COLONEL JAMES SMITH-YORKTOWN CHAPTER, NSDAR
Organized: 1973 and 1894; Merged 2010
York, Pennsylvania, played an influential part in America’s history, hosting the Second Continental Congress for nine months during the winter of 1777-1778. A pivotal time during the American Revolutionary War, York served as the temporary home for John Adams, John Hancock, as well as a welcoming home to native Yorker James Smith. Adopting the Articles of Confederation and signing a treaty with France, the Continental Congress accomplished much during its stay in York. York’s American Revolutionary War history is full of life in the historic sites around the city including the Colonial Complex.
City of York - The First Capital of the United States
The City of York, Pennsylvania, named for York, England, was part of the building of our nation; a little-known part of history that many tend to forget or just do not know. As Yorkers know, their city was the birthplace of the Articles of Confederation and it was here that the words “The United States of America” were first spoken.
York history began sometime before 1741 when two surveyors laid out a town on the banks of the Codorus Creek. Baltzer Spengler and Ulrich Whisler are given credit for forming the first town west of the Susquehanna River. Both were surveyors with the William Penn family; the family that gave our state its name.
In September of 1777 the Continental Congress, under threat of the advancing British, moved the location of the colonies’ central government from Philadelphia to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Since the state’s government was also located in Lancaster, officials decided that a move across the Susquehanna would separate the two sufficiently and the Continental Congress set up shop in the town of York.
It was in York that the Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation, proclaimed the first National Day of Thanksgiving, and signed the French Treaty of Alliance. All of these events occurred in the nine months York remained the Capital of the United States until June 27, 1778. That is where the city of York made history for the United States. Since then, York has been part of the growth of this nation as well as the growth of its inhabitants.