Pike Township History
Pike Township was originally part of Oley Township. Pike Township was erected as its own unit of government in 1812. A portion of Rockland Township was added to Pike in 1842. The township was so named because in its streams in the colonial days the Pike fish was so plentiful. Its first settler, Johannes Keim, established Oley's first settlement site, about 1706, near the present location of Pikeville.
The leading industry in the early nineteenth century was farming. Also in the early days lumbering was important. When John Keim took up land and settled near Lobachsville, about 1718, some of the heaviest timber in the county could be found. Large walnut trees were cut down and lumbering and saw mills became a primary form of livelihood. The township also had numerous other mills including grist mills. Many of these mills still stand today and are symbols of the thriving industry that existed in the nineteenth century in Pike Township.
Lobachsville is the oldest village in the Township. Here, William Pott purchased a large tract along Pine Creek, where he established a farm and a grist mill. In 1745 he sold 59 acres, located downstream from his mill, to Peter Lobach where he and his sons founded an industrial community, with fulling mill, woolen factory, and the Lobach chair factory. Later Samuel Lobach opened a store that became the location of the post office in 1835. William Lobach built a tavern across the road from the store.
Pikeville, like Lobachsville, is an extension of the Oley Valley. Situated at the base of the Oley Hills the village grew and prospered after a general store and tavern was built by William Shall. To the west of Pikeville is the Keim farmstead, dating to 1706. To the east was the Motz Gristmill on Oysterville Creek, built before 1775, and Johannes Oyster's land extending up the Oysterville Valley. The Oysters acquired their land before 1750. In 1834, Pike township’s first post office was established at the Shall General Store to serve this growing community.Water power was important through much of the township's history. Pine Creek powered several iron forges operated by the Pott and Hielig families. Pine Creek also powered the mills at Lobachsville. Oysterville Creek supported three gristmills. The large number of mills is an indication of the importance of farming and the growing of wheat in this region. Farming and the timber industry were the primary land uses in Pike Township with the area becoming known for the production of fine woods from its mature walnut trees. The lumber industry and manufacturing interests in this area declined over time as farming became the leading industry.
The township has two historic churches with large cemeteries. St. Paul's United Church of Christ located on Lobachsville Road, and overlooking Lobachsville. The other is Hill Church located in the eastern section of Pike township.
There were six school districts in the township served by one-room schools before consolidation resulted in Pike Township becoming part of the Oley Valley School District.
The township is rich in historic buildings, working farms and historic landscapes. The Jacob Keim Homestead, Yoder Mill and the Mill at Lobachsville are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The villages of Lobachsville and Pikeville have been determined eligible for National Register listing.
Thank you to Jeff Rhoads for compiling this historical summary of Pike Township.
Township resident, Joseph Mitchell, has been working on a comprehensive history of Pike Township. He has published an Abridged History of Pike Township which was available at the 200th Anniversary Celebration in 2013 and it can be downloaded here. Joe is seeking feedback from township residents. He is interested in corrections, additional information, and Pike Township stories. His contact information can be found in the township history booklet using the link above.
Mountain Mary Homestead