SHREWSBURY is one of the oldest townships in the county, its separation from Muncy dating back to 1804. It lies in the eastern part of the county, and is bounded on the east by Sullivan county, on the north by Plunkett's Creek township, on the west by Wolf, and on the south by Penn. It was originally a very extensive territory, embracing for a number of years (until 1847) a large part of what now constitutes Sullivan county. Its first loss of domain occurred in 1836, when Plunkett's Creek township was formed. Shrewsbury is the thirty-fourth in size and contains 8,533 acres.
The suggestion of the name is attributed to Theophilus Little, Sr. The Little and Bennett families were among the early settlers, and as they came from Shrewsbury township, Monmouth county, New Jersey, it is presumed that the name of their old home seemed. to them a suitable one for their new habitation.
The township as it now exists is located on the southern slope of the east ridge of the Allegheny, mountain, and its northern or Plunkett's Creek border is on the summit of the mountain. It consists of the Chemung formation (No. VIII) in a narrow belt along Muncy creek, Next above occurs Red Catskill, (No. IX) occupying the larger area of the township, and a small area of Pocono rocks (No. X) forming the summit of a corner of North mountain and making part of the south escarpment of the main range of the Alleghenies, which here trend northeast into Sullivan county. This great mountain, which rises to an altitude of 2,550 feet above tide, stands as an impregnable northeastern barrier, and affords a magnificent view of the surrounding country. Parties visiting the summit are entranced with the grandeur and variety of the panoramic scene which recedes from their vision like the billowy waves of the sea, until the lesser mountains and the valleys blend with the blue line of the horizon.
Shrewsbury is well irrigated by swift streams of pure, clear water. Its southern line follows Big Muncy creek. Roaring run, Big run, Fox run, and Lake ran rise within the township, and flowing southward fall into Big Muncy; tick run and Rock run head in Sullivan county. It has been suggested that grand toboggan slides might be constructed from various points above the escarpment of the mountain across the township to points. on the creek below, and thus afford delightful and exciting recreation, and attract thousands of pleasure seekers in winter as well as in summer. The long and steep incline of the mountain would give such impetus to the toboggan that the foothills might easily be overcome, especially by following the courses of the streams as far as possible.
First Settlers. - The census of 1890 gives this mountain township a population of 570. Considering its age its growth has been small. Among the earliest settlers within the present limits of Shrewsbury township was Peter Corson. He came to the neighborhood of Muncy from New Jersey in 1794, but settled in the woods on Muncy creek, on the property where his grandson, Jacob Corson, now resides, about 1798. He had live sons and three daughters, and his descendants are now numbered by the hundred, and are widely scattered. John Rynearson and Jacob Maish were the first permanent settlers on Big run, and Peter Buck was probably the first to drive his stakes on Lick run. Owen Malone was another of the first within the present borders. John Fox, John Craft, and Thomas Edkins were among the later settlers.
Highland Lake. - Shrewsbury is becoming celebrated for its delightful summer resorts. Near the northern border is Highland Lake, adjacent to which three large summer hotels are now attracting many pleasure seekers. The first erected was the Highland House, by S. H. & C. W. Burrows; then followed Hotel Grand View, by A. E. Burrows; and later, The Essick, by Dr. H. M. Essick. They are spacious buildings, furnished with all modern conveniences. There is also a cottage boarding house, owned by Farr Taylor. Besides the public houses, private cottages are owned by H. H. Rutter, of the Hughesville Mail, F. E. Gleim, cashier of the West Branch National Bank, Dr. William Du Four, George S. Maxwell, city editor of the Republican, of Williamsport, Mrs. Sarah Scull, of Overbrook, Pennsylvania, Edward A. Price, of Media, and S. H. Eyer, of Jersey Shore. A lot has been donated and a fund is now being raised for the erection of a union house of worship.
From these hotels and cottages a panorama of the finest scenery is a constant source of enjoyment and inspiration. The highlands of Shrewsbury are unsurpassed for healthfulness, and are steadily gaining their way into public favor. The lake, though small, forms a feature of an environment that makes the locality very interesting.
Immediately in the rear of the resort is the great primeval Allegheny forest, in which the lovers of wildness and solitude can find complete gratification of their tastes and whims, while in front a magnificent view of hundreds of square miles of hill and dale, field and woodland, alternating with pleasing irregularity, constitute a picture of grandeur and beauty that never fails to captivate the lovers of the beautiful in nature.
