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


Oliver township, situated in the western part of the county, was erected in 1835. A petition asking for a division of Wayne township was presented to the court at the October term in 1834, when David Hough, William P. Elliott and Thomas McClure were appointed viewers, with instructions to report as to the advisability of granting the petition. On January 8, 1835, they recommended the division of the township on the following line: "Beginning at the Strode mountain; thence north 36 west, crossing the Juniata river to the mouth of Shank's run; thence through Joseph Langton's lane to Jack's Mountain." They also stated, "Our opinions are that said division is the best that can be made satisfactory to a large majority of the inhabitants of said township."

At the April session of the court the report and recommendations of the viewers were approved and confirmed and an order issued for the erection of a new township to be called Oliver, in honor of John Oliver, long a judge of the court. The assessment rolls for 1836, the year following the erection of the township, showed 183 taxpayers and about 25,000 acres of land under ownership. At that time there were within the limits of the township one iron furnace, one distillery, one carding and fulling machine, two taverns, two cabinet-makers, two wagon-makers, three tan-yards, three coopers, three grist-mills, three shoe-makers, four weavers, six tailors, eight blacksmiths, seven stores and ten saw-mills.

One of the early settlers was Robert Samuels, who on June 2, 1762, took out a warrant for 200 acres of land. William Samuels received a warrant for fifty acres in the same locality in 1768. In that year Alexander and James Stewart located in the township, the former taking up 100 acres and the latter 400, and Matthew Wakefield entered 100 acres. Robert Forgy, a weaver by trade, came to America about 1772 and soon after came to the house of John Beatty, in what is now Bratton township. He married Elizabeth Beatty and settled in Oliver township shortly after their marriage. William Moore located in what is now Oliver township some time prior to the year 1770. Upon the breaking out of the Revolutionary war he enlisted in the Continental army and died in the service. His widow, Isabella, continued to live upon the old homestead of 100 acres until her death in 1822. Some of their descendants still live in Mifflin county. About the close of the Revolution, or between that time and the year 1800, a number of settlers came into the township. Among them were Robert Elliott, William Robison, John Allen, Richard Coulter, James Stackpole, Benjamin Walters, John Rankin, John Culbertson, Thomas Collins, Hector Galbraith, James Huston, Henry Hanawalt and John Swigart.

John Oliver, for whom the township was named, was a native of Ireland, where he was born in 1752. He came to this country when a young man, and in 1780 was engaged in teaching school in Wayne (now Oliver) township. In 1782 he married Margaret Lyon, daughter of James Lyon, and from 1794 to 1837 was an associate justice of the Mifflin county courts. He died on February 9, 1841.

The first school house of which any definite knowledge can be obtained was near Strode's Mills, but the date when it was built or when the first school was taught there cannot be ascertained. Another early school house was on the farm of John Culbertson, about a mile west of the present borough of McVeytown. Soon after the township was formed in 1835 John Haman and Richard Miles were appointed directors for the five school districts taken from Wayne. Nine teachers were employed in the schools in the year 1912-13.

Oliver township was reduced in size by the formation of Bratton in 1850, when that portion south of the Juniata was taken for the new township. At present it is bounded on the northwest by Union and Menno townships; on the northeast by Granville; on the southeast by the Juniata river, which separates it from Bratton ; and on the southwest by the township of Wayne. Huntingdon county forms a small portion of the boundary near the southwest corner. The borough of McVeytown is situated in this township. Near McVeytown are large sand quarries from which large quantities of sand are shipped to glass factories in different parts of the country.



Return to Mifflin County, PA AGHP



2012 Mifflin County Pennsylvania AHGP