Home : Quarterly Archives : Volume 12
Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
Source: April 1962 Volume 12 Number 1, Pages 2–12
Mount Pleasant Village and Carr School
When James Carr built his home in 1804, there were two paths which crossed in front of the house, showing that not everybody had forgotten that part of the country. Probably the only other neighbor close by was John Henry, and he was not too close. But as time went by, people came to the spot on the top of the hill where the two paths met. Soon there sprang up a community around this intersection which was self-supporting and rather independent of the other settlements around the hill, so that in time this settlement came to be known as the "Hill", and the inhabitants were called the "Hillians". Later the village was referred to as Carr's Hill, and today it is referred to as Mt. Pleasant. The name "Mount Pleasant" may be strictly a geographical name, as were the previous names, since there is no other known origin of the name.
As the settlers moved into the Hill community, each had to build his own home, dig his own well for water, and provide the other necessities of the times. The usual occupation was agriculture, but attempts at mining were made for the get-rich-quick dreams which the settlers had at first. James Carr and his boys dug for ore, and found a few specimens but not enough to pay for their labor. None of the dreams materialized and the mining disappeared quickly.
It was about the year 1830 or 1831 that the residents of this vicinity decided that the best interests of the neighborhood demanded additional educational facilities. Public schools were then few and far between, the children of the lower Tredyffrin District were obliged to travel as much as two and a half miles to reach the nearest school. There was a school at Gulph Mills, one at Eagle and also one at Conestoga Road in Radnor Township, Delaware County. This school stood within a few feet of the Baptist Church and Burying Grounds, now included in the town of Wayne.
The Carr School was built by local contributions,and court records show that the school and graveyard lands were given by Jesse Wharton, James Carr and Stephen Stevens and although the entire plot of ground doesn't embrace more than one and a fourth acres, it represented an ownership of three parties at the point selected for the school.
The Carr School and Union Chapel is situated on the north side of Gulph Road, east of Radnor Road, between Valley View and Mt. Pleasant Avenues. The deed stated that the building be used as a non-sectarian Chapel as well as a school.
The location having been chosen, the work of building was next in order--the small sum of money necessary to purchase the few materials needed was secured. The stone for the walls was taken from a nearby quarry and the split shingles and plastering laths were secured from the Chestnut trees that stood but a few feet away. The white pine for the floor and the twelve desks and benches weren't nearby products and doubtless were brought by horses from some point on the Schuylkill or Delaware Rivers (the only way this valuable timber could have been secured from the upstate mills - the one source of supply). The stone work of the building represented the major feature and to a mason was given the contract, John Aiken. The wage agreed on was $1.50 per day on a ten-hour basis. Just when the schoolhouse was completed is not known definitely at this late date, but doubtless it took a year to complete the job as it was done largely by farmers who were able to devote only a small part of their time to the task.
It opened as a private pay school with a fee for each year, and was continued as such until 1840 when it became a public school. The first teacher installed was a man named Vincent. He was a rigid disciplinarian, and believed to "Spare the rod meant spoil the child." There was always a good supply of hickory sticks, end the big boys had a "tender" respect for him. Another early school master was Jacob Mullen, then followed many teachers, both male and female, with a great variance in education and disposition.
The tasks assigned the teachers of those days were rather arduous; they worked at the wood pile, made and kept the fire, shoveled snow, made quill pens, etc. Various books and supplies came from the parents. Red juice of poke berries was often used as ink.
The Carr School, as it was called, supplied a classroom for the children during the week, and a meeting room for civic, social and religious meetings in the evenings and on weekends. At first the graveyard served as a playground, and during the wars it was a practice field for marching.
Around 1867 the need for a newer school was felt, and in 1868 the old Carr School was closed with the opening of the new Carr School, or the Mt. Pleasant School, just across Valley View Road. The new school was a frame structure with two classrooms on the first floor and one teacher for the eight grades of children. The student body averaged about 35 students. A second-floor classroom was finished later, but the school had to expand more, requiring the reopening of the old Carr School in 1880. In 1907 the Old Carr School was used exclusively while a new Mt. Pleasant School was being built on the site of the 2nd. Carr or "Old Mt. Pleasant" School.
