104 – Lancaster County

As the 1720s began, the Jervises lived “at the head of the Pequea”. There were very few other settlers.

Over the decade, more people moved to the area and took up lands. In 1729, there was a small settlement known as White Horse, in a new township named Salisbury, in a newly-formed Lancaster County.

A New County

Petition to create Lancaster County – 1729

By 1729 the inhabitants of Pequea and Conestoga petitioned the Provincial government to create a new county.

The Petition of the Inhabitants of the upperpart of the County of Chester Sheweth that by Reason of the Great Distance we live from the County Town Where Elections & Courts are held & publick Offices kept, The arm of Justice is weakened…

…We humbly pray you would be pleased to Order A Divission line to be made between the uper and lower part of Chester County, which uper Divission when So made may be a County and Called ye County of–

Joseph Jervis and Daniel Cookson were two signers of the petition.

Petition signers – Joseph Jervis and Daniel Cookson

Lancaster County was the first of the sixty-four counties created by Pennsylvania’s legislature beyond the original three of Bucks, Chester, and Philadelphia that William Penn organized.

A new town, Lancaster, was dedicated as the county seat. It was about 18 miles west of Joseph Jervis’ land.

Salisbury Township

Lancaster County was divided into townships. The original two – Pequea and Conestoga – were reduced in size. The area where Jervises and Cooksons live became part of Salisbury Township.

Salisbury Township was named after the town of Salisbury in Wiltshire, England. It’s home to the famous Salisbury Cathedral.

White Horse

A few families built their homes along the old road that passed by the Jervis house and mill. A small settlement grew up along the road.

White Horse, Wiltshire, England

It was named White Horse, perhaps after the famous White Horse settlement in Wiltshire, England.

White Horse today

The first court case

It’s not surprising that the very first court case in Lancaster County involved a Cookson or Jervis…

First court case – Journal of the Lancaster Historical Society – Volume 92

Nibbles Extra Credit

Today, Lancaster County is famous for its farms, crafts, and food. It’s become a mecca for “Pennsylvania Dutch” tourism.

Lancaster Market

Lancaster, the county seat, is known for its red-brick Central Market building.

North of the city, Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum evokes a traditional German settlement.

Southeast is Amish farm country.

And throughout the county are bucolic fields and farmsteads.

Photos on Joseph Jervis’ land today


  • Petition to create Lancaster County – 1729 – Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, PA
  • Maps – collation of base modern maps like Google maps and overlaid layers of drawings or graphics.
  • Draft map of Lancaster County – Lancaster County Pennsylvania Deed Abstracts – Deed Books A Through M – 1729-1770
  • Story of first court case in Lancaster County – Paper – Journal of the Lancaster Historical Society – Volume 92 – 1989
  • Photos – Mark Jarvis – July 2017 and June 2018

2 thoughts on “104 – Lancaster County

  1. Louise Longworth September 5, 2020 / 11:18 am

    As fascinating as ever, Mark – and how great to have an ancestor’s signature ! Great winkling !


    • Mark Jarvis September 5, 2020 / 12:20 pm

      Thanks Louise. Good to hear from you. The winkling continues!


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