CHAPTER IV.

POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT OF BUCKS COUNTY.

BESIDE his letters of authority from William Penn and the deputy-governor of New York, Markham was the bearer of the most conciliatory messages from the new proprietor to the colonists, as well as to the aborigines of the new province. Penn was well fitted by his early education and experience to entertain the highest regard for the personal rights and liberties of those whom fortune might place in his power, and, in announcing to the colonists "that it hath pleased God in his Providence to cast you within my Lott and care," he assured them that though the undertaking in which he had engaged was new to him, yet God had given him an understanding of his duty and an "honest minde to doe it uprightly." He declared that they should be governed by laws of their own making, and live a free and, if so disposed, a sober and industrious people; and his determination not to "usurp the right of any, nor oppress his person."

A change of government was not unprecedented on the Delaware, and Markham assumed the powers of deputy-governor without the interruption of colonial affairs. His commission authorized him to call a council of nine persons, over which he should preside, for the general direction of affairs, and he early selected Robert Wade, Morgan Drewet, William Woodmansee, William Marriner, Thomas Fairman, James Sandelandes, William Clayton, Otto Earnest Cock, and Lawrence Cock. The seat of government was changed from Kingsesse, where the court was then in the habit of sitting, to Upland, and here, on the third of August, 1681, the new council subscribed to a paper in which they declare: "Wee do hereby bind ourselves by our hands and seales, that wee neither act nor advise, nor consent unto anything that shall not be according to our own consciences the best for ye true and well Government of the sd Province, and Likewise to keep secret all ye votes and acts of us ye sd Councell unless such as by the General Consent of us are to be Published." Such consent was apparently never obtained for the publication of their record; at all events, it has not come down to the present, and the account of many interesting transactions has thus been lost. The members of the council were drawn principally from the vicinity of Upland; none appended his seal, and two of them were unable to write their names.

The old court for Upland county had adjourned to the second Tuesday in September, and on that day, the 13th, a newly-organized court for the same county began its session at Upland. But in the reorganization of the government Markham introduced few innovations, and in its administration of affairs the new court was practically only a continuation of the "Upland court." On the bench sat Messrs. William Clayton, William Warner, Robert Wade, Otto Earnest Cock, William Biles, Robert Lucas, Lawrence Cock, Swan Swanson, and Andreas Bankson. Thomas Revell was clerk, and John Test was the sheriff. The extreme eastern part of the county was represented by William Biles and Robert Lucas on the bench, and among those before the court by Richard Ridgeway, Richard Noble, and John Wood. Succeeding sessions of this court were held in November of this year, and in March and September of 1682, after which the temporary administration of Markham was superseded by that of the new proprietor in person. But few changes are rioted in the practice of the court, yet there are striking evidences of the transitional character of the period. In the several sessions Markham presided, and the proportion of Englishmen among the justices was increased. The "Duke’s Laws" were set aside, and by the deputy-governor’s commission all things were to be conducted "according to the good laws of England." Jury trials, which had previously been of rare occurrence, now became common; while the old guilder and "skipps of wheat" still remained the English currency also found a place in its records; and in September, 1682, the first grand jury in Pennsylvania was empanelled. It was summoned in the case of Lawrence Dalboe, and, while it consisted of only twelve men, it is called his "grand jury."

Of the business transacted by the court little remains of permanent interest. At the first session, of twenty-five cases on the docket, sixteen were withdrawn, and nine were tried. Two of the latter have some interest as exhibiting the method adopted to mete out exact justice. A case was brought in "an action for assault and battery." In this the jury brought in a verdict for the plaintiff, giving him sixpence damages and the cost of his suit. The next case was an action in which the same offense is charged, involving exactly the same parties, but with the position of the former plaintiff and defendants reversed. In the trial of this cause the same jury brought in a verdict for the plaintiffs, granting them forty shillings damages and the cost of their suit. At the court held in March, 1682, "John Akraman" appears on the jury, and Richard Noble as a prosecuting witness. On the 14th the court appointed "overseers for the highways" for one year next ensuing. The district from Marcus creek to Naaman’s creek was assigned to Wooley Rawson; from Naaman’s creek to Upland creek to Robert Wade; from Upland creek to Ammersland to William Oxley; from Ammersland to Karkus ‘mill to Mons Stawket; from Karkus mill to Schuylkill falls to Peter Yokeham; from the latter point to Tacony creek to Andreas Rambo; from the latter to Poquessing creek to Erick Mullikay; from the Poquessing to Samuel Clift’s to Claus Johnson; and from Clift’s to Gilbert Wheeler’s to John Acreman. The main road, which appears to have been thus apportioned, extended from Newcastle, through Upland, to the falls of the Delaware, and crossed the principal streams at about the head of tidewater.

In the meantime the immigration which had for some time been directed toward New Jersey still continued, and in 1681 the arrivals of the "New Adventure," the "Dagger," and the "Henry and Ann" are noted. But the new proprietor’s energies were now devoted to the peopling of his own province, and in the autumn following Markham’s departure a considerable company of adventurers gathered at London and Bristol to take ship for Pennsylvania. Under date of October 4th, Claypoole wrote: "There is a ship going for Pennsylvania, from Bristol, and William Penn is gone thither to take his leave of the Friends; and there is another ship going thither from London, and may be ready in a fortnight, but William Penn does not go till spring." Again in December the same writer reports that "a great ship for Pennsylvania" is being chartered, that he hears "there is another going from Bristol," and that in the beginning of summer "it is expected there will go three or four ships more from London." But two of the various ships mentioned appear to have sailed for Pennsylvania in 1681, of which the "John and Sarah" was the first to arrive. It probably sailed from London early in November, and reached its destination early in the following month, but no definite record of the particulars of its voyage has been preserved. The other vessel, the "Bristol Factor," if it sailed as indicated in the letter of Claypoole, had a more tedious voyage, as it did not arrive in the Delaware until the 11th of December. On this date it anchored at the place where Chester now is, and observing some houses on the shore the passengers landed at Robert Wade’s, where they remained one night. In the morning the ship was found frozen fast and the emigrants were constrained to remain here all winter. Among those who took passage in these ships were John Otter, Edmund Lovett, Andrew Ellet, Gideon Gambell, Nathaniel Allen, and Joseph Kirkbride, all of whom became subsequently identified with Bucks county. A third ship, the "Amity,"* sailed out of the Downs on the 23d of April, 1682, and among others brought Thomas Holmes, the new surveyor-general, and John, the eldest son of James Claypoole, as his assistant.

