Berwick, Pennsylvania One Place Study

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This profile is part of the Berwick, Pennsylvania One Place Study.
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Please contact the project leader Butch Smith or post a comment to the right. If you have any questions, just ask. Thanks!


This is a One Place Study to collect together in one place everything about Berwick, Pennsylvania. The hope is that other researchers like you will join the study to help make it a valuable reference point for people studying people that lived there and their contributions in history.

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Population through the years

  • According to local history the population was about 450 by 1840.
  • According to census info from Wikipedia the population grew to 923 by 1860 and 3916 by 1900,it peaked at 14010 in 1950 and has been declining slowly from about 11,000 in 1990 to about 10,500 in 2010.

Early History

  • The information in this section is a summary of information from a book entitled,The Story of Berwick 1786-1936. It was put together for the susquicentennial in 1936,I don't know what the original source is but the info is the same everywhere I've seen it.

* It appears that the history of most of lower Luzerne County has a strong connection to the founding of Berwick. Evan Owen,a Scottish born Quaker had made a couple of trips and had bought land in the present day area of Bloomsburg before being called into service in the Revolutionary War. After the war he sold the land downriver and bought land further North,near where the Nescopeck Creek enters the Susquehanna. It's stated in earlier histories of the area that he bought as much as 3000 acres,some of that being in Nescopeck Twp on the south side of the Susquehanna at a price of 29 cents per acre and began laying out the town of Berwick,surveying the surrounding area and selling land to people looking for a new home.

* In 1787 Owen went to the state legislature and petitioned the legislature to survey an overland route from Lehighton to the Nescopeck Falls

Letter to state legislature pt 1
2nd part of April 1787 letter to PA state legislature

* the project was given the go ahead and after completing the survey Owen was put in charge of building the road. It appears that,as work was completed,the area was settled fairly quickly,the valley that is now Butler,Sugarloaf and Black Creek started seeing settlers around or just before 1800 and the valley on the north side of the Nescopeck Mountain shortly after.

* Settlers had been moving into the area of Nescopeck Township along the Nescopeck Creek,closer to the river and near the present day location of the village of Nescopeck not long after 1786,more detail on that can be found here,those settlers appear to have came by the Reading route,possibly either to Northumberland and then following the Susquehanna north or some came by an overland route to Catawissa and then north by river. John and Robert Brown] and their families were the first to settle in the town of Berwick,it looks like they also came about 1786,by the end of 1786 there were 7 families living in Berwick.

  • Owens Road was completed in 1805 and in 1818 a bridge was built over the Susquehanna river and a road was built north to Tioga,another road was built along the river from Sunbury to Wilkes Barre,between the roads and the canal which was built in 1825 it put Berwick on a pretty busy crossroads.
  • Another interesting fact that I've read, Berwick and Nescopeck Township were on the outskirts of the Yankee/Pennemite war. The Yankees,settlers from Connecticut had claimed the land that is now Luzerne County,the Penns were trying to get people interested in to moving into the same area. One account that I've read stated that Evan Owen stopped where he did because of resistance from Yankees that were living in what is now Salem Township in Luzerne county which is also presently East Berwick. Another account stated that even after the land dispute was settled that there was still some distrust for a while between the people in Berwick and Salem Township.

First Businesses

Notable Businesses

Notable People


Briar Creek Twp cemeteries

Salem Township

  • Salem Twp is a seperate municipality in Luzerne Co,because of it's close proximity to Berwick it's as close to a suburb as you'll find in the area.

Sources for local records

Susquehanna and Tioga Turnpike

Local shortline railroads

Connecticut claims to Pennsylvania territory/Yankee Pennemite war

Berwick Specific Attractions

Area Attractions

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Hello again, Butch!

Another great study! Can you add the project profile as a co-manager of this study page, please wtoneplacestudies <at>

Thank you!


Project Leader - One Place Studies

posted by Azure Robinson