Saturday, November 18, 2017

Job Posting at Newlin Grist Mill

The Newlin Grist Mill is seeking applications for the position of Visitor Service Representative/Interpreter. We are looking to fill two positions.
 The Visitor Service Representative/Interpreter is a part-time position that provides quality experiences for Newlin Grist Mill visitors. This position staffs the site on Saturdays and Sundays, with the option to work occasional weekdays. Duties include interpreting the working 1704 Grist Mill and 1739 Miller’s House, staffing the Visitor Center, carrying out opening and closing procedures, providing basic care for the site’s education animals (toad, snake, and turtles), monitoring the seasonal fishing program, performing basic security checks throughout the day, overseeing weekend rentals, and providing exceptional customer service.
The Visitor Service Representative/Interpreter must be enthusiastic, provide excellent customer service, successfully communicate with the public, and work well with other staff and volunteers. Candidates should be team players, need to be able to understand and carry out written and oral instructions, and be able to work independently with minimal supervision. An interest in history and the environment is a must.
Pay rate is $9.20 per hour.
Work hours: Saturdays and Sundays two to five days per month, very flexible scheduling. Occasional hours available during the week.
About the Organization:
The Newlin Grist Mill is a private non-profit foundation dedicated to preserving a 1704 grist mill and its surrounding 160-acres of open space. The Nicholas Newlin Foundation was established in 1960 by E. Mortimer Newlin, a ninth generation descendant, to restore and maintain the mill as a museum. The Newlin Mill Park, one of the last remaining open spaces in Delaware County, operates for the pleasure and education of the public and serves as a refuge for plants, animals, and birds, as well as the park’s historic buildings.
To apply, please send resume and cover letter to Executive Director Tony Shahan at or Newlin Grist Mill, 219 S Cheyney Road, Glen Mills, PA 19342.
The Newlin Grist Mill is an equal opportunity employer.
Laura Adie
Programs & Administration Manager
Newlin Grist Mill

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Leiper Canal and Railroad and talks coming up

The Elizabeth Leiper canal lock in Nether Providence Township. Some ruins can be seen off of Bullens Lane in Ridley. This picture is about 115 years old.

First a railroad then a canal

Note: To get stone from his various quarries in both Ridley and Nether Providence to the Delaware River required various modes of new and old transportation. His granite was in high demand.


