History

The land, now known as New Beaver Borough was originally inhabited by Native Americans. The first Europeans to explore this area were likely the French who carne through in the early 1600’s. By the 1730’s, French traders and missionaries traveled from Lake Erie through this area on a regular basis. By the 1750’s Europeans from East of the Alleghenies began to explore the territory now known as New Beaver Borough. In 1758 Christian Frederick Post, a Moravian missionary, traveled through New Beaver Borough to a Native American village whose name was Kush-Kush-Kee. The leader of the village was known as “King Beaver”. Moravian missionaries continued to visit this area through the 1770’s. The area had few European settlers until after General Anthony Wayne defeated the Native Americans at the battle of Fallen Timbers, located in Ohio, in 1794. After 1795 settlers began arriving in greater numbers.

On March 12, 1880, the Pennsylvania counties of Beaver and Mercer were created from parts of Allegheny County. The city of New Castle was settled in the late 1790’s. The land that is now known as Kennedy Square was donated by John Carlisle Stewart. He is often called the founder of New Castle, but many other people had settled there before he arrived.

On April 5, 1849 Lawrence County was created from parts of Mercer and Beaver County.

A small section of Butler County was included. The population of Lawrence County was 21,211 at that time.

In 1849 Lawrence County was divided into thirteen townships. Big Beaver Township (not to be mistaken for Big Beaver Township of Beaver County) was one of the thirteen. Initially Big Beaver Township included what is now the borough of Wampum. The first settlers in the Wampum area were likely the brothers Robert and John Davidson who were originally from Ireland and came to this area in 1796. Water power provided by the Beaver River contributed to the success and growth of Wampum.

Wampum became a borough on February 19, 1876, the same year that the Wampum Cement and Lime Company began. It is worth noting that the cement plant was located outside the borough of Wampum in what remained as Big Beaver Township.

The post office called “Irish Ripple” was established about 1833 and moved between Newport and Wampum depending on who had more friends in Harrisburg. “Irish Ripple” alludes to the rapids in the Beaver River near Newport and Wampum.

There were five schools in Big Beaver Township in 1875. There were approximately 266 enrolled students. The average attendance was 170 and the school term was seven months.

The area of Big Beaver Township suffered growth and loss over the next seventy five years. Two world wars and several depressions saw the population and industry generally follow national trends.
The Borough of Wampum, in search of a larger tax base, decided to annex the Medusa cement plant from Big Beaver Township. At that time, according to Pennsylvania state law, a township could not prevent a borough from annexing property and Wampum succeeded in annexing the Medusa Cement Plant into Wampum Borough. Shortly after this, the Borough of Ellwood began to consider annexing the property south of the cement plant. This property now contains the Stonecrest Golf Course, Alaron Corporation and an industrial park. The wise elected officials of Big Beaver Township were not in favor of these annexations. In 1958 they began the process of changing Big Beaver Township into the Borough of New Beaver in order to prevent the further erosion of our tax base. The charter was signed on November 18, 1959, however the community continued to operate as a township until elections could be held in 1961.

In 2009 the Borough celebrated its 50 year anniversary.

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