網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

" Its position is a little north of the stream and not far from the Delaware. It has a length of about 300 feet, an average height of 12, and a breadth varying from 4 to 40 feet. The floor of the cave is not level, but descends as we penetrate to the interior. Its rough walls are covered with a few pendants or stalactites. Much of the bottom of this cave is covered with water, the level of which is influenced, it is said, by that of the Delaware. About half way down occurs a narrow lateral cavern, terminating in the form of the letter T. The general direction of the main gallery is S. W., becoming s. towards the remoter end. The rocks show an anticlinal axis about 20 yards S. E. of the entrance of the cave, the direction of the axis and the cave nearly coinciding."

In the southern end of the county a dyke of igneous origin, protruded through the primitive limestone, has introduced a number of minerals in its veins, and among others, plumbago or black-lead. Near the Buck tavern in Southampton township, a mine of it was formerly wrought, but the place is now abandoned and the pit filled up. The mineral was of good quality, but the business did not prove profitable.

Along the right bank of the Delaware, the Delaware division of the Penn. canal comes down from Easton, terminating at Bristol in a large basin. The Philadelphia and Trenton railroad passes across the lower end of the county. The business of the county is chiefly agricultural; and its farmers do not yield in skill and wealth to any in the state. They seem to take far more delight and comfort in their quiet rural homes, than in the noise and wild speculation of a city; and as a consequence of this trait of character, there is no very large town in the co. Even Bristol, with all its advantages for business, contains only a population of 1,500, and still has the rural air which characterizes the county,

The population of the lower part of the co. is composed of the descendants of the ancient English settlers; about Doylestown and Deep run, are the descendants of the Irish Presbyterians, and the northwestern part of the co. is extensively occupied by the German race.

The shore of the Delaware as far up as Bristol, is lined with delightful country seats, belonging generally to citizens of Philadelphia. One of

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[graphic][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

Country Seat of Nicholas Biddle, Esq. the most beautiful is that of Nicholas Biddle, Esq., in Andalusia township, about 12 miles from Philadelphia. In the annexed view, the grapery is seen on the right of the mansion. In the wing on the left, is the library,

where probably were written the celebrated letters to Hon. John M. Clayton of Delaware, concerning the U. S. Bank. The mansion and , grounds are part of the estate of Mr. Biddle's lady, and have been in the Craig family, some of whom still reside on the adjoining place, for many years. The recent architectural improvements, including the splendid Grecian portico, are from the designs of Mr. Thos. U. Walter of Philadelphia. Near Mr. Biddle's, is the splendid seat of the late Alexander J. Dallas.

There is reason to believe that a part of Bucks co. was settled by Europeans previous to the arrival of Wm. Penn in 1682. It is well known, that for several years previous to that event, a great number of the Society of Friends had made extensive settlements in West Jersey, and had established a meeting at Burlington. It was natural that some of these should be tempted to cross the river and take up the fertile lands on the opposite bank. Robert Proud, in a note to his History of Pennsylvania, says

"In the records of this people (the Quakers) in early times, among other things I find the following anecdotes respecting the original and regular establishment of some of their religious meetings in these parts, viz. :- The first most considerable English settlement in Pennsylvania proper, is said to have been near the lower falls of the Delaware, in Bucks co., where the Quakers had a regular and established meeting for religious worship, before the country bore the name of Pennsylvania : some of the inhabitants there having been settled by virtue of patents from Sir Edmund Andross, Gov, of New-York. Among the names of the inhabitants here at this time or soon after, appear William Yardly, James Harrison, Phineas Pemberton, William Biles, an eminent preacher, William Dark, Lyonel Britain, William Beaks, &c. And soon afterwards, there, and near Neshaminy creek, Richard Hough, Henry Baker, Nicolas Walne, John Otter, Robert Hall ; and in Wrightstown, John Chapman and James Ratcliff, a noted preacher in the society. In the year 1683, Thomas Janney, a noted preacher among the Quakers, settled near the Falls, with his family and others who at that time arrived from Cheshire in England. After 12 years' residence here, he returned to England and died there ;-a man of good reputation, character, and example.

