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Old Schultz House might be younger than its datestone

Historic York’s Karen Arnold shows the barn near the old house built by Johannes and Christina Schultz in present-day Springettsbury Township. Research shows that the house might have been built as many as 20 years before its datestone, previously commonly used to date the structure. The house stood near Camp Security, a prisoner of war camp where British soldiers were detained in the American Revolution. Background post: , Old house boasts all kinds of historic hooks and Change flattens Stony Brook’s drive-in, humpback bridge.

Now that the historic Schultz House is out of private hands, researchers have a straighter shot at understanding it more.
A archaeological dig is set for later this year.
And the date of the house’s actual construction is under revision… .

For years, the year 1734 listed on the structure’s datestone has been accepted.
But Johannes and Christina Schultz didn’t leave Germany until 1742.
It’s still an old house, and its secrets, if unlocked, will help in understanding York County’s earliest years.
A York Daily Record/Sunday News story (2/18/08) on current thinking about the age of the Springettsbury Township house follows:

The farmhouse considered to be the oldest two-story dwelling in York County might not be as old as originally thought.
But that doesn’t change the importance of the house, said Karen Arnold of Historic York Inc., the organization that owns the Schultz House in Springettsbury Township.
It was originally believed that the couple who built the house, Johannes and Cristina Schultz, emigrated from Germany with Johannes’ brother, Martin, in 1732.
And it was believed they built their substantial home off what is now Locust Grove Road in 1734. The date stone on the second floor exterior of the home seemed to confirm that.
“The date stone says 1734,” Arnold said.
But since the home and acreage immediately surrounding it were donated to Historic York in September 2007 by its most recent owner, Beatrice Rowe, the group has been going through the property trying to understand its beginnings.
Researchers have been double-checking facts and looking at immigration records. As it turns out, Johannes and Christina are not listed with Martin on those records. Rather, they were listed as leaving Germany in 1742 on board the Loyal Judith.
There are other inconsistencies.
For instance, one writing about the house states the date stone is in a gable wall. That causes Arnold to question whether it’s the original date stone, if it had been re-carved, or if generations have been reading the German words incorrectly.
“Sometimes in German engraving, 3s look like 5s,” Arnold said.
She said it’s also possible several former owners of the property, proud of the fact the historic home belonged to them, might have embellished its age.
Charles H. Glatfelter, a professor emeritus of history at Gettysburg College and the executive director of the Adams County Historical Society for about 40 years, has similar findings. Along with the Rev. Frederick Weiser, Glatfelter wrote a report on the Petition of 1747 for the South Central Pennsylvania Genealogical Society. The petition asked that York be established as a county separate from Lancaster.
“I discuss the fact that (Johannes) Schultz did not arrive in America until about seven years after that house supposedly was built, and they did not get into the Kreutz Creek area until a few years before their deaths,” Glatfelter said.
Johannes Schultz arrived on Sept. 3, 1742, along with his wife and three children. An older brother and an older sister had arrived in 1731, he said.
“He obtained a ticket for a lot in Yorktown in 1747, and I believe from that that he and Cristina lived in York from 1747 until the early 1750s,” he said. “In February 1753 he purchased what was called ‘a certain plantation or improvement’ in what was then Hellam Township adjoining his brother and brother-in-law, and they could not have built a stone house in 1734 if they were not in America until 1742.”
Still, Arnold said the Schultz House “probably” continues to hold the distinction of being the county’s oldest two-story structure.
“Historic York is still tied to this house whether it’s the first or the sixth,” she said, adding there are few homes from the 1730s and 1740s surviving today. It’s difficult to accurately know the age of a home without the aid of public records, Arnold said.
“We don’t see that until the 20th century,” she said. “I wish there was an exact science to it.”
In the meantime, Historic York has received a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to do an archaeological study of the property. It is to take place this summer.
Historic York, at 465 Prospect St., is a county-wide nonprofit organization that deals with historic preservation issues.
For more information, call 843-0320, e-mail info@historicyork.org or visit www.historicyork.org.