Clinton Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania

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Clinton Township is a township in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. The population was 3,947 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Williamsport, Pennsylvania Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Contents

History

Clinton Township was formed from part of Washington Township by the Pennsylvania General Assembly during its December 1825 sessions. It was named for Governor DeWitt Clinton of New York.

One of the most prominent physical features in Clinton Township is Penny Hill. This hill which is in the eastern portion of the township was named for a dog named Penny. Penny was apparently fond of wandering up and down the hill during the late 1780s and early 1790s. She was owned by a man named David Tolbert. Tolbert's dog was seen so often on the hill that the residents of the area began to call it Penny Hill. Today Penny Hill is bisected by U.S. Route 15. It over looks West Branch Susquehanna River and is covered by a number of family residences and several small farms.

The first permanent settlers to Clinton Township arrived just before the beginning of the American Revolution. They cleared the land that surrounds Black Hole Creek in the valley between Bald Eagle Mountain and Penny Hill. During the war, settlements throughout the Susquehanna valley were attacked by Loyalists and Native Americans allied with the British. After the Battle of Wyoming in the summer of 1778 (near what is now Wilkes-Barre) and smaller local attacks, the "Big Runaway" occurred throughout the West Branch Susquehanna valley. Settlers fled feared and actual attacks by the British and their allies. Homes and fields were abandoned, with livestock driven along and a few possessions floated on rafts on the river east to Muncy, then further south to Sunbury. The abandoned property was burnt by the attackers. Some settlers soon returned, only to flee again in the summer of 1779 in the "Little Runaway". Sullivan's Expedition helped stabilize the area and encouraged resettlement, which continued after the war.

Following the war the pioneers returned to Clinton Township and reestablished their homesteads. By this time most of the Native Americans had either been killed off or fled to the west. The settlers encountered some struggles over the years, most notably in the winter of 1787. This winter was especially harsh in Clinton Township. Nearly all the livestock was either frozen to death or they died of starvation. The supplies of food stored after the harvest were quickly depleted and the people began to starve. Hunters struggled through the deep snow. Even those that were able to use snowshoes to walk on top of the snow struggled to find any game, which also struggled to survive the harsh winter. When the winter finally broke the residents were able to harvest tremendous amounts of shad in Black Hole Creek and in the West Branch Susquehanna River with a seine that was delivered to them by the father-in-law of Major Ten Brook, Mr. Emmons. Mr. Emmons arrived from New Jersey with additional supplies including salt, wheat, corn, and garden seeds. He is credited with saving the lives of many of the early residents of Clinton Township. Emmons returned again in 1788 with another wagon load of supplies, while camping he was tragically killed by a tree that fell on the wagon where he was sleeping.[3] Eagle Grange No. 1 in Clinton Township was organized on March 4, 1871 by a group of rural farmers who had become concerned about the rising costs of farming in the post Civil War economy. It was the first grange to be organized in Pennsylvania, two years before the formation of the Pennsylvania State Grange and four years after The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, better known as the National Grange was founded in Fredonia, New York by Oliver Hudson Kelley. The chief objectives of the Eagle Grange No. 1 were the establishment of a co-operative purchasing program for farmers, the lowering of railroad rates, and the establishment of rural free delivery by the United States Postal Service. The Grange was one of the first national organizations to give equal status to female members.[4]

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