Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Leiper Railroad erected in 1809 it coasted!!


This picture from the 1940's shows the Leiper Covered Bridge in what is now Black Rock Park. This bridge stood right underneath the current Sproul Bridge on Rt. 320 aka Sproul Rd. The Leiper railway ran right next to this bridge.


The Leiper Railroad, Pennsylvania's first

       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.
                        Leipers’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.
            Immediately at the close of this part of the ceremony amid the good wishes of a numerous assemblage of friends and neighbors three hearty cheers were given by the spectators.  The jovial bowl was then passed around and several excellent toasts were drank upon the ground.  The following sentiment was given by our worthy fellow citizen Joseph Gibbons.  George Gray Leiper, one of the Keystones of Delaware County.  He has just laid the first stone of the first lock of the first canal in Delaware County.  May he live to reap the fruits of his great work which has this day been commenced.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Chester's Alfred O. Deshong's Art Gallery 100 years ago and some great programs coming


A postcard of the Deshong Memorial Art Gallery from 100 years ago.


The Deshong Memorial Art Gallery

.  The plans drawn by Brazer & Robb of New York City, architects, were accepted yesterday by the trustees under the will of the late A. O. Deshong.  The trustees are Judge William B. Broomall, Col. James A. G. Campbell of the Delaware County Trust Company and Clarence Deshong, a brother of the dead benefactor.
            ITALIAN RENAISSANCE STYLE – The building is to be placed on the lot situated on the West Side of Edgmont Avenue, south of Eleventh Street.  The design selected shows a building in the pure Italian Renaissance style, so suitable to an edifice intended to house works of art, as the age of the Renaissance was the most artistic of modern times.  It will probably be constructed of a light colored stone or marble with bronze doors and grills in the windows.  The building will be ornamented with carving suitable to the style and suggestive of an art gallery.  All modern art galleries for the housing of paintings are designed with large surface blank wall in order to make them most suitable for their purpose, as such rooms are best lighted by sky lights in the ceiling.  For this reason the architects have purposely placed two surfaces of blank wall decorated with carving at either side of the main entrance, so that the character and use of the building will be plainly indicated on the exterior.
            In the center of the plan is placed a large room with walls about 25 feet high for hanging large paintings with Oriental rugs above.  Grouped around this large room are four smaller rooms for small paintings, and on each end of the building are rooms with side lights for various articles of bric-a-brac, carved, ivory, &c.
            The building will be connected with the present house by a glazed corridor under which will be placed the heating pipes, as it is intended to heat the new building from a plant in the present house, thereby removing the most to be feared danger of fire.  The new building will be absolutely fire proof and of monumental construction in every particular.
            OTHER FINE IMPROVEMENTS – The dimensions of the building will be about 125 feet by 40 feet, it will be forty feet high.  Work will be started just as soon as possible.  It will require one year in its construction according to a statement made by the trustees.  This handsome building will be the first improvement for the new park.  Others will follow as fast as the trustees can arrange for them.  These will include swimming pool, baseball ground, tennis courts and other amusements for the public.
            What will be one of the prettiest and most valuable parks of any small city in the country, was made possible through the generosity of the late A. O. Deshong, who, during his life, gave much to charity and worthy public institutions.  It is the purpose of the trustees that what is done about the park will be of the best and constructed to last for all time.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The beginning of the Dunwoody Estate in Newtown over 100 years ago


The Dunwoody Estate on West Chester Pike about 1925


Dunwoody Estate

an article from 1914

William Hood Dunwoody left his home at Newtown square, this county, fifty-one years ago, and went to Philadelphia, where he engaged in business.  Seven years later he went west to make his fortune.  He located in Minneapolis, Minn., and by strict attention to business amassed a fortune of several millions of dollars.  Last week Mr. Dunwoody died, at the age of 72 years, leaving an estate valued at $8,000,000, his will containing a bequest of $1,000,000 for the construction and maintenance of a hospital for poor convalescents, a tribute to the memory of his birth place in this county.  The will specifies that the hospital be erected on the Dunwoody farm at Newtown square, one hundred and twenty-five acres of the old homestead being given as a site for the building.
Forty-four years ago, Mr. Dunwoody, then a young man of 28, gave up his interest in a flour business in Philadelphia and, with his wife, went to Minneapolis when that city was just beginning to be one of the great business centers of the northwest, and Mr. Dunwoody was one of the men who aided in its commercial and industrial development.
While a central figure in the development of his chosen city, Mr. Dunwoody never neglected his relatives in this county.  Some years ago he bought his brother’s interest in the farm, and made two visits each year to it.  Mr. and Mrs. George Beaumont, cousins of Mr. Dunwoody, live in the old farm house.
While his relatives knew he gave liberally to institutions in the west, they did not know until Saturday that he intended to build a hospital on the site of his boyhood home.
Men on the board of trustees named by Mr. Dunwoody to take charge of the hospital project are Dr. J. K. Mitchell, S. K. Zook, Albert L. Hood, W. T. Gest, all of Philadelphia; Stanley Yarnall, Media; Dr. J. G. Thomas and Randall P. Dutton of West Chester, and D. H. Lewis of Newtown Square, and four Minneapolis men, John Crosby, F. G. Atkinson, G. W. Erticker and James S. Babb.
FORTUNE IN GRAIN – The Dunwoody fortune was made in the grain and flour business and early railroad ventures in the northwest.  Mr. Dunwoody was also interested in many banks.  At his death he held the following positions:  Chairman Board of directors Northwestern National Bank, director Minneapolis Loan and Trust Company, President St. Anthony and Dakota and St. Anthony elevator companies, President Barnum Grain Company; Vice President Washburn-Crosby Company, Director Great Northern Railroad.
Before Mr. Dunwoody left for the west, he married Kate L. Patten, daughter of John W. Patten, a leather merchant of Philadelphia.  Relatives say he always attributed his great business success to his wife, who had her father’s keen business sense.
She survives him and will continue to live in the beautiful Dunwoody home, “Overlook,” at Minneapolis.
Her sister, Miss Alice Patten, lives at Wayne, while a brother, John M. Patten, is a Philadelphian.  Among Mr. Dunwoody’s relatives are the Beaumonts who live at the farm; Mrs. Mary Dunwoody of West Chester; Wilmer Hood and Albert L. Hood of Philadelphia and W. D. and Dr. J. E. Dunwoody of Llanerch.  He has one other brother living in Colorado.
As banker, miller, art patron and philanthropist, Mr. Dunwoody was widely known in the northwest.  He opened a direct market for Minneapolis flour in Europe, introduced the roller system of crushing wheat, and was a leader in the production, class location and selling of by-products of the milling business.
As a philanthropist he was most generous.  He gave $2,000,000 to the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts for the museum building.  He gave to all kinds of charitable institutions in a way to attract the least attention.
For many generations the Dunwoodys were farmers of Chester County.  His great grandfather tilled the soil there.  James Dunwoody, his father, was a man of high standing in the community.  His mother, Hannah Hood, was a daughter of William Hood of Delaware County, a descendant of John Hood, one of the companions of William Penn.
GAVE MONEY TO “FRIENDS” – Recently Mr. Dunwoody spent $15,000 on improvements at the Friends’ meeting house, Newtown square.  Members of his family had long been connected with the meeting.  A concrete wall was built around the burying ground, and gateways were constructed.
The smaller bequests have not been made public, but it is expected that his relatives will benefit.  Among other large bequests were $100,000 to the Presbyterian board of foreign missions; $100,000 to Presbyterian board of home mission; $100,000 to Westminster Presbyterian Church of Minneapolis, of which he was a trustee.
To Minneapolis is given the Abbott Hospital, with a trust fund of $100,000, and the Minneapolis Y. M. C. A. gets $50,000.  Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, $1,000,000; $2,200,000 goes to the widow and other relatives.
The residue, said to amount to from $1,000,000 to $3,000,000, goes to the William Hood Dunwoody Industrial Institute of Minneapolis, “teaching handicrafts and useful trades, with special emphasis on those relating to milling and milling machinery.”

