Once upon a time, this area we call Hilltown was considered a wilderness. The roads we know as Hilltown Pike, Bethlehem Pike and Swamp Road were merely Indian trails. As Welsh pioneers came in from Europe through Philadelphia, an organized township was needed. The first choice of a name was Aberystwith in 1722. In an official request to Justice Jerimiah Langhorne, they hoped that name would be appropriate unless it offended him. We don’t know for sure what happened, but we have been known as Hilltown for about 300 years now.
The Welsh Baptists were the first to settle in Hilltown. Reverend William Thomas arrived in Hilltown in 1720 and purchased 440 acres from James Logan. Ultimately, he owned over 1,200 acres here. He donated land for a Baptist church on what is now known as Hilltown Pike, and built it out of logs. Although the church is gone, the cemetery remains with its first noted tombstone dated 1750. In time, many of the Welsh moved on and the next wave of immigrants were German. They stayed and flourished.
Hilltown remains quite rural. Area-wise, it is the second largest township in Bucks County. There is no town center, just the remains of many of the small villages contained within its borders. Some you would recognize, Line Lexington, Blooming Glen and Silverdale (although it is its own borough). Many you would not recognize, Fricks, Leidytown, Mt. Pleasant, Greer’s Corner, Reiff’s Corner, Pennville, Albright’s Corner, and Fairhill. In the 18th century, Hilltown had its own glassworks.
Until the 1950s, Hilltown Township had its own High School and a series of one-room schoolhouses. As you drive through the township, you may recognize them as private residences.
Today, Hilltown is many things. It remains an agricultural community. Sites here are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are so many things to do in Hilltown. Check out our list under “Visit Hilltown”. You may be pleasantly surprised.