Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
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Source: July 1991 Volume 29 Number 3, Pages 101–110

The Plantations in the Valley

Hob Borgson

Page 101

Today the word "plantation" usually connotes "a farm or estate, especially in a tropical or semitropical country, on which cotton, tobacco, coffee or the like is cultivated, usually by resident workers".

In the late 18th and early 19th century, however, the term was more frequently used in the British sense to describe any "qroup of planted trees or plants" or cultivated property. In defining a portion of the boundary line between Chester and Delaware counties, for example, when the latter was established in 1789 by "An Act for dividing the County of Chester and to erect part there of into a separate county", it was provided that between" the ford commonly known by the name of Chad's Ford" and "the great road leading from Goshen to Chester where the Westtown [township] line intersects or crosses the said road" the boundary should be "a line as nearly straight as may be so as not to split or divide plantations".

Similarly, in notices of public sales in the early 19th century, many of the farms in the Great Valley in Tredyffrin were described as plantations.

These notices also provide descriptions of the properties of that time. Most of them were fifty or more acres in size, some of the land under cultivation, some meadow land, and some woodland or wood lots. There generally was also a "never failing" spring of water on the property, access to a spring or other water supply having been a paramount consideration in choosing a location for a pioneer homestead. On most of the plantations there was also a variety of out buildings "necessary for a farm".

The notices of public sales in the early 1800s reproduced on the following pages appeared in the American Republican and Village Record newspapers in West Chester.

Page 102

from the American Republican
December 3, 1816


Pursuant to an order from the orphan's court of Chester county, will be exposed to public sale, on Thursday the 25th of December next, on the premises, in Tredyffrin township, Chester county, a


Late the property of Dr. John Davis, deceased, containing 156 acres, sixty of which are first rate wood land, the remainder arable and in a high state of cultivation. On the premises are erected a large and elegant stone dwelling house, built in modern style, a large stone barn, a stone spring house, a tenant house, and out houses of every description. On the said plantation are a lime kiln and limestone quarries; an apple orchard, with a variety of other fruit trees. -- Said farm possesses every convenience of water, by streams passing through each enclosure, and one immediately by the door of the dwelling, watering a large proportion of the meadow -- In short, said property is deficient in no improvement that can add to the comfort or convenience of a farm.


Will be sold at the same time and place, adjoining the above property, 90 acres of excellent Wood Land in lots to suit the purchasers.


Will be sold on said day, one undivided half part of a stone messuage and lot of three acres of ground, situate on the Philadelphia and Lancaster turnpike, between the 14th and 15th mile stones.

Sale to commence at 1 o'clock, P. M. when attendance will be given, and conditions made known, by

Cadr. E. Davis, )
Joshua Jones, ) Adm'rs.
Matthew Roberts )

Nov. 20, 1816

Page 103

from the American Republican
December 9, 1817

To be Sold

On Thursday the 18th day of December next, (if not sooner disposed of at private sale,) on the premises, on easy payments,


situate in the Great Valley, Tredyffrin township, Chester County, adjoining the Swede's ford road, 6 miles from the Swede's ford, containing 80 acres of the best limestone land, possessing superior advantages of water, having a mill stream passing through the middle of it, a part of which is conveyed to the door of the dwelling house, barn, &c. and watering twelve acres of excellent bank meadow, and may with ease be conveyed to any part of the premises. Said plantation is divided into fields and meadows of 5, 6, 7 and 8 acres each, by good fences, composed chielfy of chestnut rails - the fields are well set with clover, green grass and timothy - ten acres of the aforesaid plantation is under good timber. On the premises are a convenient stone dwelling house, 32 feet by 26, commanding a handsome view of the great road leading past the Valley Works to the Philadelphia and Lancaster turnpike road, near the 14 mile stone; a well of good water near the door; a stone milk house, supplied with water by a patent pump in said well, which throws at least one hogshead of water per minute, and is found to answer all the purposes of a good spring; a frame barn, with a log addition, holding upwards of twenty tons of hay - a lime-kiln almost new, and a quarry of the best limestone - two apple orchards of the best fruit trees, with a variety of other fruits, &c.


to be sold with the above, (if desired) 10 acres and 17 perches of choice woodland, distant 3-4 of a mile from the above described property.

