Home : Quarterly Archives : Volume 13
Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
Source: October 1965 Volume 13 Number 4, Pages 74–77
History of the Tredyffrin-Easttown History Club 1936-1938
On August 4th 1936, five persons met at the home of S. Paul Teamer for the purpose of discussing plans to found a Tredyffrin History Club. Could there be a more fitting place than this spot on the old Conestoga Road where the early settlers passed as they made their way west, and the Indians passed as they went toward the city of Philadelphia in the early days of the settlement of Pennsylvania or where later the British camped so near as they waited to surprise Wayne at Paoli. There being so much history, recorded and unrecorded, about this far-eastern corner of Chester County that it gave these few persons the urge to carry on and record the information that was fast slipping away with the deaths of many of the older citizens who had not only lived here all their lives but also knew many legends and stories from their parents and grandparents.
Three persons seem to be responsible for the starting of this club: S. P. Teamer, Mrs. John Croasdale, and Mrs. Charles Bradley. ∗ Mrs. Croasdale was unable to attend this first meeting, but Mrs. Bradley and Mr. Teamer were joined by Dr. A. W. Baugh, Mr. Frank Hibberd, and Mr. C.W. Latch. This being the first Tuesday in August it was decided to meet on the first Tuesday of each month, and the next meeting was called for October 6th.
Let me tell you a little about these six persons whom I have mentioned. Mr. Teamer, who is the President of the Club, has long been a student of history, he being a history teacher and now teaching some history, as well as being Principal of the Tredyffrin-Easttown High School. For some time he had been making a study of local history, especially of the Paoli "Massacre" as well as of Valley Forge. Mrs. John Croasdale, a resident of Berwyn, lived for many years in the house that was at one time the Old Blue Ball Tavern, and so had been greatly interested in the things that had happened in the past. Mr. C. W. Latch had been reared in the Valley in the old house that was the quarters of General Howe and which Quimby had used in his book "Valley Forge". Mr. Latch had inherited the interest for local history from his father who from his early boyhood had told him the stories of the soldiers in the Valley. Dr. A. W. Baugh had also grown up in the Valley on the old Baugh Farm which was a tanning place in early history, and he too had many interesting stories of past years. Dr. Baugh had started early in life to collect things of historical interest in his neighborhood, and the tales
he told that first meeting made the other four anxious to get to work. Mr. Frank Hibberd, while not old in the lore of history, was at that time working for the County in digging up old history. Mrs. Bradley, a newcomer in the neighborhood in comparison with the others, was interested in the history of the vicinity, having started a year previously to study the history of the schools, and also living in an old house on the ground formerly owned by Mad Anthony Wayne's grandmother.
With this background the Club had its second meeting on October 6th when they were joined by Miss Katharine Stroh and Mr. Frank Burns. Three things were done at this meeting. Mr. Teamer was elected temporary president and Mrs. Bradley temporary secretary. It was decided to include Easttown Township and to call the group the Tredyffrin-Easttown History Club. Also they decided to take a field trip on October 31st and to invite the Chester County Historical Society. These two latter things helped to improve the background of the Club, first by including the neighboring Township, and second by inviting the county Historical Society to the field trip, and thus showing that the trend of this new Club was to work in unison with all other organizations interested in history.
"The Tredyffrin-Easttown History Club" was adopted as the official name of the Club at the meeting December 1, 1936.
The Field Trips have become one of the most important elements of the life of the Club. Once each month the members meet at the High School and either walk or ride to some place of interest where they can study the project from the actual place where it happened. If it is a hiking trip it often ends in a camp fire supper in some secluded spot where the members and their friends enjoy good fellowship. If on the other hand it is an automobile trip they are often invited back to the home of some member where they enjoy a buffet supper. Among the trips that have been taken in the two years the club has been functioning are: A trip to Old St. David's Church, Great Valley Baptist Church, and Valley Forge; a hike over the hills north of Berwyn viewing the quarters of the British officers during the Revolution; a trip to view an old Indian Stone at Sycamore Mills (on this trip they also saw the rock where the Indians had perpetual fire, and the birthplace of Elizabeth Iddings); a trip to see the officers' quarters of the American Army (a three-hour drive took the group past about 24 quarters in the vicinity of the north hills). The place where the Battle of Brandywine took place was the objective for the next trip. Fort Washington told some more of Revolutionary history, and Hammer Hollow showed us where a small manufacturing village had stood in a place where now there are only the remains
of an old mill. Two seven-mile walks along the Horse Shoe Trail were taken just for recreation. The site of Sullivan's Bridge took another Sunday to find. A week-end trip has been planned each year by the Club; the first one was a three day trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, and the second a four-day trip to New England.
At the third meeting of the Club, held November 3, 1936, it was decided to assign research projects to all members as they join, these projects include Roads, Churches, Schools, Mills, Clubs, Wars, Inns, and many other things that go to make up the history of a community.
Another feature of the Club is the Roll Call. Each meeting, when his name is called the member gives some piece of news of present-day history to be recorded for the future.
The Old Stone Chimney has been located by the Club on the Swedesford Road and arrangements are being made to place a marker there.
When the Club was just a year old it was decided to put out a magazine, and so in October of 1937 the first Tredyffrin- Easttown Quarterly was issued; the staff included Dr. A. W. Baugh, Dr. J. A. Mason, Mrs. Charles J. Bradley, Mrs. John Croasdale, and Mr. S. Paul Teamer. This issue contained only fifteen pages and the contents included an Editorial by Dr. A. W. Baugh, The One Hundred and Sixtieth Anniversary of the Paoli Massacre --Maps and Address, by Franklin L. Burns and S. P. Teamer, and a story of the Williamsburg Trip.
The July number made the fourth of these magazines with a circulation of 200 copies, and each issue has been so popular that they are entirely sold out.
During the year the Club took over the program of one of the winter meetings of the Chester County Historical Society, at which time Miss Ruth Moore read a paper prepared by Mr. Frank Burns on "Early Settlement in the Delaware Valley". Half of this has been published in the April Quarterly and the other half will be in the October Issue. Also Mrs. Charles Bradley talked on "Old Schools in Tredyffrin Township prior to 1834." Under the auspices of the Club Dr. Edgar Howard of Wayne gave a public lecture in the high school building on his archeological explorations in New Mexico. Dr. J. Alden Mason arranged this project.
Besides his work in the Club, Mr. Teamer last year lectured on local history at the Wayne Night School and is planning to do so again this winter.
Mrs. Morrow Campbell, besides her work in the Club, is on the Board of Curators of the Chester County Historical Society, while Dr. Mason is a Curator at the University Museum. Brognard Okie, another member, is well known in this vicinity and in fact in far distant places - as one of the best colonial architects, having just worked on the plans for the restoration of Pennsbury on the Delaware.
The membership of the Club is just 28 persons, but as the entire group are active workers the archives are fast becoming filled with valuable materials, and every meeting brings so many things of interest that the members all want to be present at all times.
The Officers of the Club in 1936-1937 were: Samuel Paul Teamer - President, Franklin L. Burns - V. President Mildred Bradley - Secretary, Sydney Morris - Treasurer Harry E. Wildes - Curator, Katharine Stroh - Asst. Curator
Charter Associate Members - George P. Orr, Brognard Okie
Honorary Member - Miss Anna White
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