Harrow, Pennsylvania

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

Village in southwestern Nockamixon Township at the junction of Durham Road (Route 611) and Route 563. In coaching days, it was described in mail stage advertisements as located “at the end of the river road” and was a regular stopping place for the Philadelphia and Easton stages. The village and tavern have always borne the name of The Harrow, so called from the figure of a harrow on the tavern signboard. The harrow was well known in this country, and especially in England, as the sign of a hostelry. Next door to the Sign of the Harrow, in London, lived the master angler and biographer Izaak Walton, around 1624, carrying on the business of a sempster or man-milliner, and probably also a linen draper, or dealer in cloths. Goldsmith’s tailor, who lived at the Sign of the Harrow, gained immortality by the bad taste of his patron, chronicled in Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson. Our own Sign of the Harrow of Nockamixon is old. Probably its first landlord was John Wilson, a grandson of Ralph Wilson, the Indian trader with the Lenni Lenapes in Tohickon Valley and with tribes farther northwest. Wilson was there from a date long before the Revolution down to about 1785. Two years later, it is learned from the Diary of John Dyer of Dyerstown, a change of landlords occurred. Dyer notes on April 5, 1787, “George Shaw moved to the Sign of the Harrow to keep tavern.”


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

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