In 1745, a Scotch-Irishman named Richard McAllister purchased the tract of land upon which the original town of Hanover was built. McAllister was a Presbyterian who had recently migrated from the Cumberland Valley. Hanover at that time was covered with a dense forest of hickory, walnut, and oak trees. McAllister erected a log house at what is now the corner of Baltimore and Middle streets, and opened a store and tavern. In 1763, McAllister divided his farm into lots and founded the town of Hanover.
German settlers nicknamed the settlement “Hickory Town” after the thick groves of hickory trees that grew in the area. The name Hanover was suggested by Michael Tanner, who was one of the commissioners who laid out York County in 1749 and owned large tracts of land southeast of the town. Tanner’s choice of the name came from the fact that he was a native of Hanover, Germany. The town’s founders, who wanted to please the German settlers, agreed to the name. Hanover was also sometimes referred to as McAllister’s Town in its early years.