Genealogy Trails History Group

Fanning's Illustrated Gazetteer of the United States

State, Territories, Counties, Cities, Towns & Post Offices


Transcribed by Jeana Gallagher and Sandy Stutzman
for the exclusive use of Genealogy Trails

PT is post town; PV is post village; PO is post office, PB is post borough, CH is court house, T is town


One of the United States, so called in honor of the father of its illustrious founder, lies between 74°44' and 30°34' west longitude from Greenwich, and 39°43' and 42°17' north latitude, and is bounded north by Lake Erie and New York; east by New York and New Jersey, from which it is separated by Delaware river; south by Delaware, Maryland and Virginia; and west by Virginia and Ohio.  Its superficial area is 46,000 square miles

Physical Aspect-- The surface of this state is greatly diversified by mountains, hills and dales.  It contains but a few large tracts of level land, and these generally occur along the borders of streams. With one or two partial exceptions, it is composed of two great plains, declining from the dividing ridge of its waters.  The eastern declivity, drained by the Delaware and Susquehanna, and their tributaries, gradually descends to the level of the tide; the western in like manner, drains the numerous confluents of the Ohio.  The southeastern counties may be regarded as undulating, rather than hilly, and are under a high state of cultivation, particularly along the Susquehanna.  Most of the central part of this state is mountainous, often interspersed with high and sterile ridges, occurring in close succession, interlocking each other, and enclosing long and pointed valleys between.   It is within this region too, that the fertile valley of Wyoming occurs, surrounded by a lofty chain, known at different points by as many local names.  Most of the country west of the Alleganies is hilly, with numerous irregular and abrupt elevations, not disposed in regular chains.  In this part of the state, particularly along the streams, the soil is highly fertile; and between the Allegany river and Lake Erie, as well as on the western border, the soil is good.

Mountains-- The structure and position of the mountains in this state have given it an aspect peculiar to itself, and constitute its ost prominent features.  South mountain extends from New Jersey, interrupted by the Delaware, below Easton, in a southwesterly direction across the state to Adams county, on the borders of Maryland.  Next to this, the Blue mountain, or Kittatinny range, extends from the western part of New Jersey, also interrupted by the Delaware, to Parnell's Knob, near the south border of this state.    Next come Second, Sharp and Broad mountains, the later of which is an irregular elevation, with a broad and barren table land at the top.  Between the Kittatinny and Allegany ranges is what is called the Appalachian chain, which consists of elevated and nearly parallel ridges, in some instances 20 miles apart, and frequently divided by subordinate ridges.  The great Allegany ridge extends nearly across the state, presenting on its southeasterly side an abrupt ascent, but a gentle descent on the northwesterly slope, consisting of an elevated and undulating table land.  Westward of this range are Laurel ridge and Chestnut ridge, running parallel therewith.

Rivers and Lake-- The principal rivers are the Delaware, Schuylkill, Lehigh, Susquehanna, Juiata, Genesee, Allegany, Monongahela, Ohio, Clarion and Youhioghany.  Lake Erie bounds this state on the northwest.

Islands-- Tinicum Island in the Delaware and Presque isle, on the south side of Lake Erie, are those most worthy of note.

Climate-- The climate, though generally healthy and temperate, is fluctuating and varied.  The extremes of temperature are from 20° below zero to 98° F above.  On both inclined plains, it is a rare occurrence that the rivers in winter are not more or less frozen, and rendered un-navigable.  Receding to the more elevated tracts and high mountain valleys, summer is visited by occasional frosts, which, in some situations, appear in every month of the year.  In all the higher regions, abiding snows usually appear in December and remain until March.  Spring and autumn are usually delightful seasons in all parts of the state.

