...situated on a small branch of the Neshaminy, ten miles north-west of Bristol
By an Act of Assembly, passed the 20th of March, 1724, (Newtown) became the county seat in place of Bristol, an
honour which it held until 1812, when the courts and public offices were removed to Doylestown, a more central location.
Newtown was one of the earliest settlements, the township from which it derives its name having been formed as early as 1686. The Presbyterian church was founded about 1734, and a new house rebuilt in 1769. While the American army were guarding the Delaware from Coryell's Ferry to Bristol, in 1776, General Washington had his headquarters at Newtown.
Newtown Borough was erected into a borough from part of central southern
Newtown Township and incorporated under the Act of
Assembly of April 16, 1838. (Place Names of Bucks County)
The County Seat
It is questionable whether the selection of Bristol as the seat of justice was wise. The borough was certainly not destined to long retain the seat of local government, and when, in 1718, the assembly passed an act authorizing the erection of a new house of correction, the people who had gradually pushed the line of settlements to the upper limits of the present county boundaries began to protest against the expenditure of any more of the public money in a way that was likely to prevent an early removal of the seat of justice to a more central position. The house of correction was not erected, and the movement which begun in protest finally assumed the form of a demand for the removal of the county seat to Newtown. It was represented that a great number of the inhabitants of the county were settled many miles back of Bristol, which rendered their attendance upon the courts " inconvenient and burdensome to the people living so remote." It was represented also that the " township of Newtown was near the centre of the inhabited part of the said county, and if a court-house and prison were erected in the said township it would be very commodious and much for the ease of the inhabitants of the said county in general." These representations were brought to the attention of the general assembly, which passed, on the 24th of March, 1724, " An act to enable Jeremiah Langhorne,.William Biles, Joseph Kirkbride, Jun.,Thomas Watson, practitioner in physick, and Abraham Chapman to build a new court-house and prison in the county of Bucks." These persons, or any three of them, were authorized to purchase land and erect the buildings according to their own judgment, but at an expense not to exceed three hundred pounds. Accordingly, in July of the following year, five acres of land, in the township of Newtown, were purchased of John Walley.
History of Bucks County J.H. Battle
- USGenWeb Archives Project - Bucks County
- Philadelphia Area Archives Research Portal - University of Pennsylvania
- Creator: Newtown Historic Association (Newtown, Bucks County, Pa.)
Title: Newtown Historic Association photograph collection
Date: circa 1870-2013
Call Number: 04
Extent: 38.5 Linear feet
Abstract: Newtown, the county seat of Bucks County from 1726 to 1813, is one of the most historic areas in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The Newtown Historic Association photograph collection, circa 1870-2013, consists of roughly 15,000 original photographs organized by subject and format. Some of the subjects documented include agriculture, events, parks, people, streets, organizations, schools, and businesses. Special formats include large-format photographs, panoramas, tintypes, and glass plate negatives.
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