THE northern central portion of Bucks county is characterized by a great diversity of natural features. It is a region of rapid alternations of hill and valley, of numerous streams, of curious and interesting geological formations, of wooded slopes, and fertile meadows. Here the foot hills of the Blue mountains, deeply seamed by centuries of attrition, form rapid water-courses, and, still retaining something of that aspect of wildness and desolation associated with an uninhabited region, mark the gradual transition from the majestic heights of the parent range to the lower level of that part of the great Atlantic plain west of the Delaware. The general direction of these hills is best indicated by reference to the boundary line between Bucks and Northampton counties, with which it coincides for some distance westward from the Delaware. The point of greatest elevation, known as Flint hill, is situated in the northern part of Springfield township, overlooking the valleys of Durham and Saucon creeks. It commands a widely extended prospect. Easton and the mountains beyond are visible to the north, the valley of the Schuylkill to the west, and all the northern portion of Bucks county to the south. Immediately north of Bursonville and adjoining the Durham line is Buckwampurn, one of the highest hills in the county. Its summit and northern exposure are still covered with forests, while deeply furrowed glens mark the less abrupt descent upon the opposite side. Here a number of small streams take their rise. The name is of Indian origin, and signifies "a hill with a swamp on top." Many local superstitions are associated with this hill. The most conspicuous landmark, however, is Haycock mountain. The ascent is gradual and the contour regular. Its appearance is strikingly that of an immense sugar-loaf or haycock, and hence the name. Isolated elevations of its height are rare. In Luzerne county, this state, there is a mountain of similar size and appearance known as the Sugarloaf; and with equal propriety the nearest approach to a mountain peak that dignifies the surface of Bucks is known as the Haycock. This name is also applied to a small stream that rises in its northern slope. It is absorbed by Tohickon creek after an uneventful career of about five miles. The latter stream also receives several tributaries from the western and southern slopes of the mountain. The principal stream to the north is Durham creek, which drains a large section of country.

It was by the valley of this creek, in all probability, that the first settlers reached Springfield. The early influx must have been quite rapid, for in 1743, nine years before the erection of Northampton county, upwards of forty residents petitioned for township organization, among whom were the following: James Green, Stephen Twining, William Crooks, Brien Ceruillin, Hugh Oelton, Joseph Blair, Richard Jonston, Jacob Wason, Samuel Hillborn, Jacob Ohl, John Lester, Conrad Duru, Christian Fry, Peter Lester, John McCoy, Thomas Foltz, Francis Adamson, Joseph Bond, Joseph Unthank, Conrad Clares, James Williams, Peter Ashton, Peter Leatherman, Michael Didart, Christian Shook, Michael Dort, Peter Oldenrose, Simon Carey, John Greazly, George Hazly, Daniel Stout, Stephen Acreman, Henry Hormel, Philip Rous, Jacob Maure, and Michael Gould. It is seen from the orthography of these names that many were English; and while there may have been others not of this nationality who were not interested in the movement for the township, the fact remains that the early population of this, as of other localities where the German element predominates, was originally English. In this instance there were two currents of immigration. There were some English Friends who came over from Richland, but the majority ascended the Delaware to Durham, and followed Durham creek to its sources. Germans entered the township from the north and west. But little is known individually concerning these early settlers. The usual method of purchasing land was to locate a tract, secure a warrant for its survey, and then procure a patent. Richland manor, or lottery lands adjoining it, was in this township.

In the petition above mentioned the territory in question is described as the settlement between Richland, Lower Saucon, and Durham. It was presented at the June term, 1743. Although a remonstrance was presented at the following session (September), the court ordered "that Springfield township begin at the northeast corner of Richland, and run thence north sixty-six degrees east eighty perches so as to intersect a line from the southwest corner of Durham tract, running south twenty-four east and then back the last-mentioned line to Durham corner north twenty-four degrees east, and along Durham line the same course eight hundred and seventy-eight perches, thence a line intended for another township, now called Lower Saucon, south sixty degrees north to the corner of Saucon township, and thence by Saucon line to Richland township, and thence along the head of Richland township to the beginning," comprising, as enlarged on the north and south, a present area variously estimated at from seventeen to eighteen thousand acres, and a population in 1880 of two thousand five hundred and twenty-five.