Productive Resources-- The principal products are horses, mules, neat cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, eggs, butter, cheese, wax, peaches, sugar, wine, hops, tobacco, silk, wool, hemp, flax, hay, lumber, wheat, rye, barley, oats, buckwheat, potatoes and Indian corn.  The mineral wealth of this state is immense, consisting principally of coal, iron and salt.  The coal is of two kinds, bituminous, which occurs in great abundance on the western side of the Alleganies and anthracite, which is found only on the easterly side of the mountains.  The iron, which is of superior quality, is extensively wrought, and is inexhaustible in its supply.  Toward the southwest part of the state salt springs abound, from which is manufactured large quantities of salt.

Manufactures-- the Manufactures of Pennsylvania are varied and extensive.  The number of iron works in the state are rising 500 and the capital invested over $20,000,000, employing over 40,000 men.  Next in importance are cotton and woolen fabrics, in which a capital of $8,000,000 is invested, employing 15,000 men, and the annual products amounts to about $10,000,000. Leather, paper, and glasses are among the minor manufactures.

Railroads and Canals-- Pennsylvania had greatly extended and facilitated her trade by her internal improvements.  The great central line of railroad communication extends from Philadelphia to Lancaster, 70 miles, thence to Hollidaysburg, 175 miles, thence to Johnstown, 36 miles, and thence to Pittsburgh.  From Pittsburgh it continues west to connect with the railroads in Ohio.  The principal roads beside the line above named are: the Reading 92 miles; Philadelphia and Baltimore 98 miles; and the Cumberland Valley 77 miles.  There are 50 railroads in the state, of an aggregate length of 1,500 miles.  The railroads of Pennsylvania have been built at a cost of $45,000,000.  Among the canals of Pennsylvania are, the Eastern and Juniata sections of the Pennsylvania canal, extending from the Susquehanna to Hollidaysburg 172 miles; and the western division, extending from Johnstown to Pittsburgh.  From Pittsburgh the Beaver canal runs into Ohio 31 miles and the Erie Extension canal will continue the line to Erie, on the lake 105 miles.  The whole length of canals in the state is 1,280 miles, 848 miles of which are owned by the state, and 432 miles by companies.  The total cost of the canals of Pennsylvania is $35,000,000.

Commerce-- The exports of Pennsylvania to foreign ports in 1850, amounted to $4,501,606; the imports to $12,066,154.  The total shipping of the state amounts to 260,000 tons, of which about 65,000 tons are engaged in foreign trade.

Education-- The colleges of Pennsylvania are numerous.  The principal are, the university at Philadelphia founded in 1755 with a medical school attached; Dickinson college at Carlisle founded in 1783 to which is attached a law school; Jefferson college at Canonsburg founded in 1802; Washington college founded in 1806; Alleghany college at Meadville; Pennsylvania college at Gettysburg; Lafayette college at Easton;  Marshall college at Mercersburg and the Western university at Pittsburgh.  Jefferson and Philadelphia medical colleges are located at Philadelphia.  There are theological schools at Gettysburg, Mercersburg, Alleghany, Canonsburg, Pittsburgh, Meadville and Philadelphia.  The are in the state about 500 academies and 10,000 common schools.

Government-- The government is vested in a governor, senate and house of representatives.  The governor is elected for three years, and is ineligible for the next three years; the senate for three years, one third annually, in districts; and the representatives annually, at the state election, second Tuesday in October.  The judicial power is vested in a supreme court, courts of oyer and terminer, common pleas, and inferior courts.  The judiciary is elected by the people.  The right of suffrage is vested in every white freeman of 22 years of age, who has resided in the state one year and paid a tax.  White freeman, between 21 and 22 years of age, having resided in the state a year, may vote without having paid a tax.

Population-- in 1790 was 434,373; in 1800 was 602,365; in 1810 was 810,091; in 1820 was 1,049,458; in 1830 was 1,348,233; in 1840 was 1,724,031 and in 1850 was 2,311,786.  Number of slaves in 1790 was 3,737; in 1800 was 1,706; in 1810 was 795; in 1820 was 211; in 1830 was 403 and in 1840 was 64.

