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Copyright (C) 2000 Jean Suplick Matuson.


Among the things you need to understand about Washington Co., PA are: We also have a page that specifically deals with maps of the area.  And if you have a town name, but don't know where it is located, you can try checking out the U.S. Census Bureau's Gazetteer.  And here is a link to a list of the 246 Place Names in Washigton Co., PA


Washington County is found in the extreme southwest corner of Pennsylvania. Of the four major geographic regions in the state, Washington Co. is on the Allegheny Plateau. The Allegheny Plateau covers roughly half the state, that half bounded in the east by the ridges of Allegheny mountains.

Rolling hills delineated by creeks or "runs" and punctuated by springs comprise the area which was originally hardwood forest. The primeval forest supported black bear, elk, moose, deer, panthers, wildcats, wolves, wild ducks and geese, ruffed grouse, quail, pheasants, turkeys, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, skunks, and woodchucks.

This part of the state drains into the Ohio river system. The Monongahela River, which flows northward to join the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh and form the Ohio River, forms Washington County's eastern boundary.

The Youghogheny River flows into the Monongahela at McKeesport which is now in Allegheny County just north of Washington Co. This location, referred to early as "the forks of the Yough", was important in the early days when pioneers followed the river Valley through southwestern Pennsylvania toward what is now the Pittsburgh area.

Washington County Streams and Their Tributaries

[Taken from: Alfred Creigh, History of Washington County, 1871]

Monongahela River, which flows through the eastern part of Washington County, rises in Randolph County, Virginia, at the foot of the Laurel Mountain, and flowing northwardly for about three hundred miles, empties into the Allegheny River at Pittsburgh and forms the Ohio.  It is nearly four hundred yards wide at its mouth, and is navigable for light boats sixty miles, to West Brownsville, in this county, and for small boats nearly two hundred miles from its mouth. Its principal tributaries are the Youghiogheny and Cheat rivers, which enter into it on the east side, but on the west side, in Washington County, are Tenmile Creek, Pigeon Creek, Baker and Fish Plot runs, Pike Run, South Fork and Maple Fork, Mingo Creek.

[Note that in the above quotation, Virginia should have read West Virginia.  West Virginia became a state in 1863, an event Creigh seems to have forgotten when composing his section on "Streams".]

Tenmile Creek empties into the Monongahela River at Millsboro, Washington County; the north fork of this creek rises in Morris township and waters the townships of East and West Bethlehem, Amwell and Morris, its tributaries being Middle Fork, Craft's Fork, Road's Fork, Hoosang's Fork, McFarlane's Fork, Bane's Fork, with Kembler's and McGiffin's Run. Coniconick empties into Craft's Fork at Prosperity. Its Indian name is Cusuthee.

Little North Fork, with its tributaries, Brush Run, Camp's Fork, Carter's Run, Daniel's Run, Hawkin's and Plumb Hill forks, empties into it. On both branches of Tenmile Creek are many grist and saw mills.

Pigeon Creek empties into the Monongahela at Monongahela City. It rises by two branches in Somerset township and flows northeast through Fallowfield township. Its length is about fifteen miles.

Mingo and Little Mingo Creek creeks rise in Nottingham township and flow east to the Monongahela.

Baker and Fish Pot Runs empty into it [the Monongahela River] in East Bethlehem township.

Peter's Creek and its branch called Pine Branch, Fry's Branch, and Bruce's Run, empty into the Monogahela River.

Chartiers Creek flows a north-northeast course of thirty-five or forty miles and empties into the Ohio River five miles below Pittsburgh. Its tributaries are Catfish Run, Braddock's Run, Weirch's Run, Leet's Run, north branch of Chartier's Creek and its tributaries, Vance's, Little's, Pollock's, McCorkle's, Kenny's, and Brush runs on the east and west side of this creek, emptying into the Ohio River below Pittsburgh. Miller's Run rises in Mount Pleasant township and empties into Little Chartier's Creek. Robeson's [Robinson's?] Run rises about two miles north of Candor and empties into Chartiers. This creek flows through the townships of Robinson, Cecil, Mount Pleasant, Chartiers, Canton, North and South Strabane, Somerset, Amwell, and Morris.

This creek derives its name from Peter Chartiers, who went among the Indians on the Ohio and tributary streams to deal for peltries. He was an influential Indian interpreter, and joined the French Indians on the Ohio, to the injury of Pennsylvania. Chartiers had a trading station on or near the mouth of the creek. Governor Thomas, in 1745, said that the perfidious blood of the Shawnees partly runs in his veins.

Big and Little Raccoon Creeks rise in Mount Pleasant township; the former near Hickory, and the latter near David Lyle's, in the vicinity of Prospect Church. The tributaries of these creeks are Boyd's, Burgett's, Cherry Valley, Bailey's, Painter's, Patrick's, and Brimmer and Brush runs. These different streams water the townships of Hanover, Robeson [Robinson?], Smith, and Mount Pleasant.

Harman's Creek rises in Smith township, and with its tributaries of Tucker and Buffalo runs, empties into the Ohio River near Steubenville, Ohio, watering the townships of Smith, Hanover, and Cross Creek. Its length is about twelve miles.

Indian or King Creek (northeast branch) rises in Hanover township near Florence.

