York County

York County was created on August 19, 1749 from a part of Lancaster County. The town of York, which remains the seat of County government, was the first Capital of the United States after the Articles of Confederation were drafted there 1777 and adopted in 1781.

Bernhard b.1740 and Christopher moved westward along the Great Wagon Road after operations wound down at the family farm in Warwick Twp., Lancaster County in 1777-1778 while Jacob moved eastward into nearby Cocalico Twp. near Ephrata to learn the blacksmith's trade and purchased a farm there.  It is assumed that Bernhard b.1707 sold the family farm in order to provide his sons with the means to move out and establish their own families and farms.  All of this was occurring during the Revolutionary War, in which all three brothers apparently did their best to avoid military service. To be fair, this was in keeping with the Christian pacifist beliefs held by many German immigrants; avoiding military conscription was one of the reasons many emigrated from their homeland.

The earliest record of the Zentmeyers in York Co. is on 10 May 1777, where a Barnet Sentmire is on a list of citizens to be fined for not showing up for military duty.  The next likely sighting is the 1778 tax records of a "Setmyer, on Boyd's Land."  Then Bernhard b.1740 purchased 190 acres from William Goudy on 18 September 1780 and Christopher purchased the 250 acre Nicholas Curle land in the same year, although neither deed was recorded.  Here is a view of these holdings, in present-day Arendtsville, Adams Co.  This is a shot from Christopher's farm looking northeast across Conewago Creek toward Arendtsville. 

On 30 April 1781 Christopher and Jacob Arendt jointly donated a parcel of about three acres to the United Congregations of Lutherans and Reformed "for a Church, Burying Ground, and School House . . ."  A two story, log and clapboard church was erected on this site in 1787, where the Adams County National Bank now stands. (circled)  The school house was constructed across the road on the site of the current Zion United Church of Christ.  The deeds, surveys, and tax records for this decade note the Surname as 'Zentmyre, Santmeier, St. Myer, Sant Myer,' and the church deed actually shows two spellings on the same document,  'Zentmeÿer' for German and 'St. Mire' for English.  Unfortunately, early written church records for this congregation cannot be located, so the births of most of Christopher's children are undocumented at this time.  The three sons of Bernhard b.1740 had been born earlier in Lancaster County.

The financial troubles experienced by the brothers after the Revolutionary War mirrored the economic turmoil experienced by the entire country as soldiers returned home and found their war wages 'not worth a Continental,' and uprisings like Shay's Rebellion in 1786-87 left many wondering if the new nation could survive intact.  Christopher lost his farm and sawmill at a forclosure sale in 1789, and while Bernhard b.1740 held out until 1792, by the mid 1790s the Zentmyers were gone from York County.  More details can be found on their individual pages on this web site.

ERROR ALERT:  One (modern) tax index compilation lists a Fredrick Zentmyer in Menallen Twp., York Co. for the single year of 1777.  There is no Fredrick Zentmyer anywhere else in the record.  Upon closer examination, this appears to be a misreading of Fredrick Steinauer, who arrived in Philadelphia 29 December 1772 aboard the good ship Hope.