At the extreme southwestern end of Delaware County is Birmingham township, which in early days was pronounced as though written Brummagen. The Brandywine Creek constitutes the entire western boundary of the township. This stream was called by the Swedes Fiskekill, and the present name, by tradition, is asserted to have been given to the creek from the fact that after the conquest of New Sweden by the Dutch, in the fall of the year 1655, a Dutch vessel, ladened with brandy, termed by the Dutch "brandwein," wintered in the stream, and, being cut through by the ice in the following spring, sank. The wreck of this vessel is said to have remained until the middle of the last century on the northern side of the stream, several hundred yards above the juncture of the Brandywine with the Christiana River.* The name of the township, Birmingham, it is generally supposed was given to the territory by William Brinton, the first white settler’ known to have located in that neighborhood, in remembrance of the town of the like name in England, near which he resided previous to his emigration (in 1684) to the New World. At that time he was a man beyond the noonday of life, and accompanied by his wife, Ann, his junior by five years, a son (William) and two daughters (Elizabeth and Esther), he pushed out beyond the extreme limit of civilization, where he erected a log cabin, as was then the custom, near a spring, among a heavy growth of hardwood trees, preferring to undergo the privations which must necessarily attend his residence there than to submit to the persecutions which, for conscience’ sake, he had been forced to endure in his native land. He had purchased from Joseph Allibone and William Morgan four hundred acres, and his patent was so located that a century later, when the county of Delaware was erected out of Chester, the line of demarkation cut his original tract into almost equal parts, giving a like portion to both of the counties. The first winter the emigrants passed in the "backwoods," that of 1685-86, was unusually rigorous, bringing in its train severe privations. To such extremity was the household reduced, owing to their remote situation, that the family tradition records they would all have perished by starvation had not the Indians supplied them with game and grain. His settlement, or the tract patented to him, had on it at the time an Indian town. The savages never disturbed him, but, on the other hand, always seemed glad to be of service or minister, so far as they could, to his or his family’s necessities.
Slowly the land in that locality was settled, but the residents for several miles, who were mostly of the society of Friends, would occasionally hold religious meetings at his dwelling, which was familiarly termed "the cabin." When George Keith sowed dissension in the society, William Brinton leaned to the precepts of the former, but he ultimately became reconciled, and died in 1700, at threescore years and ten, in full membership with Friends. His wife had died the preceding year, and both were buried on the homestead farm; the place of their interment being on the right-hand side of the road leading from Dilworthtown to Painter’s Cross-road. William Brinton had acquired considerable real estate subsequent to the patent mentioned, and at his death was considered as possessed of large means.
William Brinton, the younger, who was a stripling of seventeen when his father settled in Birmingham, at the age of twenty-three married Jane, a daughter of Richard Thatcher, of Thornbury. After his father’s death, he built, in 1704, a stone house a short distance south of Dilworthtown, which, still standing, remained for over a hundred and seventy-five years almost as it was when he erected it. It is only in the last few years that it has undergone any alteration. He was an enterprising man, being one of the projectors and owners of a company grist-mill in Concord, the first located in that section, and was largely instrumental in the erection of Concord Friends’ meeting-house, to which he contributed liberally. His wife, when fifty-four years of age, in 1724, accompanied Elizabeth Webb, a ministering Friend, in a religious visit to New England, the entire journey being made on horseback. From a letter written by her from Long Island, it appears that she was particularly pleased with a horse she saw there "with a white star in his face." In 1695 he was constable of Birmingham, and in 1713 was a member of the Legislature from Chester County. He died in 1751, aged eighty-four years. The offspring of this couple - from whom all the Brintons derive descent was numerous. Edward Brinton, their third son, died in 1799, aged ninety-four years. From the birth of his grandfather, William Brinton, Sr., the immigrant, in 1630, to the date of his own death, is an interval of one hundred and sixty-nine years, a remarkable period of time to be covered by three generations in one family.
William Brinton’s, Sr., daughter, Ann, about or shortly after her father left England for the province, had intermarried with John Bennett, a blacksmith, who, with his wife, immigrated the next year and settled on lands of his father-in-law. In 1686, John Bennett was appointed constable for Birmingham, which is the first official record of that municipal district in our county’s annals.
The next settler in Birmingham, after Brinton and his son-in-law, Bennett, were Peter and Sarah Dix, which name in the lapse of years was changed to Dicks. The land patented to him was the first tract taken up extending to Brandywine Creek, and thereon he built his cabin in the thick forest, with no neighbor nearer than about two miles away. This tract was not located within the limits of the present county of Delaware, but the dividing line runs along the southern and part of the eastern boundary of his estate. His son, Peter Dicks, however, played a prominent part in our colonial history in his efforts to foster manufacturing, and will be referred to elsewhere.
Joseph Gilpin and Hannah, his wife, are believed to have settled in Birmingham in 1695, certainly not later than that date. They were people of position in England, being descended from Richard de Guylpin, to whom in 1206 the baron of Kendal gave the manor of Kentmere, as a reward for having slain a ferocious wild boar that infested the forest of Westmoreland and Cumberland. Under the will of William Lamboll, of the city of Reading, England, Joseph Gilpin received a part of the large tract of land which had been surveyed and located in Birmingham in 1683, to Lamboll. Gilpin, as did all the Quaker settlers of the day, knew the power of religious oppression, and gladly came to the province to take possession of his inheritance. When he settled on the estate he dug a cave at the side of a large rock, on the present farm of Albin Harvey, wherein he resided for a number of years, and where thirteen of his family of fifteen children were born.** It was on this property that two valuable varieties of apple originated, the Gilpin, also called carthouse and winter red-streak, and the house-apple, also called gray house-apple. They were two of several hundred of new varieties produced from seeds brought from England by the first settlers. Only these two were worthy of perpetuation by grafting.
The farm in Birmingham, where the first Gilpin settled, remained in the ownership of their descendants until recent years. Joseph Gilpin, some years after he made his settlement, built a frame house, and removed from his cave to that dwelling. In 1745, adjoining the frame, a brick house was erected. On the evening of Thursday, Sept. 11, 1777, the house then owned by George Gilpin was occupied by Gen. Howe as his headquarters, and there the commander-in-chief remained until the following Tuesday, when the British army moved to the Boot Tavern, in Goshen township. The farm, with the old dwelling standing thereon, is now owned by Elias Baker, and the latter every now and then in plowing turns up British pieces of coin, dropped by the invaders of a century ago.
Francis Chadsey, or Chads, as the name afterwards came to be written, now frequently and improperly spelled Chadd, emigrated from Wiltshire, England, early in 1689, with his wife, and resided at or near Chichester until about 1696, when his name appears on the list of taxables for Birmingham. It is presumed that he located on the five hundred acres surveyed to Henry Bernard, or Barnet, early in March, 1684, and conveyed to Daniel Smith, March 28, 29, 1686, which tract included all the present village of Chad’s Ford. Francis Chads did not, however, acquire title to the estate until Nov. 24, 1702, and on May 4th of the following year he purchased one hundred and eleven acres adjoining his estate to the southeast, from Edmund Butcher. Chads served as a member of the Assembly from Chester County for the years 1706 and 1707, and about that time, it is believed by Gilbert Cope, he erected his corn-mill, the first in Pennsylvania, on the Brandywine, for dying in 1713 he devised to one of his sons "a half share in my corn-mill." This mill, which is supposed to have been a log building, was permitted to go to decay, until in time its very site was forgotten; indeed, that it had ever existed passed out of the memory of man, until in 1860, in making the excavations for the foundations of the brick mill erected by Caleb Brinton, a short distance west of the station of the Baltimore Central Railroad, at Chad’s Ford, a log with an old wrought-iron spike was found, with other evidences establishing the location of Chads’ mill. That this was the first mill on the Brandywine, as is frequently asserted, cannot be successfully maintained, for as early as May 17, 1689, a petition of "ye Inhabitants of Brandywine River or Creek against ye dam made upon ye creek, wch hinders ye fish passing up to ye great damage of ye inhabitants,"*** shows conclusively that a mill of some kind had then been erected. We know that twenty years before Chads’ mill was built, on April 2, 1667, "Cornelius Empson’s petition Concerning a Bridg Road and Water mill on Brandywine Creek was Read."(4*) This mill, however, was in Delaware.
John Chads, who received the larger part of his father’s estate, after his marriage to Elizabeth Richardson, in 1729, is believed to have built the old stone house close to the spring, still standing, the most northern one in the village of Chad’s Ford, which was opposite the then ford of the Brandywine. In 1829, when the bridge was erected, the petition for its construction being presented to court July 17, 1828, the road crossing the stream was carried to the south, its present course.
The tradition in the neighborhood is that the log cabin of Francis Chad’s had stood near by where the present stone building now stands. As the tide of emigration moved westward public travel necessarily increased, and as the Brandywine in rainy weather and in springtime was so swollen that it was almost impossible to cross it, John Chads was solicited to establish a ferry at that place, and to aid him in that public work the county loaned him thirty pounds to meet the expense he was put to in building a "flatt or schowe." He seems to have been ready to enter into the duties required in 1737, for on August 30th of that year the following records appear in the proceedings of the Court of Quarter Sessions:
"John Chads having petitioned the court setting forth that by the concurrence of the Justices and by order of the Commissioners and Assessors, a ferry being erected over Brandywine creek on the road leading from Philadelphia to Nottingham, and no rates for the same established, prays that such rates be set for the same, as to the court may seem reasonable: Whereupon the court taking the same into consideration, have adjudged the rates hereafter mentioned may be demanded and taken by the said John Chads, or his assigns or successors in the said ferry:
Every horse and rider, four pence.
Every single person on foot, three pence; if more, two pence each
Every ox, cow, or heifer, four pence each.
Every sheep, one pence.
Every hog, three half-pence.
Every coach, wagon, or cart, one shilling and six pence.
Every empty wagon or cart, nine pence.
Every steed, four pence.
