Chapter XXXVI

North Chester Borough.

 

and thereon a one-story stone school-house was soon erected. This building was used for school purposes until the erection of the present Oak Grove school-house, in 1860. In 1836 the Sharpless school-house passed into the control of the directors of Chester township, and in 1873 was transferred by authority of the act erecting the borough to the directors of that municipal district.

In 1830, two years after the building of Friends' meeting-house, that society built a small frame structure below the meeting-house, on the road to the Waterville Mills, wherein Miss Ann McGill (afterwards Mrs. Richard Wetherell) and Miss Amy Griffith were early teachers. The pupils in that school had a small plot of ground on which they vied with each other as to who could raise the best roses, violets, and other flowers, as also beets, parsnips, and various kinds of vegetables. This piece of land was fenced and guarded with jealous care, being carefully locked when school was not in session. School has been kept in this house from 1830 to the present time, but not with any degree of regularity. After the erection of North Chester borough, the two-story brick school-house on Twenty-second Street was erected, and is now used for that purpose. The first directors of the borough were elected in March, 1873, and were Josiah Berry, H. Greenwood, Nathan Berry, H. L. Powell, D. R. Esrey, and Daniel McCurdy.

The directors since that time have been as follows:

1874, Hugh C. Sample, Jonas Tongue, E. Wells; 1875, John Shaw, Edmund Wells, Henry L. Powell; 1876, D. R. Esrey, Henry Beaumont; 1877, Robert Campbell, James Moss; 1878, George W. Gilton, A. P Garfield; 1879, D. R. Esrey; 1880, John Wetherell, Adam C. Eckfeldt; 1881, Rev. John Brooks, James Moss; 1883, D. R. Esrey; 1884, William H. Floville, H. L. Powell.

Chester Rural Cemetery. - This association was organized in 1863, and incorporated by act of Assembly March 18,1863. The preamble of the act set forth:

"Whereas, The following named citizens of the Borough and Township of Chester, in the county of Delaware, have agreed to subscribe the sum of one thousand dollars each, for the purpose of providing a public cemetery, to be located within the limits of said borough or township; therefore,

"Sec. 1. Be it enacted, &c., by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in General Assembly met, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That Benjamin Gartside, Frederick Fairlamb, Joshua P. Eyre, Abraham Blakely, John Larkin, Jr., Raney, Son and Archibold, John H. Baker, George Wilson, Joseph Taylor, Samuel M. Felton, Samuel A. Crozer, Mortimer H. Bickley, John P. Crozer, and such other persons as may hereafter subscribe and contribute each a like sum, and their successors, be and they are hereby created and declared a body politic and corporate, for establishing a public cemetery, to be located in either the borough or township of Chester, by the name, style, and title of the Chester Rural Cemetery Association."

The stockholders at their first meeting, March 21, 1863, elected Joshua P. Eyre president, and John H. Baker secretary of the company. A tract of forty acres, belonging to I. Engle Hinkson, a short distance north of the limits of the borough of Chester, the land extending from Edgmont to Upland road, was purchased, the price paid being two hundred and fifty dollars per acre. The plot was immediately laid out for the purposes of a cemetery, the first interments within its lines being the Confederate soldiers who died at the United States Hospital (now the Crozer Theological Seminary). Over one hundred and fifty of these men were buried within the grounds. The first lot was purchased by Bennett Dobbs, Sept. 26, 1863, and his wife, Nancy, was buried therein two days afterwards, September 28th. No deed was given for this lot until two months had elapsed, the first conveyance bearing date Dec. 7, 1863. Nearly in the centre of the cemetery an artificial lake was made, the water being supplied by a run which passed in a northwesterly course through the grounds. On Dec. 10, 1869, a sad accident occurred at this lake, on which Herman L. Cochran, son of John Cochran, and Mattie H. Irving, daughter of James Irving, both about sixteen years, were skating when the ice broke and they were drowned. "The Soldiers' Monument," a tribute to the soldiers of the civil war enlisted from Delaware County, stands on the highest point of land in this cemetery. Although this testimonial was erected in the name of the citizens of the county, the funds necessary to procure and put it in place were contributed by a few persons. Much credit was due to Mrs. Mary B. Leiper, who was untiring in her efforts to procure the means required. The Soldiers' Monument, a bronze figure by Martin Millmore, representing a private soldier standing at rest, and elevated on a massive granite pedestal, was dedicated Sept. 17, 1873, with appropriate ceremonies. Col. W. C. Gray read a history of the Soldiers' Monument Association, Col. John W. Forney delivered an address, and after the procession returned to Chester the very creditable work of the artist was committed to the seclusion of a burial-ground, whence only the corroding hand of time is likely to remove it.

Irvington Mills. - The site of these mills is on the tract surveyed to Thomas Brassey in 1685, and of which one hundred and seventy-six acres, on Aug. 20, 1705, became the property of Caleb Pusey. It has been generally accepted that the report of the road laid out in 1713 "from Providence Lower road by Richard Crosby's mill to Edgmont road" had reference to the mill erected at Crosbyville, and that it had been built prior to that date. In reading the report of the jury carefully it seems clearly to point to the Jarvis or Crosby mills farther up the creek, where now is located the Media water-works. When the mills at the present Irvington were erected we have failed to learn, but prior to 1767 grist- and saw-mills were located there which previous to 1790 came into the ownership of the Crosby family. In 1799 the saw-mill had fallen into disuse. The stone grist-mill must have been an expensive building, for in the year last mentioned the mill was assessed at four thousand dollars, while the same year the Flickwi house, on Third Street, now being removed, was rated at two hundred

 

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