York Town Square

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Controversial mad hatter with colorful York County name tried to topple Old Hickory

Jefferson’s newsy Center Square, as it appeared in the early 1900s. Interestingly, roads around the southwestern York County square were first paved only about 80 years ago at a time when many roads around the county were getting their first asphalt coat. Politically active townsman Jenkins Carothers made good use of this square. Background post: Washington Township, Jefferson Borough, Madison Avenue. How about an Obama Street in York County?

Charles H. Glatfelter is one of those prominent Glatfelters featured in my last post: A leading York County name: ‘Keeping it in family is the Glatfelter way’.
The retired Gettysburg College history professor’s work on any topic is invariably the most reliable reference a historian can use.
So when he writes about a controversial politico from Jefferson in his 1966 history of that borough, you know it’s something to build from.
That’s what I did in writing about the colorfully named Jenkins Carothers and his actions in and around Jefferson’s historic square, actions that provide lessons for today.
My York Sunday News column (6/14/09), written to tell about an upcoming Civil War marker dedication, focused on the mad hatter Carothers… .

This World War I monument was dedicated in Jefferson’s Square in 1921, honoring those who served in the Great War in York County.

It began:

This is a happy civics lesson drawn from the life and times of a mad hatter who operated in and around Jefferson’s Center Square.
That maker of hats, Jenkins Carothers, was in his 30s in the 1830s.
He was an Andrew Jackson man living in the Codorus Township village later named after Old Hickory’s political forerunner Thomas Jefferson.
Well, here’s the story, according to historian Charles H. Glatfelter:
Carothers was in a work party securing a pole made of hickory (of course) to fly a flag to celebrate Gen. Jackson’s many accomplishments.
On the way from the woods to the village square, Carothers sat astride the pole.
“Near town the pole turned, either by accident or design,” Glatfelter wrote in “The Story of Jefferson Codorus, Pennsylvania,” “and the good hatter was unceremoniously dumped to the ground.”
This is where the “mad” in mad hatter comes in.
Carothers rose, vowing never to vote for Jackson. The incident must have been a tipping point against the Democrats.
“This is a good story,” Glatfelter wrote, “made even better by the likelihood that it is true.”
The vote for Jackson was 338-1 in 1832 in Codorus Township.
Carothers stood alone.

You can read about other Carothers’ antics by clicking here.
We have Charles Glatfelter to thank for keeping the memories of Jefferson alive in his book, “The Story of Jefferson Codorus, Pennsylvania.”

A Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission marker observing Confederate and Union troop movement through Jefferson will be dedicated at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 27.
The Codorus Valley Area Historical Society is sponsoring the dedication that will observe this Civil War event, set for Center Square. Scott Mingus will be the guest speaker.
The forum on the Civil War in York County last year might have been the first such get-together to discuss that sometimes controversial historical story. Photos courtesy of ‘The Story of Jefferson Codorus, Pennsylvania.’
So, Round 2 this year.
Speakers at an upcoming forum will explore impressions from the North and South as the Confederates marched across York County on June 27-30, 1863.
Dennis Brandt, Terry Latschar and Scott Mingus will present at the forum.
I’ll moderate again this year.
Latschar, former Gettysburg park ranger and licensed battlefield guide, will give a first-person account of the rebel occupation through the eyes of letter writer Cassandra Small.
The forum is set for 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, June 25, at DeMeester Recital Hall in Wolf Hall, York College.

Also of interest:
Historical marker to soon point to Jefferson square’s famous visitors and Accidental death hits York County family – again and Laurice Elehwany wrote with Jefferson in mind.

*Photos courtesy Charles H. Glatfelter