Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
1878 History of Bradford County by Craft
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History of Bradford County 1770 - 1878

The Reverend Mr. David Craft

West Burlington Township

Retyped by Bruce Preston


The geographical situation of the township of West Burlington is as follows: It is bounded north by the townships of Springfield and Smithfield, east by Burlington, south by Franklin and Granville, and west by Troy, Its topography is similar to that of Burlington, of which it was formerly a part. The principal stream by which it is watered is the Sugar creek, which passes through the town in an easterly and northeasterly direction, centrally, and has several small tributary creeks, flowing in from the north and south. The soil and its productive capacity is the same as that of the surrounding towns, and its many roads offer good facilities for reaching a market.


of the township is fully given in the history of Burlington, the Sugar creek colonization being common to both townships. The first clearing was made on the Sugar, near the mouth of Mill creek, in the east part of the town, near Burlington borough; and at the junction of the roads, west of that point, the first church on the creek was built.

Many descendants of the old pioneers whose names are given in the history of Burlington are living in West Burlington, the McKeans, Ballards, Goddards, Baileys, Pratts, Swains, Beaches, Leonards, and others, whose farms lie along both banks of the creek.


The town is divided into seven school districts, in each of which a school was taught during the year ending June 1, 1877, an average of five months in each district. Two male and nine female teachers were employed, the former receiving a salary of $25.80 per month, and the latter an average of $15.82; 254 pupils attended the schools, equally divided between the sexes, the average attendance for the whole time being 123; $1013.85 were levied on tile property in the township for school purposes; $176.24 were received from the State, the total receipts being $1172.19; $603.60 were paid for teachers' wages, the total expenditures being $972.97, including $264.40 for new schoolhouses or repairs.


of the township in 1860 was 902, and in 1870, 896, 9 of whom were foreign born and 1 colored.


The town of West Burlington was formed in 1855, from Burlington Township, the boundary-line between the two towns being very nearly located on the centre line from north to south of the original town, in its wider part. The area of West Burlington is somewhat less than Burlington, but not much.


is located in the western part of the town, at the junction of the roads north, a short distance, of the bridge over the Sugar creek. It is a small hamlet, containing a post-office, store, wagon-, blacksmith-, and cooper-shops, grocery, a schoolhouse, and a Methodist Episcopal Church, and thirty or more dwellings. On the opposite sides of the creek, the grist- and saw-mills of B. L. Rockwell & Sons are situated, known as the "West Burlington Mills." North of the village, in district No. 4, A. L. Ballard's saw-mill is situated, and in Bloom district, No. 1, D. & G. D. Bourne have a lumber manufactory and steam saw-mill, and in district No. 3 is still another steam saw-mill.



Samuel McKean was born in Kishocoquillas valley, Huntingdon Co., Pa., and came with his parents north while of tender years. His opportunities for an education were meagre until he was sixteen years of age, at which time he went to the State of Maryland, on a visit to his maternal uncle, who was a man of learning and strict Quaker habits. He took the lad under his care and tuition, who, being very ambitious, made rapid progress in his studies, and also in good business habits. He was taught to learn one thing at a time, and to learn that well, from which resulted his future success. His tutor made it his especial care to teach his young pupil the principles of government, knowing that intelligence is the life of liberty. The house of his uncle furnished young McKean a home until the death of its master, upon which the estate of the latter was settled by Samuel, in accordance with the provisions of the will left by the deceased. A portion was left for the nephew, with which he purchased a stock of goods and established himself in trade in Burlington, as mentioned in the history of that township.

In the fall of 1816 he was elected to the State legislature, and served therein for several successive terms. As he hailed from the backwoods of Pennsylvania, the members from Philadelphia thought to make game of him on his first arrival at the capital. At a dinner soon after Iris coming, he was placed at the table opposite the carving knife, and requested to serve the guests "farmer fashion." He picked up the knife, tested its edge critically, carved a generous slice of the roast beef, placed it on his plate, garnished it well with vegetables, and bowing courteously to the guests, said in mock solemnity, "Gentlemen, as ye have seen me do, so do ye," and sat down to his own well filled plate. The whole thing was so gracefully and quickly done, the laugh passed around the table, but at the expense of the laughers themselves.

In 1822, Gen. McKean was elected to congress from the district comprising ten counties, which sent three members, George Kreamer and Espy Van Horn being his colleagues. He served the district eight years. In 1829 he was appointed secretary of the commonwealth by Gov. Wolf, and served for three years. While in this position he drafted a bill for a general school law, taxing every kind of property for free-school purposes, which subsequently became a law as it left the secretary's hands. In 1833 he was elected to the State senate, and served till elected, in 1836, to the United States senate, where he served until 1839, when, his health failing, he was treated, for a severe neuralgia in the head, with opium, and using it incautiously himself, he was thrown into delirium, and in one of the paroxysms of the disease cut his throat with a razor. He did not, however, die of this wound, yet he never recovered his soundness of mind, and died in 1840 of softening of the brain.

His widow, Julia McKean, is a sister of Judge McDowell, of Elmira, N. Y., and lives at the present time on the old homestead in West Burlington.

End of Chapter

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