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Good the bad and the ugly!! local historical societies at work

General Lafayette's Hdqtrs. in Birmingham Twp. on Brandywine Battlefield when it was still a farm. c.1915 

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

local historical societies

  Every local historical society is different in how they look, what they have and how it is organized. But what they do and how they handle visitors differs greatly from group to group. I'm not going to name any groups but do want to give some samples.
  I obtained some glass plates of a local township that were over 120 years old, most I could identify but several I could not. I went to the societies face book page and asked three different people to call me, I had some questions. These are people I know personally. I asked all of them several times on different occasions to call, they promised they would. That was over 6 months ago and I'm still waiting.
    Phone calls can be  a waiting time too. Many local societies are run by volunteers and have no home so you do not expect a quick answer. No problem. I was calling a local society that has a paid librarian, home and staff. NOT DCHS. I called several times over 2 weeks and heard nothing, so I had another friend call. NOTHING. My friend knew the president personally and called her. I received a call the next day from the societies, director/librarian. She apologized for no one not getting back to me. She told me the volunteer who handles the phone calls and answers etc., had been out sick with a medical emergency for over a month. I said how sorry I was and then asked why another volunteer had not answered the phone messages. The director explained that it was the sick girls job and no one wanted to step on her toes, so no calls would be answered till she came back. It was her job alone!! I almost cracked up laughing!! someone is out sick and no one picks up the phone, her job?? RIGHT
    Answering phones is important! I got a call from a lady who lives out of state. She left a message on my phone saying she had some history questions, so I called her the next day. We talked for awhile and I asked her what I could do for her and she said it was about what she could do for me. She had been calling a local society and asking them to return her calls. She did not want anything she wanted to DONATE a large collection of family pictures, booklets pamphlets etc. These were not just family pictures, the family had owned several businesses in Delco and the collection included pictures of them and local landmarks. It was a great collection! I got it all because I simply returned a phone call.
   Emails are even worse. I was at another historical society one day and the director, a friend, was showing me an email she had received. She wanted to know if I could help the emailer. What shocked me was the dozens and dozens of emails on the computer that had never been opened going back weeks.
   Going to some historical societies can be weird too. When I go to a society I like to sit in a corner away from everyone and concentrate on what I'm doing. One historical society I was at one day was like a party the volunteers were all laughing and joking making noise etc. The man next to me doing work said" Is it always like this?" all the noise etc. I had no answer. I was at a historical society one day working minding my own business when a friend of mine came in and said my name. At the mention of my name a man talking to the societies librarian came over and asked if I was "Keith Lockhart the historian" I said yes. He was having a local history problem and the librarian wasn't sure what to do. Luckily it was a question I could answer and I took 5 minutes got him started looking in the right books and he found what he was looking for, He was very grateful. All good right?? NO  After he left the librarian came over to me and said I had no right to intervene with her helping a patron. HUH? I said the man came to me and asked me questions, what was I suppose to do? She said I should have sent the patron back to her, I should not have " intervened". Right
    I was at an auction one day and saw a family album a local society would die for!! It was from a prominent family and had pictures, booklets, programs pasted inside. The album was 4 inches thick! I got it for a steal, $35.00!. I showed it to the society I thought would like it, they were thrilled! They wanted it for their collection, I said NO problem, I showed them my receipt for $35.00 dollars and told them that was all I wanted. They said HUH? They told me it was their policy they only accepted gifts they never paid for anything. I was surprised, this society has money and owns several buildings. I still have the album.
   Finally, I was helping a local society several years ago as a guide. When going over their handout something about one of the buildings did not seem right. I checked some maps and I was correct. I want to the courthouse and titled searched the property and got all the correct information. There was no time to change the handout, so when people came to where I was a guide I told them the society "had misprinted" the information and told them the correct information I had researched. The president was furious, I was making the society look bad. I told her I told visitors it was just an accident the society printed the wrong information. The president told me I should not have said anything but should have told the visitors the information in the guide and left it at that. Who cares if the information was correct or not??? DUH


Thursday, June 8, 2017

From "Deserted Village" to State Park a look back at Sycamore Mills


This very rare postcard was made by H. H. Battles of Newtown Square. After the Sycamore Mill fire in 1901 he bought the property and attempted to turn the village into an Arts and Crafts community. He issued a series of cards to advertise his intent. His idea failed and the property was bought by the Riddle/Jeffords families and became the Walter Jeffords Estate and then Ridley Creek State Park. The above house still stands on the walking path above the parking lot.