At this time there was great activity among the Pennsylvania adventurers. It was estimated "above a thousand Friends" would sail for the province this year; "then William Penn and his family goes; Thomas Rudyard, Charles Taylor and his family, and many others; then two ships from Bristol and five from Wales; so that if the Lord bless us, and prosper our way, the country will be planted in a little time." At the time he received his charter Penn hoped to reach his province in the following fall, but affairs multiplied upon his hands, and the various details of his project demanded his constant attention in England. In September, 1681, he writes to Harrison explaining that he does not expect to depart so soon as he intended, "for the people upon whose going both my resolution and services on going depended, though they buy and mostly send servants to clear and sow a piece of land against they come, not one-fifth can now get rid of their concerns here till spring. When they go, I go, but my going with servants will not settle a government, the great end of my going." Soon after receiving the charter for Pennsylvania Penn began negotiating for the lower countries. In this he made slow progress and it was not until the latter part of August that he secured the "deeds of feoffment" for Newcastle with the lands about it, and the lands between this and Cape Henlopen.

With this negotiation successfully closed Penn was soon ready to take his departure for his province, and on the 30th of August, 1682, he set sail from Deal in the ship "Welcome" with about a hundred other emigrants, most of whom were Friends and a majority of them from the county of Sussex, the proprietor’s place of residence. The voyage was sadly marred by a visitation of the smallpox, of which some thirty of the company died. "In this trying situation, the acceptable company of William Penn is said to have been of singular advantage to them, and his kind advice and assistance of great service during their passage; so that, in the main, they had a prosperous voyage." (Proud.) On the 27th of October the ship arrived at Newcastle, where the new proprietor was received with joyous acclamations by all nationalities. On the next day, after exhibiting his title, he received formal possession of the town. At the same time he reassured the people of his liberal policy, renewed the commissions of the magistrates, and constituting Markham his attorney to receive the lower territory from the representatives of the Duke of York, he proceeded to Upland. Here he was again received with the most flattering demonstrations, the Swedish colonists deputing Lacy Cock, one of their number and a justice of the court, to assure the new proprietor "that they would love, serve, and obey him with all that they had," and to declare "that it was the best day they ever saw."

In the experiment which Penn was about to inaugurate a pre-requisite for success was the presence of a sufficient number of intelligent, capable colonists upon whom the details of a popular government could be safely devolved, and this through his influence was supplied by the wonderful immigration which took place in this year. By the latter part of December twenty-three ships,** laden with emigrants and their household stuff, had been dispatched to the province. Among the population thus suddenly planted in the almost unbroken wilderness of the new province were men of the best character; men of wealth, of intellectual acquirements, and generally of deep religious convictions, thoroughly in sympathy with the noble ambition of the founder. Of these a considerable number of representative families made their original settlement within the present limits of Bucks county. By the "Friends’ Adventure," which arrived in September, came George Pownall, William Yardley, Luke Brunley, Joseph and John Clows, Jr., John Brock, William Venables, and John Haycock; in the same month, by the "Samuel," came Henry Paxson and Richard Amor; by the "Welcome," which arrived in October, came John and Thomas Rowland, William Buckman, and Thomas Fitzwater; in the same month, by the "Lamb," came James Dilworth; by the "Submission," which reached Choptank, Maryland, in November, came Phineas Pemberton, James Harrison, Randolph Blackshaw, Robert Bond, Ellis Jones, Jane and Margaret Mode, Lydia Wharmby, and James Clayton. The following year was scarcely less marked by the accessions to the community from abroad. In February, 1683, the "Bristol Merchant" brought William Beakes and Henry Marjorum; in September, the "Endeavor" of London brought Richard Hough, Thomas Janney, and John Clows, Sr.; in October, the "Jeffrey" of London brought William Bennett, the "Friendship" of Liverpool brought John Hough, the "Providence" of Scarborough brought Joshua Hoopes and John Palmer, and the "Daniel and Elizabeth" of Plymouth brought George Stone.***

His arrival in Pennsylvania opened up a new field of busy activity to William Penn. Although there existed here an old social organization, his plans contemplated, and the character of the new population demanded, one of higher development, and he promptly set about its reconstruction. He appears to have been little impressed by any respect for the traditions of the colony which had come into his possession, and one of his earliest acts was an ill-considered innovation in the change of the name of Upland to Chester. There was, however, little call for a display of sentiment here, and any deficiency in this respect was amply compensated by the proprietor’s keen discernment of the practical necessities of the situation. No time was lost in adopting the measures necessary to "settle a government." Messengers were promptly dispatched to Maryland to arrange for a meeting with Lord Baltimore for the purpose of settling the mutual boundary between the two provinces, and in the meantime Penn proceeded to New York to record the formal transfer of the lower counties and "pay his duty" to the representative of the Duke of York. On his return he held a court at Newcastle, and a few days later, having divided the "territories" into the counties of Newcastle, Jones, and Whorekill or Deal, and Pennsylvania into the counties of Chester, Philadelphia, and Bucks, he issued writs to the different sheriffs for the election of seven persons from each county to serve as members of the first assembly.

After setting the machinery of government in motion Penn’s next care was the "casting of the country into townships," and the organization of local administrations. The character of these "townships" is pretty well determined from the general hints to be obtained from the records. Originally they had no political significance, but were used as convenient means of compacting the settlements which appeared to be a desirable feature in Penn’s carefully studied plans. The purchases of several persons were thus contiguously located "in a long square, five or ten of a side, and a way of two hundred feet broad left between them for a highway in the township for the future good and great benefit of the country." Some of these details were omitted or changed in practice, but the general principle may still be observed in the character of all the early townships. The limits thus established have become to a great degree permanent, and the names which now designate them are generally the ones then adopted, selected probably through the choice of the land-owners. The lines thus established were of little general service, however, and in 16S5 the jurisdictions of the constables were defined as "the falls," "the middle lots," and "the farther side of the Neshaminah and thereabouts." The county lines were equally ill-defined, and it was not until the 8th of April, 1685, that the boundary of Bucks county was definitely settled. At this time the "President and Provincial Councils" ordered:

Whereas, there is a Necessity to ascertaine the bounds of ye severall Countyes of Pennsilvania, in Order to ye raising and Collecting of Taxes, public Moneys, and Other ways to adjust the Limitts of the respective Sheriffs for ye pforming of their Power and Duty; and also, that ye People might know unto what County they belong & appertaine to answer their dutys and places: and whereas, the Govr, in presence of Tho: Janney & Phin: Pemberton was pleased to say and Grant that ye Bounds of ye County of Bucks and Philadelphia should begin as followeth, Vizt:

To begin at ye Mouth of Poetquesink Creek, on Delaware, and soe by ye sd Creek, and to take in the Townships of Southampton and Warminster; in Obedience thereto and Confirmation thereof, The President and Councill having Seriously Weighed and Considered ye same, have & doe hereby agree and Order that the bounds between the said Countys shall be thus: to begin at ye Mouth of Poetquesink Creek on Delaware River, and to goe up thence a long ye said Creek by ye severall Courses thereof, to a S.W. & N.E. Line, which said line devides the land belonging to Jos Growden & Compa., from ye Southampton Township; from thence by a Lyne of Marked Trees along the said Line 120 Perches more or less, from thence N.W. by a Line of marked Trees, which said Line in part devided the Land belonging to Nich. Moor from Southampton & Warminster Townships, Contermeing the said Line as far as ye said County shall extend.

