The history of the community can be traced to the rolling green hills of Ireland and the craggy valleys of Scotland, from whence came the men and women who first built a civilized way of life in an area now known as Lower Swatara Township.
The early Presbyterian settlers were followed by German settlers from the Palatinate. The land that is now Lower Swatara Township was then part of the Township of Peshtank or Paxtang. Like the word "peshtank" which means, "place where water stands", Lower Swatara Township is bordered by the Susquehanna River on the south, and the Swatara Creek to the east. The Township name of "Swatara" is derived from the Indian language. Today, the Indian heritage of this area survives only in the names of towns, creeks, and rivers. The Indians established a network of pathways through this land, and they taught the early settlers of local remedies, native foods, and farming methods, but they left no written history.
At about the time the first settlers were erecting their log homes on the banks of the Susquehanna and Swatara in the land now known as Lower Swatara Township, James Burd was born at Ormiston, near Edinburgh, Scotland, in the year 1726. He came to Philadelphia in 1747 where he married Sarah Shippen (Sarah Shippen’s sister married Benedict Arnold). In 1765, after participating in the French and Indian War, Colonel Burd resigned his military duties and sought land to build a home for his ever-increasing family. Two miles from Middletown, along the Susquehanna River in what is now known as Lower Swatara Township, was his choice. He bought 500 acres in 1766 and began construction of a fine stone home called "Tinian." On June 10, 1774, a group of men met at this home and drew up a document voicing their grievances against King George and the British Parliament, a "Declaration of Independence" which pre-dates the National one, and was known as the "Middletown Resolves."
In and around Lower Swatara Township, 196 men signed an Oath of Allegiance in the days just before the Revolution, putting their lives on the line for their country. Since that day, men from the township have participated in every major conflict dealing with internal or foreign affairs of the United States of America. Men from the township fought in the Whiskey Rebellion, the War of 1812, the Mexican War of 1846-1848, and during the Civil War. They served in the Spanish American War of 1898, in a second Mexican War during the years of 1916-1917, in two World Wars, the Korean and Vietnamese Conflicts, and the Gulf War. But, in the meantime, they have also built homes and churches, schools and industries, and a fine way of life in the semi-rural setting of Lower Swatara Township.
On land where swords have rattled and soldiers have prepared for numerous wars, now more than 200 businesses hum with commerce and over 8,000 people live in homes within an easy stroll of rolling farmland and lovely recreational areas.