The towns of this section are of that general provincial type best described as never having been famous for anything or given birth to any one of note, or possessed any local celebrities or staple industries, and of which the population is so stationary that any addition from the great outside world would create quite an effervescence of excitement. Springtown, the most important, and one of the most flourishing in upper Bucks, is a notable exception to the general rule. It is situated in the northeastern part of the township, on the left bank of a branch of Cook’s creek, and within a mile of the line of Northampton county. It is supposed that the first house was situated in the northern part of the town near or upon the site of Frederick Warner’s. Caspar Wister, of Philadelphia, was the owner of six hundred acres in this vicinity in 1738, five hundred of which he sold to Stephen Twining the same year, and the latter at once built thereon the first mill in the township, which was on the exact site of H.S. Funk’s mill. Twining afterward sold this land and improvements to Abraham Funk, and in 1782 a new mill was built. The property has descended from father to son by will since 1738. The third mill was built in 1863 at a cost of more than twenty-five thousand dollars. This burned down shortly afterward, but was immediately rebuilt, and is at present the principal manufacturing establishment in the place. Among others of lesser note are extensive handle-works, carriage-shops, lime-kilns, and local mechanics’ shops. Several streams of water in the immediate vicinity might be advantageously utilized for manufacturing purposes, as the fall is considerable and the volume of water is seldom affected by the summer drought of recent years. Springtown is a local business center. Two of the largest stores in the upper end of the county are located here. Much of the produce from the surrounding farms finds its way to the markets of Bethlehem, Allentown, and Easton. The principal street, extending east and west, is Main street, and upon this the stores and business houses are located. North of this is Berks street, so called, it is said, from the name of a mason who built several of its first houses. Seifert and Collis streets cross these at the eastern and western extremities of the town; and College street, so named from the educational institution lately opened upon it, extends northward from Main to Berks. Walnut street is parallel with Main and south of it, but has not yet asserted its right to a continuous existence from Seifert to Collis. Center street is in the central part of the town. There are two public school buildings, one in the east and one in the west end ot the town. The former scarcely merits a complimentary notice, but the latter has but recently been erected and is well adapted to the purposes of a primary school. The academy building was erected in 1885 by a body of reliable men who have organized themselves into a joint-stock company. The first term opened October 19, 1885, with Professor T.C. Strock, an alumnus of Ursinus college, as principal. Its success has given the projectors abundant reason for mutual congratulation; and the results of such an institution in moulding character and directing public sentiment in the community cannot fail to be salutary. Another indication of progress recently manifested is the "Springtown Times," a weekly newspaper, edited and published by Mr. H.S. Funk, the first number of which appeared October 10, 1885. Two thriving local insurance companies are represented. The Springtown horse Company was organized and incorporated more than a century ago. In order to extend its workings it has quite recently been merged into the "Globe Mutual Live Stock Insurance Company." The latter was incorporated April 29, 1887, with Joseph Schlieffer president, Henry S. Funk secretary, and George A. Hess treasurer. The Farmers’ American Mutual Fire Insurance Company was incorporated May 5, 1855, and organized in September following with Aaron Laubach president, David W. Hess secretary, and Hugh Kintner treasurer. Both have sustained prosperous and useful careers. David Conrad was appointed first postmaster at Springtown in 1806. Mail facilities have been greatly improved since then; there are now four daily mails from Quakertown, Bingen, Riegelsville, and Bucksville. The telegraph line has been operated through the town since 1882. With railroad facilities Springtown might become a place of considerable importance. The present population is estimated at five hundred.

