Worker saved key historical surveys from Glatfelter pulping machine
On the ongoing quest to post York County, Pa., references from across the world:
An obscure book crossed my desk the other day, “William Wharton’s Land Survey Register.”
It contains a reference to Spring Grove’s Glatfelter Paper Company… .
According to the book, William Wharton prepared land surveys in a region from present-day Bucks County in Pennsylvania to New Castle in Delaware.
The surveys occupied 36 written pages, including an index.
About 300 years later, the valuable surveys of Pennsylvania before it became Pennsylvania landed in the hands of a Harrisburg junk dealer.
Glatfelter acquired the documents along with a pile of other presumably worthless papers from the dealer.
A pulping machine in Spring Grove was about to devour the documents.
“Just in the nick of time, the Register was rescued by a workman attracted by the antique handwriting,” Albert Cook Myers wrote.
Myers had obtained the pages and compiled them in a book, published in 1955 and dedicated to Pierre S. DuPont. It contains copies of those almost-destroyed surveys.
History preserved by an alert Spring Grove worker.
This brings to mind another story of documents in York County relating to pamphleteer Thomas Paine. This does not have a happy ending.
I wrote in “Nine Months in York Town” about an incident taken from David Freeman Hawke’s book “Paine.”
Workers clearing out a shed in York came across a stack of books and a large bundle of letters addressed to Pain, who stayed in York for several months during Continental Congress’ visit in 1777-78.
The workers reported that the letters were in the same handwriting, that of a woman in London. They never had heard of Paine and only had passing knowledge of the American Revolution.
“The letters were moldy, damp, and hardly readable,” Hawke wrote. “They spread them in the sun, and once all were nicely dried, they burned them.”
Gov. Sir Edmund Andros adorns the cover of the book “Walter Wharton’s Land Survey Register, 1675-1679.” Andros was an official of New York province at a time that Pennsylvania and Delaware fell under his jurisdiction. The documents that served as a basis for this book were saved by an alert worker at the Spring Grove, Pa., Glatfelter paper plant. Background posts: Vandals strike house where Thomas Paine reportedly labored, Fourth-generation member of Glatfelter paper family dies, Glatfelter family history is as clear as … paper.