Bethel Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania
|• Total||5.41 sq mi (14.02 km2)|
|• Land||5.41 sq mi (14.02 km2)|
|• Water||0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)|
|Elevation||444 ft (135 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||1,699.69/sq mi (656.20/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
Bethel Township is a township in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States. It contains the two unincorporated communities of Booth's Corner and Chelsea. The population was 8,791 at the 2010 census.
Bethel Township was the smallest of all the original townships of Chester County, Pennsylvania. The township is mentioned as early as 1683, and means "House of God". In 1683, Edward Beazer and Edward Brown had 500 acres surveyed to them in the northeasterly end of the township. On this tract, Bethel hamlet, afterwards known as Corner Catch (Ketch), is the location of the current village of Chelsea. In 1686, the road now known as Bethel Road was laid out from Bethel to Chichester (Marcus Hook).
The settlers of Bethel Township were among the earliest settlers of the Pennsylvania Colony, and many were members of the Religious Society of Friends, or "Quakers". The list of taxables for Bethel township in 1693, shows nine tax payers: John Gibbons, Ralph Pyle, John Bushel, Nicholas Pyle, Edward Beazer, Robert Eyre, Thomas Garrett, John Howard, Thomas Cooper. In 1715, the list had doubled to include: Robert Pyle, John Grist, Robert Booth, Edward Beazer, John Canady, Benjamin Moulder, Joseph Pyle, John Hickman, Edward Griffith, John Hopton, John Gibbons, and Thomas Durnell. Robert Pyle, a leader of the Society of Friends, was almost continuously a member of the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly from 1688 until 1705.
In 1759, residents of Bethel Township paid "a bounty" of ten pounds "in behalf of the township" along with a wagon and supplies of oats and flour to General John Forbes based on his request to Chester and other counties in the province to support an army about to march to Fort Duquesne under his command.
In 1777, after the Battle of Brandywine, the British Army passed through Bethel Township on Old Concord Road as they chased the retreating Continental Army toward Chester and encamped at nearby Birmingham and Aston. Residents of Bethel were "annoyed and plundered" by the British army and many residents were left entirely without food.
On September 26, 1789, Bethel Township became part of Delaware County as it was established by separating from the eastern portion of Chester County.
Bethel township is governed by a Board of Supervisors. By referendum, the board was increased from 3 to 5 members in 2011. Currently terms of office are staggered. After 2017, all members will serve terms of 6 years.
The Bethel Police Department is appointed by the Board of Supervisors. The management team consists of chief, sergeant, detective and are supported by approximately 15 patrol officers. They are the only Police Department in Delaware County that are not full-time police.
Bethel Township is part of the Pennsylvania 5th Congressional District represented by Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 160 represented by Stephen Barrar and the Pennsylvania Senate, District 9 represented by Tom Killion.
The township is located in the Southwest corner of Delaware County on the summit between the Delaware River and Brandywine Creek. The township is approximately 3 miles in length and 1.5 miles in width at the widest point. According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 5.7 square miles (15 km2), all of it land.
Waterways in Bethel township include the southern branch of Naaman's Creek, Green Creek and Spring Run.
The southern border of Bethel is part of the Twelve-Mile Circle, the circular boundary between Delaware and Pennsylvania which dates back to 1681.
As of Census 2010, the racial makeup of the township was 90.3% White, 1.8% African American, 0.2% Native American, 6.1% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.2% of the population [dead link].
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,421 people, 1,984 households, and 1,732 families residing in the township. The population density was 1,132.3 people per square mile (437.2/km2). There were 2,017 housing units at an average density of 355.7/sq mi (137.3/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 94.44% White, 2.18% African American, 0.03% Native American, 2.41% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 0.59% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.93% of the population.
There were 1,984 households, out of which 50.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 78.3% were married couples living together, 6.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 12.7% were non-families. 9.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 3.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.16 and the average family size was 3.40.
In the township the population was spread out, with 31.5% under the age of 18, 5.1% from 18 to 24, 34.7% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 8.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.7 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $84,661, and the median income for a family was $87,248. Males had a median income of $60,496 versus $36,272 for females. The per capita income for the township was $29,349. About 1.0% of families and 2.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.4% of those under age 18 and 4.4% of those age 65 or over.
Garnet Valley Middle School serves students in grades 6–8, and Garnet Valley High School serves students in grades 9-12.
Rachel Kohl Library serves Bethel Township.
History of education
The first school built in Bethel was in 1780 on the corner of Kirk and Foulk Road. In 1824, a school opened on a lot on Bethel Road East of Booth's Corner and was later known as public school No. 1.
In 1834, the Pennsylvania Public School Act was passed by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth. The law required that every township, borough and city in the state provide a school for its children. Since Bethel Township already had a subscription school, the school was converted into a public school. The first school inspectors appointed for Bethel were Robert McCall and John Larkin.
In 1839, a one-story octagonal school house was built at Booth's Corner and used for several years until destroyed by fire. In 1870, the school was replaced with a one-story structure was built and named School No. 2. A second story was added in 1898. The second floor was designated School No. 4 and used as student population necessitated. The building was sold on September 2, 1953 to Brigg's Auction.
School No. 3 was built in 1860 on Bethel Road west of the village of Chelsea.
PA 261 (Foulk Road)
US 322 (Conchester Highway)
PA 491 (Naamans Creek Road)
- John M. Clayton - member of Arkansas House of Representatives and Arkansas Senate, U.S. Congressman-elect for Arkansas assassinated during his challenge to the election
- Powell Foulk Clayton - Union Army Brigadier General, 9th Governor of Arkansas, U.S. Senator from Arkansas, 1st U.S. Ambassador to Mexico
- Thomas J. Clayton - President Judge of the Thirty-second Judicial District of Pennsylvania 
- William Henry Harrison Clayton - lawyer and judge in post Civil War Arkansas, U.S. Attorney for the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, chief prosecutor of "hanging judge" Isaac Parker
- Francis Harvey Green - educator, poet and lecturer
- Bill Haley - rock and roll musician
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- Shomo, Eileen. "Portrait of Francis Harvey Green rests at Siloam Church". www.delconewsnetwork.com. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
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