Jericho Creek in Pennsylvania

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

Rises in Wrightstown Township near the Upper Makefield line, flows in an easterly direction across central Lower Makefield Township on the southeastern side of Jericho Mountain, and empties into the Delaware River a short distance south of Brownsburg. It is named Jericho from the mountain of that name to whose scenery it adds here and there touches of romantic beauty. It is quite likely this is the stream mentioned in connection with the Indian treaty as a creek called Towissink, Towsisnick, Towisinick, or Towssisink. Towissink, taking the simplest and possibly the nearest correct form, is evidently from the Lenape words Towin, or Tschoskin, “to ford, to wade,” and ink, “at,” meaning “stream at the ford” or perhaps “stream easily waded.” The creek formed part of the northern boundary of William Penn’s first purchase of land in Bucks County from the Indians (July 15, 1682), and it was the southern boundary of the Walking Purchase (September 19, 20, 1737). In the Indian deed of 1682, the name is spelled Towsissinck. Heckewelder says the Indian word was Towsissinok (Dawasinok) and its meaning “the feeding place for cattle, or the pasture ground.” Its first English name was Bakers Creek, from Henry Baker, Justice of the Peace, apparently a landowner and perhaps settler on its banks before 1682. The Indian purchase of that year was limited by previous agreement to extend as far up the river from the mouth of Neshaminy Creek as a man might walk in a day and a half. This walk, tradition says, was “executed by William Penn himself on foot, with several of his friends and a number of Indian chiefs. It was said by the old people that they walked leisurely, after the Indian manner, sitting down sometimes to smoke their pipes, to eat biscuit and cheese and to drink a bottle of wine. It is certain that they arrived at the spruce tree in a day and a half.”1 The walk was probably made in the summer or early autumn of 1683. The spruce tree, just mentioned, stood 140 perches above Bakers Creek and was marked “P” (for Penn). It formed the corner from which the line was run southwestwardly to Neshaminy Creek. There are no means of knowing when the stream was first called Bakers Creek nor how long it was so known. On the Thomas Kennedy manuscript map of 1817, the A. W. Kennedy Map of Bucks County, 1831, and the Morris Map of Bucks County, 1850, it is marked Knowles Creek. Knowles and Jericho Creek are both used today. On maps of the Geological Survey it is Jericho Creek.


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

  1. John Watson’s “Narrative of the Indian Walk,” Hazard’s Register, Vol. VI, p. 209. []

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