And The Settlement Of The Township
With Historical, Genealogical
And Biolgraphcal Data From
Records Of Friends
Author of "Lyrics of Quakerism," "Old Richland Families," etc.
Roberts Publishing Co.
[Transcribed by Coralynn Brown]
Before passing on to the building of the original meeting house, the walls of which form a portion of the existing structure, and the records of Plymouth Friends as a Preparative Meeting, and as a constiuent part of Gwynedd Monthly Meeting, it has been deemed advisable to insert here a number of documents, most of them never before published, several of which have come under my observation for the first time in the course of the researches connected with the preparation of the material for this book.
All of them have some bearing on facts which have been given in the preceding pages of this volume, and sevearl of them are important, as substantiating statements made in previous chapters that differ somewhat from the traditions of the neighborhood.
These latter have occasionally been made the subject of articles in local newspapers, where, were they not corrected, they might masquerade as authentic history of the township or of the meeting.
A number of these old documents are contained in an ancient oaken chest, now in possession of Lewis Aaron, of No. 235 Rochelle Avenue, Wissahickon.
He inherited the chest and its contents from his mother, the late Phebe Aaron, wife of Jacob Aaron, also deceased for a number of years. She was a lineal descendant of David Meredith. The couple lived on the farm on the Germantown road, adjoining John M. Jones' property, now owned by her son and daughter, and tenanted by John B. Fisher.
The chest and papers contained in it, many of which are over two hundred years old, have descended directly from David Meredith, through the intervening half-dozen generations. The old oak box was the property of the settler, and it is believed to have been brought by him from Wales, when he came to this country, about 215 years ago.
Whether this be true or not, the appearance of the box itself certainly indicates great age and that it was made in the "old country." There is a very strong probability that some of these interesting old documents have lain in their receptacle for two centuries or more, having been placed in it by the hands of David Meredith, the original owner, where they have ever since remained.
These old papers are well worthy of preservation, as they throw much light upon family history, and that of the township.
THE DEED PROM PENN
A most interesting deed included among these papers is the original patent from the "Absolute Proprietor and Governor of the Province of Pennsylvania," to Francis Rawle and Elizabeth Fox, widow of James Fox.
This deed sets forth that Francis Rawle and James Fox (the latter since deceased) had purchased the tract of 5327 acres, constituting the township of Plymouth, and that this deed was given to enable the owners the better to assure a title to purchasers from them.
A relic of antiquity in the box is a deed for property in Wales from John ap Meredith to David Meredith. Its date is 1679. The property, located in the parish of Llandogby, Radnorshire, Wales, was probably re-conveyed by David later, in another deed.
The boundaries of the township are thus given in the deed from Penn:
"Beginning at a birch tree marked standing by the Rivcr Skuylkill being a corner dividing it from the land first laid out to Major Jasper ffarmer extending from thence by an old line of marked trees north-east twelve hundred and ninety-six perches to a corner marked White oak standing in the line of Whitpain's Township from thence by an old line of marked trees north-west seven hundred and ninety-two perches to a corner marked hickory dividing this from the reputed land of Benjamin Chambers from thence by an old line of marked trees south-west eight hundred and forty perches to a corner marked hickory standing by the said River Skuylkill by the several courses thereof to the first mentioned birch tree containing five thousand three hundred and twenty seven acres and seventy nine perches of land."
The deed states that a warrant was issued to survey the land Third-month 20, 1701, and that it was laid out Third-month 29, 1701.
The date of the deed is August 12, 1701.
Attached to the instrument is the seal of the Province, a cumbrous cake of wax fastened to the document by a light ribbon that has withstood the ravages of almost two centuries without apparent injury.
The deed, as a matter of course, has William Penn's signature attached to it. The seal, it may be added, is kept in a tin box, although fastened to the deed.
DAVID MEREDITH'S DEED
The deed of Francis Rawle and Elizabeth Fox to David Meredith for 980 acres of land in Plymouth is also signed by Philip Price who had acquired an interest in the tract. It is dated First-month (March) 4, 1701. The metes and bounds have already been given.
The following brief of title for a portion of the tract, prepared many years ago, is also of interest in this connection:
AARON MEREDITH'S TITLE
"Aaron Meredith's title to 191 as, & 122 ps of land in Plymouth, Philadelphia county PA viz.
"Deed Francis Rawle and Elizabeth Fox (with consent of Philip Price) to David Meredith for 900 as of land in Plymouth afd. to hold to him his heirs & Assigns forever. The Deed dated the 4th of ye first month, 1701 (part of 2500 as by lease and release sold by ye proprietor to Francis Rawle.)
"And the sd. David Meredith being seized in ffee of 862 as of Land (Part of the above mentioned 900 as) died having by his last will and testamt. of the 20th day of December, 1723 devised some money Legacys to his Daughters Children Then gives & devisews to his the Testator's Son Meredith David all the rest of his Estate both real and temporal in which the sd 862 as was included.
"the sd Meredith David by his Last Will & Testamt (no date but Proved May 10th, 1727) devised in these words.
"Item I give devise and bequeath unto my Eldest Son David Meredith the Quantity of 200 as more or less being part of the Eight hundred acres now in the Possession of the above named Meredith David unto him the said David Meredith and to his right Heirs for ever lying and being or divided from the remainder of the sd Tract by Parciomimi Road on the West Side thereof Upon Consideration the sd. David Meredith shall & do pay the sum of three pounds Proclamation money unto his mother Ellin during her natural life."
"The sd Ellin now dead.
"The sd. Meredith David by the sd devise of the 200 as devised the aforesd. 191 as & 122 ps he having at the time of his death no more land on ye west side of ye Perkiomy Road.
"The said David Meredith came to Age & Died Intestate & without Issue whereupon the sd. 191 as. & 122 ps. of Land descended to his Eldest Surviving Brother and Heir at Law Ellis Meredith.
"And the sd Ellis Meredith by his Last Will & Testa. of ye 20th of the 4th Month 1723 devised the Premises unto the sd Aaron Meredith in fee.
"The sd Aaron Meredith's Sisters with their husbands released all their right & title of in and to ye sd. 862 as to their Brothers and the sd Aaron and the sd Moses among other land released the sd. 191 acres and 122 ps to the sd Aaron Meredith in fee.
"N. B. - Ye above 191 Acres and 122 Pchs is part of 980 acres wch David Meredith bought of Philip Price wch Said Philip Price had bought of Francis Rawle 1300 acres, which 980 Acres is part of 2500 acres wch ye propr by Lease and Release ye 12 and 13 of March 1685 sold to Francis Rawle.
"And ye said 980 Acres is not only a part of ye above 2500 Acres conveyed from Penn to Rawle, but is also part of 5327 acres and 79 Pchs of land called Plymouth Township granted and confirmed to ye sd Rawle and Elix. Fox by patent Augt ye 12th l701 ye patent enrolled in Book A Vol, 2 page 55 wch patent was grantcd to them to enable them to assure ye above Land to persons claiming under ye sd Rawle and then March ye 4 1701-2 said Rawle and Fox with ye Consent of said Price by their deed conveyed ye said 980 acres of land to David Meredith."
