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Chester County Pennsylvania History

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  • Michael Lightfoot (1683 - 1754)
    Rapp's Dam Road and Phoenixville once had an earlier byway known as Lightfoot Road (by French Creek) Michael's half-brother Samuel was an early surveyor of Chester and Lancaster Counties. see page 10 ...
  • Mary Sink (1728 - c.1786)
    Mary Ryel (Reyel) arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732. She is listed on Page 78 of this publication: BELL, RAYMOND MARTIN. "Pennsylvania German Pioneers Ship List #28." In Western Pennsylvania Genealogical...
  • Michael Sink (1721 - 1775)
    Sink was born in 1722 in Wuerttenberg, Germany. He immigrated to America with his father Henry Zinck when he was 3-years-old. They first settled in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. By 1753, Michael h...
  • Llewellyn Parry, Sr. (1676 - 1754)
  • Dorothy Pim (1694 - c.1731)
    per of William Pim and Dorothy Jackson:1) Moses b. 27 Dec 1716 Killenare, Queens, Leinster, Ireland (died unmarried)2) Sarah b. 23 June 1719 Durrow, Kilkenny, Leinster, Ireland d. 1 June 1809 m. George...

Many of my ancestors came from Scotland and England and Germany to settle in Chester County Pennsylvania. Most likely, they landed in Philadelphia and came up the Susquehanna River and settled in the lovely Chester County area. The Lenape Indian area, Swedes settled the area followed by the Dutch and William Penn, who had a fleet of ships that landed in Philadelphia. This history is presented in a free E-book Chester County and its People edited by Wilmer W.Thompson. Of course, this information is a compiled book similar to popular books of the mid 1800's to early 1900's.,"Josh Taylor, of "Who Do You Think You Are" presented a workshop at the Patchogue-Medford New York Library and stated that biographical sketches may be full of inaccuracies as they were not backed up with documentation. Any information on particular people presented should be verified by documented sources. I have read about Quakers, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians who moved from overseas. A Rev. John Boyd, ordained in 1706 and died in 1708, was a first Presbyterian minister. (unknown if connected directly to me). Also Lutherans, Bretheran, and Reformed churches. These ancestors are in lines of my father and my mother. I am researching family to find first immigrants, however I am meeting brick walls. I am learning more about this area of Chester County and will use this site to build a resource list of notes. Anyone else who is interested in the history of Chester County is welcome to join me in this pursuit. Otherwise, enjoy the reading! Joan Graham Nathan (family names: Graham, Boyd; Browne/Brown, Griffith, Hoopes, Regester, Rigby, White)


from Futhey and Cope's THE HISTORY OF CHESTER COUNTY (1881);

Biographical Sketch of Benoni GRIFFITH (1881); Chester County, PA

Contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by Sandra Ferguson <>.

Copyright 2004. All Rights Reserved. Benoni Griffith settled in Willistown where he purchased 100 acres of land in 1716. HE married Catharine, dau of Thomas and Elizabeth Owen, and died about 1760. His widow was living in 1785. Their children were; Elizabeth b 7-6-1720 m. 10-10-1742 to Uriah White; Nathan b 7-21-1722 probably died young, and another Nathan b 3-2-1724; Hannah; Sarah m 4-26-1746 to Rees Morgan; John m 5-20-1762 to Jane Yarnall; Ezekiel; Rachel, m 5-11-1757, to Joseph Randall.

   Nathan married Rachel Williamson, b 12mo, 1727, d 2-2-1794.  Nathan died 7-9- 1790, and both were buried at Goshen.  Their children were Hannaa b 3-30- 1750 m. Thomas Dring; ;Mary b 10-21-1751 d 202701815 m Isaac Hoopes; Phebe b 11- 27-1754 m Sampson Barnett; Abigail b 12-21-1755 m Abiah Hoopes; jane b 10-27- 1757 m Ellis DAvies; Catharine b 11-8-1759 d 11-22-1841 m David Regester; Rachel  b 12-30-1761 m Richard Abbott; Lydia b 10-18-1763 m Joseph Eldridge; Abner b 3- 17-1765 d 10-27-1837 m Phebe Griffith and Amy Garret; Susanna b 12-21-1766;  Elizabeth b 9-22-1772 m Mordecai Yarnall.

