Digges Choice and the towns now found there: Hanover and Littlestown Pennsylvania
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Digges Choice, one of three proprietary regions involving our forebears, was apportioned by  Maryland in a region also  claimed by Pennsylvania. As a result, it was simultaneously settled by both Catholic Marylanders and Protestant Pennsylvanians, and the warrants issued by the  authorities of both colonies claiming the area brought the settlers into conflict. The area involved extended roughly from the region of now Littlestown, Adams County,  Penna and its environs to the region of now Hanover, York County Penna and lands surronding [See Link for today's townships in both counties once pretaining to Digges Choice] . Its role in the conflict between the Penn and Calvert proprietors and the persons settling within it  is what makes its history unique. Like the  Penn family manors involving our direct ancestors, (westerly Maske and northerly Springettsbury) , violence and its threat involved its time of settlement.

Our Surnames of Digges Choice Area 
[Hanover , York County, and 
Littlestown , York, later Adams,  County, ] and 
Links to those persons:
Hoke [born Penna, in 1746 he bought 
land in Maryland for region of Digges Choice that now pertains to York Co ]
Eichelberger [moved to Digges Choice 
[later Hanover area] 
from Lancaster county after 1753] 
Swope [moved to Digges Choice (later Hanover area)  and from Lancaster county by1758] 
Troxell, [settled in York County (now Adams County)  in 1767, associated
with the new town of Littlestown in 
the area pertaining to Digges Choice 

Brief History of the Penn Manors 
The Manors Pertinent
to Our Forebears
Manor of Springettsbury 
Title Page
Manor of Maske
Title Page
To Pennsylvania History Title Page
James Logan , Penn's 
Secretary  [Our direct] 
William Logan, Penn 
Attorney [Our direct] 
Brief History of the Conflict and Settlement of Digges Choice and  Hanover, and Littlestown, Pennsylvania; Our Surnames of the Region

In 1696  William Penn purchased the land that would later become York County from the Iroquois but lands west of the Susquehanna were not obtained until 1737 . The charter for Maryland was officially granted 1632, a proprietary of  Catholic George Calvert and, like Penn, subsequently his sons [Lords Baltimore] . The fourth Lord Baltimore claimed a large strip of what is now southwestern York  and southeastern Adams Counties  Pennsylvania  and,  in 1727, gave a grant of 10,000 acres  to Roman Catholic Marylander John Digges. The physical location of the warrant was not specified; Digges was empowered to settle "on whatever unimproved lands he pleased within the jurisdiction of his lordship"  and so the tract came to be known as "Digges' Choice in the Backwoods" or "Digges' Choice".
aaaaDigges survey of his land occuring in 1735 was one year following that in which the Penn Proprietors began issueing Blunstone Licenses in anticipation of  the probable purchase of lands west of the Susquehanna, the Indian title being then uncertain but illegal settlement from Pennsylvania already occuring with the result that the Penns were anxious to capitalize on european settlement of lands not yet deeded from the native peoples. There were  issued in the region of now Adams County Pennsylvania about twenty Blunstone Licenses   involving about 8000 acres on the upper Conewago, and two were issued for land on Marsh Creek [southern Adams] 8. Blunstone licenses were changed to warrants with the purchase in 1736  of  "all the land west of the Susquehanna to the setting sun"   and the region now known as Adams and York counties pertained to Lancaster Co., being thus enveloped with the 1736 purchase.  Within a short time, mostly Scots-Irish began to settle in the region of now Adams County involving the Bermudian, Conewago and Marsh Creek watersheds7. From the 1730's onward, early settlers -principally German, but also Scots, English and Irish - crossed the Susquehanna River and pushed into the fertile lands in and  surronding now Hanover [York County]   in the wake of Pennsylvania's treaties with the  Indians.10  and this settlement extended into the area now known as Adams County and York county west of the Susquehanna.
aaaWhile Pennsylvania was attending to and anticipating  the acquisition of native lands  and in 1735, John Digges [he and Lord Baltimore being certain the land pertained to Maryland]  located and surveyed 6, 822 acres in an area described as  lying on "Little Conewago Creek"  generally involving today's Littlestown [Adams Co] and  Hanover [York Co and on the southwestern extremity of the tract ] and the regions between, but including   specifically  "the Borough of Hanover,  Heidelberg Township ,and Penn aTownship, in what is now York County and Conewago, Germany, and Union Townships  in  Adams  County7 (Some sources place the grant in 17267). See footnote 1 .    "By 1730, Digges and other Roman Catholic settlers from Maryland had settled in the area. At about the same time, German Protestants from eastern Pennsylvania and Germany directly made their first appearance"2 .

