Applebachsville, Pennsylvania

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

Applebachsville, Pennsylvania, is marked as "Stokes Meadow" on this map insert printed in 1875.
Applebachsville, Pennsylvania, is marked as “Stokes Meadow” on this map insert printed in 1875.

Village on the Bethlehem Road (Route 656) in northwestern Haycock Township, founded by General Paul Applebach and his brother, Henry Applebach, from whom it received its name. It is located on the ancient Stokes Tract. In 1735, long before Haycock became a township or had a name, it was known as the Stokes Tract, or Stokes Meadow, as it is named in some old deeds.1 This tract of 377 acres remained in possession of the Stokes family for more than a hundred years, or until 1837, when it was sold by William Stokes and wife, Eleanor, to George Dutch, an eccentric sea captain of New York. He built a large mansion upon it for his son, George F. Dutch, an inebriate, who, the father thought, by sending him into the country, could be reformed. The son became owner of the farm in 1842 and five years later sold it to General Applebach and his brother, Henry, who were long successfully associated in the horse and cattle business. They laid out part of the tract in building lots on both sides of the Bethlehem Road in 1848. Their enterprise soon blossomed into a little town of about thirty neat-looking brick houses. Village life was enlivened by daily stage coaches passing to and fro between Bethlehem and Philadelphia and it came to be known as the “Metropolis of Haycock.” In a spirit of fun some Pennsylvania German neighbors called it “Snitzbachsville,” and Edith M. Thomas has a reference to it by that name in her book, Mary at the Farm. The post office was established in 1874, with Reed Laubenstein as the first postmaster. It is now on Quakertown R. D. 3. It has a graded school and a union church (Lutheran and Reformed). The brick church edifice, with its graceful three-storied steeple, was erected in t855, Paul Applebach, Joseph Mann, William Applebach, John Sames and Jared Apple comprising the building committee. At the cornerstone laying a “Proclamation” was issued, printed in both German and English languages, in which the church is named “The German Evangelical Lutheran and Reformed and Mennonite Church,” but there is no evidence the Mennonites ever used it. One of the articles of this “Proclamation” is of special interest, because it empowers the board of deacons under certain conditions to permit visiting Christian ministers of the Gospel of good and virtuous character to preach or hold funeral services in the church, “except Methodist preachers, to whom no permission under any circumstances shall be granted.” At the time the village was laid out there was only one building on that part of the Stokes farm, a small stone dwelling at least a century old, which was torn down about 1890 to make room for a new building. Among the early teachers of the village school was Dr. John S. Stahr, afterwards president of Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pa. The Applebachs who occupied that part of Haycock Township were descendants of a family originally named Afflerbach, of Wittgenstein, in Westphalia, Germany, where they are said to have been celebrated as manufacturers of iron. The pioneer immigrant was Johan Henrich Aifierbach, who embarked at Rotterdam on the ship Sally, John Osmond, master, and arrived in Philadelphia October 29, 1770. He gave his age as 31 and occupation as smith. He must have settled in Springfield Township soon after he came over, as his name appears August 21, 1775, on the roll of a company of Associators. He dropped his first name, Johan, and became known as Henry Afflerbach. He married Maria Renshimer, daughter of a nearby farmer. Henry’s third son, Daniel, the progenitor of the Haycock branch of the family, moved from Springfield to Haycock Township, near the site of Applebachsville, soon after his marriage to Catharine, daughter of Paul and Christina Apple, June 2, 1811. He was commissioned Justice of the Peace by Governor George Wolf, May 15, 1833, and held the office until his death, August 18, 1853. Of his family of six children, the three sons, General Paul, Henry and William, were all prominent locally. General Applebach took a leading part in county politics and military affairs. He was nominated for the State Senate and also for the Assembly, but in years when his party was not successful at the polls. He was elected Major General of the militia some years before his death on March 26, 1872. Henry, the second son of Daniel, was closely associated in business, as already stated, with General Applebach. William, Daniel’s youngest son, was the father of Paul H. Applebach, a lawyer, of Doylestown, who was elected District Attorney of Bucks County in i891. Paul H. Applebach had studied law in the office of Judge Harman Yerkes, and in the Democratic State Convention of 1901 made the nominating speech for his preceptor as a candidate for Judge of the Supreme Court. District Attorney Applebach during his term in that office successfully handled an unusually large number of important criminal trials, including the two trials of Wallace Burt for murder. A brilliant career at the Bar was cut short when Mr. Applebach on October 20, 1912, dropped dead from apoplexy on a street in Philadelphia while on a business visit to that city. General Applebach never married. The William Applebach branch of the family became extinct when Miss Emma Applebach, the last survivor of the family, a sister of Paul H. Applebach and for many years a teacher in Haycock Township public schools, died in the brick mansion in the center of Applebachsville, April A, 1931.


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

  1. It is marked “Stokes Meadow” on An Historical Map of Pennsylvania, issued in 1875 by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. []

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