Any person wishing to view said plantation, will be shewn by the subscriber, living on the premises - Sale to begin at one o'clock P. M. when terms of payment, &c. will be made known by

William Brown

November 4, 1817

Page 104

from the Village Record
December 22, 1819

To be sold at PUBLIC SALE,

On Thursday the 6th of January next, at 1 o'clock on the premises, TWO VALUABLE PLANTATIONS adjoining each other, situated in the Great Valley, in Tredyffrin township, Chester County.

No. 1 - Contains 73 and 1-2 acres of good limestone land - adjoining lands of John Davis, Esq., Jacob Detwiler, and others, and bounding on the Swedesford road. It is one mile north of the Philadelphia and Lancaster turnpike road - 18 miles from Philadelphia and 8 from Norristown. About 20 acres of this are excellent Woodland, the residue arable, divided into convenient fields; there is a never failing spring of water on the premises which waters every field. The arable land is in a high state of cultivation, being well set with clover and orchard grass. There is on the premises a large orchard of Apple and other fruit trees. The buildings are a2 story stone dwelling House, 30 feet front by 20 feet back, a stone building attached thereto 70 feet by 20. A large barn, a good stone spring house two stories high, the upper story suitable for a tenant, over a never failing spring of water near the mansion house. All the said buildings are in complete repair. There is on the farm a Rock of excellent White Marble, and a quarry has lately been opened.

No. 2 - contains 52 and 1-2 acres of good Limestone land -- bounded by No. 1 and divided there from by a road leading from the turnpike to the Yellow Springs, and adjoining lands of John Howeland others. About 20 acres of this plantation is excellent Woodland, and about five of good watered meadow - A large orchard of Apple and other fruit trees; the arable land is divided into convenient fields, and is in a high state of cultivation, being well set in clover and timothy. The improvements are a good and convenient Stone Dwelling House and log barn. There is a never failing spring of good water convenient to the mansion house; - there is also a large and convenient work shop.

The above property will be sold together or divided to suit purchasers. A good title, and possession will be given, on the first day of April next.

Terms at Sale by


Page 105

from the American Republican
October 11, 1822

AGREEABLY to the last Will and Testament of Enoch Jones, lately deceased,

Will be sold at Public Sale, on the premises, on the 15th day of November next, at 2 o'clock P. M.


containing about 50 acres of land, situate in the great Valley, in Tredyffrin township, Chester county, bounded by lands of David Rees, Joshua Jones, Esq. James Jones and others, and one Mile north of the Lancaster Turnpike road, 16 miles from Philadelphia, 14 from West Chester, and 6 from Norristown, 30 acres of which is Woodland, 10 acres of watered Meadow, and the rest divided into small fields, well fenced with Chesnut rails, well watered, and a stream running near the door; a Limestone Quarry on the premises, of which large quantities may be disposed of - The lands are in a good state of cultivation, has been lately limed, is principally under a good sod. The improvements are a large 2 story stone house, with 4 rooms on a floor, a large entry - Cellar under the whole and Kitchen adjoining the same, a large Barn, stone waggon house, stone spring house over a never failing spring of good water, with other out buildings, all in good repair: - Also a tenant house, 2 stories high. This property is beautifully situated in a good neighborhood, near to houses of Worship, within half a mile of the Baptist Meeting, and l-1/2 miles of the Friends Meeting, and convenient to Mills. This Farm is worth the attention of the Agriculturist. It is one of the first rate dairy farms. The deceased carried it on for many years to great advantage - the Title indisputable. It is deemed unnecessary to give further description, as it is presumed it will be viewed by many who wish to purchase.

ALSO - On the same day, and at the same place, will be sold several valuable WOOD lots of Chestnut timber. For further information enquire of either of the subscribers, or to Spicer Jones on the premises, who will shew the same.


