York Town Square

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Part IV: Scholarly York County history journal feeds your sense of discovery

This is a photograph of the Cookes House as seen in circa 1900. The 1700s structure, long associated with  Thomas Paine of American Revolution fame, was the topic of a story in the 2011 “Journal of York County Heritage.” Those are the hands of Cookes House owner Michael Helfrich displaying the photo. Also of interest: Part I: Scholarly journal feeds your sense of history and  Part II: Scholarly journal and Part III: Scholarly journal.

Michael Helfrich’s piece on the Cookes House and Thomas Paine illustrates the value of a scholarly journal on York County topics.

Helfrich pulled together written and oral traditions in undertaking the most scholarly work to date on this venerable York County landmark and the revolutionary pamphleteer who has been long linked to it.

Now we have all this pulled together in one readable and accessible place.

Here’s a summary of that journal piece:

Title: “The Question of Thomas Paine in York Town”

Author: Michael Helfrich

About: Thomas Paine, pamphleteer of the American Revolution, lodged in York when the Continental Congress met here in 1777-78. Where he stayed has been long debated. Helfrich argues that he actually bunked in two locations: Near York’s square in James Smith’s office or a house rented by Daniel Roberdeau. Also, the Cookes House, the farmhouse for Johannes Cookes’ farm and Codorus Creek mills, southwest of York.

Quotable: “The conclusion of this research brings us to a rare occasion of agreeing with everyone. The author believes that the evidence points to Thomas Paine staying at both locations passed down through local traditions.”

Interesting point: This is the 250th anniversary of the building of the Cookes House. The author of this Thomas Paine piece owns the house that Mr. Cookes built.

Also of interest:

– All posts about the American Revolution from the start.

For more views of Michael Helfrich and his house, visit: Public getting views of Cookes House, the 1761 stone house in York, Pa.


For details about the journal, contact Lila Fourhman-Shaull, lfourhman-shaull@yorkheritage.org.