Haycock Township, Pennsylvania

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

Haycock is an interior northern township, formed of the “odds and ends” left after all adjacent townships were laid out and fully established. Naturally, under these circumstances, its outlines are quite irregular. It is bounded northwest by Springfield, northeast by Nockamixon, southeast by Bedminster, and southwest by East Rockhill and Richland, and contains approximately 12,150 square acres. The entire northeastern and southeastern boundaries are formed by Haycock and Tohickon Creeks. The first effort to form a township was made in 1743, about ten years after the first permanent settlements. It was not established, however, until twenty years later, in 1762. In that year, three petitions were presented to the Court of Quarter Sessions, in each of which a different name for the township was suggested: “Rock Berry” (possibly Rockbury?), “Mansfield,” and “Haycock.” The “Haycock” petition won the Court’s approval.

From old documents in possession of The Bucks County Historical Society, it appears that much of the territory within the present township southeast and southwest of the mountain was early known as Stokes Meadow. John Stokes was the first of that name to settle in the township. Probably a few years before 1735, he bought, in the vicinity of Applebachsville, a tract of 500 acres of land, which by a resurvey made by Asher Woolman and Samuel Foulke on April 12, 1769, was found to contain 347 acres. In his memoranda made in 1735 while engaged in work on the “Trial Walk,” preceding the Indian Purchase Walk of 1737, Surveyor John Chapman mentions Stokes Meadow, showing that it was settled, named, and probably improved some time before 1735. Stokes of America trace their origin to Thomas Stokes, born in London in 1640, who emigrated about 1680 and settled near Burlington, NJ. John Stokes, founder of the Haycock branch, a son of John Stokes and grandson of the immigrant, was the grandfather of General John S. Bryan and of William Stokes, a member of the first board of directors of the Doylestown National Bank in 1832.

The Stokes homestead, which remained in the family for over 100 years, at the end of that period comprised a tract of 260 acres (sixty of which were a fine meadow, and 100 acres in woodland), a spacious stone mansion, two adjoining barns 100 feet long and 31 feet wide, a large coach house, a limekiln, several large gardens, and two very fine orchards. Two other tracts, containing a total of 158 acres, one improved with a stone house, belonged to the homestead, while William Stokes was owner of another large adjoining tract. With the coming of William Stokes to Doylestown prior to 1832 and the sale of the homestead holdings of John Stokes on December 6, 1834, soon after his death, the Stokes family disappears from the township.

In a deed of 1756 for Haycock land is a reference to “Joe Tuneam’s Run,” which seems to establish the fact that Neepaheilomon alias Joe Tuneam must have lived near Stokes Meadow. Joe was one of the Indians who, with “Tom, his brother-in-law,” was selected by the Lenni Lenapes to see that the Purchase Walk was fairly performed, the fact that “he spoke English well” being one of the reasons why he was so chosen.

The physical feature that gives Haycock prominence in the galaxy of townships is its famed mountain. The Indian cave or Indian house on the north bank of Tohickon Creek in this township is also an object of archaeological interest. It has an entrance ten feet high by nearly six feet wide in a ledge of reddish rock, which it penetrates for a distance of twelve feet. It is presumed to have been excavated by Indians. Dr. Henry C. Mercer explored this rock shelter for evidence of the presence of prehistoric man, but he found only “a film of Lenape refuse no older than that seen at any village site.”1

The township covers practically the entire width of the so-called trap rock belt crossing the upper part of the county. Though its surface is rough and plentifully sprinkled with boulders, where these have been cleared away, the soil has been found to be rich and productive for farming and horticulture. Due to these rough conditions, the briar hook, scythe, and grain cradle, and other primitive implements of husbandry persisted long after power farm machinery was welcomed elsewhere. First settlers were mainly Irish and Pennsylvania Germans, the Irish entering from the east side and the Germans from the west.

Hardwood lumbering and the old Singer Pottery that turned out the now highly-prized tulipware were once important industries but are now things of the past. Pioneer hunters and trappers found Indians numerous in this township. The local historian William J. Buck in a paper on “Indian Utensils and Implements” says, “In Haycock Township, Bucks County, large stones and rocks were shown several years ago, which had been worked out with great labor, and may have held several gallons, which, tradition asserts from the early settlers there, the Indians used as kettles for boiling their corn and venison by filling the cavities with water, which was heated by stones kept in a fire for such purposes.” And some of these stones may be seen there today, but all were not used for boiling purposes, some of them being mortars in which corn and other grains were pulverized.


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

  1. Papers Read before The Bucks County Historical Society, Vol. II, p. 280. []

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