HISTORY NOTES and sources

European settlement began in Chester County in the late 1600s and has contributed to a complex and interesting history of this area. Around 1900 there was a large influx of immigrants from Central Europe and countries farther east. Naturalization documents can be found at the Chester County Archives, where they tell a multi-cultural story.

By Rae Tyson This article originally appeared in Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine Volume XXXVII, Number 2 - Spring 2011

Armed with a charter granted by England's King Charles II, William Penn (1644-1718) and one hundred travel-weary Quakers arrived in the New World aboard the Welcome on October 27, 1682, with the intention of establishing the founder's "holy experiment," a colony that would be free of the religious persecution they suffered abroad. Once safely docked in the Delaware Bay at New Castle, Penn traveled inland. One of his first goals was to meet and make peace with local Native Americans, the original inhabitants. But it was not a direct journey to Philadelphia, where Dutch and Swedes had settled earlier in the seventeenth century.

Penn detoured to Chester to meet with Quakers and worship at a local Friends Meeting. Although he has been, on occasion, credited with the founding of Quakerism in Pennsylvania, several pioneering members of the Religious Society of Friends had settled in the region prior to his arrival. Early records are spotty, but the first Quaker to settle in what is now known as Pennsylvania, according to historian Rufus M. Jones, was probably Robert Wade, who had emigrated from England in 1675. Wade not only helped establish Pennsylvania's first Quaker meetinghouse at Chester, but he also provided lodging for the proprietor when he arrived. A meetinghouse had also been constructed in Falls, now Fallsington in Bucks County, in 1680, two years before Penn's arrival. The colonists who established the meeting at Falls had obtained their patents for land from Sir Edmund Andros (1637-1714), governor of New York.

Birmingham Township

Birmingham Township is the oldest township in Chester County, dating to 1684 when William Brinton secured two patents for 840 acres from William Penn near the village of Dilworth (Dilworthtown). Brinton was the first of many Quakers to escape persecution in England by taking advantage of the opportunities presented by William Penn’s “Holy Experiment,” and Quaker influence is still prevalent among township residents today. Birmingham Township received its name because Brinton hailed from Birmingham, England. The early settlers quickly began building houses from timber and stone, and they established a meeting house (first built of logs but later torn down and built more substantially of stone), school, and burying ground along Birmingham Road near Street Road. Each of these is still extant. In 1686, the settlement organized into a municipal district of 6.4 square miles with town meetings one of the central features of this representative form of government."

(The Brandywine Flag picture is on this site.) Although appearing to be a flat landscape, with gently rolling open fields and broad vistas, Birmingham Township was anything but that at the time of the first settlements. Clearing agricultural lands was backbreaking work, involving felling trees either with whipsaw and axe or by controlled fires. Except where the Lenape had cleared small plots to grow subsistence crops, the land was densely forested and, in some places, deeply incised by tributaries of the Brandywine and the Brandywine itself, making overland travel difficult. The few roads that provided transportation corridors were mere rutted trails traversing the countryside where Indians had previously worn paths. The Brandywine River also presented obstacles, and fords were established at several points in the township along the stream, including two at Chadd’s Ford and one each at Brinton’s Ford (near Wylie Road), Painter’s Ford at Pocopson, and Wistar’s Ford at Lenape. With the Brandywine River forming the western boundary of Birmingham Township, mills for processing grain, grist, and logs sprang up overnight. This also entailed the construction of dams and head and tail races so that enough “head” could be generated to turn the water wheels. By the end of the 18th century, Birmingham Township boasted some of the largest and most profitable mills in Chester County. The village of Dilworth(town) became a thriving center of commerce during this period, boasting a blacksmith shop, wheelwright shop, harness and saddlery shop, cheese factory, barrel and keg factory, and a general store all located at this crossroads."


West Nottingham Township Brief History [1]

West Nottingham Township was originally part of the land grant given to William Penn, Founder of Pennsylvania, establishing Pennsylvania (and Chester County) in 1682. In 1701 a group of Penn's followers settled in the Nottingham village area. This group of 20 families headed by Cornelius Empson settled 20,000 acres, which was divided into 37 parcels, all less than 500 acres. This settlement became known as the "Nottingham Lotts".

