Question of the Week

In 1687, the Morris family of Philadelphia opened one of the city's first businesses. What kind of business was it?

Sunday, 4/8/12

Answer:  A brewery


One of Philadelphia's earliest breweries, The Francis Perot’s Sons Malting Company, was established on Front Street near the Delaware River in 1687 by Anthony Morris, who originally came over on the good ship “Welcome” with William Penn. The brewery remained in the Morris family's hands until the 1820s, when it was turned over to Francis Perot. A successful brewer in his own right, Perot had apprenticed under the Morrises and had become part of the family through his 1823 marriage to Elizabeth Marshall Morris.

Perot went into a partnership with his brother, William, and in 1850, the Perots quit brewing altogether and focused solely on malting, the process of turning barley seed into malt, one of the primary components of beer. After William Perot retired in 1868, his brother continued his malting business with one of his sons, T. Morris Perot, and his son-in law, Edward H. Ogden, under the name Francis Perot’s Sons Malting Company. The company remained in Philadelphia until 1907, when the Perots moved their business to Buffalo, New York, where they were able to produce better products at larger capacities.

Image:  Francis Perot print (circa 1890)


Morris Brewery

Interesting insight into the Morris Family and the early days of the long history of brewing, which grew into a major industry in Philadelphia before dying out in the latter half of the 20th Century. Is there any record of who was the very first commercial brewer in the City? I guess that many early settlers were home brewers.

Morris Brewery

You're correct in stating that home brewery was a popular thing to do among early settlers in our area. Personally, I've read reports that one William Framton (or Frampton) established a brewery along the Delaware River in the 1680s, before the Morris family did. It's possible that our collection of Penn family papers (#485A) contains information on early breweries, but our collection of Morris family papers (#2000B), as well as our Perot family papers (#1886), do have some documentation the history of the Morris's brewery, which was among the first well-known breweries in the area.

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