“ In 1682, John Scarborough, a coach-smith, arrived in the country with his son John, then a youth, and settled in Middletown township, but he afterwards returned to England and left his possessions to his son. John Chapman came over in 1684, and was entertained some time at Phineas Pemberton's at the Falls, who had then made some progress in improvements. Afterwards Chapman went to his purchase in Wrightstown, where, within about 12 months afterwards, his wife had two sons at one time, whence he called the place Twinborough. At this time Chapman's place was the farthest back in the woods of any English settlement; and the Indians being then numerous, much frequented his house, and were very kind to him and his family, as well as to those who came after him; often supplying them with corn and other provisions, at that time very scarce. Thomas Langhorne came the same year, and died soon after."

The Phineas Pemberton above alluded to was clerk of the county ; and it is said that he kept a register, and all the first settlers who arrived were compelled to bring certificates of acceptable character, which were there enrolled, together with their names and those of their families and servants, with other circumstances concerning their arrival. This book is still in existence.

Smith, in his Hist. of Penn., under the date of 1684, says_" Anne, the second daughter of John Chapman, in the year 1699, came forth in the ministry, and travelled on that account several times through New England, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, &c., and in Europe.

The Indian walk forms a prominent feature, not only in the history of Bucks county, but of the state. A full account of this transaction is given under the head of Northampton county. The first purchase of the land above Neshaminy, appears to have been made by the agent of William Penn, probably Markham, in July, 1682. " The following description,"

says the elder John Watson," is taken from the original deed.” The parentheses are believed to be by Mr. Watson in 1815.

“ Beginning at a white-oak in the land now in the tenure of John Wood, and by him called the Gray Stones, over against the falls of Delaware river, and from thence up the river side to a corner spruce-tree, marked with the letter P, at the foot of the mountains, (this tree stood 104 perches above the mouth of Baker's creek)—and from the said tree along by the ledge or foot of the mountains west-southwest to a corner white-oak, marked with the letter P, (on land now Benjamin Hampton's)-standing by the Indian path that leads to an Indian town called Play. wicky, and near the head of a creek called Towisinick, and from thence westward to the creek called Neshaminah, (this line crosses where the Newtown road now is, at the old chestnut tree below Dr. Isaac Chapman's lane end,) along by the said Neshaminah to the river Delaware, alias Makerickhickon, and so bounded by the said main river, to the first mentioned white-oak in John Wood's land, (above Morrisville,) with the several islands in the river, &c., dated 15th July, 1682.

“ This purchase was limited by previous agreement to extend as far up the river from the moath of Neshaminah as a man might walk in a day and a half-which tradition has said to have been executed by William Penn himself, on foot, with several of his friends, and a number of Indian chiefs. It was said by the old people that they walked leisurely, after the Indian manner, sitting down sometimes to smoke their pipes, to eat biscuit and cheese, and drink a bottle of wine; it is certain they arrived at the spruce-tree in a day and a half, the whole distance rather less than 30 miles.”

Four years afterward, in 1686, the purchase was made by Capt. Thos. Holme, Penn's surveyor-general and land agent, of another tract, of which the boundaries were to be ascertained by walking. Mr. Watson in his statement says, that many years previous to the actual official walk, an informal and unauthorized walk had been made by a white man and an Indian, probably for their own amusement, or to settle a question of local title.

