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The History of Berwick


The following information is taken out of the Historical and Biographical Annals of Columbia and Montour Counties PA., Volume I, Chicago, J. H. BEERS & CO., 1915. Berwick was incorporated as a borough Jan. 29, 1818.


An old history of 1847 states that Berwick then contained about one hundred dwellings, a Methodist church, an academy, several stores and taverns, and had about eight hundred inhabitants.

As an illustration of the growth of Berwick, brought about mainly by her manufactories, it will be noted that the population in 1840 was 452 ; in 1850, was 486 ; in 1860, it had only reached 625; in 1870 the growth of the Jackson & Woodin Company had caused it to increase to 923; and by 1880, so rapid had been the growth of the plant, the town's population was 2,094. In 1890 the population was 2,701; in 1900 it was 3,916; and in 1910, 5,357.

Stores and Buildings

As the population gradually increased their wants were correspondingly catered to by storekeepers and mechanics. Some of the business establishments in 1914:

Department Stores

  • Berwick Store Company, Philadelphia Bargain House, Joseph M. Schain.
  • General Merchandise - A. H. Baer, H. B. Dodson, Garrison Bros., Harter & Son, Harter & White, M. C. Hetler, F. A. Hippensteel.
  • Grocers - S. Aimetti, Charles Battista, C. A. Benscoter, Vitale Bevilacqua, John Cordora, Thomas Cretella.
  • Hardware - R. E. Benscoter, A. E. Brenner, Harvey T. Doan.
  • Cigars and Tobacco - C. W. Bower, Eli Bull & Co., George A. Confair, Diamond Cigar Store, W. F. McMichael.
  • Druggists - Clewell & Currin, Gould's Drug Store, N. B. Shales, C. T. Steck, Edward A. Steck, H. T. Waldner.
  • Confectioners - Boston Candy Kitchen, H. H. Brown, George Confair, B. D. Fenstermacher, John R. Gould.
  • Bakeries - Berwick Bakery, H. M. Fetterolf, W. C. Heckman, W. I. Herbine, Jantzen's Bakery.
  • Undertakers - G. G. Baker, I. J. Hess & Son, Kelchner, H. E. Walton.



One of the handsomest hotels in central Pennsylvania is the Hotel Morton, Berwick, of which George H. Morton is the proprietor. The substantial brick building, with seventy rooms, is located on the corner of Front and Market streets, the site of the old Cross Keys tavern built in early times by John Jones.

The St. Charles Hotel, built on the site of the original home of Evan Owen, the founder of Berwick, is now operated by John P. Brenner, and is one of the best in the county.

Other hotels are the Aimeti, Algatt, Berwick, Central, Columbia, Exchange, Fedora, Bishop, Fairman, Friedman, Hanover, Reiter, Linden, Kupsky, Marko, Morton, Rome, Schangler, Sponenberg, Weiss, Susquehanna.


First National Bank

During the summer of 1864 several informal meetings of the business men of Berwick, PA. were held with the object of taking advantage of the National Bank Act passed by Congress Feb. 25, 1863, and to give Berwick banking facilities which it had lacked up to that time. After the preliminaries had been complied with, the articles of association were drawn and signed by the following gentlemen: M. W. Jackson, P. M. Traugh, Jesse Bowman, M. M. Cooper, Francis Evans, F. Niceley, S. B. Bowman, A. Miller, W. H. Woodin, M. E. Jackson, William Lamon, H. Lamon.

The first meeting of the stockholders was held Sept. 21, 1864, and organized by election Jesse Bowman president of the meeting, and A. Miller, secretary. The stockholders at this meeting elected the following gentlemen to serve as directors: M. W. Jackson, Jesse Bowman, P. M. Traugh, A. Miller, W. H. Woodin, Francis Evans, S. B. Bowman. Elections were held and M. W. Jackson was to be president and M. E. Jackson to the office of cashier.

At the annual meeting of the bank held Jan. 9, 1866, M. E. Jackson resigned as cashier. Mr. B. R. Davis was elected cashier. Mr. Davis served as cashier of the bank until Jan. 12, 1869.  At this meeting S. C. Jayne was elected cashier. Mr, Jayne has the distinction of serving as cashier of a national bank for a greater length of time than probably any other cashier in the State of PA.

On May 12, 1869, John W. Evans was elected teller, resigning Nov. 30, 1875, to take effect Jan. 1, 1876.

At the annual meeting held in Jan. 1876, M. W. Jackson was elected president; S. C. Jayne, cashier; and B. F. Crispin, teller. The death of M. E. Jackson , attorney for the bank and a member of the board, was officially announced.

