Here's some information on Lightners in what is present day Adams Co. PA transcribed from "Index to Adams County, Pennsylvania septennial census, 1779-1821" / compiled by Joan R. Hankey.After given names are listed the township in which a person was located along with years in which that person showed up in a census or taxables list pertaining to that township.
Lightner Elizabeth Germany, 1814 George Germany, 1778, 1780, 1781, 1782, 1783, 1786, 1793 James Huntington, 1778, 1779, 1780 John Liberty, 1821 Nathaniel Huntington, 1762 William Germany, 1778, 1780, 1781, 1782, 1783, 1807, 1814, 1821 Huntington, 1779, 1780 Reading, 1800
There is a James Lightner in Huntington Township 1778-1780, and you will find him still in Huntington Township on the 1790 US Census, seemingly with wife and a few children.He owned no land in 1779-1780 and seems to have been poor considering he paid little tax.He is the only James Lightner who can be found from Adams Co. in the right time frame.(There are no James Lightners as head of household on 1800-1820 US Censuses in PA).However he must have been born earlier than you say, because he was a married man by 1779.So figure he was born roughly 1760 or even earlier.
Interestingly the earliest entry here is for a Nathaniel Lightner in the same township in 1762 (the very first septennial census).Could there be a connection between this Nathaniel Lightner and James Lightner?
There is no evidence to connect this James Lightner to any of the Lightner families we know about (i.e. the ones in Lancaster Co., Perry Co., Matthias Lightner family, etc., and he is not to be confused with any Lightners of Huntingdon Co. PA: this is HuntingTON Township in York Co., later Adams Co. we are talking about.) I wonder who he is?
If anyone can say how this James Lightner relates, would like to know!