John Pritiskutch Reproductions

History of Berks County - Pike Township

The following is reproduced from the 1876 Atlas of Berks County, Pennsylvania

Pike was originally formed out of the fragments of several adjacent townships. It is bounded on the north and east by District; on the southeast by Washington and Colebrookdale; on the south by Earl and Oley; on the west by Oley. Its territory is somewhat limited, having a mean length of four and a half miles, and a breadth of two miles and a half, and it contains in all but six thousand five hundred acres of land. The surface is rugged and hilly. The soil is not very fertile, being gravelly and but ill-adapted to the growth of cereals. Its sterility affords but poor inducements for its cultivation, and as a consequence the farms are somewhat neglected. Pine creeks and other sources of the Manatawny rise in the township, affording abundant and excellent watering for the rather unproductive soil. Swamp creek is one of its principal sources.

The church edifices within the township are occupied by different denominations of Christians. The population of Pike has never been large. According to the census of 1870, the number of its inhabitants is 925. Like other rural communities, it is subject to a constant drain to swell the numbers of those who make up the population of more favored localities.

The township was formerly noted as the long residence of a hermitress, who died at an advanced age. Her name was Maria Yung, but she was better known as Die Berg Maria." For some unexplained reason she chose to live in seclusion for thirty years. Her lonely home was near Matz's mill, where her singular mode of life attracted many visitors from great distances. Whatever the cause for her long isolation from the busy world, she at length found peace and repose in the silent grave.

Prominent among the early settlers of this township were the families of the Lobachs and Potts, who came from Holland about 1730. From the former the village of Lobachsville derives its name. Records of this family extend from 513 to 1687, A. D., are in the possession of David Lobach Esq. A pair of shears is in the possession of one of the family, which were imported from England in 1745, for trimming cassinet and linsey, and which are yet in a good state of preservation. A house owned by one of the Lobachs was, in the early history of the place, a favorite resort for the people of the neighborhood, for the purpose of enjoying apple-butter stirrings, and preparing for defence against the Indians by the casting of bullets. St. Paul's Church in the vicinity was built in 1834, largely through the influence of the Lobachs: also, a tasteful cemetery was laid out. Two large rocks on Lobach's Hill, northwest of the village, attract much attention by their fancied resemblance to an ancient castle.

William Pott, the ancestor of the Pott family, built the house now occupied by Samuel Weidner in 1755. John Potts, a descendent, built the first furnace in Pottsville, and gave to that flourishing borough its name. The tradition is that he also made the first discovery of the utility of the anthracite coal, of which Pottsvile is the great depot for the whole Schuylkill coal region.