History of Upper Dublin, Pa.
From: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania A History
By: Clifton S. Hunsicker
Published By Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York & Chicago 1923


Upper Dublin - This is one of the nearly square, regularly formed townships of the county, and is bounded northeast by Horsham, south by Springfield, southwest by Whitemarsh, east by Moreland, and southeast by Abington. It has an area of 8,840 acres. The surface is rolling, and soil is loam and limestone land, Camp Hill, of Revolutionary fame, is an elevation extending eastwardly across the township on the south side of Sandy run. The Wissahickon passes over the western corner for over a mile, propelling two gristmills, and receiving as tributaries Rose Valley, Pine and Sandy runs. These streams all furnish a fair stage of water and can be utilized for milling. The North Pennsylvania railroad cuts the western corner of the territory and has a station called Ambler, fourteen miles from Philadelphia. The villages in Upper Dublin, as shown by maps forty years ago, were Ambler, Fitzwatertown, Jarrettown, Three Tons, and Dreshertown. These all had post offices except the last mentioned.

This township, according to the government reports, has had a population as follows: In 1800 it was 744; in 1840, 1,322; in 1880, 1,856; in 1900 it was 1,933, and in 1920 was 3,045. In 1880 its population was 132 per square mile. In 1883 there were licenses issued for four hotels, nine general stores, one stove-store, one coal yard, one tobacco store and a restaurant.

The first landowners in the township were Samuel Clarrige, Pierce & Co., Richard Hill and Richards & Aubrey. Commencing on the Abington line to the south of that line were William Salaway, Matthew Perrin, Henry Patrick, Mathias Seely, John Southworth, Richard Coates, Andrew Soule, Thomas Marie, with William and George Harmer. Now while these are by some historians looked upon as "settlers," as a matter of fact there is every evidence that they were all land speculators, except possibly the last named families, the Harmers. By reason of this the township did not settle as early as other portions of the country. These persons took up the most valuable tracts, and hence settlers who looked over the remaining lands were not pleased and went to other parts to locate. Prior to 1719 there was little actual settlement here. The records disclose the names of thirty-eight persons who were known to be land-owners here in 1734. It should be understood, however, that there were here and there holders of tracts as early as 1698, when Edward Burk purchased from Nicholas Scull and others lands extending from the Susquehanna street road to the Whitemarsh line, including a part of present village of Ambler. Edward and John Burk were his Sons, and John was a supervisor of roads from 1774 to 1777, and Edward Burk from that date on to 1786. He was also collector of taxes in the Revolutionary War period.

This township contains some landmarks of the great Revolutionary struggle, in way of the large stone building used by General Washington as his headquarters from October to well into December, when he removed his army to Valley Forge. This stone farm house stands on the south side of Camp Hill, only a few yards from the Springfield township line. In the early part of the nineteenth century it belonged to Caleb Emlin, but in 1810 it passed to other hands, the farm being subdivided into smaller tracts. The last known ot its ownership to the author was when it was in the hands of Charles T. Aimen, who was then still preserving it perfectly as a landmark of those long-ago days. It is a stone structure thirty-five by seventy-five feet and two stories high. The steps at the front entrance are of the finest quality of soapstone, neatly wrought; the general appearance of the entire building shows it to have been a well planned and finely executed building for the day in which it was erected, While Washington was here, the army was camped on the hill to the north of the mansion, which was certainly a strong military position. On the night of December 5, 1777, General Howe came hither from Philadelphia by way of Chestnut Hill, with a view of surprising the camp; but on seeing the position and unable to draw out the American army, returned by way of Abington and Jenkintown, counting his attempt a dismal failure.

Villages found in this township include Ambler, already treated in the borough chapters; Fitzwatertown, in the southern part of the township, along the Limerick turnpike, in the midst of the fertile valley of Sandy run, which abounds in rich deposits of limestone and iron ore. This is a very old settlement, where Thomas Fitzpatrick followed lime burning in 1705, and had a gristmill there very early in the settlement period. A post office was there established in 1858. Twenty-five thousand dollars' worth of lime was burned here in 1840. Another place is Hill Station, of the North Pennsylvania railroad, only a mile from Fitzwatertown. The second largest village is Jarrettown, in the center of the township, on the Limekiln turnpike, which highway was made in 1851. A post office was established here in 1866. The name of the place was derived from Levi Jarrett, the owner of several farms thereabouts in 1815. A church of the Methodist Episcopal denomination was erected there in 1866. Dreshertown is situated at the junction of Limekiln turnpike and Susquehanna street road midway between Fitzwatertown and Jarrettown. The ancient appearance of these highways indicate that it was a very old settlement. Forty years ago the place had a store, a mill, eleven houses, a post office since 1832, and elections were held here from 1840 to 1856. Both were then moved to Jarrettown. The village of Three Tons is within a fertile section of country, at the intersection of Horsham and Butler roads, the latter being turnpikcd to Ambler, two and a half miles distant. A post office was established there in 1858, with T. G. Torbet as postmaster. A Union library has been sustained there many years; it was incorporated in 1840 and has many thousands of volumes of choice books. Another hamlet is Gilkison's Corner, at the junction of the Spring House and Butler roads, There a large tannery was located, known as "the steam tannery," by Alvin D. Foust, established in the fifties. It was at this point that Andrew Gilkison kept a tavern in time of the Revolution. A post office was established as Upper Dublin post office before 1827, but later was removed to the larger place, now the borough of Ambler. These villages one and all had their mission to fill, and many have gone down with the incoming tide of a higher mode of living, a faster mode of transportation, and the upbuilding of larger business and railway centers.

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