Mifflin County History
Brown Township
"A History of the Juniata Valley and Its People," John W. Jordan, 1913


Brown township, one of the northwestern tier, was established in January, 1837, and was named for Judge William Brown, who was the first settler in the Kishacoquillas valley. At the April term of court in 1836 a petition was presented asking for a division of Armagh and Union townships and the formation of two new ones in that part of the county. The court appointed Robert Allies, D. R. Reynolds and Thomas I. Postlethwait to view the townships and make a report as to the merits of the petition. On July 30, 1836, they reported that they had performed the duty for which they were appointed, and recommended the division of the township as asked for by the petitioners. They presented a plot or map of the territory, showing the four townships as they would appear after the division. Brown being described as five and a half miles in length and having an average width of four and a half miles. The report of the viewers was accepted, and at the January term following the order was made by the court for the erection of Brown township. At that time there Avere within the limits of the new township 211 taxpayers, with property valued at nearly half a million dollars.

About 1752 William Brown and James Reed visited the Kishacoquillas valley in search of suitable lands for farming purposes. These two men and Robert Taylor settled in the valley on land warrants taken out in 1755. Brown settled where the town of Reedsville now stands, and lived there for the remainder of his life. He erected a grist-mill and saw-mill there in 1781, and the place was known as Brown's Mills until Reedsville was laid out in 1838. Upon the erection of Mifflin county in 1789, Mr. Brown was made the presiding justice of the courts and two years later became an associate justice. Samuel Milliken settled in the township in 1772. He was a son of James Milliken, who came from Ireland in that year and settled in Dauphin county, where he died about a month after his arrival. Samuel came to the Kishacoquillas valley soon after his father's death, and at the time of his death in 1804 was the owner of over 1,000 acres of land in what is now Brown township. Another pioneer was Abraham Sanford, who owned a tract of land along the Kishacoquillas creek near the line of Derry and Brown townships and was running a grist-mill on the farm as early as 1772. Still-houses were built in the township by William Brown before 1790; William Henry in 1791; John Fleming about 1795; and Samuel Milliken about 1800. Matthew Taylor, John Cooper and Kyle & Milliken also operated stills in the township at an early date. In 1812 James, Jonas and George Spangler built a small stone shop in the Narrows and began the manufacture of gun barrels. It was in this building that William Mann first began to make axes some years later. John Fleming, one of the early distillers, also had a grist-mill and a woolen mill, and John Taylor started a tan-yard on his farm about 1813.

Just where and when the first school was taught in the township is a matter of uncertainty. The Kishacoquillas Seminary had its beginning in the fall of 1847, when Rev. J. W. Elliott opened a select school in the Centre church, near the line between Union and Brown townships. It received a charter in 1854, and continued as a private school in a building erected by Mrs. Elizabeth Alexander on the road between Reedsville and Belleville for a number of years. The building was then sold to a man named Garver, who occupied it as a dwelling and store. In 1912 there were fourteen teachers employed in the public schools.



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