A feud between William Penn and Lord Baltimore resulted in the establishment of the Mason-Dixon line, which left about 1,300 acres of the original settlement in Pennsylvania. The area eventually became Nottingham Township but was merged with a much larger area of land, previously known as the land "back of Nottingham", which extended north up to what is now Londonderry Township. East and West Nottingham Townships became separate municipalities sometime between 1715 and 1718, making them two of the oldest municipalities in Chester County. The development of these two communities was slow throughout the 18th Century. West Nottingham was an exclusively agricultural community and had only 47 taxable residents in 1722. By 1774, the number of taxable residents increased to 105.[[1]%20West%20Nottingham%20Township%20was,into%2037%20parcels,%20all%20less%20than%20500%20acres.]

Further Reading Pleasure (full text of History of Chester County) (persons naturalized 1740-1759 Chester, Lancaster,Berks, Bucks, Northampton, Philadelphia, York Counties included) (full text of Pennyslvania genealogies; chiefly Scotch-Irish and German)

Source: "Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chester County, Pennsyl- vania, comprising a historical sketch of the county," by Samuel T. Wiley and edited by Winfield Scott Garner, Gresham Publishing Company, Phila- delphia, PA, 1893, page 360. (check documentation of information against this biographical collection).



Free E-book: Chester County and Its People ... edited by Wilmer W. Thomson (p. 63 arrival of William Penn) (pp. 65-66 octagonal schoolhouse)

          (p. 96 Delaware County formed) 

JStor also has history articles, if you have access to this free site (East Vincent Township, Chester County)



Historic Milestones of West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania 1609 Henry Hudson, an Englishman in the service of the Dutch East India Company, sails the ship Halve Maen (Half Moon) into Delaware Bay. This gives the Dutch the first European claim to the area now known as Pennsylvania.

1643 Under the leadership of Johan Printz, the Swedes establish the first European settlement in Tinicum and claim the region of what is now Pennsylvania. Fur traders paddle up the Brandywine River into the Brandywine Valley where they encounter the Lenni Lenape Indian Tribe and establish fur trading. Where West Chester now exists was part of the hunting and fishing grounds for many of the tribal clans which had a total population of about 12,000 persons.

1655 September 15 -- The Swedish settlement is reclaimed by the Dutch when their army captures Fort Trinity and Fort Christina. However, the Swedish settlers continue to enjoy a certain amount of local autonomy, retaining their own militia, religion, court, and lands.

1664 The English seize the Dutch possessions in the name of the Duke of York, the brother of King Charles II. New Amsterdam is renamed New York.

1681 March 4 -- With a stroke of a pen, King Charles II creates Pennsylvania by signing the Charter of Pennsylvania that grants William Penn a province in the New World. It is named after William Penn's father, Admiral Sir William Penn. Land there is almost immediately parceled and sold for about 10 cents an acre in modern money. A Quaker sect from northern Wales purchase 40,000 acres in what became called the Welsh Tract in the lands of Goshen.

1682 October 29 -- William Penn arrives in Pennsylvania for the first time aboard the ship Welcome.

December 4 -- After convening a provincial government, Penn establishes the first three counties: Chester, Philadelphia, and Bucks. The municipality of Chester would become the Chester County seat.

1687 July 25 -- The township of Goshen establishes its boundaries when it is surveyed as part of the Welsh Tract that also includes Tredyffrin, the Whitelands, Westtown, Willistown, Easttown, Haverford, Radnor, and Lower Marion. A hundred years later, West Chester would be carved out of Goshen.

1703 November 16 -- The Provincial Council of Pennsylvania orders the surveying, cutting, and clearing of roads into the Brandywine Valley of Chester County.

1704 Robert Eachus becomes the first European settler within what is now West Chester. It was most likely a log structure in the vicinity north of Borough Hall.

circa 1710 Goshen Road is laid out and becomes the first road to connect West Chester to Philadelphia. Today, it's the northern border of West Chester Borough.

