If you enjoy old maps, then you will love this 18″ x 24″ matte print of William Wagner’s 1821 map highlighting Lancaster County and its various townships, waterways, rivers, turnpikes, roads, mill sites with owner names, furnaces, and churches. Only $25, including shipping and handling.
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If you enjoy old maps, then you will love this 18″ x 24″ matte print of William Wagner’s 1821 map highlighting Lancaster County and its various townships, waterways, rivers, turnpikes, roads, mills, furnaces, and churches. Only $24.99, including shipping and handling. Click here to read more about the map and William Wagner.
Wagner’s map is historically significant. It is the first official document to show Lancaster County’s modern iconic shape. Since its creation on May 10, 1729, Lancaster’s boundaries have changed several times over the decades, and it wasn’t until 1813 that it finally transformed into the diamond silhouette we recognize today.
A Brief History About William Wagner
Prolific cartographer and engraver William Wagner created the map. Today, few people are aware of Wagner’s handiwork; however, for most of the 1800s, everyone in York County knew his name. Wagner had a considerably lengthy CV. First and foremost, he was an artist and engraver. However, his other vocations included banker, druggist, town office holder, including Chief Burgess of York, postmaster, and probably York County’s first photographer.
Wagner was born in 1800, one of six children of German Reformed minister Daniel Wagner and the former Anna Marie Reitzel. Although his father died when he was ten, William grew up among thriving older siblings.
By the young age of 21, Wagner had become an accomplished engraver when he and his partner Daniel Small published the stunning and still-useful 1821 Map of York & Adams Counties. Hand-colored copies sold for $1.5, while plain ones were only a dollar.
Wagner’s engravings were not simply limited to maps. He also created a series of banknotes for the York Bank, where his brother Samuel was also a cashier. The five-dollar note depicted the streetscape of the York Bank building on West Market Street. The ten-dollar note highlights a view of York from the north, showing a town framed by the Codorus Creek.
He also created seals for organizations, businesses, and governmental bodies all over the country. Some of his clients included the Commercial Bank of Florida, Pennsylvania Surveyor General’s Office, the Circuit Court of Appomattox County, Virginia, and the Circuit Court, Greenbrier County, Virginia. Shown below is the Circuit Court of Greenbrier’s seal. It has a unique story. A West Virginia resident found it while plowing his garden.
Wagner was also a busy printer. He produced marriage certificates engraved with an intricate oval wreath of flowers and clasped hands and heart under the motto “What God Hath Joined Together Let No Man Put Asunder.”
Perhaps Wagner’s most significant gift to York County is his book of 38 watercolors that highlights various scenes of York in 1830. These paintings give a window into the past showing how the York area looked almost 200 years ago. The York County Heritage Trust holds the originals.
YCHT has a large file on Wagner that includes original seals and casts of seals, plates for engraving money and advertisements, and his 1830 book of watercolors.
Here’s your chance to own some of Wagner’s work. I am currently selling 18″ x 24″ matte prints of the map for the low price of $35, including shipping and handling. I have also edited the original Library of Congress image to improve the map’s appearance by removing notes written in pencil, some tears, some fold lines.