Cross Creek rises in Mount Pleasant township and runs northwest to the Ohio River, a few miles above Wellsburg, West Virginia. Its tributaries are Stewart's Run--the middle fork, with Smiley's Run, Lyle's Run; the North Fork rises near Cross Creek Village. This creek flows through the township of Mount Pleasant, Cross Creek, and empties into the main branch of the creek at Patterson's mills.

Buffalo Creek rises in East Finley; its tributaries are Brushy Run, Mill Run, Indian Camp Run, Buck Run, and Dutch Fork. These streams flow through the townships of East Finley, Donegal, Hopewell, and Buffalo, and the creek itself empties into the Ohio River.

Wheeling Creek rises in East Finley, having for its tributaries Templeton's and Enslow's Fork, Hunter's Fork, and Tucker's Fork; these streams water East and West Finley townships.

Little Wheeling Creek rises in Donegal township; Middle Wheeling Creek, in West Finley township; these two creeks meet at Triadelphia and empty into Wheeling Creek at Shepherd's mills.

Township Formation Dates 

Because of the evolution of the county from 1781, not all of the original, or even some subsequent, townships are in existence within the county borders today.

Township Formed  From 
Allen 14 June 1853  
Amwell 15 July 1781 Original
Bethlehem 15 July 1781 Original
E. Bethlehem 18 January 1790 Bethlehem Twp.
W. Bethlehem 18 January 1790 Bethlehem Twp.
N. Bethlehem 1921 East Bethlehem
Blaine 1894 Buffalo Twp.
Buffalo 8 May 1799 Donegal Twp.
Canton 10 June 1791 Morris, Hopewell, Chartiers, Strabane Twps.
Carroll 30 September 1830  
Cecil 15 July 1781 Original
Chartiers 12 March 1790 Cecil Twp.
Cross Creek 23 January 1790 Hopewell Twp.
Cumberland 15 July 1781 Original
Dickinson 15 September 1785  
Donegal 15 July 1781 Original
Finley 6 May 1788  
E. Finley 24 December 1828 Finley Twp.
W. Finley 24 December 1828 Finley Twp.
Fallowfield 15 July 1781 Original
Franklin? 16 July 1787  
Franklin 13 August 1855 Canton, Morris Twps.
S. Franklin 1892 Franklin Twp.
Greene 3 April 1782
Hanover 11 March 1786 Smith Twp.
Hopewell 15 July 1781 Original
Independence 19 May 1856 Hopewell Twp.
Jefferson 16 June 1853  
Morgan 15 July 1781 Original
Morris 13 March 1788 Amwell Twp.
Mt. Pleasant 12 May 1806 Cecil, Canton, Hopewell, Smith Twps.
Nottingham 15 July 1781 Original
Peters 15 July 1781 Original
Pike Run 8 January 1792  
E. Pike Run 9 March 1839 Pike Run Twp.
W. Pike Run 9 March 1839 Pike Run Twp.
Rich Hill 13 March 1793  
Robinson 15 July 1781 Original
Smith 15 July 1781 Original
Somerset 3 April 1782 Fallowfield, Nottingham, Strabane, Bethlehem Twps.
Strabane 15 July 1781 Original
N. Strabane 2 May 1831 Strabane Twp.
S. Strabane 2 May 1831 Strabane Twp.
Union 31 March 1836 Peters, Nottingham Twps.

Formation Dates for Early Boroughs

This list is not up to date for modern times.

1882 List of Post Offices and the Corresponding Townships

[Taken from Crumrine's History of Washington County, 1882

Allenport Allen Amity Amwell
Arden S. Strabane Atchison Buffalo
Barington Smith Beallsville W. Pike Run
Bentleyville Somerset Bower Hill Peters
Beck's Mill N. Strabane Buffalo Hopewell
Bulger Smith Brush Run Hopewell
Burgettstown Smith Candor Robinson
Canonsburg Chartiers Cardville Smith
Cecil Cecil Cherry Valley Smith
Claysville Donegal Clokey N. Strabane
Coal Bluff Union Coon Island Donegal
Cross Creek Cross Creek Dinsmore Hanover
Donley Donegal Dunningsville Nottingham
Dunsport Independence East Bethlehem E. Bethlehem
East Finley E. Finley Eldersville Jefferson
Finleyville Union Florence Hanover
Fredericktown E. Bethlehem Ginger Hill Nottingham
Good Intent West Finley Hanlon Station Jefferson
Hannah's Creek Hanover Hickory Mt. Pleasant
Hustonville Chartiers Independence Independence
Kramerer Nottingham Kerr's Station N. Strabane
Lawrence Peters Lindley's Mill Morris
Lock No. 4 Carroll Locust Hill Chartiers
Lone Pine Amwell McDonald Robinson
Meloy Independence Midway Robinson
Millsborough W. Bethlehem Monongahela Carroll
Morganza N. Strabane Morrisonville Nottingham
Mount Airy E. Bethlehem Munntown N. Strabane
Murdocksville Hanover Noble's Mill Donegal
Odell W. Bethlehem Paris Hanover
Patterson's Mill Cross Creek Pike Run E. Pike Run
Prosperity Morris Racoon Smith
Scenery Hill W. Bethlehem Simpson's Store E. Finley
Sparta Morris Taylorstown Buffalo
Ten Mile Amwell Thompsonville Peters
Toledo Franklin Vanceville Somerset
Van Buren Franklin Venice Cecil
Washington County Seat West Alexander Donegal
W. Brownsville E. Pike Run West Finley W. Finley
West Middleton Buffalo Woodrow Cross Creek
Zollarsville W. Bethlehem