How did Bridgewater, Pennsylvania get it’s name? This page provides a brief history about the naming of Bridgewater, Pennsylvania, the people who settled it, and the industry rising within it.
A populous settlement on Neshaminy Creek in Bensalem Township, slightly more than a mile above the mouth of the creek at Delaware River. A bridge carries the turnpike (Route 150) over the creek. The place may have been named for Bridgewater on Parret River, Somersetshire, England, which also has a handsome bridge. Shamony Ferry was its first name, but there is no means of knowing how long it was so called. In early days the old King’s Great Road passed over the creek by the way of a ford. As this was not passable at high tide, the Provincial Council, upon petition of inhabitants near by, in 1697 ordered that a ferry should be established there, and John Baldwin was appointed to keep it, he “giving good security to the proprietarie for the performance of the duty therein.” This John Baldwin was a son-in-law of Samuel Allen, who came from Bristol, England, in 1702 and settled on a large tract of land in Bensalem Township near Bridgewater. In 1696, the year before he received his ferry privilege, Baldwin acquired title to 300 acres “on the east bank of the Neshaminy,” which doubtless included the ferry tract. The old ford, ferry and bridge were located higher up the stream than the site of the present bridge.
On the Thomas G. Kennedy Map of Bucks County, 1817, made for the Surveyor General, Bridgewater is called Harlington. It is also so named on John Melish’s map of Pennsylvania, 1826.
A writer in Hazard’s Register, 1)Hazard’s Register of Pennsylvania, Vol. VII, No. 2. January 8, 1831, p. 29. who made a trip through Bensalem in 1830, speaks of the place as Bridgeport and says: “Approaching the Neshaminy, we find ourselves in the thrifty village of Bridgeport. This place was formerly called Shamony Ferry, but there has since been a substantial bridge thrown over the creek and many buildings erected in the vicinity.” When the post office was established in September, 1833, the name was changed from Bridgeport to Bridgewater. Modern Bridgewater covers a considerable area bounded by Bridgewater Road, the Moore tracts, Neshaminy Creek, Route 150 and Newportville Road.
Source: MacReynolds, George. Place Names in Bucks County Pennsylvania, 2nd Edition. Doylestown, PA: The Bucks County Historical Society, 1955.
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