1712 John and Mary Wall construct a log house on Goshen Road within the boundaries of what is now West Chester Borough. Sometime between 1767 and 1791, Thomas Hoopes replaced it with a stone house on what is now the southeast corner of High Street and Goshen Road. Today, after many additions, it is called the Dower House and is one of the oldest continuously occupied structures in West Chester.

1718 July 30 -- William Penn dies in Berkshire, England.

1735 to 1742 The Lenni Lenape, unable to stop the encroachment of European settlers into their traditional hunting and growing lands, migrate westward in large numbers to resettle, often forcibly, in Oklahoma and Canada. Only a handful of families and individuals remain behind.

1736 Nathan Hoopes House is built along the old Goshen Road. It now lies in ruins at the West Chester Country Club west of Goshen Avenue.

1760 The first schoolhouse is built of logs at what is now the northwest corner of Gay & High Streets.

1762 A petition to open a tavern is granted to Phineas Eachus, who does so at the northeast corner of what is now High and Market Streets. The tavern is called The Turks Head, a name that is applied to the crossroads village for the next 26 years.

1776 July 4 -- The Continental Congress in Philadelphia declares the 13 colonies independent from England.

1777 September 11 -- The school house located on the northwest corner of Gay and High Streets is used as a hospital for soldiers wounded at the Battle of Brandywine, one of the bloodiest battles of the Revolutionary War, which takes place south of West Chester. Revolutionary soldiers are said to be buried there. As General Sir William Howe wins a decisive victory sending General George Washington's army into retreat (and leaving Philadelphia defenceless), 20-year-old Marquis de Lafayette, serving as a major-general under Washington, manages to organize a successful retreat, despite being wounded, making him an instant hero.

1784 The Pennsylvania Assembly, at the urging of local leaders, approves moving the seat of Chester County from the City of Chester to the vicinity of "Turks Head Tavern." Construction of the first courthouse soon begins just north of the current historic courthouse.

April 9 -- The first map of West Chester is laid out into four square blocks divided by Gay and High Streets and bounded by Chestnut, Walnut, Market, and Church Streets.The grid is made up of 32 parcels.

1786 November 28 -- The removal of the seat of Chester County from the City of Chester to West Chester is completed when the first court session is held.

1788 March 3 -- The Pennsylvania Assembly designates West Chester as a "county town" and establishes its current name and boundaries. The only power this allows is for local citizens to elect two justices of the peace. The first are Charles Dilworth and John Hannum.

1789 James Smith constructs the building at 13 North High Street (enlarged by William Sharpless in 1792) that is now the oldest surviving "first period" structure related to the County administrative center formed at what is now referred to as The First Block bounded by High, Gay, Church, and Market Streets.

1799 March 28 -- West Chester is incorporated as a Borough by the Pennsylvania Assembly. The primary motive appears to be to avoid road taxes in Goshen Township. The Borough's population is 374.

May 6 -- William Sharpless is elected Chief Burgess, becoming the equivalent of the first mayor and council president.

August 6 -- First West Chester Fire Company is established with 23 volunteers. The company is well equipped with the exception that it does not have an "apparatus for extinguishing fires." Instead, each volunteer is provided with two water buckets.

December 14 -- George Washington dies at Mount Vernon.

1802 Indian Hannah (Freeman), the last local member of the original Lenni Lenape tribal clans, dies in the Chester County Poorhouse.

1804 January 1 -- A United States Post Office is established in West Chester.

1805 August 1 -- West Chester conducts its first hanging. It is a woman named Hannah Miller who was convicted June 1, 1805, of murdering her child. Nearly three thousand spectators come to witness the event.

1812 March 27 -- The West Chester Academy, the precurser to West Chester University, is chartered and located in the area at the southwest corner of Gay and Darlington Streets. John Forsythe was the first president.

1814 November 11 -- The Bank of Chester County opens as the first bank in Chester County at the northwest corner of High & Market on the second floor of what was then the County offices. Rent is $25 a year.

1815 A Library Company, precurser to the West Chester Public Library, is formed. It collects books to be loaned from shelves placed in businesses.

