Chester Co. PA:  VINCENT TOWNSHIPS

CHESTER COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
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VINCENT TOWNSHIP 
(Including East & West)

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EAST VINCENT TOWNSHIP | WEST VINCENT TOWNSHIP

On Holme's "Map of the Improved Parts of Pennsylvania," constructed by Thomas Holme, surveyor-general of William Penn,--the earliest map of the province,--the territory now constituting the Vincents is given in the names of "Sr. Mathias Vincent, Adrian Vrouzen, Benja Furloy, Doctr. Daniel Cox."  It appears that Benjohan Furly, of Rotterdam, in Holland, as agent for William Penn, on March 7, 1682, conveyed 5000 acres of land in Pennsylvania to Burgomaster Adrian Vroesen, of the same place, who on June 10, 1704, conveyed the same lands to Benjohan Furly, merchant, son of the first named.  By letters from Furly to Thomas Penn, as late as 1736, it seems that nothing had been done towards a confirmation of the land to him, but he expresses a hope that it will be laid out in the best part of the grant of 30,000 acres made in 1687.

From an original document in the possession of Dr. George Smith, author of the "History of Delaware County," the following is taken:

Nov. 22, 1686, Dr. Daniel Coxe, of Loudon, being seized of a tract of 10,000 acres in Pennsylvania, lying between two rivers, now called Vincent river and Skulkill river, ordered the same to be divided into two equal parts, on one of which, containing 5000 acres, several families are already planted.  From the remaining 5000 acres he now grants to John Clapp, of the province of Carolina, in America, gentleman, 1000 acres, one-tenth of which was to lie on Skulkill river, paying to the said Coxe a grain of corn yearly for the first six years, and afterwards the yearly rent of 4[pounds] 6[shillings].

This deed does not appear to have been executed, but it gives some historical facts.  Dr. Coxe was largely interested in West New Jersey lands, and was at one time Governor of that colony.  In 1691 he conveyed to an association styled "The West New Jersey Society," among other lands, 10,000 acres in Chester County, which he had purchased from William Penn by deed of April 20, 1686.

William Penn also sold to Maj. Robert Thompson, of Newington Green, in the county of Middlesex, England, 10,000 acres in Pennsylvania, April 20, 1686, which land was to be set out and divided into two several townships, which were to lie contiguous, and to be seated with ten families apiece within twelve months next ensuing the date of sale.  Robert Thompson, by will dated April 14, 1691, entailed the land.  We next find deeds of lease and release, June 29 and 30, 1775, from Robert Thompson, Esq., of Elsham, in Lincolnshire, only brother of William Thompson, Esq. (who died without issue), eldest son of William Thompson, Esq., only son of William Thompson, late of Hackney, in Middlesex, Esq., eldest son of Maj. Robert Thompson, aforesaid, to Joseph Reed, Esq., Thomas Willing, Esq., and Robert Morris, Esq., all of Philadelphia, for the above 10,000 acres.  The price paid for this was 5500 [pounds].  Dec. 10, 1783, Joseph Reed sold his interest to the other partners for 2000 [pounds], and a patent was granted to Morris and Willing, June 28, 1787, for 10,098 acres in Vincent, called "Westover."  Morris sold out to Willing, Dec. 1, 1789, for 12,000 [pounds].  This patent covered the parts of East and West Vincent adjoining Coventry.  A patent was granted to the West New Jersey Society for the remainder of the land in Vincent, or 10,098-1/2 acres, Dec. 5, 1791.

Vincent townships were leased and settled much in the same manner as Pikeland, the settlers in many instances taking leases with the reserved right of purchase.  For a number of years the improvements in these townships did not keep pace with those in other parts of the county.  The houses were generally very inferior, and the progress of agriculture was slow.  This general indisposition to improvement was, in a large measure, owing to the nature of the tenures by which much of the land was holden.  The stimulus to active industry was wanting, but when the tillers became the absolute owners of the soil the face of things was changed and wore a more animating aspect;  improvements were rapidly made, and Vincent and Pikeland soon contained an enterprising class of citizens.  After the land in Vincent became valuable, and considerable improvements had been made, several claimants appeared, and there was a long litigation concerning the fee simple title before it was finally adjusted.  

The township derived its name from Sir Matthias Vincent, and the tracts of land constituting it were for some time known as "Cox and company's 20,000 acres."  French Creek, which passes through the township, was originally Vincent River, and retained that proud title for many years.

Benjohan Furly, one of the original owners of the lands in Vincent township, was very intimate with William Penn, and traveled much with him in Germany.  He was a gentleman of considerable estate, fine acquirements, and of such influence among the Germans as to induce numbers of them to settle in Pennsylvania.  William Penn was much pleased that a man of his wealth, family, and character should take an interest in his new province.

