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McSherrystown Borough

McSherrystown Borough Hall is located at 338 Main Street, McSherrystown PA 17344; phone: 717-637-1838.

Beginnings [1]

McSherrystown, situated in the Southeastern part of the County, two miles west of Hanover, and containing, according to the late census, four hundred and thirty-four inhabitants, was laid out about the year 1765, by Patrick McShery, (as he spelled his name) the grandfather of Hon. Wm. McSherry, of Littlestown. It would appear, incidentally, by some of the old deeds, for several of the lots in this town, that it was laid out by the said Patrick McShery and Martin Huber, but I can find nothing to verify the statement, as no deed of conveyance for any of the lots, from Martin Huber to any person, can be found. The said Martin Huber executed and delivered to John Aulebaugh, a deed for ground rents on four lots in the upper part of the town. How he obtained these ground rents the deed did not explain. Patrick McSherry obtained his title "under Digges," from Edward Digges, Wm. Digges and Henry Digges, with a release from Charles Carroll, Sr. The last named, very probably was the uncle of Charles Carroll, of Carrollton.

The town was first called "McSherrystown, or the out lots." This appears in a deed for several of the lots from " Patrick McSherry and Catharine his wife," to Nicholas Olabaugh, the father of John Aulebaugh, who was a Justice of the Peace in the town for a long time. This deed bears date May 7th, 1791. It conveyed two lots, Nos. 4 and 5 ; the same that are now owned by the heirs of the late Nicholas Slentz, who died on the premises some ten years ago, aged nearly 80 years, where he was born. By the same deed it appears in the recital of the chain of title, that the aforesaid Messrs. Digges and Charles Carroll, Sr., conveyed said lots Nos. 4 and 5, to the said Patrick McShery, on Nov. 14th, 1763, nearly one hundred and seventeen years ago. The "lots" were originally laid out in five acres each, on either side of the Public Road, extending about a mile.

There were, as nearly as can be ascertained at this late date, about sixty lots, thirty on each side of the street—thus the whole taking in some three hundred acres of land. An annual ground rent of ten shillings was reserved and charged on each lot, payable on the l8th day of March yearly, to the said Patrick McShery, his heirs and assigns forever. Many of the present owners of these lots have purchased from the heir to the said ground-rents, the aforesaid Hon. Wm. McShery, the charges on their respective lots, and hold them in fee simple.

The first Justice of the Peace that resided in McSherrystown, so far as I can ascertain, was Jacob Adams, who lived west of the Plum Creek, where he carried on blacksmithing also. The next were John Schriver and John Aulebaugh. The commission of the latter dates April 30, 1809, issued by Gov. Simon Snyder. He was successively appointed up to the adoption of the Constitution of 1838, and was subsequently elected continuously to the time of his decease. John L. Gubernator who died in 1858 was also an appointed Justice of the Peace for a long time, and was elected several times after 1838. John G. Morningstar, Jacob Melhorn, (who died quite recently at New Oxford), John Bushey, Sr., Francis Lytle, P. R. Harkins, Jeremiah A. Aulebaugh, John Bushey, Jr., Michael Reily, and Jesse D. Keller, have been, in turn, acting Justices of the Peace in the town and township, since the adoption of the Constitution of 1838. The last two are the present incumbents.

The first "store-keepers" in said town that we know of, were Nicholas Ginter, (in 1804) Wm. Albright, (who died a few years ago at Hanover) and John G. Morningstar. They were succeeded by Charles Barnitz, Col. E. J. Owings, John H. Aulebaugh, Samuel Isaacs, John Bushey, Sr., Francis Krichten and Reily & Sneeringer. Those who carry on at present are Michael Reily, Samuel G. Sneeringer, Dr. V. H. Lilly and F. X. Smith.

The first regular physicians that settled here, were Drs. Charles Burlechy and Wm. L. Hombach. The former remained but a short time when he returned to Gettysburg. This was about 1837. The latter remained until his decease in about 1861, and had a very extensive practice. His son, Charles F., read medicine under him, and graduated in 1855, from which time he assisted his father until the death of the latter, when Charles continued at the old stand until his death, which took place about three years ago, in the midst of life, and of his usefulness. He too had a large share of practice. Dr. Henry A. Lilly came here in 1850, and remained until he was removed by death in 1866. He also was very popular and commanded an excellent practice. Dr. Geo. B. Aiken succeeded Dr. Lilly and is still here with Drs. V. H. B. Lilly and Geo. Rice, who all seem to be doing well, notwithstanding this being considered a proverbially healthy neighborhood.

  1. Reily, John T., History and Directory of the Boroughs of Gettysburg, Oxford, Littlestown, York Springs, Berwick, and East Berlin, Adams County PA with Historical Collections, J.E. Wible Printer, Gettysburg, 1880
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