I knew Adam F. Geesey was an owner of the Eagle Hotel in Dallastown, since that fact is not noted in either York County History. I did not have the source along with me, therefore I said I’d do this follow-up post; providing that documentation.
I’m sorry that I’ve forgotten the questioners’ name. We lamented about the demolition of that pre-Civil War hotel structure on the square in Dallastown to build a drug store. He also inquired if I had ever discovered WHY Dallastown was named for Vice President George M. Dallas. That question had always intrigued me. Here is my photo of the Keystone Marker along Route 74 at West Entrance to Dallastown; noting that naming fact. The “Founded 1736” on this marker supposedly indicates when the first people of European descent settled on land within what is now Dallastown Borough.
Adam F. Geesey in Dallastown
If it was only Adam F. Geesey’s association with the origins of the first electric generating plant in York County I might have selected another unsung hero at the ‘Heroes and Villains’ event; however the wide array of Adam Geesey’s other varied achievements, to better the community, compelled me to select him.
Adam Geesey also had a distinctly local connection; in 1841, he was born on his parents’ farm, along what is now Park Street in York Township, just one mile east of the event location; Wyndridge Farm. Upon completion of his schooling, Adam Geesey selected the teaching profession; teaching in one-room schools until he enlisted during the Civil War. Adam served in the 103rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry until the close of the war; thereafter he established a mercantile store to the rear of the Eagle Hotel in Dallastown.
A post office was established in Dallastown on September 28, 1847. Z. S. Shaw was the first postmaster. The second Dallastown postmaster was Adam F. Geesey, per page 721 of John Gibson’s 1886 History of York County.
A York County deed (Book 4Z, Page 480) documents Adam F. Geesey and his brother-in-law Henry S. Barshinger purchasing property from Alford Minnich on March 12, 1867, to establish their store along North Walnut Street at the alley, behind the Eagle Hotel. Adam Geesey and Henry Barshinger are listed as the operators of a general store in Dallastown, per the 1870 United States Census. A few years later, Adam became the proprietor of the Eagle Hotel on the square in Dallastown. It appears a deed was not recorded, however the 1876 Atlas of York County, PA, by Beach Nichols, provides the documentation of the Adam Geesey proprietorship of the Eagle Hotel; see the following Dallastown Map Detail and Business Notice from Plate 81 of the atlas.
George M. Dallas [1792-1864]
George Mifflin Dallas was born in Philadelphia on July 10, 1792, and served as Vice-President of the United States from March 4, 1845 to March 3, 1849; along with President James K. Polk. Per page 721 of John Gibson’s 1886 History of York County, in 1844, a settlement within York Township, York County, PA, selected the name Dallastown in honor of George M. Dallas.
Maybe the name Dallastown was selected because George M. Dallas campaigned through York County following his nomination as the Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate on May 29, 1844, or possibly the people of the area were simply proud that Dallas was the first native Pennsylvanian to be elected to one of the two highest offices in the United States during the November elections of 1844. The following is a hand-colored lithograph of newly elected Vice-President George M. Dallas by N. Currier, of later Currier & Ives.
Before becoming Vice-President, George M. Dallas had an interesting career; a few of the highlights follow. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1813. He was elected Mayor of Philadelphia in 1828. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1831 to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of Isaac D. Barnard. President Martin Van Buren appointed George Dallas as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Russia from 1837 to 1839.
Links to related posts include:
- When Dallastown held a New Year’s Mummer’s Parade
- Dallastown Furniture Factory was WWI Army supplier
- New History Center Generated Edison Electricity
- York County History Center Buildings 1885
- Birth of District Steam Heating in York
- Goldsboro … named for a Distinguished Civil Engineer
- Airville … named for pure air in neighborhood
- East Prospect … named for the fine view of the surrounding country
- Cly … named for Clymer Shelley, an Early Merchant