MIDDLETOWN, which is the third town in the county, with a population of 5,920, is the
oldest town in the county. It was called Middletown because it is half way between
Lancaster and Carlisle, on the old road to Philadelphia. It is 9 mile southeast of
Harrisburg, near the mouth of the Swatara creek.
A brief sketch concerning the "Anderson Job tract" upon which Middletown was
erected, and how it came into the possession of John Fisher, who gave it to his son George
Fisher, about 1754, is given in Kelker's History of Dauphin County, page 466-7. This land
was surveyed for John Fisher by Edward Smout, deputy surveyor, on May 14, 1743, "in
right of Jacob Job," which contained about 423 acres. On February 24, 1747, the Penns
granted to John Fisher, a Quaker merchant in Philadelphia, 691 acres, which were granted
to George Fisher, the youngest son of John and his wife, January 27, 1759. The first deed
which is on record for the land sold in the plot which Fisher laid out, is made to Peter
Spangler, March 1, 1761.
For many years Middletown was one of the largest markets for timber and limber on the
Susquehanna river. The street along Swatara creek was lined with store houses of all
sorts, and during the busy season, merchandise of all sorts was brought to Middletown and
then carried away in wagon-teams in all parts of the state. Nearly all of the articles of
merchandise were floated down the Susquehanna in "keel boats", which were fifty
or sixty feet long and bout nine feet wide. The crew of these boats consisted of about
eight poleman and a steersman.
Like nearly every other section of Dauphin county, this region was first settled by the
Scotch Irish, who gradually moved away into the Cumberland Valley or to the Ohio, the
Germans taking their place.
St. Peter's Lutheran Church was the first church established in the town. The land upon
which it was erected was purchased from George Fisher and his wife, September 18, 1764,
and upon this land the church was erected in 1767.
This church celebrated its Centennial on September 4, 1867, at which time, one hundred
grains of wheat were sent to the Hon. Robert J. Fisher, of New York, the oldest of the
legal heirs of George Fisher, the founder of the town, who had made one of the clauses of
the original deed to require the payment of one grain of wheat yearly.
The early Presbyterians at Middletown did not organize a church, as the churches at
Derry, Paxtang, Hanover and Conewago supplied them with all religious advantages. The
present church was organized on October 29, 1850.
The town is well supplied with the churches of all the denominations which flourish in