 Ancient Bridge House is Over Grown with Wild Roses

 Old Union Library Building Still Stands

                        “Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain,
                        Where health and plenty cheered the laboring swain
                        Sunk are thy bowers, in shapeless ruin all,
                        And the long grass o’ertops the moldering wall.”
            Nestling in the foot hills of Delaware County, almost within reach of the busy hum of the city, peacefully sleeping, with no sound to disturb its slumbers but the whispering of the winds in the tops of the tall buttonwood trees, and the swirl of the falling water of Ridley Creek, lies Sycamore Mills – just such a village as Goldsmith pictured in his immortal lines.  Here are the deserted walks, the grass-grown roadways, the ruined mill and the moldering walls.  Here, is the Hawthorne bush with “seats beneath the shade, for talking age and whispering lovers made,” and the never falling brook and forsaken flower garden with all the other faded beauties which Goldsmith describes.
            A half hour’s journey on the Pennsylvania Railroad, followed by another half hour spent in driving over the picturesque roadways of Delaware County brings one to the long covered bridge, still in excellent repair, which leads to Sycamore Mills.  As one crosses the bridge and enters the once prosperous hamlet, the sense of solitude and stillness is so intense as to fill one’s very being with a sensation of awe, and the dozen or more little houses which formed the community, together with the library and mill, stand like sleeping monuments of a forgotten past.
            Occasionally a rabbit, bold, because he knows not the fear of man whom he seldom sees, scurries through the dead leaves or a red fox seeking a short cut to his lair, crosses the grassy roadway, the noises of their scuffling waking the drowsy birds and for a moment Sycamore Mills is filled with sound; then all is silent once more.
            Over, above and into the half open windows of the little stone houses the roses climb and twine themselves about the remnants of furniture, which are still to be found in several of the once comfortable homes.  Here and there a “window box, still containing vestiges of such old-fashioned flowers as muck or Canterbury bells, or mourning bride, strikes the eye.  Now a worn pump which no longer even wheezes is discovered, or a pottery vase on a broken mantle shelf over a huge dusty fireplace where bats have dwelt for years.  All tell their own sad little tales of desolation.  In the background the forest of stately button woods and lowering black oaks screens the forsaken little village from the rude gaze of the passerby, and the comforting hills shield it from the prying eyes of the curious.
            RUINS OF OLD MILL – Beside the limpid Ridley Creek still stands the ruin of the old mill, which once furnished occupation for the departed inhabitants of this almost forgotten village.  Once the snug little houses teemed with life, romance held sway, tragedies were enacted, and the simple and blissfully ignorant inhabitants of the peaceful valley lived their lives and played their parts in the great scheme of things, while the great march of progress went on unheeded.
            It was a prosperous little community, this Sycamore Mills or as it was at one time known, Bishop’s Mills, and earlier still Upper Providence.  The houses, even those which are in ruins, show evidences of this, and with their substantial stone work, blackened oak ceilings, and great fireplaces must have made comfortable homes.
            Long ago, even as far back as the days of William Penn, does the history of Sycamore Mills, extend.  For that great man himself “Did grant on the 24th of June 1680 to James Swaffer, 500 acres of land in Providence,” and later said James Swaffer in turn deeded this land to Jeremiah Collet who transferred it to someone else, and then it passed through various hands until at last in 1717 John Edge, to whom the property had descended, formed a co-partnership with Jacob Edge and Henry Miller and erected the mill whose gray ruin yet stands beside the creek.  From that date until 1901, when the original mill with its numerous additions was destroyed by fire, it changed hands a number of times and many are the good old Philadelphia names which are inscribed on the yellowed and worm-eaten old documents telling of the sales and transfers.  The Yarnalls, the Biddles, the Coxes, the Caldwells and the Lewis's, all at one time or another owned or leased Sycamore Mill.  And furthermore, every farmer in the neighborhood, it appeared, might rent the mill from its owners for his personal use, and take his grain there and grind it to his own liking, without giving thanks or pay to anyone.
            Thus the mill itself played a conspicuous part in the history of the village.  On its walls hung the big iron key of the library for the use of farmers who might desire to spend their time in reading while their grist was being ground.  The mill was the chief means of livelihood for many years to the villagers, although the farmers about the country lived exceedingly well on the proceeds of their lands.
            STORY TO ITSELF – The library deserves a story to itself, as it still stands in fine repair, almost unchanged.  The date of its building, 1812 still plainly visible on a plate adjacent to the old time wooden door.  Here the weekly newspapers were kept for the good of the community, and quaint almanacs and other books of reference, with some pious tales for Sunday afternoon reading, and cook books and novels in three volumes for matrons and maidens sentimentally inclined.  These old volumes remained on the shelves of the library for many years after the village was deserted, and only the bats and owls which finally found their way through broken windows, can tell of the treasures of book lore which crumbled and faded there.
            The year 1813 must have been a notable one for the little community, for then a nail factory was erected (bringing in additional sources of revenue to the villagers), and was soon followed by a blacksmith shop.
            Who can say just why the lovely spot was forsaken?   There are various conjectures advanced among the oldest inhabitants of Media.  Some say that it was due to the fact that in 1843 the heretofore peace-abiding little creek rose and swelled and went roaring through the place, leaving a trail of death and devastation behind it, causing so much sorrow and terror that this year has always been remembered in Delaware County as the season of the great flood.  It was in this flood that Mrs. Rachel Green, the teacher, or, as she was termed then, the preceptors of the little village school, largely escaped with her life, while many of the villagers were drowned and their property destroyed.  Others attribute the desertion of Sycamore Mills to the fact that sometime early in the nineteenth century a saw mill was erected in close proximity to the grist mill, and that when this occurred the first feeling of entity and strife arose in the hamlet.  “You see,” they say, “there was not always the water necessary to run two mills.  Sometimes the creek went nearly dry, and as there was an arrangement between the owners of the two mills that when the grist mill was short of water the saw mill was to stand idle, it was to be expected that considerable ill-feeling would be aroused at times.”  And so, whether it was because of the freshet or the quarrels arising from the installation of a second mill, no one knows, but the fact remains that the village was abandoned and so fell into a state of somnolence and decay.
            DAMAGED BY FLOOD – Years passed by the houses and other buildings crumbled, and the roadways became overgrown with weeds and grass.  Vines and shrubbery choked the entrance to the dwellings.  The old bridge built in 1763, was almost entirely washed away in the flood of 1843, leaving only the span remaining in place, supported by the tottering walls.  Only the birds and the squirrels now inhabit it.  Occasionally a cow, straying from the herd, wandered into the green surrounding woodland, and once year the collector of the county taxes passed through to assure himself that no bold squatter had settled there without paying due tribute to the ownership.  Other villages sprang into existence in Delaware County and the little hamlet almost passed from memory.
            RECONSTRUCTION PERIOD – And then one day, in the hottest part of an extremely hot summer, a number of men, wearied with turmoil of the city and longing for simple, primitive things, discovered this little, deserted recondite village in the hills, and decided to make of it a settlement not unlike that founded by Elbert Hubbard at East Aurora.  This was in 1907, 190 years after the building of the mill.
            The prime mover in the enterprise was H.H. Battle of Newtown Township, who was aided by E.S. Lewis of Philadelphia.  These men, enthusiastic in their admiration for the beautiful spot, so full of historic and poetic associations, earnestly went to work to found an arts and crafts community.  Elbert Hubbard, who is a close friend of Mr. Battle’s
Visited the spot and suggested several improvements.  The snug little stone houses were restored, roads rebuilt, the dam mended and a new bridge erected.  The Union Library was opened and the collection of books, among which were discovered a number of valuable works, together with some unique stuffed birds, foxes, squirrels and other animals, was removed to the Institute of Science in Media and the library transformed into a laboratory for the carrying on of the work of the new community.
            The old blacksmith shop was remodeled and there the workers in the now settlement developed their ideas in basketry and pottery.  A piece of meadowland was planted in basket willows and the making of craftsman baskets for holding plants and flowers became a successful enterprises.  Artists and literary men from all parts of the state, hearing of the quiet, peaceful little nook, were attracted there, and soon the little stone houses flourished once more; the window boxes were filled, the fallen rose trellises raised and the drooping blossoms trained to cover the old gray walls.  Begonias, adjoining the quaint little structures, were built, vases and urns of pottery added beauty to the landscape and for a time Sycamore Mills seemed once more to have recognition as a home of men.
            But only for a brief space, however, for within a few years the homes were again deserted, the trellises had fallen and the roses trailed unnoticed over the gateways and fences.  The laboratory was abandoned, the shops closed, and Sycamore Mills was once more left to the mercy of the red foxes, the owls, the bats and an occasional band of wandering gypsies.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Delco Realty News and Lazaretto Talk!!


