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Easton, PA 18042
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A Short History of Morgan Hill

coursehistoryclubhouseDepending on whom you ask the history of Eastern Pennsylvania's Williams Township has been recorded "very accurately" or "not very accurately at all!" But it does seem clear that in 1774, Northampton County was the second largest of Pennsylvania's eleven counties, comprising more than 2,500 square miles, three towns (Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton), and 15,000 residents.

When the Revolutionary War began, militias took control of virtually the entire area. Frontier justice replaced the rule of law as zealous patriots preoccupied themselves not with fighting the British, but with seizing local political power and persecuting their pacifist neighbors.

But there were some true American warriors in the region, and General Thomas Proctor was among them. A short distance southeast of the Kleinhaus greenhouses were the headquarters of Proctor's Artillery. Here, Proctor and his troops held a strategic position, with easy access to the Delaware River and within a day's journey of New York or Philadelphia.

Next to General Henry Knox, Colonel Proctor was considered the most distinguished artillery officer in the Continental Army. Proctor's Artillery was one of the most effective units, serving in many battles, and having the distinction of being the first artillery regiment assembled in Pennsylvania.

After the war...

coursehistoryaerialviewBy 1752, the entire area around Easton, from the Delaware River to the Glendon Valley, was fully settled and cultivated. As was often the case, the first settlers had many sons, who, when old enough to marry, would themselves have large families, thus making the community grow rapidly.

Here, on what would eventually be called Morgan Hill, on the site of the present reservoir, was a church which had been erected about 1730, known as the "Congregation On The Delaware River Belonging To The Lutheran Religion." At one time it numbered about 300 people, living in the region's north and east, and was almost certainly the largest Lutheran congregation in America at that time.

During the first few years, services were held only on important religious anniversaries. Later they were held more frequently, or whenever an itinerant preacher could be procured. On the day preceding these special services it was necessary to notify the congregation of the upcoming event. This was done by building huge bon-fires at the summit of what is now called Morgan's Hill. These fires could be seen for 40 miles around. On the following day, there could be found assembled hundreds of faithful Lutherans from the surrounding area.

Elizabeth Bell "Mammy" Morgan

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Born on November 2, 1761 in Philadelphia, Elizabeth Bell was married to Dr. Abel Morgan at the age of 20. Dr. Morgan brought his bride to Williams Township, Northampton County in 1793 to avoid a major epidemic of yellow fever in Philadelphia.

After helping his wife get settled into her new home, Dr. Morgan returned to Philadelphia to assist with the epidemic, but later died of the fever. In 1797, the Widow Morgan purchased 70 acres of land in Williams Township, including a tavern, which she operated until shortly before her death on October 16, 1839.

According to local legend, Mrs. Morgan was known as "Mother to the Whole Township," or "Mammy Morgan," because she helped citizens in the area with their ailments by conducting research in her late husband's medical books.

The hill where Mammy lived would forevermore be known as "Mammy Morgan's Hill", or, as it is more simply known today, Morgan Hill.

But that's not quite the end of the story...

coursehistoryhole17behindthegreenDuring construction of the Easton Public Library in 1903, workers uncovered the graves of 514 people. Most of the bodies were moved to other cemeteries, but at least thirty were left unclaimed. 

Two prominent former citizens, Elizabeth Bell "Mammy" Morgan and William Parsons, were reburied in graves with markers on the library grounds. Mammy Morgan is buried on the west lawn and Parsons is buried on the front lawn.

The other, unidentified bodies, were unceremoniously placed into an underground vault on the property. Today, the library is haunted by these misplaced souls. Doors slam shut and open suddenly, filing cabinet drawers swing open for no reason, and unseen hands run through the hair or touch the shoulders of patrons and staff.

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