John Pritiskutch Reproductions

History of Berks County - Bern Township

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

Bern township derives its name from a canton in Switzerland, from whence the ancestors of the earlier settlers had emigrated. These were principally men of wealth, and their descendant's have been conspicuous in the history of the country.

The first settlements in Bern were made between 1728 and 1740. Indian troubles were common in the early history of the township. The following account of a murder by the natives was sent to Governor Penn, by Jonas Seely:

Reading, September 11, 1763.

Honored Sir:-This moment at Reading, as I was sending off the express, certain intelligence came that the house of Frantz Hubler, in Berne township, about eighteen miles from here, was attacked on Friday evening last, by the Indians-himself is wounded, his wife and three children carried off-and three other of the children scalped-two of whom are since dead.

I am, honored sir, your humble and obedient servant,

Jonas Seely.

Other troubles were mentioned by this and other writers.

Bern has been diminished in size by the erection of other townships from time to time, and now occupies but a comparatively small portion of its former extent. Its near vicinity to the City of Reading, affords it a near and excellent market.

Bern lies in the fork of the Schuylkill river and of the Tulpehocken creek. It, is thus supplied with abundant water-power and with facilities for irrigation. The township is divided into school districts, each having its own houses where the young of the place are instructed, not only in the rudiments, but also in the higher branches of learning. There are churches in different parts of the township.

There are no villages of importance in Bern. The inhabitants, distributed very regularly over the extent of the township, are mostly engaged in farming. The soil, which is chiefly gravel, has been very much improved by the attention that has been paid to the cultivation of the land. The number of inhabitants has nearly doubled since 1810. In 1870 there were 2,124.