A postcard ad for Ridley Farms in Holmes from the 1940's. This is for Ridley Circle off of Academy Ave.

NOTE.  I have begun adding the column Delco Realty News to my website,     If you have not visited my website lately please take a look the link is at the bottom of the page. The news was a weekly column in the Chester Times begun in April of 1912, Below is a sample of the Delco Realty News which was a very in depth column about builders, architects new developments etc.
Please take a look 6 months of the column is now on my website
CHESTER TIMES – January 3, 1914
Incomes of County and City to be Enhanced by Reason of the Great Building Boom
Considerable vim was injected into the real estate market this week by some good sales in this city and in the county, which is taken as an indication that there will be considerable building in the spring.  This is the judgment of real estate men and builders who are taking an optimistic view of conditions generally.  The deal closed for the sale of the ten stores along the commission row on Edgmont Avenue was the largest transaction recorded according to local brokers, but there were other sales while not as pretentious as this one, portray a bright future the coming year in real estate in many sections.
The sections of the county most benefitted during the year just closed, were those where transportation facilities are best, or where rich men have purchased up farm land for the purpose of conducting farming upon a scientific basis or the raising and breeding of registered cattle and stock.  There were many farms in Delaware County purchased during the year for these purposes, and the land in all sections has been advanced in value for taxation purposes.  The income of the county under the next triennial assessment should show quite an increase, although a part of the benefit which will accrue from the enhancement in value of land has already been received.  This applies to the townships along the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad in the eastern section of the county.  At the last county assessment much of this property jumped hundreds of dollars per acre and the county is receiving more taxes from what was originally pure farm land, than at any time in the history of the county.
CITY REVENUE WILL INCREASE – The taxes from the same cause should be greatly increased in this city during the year 19195.  Many new houses have been erected and those contemplated will bring the assessed valuation of property up several million dollars before the next triennial assessment.  Wherever the city has improved the highways, such improvement has been followed by new buildings going up, which will increase the annual income of the municipality.
The increase in the cost of running the city by reason of the improvements call for an increase in the assessed valuation for taxable purposes.  Last year there were many of the property owners objected to the revision of the assessments, but if the work is done in a judicious manner, solely with a view of increasing those properties where the greatest benefits will accrue from the street paving, it is predicted that there will be but little complaint.  The income of the city can be increased say $10,000 or $15,000 per year without doing any great injury to anyone.  The city will need considerable more money for current needs, and there is but one way to get it and that by taxation.
Those who have given the subject some thought, say that Delaware County this year, will be among the richest in the state as to its realty holdings.
TO BUILD AT OAKMONT – Frank H. Mahan of Haverford has purchased from Joseph R. Connell a plot of ground at Hillcrest Lawns, Oakmont Station, having a frontage of 725 feet on the Coopertown Road with a depth of 300 feet to Grehard Road, where the frontage is also 725 feet.  The price paid for the ground was $30,000 or at the rate of a little over $20 per front foot, all street improvements to be made by the purchaser.  Frank H. Mahan, who has successfully developed several Main Line tracts, and who built Haverford Court, at Haverford, about three years ago, will bold five handsome stone houses on the ground from plans by Savery, Scheetz & Savery, architects.  The ground sold is part of a 28-acre tract purchased about four years ago by Jos. R. Connell.
Other recent purchasers of sites on the Eagle Road, Oakmont are George McConaghy, Harry Vanderslice and Thomas Roundtree, who will build handsome residences on the plots purchased.
SOME PREDICTIONS – Realty men predict considerable activity all along Chester Pike, along the short line from Collingdale to sixty-Ninth Street Station, along the new short line from Media to Sixty-Ninth Street at Marcus Hook, Boothwyn and many other places.  The industrial activities at Marcus Hook, Eddystone, Folsom and elsewhere, which have caused an influx of workmen to reside in the place near their work, have made wonderful realty values in the above boroughs, and brokers and others, who have made a study of conditions, say that the demand for dwellings will be just as insistent as before.
ADDITION TO FIRE HOUSE – An addition, which will contain a borough lockup and a kitchen for the Ladies’ Auxiliary, will be made to the East Lansdowne fire Company firehouse.  Councils have approved the plans, and the contract will be awarded next week.  Collingdale will also erect a brick addition to the Collingdale Fire Company’s house.  The addition will be one-story in height.  Later on the members of the fire company, at their own expense, will erect another story for their own use.
Realty values in Boothwyn have been steadily going up for the last year.  George Laughead, who owns fifty acres, has refused several offers for his land, and recently refused an offer, which he declares was considerably more than was ever offered before.  At the same place, J. Harry Richardson, is contemplating the purchase of a tract of land on which to erect a number of attractive dwellings in the spring.
PROPOSED NEW BANK BUILDING – The statement made this week that the Delaware County Trust Company is looking for an available site for a new banking institution has revived no little interest in Market Street property.  There never was a time in the history of the city that this property has been held at such a high figure.  There is but little available land, but what the owners are asking $1000 per foot for.  Some of it has been offered during the past week for $800 per foot but there is a general sentiment among owners that land on Market Street, between the square and Sixth Street, should bring $1000 per foot.  Whether the Trust Company will be successful in securing the proper site they desire for a new bank building, remains for the future to develop, but there is a strong prevailing opinion that in the near future this well-known financial institution will put up a commodious and up-to-date bank building at either Fourth and Market or Fifth and Market Streets.
The nine stores and eighteen apartments at Seventh and New Market Streets are rapidly nearing completion.  This new building operation makes a decided improvement to the architectural appearance of that locality.  The buildings were erected by the Chester Realty and Investment Company.  Finishing touches are now being made to the interior of the structures.
The extensive improvements and alterations to Odd Fellows’ hall at Broad and Crosby Streets, are nearly completed.  The spacious portico with graces the Broad Street side of the building, is one of the most attractive features of the improvements.  The interior of the Hall, which is the headquarters of Chester Lodge, has been greatly improved.  Horace H. Jackson has the contract.
Former Councilman H. Louis Morris has been awarded the contract to convert the south porch at the residence of E. C. Burton on East Thirteenth Street, into a winter sun parlor.  The entire porch will be enclosed with heavy clear glass.  Upon completion of the improvement.  Nothnagle and Roser will paint the frame part to correspond with the house.
