Archiver > PAWESTMO > 1998-05 > 0896151551

From: "Brian L. Cartwright" <>
Subject: Re: [PAWESTMO-L] Townships
Date: Mon, 25 May 98 19:59:11 PDT

> I am thoroughly confused, can someone briefly explain to me about the
> townships in Pa. What is the difference between them and counties?
> I am told Bell's Mill is in South Huntingdon Twp., Westmoreland Co., but can
> not locate it on a map, also looking for Youngwood, is that close to Bessemer.
> All my grandfathers family, from Scottdale, Youngwood, and Bessemer.

Townships are local government subdivisions of counties. Originally, every county was divided into a few townships. As population grew, new townships were created that were smaller. When towns grew up, they could be incorporated into boroughs, and then cities, if they grew large enough. Townships were intended to remain rural land, and when a place incorporated, no wooded or farm land could be included within the new boundary.

Nowadays, these distinctions have become blurred, and in the 1950's a home rule charter was passed by the state that allowed any of the three forms of local government to adopt any allowable type of government structure. (Early on, townships had to be ruled by a board of supervisors, with no executive. Boroughs and cities had mayors and councils)

Brian Cartwrig

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