Gallows, Pennsylvania

How did Gallows, Pennsylvania get its name? This page provides a brief history about the naming of Gallows, Pennsylvania, the people who settled it, and the industry rising within it.

Gallows is a small hamlet on Gallows Hill in the southeast corner of Springfield Township, close to the Nockamixon Township line, a mile and a quarter east of Bursonville and at the junction of Bursonville and Durham Roads. Gallows is shown on Nicholas Scull’s map of Pennsylvania (1759). At that time, a tavern, the Three Tuns, was in operation there. An early description of this inn is found in an advertisement in Bucks County’s first newspaper, The Farmers’ Weekly Journal. The advertisement contains other interesting information.


WILL be exposed to sale at a public Vendue on the 5th day of January at two o’clock in the forenoon – That noted Tavern, with 25 acres of land, situated in Springfield township, Bucks county, in the forks of Durham post road, leading from Philadelphia to Easton, Bethlehem, &c., 43 miles from Philadelphia, 13 miles from Bethlehem and 13 from Easton. There are on said premises, a large two-story stone house, with four rooms on a floor, a stone kitchen, a large frame barn and stone sheds with a number of good stables, a pump of water near the door, an excellent orchard in the higher state of perfection – The premises are now in the occupancy of Charles Keghline. It is presumed the situation (laying on the public post road) will satisfy any person of its being a good stand.

LIKEWISE, at the same time – A lot of land containing 25 acres, adjoining the above, with a new two-story house thereon; a sufficient quantity of good meadow and woodland, all in good fence.

ALSO – A lot containing 25 acres adjoining the above, with a two-story log house thereon; a full proportion of good timothy meadow and woodland, and the greater part of the same in good repair.

ALSO, 30 acres adjoining the tavern lot, with an excellent mill-seat thereon, there being a never-failing stream through the whole sufficient to turn a grist mill in all seasons of the year; there are at least two acres of good-watered meadow on the same. The above lots lay on both sides of the Durham road.

Any person inclining to purchase either of said lots may, by paying a proportional part of the purchase money at receiving possession, be credited for the remainder, by giving good security, a number of years.

Springfield, December 13, 1800.

From The Farmers’ Weekly Journal, Doylestown, December 30, 1800.

The old part of Three Tuns is of log construction, now almost entirely concealed by stone and mortar. One end of the building is now used as a dwelling and the other as a store. Quite near Gallows is an ancient graveyard situated on the east side of Durham Road and on the north side of Gallows Hill. It was originally a part of what was known as the William Ware tract of 196 acres and 80 perches on Gallows Run, the warrant for which was issued to Ware by Thomas and Richard Penn, Proprietaries, April 11, 1738. Ware on March 8, 1765, gave title to Rev. Richard Treat and George Taylor, the Signer, in trust, for an acre of this tract for a graveyard, and the title to this trust was confirmed by Philip Jacobi to the Red Hill Presbyterian Church of Tinicum Township on April 12, 1762. The oldest legible tombstone is that of Elizabeth, wife of John Brown, died October 3, 1757, aged 36 years. It is supposed that the suicide from whom Gallows may have derived its name is buried in this graveyard. Graves of the well-known Long family of Durham are enclosed by a wall erected nearly 90 years ago. Within the last hundred years, few interments have been made. The site of the old Backhouse Tannery is near the graveyard.

In a paper read before the Buckwampun Literary and Historical Association on June 14, 1888, Jordan F. Stover, a native of Bursonville who was quite familiar with the history of the territory within several miles of his native town said: “In 1830 Jacob E. Buck purchased the Three Tuns and, in connection with the inn, established a store here (at Gallows). Several years later he had a new sign painted, calling the place Stony Point, this name being applied on account of the stones which here abound, and it retained that name upwards of forty-nine years. Within this time, the people found it necessary to have a post office established. This was granted in 1889 and Edward Kiser became the first postmaster of Gallows, the name Stony Point being abolished by the United States post office authorities, as there was another office by that name in the state.”

Gallows takes its name from Gallows Run. The origin of the name is discussed in the paragraph on that stream.


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

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