Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: July, 1938 Volume 1 Number 4, Pages 25–29

Local Titles in Easttown and Tredyffrin
Article III: Two Old Taverns in Easttown
The Fox, part of Joseph Williams tract;
The Spring House (George Washington), Reverend John McLeod tract.
Part A

Howard S. Okie

Page 25

In the year 1723, Peter Elliott, then a Radnor Township blacksmith, became the owner of the tract of 250 acres in Easttown shown by the accompanying plan and of which mention has been made in prior articles. He was the last owner of the entire tract extending from the township line on the north, 3234 feet southwardly between parallel lines. The west line was several hundred feet west of the upper bridge at Berwyn and the east line just east of the intersection of the Old Lancaster or Conestoga Road and the old road leading to the Great Valley Baptist Church.

The Lewis land on the west with the Aiken ground adjoining it on the east, that of McLeod adjoining Aiken along the Waterloo or Newtown Road, the Fox Tavern at the northeast corner of the 250 acres and Jacob Detwiler's woodlot are shown on the accompanying plan.

After the death of Peter Elliott, 200 acres of the large piece were bought by John Llewellyn and came into the possession of his children, John, David and Ann Llewellyn, as has been shown. Fifty acres on the east were sold by Peter to his son Morris as recited in Deed Book M-473.

What disposition was made by Morris Elliott of the 50 acres has not appeared, but by deed Y-405, George King and his wife Catharine are recited as having sold the property in 1761 to William Braneman who with his wife Mary, conveyed to Thomas Williams in 1769.

Thomas Williams of Whitemarsh Township, cordwainer, sold it in 1784 for 300 pounds to Henry Ruth of Easttown, a weaver.

Beginning at a corner of Harrison's land, South 55° west by land late of Anthony Morris 44 perches to a post near a marked hickory saplin, South 24° East by land late John Llewellyn's 180 perches to a white oak saplin in or near the line of Whitehead Weatherby's land, North 55° East by some 48 perches to a marked black oak, North 25° West by Harrison's land 180 perches to beginning. Containing 50 acres. Y-405.

Ruth supplied the quaint petition for a tavern license in 1786 in which he stated that he was -

"living at a Notable Stand for a public house of Entertainment Situate in the township of East town County of Chester on the Lancaster Road and on a road leading from the Sweads ford by the Baptist meeting house to Newtown Square Chester & on the Last mentioned Road there is no publick House for the distance of ten miles. Your petitioner begs leve to mention to your Honours that he is daly troubled with a number of travelers & calling at his pump for Later by Reason of a Scarcity of that article for a Considerable distance on both Roads."

Vol. 31 of Chester County.

Page 26

Plan of 250 acre tract showing Lewis, Aiken, Fox Taven (Williams) and McLeod tracts.

Page 27

The petition is marked as "disallowed."

Evidently he was more successful later for in 1793 under the designation of Innkeeper, he and his wife, Mary, sold the land "whereon he now dwelleth", to Jacob Waters of Upper Merion Township, a blacksmith, by H-2-392.

1795. Jacob Waters of Easttown, Innkeeper, and Ann his wife, to Henry Zook of Tredyffrin, Miller, for 600 pounds:

Beginning at a stone on the North side of the Lancaster Road being a corner of Robert McClenachan's land, thence by same South 25° East 180 perches to a marked black oak, South 55° West by land of Anthony Morris 48 porches to a post near a marked hickory and North 24° West by David Llewellyn's 180 perches to a post in the line of the Township of Easttown and along the same North 55° East 44 perches to beginning. Containing 50 acres. 0-2-210.

Of Henry Zook's 50 acres he, with his wife Barbara, on April 10, 1795, sold 15 acres to John Llewellyn also of Tredyffrin, an innkeeper, for 300 pounds-

North end of said tract of land. Beginning at a stone the north side of the Lancaster Road in a road leading toward the Baptist Meeting House, South 52° West by land formerly of Anthony Morris 44 perches to a corner of David Llewellyn's land, by same South 27° East 44 perches to north side of the Turnpike Road, along came its several courses 45 perches to line of Robert McClenachan's land and by same North 28° West 67 perches to beginning 0-2-212.

