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«Overbrook Farms : its historical background, Title growth and community life Tello J. D'Apéry Author text Resource Type Magee Press Publisher ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

Overbrook Farms : its historical background,

Title

growth and community life

Tello J. D'Apéry

Author

text

Resource Type

Magee Press

Publisher

Overbrook Farms, Philadelphia

Place of

Publication

Date of

Publication

English

Language

By Tello J. d'Apéry : 1st ed : Bibliography:

Notes

p. 100-101 : Inscribed by author :

Pennsylvania history on microfilm

Overbrook Farms (Philadelphia, Pa.) :

Subject Philadelphia (Pa.) -- History OCLC 28053876 Identifier Rights Statement Public PA's Past: Digital Bookshelf at Penn State Collection I created this PDF by combining four separate PDFs downloaded from the Penn State University Libraries Digital Library Collections. The link to

access the online version is:

http://collection1.libraries.psu.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/digitalbks2&CISOPTR=12765&REC=1

ADAM LEVINE

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OVERBROOK FARMS

Its Historical Background, Growth and Community Life By Tello J. d'Apery, M.D.

OVERBROOK FARMS, PHILADELPHIA

THE MAGEE PRESS

-11 " I II I I.I.. "I Ii NOTE.-If any errors are discovered in this volume, or if anyone has additional information, please communicate with Dr. Tello J. d'Ap~ry, 6370 Overbrook Avenue, Overbrook Farms, Philadelphia.

JR.

COPYRIGHT, 1936, BY GEORGE W. MAGEE, All Rights Reserved No part of this book may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without permission.in writing from th

–  –  –

VI. OLD ROADS IN AND NEAR OVERBROOKFARMS...

City Line. Merion and Darby Road. Lancaster Pike. Old Lancaster Road. Haverford Road.

VII. NEARBY STREAMS......................... 52 Mill Creek. East Branch of Indian Run. Morris Park.

VIII. THE PAOLI LOCAL

Old Columbia Railway. Pennsylvania Central Railroad. Overbrook Station. Overbrook to Paoli-Oklahoma.

IX. DEVELOPMENT OF OVERBROOK FARMS........

Work Begun. Streets Laid Out. Steam Heat Plant and Water Supply. Business Section and Churches. Trolley Lines. Advertising the Development.

X. LIFE IN THE EARLY DAYS OF OVERBROOK FARMS 76

Sports. Horse and Buggy Days. Social Life.

Fire Department. Marketing. Mail. Telegraph and Telephone.

XI. CHURCHES OF OVERBROOK FARMS............

The Overbrook Presbyterian Church. Our Lady of Lourdes. The Memorial Church of St. Paul.

XII. SOCIETIES AND CLUBS...................

The Overbrook Branch of the Needlework Guild. The Civic Club of the 34th Ward. The Overbrook Woman's Club. The Overbrook Farms Club.

REFERENCES

ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS

PAGE THE GEORGE HOMESTEAD

HOLMES' MAP OF THE PROVINCE OF PENNSYLVANIA,

1681............ 5

REED'S MAP OF THE LIBERTIES OF PHILADELPHIA, 1774

JOHNM. GEORGE

MAP OF THEGEORGEFARM, 1803.18

OLD HOUSE WHICH STOOD ON CITY LINE.21

CORNERSTONE FROM OLD TAYLOR FARMHOUSE

STONE HOUSE BUILT IN 1698 BY DAVID JONES.31 COUNTY LINE INN

MAP OF BLOCKLEY TOWNSHIP, 1850.38 COUNTY LINE, AS LAID OUT IN 1705.44

VIEW OF MERION AND DARBY ROAD.46

PLOT OF A SECTION OF LANCASTER TURNPIKE, 1806...

MAP OF ROADS IN BLOCKLEY TOWNSHIP AROUND 1760 51

OLD TAYLOR FARMHOUSE, MILL CREEK IN THE FOREGROUND.52

THE ORIGINAL PAOLILOCAL, 1832.61 OVERBROOK STATION IN 1867.61 OVERBROOK STATION, SOUTH SIDE, IN 1895.63 MAP OF OVERBROOKFARms.66

–  –  –

T W | years A ago, while visiting one of my patients who had lived in Overbrook Farms for many years, I suggested that he write a short history of this locality for the Overbrook Farms Club. Like the man who lived in the "Grand Hotel," however, he insisted nothing had happened here and, therefore, nothing of interest could be- written.

