Full History

At January sessions, 1805, the court of Luzerne County was petitioned by Thomas Parke and others to erect a township from parts of Tunkhannock, Braintrim, Nicholson, and Rush, to be called Bridgewater. Its dimensions were described thus: - “Beginning at a 0.1 mile above where Martin’s Creek empties into the Tunkhannock, thence northerly to the forks of Martin’s Creek, easterly from Bloomfield Milbourne’s, thence north to intersect the south line of Lawsville, thence on that line to the southwest corner of Lawsville, thence northerly to the State Line, thence west to the 32nd milestone, thence south till it shall intersect a line to be drawn due west from place of beginning."

On hearing the petition, Judge Rush directed the commissioners to return a plot, which they did, November 1806, and the court then confirmed it. The original dimensions of Bridgewater included a small portion of what is now Wyoming County. Springville, Dimock, Lathrop, Brooklyn, Silver Lake, and portions of Forest Lake, Jessup, and Franklin have been taken from it.
It is more nearly the central township of the county than any other.

The township is a water-shed for three streams, the sources of which are in the vicinity of Montrose, and which in three different directions at length reach the Susquehanna River, viz., Snake Creek running north, the Meshoppen south and the Wyalusing west and south. The Snake and Wyalusing Creeks, which rise within half a mile of each other, are probably 100 miles apart at their mouths; but Meshoppen, though running for many miles at nearly a right angle with the later, falls into the Susquehanna but a short distance below it.

Hopbottom Creek is the outlet of Heart Lake on the east line of Bridgewater; it runs southwardly into Martin’s Creek, and eventually into the Tunkhannock.

Jones Lake, now “Lake Montrose,” is the principal source of Snake Creek. Williams’ Pond, in the northern part of the township is another, but inferior source of it. Cold Brook, near the line of Silver Lake is a tributary of Silver Creek, which is itself a tributary of Snake Creek.

A small pond near the south line of Bridgewater has an outlet emptying into the Meshoppen

Elevated as the township is, it is not more hilly than many another; there are not such deep valleys here as along the principal creeks farther from their source. The Milford and Owego turnpike, which was laid out diagonally across the township in 1809, sought the homes of settlers on the highest hills, plunging down one hill only to ascend another, and repeated the feat ad nauseam.

In 1811 - 1813, the Bridgewater and Wilkes-Barre turnpike was laid out over the high hills southward. Each hill-top can easily serve as a milestone until Dimock Four Corners is reached. At one point on the road (the location of Reuben Well) is 100 feet higher than Searle’s Corner-a wide prospect (extensive view) is obtained, including a portion of Wayne County, on the north-east and Campbell’s Ledge, at the head of Wyoming Valley, on the south.

But there is no elevation in Bridgewater than can be dignified by the name of mountain.

The soil is naturally good, capable of producing all the crops generally raised in the latitude, such as wheat, rye, oats, corn, potatoes of excellent quality and large quantity. Grass is one of the staple products. The raising of stock and making of butter and cheese has been of late years, very profitable for our farmers. The raising of sheep is not attended to as much as formerly.

When Susquehanna County was organized, Bridgewater contained 500 taxable. About 45 of these were set off with Silver Lake, 66 with Springville, and over 80 with Waterford, leaving about 3/5ths of the list to Bridgewater.

The first settler within the present bounds of Bridgewater was Stephen Wilson, a native of Vermont, who came from Burlington, Otsego County, New York, in March 1799. He located about half a mile below the center of the present borough of Montrose. He was accompanied by his wife and children (David and Mason S. – the latter being then but 9 months old), Samuel Wilson, his brother, and Samuel Coggswell, brother of his wife. The party entered the log-cabin which Mr. Wilson had erected the previous fall, in 1 week, when he and others came to look for land.

Mr. Wilson’s location became a landmark for settlers who came in early in this century. His was the first house below the source of the Wyalusing, and the path leading from Hopbottom and Nine Partners struck the stream at this point and followed it to its mouth, crossing it no less than 18 times, in some places it was necessary for the rider to swim his horse.

His hospitality was extended to many a newcomer. Whole families being sometimes entertained until their own cabins could be made habitable.

Until within a few years the debris of Mr. Wilson’s house were to be seen on the upper corner of the Wyalusing Creek road, where it joins the Wilkes-Barre turnpike, but at present only an old apple tree, standing near, serves to mark the site. His orchard was the first in Bridgewater, and he raised his apple trees from seed.

The first birth in the township was that of his daughter Almeda (in 1800), who became the first wife of John Bard, Jr. The first public library of the township had its nucleus beneath the humble roof of his second log-cabin, which stood about 50 rods south of the first. A little later, it sheltered the most accomplished linguist that ever resided in the county.