This new building was much larger than the other, and was of stone like the original Carr School. This building is still in use today, but not as a school.
The Carr School building was referred to as the Union Chapel on Sundays since it was non-denominational. Ministers from the various communities and churches came on Sundays to deliver their messages. From 1898 to 1924 there were no church services. The year 1898 is important in that it was the year the Wayne Presbyterian Church gave up trying to take over the Chapel for their own services and built their own chapel further down the road. (the Grace Memorial Chapel). There were,in addition to the Chapel services, revival meetings held at the house. The first of the people to be converted were the Supplee brothers. They celebrated this occasion each year with an anniversary until the last of the brothers, Peter, died in 1891. The graveyard in back of the Carr School was then named for the brothers, and today there is a monument standing in honor of these boys.
Today, after many changes, the Chapel still stands, and is still used. The name has been changed from the Carr Union Chapel to the Mt. Pleasant Union Chapel, and to the North Wayne Union Chapel. The entrance has been changed, there has been a porch and shed added, and the one room inside is now filled with a permanent set-up, but all in all the spirit is still there. When it was built it was a community project and community property, and it filled its purpose of keeping the residents close together. Now there is a new project for the community which keeps it together, the recreational center, but the old school-house still stands as a symbol to the people of the village.
Most of the original families were white, but now most of the residents are negro, and all through the years the community has been integrated, yet there appear to be no problems, for the working together to pool all efforts has continued to produce marvelous results. There have been conflicts, but most of them have been cleared up by civic groups if the problem was one of that nature, otherwise an appeal was sent for outside help, such as the township.
Before we leave the subject of the Mt. Pleasant Village and its schools here is a notice that appeared in the local papers that should be of interest:
Notice of sale of unused land and building:- Notice is hereby given on behalf of Tredyffrin School District, Chester County, Pennsylvania, that sealed bids will be received on Thursday, November 15, 1951 (December 11, 1952) at 8.00 P.M. at the regular meeting of the School Board of Tredyffrin School District, Chester County, Pennsylvania, at its office and meeting place in the Easttown School, Berwyn, Pennsylvania, for the sale as a whole of the following tract of land:
All that certain lot or piece of land with the building thereon erected known as Mount Pleasant School situate in the Township of Tredyffrin, County of Chester, and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, bounded and described in deed conveying said land to Tredyffrin School District and recorded January 14,1869, in deed book 07 volume 161 page 90 in the office of the Recorder of Deeds in and for Chester County Pennsylvania as follows: Beginning at a marble stone in the middle of the Gulf Road one foot and seven tenths south of another stone a corner of this and land of Alexander Anderson, and in line of lands of the heirs of the late Samuel Knight, thence by said line, by said Gulf Road, north eighty two degrees twenty minutes west ten perches thirty eight one-hundredths to a marble stone, thence by lands of John Davis north thirteen degrees fifty minutes west sixteen perches to a marble stone a corner, thence by land of the afore-said John Davis north eighty degrees twenty minutes east ten perches thirty eight one-hundredths to a marble stone a corner, thence by land of Alexander Anderson afore-said south thirteen degrees fifty minutes sixteen perches to the place of beginning. Containing one acre of ground be the same more or less.
Under subject to the following terms and conditions: All bids must be in the hands of Dr. D. J. Rosato, Secretary of Tredyffrin School District, at the office of said School District in the Easttown School, Berwyn, Pennsylvania, on or before 8.00 P.M. Thursday November 15, 1951 (December 11, 1952). A deposit shall accompany said bids either in cash or a certified check to the order of Tredyffrin School District for an amount equivalent to ten per cent of the amount so bid.
Title to said land to be free and clear of heirs and such as will be insured by any reputable title company.
Settlement to be made within a period of sixty days after the acceptance of said bid.
Possession, to be given at the time of settlement.
The balance of said bid to be paid in cash at the time of settlement.
The Tredyffrin School District specifically reserves the right to reject any or all said bids solely in its own discretion and all of said bids rejected will be rejected within ten days from November 15, 1951 (December 11, 1952).