Pleasant Valley is the site of one of the oldest hotels in the northern section of Bucks county. It was kept as an inn when Lafayette passed over the old Bethlehem road in 1777, and here he stopped on his return from hospital service at Bethlehem. The tract upon which the village is located was patented by Michael Dunhart in 1757, and came into possession of Joseph Santz in 1773. The latter established the inn, and conducted it until 1785, when Isaac Burson succeeded to the proprietorship. The garden attached was the site of the first Lutheran Reformed church in this part of the county. The inn derived its importance from the travel over the Bethlehem road, which was opened from Philadelphia to the Lehigh in 1745. The first stage-wagon passed over this route in 1763, George Klein proprietor, and John Hoppel driver. A post-office was established here in 1828, with Lewis Ott postmaster. Bursonville derives its name from that of the first hotel proprietor, Isaac Burson, an English Friend from Abington. It was known as Bursontown in 1804; Archibald Davidson was postmaster. This was probably the earliest post-office in the northern part of the county. Stony Point, an inn in the vicinity, has been known by that name since 1833, when Jacob E. Buck placed it upon his sign-board. It was known as the "Three Tuns" as early as 1758. Zion Hill is a hamlet in the extreme western part of the township, partly in Milford. The North Pennsylvania railroad passes within a mile of the village.

The Union church idea is fully exemplified in the ownership of churches in this region. Of the early history of Trinity church, Reformed and Lutheran, Springfield, but little is known. Prior to the year 1745 both the congregations, if the history of Lutherans goes back to that date, worshipped in a log building, which was used for church as well as school purposes. The first church building was erected in 1763 upon ground given by Christian Schuck for this purpose. This was followed by a second in 1816, and a third in 1872, the corner-stone of which was laid May 20th of that year. It is a handsome structure, with steeple and organ. Reverend J.C. Wirtz is mentioned as the Reformed pastor in 1747, John Egiduis Hecker in 1756, J. Daniel Gross, D.D., in 1772, John Henry Hoffmeyer, 1794—1806, Samuel Stahr, 1811—43, Henry Hess, and J.H. Hartzell, the present incumbent. There is no record of any Lutheran pastor prior to 1763, when the name of Reverend John Michael Enderline appears. He was followed by Reverend Augustus Herman Schmidt, ----- Sanna, Peter Abel, 1789—97; John Conrad Yeager, 1797—1801; beginning with the latter years, the pastoral record coincides with those of Nockamixon— Reverends John Nicholas Mensch, Henry S. Miller, C.F. Welden, C.P. Miller, W.S. Emery, and O.H. Melchor, the present pastor.

Christ Church in Springtown is owned conjointly by the Lutheran, Reformed, Presbyterian, and Mennonite persuasions. The corner-stone was laid May 18, 1872. The Presbyterians never had an organized congregation, nor regular preaching. The Lutheran congregation was organized April 6, 1874, by Reverend W.S. Emery, who continued as pastor five years. April 11, 1879, Reverend O.H. Melchior was called as pastor; and soon afterward this organization, with others of the charge, passed into the General Synod of the Lutheran church. It has prospered under Mr. Melchor’s administration, and now numbers one hundred and fifteen members. Reverend J.M. Hartzell is the present Reformed pastor. Elder Jacob Moyer conducted Mennonite services until 1880. The Evangelical church at this place was built in 1842, and rebuilt in 1868, the pastors at present being Reverends J.F. Heisler and T.L. Wentz. There are several organizations of this character in the township. The Mennonite church, Springtown, was built in 1885, the present pastor being Reverend Abel Strawn. The Springfield Mennonite church was founded about 1750; at least, the early Mennonite settlers— Moyers, Funks, Landis’ Gehmans, Schlieffers, etc.— were here at that time. George Schimmel emigrated from Germany in 1753. The first church may be supposed to have been built prior to the revolution. The meeting-house in use at present was built in 1826, and is the second structure upon its site. Among the ministers there have been Peter Moyer, Jacob Gehman, Peter Moyer, Jr., Jacob Moyer, and Abraham Geissinger, the last of whom was ordained in 1836. A division in the church took place in 1847, resulting from differences of views on questions of discipline and doctrine. John Geissinger was ordained as the New School pastor in 1849, and Samuel Moyer in 1851. The present numerical strength of this branch is about eighty members, with Jacob S. Moyer pastor, and Peter A. Moyer deacon. A Dunkard church has recently been built at Fairmount, at a cost of thirteen hundred dollars. Trinity church at Zion Hill was built in 1840 by Lutheran and Reformed, the pastors of the former denomination having been Reverends William B. Kemmerer, A.R. Horne, L. Groh, R.B. Kistler, J. Hillport; of the latter, J. Stahr, S.K. Gross, ----- Bassler, and J.F. Mohr.