1818 West Chester Fire Company purchases a small fire engine.

1823 The first sidewalks, paved with brick, are installed. This predates paved local roadways by six years.

1825 July 26 -- Marquis de Lafayette returns to West Chester to honor the memory of the soldiers that fought at the Battle of Brandywine. Some 10,000 gather to hear his speech. A monument placed on Lafayette Avenue near Walnut commemorates the occasion.

1831 West Chester Fire Company purchases a new fire engine for $2,800 replete with paintings of historic fires.

1832 October 18 -- The first railroad car travels from West Chester to Philadelphia.

1833 William Everhart constructs West Chester's first true office building, designed by William Strickland and now known as the Lincoln Building, at the corner of Market Street and Wilmont Mews. It marks the beginning of the second period of development for West Chester. It is soon followed by the Mansion House Hotel constructed just west.

Good Will Fire Company is formed, with William Williamson as its founding president, and purchases the West Chester Fire Company's old engine.

1834 Rachel, a woman born into slavery, escapes from her master in Baltimore and makes her way to West Chester where she marries Isaac Harris, a freed slave. They set up a home on West Miner Street near Darlington where she does domestic work for several residents while he works in a factory.

1836 September 3 -- After more than a year of construction, the town clock, placed in the steeple of the first courthouse, begins running. Isaiah Lukens built the clock and the original bell still marks the hour.

1837 May 30 -- The Bank of Chester County locates to a Greek Revival structure designed by Thomas U. Walter at 15 North High Street. It is the tallest single-story facade in West Chester and continues today as a bank. This gives it the distinction of being the longest continuously running business type in the Borough.

1838 March 28 -- Fame Fire Company is formed and its first fire call is to put out a blaze at the home of William Williamson, founding president of Good Will Fire Company.

1839 Under the Fugitive Slave Act, Rachel Harris is arrested by bounty hunters and taken before Judge Thomas Bell at his quarters which still stand at the southeast corner of Miner and Church Streets. Before he can review all the evidence to consider whether she is a runaway slave to be returned to her southern master, she escapes, with the help of the judge's wife, Keziah, by scaling a seven-foot fence on the way to the out-house. Finding a hiding place in a neighbor's attic, she is disguised as a man and both Rachel and Isaac are transported along the Underground Railroad to Canada by local abolitionist Benjamin Price where they make a new life.

1843 The exact world map location of the Chester County Courthouse is determined by E.W. Beans, Principal of the Public School, and Walter Hibbard, Surveyor and Conveyancer. It is latitude 39 degrees, 57 minutes, 31.3 seconds north; and longitude 75 degrees, 36 minutes, 32.7 seconds west of Greenwich, England.

1846 July 4 -- The cornerstone for a new courthouse, designed by Thomas U. Walter, is laid as construction to replace the old courthouse of 1786 commences. It now stands as the historic Courthouse of Chester County at High and Market Streets. It becomes one of Walter's greatest architectural achievements and West Chester's iconic structure.

1848 February 22 -- The new courthouse opens. Due to a lack of funds, the facade is brick rather than the stone facing today.

March 13 -- Marshall Square Park is established predating Central Park in New York City by nine years. It is named after Humphry Marshall, a local farmer who was one of America's first true botanists, to provide "suitable walks and introducing various ornamental trees and shrubbery."

September 14 -- Horticultural Hall (225 North High Street), a structure in serpentine stone with butresses and a recessed Norman arch that was Thomas U. Walter's last commission in West Chester, features its first horticultural exhibit that includes a miniature steam railroad. 2,000 visitors arrive the first day.

The first telegraph office opens on Church Street. 20-year-old Emma Hunter is the telegrapher and is among the first female operators in the world. 1851

1852 June 2-3 -- The first Pennsylvania women's rights convention ever held, and only the second held in the United States, takes place at Horticultural Hall (now part of the Chester County Historical Society). The meeting adopted 16 resolutions including women's suffrage.

July -- Flush toilets are introduced at the Mansion House Hotel (then located at the southeast corner of Market & Church).

Summer -- Natural gas is provided to West Chester with the eventual construction of about twelve miles of gas mains by 1899.

1853 As the population approaches 4,000, the Borough Council passes an ordinance to number all the houses and divide the Borough into quadrants so that all the streets are north/south or east/west.