            In the year 1790 Thomas Leiper and John Wall, wealthy and respected citizens of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, supported by a petition from the stone cutters and masons of Philadelphia, brought before a meeting of the Assembly, a project for the construction of a canal, along Crum Creek in Ridley Township for the purpose of completing a navigable communication between Leiper’s quarries on Crum Creek and the Delaware River, a distance of little over a mile.  Mr. Leiper also desired the privilege of cutting a canal from the flowing of tide in Crum Creek to McIlvain’s mill dam, in order to cheapen the cost of transportation of his stone from the quarries to tide water.
            The mechanics were all of the opinion that Mr. Leiper’s stone was the best ever produced in the neighborhood of the city and that the building of a canal would be of the greatest advantage to the general public.  At the next meeting of the Delaware County Assembly, when it was supposed by Mr. Leiper and his friends that the measure would be passed and permission granted for the immediate construction of his proposed canal, it was unfortunately met with the greatest opposition by John and Isaac McIlvain.           
Upon examination the topography of the proposed canal, we very naturally see the reason for the remonstrance on the part of the McIlvains.  Mr. Leiper wished to enlarge into a canal, the old mill race, which led from McIlvain’s to Leiper’s mills, the latter standing just below the big road, passing through the town of Ridley, now Leiperville.  IN justice to Mr. Leiper, however, it must be said that the McIlvains were not entirely dependent upon the race for their motive power.
            Others thought Mr. Leiper’s enlarged views were in advance of the age in which he lived, and his scheme was considered visionary and ruinous, and the law which he solicited was refused.  Mr. Leiper thus foiled in his favorite plan, afterwards universally acknowledged to have been expedient and wise, began to look around for some other means by which he could transport his material, but it was not until 180-9 that his scheme for constructing a tramway was first proposed, as a means of connection between his quarries and tide water in Ridley Creek, and this railway will ever be distinguished as the first ever built in America.
            HIS FIRST ESTIMATE – In May 1809, Leiper made an estimate for a railway three-quarters of a mile long.  He figured accurately the cost of that distance of railroad to be built of wood and found it to amount to, including the survey, about $1,592.  While cherishing this project, he wished to see, however, before carrying his plan into execution, whether the idea was a feasible one or not.  He therefore employed a millwright from Scotland, named Somerville, to lay a temporary track in the yard of the Old Bull’s Head Tavern.  Second Street north of Poplar Lane, Philadelphia, and the experiment as described in “The Aurora” September 27, 1809, gives us the following interesting account:
            “We have the pleasure to inform the lovers of domestic improvements that a satisfactory experiment at which we were present was lately made in this city, by Mr. Thomas Leiper of the great utility of railways for the conveyance of heavy burdens - an improvement which a few years ago was introduced into England – as in many cases a cheap and valuable substitute for canals.  In the above experiment a railway was laid of two parallel courses of oak scantling, about four feet apart, supported on blocks or sleepers about eight feet from each other.  On this railway which had an ascent of 1 ½ inches in a yard or 2.22 a single horse, under the disadvantage of a pat of loose earth to walk on hauled up a four wheeled carriage, loaded with the enormous weight of 95 ½ hundred weight, or 10,696 pounds.
            Mr. Leiper was entirely satisfied with the results of this his first experiment, and began at once to push forth the plans he had inaugurated and had the following advertisements printed:
“I wish to contract for the digging part of a railway from my quarries on Crum Creek to my landing on Ridley, the distance and level has been accurately ascertained by Mr. Reading Howell, engineer; the distance is exactly three-fourths of a mile and an accurate statement of the quantity of digging required, may be seen from the plot in my possession, calculated by Mr. Howell. I also wish to contract for the making and laying the rail part of the same, consisting of wood, a specimen of which as furnished by Messrs. Large and Winpenny, may be seen by applying to them at their manufactory adjoining the Bull’s Head on Second Street in the Northern Liberties.  The scantling for the above will be furnished on the ground.  I wish to progress in this work immediately.
            For more particular information apply to:
GEORGE G. LEIPER on the premises of THOMAS LEIPER, Tobacconist, No. 274 Market Street, September 27, 1809.
                        Leiper's Snuff Mills
                        On Crum Creek, Oct 28th 1809
            I have contracted with Thomas Leiper for the digging part of his railway, from his stone quarries on Crum Creek to his landing on Ridley Creek.  The work is now progressing, which I find to be a very easy process, for three yoke of oxen, which I am to have the use of for the whole of the contract from that circumstance nothing but shovels will be required for three-fourths of the way.  Laborers who wish to engage will please to apply to
                                    JOHN BRYCE on the premises
                                    November 1st, 1809
                                                THE ROUTE
            The draft of the road was made by John Thompson and the work of building and grading was finished early in the spring of 1810.  It began on the south bank of Crum Creek, opposite the old saw mill at Avondale and terminated near the hand of Ridley Creek near.  Irwin’s factory, at that time the property of the late Pierce Crosby.  The ascents were graded inclined planes, and the superstructure was made of white oak with cross ties and string pieces.
            The road was built upon an ascending grade of 167.2 perch at a rise of a little of ¾ of an inch to the yard to a dividing summit, thence it descended 87.4 perch at about 1/34 inch to the yard, thence to the terminus 79.65 perch, at about 1 ½ inches to the yard.  The entire length 33 ¼ perches, ore one mile 14 ¼ perches.  The total rise was about 63 feet.  The total descent from 5 or 6 feet more.  The wheels of the cars and trucks were made of cast iron and flanges.
            The road after it was finished in 1810 continued in use until 1823, when it was superseded by a canal, after the plan first made by Mr. Leiper but not carried into effect until three years after his death, when his son the Hon. George Gray Leiper, concluded the work which had always been nearest and dearest to his father’s heart.  The cornerstone of the first lock of the canal was laid by William Strickland, a celebrated architect and engineer on August 16, 1828.
            A UNIQUE CEREMONY – The sight at the corner stone laying was a very unique one, about 11:30 on the morning of the occurrence, a procession moved toward the canal lock, to see the grand ceremony performed.  The scene was novel as well as interesting to the citizens of Delaware County, as well as visitors from Philadelphia, and the event was one to be hailed by future generations and the beginning of a glorious and enterprising epoch, especially to that section of the country.
            The large concourse of ladies and gentlemen present who had assembled from the city and neighboring villages to witness the beautiful sight gave an interest to the ceremony truly grand and imposing.  Among the group of ladies was to be seen Mrs. Elizabeth C. Leiper, the aged and amiable consort of him, who had first projected this great work, who had lived to see what was first suggested by her husband commenced by her eldest son, George Gray Leiper.
            ORIGINAL RAILROAD MAN – Thomas Leiper may truly be demonstrated as the first inventor of railways.  With him originated the plan for the construction of the first railway in America, and which was completed in 1897.  After the cornerstone was properly adjusted by the engineer a short address was read by Prof. Patterson of Philadelphia, a copy of which was put in a small bottle and deposited in the cornerstone by one of the granddaughters of the venerable projector.
            After the close of the ceremony, the entire company was invited to the hospital mansion of the Leipers, and partook of an excellent dinner, after which a variety of toasts, applicable to the great work which had on that day been christened, was drunk.

