York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

Civil War dispute lands York pastor in slammer

The Civil War threatened to divide many York churches.
York’s Presbyterian Church was one of them. (For another example, see Civil war prompted strife in churches, too.
In fact, one dispute ended with its minister in jail.
The Rev. Thomas Street and a visiting geography book salesman squared off one Saturday in early 1862.

The minister had given the visitor’s product an endorsement but soon learned of his Southern sympathies.
He bellied up to the salesman.
“My friend, I’ll have to ask you for my recommendation (back),” Street said, “as I cannot endorse anyone who would curse the best government in the world.”
Soon, Street and another man, a wounded Union officer, sat in jail, accused of hitting the stranger.
Out on bail the next day, Street preached on “The Loyalty of the Citizens,” making no reference to the altercation.
Street, indeed, had a combative streak in him.
“It was no doubtful utterance which he made in the name of God for right and liberty and union,” someone who knew him said.
Still, his deeply divided church stuck together during his pastorate, which concluded just before the war’s end in April 1865.