Gruversville, Pennsylvania

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

Hamlet in southwestern Springfield Township, two and a half miles west of Pleasant Valley, was named for the Gruver family, who once owned all the surroundings. It is an old community. One end of an ancient stone dwelling has the figures 1794 on the date-stone, and the stone in the other, older end contains an almost illegible inscription, the date figures probably being 1756. It is a nice example of Pennsylvania German Colonial construction and at one time must have been a beautiful home. Gruversville is located on the source stream of Cooks Creek. Its mills, of the many once operating on the stream, are nearest to the creek’s source. There is no information as to when the first Gruversville mills were built, but it must have been early in the eighteenth century, as another on the same stream bears the date of 1747. For some years prior to 1850, the Gruversville mills were in possession of John Gruver, whose ancestors built mills on Perkiomen Creek and later came into Milford and Springfield Townships. The grist mill stood in Gruversville and the saw mill was some distance up the stream with a large farm, also owned by Gruver, between them. Before his death, which probably occurred before 1850, he gave the northern part of his estate containing the saw mill to his son Peter, the lower part containing the grist mill to his son John, and the intervening farm to his only daughter, wife of John Hoffman. After the father’s death, a disagreement arose between the sons, and Peter built a grist mill on his tract and John built a saw mill near his grist mill, adding a distillery. Fierce competition prevailed between them until some years later, upon the death of Peter, his mills passed to his son, Josiah, who sold them in 1865 to Ralph Hess, and John sold his property to Peter Geissinger.

The small story and a half brick church, 28 by 40 feet, was built in 1861 by dissenters from the Pleasant Valley Evangelical congregation on a lot donated by John Gruver. A stone fence surrounds the building and adjoining graveyard. The church thrived for a time, but its members gradually disappeared, and it has been deserted for perhaps a quarter century. This once prosperous hamlet, now almost hidden in an unrestricted wild growth of vegetation, strikingly symbolizes the spirit of change that has befallen many similar places in the present century. The once turbulent stream that supplied power to busy mills has dwindled to an almost hidden trickling rill. The fine old Pennsylvania German families of Gruver, Hess, Heft, and others, who from generation to generation succeeded the pioneers as owners of the surrounding estates, are all gone and their once quaint and attractive homes are occupied by aliens. The mills are mute ruins of bygone industry in a fertile agricultural valley, while the little brick church, its pulpit Bible still open on the sacred desk, has been wrecked by tramps and vandals and the adjoining graveyard is overgrown by tall trees whose roots have worked wide breaches in the cemetery wall. But the beautiful valley still has charm for those who like things that have reverted to the wild.


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

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