Upper Mount Bethel Township is a township in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, United States. Upper Mount Bethel Township is located in the Lehigh Valley region of the state. It is part of Pennsylvania’s Slate Belt.
Old Mount Bethel was one of the oldest settled areas in Northampton County. Included within in its jurisdiction was the Old Hunter Settlement, founded by the Ulster-Scots around 1730. That same year Old Mount Bethel was erected a town. After the walking purchase of 1737 between the Penn family and the Lenape (also known as the Delaware) was completed, Old Mount Bethel was established within the County of Bucks. In 1752 Bucks County was divided and Northampton County was established, geographically placing Old Mount Bethel within the boundaries of Northampton County.
This township is bounded on the north by Monroe county on the east and south by the Delaware River, separating it from the State of New Jersey on the south and west by the townships of Lower Mount Bethel and Washington.
It was erected a township, in 1787, from the territory of old Mount Bethel, which was originally a township of Bucks county, before the erection of Northampton.
This was one of the oldest settled portions of Northampton county, including in its limits the old Hunter settlement, founded by the Ulster-Scots, about 1730; and it was by this name that it was only known for some seventeen years thereafter.
Among the names of the first settler, in Mount Bethel we find that of La bar; three brothers, by the name of Peter, Charles, and Abraham, who immigrated from France to this country, before 1730. Landing at Philadelphia, they at once started out in pursuit of a home.
Making their way up the Delaware, much of the way through dense forests, they finally reached the southern base of the Blue Mountains, where, believing they had penetrated beyond the bounds of civilized man, they located a tract of land, reared a log cabin, and settled on the place now owned by Mr. Samuel Pipher, about half a mile southwest of the present village of Slateford.
Here the three brothers commenced the hardships of a pioneer life, They were the first who cleared land on the Delaware, above the mouth of the Lehigh. They had been in their new home but a short time, when their tawny neighbors began to manifest a friendly feeling, and an inclination to become acquainted. It was not long before amicable relations had been established between the brothers and the curious red men, then numerous at this point, near the Water Gap.
This friendship greatly promoted the safety of the brothers, and enabled them to obtain from the Indians a supply of corn, which, in those days, must be pounded in a mortar, by hand for there was no grist-mill. At this time, the young pioneers were progressing favorably, and they began to look about them. They soon found that they were not the only whites, in this region, for just north of the Blue Mountain they found Nicholas Depui, who was then quite an old man, and settled at a place called Shawanese, on the Minisink lands, one of the first settlements made in the State.
Not long after, they found another small settlement; probably that part of the Hunter Settlement planted at Williamsburg. During this brief period, the three pioneers had obtained considerable knowledge of the Forks region; and the friendly relationship they had established with the Indians, had enabled them to learn considerable of the Indian language. While at this place, the La Bar brother, married; and soon afterwards removed north of the Blue Mountain, into what is Dow Monroe county, where they permanently settled.
A few year, subsequently, a son of Peter, by the name of George, moved south of the mountain, and settled near the original La Bar cabin, where he raised a large family. He lived to the age of one hundred and six years, and his son-also named George-died in 1874, at the age of one hundred and eleven, years and nine months. There are now many of the La Bar descendents living in Mount Bethel township, and in the lower part of Monroe county.
The first elections of the settlers in the Mount Bethel region were held at Easton, but, as new settlers were added to the sparsely populated township, Richmond, since in Lower Mount Bethel, and now in Washington township, became the voting place.
This remained the voting place until the division of the old township, March 17th, 1787. Williamburg then became the voting place for Upper Mount Bethel township, and there the elections were held until 1874, when the township was divided into two voting districts, namely, Williamsburg and Delpsburg, at which places the elections have since been held.
Lehigh Valley History