The Township Of Tinicum.
Council was violated; hence the agents were directed to receive no part of the purchase money, but were commanded to attend the meeting of Council to "account for their proceedings."1 The State, on May 9, 1782, acknowledged a deed to Samuel Caldwell (the other purchaser seems to have abandoned all claim to the estate) for one hundred and five acres of banked meadow at Hog Island, the consideration being one hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds Continental money and a yearly rent of seven bushels and a half of "good merchantable wheat, payable to the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania."2 However, Council seemed unable to put the purchaser in possession of the estate, notwithstanding repeated orders to the sheriff of Philadelphia to assist Caldwell with whatever force was necessary to effect that end. The litigation was continued, for on June 3, 1782, Jared Ingersoll received nine pounds in specie, and on the 7th of the same month Mr. Sergeant received a like sum as fees in the case. During the summer of 1783 the remaining part of the island not already purchased by Caldwell was sold to several officers of the Pennsylvania line, the agents of the State receiving the certificates of money due to those soldiers in payment, but on August 30th of that year Council ordered the certificates to be returned to the officers, and that the island should remain the property of the State until otherwise disposed of.3 Caldwell, however, seemed not disposed to reconvey his land to the State, whereupon, on Jan. 8, 1784, the attorney-general was instructed to institute suit against him for the recovery of the estate. Late in the year 1786; the commonwealth was still in litigation, for it retained William Bradford, Jr., Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant, and Edward Tilghman in the suit brought against it by Thomas Proctor, "respecting the right to Hog Island."4 The case seems to have continued until May 5, 1789, when it was tried, for on the 2d of that month, Mr. Kennedy, the secretary of the landoffice, was directed to deliver certain papers in his possession to Caldwell, they being "necessary on the tryall of Hogg Island."5 The commonwealth was finally beaten in the suit, the title of Thomas Proctor and his associate owners being recognized as valid. In the Pennsylvania Packet for March 6, 1790, appears the following advertisement:
1 Colonial Records, vol. xiii. p. 11.|
2 Ib., p. 279.
3 Ib., p. 280.
4 Ib., vol. xv. p. 117.
5 Ib., p. 472.
The island subsequently became the property of Samuel Murdock, Isaac Reeves, and John Black, who, in 1840, petitioned the court of Delaware County to connect the island to the main land by a bridge, and were authorized themselves to erect "a free bridge on posts or abutments, provided that an aperture of not less than 25 feet wide and of height not less than 8 feet above high-water mark, should be left, which aperture should at all times be kept free from obstruction, so as to admit of passage of shallops." The bridge was erected, but the connection with the main land was made in Philadelphia County, and the petition to the court of Delaware County was simply, it would appear, to prevent any trouble with the county authorities for interrupting the public (water) highway. The island, owned by Edgar N. and John Black, is now a marvel of fertility, and so complete is the manner of banking and diking that breaks in the embankments are now as uncommon as they were common years ago. The last serious break occurred during the storm of Nov. 1, 1861, when the island was submerged, and the loss of property was great, three hundred head of sheep drowned being only one item in the list of damages. On Jan. 20, 1882, in an unused barn on the island, the body of a man was found. He had hung himself, and as the remains were not discovered for several weeks after the act, the rats had mutilated the arms and legs. The remains were identified as those of Charles J. Deacon, an insurance agent, of Philadelphia.
Martin's Bar, which formerly lay between Hog Island and Big Tinicum Island, and by the banking and diking of the river front has within recent years almost disappeared as a separate piece of earth, remained in the ownership of the State until within a comparatively recent period, although, in December, 1789, John Lockart petitioned "for the right of preemption of a small island in the river Delaware, between Tinicum and Hogg Island containing about ten or fifteen acres;" but on the second reading of his petition, December 12th, Council decided "the request of the said John Lockart cannot be complied with."6 The bar had considerably increased in thirty years, for in the patent granted to Thomas K. Wallace by the State, March 28, 1821, Martin's Bar was found to contain sixty-seven acres and forty perches.7
6 Ib., vol. xvi. p. 230.|
7 Smith's "Atlas of Early Land Grants in Delaware County," map 16.
|On Jan. 3, 1881, the court of Delaware County confirmed the port warden's line, above Little Tinicum Island. Towards the eastern end of Little Tinicum Island lie the two small islands known as Printz and Maiden Islands. The former was patented to Thomas H. and Aubrey H. Smith, Feb. 13,1841, and contained fourteen acres and eighty-one perches. It is now owned by Aubrey H. Smith. Maiden Island - said to have derived its name from a young girl who was overset in a boat managing to get to this place, where for two days she remained before rescued - is owned by a company of Philadelphians, who propose to erect coal-oil works there and on Little Tinicum Island.|