" In the year 1692, a white man living at Newtown, and Cornelius Spring, a Delaware Indian, accompanied by several Indians and white people, undertook and performed the walk in the Indian manner ; but by whose authority or by whose direction is not now known. They started from the spruce-tree, and walked up the river ; the Indians jumped over all the streams of water until they came to the Tohickon, which they positively refused to cross, and therefore they proceeded up the creek on the south side to its source, and then turning to the left, they fell in with Swamp creek, and going down it a small distance, it was noon on the second day, or a day and a half from the time of setting out. To close the survey, it was proposed to go from there to the source of the west branch of the Neshaminah, (so called,) thence down the creek to the west comer of the first purchase, and thence to the spruce-tree, the place of beginning. These bounds would have included a tract of land rather larger than the first purchase, and no doubt would have been satisfactory to the Indians. It does not appear to have been a final settlement, or that any thing was done relative to the subject, except talk about it, for 43 years ; in which time a large tract was sold to a company at Durham, a furnace and forges were erected there, and numerous scattered settlements made on the frontiers as far back as the Lehigh hills. The chief settlements of the Indians at the time were in the forks of the Delaware and Lehigh, below and beyond the Blue mountains. But in the summer season many families migrated in their way, and cabined among the white people in different places, as far down as Pennsbury manor, where they long retained a permanent residence on sufferance; and although a general harmony subsisted between the natives and the white people, yet they showed a dislike to the surveys and settlements that were every year extending further back in the woods, and as they presumed far beyond the proper limits of the land they had sold.” (See Northampton co.)

About the time that Wm. Penn organized Bucks co. in 1682, he selected an extensive tract of fine land on the bank of the Delaware, four or five miles above where Bristol now stands, which he called Pennsbury manor, intending to establish there his favorite country residence. The original tract contained 8,431 acres in 1684, but was afterwards reduced by various grants. Wm. Penn always had a strong predilection for country life. In a letter of counsel to his family he says: “Let my children be husbandmen and housewives. This leads to consider the works of God and nature, and diverts the mind from being taken up with the vain

arts and inventions of a luxurious world. Of cities and towns, of concourse beware. The world is apt to stick close to those who have lived and got wealth there. A country life and estate I like best for my chil

dren.”

Upon this favorite spot Wm. Penn had concentrated many a bright vision of quiet enjoyment, in the midst of his own family, and surrounded by the anticipated honors of his station as proprietary. He erected, or caused to be erected during his absence, a magnificent mansion-house, 60 feet long by 40 deep, with offices and outhouses at the sides ; fronting upon a beautiful garden which extended down to the river. It was in his day, and for many years afterward, the marvel of the neighborhood. He had the happiness to reside here for a short period with his family in 1700-'01, and entertained much company in his public capacity. The increasing cares and responsibilities of the colony, and the peculiar state of the times, required his presence in England, and he never afterward enjoyed that quiet retirement for which he had so luxuriously provided. The mansion and outhouses were neglected during his absence. A large leaden water reservoir, which had been erected on the top of the mansion, to guard against fire, became leaky, and injured the walls and furniture of the house, so that it fell into premature decay, and it was taken down just before the revolution. After the peace the whole estate was sold out of the Penn family. All that now remains on the premises is the ancient frame brewhouse, a sketch of which is here inserted. Although 160 years old, it is still serviceable as an outhouse, and was not

[graphic]

Penn's old Brewhouse. long since in use as a dwelling. Mr. Crozer thinks the shingles on one side of the roof are those originally placed there ; at least no renewal has been made “ within the memory of the oldest inhabitant." The new farm-house of Mr. Robert Crozer, seen in the picture, occupies part of the site of the mansion-house. In the rear of the farm-house is a row of venerable English cherry-trees planted by Penn himself, still in bearing, but very much decayed.

Mr. John F. Watson, in his Annals of Philadelphia says: “The same Samuel Preston says of his grandmother, that she said Phineas Pemberton

surveyed and laid out a town, intended to have been Philadelphia, up at Pennsbury, and that the people who went there were dissatisfied with the change. On my expressing doubts of this, thinking she may have confused the case of Chester removal, Mr. Preston then further declared, that having, nearly 40 years ago, occasion to hunt through the trunks of surveys of John Lukens, surveyor-general of Bucks co., he and Lukens then saw a ground plot for the city of Philadelphia, signed Phineas Pemberton, surveyor-general, that fully appeared to have been in Pennsbury manor ; also another for the present town of Bristol, then called Buckingham." w The following notes of the early history of Buckingham and Solebury townships, are from the pen of Mr. John Watson of Greenville.