The first measure taken in the organization of local government was the appointment of sheriffs for the different counties. Subsequently the justices in the inferior courts were appointed, and each court formally opened in person by the governor. These courts were similar in their constitution and powers to those which had previously existed, and those established in newly-formed counties began their functions with such business as was brought before it. It happened, therefore, that the first court held in Bucks county was convened "to inspect and take account of the improvement and usage of the estates of orphans." This court was held at the house of Gilbert Wheeler on the 4th of March, 1684, with Governor William Penn presiding, and James Harrison, John Otter, William Yardley, William Beaks, and Thomas Fitzwater sitting as justices. Phineas Pemberton was clerk, and Richard Noble was sheriff(4*) Another session of this court, at which the governor presided, was held on the 11th of the same month, and a third was held on the 7th of October, 1684, at which Edmund Bennett appears as one of the justices. The estates of Messrs. John Spencer, Samuel Clift, William Clark, John Heycock, ----- Giles and William Venable were considered. The court bestowed the most attention upon the Clark estate, which was not finally disposed of until some two years later. It consisted of some three hundred acres of land and a little personal property which the sheriff enumerated as follows: "1 flock bed, 2 flock pillows, 1 blanket, 1 iron pot, 1 brass kettle, 1 pot back, 1 frying pan, 1 chest." There were two orphans; the eldest of which, a girl of seven years, Noble offered to take until she attained the age of twenty-one years, and at that time to give her a cow, calf, and a sow, and to abate ten pounds of the bill of charges already accumulated against the estate.

The first court of quarter-sessions met on the 11th of December, 1684. In this court resided the ruling power of the local community, and in its records are to be traced the outlines of the county’s early development. On its bench sat six justices of the peace with powers that exhibit a curious blending of the old patriarchal and modern civil jurisdictions. They were men of no legal education, with a strong antipathy to lawyers, and more anxious to adjust the difficulties between their neighbors than to gain a reputation as jurists. The "good laws" passed by the assembly left much to their sound discretion, and it is not faint praise to say that they did not abuse their trust. Possessed of more "mother wit" than legal acquirements, preeminent in no particular over their fellows, and unsupported by the old-world prestige, the magistrates found in the sobriety and good sense of the people their surest warrant of success in the discharge of their duties. But "contempt of court" was not unknown in those Arcadian days, and the magistrates had now and then an occasion to exercise their authority for self-protection. Early among the laws passed by the first assembly was one which made it an offense to "speak slightingly, or carry themselves abusively against any magistrate or person in office," and provided that the offender should "suffer according to the quality of the magistrate, and nature of the offense." During his term of office the dignity of a justice was sacred in the eye of the court, whether assailed in the discharge of his judicial functions or not. Rumors in circulation prejudicial to the reputation of the magistrates were called up in open court, and if continued after a denial by the official concerned, the offender was summarily fined. Few had the temerity to offend in this respect in the presence of the court, but an unexpectedly severe sentence sometimes caused the victim to "curse and swear," and in one case, at least, to go to the length of "jostling the justices upon the bench," for which the audacious person was promptly fined fifty shillings.

The first petit jury in Bucks county was impanelled on the 9th of December, 1685, and consisted of Robert Carter, John White, James Boyden, George Brown, Lionel Brittain, William Sandford, Henry Burchon, Jonathan Scaife, Edmund Lovett, Thomas Atkinson, Daniel Brinson, and John Clows. A number of cases in which the question of facts were made an issue had previously been tried before the court, but the right of jury apparently had been waived. From this time forward, however, a jury was generally employed to the no small inconvenience of the persons summoned to serve in that capacity. The poorly-constructed roads and lack of necessary bridges made attendance upon court at certain times of the year a burdensome duty, if not an impossibility, and jurors were frequently found delinquent when only the very best of excuses saved them a fine of from three to twenty shillings. In other respects it was no sinecure to serve on the jury, and the court found it necessary to maintain a somewhat severe discipline to prevent the panel from consulting their own ease at the expense of the case submitted for their determination.

An incident in point was one that bestowed upon the victims the name of the "Hustle-cap jury." It was impanelled in 1698 for the trial of an action to recover the value of a horse, estimated at three pounds and ten shillings. The identity of the animal was in question, and the principal evidence submitted referred to the ear-marks. The defendant received a verdict, but the other party to the case, learning something of the way in which the verdict was arrived at, charged the jury with improper conduct. The jurors were accordingly examined by the court, when they frankly confessed that they were divided in judgment and could not agree; that they considered the case part of a day and most part of a night; that they then concluded to see which way it would go by lot, and caused the constable, John Darke, to cast a piece of money in his hat; but they denied that they had brought in their verdict upon the lot, and averred that they had afterward agreed upon a verdict and brought it into court. They said the casting of the lot had greatly troubled them, and they had paid so much money as had satisfied both plaintiff and defendant and parties concerned, and now submitted to the court as to what they should suffer for their offense. The parties to the suit appeared and said the jury had given them full satisfaction, and they were no way hurt by the verdict; but the court none the less fined each juryman two pounds and ten shillings, and tile constable for his share in the business was fined ten shillings.(5*)

The first grand jury of the county was summoned for the June session of 1685, and consisted of Henry Baker, foreman, William Darke, Joshua Boare, Richard Ridgeway, Lawrence Banner, Henry Marjerum, Joseph Milner, Lionel Brittain, James Paxson, William Paxson, Joseph English, Thomas Stackhouse, Thomas Atkinson, James Boyden, Henry Bowman, Thomas Dungan, William Dungan, Thomas Rowland, Edmund Lovett, Thomas Wolfe, Randolph Blackshaw, and William Heycock. Delays and absences of grand jurors were generally punished by the higher fine of twenty shillings, and the implication of several such penalties is noted in the records. The grand jury gradually acquired, however, a prominent place in the administration of local affairs and became practically the architect of the county’s fortunes. Its presentments were generally the initiatory movement in all changes and in the inauguration of new enterprises, the court invariably concurring in its recommendations and putting them in execution.