History-- The Dutch, from their first settlement upon Manhattan island, carried on trade upon the banks of the Delaware; but there seems not to have been a permanent settlement in Pennsylvania until about the year 1640, when a fort was erected upon the island of Tinicum by the Swedes, and a number of settlements were soon after made.  In 1681, William Penn obtained a grant from Charles II, of the land northward of Maryland, and westward of Delaware, which was called "Pennsylvania."  In 1682, the territories (the present state of Delaware) were annexed to his grant, and thus remained until 1691, when they withdrew from the Union.  The year following, Penn's provincial government was taken from him, and Delaware was reunited to Pennsylvania.  In 1694, Penn was restored to his proprietary right, and the two colonies continued their union until 1703, when they agreed on separation, and never after united in legislation, although the governor of Pennsylvania continued to preside over both, until the three lower counties on the Delaware, as such, were represented in the first Congress in New York, in 1775.  The first permanent settlement in Pennsylvania, was made on Tinicum island, just below the mouth of the Schuylkill, in 1640.  The first deliberate assembly was convened at New Castle, in 1682.  The second assembly was held at Philadelphia, in 1683.  Penn died in 1718, leaving his interest in Pennsylvania, as an inheritance to his children, in whose possession it remained until the Revolution, when their claim was purchased by the commonwealth for £130,000.  In consequence of a controversy between Maryland and Pennsylvania, respecting their common boundaries, a line was finally fixed in 1762, by actual survey, by two eminent English engineers, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, and since that time the boundary between these states has been known by the name of "Mason and Dixon's Line."  The last remaining portion of Pennsylvania, lying in the northwest portion of the state, not previously purchased, was bought of the Indians, in 1784.  In 1776, a state constitution was framed, which continued until 179, when it was changed, and remained in force until 1838, at which time the present one was adopted.  The constitution of the United States was ratified by this state in 1787.  Motto of the seal, "Virtue, Liberty, and Independence."

