Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: April 1979 Volume 17 Number 2, Pages 47–55

Folk Names and Other Places No Longer on the Map
of Tredyffrin and Easttown Townships: Part I

Page 47

This is Part I of a Gazeteer of "Folk Names and Other Places No Longer on the Map", the result of a project of the Tredyffrin Easttown History Club in the fall of 1978. Its object was to compile a list of place names formerly in use in the two townships.

In Part I are listed names that once designated hills or hollows or woods or crossroads that were given names in years gone by, but whose importance has faded so that the need for special identification has since disappeared. Subsequent sections will deal with names now no longer used for settlements and villages, railroad stations now abandoned, and discontinued post offices.

Where several names were used at one time or another for the same general area, this is shown by a cross-reference.


1. Hills, Hollows and Ravines


Bear Hill

The sloping ground north of the Black Bear tavern on the Lancaster Pike at what is now the east end of Paoli was known in the nineteenth century as Bear Hill. (The road running down the hill to Swedesford road to the north is still known as Bear Hill Road, though what is now North Valley Road in Paoli was also sometimes referred to as Bear Hill Road.)

Page 48

The clientele of the Bear was primarily wagoners and teamsters. The tavern is included in the well-known "Sorrel Horse" toast, in which the eleven old taverns along the Old Lancaster Pike (or Conestoga Road) between the present-day Ithan and Paoli were named in order:

"Here's to the Sorrel Horse, who kicked the Unicorn and made the Eagle fly;
Who frightened the Lamb, upset the Stage, and drank the Springhouse dry;
Who Drove the Blue Ball into the Black Bear,
And raced General Jackson to Paoli on a dare."



Hickory Hill

Hickory Hill was the name given to a section of Cabbagetown or Waterloo Mills, presumably because of a stand of hickory trees there.

In the early 1860's, John Ogden, of Hickory Hill, offered a part of his ground and $500 to build a school on a site to be selected by him. The school, known as Ogden School, was used by Easttown Township for over a quarter of a century, until 1888 when it was abandoned and replaced by a second Ogden School located just below the original site, on land donated by a William McClure in exchange for the old school site.

An oak on Hickory Hill was called the "Golden Oak" because a resident of the area, according to tradition, dreamed on three successive nights that a pot of gold had been hidden near it in earlier times. It is also alleged that he dug many large holes all around the tree in an unsuccessful effort to locate the treasure.

*FLB; DLN 9-17-23

Also see Cabbagetown; Waterloo Mills


Issinger's Hill

The steep hill on Contention Lane in Tredyffrin township was once known as Issinger's Hill. It was so named after the Issinger family, which lived near the top of the hill.



Mont Clare

The section along Berwyn Baptist Road, south of the Great Valley Bap­tist Church and north of Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church, was once known as Mont Clare or Mont Claire. The source of the names or why it was identified with a place name is not known.

Page 49

Also see Churchtown; Quigleyville


Signal Hill

The high ground near the southeast corner of the intersection of Sugartown and Newtown Roads in Easttown Township was known as Sig­nal Hill, a tall tree on the hill having been used as one of a chain of signal trees or sentry trees to provide communication when the Continental army was quartered at Valley Forge.

It was in this area that Captain Harry Lee, with a detachment of twelve men assigned to him to harrass British supply routes and foraging expeditions, successfully withstood the assault of 200 British dragoons under the command of the notorious Banastre Tarle­ton in January 1778.

*TEHCQ 17:3


Tunnel Hill

An area near Diamond Rock School, on Yellow Springs Road in Tredyf­frin township, was known as Tunnel Hill in the mid-1850's. It has been described as being a section "noted for its unruly boys who thought nothing of riding an unpopular schoolmaster on a rail and were the terror of all who attempted to instruct them". Joseph Addison Thompson, the schoolmaster at Diamond Rock School in 1852, however, is credited with finally bringing them into line by taking on the ring leader, much to the approval of the boy's parents also.



Devil's Pocket

Also sometimes known as Deadman's Hollow, the Devil's Pocket was a name given to the hollow west of what is now Irish Road, behind the old log cabin, in Tredyffrin Township. According to oral tradition, the name stems from a time when the area was inhabited by a rough, rude family of unsavory characters, known throughout the immediate vicinity for their profanity and drunkenness. To discourage their children from going into the hollow or associating with these residents, the place was described by families living nearby as the Devil's Pocket.

