Columbia County History

Columbia County was separated from Northumberland County in March, 1813. Fifteen years before, on the evening of April 25, 1798, Joseph Hopkinson's song, Hail Columbia, was sung for the first time in the Chestnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, by the popular young actor, Gilbert Fox. This song at once attained wide currency as a patriotic protest against the undiplomatic and highly reprehensible conduct of Citizen Adet, the French minister, who had the hardihood to issue an address to the citizens of the United States designed to incite them against their own government. As a result, the name Columbia became immensely popular as a poetic designation for America. Though this name had become generally current before Hail Columbia was written, there can be no doubt that the famous song helped to popularize it.

This name is derived from Columbus, the Latinized form of Columbo, the Italian name of the great explorer.

Hail, Columbia!

Hail, Columbia! happy land!
Hail, ye heroes! heaven-born band!
Who fought and bled in Freedom's cause,
Who fought and bled in Freedom's cause,
And when the storm of war was gone,
Enjoyed the peace your valor won.
Let independence be our boast,
Ever mindful what it cost;
Ever grateful for the prize,
Let its altar reach the skies!

Joseph Hopkinson


Related Links:

Columbia County Courthouse History

Covered Bridges

Coal Mining, Mine Fires, and the Molly Maguires

Columbia County Historical and Genealogical Society
The official Historical Society
of Columbia County

J.H. Battle's 1887 History of Columbia and Montour Counties, Pennsylvania

Guide to Pennsylvania Historical Resources

Pennsylvania State Historical and Museum Commission