Muncy Creek Township, Pennsylvania

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For other places named 'Muncy', please see Muncy. Muncy Creek Township is a township in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. The population was 3,487 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Williamsport, Pennsylvania Metropolitan Statistical Area. The unincorporated village of Clarkstown is located in Muncy Creek Township.

Contents

History

Muncy Creek Township was formed when Muncy Township was divided for the second time in 1797. The township is named for Muncy Creek a tributary of the West Branch Susquehanna River that flows threw it. Some of the oldest settlements of Lycoming County are in Muncy Creek Township.[3] The township also played an important role in the development and regular use of the Pennsylvania Canal along the West Branch Susquehanna River. The hamlet of Port Penn rose up along the section of the canal that passed through Muncy Creek Township. This hamlet, greatly reduced in population, was a very busy and sometimes dangerous place.[3]

Muncy Dam was built across the river at Muncy Creek Township. This dam provided the water that was needed to fill the canal along a stretch canal that began at Port Penn and ended at Sunbury. The dam, canal and towing path were all constructed for a considerable amount of money. Around these construction projects, the hamlet of Port Penn was built.[4] Upon completion of the canal in 1834 it was already a thriving community featuring a manufacturer of canal boats. Other businesses in Port Penn included hotels and taverns that provided housing and food for the men working on the canal, and a blacksmith and a saddle maker. There was a butcher who also operated a grocery business, a weaver, a wagon builder, a shoemaker, an ice business, as well as several teachers, masons and general merchants.[4]

Port Penn quickly gained a reputation as being a dangerous place that attracted "unsavory" characters.[3] Gambling and prize fighting were two popular past times. Large amounts of alcohol were consumed by the participants furthering the danger. An organized group of counterfeiters had an operation in a cabin in Muncy Creek Township that passed fake coins onto the boatmen and others that passed by Port Penn on the canal. A riot took place during the construction of the canal that resulted in several deaths. A man named Barney McCue is responsible for at least two murders at Port Penn, one in 1870 and another four years later in 1874. Many children drowned in the canal and river. The railroad that largely replaced the canal was not less dangerous as several lives were claimed on the rails. Even the so called "Last Raft" to be floated down the West Branch took several lives at Port Penn. The raft hit the railroad bridge and sent 45 passengers into the river, seven of whom died.[4]

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