The City Of Chester.
I do love Chester!" "Why, my dear?" was the inquiry. "Because there is no Sunday there," was the boy's reply.
Business was confined to a few stores and small industrial establishments. The even tenor of daily life was almost stereotyped in its character. Hence it was an incident of rare occurrence that even a fire changed the current of events, and the quiet borough must have been astounded on March 24, 1818, when one Spear, who kept a grocery store in the old stone building on Market Street, where John M. Broomall's dry-goods store is now located, in passing behind his counter with a lighted candle, by accident dropped it into an open keg of powder, occasioning an explosion which killed Spear instantly and damaged the building.
In July, 1829, it is stated Aaron Denman had in operation at Chester machinery for manufacturing paper from straw, which was "especially valuable for packing."1 I have been unable to locate the site of` this paper-mill, which was one of the first in the United States in which straw paper was made.
|1 Hazard's Register, vol. iv. p. 12.|
William Ward, of Chester, was born at Philadelphia, Pa., Jan. 1, 1837; was educated at Girard College, Philadelphia; learned the art of printing in the office of The Delaware County Republican, at Chester, serving there four years; studied law; was admitted to the bar in August, 1859, and engaged in the practice of law in connection with operations in land enterprises and public improvements in Chester and vicinity, to which was added the business of banking in 1868. In 1873 he retired from the banking firm of Ward & Baker, and devoted himself exclusively to the other branches. He has held a number of positions of public trust, such as president and member of the City Council for a number of years, city solicitor, secretary and treasurer of the Chester Improvement Company, director of the First National Bank, treasurer of the South Ward Water Board, secretary of the Chester Creek Railroad Company, and secretary and treasurer of the Chester and Delaware River Railroad Company. He never held a purely political office until 1876, when he was elected a member of the Forty-fifth Congress, from the Sixth District of Pennsylvania, and successively to the Forty-sixth and Forty-seventh Congresses. Upon the expiration of his term in March, 1883, he returned to Chester, and has since been actively and exclusively engaged in the practice of the legal profession.
Aaron Palmer, the father of Samuel, was born April 13, 1792, and married Susannah Denny Nov. 24, 1811. Their children were Samuel, Thomas, John, Pamela, Mary Jane, Caroline, and two who died in infancy. Samuel, the eldest, was born Dec. 28, 1813, in Frankford, Pa., and resided until his sixteenth year in New York, after which he removed to Philadelphia. He learned the trade of a shell-comb maker, but not finding this pursuit a congenial one, fitted himself for the vocation of a teacher. Finding this sedentary life not conducive to health he resumed his trade, and finally engaged in the business of brick-making, having previously been connected in a clerical capacity with various public offices in the city of Philadelphia. On removing to Chester he rented a brick-yard, and for several years conducted the business successfully.
He was married to Margaret, daughter of William and Catherine Morrison News, of Philadelphia. Their children are Eleanor (Mrs. Henry Goodman), Caroline (Mrs. Michael Cash), Kate (Mrs. James Dougherty), Susan (Mrs. John Moore), Margaret, John, Thomas, Samuel, Lizzie, and four who are deceased, - Susan, William, Ann Eliza, and an infant. Mr. Palmer was in politics a Democrat, though not a worker in the political field. He was an active member of the Masonic fraternity, and much interested in the advancement of the order. He was not during his lifetime identified with any religious denomination, but died in the faith of the Catholic Church. Mrs. Palmer and her sons have since conducted the business with marked success.
Mr. Taylor was of English descent. Israel Taylor, his father, a farmer in Aston township, Delaware Co., married Ann Malin, of Upper Providence township, and had children, - Joseph, William, Anna (Mrs. David Garrett), Bowman, and Gideon. Their son, Joseph, was born April 6, 1802, in Upper Providence, and when an infant removed with his parents to Aston township, where he resided upon the ancestral home until 1844. He received his education in the public schools of Delaware County, and, early evincing a fondness for mathematics, made surveying the business of his life. He was in his political predilections an Old-Line Whig, and, as the candidate of that party, was, in 1844, elected prothonotary of the county, which necessitated his removal to Chester, where the sessions of the court were then held. On the expiration of his official term he resumed his profession, was for a number of years county surveyor, and, later, surveyor for the city of Chester, both of which positions were filled with much ability. He was also surveyor of Darby borough and exercised his skill in the laying out of Chester Rural Cemetery, of which he was one of the projectors. Mr. Taylor