The name Deadman's Hollow similarly was derived from an occasion on which one of the occupants of the hollow was found dead from hanging - whether a suicide or murdered is no longer recalled.

Page 50

*R: Conrad Wilson


The Fish Pond

The area around two small spring-fed ponds just west of Contention Lane in Tredyffrin Township was locally known for many years as the Fish Pond. The area was actually the northern portion and head of the ravine known as Lewis' Hollow.


Also see Lewis Hollow


Hammer Hollow

The ravine through which Trout Run flows north into the valley was for many years known as Hammer Hollow. The area was generally bounded on the east by what is now West Valley Road and on the west by what is now Valley Forge Road, north of Conestoga Road in Tredyffrin Township.

With early America dependent on water power for its industry, Hammer Hollow was the site of a pre-Revolutionary War grist and flour mill. It is traditionally told that during the Revolution the American army commandeered wheat from neighboring farmers and took it to the mill to be ground into flour for the soldiers at Valley Forge.

The Hammer Hollow mill was later used to manufacture scythes, one mill hammering out the blades and another turning the wooden handles. On an 1847 map it was described as "T. Brown's Lathe Works", and was later known as "J. B. Newman's Hammer Hollow Tiltmill". After the Civil War it was converted to a turning mill and spool and bobbin factory, the bobbins being made from dogwood. At that time it was owned and operated by an Englishman named William Cundy. At one time there was also a cigar factory in the Hollow, in one of the small houses below the dam breast, where cheap Spanish and half-Spanish cigars were rolled and tied in bunches of 100.

Hammer Hollow in the late 1870's was used as a hideout by a notorious burglary ring known as the "Hammer Hollow Gang". Through the efforts of a detective employed by a secretly organized Berwyn Protective Association, formed by the leading citizens of the town, four men and one woman were arrested and convicted, though the leader was never caught.

*TEHCQ 5:78, 7:68; FLB

Page 51

Lewis' Hollow

The wooded ravine running along the west side of Contention Lane was nown for many years as Lewis' Hollow. It took its name from the family of George Washington Lewis, who purchased a ten acre tract in 1831 near The Fish Pond and lived there with his wife and eight children. Lewis was a carpenter by trade and at one time was the schoolmaster at the Old Eagle School. He also served as secretary of the Wilberforce Anti-Slavery Society.

*TEHCQ 1:25, 5:65

Also see The Fish Pond


Neilly's Hollow

The hollow along Old State road in Tredyffrin Township, running north into the valley from the log house and shop of James Neilly, was known as Neilly's Hollow. Neilly was a linen weaver, and, according to tradition, it was he who supplied the linen used to bury the dead after the Paoli Massacre in September 1777.

A distillery, probably the Black Swan, was located in Neilly's Hollow at the source of Trout Run, it is also claimed.

*TEHCQ 1:25, 7:50

Also see Ross' Hollow


Prissy's Hollow

The ravine running north from behind the Blue Ball tavern, in what is now Daylesford in Tredyffrin Township, was known as Prissy's Hollow, taking its name from "Prissy" Robinson, for many years the mistress of the Blue Ball Inn after the death of her husband. She was known for both her sharp tongue and her sharp temper.

At the foot of Prissy's Hollow, near Howellville, was the only woolen mill in Tredyffrin Township. It was operated from 1835 to 1852 by Robert Webster, a native of Leeds in Yorkshire, England, and his wife and five children. Blankets and broadcloth were among the products manufactured at the mill. With steam power supplanting water power in the middle of the nineteenth century, however, Webster sold his property and moved to Maryland.


Also see Tank Hollow

Page 52


Ross' Hollow

The northern section of Neilly's Hollow was at one time also referred to as Ross' Hollow. Its name was derived from a black resident, Ben Ross, a veteran of the Civil War, who lived there with his family.

*R: Conrad Wilson; AHC

Also see Neilly's Hollow


Tank Hollow

A small section of Prissy's Hollow, south of the Trenton Cut-Off of the former Pennsylvania Railroad about 800 yards west of where Howell­ville Road crosses the railroad, was known as Tank Hollow in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. It took its name from a water tank built there for the railroad at a pond on the south side of the tracks. The ponds from which the water was taken, incidentally, were also known for their water cress. The name was obviously given to the area sometime after 1889, as it was in that year that the Trenton Cut-Off was constructed.