$100,000 RESIDENCE – Bids are being asked for the erection of $100,000 residence in the township of Haverford for Dr. Lewis S. Zeigler of 1625 Walnut Street in the city of Philadelphia.  New York architects are working on the plans and specifications and these are ready to be placed in the hands of the builders for bids.  The residence is to be constructed of stone and brick, two and one-half stories high.  It will be in keeping with many of the other handsome country homes in that section of the county.
The architects are ready to receive bids for the new church to be erected for the Oakmont Union Church people at Oakmont, this county.  It will be constructed of stone and for the present will be one story in height.  The building will be 50 by 90 feet, and it will be constructed the coming spring.
The contract for a residence and garage at Palmer’s Corner for Howard M. Davis has been let to M. T. Ackerman of Morton, this county.  The building will be two and one-half stories high, 31 by 30 feet and will be constructed of plaster and shingles.  There will be electric lights and hot water heating.
A number of contractors are figuring on a new residence for F. J. Tolan to be erected in the township of Haverford.  It will be a frame construction, two and one-half stories 20 by 30 feet, and will contain electric lights and hot air heat.
The Commissioners of Upper Darby Township are taking bids for sewers at Fernwood, this county.  The drawings and specifications are in possession of Engineer A. F. Damon at Darby.
A. Whitehead, 1624 Lauper Street, M. Roy Sheen, 450 North Wilton Street, James B. Flounders, 1329 Arch Street, William D. Leach, Llanerch, Pa. and Harry Roberts, Newtown Square, Pa. are estimating on plans and specifications for a 2 ½ story stone residence, 50 by 35 feet to be erected at Newtown Square for James P. Calvert of that place.  A. B. Gill, architect, 201 South Twelfth Street.
There was but one permit granted by Building Inspector, T. T. Williams during the week.  Jacob Datch secured the right to erect a one-story frame kitchen in the rear of the property at 115 East Fourth Street.
BIG OPERATION OF COLLINGDALE – Collingdale, which has been the scene of several large building operations during the past year or two, is to have another, which will be started in the near future.  The new operation will consist of thirteen stores and dwellings on Parker Avenue and fifteen private residences will be built by Hugh Cox, a contractor and builder of that borough.
Mr. Cox has purchased through Hagan, a Collingdale broker, 28 lots on Parker Avenue, Cherry Street and Staley Avenue for $10,000.  The land was bought from A. Yocum of Oak Lane and Frank B. Rhodes and John T. Wolfenden, settlement being made Tuesday.
The stores will face on Parker Avenue.  The private houses will be unusual in that, although two stories high, they will have nine rooms.  Mr. Hagan, when asked if the stores would prove successful, stated that already he has applications from a druggist, grocer, baker and dry goods concern at Philadelphia, who are willing to start business there as soon as possible.
IMPORTANT TRANSFER – The Village Record of West Chester says:  “One of the largest documents ever placed on record in the office of the Recorder of Deeds in Berks County was received at Reading on Friday.  It is the first refunding and improvement mortgage of the Reading Transit and Light Company to the Equitable Trust Company of New York Trustee.  The mortgage, dated December 1, is known as the first refunding And improvement mortgage five per cent, gold bonds and is for $50,000,000.  It sets over to the trust company all the property of the Transit and Light Company in Berks, Lancaster, Lebanon, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties.
            Haverford – Harry R. Hunt, Jr. of Philadelphia to George Laird, also of Philadelphia, lot in South Ardmore, $150
            Highland Park – John H. Storer of Philadelphia to Martin J. Schwarmann of Philadelphia, several lots, $780
            Chester – Annie J. Flannagan of Marcus Hook to Timothy Cronin of Chester, brick house and lot at 1414 West Second Street, $1175
            Springfield – William P. Hipple of Springfield Township to Stephen C. Humphreys of East Lansdowne, three lots, $500
            Prospect Park – Lewis B. Walker of Philadelphia and Rosa E. Pepper of Prospect Park, two lots on Madison Avenue, $212.50
            Collingdale – Samuel J. Bunting, et al, to Elizabeth L. O’Neill of Collingdale, Several lots on Clifton and Parker Avenues, $1.00
            Ridley Township – William H. Given of Ridley Park to John Maag of Ridley Township, lot, $1800
            Radnor – P. Erwin Swartley of Philadelphia to Franklin J. Coxey, also of Philadelphia, all that certain piece of ground at Lancaster and Aberdeen Avenues, Nominal
            Radnor – William Wescott and his wife, Clarence J. Gallagher and his wife, Anthony B. Gallagher and his wife, and Bertha P. Collins, all of Philadelphia to P. Erwin Swartley of Philadelphia, ground and buildings, situated at Lancaster and Pembroke avenues, $100
            Norwood – The Granite Building Association of Philadelphia to George W. Buzby of Sharon Hill, lot westerly corner of Leon Avenue $400
            Haverford – Mary Ellen Edwards of Philadelphia to John C. Adams, Jr., also of Philadelphia, lot situated at Brookline, nom
            Tinicum – William H. Willoughby of Tinicum to Christian Williamson of same place, two lots at what was formerly known as Corbindale, $200
            Haverford – James McCrea of Philadelphia to Anna Elizabeth Buckley of Ardmore, two lots in South Ardmore, $1.00
            Haverford – John J. Gallagher of South Ardmore to James McCrea of Philadelphia, two lots on South Ardmore, $1.00
            Swarthmore – William J. Cresson and wife of Swarthmore to Clement C. Ogden, lot and building at Dartmouth and Amherst Avenue $1.00
            Swarthmore – Clement C. Ogden of Swarthmore to William J. Cresson, lot and buildings situated on Dartmouth and Amherst Avenues, $1.00
            Upper Chichester – James H. Marshall of Linwood to Boothwyn Farms Company, tract of land, $1.00
            Haverford – Emil Mueller of Philadelphia to Frederick W. Storch of the same city, lot situated at Brookline, $160
            Chester – Taylor C. Burke of Chester to Sarah E. Mason of the same place, lot situated at Twentieth and Potter streets, $625
            Chester – Taylor C. Burke of Chester to Mary Elizabeth Cott, also of Chester, lot at Twentieth and Potter Streets, $650
            Chester – Taylor C. Burker of Chester to William Deakyne, also of Chester, lot at Twentieth and Potter Streets, $650
            Chester – James A. Shropshire of Chester to Teresa Kestner of the same place, brick house and lot, Fifth and Lloyd Streets, $850
            Swarthmore – Richard G. Park of West Chester and his wife and L. Everton Ransey and wife, Edward B. Hitchcock and his wife, and John A. Adams and his wife, all of Swarthmore to Paul Freedley of Swarthmore, lot in Ogden Park $100
            Chester – McCall Kacherobon of Chester to John Szezepanszki and his wife Bessie, brick house and lot No. 220 Hayes Street, $1240
            Drexel Hill – Samuel Crothers of Philadelphia to Harmon Hall, also of Philadelphia, several lots, $870
            Collingdale – Frank B. Rhodes of Media, et ex, et al to Milton L. Staley of Collingdale, lot on Rhodes Avenue, $880
            Clifton Heights – Annie C. Gorrell of Philadelphia to George Mikusa of Clifton Heights, house and lot, $1350
            Clifton Heights – Samuel P. Brown and his wife of Clifton Heights to Edward C. Force of the same place, house and lot, Walnut Street and Harrison avenue, $2300
            Darby Township – George B. Mershon of Philadelphian to Thomas F. Feeley of the same place, house and lot, nominal