The earliest inhabitants of the VIncents were supplanted by the Germans, who came at a somewhat later date, and whose descendants, to a considerable extent, enjoy the lands of their fathers.  Among early settlers were the names of Ralston, Jenkins, Davis, Thomas, John, and Michael Paul, Gordon, Brombach, and Dennis Whelen.  Garrett Brombach (now Brownback) established in this township the first tavern north of the Lancaster road, in a house of rude construction, where he performed the duties of host for many years.  He was a merry German, and accumulated considerable means.

In 1738, according to a survey ordered by the court, Vincent township was bounded as follows:  northeast by Schuylkill River, northwest by Nantmell and Coventry, southwest by Uwchlan, and southeast by Joseph Pike's land.  A draught of the township, made in 1773, shows who were then seated on the boundaries, with a few who were inside.  Bezalion's cave is noted, near the river, opposite the lower end of the island near Spring City; Parker's tavern and mill, in the northeast corner, on the river; Holman's mill, now the Royal Springs mill; Baptist church near West Pikeland, etc.

The township was divided into East Vincent and West Vincent in 1832.  In 1844 the line between South Coventry and East Vincnet was established as it was supposed to have been originally run.

The borough of Springville, on the Schuylkill River, was taken from the eastern part of East Vincent township and incorporated by decree of court in 1867.  In 1872 the name was changed to Spring City.

The rate of 1724 was as follows:

Henry Kennell, 2s.; Garrett Brownback, 2s 4.; John Rode, 2s.; Peter Pickles, 2s. 4d.; Jasper Acer, 2s. 4d.; Joseph Roger, 2s.; Thomjas Loyd, 1s.; Owen Givin, 2s. 4d.; John Bound, 2s.; John James, 4s.; Theophilus Tho., 2s 4d.; Tho. Phillipps, 1s.; Henry Griffith, 1s.; Griffith William, 1s.

In 1734, Richard Prichard petitioned the court, setting forth that he lived on what was known as Pike's land, where he had rented a piece of land on the line of Charlestown, but had been appointed constable for Vincent, from which he was distant four and a half miles.  Being a poor man with a large family, he, with many others, thought it "a very Great hardship To serve so Great a Town as Vincent is and to be Sessed among them who have their settlements without any Rent."  A number of his Welsh neighbors substantiated his statements, but we do not know the result.

In the year 1846 the late Frederick Sheeder prepared for the Pennsylvania Historical Society a history of Vincent, which contains a great many matters of local interest.

TAXABLES IN 1753.

LAND-OWNERS, 1774.

Philip Arndorf, Anthony Acre, Henry Acre, Paul Benard, John Bound, Wm. Barber, Henry Benard, Henry Brumback, Benj'n Brumback, James Barber, Joseph Bosler, Henry Carl, Jacob Cover, Felix Chrisman, Michael Cypher, William Cowan, Conrad Carl, Henry Chrisman, Peter Defrain John Dodson, David Davis, JOhn David, George Deery, Henry Dasher, James Evans, Rudolph Essex (Essig?), Christian Everhart, William Evans, David Evans, Wm. Eddy, George Fitzsimmons, Jacob Ginther, Wm. Gordon, Nicholas Ground, Michael Holman, Casper Himes, Henry Hethery John Hause, Lawrence Hipple, Joseph Hoskins, Jonas Hicks, Joseph Hancock, Jacob Hoffman, James John, David Jenkin, John Jenkin, Sebastian Keely, Henry Knerr, John Lloyd, Philip Miller, Henry Miller, Peter Miller, John McFarlan, Samuel Morris, Alexander McAlister, John Adam, Enoch Meredith, Jacob Mawre (Mowry?), John McCracken, John Melchoir, John Meredith, John Olinger, John Philips, John Paul, Edward Parker, Henry Rhoades, Robert Ralston, James Rogers, John Rhodes, Joseph Rodgers, George Row, John Shinholds, Conrad Shimer, Simeon Shunk, Peter Steger, Hugh Strickland, Conrad Sharer, Conrad Shunk, Frederick Slider, Casper Snider, Henry Sharadan, Owen Thomas, David Thomas, John Thomas, Hazael Thomas, Abraham Turner, Jacob Gogdes, Ann Watkin, Thomas Wilson, Enoch Watkin, John Young, Geroge Yeager.

Appended to this list is one entitled "Disputed Inhabitants," containing the following names:  Nicholas Kyser, Tacob Hetherlin, Jhn James, John Munshower, Henry Titlowk, Joseph Davis, Rees Evans, Richard Evans, Morgan Morgan, Richard Evans, Peter Paul, Peter Mores, and tenant, James Taggart.


SOURCES:
History of Chester County, Pennsylvania; Futhey & Cope; Louis H. Everts; Philadelphia; 1881.


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