"To the aforesaid rates the justices have subscribed their names:
The story of the ford is so intimately connected with the tavern at that point that all further reference to it will be found in the narrative of the license houses of Birmingham, excepting the fact that in 1760, the year of John Chads’ death, it appears that the old flat was worn out, and for "rebuilding the Flatt" he charged the county £44 3s. 6d., one of the items in the bill rendered being "To five weeks diet to boat-builder at six shillings per week £1 lOs." The post planted on the west side of the Brandywine to fasten the ferry rope to, was still standing in 1827, but the rope, windlass, and boat had disappeared. About the date given Hetty Brown, a colored woman, who kept a small store at the ford, where she sold cakes and beer, for a small sum would ferry passengers across the creek in a boat, which she shoved with a pole. John Chads’ widow was living at the ford on the day of the battle of Brandywine, in the stone house already mentioned. Dr. Darlington related that Amos House, a nephew of Elizabeth Chads, who was then a widower, had come to reside with his aunt, and superintend the farm. On the morning of the battle, Washington and a few officers rode to the field just above Chads’ house, and were busy with their field-glasses, when Amos House and several others, out of sheer curiosity, approached the group of officers. The British artillery from the opposite bank fired several cannon-balls into the field near by, whereupon Gen. Washington remarked to the unbidden company, "Gentlemen, you perceive that we are attracting the notice of the enemy; I think you had better retire." A hint which was promptly taken.(5*) Amos House, a descendant of this Amos House, still a resident of Chad’s Ford, at the American Centennial, in 1876, had the control of the dairy established by the Dairymen’s Association on those grounds, which will be recalled by all who visited the Exhibition.
In 1707, Samuel Painter, a son of Painter or Pariour (for the name is sometimes spelled in that way), became a resident of Birmingham, having purchased something over five hundred acres of contiguous land from several parties in the neighborhood of the present Painter’s Cross-roads. He was a tailor by trade, and appears to have thriven in his occupation, for at the time of his death he was the owner of more than a thousand acres in Birmingham, lying nearly equally divided between the present Delaware and Chester Counties. This large estate was not contiguous, that in Chester County being widely separated from his possessions in Delaware County.
In 1688, as heretofore mentioned, it was reported that the Indians on a certain day had determined to massacre the whites, and, as rumor asserted that five hundred warriors of the savages had assembled at an Indian town on the Brandywine, "and that they having a lame King, had carried him away with all their women and children," this alarming intelligence was hastily borne to Philadelphia, reaching there while the Provincial Council was in session. A member of that body, a Friend, voluntarily proposed to go to the place with five other persons, unarmed, and the offer being accepted, they rode to the Indian town on the Brandywine, where, instead of meeting savages in war-paint, they found the old chief "quietly lying with his lame foot along on the ground, and his head at ease on a kind of pillow, the women at work in the field, and the children playing together."(6*) The delegation was assured that the rumor was false, and the woman who had raised the report ought to be burned to death. The site of the Indian town was in the neck of land above the present Smith’s bridge, on which afterwards the iron-works of Twaddle were erected, known in more recent times as the old paper-mill.
On June 24, 1729, the Indian chief Checochinican addressed a letter to the Governor and Council, alleging that when they sold their interest in the lands watered by the Brandywine to Penn, he had granted them "a wrighting for the creek of Brandywine up to the Head thereof, which said wrighting, by some Accident, was Lost with all land a mile wide of ye Creek on each side, which afterwards we Disposed of so far up as to a Certain known rock in ye said creek."(7*) As this disputed title does not touch any portion of the land in Delaware County, but relates to that located in Newlin township, in the present county of Chester, extended consideration of the topic does not come within the scope of this work. The Indians, however, so long as any of them remained, insisted that a strip of land a mile wide on both sides of the stream had been reserved to them in their sale to Penn. Andrew and Hannah, the last Indians in the neighborhood of Birmingham, who lived in a hut or wigwam on the high ground on the east side of the creek, above where the Baltimore Central Railroad bridge crosses the stream, always made claim to this land. I am informed by Amos C. Brinton, of Wilmington, a native of Birmingham, and a gentleman well informed as to the olden times of that locality, that the old Indians did not attempt to till the ground, but went from house to house demanding their meals, and if it chanced that the meal was over, they would scold violently because it had not been delayed for them. Hannah made baskets and gathered herbs to the last. She died about 1800, having survived her husband several years. Andrew was buried on the original tract patented to William Brinton, Sr., his grave being located on Dix Run, about half a mile south of Dilworthtown. Indian Hannah, the last of her tribe, died in the Chester County almshouse. She expressed a wish to be buried in a certain Indian burying-ground which she designated, but was buried with other paupers on the almshouse grounds.
It has been published that the British forces at Chad’s Ford, on Sept. 11, 1777, crossed below the ford. This, however, is incorrect. The enemy waded across the stream above the ford. The road taken by the American Reserves to Birmingham meeting-house was up the ravine from William Harvey’s house, past the barn, over the hill to and across Dix’s Run, up the next hill to and across the road from Dilworthtown to the Brandywine, at a point between the James Brinton and Darlington residences; thence nearly northeast across the Bennett land to the Sandy Hollow road which led to Birmingham meeting-house, the scene of that part of the battle of Brandywine. One wing of Greene’s command was shown the way by George Hannum, who piloted them across the Gilpin lands from the Philadelphia and Chad’s Ford road to the south of Dilworthtown.
The old Benjamin Ring Tavern, where Washington had his headquarters, was on the north side of the great road which leads to the ford, about a mile east of the Brandywine. It was of stone, two stories in height, with a hipped roof, and became the property of Eli Harvey in 1807, after the death of Benjamin Ring. Eli Harvey was the great-grandson of William Harvey, the immigrant, who, at the age of thirty-four, in 1712, came to Pennsylvania, and settled on a tract of three hundred acres in "the woods of Kennett," on the west side of the Brandywine and above the ford. William, the immigrant, was succeeded on the home farm by his son, William, he by his son, Amos, he by his sons, Marshall and Eli, Jr. Eli Harvey, of Chad’s Ford, was the father of Hannah (who married Robert Peirce), Joseph P., Amos, Chalkley, Edith (who married Isaac Watkin), Evelina (married Thomas Brinton Darlington), Ellwood, Lewis P., Philena (married Mordecai Lewis), and Mary (who married Watson P. Magill).
William Harvey, the grandson of the immigrant, resided on the east bank of the Brandywine, this land extending from below the Delaware line above and beyond Chad’s Ford. Below the Delaware line the crossing of the stream is still known as Harvey’s Ford, and the day of the battle his house at Chad’s Ford was in the line of the American cannon, and was damaged by a shot from Proctor’s gun. The ball, which buried itself in the ground after passing through William Harvey’s house, is still in the possession of his relatives, as is also an oak chair which was brought to the colony by the immigrant.
William Harvey, another grandson of the immigrant, lived on the ground occupied in part by the American army at the Chad’s Ford battle, and being a Friend, commonly called a Quaker, and a non-combatant, took no part on either side, but remained about his work as if nothing unusual was going on. When the British passed by his house in pursuit of the retreating Americans, they made him a prisoner, and marched him near the front of the army. As they went up the hill east of his house, on the brow of which was a fence covered with bushes, he saw the Americans pointing their guns towards him and the British through the bushes, and was almost stunned by the fearful flash and roar of their simultaneous discharge. He was astonished to find himself alive, and still more on observing that not a man was killed or wounded. The Americans had fired over their heads. The British, or, more correctly, their Hessian allies, then rushed up to the fence and fired at the retreating Americans with deadly effect. When time British reached Dilworthtown, William Harvey, with a few other prisoners, were confined in the cellar under the tavern, from which they made their escape by wrenching out the window-frame. On his way home through a woods, he saw a pair of laced boots protruding from a hollow log, and upon closer investigation discovered his colored girl hidden there. He remained a Quaker, but on account of the active interest he manifested in the cause of the revolting colonies, after the battle of Brandywine, he was called by the title of major to the end of his life.
The inhabitants of Birmingham suffered greatly from the British foraging parties. The following is a list of damages sustained:
|From William Dilworth by the British army, under Sir William Howe (and damages), while encamped at Dilworthtown after the battle of Brandywine, September llth to 16th||48||0|
|From Charles Dilworth "property taken, damages, waste, spoil, and destruction done and committed by the army of the King of Great Britain and their adherents under the immediate command of Sir William Howe,"(8*) September llth to l6th||820||15||3|
|From Joseph Dilworth, ditto||522||12||2-1/2|
|From Charles Porter, "a very poor man," ditto||8||7||6|
|From William Chapman, ditto||16||3||3|
|From John Martin, September 12th to 16th||242||4||6|
|From William Harvey, Jr., "taken and destroyed the 11th day of September (and thereabout) by the army of his Britanic Majesty, commanded by Sir William Howe, K.B., Supporter of Tyranny, Falsifier of his word, and plunderer of private property"||562||16||6|
|From John Bennett, September 11th to 16th||401||1||4|
|From George Brinton, ditto||544||11||8|
|From Rachel Hannings, ditto||47||12||6|
|From Caleb Brinton,(9*) ditto||592||18||8|
|From Israel Gilpin, ditto||607||12||6|
|From Thomas Hannum, September 11th||42||2||0|
|From John Henderson, September 11th to 16th||536||6||11|
|From John Chamberlain, September 13th to 16th||57||0||3|
|From Gideon Gilpin, September 11th||502||6||0|
|From Jesse Graves, September 11th to 16th||212||14||8|
|From Thomas Davis, ditto||24||5||7|
|From James Dilworth, ditto||13||0||0|
|From Charles McCrea, September 11th to 17th||41||13||4|
The lands of Lewis P. Harvey, "the National Kaolin Company," was formerly part of the manor of Rockland, the manor located in the county of New Castle, but crossing the Brandywine into Birmingham, and part of the land of the kaolin-works was included in the warrant for two hundred and fifty acres given to Robert Chalfant in 1701, he having settled there two years before that date. From him it is believed the Chalfant family have descended.
