A brief history of Northampton

Though it’s named for a borough in England, Northampton can trace much of its history to Dutch roots.

While it’s had its share of villages, the current towns of Holland, Richboro and Churchville gained much of its influence from Hollanders.

The township’s original pioneers settled near the Neshaminy Creek after crossing the Atlantic on the Welcome with Bucks County founder William Penn in 1682.

At this time there were few roads in the township and none that led to then-county seat Bristol or Philadelphia, forcing inhabitants to travel through the woods by bridle paths to get from one place to another.

It wasn’t until 1722 when residents petitioned to incorporate the township that two roads were requested, with one “to lead into the road from Southampton to Philadelphia.”

By the early 18th century through the end of the Revolution, Dutch settlers started to dominate the township and build places of worship.

The oldest of these institutions is the Addisville Reformed Church on Second Street Pike, which was established in 1710.

This deep love of religion was evident in Churchville, which took its name following the construction of a Dutch church in the early 19th century.

Before it got its current name, English inhabitants dubbed the village Smoketown after the Dutch settlers’ habit of smoking long-stemmed tobacco pipes.

In 1816, the Dutch dwellers consolidated two area churches to form the North and Southampton Reformed Church at Smoketown.

Since then the village has been called Churchville.

Among the many Dutch that spread through the township were the Cornells, who settled in a “fertile section” they named New Holland.

The village would later be known as Finneys Mill for a family owned grist mill then Rocksville for nearby rocky creek banks before returning back to the name of the Dutch settlers’ fatherland.

The old settlement of Richboro also was formed by English and Dutch settlers, including the Krewson, Cornell, Corson, Addis and Bennett families.

Around this time the village was referred to as Bennetts and Leedomville, likely for settler and storeowner Richard Leedom.

Later it was known as The Bear, or The Black Bear, after an inn and tavern that sat off the Feasterville and Richboro Turnpike (Route 232).

It wasn’t until 1830 when the name changed to Richborough for its first postmaster, Richard L. Thomas. Shortly after the name was shortened to Richboro.

Churchville and Richboro grew as retired farmers decided to build homes “in town” by the late 1800s.

Today Richboro encompasses Addisville and Jacksonville is now known as Ivyland Borough.

Other past villages include Bulltown, Chain Bridge, Cornell, Grenoble, Rush Valley, Saint Leonard, Spring Garden and White House.

Places of significance:
*Churchville Nature Center;
*Hampton Hill (Bennett-Search house);
*Mill Race Inn;
*The Spread Eagle Inn;
*Tyler State Park.

Sources: History of Bucks County Pennsylvania by W.H Davis published in 1884, Places Names in Bucks County Pennsylvania by Mac Reynolds published 1942, Northampton Township.