Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
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Source: October 1970 Volume 15 Number 4, Pages 74–79

A Brief Glimpse of East Whiteland

Elinor Janney Detterline

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Originally Whiteland Township, and organized as such in 1704, the citizens later petitioned the Court for a division which was granted in 1765.

In order to quickly give a resume of the history and people, a minds' eye tour on present roads will be used. This will not only give an historic approach, but also make you aware of what you are seeing in your daily travels in the Township. Let's begin from East to West, beginning at the southern portion of the Township.

King Road, originally Indian King Road, which led to the Indian King which was situated approximately where the present King and Boot Roads intersect, just east of Rt. 100. Also The Kings Road. This road emerges from the Borough of Malvern and proceeds to Rte. 352 (Chester Road, Sproul Road). This is Three Tuns, being the meeting place of East Goshen, Willistown and East Whiteland Townships. On the far left corner (south west corner) is the Three Tuns Tavern, now a private residence. During the Battle of the Clouds, this was the left end of the American lines, facing southwardly toward the British at Hershey Mill. Continuing just past the William-Henry Apartments, on the left (south), a farm. Here is the Templeton log barn, purportedly the oldest in Chester County. On the campus of Immaculata (Both sides of the road), particularly on the left (south), were fought several skirmishes, later known under the misnomer of "Battle of the Clouds."

LINCOLN HIGHWAY (formerly LANCASTER PIKE). Laid out in 1732, with work begun in 1793 and completed in 1795. Called the oldest Turnpike in Penna. The original layout was not its present course, the road coming out of Malvern on what is now the Old Lincoln Highway. A toll house still remains, now the dwelling of Mr. Trout, on the right hand side (east) approximately on the Borough - East Whiteland Township line. The road hugged the shouldor of the South Valley Hills, slightly north of the present road, and on to the General Warren Inn with its burial lot, where the last interment was in 1786, passing the Warren Shops at the foot of Warren Road. The original cluster of buildings was north of the present road, in what was a meadow before the railroad.

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The present shops were built about 1800 and here a blacksmith, wheel­wright etc. held forth. Samuel Davis in 1812 had his home and smith shop here. The present General Warren was built in 1831 after a fire. It had been known as the Admiral Vernon, the Admiral Warren, and at one time this small village was considered a possibility for the County Seat, although Turks Head (West Chester) was ultimately chosen. In 1745 George Aston built an Inn at this location, and had a license to operate such an establishment. Dipping into the Valley, the road continued in a westwardly direction. On the north side, at the 21st mile stone, was the boarding school "Whiteland Boarding School for Girls"; in 1853 run by Yardley Warner, and using Warren P.O. as a mailing address. Also on the north side, where Brackbill's live, behind their recent road stand, Randall Malin had a tannery. Troops of Washington are supposed to have camped between this Malin residence and Malin Hall (on Malin'Road). West of Malins, just before one reaches Malin Road, there was a private school (Possibly the one referred to above). On the south side of the Highway, up Hood Road, was the East Whiteland Friends Meeting, built on ground given for the purpose by Randall Malin. The old burial ground is there too. 1787 is the date of the first recorded marriage. This meeting house has been demolished. In the same area, on the southside of the tracks, at the dead-end of Sugartown Rd., is the burial ground of cholera-stricken men who were working on the railroad. Returning to the highway, and continuing in a westwardly direction, and on the north side, is the old Men­kins residence, built not much later than 1700. It later became the Phillip Garrett property, and currently Robert Bruce has tried to have zoning changed for townhouses on this property. On the southside is currently The Importer [and recently Parrish's anti­ques], but for a long time was the Francis Lathrop property. This belonged to William Hibberd, and was a part of the original Malin tract, the house having been built in 1714 with addi­tions in 1754 and 1799. The house faced south, toward the road at that time. It now faces north to the relocated road. The Lathrops had famous gardens - a true show place. At one time a school known as the Black Maria (the name seemingly having derived from the color of the paint), situated at the northwest corner of Church Road and the Highway. It was later moved to an area behind the present Speakman Apartments, and continued as a school and later as a voting place. At the end of #352, and again on the north side, stands the General Wayne Tavern, now a private residence. In 1777 Washington's troops camped near the General Wayne. Immediately west of this, just beyond the afore­mentioned Speakman apartments, was the Chester County Academy, for quite a while a well known school, and later the area school.