Nether Providence Historical Society
In Tinicum Township
Its fascinating history
and what you can see and do there today
Given by Barbara Selletti
Lazaretto historian
Monday, June 12, 2017
7:30 p.m.
Helen Kate Furness Library
Providence Rd., Wallingford


Saturday, June 3, 2017

The "Long Finn" and other early Colonial Trials


The Morton Mortonson House in Prospect Park before it's restoration  c.1930. It is the oldest house in Penna.


Some early Colonial Trials

The documentary sources from which we must gather our knowledge of the criminal and civil procedure enforced among the Swedish settlers presents as has been happily said, “a mere traced, fitful at best and rendered more faint by the days of time.”  That remark will apply with equal force to the Dutch domination for the Hollander has handled down to us little as to those matters in the fragmentary records, correspondences and official reports now at our command. While this is true, time has not wholly obliterated all the circumstances associated with the noted criminal trials in our early annals before the territory, of which Delaware county is part, came under the rule of the crown of Great Britain.  When New Amsterdam and the south River (Delaware) colonies passed into the ownership of James, Duke of York, the heir apparent, the records of Upland Court, together and the Duke’s “Book of Laws” preserve to us comparatively full information as to the criminal and civil code enforced as well as set forth the kinds of tribunals, which dispensed justice among the rude forefathers of their commonwealth.  It is my purpose to recall several of the celebrated cases of the old times, selecting, save in one instance, trials that were, had prior to the coming of William Penn to Pennsylvania in the fall of 1682.
            FIRST CRIMINAL TRIAL –The first criminal trial which occurs in our annals was at Tinicum, and arose from circumstances which happened in the winter of 1645-6.  It was a charge of arson.  The inhabitants of the Swedish Colony, over which Col. John Printz acted as governor at that time did not in all number two hundred souls.  On the evening of November 25, 1645, between the hours of 10 and 11 o’clock, Fort Guttenburg was discovered to be on fire.  The flames spread so rapidly that the sleeping garrison and the people gathered within that structure of “groaner” logs, which Governor Printz had completed only two years before, had barely time to escape “naked and destitute” from the conflagration, which consumed everything in the form of buildings connected with the fort, excepting the dairy.  The winter had set in early with unusual severity, the cold was intense and the streams were frozen, while the drifting ice in the river prevented all communication with the main land by boats.
            The situation of these people, who were planting the seeds of empire on the Delaware was most distressing, for the report of Governor Printz informs us that “the sharpness of the winter lasted until the middle of March, so that if some rye and corn had not been unthrashed, I, myself, and all the people with e on the island, would have starved to death.  But God maintained us with small quantities of provisions until the next harvest.”
            No wonder was it that the public mind was highly inflamed against Swen Wass, the gunner, who had set fire to the fort, although the act was accidental and the result of intoxication on the part of the accused.  He was tried for the crime, but the nature of the tribunal before which he was arraigned is unknown as is also the procedure that was used on that occasion.  We have no further information as to the case save that which appears in Governor Printz’s report dated February 20, 1647, and that day forward by the Golden Shark to Sweden.  He states that “the above mentioned incendiary, Swen Wass, I have caused to be brought to court and to be tried and sentenced; so I have sent him home in irons with the vessel, accompanied by the whole record concerning him, submissively committing and referring the execution of the verdict to the pleasure of Her Royal Majesty and Right Honorable Company.”
            UNDER HOLLAND’S RULE – When the next important criminal trial, which has been presented to us in official documents, presents itself, the flag of Sweden had been supplanted by the standard of their High Mightiness of Holland and while the case did not in its incidents come within the present commonwealth of Pennsylvania, yet the criminal proceedings were held within the territory which was subsequently known as Pena’s three lower counties.
            In 1661 Alexander D’Hinojassa was acting governor of that portion of the present state of Delaware extending from the southern bank of the Cristiana River to Cape Henlopen, he asserting that the City of Amsterdam, by reason of its purchase from the Dutch West Indies Company, had acquired absolute jurisdiction over the territory before designated, hence he stoutly refused to recognize the authority of Governor Stuyvesant in anywise within those boundaries.  D’Hinojassa was a rash, impetuous, headstrong man and in would brook no interference on the part of any one with his prerogatives, the particular case to which I am now referring are unusually interesting.  A vessel had been wrecked on the coast near the present breakwater and one of the sailors, a Turk, reached the shore where he was taken prisoner by a party of Indians, who sold their captive to Peter Alrichs.  Peter among other things was a slave dealer and was chiefly instrumental in fitting out the ship Glide which brought the first cargo of slaves from Africa to the shores of the Delaware.
            The unfortunate Turk was sold by Peter to an English planter in Maryland.  Subsequently the Turk and four other slaves escaped to Delaware, but, were pursued and captured.  While they were being conveyed in a boat to New Castle, when near Bombay Hook, the Turk made a desperate fight for Liberty and during the struggle and before he could be subdued he wounded two Englishmen seriously and a third slightly. 
            In the confusion which followed, he sprang overboard and succeeded in reaching the shore but he was shortly recaptured and taken to New Castle where he was heavily ironed and imprisoned.  D’Hinojassa refused when the application was made to him to deliver the prisoner to the English claimant but declared that as the Turk had committed a crime within the jurisdiction of the City Colony, he must be held on that charge.  He thereupon ordered him to be arraigned before Van Sweeringham, who sat as the judge at the trial.
            The prisoner, practically ignorant of the language in which he was called to make his defense was convicted of having resisted and wounded his captors.  Although the laws of Holland applicable to the colonies provided that in criminal cases where the punishment was capital five judges must actually preside at the trial, the miserable Turk notwithstanding that violation of law was sentenced to be hanged.
            On Sunday, October 19, 1662, the sentence was carried into execution.  The Turk was hanged at Lewes, his head being afterwards “cut off and placed on a post or stake at Hare Mill.”  This incident is also memorable because it is the first case of capital punishment in the Delaware River settlements.    
