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Abstract

When western York county became Adams county in the year 1800, the area already possessed something of a recorded history reaching back into the late 1730s. Principally in the form of documents relating to administrative, legal, and land-claim issues, these official papers provide us today with valuable evidence of the county's early settlers-who came, when they arrived, where they settled, and occasionally how they got along, or did not get along, with one another and with the colonial Penn government, and later with that of the new state erected during the Revolution. In its earliest period, these documents offer insight into an ethnically and religiously diverse people, largely Scots-Irish, with lesser components of Anglo-Irish, English, and, later, Germans and Swiss. These settlers struggled to subdue a natural world they perceived as barbaric and even hostile. [excerpt]

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