1850 Counties of  Pennsylvania

County Description Area in sq miles Courts held at Pop in 1850
Adams southern part 360 Gettysburgh 25,981
Alleghany south west part, water by Alleghany, Youghiogheny, Monongabia & Ohio rivers 575 Pittsburgh 138,300
Armstrong western part, water by Alleghany river 700 Kittaning 29,560
Beaver in western side, crossed by Ohio & Beaver rivers 600 Beaver 26,689
Bedford on southern boundary, drained by Juniata & Potomac rivers 1600 Bedford 23,052
Berks in Southeastern side 1020 Reading 77,129
Blair central part, crossed by Frankstown branch of Juniata River 700 Hollidaysburgh 21,777
Bucks easterly boundary, on west side of Delaware river 600 Doylestown 56,091
Butler western part 840 Butler 30,346
Cambria central part, drained by Connemaugh river 720 Ebensburgh 17,773
Carbon eastern part, crossed by Lehigh river blank Mauch Chunk 15,686
Centre central part, west branch Susquehanna river on NW 1560 Bellefonte 23,355
Chester southeast corner, Schuylkill river on NE 729 Westchester 66,438
Clearfield western part, crossed by west branch of Susquehanna river 1425 Clearfield 12,586
Clinton northern part, crossed by west branch of Susquehanna river 840 Lock Haven 11,207
Columbia central part, crossed by east branch Susquehanna river 700 Danville 17,710
Crawford west boundary 1016 Mendville 37,849
Cumberland southern part, Susquehanna river on northeast 544 Carlisle 34,327
Dauphin southeast part, Susquehanna river on the west 608 Harrisburgh (also State Capital) 35,754
Delaware southeast part, Delaware river on southeast 220 Chester 24,679
Elk northwestern part blank Ridgeway 3,498
Erie northwestern corner, south of Lake Erie 720 Erie 38,742
Fayette south western part, Monongahela river on west side 824 Union 39,312
Franklin southern boundary 734 Chambersburgh 39,904
Greene southwest corner,  Monongahcla river on east side 576 Waynesburgh 22.136
Indiana western part, Kiskiminitas river on southwest 770 Indiana 27,070
Huntingdon southern part, crossed by Juniata river 1276 Huntingdon 24,786
Jefferson western part 1200 Brookville 13,518
Juniata southern part, crossed by Juniata river 360 Mifflintown 13,029
Lancaster south boundary, Susquehanna river on southwest 928 Lancaster 98,944
Lawrence western boundary blank New Castle 21,079
Lebanon southeast part 348 Lebanon 26,071
Lehigh east part, Lehigh river on northeast 389 Allentown 32,479
Luzerne toward northern part, crossed by Susquehanna river 1350 Wilkesbarre 56,072
Lycoming toward northern part, crossed by west branch of Susquehanna river 1600 Williamsport 26,257
McKean northern boundary 1470 Smithport 5,254
Mercer western boundary 850 Mercer 33,172
Mifflin central part, crossed by Juniata river 900 Lewiston 14,980
Monroe eastern boundary, Delaware river on southeast 750 Stroudsburgh 13,270
Montgomery southeast part, Schuylkill river on southwest 425 Norristown 58,291
Montour eastern part blank Danville 13,239
Northampton eastern boundary, Delaware river on east, crossed by Lehigh river 600 Easton 40,235
Northumberland toward east part, with Susquehanna river on west, crossed by its east branch 440 Sunbury 23,272
Perry central part, Susquehanna river on east, crossed by Juniata river 540 New Bloomfield 20,088
Philadelphia southeast part, Delaware river on southeast, crossed by Schuylkill river 120 Philadelphia 408,762
Pike eastern boundary, Delaware river on southeast & northeast 729 Milford 5,881
Potter north boundary 1110 Coudersport 6,048
Schuylkill eastern part, crossed by Schuylkill river 660 Orwigsburgh 60,713
Somerset on southern boundary 1000 Somerset 24,416
Sullivan in northeastern part blank Laporte 3,694
Susquehanna on north boundary, crossed by northeast by Susquehanna river 825 Montrose 28,688
Tioga on north boundary 1200 Wellsborough 23,987
Union central part, Susquehanna river on east 520 New Berlin 26,083
Venango northwestern part, crossed by Alleghany river 1120 Franklin 18,310
Warren on north boundary, crossed by Alleghany river 832 Warren 13,671
Washington on western boundary, Monongahela river on east 1000 Washington 44,939
Wayne on northeastern boundary, Delaware river on northeast 648 Honesdale 21,890
Westmoreland southwest part, Kiskiminitas river on northeast, Alleghany river on northwest, crossed by Youghiogheny river 1050 Greensburgh 51,726
Wyoming in northern part, crossed by Susquehanna river 480 Tunkhannock 10,655
York on south boundary, Susquehanna river on northeast 864 York 57,450

Harrisburgh, PA

The seat of justice of Dauphin Co and capital of PA, is situated on the east bank of Susquehanna river, 97 miles northwest of Philadelphia, and 110 miles from Washington.  It is a borough built on rising ground, which subsides toward Paxton creek into a plain.  From the elevation upon which the state house stands, appears a wide and varied prospect of hills, fertile vales, and winding streams.  Across the Susquehanna and the island which here divides it, extends the Harrisburg bridge, nearly a mile in length, and not far below, the bridge of the Cumberland Valley railroad.  The channels of communication, the Pennsylvania lines of railroad and canal, besides opening a way to remote part of the state, convey to Harrisburgh the products of the neighboring fertile region, of which it is a profitable market.  The Susquehanna with its large volume of water, is not navigable, except for timber rafts, which can only descend with its swift current.

The Capitol is an imposing structure, consisting of a main building and two wings, each adorned with a portico and Ionic pillars.  The central edifice is 180 feet wide, 80 feet deep, and 108 feet from the ground to the top of the dome.  The whole is surrounded by an open space adorned with trees, walks and an iron railing.  The other prominent buildings are a Masonic Hall, two banks, a prison and a number of churches.

