Early Hustory of the Township [†]
Plumstead was described by early settlers as "a region of valley, plain and winding creek." These earliest settlers were Quakers who resided in the lower and middle sections the township. Upper sections were settled later by Germans and the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians.
The name Plumstead supposedly derives from Francis Plumstead, a London merchant who was given 2500 acres by William Penn but who himself never came to America. The name may have come from one of the four Plumstead parishes in England.
There was an effort to organize the township in 1715 when a petition was filed in Bucks County Court of Quarter Sessions to establish a township encompassing some 14,000 acres. The petition failed for lack of population in the territory.
Between 1715 and 1725, when the court did approve the establishment of the township, some significant changes occurred which brought additional residents to the territory. John Dyer, an early settler, established the first mill in the township on the Pine Run in 1718. Mr. Dyer was also instrumental in having the Easton Road (now Old Easton Road) extended from Horsham in Montgomery County to Dyerstown. Like township formation, road extensions had to be approved by the Bucks County Courts, and the Easton Road extension was approved in 1723. The village of Dyerstown is, of course, named after John Dyer. He is buried in the Plumstead Friend's meetinghouse. During the late 1700s, Dyerstown had a population equal to that of Doylestown which in those days was relatively small due to a lack of industry. After the county seat was moved to Doylestown in 1813, it quickly grew and surpassed Dyerstown in size.
According to early histories, Indians remained in the Plumstead area longer than in the rest of Bucks County and maintained a village at the headwaters of the Deep Run, near the Plumstead-Bedminster border.
Farming in the township was not especially productive. In particular, the farms in the northern and northeastern sections were poor. Looking at soil and topography maps today, it is evident that other portions of Bucks County, to the north and to the south, were blessed with more fertile soils and better farming conditions than was Plumstead. The early villages established by settlers remain today: Dyerstown, Gardenville (originally Brownsville), Danborough (now Danboro), Plumsteadville, and Pt. Pleasant date to early times.
Of all the villages, Plumsteadville was the most flourishing, with a large number of houses, stores, taverns, and a carriage factory employing dozens of people. Gardenville was the headquarters for the Persistive Horse Company, one of several organizations of local citizens who banded together "for the detection of horse thieves and other villains." While they fell short of being vigilantes who not only apprehended but also exacted punishment, these horse companies nevertheless were an important part of the criminal justice system in the nineteenth century. Most townships had their own horse companies. Plumstead's was among the earliest and certainly the largest in the County. In the mid-l800s, it was split into two sections — one covering east of the Durham Road and one covering west of Durham Road — in order to track criminals more effectively.
‡ Plumstead Township Board of Supervisors, Plumstead Township Comprehensive Plan Update, 2011, www.plumstead.org, accessed August, 2022.
Nearby Towns: Bedminster Twp • Buckingham Twp • Chalfont Boro • Doylestown Boro • Dublin Boro • New Britain Boro • New Britain Twp •