            THE LONG FINN – The next case to which I shall call attention is that of the “Long Finn.”  At that time the red crossed banner of St. George had supplanted the colors of Holland, as the symbol of soverenty in the Delaware River colonies.  This was a charge of treason against the government of His Majesty – King Charles II of England, and the chief actor was Marcus Jacobson, alias John Brinckson, etc., but better known as the “Long Finn,” because of his lofty stature.
            The arrogance of the Englishmen in authority, had aroused a spirit of restlessness among the Swedish settlers, hence when the “Long Finn” toward the middle of the year 1669 began to whisper among those people, a project looking to the overthrow of English authority in the colony, he found little difficulty in imposing on the credulity of his hearers.  By birth he was a Swede, who had found his way to England, where, for some crime committed by him there, he had been convicted and sentenced to transportation to the Maryland plantations, where he was sold for a term of years.
            Escaping from servitude he made his way, it is believed to Upland, now Chester, and located in the town or its neighborhood.  Here he represented himself as the son of Count Konnigsmack, a noted general of Sweden, and in interviews with the Swedish settlers, he informed them that a fleet of Swedish vessels of war had already been dispatched to the Delaware and were actually then lying in the bay, under instructions at the proper time to wrest the province from the British crown.  He had, he also told them, been commissioned to go among the Swedish people and encourage them to aid in the effort to shake off the foreign yoke, to rise in arms and stay the hated English as soon as the Swedish armed vessels made their appearance in the river.
            PLOTTING A REBELLION – Among those he enlisted to his proposed rebellion was Henry Coleman, a wealthy Finn, who it is conjectured, resided in the neighborhood of Marcus Hook.  He also persuaded Armgard Papagoya, the daughter of Governor Printz, who then resided at Printzdorp, facing Chester Creek and the river, an estate she subsequently sold to Robert Wade, in whose house Penn made his first stop in this Province of Pennsylvania, to look with approval on his project.  Rev. Lawrence Lack the former Swedish chaplain, then resided in the old house which his heirs subsequently sold to David Lloyd.  The original building was destroyed by fire on a first day, while Lloyd and his wife were in attendance at meeting, compelling the Chief Justice to erect, in 1721, the dwelling known to us a the Porter mansion, which was destroyed by an explosion on Friday, February 17, 1882, accompanied with a frightful loss of life.  The Rev. Lack was the ancient document tells us, designated to play, “the trumpeter to the disorder.”
            Powder, shot and other munitions of war were procured for the outbreak and then a supper was announced to which most of the Swedes within reach were invited.  After the guests had eaten their fill and liquor had done its part, the “long Finn” made an address to the men recalling the injustices that had been practiced upon them by the English; how partly by force and partly by fraud large tracts of land had been illegally taken from the Swedish owners, ending finally by demanding whether under those conditions, their allegiance was due to the Swedish or the English crown.
            Peter Kock, who subsequently figured prominently in our annals, saw through the design of the demagogue and declared that inasmuch as the King of Sweden had surrendered the province to the English monarch he proposed to hold allegiance to the latter’s rule.  Thereupon Kock hurriedly opened the door of the house, there seems to have been only one, went out, and closed it, holding it firmly shut, while he called for assistance to arrest the Long Finn.  The latter from within vainly strove to pull or push the door open and succeeded in forcing his hand between the door and the jamb.  Knock, knowing that the strength of his opponent would succeed ultimately, unless he was made to let go his hold, with his knife hacked the fingers of the Long Finn until the latter was compelled to relinquish his grip.  A moment after, however, with a sudden burst the Long Finn forced the door open and succeeded in making his escape for the time being.  Subsequently he was apprehended and by order of Governor Lovelace he has heavily ironed and imprisoned at New Castle.
            Henry Coleman, the wealthy Finn, who appears to have contributed largely to the proposed rebellion, when he learned that a warrant had been issued for his arrest, abandoned all his holdings on the Delaware and fled for protection to the Indiana, with whom he was very friendly and influential and was never heard from more.
            Governor Lovelace appointed commissioners to try the case, who sat at New Castle, December 6, 1669, and, as expected, the jury rendered a verdict of guilty as against Jacobson the Long Finn.  The sentence, which was prepared by Governor Lovelace before the case was brought to trial reads as follows:
            THE FINN’S SENTENCE – ‘Long Finn deserves to die for the same, yet in regard that many involved be in the same premunitee, if the vigor of the law should be extended, and amongst them divers simple and ignorant people it is thought fit and ordered that the said Long Finn shall be publicly and severely whipped and stigmatized or branded in the face with the letter R. with an inscription written in great letters and put upon his breast; that he receive the punishment for attempted rebellion, after which he be secured until he can be sent and sold to the Barbados or some other remote plantations.”
            On January 25, 1670, the Long Finn was put on board the ship Fort Albany for transportation to the West Indies after which all record of him, so far as we now have information, ceased.  His accomplices were sentenced to forfeit to the king one-half of all their goods and chattels, while a small fine was imposed on those of lesser note who had taken active part in the proposed insurrection.  The case of the Long Finn will always be of interest for therein is the first recorded trial of a criminal charge under English procedure on the Delaware, in which a prisoner was formally indicted, arraigned and a jury of twelve men empaneled, subject to challenge by the prisoner, and charged to render a verdict in accordance with the evidence.
            SANDELAND’S DOUBLE HOUSE – In the early part of the eighteenth century on the west side of Edgmont Avenue below Third Street, in the city of Chester, could be seen the foundations of an old building which is the period associated with Penn, was known as James Sandeland’s double house.  It was the most imposing building in Upland and therein Penn convened the first General Assembly that ever sat in the province of Pennsylvania.  The house had been built with mortar made of oyster shell line, which proved so utterly worthless, notably because of defective burning that in the course of twenty odd years the structure showed such signs of decay that it became untestable, full late ruins and gradually the materials made in its construction were received.  Shortly after 1800, even the foundations were buried in the accumulation of evil that has taken place during a century.  In time its very existence was forgotten, hence tradition for many gave credit to the Friends’ old House, which stood on the adjoining lot, as the place where the first Assembly met.