Mills. - The township has two steam saw mills - the Lyon Lumber, on Muncy creek, and the De Witt Bodine, on Lick run. There is a shingle mill on Roaring run, owned by John Frey.
Villages. - There are two villages in Shrewsbury, Tivoli and Glen Mawr. The former has one church, (Lutheran,) one store, one hotel, and one blacksmith shop; the latter, one hotel, two stores, and one Methodist Episcopal church, called Point Bethel. The Williamsport and North Branch railroad runs through both places. George Newman is the owner of a flagstone quarry near Tivoli.
Postoffices. - Shrewsbury has three postoffices, Tivoli, Glen Mawr, and Highland Lake. The former was established August 5, 1854, and called Corson's, and Daniel Corson was appointed postmaster. Jacob F. Carson succeeded him, February 9, 1857. Corson's was then changed to Tivoli, February 27, 1861, and George W. Hessler was appointed postmaster. His successors have been as follows: John C. Little, February 2, 1870; Charles L. Taylor, July 17,1874; William J. D. Edwards, May 31, 1877; Oliver W. Taylor, July 27, 1877; George Newman, March 6, 1883; Thomas W. W. Taylor, January 15, 1886; Hannah R. Hill, April 12, 1889.
The postoffice at Glen Mawr, as the name appears on the records, was established March 5, 1886, and Henry G. Harriman was appointed postmaster. He was succeeded by Anson P. Starr, the present incumbent, June 22, 1889.
A postoffice was opened at Highland Lake, June 17, 1889, and Sabin H. Burrows was appointed postmaster. At the close of the season at the lake the office is discontinued, and then reopened when the next season begins, with the same postmaster. It is run in this way for the accommodation of summer visitors.
Schools. - There are four schools in this township, viz: Tivoli, Point, Pine Grove, and Indiantown. The report for 1891 shows: two male and two female teachers; pay of each, $28 per month; male scholars sixty-three, female seventy-three.
September, 1834, enough territory was taken from Muncy to form the township of Wolf, and it was named in honor of George Wolf, who was then Governor of the State. It is the thirty - ninth in size and its area is 8,960 acres, with a population of, 734 by the census of 1890. , Since its erection Wolf has contributed territory to form two boroughs - Hughesville and Picture Rocks. In shape the township looks much like a shoe on the map. It is bounded on the east by Moreland, Penn, and Shrewsbury, on the north by Plunkett's Creek, on the west by Muncy, and on the south by Muncy creek. Muncy, creek runs through the lower part of the township and is fed by Sugar run, Gregg run, Pine run, Pea Vine run, and Laurel run. Wolf run falls into the river.
Geologically, Wolf township consists of Lower Helderberg limestone (No. VI) in the extreme south and west of Hughesville, above which is next observed (No. VIII) a broad area extending through the center and south part of the township, with a narrow band of the same across the upper part. Above this occurs Red Catskill (No. IX) in a narrow belt between the two bands of (No. VIII) and a broad area in the northern part of the township jutting up against the face of the Allegheny mountain range and forming the south escarpment of the same...Limestone (No. VI) is quarried west of Hughesville for lime on a large scale. The fossil iron ore (No. VIII) passes across the township, but no developments are known. The surface of the lower part of the township is rolling, with fine farms, whilst the northern part is hilly and mountainous, There is much evidence of the glacial moraine in the northern part of the township, across which it passed.
There seems to be an inexhaustible supply of fine flagstone in the rocks (No. VIII), and it promises to become a source of great value. The following quarries are now being operated: J. D. Musgrave, near the head of Laurel run; Andrew Beilharz, on Laurel run, below Musgrave's; J. H. Green, below Beilharz; George West, on a west branch of Laurel run; Edwin Green, on an east branch of Laurel run; Martin Van Buskirk, on Wolf run; George West, at Picture Rocks, and Bilamboz, near Picture Rocks.
Incidents of Early History. - There is much thrilling and interesting history relating to this township, but it is so, blended with the general history of Muncy, the parent township, that it would be a work of supererogation to repeat it in detail here. As far as known David Aspen, was the first settler within the limits of Wolf The exact time is, unknown, but it must have, been as early as 1777, as on the 8th of August 1778, Rachel Silverthorn was despatched to warn him of the approach of the Indians. "His cabin stood on or near the southern boundary line of the borough of Hughesville. Aspen took refuge at Fort Muncy, where he remained a few days, and then returned to look after his effects. Not returning a searching party started out to look for him. Near his cabin his dead body was found. He had been shot and scalped by the lurking savages. Until within a few years a pile of stones where the chimney of his cabin stood was pointed out, and an old apple tree still marks the place. Whence he came, his age, and whether he had a family, are, like his burial place, unknown.
