Chapter L.

Upper Providence Township.


year, the court appointed George Miller, Jr., Ezekiel Norman, Jr., inspectors of the public schools until directors should be elected. In 1835 the amount of money received by Upper Providence from State and county appropriation for school purposes was $138.57.

The following is a list of school directors as obtained from the records of Media:

1840, Isaac Haldeman, John R. Lewis; 1842, Joseph Evans, Enoch Dowell; 1843, Levis Miller, Malin Bishop, Isaac Cochran; 1844, William P. Wilson, Thomas C. Palmer; 1845, Abel Lodge, Luke Cassin; 1846, Levis Miller, Edward Davis; 1847, Pratt Bishop, John R. Lewis; 1848, Daniel James, George G. Fell; 1849, John Kirk, John Eves; 1850, William T. Pierce, Pratt Bishop; 1851, John Eves, Franklin Johnson; 1852, John Henderson, Thomas Reece; 1853, R. H. Smith, William Coffman; 1854, Caleb Hoopes, Jr., Oliver E. Strickland; 1855, Thomas Reece, James R. Cummins; 1856, Charles Wheeler, Perry C. Pike; 1857, William Coffman, Perry C. Pike, Caleb Hoopes; 1858, Pratt Bishop, John Kirk; 1859, John I. Rowland, Hugh L. Tyler; 1860, Wesley Thomas, John J. Rowland; 1861, Pratt Bishop, R. C. Fairlamb; 1862, Levi G. James, John Fields; 1863, Joseph N. Dunn, I. Morgan Baker; 1864, Pratt Bishop, Edward Carey, Nathan Evans; 1865, R. C. Fairlamb, Levi C. James; 1866, Caleb Hoopes, Edward Carey; 1867, Nathan Evans, Thomas Bishop; 1868, Joseph N. Dunn, Pratt Bishop; 1869, John Ottey, Edmund E. Worrall; 1870, Pearson Pike, Caspar Rudolph; 1871, Abram Lees, Pratt Bishop; 1872, William Durell, George Velott; 1873, no report; 1874, H. B. Fussell, George M. Tyler; 1875, Samuel Ottey, William Sheldon; 1876, John Ottey, George B. Adams, Lindley Smedley; 1877, Abram Lees, Lindley Smedley; 1878, Isaac S. Pike, Samuel Ottey; 1879, Benjamin Rogers, George M. Tyler; 1880, Lewis Kirk, Charles Moore; 1881, D. Reece Hawkins, Samuel Ottey; 1882, C. F. Lewis, Benjamin Rogers; 1883, J.E. Tyler, Lewis Kirk; 1884, Samuel Ottey, D. R. Hawkins.

Mills on Ridley Creek - Upper Bank or Manchester Mill. - In the year 1764, James Wilcox was assessed in Upper Providence township on a dwelling and fifty acres of land. This real estate was located on Ridley Creek, where are now the ruins of the Manchester Mill. In 1766, James Wilcox was assessed, in addition to the foregoing property, on a papermill. This mill remained in his ownership until his death, when it passed to his son, Mark Wilcox, and the latter sold it to John Lungren, April 20, 1785. Lungren operated the paper-mill for five years, when (Dec. 30, 1795) he conveyed it to William Levis, of Philadelphia. The deed to Levis included the mill, and one hundred and seventy acres of ground. In 1799, John Levis, a son of William, had control of the mill, and continued the business there until the papermill was changed to a cotton-factory, in 1818, and rented to Wagstaff & Englehorn, who conducted the business successfully. In 1821, John P. Crozer states, "Only one cotton-factory in Delaware County, that of Wagstaff & Englehorn, continued running, and now appeared to be making money. But Wagstaff was a practical cotton-spinner from England, and had a consequent advantage."1 In 1823 the firm had dissolved, and Hugh Wagstaff was operating the factory; for the Post-Boy, on Nov. 11, 1823, contained the following local item:

1 Life of John P. Crozer, p. 52.

"Quick Work. - Miss Calderwood, of Mr. Wagstaff's Factory, near this Borough, recently wove 551 yards of 100 shirting in the short space of 72 hours. Cad any of the 'ruby-lip'd, rosy-cheek'd lasses' of Chester County beat that?"

On Jan. 28, 1825, the factory and twenty-six acres of land were sold to James Ronaldson. The purchaser gave the mill in charge of James Siddall, and at that time the building contained ten carding-engines of thirty inches, two drawing-frames of three heads each, two roving-frames, one speeder of twenty and one of ten spindles, six hundred throstle-spindles, six hundred and seventy-two mule-spindles, one warper and dresser, and fourteen power-looms. On July 18, 1829, James Ronaldson sold the mill property to John Bancroft, who had been in charge of the factory since 1827. The latter operated the mill until 1842, when it was sold to William T. Crook, then of New York. The purchaser conducted the factory until 1857, when the property was sold to Samuel Bancroft, the present owner, who operated the mill until Oct. 9, 1872, when it was destroyed by fire, and is now a ruin.

Robinett's Grist-Mill and Camm's Stocking-Works. - Allen Robinett, who took up two hundred and forty-five acres of land, March 22, 1681, on Ridley Creek, just above the Concord road, settled on the tract prior to 1683, as is established by the following quaint letter, written by Robinett and his wife, to a friend, probably a member of the Pemberton family, who then resided in Bucks County, among whose papers the letter was found:

"Priscilla, and loveing friend: After mine and my wife's kinde love Remembered unto thee, this is to desire thee to yous me well about thy stele mill; I mean to leat me have it as chepe as thou canst afford it and to trust me untell my corn comes of the Ground, and we dout not but then we shall soone Rais mony and pay thee for it. it will do us a kindnes becaus we are so fear from the mill, and if thou wilt let us have it, send word, and the lowist price, to our verry loveing friend Liddy waid; and so we Rest thy loveing frends.

"Allen Robinett And Margaret.
"this 14th day of the 3d month, 1683."

The mill here mentioned was doubtless a hand mill, but in a few years later a mill had been built on Robinett's land, for in a deed bearing date Seventh month (September) 29, 1687, recorded in Philadelphia, Allen Robinett, of Upper Providence, conveyed to Richard Crosby, of Middletown, "a water-mill" in Upper Providence, with about two acres of land, on the southwest side of Ridley Creek, and "a little Bottom on the northeast side."

At that time John and Richard Crosby were operating a grist-mill and saw-mill a short distance lower down the stream, to which they derived title in 1705.

The Robinett mill does not appear in any assessment now on file in Chester County, and it must, therefore, have gone out of use prior to 1766. It is probable that Crosby bought that mill intending to discontinue it, because of its proximity to his own mill.

The tract on which this old mill stood, with the exception of the mill-site, passed to Charles Booth on Feb. 29, 1704. The latter died, and his widow, Elizabeth, on Aug. 29, 1716, conveyed to John Camm, of Upper Providence, stocking-weaver, the messuage


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