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About Bucks County

William Penn, Founder of Pennsylvania

Founded in 1682 by William Penn, Bucks County has had a long and distinguished history. Penn named the county after Buckinghamshire, the Penn family home in England.

The county seat was at Bristol from 1705 to 1726 when it was moved 10 miles north, to Newtown, which served as the county seat for 87 years. In 1752 the county, which originally extended to the New York Colony line, was reduced to its present boundaries. As settlement crept northward, agitation began for changing the county seat to a more central location. In 1810, Governor Simon Snyder signed an Act appointing a commission to select a new site. The hilltop tract they chose has continued to serve as the seat of Bucks County for almost 200 years. Since 1812, three successive courthouses have occupied the site.

Currently, Bucks County is comprised of roughly 608 square miles of land and 15.8 square miles of water. There are approximately 620,000 people within 23 boroughs and 31 townships.

Bucks County is famous nationwide for its historic sites, including the Mercer Museum, Washington Crossing Historic Park, Pennsbury Manor, and Pearl S. Buck House.

Three commissioners, who are elected at-large every four years and represent both major political parties, govern the county. Other elected officials include Clerk of Courts, Controller, Coroner, District Attorney, Jury Commissioners, Prothonotary, Recorder of Deeds, Register of Wills, Sheriff and Treasurer.

Mission of Bucks County

Serve the public effectively and efficiently by:
  • Being responsive to the changing health and welfare, safety and informational needs of Bucks County taxpayers and public
  • Delivering quality service and administering county, state and federal programs in a people sensitive and professional manner
  • Managing and targeting our available resources based on the prioritizing needs of the county
  • Conducting county business with focus on integrity and fiscal responsibility
  • Coordinating the efforts of the county divisions and departments, and working together for the common good

Each of us is committed to achieving this mission.

Bucks Seal

The Seal of Bucks County

In March, 1683, William Penn's Council ordered "That the seal of the County of Bucks be a tree and a vine." Penn had written that in Bucks County "the woods yield us plums, grapes, peaches, strawberries and chestnuts in abundance." The shield came from the Penn family crest. Used to certify official documents until the American Revolution, the seal was eventually supplanted by one with the official device of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The old insignia is still used on County stationary and vehicles to denote Bucks County's rich heritage. Large replicas of it in tile, made by Dr. Henry Chapman Mercer, may be seen at the Mercer Museum in Doylestown and the State Capitol in Harrisburg.

The Flag of Bucks County

The Bucks County flag incorporates the county seal that was inspired by William Penn. With blue and gold adopted as the official county colors in 1962, the Bucks County Commissioners designed the flag as a "Gold Emblem on Field of Blue." The green band around the seal represents the natural beauty that continues to inspire people who come to Bucks County. The field of blue is standard flag proportion-2 units vertically to 3 units horizontally. The gold emblem is centered and takes roughly the center third (width-wise) of the Flag. The flag is trimmed in standard gold color fringe.

Pennsbury Manor, home of William Pen

County Symbols

The following symbols were dedicated 28 years ago by third to ninth graders in 13 school districts throughout Bucks County, and are now considered the official county symbols:

  • The county Flower is the Violet
  • The county Bird is the Cardinal
  • The county Mammal is the Cotton Tail Rabbit
  • The county Tree is the Dogwood
  • The county Fish is the Catfish
  • The county Rock is the Diabase