1854 May 19 -- William Everhart, at the time West Chester's wealthiest resident and a member of the US House of Representatives, rises on the floor of Congress to attack the Kansas-Nebraska Act saying that it would "encourage salvery as if it were a source of blessing and honor."

1855 August 18 -- The Chester County Republican Party is formally organized at the Courthouse. The meeting is attended by "Whigs, Democrats, Americans, and Liberty men." The Pennsylvania wing of the new political party would be pivotal in electing Abraham Lincoln president.

1858 Fall -- Jesse Fell, a Chester County native, meets with Abraham Lincoln in Bloomington, Illinois, to discuss political strategies for a presidential bid by Lincoln. Fell asks Lincoln for information concerning his family background and education with the intent to have a biography written of him and published in West Chester. Lincoln initially refuses.

1859 The Courthouse facades are faced with Pictou stone, finally completing the structure.

December 20 -- After multiple requests, Abraham Lincoln finally provides Jesse Fell with autobiographical notes of his life which are then forwarded to West Chester writer and Republican advocate Joseph J. Lewis.

1860 February 11 -- The first biography of Abraham Lincoln is published by The Chester County Times at 28 West Market Street. It is republished in newspapers throughout the country to introduce Lincoln as a candidate for president.

1861 The 97th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment is organized in West Chester, initially recruiting over a thousand soldiers motivated by patriotism and adventure. It participates in several campaigns from North Carolina to Florida. By the end of the war, the regiment had lost 136 men in battle and 186 men to disease. The regiment includes Galusha Pennypacker, who would become the youngest general in the army and receives the Medal of Honor for heroism at the Second Battle of Fort Fisher.

1862 September 20 -- Charles Edwin "Charlie" King, Drum Major for Company F, 49th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, is wounded at the Battle of Antietam when he is "shot through the body" by cannon shrapnel. He dies three days later in a field hospital to become the youngest American soldier to ever die in battle at the age of 13-years, 5-months. He is said to be buried in an unmarked grave at the family home on West Barnard Street. His memorial is located at Green Mount Cemetery in Westtown Township.

1863 The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first "Colored" unit, is formed and recruits are sought in West Chester by such individuals as Frederick Douglass. There are 139 black Civil War veterans buried in the local African American cemeteries.

1865 April 10, sunrise -- With Lee's surrender at Appomattox the day before, two African Americans, Samuel J. Williams and Alexander Gladman, bring the news of the end of the Civil War to West Chester and announce it by ringing the bell at the Courthouse.

1866 The Hartshorne Mansion is constructed at High & Marshall Streets and takes up an entire square block. Now known as The Barclay, the mostly Italianate style building (Colonial Revival additions were made in the 1930s) may be the most intact estate in West Chester.

1869 The public drinking fountain is set up in front of the courthouse that provides water for people, horses, and dogs from seperate drinking bowls.

1871 September 25 -- The West Chester Academy reopens as West Chester Normal School consisting of 160 students.

1872 The West Chester Public Library is established.

1879 Private telephones become common in West Chester.

1885 The Edison Electric Illuminating Company of West Chester is organized just three years after its prototype opens in New York City providing electric lighting at a price that competes with gas lighting. By the end of the century there are 76 brilliant arc lights and 179 incandescents lighting the evening streets.

1887 October 29 -- After 23 years of planning and raising funds, West Chester's most impressive monument is dedicated to the honor of the 97th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment. It occupies the highest point in West Chester Borough at the southwest corner of Marshall Square park.

1888 January 30 -- The Board of Trade, an association of businesses that would morph into the current West Chester Chamber of Commerce, is chartered. Its first project is to publish "West Chester, Pennsylvania. The most important suburb of Philadelphia" indicating that it's "for the benefit of the uninformed and the misinformed."

The current West Chester Public Library, design by T. Roney Williamson at 415 North Church Street, opens. The Queen Anne style makes this one of West Chester's most impressive public buildings containing five windows of Tiffany-style glass each illustrating a quote from a story by Bayard Taylor.