Tredyffrin School District Wm. B. Brosius, President, Dr. D.J. Rosato, Secretary, Raymond S. Shortlidge, Solicitor.
Miss Mazie Hall is presently teaching school in Camden, New Jersey. In 1932 she taught in the Mt. Pleasant School for one year. Miss Hall is very active in all community projects and takes an active interest in all the residents of Mt. Pleasant and their welfare. She works with the Community Center, and was at one time head of the recreation activities, and was active in the civic groups as they came and went, and promotes garden clubs and other clubs of similar purpose. Some of the information given by Miss Hall follows:
"A few years ago there was a door-to-door census of Mt. Pleasant by Miss Hall, producing a count of about 600 people in Mt. Pleasant. At that time there were only two stores and two churches. The First Baptist Church of Mt. Pleasant is over thirty years old; having been granted a charter January l, 1930. The document is at the office of the Recorder of Deeds, George W. Klenk. Trustees: Robert Harris, James Harris, Homer McClain, J.W. Saunders, Claire Nelson Robinson, Leslie Stuart and Robert
Saunders. It is a branch of the Second Baptist Church of Wayne. It is the only active church in the community at this time, and now has a new building. Of the two stores, Hobsen's was the first, being started by the father, John Hobsen, who handed it over to his sons when he died. Thomas Hobsen was the first of the sons to run the store. He is presently the owner of the Peacock Gardens. Frederick Hobsen was the second son to take over the business. He was killed in the war. Mr. Hubert J. Roberts is presently running the store; he is the husband of Mary Hobsen. The second store was owned by Andrew Laudon and after him W.K. Smith who sold the store to someone who turned it into a taproom. The taproom as such has gone through many proprietors, up to the present Jose Reed. Other commercial industries are: Hungerford Insulation, Inc., Mackey Plumbing, Wolf & Hale, Carpenters.
Most of the people of Mt. Pleasant now are not of the first families of Mt. Pleasant, some of the descendants are still living here though. Some of the original families still living here are: Williams, Holliday, Galloway, Jones, Hall, Young, Smith and Long. Some of the original family names are on Henry Avenue; Eliza and William Young, Edwin and Elizabeth Carter, Peter James and Mary Smith, Robert and Saddie Ford, William and Carrie Hall, Thomas and Sarah Smith; on Mt. Pleasant Avenue, the Marshall Hollidays, Alfred Williams', Lewis Noblitt, who had twelve children, John Simes, Lynell and Alice Patterson. John Henry, James P. Wack (father of the Norman Wack of Wayne), J. M. Rossiter (son-in-law of John Henry), James Galloway, Sidney Wells, William Gross, the Slaughters, John Jones, Doucrates, Prank Long, Joseph Holly and Robert Harris, who had a large family. John Henry owned at one time most of the land now known as Mt. Pleasant.
Many residents have finished college and work in government or other positions. Norman Wack is a pharmacist in Wayne. Lawrence Lee graduated from Temple University, and Robert Lee also graduated from college. Miss Ida Marie Sharpe received a full four-year scholarship to Immaculata College, just recently.
Some of the former residents of Mt. Pleasant are: Mrs. Anna Redick, retired teacher in Wayne; Mrs. Marbella Dansbury, teacher in Haddonfield, N.J. , sister of Mrs. Clarence Smith, both of the Williams family; Peter James Smith, III, dentist in Reading, Jowell Clemens Smith, a Doctor of Medicine in Washington, D. C. Miss Hilda Green, teacher in the Philadelphia School System; Miss Mazie Hall, teacher in Camden, N.J.; George Harris, Philadelphia teacher.
Going outside the First Baptist Church of Mt, Pleasant, some of the residents find their religious beliefs supported by the Second Baptist Church on Highland Avenue in Wayne, by the St. Johns A.M.E. Church on West Wayne Avenue, and a very few by the Highway Mission in Howellville.
The politics of Mt. Pleasant are mixed.
In the past few years the Union Chapel has only had special meetings, and Mrs. Sarah Kromer has shown great interest in it.