This proved rather a challenge to me and I began talking with some of the "old timers." I became so interested myself, that I decided to hunt for further information. During these two years, the quest has led me to the Historical Society, to George School near Newtown, to the Free Library of Philadelphia and to many other places, where I have read numerous books and manuscripts and have pored over old maps.

It is true that I have found nothing of great historic importance and yet, in building up the background of Overbrook Farms over a period of two hundred and fifty years, I have collected some material, which I thought would be interesting to my friends and neighbors. They will find no accounts of battles fought here or anything of a startling nature; but sometimes a glimpse into the past of a familiar place will surround it with an aura of interest and make the daily round of life a little less prosaic. I hope those who read these pages ix

INTRODUCTION





x will enjoy revisiting Sixty-thitd Street when it was a winding stream overhung with water willows or, as they wait for their train in Overbrook Station, will look up at the house on Drexel Road and see in imagination the old log cabin, which still stands beneath its plastered exterior.

Without the help of the friends who have advised and assisted me, I could not have completed this book. I am indebted to so many for valuable assistance, that I hesitate to single out any for special mention. However, I wish to acknowledge exceptional obligation to Mrs. Tello J. d'Ap~ry, Mrs. Charles F. Derby, Mrs. John H. Gut6, Miss Katherine B. Harris, Mrs. Edward G. McCollin, Miss S. Janet Sayward, Miss Margaret Sloan, Mrs. John Z. Turner, Miss Blanche Weakley, Mr. Fred J. Gorman of the State Highway Department, Mr. Lewis Jones, Mr. John P. P. Lathrop, Mr. George W. Magee, Mr. George W. Magee, Jr., Mr. James F. Magee, Jr., Mr. Francis C. Pile of George School, Mr. F. H. Price, Librarian of the Free Library of Philadelphia, Mr. Fred Fuller Shedd, Editor of the Evening Bulletin, Mr. Walter B.

Smith, Mr. Herman Wendell, Mr. Harman Yerkes, Jr., and Mr. Milton W. Young.

I have drawn freely upon Browning's "Welsh Settlement of Pennsylvania," Develin's "Historic Lower Merion and Blockley," Townsend's "The Old Main Line," MacCoy's "A History of the Plantation Commonly Called Greenhill," Glenn's "Merion in the Welsh Tract," and the manuscript copy, "Our Ancestors and Their Descendants," at George School.

Tello J. d'Apery, M.D.

Overbrook Farms, Philadelphia, March, 1936.

OVERBROOK FARMS

~I" :. I II 1 1 I~ I " :, :7

FOREWORD

OVERBROOK FARMS IN THE DAYS OF THE RED MEN

JT seems a far call from the modern homes of Overbrook Farms, with their beautifully planned gardens and lawns, to an uncharted wilderness, broken only by Indian trails. Perhaps, it might be interesting to pause in these restless, hurried days and glance backward over the quiet evolution of this section, as it changed from woodland to farmland and gradually developed into the community as we know it to-day, a part of the city and yet retaining the charm and beauty of a suburban town.

The land now occupied by Overbrook Farms was in "Coaquannock" or "The Grove of Tall Pines," which was the name applied to the territory about Philadelphia. Since our immediate section was heavily wooded and interspersed with small streams and ponds, it was a favorite hunting ground for the Red Men. Here they came over the Indian trails from the nearest village of "Metopcum," at the Falls of Schuylkill, one of their early and important fishing settlements. "Aronomink," another nearby settlement, is shown on the Dutch map of 1654-55. From the records of John Campanious, Chaplain of the Swedish settlement on the Delaware River, who visited these Indians in 1641, we learn something of the nature of the country.

Page 1

OVERBROOK FARMS

–  –  –

WELSH SETTLEMENT OF PENNSYLVANIA

vIE germ of the history of Overbrook Farms was in | t the advent of Quakerism in Wales. When George Fox, the founder of the Society of Friends, journeyed into Wales in 1657, preaching his new faith, he found a ready response to his message. From the distant county of Denbighshire came John ap John and a member of his congregation to listen to Fox, perhaps with the doubt with which one approaches all new faiths. The result of this mission is told by Fox in his Journal: "But when these triers came down amongst us, the power of the Lord seized on them, and they were both convinced of the truth. So they stayed sometime with us, and then returned to Wales;

where afterwards one of them departed from his convincement; but the other, whose name was John ap John, abode in the truth, and received a part in the ministry in which he continued faithful."

