John Pritiskutch Reproductions

History of Berks County - Earl Township

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

Earl township, situated in the south-eastern portion of Berks county, is comparatively a small township, having a mean length of only four and a half miles, and a breadth of three and a fourth miles. Its entire surface contains but nine thousand five hundred and twenty acres of land. The soil is somewhat sterile, as compared with the townships in the more favored localities of the county, being gravelly and poorly adapted to the growth of the more Profitable agricultural crops. The surface is uneven and decidedly hilly. The South Mountain passes through the south-west corner of the township, and contributes much towards the ruggedness of its physical features. Spring Forge is on this mountain. Iron creek rises among the hills of Earl, runs in a south-easterly direction, and empties into the Schuyikill.

Earl was originally a part of Oley and consequently its settlement was coeval with the letter, and its early history identical with it. No event of very striking significance is worthy of mention in connection with the history of this township. The inhabitants pursue the even tenor of their way, content to evoke from the rugged soil a sufficiency for the support of their frugal lives, and satisfied with the lot which an All-Wise Providence has given them. The township has no villages of any size, Shanesville being the only cluster of houses which aspires to the dignity of a village. It lies in the northern part of the township. Like many purely agricultural regions, the population of Earl has always been somewhat sparse. From 1810 to 1840 it increased from 653 to 1,160 ; but from 1840 it diminished, so that in 1870 the township contained but 1,022 inhabitants. As in most rural communities the drift of the population is towards the cities and more thriving townships.