OLD MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE
"Whereas Meredith David of the Township of Radnor in the Welch Tract Batchelor And Ellin Ellis of the Township of _____ in the aforesaid Welch Tract Spinster. Having declared their Intentions of Marriage with each other before Severall Publick Meetings of the People of God called Quakers in the aforesaid Tract according to the Good Order Used among them whose Proceedings therein after a Deliberate Consideration and Consent of Parties and Relatives concerned being clear of all others were approved of by the Said meetings.
"Now these arc to certifie all whom it may concern that for the full accomplishing of their Said Intentions this twenty second day of the Eleaventh Month vulgarly called January in the year according to the English account One Thousand Six hundred Ninety and Nine. They the Said Meredith David and Ellin Ellis appeared in a Solemn and Publick asaembly of the aforesaid people and others met together for that end and purpose in their Publick meeting place at Radnor aforesaid and in a Solemn manner according to the Example of the holy men of God Recorded in the Scriptures of Truth, He the Said Meredith David taking the Said Ellin Ellis by the hand did openly declare as following viz ffricncls in ye presence of God and Before you I take this my friend Ellin Ellis to be my wife and do promise with God's assistance to be her faithful true and loving husband, until the Lord in his wisdom by death is pleased to separate us.
"And then and there in the Said Assembly ye Said Ellin Ellis did in like manner declare as followeth Viz ffiends in the presence of god & before you I take Meredith David to be my husband promising with god's assistance to be his faithful and loving wife until death separates us.
"And the Said Meredith David and Ellin Ellis as a further confirmation thereof, Did then and there to these presents Sett their hands.
"And we whose names are hereunto Subscribed, being present amongst others, at the Solemnizing of their Said marriage and Subscription in Radnor aforesaid, as witnesses thereunto have also to these presents subscribed our names the day and year above written."
David Meredith, David Lewis, Richard Jones, Ellis Pugh, Edd Jones, William Thoma,. Richard Moore, Robert David, Joshua Owen, Ellis Pugh, Benjamin Davies, Benj. Humphrey, Thomas Pugh, Robt. Jones, Hugh Davies, Stephen Evans, Robert Roberts, Robt. Loyd, [Two names illegible], John Bevan, John Moore, John Richard, Rees Thomas Jr., Rowland Ellis, John Cadder, Chalkley Thomas, Evan Jonathan[?], Thomas Jones. ____ Evan, Cadwallader Morgan, David Thomas, Grace ____, Hugh Roberts, Alex. Edward, John Morgan, Richard Ormo, Gainor Pugh, Evan Powell, David Evan, James Pugh, Hugh Samuell, Rees Thomas, John Stephen, Thomas Jones, Griffith Jones, John Cadwallader, Thomas David, [Two names illegible], Rowland Ellis, Evan Griffith, Robert Ellis, Mary Meredith, Robt. William, Sinai Pugh, Sarah Meredith, Katherine Pugh, Margaret Ellis, Margaret Jones. Margaret Nicolas, Ann Lewis, Ellin Jones, Elizabeth Owen, Ann Griffith, Gainor Roberts, Martha Roberts, Katherine Ellis, Jane Jones, Phebe Philips, Ann Lewis, Martha Cannon, Susanna Price, Katherine Griffith, Margaret Cannon .
While some of the papers herewith presented may be said to have no immediate connection with Plymouth Friends' Meeting, they are of value as bearing on the customs of our ancestors two hundred years ago, and, the writer believes, are well worthy of the space they occupy, on that account. They are in a degree a sort of mirror in which we see reflected the times and the people of two centuries ago, as we could, perhaps, in no other way.
The documents in this chapter disclose very much that throws light on the early history of Plymouth Township and its settlers.
In presenting these old documents,transcribed in every case from the original paper, some difficulty has been encountered by reason of the ravages caused by the lapse of centuries, particularly where the tranuscripts have been folded. Care has been taken to preierve, as far as possible, the exact wording, capitals, and even the Punctuation of the relic of antiquity whence each was copied.
Referring to "Aaron Meredith's Title," it may be added that Aaron and Moses Meredith were brothers of Ellis Meredith.
The signatures to the marriage certificate just given reveal the fact that all or nearly all who attended on that occasion were of Welsh nationality.
In some particulars, the form of such certificate has remained practically unaltered to our own day, while in others it has been changed very materially.
The signatures show that all the signers of the paper had enjoyed some advantages of education. All, including the couple themselves, were able to sign their names, it would appear, and the writing would do no discredit to a modern assemblage of this character.
The language of the certificate of Meredith and Ellin David as given suggests the thought that there has been little improvement in the phraseology in the last two hundred years. In all its essential features, the wording is as good as that of today and the ungrammatical "allowed of by the said meeting," which often appears in present-day marriage certificates, does not occur in the document which is two centuries old.
The attte-nuptial agreement which closes this chapter is a curiosity in its way. It shows who was the second wife of David Meredith.
In this connection it may be noted that there seems to have been a family tradition that the box in which these old documents have been kept, once belonged to William Penn.
Edward Mathews, the local historian, writing in 1879, said:
"Mrs. Aaron has in her possession a wooden box valuable as a relic and memento of antiquity, inasmuch as it was a present from no less a personage than William Penn himself to David Meredith as a keepsake.
"Doubtless more than two centuries have passed away since it came from the artificer's hands into that of the great proprietor of the Quaker Province."
The reader can draw his own inferences as to the probability of this tradition. The care with which it has been preserved, all these years, indicates that it has been highly valued by the different persons into whose possession this relic of the past has come, in the course of the seven or eight generations which have succeeded each other in two centuries or more.
Articlesofagremt: had made concluded and agreed upon the twenty-fourth day of the Second month in ye year sixteen hundred and ninety Between David Meredith of Radnor in the county of Chester widdower And Mary Jones of uper Providence in ye said county of Chester widdow of ye one parte: And Thomas & Peeter Jones sons of Said Mary Jones both of Uper Providence in ye said County of Chester of ye other parte; as followeth viz,
Imprmis it is covenanted concluded & agreed upon by & between the Partyes to these presents that whereas the said Mary Jones is about to change her condition & take a husband the said David Meredith Hath with the consent of her said intended husband and the advice of scverall friends And for the satisfaction of all whom it may consern agreed with and settled her conserns with her two sons Thomas & Peeter Jones in maner and form following.
