Andrew Galbraith son of James Galbraith was born in the North of Ireland and came to America in 1699 with his father James Galbraith, at about the age of seven. We have no record of his death but it occurred after 1747 as we have an account of his activities until that time, when he moved from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to Cumberland County. In all likelihood he did not accompany his son Arthur down the Shenandoah Valley to Virginia, but died in Pennsylvania, as he was 55 at the time the move was made into Cumberland County. He married Mary Kyle, daughter of James Kyle (1665-1740), the exact date and place are unknown.1
The Galbraiths were originally from Scotland but they had lived for some time in Ireland before emigrating to America, and while there they had taken on some of the attributes of this culture. This was especially true in the case of Andrew. He had not only the somber deliberate ways of the Highland Scots, but also the ebullient enthusiasm and charm of a true son of Blarney. This combination he put to good use in his new home on the frontier, which he established on Little Chicques creek, a short distance below the point where the Mount Joy and Marietta turnpike crosses the Donegal run. He was also a pious man and a staunch member of the Presbyterian Church.
By 1728 Chester County was growing rapidly both by the influx of a new wave of immigration and by design of the proprietors who wished to sell their holdings on the frontier, to the settlers of the Eastern Shore.
Consequently the inhabitants of the upper part of Chester County, felt the need of a seat of justice nearer to the place they lived. Accordingly a petition was presented to the Hon. Patrick Gordon, Governor of Pennsylvania on 6 February at a council held at Philadelphia setting forth that by reason of their great distance from the county town*,” where courts are held, offices are kept and annual elections are made, they lie under very great inconveniences, being obliged to travel near one hundred miles to obtain a writ; that for want of a sufficient number of justices, constables and other officers, in those parts, no care is taken of high-ways; townships are not laid out, nor bridges built, when there is an apparent necessity for them; and further, that for want of gaol there, several vagabonds and other dissolute people harbor among them, thinking themselves safe from justice in so remote a place; and therefore praying that a division line be made between the upper and lower part of said county, with all the immunities, rights and privileges which any other county of this province does enjoy.” This petition was signed by, Andrew Galbraith, John Galbraith, John Galbraith Jr., James Galbraith, James Galbraith Jr. and Robt. Galbraith.2
The Governor and the Council looked favorably upon this petition and the Council declared on 2 May 1729 “that the upper parts of the province described as aforesaid, are hereby declared to be erected, and are accordingly erected into a county by the name of Lancaster.3
On 8 May 1729 the Governor recomended to the board that they consider proper persons to be appointed officers of the newly erected county. The board responded by naming the following justices of the peace viz: John Wright, Tobias Hendricks, Samuel Blunston, Andrew Cornish, Thomas Edwards, Caleb Pierce, Thomas Reid and Samuel Jones. Robert Barber was appointed sheriff and Andrew Galbraith, coroner.4
On the 5th of August 1729 Andrew and his brother John were members of the Grand Inquest (todays Grand Jury), that returned an indictment against one Morris Cannady for having “feloniously taken and carried away fourteen pounds, seven shillings the goods and chattels of Daniel Cookson.” He was tried the same day and found guilty. His punishment consisted of being “publickly whipped on his bare back with twenty-one stripes well laid on”, in addition he was required to pay to the Governor for the support of the Government the costs of his prosecution, and two pounds eighteen shilling to Daniel Cookson for his loss of time and inconvenience in prosecuting Morris Canaday. Since Morris Canaday had no estate or effects to pay the costs and fine levied against him the court ordered the sheriff “to sell the said Morris to the highest bidder for a term not exceeding six years.”
On 4 November 1729, the court appointed and ordered that Andrew Galbraith with Tobias Hendricks is ordered to view the prison and make report to county.
On 3 November 1730 at a court held at Lancaster, Robert Barber the late sheriff reported that he had sold Morris Cannaday as ordered by the Court to one John Lawrence of Peshtank Township, for sixteen pounds. However John Lawrence had become insolvent and he had received only fourteen pounds five shillings, he therefore “prays this court would order the costs of suit and other charges… be settled and the sheriff may be no further liable.” The court ordered per curia that Tobias Hendricks and Andrew Galbraith, Esqrs., certify their proceedings to the Governor in behalf of the sheriff according to his prayer. At this same meeting of the court the records show that John Galbraith, Andrew’s brother is the current sheriff of Lancaster County.5
In the history of Lancaster County the year 1732 is a remarkable year on account of a political contest in which Mrs. Galbraith played a manly part. Andrew Galbraith of Donegal and John Wright of Hempfield were both candidates for member of Assembly. In 1731 Andrew did not have opposition, but in 1732 when George Stewart and Andrew Galbraith were both canidates, the Quakers decided that the election of both would mean that one of their ablest and most distinguished members, Judge John Wright would be defeated.*
Andrew resting secure in the thought that his incumbency made his seat safe was rather lax in promoting his candidacy, as he was being pushed forward by his friends. Not so his wife; and when election day arrived she mounted her favorite mare, Nelly and with a spur on her ankle away she went, her red cloak flowing to the wind, to scour the country side for Andrew.