By the Mount Airy water-works, water is elevated from the Susquehanna into a reservoir, on a hill above the borough, and thence is distributed through iron pipes.  Manufactures to a considerable extent are produced in Harrisburgh, and the town is gradually increasing in population and wealth.

Population: in 1810 was 2,287; in 1820 was 2,990; in 1830 was 4,311; in 1840 was 6,020, and in 1850 was 8,173

Lancaster, PA

Seat of justice of Lancaster Co, PA is situated 36 miles southeast of Harrisburgh, and 62 miles west of Philadelphia.  In 1812, the state government was transferred from this place to Harrisburgh. In the midst of the beautiful and fertile valley of Conestoga creek, it constitutes the centre of an extensive trade with the surrounding region, and a through fare between Philadelphia and the west.  This is one of those towns which are interesting for both age and prosperity.  Some of its buildings are antiquated; others are modern; but generally all are neat and pleasant.  By a series of dams and locks, forming the Conestoga canal, the navigation of the creek has been improved to the Susquehanna, a distance of 18 miles.  The manufacturing establishments are various and flourishing.  The Columbia and Philadelphia railroad communicates with Lancaster, and leads toward Harrisburgh; and here, the Westchester branch diverges toward York.

Population: in 1810 was 5,405; in 1820 was 6,633; in 1830 was 7,704; in 1840 was 8,417; and in 1850 was 8,811.

Philadelphia, PA

The first city of Pennsylvania, in population, wealth and manufactures, and the second in the United States, is situated on a peninsula, formed by the confluence of Delaware and Schuylkill rivers.  The city was laid out with beautiful regularity, in 1683, by its illustrious founder, William Penn, who gave it its name, signifying "brotherly love."  Many of the noble trees which grew on the site, are now commemorated by the names of the streets, running east and west, as Chestnut, Walnut, Pine &c, while those crossing them are designated by numerals.

The ground on which Philadelphia is built is even, rising gently from each river, along which it extends for several miles.  On the Delaware, the scenery is monotonous, but the water being deeper that that of the other river, the commerce and business of the city tends to this side; while the Schuylkill affords pleasing landscapes and agreeable places of residence.  Many of the smaller vessels, sloops and boats, here congregate, laden with coal, and other products of the valley of the Schuylkill;  this part of the city is now rapidly increasing in wealth and business.  No feature of Philadelphia is more striking than the regularity and neatness of its streets.  The latter peculiarity is chiefly owing to the convenient grade, which allows the water to descend and find its way through sewers and other channels, into the Delaware.  The houses also, are more remarkable for neatness and solidity, than for splendor and show; they are mostly of brick, adorned with steps and basements of white marble, which the neighboring quarried furnish in abundance, and of fine quality.  Of this material, a number of the public buildings are constructed, among which are the United States Marine hospital, the Pennsylvania bank, the Girard bank, the building formerly occupied by the United States bank, and the Girard college, which deserves more than a passing mention.  A bequest of $2,000,000, with grounds beautifully situated on an elevation near the city, was made in 1831, by Stephen Girard, an eccentric, through wealthy citizen of Philadelphia, for the purposes of founding a college for orphans.  With part of these funds, has been erected one of the most magnificent structures in the United States.  The college consists of five buildings, the main edifice in the centre is devoted to the education of pupils and students of various ages and acquirements; the other four, two on each side, are residences for the instructors and students.  The whole is of richly-wrought white marble.  The central structure is 218 feet long, and 160 feet wide, surrounded by 34 Corinthian columns, 55 feet high and six feet in diameter.  The interior is in a corresponding style of splendor.  The four other buildings are each 125 feet long, and 52 feet wide.