* The whole of the two townships, Buckingham and Solebury, in early time was called Buckingham, being a favorite name with our first worthy proprietor, Wm. Penn. The name was first given to the township and borough now called Bristol, but transferred here perhaps about the year before Cutler's re-survey.

" It appears, by an enumeration of the inhabitants taken in 1787, that Buckingham contained 173 dwelling-houses, 188 outhouses, 1,173 white inhabitants, and 13 blacks. Solebury, 166 dwelling-houses, 150 out-houses, 928 white inhabitants, and no blacks.

"A certain Dr. Bowman, being of a contemplative turn of mind, in the early settlement, used to frequent the fine round top of one of the hills near the river ; and, at his request, he was buried there. It is since called Bowman's hill. Many others have since been buried at the same place. Bowman's hill is directly opposite to another on the Jersey shore called Belmount, of the same height, form, and direction.

" The first settlers generally came from England, and were of the middle rank, and chiefly Friends; many of them had first settled at the Falls, but soon after removed back, as it was then called, into the woods. As they came away in the reigns of Charles, James, William, and Anne, they brought with them not only the industry, frugality, and strict domestic discipline of their education, but also a portion of those high-toned political impressions that then prevailed in England.

" At that early period, when our forefathers were building loghouses, barns, and sheds for stables, and clearing new land, and fencing it chiefly with poles or brush, it has been said that a hearty, sincere good will for each other generally prevailed among them. They all stood occasionally in need of the help of their neighbors, who were often situated at some distance through the woods.

“Chronic ailments were not so frequent as at present; which was, perhaps, in part owing to the wholesome diet, brisk exercise, lively manners, and cheerful and unrefined state of the mind. But acute disorders, such as fevers, in various degrees—those called 'long fevers, dumb agues, fever-and-agues,' sore throats and pleurisies, were then much more common than now. The natural small-pox was peculiarly distressing—was mostly severe, and often mortal—and nothing strange that it should be so. The nature of the disorder being but little known, it was very improperly treated by the nurses, to whose care the management was chiefly committed. Å hot room-plenty of bedclothes-hot teas—and milk punch, or hot tiff, were pronounced most proper to bring the eruption out, and to make it fill well ; and the chief danger was apprehended from the patient taking cold by fresh air or cold drink.

"When wheat and rye grew thick and tall on new land, and all was to be cut with sickles, many men and some women became dexterous in the use of them, and yictory was contended for in many a violent trial ; sometimes by two or three only, and sometimes by the whole company for 40 or 50 perches. About the year 1741, 20 acres were cut and shocked in half a day in Solebury.

*** The imposing authority of necessity obliged the first settlers and their successors to wear a strong and coarse kind of dress; enduring buck-skin was used for breeches, and sometimes for jackets; oznabrigs, made of hemp tow at 18. 4d. per yard, was much used for boys' shirts ; sometimes flax, and flax and tow were used for that purpose ; and coarse tow for trowsers ; a wool hat, strong shoes, and brass buckles, two linsey jackets, and a leather apron, made out the winter apparel. This kind of dress continued to be common for the laboring people

until 1750. " Yet a few, even in early times, somewhat to imitate the trim of their ancestors, laid out as much to buy one suit of fine clothes, as would have purchased 200 acres of pretty good land. The cut of a fine coat, (now antiquated,) may be worthy of description. Three or four large plaits in the skirts-wadding almost like a coverlet to keep them smooth-cuffs vastly large up to the elbows, open below, and of a round form. The hat of a beau was a good broad-brimmed beaver, with double loops, drawn nearly close behind, and half raised on each side. The women in full mode wore stiff whalebone stays, worth 8 or $10. The silk gown much plaited in the back; the sleeves nearly twice as large as the arm, and reaching rather more than half way from the shoulder to the elbow—the interval covered with a fine holland sleeve, nicely plaited, locket buttons,

and long-armed gloves. Invention had then reached no further than a bath bonnet with a cape.

“Something like this was the fashion of gay people; of whom there were a few, though not

« 上一頁繼續 »