Itim the said Mary Jones doth hereby covenant promis and grant to & with her two sons Thomas & Peeter aforesaid to make over and convey all her Right title claim and Interest in or to that tract of Land whereon Shee now liveth containing one hundred and fifty acres with all the houseing plantations; orcharts, the crops upon the ground and all other Appertainment of and belonging to ye same, as also one young mare one steare or bullock And also certain houshould goods an inventory whereof is to be taken when the said Mary is married and goes away from her said habitation All wch foremensoned primlses are equally to be divided between the said Thomas and Peeter Jones.
Itim ye said Mary Jones doth hereby promis to give to her son Peeter Jones her black cowe & to delever the same sometime within ye compas of ye Eight month next after ye date hereof if the said cowe shall soe long live.
Itim the said David Meredith doth hereby covenant promis & grant to & with the said Thomas & Peeter Jones that if in case the said Mary Jones their Mother Shall depart this life before ye said David and after shee is become his wife then shee the said Mary shall have full power to dispose of all ye goods and chatles wch she bringeth to ye said David or ye value thereof wch is about seven pounds ten shills: or if ye said Mary Jones shall depart as aforesaid not having time to dispose of her said goods that then the said David dotal hereby promis and grant to and with the said Thomas and Peeter Jones that hee will make retern of half ye goods which ye said Mary brought to him or the value thereof to the said Thomas and Peeter Jones or their assignes within ___ months after her decease.
Itim the said Thomas and Peeter Jones doth hereby covenant promise and grant to and with the said David Meredith and Mary Jones their Mother that in consideration of the foremensoned benefits receved and to be receved from their Mother that they the said Thomas and Peeter Jones will undertake to discharge their Mother and David Meredith her Intended husband from all these depts wch she now oweth amounting to eighteen pounds sixteen shilling and eleven pence.
Also if in case their said Mother be a widdow and have need & require it of them that they ye said Thomas & Pee.ter will deliver her back ye young mare againe or one as good in the rome thereof and also all ye houshould goods or more as good in the rome thereof And also half the cleared ground that now is all wch the said Mary is to have the use of for her lifetime and then the same is to retern to the said Thomas and Peeter Jones and their heirs forever.
In witness whereof the partes to these presents have interchangably put their hands and seales.
Thomas Jones [seal]
Peeler Jones [seal]
Signed Sealed and delivered in presents of us.
IX. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE MONTHLY MEETING
Plymouth Meeting has been so intimately connected with that at Gwynedd since 1714, when the two were organized into a meeting which has ever since been known as Gwynedd Monthly Meeting, that it is impossible to proceed with the history of the one without some reference to the other.
The Friends composing the two Preparative Meetings have mingled together for a period of a hundred and eighty-five years, the sessions of the Monthly Meeting alternating at the two places for the greater part of the time. They have intermarried with each other and associated in almost daily intercourse until they are practically one community, Norristown Meeting having arisen about a half century ago and being joined with them.
Providence Meeting, another member of the group, a dozen miles or more from either Plymouth or Gwynedd, has been unused regularly for many years, although occasional gatherings are held there, to listen to some visiting Minister who deems it his duty to appoint a meeting in the old weather-worn building.
The following is from the records of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting:
"10th mo. 4th, 1699. Rowland Ellis, in behalf of Haverford Monthly Meeting, having acquainted this meeting that several Welsh people, Friends and others, are lately settled on ye East side of Scuylkill, in this county, about 20 miles off from this place, who for some time have had a First day's meeting by ye advice and consent of ye sd meeting of Haverford, which is also a Third day's weekly meeting, being brought hither for ye concurrence of the meeting, is approved, and in regard ye said people understand not ye English tongue, they desire to be joyned to Haverford Monthly Meeting for ye present which is also approved of."
From Haverford records:
"1714.---At the Monthly Meeting held at Radnor meeting house, the 9th day of the 10th month, it is left for further consideration what time to appoint the monthly meetings of Gwynedd and Plymouth; which was left to the appointment of the Quarterly Meeting [of Philadelphia].
"Gwynedd and Plymouth Friends, after consideration what day is suitable for the Monthly Meeting propose the last Third-day in every month which this meeting acquiesces with."
From Gwynedd Monthly Meeting records:
"Att our Monthly Meeting held att Gwynedd Meeting house the 22d 12th Mo. 1714 -15.
"Being the first monthly meeting held here appointed by and with the consent and advice of the Quarterly Meeting att Philhdelphia and likewise the Monthly 4 Meeting of Haverford unto which we have heretofore belonged as appeareth hereafter.
"1st There was read in this meeting a short account of the first settlement of this place and the rise and progress of Truth untill the establishment of this Meeting which account this Meeting orders to be entered in the begining of this Meeting Book, likewise when Plymouth frds brings in their account of the like nature This meeting may do as they see convenient and make a Minuet thereof.
[The historical account alluded to in the minute reproduced above may be found in Howard M. Jenkins' "Historical Collections Relating to Gwynedd," second edition, pages 74, 75. It is unnecessary to repeat it in connection with the history of Plymouth.
The "account of the like nature" which Plymouth members were to bring in, appears to have been brought in, although not entered in the minute book at the place intended. The account of the origin of the meeting known as Plymouth has, however, fortunately been preserved, though important dates are missing. It will be given further on, in the course of this chapter.]
2dly The several Minuets & proposals relating to the settlement of this meeting here in this place Are for the better understanding the same hereafter inserted viz. the first from Meirion To Philada Quarterly Ming 'ffrtls we have to Acquaint you That Gwynedd and Plymouth Meetings bath proposed for a monthly meeting of Business to be settled Amongst themselves giving the reasons Inducing them thereunto Their proposals and reasons being Considered by several Meetings, finding their inclination still to Continue And we hoping their proposed End may tend to the General service of Truth have Condescended and agreed to lay the same before the Quarterly Meeting for further Consideration and Concurrence. This we have to say from Our Monthly Meeting of Haverford held at Meirion.'
"The Second an Answer to the same, Quarterly Meetng att Philadelphia the 6th of the 10th Month 1714.
"'A proposition from the Monthly Meeting of Haverford was made signifying that the friends of North Wales and Plymouth and that ways desiring that they might have a Monthly Meeting established amongst them which their Meeting Condescended unto and lays the same before this Quarterly Meeting for their consideration and concurrence which we readily agree to and Approve of hoping it may be for the service of truth and leave it to the Monthly Meeting of Haverford to appoint a day & name for the said meeting when with conveniency it may be held and make report thereof to the next Quarterly Meeting.
'A copy of the said Minuet.
"The 3d ye Request of Haverford Monthly Meeting for settleing ye same:
"'According to the Direction of the last Quarterly Meeting it is agreed that the Monthly Meeting for Gwynedd and Plymouth Meetings is to be called by the name of Gwynedd Monthly Meeting to be held the last third day in every month unless occasion Appear for Another day and to begin the last Third day in the 12th Mo. next 1714."
"Att Gwynedd meeting house from Haverford monthly meeting 14th 11 mo."
