Almshouse Hill, Pennsylvania

How did Almshouse Hill, Pennsylvania get it’s name? This page provides a brief history about the naming of Almshouse Hill, Pennsylvania.

This hill lies wholly within the County Home property in Doylestown Township. Actually it is a bluff terminating the plateau on which the County Home buildings stand and extends for a half mile along Neshaminy Creek, from the eastern line of the Stemple Farms at Deep Ford to High Rock near Edison. It rises a hundred feet above the creek bed. Unusual rock groupings and other picturesque features make it an interesting spot. It has the characteristic crescent shape of most of the Neshaminy bluffs, especially those facing northward. Some years ago it had a large stand of Hemlock Spruce (Abies canadensis), and Ruffed Grouse, other game birds and small game animals were once abundant both on the hill and on the flats across the stream. Its flora is notable, the scarcer plants including the Walking Fern (Camptosorus rhizophyllus), Purple Atragene (Clematis verticillaris), Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria), in masses an acre in extent, and Ground Hemlock or American Yew (Taxies canadensis). On the opposite side of the creek is the rifle range of Company D, 111th Infantry, a machine gun unit of the Pennsylvania National Guards, stationed at Doylestown. Lino Amalia Espos y Mina, alias Celestine Armentarius, a Spanish impostor convicted of the murder of Dr. William Chapman, of Andalusia, Pa., was hanged on the creek bank opposite this hill June 21, 1832, in the presence of a guard of twenty companies of Bucks County militia and an immense throng of people, estimated at 10,000. Sheriff Benjamin Morris believed the presence of militia necessary to prevent repetition of scenes similar to those attending the horse thief “neck-tie” parties, popular in the West in those days. This was the last public execution of a criminal in this county. The hill has been known as Almshouse Hill since the County Home was opened in 1810. At the time the County Commissioners bought the property from Gilbert Rodman for county almshouse purposes, December 20, 1808, it formed part of the northwestern section of the great Rodman tract of the eighteenth century and was popularly known as Spruce Hill.

Source: MacReynolds, George. Place Names in Bucks County Pennsylvania, 2nd Edition. Doylestown, PA: The Bucks County Historical Society, 1955.

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