Map of Adams County 
showing Littlestown
Map of York County
showing Hanover
 "Cressap's War"
Manor of Springettsbury 
Title Page

  "On this disputed tract, settlers purchased lands from both John Digges [of Maryland] and the Penn proprietors [of Pennsylvania].  Digges began selling land in "Digges Choice" territory as early as 1731 before the first official survey was completed in 1734.  Fighting began when some of the pioneers refused to pay taxes to Maryland, claiming that the territory belonged to the Province of Pennsylvania." 14  Scotch Irish , also settling the general region competed with  Catholic Maryland settlers setting the stage for  "Cressap's War"  involving nearby Springettsbury Manor [this "War" being part of the larger Border War resultant of the disputed colonies' border involving all the settlers of the general region].  As a result of Cressap's War, the  King forced  a temporary survey in 1737; This surveying of the Temporary Line between Maryland and Pennsylvania located the Digge's tract four miles north of the Maryland-Pennsylvania border 2 but did not end boundary disputes between Pennsylvania and Maryland or property line problems between individual settlers.6
The Scotch and Germans and their Relationship in Penna
The scotch irish and Germans in Adams County 
The Scotch irish and Germans; 
York County
James Logan, Our Direct,
[Penn Secretary, Governor
aaaaaSettlers of  "Digges Choice,  whose homes were for  years made miserable by the turmoils arising out of disputes between Digges and other settlers..were aggravated by the conflicting claims of Penn and Baltimore to the proprietorship. For many years the region was known as the `disputed land,' and there was naturally much lawlessness. "3 A resurvey was done August 1745 and 3, 679 acres were added9 This tract was 4 miles north of the temporary line between Maryland and Penna.9
aaaa"During [James Logan'sgubenatorial] administration [1736-38] , the ever-present boundary dispute with Maryland reached a critical point. Much blood was shed in border skirmishes when the settlers in the York County area who took title to their lands from Maryland to avoid taxes then tried to come under the protecting wing of Pennsylvania."13 Under the gubenatorial administration of  George Thomas  "1738-1746 a compromise was reached  when he suggested that the governors of Pennsylvania and Maryland should take jurisdiction over their own subjects, no matter where they settled, until the dispute could finally be settled sometime in the future."13 It is reported that although land disputes were common, Digges Choice experienced relative religious  harmony, despite the dischord evident between scotch irish and germans in nearby areas of settlement with catholics added to the mix.  " 'Catholics, Reformed, Mennonites and Lutherans dwelt side by side in this area -- one of the first times in Christendom when religious freedom gave rise to religious pluralism,' one historian said. 'Moreover, there is no evidence of friction'."7

To Adams County and Our Adams Countians
To York County and Our York Countians
To Conrad Swope, Resident of Hanover
aaaaThe disputes over ownership were paramount to the settlers involved, but  one source reports that " the authorities in Pennsylvania and Maryland were  unwilling to enter into what they considered a relatively unimportant land dispute" 2  despite the frequent petition for intervention recieved by letters to authorities in both colonies.
aaaaIn February of 1752, 20 years after the arrival of our first family [Troxell]  to the region, and at least one year following the arrival of our second [Swope]   " several settlers of Digges' Choice took the situation into their own hands. On the twenty-sixth of that month, two sons of John Digges, Henry and Dudley, and an officer from Maryland attempted to arrest Martin Kitzmiller, a settler of Digges' Choice, for trespassing. At the time of the attempted arrest, he was farming a section of land included in the disputed resurvey of Digges Choice, but which Kitzmiller had purchased under a Pennsylvania land warrant. Kitzmiller resisted, calling to his sons for help. In a struggle between Dudley Digges and Jacob Kitzmiller, one of Martin's sons, for a gun loaded with buckshot, Dudley was shot and killed. Martin and Jacob Kitzmiller immediately surrendered to the authorities in York. They were acquitted of any wrongdoing on 13 October 1752 "2  The acquittal took place in York County Court. The proceedings themselves rekindled animosity, for it  also involved the question of whether Maryland or Pennsylvania's courts had  jurisdiction in the case.6 However, "the death of Dudley Digges inadvertently solved many of the problems of the Digges' Choice settlement. Digges' resurvey was declared illegal, and many of the individual land disputes were solved." 2
aaaaA financially unsuccessful John Digges moved from the area after 1757 and died in poverty about 1760. 6  The dispute arising over whether the survey existed in Maryland or Penna was finally settled by the King of England and resulted in the Mason Dixon Survey yielding the Mason Dixon Line.  4The Mason Dixon Survey occured  1763-1767, and the Mason Dixon Line was established in 1768. The Mason Dixon  Line  gave permanent solution to the question as to whether the survey known as Digge's Choice existed in Maryland or Penna, finding of course, that it lay in what we know now as Pennsylvania. aaa

Hanover Laid out in Digges Choice: 
aaaaIn 1763, the first year of the Mason Dixon Survey,  Richard McAllister, a Scot-Irish innkeeper, who served in the Continental Army during the War of Independence12, laid out the future town of Hanover [now second largest town in the county of York] in a hickory swamp still part of the  "disputed land" known as Digge's Choice and  at the junction of busy trade roads between York and Baltimore.  The York Daily Record reports that one account states McAllister [M'Alister11] named the town Hanover to gain favor from the many Germans populating the area. Many people, including George Washington , called the town McAllistertown  [See George Washington diary entries describing this town, and Littlestown,  and their region of Penna] . By the time of Washington's visit, McAllister's tavern had long been a popular public house and Ben Frankin had been  an overnight guest. As a crossroads community, Hanover played host to many prominent citizens , including Martha Washington and General  "Mad Anthony" Wayne.6 See also  York County , Penna Title Page

