Chapter XXXVII

Upper Chichester Township.

 

The records of Chester County are silent respecting the time at which the original townships in that part of the territory now Delaware County were erected, nor is there any description of the lines dividing one township from the other. In the early days of the province the term Chichester generally was used to indicate that section of the county now comprising Upper and Lower Chichester. We know that previous to 1686 Chichester had been surveyed, that some difficulty was had respecting the survey, and at the October court of that year the justices "Ordered that the township of Chichester extend its bounds as formerly laid out by Charles Ashcom, until further order." The peculiar western line which separates the upper township from Bethel was run to conform to the lines of the tracts surveyed to the early settlers, and doubtless the authority which adjusted the boundary of the several municipal districts at that time permitted freedom of choice among the land-owners as to the township in which their real estate should be located. Certain it is, a more irregular line than the western boundary of Upper Chichester it would be difficult to lay out.

Among the earliest settlers of the township was Walter Martin, the founder of St. Martin's Church, the tract of five hundred acres surveyed to him being at this time parts of the farms of John B. McCay, George Broomall, and Samuel Vernon. Adjoining Martin's land to the east were two hundred and fifty acres surveyed to Jeremiah Collett, June 16, 1682, being lands sold in England by Penn to Joan May, in September, 1681, which right to locate that number of acres in the province May transferred to Collett. The latter was an earnest churchman, and by will devised a certain sum of money to be applied to the support of the rector of St. Martin's Church, and providing for services according to the Episcopal ritual to be held in that church on certain days in each year thereafter. Andrew Osborn, David Boyd, John Stevenson, P. Birnbaum, and Thomas Beeson's farms are located on the Collett tract. Above Walter Martin's, or rather part of his plantation, on the road from Concord to Chichester, was a plot of sixty acres, which, on Oct. 6, 1684, became the property of James Brown. This James Brown came from Bedfordshire, England, and settled on the tract mentioned, located on the east branch of Naaman's Creek, and gave the name of "Middleton" to his new home, possibly from the location of the land near the centre of the township, although previous to that date he had received a patent for one hundred and fifteen acres known as "Podington," lying north of Jeremiah Collett's tract, and bounded on the east by Chichester Creek. In December, 1685, he purchased one hundred acres lying between the two divisions of the east branch of Naaman's Creek from Thomas Garrett, to whom the land was laid out in April of that year. The plantation known as "Middleton" is now part of the farm of John B. Okie. "Podington" is now the property of Andrew Armstrong, while the one hundred acres lying between the dividing streams of the j east branch of Naaman's Creek, above mentioned, is now part of the farms of John B. McCay, Mrs. It. M. Halsey, and John B. Okie. It is stated by George Churchman, in his "Reminiscences of Nottingham," written in 1822,1 that James Brown and William Brown were brothers, that the former came to Pennsylvania in 1693, and the latter in 1696, a statement which partakes of the two-brother theory so frequently presented in family history, whereby, as a rule, the second generation is confused with the first.

1 Published in Oxford (Chester County) Press, July 16, 1876.

William Brown subsequently became the owner of the Podington estate, but it was not until June 21, 1705, at which date no person named James Brown owned land in Upper Chichester. It is probable that William Brown and James Brown, who subsequent to 1696 purchased nine hundred acres in Nottingham, were sons of James Brown, the immigrant. On the east side of Chichester Creek, at the line dividing Upper and Lower Chichester, and extending to Chester township, was a tract of five hundred acres, which was purchased by William Withers, and on Jan. 22, 1682, was conveyed to Thomas Withers. On this tract was included the real estate of Jeremiah L. Brown, Daniel N. Larkin, Matthew Boyd, Robert McClintock, E. and T. Worrilow, Susan Harvey, John H. Williams, W. F. Patterson, John G. Smeet, Mary and Susan Magin, Edward Johnson, Donaldson, and part of T. Roberts and the Norris estates. Above Withers' land was a plot of one hundred acres surveyed to Thomas Clifton, June 24,1684. This estate passed to James Brown in 1685, and it was on this purchase that he gave the ground on which Chichester Friends' meeting-house was built. The tract bought from Clifton extended from the Chichester Creek to Chester township, and on it parts of the farm of Jeremiah C. Brown, T. Roberts, and j the Norris estates are located. Above this last mentioned tract to the north, on Sept. 4, 1682, four hundred acres were surveyed to Henry Hastings and Richard Buffington, which includes the upper part of the farm of Jeremiah Brown and T. Roberts, all of that belonging to Joseph R. Johnson, that of Charles Posotta, the most of James M. Craig's, as well as those of W. Henry Dutton and Thomas Dutton. Above this four-hundred-acre tract was a plot of three hundred and fifty acres, which, on Nov. 16, 1683, was surveyed to John Kingsman. This tract began at a point where Baldwin's Run crosses the line between Chester and Upper Chichester townships, extending directly westward to the junction of Greer's and Bezer's Runs, when the course of the latter

 

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