The Township Of Tinicum.
four hundred yards of the Lazaretto to Penrose's Ferry, over the meadows and fences a distance of four miles.1 On Sept. 1, 1850, a heavy rain fell which covered with water the meadows of Tinicum to the depth of six feet, and inundated the railroad from a short distance below Gray's Ferry nearly to the Lazaretto, in some places undermining the cross-ties and in others sweeping them entirely away, so that travel by rail was suspended for more than a week.
|1 Smith's "History of Delaware County," p. 299.|
Previous to the Revolution, Joseph Galloway, a noted lawyer of Philadelphia, who, when the struggle finally came cast his fortune on the side of the English crown, owned a tract of two hundred and twelve acres of the easterly end of the island, all of it being reclaimed land. The commonwealth of Pennsylvania instituted proceedings against him, and his estates were forfeited. His land on Tinicum was sold by the commissioner of forfeited estates in Chester County, in September, 1779, and on Feb. 19, 1780, the State made a deed for one hundred and eighty-seven and a half acres to James Budden, John Dunlap, Jacob Morgan, John Mease, Thomas Leiper, Joseph Carson, and John Chaloner, but it seemed that Abraham Kentruzer was in possession of the premises as Galloway's tenant and refused to yield the premises to the purchasers, and on April 28, 1780, the Supreme Council instructed the sheriff to put the latter in possession of the estate. At a later date, May 17, 1780, William Kerlin purchased the remaining part of the tract, containing something over twenty acres.2
|2 Colonial Records, vol. vii. pp. 256, 331, 352; Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. viii. p. 208.|
The following is the list of the justices of the peace for Tinicum township:
Quarantine Station. - In the last decade of the eighteenth century the city of Philadelphia was scourged with yellow fever, and so great was the alarm at the proximity of the Lazaretto, then located just back of Fort Mifflin, on Providence Island, that it was determined to change the site of that station, hence on Aug. 7, 1799, the Board of Health of Philadelphia purchased from Morris Smith and Reuben Smith ten acres of land on the island of Tinicum and immediately began the erection of buildings there which were completed in 1800, and quarantine was established there for the first time in 1801. The old two-story building, the steward's quarters, was modeled after the Pennsylvania Hospital, at Eighth and Pine Streets, Philadelphia, and although it is now not occupied as a hospital, in early times the wings were used for that purpose. The building is flanked on the right by the physician's residence and on the left by that of the quarantine master. The present hospital building stands about one hundred yards to the rear of the steward's quarters. There is also an ancient brick building known as the old custom-house, three stories high, which we learn from a letter written on Jan. 5, 1847, by Joseph Weaver, Jr., United States custom officer, had not been occupied for many years previous to that time for any purpose, and then suffering much from neglect. Hon. R. J. Walker, Secretary of the Treasury, authorized Mr. Weaver to rent it to a person who would take good care of it, the United States reserving the right to store goods therein, if necessary. The building was leased to John Pedrick, a ship-carpenter, at a rental of thirty dollars per annum.
Shortly after the quarantine station was located at Tinicum, at the October session, 1804, the Board of Health endeavored to have John Ferguson, master of the schooner "Monongahela Farmer," which had come from New Orleans bound to Philadelphia, indicted for a breach of quarantine, the charge being that after the vessel had come to an anchor and was undergoing quarantine, he permitted thirty-two passengers "to go ashore" from his vessel before they had submitted to the required examination. The grand jury, however, ignored the bill.
In June, 1824, a man was landed from an oyster boat at Chester, dangerously ill with smallpox. A meeting of the borough Council was immediately held, but they having no power to act, several of the citizens sent the man in a market wagon to the Lazaretto, and while waiting at that place to be admitted, he asked for a drink of water, which being given him he drank, and immediately fell back in the conveyance dead. The Philadelphia Gazette of that day attacked the borough authorities and citizens for this act, and for a time a sturdy war of words was carried on in the Post Boy at Chester, and the Philadelphia journals.
No serious objection was made to the location of the quarantine until recent years. In the latter part of June, 1870, the brig "Home," from Jamaica, came to off the Lazaretto. When visiting her the health officers learned that the captain of the vessel had died and was buried at sea four days after the brig had sailed from Black River, Jamaica. She was loaded with logwood, and although at the time there appeared to be no sickness on the vessel, she was in such a filthy condition that she was ordered to be taken to the United States government wharf, adjoining quarantine grounds. After twenty days, during which she was fumigated, the brig was pronounced clean, and permission given to proceed to her destination. In the interim canal-boats were sent from Philadelphia to remove the logwood, and on one of these boats a woman and boy sickened and died. On Friday, July 15th, a large quantity of filthy rags on the "Home" were taken ashore and