Page 106

from the American Republican
November 10, 1829


Will be offered at public sale, on fourth day the 9th of December next, a VALUABLE PLANTATION and tract of land, situate in the Great Valley, Tredyffrin township, Chester co., containing 104 1-2 acres of the best quality of limestone land; adjoining the lands of Peter Acker, Conrad Acker and others. There is a good apple orchard on the premises, and a sufficient quantity of woodland and meadow watered by Indian Run; the remainder is divided into convenient fields. The land is well adapted to the raising of every kind of grain - the whole of it having a southern exposure. The buildings are two two story houses - the mansion large and commodious; a large barn, granary, milk house, wagon house and hay house, all substantially built of stone - and a frame smithshop. On the property is a lime kiln , and an inexhaustible quarry of lime stone. The property is in a good neighborhood, convenient to mills and places of worship, and within two miles of the Lancaster turnpike. Any person wishing to view the property will apply to the subscriber living thereon.


Page 107

from the American Republican
November 10, 1829

Will be exposed at public sale on Thursday the third day of December next, on the premises, all that Plantation, late the estate of William Thomas, dec'd. - situate in Tredyffrin township, Chester County, on the Sweeds ford road, 18 miles from Philadelphia, bounded by the lands of Israel Davis, Adam Rhinewalt, David Wilson and others: containing Ninety-Three Acres, 10 of which are watered meadow, 12 excellent woodland, the remainder is plough land, under a high state of cultivation, having recently been limed at the rate of 100 bushels per acre, and under good fence.

The improvements are - a large and convenient stone HOUSE, 48 feet front, with five rooms and an entry on the first floor, six rooms on the second and a garret over the whole; a stone Barn, 63 by 43 feet, with stabling underneath - a stream of water runs through the barnyard; also a wagon-house, chair-house, hog-house, smoke-house, ice-house, cider-press, lime-kiln, and excellent limestone quarries on the property; the Valley Creek runs through it, on which is a good water power - In a good neighbourhood, convenient to mills, places of worship, & schools; within one mile of the Lancaster turnpike, and about 8 from Norristown. A more desirable property has seldom been offered in the neighbourhood.

Persons wishing to view the property before the day of sale, will be shown it, by applying to the subscribers living thereon.

Sale to commence at one o'clock, P.M.

ALSO, at the same time and place, will be exposed to public sale, a Lot of Woodland, principally young chestnut; contains about three acres; adjoining lands of J. G. Bull, William Hall and others.

Wm. Thomas,
Joseph Thomas,
Mary Thomas.

Page 108

from the American Republican
November 19, 1833

A Valley Farm

Will be exposed, at Public Sale, on Wednesday, the 18th of December next, a DAIRY FARM, situate in the Great Valley, Tredyffrin township, Chester county, bounded by lands of George Beaver, Joseph B. Walker, Jacob Massey, Levi Lewis and others, containing

156 / 2 Acres, 40 of which is

the remainder arable and in a high state of cultivation. The farm is under good fence, and every field is supplied with water, by two brooks, one of which passes through the barn yard. There are on the premises a young bearing apple orchard of well selected fruit, and within an enclosure, near the mansion, a variety of apricot, cherry, pear, peach, green gage, egg plum, pruin, and other fruit trees, in bearing order, as well as a diversity of grape-vines, which afford delicious fruit in their seasons. There are, moreover a lime kiln, a lime quarry and extensive strata of Marble.

The buildings are a large stone Dwelling house, nearly new, and constructed in modern style, having a wide hall and four rooms on the first floor, six on the second, and five on the third, with a cellar under the whole building, in five apartments, a large stone barn, wagon-house, carriage-house, hog-house, sheep-house, and other out buildings. Upon another part of the farm there is a good tenant house, having a kitchen and cellar in the basement story, three rooms on the second and two on the third, a cow-house with stalls for twenty cows, having a hay mow above and a rivulet passing through the cow-yard; and a spring house over a strong spring of excellent water, which is unaffected either by draught, or rain, and sufficiently large to hold the milk of thirty cows. The above described farm is situate one mile north of the Pennsylvania rail road, fifteen miles from Philadelphia, fifteen from West Chester and six from Norristown. - At [As?] the road which passes from the Swedesford, through the farm to the Spread Eagle, on the Lancaster turnpike, divides the arable lands, woodland, the streams of water and the the buildings pretty equally, the property will be sold either in two tracts or one as may suit purchasers.

