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Mount Pleasant Township

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Mount Pleasant Township was one of the six original townships created when Wayne County was established from a portion of Northampton County in 1798. Located in the western part of the county, a part of the township was taken to form portions of Preston Township in 1828 and Clinton Township in 1834.

The first settler was Samuel Stanton from Connecticut who cleared the land and built a cabin in 1790. In April of 1791 he brought his wife and two children to the cabin and spent the summer raising provisions that he hoped would last through the winter. His daughter Polly was born on August 26, 1791 making her the first white child born in the township.

As autumn came, the few settlers who also had been making improvements in preparation for returning with their families the following spring left, leaving the Stantons to face the winter alone in the wilderness. The severe winter weather, compounded by sickness and hunger, soon took its toll on the isolated family. Frederick Coates and a Mr. Church were tracking an elk in the vicinity of the cabin when they came upon the desperate family and saved them from starvation.

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In the spring other families arrived in this settlement that came to be known as Stantonville. Among them was Elijah Dix who arrived from Massachusetts in 1791. His house served as a residence, the first school in the county and the first polling place in the newly established county. The year 1792 marked the arrival of Silas Kellogg of New York along with Jirah Mumford and Joseph Stearns from Connecticut. In 1793 Jirah Mumford and his family moved into the house he had built the year before and he also erected a tannery. By 1795 Mumford constructed the first saw mill and grist mill in Mount Pleasant and in that same year the first wedding took place with the marriage of Jirah’s daughter, Mary, to Silas Kellogg. Jabez Stearns, the grandson of Joseph Stearns, born in 1793, was the first male child born in the township.

It was also in 1795 that Joseph Tanner, brother-in-law of Samuel Stanton, arrived from Connecticut. He built the first frame house north of the Village of Pleasant Mount and opened the first store under the name Tanner and Granger. In 1808 he built the first house in the village along with a two storey hotel to meet the needs of an expanding community. The Free Communion Baptist Church was organized in June of 1796 and the first Methodist Society was organized in the house of Abram Cramer in 1806. By January 1814 a Congregational Church was organized by Rev. Ebenezer Kingsbury and Rev. Worthington Wright who were missionaries from the Connecticut Home Missionary Society.

Paul McAvoy, a Protestant from County Down, arrived in 1819 and was the first of what was to become an extensive population of Irish settlers. In 1835 St. Juliana’s Roman Catholic Church was built at Rock Lake and in 1865 St. Cecelia’s Roman Catholic Church was built at Hilltop to serve the spiritual needs of the Irish Catholics.

Samuel Meredith of Philadelphia, the first Treasurer of the United States, settled in Mount Pleasant after he resigned his office in 1801. He erected a house on his estate known as Belmont Manor in 1812 and lived there until his death in 1817. Meredith and his wife who died in 1820 were buried behind the home. The old mansion eventually burned down and their remains were moved to a triangle of land known as Meredith Park along Route 371. A monument to his memory was erected there in 1904.

Today Mount Pleasant Township retains its rural landscape, its justly deserved reputation for scenic beauty and occupies a prominent place in the county’s history.