The William Tranor Farmhouse by Ridley Park Lake about 1880. The date stone which today is under the chimney, is clearly not there.
Don't trust date stones!!
All of us see date stones and take for granted that is the date the structure was built but that is not always the case. There are several local examples of the date stones not been correct. There is a farmhouse in the ridley area that has a date stone of 1670. That is quite early for a stone farmhouse. William Penn came in 1681 and the Swedes before Penn in 1643 and the Dutch in 1655 almost always built structures of logs. So where did this 1670 date stone come from? I title searched the farmhouse and the deeds appeared to show the house was built c. 1765. While checking some old pictures I got the answer. A photo of the farmhouse from the mid 1880's clearly showed the date stone was not there! The cement at the chimney was bare. The date stone had been added later by another home owner. As a joke? I have no idea.
There is schoolhouse in western Delco with the same mystery, A 1820's date has been painted on the old school in several places. A title search of the property confirms the property was given for a school in 1820, so the date stone appears correct but it is not. In the 19th century Delco had a county school superintendent who was required to send reports to the state once a year. These reports, besides basic school information, talked about school closings, openings and new buildings etc. The report for 1969 clearly states the old school house was replaced with a new building. The report names the contractor, Osbourne Booth and the cost at $2,661.00 dollars. Another wrong date stone!!
But sometimes date stones are correct and deeds are WRONG!! It was not uncommon for land to be sold with just a handshake in the 19th century. The official deed for the property might not be filed for several years. There is a former one room school in Newtown Square that fits this scenario. The date stone on the building, a fancy one built in to the wall, says the school was 2 years younger than when the deed was filed. Although this rarely happened between private sellers, it was some what common concerning school and church properties. For instance the Media Presbyterian Church was built in 1854, there is no doubt, but the deed for the property was not filed till 5 years later in 1859. No big rush in those old days!! Always title search to get the "right" answers!!
Still looking for some typists to help get more things on my site.
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