Once again I was searching through my family trees and I noticed that there were quite a few photos of the homes that my ancestors had lived in. Some of them were built way back in the early 1600s. They varied in size, style, and construction material. They are all as equally unique as each of my ancestors!
The land upon which the Morgan Log House stands in Gwynedd, Pennsylvania, was deeded to the Commissioners of William Penn. It was granted as part of a 600 acre patent to a merchant named Griffith Jones on February 12, 1702. Six year later, on February 26, 1708, a Welshman named Edward Morgan, my 8th Great Grandfather, purchased 309 acres of land from Mr. Jones. In this transaction an existing “dwelling house” is recorded. Edward was a tailor by trade and was advanced in age. On August 23, 1723, Edward Morgan deeded 104 acres to his son John Morgan, my 7th Great Grandfather. This 104 acre tract included the land that contained the house.
This 1695 medieval, 2 1/2-story log house, the only one of its kind still surviving in America, was built by grandparents of Daniel Boone, the frontiersman, and forebears of General Daniel Morgan famed Revolutionary War “raider.”
The Shawnee, Saluda and Delaware Indians were the first settlers in Lower Merion, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania long before the coming of Europeans. The Dutch came, not as colonizers, but as traders. In 1633, they established an extensive fur trade with the Indians, and in 1648 bought from them a tract, supposed to have been near Gray’s Ferry, on which a fort, called “Beversrede,” was soon completed.
Then in 1638 the Swedes arrived. Unlike the Dutch, they came prepared to found a colony. Others followed, and in 1643, their settlements were extended to Tinicum island, near the Schuylkill’s mouth, where, under Governor Johan Printz, had built a mansion house, a fort and dwellings, and called the place “New Gothenborg.” The same year, they built a grist mill on Cobb’s creek, and a Meeting House.
They lived here for about 40 years before the arrival of William Penn. Along with Penn came the Quakers and for many years they lived peaceably, side by side. A few Indian names have survived in the geography of the state. One of the purchases of land made by William Penn in 1683 was described as beginning “on ye West side of Manaiunk, called Consohockhan.” Two years later, the Indians conveyed to him all the lands lying between Chester and Pennypack creeks.The compact made between William Penn and the Indians, under the treaty elm at Shackamaxon, ensured peace for more than seventy years.
The countryside was full of deer, fowls, and birds. The waters which were abundant in the area was full of fish. “Hogs” roamed the woods and hunting them brought much needed meat to the tables of the increasing number of newcomers.
When Penn sailed up the Delaware, in 1682, there were probably 1000 Dutch, Swedes, English and Germans settled within the present limits of Pennsylvania. Not long after Penn’s move to Delaware did William Warner, ancestor of the Warner family of Lower Merion and of many other places, built a mansion here. He called his place “Blockley,” which name was afterwards extended to the surrounding township.
In December 1688, John Blackwell became Deputy Governor and disagreements soon occurred between him and Thomas Lloyd, a Welshman, who had been President of Council. In the spring of 1689, Lloyd appeared before Council, to say to object to the town of Lower Merion being incorporated into Chester, County. After much debate the matter was dropped.
Burial Grounds of Thomas and Elizabeth Lloyd
The above mentioned Thomas Lloyd is my 8th Great Grandfather. He was born in 1670 in Cynlas, Merionethshire, Wales, and he emigrated to the Lower Merion Pennsylvania area in 1683. Here he married Elizabeth Williams (1672-1748) on August 8, 1700, at the Radnor Monthly Friends Meeting in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. They had 6 children, 3 sons, and 3 daughters. Thomas continued to serve as the President of the Council until 1720. He was a prosperous farmer. He died in 1741 in Lower Merion, at the age of 71.
Lancaster is one of the oldest inland cities in the United States. It is 71 miles west of Philadelphia and is snuggled along the north and west by the mighty Susquehanna River. German immigrants, known as Pennsylvania Dutch, were the first to settle in the area in 1709. At that time it was known as “Hickory Town”. The Honorable James Hamilton laid it out in building lots and out lots, and on May 10, 1729, it became the county seat. John Wright, a prominent citizen, gave it the name “Lancaster” after Lancaster, England where he formerly lived. The city is known as the “Red Rose City” due to its link to the one in England. Lancaster became a borough in 1742.
Lancaster was one of seventeen original townships in Lancaster County. It was the smallest of the townships with its boundaries defined by the Conestoga River, Manor Township, the Little Conestoga Creek, (East) Hempfield Township, and Manheim Township. A two-mile square was later cut out of the northern part of Lancaster Township to create the county seat and Lancaster City. Early settlers started moving to the area in 1717 following the “new surveys.” With the establishment of the county seat came an influx of merchants, physicians, and lawyers and the Township’s population grew to approximately 200 people. The development of the Township was strongly influenced by the growth of Lancaster City.
