Anchor, Pennsylvania

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

A small village in Wrightstown Township at the junction of Durham Road (Route 152) and the old Richboro and Pineville Turnpike Road, midway between Pineville and Wrightstown. The village takes its name from its famous Anchor Tavern, one of the very oldest in the county. The tavern was built about 1724 by Joseph Hampton when he was twenty-one years of age. He kept it as a public house for several years. Hampton was prominent in the early affairs of Wrightstown Monthly Meeting, member of the Provincial Assembly from Bucks County, a collector of excise for ten years (1757-1767) and an outstanding experimenter in agriculture, having planted the first orchard of grafted apple trees in the county. The tavern and village have always been known as “The Anchor,” and the anchor has been for ages an emblem for various purposes. It was a common seventeenth century tavern sign. There was an ale house in an English village having the “Sign of the Anchor,” with the following inscription:

“0 sweet ale, how sweet thou art,
Thy cheering streams new life impart;
Esteemed by all extremely good,
To quench our thirst and do us good.”

When William Penn first set foot on the shore of Philadelphia in the late autumn of 1682, tradition says it “was on a bank near where was a little tavern, the ‘Blue Anchor,’ kept by a master mariner.” The “master mariner,” it is learned from a report made to the Colonial Society of Pennsylvania, November 9, 1896, by Thomas Allen Glenn, was Captain William Dare, who later went to New Jersey and became “quite a prominent person.” “The curious,” Mr. Glenn says in his report, “can still mark, in the grade of Water street, at the distance of about one hundred and fifty feet north of Dock, a slight depression, which runs from the river to Front street, marking, doubtless, the shelving bank which formed a pathway over which William Penn traveled from the landing to the Blue Anchor Tavern in 1682.” In one of the first papers read before The Bucks County Historical Society1 the late Captain John S. Bailey, of Buckingham, relates the incident of finding three miles below Buckingham Mountain and about the year 1812 a fossilized vertebra of an extinct animal larger than a full-grown African elephant. The vertebra was over twelve inches in diameter and six inches long. It was built into a wall near Anchor Tavern and remained there for over fifty years. The vertebra, together with other large fossil bones, presumably from the same animal and found in the same locality, were assembled and exhibited in Doylestown over sixty years ago. Is it possible this mammoth may have some relation to the picture writing on the Lenape Stone?


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

  1. Papers Read before The Bucks County Historical Society, Vol. I, p. 51. []

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