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A Look Inside the History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania

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This is an overview of one of the books in the Pennsylvania section of the Mid-Atlantic States group of our American County Histories collection.

Preface

This volume is offered to the public as a contribution to the history of Bucks county. The writer does not flatter himself that the subject has been exhausted. It has been his effort to present the essential facts pertaining to the development of the county in such relation to each other as to indicate the various motives and influences which have led to the present results. Pioneer life in the original counties of Pennsylvania was not such as to afford opportunities for brilliant action. The peaceful precepts of the Friends precluded the thrilling experience of the border as well as the pomp and pageantry of glorious war, and the story of the origin and development of this portion of the state is significant in its moral rather than in its material aspects.

The “Book of Arrivals,” often quoted from and the basis of all certain information regarding many of the pioneers of the county, is given in full, with lists of those who have served the county in a public capacity. The latter have been compiled at a considerable expense of time and labor, and are thought to be as complete as it is possible to make them. The sketch of the early history of the state, prepared by Prof. Samuel P. Bates, will be found in abbreviated form in the introductory chapter. The biographical sketches, for the most part, have been arranged alphabetically under the several township headings in the latter part of the volume. This arrangement has been adopted as the best means of affording convenience of reference, and relieving the narrative portion of tedious digression. The large number of these sketches has necessitated, as brief treatment as the circumstances would warrant, and the editor has been compelled to chiefly depend upon the members of the respective families for the accuracy of the facts set forth. No pains have been spared to make this department accurate, and it is believed that it constitutes an interesting portion of the work, which will increase in value with the lapse of years.

In the preparation of this book great assistance has been derived from the various newspaper contributions to the history of the county, none of which have been more useful than the writings of “Iron Mask,” a nom de plume which only thinly veils the authorship of the present scholarly editor of the “Bucks County Intelligencer.” The writer has been greatly aided by the use of the valuable historical library and collections of Judge Richard Watson, and of books from the libraries of other gentlemen of Doylestown; by the valuable suggestions and scrap-books of Judge Harman Yerkes and Mr. Henry D. Paxson, the files of the “Intelligencer,” and the archives of the local historical society. The chapters on the townships were prepared by Mr. Herbert C. Bell; the chapter on geology by Charles Laubach, Esq., of Riegelsville; and the biographical sketches by Mr. F.L. Beers (assisted by Miss Anna Le Compte), to whose editorial supervision this difficult department was assigned. To each one of the many, to whose encouragement and aid the success of this enterprise is largely due, the editor wishes to express his indebtedness to, and appreciation of their kindness and assistance.

J.H.B.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
September, 1887.


Bucks County, Pennsylvania

Bucks County, Pennsylvania

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTORY

Origin of Provincial History — Penn’s Early Difficulties — Experiment in Popular Government — Blackwell Appointed by Governor — Dissensions in the Colony — Penn’s Second Visit to the Province — Death of William Penn — The New Proprietaries — Accession of Governor Keith — French and Indian War — Franklin’s Mission to England — The Boundary Line — Struggle for Independence — Resistance to Stamp Act — Campaign of 1776 — Battle of Brandywine — Occupation of Philadelphia — British Retreat — The Constitution of 1790.

CHAPTER I. GENERAL TOPOGRAPHY AND GEOLOGY

Location of Bucks County — Surface Character — Its Principal Elevations — General Landscape — Connection of Topography and Geology — Mesozoic formation — Trap Rock — The Upper Stratum — Southern Line of Mesozoic — Potsdam Sandstone — Mica Schists — River Deposits — Crystalline Limestone — Character of Quarries — Trenton Gravel — Durham Hills — Durham Cave — Origin of Magnesian Limestone — The Iron Mines — Glacial Drift — The Course of the Moraine — Local Interest in the General Subject.

CHAPTER II. EARLY SETTLEMENTS ON THE DELAWARE

The First Discoveries — Voyage of the Unrest — Dutch Occupation — De Vries’ Colony — Advent of the Swedes — John Printz as Governor — Conflicting Claims — Attitude of the Dutch — Early Contentions — Swedish Thrift — Triumph of the Dutch — The English Conquest — Nicoll’s Administration — Indian Hostilities — Dutch Conquest — Re-establishment of the English — Andros’ Administration — Effect of English Restoration — First Settlement of Friends — Earliest Land Purchases East of the Poquesing — Records of the Upland Court — Beginning of English Administration — Upland County Defined — Its Social Development — The Physical Attractions of the Country.

