Beginnings of Pocopson Township (1870-1900)

Covered bridges in 19th century Pocopson Township

  Between 1807 and 1899 there were 98 documented covered bridges in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Five of these were located, at least partly, in Pocopson Township as they were shared with neighboring townships. These bridges were built over streams that provided power to nearby mills supporting the local residents. Bridges were often constructed at natural fords (shallow crossings) but were elevated to withstand the dangers of floods.

Wistar's Farm

Lenape has been known by different names over the past 200+ years.  It grew from a locality named Wister's or Shunk's Ford before a bridge was built over the Brandywine.  The John P. Sager erected a mill on the east side of the creek, and the name changes to Sager's Mill.  Eventually, that name changed to Sager's Station when the Wilminton and Northern Railroad built a station onthe west side of the creek.

Wawaset

Courtesty Chester County Historical Society

 

The village of Wawaset is two miles down-river from Northbrook.  It was called Seed’s Ford until 1834, named for Emmor Seeds, a farmer who owned the land across the river. It was re-named Seed’s Bridge after the West Chester-Unionville road spanned the Brandywine.  The Wilmington and Northern adopted this name when it built a station in 1870 at the west end of the bridge.  Thus it remained for only a few years, until it was re-named Wawaset.

There are two widely differing stories about this change of name.

Lenape

Lenape is another village associated with Pocopson, although the formation of the township out of part of Birmingham Township essentially divides the village.  It grew from a locality named Wister’s or Shunk’s Ford before a bridge was built over the Brandywine.  Then John P. Sager erected a mill on the east side of the creek, and the name changed to Sager’s Mill.  Eventually, that name changed to Sager’s Station when the Wilmington and Northern Railroad built a station on the west side of the creek.

Locust Grove

The village of Locust Grove was the dream of businessman Pennock Marshall, who wanted to establish a settlement that would resemble William Penn’s “greene country towne.”  He laid out three streets in a stand of locust trees and planned a total of twenty-nine lots.  But he was to be disappointed, and the village never had more than two dozen families. By 1847, the village could boast only a smithy and wheelwright shop, a shoemaker shop and a general store. 

Pocopson Railroad Station

 

The "Shingle Style" structure that most people recognize as Pocopson Station is the second structure constructed for that purpose.

Haines Mill

 

 

Abner Haines had a grist and sawmill on Haines Mill Road; In 1884, the Mill burned down, apparently because Mr. Henry Haines built a wood fire in the office stove to ward off the chill.  The chimney caught fire and the property was destroyed.

 

Marshall's Mill

Marshall's grain and sawmill was shown on Northbrook Road at the West Branch of the Brandywine, still within the Pocopson boundaries.  However, in 1889, Marshall’s Mill was burned.  It was described as a stone structure built in 1796, three stories high and measuring 50 by 80 feet.

Trolleys

Power House at Lenape

The West Chester Street Railway organized in 1890 and began operation in that borough by September of 1891.  Almost simultaneously, a route to Lenape was being graded and by November of 1891 the first trip to Lenape was accomplished.  The trip was 4.2 miles and took about 25 minutes first along Sconnelltown Road, open countryside, and what is now the area of soccer fields in East Bradford Township.  It ran at a speed of 7 mph and cost 5 cents.

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