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Proceeding west, across from Mehl and Latta on the right side, is the Waldron home. It has been in the family for more than five generations, and built in 1799. Immediately west of this, on the same side, is the Chestnut Grove School, later the Glenloch School, on the northwest corner of Frame Avenue and the Highway. At what was recently known as the intersection of Rtes. 30 and #29 (West Chester-Phoenixville Pike) stood an Inn known as the Steam Boat, which lent its name to the area. On the southwest corner stands the former Lockwood estate, "Lochaerie". Out of respect to Mr. Lockwood, the area became known as Glenloch. Mr. Lock­wood made his fortune in celluloid collars, and was a personal friend of Pres. Lincoln. His original tract consisted of 640 acres. This house has been pointed out as an excellent example of the architecture of the period.

CONESTOGA ROAD (#401), one of the oldest in the country, or­iginally an Indian trail from Conestoga to the banks of the Delaware. It follows the old Lincoln Highway until branching off #30 heading northwest. At this intersection was the Warren School. At the next intersection, where Malin Road comes in on the left, is the well-known Malin Hall. Here Joseph Malin was host to General Washington. Continuing across Mill Road, and about 1/3 of a mile on the left, were the famous Supiot Cress Beds. At Moore's Road on the right is the Gunkel Mill("built 7/20/1793), now the rear entrance to Great Valley High School. The Spring Hill School is now the home of Harry Samworth. Crossing the former #29 on the right, very close to the road, is a building supposedly a school for Negroes. Heading up Bacton Hill, on the first road left at the near left corner, is the remains of a colored church. To the right going up the hill, is the Big Spring, headwaters of Valley Creek. Near the top, on the left, Miss Hopper's log house,(deeded 1713/14 by Penn to Clement Plumstead).

SWEDESFORD ROAD - leaving Tredyffrin Township, is Bulls Corner (Church Road on the right (north); Matthews Road on the left), where the advancing British were sighted by a picket. At the western end of the airport recently stood what was possibly the oldest stone house in Chester County. A date stone of 1688 was seen here during the demolition. There were several Bartholomew homes in this vicinity. One is readily seen on the relocated Matthews Road, paralleling the new Rte. 202, on the National Rol­ling Mill complex; another on Matthews Road near the Chester Val­ley R.R., just north of Continental Can Co. John Bartholomew was born in one of these in 1748. At the intersection of Moorehall and Swedesford Roads, known as Valley Stores, was the Warren P.O., founded by Charles Fahnstock of the General Warren, and first Postmaster in 1820. Past the old Knickerbocker Quarry were the quarry houses and former Cloyd home at Low Bridge. The big house was known as Maplewood, the home in l838 of Lewis Worthungton, whose wife was the former Caroline E. Wilson, and who ran a lumber, coal and feed yard here at Malin Station.

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The present Harris home dominates the intersection of #401 and Swedesford Road on the north side. Crossing #401 is the 1723 burial ground of the Cloyd family and the Cloyd home (recently the Pugh property); the Mallory (now VanBuren) dwelling. On to the Country Club. In 1830 Dr. Stephen Harris founded in his springhouse the Presbyterian Church fellowship in East Whiteland. There is a possibility that the old farmhouse which stood where the present country club house now stands was a tavern, or possibly the house at the corner of Church and Swedesford Roads was the tavern site. At Plane Brook, on the southside, is the Swananbers home. This was formerly the White Horse Tavern, with blacksmith shops across the road, and graves of Revolutionary soldiers behind the shops. "Sign of the White Horse" was one of the first licenses in Chester County. That was in 1721 that James Thomas applied for a license. Mr. Wilson states an Edward Kennison was in business before James Thomas, and took over from Thomas in 1722. Apparently Kennison had trouble getting a license, and Thomas took it out in his name. This was a busy intersection. What was then Moore Hall Road left from here to the Schuylkill. (Could the present Moores Road be a part of this old road?). Also Lancaster Road & Bacton Road to Conestoga all came together at this focal point. The first building was a primitive log cabin, standing to the west end of the present dwelling. After the Revolution, the present house was added. There was water piped (Wooden pipes) into the cellar from a hillside spring. John Neely was an owner to at least 1753 [possibly 1762], then John Kerlin in the 70's. When Hessians came in from the direction of Ship Road to the west, much was destroyed and Kerlin claimed 199 lbs. against General Howe, which claim was affirmed before Benjamin Bartholomew. The Inn was the first relay stop between Headquarters and Lancaster, where the Congress was in session. Capt. Patrick Anderson's son Isaac was a messenger. Indians stopped there 1790-1800 en route to Philadelphia to trade. Arthur Rice was an owner in 1737, and a trusted scout for Washington. He died in 1796. He was a Mason, and Lodge meetings were held in a room on the second floor, east end. In 1810 John Pearce, supposedly a brother of Cromwell Pearce (this conflicts with "History of Malvern") become an owner. However, the Pike had been laid out, and traffic was diverted. In 1817 Samuel Reitenbaugh and then his son A. Reitenbaugh became owners. The latter building, the fine stone barn in 1839, replaced the original log barn. Washington was at the White Horse September 16, 1777, leaving at 4 P.M. and retiring to Yellow Springs (now Chester Springs). Gen. Wayne was at the White Horse after the "Paoli Massacre". Myrtle L. Berger Swanenberger, poetess, lived here in the early 1920's, writing in 1923 the "Cow Jumped Over the Moon". On the northside of the intersection, between the former #29 and the Bell Tower on the grounds of the Memorial Park, was the site of Washington's encampment.

