Settled by Europeans in the early 18th century, the Borough of Downingtown (Chester County) was once located on the western frontier of Pennsylvania. In fact, the original name of Downingtown was Milltown because it was the last place you would see mills on your way West. Despite its initial remote location, Downingtown quickly became a hub of activity. Located on East Branch Brandywine Creek, mills prospered there in the 18th century.
The area that is now known as Marple Township in Delaware County, Pennsylvania was purchased by a group of Quakers from the Cheshire region of England looking to build a new life for themselves. Francis Stanfield, Jonathon Hayes, and John Howell purchased the largest amounts of land in this area. It is thought by many that Marple Township received its name from the place in England in which Stanfield’s youngest daughter had been born, Marpool (today known as Marple, near Manchester in the United Kingdom).
Although European settlers had been living in the area of Nether Providence Township (Delaware County, Pennsylvania) since the mid-1600s, Nether Providence Township was established in the late 1680s when Providence Township was split into Upper and Nether Providence townships. Nether Providence was initially a farming community, but quickly emerged as a manufacturing center laden with various types of mills due to its location between Crum Creek and Ridley Creek.
Large numbers of Irish immigrants came to the United States in the second half of the 19th century seeking better opportunities. Many of them settled in the large cities they arrived in because they did not have enough money to travel very far. During the 1870s, several members of Michael Kelly and Mary (Loughnane) Kelly’s family immigrated to Philadelphia, including their daughters Mary Ann, Margaret, and Sarah. Mary Ann soon met and married Dennis O’Brien.
History buff, school teacher, musician, radio commentator, collector- Christian Carmack Sanderson (1882-1966) donned all of these hats and more! Born in Port Providence, Pennsylvania (Upper Providence Township, Montgomery County), Sanderson lived in and around that area until he went to West Chester Normal School (now West Chester University) in the fall of 1898.
During the second half of the 19th century, Philadelphia was known as “The Workshop of the World.” Unlike many other cities in the United States that had become known for a particular industry, Philadelphia was known for its variety of industry, especially in the area north of Market Street and east of 10th Street, part of Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood. Among these streets one could find clock manufacturers, tin and sheet iron factories, shoe factories, toy factories, and several other manufacturing companies.
Sellersville, Bucks County, Pennsylvania is named for one of its prominent citizens, Samuel Sellers. In the 18th century, Sellers built and operated Sellers’ Tavern on the main road in town and also served in the Pennsylvania legislature and as a sheriff for Bucks County. The tavern built by Sellers was a focal point around which the rest of the community grew, and it even served as the town’s post office for many years.
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 2005, the Mill at Anselma has a history spanning over 250 years. Some of its original mechanisms are still in place along with other equipment used from the late 1700s to the early 1900s. As a result, you can see some of the progression of the milling industry in the mill’s moving parts. The best part is that the mill still functions today!
When it comes to archival records and manuscripts, the Radnor Historical Society in Delaware County, Pennsylvania has a little bit of everything. Its collections include business records, school records, family papers, subject files, glass plate negatives, maps, and the records of a variety of local clubs and associations.
When researching family history, there are a variety of resources through which genealogists can discover information. Some of the most popular materials used include vital records, census records, and ship passenger lists. Another information resource, which many would not initially think to use, is school records.