The History of Plainfield Township
PLAINFIELD is bounded
on the north by Monroe county
on the east by the townships of Washington and Lower Mount Bethel
on the south by Forks and Palmer
on the west by Bushkill township
It is watered chiefly by the east branch of Bushkill Creek.
The name Plainfield was given to it as best describing its appearance when
the first settlers came. It was almost devoid of timber, except on the
margins of the water-courses, with a few dwarf oaks and stunted evergreens,
growing on the higher lands. The surface of the township, however, is by no
means a plain, but is quite rolling in the southern part, and in the north
mountainous. The Blue Mountain forms a natural barrier, and stretches, in
an unbroken ridge, along the northern border.
There is a singular opening or pass through the mountain, called by the
German settlers, Die Wind Kaft (the Wind Gap), through which no stream
passes, but the almost level crest-line of the mountain is here depressed
nearly as low as the country on each side, forming a notch on the mountain
of peculiar convenience for the passage of travelers and teams, and is the
only crossing for wagon-roads, from this township, across the Blue
The first settlers were Hollanders, and cattle in here very early;
probably not long after 1740. No authentic record of their names can e
found, except. those of the families of Bender and Heller. German settlers
immediately followed, and the descendants, of those are among the
inhabitants of Plainfield until the present time.
On the twenty-fourth of December, 1762, a decree of court authorized and
ordered the laying out and erection of the township. Upon this a survey was
made, embracing the present limits, and this was accepted and confirmed by
the court March 22d, 1763. The entire length of the boundary lines was
thirty-four and a quarter miles, and within these, at that time, was a
population of a little more, than three hundred souls.
One of the first dwellings of the settlers was a log house, built upon the
spot where new stands the brick house of George Hann. There were,
doubtless, others built as early, and perhaps earlier than this but this
was the oldest habitation in the township whose site can be definitely and
During the Indian wars, a temporary fortification was built and occupied
by some ten or twelve families as a place of refuge. The strong-house,
within the works, was afterwards used as a permanent dwelling. The location
of this was, as near as call be ascertained, on the farm now owned by Jacob
Ruth. The Indian path, leading from their villages on the Susquehanna to
the Falls of the Delaware and the lower settlements-the same which crossed
the Lehigh, below Bethlehem-passed through the Wind Gap, and traversed a
part of Plainfield, crossing the present farm of J. P. R. Heller.
The first grist-mill in the township was built by Adam Helmer, about the
year 1770, on land owned at present by John Stoppel. Traces of the old
dam and race-way can still be seen.
The oldest, distillery, of which there is any account, was built on the
farm now owned by George Bruch, and occupied by Salomon Florey in the year
1773, the valuation of real estate in Plainfield township was £512.
The total amount of taxes in that year won, £6 19s,. There were
sixty-four taxables and nine single men, and there were two mills; the
grist-mill, built, by Helmer, and so saw-mill, erected about the same time,
by Jacob Heller.
The population of the township had then increased to more than five
hundred. In 1780 it had risen to nearly seven hundred, and in 17190 it was
eight hundred and eighty-seven.
The first physician in the township was probably Henry Sibley, a Hessian,
who was captured at the battle of Trenton, and who chose to establish
himself here rather than return to the service.
Belfast was the first part of the township which came to be regarded as a
village. Hellerville was laid out into village lots in 1796. There are
three other villages in the township
Penargil, in the northwest part, where are located the extensive quarries
of the Pennsylvania Slate Company
Blue Mountain, in the eastern part
Wind Gap, in the northwestern part, of the township
At the commencement of the present century, the population of the
township was 1,157; in 1850 it had increased to 1,753.
In that year there were
There were produced, in the township
5,507 bushels of wheat
26,608 bushels of rye
28,600 bushels of corn
15,291 bushels of oats
9,993 bushels of potatoes
48,360 pounds of butter
1,9631 tons of hay
The assessment figures for 1853 were as follows:
Valuation, Real Estate, $352,977 00
Valuation, 308 Horses, 545 cows, 18,053 00
Valuation, 122 Pleasure Carriages 2,805 00
Moneys at Interest, 23,105 00
State Tax 1,200 73
County Tax 1,075 76
Road Tax 600 00
School Tax 500 00
Number of Taxable Persons 417
And there were
seven public houses
The population of Plainfield, at the last census, was 1,988.
Tile hotel, now owned by John F. Uhler, was built by Jacob Heller, at a
very early day and is said to be the oldest public house in the township.
The Hellersville Hotel, now owned by Colonel J. P. R. Heller, was built in
1797, by George Keener: it is one mile from the Wind Gap, on the
Wilkesbarre turnpike-the oldest regularly laid-out road in the township.
Bushkill Creek Lodge, No. 878, I. O. of O. F., located at Belfast, was
instituted, with twenty-three charter members, June 22d, 1874. The first
J. Coroling, N. G.
A. J. Uhler, V. G.
H. S. Santee, Sec.
Charles Jasper, Asst. Sec.
T. Lehr, Treas.
Present number of members, sixty-eight. Value of lodge property,
five hundred dollars and fifty-two cents.
ST. PETER’S, REFORMED AND LUTHERAN CHURCH.
This congregation dates back, probably, to the middle of the eighteenth
century, Indications of this are extant in the cemetery of the church; and,
incidentally also, in the congregational records.
