Mills and Tanneries. - In the first assessment of the county, made in 1790, there are no manufacturing interests mentioned in Edgmont. In the assessment of 1799, Thomas Johnson appears in possession of a saw-mill, and in the triennial assessment of 1802 the name of George Antricum is given as in possession of a saw-mill. It was located on Crum Creek, near the northeast part of the township, and was probably the Johnson mill, as his name is not in the assessment for 1802. In 1807 there was also at this place a saw-mill, and in 1812 two distilleries were in operation at the same locality. These mills and stills were owned and operated by Antricum until 1825, when the property was bought by Jonathan N. Hatch, who enlarged the grist-mill to forty feet by fifty feet, three stories high, and placed in it ten carding-machines, three hundred and sixty throstle-spindles, seven hundred and eighty mule-spindles, and commenced the manufacture of cotton yarn. In the next year eleven hundred and fifty pounds of cotton yarn was made per week. Eight tenant-houses and a mansion-house were on the place. This factory was operated by Mr. Hatch successfully till 1838, when the mill was destroyed by fire.
For several years the building remained as the flames left them, until about 1855, Joseph Shimer fitted up part of the ruins, and commenced the manufacture of cotton laps. He remained here several years, when he built a mill lower down on the other side of the creek in Newtown, which is still owned by him.
In 1870 the old Hatch mill property was used by Alfred Hatch as a cotton-lap factory, and is still owned by him.
In 1799, Joseph Pennell, grandson of Robert Pennell, who settled in the township in 1691, was in possession of a tannery a short distance northwest of Howellville, which later passed to Thomas Evans, and about 1830 became the property of Israel Howell, a leather merchant of Philadelphia, for whom Howellville was named. The tannery went out of use many years ago. The property is now owned by Henry Mendenhall.
A few years prior to 1807, George Green built a saw-mill on Green's Run, which was operated by him till about 1820, later by Isaac Green; the ruins of this mill are yet there. In 1817, Robert Green had a fulling-mill on Rocky Run, located on the present estate of Mrs. James Walker. In 1826 it was operated by William Owens & Co., and in 1829-31 was still in use, and continued to be operated until about 1864, when the mill was burned. The last few years it was occupied by James Campbell for carding and carpet-weaving. In 1870 a cotton-lap factory was at the place, owned by James Gamble.
In 1807, Richard Passmore had a tan-yard below where Green's fulling-mill was afterwards built, which was in disuse in 1811. The property is now owned by Frank Bishop.
About 1815 James Yarnall built a grist- and saw-mill on a branch of Ridley Creek, in the northern part of the township. In 1817-19 it was assessed to his estate. The grist-mill was a stone building, the power furnished by an overshot wheel, which ran two pairs of millstones. In 1829 it was owned by Reuben Yarnall, but subsequently Anthony Baker acquired title to the mill, and his son, Enos Baker, is the present owner of the property.
Schools. - One of the first school-houses in Edgmont of which there is any information was built about 1760 in the eastern part of the township, and near the line of Upper Providence. The house was of stone, the mortar used being a composition of clay and straw. Thomas Hammer was teacher there, and William Howard, the father of Baldwin Howard, was a pupil under him. Hammer also taught in Upper Providence, and in 1799 was a shopkeeper in Edgmont. This old school-house was not in use in 1800. About this time a change was made in the township lines, and the school-house lot in the change was placed in Upper Providence. The house was torn down about 1860.
What is now known as the Central District was also known as Big Edgmont. At this place a stone school-house was erected in the early part of 1749, and in 1809 a new stone house was built upon its site, which remained in use until the present house was erected, in 1870. Isaac Wood was the first teacher in the second school-house, and Baldwin Howard attended school there. Among later teachers were John McMullen, John Kinsie, Hezekiah Burns, Caleb Hoopes, Jehu Broomhall, Joseph Plankinton, William Vogdes, James Sill, Jr., and Samuel L. Smedley. During the term of Mr. Sill the school-house erected in 1809 was transferred to the directors of the public schools. Joseph Plankinton, in 1824, went to Philadelphia, where he has filled the position of county commissioner, school director, treasurer, and alderman in that city, where he is now residing, aged eighty-five years. William Vogdes is also in Philadelphia, and prominent in the political movements of that city. After the house passed to the school directors in 1835 or 1836, Samuel Lewis was the first teacher, and was succeeded by Pierson Pike, Levi Baker, James M. Smith, and others.