Churches - Presbyterian. - In the bend of the road leading down to Corner Ford, on the property of William H. Seal, the Lower Brandywine Presbyterian Church formerly stood, and some of the old gravestones in the little burial-ground can still be seen there. The Presbyterians early in the last century had churches in this vicinity, in log buildings, one located at Marlborough, known as the Upper Brandywine, and the one on the Seal farm, called the Lower Brandywine Church. It was established here in 1720, and for a long period of years services would occasionally be held in this unpretentious structure, but finally, after the Revolution, it was abandoned, the congregation assembling for worship at the "old log meeting" at Centreville, Del. Rev. Mr. Reed was the pastor in charge of this little wayside sanctuary during the war of independence, and tradition states that it was this clergyman who, in the darkness of the morning of Sept. 9, 1777, guided Washington when the American army moved from Stanton, Del., to Chad’s Ford, crossing the Brandywine at Harvey’s Ford, below Smith’s bridge. For nearly a century the Presbyterians of Birmingham were without a church building, but on Monday, June 3, 1878, a church of that denomination was dedicated at Dilworthtown. The building is of serpentine stone, and is lighted with stained glass memorial windows. The church was the direct outgrowth of the labor of Miss Cassy Brinton, a daughter of Hill Brinton, of Thornbury, who, about 1860, started a Sunday-school at Dilworthtown, For years that hamlet had been termed "the Devil’s Half-Acre," and many of the old people declared that it was known the country round as furnishing more drunken men, more fights and disturbances, than any locality of the like size in twenty miles. That unpleasant reputation has long since passed away from Dilworthtown, and now better manners, if not better whiskey, will be found in the village.
Baptist. - The Baptist Church in Birmingham, the third of that denomination in Pennsylvania, was instituted May 14, 1715, the membership comprising fifteen persons, but nearly a quarter of a century previous to that date religious services by Baptists are said to have been held on the same ground where the church was afterwards erected. At first the meetings for worship were held at private houses, but in a few years the congregation determined to build a church, which was done in 1718, a log structure being erected on a lot of land which had belonged to Edward Butcher, doubtless given by him for that purpose. The first permanent pastor was William Butcher, a native of Birmingham, in 1719. He was twenty years of age when intrusted with the charge of the church. In 1721 he received a call to New Jersey, and died in that province in his twenty-sixth year. The struggling congregation continued to worship in the primitive building until 1770, when it was demolished, and a stone structure erected on its site. For forty years it had been without a regular pastor, until 1761, when Rev. Abel Griffith was installed. Here he remained until 1767, when he resigned, but in 1775 he returned to the charge of the church, continuing there until 1790. In 1791, Rev. Joshua Vaughan was installed. He was by birth a Chester countian, by trade a blacksmith, and during the Revolution, when David Mackey was sheriff, he was the jailer at the prison in Chester. While in that employment he was baptized by the Rev. Philip Hughes, a Baptist clergyman, who frequently preached at the county-seat. It is related that, when the minister and he were walking to the stream to be baptized, some one in jest asked who they were. "We are Philip and his jailer," retorted Vaughan. He continued in the pastorate until the summer of 1808, when he died. His remains lie in the burial-ground alongside the church.
The fourth pastor was Rev. Charles Moore. He was an Episcopalian, residing in Concord, and as the church of that denomination in that township was without a rector he frequently conducted the services there as a lay preacher. In 1802 he became a Baptist, being immersed in the Brandywine at Chad’s Ford. In 1812 he was licensed to preach, and in the fall of the year 1813 he was ordained pastor of the church, and continued in charge of the congregation until 1848. It is remembered that Rev. Mr. Moore, as he grew older and saw the wonderful growth of the United States (he died in 1847), he would frequently relate how, as a child of six years, he was taken to the State-House yard, Philadelphia, when the old liberty bell with its brazen tongue proclaimed the birth of the new nation.
Rev. Joseph Walker, who succeeded Mr. Moore, was a native of Delaware County, having been born in Lower Chichester in 1787. In 1822 he was licensed to preach, and in 1824 became the pastor of the church at Marcus Hook, continuing there twenty-four years, during which period he frequently preached at Birmingham. In 1848 he became the pastor of the latter church, and continued there until 1863, when he resigned, his seventy-six years having brought with them the infirmities of age. On Feb. 10, 1870, the present and third church, on the same site, was dedicated, and not quite three weeks thereafter the aged pastor, Mr. Walker, having completed, excepting two weeks, his eighty-third year of life, died in Alleghany City.
The sixth pastor was Rev. Jesse B. Williams, who was ordained in 1866, and remained in charge of the Brandywine Church until 1869, when he was succeeded by the seventh pastor, Rev. Isaac M. Haldeman. The latter was a native of Concordville, Delaware Co., and was twenty-six years old in 1871, when installed pastor of the Brandywine Church. Just previous to his taking charge of the congregation the old stone building was torn down and the present edifice erected. It was dedicated Thursday, Feb. 10, 1870, and on that occasion, it appearing that two thousand dollars was still due for work and materials, Samuel A. Crozer offered to discharge five hundred dollars of it, if the remaining fifteen hundred dollars could be collected. This was done and the church freed from debt. Mr. Haldeman’s pastorate was eminently successful, and the church thrived under his care as it had never done before. In April, 1875, he resigned to accept a charge in Wilmington, Del., and was followed by Rev. John Reader, who continued there from May, 1877, until the following April, when he resigned. In May, 1878, Rev. Alexander MacAuthor, a graduate of Crozer Theological Seminary in that year, was ordained, but resigning in the following February, the present and tenth pastor, Rev. J. Wesley Sullivan, also a graduate of Crozer Theological Seminary, was installed in June, 1880, and is now in the fourth year of a successful pastorate. Before dismissing the account of the Brandywine Baptist Church, it is proper to recall Robert Frame, who, dying Feb. 20, 1871, in the seventy-eight years of life which had been allotted to him, could remember the three sanctuaries, the old log, the first stone, and subsequently the present, third and imposing, structure, and, perhaps, to no man is the Brandywine Baptist Church more indebted than to Robert Frame, who through life labored to advance its interest and well-being.
The adherents to the forms and rituals of the Church of England, until within a year, had no house of worship in Birmingham; but it must not be supposed that there were no earnest Episcopalians in that township. Ralph Pyle was an ardent churchman, and by his will, dated Jan. 1, 1739, provision was made for three sermons to be preached on three certain days in each year at Concord parish, by a minister of the Church of England.
St. Luke’s Protestant Episcopal Church. - Services according to the ritual of the Episcopal Church were had at Chad’s Ford from time to time, the first consecutive services having been held by Rev. J. Coupland, rector of St. John’s Church, Concord, which were continued during the rectorship of Rev. H.B. Dean. The congregation assembled in the school-house and at private houses. St. John’s parish being without a rector, until the election of the present incumbent, Rev. J.J. Sleeper, services were necessarily discontinued, but on the latter being installed rector, a determined movement was made to locate a permanent church organization at Chad’s Ford. J.M. Baker entered earnestly into the movement, and the result was that funds were collected justifying the erection of a church edifice. A lot was secured from John Arment, and on June 11, 1883, the corner-stone was laid by Rev. W.H. Graff, of Philadelphia, assisted by Rev. John Bolton, of West Chester, and Rev. J.J. Sleeper, rector of St. John’s parish. On May 1, 1884, St. Luke’s Church was opened for divine service, the rector of St. John’s parish officiating, assisted by Rev. Messrs. Henry Brum, William H. Graff, William M. Jefferis, John Bolton, Richardson Graham, H. Greenfield Schow, and George C. Moore. At the conclusion of the services, as a testimonial to Rev. J.J. Sleeper for his untiring efforts to establish the church at Chad’s Ford, a costly gold watch was presented to him. On May 12, 1884, the church was organized by Rev. Joseph J. Sleeper, rector of St. John’s parish, the first vestrymen being Frank Graff, Frank Tempest, Dr. H. Hayward, L.S. Williamson, W. William Ring, J.T. Brittingham, and George K. Barney. Mr. Williamson was elected accounting warden. After the board of vestrymen organized, Rev. Joseph J. Sleeper was elected rector, and J.M. Baker treasurer of the building fund. Frank Graff was appointed rector’s warden by Mr. Sleeper. The church is an ornate frame structure, located a short distance northwest from the railroad station at Chad’s Ford.
Friends’ Meeting-House. - In the old township of Birmingham, before its dismemberment at the time Delaware County was erected, stood the ancient historic Birmingham Friends’ meeting-house. The old battle-scarred building, in the division of the township, fell to the lot of Chester County. However, as Friends in Lower Birmingham for over a hundred and fifty years have assembled in the structure to commune together in religious exercises, I will briefly touch on its history. The first house, which was of cedar logs, was erected in 1722, on grounds given by Elizabeth Webb for that purpose, and the burial-lot was inclosed with a post-and-rail fence. About 1763 the oldest part of the present stone meeting-house was built, and the old log house used as a stable. Subsequently an addition was made to the stone building on the east end. Tradition states that the stone walls surrounding the burial-ground, in the battle of Brandywine, were used by the American riflemen, and the dark spots on the oaken floor are said to have been made by the blood of wounded soldiers, the building having been used as a hospital for nearly a week, or until the British army marched to the Boot Tavern. In the old "God’s Acre" surrounding the building for many years, in digging fresh graves, relics of the slain in that battle were disinterred. As late as 1828 a writer,(10*) in describing a visit to the old meeting-house and battle-field, says,
"You may be shown a gold coin of the olden time which some Hessian private had concealed, with several of its fellows, in the cue of his hair, and which may have recently been disinterred with his mouldering remains, or you may visit the Birmingham graveyard, and as you see the sexton turning up, some two feet below the surface, the bones of a British soldier, with fragments of his red coat still retaining its color, his stock-buckle, pocket-glass, flints, and buttons (stamped with the number of his regiment), contrast the peaceful scenes which now surround you and the peaceful tenets of the religious society worshiping in the humble tabernacle near with that terrible day when mighty armies here met in conflict, this spot echoed back the tempest of war, shook with the thunder of artillery, and was literally drenched with the blood of the slain."
