Middletown, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania

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Middletown is a borough in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, on the Susquehanna River, nine miles (15 km) southeast of Harrisburg. It is part of the Harrisburg–Carlisle Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Contents

History

Middletown was founded in 1755 and was incorporated as a borough in 1828. It is the oldest incorporated community in Dauphin County and is in a rich agricultural area bordering Pennsylvania Dutch Country. In the past, it had flouring and planing mills, stove works, car shops, and shoe, hosiery, cigar, and furniture factories. In 1900, 5,608 people lived there; in 1910, 5,374; and in 1940, 7,046. The population was 9,242 at the 2000 census.

The early maps of Pennsylvania show that the area of land now called Middletown was "A Susquehannock Indian Town" (1715). When Middletown was laid out in 1755, some lodges of the Conoy or Ganawese Indians were located on the ground in the area bounded by Pine, Spruce, Main, and High Streets. These two tribes were "remnants" of the once-powerful Susquehannock Nation.

The Scots-Irish were the first white settlers of the area. Not Irish by blood, but Scottish religionists of rigid Presbyterian faith who were compelled to leave Scotland or be prosecuted. These people migrated to Ireland, but as they did not want their children to be under the Irish Catholic influence for too long a time, they soon migrated to America.

Near the mouth of the Swatara Creek, a rough Irishman named "Anderson" claimed 423 acres (1.7 km2) on the Susquehanna River. This claim dates back at least to 1728. Jacob Job, a Philadelphia merchant, acquired the rights to the Anderson claim in 1732. It has been estimated that by 1750 there were about 200 Scots-Irish families in the vicinity of Middletown, which was then in Paxtang Township of Lancaster County.

Jeremiah Job was the first English settler of record of lands composing what is now the town. His home was a long two-story log house located on the northwest corner of Main and Pine Streets. Little is known about the English settlers except the Fishers. It is known that William Penn visited the land at the mouth of the Swatara Creek and Susquehanna River in 1683 while on his journey "to the interior".

On January 27, 1759, John Fisher and his wife, Grace, granted unto their youngest son, George Fisher, tracts of land which totaled 691 acres (2.8 km2) and 53 perches, plus allowances. It is apparent from this record that George Fisher came there before the actual conveyance of lands to him, as the date of laying out Middletown is given as 1755.

Middletown, the oldest town in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, was laid out thirty years before Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and seven years before Hummelstown, Pennsylvania. Due to its location for trade, both by land and by water, the town grew rapidly for at least a century and a half. Prior to 1729, this area was a part of Chester County, Pennsylvania. In 1729, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania was formed, and on March 4, 1785, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania was formed. Middletown was a "Post Town" and so named because of its location midway between Lancaster and Carlisle, Pennsylvania, along the old Stage Coach Road laid out in 1736.

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