Historical Gettysburg PA
One of Gettysburg’s major tourist draws is its historical background. Most visit to explore the famed Civil War Battlegrounds.
Gettysburg was initially the land of the Susquehannok Indians which stretched from souther New York State to the north end of the Chesepeake. In 1736, the land now comprising the center of Adams County was purchased from the Iroquois by the family of William Penn. At that time, the area was known as Marsh Creek, named for the main tributary. Many of these settlers were Scots-Irish who had fled Northern Ireland to escape English persecution. In 1761, A Scots-Irish settler, Samuel Gettys, established a tavern in the area. In 1776, the oldest standing building in Gettysburg, the Dobbin House Tavern, was constructed. The first session of the county court was held in Gettys’ Tavern.
In 1786, Samuel Gettys’ son James planned out a town of 210 lots with a central town square on the land surrounding the tavern. The borough is the county seat of Adams County, which was formed in 1800 from the western section of York County. Gettysburg was incorporated as a borough in 1806. It sits in the shadow of South Mountain, eight miles west of the town, and is framed by Marsh Creek to the west/southwest and Rock Creek to the east/southeast. In 1830, Gettysburg had a population of 1,473. By 1840 it had grown to 1,908. By 1860, the town of Gettysburg had grown to 2,400 citizens.
Ten roads led into the town, creating a few small but thriving industries and many fertile farms surrounding the towns. It was said that all roads lead to Gettysburg. Approximately 450 buildings housed carriage manufacturing, shoemakers, and tanneries as well as the usual merchants, banks and taverns. With all roads leading to Gettysburg, its understandable that the Confederate and Union Armies happened to meet up in this hub. There were also several educational institutions. The population of Gettysburg in 1900 was 3,495; in 1910 it was 4,030 and in 1940 the population was 5,916.