Friday, November 10, 2017



This rare pin of Chester's Civil War Wilde Post is over 100 years old


To all veterans everywhere, Thank You for your service

and sacrifice



Men Who Responded to President Lincoln’s Initial Call

The "Union Blues"

                 The company’s first steps toward enrollment were made at the conclusion of a meeting of citizens held on Monday evening, April 15, 1861.  On the following Wednesday more than a sufficient number of men had enlisted and an election of officers resulted in the choice of Henry R. Edwards as captain.  A sword was presented to the newly elected officers by Rev. Mr. Talbot, then rector of St. Paul’s Church.  The company was called the Union Blues and began drilling at once.
                On the morning of Saturday, April 20, 1861, the new company was ordered to proceed at once to Harrisburg and at 6 o’clock that evening the command mustered in front of the Washington House where they were addressed by Frederick J. Hinkson, Rev. Mr. Talbot and Rev. Mr. Sproul, of the First Presbyterian Church.  Pledges were given that the families of the men who were going to the front would be supported and Rev. Father Havilland of St. Michael’s Church, personally solicited and contributed subscriptions for that purpose.
                                The departure of the first company mustered in Chester caused a large number of people to gather in the streets and those now living who witnessed the scenes at the depot will never forget that hour.  As the train containing the men slowly rolled away women were bathed in tears and strong men wept.
                “The night that followed the departure of the Union Blues,” says an old resident, “will never be forgotten by me.  A pall seemed to have settled over the town.  The crowd that at first cheered the departing company left the depot in silence and then seemed to settle upon the people the fact that at last war with all its dreaded horrors, had come.”
                The Union Blues reached Camp Curtain, at Harrisburg, the following day and were mustered in as Company I, Ninth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.  They were then sent to West Chester, then to Wilmington, and on June 6 the Ninth was ordered to Chambersburg, when it was attached to the First Brigade, First Division.  On July 23 the Ninth Regiment was marched to Hagerstown and then forwarded to Harrisburg where it was mustered out of service, the period of three months term of enlistment having expired.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Aston Twp. Talk Tomorrw

Aston Township Historical Society (ATHS) is pleased to welcome local amateur historian, Mr. Albert Eelman to their quarterly meeting on November 9Th, 2017, at 7 PM at the Aston Township Community Center.  The Community Center is located on South Concord Road just south of 5 Points and across from St. Joseph's RC Church.

Mr. Eelman, a longtime Concord Township resident,  will be speaking on the one of his few areas of American History that he concentrates on.  Mr. Eelman will fascinate us with the story of the betrayal by General Benedict Arnold.  There is a lot more to General Arnold's story that you might know and Mr. Eelman will share that with us.  What really motivated a military hero to turn coat of his country?   This timely lecture caps the anniversary of the 240Th commemoration of the Battle of Brandywine.

This talk will bookend the popular talk earlier this year highlighting Peggy Shippen Arnold and Mrs. Leiper by Angela Hewitt of the Leiper House.

This exciting lecture is free and open to the public.  Doors open at 6:30 PM.  There is plenty of free parking, too!  Please bring old photos for scanning.  Please see any of the board members about interesting volunteer opportunities. Donations are always appreciated.  ATHS Tee Shirts will also be available for sale and make great Christmas presents!

Best regards,
Karen A Micka
Board of Directors of ATHS
DELCO Heritage Commission Member

Sunday, November 5, 2017

"The common fame" and on line auction fundraiser

The Hendrickson House in Ridley Twp. stood at the Delaware River and Crum Creek. In 1958 the house was moved to Delaware State to Fort Christiania State Park when Boeing Vertol bought the ground. 