            In August 1892, while excavations were being made for the row of commission stores, the foundations of Sandeland’s double house were unearthed.  An accurate survey of them was made by Walter Wood, assistant City Engineer, giving the precise order of the old structure and the distance from the intersection of Third and Edgmont Streets.  William B. Broomall, Esq., had Mr. Nyemetz take a photograph of the unearthed walls for which act he will receive the thanks of coming generations.
            In the double house in its pristine glory James Sandelands kept tavern, for the pretentious word, hotel, had not then found its way in the English language.  Early in 1675, Sandelands, in ejecting a drunken Indian from his premises, had used such violence that the savage died shortly after, and it was asserted his death was caused by the injuries he had received on that occasion.  The incident it appears, aroused such feeling among the Indians that there were fears of an outbreak on their part, hence, Captain Cantwel, the Deputy Governor on the Delaware, wrote to Governor Andross at New York, respecting the case and in answer was instructed to take such action that Sandelands, if guilty, should be punished for the deed.
            THE INDIAN CASE – The preliminary proceedings were followed by a special court which convened at New Castle on May 13, 1685, at which Governor Sir Edmund Andross presided in person, assisted by three commissioners especially appointed to hear the case.  The bench, the old record relates, was “called over and placed on the Governor’s left hand; Governor Philip Carteret of New Jersey, on the right with Mr. Daniel Edsall, Mrs. James Wandall, Mr. Joseph Smith, Mr. John Jackson, Mr. William Osborne.”  Distinguished visitors, it would seem in those days, were accorded seats on the judge’s platform as was done within recent years in England during the Baccarat trial While the Duke of York’s laws were not then applicable to the Delaware settlements, for it was not until September 25, 1676, that Governor Andross, extended the operation of that code to this territory, the jury, in Sandeland’s case consisted of seven freemen in accordance with the Duke’s laws in criminal trials.
            The court being in session, James Sandelands was “brought to answer a presentment by the sheriff for suspicion of being the cause of the death of an Indian.”  After the presentment was read the prisoner entered a plea of not guilty.  Sandelands, the accused, was the first witness called to the stand and he related “the whole story of the Indian being at his house and him putting him out of doors.”  The aboriginal witnesses who were then called did not agree in their testimony.  One stated that the man died five days after his fall, while others made the interval of life after the ejection from the tavern six and eight weeks.  A peculiar fact which appears on record is that while the Indians were giving their testimony, Sandelands, by leave of the court, went “and had a talk with them.”  The jury, after being charged by the court, withdrew and finally returned a verdict that appears on record, thus:  “They found the prisoner not to be guilty.  He is ordered to be cleared by proclamation.”
            IN THE PENN REGIME – I will allude only to one case that was tried after William Penn had acquired actual possession of the province.  The proceedings were to recover damage on a suit for defamation and the trial took place at Chester on the 7th day of the second month, which would be May 1, 1685.  The space that is accorded to this trial I the old docket at West Chester, indicates the intense public interest which the details excited among the people of this section of that day.
            Henry Reynolds who settled at Marcus Hook in 1680, where he kept a tavern in which he sold liquor with license when he secured the approval of the court and without when the justices withheld their approbation, brought suit against Justa Anderson for an alleged slander.  Reynolds was a man of quick temper and in the heat of his anger was swift to strike those who had offended him.  From the meagre records preserved to us it appears that towards the end of the preceding year, 1684, he had bound servant girls in his household, whom, in his rage, he would whip severely.  After one of these beatings the girl died.
            The defendant, Anderson, spoke openly of the occurrence and public opinion was unusually excited that James Kenneelly, the first Coroner in the history of Chester County disinterred the body and held an inquest thereon.  When the suit, instituted by Reynolds, was tried, the plaintiff showed by James Sandelands, James Brown and William Hawkes, that Anderson had stated in their hearing “that he (the plaintiff) beat and kicked his maid and that he (the defendant) saw her alive no more.”  In justification of his words, Anderson called Thomas Pearson to the stand, called Thomas Pearson to the stand, who testified that he was at Reynold’s house when the latter picked up the tongs and threatened to strike the girl “for not eating such things as were provided for her.”
            SOME OF THE TESTIMONY – Wooley Rosen, who then lived just below Naaman’s creek in Delaware, stated that he was at Reynold’s Inn and the maid had asked her master for some milk, whereupon in a rage he struck her “one blow with a broom staff, asking her whether there was not victuals enough in the house.”  William Connell, who was also witness to the act said he saw Reynolds “beat his maid with a broom staff and afterwards kicked her as she was by the fire.”
            William Moulder appears to have seen the girl subsequent to Connell for he testified that “he saw the mail sleeping by the fireside and afterwards she went to bed, after which a revelation came to him that the maid would die that night.”  She did die, but like the modern prophets, Moulder told no one of his prophetic vision until after the happening of the event he seemed to have foretold.  The plaintiff, in rebuttal produced his mother-in-law, Prudence Clayton, who had been sent for to lay out the corpse and she testified that she “did not remember that she did see any manner of hurt about her.”
            The jury, however, found in favor of the defendant.  The matter did not end immediately.  Coroner Kennelly had before the trial on the third day of first month, obtained an order of court directing that “execution be granted against Henry Reynolds for the Cronnor’s fees, charges of inquest and taking up the said Reynolds maid, with all other charges whatsoever thereunto belonging.”  The sheriff on this execution had levied on an ox, and Reynolds at the next court had to pay 4, 10 shillings when “the court ordered him his ox again.”