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Learn about Williams Township’s role in industrial revolution


“Williams Township’s Role in the Industrial Revolution” will be the topic at the 3 p.m. Sunday, March 31, meeting of the Williams Township Historical Society.

The meeting will be held at St. John’s Church of Morgan Hill, 2720 Morgan Hill Road, Easton (in Williams Township).

Martha Capwell Fox, historian-archivist of the National Canal Museum, will present a PowerPoint talk. The public is invited.

Despite its largely agricultural landscape, Williams Township was part of the birth of the American Industrial Revolution from its very beginnings in the Lehigh Valley.

The Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company transported its anthracite down the Lehigh Canal past the township, and ultimately cut the canal and towpath through the “flatland” portion of its riverbank.

In the late 1830s, ironmaster David Thomas from Wales arrived to build the nation’s first anthracite-fired iron furnace along the canal at what is now Catasauqua. Anthracite proved superior over charcoal for making large quantities of good quality iron quickly from local iron ores.

Areas along the Navigation attracted the English ironmaster William Firmstone, who built the second anthracite iron works on the “flatland” at Glendon, then part of Williams Township. The Glendon Iron Works became a major factor in the Lehigh Valley’s dominance of the American iron industry in the mid-19th century.

For information or directions, call 610-253-8951.