Tradition asserts that a young man named Percy, supposed to be a relative of the Duke of Northumberland, was killed near the meeting-house. "When he had arrived with the regiment he accompanied, in sight of the Americans ranged in order of battle upon the heights near Birmingham meeting-house, he surveyed the field around him for a moment, and then turning to his servant, handed him his purse and his gold watch to take charge of, remarking, ‘This place I saw in a dream before I left England, and I know I shall fall here.’ The coincident was striking and remarkable; the event verified the prediction. His name is not mentioned in the British official account of the battle, because he held no commission in the army. He was merely a volunteer." Gideon D. Scull, writing from Rugby, England, Feb. 5, 1880, says, respecting this alleged incident of the battle,
"TO THE EDITOR OF THE DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN:
"The recent revival in some of your papers of the old popular belief that Earl Percy, or some near relative of that name, was killed at the Battle of Brandywine, has no foundation whatever in fact. Lossing also asserts that he never was present even in that engagement.
"Earl Percy succeeded his father in 1786, but was summoned to Parliament in 1777, as Baron Percy. He married, in 1764, Lady Anne Stuart, 3d daughter of the Earl of Bute, by whom he had no issue, and from whom he was divorced by act of Parliament in 1779.
"In the register of Westminster Abbey the following entry duly attests his burial there:
"‘1817. July 19. The most noble Hugh Percy, Duke and Earl of Northumberland, Earl and Baron Percy, Baron Lucy, &c., &c., (died) at Northumberland House, Strand, July 10th, aged 75. (Buried) in the Northumberland vault in St. Nicholas Chapel.’
"Earl Percy’s father was Hugh Smithson, 2d son of Sir Hugh, who was 3d Baronet of Stanwick, county of York. Hugh Smithson succeeded to his father’s title and estates in 174950, and married Lady Elizabeth Seymour, whose father was Charles Seymour, 7th Duke of Somerset (known as the proud Duke of Somerset), and who was, in 1749, created Earl of Northumberland, he having married Lady Elizabeth Percy, only daughter of Joseline, 11th Earl of Percy, who died in 1670, at the age of twenty-six, without male issue. Sir Hugh Smithson assumed the name of Percy, and was created, in 1766, Earl Percy and Duke of Northumberland. He was succeeded by his 2d son in 1786, who died in 1817, and was buried, as before mentioned, in Westminster Abbey.
"A glance at the Percy pedigree in Burke’s ‘Peerage’ is sufficient to convince any one that Earl Percy (of 1777) could not possibly have had any male relatives of his name who could have been present at the battle of Brandywine in 1777. There were, however, several children of the Duke’s (Earl Percy’s father) who were recognized as his illegitimate offspring by different mothers, two of whom were buried in Westminster Abbey, in the South Cross. They were named Philadelphia and Dorothy Percy. The former died in 1791 and the latter in 1794.
"They had a half brother James Macie, who some years after assumed his father’s name of Smithson, and who died in Genoa, Italy, in 1826, and is the same person who left his fortune, which was large, to found the Smithsonian Institution at Washington, D.C. He commences his will thus, ‘I, James Smithson, son of Hugh, first Duke of Northumberland, and Elizabeth, heiress of the Hungerfords of Audley, and niece of Charles, the Proud Duke of Somerset.’ So that this James Smithson was well born both on his father’s and on his mother’s side.
"The Proud Duke of Somerset received this sobriquet on account of his intolerable pride. After his wife’s death he again married, and it is recorded that on one occasion his new spouse, who was also of high birth, placed her hand upon his shoulder. Thereupon he drew himself up in a haughty manner and said, ‘Madam! my first wife was a Percy, and she never dared to take that liberty.’ He was also fond of remarking that he really pitied Adam, ‘for he had no ancestors.’
"After reading Judge Futhey’s communication, one feels inclined to think that there must have been some foundation for the various statements and traditions current in the neighborhood of the battle-field, coming down, as they have done, from the life of such respected and truth-telling old Friends as he cites, and it is not at all improbable than an illegitimate son of the Duke of Northumberland was wounded and died and was buried on the battle-ground. But supposing there was such a one, his name need not necessarily be looked for amongst the British list of dead, under the name either of Percy or Smithson, for many of different names claimed paternity of Earl Percy’s father."
Mills. - The story of the Brandywine in reference to the industrial establishments located along that creek, as well as those on its tributary streams in Delaware County, is interesting. In attempting to relate it, I propose to begin at the Delaware State line, and follow the creek up to where the line dividing Chester and Delaware Counties intersects with that stream. Beaver Creek empties into the Brandywine just south of the circular line, and there, partly located in Delaware County and partly in the State of Delaware, is the grist-mill of Marshall Brinton. "The Beaver Valley Mills" at one time were owned by Thomas Gibson, a practical millwright, who, in 1808, sold them to John Farra, who repaired or rebuilt the mills. At the latter’s death the estate was sold to Lewis Smith, and he subsequently conveyed the mills to Marshall Brinton, who enlarged the building by addition of an upper story and put in improved machinery. The mills are now owned by Joseph Brinton. Following Beaver Creek, near the highway leading to Smith’s bridge, was a woolen-factory, built in 1817 by John Farra, who leased it to La Forrest brothers, but in 1824 it was burned, and remained as the flames had left it until 1830, when it was rebuilt on part of the old walls as a paper-mill. As such it was occupied by William and John Gilmore for a year, when Farra took possession, and manufactured paper therein until his death, in June, 1832. He was succeeded by his son, Daniel. On May 15, 1851, the paper-mill in its turn was destroyed by fire. The property then passed into the ownership of Frank Tempest, who rebuilt the mill and added to the machinery an engine, so that either water or steam-power could be used. Still following the east branch of Beaver Creek, on the same highway, near Tempest’s mill, in 1809, Peter Hatton built a fulling-mill, and in 1817 he erected a woolen-factory, wherein were manufactured flannels, satinets, cloth, etc. The fulling-mill has gone to decay, but the factory is still standing, now idle for the purpose it was built, the water which formerly furnished. it power being now used to assist in driving the machinery in Tempest’s paper-mill, both mills now being owned by the Tempest family. In 1826 the two mills were supplied with water by the same race. The machinery consists of one pair of stocker and two carding engines. The business was carried on by his sons, Samuel and Gideon Hatton. In 1843 the Hatton mill was owned by Philip Hizer, and the dam there was washed away in the flood of that year. In the bend of Beaver Creek, just beyond the circular line, in the State of Delaware, was the woolen-factory built in 1825 by Charles Dupont, and operated by Lewis Sacriste, but the structure was washed entirely away in the flood of Aug. 5, 1843. Farther along its east branch, in close proximity to the line of Concord township, is located the old Green saw-mill. It was built shortly after the beginning of this century, and subsequently became the property of Reece Perkins, who owned it in 1843 at the time of the flood; afterwards it was owned by Daniel Farra, Jr., then by Samuel Talley, and now by William Hinkson. On the west branch of Beaver Creek, according to the map of Dr. Joshua Ash, in 1848, there was an axe-mill, edge-tool works, owned by William Morrison. I have no information respecting this establishment.
Returning to the Brandywine, just below the Delaware State line is Smith’s bridge, which was built on piers in 1816, and in 1822 was swept away in a freshet. It was rebuilt, to be again carried off by the water in 1839. At the side of where the single-arched bridge now stands is a ford, which is occasionally used to this day. Following the creek above Smith’s bridge, in the bend of the stream, is Willis’ or Corner Ford. On the day of the battle of Brandywine, Gen. Armstrong’s lines extended to that point for the purpose of preventing the English troops from crossing there. As we proceeded in the abrupt bend of the creek to the south, near where Twaddell’s old paper-mill stands, at the beginning of this century was a saw-mill, which has long ago disappeared. Previous to 1777, William Twaddell became the owner of the estate, comprising all the neck of land, and here he erected iron-works in connection with the saw-mill. In 1780 he was in Aston, and in that year called himself a "forge-master," and registered three slaves as his property. At that time he doubtless was working the old forge at Rockdale. It is by tradition asserted that when the American army lay encamped at Chad’s Ford, Twaddell bargained with a number of deserting militiamen to dig a race for him, extending from above Pyle’s Ford to his saw-mill, situated nearly three-quarters of a mile below. When the race was about finished, Twaddell, in apparent alarm, came running to where the men were working, shouting out, "The British! the British!" whereupon the deserters hastily decamped without waiting to be paid for the job. The iron-works were erected subsequent to 1780. The distance which Twaddell had to cart the ore before and the iron after smelting induced him to change the works into powder-mills in 1807, which were known as the "Cannon Powder-Mills," and as such they continued until 1831, at which time he had two powder-mills and four drying-houses, when they were again changed into paper-mills.
It is alleged that on several occasions there were explosions at the mills while powder was made there, but in no instance was any person injured. Just above Twaddell’s dam, which crossed the Brandywine obliquely, Thomas Gibson had a saw-mill on the west side of the creek, the dam of the latter being at right angles to the stream. Even now, when the water is low and clear, the race can be traced down to where Gibson’s saw-mill stood. Long years ago the mill was struck by lightning, the building destroyed, and the sawyer killed. Half a mile above Pyle’s Ford is the Twin or Barney bridge, at John B. Barney’s farm, from which circumstance the bridge is frequently called by his name. The term Twin was applied to it because while one span crosses the creek the other spans the meadow at Barney’s, which was done by the commissioners on the score of economy, believing the bridge over the land would cost less than to fill the eastern approach with earth.
An interesting event happened in April, 1880, at John B. Barney’s residence, when his son, accompanied by his bride from New York, visited the old homestead. It was the ninetieth anniversary of the birth of Mrs. Barney, and on that occasion a bottle of wine that had been recovered from the wreck of the British sloop-of-war "Mercury,"(11*) which was sunk in the North River, seven miles above New York, in 1777, was opened. When taken from the wreck the bottle was full of wine and almost imbedded in oysters. In 1822 it was opened when John B. Barney was named, and had been sealed anew to be again opened nearly sixty years thereafter.