1891 The Court House Annex, with its entrance on West Market Street at Courthouse Alley, is constructed. Designed by T. Roney Williamson, it interprets the Italian Renaissance style although it's connected to the Greek Revival Courthouse. It's faced with Indiana limestone while the interior is embellished with Italian marble wainscoting, stained art glass, and decorative wood garlands, diamonds, and pilasters.

1892 The West Chester Police Department and Borough administrative offices locate to the Assembly Building, refurbished from the Meconkey Mansion at 16 North High Street (now 10 North High Street).

1893 March -- Chester County Hospital opens with just five patient beds. Plans are immediately put in place for expansion.

1895 February 1 -- Frederick Douglass delivers his last speech to an audience at the State Normal School (now West Chester University). He talks about lynching and other urgent issues facing African-Americans. Just nineteen days later he dies.

1897 Long distance telephone service is introduced in West Chester. Within two years, 140 instruments exist to make "conversation with Philadelphia and other points much easier."

David Chambers and James Douglass retire as the last of the official Town Criers.

1900 The population of West Chester has grown to 9,524, about half of what it is today.

1905 Everhart Park, located in the Southwest quadrant at Brandywine and Miner Streets, is donated to the Borough by Dr. Isaiah Everhart.

1906 The current West Chester Post Office is constructed at the northeast corner of Gay and Walnut Streets. It's made of Cockeysville marble, the same material used on the Washington Monument.

1907 The Farmers & Mechanics Building, designed by William C. Prichett, is erected at the corner of Market and High Streets as West Chester's first, and only, skyscraper. At 90-feet, the Beaux Arts style building remains the tallest commercial structure in the Borough.

1912 Borough Hall is built at 15 South High Street and serves as the first permanent administration building and municipal Police Department of the Borough.

1913 West Chester Normal School becomes the first of the statewide normal schools to be owned outright by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

1915 June 11 -- Old Glory, the landmark statue at High and Market Streets, is dedicated to honor the Chester County's Civil War veterans. A crowd of 35,000 turn out for the ceremony. Originally, Old Glory carried a sword; at some point after the dedication, it mysteriously disappears.

The Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce is incorporated out of the Board of Trade.

1916 The West Chester Armory Building is completed on North High and Washington Streets providing a base of operations for the Pennsylvania National Guard Bravo Company, 1-111 Infantry, Stryker Unit, also known as the "Associators".

1925 September 5 -- A memorial is erected to Indian Hannah (Freeman) on Route 1.

1927 West Chester Normal School becomes West Chester State Teachers College when Pennsylvania initiates a four-year program for teacher education.

1930 November 14 -- The Warner Theater opens at 120 North High Street. Designed by the architectural firm of Rapp and Rapp in the style of Art Deco and built by Warner Brothers, the 1,650-seat theater showed movies with the best audio/visual technologies of the day.

1939 July 2, 10:25am -- The first United States Post Office air mail aerial pick-up for West Chester took place.

1943 November -- Under the leadership of G. Raymond Rettew, the first mass production of penicillin begins at the revamped old Pennsylvania Garage (now the Chestnut Street Garage, corner of Walnut & Chestnut Streets) where most of the world's supply of penicillin is made that year. Being the first antibiotic, it is credited with saving thousands of lives during World War II.

1960 As the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania paves the way for liberal arts programs in its college system, West Chester Teachers College is renamed West Chester State College.

1962 West Chester State College introduces a liberal arts program that turns the teachers college into a more comprehensive college.

1966 April 24 -- In order to accommodate growth in the county, the North Wing opens at 2 North High Street replacing the Meconkey Mansion. The International style architecture includes a vertical stone relief sculpture with four panels by Harry Rosin depicting several Chester County historical figures including George Washington and Marquis de Lafayette.

1981 The West Chester State College Quadrangle Historic District is placed in the National Register of Historic Places. The buildings included in the historic district are Philips Memorial Building, Ruby Jones Hall, Recitation Hall and the Old Library. Except for Philips, these buildings are constructed of serpentine stone quarried near the school.

1983 July 1 -- With passage of the State System of Higher Education bill, West Chester State College becomes one of the 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and is renamed West Chester University of Pennsylvania.