On May 3, 1880, B. F. Crispin was unanimously elected a director to fill a vacancy on the board caused by the death of Clarence G. Jackson, who died May 3, 1880; and on March 25, 1881, F. R. Jackson was elected a director to fill a vacancy which then existed on the board, while S. C. Jayne was elected to the board Jan. 8, 1884. At a regular meeting of the board held on May 27, 1884, Benjamin Evans was elected a director and served as such during the balance of his life.

M. W. Jackson, who had served as president of the bank for thirty years, died July 18, 1894. The board elected B. F. Crispin, president, and C. B. Jackson, vice president. Mr. Jackson served as vice president until his death Nov. 5, 1900, and he had been connected with the bank officially as director, attorney and vice president for a period of twenty years. B. F. Crispin served as president until his death in 1903.

On Aug. 3, 1903, Messrs. H. P. Field, C. G. Crispin and M. Jackson Crispin were elected members of the board to fill vacancies then existing, and at the same meeting F. R. Jackson was elected president.

F. R. Jackson, president of the bank died June 22, 1909, after a service of twenty-seven years as director and six years as president. The board at a meeting held July 22, 1909, elected as president M. Jackson Crispin, and Messrs. Francis Evans and C. G. Crispin as vice presidents, Mr. Evans it might be noted being the only living director of the original board. At this meeting F. E. Brockway was elected director to fill a vacancy on the board.

Three Generations Presidents

M. Jackson Crispin, the newly elected president in 1909, was the son of the late B. F. Crispin, and a grandson of M. W. Jackson. Thus it will be seen that three generations of the same family have served as president of the institution.




Stuart Tank Assembly Line in AC&F 

Stuart Tank Assembly Line in AC&F 

Stuart Tank Assembly Line in AC&F 

From 1940 through April 17, 1944, the American Car & Foundry produced 15,224 Stuart Light Tanks for the United States Army, the Marines, and the Lend-Lease Program for the Allies.


1940 - 1941

365 tanks in Berwick


March 1941 - Oct 1942

4526 tanks in Berwick


June 1941 - January 1943

1285 tanks in St. Charles, MO


May 1942 - Feb 1943

4410 tanks in Berwick


August 1942 – Oct 1942

211 tanks in St. Charles, MO


Sept 1942 - Sept 1943

3427 tanks in Berwick


October 1943 - April 1944

1000 tanks in Berwick


Historic Significance


The Stuart Tank is not only a significant part of the History of Berwick, but it also played a significant role in United States and World History.


  • The Stuart Tank was the first US Tank designed to function independently, with a top speed of 35 mph. Previous tanks were designed specifically for infantry support with a top speed of only 10 mph.
  • The M2A4 was the first US Military Tank to be built on an assembly line. Previous US-built tanks were individually fabricated at the various US Arsenals, particularly the Rock Island Arsenal.
  • The M3 was the first Tank included in the Lend-Lease Program as part of the Arsenal of Democracy.
  • The Stuart Tank was utilized by all Allied armies in all War Theatres: North Africa, Europe, Asia, Pacific, including Alaska and Antarctica.
  • ACF - Berwick was the largest producer of armor plate at the time, producing at least 10% of all armor plate for the US Military at the time.
  • Every armored vehicle produced in the US for World War II utilized at least some Berwick armor plate.
  • 1 in every 8 armored vehicles produced in the US for World War II was built at ACF Berwick.
  • ACF Berwick was the only manufacturer at the time with its own ballistics testing range. Other manufacturers were required to ship their products to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland for testing.
  • ACF, Berwick, PA was selected by Hitler as one of 19 targets for his“Amerika Bomber” Program.


At its peak ACF – Berwick employed 9135 workers from 177 municipalities in northeastern Pennsylvania. At peak production Stuart Light Tanks were being produced by ACF at a rate of 40 per day. This was in addition to the millions of artillery shells, hundreds of rail cars and other miscellaneous items produced at the plant. Following completion of the 15,224th Stuart Tank, ACF – Berwick was contracted to produce 10,000 D7 bulldozers for the US Army. At the ceremony marking the production of the 15,224th and final Start Tank, a copy of this letter was presented to each employee:



Berwick Historical Society
PO Box 301
Berwick, Pa. 18603

David A. Sadock Headquarters
Tuesday, Wednesday 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
and Saturday by Appointment
Phone 570-759-8020



Jackson Mansion Tours
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays
10:30 a.m. and again at 1:00 p.m.

Ross & Boone Gift Shoppe
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Phone 570-520-4110



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