3dly This meeting Desireth That Plymouth frrds do not neglect The General Meeting for Worship att this place that they may more Intirely be United as members of one body whilst the Meeting be held as att presnt it is in this place. Perquiomon ffriends are likewise desired to Joyn to and frequent the said Meeting as much as they can it being the second Third day in every month."
"Att our Monthly Meeting held att Gwynedd the 29th 1 Mo. 1715.
"Plymouth frds having brought to this meeting an acct of the first settlement of that Township and some hints of the Progress of Truth among them to the Establishment of this meeting the which was read and ordered to be affixed in the begining of this Book as Gwynedd ffrds actt was brought in last meeting."
"Att our Monthly Meeting held att Gwynedd 28th 2d month 1719.
"9th, Plymouth overseers report that ffrds there desire that ye Monthly Meeting of worship may come by turns amongst them, & this meeting refers it to ye next."
"Att our Monthly Meeting held att Gwynedd 26th 3rd mo 1719.
''5th Plymouth frds Proposal last meeting to have ye Monthly Meeting of worship come by turns amongst ym, and this meeting Thinks fit that ye said meeting shall be kept there att their meeting house in Plymouth on ye usual day viz. on the Second third day of Sixth ninth twelfth and third month."
ANCIENT RECORD OF THE SETTLEMENT OF PLYMOUTH MEETING
About the year 1685, the township of Plymouth was originally purchased, and settled, by James Fox, Richard Gove, Francis Rawle, John Chelson, and some other Friends, that came from Plymouth, in old England, who dwelled here for some space of time, and kept meetings for worship at the house of the said James Fox. But being most of them trades-men and citizens, and not used to a country life, they removed to Philadelphia: by which means the place became vacant for a time. But being again purchased chiefly by Friends, viz, David Meredith, Edmond Cartledge, Thomas Owen, Isaac Price, Ellis Pugh, Hugh Jones, and divers other ; and as there was several adjacent settlers in Whitematsh, viz. John Roads, Abraham Dawes, David Williams, and several more Friends; these, in the year 1703, by the approbation of Haverford monthly meeting, unto which they then joined themselves, kept their meeting for worship at the house aforesaid, being then in the possession of Hugh Jones; where it continued for some years: and then by consent, was removed to John Cartledge's house, where it also continued for some years.
But settlements increasing, and young people coming up, it was agreed to build a meeting house for the better accommodation of Friends belonging thereunto, and also the convenience of a public place of worship near the burying place which was prefixed some time before, in Plymouth afore • said, and several deceased Friends being there interried, before the meeting house was built.
In the year ___, the meeting house was erected, and on the 18th day of the __ month, the first meeting was kept therein.
And our number increasing, and not having the convenience of a monthly meeting among ourselves, we joined with Gwynedd Friends to apply to Haverford monthly meeting, for their approbation, to hold a monthly meeting of business; Which, together with the consent of the Quarterly meeting of Philadelphia, was obtained.
The monthly meeting was agreed to be held the last third-day in every month at Gwynedd, and was opened the 22nd of the 12th month, 1714-15.
X. THE MEETING—HOUSE
When it would have been possible to fill up correctly the blank dates in the account given on the previous page, the matter was neglected, and what seems to have been uncertain at that time, is now an impossibility in the absence of an authentic record, after the lapse of a century and a half or more.
The exact date of the erection of the meeting-house cannot now be supplied, as has been previously stated, although it was probably built about the year 1710.
As has also been stated, the original structure remains, though it has undergone considerable alteration, being that section of the building nearest the older portion of the grave-yard.
In the case of the original meeting-house, it is probable that the work was done voluntarily by members who were so situated that they could furnish material or labor. There is no reference on the Monthly Meeting minutes to the payment of bills, and Preparative Meetings were not in the eighteenth century meetings of record as they usually are at the present time. Anything deemed worthy was sent to the Monthly Meeting placed and was there on the record for permanent preservation. It is evident from the appearance of the meeting-house as it now stands, that it was built at two different periods, besides alterations and that different materials were used on each occasion.
The older part was built of limestone while in the .newer portion a brownish sandstone was used. As to height, all portions are now the same, but for many years the upper portion was lower than the other.
The upper end as it stood for the greater part of a century, was erected to supply the need for school facilities.
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting issued an '"advice" to the Monthly and Preparative meetings recommending that every member in the final disposition of his property, should make provision for the education of youth.
In almost all the Monthly Meetings and in some of the Preparative Meetings, then and for many years afterwards, there were bequests of money for schools, of varying amounts, some of them large.
Abington, Horsham and Gwynedd meetings all had them, continuing to the present time, and being of great value in the establishment of Friends' schools, and the maintenance of a guarded education for young people.
There were bequests also to, Plymouth Preparative Meeting for educational purposes. Jacob Jones, and one of the Williams family left 300 lbs Pennsylvania currency for the establishment of a school, one bequest for indigent people in the vicinity and the other for the children of Friends. One bequest was 200 lbs, the other 100 lbs. Shortly after that, an addition was made to the meeting house as a school-house, and it was used for a number.of years for the purposes of education.
These schools were well attended, many of the pupils being others than members ofthe Society of Friends. Boys, especially, often came from a great distance in winter, when the farm work was done.
There is a tradition that David Rittenhouse, the eminent astronomer, attended the school at Plymouth Meeting, though I have not been able to verify it. He was said to have come on horseback, and barefooted, in his earlier boyhood. There is no doubt that many did so in early Colonial days, and even in later times.
Among the teachers in the old meeting-house school were Jesse Williams and Josiah Albertson. Alan W. Corson, Dr. Hiram Corson and many others of the past generation attended there as pupils.
There is a tradition that "Plymouth well" "went dry" at the time the "school end" of the meetinghouse was built, owing to the large quantity of water required for the making of mortar for building the walls. It was probably an exceptionally dry season.
Alan W. Corson recollected that in his boyhood days, there was a log stable in the meeting-house yard for the accommodation of the horses of the pupils who came from a considerable distance to attend the school. Some came from Whitpain and some from the upper part of Gwynedd township, coming as far as six or seven miles to attend school at the meeting-house.
In connection with the schools at Plymouth Meeting, the one which was conducted for many years by Hannah Williams may be mentioned. It was kept in the house afterwards occupied by Joseph K. Ellis, in our own day. It was for a long time a boarding-school, and, in later years, a day school.
Early in the present century, the Eight-Square school-house was built by the Friends of Plymouth Meeting. It was erected in the yard, between the meeting-house and the sheds in that portion of the grounds adjoining the newer part of the graveyard. Many of the middle-aged men and women of the present day, residing in the neighborhood, attended this school in their younger days.
Among the teachers in the "Eight-Square" school were Joel Vanartsdalen, who came from Bucks county; Hannah Adamson, a daughter of Jonathan Adamson, and others. It was torn down probably thirty-five years ago.