Another building of Philadelphia, of less magnificent, probably excites greater interest.  This is the old statehouse, or Independence hall, where the Declaration of American Independence was decreed and signed by the first continental congress.  The bell which announced to the anxious people the adoption of this great instrument, is carefully preserved in the cupola; it bears the prophetic inscription: "Proclaim Liberty throughout this land unto all the inhabitants thereof."  These words were imprinted on the bell long before the use which was afterward made of it could have been known.  In this building are a statue of Washington, in wood, and many other relics of the Revolution.

Philadelphia contains a large number of important public buildings and institutions.  Among them are the Pennsylvania hospital, which owes its origin to Doctors Franklin and Bond; the Insane asylum, outside of the city; the Almshouse, fronting Schuylkill river on its west side; institutions for the deaf and for the blind, and several other charitable establishments.  Besides these, there are the American Philosophical Society, founded in 1743, by the exertions of Dr Franklin and Possessing a large and valuable library and cabinet; the Philadelphia library, also established under the auspices of Franklin; the Franklin Institute; the Academy of Natural Sciences; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; and numerous other flourishing institutions for improvement in knowledge and art.  Another great structure is the United States Mint, built of white marble, with two porticoes, resting on Ionic columns, one fronting Chestnut, the other Olive street.  Here a vast amount of bullion, from California and other parts of the Union is coined.

The markets of Philadelphia are among the most convenient, well supplied and well conducted, in the country.  To these come vast quantities of provisions from the surrounding region, with the rich and varied fruits of New Jersey and Delaware.  By the water works on the Schuylkill, at Fairmount, a large body of water is raised into elevated reservoirs, whence it is distributed over the city by iron pipes.  A beautiful suspension bridge spans the Schuylkill at Fairmount, and several railroad bridges also lead to the city.

There are in Philadelphia a number of public parks, laid out with taste and beauty, shaded by trees and adorned with walks, fountains, and other appropriate ornaments.  In the rear of Independence Hall, is Independence square, a favorite and agreeable public resort.  Other public grounds are Franklin, Washington, Logan and Rittenhouse squares.  Outside the city are Pratt's gardens, on the Schuylkill, near the water works, and below, Barton's gardens, both of which are interesting spots.  These, with the beautiful villas, and soft but rich scenery of the river, render Philadelphia as agreeable a place of residence as any large city in the country.

Properly forming a part of the city, but having distinct municipal incorporations, are the five districts, Southwark, Moyamensing, Northern Liberties, Kensington and Spring Garden.  These with several adjacent villages, though for convenience of government and for local causes, separated from the city; in nature, connection, and interest, and for all practical purposes, any be identified with it, except perhaps in the crookedness of their streets, which form one distinctive feature from the city itself.  The Manufactures of Philadelphia are varied and important, embracing nearly all the articles produced by American industry.

The railroads diverging from Philadelphia, are the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore; the Philadelphia, Harrisburgh, and Pittsburgh; the Philadelphia, Reading, and Pottsville; the Philadelphia, Germantown, and Norristown; the Camden and Amboy; the Columbia and Philadelphia; the Philadelphia and Westchester; the Philadelphia and Trenton branch; the Philadelphia and Germantown branch; and the New York and Philadelphia steamer line.  The canals, communicating directly, or through rivers, with Philadelphia, are the Schuylkill Navigation, which extends to Port Carbon; the Pennsylvania; the Morris, which enters the Delaware at Easton; and the Delaware and Raritan river, which is navigable for steamboats from New York.

The population in 1685 was 2,500; in 1790 was 42,520; in 1800 was 70,287; in 1810 was 96,664; in 1820 was 108,116; in 1830 was 167,188; in 1840 was 258,037; in 1850 was 409,353 and in city proper was 121,376.

Pittsburgh, PA

City, Alleghany Co, PA, is situated at the head of Ohio river, which is here formed by the confluence of the Alleghany and Monongahela rivers.  It is 297 miles westerly from Philadelphia, and 226 miles from Washington.