The bridge of the Baltimore Central Railroad, below Chad’s Ford, was built in 1859. In forming the embankment, for this bridge, in September, 1859, the skeleton of a soldier was found, together with the brass belt-buckle and leather buttons of his uniform, the latter indicating that it was the remains of an English soldier. A bullet - the one which had deprived him of life - was found among his rib bones. At the east of the bridge stood Chads’ mill, heretofore mentioned, the remains of which were discovered in 1860, when Caleb Brinton, Jr., built the present merchant-mill at that point. Previous to that time Brinton had built a large frame building for a merchant-, flour-, and saw-mill on Dix’s Run, above the Delaware County line. There he conducted business for some time, but the water-power being insufficient, he moved the machinery to the larger building he erected on the site of Chads’ old mill. Following the creek a short distance below the county bridge at Chad’s Ford is the mouth of Harvey’s Run. The first mills on this stream were those erected by Benjamin Ring some years previous to the Revolution, and comprised grist-, fulling-, and saw-mills. The mills subsequently became the property of Eli Harvey, and in time that of his son, Joseph P. Harvey, and are now part of the estate owned by Joseph Turner. The old mills have disappeared - were torn down by Turner to erect in their place a large grist- and merchant-mill. Still following the east branch of Harvey’s Run, about a mile east of Chad’s Ford, was a saw-mill, said to have been erected by one of the Butcher family about the beginning of this century. In March, 1819, it is recorded that Benjamin Hampton, the sawyer at this mill, while running through a large poplar log, heard the saw strike against an unusually hard substance, which he found to be a forty-four-pound cannon-ball, completely imbedded in the wood so as to leave no external mark. It was a relic of the battle, the tree having been cut just back of the grove, on the west side of the creek, where the British artillery was stationed. The old solid shot, however, absolutely destroyed the teeth of the saw. This mill disappeared sixty years ago, but the property was purchased in 1842 by Job Pyle, who set up a saw-mill there to cut the timber felled on the farm. Pyle sold the estate to Thomas Brinton, who repaired the mill, and also put in buhrs to grind feed.
Retracing our steps to the west branch of Harvey’s Run, immediately opposite and some distance up the road, where Chalkley Harvey’s house stood, was in the olden times a corn-mill, while some distance farther up the road was an oil-mill for grinding linseed. The place where the mill stood can still be traced by the indentations in the bank on the north side of the road.
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE FOR BIRMINGHAM.
Thomas Newlin - Aug. 19, 1791
Joseph Brinton(12*) - May 20, 1800
Matthias Kerlin - July 4, 1808
Thomas Pierce - Feb. 3, 1814
Joseph Brinton, reappointed - Feb. 3, 1820
Joseph Fox - Dec. 4, 1823
John Mattson - Dec. 13, 1823
Joseph Bowen - Nov. 10, 1824
Joseph Trimble - April 21, 1827
Robert Frame - Jan. 15, 1829
Robert Hall - Feb. 8, 1831
William Mendenhall - Dec. 6, 1836
Robert Frame - April 14, 1840
John D. Gilpin - April 14, 1840
Robert Frame - April 15, 1845
Robert Frame - April 9, 1850
Robert Frame - April 10, 1855
Robert Frame - April 10, 1860
Robert Frame - April 28, 1865
Darwin Painter - April 28, 1865
Joseph C. Turner - April 10, 1869
Franklin Worrelow - April 15, 1873
Miles Frame - March 15, 1876
P. Miles Frame - April 9, 1881
Schools. - The first school-house in Birmingham township, in this county, was located on a lot conveyed by John Burgess, April 30, 1806, to Jesse Green, Peter Hatton, James Smith, John Chandler, and John Hecklen, in trust, for "the use of a school, but for no other purpose whatever." In the deed Burgess reserved the timber growing on this lot. A stone school-house was built there by the contributions of the neighboring residents. It was located in the southeastern part of the township, and for many years was known as Mount Racket, the name being derived from the noise made by the children in play. Brinton Dick was the teacher here at one time. In 1825, Eli Harvey gave the use of an old hipped-roof house, which had been built before the Revolution by Chads, it is said, for school purposes, and, in addition to the house, furnished the firewood gratis. This building was used as a school until the public school system was adopted. About 1826, Joseph Russell lived at the Baptist Church, and taught school in a shed adjoining his dwelling. He also taught in the hipped-roof house already mentioned and in Chads’ spring-house, then owned by Haddock, at the village, which was used before and after the school law went into effect. Milcena Gilpin taught a subscription school in the dwelling-house that stands near the old Butcher Mill, the property being then owned by her father, Isaac G. Gilpin. This was about the years 1828 to 1830. Near Dilworthtown, on Thomas Williamson’s property, was a frame school-house, the lot being an acre of ground, which Williamson sold for one dollar. This school was discontinued in 1841, when the directors purchased a tract containing sixty-one square perches from John D. Gilpin, and the old school building and lot thereon reverted to Gideon Williamson. The school law having been accepted, the following named school-houses were built by the school directors.
In addition to these places where "the young ideas were taught to shoot," there was an octagon building erected near Squire Robert Frame, known as the Frame School-House; another, near the property of Robert Bullock, and therefore known as the Bullock School. After the public-school system was adopted these old buildings ceased to be used or became the property of the township. On May 23, 1837, forty-four square perches of land was purchased from John Heyburn, on the highway leading from the Wilmington road to Smith’s bridge. On Nov. 16, 1838, Robert Bullock sold to the directors eighty-one square perches, almost in the centre of the township. On Jan. 18, 1841, John D. Gilpin conveyed to the officials the school southwest of Dilworthtown. Isaac Smith, of New Castle County, Del., conveyed to the township, Oct. 11, 1849, fifty-six square perches of land, near Smith’s bridge, at Beaver Mills, on which was subsequently erected a school-house. The latter building rendered the old Burgess School unnecessary, and on Oct. 31, 1861, Chalkley Harvey, who was instructed by the court to sell that property, conveyed it to Samuel Painter for ninety-seven dollars, which sale was duly confirmed. The schools of Birmingham at this time are well regulated, and attended by a large number of scholars.
The following is a list of the school directors of Birmingham township:
1840, Ziba Dilworth, David Martin; 1842, John D. Gilpin, Ziba Darlington; 1843, Emma Garrett, Milton Stamp; 1844, Augustus Cornog, George Hannum; 1845, William Shields, Nathaniel Speakman; 1846, John D. Gilpin, John Heyburn; 1847, George Hannum, John F. Engle; 1848, Malachi Barton, Aaron James; 1849, Lewis Smith, Thomas Brinton; 1850, Nathaniel Speakman, William H. Wilson; 1851, Daniel Farra, Ziba Dilworth; 1852, Clarkson Way, Hiram Kipe; 1853, Gideon Williamson, Elwood Michener; 1854, William H. Wilson, William W. Twaddell; 1855, Jacob G. Kitts, Hiram Kipe, Clarkson Way; 1856, Samuel Gamble, Gideon Williamson; 1857, Clarkson Way, Paul Jeffries; 1858, John Esrey, Emmor Garrett; 1859, John D. Gilpin, Gideon Williamson; 1860, John B. Heyburn, Lewis H. Bullock; 1861, William W. Twaddell, David W. Eyre; 1862, John B. Barney, William Russell; 1863, Robert Frame, Lewis Smith; 1864, Albin Baldwin, Sharpless Green; 1865, Samuel Speakman, Edmund R. Gilpen; 1866, J.B. Heyburn, Lewis Smith; 1867, Franklin Whirlow, Charles B. Sprogall; 1868, Gideon Williamson, Lewis H. Bullock; 1869, Fred. Brinton, P.M. Frame; 1870, Emmor C. Jeffries, John Esrey; 1871, Crosby Fairlamb, Jacob G. Kitts; 1872, Amos W. House, Robert G. Smith; 1873, T. Speakman, J.C. Turner; 1874, Cresley Fairlamb, Alban Harvey; 1875, Lewis H. Bullock, Caleb R. Watkins; 1876, J.C. Turner, Townsend Speakman; 1877, R.C. Fairlamb, Alban Harvey; 1878, J.E. Heyburn, John Arment; 1879, G. Rawlings, G.E. Heyburn; 1880, Alban Harvey, R.C. Fairlamb; 1881, P. Miles Frame, John Arment; 1882, George E. Heyburn, Lewis Bullock; 1883, Alban Harvey, R.C. Fairlamb; 1884, Dr. H. Hayward, P. Miles Frame.
Gen. Lafayette’s Visit in 1825. - The circumstances respecting the visit of Gen. Lafayette and his son, George Washington Lafayette, to the battle-field at Brandywine on Tuesday, July 26, 1825, and his reception there by the committees of Delaware and Chester Counties, are thus admirably related in a recent volume:(13*)
"Early in the morning the general was waited upon at Messrs. Dupont, with whom he had lodged, by John W. Cuningham, Esq., one of the committee of arrangements, attended by Samson Babb and William Williamson, two of the marshals of the day, by whom he was conducted to Chad’s Ford. The general was accompanied by his son, M. La Vasseur, his secretary, M. Baudouis, a distinguished lawyer from Paris, the Messrs. Dupont, Messrs. Louis McLane and N.G. Williamson, committee from Wilmington, and Messrs. Joseph S. Lewis, Tilghman, and Biddle, committee of Councils from Philadelphia. They reached Chad’s Ford about ten o’clock A.M., where the veteran was received by the committees of Chester and Delaware Counties, headed by their respective chairmen, Col. Joseph McClellan and Capt. William Anderson. At this place, also, Maj.-Gen. Isaac D. Barnard and his aids, Col. Leiper and Daniel Buckwalter, Esq., attended by Brig.-Gens. Evans and Stanley, and their aids, in full uniform, also the Chester County troop of cavalry, commanded by Lieut. Jones, and the Delaware County troop of cavalry, commanded by Capt. Vanleer, the whole under the command of Maj. Wilson, were in waiting to escort the general over the battle-ground. Jesse Sharp, Esq., chief marshal, with his aids, Thomas H.B. Jacobs and Jesse Conard, Esq., and assistant marshals Samson Babb, William Williamson, Joshua Hunt, Thomas H. Brinton, Joshua McMinn, Isaac Trimble, David Potts, Jr., Richard Walker, Jonathan Jones, Joseph P. McClellan, also attended to regulate the movements of the great concourse of citizens, in carriages, on horseback, and on foot, who had gathered at this point, eager to see and welcome the nation’s guest.
