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Longswamp Township


Township phone: 610-682-7388.

Beginnings [1]

Longswamp was incorporated in May, 1761 from Rockland Township.

The township touches the Lehigh line and is located in the eastern part of the county. It was settled in 1734 chiefly by the Germans, who came from Goshenhoppen and Oley. The first person to come here is said to have been a man named Berger, who settled in Long's Dale. These early settlers found the land low and swampy, covered with sour grass and thickets, and for this reason gave it the name it still retains.

The Longswamp Church, established in 1748, was one of the earliest churches of the county. In its cemetery may be found the graves of a number of Revolutionary soldiers, the township having furnished two companies — one commanded by Charles Crouse and the other by Henry Egner. Frederick Heelwig taught school in this township before 1752 and also served as tax collector. The first assessment, made in 1754, shows that there were fourteen single and sixty-eight married men taxed.

The soil of the township is excellent and its farms are noted for their production of wheat and corn. The streams of Longswamp supplied abundant water-power for a number of forges, furnaces and grist mills, remains of which may still be seen.

A charcoal furnace was in operation on the Little Lehigh as early as 1797. This later became the Mary Ann Furnace, where were cast the first stoves for burning anthracite coal. These were long known as the "Lehigh Coal Stove." A mill for grinding gypsum has been abandoned. A number of clay works have been operated during the past thirty years. Their product is used in the manufacture of wall paper. Ochre has been produced since 1882 and graphite since 1880. Iron ore was discovered as early as 1752. The mines at Rittenhouse Gap and Oreville have for many years yielded excellent ore. The former is no longer operated. It is reported that nearly every farm in the township is underlaid with iron ore.

Brandywine Hill and the Glen are much visited because of the beauty of their scenery.

  1. A. E. Wagner, Ph.D., F. W. Balthaser, M.E., and D.K. Hoch, The Story of Berks County Pennsylvania, Eagle Book ad Job Press, Reading, 1913
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