The roads were the first public interest to engage the attention of the new court. The "King’s path," authorized by an order of the early court in 1675, extended across the county, and under the orders of the Upland court in 1678, and, subsequently, the various settlements were probably connected with it by local ways of travel. On the 11th of February, 1685, the Bucks county court makes note of the failure to lay out such a road previously ordered to be constructed to Pemberton’s plantation, and appointed William Biles, Lionel Brittain, and Samuel Darke, with the assistance of Robert Lucas, a surveyor, to do this work. At the same time, the road "about the falls that is not already perfected" is placed in the care of the same persons, with the addition of Wilham Beakes, to "perfect" the same "before the next term of court," when the court proceeded to take full charge of these matters by the appointment of Henry Baker, John Rowland, Thomas Stackhouse, and Edmund Cutter, as "overseers of the highways for the ensuing year." In the following May, a road was ordered to be laid out "from Wrightstown to the ferry-house over against Burlington," and in 1688 the grand jury called attention to the necessity of a road "from the upper plantations above the falls of Delaware to the landing over against Burlington." In the winter of 1691, the "highway from the falls to Southampton" was ordered cleared, the bridge "by James Paxson’s" and the one "that comes from William Brian’s" were ordered to be repaired, and "the necessity of a way from Newtown to Burlington ferry" suggested, but it was not until 1693 that it was laid out. Two years later the return of a road "from the upper plantations above the falls of Delaware to the landing over against Burlington" was made. It was projected in 1688, but the unsettled character of the country delayed its completion, and when finally laid out was indicated by marked trees. It started "first from Richard Hough’s plantation by a line of marked trees to Falls meeting-house; from thence to Cold Spring, and so down the old road to the ferry." In 1696 a road was laid out from Newtown to Gilbert Wheeler’s ferry, and another from the "mill-dam in Buckingham (Bristol) to the common landing by the ferry-house, in a straight line." In the year following Pemberton was ordered to survey a road from the falls to Buckingham, with the assistance of John Surket, and at the same time another road was ordered to lead "from Wrightstown to Neshaminah meeting-house; thence to Joseph Growden’s, and thence to branch out the one way to the ford at Allen Foster’s over Pemepecka; the other from Joseph Growden’s down to Duncan Williams’s." A part of this road was projected as early as 1685, but was delayed until this time.

The character of these early roads is suggested by the record of a complaint on the 9th of November, 1685, to the effect that "Joseph Growden had fenced up the King’s road." Nathaniel Allen, a constable, was therefore "ordered to speak to him to open the road or set gates; else further course will be taken about it." These roads were scarcely more than bridle-paths, and it was not until 1695 that the term "cartways" was used in reference to the county roads, which probably indicates the period when wheeled vehicles were introduced in the county. The location of the ferries at this early day was a prominent consideration in determining the terminal points of the various "ways." Travel beyond county limits was directed toward. Philadelphia, New York, and the older settlements in New Jersey, and in the absence of bridges over the Delaware sought the most convenient ferries. The earliest of them was probably established at the falls. Prior to this some more or less regular means of crossing the river at Burlington was found, but when the route from the east was transferred to the falls, this ferry was discontinued. Until after the English settlement on the river in 1679 the ferry at the falls was of a very inefficient character, but the growth of the settlements on either side of the river offered better inducements and secured better service. It is not certain who first among the new emigrants conducted the ferry here, but the records show Gilbert Wheeler early in possession of the business. It appears to have been only one of several enterprises which he conducted, and generally in such a manner as to bring himself in conflict with the court. In 1693 he was convicted of exacting extortionate fees for ferriage, and four years later the grand jury present the necessity of a new ferry "for want of the ferry at Gilbert Wheeler’s not being kept." The grand jury therefore "presented the necessity of a ferry being kept at Joseph Chorley’s, which is a convenient place." Chorley agreed to attend to this business and keep a flat and canoes always ready, provided "that there be no place of ferriage allowed within three miles" of the said ferry. This is said to have been opposite the point where Bordentown, New Jersey, is located. At this term of court, June, 1697, the grand jury presented also "the necessity of a ferry over Neshaminah, at John Baldwin’s, which is nearer to Philadelphia from the ferry at Buckingham by two or three miles than the other ferry or way of riding."(6*) The "ferry at Buckingham," and "the landing over against Burlington" was established by Samuel Clift soon after his settlement on what is now the site of the borough of Bristol, and has since continuously operated here. In 1667 a ferry was established by Duncan Williamson on the river in what is now Bensalem township, and was considerably used for nearly a half century.

The early administration of the county finances was of the crudest character. For a little time the sole dependence for income was the fines laid by the court and the license-fees paid by the innkeepers, but as there were few demands upon the public funds no embarrassment was experienced. The services of the justices, jurors, sheriff, coroner, clerk, and minor officials were remunerated by fees, bridges were built by subscription, and roads were constructed and repaired by assessments of labor upon the persons of the district through which they ran. There were therefore only the construction and repairs of public buildings, the requirement of the offices of record, and the care of the poor to be provided for. The funds available for these purposes were made to suffice, and were expended by direction of the court, without the intervention of a treasurer. A tax was levied in 1685, or in the year following, and in 1687 was given to William Biles for collection. The whole amount was £l28 4s. 5 1/2d., of which £71 4s. 8 1/2d. was returned as uncollectible. In 1690 the grand jury "presented the necessity" of a tax of three hundred pounds for the charges of the county, and divided the county into the following districts for the purposes of collection: "Above the falls; thence to the governor’s; thence to Neshaminy; and up the same to the Robert Hall’s plantation; thence to the uppermost land taken up on Neshaminy;(7*) Middle lots; between Neshammy and Poquessing to the upper part of Joseph Growden’s land; thence to the uppermost land taken up."

At the same session the grand jury suggested the necessity of laying a tax for the payment of the members of the council and assembly from the county. At that time the law provided that each county should remunerate its own representatives, but the good people of Bucks had been negligent in this matter, and it is probable that the grand jury acted in the capacity of a public conscience. The suggestion apparently made no further progress at the time, but in December, 1695, the record of the court recites: "It had previously been ordered that at this meeting the court should ascertain the fees of members of the council and assembly, but few made their appearance, but upon discourse with those present it was found they were moderate and seemed rather to wish to have an end put to the affair than for their own interest; and it was thought that if the grand jury would make some suitable present to those who had been at extraordinary charge by reason of their long continuance in their duties, it would put an end to the matter." At the next session a "suitable present" of eight pounds each was granted to Arthur Cook and Phineas Pemberton, and one of six pounds to Joseph Growden, which were accepted by the recipients in full of claims for their public services.

