Among the things you need to understand about Washington Co., PA are:
BackgroundWashington County is found in the extreme southwest corner of Pennsylvania. Of the four major geographic regions in the state, Washington Co. is on the Allegheny Plateau. The Allegheny Plateau covers roughly half the state, that half bounded in the east by the ridges of Allegheny mountains.
Rolling hills delineated bycreeks or "runs" and punctuated by springs comprise the area which was originally hardwood forest. The primeval forest supported black bear, elk, moose, deer, panthers, wildcats, wolves, wild ducks and geese, ruffed grouse, quail, pheasants, turkeys, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, skunks, and woodchucks.
This part of the state drains into the Ohio river system. The Monongahela River, which flows northward to join the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh and form the Ohio River, forms Washington County's eastern boundary.
The Youghogheny River flows
into the Monongahela at McKeesport which is now in Allegheny County just
north of Washington Co. This location, referred to early as "the forks
of the Yough", was important in the early days when pioneers followed the
river Valley through southwestern Pennsylvania toward what is now the Pittsburgh
Washington County Streams and Their Tributaries
Monongahela River, which flows through the eastern part of Washington County, rises in Randolph County, Virginia, at the foot of the Laurel Mountain, and flowing northwardly for about three hundred miles, empties into the Allegheny River at Pittsburgh and forms the Ohio. It is nearly four hundred yards wide at its mouth, and is navigable for light boats sixty miles, to West Brownsville, in this county, and for small boats nearly two hundred miles from its mouth. Its principal tributaries are the Youghiogheny and Cheat rivers, which enter into it on the east side, but on the west side, in Washington County, are Tenmile Creek, Pigeon Creek, Baker and Fish Plot runs, Pike Run, South Fork and Maple Fork, Mingo Creek.
[Note that in the above quotation, Virginia should have read West Virginia. West Virginia became a state in 1863, an event Creigh seems to have forgotten when composing his section on "Streams".]
Tenmile Creek empties into the Monongahela River at Millsboro, Washington County; the north fork of this creek rises in Morris township and waters the townships of East and West Bethlehem, Amwell and Morris, its tributaries being Middle Fork, Craft's Fork, Road's Fork, Hoosang's Fork, McFarlane's Fork, Bane's Fork, with Kembler's and McGiffin's Run. Coniconick empties into Craft's Fork at Prosperity. Its Indian name is Cusuthee.
Little North Fork, with its tributaries, Brush Run, Camp's Fork, Carter's Run, Daniel's Run, Hawkin's and Plumb Hill forks, empties into it. On both branches of Tenmile Creek are many grist and saw mills.
Pigeon Creek empties into the Monongahela at Monongahela City. It rises by two branches in Somerset township and flows northeast through Fallowfield township. Its length is about fifteen miles.
Mingo and Little Mingo Creek creeks rise in Nottingham township and flow east to the Monongahela.
Baker and Fish Pot Runs empty into it [the Monongahela River] in East Bethlehem township.
Peter's Creek and its branch called Pine Branch, Fry's Branch, and Bruce's Run, empty into the Monogahela River.
Chartiers Creek flows a north-northeast course of thirty-five or forty miles and empties into the Ohio River five miles below Pittsburgh. Its tributaries are Catfish Run, Braddock's Run, Weirch's Run, Leet's Run, north branch of Chartier's Creek and its tributaries, Vance's, Little's, Pollock's, McCorkle's, Kenny's, and Brush runs on the east and west side of this creek, emptying into the Ohio River below Pittsburgh. Miller's Run rises in Mount Pleasant township and empties into Little Chartier's Creek. Robeson's [Robinson's?] Run rises about two miles north of Candor and empties into Chartiers. This creek flows through the townships of Robinson, Cecil, Mount Pleasant, Chartiers, Canton, North and South Strabane, Somerset, Amwell, and Morris.
This creek derives its name from Peter Chartiers, who went among the Indians on the Ohio and tributary streams to deal for peltries. He was an influential Indian interpreter, and joined the French Indians on the Ohio, to the injury of Pennsylvania. Chartiers had a trading station on or near the mouth of the creek. Governor Thomas, in 1745, said that the perfidious blood of the Shawnees partly runs in his veins.
Big and Little Raccoon Creeks rise in Mount Pleasant township; the former near Hickory, and the latter near David Lyle's, in the vicinity of Prospect Church. The tributaries of these creeks are Boyd's, Burgett's, Cherry Valley, Bailey's, Painter's, Patrick's, and Brimmer and Brush runs. These different streams water the townships of Hanover, Robeson [Robinson?], Smith, and Mount Pleasant.
Harman's Creek rises in Smith township, and with its tributaries of Tucker and Buffalo runs, empties into the Ohio River near Steubenville, Ohio, watering the townships of Smith, Hanover, and Cross Creek. Its length is about twelve miles.
Indian or King Creek (northeast branch) rises in Hanover township near Florence.
Cross Creek rises in Mount Pleasant township and runs northwest to the Ohio River, a few miles above Wellsburg, West Virginia. Its tributaries are Stewart's Run--the middle fork, with Smiley's Run, Lyle's Run; the North Fork rises near Cross Creek Village. This creek flows through the township of Mount Pleasant, Cross Creek, and empties into the main branch of the creek at Patterson's mills.
Buffalo Creek rises in East Finley; its tributaries are Brushy Run, Mill Run, Indian Camp Run, Buck Run, and Dutch Fork. These streams flow through the townships of East Finley, Donegal, Hopewell, and Buffalo, and the creek itself empties into the Ohio River.
Wheeling Creek rises in East Finley, having for its tributaries Templeton's and Enslow's Fork, Hunter's Fork, and Tucker's Fork; these streams water East and West Finley townships.
Little Wheeling Creek rises in Donegal township; Middle Wheeling
Creek, in West Finley township; these two creeks meet at Triadelphia and
empty into Wheeling Creek at Shepherd's mills.
Township Formation DatesBecause of the evolution of the county from 1781, not all of the original, or even some subsequent, townships are in existence within the county borders today.
Formation Dates for Early Boroughs
1882 List of Post Offices and the Corresponding Townships