Porter Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania

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Porter Township is a township in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. The population was 1,633 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Williamsport, Pennsylvania Metropolitan Statistical Area.



Porter Township, named for David R. Porter, governor of Pennsylvania (1839-1845), was formed from part of Mifflin Township on May 6, 1840.[3]

When colonial settlers first arrived in what is now Porter Township they were outside the western boundary of what was then the Province of Pennsylvania. These settlers were not under the jurisiction or protection of any type from any of the Thirteen Colonies. They became known as the Fair Play Men. These men established their own form of government, known as the "Fair Play System", with three elected commissioners who ruled on land claims and other issues for the group. In a remarkable coincidence, the Fair Play Men made their own Declaration of Independence from Britain on July 4, 1776 beneath the "Tiadaghton Elm" on the banks of Pine Creek.[3]

During the American Revolutionary War, settlements throughout the Susquehanna valley were attacked by Loyalists and Native Americans allied with the British. After the Wyoming Valley battle and massacre 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.[3]

Dr. James Davidson, a veteran of the American Revolution, served as a doctor for General Anthony Wayne's army, was one of the first and most successful settlers in the Porter Township area. He settled in the Sunbury just after the Revolution. After several years in that vicinity he bought a farm along the West Branch Susquehanna River in what is now western Lycoming County. Here he farmed and also served as the only doctor in the area for many years. Dr. Davidson built one of the first brick houses in the West Branch Susquehanna Valley. He also served as a judge for Lycoming County after it was formed in 1795.[3]

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