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Orange Township

Orange Township municipal offices are located at 2028 State Route 487, Orangeville PA 17859; phone: 570-683-5836.

Beginnings [1]

Orange Township is the most centrally located of the divisions of Columbia County north of the Susquehanna River and is watered by Fishing Creek and its branch, Green Creek. Knob Mountain rises abruptly on the east of Fishing Creek and continues unbroken for many miles to the east. It is one of the highest of the elevations in Columbia County.

Orange was formed in 1840 from portions of Bloom, Fishingcreek and Mount Pleasant Townships. Previous to that, Bloomsburg was the voting place for the Orange election district, a most inconvenient arrangement.

The earliest mention of this locality concerns a tragic occurrence. The party of Indians who captured Joseph Salmon in the year of 1780 in passing through murdered a family who had settled at the foot of Knob Mountain. The rangers who were following them buried the mangled corpses on the east bank of the creek. In 1885 these remains were plowed up in a low spot far from the bank of Fishing Creek, the stream having in the interval shifted its channel. Who the family were will never be known, and these brave but unfortunate pioneers will pass into history among the unknown heroes of our country's settlement.

Salmon states that the savages camped at the junction of Green and Fishing Creeks, and in the morning two of them left, going towards east. Some hours later they returned with their blankets filled with lead ore, which they proceeded to melt. This caused later owners of land hereabouts to prospect for lead, but without success. The probability was that the Indians obtained their ore from the hill north of Lime Ridge, where galena since was mined in small quantities.

In 1785 Abram Kline, his wife and family of grown sons came to this section of Columbia County, and for the first year lived in their wagons and tents. The first log house erected by their united efforts stood halfway between Fishing and Green Creeks on the land later owned by George Welch. It was in good repair in 1886, but was later torn down. Matthias, Isaac and George Kline built cabins later on the creeks above the one of the father. This family is now one of the largest in the county, many of the descendants of the pioneers residing on the lands owned by their forefathers. A stone house was built by Harman Kline, near Orangeville, in 1826. It was not until 1796 that Abram Kline secured a title to his land. The tract had been surveyed for Hester Barton, who married Paul Zantzinger, and from him the title was secured by Kline. Other owners about this time were George Cutts, William Montgomery, Catherine Razor, Frederick Yuengling and Andrew Krouse. The settlers who followed the Klines and took up these lands were the Whites, Parks and Culps, from New Jersey; and George and Frederick Rantz, James Van Horn, the Netenbachs and the Weremans, from Berks County and Northampton County, Pennsylvania. In 1800 Peter Blank and Andrew Larish came from New Jersey, and Samuel Staddon from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Ludwig Herring and the Vance and Patterson families came some years later.

Before he had been in the county long Abram Kline built a sawmill on Green Creek, not far from Laurel Hill. It was abandoned after a few years' use and now completely obliterated. Another mill was built by Henry Geiger in early times on Fishing Creek, west of the present town of Orangeville. He sold it in 1822 to Jacob Seidle, and in 1845 Wesley Bowman bought it and completely rebuilt it. His son, Henry, ran it until his death, and later was in the hands of Benjamin C. Bowman. Three turbines, of 50 horsepower each, operated the modern machinery of this mill, and the product was a fine grade of wheat flour which sold all over the county. The capacity of the mill was fifty barrels of wheat and fifty barrels of buckwheat flour daily.

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