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tandt trans 65hCulture rarely stands still. New ideas are formed, new cultures arrive, new inventions are adopted. The people that shape and are shaped by culture are in a constant state of reaction and adaptation. The result is a history of turmoil and transition. This is true of Lancaster County and the nation. It is often within the times of greatest turmoil and transitions that we learn the most about what it means to be American. It is then that we learn what lies at the core of our uniquely American worldview. It is during those times of turmoil and transition, while our worldviews seem to be changing dramitcally, that we discover some ideals do, in fact, remain the same. These ideals—liberty & freedom, tolerance & diversity, democracy & the political process—were molded and shaped in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.


Lancaster’s Role in the American Revolution

Because it was a market town, manufacturing center, commerce hub, and located a convenient but safe distance from the fighting, large quantities of supplies for the patriot army were shipped from Lancaster – cannons, ammunitions, rifles, and camp kettles, as well as grain, shoes, and uniforms. Downtown Lancaster also had a military barracks, stables, warehouse, and powder-house to support the needs of the troops.

At the outbreak of the Revolution, Lancaster riflemen were among the first to march to Boston, which was besieged by the British. Lancaster's many influential patriots had great impact on the Revolutionary War and the growth of the nation.

George Ross was a member of the Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence. William Henry was a prominent gunmaker and member of the Continental Congress. Thomas Paine, who wrote the influential pamphlet Common Sense, was a resident-guest in Henry's Lancaster home in 1777 and 1778. A physician from Lancaster, General Edward Hand, led a group of volunteers alongside Washington's army in New York and New Jersey and later became Washington's Adjutant-General. John Hubley was a prominent Lancaster lawyer, delegate to the Continental Congress in 1776, and was appointed Commissary for the Continental army in 1777. Active in the politics of the revolution, Jasper Yeates served as a delegate to the Pennsylvania Convention that approved the United States Constitution in 1787.


Several thousand British prisoners of war were sent to Lancaster where they were put in huge stockades.  Hessian prisoners were sent to Lancaster because of the number of German speaking residents. At least 315 skilled Hessian craftsmen worked for Lancaster craftsmen and many were given work to support the war effort. After the Revolutionary War, many Hessian prisoners elected to stay and settle here in Lancaster.

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& Country

For hundreds of years Lancaster has helped to shape the story of America.

 This program made possible through the generous support of

the Richard C. von Hess Foundation


the National Endowment for the Humanities

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