The first, regular record, however, and the first regular organization,
seem to go back only to A.D. 1763. In this year Rev. Caspar D. Weyberg
became pastor, and he installed, as elders of the congregation,
Peter B. Hahn
From this time on the congregational records are without break. The
congregation was originally wholly ofthe Reformed faith. In 1805, the first
Lutheran services were held; and in 1832, the Reformed congregation granted
to the Lutherans equal rights in the church and landed property, and from
that time it has been practically a Union church.
The original founders of this congregation were principally Palatines,
though there were some Swiss and French Huguenots.
The congregation had, from the beginning, a considerable endowment of
landed property, There are two land-warrants still in existence dated
October 18th, 1750, and August 27th, 1791, by which sixty acres and seventy
perches, and allowance, of land, were deeded to the legal representatives
of the congregation.
In 1832 this land was all sold, except about ten acres, which now belongs
to the Union Reformed, and Lutheran congregations.
The pastors of the congregation, on the Reformed side, were:
Revs. Caspar D. Weyberg, D.D.,
Frederick L. Henop
J. W. Weber
J. W. Ingold
L. F. Herrman
C. G. Eichenberg
E. H. Reinecke, the present pastor
The Lutheran pastors were:
John C. Lung
L. H. Colson,
John A. Brobst
G. A. Struntz
K. J. Kramlich, the present pastor.
In 1832, the third church edifice was erected, on the same tract of land.
It is of brick, and will seat 1,000 persons. It was repaired in 1870. The
congregation also own a two-story dwelling house, for the organist and
teacher. As when first organized, the congregation support their own
THIS township is bounded
on the north by Carbon county
on the east by Bushkill township
on the south by the townships of Upper Nazareth, East Allen, and Allen
on the west by the township of Lehigh.
It comprehends a territory nearly six miles square, containing
thirty-five square miles, about 22,506 acres of land, drained by the
springs and headwaters of Hokendauqua and Monocacy creeks. The face of the
country is hilly and rolling, and the soil either gravel or slate, but made
by judicious culture to yield a fair return of tile cereals, especially
buck-wheat and rye.
In 1752, when Northampton county was erected, this portion of it was a
part, of the “Adjacents of Allen.” Moore received its present bounds, and
was erected a township in 1765. At one time it was proposed to call the
township Penn. Its present name was given it in honor of John Moore, to
representative of the county, in the Provincial Assembly, in 1761 and 1762.
Smiths Gap, one of the three passes in the Blue Mountain, is on the
northern line of this township, and as this was one of the Indian highways,
it laid the inhabitants open to special danger from their incursions.
In January, 1756, they entered this township, and committed a series of
depredations and murders, firing Christian Millers, Henry Diel’s, Henry
Shopp’s, Nicholas Heip’s, Nicholas Shopp’s, and Peter Doll’s, houses and
barns, killing one of Heil’s children, and a man named John Bauman, whose
body was found two weeks after the maraud, and interred in the Moravian
burial-ground, at Nazareth.
The first white settlements, were made in Moore township, between 1740
and 1750. In the latter year, about fifty persons-men, women, and children
were, living within its present limits.
In 1760, the number of inhabitants exceeded three hundred, and in 1770,
the number had increased to about five hundred.
In 1773, there were in the township three grist-mills;
one owned by Adam Mersch
one by M. Scholl
one owned by Caspar Erb, who was also the proprietor of a saw-mill.
Another saw-mill was owned by Adam Deemer. In 1776, the total amount of
taxes paid in the township was £6 8s. 2d., about $17.09
At the commencement of the century, the population of Moore had reached
881, and during the next decade, the number was increased to 1,250.
In 1820, its population numbered 1,645
in 1830, it was 1,853
in 1840, 2,389
in 1850, 2,615.
At that time, there were in the township,
487 dwelling houses
The amount of wheat produced was 4,572 bushels
of rye, 4,333 bushels
of corn, 32,088 bushels
of oats, 16,336 bushels
of buckwheat, 6,366 bushels
of potatoes, 14,928 bushels
of buffer, 61,610 pounds
of hay, 2,318 tons
The statistics of the township assessment of 1853, were as follows:
Valuation, Real Estate, 20,401 Acres(average $20.06 per Acre), $409,325
Valuation, Occupations and Professions 54,100
Valuation 422 Horses, 732 Cows, 22,646
Valuation 180 Pleasure Carriages, 4,786
Money at Interest, 30,150
State Tax $1,526 82
County Tax 1,479 21
Road Tax 700 00
School Tax 800 00
One Church (Lutheran and Reformed) 700 seats 5,000 00
One Church 200 Seats, value 500 00
There are six small villages within the township:
Dannersville, in the southern part, contains a school house, one hotel, a
store, and about thirty houses
Klecknersville, about the territorial centre, has about thirty dwellings,
one store, two hotels, a blacksmith-shop, wagon-shop, and shoe-manufactory.
Beersville, in the extreme southwest, has a hotel, a school house, an
Evangelical church, and about fifteen dwellings
Point Phillips, in the northern part, has about twelve houses, a school,
two hotels, a blacksmith-shop, and two saw-mills near the village.
Moores P. O., is near the eastern line. It contains a hotel, school, and
two stores. Salem Church is also located here
Youngsville, near the western line, is a village of a few houses, and a
school house. Christ Church is in the immediate, vicinity of the village
There are in the township
eleven slate quarries
These quarries are mostly in the vicinity of Chapman borough, and three of
them are within the borough limits. The schools of the township are fifteen
in number, and there is an academy in the vicinity of Klecknersville.
The population of the township at the last census was 2,938.