CHAPTER III. THE NEW REGIME

Advent of the Markham — “First Adventurers in Bucks — “Conditions and Concessions” — Commissioners Dispatched — Plan of Survey — Quit-rents and Manors — Purchases of the Indians — Quieting Indian Land Claims — Holme’s Purchase of 1686 — Dissatisfaction of Indians — Aggression of the Whites — The Lottery Scheme — Negotiations of 1734-7 — The Walking Purchase — Course of the Walk — Charge of Trickery by the Indians — Immediate Results of the Walk — Attack on Pennsylvania Borders — Bucks County’s Contribution to the Defense — Character of the Militia — The Treaty of 1757.

CHAPTER IV. POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT OF BUCKS COUNTY

Markham’s Assumption of the Government — Arrival of the First Emigrants — Penn’s Voyage — Early Families of Bucks — Erection of the County — First Court — The Juries — Roads and Ferries — Formation of Townships — Gradual Development — Minor Officials — County Officers — Phineas Pemberton — Under Fletcher’s Administration — Character of the Early Records — The First Court-House — County Seat at Bristol — Removed to Newtown — The Public Buildings — Expansion of Settlements — Demand for a Removal of the Seat of Justice — Details of the new Public Buildings — Agitation for the Division of the County — New Court-House at Doylestown — the new Jail — History of the Almshouse — The Cholera Plague — Extent of the County’s Charity.

CHAPTER V. THE BENCH AND BAR

Origin of the Courts — Procedure and Jurisdiction — Provincial Court — Orphans’ Court — Conflict between the Province and the Crown — Act of 1722 — Supreme Court of Law and Equity — Appeals — First Court in Bucks County — Court of Common Pleas — Early Practice of Quarter Sessions Court — Imprisonment for Debt — Penal Laws — Trial and Execution of Claesen — Admission of Lawyers — The Earlier Bar — Recent Development of the Judiciary — Judge Wynkoop — The Fox Contest — Burnside, Krause, Smyser, Chapman, Ross, Roberts, Watson, Yerkes — The Bar Since 1790 — Celebrated Causes — Cases of Mina, Blundin, Armbruster, Teufel.

CHAPTER VI. THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIETY

Social Influence of the Friends — Welsh Friends and Baptists — Dutch Immigration — Scotch, Scotch-Irish, Irish, German Settlements — Pioneer Life — Marks of Improvement — The County During the Revolution.

CHAPTER VII. SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

Religious Organizations — Education — The Press — Early Roads — The Postal Service — Navigation of the Delaware — The Delaware Canal — Railroads.

CHAPTER VIII. THE SECTIONAL ISSUE

Slavery in Bucks County — Fall of Fort Sumter — Conditions of the Militia — The Doylestown Guards — The Thirty-second Regiment — The Eighty-ninth — First New Jersey Cavalry — Independent Battery D — The One Hundred and Fourth — Fifteenth Cavalry — The One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth — The One Hundred and Thirty-Eighth — The One Hundred and Sixty-Third — The One Hundred and Seventy-Fourth — The One Hundred and Eighty-First — The Two Hundred and Thirteenth — The Two Hundred and Fifteenth.

CHAPTER IX. FALLS TOWNSHIP AND BOROUGH OF MORRISVILLE

Descriptive — Settlement and Settlers — Pennsbury and the Penn Family — Jacob Brown and Charles Ellet — Morrisville, Tullytown and Fallsington — Other Villages — The Friends — Methodism — The Christian Church — The Presbyterians — Schools.

CHAPTER X. TOWNSHIP AND BOROUGH OF BRISTOL

Location of the First Purchasers — Origin of the Market Town of Bristol — The Fairs — Ferry — Bath Springs — Some Notable People — Early Hostelries — Reminiscences of the Revolution — Banking Institution — The Canal — The First Railroad — Development of the Manufactures — Borough Expansion — Social Institutions — Growth of Church Organizations — Educational Interests — Borough Officers.

CHAPTER XI. THE MAKEFIELDS

Lower Makefield Defined — The First Purchasers — Yardley — Edgewood — Upper Makefield — Its Settlement — Taylorsville — Dolington — Church and School Interests.

CHAPTER XII. MIDDLETOWN; NEWTOWN; WRIGHTSTOWN

Topography of the Region — First Landowners of Middletown — Its Prominent Families — Langhorne — Its Churches and Societies — Newtown’s Early History — Town Plot — Early Hotels — Its Social Institutions — Wrightstown Settlers — Origin of Name — Village Growth.

CHAPTER XIII. BENSALEM

Origin of Name — The First Landowners — Its Prominent Men — Erection of the Township — Roads and Ferries — Dutch Population — Church Activities — Educational Institutions.

