Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: July 1996 Volume 34 Number 3, Pages 123–124

Notes and Comments

Page 123


The Clintonville-Tredyffrin Paper Mill Revisited

Since publication of the history of the old Tredyffrin papermill at Cedar Hollow in the April 1996 Quarterly, more information about Lewis Shee has been received from Janet Baldwin of the Charlestown Historical Society. Shee ran the mill during the brief period it made paper from about 1843 until its closing in 1848.

A lengthy "In Memoriam" tribute to Lewis Shee's widow, Elizabeth, which appeared in the Daily Local News on June 22, 1886 supplies new information and establishes his date of death as 1861 (not 1881 as heretofore published; apparently he was born in 1813 and had married twice; a daughter, Catharine, surviving his first marriage.) This would make Lewis Shee only 34 when he advertised the public sale of his horses, farm implements and household items in Tredyffrin early in 1847.

Apparently he and his wife then moved over the North Valley hill to a farm on Ashenfelter Road in Charlestown Township, recently purchased by his mother-in-law Elizabeth Hichison. Within a year Shee closed the paper mill, dissolved his partnership with Joseph Kimes, and put his Cedar Hollow real estate up for sale. Kimes bought the paper mill property in 1853, and likely Shee transferred the cash realized into securing title to the Charlestown farm. He was only 48 when he died in 1861.

A title search by Estelle Cremers filed at the Charlestown Historical Society establishes that Lewis Shee owned the property, and she has even come up with a theory about WHY he moved. "Elizabeth Shee's obituary," she says, "speaks of a ...rather brief period of wedded life ... characterized by conjugal tenderness, especially during the weary months of patient suffering that antedated the death of her husband ...."

Page 124

Cremers continues, "It is my guess that Lewis Shee had contracted health problems from inhaling the dangerous fumes and dust prevalent in a paper mill .... Realizing the problem, he was probably advised to leave the business and take up an outdoor profession such as farming. It was a valiant attempt, but too late to effect a cure."

Elizabeth Shee continued at the farm until 1876 when she and Lewis' daughter Catharine moved to West Chester. Elizabeth lived another ten years, and in fact is mentioned in a history of St. Peter's Church as regularly coming all the way from West Chester to services. Catharine lived to be over 100 years old.


Gift of Land Offered to Easttown

Easttown Township has received a generous offer of a gift of 29 acres of prime real estate on the corner of Newtown and Beaumont roads for recreational and township use. The land is the western end of a farm once known as "Idlewood" when it was owned by the Wilbur family early in this century.

Mr. and Mrs. Sterg O'Dell have offered the land in order to protect the main house and grounds from development and to establish recreational use for township residents. A second house, at Newtown and Waterloo roads, will be subdivided from the main parcel and sold in order to generate funds for any needed remodeling or plan implementation for recreational use.

As yet no decision has been made as to how the property will be used. A meeting was held on April 29 to hear community input. A site for the township building, a park, playing fields and other uses have been suggested. Additional public meetings will be held to take comments. One thing appears certain - the site will remain open space. That will be good.


Our Cover

The illustration on our cover showing Neilley's log cabin is taken from Alden W. Quimby's historical novel "Valley Forge", published in 1906 by Eaton & Trains, New York. Rev. Quimby was pastor of Berwyn Methodist Church, and a keen student of local history. His photographer is not identified, but may have been Julius Sachse or Lucy Sampson. Both recorded local scenes on film around the turn of the twentieth century.


Page last updated: 2009-05-12 at 10:09 EST
Copyright © 2006-2009 Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society. All rights reserved.
Permission is given to make copies for personal use only.
All other uses require written permission of the Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society.