The city is built on a broad level point of land, between the two rivers, and is enclosed by hills, which are filled with bituminous coal.  This constitutes the fuel for the vast number of factories, the tall chimneys of which bristle the town, belching black clouds of smoke, that darken the air and stain the houses a dusky hue.  In point of beauty, therefore, Pittsburgh, has little that is attractive; yet there is something interesting in the concentration of industry and enterprise which this dark city exhibits.  Here, before the settlement of the town, in 1790, stood Fort du Quesne, for a long time one of the most important posts in the hands of the French, who abandoned it in 1758, when it was named by the British Fort Pitt.  The dwellings are mostly of brick, many of them elegant and substantial, though dingy with smoke.  The flourishing towns and villages which surround the city, afford pleasant sites for residence.  Of these places, which are virtual suburbs of Pittsburgh, Alleghany city, on the opposite bank of the Alleghany, is the most important.  The river is here spanned by a fine bridge 1,122 feet long, resting upon five stone piers; two bridges cross it at other point, and the Pennsylvania canal has a splendid aqueduct 1,200 feet long, over the same stream.  On the Monongahela are Birmingham and other settlements, which are connected by a bridge 1,500 feet long, and several ferries.

From its position, Pittsburg is a great commercial as well as manufacturing emporium.  It holds to Pennsylvania the same relation as Buffalo does to New York, being the gate of commerce between the east and the west.  Hither come a large number of steamboats, during the season of navigation, from New Orleans and the valley of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.  The Pennsylvania canal, after traversing the whole state, and crossing the Alleghany on its great aqueduct, passes by a great tunnel under a hill near the city, and enters the Monongahela.  Pittsburgh is connected with Lake Erie by the Ohio and Pennsylvania and the Cleveland and Pittsburgh railroads, and with Philadelphia by the Grand Trunk railroad.

The city contains an elegant courthouse, 165 feet long, 100 feet wide and 148 feet from the ground to the top of the dome, which affords a delightful view of the populous neighborhood and rich picturesque surrounding region; also a prison, the Western University of Pennsylvania, finely seated on an adjacent elevation, and numerous churches, banks, hotels, and other prominent buildings.  The Alleghany river affords a plentiful supply of water, which is distributed over the city by expensive and convenient water works; and the bituminous coal of the adjoining hills yields gas for illuminating the town.

The manufactures embrace almost every article of domestic necessity and convenience.  Machinery, cutlery, glass, cotton, cloth, pottery, paints, and drugs are a few of the vast and innumerable variety produced.

The population in 1800 was 1,565; in 1810 was 4,768; in 1820 was 7,248; in 1830 was 12,542; in 1840 was 21,115 and in 1850 was 46,601

Reading, PA

Seat of justice of Berks Co, PA, 52 miles east of Harrisburgh; from Washington 145 miles, situated on the east side of Schuylkill river, 57 miles northwest of Philadelphia, and 52 miles east of Harrisburgh, and has a delightful situation amid picturesque vales, hills, and streams.  In the regularity of its streets, the neatness of its houses, and the industry and good order of its inhabitants, it still retains the character stamped upon it by its founders, Thomas and Richard Penn, the sons of William Penn.

Reading is a town of considerable trade and manufactures, for which it has great natural and improved advantages.  Tulpehocken creek and the Schuylkill furnish excellent water power, by which numerous manufactories are kept in successful operation.  Hats are the fabrics most extensively made.

Reading contains an imposing courthouse, several elegant churches, and market houses, banks, an academy, and other public buildings.  A neighboring spring supplies the town with an abundant supply of pure water, which is distributed by means of a reservoir and iron pipes.  Here the Schuylkill Navigation canal meets the Union canal, which terminates at Middletown, on the Susquehanna, and the Philadelphia and Reading railroad communicates with this town.

The population in 1810 was 3,463; in 1820 was 4,332; in 1830 was 5,850; in 1840 was 8,410 and in 1850 was 15,790.

Back to Index Page of 1850 Gazetteer

Genealogy Trails History Group
©Genealogy Trails