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Briar Creek Township

Briar Creek Township Offices are located at 150 Municipal Road, Berwick PA 18603; phone: 570-752-8262.

Beginnings [1]

In 1797 the "Township of Green Briarcreek" was formed from territory formerly included in Fishingcreek Township. In 1844 the erection of Centre Township reduced it to its present dimensions. The borough of Berwick was separated from it in 1850.

The settlement of the township followed soon after the founding of Berwick. A number of families removed there from Mount Bethel, Northampton County, among them being found the old family names of Freas, Bowman, Hutton, Rittenhouse, Cauley and Mack. They emigrated in a body, entering this region in 1793, coming by way of Bethlehem, Nazareth and Beaver Meadows. In this way they were of mutual assistance in the clearing of the land and erecting homes.

Thomas Bowman built the first stone house in Briarcreek Township in 1802. His brother Jesse settled at the junction of the river road and Briar Creek. William Rittenhouse obtained title to an extensive tract lying on both banks of the creek to a considerable distance above the forks. This tract was in the hands of numerous persons. Jacob Mack was the first of the contractors in this section to take up the business exclusively. Among those who came later to settle in the township were the Bower, Millard, Evans, Engle, Adams and Martz families.

Among the industries of the pioneer days were the fisheries, those in Briarcreek Township being the "Tuckahoe" and "Jacob's Plains" locations on the Susquehanna River. Fishing is now almost a lost art on the river.

The early industries of Briarcreek Township were few. William Rittenhouse built the first mill at the junction of the north and west branches of Briar Creek in 1800, having dams in both streams. He also put up a woolen mill and a sawmill. The fulling mill was later run by Andrew Hunlock in 1833 and by a man named Millard at a later date. During the 1860s it was destroyed by fire.

  1. Historical and Biographical Annals of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Vol. 1, J. H. Beers & Co., 1915.
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