The building of octagonal school houses was quite common a century ago, their origin being due to a belief that they economized space, which has long been abandoned. It was probably thought also that the teacher could more conveniently reach the pupils than in ordinary rooms, individual rather than class instruction being largely preferred in those days.
One of these Eight-Square school-houses was built in Gwynedd, and others in adjoining townships. A few of them are still standing but the greater number disappeared many years ago. One still remains near Harmarville, and is in use at present.
An additional reason for the construction of school-houses in the peculiar style which was common in that day, may have been the belief that they could be more readily heated than when they were built in the ordinary y manner. How well founded was this notion, the reader can judge. It was old-fashioned idea that would not bear the test of practical experience.
Later, the one-story school building close to the Germantown road was built. In it have presided a number of teachers. Within the past year, it has been greatly enlarged, a second story being added and many improvemetits made.
It will be seen, from this somewhat hasty review, that school facilities afforded to successive generations at Plymouth Meeting, including the more recent, have been as a rule in advance of most other communities. The interest in education which is usually characteristic of Friends, has been well maintained from the first settlement.
THE MEETING-HOUSE BURNED
Coming down to later times, it is unnecessary to mention the various alterations that have been made in the building. The burning of the meeting-house about thirty-three years ago, while it was a calamity, in one sense, led to its reconstruction, the old walls being used, as far as it was possible, for the new structure.
The fire, supposed to have originated from hot ashes which had been deposited in the cellar, wood being used at that time for fuel, occurred on the morning of Second-month 13, 1867.
At Plymouth Preparative Meeting on First month 24, of that year, only a short time before the fire, a committee had been appointed to collect money to build additional shedding. It consisted of Alan W. Corson, Mark Jones, George M. Wilson, Nathan Conrad, John G. Williams, Elias Hicks Corson, Amos Phipps and Thomas Livezey.
At the Preparative Meeting held Second-month 21, 1867, the meeting-house having been destroyed by fire in the meantime, the following persons were added to the committee: Lewis A. Lukens, Charles Williams, Jonathan Jones, Evan D. Jones.
The committee, thus enlarged, was authorized to collect all the money needed for the purpose, and to proceed with the work of rebuilding the meeting-house. The walls of the building were used, with little alteration, as stated.
At the meeting held Tenth-month 24, 1867, the building committee reported that the work had been completed, the amount collected being $5870.65, and the expenditures $5949.93.
The report, signed by Charles Williams, Lewis A. Lukens, Thomas Livezey and Elias Hicks Corson, was accepted and approved by the meeting.
The changes made in the building since that time have been comparatively unimportant, and they have altered its appearance but very little.
XI. TRANSFERS OF THE PROPERTY
The reader should be informed at this point that the property on which are located the meeting-house, the grave-yard and the school building, does not lie wholly within the limits of Plymouth township.
The old portion of the graveyard had been set apart for the purpose prior to the permanent location of the roads in the vicinity. It thus formed a barrier to highways when they were laid out, and the persons who surveyed them, were compelled to go around the obstacle, which was done, as a matter of necessity.
The road which forms the township line between Plymouth and Whitemarsh, east of Plymouth Meeting, deviates, it may be noted, from a straight line, on reaching the Germantown road which extends along one side of the property. Were it extended without this deviation, it would cut off a part of the meeting-house grounds which lie in Whitemarsh township.
The intersecting road begins on the opposite side of the Germantown road, at the lower line of the property, but is not the township line until it has passed beyond the grounds belonging to Friends. It has been mentioned that the Dickinsons owned the property in the immediate vicinity of the meeting-house. In this connection it may be proper to give some account of the family, and especially so since they became related, through intermarriage, with so many families of the immediate vicinity.
John Dickinson, the first of the name in this country, born in London, England, in 1624, emigrated in 1624 with his two brothers, Walter and Henry, to Virginia; subsequently, John and Walter went to North Point, Maryland, and took up three hundred acres of land, along the Patapsco river.
John removed a few years later to Talbot county, Maryland, and bought a similar quantity of land from Nicholas Holmes, whose daughter Sarah he married in the year 1664.
The three Dickinsons had been connected with the established church in England, but they were convinced by the preaching of George Fox, and became Friends. In Dr. Hiram Corson's "History of the Corson Family," they are traced back to the year 700, the name at one time hiving been spelled de Kenson.
John and Sarah Dickinson had several children. Their third son, William, born in 1669, married in 1690 Sarah, daughter of William Harrison, of a Bucks County, Pa., family. He then removed to Darby, and from thence in 1703 to Radnor, buying the tract in Plymouth later.
Among the children of William Dickinson were Joshua and Benjamin. Further information in reference to them and their descendants will be found in the chapters devoted to the marriages, births and deaths among Plymouth Friends, and elsewhere in the latter part of this volume.
William Dickinson, like many another, was attracted to Plymouth by the fertility of the land. Many families of Whitpain, Whitemarsh, and even of Norriton and Merion, as old records indicate, were in the habit of attending the meeting. The settlement and the meeting prospered greatly, the community being one of the most flourishing in Pennsylvania, and its members among the most substantial and prosperous people of this section of country, which is true also, in a measure, to the present day.
The Welsh ancestry transmitted qualities which are well calculated to promote success in the various pursuits of agricultural or business life.
THE TITLE TO THE PROPERTY
The value of land in the year 1700 at Plymouth Meeting and in its vicinity was merely nominal. Little importance was attached at that time to its ownership and when it was sold the consideration mentioned in the deed was usually for an insignificant amount. In many instances the purchaser was placed at once in possession, and the deed was left without being executed or put on record for some years.
Sometimes the executors or administrators of a deceased person made title to property which had been occupied by the purchaser for many years.
This is true of the burial-place and the grounds adjoining, at Plymouth Meeting. The deed were buried there, but without regard to the title to the property. It was taken for granted at first that no one would encroach upon ground set apart for a purpose so sacred as that of a burial. place, and no trouble was undergone to vest the title In the body of Friends who were in possession.
It could not be foreseen at the beginning of the settlement how the little colony would grow, in the course of two or three generations. As it happened, however, there were new-comers, year by year, and the natural increase of population made a gain in numbers which was considerable.