Sale to commence at 1 o'clock, P.M. when conditions will be made known.


Page 109

from the American Republican
August 26, 1834

A first rate Valley Farm, at


Will be sold at Public Sale, on Thursday the 16th of October, A. D. 1834 at one o'clock P.M. on the premises, the following described property, situate in the township of Tredyffrin, in the County of Chester, and state of Pennsylvania, to wit, a certain messuage and plantation or tract of land, bounded by the Swedesford road on the North, and lands of David Rickabaugh and others on the east, Randall Evans on the south, Robert T. Evans and John G. Bull on the west, containing


Divided into convenient fields by good fences, three hundred pannells of which are post and rails, lately set, twenty acres of said farm is of thriving timber, and ten of watered meadow. There are also thereon two hundred grafted apple trees, together with a variety of other fruit trees. The said farm is well watered by several springs, and by a little valley creek which passes through it. The buildings are a two story stone dwelling house, of good materials, well finished, 45 feet in front, by 35 in depth, with a nine foot entry on the ground floor, and five rooms on the second floor, with a good cellar under the whole. There is attached a good stone kitchen, 25 by 18 feet. The barn is of stone, well built, 70 by 40 feet, with an overshoot, and stabling under the whole, and barracks in the rear, there is a stream of water running through the barnyard. Also a stone chair house, stone hog house and stone springhouse, into which the water is conveyed by earthen pipes from an excellent spring, which does not flood by heavy rains. There is also on the said premises a good lime kiln, with an in exhaustible quarry of limestone of the best quality, at which an extensive business of burning lime has been done. The above premises are well adapted for either a grain growing, grazing or dairy farm, and is situated in a respectable neighborhood, convenient to the Pennsylvania rail road, places of public worship, schools and mills. The whole will be sold together, or in lots to suit purchasers. Two thirds of purchase money may remain in the property, if desired by the purchaser, secured by bond and mortgage on the same.

Purchasers wishing to view the premises previous to the day of sale will call on the subscriber residing thereon.


Page 110

from the Village Record
September 14, 1836


Will be exposed to public sale on Thursday, the 13th of October next, at 12 o'clock, on the premises, a first rate Valley and dairy FARM, situate in the township of Tredyffrin, county of Chester, 18 miles from Philadelphia, 12 from West Chester, 8 from Norristown, 1 1-2 from Columbia rail road. The improvements are a large mansion HOUSE, with six rooms on a floor, two large stone barns, with a sufficient quantity of stabling, a well of good water in the barn yard, with a pump therein, sheep stable, a large frame grain house, with two good corn cribs adjoining, wagon house, with granaries over, hog house, carriage house, smoke house, an excellent milk house over a never failing spring of water, sufficiently large to contain the milk of 30 cows, with a lodging room over. This farm contains 165 ACRES; - the soil is limestone of the best quality, and at present in the highest state of improvement, every field having of late years been heavily manured by means of a large grain fed stock, and abundantly limed. It includes also a large proportion of very productive watered meadow, and a good proportion of thriving timber; the fencing is of chestnut rails, and in good order. On the premises is a young orchard, and a quantity of good cherry trees; the farm has the little Valley creek passing through its centre, with a mill seat thereon, besides being well supplied with other streams, having water in nearly every field. The above property is bounded by lands of John Kugler, Wm. Brown, John M. Davis, David Havard and others, with the Norristown and Valley rail road passing through the south east corner of it; convenient to places of worship of several denominations, schools, mills, Sc. Should any purchaser find the whole too large to cultivate, it can be divided into two parts, one of which, with buildings will constitute a beautiful farm of about 100 acres of the choicest land, the other having an excellent opening with a very eligible situation for building near the same. Terms at sale. The title is clear and indisputable.

For further particulars apply to the subscriber, residing on the premises.

Charles J. Davis


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