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Dauphin County

Dauphin County was formed on March 4, 1785, from part of Lancaster County and was named after Louis-Joseph, Dauphin of France and the first son of King Louis XVI.  Louis-Joseph’s title of Dauphin designated him as the heir apparent to the throne of France.  The county seat is Harrisburg, which has also served as the state capital since 1812.

Dauphin County is one of the oldest and most influential counties in the development of our nation.  John Harris, a native of Yorkshire, England, arrived in Philadelphia as one of the first emigrants to accompany William Penn.  His son, John Harris, Jr. later founded Harrisburg and instigated the movement to establish Dauphin County.  The county was named “Dauphin,” to honor the eldest son of the King of France, who had come to the aid of the American colonies during the American Revolution.

The first humble courthouse became the temporary Capitol of Pennsylvania in the fall of 1812, when the Act of February 21, 1810 called for the state government to relocate from Lancaster to Harrisburg.  The first State House was completed on Capitol Hill in 1822, and the courthouse returned to its original use for county business.   Over the years, the county has furnished leaders in Pennsylvania law, religion, patriotism, education, the arts, science, industry, and agriculture.

Pennsylvania lawyers practicing law in Dauphin County specialize in various niches of the law, including areas like bankruptcy law, employment law, personal injury law, immigration, family law, medical malpractice law, workers compensation law, and even criminal law.  Criminal law involves, logically enough, crimes committed by one party against another and are broken up into two subsets:  felonies and misdemeanors.  Felonies are larger offenses that typically result in harsher punishments.  Misdemeanors are smaller offenses that yield sentences that are not quite as harsh.  It is recommended that defendants retain one of the many experienced Pennsylvania lawyers practicing criminal law to represent them no matter which type of crime they have been accused of committing.

One common area of law for which Pennsylvania companies in Dauphin County often need the assistance of a good Pennsylvania lawyer is that of employment law.  Under Pennsylvania law, employment is presumed to be “at will.”  Under at-will employment, either employees or employers may end the employment relationship for any reason, so long as it is not illegal.  Contract employees, on the other hand, can usually only be terminated for reasons specified in their employment contract.  In order to overcome the presumption of at-will employment guided by Pennsylvania law, employees must demonstrate some set of circumstances and facts that created some tenure of employment.  It is difficult to overcome that presumption under Pennsylvania law and many view it as an up-hill battle.

Both federal and Pennsylvania laws require that most employers provide a workplace free of recognized hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees.  In most jurisdictions, employees can lodge anonymous complaints to a state or federal agency if they feel their company provides a hazardous or unsafe work environment, free from the threat of employer reprisals.

Pennsylvania law provides for four types of incorporated municipalities:  cities, boroughs, townships, and, rarer cases, towns.  Below are listed the cities, boroughs and townships located in Dauphin County:



  • Berrysburg
  • Dauphin
  • Elizabethville
  • Gratz
  • Halifax
  • Highspire
  • Hummelstown
  • Lykens
  • Middletown
  • Millersburg
  • Paxtang
  • Penbrook
  • Pillow
  • Royalton
  • Steelton
  • Williamstown


  • Conewago Township
  • Derry Township
  • East Hanover Township
  • Halifax Township
  • Jackson Township
  • Jefferson Township
  • Londonderry Township
  • Lower Paxton Township
  • Lower Swatara Township
  • Lykens Township
  • Middle Paxton Township
  • Mifflin Township
  • Reed Township
  • Rush Township
  • South Hanover Township
  • Susquehanna Township
  • Swatara Township
  • Upper Paxton Township
  • Washington Township
  • Wayne Township
  • West Hanover Township
  • Wiconisco Township
  • Williams Township

Unincorporated and Census-designated places

Census-designated places are not actual jurisdictions under Pennsylvania law, but are compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau in order to compile demographic data.  Other unincorporated communities, such as villages, are sometimes categorized here as well.

  • Bressler-Enhaut-Oberlin
  • Colonial Park
  • Grantville
  • Hershey
  • Lawnton
  • Linglestown
  • Paxtonia
  • Progress
  • Rutherford
  • Skyline View

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