1797. John Llewellyn and Ann his wife of Tredyffrin, to Christian Houseman also of Tredyffrin:

Same. Fifteen acres in Easttown "whereon the Fox Tavern now stands," T-2-114. (S. 27° E. is S. 20° E. here.)

In his application for license Houseman mentions the property as "Known by the sign of the fox." Vol. 38 of License Papers at page 118.

1802. Christian Houseman of Tredyffrin, yeoman, and Elizabeth his wife, to William Neill of Tredyffrin, tobacconist. Same. W-2-19.

1806. William Neill of Tredyffrin, tobacconist, and Margaret his wife, to William Torbert of Basttown, tavern keeper.

Fourteen acres and sixty perches of same, the south line extending 40.5 perches along the north side of the Turnpike to the line of Elizabeth McCollough's ground etc. She to have use of spring of water. B-3-140.

1808. William Torbert of Easttown, innkeeper, and Jane his wife, to John Smith of Philadelphia, grocer, for $600:

Page 28

Messuage and lot in Easttown and Tredyffrin. Beginning at a stone on north side of Old Lancaster Road in the line dividing said townships, by land late of Joseph White and land of Robert McClenachan South 28 3/4° East 16.8 perches to a stone a corner of said Torbert's land in line of said M'Clellan's land, by Torbert's land South 68 3/4° West 18 perches to a stone on the corner of Torbert's land, by same North 38 1/4 * west 20.5 perches to the middle of the Old Lancaster Road, along middle of same North 87 3/4° East 15.6 perches, along said Township line by land of John Henry North 51 3/40 East 7.3 perches to beginning. Containing 2 acres, B-3-455.

1811. John Smith of Philadelphia, grocer, and Ann his wife, to Mordecai Moore of Radnor Township, farmer. Same. G-3-26.

1813. Mordecai Moore of Radnor Township, farmer, and Sarah his wife, to Evan Roberts of Newtown Township, cordwainer. Same. H-3-250.

1828. Evan Roberts of Radnor Township, cordwainer, to "William Thompson of Easttown. Same. E-4-467. * (Here N. 38 1/4° E.)

1832. William C. Thompson of Tredyffrin (Grantee in preceding deed.) to Jesse Moore. Same. E-4-468.

1833. Jesse Moore of Upper Providence Township, Montgomery County, and Catharine Ann his wife, to Henry Bell of Lower Morion Township in said county. Same. G-4-263.

1848. Will of Henry Bell of Easttown, devising all his estate to his wife Madaline for life, and on her death to his daughter, Eliza Bell. Friend, Robert Neilley, and daughter Eliza, executors. Proved 1848. W. Bk. 19-346.

Eliza Bell intermarried with John Laws. Recited A7-10. Presumably Madaline Boll, wife of Henry, died.

1852. Will of Eliza Laws of Easttown, devising all her estate to her husband John Laws. Proved 1858. W. Bk. 21-116.

1858. Proceedings in C. P. Chester County vs. John Laws.

1859. David McNutt, Sheriff, to Richard Matthews for the consideration of $1300.00.

Messuage and tract of land in Easttown and Tredyffrin containing about 20 acres. Bounded by lands of Joseph C. Smith, John Kugler, Jonathan Lewis, Benjamin Suplee, George Lewis, George White, Abel Reese, Margaret Dane, Thomas Williams et al. I-6-337.

Beginning with the deed from Mordecai Moore and wife to Evan Roberts, the conveyances have included a tract of 17 acres and 115 perches on the west of the 2 acre piece on which the Fox Tavern stood. The descriptions have been omitted here for the sake of brevity.

Richard Matthews died intestate and the tract of 20 acres was sold at public sale by Martha Matthews, his administratrix, to the late Joseph Williams in 1865 for $3111.

Page 29

Sign of the Fox

The old barn which stood on the west side of the Zion Church Road, immediately across from the old tavern, was torn down and replaced by the present frame barn. The house followed as is stated by Mr. F. L. Burns in his interesting contribution to this article. The present house is still occupied by members of Mr. and Mrs, Williams' family. While the old shrubbery surrounding it indicates the property was early of importance in the neighborhood, its original character has not been generally recognized, although it was known as an old store.

(To be continued.) - Part A continuation in October issue


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