THE FIRST DEED
"To all people To whome these presents shall come. Lumley Williams of the township of Plymouth in the county of Philadelphia & Province of Pensilvania sends greeting & know ye that sd Lumley Williams for and in consideration of the sum of Two pound to him paid by Isaac Price, William Dickinson & Abraham Dawes all of the sd township of Plymouth Yeomen & John Rhoads of Whitemarsh in the said County of Philadelphia Yeoman the receipt whereof he the said Lumley doth hereby acknowledge and thereof Doth acquit & forever discharge the sd Isaac Price Wm Dickinson Abraham Dawes & John Roads & every of them their & every of their Heirs and Assigns by these presents hath granted Bargained sold Aliened Enfeoffed and confirmed and Hereby doth grant Bargain sell Enfeoff and confirm unto the said Isaac Price William Dickinson Abraham Dawes John Roads a certain piece of Land situate in the said Township of Plymouth Begining at a stake or post set in the ground 189 perches from a corner between the said Lumley's land & John Redwitzer's land on a line dividing the said Lumley's land from William Lawrence's Land from thence Southwest thirteen Perches to another Stake set in the ground in the said line from thence Northwest by a line of Marked Trees dividing it from other Lands of sd Lumiey's thirteen perches to another stake set in the ground from thence North East by a line of Marked Trees dividing it from the same Lands Thirteen perches to a stake set in the ground thence Southeast by a line of Marked Trees and the same Land thirteen perches to the place of Beginning containing one Acre and nine perches of Land Together with all the Rights Liberties Priviledges improvements Hereditaments and Appurtenances whatsoever to the said Land belonging or in any wise Appertaining and the Divisions and Remainders Rents and profits thereof And All the Estate Right Title Interest Posession property Claim and Demand whatsoever of the sd Lumley Williams of in and to the same to have and to Hold the said one Acre and nine perches of land and all other the Hereditaments and premises hereby granted with the Appurtenances unto the said Isaac Price William Dickinson Abraham Dawes and John Roads and their Heirs to the use of them the said Isaac Price William Dickinson Abrahams Dawes and John Roads their Heirs and Assigns forever And the said Lumley Williams and His Heirs the said one Acre and nine perches of Land and premises hereby granted with the Appurtenances unto the sd Isaac Price William Dickinson Abraham Dawes and John Roads their Heirs and Assigns against him the said Lumley and his heirs and against all other persons whatsoever Lawfully Claiming or to Claim by from or under him them or any of them shall and Will Warrant and forever defend by these presents and the said Lumley Williams for himself his Heirs Executors and Administrators doth Covenant promise and grant to and with the sd Isaac Price Wm Dickinson Abraham Dawes & John Roads & every of them their & every of their Heirs Assigns by these presents That he the said Lumley Williams and his Heirs & all other whatever Lawfully claiming or to Claim the said one Acre and nine perches of Land and Ire• tnises hereby granted or any part thereof by from or under hitii or theta shall and will at any time hereafter taj)of the Reasonable Request costs and Charges in Law of the said Isaac Price William Dickinson Abraham Dawes and John Roads or any of them their or any of their Heirs or Assigns Make Execute and Acknowledge all such further and other Reasonable act and acts Thing or things conveyances and Assurances in La* for the further and better Assurance and Confirmation of the said piece of Land and premises hereby granted with the appurtenances unto the said Isaac I'ricc William Dickinson Abraham Dawes & john Rhoads their heirs and assigns as by them or any of them their or any of their Council Learned in the Law shall be reasonably Devised advised or required. And the said Isaac Price William Dickinson Abraham Dawes & John Roads for themselves their Heirs Exe't'rs admnistrators and assigns do Covenant promise and Grant to and with sd Lumley Williams his Heirs and assigns by these presents that they the sd Isaac Price William Dickinson Abraham Dawes John Roads their Heirs and assigns shall and will from time to time and at all times hereafter uphold Maintain and keep the said piece of Ground and premises hereby granted well and sufficiently fenced.
"And the sd Lumley Williams bath made David Lloyd his attorney to deliver this deed in court.
"In Witness whereof he hath hereunto set his hand and seal.
"Dated the Sixth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and four.
"Lumley Williams [seal,]
"Sealed and delivered in the presence of us
"Hugh X John mark
"William Coulston his mark
"Lewis X Thomas mark
"Acknowledged in theCourt of Common Pleasat Philadelphia the 7th day of 10m 1704.
"Certified under my hand and County seal
Robt. Assheton Prothonotary." [seal]
OTHER EARLY DEEDS
The deed given above was deemed of sufficient importance to be reproduced in full because it is the first conveyance its the order of time.
It was executed some time prior to the erection of the first meeting. house, So much is reasonably certain. Just how long the deed was given before the house was built is not, however, definitely known.
It is probable, from the fact that the deed was executed, that the Friends of Plymouth were looking towards such an undertaking.
Their numbers had increased to such an extent by 1704 that it must have been manifest to all that the meeting was to become permanent. Securing a site for a building within whose walls they might gather for worship, was very naturally the course to be pursued when there was no longer a doubt as to the continuance of the settlement.
It will be noticed, however, that there is no mention of any intention to build a meetinghouse, in the deed reproduced above.
The grantees, Isaac Prce, William Dickinson, Abraham Dawes and John Rhoads (or Roads) were prominent Friends of the vicinity and they held the property in trust for the meeting;, as is still the custom.
In due time they (or the survivors of them) passed it to new trustees selected by the meeting who in their turn transferred it to others the trust thus created continuing to the present time.
In reciting the conveyance of other tracts and the successive transfers of the property from one set of trustees to another, in the course of nearly two centuries which have intervened since that time, only the material portions of the many deeds will be given, in the pages that follow. It is unnecessary to repeat in each the legal phrases employed in the conveyance of real estate, which are practically the same as those in use at the present day in change of title.
The next deed in the order of time is from William Lawrence to David Harry y of Whitemarsh; Rees Williams, Hugh Jones and Joseph Jones of Plymouth, and Abraham Dawes. Jr., of Whitemarsh. The date is December 2, 1730, and the price of land five shillings, a merely nominal consideration as we make use of "one dollar" at the present time; The description follows:
"A certain piece or parcel of Land Situate lying and being in the Township of Whitemarsh aforesaid Beginning at a corner Stone Standing in a corner where the Roads leading to Robert Jones's Mill and Pertaomy [Perkiomen] Cross each other in Plymouth line thence Southwest along the said Plymouth line Thirty five perches to a corner Stone then Southeast nine perches to another corner Stone then Northeast thirty five perches to another corner Stone Standing by the said Road leading from Philadelphia to Pertaomy then along the said Road Northwesterly five perches to the place of Beginning containing near Two Acres part of four hundred Acres Conveyed by the aforesaid David Harry to the said William Lawrence his heirs and Assigns forever."
The next deed, still following the order of time, is one from Benjainln Dickinson and Elizabeth his wife to David Harry, Abraham Dawes ,[jr.,) Hugh Jones and Joseph Jones, practically the same trustees, Rees Williams being probably deceased.
Its date is April 13, 1738. It conveyed two acres in Plymouth township.
The material part of the document follows:
"Whereas the said Benja'n Dickinson by force and Virtue of several good conveyances or assurances in Law duly had and executed now is and standeth Lawfully seized in his demesne as of fee of and in a certain piece of Land Situate lying and being in Plymouth Aforesaid Joyning to Whitemarsh Aforesaid near Plymouth Meeting-house Containing about one hundred and twenty two acres.