Also see Prissy's Hollow


Paoli Grove

On the map of Tredyffrin township in the Atlas of Chester County published by A. R. Whitmer in 1873, the wooded area east of Paoli, extending along the north side of what is now Russell Road, is identified as Paoli Grove. In the 1850's it was a popular Sunday resort and picnic grove, but later it reputedly became a hangout "of toughs" and "an unbearable nuisance to the neighborhood".


Sawmill Woods

An area located between Leopard Road and Waterloo Road, about three quarters of a mile east of the Leopard in Easttown Township, was known as Sawmill Woods in the mid-1850's. Its name came from a sawmill operated there for several years to make timbers for the Paoli­Newtown-Darby Road. In 1853 and 1854 this road was a plank road (and was sometimes called Plank Road). The project was abandoned after a few years, however, when the tolls collected were not sufficient to maintain the road and replace worn or rotted timbers. The remaining planks were sold to the highest bidder.

Page 53

The sawmill for which Sawmill Woods was named burned down in 1867, the "conflagration said to have been the result of carelessness on the part of a Hibernian gentleman, who on returning from a 'wake' went into the mill to light his pipe and then threw the match among the shavings and sawdust".

*FLB; TEHCQ 10:80



In the early twentieth century the area around what is now the cross­roads of Irish Road and Greene Road, and north along Irish Road to­wards Howellville Road, in Tredyffrin Township was known as Stumptown. The name was taken from the many stumps left in the area following clearing operations there.

*R: Joe Read


Scalp Level

This was apparently an early name for a section along Old Lancaster Road in Tredyffrin Township, now a part of Daylesford. The only reference to it known at this time is one to "the Mt. Airy School on bleak Scalp Level (now Daylesford)". Where the name came from is not indicated.


Also see Mt. Airy


2. Crossroads


Bull's Corner

Bull's Corner was the name popularly given to the crossroads at the intersection of Church Road and Swedesford Road in the northwest corner of Tredyffrin Township. The name was taken from the Bull family, which owned the property at the corner. A blacksmith shop was located at the corner for many years.

*R: Emily Nassau


Peggy's Corner

The crossroads formed by Howellville Road and the old Lancaster Pike in Cockletown in Tredyffrin Township was known as Peggy's Corner.

Page 54

It was so named because of the log residence, on the northeast corner, of Peggy Hambleton, who has a "Cake and Beer Shop" in her home,

*TEHCQ 1:25, 7:50

Also see Cockletown


Priest's Corner

The intersection of Leopard Road and Sugartown Road, in Easttown Township, from which Leopard Road runs north from Sugartown Road, was formerly known as Priest's Corner. The name was derived from the owners of the farm buildings near the intersection.

*TEHCQ 10:70

Also see Sharp's Corner


Sharp's Corner

Sharp's Corner was the name given to the intersection where Leopard Road runs south from Sugartown Road in Easttown Township, a few hun­dred yards west of Priest's Corner. The Sharps owned the land at the corner. At one time there was a country store located near the southeast corner of the intersection.

*TEHCQ 10:70

Also see Priest's Corner


Widow's Bridge

The area where Cassatt Road runs into Swedesford Road was for many years popularly known as Widow's Bridge. Just east of the intersection was a serpentine stone bridge over the Chester Valley Railroad, the road curving to enter the bridge from either side. The bridge was the scene of many accidents as a result of its crooked location on Swedesford Road.

The "widow" was the Widow Rees, nee Mary Moore, and the widow of Colonel Abel Rees, who died shortly after the War of 1812 from wounds he received in the war. Widow Rees, who was the sister of the notorious Prissy Robinson of the Blue Ball tavern, lived into the 1880's.

*R: Conrad Wilson

Page 55


Williams' Corner

The corner where Berwyn Baptist Road, Contention Lane, and Francis Avenue intersect Conestoga Road in Easttown Township was known as Williams' Corner. The Williams family bought land in the area in 1865 and lived there until the 1930's.



Wilson's Corner

The crossroads at the foot of Contention Lane, where it met Swedesford Road, was known as Wilson's Corner. It was so called because the Wilson family was the principal landowner in the area, having settled in the valley in the mid-eighteenth century.

*FLB; R: Conrad Wilson



TEHCQ Tredyffrin-Easttown History Club Quarterly : volume and page cited

R Recollections of various T-E History Club members

FLB Unpublished notes of Franklin L. Burns

AHC Student papers, American Heritage Class at Conestoga High School taught by Conrad Wilson

DLN West Chester Daily Local News

(to be continued)


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