The difficulties occasioned by the lack of regularly established political divisions in the county are clearly apparent in all this period. Constables, collectors, fence-viewers, and overseers of the roads each had different districts, changing with the new necessities of each year, and never more than generally defined. Citizens were frequently taxed or held to duty by two of the same officials, and the latter must have been quite above the ordinary temptations of mortals not to have come in conflict with each other in the discharge of other duties. It was not until March, 1690, however, that the grand jury found it "necessary that the county be divided into townships." At the next session the court, following the lead of the grand jury, made an order that Henry Baker, Thomas Janney, William Biles, Phineas Pemberton, Arthur Cook, Edmund Bennett, James Boyden, Nicholas Walne, Joshua Hoopes, John Rowland, Joseph Growden, and Samuel Allen meet together at the court-house the day before the next court, "and then and there divide this county into townships, that the same may be presented to the next court to have the approbation thereof." For some reason this order was not obeyed, and in September, 1692, the court again took up the matter. In the record reference is made to an "arrangement formerly from the council, and that thereupon there was art order from the court." Of this "arrangement" no other mention has anywhere been found, and no order of the court save as mentioned above. At this session, however, the court again ordered that Arthur Cook and others, "or the greater number of them, meet together at the meeting-house at Neshaminah, the 27th day of this instant, and divide this county into townships." The court also adjourned to meet at this time and place, and the following proceedings "at a court held at the meeting-house at Neshaminah, the 27th 7/mo. 1692," are noted:

Whereas it was ordered formerly that this county should he divided into townships according to said order, and the said persons by this court ordered did this day meet to and did divide the same as follows: The uppermost township, being called Makefield, to begin at the uppermost plantation and along the river to the uppermost part of John Wood’s land, and by the lands formerly belonging to the Hawkinses, & Joseph Kirkbride & widow Lucas; and so along as near as may be in a straight line, to fetch in Joshua Hoop’s land.

The township at the falls, being called -----, to begin at Pennsbury and so up the river to the upper side of John Wood’s land, and then to take in the Hawkins’s, Joseph Kirkbride, and widow Lucas’s lands; and so the land along that creek continuing the same until it takes in the land of John Rowland and Edward Pearson; and so continue till it come with Pennsbury upper land; then along Pennsbury to the place of beginning.

Then Pennsbury as it is laid out.

Below Pennsbury it is called Buckingham, and to follow the river from Pennsbury to Neshaminah to the upper side of Robert Hall’s plantation; and to take in the land of John Town, Edmund Lovet, and Abram Cox; and so to Pennsbury and by the same to the place of beginning.

The middle township, to be called Middleton, to begin at the upper side of Robert Hall’s land and so up Neshaminah to Newtown; and from thence to take in the lands of John Hough, Jonathan Scaife. and the Paxsons and John Smith’s land; and go to take in the hack part of Whites’ land; and by their land to the place of beginning.

Newtown and Wrightstown one township.

All the lands between Neshaminah and Poquessin and so the upper side of Joseph Growden’s land in one, and to be called Salem.

South Hampton and the lands about it, with Warminster, one.

The blank left for the name of "the township at the falls" was never officially filled out, but the popular designation— the falls township— was at once recognized by the court and has continued to the present. Pennsbury, it will be observed, was not included in any township organization. It was Penn’s expectation, so long as he lived, to erect this area into a manor. His failure to do so, however, worked no inconvenience in the administration of public affairs, as the property of the so-called manor was not subject to taxation, and had its own guardian of local interests in the person of the proprietor’s "ranger." Practically it was subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of the county from the first, and when it was subsequently sold it lost all that remained of its individuality and was merged into Falls township without any distinct action of the court. When the name of the township "below Pennsbury" was changed to Bristol is not known. The borough of Bristol was chartered in 1697, and five years later a constable was appointed for a district bearing the same name. Salem is called Bensalem in the records as early as 1693, and was thus perpetuated by popular choice without official action. At the latter date a constable, and a supervisor or "surveyor of ways," were appointed for a district called "Crookhorn," a name new to the records then, and of which no other trace is anywhere to be found.

The development of township organizations in the three original counties of Pennsylvania was sui generis. The usual plan of dividing the outlying sparse-settled portions of the county into one or more townships was not here observed. The lands were sold in large tracts, and several such contiguous tracts were at once given an individuality which never appears to have been lost.(8*) Townships were formed all about a less favored locality, which remained unorganized land in their midst until sufficient population warranted its organization, as in the case of Warrington and Haycock, and other townships do not appear to have ever had specific boundaries recorded. Just how this individuality was conferred is not clear. It was not through any action of the courts, but probably through the popularization of Penn’s idea of regulating the early settlement. It happens, therefore, that in the first mention of a township in the records its outlines and name are generally already established. Thus, of the nine townships which were included in the seven divisions formed in 1692, the names of four were already settled, while the names of two others were the suggestions of early popular use; and the outlines of all were so far established that the boundaries fixed by the court were only a rehearsal of those already in use. After these original townships the first to appear in the records are Buckingham and Solebury. There is nowhere any hint of their origin, but in this first official recognition of their existence they are found acting with as distinct corporate individuality as any of the older townships. At this session, 1709, a supervisor was appointed for each of these townships, and only one constable for both. In 1722 the boundaries of Buckingham were specifically defined, but until 1730 the two townships were apparently arbitrarily associated to form one constable’s district at times, and at others divided to form independent districts. Though apparently thus united, each of these townships undoubtedly possessed a distinct individuality from the first, and was united or divided for judicial purposes as circumstances seemed to warrant. The same relations existed between Newtown and Wrightstown, and between Southampton and Warminster. In the latter case, however, they were declared separate in 1713.

In 1719 a constable and supervisor were appointed for "Richlands or the Great Swamp," and in the following year this region is referred to as Richland township, though not laid out by the court until 1734, after it had been for years "reputed a township." In 1720 the usual local officials were appointed for the "lands adjacent to Southampton," and two years later these lands were erected into the township of Northampton. In 1721 officers were appointed for "Hilltown," and three years later it was officially laid out as a township with the same name. In 1724 the first constable was appointed for Plumstead, but its tutelage was brief, as it was regularly laid out in the following year. In 1723 "ye inhabitants settled on peckquisi hills" petitioned for authority to organize themselves into a township. There is no evidence that the petition was granted, and no further mention of the matter is found until 1728, when the first constable was appointed for "New Brittain." From this time forward this name appears in the list of townships, but there is no record of its formal erection to be found. In 1733 a constable and supervisor were appointed for "Middlebury." This region was early designated as the district "between the two branches of the Neshaminy," and in 1727 a supervisor was appointed to take charge of that part of the "York road" found here; but in 1734 it was laid out as the township of Warwick. In 1733 the extent of Makefield made the appointment of two supervisors for this township necessary, and in the following year the terms Upper and Lower were applied to the different portions of this political division, but it was not until 1742 that the formal division was made.

