The Erection Of Delaware County
instruction, the former seems to have been entirely overlooked, for a more crooked boundary-line could not have been surveyed had that been the intention of the persons making the division. Certain it is more obliging commissioners would have been difficult of selection, if tradition be accepted, for the latter states that the owners of farms in the townships of Birmingham and Thornbury were permitted to choose in which of the two counties their plantations should be placed.
From a draft in the possession of Dr. Smith, which was probably prepared from the surveys made by the commissioners, that author was enabled to glean the following interesting particulars of the manner in which the line was finally adjusted, as well as some of the representations made to the Legislature when the act was pending before that body:
"A straight line was run from the starting-point on the Brandywine to the intersection of the Goshen road by the western line, which is six miles three-quarters and fifty-four perches in length, whereas the crooked line between the same points, passing along the boundaries of the farm, cut by the straight line, and now forming the division-line between the two counties, has a length of eleven miles one quarter and nineteen perches. On a line perpendicular to the above-mentioned straight line, the court-house at West Chester is only three miles three-quarters and fifty-eight perches distant. The bearing of this perpendicular line is N. 46° W. It is charged in a note on the draft, that a member of the Legislature, while the act for a division of the county was under consideration, asserted that no part of the straight line run by the commissioners would come nearer West Chester than six miles. The court-house at West Chester lies nearly due north from the commencement of the division-line on the Brandywine, and is a little over five miles distant from that point, whereas it was alleged at the session of Legislature at which the act was passed that the distance was nine miles. From the intersection of the Goshen road and the county line to West Chester the distance in a direct line is four miles three-quarters and sixty perches, nearly, and the course N. 85° W. The shortest distance from the Street road to West Chester is nine hundred and thirty-five perches. It also appears from the draft that another division-line had been proposed. This commenced at the mouth of Davis' or Harvey's Run, on the Brandywine, and ran so as to include the whole of Thornbury township, in Chester County."1
|1 Smith's "History of Delaware County," p. 345.|
That the people of the original township of Thornbury, who, by the division-line, were included within the limits of Delaware County, were dissatisfied therewith, we learn from the proceeding of the Legislature, for, on Nov. 30, 1789, a petition way presented to that body from "the inhabitants and freeholders of the township of Thornbury, Delaware County, remonstrating against the act for erecting the said county, and praying they may be re-annexed to the county of Chester." The Legislature, it seems, had at last become weary of the constant wrangling growing out of the efforts for the removal to or retention of the seat of justice at designated localities in Chester County, which had extended over twenty years, and had now culminated in a division of the territory; they refused to further hearken to complaints, and the petition was therefore ordered to lie on the table.
After the passage of the act of Sept. 26, 1789, cresting the county of Delaware, Kerlin sold the old court and jail building Nov. 3, 1789, to the county for £693 38s. 8d.
The first election in the new county took place in October, 1789, all voters coming to Chester, where the poll for the entire territory was held. On the 12th of October, President Mifflin and the Supreme Executive Council appointed John Pearson, Thomas Levis, Richard Hill Morris, and George Pearce to be justices of the peace, and on November 7th Henry Hale Graham was commissioned president judge of the courts of Delaware County. Almost immediately thereafter it was discovered that this appointment was irregular, Graham at the time not having been commissioned as a justice of the peace, which was requisite to make him legally eligible to the position. Thereupon President Mifflin desired Graham to return his commission, which he did, and on the 9th day of the same month he was appointed a justice of the peace, and the following day, president judge in and for the county of Delaware.
The first constitution of Pennsylvania, framed by the convention which met early in July, 1776, aroused considerable opposition even at the time of its adoption, but when its crude and cumbersome provisions, after nearly fifteen years' trial, were found to bear unequally on the people, and legislative and executive authority was discovered to be sadly jumbled, the opinions became prevalent that the fraudulent law of the State required general revision. When, on March 20, 1789, Representative Wynkoop offered a resolution in the General Assembly, providing for the calling of a Constitutional Convention, there was some opposition manifested, but the measure was finally adopted March 24, 1789, the six representatives from Chester County voting in the affirmative. On September 15th the Assembly ordered the convention to assemble at Philadelphia on the fourth Tuesday of November following, and likewise directed at the next election that the several counties should select delegates thereto. Two days subsequent to the adoption of these resolutions the county of Delaware was erected; hence, at the election in October, the people of the county selected John Sellers and Henry Hale Graham to represent them in the convention. While attending the sessions of that body in Philadelphia, on Saturday, Jan. 23, 1790, Henry Hale Graham died, and on Monday following the convention appointed