Connoquenessing Township, named for the Connoquenessing Creek by the Indians (meaning: for a long way straight) was one of the four original townships of Butler County. Connoquenessing Borough was formerly named Petersville in honor of the first settler, Peter McKinney, who arrived with his family in 1792. His daughter, born on March 10, 1792, had the distinction of being the first white child born in Butler County. It originally embraced Cranberry, Jackson, Lancaster, Muddy Creek and part of Worth, Brady, Franklin, Connoquenessing, Forward and Adams, all within the Depreciation Lands district.
In 1804 the township was reduced to nine miles square and in 1842 it was divided into East Connoquenessing and West Connoquenessing. It was reduced to its present area of 23.5 sq. mi. in 1854. The first two villages were Whitestown (1799) and a small settlement called Buttercup. It is said that Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother, once passed through the area sometime between 1815 and 1820.
The first school was 1½ miles west of Whitestown where German was taught by the teacher, Nicholas Muhleisen. English was first taught in the school in 1799. As late as 1956, the children of Connoquenessing Township were attending Graham, Rock Point, Buttercup, and Eagle Mill schools, all one room schools. In 1938-1939 children were divided by grades and each one room teacher taught one, two, or three grades rather than the eight. In 1957, Connoquenessing Elementary School was built in Connoquenessing Township at the edge of Connoquenessing Borough to accommodate the children of both the Township and the Borough through the sixth grade. In 1835 the first tax levy for school purposes netted $264.29.
Connoquenessing Township has three churches. The original Mt. Nebo Church, located at Whitestown is the oldest church and was built in 1808. The brick church replaced the log church in 1859. The second oldest church is White Oak Springs Church, located on Shannon Road, was established in 1816. It was formed from members who left Mt. Nebo Presbyterian Church because they had a controversy over which type of Psalms should be sung. The third Church, now called St. Fidelis Parish (1995), dates back to 1934 which was the former St. Conrad’s Catholic Church located on Buttercup Road. The church property is divided between Connoquenessing Township and Butler Township.
Connoquenessing Township is primarily agricultural and residential, with a number of small businesses. In February 1991, Connoquenessing Township declared certain areas to be Agricultural Security Areas. Certain activities that accompany general farming thereby are protected. Example of these include manure spreading, crop spraying, late night operating of tractors and equipment, or electric fence bordering property. According to Act 43 as developed by the PA Department of Agriculture, residents cannot attempt to have agriculture declared a nuisance unless it is a threat to health or safety.
The terrain in Connoquenessing Township is hilly. Farming and oil production were the original industries with some mining of coal. In 1889 the “Hundred-Foot” oil field was opened. This well, drilled on the Humphery farm opened up one of the most prolific fields in the county. Within a short time hundreds of wells were drilled. However, the area was practically abandoned after only four or five years.
Still residing in the Township are descendents of the 1858 settlers named Shannon, Henry, Kaltenbaugh, Brandon, Graham and Dunn.