Hardiaken Creek in Pennsylvania

How did Hardiaken Creek in Pennsylvania get it’s name? This page provides a brief history about Hardiaken Creek in Pennsylvania, the people who settled on it, and the industry rising around it.

Creek rising in southeastern Hilltown Township. After crossing the New Britain line, it flows through the northeastern part of that township until it empties into the North Branch of Neshaminy Creek northeast of New Galena. Variants of the name are Hartyaken and Hardyhickon. The name is Indian, corrupted from the Lenape word Arr-ti-hick-anne, which has been spelled several ways by students of the Algonquin tongue, but all closely like the form here used. The meaning of Arr-ti-hick-anne is “the bullet mould creek.” A name of such meaning for this particular creek would be quite obscure except for a note which Dr. Henry C. Mercer wrote to Dr. Amandus Johnson1 on February 6, 1925, as follows:

“Hartyaken, or Hardyhickon. This pretty name was very familiar among members of my mother’s family in my boyhood, circa 1870, and generally well known in New Britain Township, Bucks County, as applied to that part of the North Branch of Neshaminy Creek (or to a small rivulet entering the latter on its right bank) upon the property called ‘The Highlands,’ owned for several generations by my mother’s (Stewart) family (that of late Thomas Macintosh Stewart of Philadelphia). The Indians might have applied the name to the whole stream, rather than to the upper part of it, or the aforementioned little tributary. The name was always associated with the common myth of Indians finding gun-lead for white hunters: all the more so after the discovery of galena ore, circa 1860, about two miles down the North Branch, at a place thereafter transformed into a mining village and still called New Galena.2 The tradition is very definite that sometime about the end of the eighteenth century, Indians supplied white hunters with gun-lead somewhere along the upper part of the stream (North Branch of Neshaminy), which gun-lead must have consisted, not of galena ore, but of lead ingots brought from white traders by the Indians and hidden by them in the woods. The bullet hunt in about 1790 and the galena ore find about 1860 are very remarkable coincidences.”


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

  1. Dr. Johnson changed the manuscript of his translation of Lindestram’s Geographia Americae just as the book was going to press in order to include Dr. Mercer’s interesting note on page 307. []
  2. Dr. Mercer discusses the matter of Indians, finding gun-lead more fully in “Notes Taken at Random,” Papers of The Bucks County Historical Society, Vol. II, p. 123. []

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Scroll to Top