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Liberty Township

Liberty Township Municipal Offices are located at 197 Mooresburg Road, Danville PA 17821; phone: 570-275-2211.

Beginnings [1]

It is thought that Col. Thomas Strawbridge, originally of Chester County, Pennsylvania, was among the first settlers in the territory which is now known as Liberty Township. He was a veteran of the Revolutionary War and among his neighbors bore a reputation for conspicuous bravery and a high order of citizenship. He arrived shortly after his marriage to Margaret Montgomery, a sister of Gen. William Montgomery, who removed to Danville at about the same time as his brother-in-law. Colonel Strawbridge established a tannery in Liberty Township, the first in this section of the State.

Another family chose this vicinity as a home. The McWilliams purchased land in 1771 from John Moore, whose property was located where Mooresburg now stands. The family consisted of Robert McWilliams, his three sons, Hugh, John and Robert, and one daughter, Jane, who had married Robert Curry, in Ireland. One of the sons, Hugh, was killed by the Indians in 1775. Robert Curry also met death at the hands of the treacherous redskins. Jane Curry, who was born February 8, 1773, was the first white child born in this section of the country, between the north and west branches of the Susquehanna River.

One of the earliest records of Liberty Township is the deed which transfers 329-1/2 acres of land from the Penns. This parcel was located northwest of Mooresburg. The title was changed again in 1806, when it was purchased by Robert Finney, who improved it and resided there until he died, in 1839. Finney became known throughout this section because of numerous eccentricities and steadfast penuriousness. He remained a bachelor to the day of his death and was noted for oddity in attire, manner, speech and habits. He paid for the big farm by threshing wheat with an old flail, a handmade affair, a long hickory pole, cut and bent, with the regulation heavy end to separate the kernels from the chaff. Tradition says that he resided in an old outbuilding on the place, and in severe weather offered the comfort of his living quarters to such beasts of the field as he owned. The story is told that while eccentric, miserly, and holding himself aloof, the old fellow, on the coldest winter day, would take himself to Danville and bring back armfuls of straw to make comfortable his kine.

The Billmeyers were notable arrivals in the locality. From the very beginning of their residence here they were known as frugal, sincere and simple people, enterprising and prosperous. The first sawmill in the region was erected by John Steinman, who chose a site half a mile from the Billmeyer homestead, on Chillisquaque Creek. The building was erected in 1812, and later he added a turning lathe. In 1812 John Auten built another sawmill, below there, and two years later he added a gristmill. The lumber for the gristmill and for his home was worked up in his first establishment. A more modern mill in due course replaced the sawmill, but the hand of time has long effaced the gristmill.

John Wilson purchased land near the Billmeyers. His property comprised 175 acres, which he worked until declining years and death removed him from the sphere of activity.

George Wagner, a weaver, located in Liberty Township, and industriously supplied the inhabitants with the materials used in the wearing apparel of the times. Other settlers were James McMahan and John McMahan, noted Revolutionary soldiers; and John Simington and Peter Simington, who fought in the War of 1812.

  1. Historical and Biographical Annals of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Vol. 1, J. H. Beers & Co., 1915.
**Information is curated from a variety of sources and, while deemed reliable, is not guaranteed.
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