"The general received the greetings of the people, and viewed the interesting heights around Chad’s Ford, and the field where the armies encamped the night before the battle, and pointed out the positions of Gen. Wayne and Maxwell’s brigades. He inquired if any one could point out where the bridge of rails was across the Brandywine, but no one was able to give the information. He then resumed his seat in his barouche, with his companion-in-arms, Col. McClellan, by his side, and the procession, which had been formed, advanced towards Painter’s Crossroads. About a mile from the ford the general stopped and alighted from his carriage to see Gideon Gilpin, a very aged man, confined to bed, at whose house he had made his headquarters before the battle. The sick man was gratified at the sight of the veteran, who pressed his hand cordially and wished him every blessing. The procession then proceeded by way of Painter’s Cross-roads to Dilworthtown. After a brief halt it turned to the left, and proceeded to the main battle-ground. When they came in sight of the Birmingham meeting-house, Lafayette arose in his carriage and addressed himself in French to his son and companions, spoke animatedly for some time, pointing out to them the different positions of the armies. All the surroundings were familiar to him. He pointed out the spot, in a field of Jacob Bennett, a short distance east and south of where the road from the meeting-house comes in at right angles with the east-and-west road, as the place where he was wounded. He then proceeded to the meeting-house, where another concourse had assembled to greet him. After viewing the ground here he alighted, with his companions and friends, at the mansion of Samuel Jones, a short distance north of the meeting-house, to which he had been previously invited, and partook of refreshments provided for the occasion. A large collection of balls and other relics of the memorable conflict, which had been found at different periods on the battle-ground, were exhibited, and excited much interest."
The Murder of Martin Hollis by Thomas Cropper. - The peaceful, law-abiding people of Birmingham, early in the year 1841, were shocked by the report that a murder had been committed in the neighborhood of Dilworthtown, and the mere fact that the parties to the tragedy were in humble station did not lessen the public horror at the act, for both the slayer and the slain were known to many of the residents of the township. The particulars of the murder and the vindication of the law, as I have learned them, are as follows:
Thomas Cropper, then in the employment of John Leonard, a miller in Pennsbury township, Chester Co., was a tall, active colored man of prepossessing appearance, who had received sufficient education to enable him to read and write with ease. In Birmingham township, on the property of Ziba Darlington near Dilworthtown, lived Martin Hollis, a colored man, and his wife Elizabeth, the latter a half-sister to Cropper, to whom she was much attached. Hollis and his wife did not dwell happily together, and they separated, a rumor prevailing that the affection existing between Elizabeth and her half-brother exceeded the bounds of propriety. The husband’s mind seemed to have been firmly settled in that opinion; hence he was bitter in his denunciations of Cropper. On Saturday, Feb. 28, 1841, about midday, the two men met, when Cropper asked Hollis how Elizabeth was. The latter angrily exclaimed, "How dare you ask me anything about Elizabeth? I’ll let you know better." Cropper replied, "I think I have a right to ask for her." Still angry, Hoflis passionately retorted, "I’ll show you something pretty quick," dismounting from his horse as he spoke, and catching up a large stone from the highway in each hand, continued, "I’ll split your brains out." Cropper had also armed himself with a heavy stone, which he held in his right hand, while Perry Hall, the father of Elizabeth Hollis and the putative father of Cropper, and John Leonard, who were present, attempted to prevent Hollis from getting within striking distance of Cropper. At length Hollis, becoming calmer, remounted his horse and rode away. In less than an hour after this chance meeting Cropper went to the house of Perry Hall, where his sister lived, and spoke of the conduct of Hollis at the mill, quietly remarking, "He was trying to show himself." Dressing in his best suit, Cropper, taking his gun, left the house, stating he was going to a tailor’s to be measured for a coat.
About a half-hour thereafter he and Martin Hollis were together at the house of William Wright, a colored man, where Elizabeth Hollis was then living, keeping house in rooms in the second story. The husband called his wife to come down, and then asked her what articles she had there owned by Thomas Cropper. She said nothing but an umbrella which laid on the table, and the husband told her to get it, which she did, and together the husband and wife went out at the door, shutting it behind them, to where Cropper stood, his gun in his hand. "Thomas, take this umbrella," said Hollis, "go away, and never speak to her again, not even if you meet her on the road." Cropper replied, "Not after this time." The husband thereupon said something further, when the gun was discharged, and Hollis fell backwards against the house, dead, the ball having entered the back of his neck and passed out at his waist. Mary Wright, who was in the house at the time, ran to the door just as Elizabeth Hollis opened it and hurriedly ran in. Mrs. Wright slammed the door to and locked it. Cropper, rattling the latch and knocking several times against the door, finally called out, "Elizabeth, come down here, for you are the occasion of this, and I’ll give you the next load!" The murderer moved a few steps from the house, stopped, and gazed intently, as if desirous of executing his threat. Then he walked from the scene of the tragedy in the direction of Wilmington. At a late hour that night Cropper returned to the house of Perry Hall, carrying with him the gun he had taken from there at noonday. He was scraping his feet at the door when Mrs. Hall opened it, and he said, pleasantly, "Well, mother." The latter, however, forbade him to enter the house, stating that he was a murderer, and the constable, accompanied by a number of men, had been there seeking him. Cropper thereupon asked if Hollis was dead. Receiving an answer in the affirmative, he expressed regrets for the act, and hastily walked away.
The authorities made every effort to discover the whereabouts of the culprit, who it was believed would endeavor to get to New York. On Friday, March 5th, the step-father of Cropper, who was employed at the farm of Carver Worthington, near West Chester, was observed to help himself largely to provisions at meals, and after supper he was noticed taking some of the remaining food to the barn. This, with the fact that the old man had appeared to be unusually depressed, aroused suspicion that Cropper was lurking near by. Information was sent to West Chester, and Constable McCartney was instructed to search the barn, where it was believed the murderer was concealed. The officer and several other persons searched the building, and in the mow they gently thrust pitchforks into places where the fugitive might be hidden, and into the surface of the hay. At length one of the party found that his fork came in contact with an unyielding body, and thrusting against it, a voice said, "Don’t stick me." The hay being thrown aside, Cropper was discovered. When arrested he denied that he was Cropper, stating that his name was John Carter; that he had only that evening come from New York, and was a total stranger in this section of the country. Despite his protests he was taken before Squire Flemming, who committed him to await the action of the authorities of Delaware County. It chanced that Mr. Irwin, the then superintendent of the Chester County jail, and who had formerly been sheriff, had frequently seen, and recognized the prisoner as Thomas Cropper. At a subsequent hearing the accused acknowledged that he was Cropper, but declared that he had shot Hollis purely in self-defense. His identity having been established, Thursday, March 29, 1841, Hon. John Larkin, then sheriff of Delaware County, brought Cropper to the jail at Chester, as well as Elizabeth Hollis, the latter being detained as a witness.
On Friday, May 28, 1841, the case was called for trial, Judge Thomas S. Bell presiding, the commonwealth being represented by Deputy Attorney-General P. Frazer Smith, and the prisoner by Hon. Edward Darlington and Townsend Haines, Esq. The evidence was not voluminous; the jury retired at seven o’clock in the evening, and at half-past ten returned a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree. On Monday, June 1st, the sentence of the law was pronounced, the court-room being crowded, even the windows blocked up with men who could not gain admission to the room.
After his sentence the prisoner seemed almost unconscious of his unhappy situation, but, with apparent indifference to the manner of his death, made full preparations for his funeral, ordering his coffin and winding-sheet, and requested that as soon as they were made they should be deposited in his cell until required for use. His request was complied with, but when they were brought to the jail he shuddered at the sight, and desired that they might be taken away. As the day fixed for his execution drew near, he made several attempts to escape, and in doing so filed some of the bars in the chimney in his cell apart. His hair was crisp and abundant, and he had concealed a watch-spring file therein so adroitly that for a long time the authorities could not discover the tool with which he accomplished his work. The jail at Chester, old and decayed, was so insecure that to insure his detention it became absolutely necessary to place him in heavy irons, which were chained to the floor.
The Governor had ordered the sentence to be executed on Friday, Aug. 6, 1841, and as Cropper was much concerned as to the final disposition of his body after death, being extremely fearful that it would be given to the physicians for dissection, he requested that he should be hung not later than eleven o’clock, in order to allow time to carry the remains to the African burial-ground, at Kennett Square.
About ten o’clock on the day designated his manacles were removed and Cropper attired in a white robe; the procession was formed, and moved to the place of execution in the jail-yard. The condemned man ascended the scaffold with a firm step, and listened attentively while the death warrant was read. He was attended by two colored ministers, who prayed and sang with him. At the conclusion of the religious exercises, Cropper desired a few minutes longer for prayer, followed by a short speech to those present. His feet were then bound with heavy cords, and when the trap was sprung the cords binding his feet became loosened, and a moment after his arms also broke from their fastenings, and he threw up his hands and grasped at the rope above his head. Jeremiah Stevenson, one of Sheriff Larkin’s deputies on that occasion, pinioned Cropper’s arms again, - a merciful act, for the half-hanged man clutched wildly with his hands at the rope by which he was suspended, and his suffering was rendered more intense because of that effort.
After the body had hung half an hour it was cut down, the physicians having pronounced life extinct, and the corpse was placed in the coffin he had ordered. Being a Mason, he requested that the insignia of the order should be placed thereon, which was done. The executed man ordered that the expenses of his funeral should be paid out of the means he had accumulated, and the remainder of his estate he bequeathed to Elizabeth Hollis.
Hotels in Birmingham. - Respecting the houses of entertainment in Birmingham, under license from the courts of Chester County, it is very difficult to designate those which at the present would be in their locations confined to that part of the township now included within the county of Delaware.
The first record of license there is to John Wyth, Birmingham (generally), was allowed June 20, 1715, and is confined to a brief note of the fact that it was so granted.
The first petition of record was presented to the court Aug. 28, 1722, by John Bentley, wherein he represents that "Having Taken a house In the Township of Birmingham And Intending, with your Honours permission to sett up an Ordinary for the Vending of Beer and Syder for the Succor and Support of Travailers, his house being By the Great Road Leading to Nottingham and Maryland, And he being likewise very much Induced thereunto by severall of the neighbors Importunity," etc. He was recommended to the favorable consideration of the justices by William Brinton, Joseph Brinton, Samuel Painter, Joseph Gilpin, John Chalfant, James Houstowne, Providence Scot, Pattrick Scott, John Bickingham, and Daniel Moore. What was done with his petition that year does not appear, but in 1723 he had license allowed him, as also in the year following. I conclude that it was approved, especially since in his application, dated Aug. 31, 1725, he declares that he has "kept a publick House in the township of Birmingham for some years past." He seems to have lost his privilege, however; for Nov. 30, 1731, he states in his petition "that for some years past he had license to keep a house of entertainment in Birmingham, but through some misrepresentations had been obstructed in a continuance." His application was in that year indorsed by Thomas Chandler and thirty-eight other persons, and was approved.