Notes gathered from newspapers, old school records and history books:
School Roster of the Carr School in the year 1868: Children from the families of Owen, Cook, Whiteford, Given, Parker, Dillin, Mullen, Brower, Wilder, McKeone, Baker, Roberts, Rossiter, Hoblit, Weadley, Feltz, Small, Homsher, Cornog, Buley, Murray, Buzby, Haskins, Morris, Cunningham.
April 9, 1881
April 10, 1881
April 19, 1884
December 6, 1884
November 26, 1888
February 15, 1889
July 7, 1932
The Board gave the local bidders every opportunity for bidding on the jobs, and as required by the School Board Code had to make the awards to the lowest bidder.
March 20, 1951
Fire Chief Edward Clark of Radnor, one of the first on the scene, directed the efforts of the Radnor company in quelling the flames. Stored in the building were thousands of dollars worth of building equipment for the Strafford School, under construction one mile west of the abandoned building.
Firemen found the entrance to the building barred with heavy padlocks and were forced to break them to gain entrance into the building and to search for spreading flames. The fire was discovered by a neighbor who telephoned in the alarm to the Radnor Fire Company. The estimated damage was placed at $700.00 by the firemen.
Mt. Pleasant Recreational Center
The first mention of a Community Recreational Center at Mt. Pleasant is this excerpt from a local paper June 9, 1949:
"It was announced at a meeting held Wednesday, June l, by the Mount Pleasant Recreational Committee, that over $200.00 has been raised by local citizens to put the playfield adjoining the school in condition for baseball and other games.
The program of activities will start again this summer on Tuesday, July 5th. The morning program will be for younger boys and girls 4 - 1 2 years of age. The evening schedule will be for teenage boys and girls and will include special events for all members of the Mt. Pleasant community.
May 7, 1954
The citizens of the community have formed an association and with virtually every family contributing, have raised a fund for the erection of a small community house on Paul Field. The proposed Community House will have a general meeting room measuring thirty by sixty feet with a stage and baseball floor. There will also be a small committee room. In order to help with the raising of additional funds, the Ladies' Sewing Circle of Valley Meeting will hold a supper and auction with a white elephant and sacrifice sale afterward on the evening of May 21, 1954. The Footlighters of Wayne will give a benefit performance in the autumn.
The estimated cost is $6000.00 with a large proportion of the work being done on a volunteer basis by the residents of the community. Between $3000.00 and $4000.00 has been pledged and it is hoped that the other neighboring communities will assist in raising the remainder.
Mr. William Blattenberger is Chairman of the Building Committee, Mr. Oskar Stenerov, the well-known architect, has donated his services and Mr. Donald Archer, Executive Secretary of Ardmore Y.M.C.A. has general supervision of the project.
Mr. Baghorn is the President or Chairman of the Mount Pleasant Recreation Center. The Center was started in 1950, with the main building assembled in 1955 and an addition added in 1958. The Center is completely self-supporting with the Main Line Y.M.C.A handling the money end of it, although all the money is furnished by the community itself. Some of the activities of the Center are teas, barbecues, and fairs. With the center is the Paul Athletic Field where the older children expend their energy in ball games. An annual flower show is held to stimulate interest in growing vegetables and flowers. There is also a summer vacation Bible School at the Center which is a six-week program for the younger boys and girls. Today Mr. Jowell C. Smith is the active program Chairman and has twenty men on his committee working with him.
Some of the other organizations of the community are: the Gun and Rod club, the Ridge Garden Club, Civic Clubs at various times, and other social groupings, but most of the people of the community are now active in the Recreation Center which meets most of their varied needs and interests.Top
From Around the Boundaries of Chester County by W. W. MacElree Chester County Place Names by Edward Pinkowski Historic Marker Survey 1935
'The Village Reader' from the pen of an old resident "Tredyffrin and Radnor"
'Suburban' 12/1/1939 "The Old Carr School House in Tredyffrin" by Capt. John W. Dillin
Archives "Supplee Cemetery" by Charles Barker Tredyffrin-Easttown History Club Quarterly Vol.II, No.4, Oct. 1939 Clippings from local papers: 'Upper Main Line News' and 'West Chester Daily Local'
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