Two religious bodies once represented are now extinct, viz., the Friends and English Baptists. The former were granted permission to rent for worship at the houses of Joseph Unthank and John Dennis, in Springfield, in 1743, but these meetings were discontinued in 1759. The Baptist church at Zion Hill is still standing, but there is only one family of that connection in the vicinity, and services have not been held for years.

HAYCOCK, in 1743 (or, properly speaking, the unorganized territory between Richland, Rockhill, Bedminster, and Nockamixon, and the proposed township of Springfield), had a population of thirteen families, the names of eleven of which were as follows: Joseph Dennis, Edwin Bryan, John Balzar Hubner, James Sloan, Griffith Davis, Dennis Onan, John Doan, Michael Weinich, Silas McCarty, George Shuman, and Henry Hauk. This was the first generation of actual settlers. The Bethlehem road was opened through this territory in 1738, and it is not probable that their appearance preceded that date by any considerable interval. Two years later (1745) the families of McCarty, Nicholas, Henche, Steinbach, Scheiff, Steuber, and Deech were represented. From that time to the present the population has been almost exclusively German. That language prevails to a great extent, and has not, as in localities reached by railroads, given place to English.

Although separated from the county-seat by a long distance, the community immediately north of the Tohickon was watchful of its interests, and did not hesitate to appeal to the courts when stronger settlements endeavored to secure measures not liable to promote its advantages. Thus, in 1743, they state to the court that "James Green and Stephen Twinen, with others of their neighbors, has purposed for a township" from which they were excluded, that being so few in numbers they were not equal to the labor of repairing their roads; and therefore prayed that the court would have their settlement comprehended in the proposed new township of Springfield. The following is endorsed upon the back of this petition: "Ordered that Springfield township begin at a corner of Durham township and run thence south twenty-four degrees east till it comes to Bedminster township line." No mention of this appears in the records of the court; and in the light of future results the probability of Haycock having been thus joined to Springfield is very slight. A supervisor was appointed for the roads in this territory in 1745. At June term, 1754, Joseph Dennis, on behalf of himself and others, petitioned that a large tract of land on which they resided (corresponding to Haycock) might be laid out as a township and called Mansfield. In 1758, at September court, a supervisor was appointed for "the adjacents of Rockhill and Springfield, or the Haycock," because the Bethlehem road between Michael Ditter’s and Samuel Dean’s was in such a condition as to be unsafe in many places. March 17, 1763, a petition in these words was presented for the consideration of the court: "Whereas the Haycock is large and contains as great a number of inhabitants as any township within this county, there now being upwards of seventy persons taxable within the said adjacents, and it (as not being properly a township) is subject to many and great inconveniences which would be needless here to mention, we, the said inhabitants, humbly prayeth that this honorable court may take the same into consideration that we may have the said adjacents properly a township."