Aug. 26, 1727, James Townsends, a resident of Birmingham, narrates in his petition his reasons for desiring the court’s kindly consideration in the following words: "Whereas your petitioner Lyeth under very great hard ships Liveing on ye great Road Side and very much oppressed by Travailers wich is too much for me to Bear, therefore your peticioner prays you will Grant me a License to keep a house of Entertainment, and your peticioner will in Bounden duty ever pray." His application seems to have melted the stern hearts of the justices, for the license was allowed, and seems to have been continued until 1731, for on the clerk’s list of that year his name appeared among those whose petitions had been approved.
August court, 1732, Thomas Bullock’s petition shows that "having obtained license at last November to sell beer & Sider now wishes to have full licence," which was awarded him. His name appears on the clerk’s list of approved licenses, for the year 1734, after which it is not found.
At the court held Feb. 26 (last Tuesday in February), 1733/4, Joseph Webb, living on the road from Concord to "Forks of Brandywine," applied for license, which was refused to him, while on Aug. 27, 1734, Robert Hannum states in his petition that he "hath taken to ffarm ye Plantation and appertinances in the township of Birmingham where Mary Stevens lately dwelt known by the name of the hoop and Tun Tavern." His application is recommended by Joseph Gilpin, Samuel Painter, William and Edward Brinton, Calvin Cooper, John Chads, and nineteen others. He was successful, and license was granted him, continuing from year to year until 1738, after which date his name is not on the clerk’s list of licenses approved.
John Chads, Sept. 1,1736, calls the attention of the court to the fact that he "has undertaken to keep a ferry and wishes to keep a public Inn on road from Phila. to Nottingham, in Birmingham." To which petition the court accedes and granted license to Chads. From year to year he is regularly recommended to the Governor for license. But something must have gone astray in his manner of conducting the business of innkeeping, as will be seen by his petition, Aug. 31, 1742, which sets forth that "by the Favour of the Honorable Court had for this Considerable time past A Recommendation granted him annually in order to obtain Lycense to keep a publick House or House of Entertainment in Birmingham, aforesaid: And your Petitioner not being Conscious he hath Forfeited his right to the said Favour by any abuse thereof." This petition is indorsed "not allowed."
Under like date "a representation" from William Webster, John Baily, Joseph Pennock, John Strode, and thirty other signers, was presented which states that "having heard yt John Chads, Jr., to bee Soprest or put down from Publick house keeping... that Itt Is a house that Lies most Convenient to the ford or ferry Boat on Brandywine and Ceeps the best Entertainment for man and horse on the upper Road from Maryland to philadelphia and Likewise Keeps a very orderly house, not allowing of Either drunkeness or Swaring." This representation is indorsed "not Regarded."
Chads was determined that his license should be renewed, for very shortly after the refusal of the court to continue his as a house of public entertainment, he presented a petition, signed by himself and a considerable number of inhabitants of Chester County to the Commissioners and assessors, setting forth that "pursuant to an agreement made with their predecessors in the year 1737, he built a boat and suitable appurtenances for the conveying of people and carriages over Brandywine Creek, with the money that he borrowed of the County for that purpose, the sum of which was 30 pounds, and it being evident as ye petitioner conceives, that the profits of the said ferry, will not without some consideration compensate for the charge thereof, and that the Honorable Justices, hath at last August Court, thought proper to deprive him the sd John Chads from keeping a house of entertainment, near the sd ferry, which he had done heretofore. They therefore request that the said John Chads may be acquitted & discharged from the payment of the sum of money above mentioned, and also from the care and management of sd boat and appurtenances, and some other person appointed to act therein in his stead."
This shrewd movement on the enemy by the flank was not the only effort of Chads, but he charged the bench in column when, under date of Nov. 30, 1742, a petition "of sundry inhabitants of Kennett and places adjacent" in favor of John Chads, as one of "sundry inhabitants and freeholders of the said County on the west side of brandyWine," and still another from "sundry Inhabitants of Concord and other adjacent Places," and even yet another from "inhabitants of Nottingham and places adjacent" is presented. These petitions, which are signed in the aggregate by one hundred and seventy-one persons, are couched in the same language, and state to the court that "being sensible that we may be Liable to great Disappointments as well on account of Entertainment, as also ye attendance of ye boat over ye said Creek wch has been greatly servicable to our Inhabitants & more especially to Strangers unacquainted with ye sd. Creek," they ask for these reasons that license may be granted to Chads.
The same day the personal petition of John Chads was presented, in which he says "that whereas many of the Inhabitants of the Townships on the West side of Brandywine and others of my neibourhood have aqwainted me with their Intention To Petion the Court for their Recommendation to the Governor for his Lycense to keep a publick house as heretofore have don, and Desired me to signifie to the Court my Inclination to Gratifie them in there desire and to shew myself willing to serve my frends in Genrall, as well as soport of myself, if the Court thought fitt to Grant it mee, and these are to Request of theis honourable Court to Grant my frenns the prayer of their petion and also to Take into their Prudent Consideration what measures to Take abought the Boate to Render it as servicable to Travelors as heretofore have been."
The number of petitions and the sly reference of Chads, that there might be some difficulty at the ford if his license was not granted, was too much for the justices, and the above-mentioned application of Chads bears this indorsement: "Allowed according to ye Prayer of ye Petition." In 1743 the license was renewed and so continued to him until 1746, when he was succeeded in business by James House, who rented the premises to whom the license was extended, he giving security to perform all things relating to the ferry over "Brandewine" according to agreement with the commissioners and assessors. It was continued to House until 1752, when he in turn gave place to Amos Harvey, who became the landlord of the inn. To the latter license was annually allowed until the year 1756, when his name disappeared from the records. Henry Hays was granted license in 1757, but whether it was for this tavern I cannot as yet determine; but in 1767, William Kerlin received license for the "Chad’s ford" Tavern, and annually thereafter was on the list until 1772, when Joseph Davis petitioned and stated in his application that it was for the premises "formerly John Chads’ where a tavern has been for thirty years." Davis was the landlord of the hostelry at the time of the battle of Brandywine, although the county record’s for that year are missing respecting licenses, for in 1778 Gideon Gilpin is granted license for the tavern, and the petition sets forth that he succeeds Joseph Davis in business. To Gilpin license is annually allowed by the court of Chester County until the date of the creation of Delaware County, his last application being presented in the year 1789. At that time Gilpin was the landlord of the house now known as Gen. Lafayette’s headquarters, in which no license has been had for nearly a century.
I lose all trace of the old tavern at the ford until 1806, when Benjamin Davis, in his petition, states that "Brandywine Creek is in the township, and from the present way of crossing said creek, when the waters are high, travellers are often detained, which for that, as well as many other causes, renders a house of public entertainment necessary at that locality," a course of reasoning that resulted in a decision such as he desired from the court. I know that in 1800 Benjamin Ring had license for an inn in Birmingham, the old Washington headquarters; that he was refused license in 1802, when a remonstrance from the "inhabitants in and near Concord" against his house was presented to court. In the following year, 1803, Joshua Ring obtained leave to keep a public-house after a previous petition in the same year had been rejected, and in 1805, in his application, Ring gives the name of the tavern as the "United States Arms, on the road from Chester to Lancaster." In addition, in 1807, Thomas Monks petitioned for license for a house in Birmingham, which had been formerly kept by Benjamin Ring & Son. His application was met with a remonstrance from Isaac G. Gilpin, who stated that he was a resident of the township, that he knew Monks and the house he kept, that "the entertainment for travellers and others at said house is not good, and by no means such as the public ought to expect on so public a road." Petition was rejected, although the preceding year the court had recommended Thomas Monks to the Governor as a proper person to have license, and thereafter the "United States Arms" disappeared as an inn in Birmingham. The house and farm became the property of Eli Harvey, as before mentioned.
John Way, in 1807, prayed that license might be granted him at the old Chad’s Ford Inn (this tavern was the hipped-roof house at Eli Harvey’s), and as an additional reason for the location of a public-house at that point, urged that "Brandywine creek by the present way of crossing is often impassable from the frequent great freshets therein." The court gave approval to his petition, and Way remained there until 1810, during which time he built the present tavern house, when Thomas Burnett succeeded to the business until 1817, when he gave place to Jacob Smith, Jr. The latter remained at the tavern only one year, for in 1818 Thomas H. Bullock had license for the house, which he states is commonly known as the "Rising Sun." In 1823, John Norrett was landlord for one year, but in 1824 Thomas H. Bullock returned to his former station, and in 1828 the latter was succeeded by Nathan S. Burnett. In 1830, Ezra Lamborn, who called the house the "Chad’s Ford Inn," was landlord, and continued such until 1834, when Jones Eavenson rented the premises, still retaining the old name. The following year Eavenson associated Joseph D. Valentine in the business, and the firm received the license in 1835 for the "sign of the Bridge." In 1836, John Entreken was authorized to keep the public-house at Chad’s Ford, and in 1838 Milton Stamp was landlord of the "Bridge Inn, near the Eastern end of Bridge." Stamp, however, did not secure the grace of the court without a struggle, for a remonstrance signed by George Brinton, Jr., William Painter, Samuel Painter, Harlan Webb, Eli Harvey, Chalkley Harvey, Joseph P. Harvey, and Robert Frame was presented, alleging that the inn was unnecessary, as the locality was well supplied with public-houses at reasonable distances from each other, and stating that they believed "the mode and manner of keeping said public-house has not been in accordance with moral and religious propriety, and that it was injurious to the best interests of the neighborhood, hence we (the remonstrants) respectfully ask the court to remove the evil." Edward Brinton also presented his individual remonstrance, in which he stated that he had for thirty-five years been engaged in "public business," the last fifteen within about a mile and a half of Chad’s Ford Tavern; that he had "experienced great inconvenience and loss in business by the encouragement held out to his apprentices and hired men to meet there on various occasions to their great moral injury while in the company of the dissipated and profane, which common report says, and I believe truly, do too often assemble there, that there were more taverns than public convenience requires, which was particularly the case with the Chad’s Ford Tavern, that must look principally to neighboring custom for support." This remonstrance concludes: "It has been observed by some writer that no person nor associations are at liberty to indulge in any acts or practices in the face of the community which by their necessary operations are calculated to corrupt and debauch the youthful or the unwary, to incite to licentiousness or crime."
