Jefferson PA

Frederick Kraft (1776-1838) was the founder of Jefferson. He was a Baltimore native and is listed in the 1808 Baltimore directory as a tavern keeper. In 1812, this piece of land, now known as the town of Jefferson, was nothing more than a crossroads and had been used for half a century for the commercial trade between Baltimore and York. In fact, Codorus whiskey found its way to Baltimore markets by way of this route.

On February 1, 1812, Peter Hamm of Codorus Township sold the 23 acres of land that contained the crossroads to Kraft for $675.00. Kraft quickly established a tavern and store (which is no longer standing). It is assumed that he knew that a tavern, store, and important crossroads were standard ingredients in the founding of a new town. In 1814 Kraft hired John L. Hinkle (1781-1846), a Hanover surveyor, to lay out a town on the crossroads.

Frederick Kraft named the town for Thomas Jefferson because of the strong Democratic ties of the residents. However, in 1866, when the town was incorporated, the name Jefferson was already taken from a town in Greene County near Pittsburgh. So, the residents of the “York County”Jefferson chose “Codorus”, as its postal address, since it is in Codorus Township.

Kraft spent the last 22 years of his life in Jefferson and died in July of 1838.

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Data last updated: Sep 20, 2021 2:07:pm.