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Ephrata Township


Township municipal offices are located at 265 Akron Road, Ephrata PA 17522; phone: 717-733-1044.

Beginnings [1]

Ephrata Township and Ephrata Borough are both recent political establishments in terms of historical chronology. The Township was established in 1838, and the Borough was established in 1891. Together with East Cocalico and West Cocalico Townships, these municipalities were part of the original Cocalico Township which dates back to the 1700's.

Johann Conrad Beissel and the development of the Ephrata Cloisters are given credit for the founding of Ephrata. The village of Ephrata was chiefly settled by the followers of Beissel. The Ephrata community records refer to Elimelich, a monk who lived like a hermit along the Cocalico Creek, as settling the area between 1732 and 1735. The first man to possess a patent for land in the area was John White, a Philadelphia land speculator, who obtained a grant for 1,647 acres in 1735. Henry Mohler bought 140 acres from White in 1735 or 1736 and the Mohler family has been represented in Ephrata Township ever since. Other original families that settled the area were Keller, Mellinger, Landis, Mayle, Lichty and Bowman.

The Ephrata Cloisters have their own prominent place in history. They were a center of religious, culture, education, writing and music activities. After Washington's defeat at Brandywine in 1777, the wounded were cared for at the Cloister.

Some of the churches of Ephrata Township are also historic and date from the colonial period. The Bergstrasse Church can trace its origin back to 1752. German Baptists, or Dunkers, have been represented in the Township almost from the beginning settlements. Hahnstown has grown around Fry's Mill. The date of the original mill is lost to history, but a deed of 1762 referred to it.

  1. Township of Ephrata, Ephrata Township Comprehensive Plan, December 1995, www.ephratatownship.org, accessed December, 2011.
**Information is curated from a variety of sources and, while deemed reliable, is not guaranteed.
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