on this land, for subsequently it was distributed among his children, and in 1715 John Pyle was a resident of Thornbury.
All the land west of this point to Birmingham was taken up in one-hundred-acre plots, in the following order: Robert Southey, John Gibbons, Robert Pyle, Joseph Bushel, and Edward Turner, the latter having one hundred and twenty-four acres which extended to the Birmingham line. The Southey and Gibbons lands were purchased by Edward Bennett, a brother of John Bennett, who had married a daughter of William Brinton, the first settler of Birmingham, and as Joseph Brinton purchased the Pyle and Bushell lands to the west of Bennett, it is probable that the latter settled on the tract he purchased. Certain it is that the Bennett family were represented in Thornbury in 1715. Robert Turner, whose land was at the Birmingham line, on Third month 16,1694, sold his one hundred and twenty-four acres to Jonathan Thatcher, and the latter, in 1715, was living thereon. The real estate of Mrs. Baker, Robert Baldwin, Louisa Evanson, and Thomas McFadden, as shown on Hopkins' map of Delaware County in 1870, were part of the Thomas Evanson four hundred and thirty-seven acres, part of which he had purchased of the thirteen-hundred-and-fifty-acre tract surveyed to John Simcock in 1684, and the remainder of Robert Sumner. The western part of the farms of I. H. Cheyney and Curtis Cheyney was the tract of one hundred acres purchased by Hugh Darborough, the first constable of the township, from Thomas Bradford on March 1, 1692/3, while the farm of Mrs. Mary Jones, the remaining part of I. R. Cheyney, Curtis Cheyney, and the upper part of Hill Brinton, and A. Pierce (as shown by the Hopkins map), are on the four hundred and ninety acres surveyed to George Pearce, Twelfth month, 1684.
George Pierce, or, as he wrote his name, Pearce, with his wife, Ann, and three children, emigrated from the parish of Winscom, in the county of Somerset, England, in 1684, and in the same year four hundred and ninety acres of land were surveyed to him in Thornbury township. He probably settled on his plantation in 1685, but he did not become identified actively with Chester Meeting until 1686. He was a member of Assembly in 1706, and was part owner in the Concord Mill, the first erected in the neighborhood where he lived. He died in 1734, but had removed to East Marlborough township, in the present county of Chester, two years prior to his death.
All the remainder of the land in Thornbury lying north of a line beginning at the African Methodist Church and extending due east to the corner of Edgmont township, near Daniel James' grist-mill, was part of John Beller's fifteen hundred acres, taken up May 14-15, 1685, in right of ten thousand acres purchased by Richard Marsh in 1681. On Jan. 15-16, 1724, John Cheyney and Thomas Cheyney acquired ownership to the entire tract, part of which extended into the present Thornbury township, in Chester County. The two brothers, who were the sons of John Cheyney, the settler, who died in Middletown in 1722, are the ancestors of the Cheyney family of Thornbury, and much of the original land purchased by the first of their name in the township still remains in the ownership of their descendants. Thomas Cheyney, or, as history has recorded him, "Squire," was the son of John. He was a justice of the peace, an intelligent farmer, and an active, earnest Whig during the Revolution. He it was who brought to Washington the first undoubted intelligence that the British army, under Cornwallis, had crossed the forks of the Brandywine and outflanked the Americans.1 His remains lie in the family graveyard, a short distance to the north of Cheyney Station.
|1 See ante, p. 58.|
The inhabitants of the township were doubtless the victims of much spoliation by the English troops during the time the enemy's forces were in that neighborhood, yet no account of these outrages has been preserved so far as the writer is aware. The losses sustained by the residents of Thornbury, while the British army lay encamped near Dilworthtown, from 11th to 16th of September, 1777, were considerable, although doubtless much of the loss inflicted was never presented under the act of Sept. 21, 1782, providing for the filing of claims, which privilege seemed to satisfy the consciences of the men in authority, for no other effort was ever made to pay those claims. The accounts presented from Thornbury were as follows:
Of the few men from Delaware County, who, not in the regular military or naval service of the United States, volunteered as a soldier during the Mexican war, Thornbury can claim William S. Mendenhall, who enlisted in Capt. Biddle's company. His name appeared among the list of men wounded in that war.
One of the most useful and eminent men of Eastern Pennsylvania was Joseph Hemphill, who was born in Thornbury, Delaware Co., Jan. 7, 1770. He graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1791, and began reading law with Thomas Ross, of West Chester, and was admitted to practice in August, 1793. In 1797 he was elected a member of Assembly from Chester County, and continued to represent the district until 1800, when he was elected to the Seventh Congress of the United States from the district composed of Delaware and Chester Counties. Before the expiration of his term he removed to Philadelphia, where in 1805 he was elected to the Legislature. In 1811 the District Court for the City and County of Philadelphia was established for six years, and, although Joseph Hemphill was a Federalist, Governor