Stephen Wilson’s name appears in a document among the Luzerne County records, which is labeled “Rindaw Assessment for 1801 - Rush Seated Property,” thus affording additional proof that Rindaw, as a Pennsylvania district, was far more extensive than the “Yankee” township of that name, including the Forks of the Wyalusing. The document weighs 10 ounces and the postage on it from the Forks to Wilkes Barre was 40 cents.

Mr. Wilson was one of the early commissioners of Susquehanna County. In 1819, he sold his farm to Mr. Price, and removed to Wysox, and in 1823 to Alleghany County, New York, where he died April 15, 1848, aged 76. His son Stephen remains there. Of the rest of his family, David was of the firm of Wilson and Gregory, who kept a small store near the south line of Montrose in 1816. Samuel C. was editor of the “Susquehanna County Herald” in 1822. Robert is a lawyer in Chicago, and has presided over its criminal courts. Three daughters are still living. Mason S. Wilson is the only representative of the family in the county. He is also Bridgewater’s oldest resident, never having been but temporarily absent, and the merchant of the longest standing.

Samuel Wilson, brother of Stephen, Sr., took up what has long been known as the Roberts farm, it joined the farm of J. W. Raynsford. He sold his improvement here and built a log cabin on the site of the Gregory tenant house, and from there removed to another location in Bridgewater, where he remained some years after his brother left. He died in Wyoming County, where the youngest of his 6 sons now resides. All have left Susquehanna County.

Samuel Coggswell built his house a little west of Stephen Wilson, and within the “Connecticut township” of Manor, the line being between them. The land (afterwards the Park farm) was the greater part of a gore which Mr. Wilson took out from the State Land Office and sold to Mr. Coggswell at 25 cents per acre, while lands of the Clymer estate just across the turnpike were selling at $1.50 per acre.

Nehemiah Maine took up land under the Connecticut title in 1799, just east of the Reuben Wells homestead, but was not long after located in Dimock. Samuel Maine lived a few years on the farm, since Joseph Butterfield’s. David Doud lived on the Kingsley farm, but was probably soon after on the Wyalusing. His son-in-law, Miles Bunnel, lived near N. Main. Mr. Maine sold his right to B. Bostwick, who sold to R. Wells, Sr.

Before the close of 1799, Ozem Cook had settled beyond Messrs. Wilson and Coggswell, on the farm now owned and occupied by Moses S. Tyler. His location was in Manor.

In 1800 Captain Bartlet Hinds, an officer of the Revolution originally from Boston, but then from South Hampton, Long Island, came into what is now Montrose, as an owner and agent of lands for ex-Governor Huntington of Connecticut, under the title of that State.
He had in his company his step-son, Isaac Post, then 16 years old. Robert Day, Daniel, and Eldad Brewster, who settled in Bridgewater; Daniel Foster, John Reynolds (second)time, and Ichabod Halsey, who settled in Jessup, and Frederick Loper, who did not remain.

They came by way of Cherry Ridge, Nine Partners, and Hopbottom (now Brooklyn) at which points they found a few settlers. After leaving Hopbottom Creek, they were guided by marked trees and a slight path – no road. They arrived at Stephen Wilson’s cabin at 4 p.m. on the 11th of May. Here Captain Hinds and son stopped for a night. The others went on 3 miles to the cabin of Messrs. Foster and Reynolds. They shoveled out the snow, provided hemlock boughs for bedding, and here most of them camped. 2 or 3 went a few miles further to the cabin of Samuel Lewis, which stood a little below Dr. Cornwell’s present residence.

Captain Hinds decided to locate on the present site of Montrose, and he was assisted by Robert Day and Isaac Post in building a log cabin on the ground now occupied by the residence of the late David Post, Esq., where they camped for the season, and commenced clearing away the dense forest. Directly north there was not a settler between Captain Hinds and the State line, but there were at least 3 or 4 families in Lawsville, nearly northeast from him. Captain Joseph Chapman and Colonel Thomas Parke, Martin Myers, and the Spencers, in Dimock and Springville, were the only families between him and Tunkhannock.

In the fall of 1800, he returned to Long Island, but came back in 1801 with his family, consisting of his wife (formerly the widow Agnes Post), with her 2 sons Isaac and David Post, a daughter, Susannah, and son Conrad, children of his former wife and Bartlet, the only living child of his last marriage.


  • Blackmans History of Susquehanna County
  • Reprint by Baltimore Regional Publishing Company
  • Original print 1878 by Philadelphia
  • Claxton, Remson, and Haffelfinger
  • Northern Tier Coalition Multi Municipal Comprehensive Plan, February 2005
  • Susquehanna Historical Society