CHAPTER XIV. NORTHAMPTON AND SOUTHAMPTON

Early Population of the Townships — Erection of Southampton — Village Growth — Development of Society — Influence of Different Nationalities — Church Chronicles — Northampton — Early Surveys — Roads and Taverns — Churches and Societies.

CHAPTER XV. WARMINSTER; WARWICK; WARRINGTON

Currents of Immigration — The Settlers of Warminster — John Fitch — Origin and Growth of Villages — Local Institutions — Warwick — Secondary Education — Neshaminy Church — William Tennent, Charles Beatty — Nathaniel Irwin — Warrington.

CHAPTER XVI. BUCKINGHAM; SOLEBURY

Primitive Attractions — The Coming of the Whites — Early Families — John Lacey — Lime Industry — Postroads and Offices — Public Interest in Education — Solebury — Its Organization and Settlement — Mineral Deposits — Roads and Ferries — New Hope and its Industries — Churches — Samuel D. Ingham — Zebulon M. Pike.

CHAPTER XVII. DOYLESTOWN

The Society Lands — Origin of the Village — The Removal of the County Seat — Borough Charter — Water-works — Travelling Facilities — Banking — Manufactures — Societies — Academies and Seminaries — Church Growth — Corporation Officers.

CHAPTER XVIII. PLUMSTEAD; BEDMINSTER

Origin of Name — Local Industries — Village Development — Bedminster — Early Population — Hagersville, Kellersville, and other Villages — Historic Churches

CHAPTER XIX. NEW BRITAIN; HILLTOWN

Settlement of the Upper Part of the County — Early Welsh Pioneers — “Society” Lands — Origin of New Britain — Early Development — Churches — Hilltown — Incident of Joseph Matthias — Leading Welsh Families — Villages of the Township — Religious Interests.

CHAPTER XX. RICHLAND; MILFORD; ROCKHILL

The Great Swamp — First Purchasers — Quakertown — Local Industries — Societies — Churches — Milford — Its Pioneers — Erection of the Township — The Post Villages — Church Organizations — Rockhill — John Furness — Conrad Deterer — Incorporated Villages — Perkasie — Telford — Local Institutions.

CHAPTER XXI. TINICUM; NOCKAMIXON

Location — Indian Outrage — Erection of Tinicum — Point Pleasant — Other Villages — Origin and Development of Churches — Nockamixon — First Families — Later Social Development.

CHAPTER XXII. SPRINGFIELD; HAYCOCK

Up-Country Topography — Early Settlers of Springfield — Erection of Township — Business Activity — Haycock — Its Early Settlement — Organization — Its Social Institutions.

CHAPTER XXIII. DURHAM TOWNSHIP

Landscape Attractions — Prehistoric Inhabitants — Free Society of Traders — The Iron Furnaces — Early Industries — Joseph Galloway — Daniel Morgan — George Taylor — Backhouse’s Journal — The Furnaces Since 1847 — The Iron Mines — Settlement in Durham — Village Growth — Schools and Churches.

CHAPTER XXIV. APPENDIX

The “Book of Arrivals” — Roster of County Officers — Roster of the Bench and Bar — Legislative Representatives — Archaeology — The Lenape Stone.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES

  • CHAPTER XXV. BEDMINSTER
  • CHAPTER XXVI. BENSALEM
  • CHAPTER XXVII. BRISTOL
  • CHAPTER XXVIII. BUCKINGHAM
  • CHAPTER XXIX. DOYLESTOWN
  • CHAPTER XXX. DURHAM
  • CHAPTER XXXI. FALLS
  • CHAPTER XXXII. HAYCOCK
  • CHAPTER XXXIII. HILLTOWN
  • CHAPTER XXXIV. LOWER MAKEFIELD
  • CHAPTER XXXV. MIDDLETOWN
  • CHAPTER XXXVI. MILFORD
  • CHAPTER XXXVII. NEW BRITAIN
  • CHAPTER XXXVIII. NEWTOWN
  • CHAPTER XXXIX. NOCKAMIXON
  • CHAPTER XL. NORTHAMPTON
  • CHAPTER XLI. PLUMSTEAD
  • CHAPTER XLII. RICHLAND
  • CHAPTER XLIII. ROCKHILL
  • CHAPTER XLIV. SOLEBURY
  • CHAPTER XLV. SOUTHAMPTON
  • CHAPTER XLVI. SPRINGFIELD
  • CHAPTER XLVII. TINICUM
  • CHAPTER XLVIII. UPPER MAKEFIELD
  • CHAPTER XLIX. WARMINSTER
  • CHAPTER L. WARRINGTON
  • CHAPTER LI. WARWICK
  • CHAPTER LII. WRIGHTSTOWN


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