In 1734 Warrington was laid out without the usual novitiate experience, as was Milford also. The latter had been associated with Richland, and in this year was laid out under the name of "Bulla;" but in the return of a resurvey made in the same year the name is changed to Milford. In 1739 Rockhill was laid out as a township on the petition of the inhabitants of Milford and Richland, that the portion of the "Bethlehem road" which passed through Rockhill might be constructed and cared for. In 1742 "the inhabitants of Deep run" asked for their organization as a township, and Bedminster was formed. In the year following the "inhabitants adjacent to Durham" asked for and secured the erection of Springfield. In 1746 Nockamixon was erected. Four years before the "inhabitants of the adjacents of Plumstead" petitioned for the erection of a township, the intolerable bad condition of the roads constituting the moving cause. A draft of its proposed boundaries was ordered, but was not returned until 1744, and not confirmed until two years later. Tinicum is first mentioned in 1738, when an ineffectual movement was made for its political organization. In 1741 a constable was appointed for this district, and in 1747 another petition for the erection of "Tennicunk" township proved successful. Haycock was organized in 1763. In 1745 it was formed into a supervisor’s district and described as the territory "between Springfield, Richland, and Bedminster." Its growth was very slow, and eighteen years elapsed before it was organized. Durham is first mentioned as a constable’s district in 1738, and in 1745 an unsuccessful effort was made for its erection. In 1775 its inhabitants presented a petition for the same object, in which they represented that they were denied the advantages of organization enjoyed by the rest of the county. This proved effectual, and Durham was added to the list of townships. In 1819 Doylestown was erected.

In all this development there is little note of the crude social machinery by which it was effected. Contrasted with the long-established forms of civilization in the old world, the practices in the "divine experiment" must have at times appeared to many of the actors as a grand masquerade. And yet there is no evidence of levity in their proceedings. The people upon whom the cares of state were first devolved were such as had been educated to a supreme disregard of official distinction and adventitious formality, and the stern experience of most of these men had led them to seek the practical benefits rather than the pomp of power. And so in all the petty details of the local administration of the early day those earnest men are found bestowing a fostering care upon all the varied interests confided to their charge, officially composing differences, punishing crime as an offense against good morals rather than against the law, and applying the public resources for the public good unhampered by formal enactments.

In the inauguration of the local government only the essentials were first provided. The justices of the court, the clerk, and the sheriff were appointed by William Penn, and later, as the necessities of the situation demanded, new offices were erected. The old constables probably served out the unexpired portion of their terms, and the first notice of these useful adjuncts of the early court is found on the 11th of February, 1684, when Derrick Clawson "attested as constable." At the same time Francis Walker is found "not capable of serving," and the court orders Claus Jonson to act in this capacity. In September, 1685, the court "ordered that Henry Marjerum do serve as constable for the falls for the ensuing year, & William Heycock for the middle Lotts; for the farther side of Neshaminah & thereabouts, Samuel Allen & John Pursloire." In December following Robert Lucas and Robert Carter were apparently "elected" as high-constables, an officer probably similar to the deputy sheriff. The "fence-viewer" was another important official in the administration of county affairs, and in December, 1685, on the representation of the constables, the court appointed Richard Ridgeway and Samuel Darke "for that part of the river below the falls as far as the governor’s plantation;" Henry Marjerum and Andrew Ellet "above the falls;" John Palmer and Jonathan Scaife for "the middle Neshaminah;" and Robert Heaton and Ezra Croasdale for "the lower part of Neshaminah." In 1686 the constables were increased to six and eventually to one for each township.

Of the higher officials of the county the first addition was the coroner. In this office Robert Hall was probably the first incumbent, being appointed thereto on the 16th of November, 1685, by the provincial council. The services of this official were not often brought into requisition in the early history of the county, and the first notice of an inquest is found under the date of March 12, 1690, when "the casual death of Ann Hawkins" was presented by the coroner of that time "to be by a fall from a mare she did ride upon, occasioned by another horse that was tyed to her tayle going by the way on the contrary side of a tree, which caused the mare suddenly to stop, so that she fell from the said mare and was killed."

Under the provincial régime the other officers of the county were representatives of provincial authority, and, save the treasurer, were deputized by the general officers. On the 22d of May, 1684, the provincial council ordered: "The receiver of ye Public Aid or Deputy Treasurer, to have 50 lb. yearly duering the Treasurer Absence. One Inferior receiver in Every County, who shall receive directions from ye Deputy Treasurer, who shall receive Instructions from ye Govr and Councills who Shall not be allowed above 20 lb. p year." "Inferior receivers" were accordingly appointed for each county, among whom was "Wm. Biles, for Bucks." In purely local expenditures the court appears to have appointed a temporary dispenser of the county funds. Thus in March, 1709, while William Biles was still acting as "inferior receiver" the court appointed "a collector and treasurer" for the special tax levied for the erection of new county buildings. At a later period the county commissioners appointed the treasurer until the office was made elective.

Israel Taylor was very early appointed "deputy surveyor" for the county, and was directly responsible to Thomas Holmes, the surveyor-general of the province. He appears to have been negligent in his returns to his superior, and in 1686 Holmes brought suit against him before the court to compel him to account for fees received and surveys made. In 1683 Christopher Taylor appointed a "deputy-register" for the county, among whose duties were "to write and register all contracts and certificates of marriage, to register births and burials, and the names of all servants that are in, or shall come into, the said county, their time of service, payment, and freedom." In 1684 the same general officer appointed a "deputy-register of wills" for Bucks county. This appointment appears to have been supplementary to the first, and. did not create a distinct office. By the language of his commission the appointee was "to prove all wills and grant all letters of administration, . . . . and do all things which may be comprehended in the office to thy former deputation." In September, 1689, the court "ordered that a request be drawn to the governor that a register may be appointed for the probate of wills, that people be not put to the extraordinary charge of going to Philadelphia." No further mention is made of this matter in the local records, and it is difficult to understand the occasion for such a request. Pemberton had been appointed in 1684 "to continue in the register’s office, as above said, so long as thou shalt well behave thyself," and there is no apparent break in the records of his administration. The minutes of the council give no indication of a change in the organization of the office, nor of any response to this request, and it is possible that the inconvenience continued until Governor Fletcher’s time. At all events a similar state of affairs existed then, and among the particulars of a bill of grievances presented by the assembly to the governor in 1694, was "that there is not an ordinary appointed in each respective county for the probate of wills." On June 9th of this year the governor replied in note by the secretary of council, "His excellency in council doth agree that the wills be proved, and administration granted in the respective counties, by such persons as shall be appointed for that purpose by the ordinary." On the 5th of May, 1686, a "deputy-master of the rolls" for Bucks county was appointed by Thomas Lloyd, the general officer of the province, which completed the local administration as constituted at that time.