John ap John thus became the founder of Quakerism in Wales and a regular system of meetings was soon established. As the movement spread throughout Wales, persecution of the Friends increased to a very great degree.

Penn, at this time a prominent minister in the Society of Page 3 0~~~~~~~

OVERBROOK FARMS

Friends, had received his Royal Grant for the territory in America called "Pennsylvania," and had advertised among the Friends for settlers, promising them a place to establish their homes, where they could enjoy complete religious freedom. John ap John with a committee of Welsh Friends went to London in 1681 to interview William Penn. The Welsh, as represented by this committee, were the first to take advantage of the opportunity.

Penn promised the committee, if they would induce the members of their Monthly Meetings to buy his land, that they might establish a Welsh "Barony" which should have religious freedom and complete local self-government, as well as direct representation in the Provincial Assembly.

Through this committee 30,000 acres were purchased in Pennsylvania and deeds were made out to the heads of the seven "companies," or groups of emigrants. Additional land was later taken by the Welsh, making their total purchase 50,000 acres, which was long known as the "Welsh Tract," which included Lower Merion Township. The settlers came in great numbers, and though their dream of complete self-government was not actually realized, they did form a separate and distinct unit. We still have reminders of their "Barony" in the vast number of Welsh names retained throughout this region, such as Merion, Radnor, Cynwyd, Bryn Mawr and Haverford.

WILLIAM AP EDWARD

The First Company of Welsh Quakers, comprising seventeen families was under the leadership of Dr. Edward Jones, who sailed for America in May, 1682, with four of these i From Holmes' Map of the Province of Pennsylvania. Showing the Original Purchasers from William Penn in 1681. Overbrook Farms is Part of the Liberty Lands.

EARLY HISTORY OF OVERBROOK FARMS 5~

families, their servants and farm-hands, on the ship, "Lyon," with John Compton as master. The passengers on this first ship numbered forty persons; among them was the original owner of Overbrook Farms, William ap Edward, with his wife, Jane, and two daughters of a former marriage.

He was the son of Edward ap John of Cynlas, Wales and was described as a yeoman. He was also known as "William Bedward," "ap" and "ab" being interchangeable, and meaning "son of." According to the Welsh custom, his son inverted the name, and since then the family has assumed the name of Williams.

This group of Welsh settlers landed at Upland (Chester) on August 13, 1682, two months before William Penn arrived in the "Welcome." The place later to become Philadelphia was then a wooded river bank, with a few caves and log houses occupied principally by Swedes. Upon William Penn's arrival, the site of the City of Philadelphia was selected and the First Company of Welsh received their grant of 5,000 acres purchased from William Penn in London, in May, 1681 and known as "Edward Jones' Land Patent." This was the first land laid out beyond the Schuylkill, and the First Company of Welsh were the founders of Merion Township and of the Merion Meeting.

The first homes of the early settlers were crude walled caves, roofed with branches of trees and earth, and later log houses were built, very often with the original caves as foundations. Their hardships were many, but they were spared the fear of Indian attacks, which harassed the lives of early American settlers in other parts of the country.

The Indians in this vicinity were in every way kindly and friendly neighbors.

OVERBROOK FARMS

The name "Liberty Lands" was given to the territory located across the Schuylkill from the '4Great Towne" of Philadelphia. It was first intended that the original city should cover 10,000 acres, but the quadrilateral laid out by the surveyor between the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers contained only 1,280 acres. William Penn had provided that for every 500 acres of country land purchased from him, the buyer was to receive as a bonus, 10 acres in the city.

The reduction in the actual size of Philadelphia made this arrangement impossible. In order that Penn's promise might be carried out, the so-called "Liberties," or areas of free land, were established. This territory was consolidated with the City of Philadelphia in 1854.

William ap Edward, or William Edward, lived on his original purchase along the Schuylkill only ten years, selling it, 6th month, 17, 1694, to Hugh Roberts, whose land joined his on the north.



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