Note: The Penna Archives were first published in the 1850's the first set was the Colonial Records and consisted of 9 sets, eventually. Many of the original records in the archives from the 17th  century have vanished and the archives are the only record, Including the trials mentioned below


Witch Trials

The two accused persons, old women, were Swedes, Margaret Mattson, wife of Noel Mattson, and Yeshro Hendrickson, wife of Hendrick Jacobson.  While both persons were called before the Council, the first only seems to have stood a regular trial.  Margaret Mattson lived on a plantation owned by her husband on the Delaware River, on the west side of Crum Creek, in Ridley Township, now Delaware County.  She was long known in local legends as “The Witch of Ridley Creek.”
            She was first brought before the Council on December 7, 1683, no provincial court having yet been organized in the colony, when her trial was set for December 27.  On that day the accused appeared in the city of Philadelphia before William Penn, his Attorney General, a grand jury of twenty-one persons, all English apparently, and a petit jury of twelve persons, one of whom Albertus Hendrickson, was a Swede.  One of the Council Lassse Cock was a Swede.  The grand jury brought in a true bill, reporting in the afternoon.  The indictment was then read to the accused.  She pleaded not guilty, the petit jury was empaneled, the trial held, the Governor charged the jury, which retired, brought in a verdict, the prisoner was discharged, and THE WHILE BUSINESS WAS CONCLUDED THAT SAME AFTERNOON SO FAR AS PENNSYLVANIA WAS CONCERNED, THE VERDICT was as follows:  “GUILTY OF HAVING THE COMMON FAME OF A WITCH, BUT NOT GUILTY IN MANNER AND FORM AS SHE STANDS ENDICTED.”
            Nine years later, 1692, Massachusetts was for a whole year shaken with most horrible trains for this imaginary offense, until no person in that colony was safe from accusation, NINETEEN PERSONS WERE HUNG and one pressed to death under heavy weights, while a great number suffered intolerable imprisonment.  The whole population became infected with a craze concerning “witchcraft,” the shame of which endures there to this day.  In this matter the sober Quaker reached a righteous conclusion much quicker than the hasty Puritan.
            SOME OF THE TESTIMONY – Henry Drystreet, attested, said he was told 20 years ago that the prisoner at the bar was a Witch and that several cows were bewitched by her; also, that James Sanderling's mother told him that she bewitched her cow, but afterwards said it was a mistake, and that her cow should do well again, fir it was not her cow but another person’s that should die.
            Charles Ashcom attested, said that Anthony’s wife being asked why she sold her cattle, was because her mother had bewitched them having taken the witchcraft of Hendrick’s cattle, and put on their oxen; she might keep but no other cattle, and also that one night the daughter of the prisoner called him up hastily, and when he came she said there was a great light but just before, and an old woman with a knife in her hand at the bad’s feet, and therefore she cried out and desired Jno Simcock to take away his calves or else she would send them to hell.
            The accused flatly denied all the allegations.
            ASTROLOGERS AND NECROMANCERS – In 1695 John Roman and his two sons, residing in Chichester, were reported to be students of astrology and other forbidden mysteries.  The public tongue had so discussed the matter that on the tenth of the tenth month, 1695, Concord Monthly Meeting of Friends gravely announced that “the study of these sciences bring a veil over the understanding and that upon the life.”  John Kingsman and William Hughes were ordered to speak to the parties, and have them to attend at the next monthly meeting.  The offenders were seen and stated that if it could be shown wherein it was wrong, they would desist from further investigation in these arts.  For several months the matter was before the Concord Monthly Meeting without resulting in suppressing the evil.
            Extracts from the records of Concord Monthly Meeting commencing September 11, 1695, are interesting:  “Some friends having a concern upon them concerning some young men who came amongst friends to their meetings and following some arts which friends thought not fit for such as profess truth to follow, viz., astrology and other sciences, as Geomancy and Cliorvmancy and Necromancy, etc.  It was debated and the sense of this meeting is that the study of these sciences brings a vail over the understanding and a death upon the life.
            “And in the sense of the same, friends order Philip Roman be spoken too to know whether he have dealt orderly with his two sons concerning the same art; and that his two sons bespoke to come to the next monthly meeting; “friends orders John Kingsman and William Hughes to speak to Philip Roman and his two sons to appear at the next monthly.”
            CONVICTED IN COURT – The ease finally reached a stage through the report of the committee that Robert Roman was arrested, tried at Chester for practicing the black art, was fined five pounds and the following books were seized and burned; Hidon’s Temple of Wisdom, which teaches Geomancy, and Scott’s Discovery of Witchcraft and Cornelios Agrippos teach Necromancy.”

I'm a board member of the Colonial Plantation in Ridley Creek State Park. Part of our fundraiser is a on line auction. Please take a look and bid!! Thanks Keith
On Line Bidding - Our online bidding is open at Bidding for Good.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Sycamore Springhouse today a update

This is a follow up to my article on Sycamore Mills. This is a picture of the ruins of the springhouse/home I took a few years ago. It is opposite the bridge over Ridley Creek where people park to walk.