The History of Mount Bethel Township
THIS township is bounded
on the north by Monroe county
on the east and south by the Delaware River, separating it from the State
of New Jersey on the south and west by the townships of Lower Mount Bethel
It was erected a township, in 1787, from the territory of old Mount
Bethel, which was originally a township of Bucks county, before the
erection of Northampton.
This was one of the oldest Settled portions of Northampton county,
including in its limits the old Hunter Settlement, founded by the
Ulster-Scots, about 1730; and it was by this name that it was only known
for some seventeen years thereafter.
But, on the eighth of June, 1746, the inhabitants living on the main
branch of the Delaware, embracing the Hunter Settlement, and other
immigrants who had settled there subsequently, namely
Robert Liles, petitioned the Court of Quarter Sessions to lay off into a
township a district of country, with the following boundaries:
From the mouth of Tunami’s Creek, up the north branch of said creek, upon
the west side of Jeremiah Bests to the Blue Mountains, and thence, by said
mountains, to ye north branch of said river, and thence, and thence
by said branch, to the mouth of said Tunami’s Creek again.
The Court ordered the petitioners to produce a draft of the township, at
the next term. This resulted in the organization of old Mount Bethel
township; upon which the original name of Hunter Settlement passed into
Among the names of the first settler, in Mount Bethel we find that of La
bar; three brothers, by the name of Peter, Charles, and Abraham, who
immigrated from Fraces to this country, before 1730. Landing at
Philadelphia, they at once started out in pursuit of a home.
Making their way up the Delaware, much of the way through dense forests,
they finally reached the southern base of the Blue Mountains, where,
believing they had penetrated beyond the bounds of civilized man, they
located a tract of land, reared a log cabin, and settled on the place now
owned by Mr. Samuel Pipher, about half a mile southwest of the present
village of Slateford.
Here the three brothers commenced the hardships of a pioneer life, They
were the first who cleared land on the Delaware, above the mouth of the
Lehigh. They had been in their new home but a short time, when their tawny
neighbors began to manifest a friendly feeling, and evinced an inclination
to become acquainted. This feeling bring reciprocated by the new pioneers,
it was not long before amicable relations had been established between the
brothers and the curious red men, then numerous at this point, near the
This friendship greatly promoted the safety of the brothers, and enabled
them to procure from the Indians a supply of corn, which, in those days,
must be pounded in a mortar, by hand for there was no grist-mill. At this
time, the young pioneers were progressing favorably, and they began to look
about them. They soon found that they were not the only whites, in this
region, for just north of the Blue Mountain they found Nicholas Depui, who
was then quite an old man, and settled at a place called Shawanese, on the
Minisink lands, one of the first settlements made in the State.
Not long after, they found another small settlement; probably that part
of the Hunter Settlement planted at Williamsburg.
During this brief period, the three pioneers had obtained considerable
knowledge of the Forks region; and the friendly intercourse they had
established with the Indians, had enabled them to learn considerable of the
Indian language. While at this place, the La Bar brother, married; and
soon afterwards removed north of the Blue Mountain, into what is Dow
Monroe county, where they permanently settled.
A few year, subsequently, a son of Peter, by the name of George, moved
south of the mountain, and settled near the original La Bar cabin, where he
raised a large family. He lived to the age of one hundred and six years,
and his son-also named George-died in 1874, at the age of one hundred and
eleven, years and nine months.
There are now many of the La Bar descendents living in Mount Bethel
township, and in the lower part of Monroe county. It may truly be said,
they have fully obeyed the Divine injunction, to increase and multiply.
The first elections of the settlers in the Mount Bethel region were held
at Easton, but, as new settlers were added to the sparsely populated
township, Richmond, since in Lower Mount Bethel, and now in Washington
township, became the voting place.
This remained the voting place until the division of the old township,
March 17th, 1787. Williamburg then became the voting place for Upper Mount
Bethel township, and there the elections were held until 1874, when the
township was divided into two voting districts, namely, Williamsburg and
Delpsburg, at which places the elections have since been held.