UNION TOWNSHIP

Was formed in July, 1813, of territory taken from the original township of Huntington. It lies on the river, and two creeks force their way through the mountains to the river, and make the gaps for the farmers to follow in building their roads to the trading and shipping point, Shickshinny.

The first settlements, outside of what is now Shickshinny borough, was made in the northwest of River mountain, in 1790, by Peter Gregory and George Fink. These men had married each otherís sisters, and had come from the valley of the Delaware. Where they located was a rich and beautiful valley, on the east branch of Shickshinny creek, The creek at this point furnished good mill power, and was soon utilized, as the first sawmills in the township were built on the claims of Gregory and Fink. Soon after the coming of these men, two other brothers-in-law, Stephen Arnold and Moses Derby, settled where is now Muhlenburg. They opened their farms, and soon other friends heard of this excellent place for farmers, and the stream began that has given the county some of its best farming communities. Commencing in 1793 was the heavy immigration to this and on to Huntington valley, by the people mostly from Connecticut. The early settlers came mostly on sleds, and at the season of the year when they could cross the many streams on the ice, following the old Indian paths and after the "blazed" roads. In 1797 Stephen Roberts settled about midway between the above named settlements, and shortly Marvins, Culvers and Shaws were making pleasant homes in the wilderness.

About the same time the families of James Van Scoter (now called Benscoter) and his sons, Anthony and John, also three then unmarried sons, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, were added to the Dutch settlement; all left numerous descendants. About the same time also the Bellas, Davenport, Hans, Muchler, Huff and Cragle families were added.

In 1799 William Moore, an Irishman from Maryland, with a large family, settled at the place known as Mooretown. His descendants still own the farm. A grand daughter, Mrs. John Harned, remained there. The Huffman, Harned, Post, Bonham, Wolfe, Johnson and Santee families came soon after 1800, and nearly all homes then formed are still retained in the families of descendants.

December 24, 1801, Shadrach Austin, a son of the first occupant of Shickshinny, married Mary Gregory, daughter of Peter Gregory, Sr., and bought the present Austin homestead, where he spent the remainder of his life. He was a teacher and a leader among his neighbors, and during a long, active life "Uncle Shadrach" was almost universally spoken of as an examplar worthy of imitation. He was born July 12, 1770, and died December 26, 1850.

In 1815 John Hartman bought a farm and moved into a house where Samuel Huff had lived several years, which is owned by his son, Stephen Hartman. As the land could be bought at a low price and proved very productive, other old neighbors from Northampton and Lehigh counties soon followed, and a German settlement was formed, as the Masters, Hobbes, Baer, Adelman and Neville families all obtained land near the Hartmans, and long retained many of the customs and characteristics of the German population of the Lehigh valley.

Peter Gregory, Jr., and Richard Gregory, sons of the first settler, bought and occupied farms. Richard lived nearly 100 years. Joseph Gregory and John Gregory, sons of Peter, own and occupy parts of the old homestead.

In 1813 James Search bought of Phillip and Margaret Hann the place near the river known as the Jessup farm, where he raised his family. His son Lot married Christina Fink, and settled just above Shickshinny, where is the quarry now, and where Lot Searchís store was once kept.

Muhlenburg, as seen above, was one of the very early settlements, and has long been a postoffice, and has a store, hotel, church and blacksmith shop.

Reyburn is a postoffice and gristmill all in one, and a little store.

Koonsville is one mile from Shickshinny. A general store and toll-gate, and the Kester Brothers have their mine furnishing factory, and deal extensively in lumber.

Town Line, where is a postoffice and store, gets its name by the road at that place being on the dividing town line.

This Town History was donated by Robin Linn.

© 1997-2010 by Mary Ann Lubinsky for the PAGenWeb Project, and by Individual Contributors

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