To the last three offices, as well as to that of clerk of the court, Phineas Pemberton was appointed, and for nearly a score of years was the central figure in all the local affairs of the county. He does not appear to have possessed those brilliant gifts which make men facile princeps, hut he was amply endowed with those solid qualities that made him a safe councillor, and a careful, painstaking man of affairs. Whether this multiplication of honors was occasioned by a scarcity of men capable and willing to discharge these duties, or by his eminent fitness to bear these responsibilities, is not clear, but it is probable that both considerations contributed to the result. In a community where not a few of those prominent in public affairs found it necessary to "make their mark" when their signature was required, his literary attainments were considerable, and several of his productions in prose and verse give indication of a mental capacity very much superior to that of the many by whom he was surrounded. His connection with the leading families of the new community, by ties of kindred and the associations of a common persecution, also served to emphasize this prominence. Born in the same year that witnessed the separation of the Society of Friends from the world, he was early "visited with religious impressions, to which, as he rendered obedience, he became confirmed." Apprenticed in his fifteenth year to John Abraham, a Friend and grocer at Manchester, he was soon called upon to suffer the penalties of his adherence to a maligned people. In a letter to his father in 1670 he describes the humiliating treatment he received from the officers of the law in language which bears the marks of a calmness and self-restraint characteristic of the cool blood of age rather than the impetuosity of a youth of twenty.

Prominent among the persecuted sect of that day was James Harrison, a shoemaker of Stiall-green, in Cheshire. He was a minister, and in 1655 travelled in the service of the gospel, in the north of England." In the same year he married Anne heath, "who bore a daughter the 7th day of the 2d month, 1660, and called her name Phebe; and this was she," wrote Phineas Pemberton, "that fell to be mine, through the Lord’s good providence." In this year Harrison, William Yardley, James Brown, and their associates were thrown into prison at Burgas-gate in Shrewsbury, "for their testimony." They were released in 1661, only to be again repeatedly incarcerated in various prisons. In 1668 Harrison removed from Cheshire, and made his residence somewhere in the neighborhood of Phineas Pemberton, who, in the following year, notes his first meeting with the one who was destined to be his wife. Phoebe and her mother, in passing through Manchester, stopped at his master’s shop, and with childish frankness the little girl proposed to share some cherries she had with one of the clerks that stood behind the counter. Her mother suggested a less partial distribution of her favors, but the little maiden insisted in giving only to one, and was rewarded with "a paper of brown candy" by the favored youth.

Phineas was at this time unacquainted with the family, but the little girl’s marked preference for him made an impression that eventually ripened into a life-long affection. On the expiration of his seven years’ apprenticeship he went to Bolton, where he obtained a shop of his own, and in 1672 set up trade on his own account. Here he met Phoebe Harrison again, when an acquaintance was formed, which was consummated in marriage on the 1st of January, 1676. He continued attentive to his business, though frequently interrupted and insulted by the brutal persecutions of a bigoted populace and a vindictive law. But in all these trials and difficulties he commanded the respect of his friends and neighbors by the uprightness and integrity of his conduct, and was so far publicly honored as to be made overseer of the poor for Bolton. At length Penn’s "divine experiment" was projected, and the persecuted sect very generally turned to the new world as an asylum where they might worship God in their own way, "with none to molest or make them afraid." Harrison was early interested in this movement, and became one of Penn’s most trusted agents in England. It was not without some hesitation that he arrived at the decision to emigrate, and some further time elapsed before he could arrange his affairs to leave. His decision, however, had an important influence upon a considerable number of others who made their homes in Bucks county, and he may be properly called the founder of the early community settled here. On the 5th of September, 1682, he took passage in the ship "Submission," then lying at Liverpool, and accompanied by Phineas Pemberton and some fifty others of his immediate relatives, friends, and their servants came to the new province. On their arrival in Maryland Harrison and Pemberton at once set out for Philadelphia, and from thence proceeded to the site where William Yardley had a few weeks before fixed his residence. Harrison was elected to the first assembly before his return to his family, and Pemberton was soon afterward appointed clerk of the court. From that period until disabled by a fatal illness, save an unimportant interval, the records of the county were written wholly by his hand, and in them he has left a memorial of himself that will not be lost so long as the history of the community which he helped to establish shall be read.

The oldest of these records is found in the orphans’ court. The proceedings were entered in small books made of cap-paper with paper covers. Three of these are now bound together in one volume and contain all of the earlier records that have been preserved. The first covers the period from 1683 to 1697; the second, from 1728 to 1738; and the third, from 1740 to 1747. All other minutes prior to this date have been lost. Historically, these records are only valuable for the incidental references contained. The minutes of the proceedings of the courts of quarter-sessions and common pleas, however, are replete with interesting and varied suggestions, and in them are found the main clues to many a forgotten fact. These were entered in books similar to those in the orphans’ court and are equally defective. In many cases the missing fragments are of real importance, but the quiet current of local affairs is still to be traced through the remaining pages, and many an interesting reflection of the images of larger events.

In March, 1689, the opening entry is dated "27th day of the first month, being the 5th year of the King’s reign and the 9th of the proprietary’s government, 1689." James II., "the king," had left England, and William and Mary had come to the throne. The news had not yet reached the province, however, but when the next court opened on the 11th of the seventh month, while the news of this event had reached the province there was everywhere manifested a painful state of indecision as to whether it was safe to proclaim the fact, and the court solves the difficulty for itself by declaring its session "held by the king’s authority," with no mention of the year of his reign to compromise the application of this entry to either sovereign. At the next session all doubt of the permanent character of the revolution had been removed, and the opening minute declares the court held "by authority of King William and Queen Mary."