1994 January 1 -- The Borough of West Chester adopts a Home Rule Charter.

2000 The West Chester Business Improvement District is established to attract more downtown customers and businesses, and act as an advocate for downtown stakeholders. It replaces the West Chester Borough Commerce Department.

2005 A $2.3-million renovation of the West Chester Public Library (415 North Church Street) is completed. It doubles the usable space without disturbing the historic features of this remarkable structure.

2008 September 7 -- The 422,000 square foot Justice Center, housing all the court-related departments for Chester County, opens at 201 West Market Street. The historic Chester County Courthouse will continue to be used primarily for ceremonial court functions.

2011 October 6 -- A portion of the county First Block properties, including the North Wing, is sold to partnership company owned by Eli Kahn and Jack Loew.

2012 August 17 -- The Hotel Warner becomes the first hotel to open downtown in over 100 years at 120 North High Street. It was re-purposed from the Warner Theater.

November 15 -- The North Wing opens as 10 North High.

2013 October 1 -- A bronze statue of Frederick Douglass is dedicated at West Chester University not far from where his last speech was delivered. Richard Blake, a member of the University's art department, was commissioned to create the lifelike figure.

2014 April 28 -- The Historic Chester County Courthouse reopens with court services by District Court 15-1-04 after a $1.4-million renovation.

2015 December 18 -- The historic West Chester Armory Building on North High Street is sold to a division of the Uptown! Entertainment Alliance which begins renovation of the 1916 structure into a venue for performing arts.

2016 April 22 -- A 3.5 acre portion of the historic Hartshorne Estate is dedicated as the Barclay Park at the corner of High & Marshall Streets to become West Chester's newest park thus preserving West Chester's last fully intact estate.

Above complied by Malcome Johnstone and URL source is as follows:


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Other Chester family information not on Geni- Birth: 	1683 Haverfordwest Pembrokeshire, Wales Death: 	Jun. 29, 1778 Chester County Pennsylvania, USA

Griffith ap John (died 29 May/June 1778, aged 95 years) was the son of John Phillips and Eleanor (Haward/Maward) Phillips.

Griffith emigrated to America with his older brother, Samuel ap John, and Samuel's wife, Margaret. They left Wales in Dec 1708 and arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 11 Feb 1709.

Samuel and Griffith went to Goshen Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania, which was a part of a district then known as the Welsh Barony.

Nothing more was recorded of Griffith ap John until around 1714 when he and Ann Williams requested permission to marry at the Friends' Monthly Meeting. Griffith was then 31 and Ann was 14. On 23 July 1714, Griffith and Ann were married. They had six sons and six daughters.

Uwchlan Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania, was settled about 1715, and among the first purchasers of farms were Griffith John, Noble Butler, Robert Benson, Cadwallader Evans, and others.

Griffith wrote a will in 1774, and he died in Uwchlan Township.

Info from #48985368: Brother Samuel John Find a grave: 148643322 _____

The children of Griffith and Ann were:

1) Ann (John) Benson (1715 - 1790) married John Benson (1714/15 - 1793).

2) Rachel (John) Benson (1717/18 - 1760) married James Benson, Sr. (1717 - 1777).

3) Joshua John (1720/21 - 1798).

4) Hannah (John) Davis (1723 - 1804).

5) Jane (John) Meredith (1725 - 1795).

6) Abel John (1727 - 1801) married Mary (Fisher) John.

7) Griffith John (1729 - 1811) married Sarah (Lloyd) John.

8) Esther (John) McLean (1731/32 - 1811).

9) Robert John (1734 - 1760).

10) Sarah John (1736 - 1774).

11) Asa John (1740 - 1758).

12) Reuben John (1743/44 - 1823).

Family links:

 John Phillip (____ - 1757)
 Elenora Phillip (____ - 1705)
 Ann Williams John (1700 - 1782)*
 Griffith John (1727 - 1811)*
 Samuel John (1680 - 1766)*
 Griffith ap John (1683 - 1778)
  • Calculated relationship

Burial: Uwchlan Friends Burial Ground Chester County Pennsylvania, USA

Created by: myta Record added: Dec 17, 2010 Find A Grave Memorial# 63024187