Pine Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania

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Pine Township is a township in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. The population was 329 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Williamsport, Pennsylvania Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Contents

History

Pine Township was formed from parts of Brown, Cummings and Cogan House Townships on January 27, 1857. It was originally going to be called Kingston Township, for the Kingston House what was in English Center, but the name was changed to Pine in recognition of the vast stands of pine trees that covered much of the township.

The geography and geology of Pine Township have played an important role in its history. Pine Township lies within the southern limits of the most recent ice age. This land was once covered with glaciers. As the glaciers receded they scoured the land creating a moraine, knob like hills, and kettle holes. Some of these kettles are at the top of the hill. This has caused the unusual formation of a swamp at the top of a hill. The effects of glaciation created soil characteristics that limited successful farming and steep hillsides that also cut down on the amount of farmable land. Therefore trees have thrived in Pine Township. The old-growth forests were harvested in the mid-to-late 19th century during the lumber era that swept throughout the hills and valleys of Pennsylvania. Massive stands of hemlock and pine were chopped down and floated down Little Pine and Pine Creeks to the sawmills of Williamsport. Since the end of the lumbering era and thriving second growth forest has grown throughout Pine Township.

John Norris and his wife were among the first to settle in Pine Township. They opened a "seminary" or school for girls in the wilderness. During the years it was opened in was one of very few schools in such a remote part of the country to focus on educating teen aged girls.

A failed colony known as "English Settlement" plays a role in the history of northern Lycoming County. The Reverend John Hey, who claimed to be part of the "Independent Church of England" dreamt of acquiring a vast amount of land in the wilderness and establishing a utopia. Hey and some investing partners acquired 110,859 acres (448.63 km2) of land for $21,757 in 1805. Hey next travelled to England to convince his countrymen, mostly from Chard, Somerset, England, to settle his new colony. Fifteen families agreed to move to Pine Township. When they arrived they did not find the paradise that was described to them by John Hey. What they found was a wilderness of massive trees, rocks and rocky soil. The Englishmen were not prepared for this. They had no experience with clearing any land for farming and the land that they managed to clear was too rocky for farming. The English Settlement was abandoned ten years after its founding. Those who managed to survive moved to more fertile land in the nearby area.

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