"Now this Indenture witnesseth that the said Benjamin Dickinson and Elizabeth his wife for and in consideration of ye sum of five shillings lawful money of America to them in hand payed by the said David Harry, Abraham Dawes, Hugh Jones and Joseph Jones the receipt whereof they do hereby acknowledge and for other good causes and. considerations them Specially moving have granted bargained and sold aliened enfeoffed and confirmed * * * unto ye said David Harry Abraham Dawes Hugh Jones and Joseph Jones their heirs and Assigns a certain piece or parcel of land.
"Beginning at a corner where ye roads lead to Pertaomy and Anthony Morris' mill cross each other in Plymouth line Thence Southwest and Eighty perches to another Corner in Plymouth line, then Northwest thirteen perches to a corner then southwest thirteen perches to a corner then southeast fourteen perches to a corner hickory Saplin then Northeast thirty five perches to a corner White oak Saplin then Southeast fourteen perches to the place of Beginning containing two acres (part of the above mentioned one hundred and twenty two acres)," etc.
The date of the next deed for the property is January 14, 1758.
All the trustees named in Deed No. 1, appear to have been deceased. The grantors are the heirs of John Rhoads, the survivor of them, in whom therefore the title vested. The deed is for 1 acre, 9 perches, (tract No. 4) in Plymouth. The material part of the instrument follows:
"This Indenture Made the Fourteenth day of January in the Year of our Lord One thousand Seven hundred and fifty eight Between Barnabas Rhoads of the County of Pliiladelphia- Yeoman John Rhoads of the County of Bucks Yeoman Samuel Rhoads of the city of Philadelphia House Carpenter, Rachel Harper of Lancaster County Widow William Thomas of the county of Philadelphia Yeoman & Mary his wife they the said Barnabas Rhoads John Rhoads Samuel Rhoads Rachel Harper & Mary Thomas being the only Surviving children and Co-Heirs of John Rhoads late of Whitemarsh Township in the County of Philadelphia (Yeoman deceased) of the one part And William Jones of Whitemarsh. Aforesaid Yeoman Joseph Roberts of Norriton in the County aforesaid and Joseph Dickinson of Plymouth Township in the County of Philadelphia Yeoman of the other part.
"Whereas Lumley Williams late of Plymouth aforesaid Yeoman by his Deed Poll duly Executed under his hand and seal bearing date the sixth day of October in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and four for the consideration therein mentioned did grant Enfeoff and convey a certain one acre and nine perches of land with the Appurtenances * * *unto Isaac Price William Dickinson Abraham Dawes and the above named John Rhoads all of the county of Philadelphia Yeomen.
"Now this Indenture witnesseth that the said Barnabas Rhoads [and others] for and in consideration of the just sum of five shillings do hereby grant [etc.] unto the said William Jones [and others] a certain lot or piece of land, it being the one acre and nine perches aforesaid Beginning" etc. Then follows the description of the tract of "one acre and nine perches," first conveyed by Lumley Williams.
The next deed in order is one from surviving trustees to new trustees, of the date March 13, 1767.
It is from Joseph Jones, Abraham Dawes, Joseph Roberts and William Jones to Thomas Lancaster, John Bell, Jonathan Robeson, Isaac Ellis, John Jones, Jr, and Caleb Byrne the new trustees.
It is for five acres, the three orginal tracts combined. As it is recited, however, in one dated Seventh month 20, 1788 from Thomas Lancaster and Caleb Byrne [surviving trustees] to John Wilson and others, the last mentioned only need be particularly dwelt upon.
It is as follows, omitting what is superfluous:
"This Indenture Made the twentieth day of the seventh Month in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty eight Between Thos. Lancaster of Township of Whltemarsh in the County of Montgomery in Pennsylvania Yeoman and Caleb Byrne of the County of Newcastle on Delaware of the one part and John Wilson, Isaac Williams, Thomas Pryor, Thomas Lancaster jr. David Shoemaker of Whitemarsh aforesaid John Meredith, Nathan Potts of the Township of Plymouth Jacob Evans of the Township of Norriton and William Ellis Jr. of the Township of Whitpain, all in the County of Montgomery in Pennsylvania aforesaid of the other part.
"Whereas a certain William Lawrence by indenture dated the second day of December Anno Dom. 1730, did grant and confirm unto David Harry Rees Williams Hugh Jones Joseph Jones and Abraham Dawes in fee about two acres of land situate in Whitemarsh aforesaid * *,
'"Whereas Benj. Dickinson and Elizabeth his wife by their Indenture April 13 1738 did grant and confirm unto David Harry [and others] two acres of land in Plymouth township.
"And Whereas Barnabas Rhoads [and others.] did grant unto William Jones [and others] one acre and nine perches of land.
"And whereas the said Joseph Jones [and others] by Indenture dated the 13th of March A. D. 1767 for the consideration therein mentioned did grant [etc.) the aforesaid three several above recited pieces of land in fee unto Thomas Lancaster [and others] * * the said Thomas Lancaster and Caleb Byrne who are parties thereunto being the only surviving joint tenants.
"Now this Indenture witnesseth that the said Thomas Lancaster & Caleb Byrne for and in consideration of the sum of five shillings unto them in hand paid by the said John Wilson [and others] * * have granted [etc.] unto the above named John Wilson [and others] three several lots or pieces of land which being contiguous to each other.
"Beginning at a stone Set for a corner by the side of Manahatwney Road five perches from Plymouth Township Line thence Northwest crossing the said Township line nineteen perches to another stone and thence Southwest thirty five perches to a stone and southeast twenty-three perches to a stone thence Northeasterly thirty five perches to the place of Beginning Containing in the whole about fine acres of land," etc.
The changes which have been noted, bring us to the commencement of the nineteenth century.
Much progress had been made, in the course of a hundred years. A season of controversy in the Society, and of close proving to many minds, had arrived.
A spirit of intolerance had already developed itself that could not fail to lead to the division, which came in time. But of that more later.
The next transfer is from Thomas W. Pryor, Willlam Ellis, and Isaac Williams to Samuel Paul, Jonathan Jones, Joseph Williams and Alan W. Corson, Whitemarsh; Cadwallader Foulke, Josiah Albertson, Jacob Albertson, Jr., Thomas Livezey, jr., and Aaron Lukens, Plymouth, for the consideration of one dollar.
It is dated Sixth month 7, 1827. The description varies but little from the last previous deed. The courses and distances follow:
"Beginning at a stone set for a corner by the side of Manatawny (now the Germantown and Perkiomen turnpike) Road Eve perches from Plymouth Township Line thence Northwest;crossing the said Township line nineteen perches to another stone thence Southwest thirty five perches to a stone thence southeast twenty-three perches to a stone and thence Northeasterly thirty five perches to the place of Beginning Containing in the whole about five acres of land."
What is known as the "Separation," which occurred in the Society of Friends in the year 1827 necessitated Measures to prevent disputes as to the ownership of property held by Trustees who were appointed by the various Monthly and Preparative Meetings.