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Just beyond Plane Brook on the left, now a part of Foote Mineral, were the quarries of Chester Valley Lime Co., formerly Hugh Maxwell & Co. Finally on the right was Shirley Farm, now a part of the Church Farm School campus, built about 1835. A fine example of Greek Revival architecture in this country, and the only known example in the Township.

Now lets journey on the North-South roads:

MOOREHALL ROAD (FORMERLY LONGFORD ROAD) A small part of the former-named road is still in existence by that name in the Borough of Malvern, from Broad Street north to the old Lincoln Highway. This road led to a ford across the Schuylkill. Going north from #30, the railroad (Chester Valley Branch of the Reading) had possibly the earliest charter in 1835, although not laid out then). Here is the Valley Store Station. Left is the Patterson estate. The original log house was removed. In 1876 John Acker sold this mansion to John Harrar. Acker was interested in fruit propogation, and also planted old English lindens and purple beeches. There were lime kilns on the property. Valley Store is at the intersection of Swedesford and Moore Hall. On the old road at Valley Creek was known as Reilly's Banks. Still to be seen on the left (west) before the creek is Valley Creek School, which had a "Lazy John Pump"(anyone know what that is?). About where the present scale house stands was St. Marys' Church and graveyard. Across the road stands the old company store. Across the creek on the east side (right) was the grist and merchants mill. Norris Hibberd was a one time owner, then in 1885 Thomas Forrest West. This was a stone mill with dwelling attached. 1754 was cut in a mill rafter. The mill was run by a water wheel and flour was made. At the southwest corner of Lapp and Old Morehall is the present Detterline property. The remains of the smoke house divulged a date stone of l701, as did the barn ruins. The house probably dates to 1740-50, the original probably having been over the spring house. Continuing toward Devault, the Warner Quarries - Charles Warner Co., originally from 1794. They bought the Knickerbocker in 1925, closing same in 1928, it being out of sufficient stone to make a quarry profitable. Behind Nick's at Devault, Sabbi's home was the paymaster's quarters. (Pinkowski states the house on the northside of the present Turnpike, but this is not correct) The name Devault derives from Devault Beaver, a well-known resident of the area. As there was already a Beaver, Pa. his first name was used as a designation.

CHESTER-FRAZER ROAD (#352) Frazer was once known as Garret's Siding. Most of this road has been covered on the east-west roads. Other roads of interest:

FLAT ROAD - Old Mennonite graveyard, former site (across the road) of the Meeting house, later used by the Baptists before moving into Malvern. Very early gravestones. Supposedly oldest Mennonite graveyard in the United States.

LAPP ROAD-Old Lapp properties, now Col. Owens and Lonergan.

WILBUR ROAD (incorrectly labled Wilburdale by Township), named for Wilbur Thomas, and the fine Thomas farm.

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CHURCH ROAD - A few hundred feet north of Swedesford Road,the old Thomas graveyard. Gravestone of Richard Thomas 9/22/1754 beside his parents.


Notes of Special Interest

Spring Mill Farm - Atershire herd finest in the United States.

Thomas, Weaver, Patterson - had huge dairy herds, as did Brackbill, Ivey, and Malin.

Many mill sites: Reillys Bank (Morehall Road), Mill Road and Moores Road (Gunkle).

Quarries- Warner, Knickerbocker, Valley Forge(Reilly's Bank) and now Catanack.

Harris property - at intersection of #401 and Swedesford Roads: East end part of dwelling dates to 1734. A Three Bottles Inn, 1730 license to a "John Brownfield". However, more research is needed on this.


REFERENCES for this article were obtained from the following:

State Road Survey of Historic Sites (1935) at Chester Historical Society;

Futhey and Cope, History of Chester County, Philadelphia, Pa. 1881;

History of Malvern, ed. G. N. Highley, Malvern, Pa. 1964;

Tredyffrin-Easttown History Club Quarterlies, 1931, 1940, 1942;

History of East Whiteland, J. G. Wilson, 1965;

Tax Receipts, early Township, at Chester County Historical Society;

Patent Book A.P. 40 (researched by D. Lapp).


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