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History & Folklore
Centre County

  • Formed: 13 Feb 1800 from parts of Huntingdon, Lycoming, Mifflin and Northumberland counties.
  • Name derived from: Location—the geographical center of the state.
  • County seat: Bellefonte.
    • From the French word meaning beautiful spring. A political exile named Charles Maurice (Duke of Taleyrand-Perigord) suggested the name when he visited Center Furnace. Laid out 1795 by Col. James Dunlap and his son-in-law, James Harris.

Chronological Township Formation
Centre County had eight original townships—Potter, Upper Bald Eagle, Lower Bald Eagle, Haines, Patton, Miles, Centre, and Warrior's Mark.
1774
Potter: One of the eight original townships, formed in Northumberland County from parts of Bald Eagle, Penn's and Buffalo townships.
1786
Upper Bald Eagle and Lower Bald Eagle townships: Two of the eight original townships. Formed from Lycoming County's Bald Eagle Township.
1789
Potter Township split between Northumberland County and the newly formed Mifflin County. The portion that went to Mifflin County retained the name Potter Township.
1790
Haines: One of the eight original townships. The portion of Potter Township that remained in Northumberland County was renamed Haines Township.
1794
Patton: One of the eight original townships. Formed from Upper Bald Eagle Township in Mifflin County.
1795
Lycoming County is formed from Northumberland County townships Muncy, Loyalsock, Lycoming, Pine Creek, Washington, Nippenose, and Lower Bald Eagle. Lycoming contributed Bald Eagle Township to Centre Co. in 1800.
1797
Miles: One of the eight original townships. Formed from Haines Township, Northumberland County.
1798
Warrior's Mark: One of the eight original townships. Formed from Franklin Township, Huntingdon County.
1799
Centre: One of the eight original townships.
1800
Centre County formed.
1801
Spring: Formerly Upper Bald Eagle Township. The name was changed in 1801.
1801
Bald Eagle: Formerly Lower Bald Eagle Township. Lower was dropped in 1801 after Upper Bald Eagle changes its name to Spring Township.
1801
Ferguson: Formed from Patton Township.
1801
Half Moon: Petitions were made to rename Warrior's Mark Township to Half Moon Township.
1802
Petition to rename Warrior's Mark Township granted. Now called Half Moon Township.
1810
Howard: Formed from the northern portion of Centre Township.
1810
Walker: Formed from the southern portion of Centre Township.
1810
Centre Township as a name disappeared.
1814
Boggs: Formed from Spring Township.
1814
Rush: Formed from Half Moon Township.
1814
Covington: Spring Township renamed Covington Township in late 1814 and early 1815.
1814
Jenner: Half Moon Township renamed Jenner for the last few months of 1814.
1815
In January, Jenner Township returned to the name Half Moon Township.
1815
In April, Covington returned to the name Spring Township.
1817
Lamar: Formed from Lower Bald Eagle Township.
1819
Logan: Formed from Miles Township.
1826
Gregg: Formed from Potter, Miles, and Haines townships.
1835
Harris: Formed from Potter, Ferguson, and Spring townships.
1838
Huston: Formed from Patton Township.
1839
Bald Eagle Township taken from Centre County for the newly formed county of Clinton.
1839
Logan Township taken from Centre County for the newly formed county of Clinton.
1839
Lamar Township taken from Centre County for the newly formed county of Clinton.
1839
Snow Shoe: Formed from Boggs Township.
1840
Marion: Formed from Walker Township.
1844
Penn: Formed from Haines Township.
1845
Liberty: Formed from Howard Township.
1845
Taylor: Formed from Half Moon Township.
1847
Worth: Formed from Taylor Township.
1850
Union: Formed from Boggs Township.
1853

Benner: Formed from Spring Township.

1856
Burnside: Formed from Snow Shoe Township.
1857
Curtain: Formed from Harris and Benner townships.
1875
College: Formed from Harris and Benner townships.


Records Location

  • Carlisle
  • Bedford
  • Huntingdon
  • Lewistown
  • Sunbury
  • Bellefonte


Early Business and Occupations

  • Mills
  • Iron ore. Seven iron furnaces were in operation by 1840.
  • Limestone
  • Lumber
  • Farming


Bibliography

  • Where to Go and Place-Names of Centre County, by Paul M. Dubbs, 1961
  • History of Centre & Clinton Counties, by John Blair Linn, 1883
  • Index to Linn's History of Centre & Clinton Counties, by J. Thomas Mitchell, 1962
  • History of Centre & Other Counties, by I. D. Rupp, 1847
  • History of Centre County, by Fred Kurtz, Sr.., 1900
  • Deaths in Centre County, 1889–1920, by John H. Wion, 1969
  • Wills of Centre County, 1800-1853, by Ira F. Fravel, 1939
  • Marriages, Sinking Creek Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William Stuart, 1969
  • History of Centre County, by D. S. Maynard, 1877
  • The Centre County Heritage, by Historical Society, (semi-annual publication), 1956–1973
  • Township Names of Old Northumberland County, Charles Fisher Snyder of the Northumberland Historical Society, 1936


Links
See these sites for more information on Centre County and its history, or to post queries regarding Centre County genealogy: