McHenry Township, Pennsylvania

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McHenry Township is a township in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. The population was 145 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Williamsport, Pennsylvania Metropolitan Statistical Area.



McHenry Township was tentatively formed from parts of Cummings, Brown and Cogan House Townships on November 15, 1856. It was originally known as Kingston Township. Soon afterwards the name was changed to McHenry in honor of a Jersey Shore surveyor, Alexander H. McHenry.[3] The formal establishment of the township remained in limbo for nearly five years. Some of the residents in the area were opposed to the formation of a new township. In fact it took sixteen years for what is now McHenry Township to finally be formed. The initial proposal was placed before the court in 1845 and again in 1855, this was followed by the 1856 case and was finally settled on August 21, 1861 when it was formed from Cummings and Brown Township.

The first warrant for land in what is now McHenry Township was issued to John Nixon on May 17, 1785. John English was a squatter on the land as early as 1784. McHenry Township was settled by Claudius Boatman and Comfor Wanzer's families in 1785. Abraham Harris was the next settler in the area arriving in 1802. Boatman migrated from France. He initially lived in the Mifflinburg before moving further up the West Branch Susquehanna River and Pine Creek to western Lycoming County. Boatman and his wife Esther had a rather large family. Most of them married and remained in McHenry Township upon reaching adulthood. One daughter, Fanny, married John English the original McHenry Township pioneer. Another daughter, Rebecca, married and lived a long life despite being scalped when she was 15 in 1802.[3] Esther Boatman served as a nurse and rural physician for the pioneers along Pine Creek. The descendants of Claudius Boatman remain in fairly large numbers in western Lycoming County.

Lumbering was the primary industry in McHenry Township during the mid-to-late 19th century. Thousands of acres of old-growth forest were cleared to meet the demands for lumber during the lumber era that swept throughout Pennsylvania. Williamsport which is just south and east of McHenry Township, was known at the "Lumber Capital of the World." Logs were floated down Pine Creek and into the West Branch Susquehanna River to various sawmills along both streams and in Williamsport.

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