Between 1730 and 1742 the major tracts of land were almost all laid out in residential lots, each with their own street patterns. In 1744, Lancaster served as the meeting place of the treaty-making sessions among the Six Nations of Indians and the colonies of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. Visitors to the area were greatly impressed by the sophistication of this town in the wilderness. By 1760 Lancaster had become a borough of major importance in colonial America, economically, politically, and socially. A large number of skilled artisans and mechanics moved to the area, who, coupled with established industries and experienced merchants, thrust Lancaster into the role of making and supplying goods for the French and Indian Wars, the Revolutionary War, and the subsequent westward expansion.
The area that became Lancaster County was part of William Penn’s 1681 charter. John Kennerly received the first recorded deed from Penn in 1691. Although Matthias Kreider was said to have been in the area as early as 1691, there is no evidence that any Europeans settled in Lancaster County before 1710. The oldest surviving dwelling of European settlers in the county is that of Mennonite Bishop Hans Herr, built in 1719.
Sarah Dyer, my 5th Great Grandmother, was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on June 1, 1716. She is the only proven child of John Dyer (1687-1761) and Hannah Green (1701-1780). She married George Hayes (1714-1747) on June 1, 1730, when she was 14 years old and George was 16. They had 6 children, 4 sons, and 2 daughters. I descend from two of their children, Thomas (1740-1829) and Molly (1742-1829). The family moved to Virginia sometime before 1742. Her husband died in 1747, leaving Sarah to raise the children, ranging in age between 3 and 13 years old, by herself. She passed away on June 1, 1800, at the age of 84.
In 1681, King Charles II handed over a large piece of his North American land holdings along the North Atlantic Ocean coast to Penn to pay the debts the king had owed to Penn’s father. This land included the present-day states of Pennsylvania and Delaware. William Penn purchased the area known as Paxtang, or “Paxto” from the Lenape Tribe.
In 1729 Paxtang Township of Lancaster County was established. The spelling “Paxtang” is from the original Indian name Peshtank, which meant “standing water”. The word “Paxton” is used today instead of Paxtang. Settling within the township during its colonial period were many German and Scotch-Irish immigrants. They established several farms and settlements throughout the area.
Paxtang is the site where Presbyterian Scots-Irish frontiersmen organized the Paxton Boys, a vigilante group that murdered twenty Native Americans in the Conestoga Massacre. On December 14, 1763, more than 50 Paxton Boys rode to the settlement near Millersville, Pennsylvania. They murdered six Natives and burned their cabin. Governor John Penn placed the remaining fourteen Conestogas in protective custody in Lancaster, but the Paxton Boys broke in, killed all fourteen people on December 27, 1763. In January 1764, 140 Natives living peacefully in eastern Pennsylvania fled to Philadelphia for protection. The Paxton Boys marched on Philadelphia in January 1764 with about 250 men. British troops and the Philadelphia militia prevented them from doing more violence.
Paxtang is home to the Old Paxton Church, one of the earliest in the area. It was built in 1740, the church is the oldest Presbyterian Church building in continuous use in Pennsylvania, and the second oldest in the United States. In 1726, the Rev. James Anderson of Donegal, Pennsylvania, became the first regular preacher. The history of the church is interwoven with the history of central colonial Pennsylvania.
In 1732, the congregation was officially organized as a Presbyterian Church by the Presbytery of Donegal, with the Rev. William Bertram as the first installed pastor. The Rev. John Elder, the “Fighting Parson,” became pastor in 1738. He was pastor during the French and Indian War and Revolutionary War and served as a commissioned officer. The present stone sanctuary was erected in 1740, replacing a log meeting house which had previously served as the place of worship. A stone marker south of the sanctuary indicates the site of the log building. A replica of the log meeting house was erected north of the present sanctuary.
Adjacent to the church is a historic cemetery. Here lie the bodies of soldiers of the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. People who molded the early religious and political character of America are buried here, including John Harris II, William Maclay, the first United States senator from Pennsylvania, and four of the six commissioners who planned the town of Harrisburg with him in 1785. Ministers, legislators, farmers, teachers, men of affairs, and enslaved African Americans are buried here.
Elizabeth Moore, my 6th Great Aunt, was born in 1735 in Paxtang. She is the fourth of five children born to William Moore (1705-1767) and Mary Wickesham (1706-1763). She married James Forster (1728-1800) who was also born in Paxtang in 1757. They had 8 children, 4 sons, and 4 daughters. James served in the Revolutionary War as a member of the Liberty Company of Londonderry and a Frontiersman in 1775. Elizabeth died in 1805 at the age of 70.