The court, however, deemed the house a public necessity and granted the license to Milton Stamp, continuing so to do annually until 1843, when in the fall of that year John M. Dusham had the license transferred to him. The latter, in 1845, gave place to Edward B. Hoskins, who in his petition states that the tavern was known as the "Chad’s Ford Inn." In 1847 it received license, as did most of the public-houses in Delaware County, as a temperance inn, but the next year, when the local-option law of that day was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, the Chad’s Ford Tavern received full license, and it was extended to Hoskins until 1854, when John Evans had the control of the ancient hostelry. The following year the court refused their consent, and so annually kept the house under the ban of their displeasure for three years, although there were not wanting applicants for the position of "mine host." In 1858, Philip Mullin presented his petition to court, which was supplemented by a petition from James Twaddell, of Philadelphia, who represented to the judges that he had resided in the latter city for fifty years, and was a reputable citizen; that he was owner of the Chad’s Ford Tavern, which had been kept as a public-house for the last fifty years or more; that he had held the property for three years, and his tenants had been refused license, although well recommended. The reason for this denial Mr. Twaddell could not understand, nor could the neighbors in Birmingham, he stated, since the house was in much better order than when he purchased it, as he had expended over a thousand dollars, and proposed to make further improvements if circumstances should warrant it. The applicant who had rented the property was well recommended, and would no doubt keep a reputable public-house if the court would only give him an opportunity to do so. But the bench turned a deaf ear to his pleadings. The following year Isaac C. Lindsay leased the hotel, and the owner smiled once more when the judge announced that the new applicant had received the judicial approval. Annually thereafter the house remained as a tavern, in 1862, under the control of Benjamin French and Horatio J. Sheppard, and the following year under French alone. In 1864, Charles Mendenhall had license, as well as in 1865. In 1866 the house remained without a tenant, and in 1867, Charles Twaddell was granted privilege to keep a public inn there. William Seal, Jr., in 1869 was the landlord, and remained so until 1871, when he gave place to Charles Davis, who in turn was followed by Jackson McFarland in 1876. In 1880, John D. Makiever had become the landlord, and continues as such to the present time.
Kaolin Pits. - Over fifty years ago Amos C. Brinton says white clay lay on top of the ground in James Russel’s meadow, and small quantities were used by the fullers in fulling-mills. It is also stated that potters from up the Great Valley came down occasionally and carried some of it to their works, and that one man used the white clay for adulterating white lead and soap. It was not, however, until 1863 that any particular effort was made to bring the white clay in this section into use. At that time the property that in 1848 belonged to Thomas H. Bullock was in possession of Caleb Hayburn; who had purchased it of William McKay, a son-in-law of Bullock. Brinton J. Hayburn, a butcher, came one day with his butcher’s cart from Caleb Hayburn’s place to Concordville. Some of the clay was on the wheels of his cart. When Mrs. George Rush was buying some beef, the white clay attracted her attention, and Brinton told her that it would take grease out of cloth. She took some of it and tried it on a carpet, and accomplished the result. He also told her it was potters’ clay. George Rush became interested, and went over to the farm, procured some of the clay, and wrote to E.B. Shee, a paper manufacturer of Philadelphia, and also interested in mining in South Carolina. Mr. Shee in the course of a short time came to Concordville, and visited the farm with Mr. Rush. More samples were obtained, which Shee took to Philadelphia, where it was shown to Bartles Shee and Christian Spengler, on Minor Street. Mr. Spengler also came to the place and examined it.
In 1864, Edward Shee purchased sixty acres of land of Caleb Hayburn for ten thousand dollars, in the interest of Edward B. Shee, Bartles Shee, George Rush, Christian Spengler, and Henry Shillingford. Pits were sunk on the farm, and samples of the clay were sent to different parties. Negotiations had been in progress with several persons in New York, who formed the "Union Woolen Company of New York," with Edward Peckham, president. To this company the land was sold for thirty thousand dollars, and the deed from Hayburn made to the company. Work was at once begun, under the charge of George Rush, and clay shipped to potteries in Trenton, N.J., and other places. In 1865 the property was sold to William Wharton, of Philadelphia, who worked the pits about a year, and sold to Lewis P. Harvey, of Chad’s Ford. The National Woolen Company was then organized, of which Lewis P. Harvey was principal owner and manager. Hansom H. Johns was one of the partners, and together they conducted the works many years, furnishing to potteries in Trenton, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Liverpool, and elsewhere, clay at the rate of one hundred tons per month. Later, Mr. Johns retired from the company; Tilghman Johnson became a partner, and this firm are now operating the works.
Brandywine Summit Kaolin Works. - In 1880, John Griffin, of Phoenixville, bought of Isaac Bullock sixty-three acres, and in that year work was begun. Buildings were erected in 1881. Clay is supplied to whiteware-makers in Liverpool, Ohio, and Trenton. William S. Manley has been in charge of the works from the first.
In 1882, Hamilton Graham began work on property adjoining the above. It was abandoned in 1853, and in September of that year was purchased by the Brandywine Kaolin Works.
* Ferris’ "Original Settlements on the Delaware," p. 196. Vincent’s "History of Delaware," vol. 1. p. 262.
** Johnson’s "History of Cecil County, Md.," p. 511.
*** Colonial Records, vol. i. p. 292.
(4*) Ib., p. 199.
(5*) Futhey and Cope’s "History of Chester County," p. 80.
(6*) Proud’s "History of Pennsylvania," vol. i. p. 337.
(7*) Penna. Archives, vol. i., 1st series, p. 239.
(8*) Among the items charged is "the time of a Servant Lad, Patrick Kelly, about 14 months to stay, went off with the army, £10."
(9*) Including "two books, - ‘Barclay’s Apology,’ and ‘Young Man’s Best Companion.’"
(10*) Hazard’s "Register of Pennsylvania," vol. i. p. 365.
(11*) Is not there some error in the name? Was not the vessel the "Hussar," and did she not sink in the East, not the North, River?
(12*) Brinton seems to have conducted himself in his office in such a manner that complaint was made to the Senate and House of Representatives. In the journal of the latter body for Jan. 11, 1816, from the report of the committee it appears that Brinton had been charged with demanding and receiving illegal fees, altering his docket by interlining without the knowledge of one of the parties to the suit, to the injury of the latter; refusing to furnish transcript of his docket when demanded and legal fee tendered for such transcript, fining persons for the violation of laws unknown to the people of the commonwealth, demanding and receiving the coat from a man’s back to satisfy costs, and on one occasion it seems he commanded a person brought before him on a writ to go down on his knees and ask his (the justice’s) pardon, which the man did. The House and Senate, on Jan. 16, 1816, adopted the following address:
"To SIMON SNYDER, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
"The Senate and House of Representatives of the said Commonwealth represent:
"That it has been proved to our satisfaction that Joseph Brinton, a Justice of the Peace, residing in the County of Delaware, ought not to be continued as such. Therefore we request that Joseph Brinton be removed from said office."
The address having been forwarded to the Governor, the latter, on March 19, 1816, sent the following message to both Houses of the Legislature:
"A supersedeas under the great seal of the State has issued, predicated upon, and carrying into effect the address of the Legislature for the removal of Joseph Brinton, Esq., late Justice of the Peace in and for the County of Delaware.
The following is the supersedeas and the sheriff’s return, as appears of record in the recorder’s office, at Media:
"PENNSYLVANIA, ss. "In the name & by the Authority of the Commonwealth of Penn., Simon Snyder, Governor of Simon Snyder the said Commonwealth, To Joseph Brinton, of the County of Delaware, sends greeting.
"Whereas by a commission under the hand of my predecessor, the late Governor McKean, and the great seal of the state, dated at Lancaster the 20th day of May, in the year One thousand Eight hundred, you, the said Joseph Brinton, were appointed a justice of the peace in and for the district numbered two, composed of the township of Concord, Aston, Birmingham, Upper Chichester, Thornbury, & Bethel, in the County of Del. And, whereas, by an address to me from both houses of the Legislature for the reasons therein contained, it is recommended and requested that you may be removed from the said office.
"Now know you that in compliance with the recommendation & request contained in the afsaid address from the General Assembly, and by virtue of the authority of same in such case given in and by the Constitution of this Commonwealth, I do hereby revoke and annul the afsaid Commission of Justice of the peace, & all and every the powers rights & duties incident thereto. Given under my hand And the Great seal of the State at Harrisburg, the thirtieth day of January, in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and sixteen and of the Commonwealth the fortieth.
"By the Governor. "N.B. BOILEAU, Secy.
"Penn. SS. Before me, Jno. Caldwell, Esq., one of the Justices of the Peace in & for Del. Co., afsd, personally appeared Daniel Thomson, Esq., High Sheriff of said County, & on his solemn affirmation by me duly administered did declare & say that on the 6th inst. he delivered to the wife of Joseph Brinton, at the said Joseph’s dwelling-house in said County, a supersedeas, signed by his Excellency, Simon Snyder Esquire, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania & issued under the great seal of the state, at Harrisburg, the thirtieth day of January, 1816, removing the said Joseph Brinton from the office of Justice of the Peace for the second district in the Coty of Del., afsd. And that on the same day and immediately after he, this affirmant, left the said dwelling he met the sd Joseph Brinton and informed him of his having left the said Supersedeas at his house.
"Aff. & Sub. Feb. 8, 1816, "DAN’L THOMSON,
"before me. JNO. CALDWELL." Sheriff."
(13*) Futhey and Cope’s "History of Chester County," pp. 130, 131.
Source: Page(s) 311-327, History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, by Henry Graham Ashmead, Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & Co. 1884