A Declaration of Trust from the Trustees above named, Samuel Paul, Jonathan Jones, Joseph Williams, Alan W. Corson, Cadwatlader Foulke, Josiah Albertson, Jacob Albertson, Jr., Thomas Livezey and Aaron Lukens, dated Sixth month 8, 1827, was executed.
It set forth that the premises already described were conveyed to them (the trustees) "by the direction and appointment of the inhabitants of Pymouth and others belonging to the Monthly Meeting of the people of God called Quakers in the township of Gwyncdd and that the above recited indenture was intended to us in trust to the intent only that we or such or so many of us as shall be and continue in unity and religious fellowship with the said people and remain members of the said Monthly Meeting, (whereunto we now belong) should stand and be seized of the said lands and premises in and by the said indenture granted * * * that is to say For the benefit and behoof of the said people called Quakers belonging to the said Meeting forever and for a place to erect and keep a meeting-house for the use and service of the said people and for a place to bury the dead," etc.
The object was to prevent any legal claim as to the ownership of property or an interest in it by a minority who were not in unity with the body. The same plan was pursued in connection with other meeting property in most portions of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.
A deed from William Jeanes and Thomas Livezey to Jonathan Jones, Thomas Baynes and David Foulke, of Plymouth, Nathan Conrad and Charles Conrad of Whitpain, William Ely, Charles Williams and Edward Phipps, of Whitemarsh, for the consideration of $825 conveys a tract of land described as follows:
"Beginning on the Southwest side or limit of the Germantown and Perkiomen turnpike road at a stake a corner of this and of lands held by Trustees of Gwynedd Monthly Meeting of Friends thence by said lands south thirty nine degrees and fifty five minutes west twenty seven perches and twelve hundredths to a stake thence by lands about to be conveyed to Mark Jones north forty one degrees and twenty eight minutes west nine perches and twenty two hundredths to a stake thence partly by said land and partly by a twenty feet wide alley north thirty nine degrees and fitly five minutes east twenty five perches and fifty one hundredths to a stake on the said southwestern side or limit of said turn-pike road thence along said side of said turnpike road south fifty three degrees and twenty eight minutes east nine perches and twelve hundredths to the place of beginning Containing one Acre and a half of land."
This tract was added to the graveyard, on the side next to the Germantown Road.
The date of this deed is Sixth month 12, 1848. A Declaration of Trust, similar to the one which has been given [above], was executed by the new trustees, the practice having been well established by that time and is now usually followed.
The trustees of the property at the present time are as follows:
Isaacc J. Sheppard; Jonathan J. Webster, Plymouth; William Potts Jones, Conshohocken; T. Ellwood Livezey, Plymouth; John M. Conrad, Whitpain; William B. Richards, Plymouth; Chalkley Jones, Upper Merion; A. Conrad Jones, Conshohocken.
They were named as trustees in a deed executed First-month 24, 1889, having been previously appointed by the Preparative Meeting.
Another tract adjoining the graveyard, but lying back from the Germantown Road, was a few years ago given to the meeting for addition to the graveyard by Joel Lare.
In due time it will doubtless be used for the burial of the dead.
The deed was executed Tenth-mouth 31, 1890, to the trustees whose names were given in connection with the last mentioned deed.
The following is the description of the tract in the deed from Joel Lare:
"Beginning at a stone at the corner of Plymouth Meeting graveyard and [extending] along the same south forty-one degrees and twenty-eight minutes east nine perches and twenty-two hundredths to a stake and thence by lands of the heirs of Hannah Williams dec'd south thirty-nine degrees fifty-five minutes west fourteen perches and eight hundredths to a stone, thence by land late of Jacob Albertson dec'd north eight degrees and three-quarters east twelve perches and six hundredths to a stake thence by lands of the School District of Plymouth north thirty-nine degrees fifty six minutes east seven perches and fifty-three hundredths to the place of Beginning."
OLD SANDY HILL SCHOOL
Other tracts of land have come, from time to time, into the possession of the Meeting at Plymouth, separated, however, from the principal tract on which the meeting-house stands, including a schoolhouse lot in Whitpain, on which a building was erected and a school maintained for a number of years.
The building disappeared long since, and the lot has been merged with that of the Sandy Hill public school, in that township.
The area of the lot is a quarter of an acre. It is still the property of the Meeting.
This quarter acre of land was deeded to trustees by Joseph Lukens, of Whitemarsh, Seventh-month 19. 1793. A new deed was executed in 1813, the date being Third-mo. t7th, to John Wilson, Thomas Lancaster, Amos Ellis, Isaac Shoemaker, John Meredith, Samuel Livezey and Nathan Potts.
Fourth-month 12, 1827. Amos Ellis and Samuel Livezey, surviving trustees, transferred it to John Conrad, Joseph Conrad and others.
Soon after 1793 the house was built; the school was well attended for many years.
Benjamin Conrad taught in it a half century ago, among his pupils being many persons now living.
Among the teachers who followed were these:
Rebecca Bailey, who afterwards became the wife of Lewis Conard, and has long been. deceased.
Elizabeth Zorns, daughter of William Zorns, a prominent Friend of the vicinity who was noted for the kindliness of his disposition, and who lived to a very advanced age. She is the wife of Thomas Whitney.
Lydia W. Stephens, now the widow of David Hines, of Norristown.
Others who taught in the old building were Mary Maus, of Quakertown; Benjamin Thomas, James W. Lear, Henry Hallowell and George Cope. Those mentioned are only a few of the many teachers who gave instruction in the old Sandy Hill schoolhouse, which was demolished forty yeats ago, or more.
It should be stated that the school was for a number of years under the control of the Whitpain School Board. It appears at the same time to have been under the supervision of a committee of the Preparative Meeting. A person who was a pupil of the school at the time mentioned, remembers the visits of such a committee, one of whom was the late Alan W. Corson.
The old schoolhouse was torn down when the present building was erected, and the stone of which it was built was used in the new structure.
THE WILLIAMS SCHOOL
Another lot containing ninety perches was deeded by Isaac Williams and Ann his wife to Samuel Maulsby, Joseph Williams, Jr., Knowles Lancaster, David Wilson, Isaiah Bell and George Martin, trustees, March 29, 1843, "for the benevont purpose of educating children in school learning," to use the language of the deed.
A building was shortly afterwards erected, and used for school purposes under the direction of a committee appointed in Plymouth Preparative Meeting.
Fourth-month 12, 1856, Joseph Williams and Knowles Lancaster, surviving trustees, conveyed it to Charles Williams, Lewis A. Lukens, lsaac Williams, John Cleaver, Thomas Phipps, William Jeanes, J. Wilson Jones, Samuel Phipps, all of Whltemarsh township.
The original building was an "eight-square" structure. It was replaced by the present building many years ago. Among the teachers of a half-century or more ago, were the late William A. Yeakle, Elias H. Phipps and Others. The school has long been under the control of the Board of the district of Whitemarsh.