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 Millville Borough History

A.               History of Millville Boro and Historical Resources

 

To be able to fully understand and appreciate the Boro  today and plan for its future, it is first necessary to know about the area’s past and the heritage that it offers.  A complete history of the municipality and its many facets can be found in Millville – the First 200Years, compiled by Dean Girton and Paul Trescott, published in 1972.  Paraphrased excerpts from several chapters of this publication are presented here to provide at least a brief historical perspective of the community’s past.

 

John Eves, a native of Ireland living in Mill Creek Hundred, Delaware, is thought to have been one of the first white men to visit the Greenwood Valley and Little Fishing Creek area in 1770.  (One account of this visit indicates that he purchased a sizeable portion of the land he explored in the area from the Indians who had served as his guides on this trek.) Although he returned to Delaware after this initial visit, he returned the following year with his son Thomas and built a log cabin on the property.  The entire Eves family arrived the next year, in 1772, and began tilling the fields adjacent to the cabin as soon as they could be cleared.

 

In 1774, the Eves family received a deed for their 1203 acre property in the Valley’ the largest land holding at the time in what would later become Columbia County.  Title for the land, originally obtained by William and Elizabeth McMean in 1769, was passed to Reuben Haines, and then to John Eves.

 

An Indian uprising, the Wyoming Massacre, in mid-summer of 1778, caused the Eves family to flee their home in the Valley and take refuge at a stockade near Washingtonville.  Upon their return in 1785, they found their cabin burned and their fields overgrown, but immediately set about to recreate their homestead.

 

When the Eves family returned in the mid 1780’s, they were determined to make the settlement permanent.  They were accompanied or were soon followed by several other families, including Masters, Kisner, Battin, Parker, Lundy, Lemon, Oliver, and Rich.  With 17 children and 104 grandchildren, John Eves looked after the building of homes for the family, a grist mill that was to stand for 100 years, and later a sawmill and several other essential structures.

 

Growth of the community was slow because it was not located along a main traveled route or major waterway.  Until 1798, Indian trails, which crossed at Millville, were the only accessways to the Valley area.  In that year, a road was surveyed across theMount Pleasant hills to the Susquehanna River.  It was 1856 through before the road from Bloomsburg to Laporte was laid out through Millville.

 

Early residents were almost entirely self-sufficient.  Thomas Eves succeeded his father in ownership of the grist mill and built the first house in what is now Millville Boro. And, according to an early historian, David and Andrew Eves opened the first store in the area in 1827.  David Eves was also commissioned the first postmaster in 1831, followed by his brother Andrew some years later.

 

While the early population was scattered, provision was made for both worship and education.  In the early years of the community, services and classes were held in the homes, but in 1785, a school was started in Millville and a two-room Meeting House was erected in 1795.

 

Local industry at the time consisted of those operations which were necessary to meet the needs of the early population.  Sawmills and grist mills were the first, followed by a woolen mill, started in 1813 by John Watson, several brick plants, and a wagon shop, established by Charles Eves, in 1837.

 

One spurt of growth in Millville occurred in 1856 when the road from Bloomsburg to Laporte was constructed.  The town experienced considerable growth in the years following construction of this roadway because the community now had adequate access to markets and other transportation links in Bloomsburg.  A second period of growth was experienced in 1887 when the railroad was constructed through town.  Numerous businesses and industries were created and buildings were erected to service the railroad.  A local newspaper, theWeekly Tablet, published its first edition in April of 1887.

 

As Millville expanded, several other towns and villages were established in theGreenwood Township area, including Rohrsburg, named for Frederick Rohr, Eyers Grove, founded by Jacob Eyer, and Iola.

 

The years in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were eventful for Millville and the surrounding area.  Developments included the establishment of the water company, laying of sewer lines, organization of a telephone company, institution of rural delivery of mail, opening of a bank, and the creation of the Boro.  Incorporation was approved by the State Supreme Court on April 14, 1892 and the first municipal election followed on May 3 of the same year.  Joseph W. Eves was elected the community’s first burgess (equivalent to mayor).

 

Many challenging years faced the community throughout its development, but the years from 1914 to 1950 were some of the worst.  Not only were there local issues of importance, but there were national and international affairs to be considered as well.  World Wars I and II created wild inflation and caused deep depression throughout the country and forced new demands on the Boro.  Even though there was a business boom in the community following the conclusion of the first World War, the Wall Street market crash in 1929 signaled a change in economic growth in the area that lasted until the mid-1940’s.  The young men that returned from World War II participated in a post-war boom by creating new businesses and job opportunities for themselves and others living in the community.  By 1950, the community had stabilized, but it experienced only little additional growth until the early 1970’s.

 

B.         Location of the Boro in a Regional Setting

 

Millville Boro is located in the northwestern portion of Columbia County.  The Boro contains 1.0 square mile of area (approximately 640 acres) and is bordered to the west byMadison Township, to the northwest by Pine Township, and to the north, east and south byGreenwood Township, all in Columbia County. 

 

The best access to the Boro is via State Routes 42 and 254.  Bloomsburg, a town of 12,439 (according to the 1990 Census), located approximately 10 miles southeast of the Boro, and Williamsport, a city of 31,933 (1990 Census), located about 30 miles northwest of the community, are readily accessible for most residents utilizing these and other intersecting highways.  The industrial areas of Muncy and Montgomery, in Lycoming County, are also located within reasonable commuting distance (approximately 20 miles) of the Boro, as are several large employers in the Danville area, which is less than 15 miles south of the municipal borders, and in the Bloomsburg area.

 

 

B.               Governmental Organization

 

The Boro government consists of seven (7) Council members and a Mayor which are elected by the residents of the community to serve as the governing body; three (3) Planning Commission members appointed by the Council to serve as an advisory body to and for the elected officials; a Boro Secretary/Treasurer, employed by the Boro Council to handle the day-to-day administration and management of the community; a Municipal Authority, appointed by Council to oversee and manage the Boro’s sewer and water facilities; and an elected Tax Collected and Tax Assessor.

 

Two (2) full-time workers are also employed by the Boro and are responsible for maintaining municipally-owned streets and the community sewer and water systems.

 

The Boro also has a municipal Police Department, consisting of one (1) full-time officer and four (4) part-time officers, providing an average of 55 hours per week of police coverage for the community.  Pennsylvania State Police, from the Bloomsburg substation, provide coverage during the remaining hours.

 

Fire protection for citizens of the municipality is provided by Millville Volunteer Fire Department.