The History of Lehigh Township
THIS township is bounded
on the north by Carbon county
on the east by Moore township
on the south by Allen township and Lehigh county, and it is watered by
Indian Creek, a also on the west by the same county branch of the
Hokendaqua, and by other small streams which flow into the Lehigh River.
The Lehigh Water Gap, at the northwestern corner of, the county, where the
river flows between the headlands of the Blue Mountain, is a point of great
interest to tourist and geologist. There is also within the limits of the
township, another mountain gap, called by the Germans, Die Kleine Kaft, or
Lehigh township originally extended from the Lehigh River as far east as
the old Minisink road, on the eastern line of Bushkill, and was, until
1752, called the “Adjacents of Allen.” Its present metes and bounds were
finally fixed in 1765. The earliest record of this part of Northampton
county, is one touching the surveys and laying out (in 1735, by order of
Thomas Penn) of 6,500 acres, of land on which he designed to settle all the
Forks Indians; which tract, hence, was known as the Indian Land. Penns
project was never realized. This and the Manor of Fermor were the only
Proprietaries reservations in present Northampton county. This township
suffered much during the Indian war, and at times was almost depopulated;
the inhabitants fleeing to Bethlehem and Nazareth, for safety and
Benjamin Franklin, on his way from Bethlehem to Gnadenhutten (Weissport),
in January, 1756, writes from the first place as follows:
As we drew near this place, we met a number of wagons and many people
moving off with their effects from the Irish settlement and Lehigh
township. Franklin was about setting out with seven companies of
Provincials, in command of Captains Foulke, Mclaughlin, and Wayne, to build
The family of Driesbach was prominent in this section before as well as
during the Revolution. James Dreisbach was-Colonel of the 3d Battalion of
Militia, in 1775, and Simon, a member of Assembly, from 1776 to 1779.
The first settlers of Lehigh township were Germans, as was the case in a
majority of the townships of Northampton. A few were here at it very early
date, and it has been said by some, that they had established a church here
prior to the organization of the church at Craig’s settlement, in Allen;
but there is doubt as to the truth of this statement. Certain it is,
however that the settlement in Lehigh, though small in number, was among
the first in the county.
In the year 1740, it numbered only thirty souls. During the following
decade, they received accession by immigrations from the Palatinate, and in
1850, the population was over one hundred, which at the end of twenty years
(1770,), had been increased to three hundred and fifty.
In the year 1773, the valuation of real estate in Lehigh was £853, and
the total amount of taxes was £10 3s. 4d. There were then eighty-eight
taxable persons, and ten single men, in the township, which also contained
three grist-mills, owned respectively by Thomas Wilson, Jost Driesbach, and
George Driesbach, of whom, the last named, also owned a saw-mill; and there
was another saw-mill, and an oil-mill, of which the names of the owners are
In 1780, the population exceeded 500
in the year 1800 it was 884
in 1820, the number of inhabitants was 1,550
in 1830, 1,659
in 1840, 2,049
in 1850 it reached 2,343
these being comprised in
the number of dwelling houses being 400,
the number of farms 149
The township then produced
5,545 bushels wheat
22,128 bushels rye
19,779 bushels corn
14,132 bushels oats
4,241 bushels buckwheat
18,292 bushels potatoes
33,850 pounds of butter
1,787 tons of hay
Following are statistics of the township
ASSESSSMENT OF 1833
Valuation of Real Estate, 15,815 Acres of Land, averaged at
$23.80 per acre, $376,395 00
Valuation of Occupations and Professions, 46,704 00
Excess of, ditto, 3,000 00
Value of Pleasure Carriages (151 carriages), 6,645 00
Value of Horses and Cattle (398 horses, 663 cows) 25,375 00
Value of Stocks of Bank 7,450 00
Moneys at Interest, 45,900 00
State Tax, 1,399 01
County Tax, 1,211 98
School Tax, 950 00
Road Tax, 1,000 00
One Church (Lutheran and Reformed), 1,000 seats cost, 2,600 00
One Church (Methodist), 200 seats cost, 700 00
Number of Taxables, 568
And there were within the township at that time
2 slate factories,
1 slate quarry
The population of Lehigh township at the last census was 3,496. It
contains, at the present time, five churches
one United Brethren,
sixteen school houses
two slate factories
nine slate quarries.
The Little Gap Slate Quarry, at Danielsville, was started by Owen Jones
and Owen Williams, on the property of Mr John Henry.
Charles B. Daniels bought the lease of them in 1848, and worked it, in
connection with his Christian Springs Quarry, until 1862 or 1863, when he
sold it to William Henry Harper, who is still working it.
While Mr. Daniels operated it, he also owned most of the property in the
vicinity; and as he was working it extensively, getting out from 12,000 to
15,000 squares per year, and employing a large number of men, he erected
several buildings near by, adding so much to the prosperity of the place,
that the inhabitants, in gratitude to him, named it Danielsville.
The Heimbach Quarry, leased by Caskil & Emack, employs from eighty to one
hundred hands. They manufacture school, roof, and mantel slate, and find
their market principally in Europe.
The Eagle Quarry, operated by Hower Brothers, is located about four miles
east of Slatington, and two northeast of Cherryville. The Hower Brothers
employ about eighty hands at their works. Market-United States and Europe
Roberts & Griffith are running the Harper Quarry, which is located four
miles east of Slatington, and one south of the mountain. Market -United States and Europe.
First, National, or Henrys Quarry, leased and operated by Roberts &
Lerch, is located one mile southeast of Danielsville, and seven east of
Slatington. Twenty hands are employed by this firm. Market-UnitedStates and Europe.
The Welsh Quarry, owned by William P. Williams, of Rockville, was opened
during the year, and is now forty-five feet deep. The slate of this quarry
are equal to any in the country, and never fade.
H. W. Harper’s slate factory is located four miles east of Slatington, and
two southeast of Danielsville. It turns out about 2,000 cases a year, which
are sold principally in America.
Mr. Abraham Lerch is now operating a slate factory which turns out about
3,000 cases of slate per year, which find a ready market in fill parts, of
the world. He is also proprietor of one of the largest stores in Lehigh
township, Mr. Lerch commenced business here in 1840.
EARLY CHURCH ORGANIZATION.
There was a church organization in existence in this township in 1762,
during the reign of George the Third. The gospel, at this time, was
supplied by the Rev. Johannes Andrew Frederick, and the elders were Michael
Keppel, Conrad Genisel, and Jacob Roth.
The first child baptized was William Weldon, A. D. 1762. It seems they
were without, a church at this time, but, erected one in 1772, ten years later.
The minister who preached in 1772 was John Conrad Steiner, and the
The third church has been erected during the past year, on the site where
the others stood of 1772, This is the old Indian Land Church.