Historic Newtown Township
ABOUT THE BOOK
Following the celebration of the Tricentennial of Newtown Township in 1981, several historically minded residents began researching and gathering stories and pictures into a proposed book that would document the history of the Township. The finished product, “History of Newtown Township”, was published in a limited edition of 2000 books in 1984. The books sold out, and are a treasured possession for those who own them. However, to bring the history inside those pages to more readers, the Historical Society had the entire book scanned in 2007 and put up on its website. While you may occasionally see a copy of the hard back book for sale on Amazon.com, you can now come back to this page and read it from the convenience of your computer. Since the book was written 25 years ago, some references may not be applicable today. And as with any human endeavor, mistakes or inaccuracies can creep in. If you come across any items that you can improve upon, we welcome your inquiries. We are currently considering updating the book to record what has occurred in the last 30 years, and will consider all additions and corrections at that time. Meanwhile, enjoy!
Historic Newtown Township (cover)
Click through to Table of Contents
“HISTORIC NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP (Newtown Square, Delaware County, Pa.) 1681-1983” is the story of a southeastern Pennsylvania town exceptionally rich in history. Vibrant and warm with tales of individuals who have lived within our borders through the years, the book is also scholarly and based throughout upon documentary’ research.
Little-known facts about the original Indians of Newtown are told, often by means of eye-witness accounts. The life and work of internationally-known artist, Benjamin West, who grew up in Newtown, are carefully reviewed, as is the important correspondence between Gen. George Washington in Valley Forge and his chief spy during the Revolution, Maj. Jonathan Clark. Clark’s surveillance outpost was
located in the still-extant William Lewis House in Newtown Square.
The many historic buildings still standing in our Township are discussed with knowledge plus documentary research. The same expertise appears in the description of furniture styles through the years. Nineteenth-century mills, inns, stagecoaches, the early turnpike and stores are treated, among other subjects, in Part II. Records of Newtowners who served in the Civil War have been researched and described as well as notable events in Newtown, such as disastrous storms, floods, robberies and a famous murder.
In Part III is a lively, vital documentation of every phase of Newtown’s more recent history. Nostalgic personal memoirs bring past decades to life. Nothing is neglected. Churches, schools, well-known teachers are featured. All who attended Newtown schools will be reminded of the days of their youth. Interpretations of three eminent philanthropists and outstanding citizens in many fields are included as well as vignettes of the telephone, trolley and fire companies, of clubs, organizations and politics. Even fashions and manners (which were mentioned in the earlier periods) are not forgotten in the modern-day account.
Readers may be surprised to learn of internationally-prominent contributions by Newtown Township residents in the fields of Olympic athletics, natural history, archaeology, languages and education, the military, in music and the fine arts. Cross-references, informative notes, a full Appendix and index, 137 illustrations and maps enhance the volume. The richness of Newtown’s heritage, captivating anecdotes, culture and personages give this book outstanding significance for all present citizens, those who may have moved away and for researchers interested in an unforgettable history of a Pennsylvania Township.
Historic Newtown Township
(Newtown Square, Delaware County, Pa.) 1681-1983
Alice and Carl Lindborg, Clara McVeigh, Erma Shaver and others
Editors: Alice and Carl Lindborg
Township of Newtown Tricentennial Commission
First Edition, Limited to 2,000 copies
Printed in U.S.A.
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.
© Copyright, 1984 by Newtown Township Tricentennial Commission (now the Newtown Square Historical Society)
In compiling, composing, editing and gathering information for this book, we have called upon many citizens, former citizens or neighbors for assistance. The cooperation of these helpful people through the seven and one-half years during which this book was being written and produced is much appreciated.
First we want to thank Sid Elston, whose untiring efforts have made the books production a reality. Another indispensable individual has been Clara McVeigh, whose long list of contributions includes expert deed and document research, written material, typing, proofreading, helping with indexing, many other details. A glance at Part III gives evidence of Erma Shaver’s generosity in time, knowledge of current events and expertise. Among others who have contributed to the writing of this book are: John Grant, C. Carter Rich, Lucy L. Simler, Edgar W. Powell, Jr., John McCauley, Dan Llewellyn, Pete Tyrrell, Hilary Conroy, Bill and Ruthellen Davis. Nostalgic memoirs by Mary Nicholl Herman, Elizabeth A.M. Smith, Lena Hall Summeril enhance the text. Eve Thompson’s reminiscences bring alive past school days in Newtown and life in Florida Park. References to articles by Jane Carter and the late Clarissa Smith add to the historical background.
Jan Elston’s thoughtful assistance includes proofreading, giving of her knowledge of recent history, helping in numerous practical details, interviewing her mother, whose memories go back another generation. Eve Thompson has aided in proofreading and in transcribing taped interviews. Our Tricen Chairman, Stan Short, has been a consultant and adviser at all times.
In the field of photography, Hilda Lucas has been generous in allowing us to use her own slides and selections from her extensive collection. Anna White Quinn has contributed photos as have also Helen Velde, Eve Thompson, David Teesdale, John Coan, Pete Tyrrell, Clyde Shockley, Ruth Hagy, Clara McVeigh and son, Jeff. Photos from the T.M.C. News, the collections of Mrs. Charles Hanley, Myrtle Grim, the Alice Grim School and many from the Tricen collection were used.
We are grateful to those who have opened their homes for our inspection and to those who have given oral interviews. Others who have furnished information or services include Miss Alice Grim, John McCauley, Ruth Collins, Martin Bagnell, the Hunter family, Robert Mooney, Mr. & Mrs. Harwick, Mr. & Mrs. Velde, William Black, John Coan, Phil Skinner, Joan Cullen, Sarah Brock, Gerda Lewis, Bob Ferguson, Dorothy Lewis Sunner. Information has even come across the seas from England by way of Mrs. Swindells and Mr. & Mrs. John Darbyshire. Dick Pound has rendered valuable assistance and advice. We also want to express sincere appreciation for the very helpful interest of John du Pont and Mrs. J. Austin du Pont. In a sense, this book has been the result of the cooperation of these many contributors. Each one has enriched the book in his or her way. We wish to express our deep appreciation to all.
The Lindborgs (Editors)