Abraham Webster was another of the pioneer settlers. He came from England and located on what afterwards was known as Henry Ecroyd's farm. The Indians' appeared at his place in 1778, killed his son Abraham, and carried a younger brother, Joseph, and two sisters into captivity. One of the girls was thrown from a canoe in Seneca Lake by an enraged squaw and drowned; the other was never heard from. Joseph returned after an absence of twelve years and married Anna Robb. Their descendants still live in the lower end of the county.
Industries. - One of the first improvements in the township was a grist mill erected by Mr. Clayton in 1816, which is still running. In 1842 Mr. Bryan built the woolen mill on Muncy creek, which was afterwards operated by Bryan & Colter. It originally cost about $15,000, and was regarded at that time as a great improvement. It is now owned and operated by David Osler. About the time of the erection of this mill a second one was built by another firm, but in 1872 it was converted into a flouring mill by J. H. Stroeber. In 1858 Sprout and Sanders started a factory for making pumps and agricultural implements. It was operated for several years, when George Steck became the owner. The place where these improvements are located is known as Villa Grove. There is one water power saw mill on Laurel run, owned by Martin Van Buskirk, which manufactures lumber and shingles. Very little timber now remains in the township.
Bryan Mill. - A postoffice was established at Bryan Mill, April 8, 1892, and Charles W. Person was appointed postmaster. This is the only one in the township.
Schools and Churches. - The first school was opened in 1814 in the room of a building then standing on the farm of Christian Kahler. A log school house was built in 1818, Here in 1820 the Methodists organized the first religious society in the township, and here they worshiped until 1844, when they occupied a building of their own specially erected for a church. A union Sunday school was started in the old log school house under the direction of Jacob Shoemaker and Mary Campbell in 1827. A Lutheran society was organized and a church erected in 1850. It was an offshoot of the old Immanuel's church, in Mancy Creek township.
Wolf township now has six school houses, viz: Newman, Steck, Pine Run, Huntersville, Villa Grove, and Boak.
Penn township was formed in 1828. Its name, tradition says, was given to it by Tobias and Isaac Kepner, who came from Penn township, Berke county, at an early date, and were solicitous to have a township in Lycoming bearing the same title, and in deference to them the court so named it. At all events the name Of the illustrious founder is associated with it. It is bounded on the east by Franklin township and Columbia county, on the north by Shrewsbury, on the west by Wolf, and on the south by Moreland. In size it is the twenty-third, and it has an area of 10,880 acres. By the census of 1890 the population was 877.
Geologically it consists of the Chemung (No. VIII) in the southern part, and of Red Catskill (No. IX) in the north. The terminal moraine of the glacial period scarcely shows itself in Penn township.
Among the streams may be mentioned Beaver, which is the outlet of Beaver Dam, Big run, Gregg run, and Sugar run.
The surface of the township is, generally rough and mountainous, offering but little attraction for the farmer. Owing to its elevation the climate is delightful in summer time.
The First Settlers were among those whose, names are found in the assessment lists of Muncy township, which originally embraced it. Benoni Wiesner, a low Dutchman, was an early settler near the base of the North mountain. Christopher Frey located near where Mt. Zion church now stands. And Thomas Strawbridge, John Craft, and Thomas Reed were among the pioneers in this wild mountain region.
Mills. - There are two steam saw mills, operated by Kahler Brothers and Wesley Sanders. The water mills are owned by the McClintic heirs, at Beaver Dam, Joseph McClintic, and George W. Phillips. But little timber remains in the township.
Postoffices. - Fribley was established June 26, 1878, and Robert E. Keeler was appointed postmaster. He is the present incumbent. Strawbridge was established June 28, 1886, and Jerry Holden was appointed postmaster. The office was discontinued, September 28, 1887; then re-established, October 24, 1890, and Robert E. Keeler was again appointed. He still holds the office. There are two stores, kept, respectively, by Robert E. Keeler and Joseph Keeler.
North Mountain was established October 30, 1879; Burgess Swishar was appointed postmaster, and he is still in office.
Churches. - There are four churches - Aft. Zion, Lutheran, built through the labors of Rev. George Parson; Ebenezer, Evangelical Methodist; Kedron, Methodist, and Neff, Evangelical Methodist. Mt. Zion and Ebenezer churches have cemeteries.
Schools. - The township has six schools, viz: Lyon's, Derr, Neff, Shanty, McCarthy, and Creek.