This was from inhabitants of "the Haycock and places adjacent." They were directed to produce at the next court a draft of the proposed territory. At June term following two drafts were submitted; one endorsed "a draft of the jacence of Springfield township," containing a number of courses and distances said to begin at a large rock on the Tohickon in the line of Bryant’s and Pike’s lands; the other was similarly endorsed, but with correct orthography, as James McLane’s survey. The courses in his draft were found to cross each other, while a vacancy was painfully apparent between the places of beginning and ending. The court declined to render judgment; "but if the said petitioners are desirous of having a township laid out, the court recommend to them to employ a surveyor who understands his business and can survey a piece of land and make a plan of it himself, and return it to the next court." September 13, 1763, a draft was produced, the description of the boundaries read, approved, ordered to be confirmed by the name of Haycock, and recorded. And thus through much tribulation the township of Haycock was finally erected. Its area is about twelve thousand acres, a large part of which is not under cultivation. The population in 1880 was one thousand three hundred and thirty-two. With the exception of a few Welsh families in the extreme western part, and a number of Irish about Haycock run, the population, past and present, has consisted exclusively of Germans. They are a frugal, industrious, and provident people. The extremes of wealth and poverty are less apparent here than in any other portion of the county. Farming is the principal occupation. The farms are not large, ranging in size from forty to seventy-five acres. The utmost attention is given to careful tillage, and although the soil is not of superior fertility, farm products in quantity and quality compare favorably with those of more favored localities.

Applebachsville is the metropolis of Haycock, and was for many years the residence of her most distinguished citizen, General Paul Applebach. He built the first new house in 1848, and laid out the land on both sides of the old Bethlehem road with building lots. The village comprises about thirty houses and a population of more than a hundred. The founder was a major-general of the state militia, an active politician, and several times the candidate of his party for important offices. The post-offices of Tohickon and Haycock Run are also located within this township.

St. John’s parish (Roman Catholic), Haycock, Reverend Gearhart H. Krake, pastor, dates its origin from the latter part of the last century, when the pastors at Goshenhoppen included the seated population of that faith in this section in their pastoral labors. The families of McCarty, Garden, Doren, Sanders (Irish), and others of German nationality were among those of this persuasion. Services were first held at the house of Nicholas McCarty, in Nockamixon, at irregular and infrequent intervals. These annual services were occasions of great interest and importance. Many attended from a distance, and the most hospitable attention was bestowed upon the assembled people. As the congregation increased, mass was celebrated at intervals of three or four months. Fathers Malone, Bready, Herzog, Reardon, George, Hispuley, Reply, Wachter, Newfield, Koppernagel, Loughren, Narstersteck, Stommel, Istwan, Walch, and Krake have successively performed the pastoral functions. Father George was the first resident pastor. He assumed charge in 1850, in which year the rectory was built. The first parish church was a primitive log structure, built at an early period. Reverends Theodore Schneider officiated here in 1743, J.B. DeRitter in 1787, and Boniface Corvin, under whose administration a stone church was built upon the site of the present one. The latter was completed in 1855, and is a stone structure. The parish school building was erected in 1861 and incorporated as St. Theresa Academy. It was begun under the Blue Sisters of the Immaculate heart, but the location was found to be inaccessible and it was suspended as an institution of the character at first proposed. It was opened September 1, 1873, by the Sisters of St. Francis, St. Stephane, St. Clotildis, and St. Gregoria, and has since been continued as a parish school. Reverend Henry Stommel was pastor from October 6, 1871, to November, 19, 1875; Father Krake took charge July 30, 1876. The parish comprises the missions of St. Lawrence, Durham, St. Joseph’s, Marienstein, and St. Rosa, Piusfield, and numbers about one thousand souls. It was for many years the only Roman Catholic organization in the county.

St. Paul’s Lutheran church, Applebachsville, was organized in 1855. The following clergymen have successively held pastoral relations with this church: Reverends C.P. Miller, A.R. Horne, L. Groh, R.B. Kistler, George M. Lazarus, and J.F. Ohl, the present incumbent. The congregation has never been large, owing to the nearness on every side of older and more influential organizations. The present membership is one hundred and twenty-five, and services are held alternately in the English and German languages. The church edifice, erected in 1555, is owned jointly by Lutheran and Reformed congregations. It was remodelled in 1881—82, and is now an attractive place of worship.



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