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Oliver Township

Township municipal offices are located at 4670 US Highway 522 South, McVeytown PA 17051; phone: 717-899-6678.

Beginnings [1]

Oliver Township, located in the western part of the county, was erected in 1835. A petition asking for a division of Wayne Township was presented at the October term of court in 1834, when David Hough, William P. Elliott and Thomas McClure were appointed viewers, with instructions report as to the advisability of granting the petition. On January 8, 1835, they submitted their recommendation for the division of the township on the following line:

"Beginning at the Strode Mountain; thence north 36 degrees west, crossing the Juniata River to the mouth of Shank's Run; thence through Joseph Langton's Lane to Jack's Mountain." They also stated, "Our opinions are that said division is the best that can be made satisfactory to a large majority of the inhabitants of said township."

The report and recommendations of the viewers were approved and confirmed at the April session of the court and an order was issued for the erection of a new township to be called Oliver, in honor of Judge Oliver, a judge of the court. The year following the erection of the township the assessment rolls showed 183 taxpayers and about 25,000 acres of land owned. The township had within its limits one iron furnace, one distillery, one carding and fulling machine, two taverns, two cabinet makers, two wagon makers, three tan-yards, three coopers, three grist-mills, three shoemakers, four weavers, six tailors, eight blacksmiths, seven stores and ten saw-mills.

Robert Samuels, an early settler, took out a warrant for 200 acres of land on June 2, 1762. William Samuels received a warrant for fifty acres in 1768, Alexander and James Stewart and Matthew Wakefield located in the township in 1768, taking up 100 acres, 400 acres and 100 acres, respectively.

Robert Forgy came to America about 1772 and located in what is now Bratton Township. He married Elizabeth Beatty of Bratton Township and later settled in Oliver Township. William Moore took up 100 acres in Oliver Township sometime before 1770. Other settlers in the township were Robert Elliott, William Robison, John Allen, Richard Coulter, James Stack-pole, Benjamin Walters, John Rankin, John Culbertson, Thomas Collins, Hector Galbraith, James Huston, Henry Hanawalt and John Swigart.

John Oliver, for whom the township was named, was born in 1752 and was a native of Ireland. He came to this country in his early youth and taught school in Wayne (now Oliver) Township in 1780. He married Margaret Lyon in 1782, and from 1794 to 1837 served as associate justice of the Mifflin County courts. He died in 1841.

  1. National Historical Association, Inc., A History of the Juniata Valley, 1936, The Telegraph Press, Harrisburg
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