Littlestown Laid out in are pertaining to Digges Choice: 

This region first saw settlement in the 1730s, with Andrew Schreiber [related to our Forney and Swope cousins] considered the first settler of the Conewago in 1734 and living about 3 miles east of now Littlestown. For 100 pairs of negro shoes the Schreibers purchased 100 acres.  In 1752, according to the records, there were forty persons living on tracts sold under the Maryland rights. 14.[included among whom was our Hoke ancestor who bought land in the region under Maryland rights in 1746. ] .  Although the region around Littlestown and in other portions far flung from it in  Adams County were  settled long before the town was conceived, Littlestown can still claim it is the earliest town of Adams County being laid out by Peter Klein [Klein is Little in German] in 1765, during the Mason Dixon Survey and before the Mason Dixon Line was established, although New Oxford, settled in 1755, sometimes claims that status. First known as Kleina Stedtle, it was then called Petersburg, and finally Littlestown.   Klein  was granted a patent in 1760 for 311 acres which he systematically arranged into the original 48 lots of the town we now know.  A similar concept was later  followed by James Gettys in regards to Gettysburg. Littlestown's lots were all  " 66-feet wide and 264 feet deep and sold for three pounds with the provision that the buyer pay an annual ground rent of seven shillings, six pence ($1.00)."14.  Nine years after Littlestown's founding, and one year after the Mason Dixon Line was determined,  a major road was undertaken passing through Littlestown  itself, part of which was known as the Shippensburg-Baltimore Road. Starting at Sarah Black's tavern in now Mummasburg about 6 miles northwest now Gettysburg, it passed through Peter Lintelís town before crossing the province line. In 1809, the Gettysburg-Petersburg (Littlestown)  pike of ca 1807  was proposed and granted [to]  continue westward from the Gettysburg square,and connect that town with Cashtown and Chambersburg. The Littlestown (Petersburg)-Gettysburg Turnpike....made Littlestown an important stop for those who drove from Pittsburgh to Baltimore.  It was the last stop before entering Maryland.  Littlestown was thus a  cross-roads town with the Baltimore-Pittsburgh route crossing the Monacacy Road from Frederick to Wrightsville and the Susquehanna River.  "14


Footnotes and Sources:

footnote 1
Col. Edward McPherson in the Star and Sentinel, Gettysburg, 1876 wrote " It  comprised the present limits of Conewago and Germany townships, Adams County, and Heidelberg township, York  county, and includes the site of Littlestown -- ëPeter Little's Towní of the early days -- and of Hanover, which is on the  southwestern extremity of the tract." 3
"Penn Township is a rural community that has evolved into both a residential community and the home of several major industries in southwestern York County.  The Township has over the years enjoyed a steady increase in population. The current population of the Township is estimated to be 14,592 persons.
Penn Township covers 13.2 square miles in area and is located in southwestern York County.  It surrounds the Borough of Hanover on the north, east and south and borders Adams County to the west.  The Township is 18 miles southwest of York, Pennsylvania and 42 miles north of Baltimore, Maryland.
Much of the area of Penn Township was originally included in what was known as "Digges Choice".  In 1727, approximately 7,000 acres of land was given in a grant to John Digges by Lord Baltimore.  A dispute was raised on whether the land was in Maryland or Pennsylvania.  This dispute was settled by the King of England and resulted in the formation of the Mason-Dixon Line in 1768.
Penn Township was originally part of Heidelberg and Manheim Townships.  In 1880 Penn Township was designated as a separate municipality by action of the York County Court.  " Penn Township History

See Book Digges' Choice Edited by: Jan A. Bankert Foreword by: Frederick S. Weiser. Binding: Hardcover, 140 pages. Publisher: Picton Press
Published Date: 11/01/1996.  List: USD $19.50. ISBN: 0897252438

Sources For This Page:

1 York History TImeline
2. Digge's Choice from the Bankert/Banker/Bankard Family Webpages. Unsourced and detailed.
3. Col. Edward McPherson in the Star and Sentinel, Gettysburg, 1876 cited in The Green BookPart Second. Narrative and Records to the Present Time. 1888. Chapter 1: Early Settlement of the Shrivers at Goshenhoppen and Conewago.

4. Penn Township History
5. Littlestown Pennsylvania Webpages
6. York Daily Record 1750-1775

7. The York Daily Record 1700-1749

8.the Manor of Maske: Its History and Individual Properties, a small part of the text available  through the Adams County Historical Society

9. Digges Choice, a very brief and entirely unsourced webpage

10. History of Hanover page at Rootsweb-L, Pennsylvania History

11. YORK COUNTY HISTORY FROM THE PENNS TO THE PRESENT  ppart of the York County, Pennsylvania webpages.

12. The George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799

13. Provincial Governors Historical Sketches  from the webpages of the Allison-Antrim Museum, Greencastle, Penna
14. Littlestown History Page from Littlestown.net

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