At that time it was necessary to go to the county seat to vote, and Mrs. Galbraith appeared at the head of a long line of Andrew’s Scotch-Irish friends and neighbors at the polling place. She addressed them from the saddle with such fire and eloquence that Andrew carried the day.
She did him good service for Andrew was returned to the Assembly, and from that day forward, he was unopposed in future elections. The other successful candidates were George Stewart, Thomas Edwards, and Samuel Blunston. John Wright was not happy with the returns of the election and he contested the results, but to no avail. The House resolved “that Andrew Galbraith is duly returned as a member for the County of Lancaster.”*
Andrew was a member of the Assembly continuously from 1731 thru 1738. This indicates that he not only did a good job in the eyes of his fellow citizens, but that he was well thought of and well liked.
Just why Andrew is not a member of the Assembly after 1738 is not known, however it is possible that he did not want to engage in politics after 1738 as the political scene in Lancaster County became increasingly turbulent after that date.
The struggle for office among between the English and the Irish was nothing new, but by 1743 the elections were turning violent. In that year, an election was held, to fill the seat of Thomas Linsey who had died in office.
The Irish compelled the sheriff to receive only the tickets that they approved and make a return to the Assembly accordingly. Naturally these antics were reported and the following resolution passed the Assembly “Resolved, That the sheriff having assumed upon himself the power of being sole judge at the late election, exclusive of the inspectors chosen by the framers of said county of Lancaster, is illegal, unwarranted and an infringement of the liberties of the people of the province; that it is just cause for the discontent to the inhabitants of said county; that if any disturbances followed thereon, it is justly imputed to his own misconduct. Resolved, further, That the sheriff of Lancaster County be admonished by the speaker.”6
The sheriff was present and after being admonished he promised that he would take care and keep the law in the future. He also altered the return and Samuel Blunston was allowed to take his seat.
In addition to the English and Irish, the German population of Lancaster County was beginning to make it’s presence felt. As early as 1727 at least one thousand German families arrived in Pennsylvania, and in that year a complaint was made to the governor “that a large number of Germans, peculiar in their dress, religion and notions of political Governments had arrived…and were determined not to obey the lawful authority of Government…but they had resolved to speak their own language.”7
By 1743 the Germans were numerous enough to feel they could successfully defend their rights as well as the English and Irish looked after theirs, so they determined to maintain these rights with all the firmness required to do so. As a result the disturbances between the Irish and Germans were common and were growing increasingly frequent.
This situation was unsettling, not only to the inhabitants of Lancaster County, but to the proprietors as well. In order to prevent more trouble, the proprietors, after the organization of York and Cumberland Counties, gave their agents orders to sell no more land to the Irish in York and Lancaster Counties.8
They were also instructed to make overtures to the present Irish settlers in Paxton, Swatara, and Donegal townships to move into the new County of Cumberland. Apparently the offer was a liberal one as Andrew sold his farm in 1747, to his brother-in-law John Kyle,* and moved to Cumberland County, West of the Susquehanna river. During this same period many other Donegal neighbors of Andrew also accepted this inducement to move. Among these were the Works, Moores, Whitehills, Silvers, Semples, Sterrits, and Woods who were neighbors of Andrew, when Donegal Township was established in 1722.
Andrew was not only a practical and successful politician, he was an honest and just man, who founded the first Presbyterian Church in Donegal Township in 1720.
As a matter of fact it was probably the first Presbyterian Church west of Philadelphia, although there were some itinerant preachers in the community from time to time, this is the first permanent site of regular services. In August of 1721 Andrew rode to New Castle on the Delaware, and asked for a mininster to supply (temporary minister) the congreation. They were so much impressed by the zeal manifisted by Mr. Galbraith on behalf of his friends and neighbors that they sent a Rev. George Gillespie and Rev. Robert Cross. However it was five more years before a regular minister was obtained.
Andrew was the first ruling elder, selected the site for the first building, and without doubt held services on many occasions, as the first Pastor was a Reverend James Anderson, who received a call from the Donegal Church in 1726. In 1730 the original log structure was replaced by a building of rough stone laid in mortar. The influence of the Donegal Church was felt far beyond the confines of Lancaster County and became the nursery of Presbyterianism in a large part of Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.9
1 James name appears on the tax rolls as early as 1722, according to Ellis & Evans History of Lancaster Co. page 759 1
2 Klein page 17 *The courts were held at Uplands or Chester on the Delaware River, 15 miles S.W. of Philadelphia.
3 Rupp page 240
4 Ibid page 241
5 Ibid.pages 250-255 *See Note 2, Galbratih Appendix
6 Rupp page 288 *See note 2 Galbraith Appendix
7 Ibid page 194
8 Gordon, pages 241 & 242
9 Cyclopedia, page 574 *John was one of the largest, if not the largest landowner in Lancaster County. His first acquisition was for 1000 acres about 10 miles south of the present City of Lancaster
Contributed by W.W. Watkins.