History of East Norriton Township

Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

East Norriton Township has a total land area of 6.1 square miles with a population of 13,590 residents as of the 2010 federal census. It is one of 1,457 Townships of the Second Class in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and one of 62 municipalities in Montgomery County. East Norriton Township is bordered by Plymouth Township to the east, Whitpain Township to the north, Worcester and Lower Providence Townships to the west, and West Norriton Township and the Municipality of Norristown to the south. Townships are the oldest political subdivisions of Pennsylvania. William Penn's charter of 1681 authorized him to divide counties into towns. As soon as the first counties were created in 1682, they were subdivided into districts for various governmental purposes. As settlement moved westward, townships were often formed in frontier areas before there was sufficient population to justify a separate county, as in most cases the oldest subdivisions are townships, antedating even the county governments.

Townships are the oldest political subdivisions of Pennsylvania. William Penn's charter of 1681 authorized him to divide counties into towns.

East Norriton Township was included in one of the early manors (towns) created by Penn called Williamstadt. In 1689, he directed the surveyor general of the Province, "to lay out a tract of land on the canoeable (sic) part of the Schuylkill". This tract contained approximately 7,482 acres, all of present day East Norriton and West Norriton Townships as well as the Municipality of Norristown. The tract was intended as a gift to William Penn's son, but five days after receiving the land, William Penn, Jr. sold it to two Philadelphia merchants, Isaac Norris and William Trent for the sum of 850 pounds sterling. Eight years later, Norris purchased Trent's five (5) holdings and gained ownership of the entire tract.

The Manor of Williamstadt remained intact until 1730 when, on petition of its residents, Norriton Township was created by the court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County. The creation of the Borough of Norristown in 1812 and the subsequent addition of 1,500 acres to the Borough reduced the area of Norriton Township to about 5,500 acres. East Norriton Township's incorporation dates back to March 9, 1909, when it was separated through a court order from the larger "Norriton" Township. After the court-ordered separation, two townships were formed, East Norriton Township and West Norriton Township. East Norriton Township was served by three elected Supervisors since 1909 and became a Township of the Second Class in 1924. Through a referendum in 2005, the Board of Supervisors was increased from three to five elected Supervisors. The increased Board was organized in January 2006. The current township seal was created by a local artist John Yaworski for the celebration in 1976 marking the bicentennial of the creation of the United States of America. The seal, which depicts George Washington and Bartle Bartleson's Tavern, now Hair Today located on Germantown Pike, where he visited wounded troops in the township during the Revolutionary War, was subsequently adopted as the township's official seal. March 9, 1909 - March 9, 2009