Under the date of 14 4/mo. 1693, Gilbert Wheeler, Joseph Wood, and John Brock are recorded as justices of the court present, and Robert Cole as clerk. The court is now held "by the king and queen’s authority," but not as before "in the name of William Penn, proprietary and governor." The crown had seized upon the province without warning. Under date of April 19, 1693, Thomas Lloyd, the deputy governor, was informed by Benjamin Fletcher, of New York, that we had received "their majesties’ commission, under the great seal, for the government of Pennsylvania." On the 26th the new governor arrived and assumed authority without opposition, though many refused to accept office under his government. A council of four members was formed, which was at once resolved into a committee "to consider of persons within the province," etc., "that are qualified to be judges, justices of the peace, sheriffs, and other officers." Robert Turner was a member of the council and probably suggested the appointments for Bucks county. Israel Taylor was appointed sheriff, and qualified on the 29th instant. Arthur Cook was prominent among those who held aloof from the new administration, but was the first to be tendered a commission as justice in the new court for his county. He refused it, however, and was subsequently active in his opposition. On the 13th of May, Gilbert Wheeler and Joseph Wood took the prescribed oaths and "test" as justices, and Robert Cole, in addition took the "oath of clark of the county of Bucks;" and two days later John Brock qualified as justice. Bucks county was loyal to the proprietor, and while there was no organized opposition here, the composition of the local administration is notable in the absence of the old local leaders. Gilbert Wheeler had been a frequent litigant before the court, and had been there sometimes under circumstances not much to his credit. He doubtless assumed his new position with considerable satisfaction to himself if not to the community, but no name more emphasizes the radical change effected than does his. At the next term, held September 13, 1693, John Swift and Henry Paynter appear as additional justices. In the minutes the name of Penquite appears as "Pinckwhite," and the court is made to "seetts" or "seitts," and "rajourns for 2 owers." The new clerk was another significant indication of the change in affairs, and as strong a contrast to his predecessor as could be found. A few of his entries will exhibit his qualifications for the position as well as the inefficient administration of the court. "The court caled & raiurned to the 2d weednsdy of the Mont of June, 1694." "June— Now courte this month." "Sept. the noa Courte by rason of ye Shrefe leay very secke at Philadelph." "Decr ye Noa courte by rason of exterordnary beade weathar."

Under date of 12th, 4 mo., 1695, appears the entry: "At a court of Quarter Sessions held by the King’s authority in the name of William Penn, absolute Proprietary and Governor." Penn had "come to his own again." The restoration had been announced in the provincial council on the 26th of March, and in the following month, William Markham, as "deputy-governor under William Penn," called about him in council the old-time leaders of the province, Bucks county contributing Joseph Growden, Phineas Pemberton, and William Biles. The local administrations were not overturned, but Israel Taylor had in July, 1693, represented to the governor that "hee had procured to himself manie enemies on the accot of his office, and after a perremuptorie manner, desired to be dismist from the same." He was accordingly relieved and Thomas Brock made his successor. The name of the clerk is not given, but the record is made in another style and suggests the familiar hand of "P.P.," though rather improved in the character of penmanship and in the quality of the ink. When next his name appears it is written in a bold hand as if to emphasize the satisfaction he felt in once more filling the position he had so long honored. Thenceforward his familiar chirography is to be traced unbroken through the records until the "14th day of ye 1st month, 1699/1700. Court adjourned until eight o’clock to-morrow morning, about which time being open" -----. here the minute abruptly ends. The rest of the page and the book is blank. When the court again met another hand recorded its proceedings, another sheriff executed its process, and other justices in part were on the bench. Another book was provided, and the first minutes as they now appear in it indicate that a part of the earlier entries have been lost. The date on the first page is "ye 12th of ye first mo. 1701/2." The next regular minute of the opening of a court is under date of 10th 4 mo., 1702. It is not certain, therefore, whether or not the unfinished record mentioned was the last of Pemberton’s work as clerk. He was a member of the provincial council at this time, but toward the latter part of 1701 his health seriously declined, and on the first day of the first month, 1702, he died, at the age of fifty-two years. Of this event Samuel Carpenter wrote to Penn: "Phineas Pemberton died the 1st of 1st month last, and will be greatly missed; having left few or none in these park, or the adjacent, like him for wisdom and integrity, and a general service; and he was a true friend to thee and the government. It’s matter of sorrow, when I call to mind and consider that the best of our men are taken away— and how many are gone, and how few to supply their places."

This period marks a turning-point in the history of the province. The influence of the Friends which had hitherto been scarcely challenged had now begun to wane. The Friends were generally a thrifty, well-to-do class, and no longer urged abroad to find a place to worship in their own way they ceased to emigrate. The tide of "worldly" immigration continued, however, and the Friends, in possession of the sources of power, for a time apparently successfully withstood its innovating tendency, but even then there were indications of a subtile change. Jeremiah Langhorne succeeded Pemberton as clerk, and on January 8, 1703, he is found adopting the worldly form of expressing dates, which is thereafter followed.(9*) In the following year the "silence being commanded," of the opening minutes suggests a touch of formality unknown to the early courts, while the increasing number of lawyers and the growing respect paid to technicalities speak plainly of the change in progress. In 1712 Henry Paxson appeared in court and conscientiously refused to take any qualification as a member of the grand jury, and was fined twenty shillings; in 1726 three of the jurymen were sworn. Heretofore the record has been that the jury was "attested," which probably meant "affirmed." This deference to conscientious scruples has continued to be observed, and fully one-half of the jurymen and witnesses still take this form of obligation.

Prior to the organization of the state the records are quite imperfect, but this appears to have resulted rather from a neglect to record in a permanent form what was apparently temporarily preserved on loose sheets than from a loss of the books. From December 12, 1705, to June 8, 1708, is a hiatus in part caused by such a neglect, and, occasionally, in other places where the records of interesting transactions are entirely omitted. The lack of proper care has been the cause of some destruction, moisture and vermin doing their share, and the heedlessness of officials has also contributed something, the book containing the record of the common pleas court from 1726 to 1731 having evidently served sometime as a cushion for the clerk’s seal-press. Until 1772 no provision was made for the security of the county records. The clerks doubtless kept the larger part of the records in their residences, but there is reason to believe that the justices of the court may have been the custodians of part of the records. Under the date of "11th 10/mo. 1695," is found an entry in which "the clerk ordered to write to Joseph Wood to bring or send the county records that he hath in his hands." Wood was one of the justices, and, his term having expired, the court took this means to repair his negligence in turning over the books in his possession. The constable who was dispatched with the message brought back "three paper-books, two of them covered with sky-colored paper," and consecutively numbered. On the 19th of February, 1777, the council of safety in Philadelphia ordered Joseph Hart, Richard Gibbs, and Henry Wynkoop, the local committee, to remove all records from the residence of the clerk to the public office, and on the 22d instant they replied that they "repaired to the house of Isaac Hicks, at Newtown, received from Mrs. Hicks all the papers she alleged to be in the house, and deposited the same in the public office: and having examined the records there, which we found to consist of the following books, viz: The Records of Deeds from Book A to Book F, 3 vols. each, except the third vol. of Book A; Orphans’ Court Books, from A to G, one vol. each, except vol. E; Will Books from A to C, one vol. extended to the year 1776, from which we apprehend that all the public records belonging to said office are there except two volumes now in your possession."(10*)

No omission of the records is so far irreparable as that in regard to the first court-house of the county. The minutes of the second session of the court of quarter sessions open with: "Court met at Court-House, 11th day, 12/mo. 1684/5." How and where it was erected is left entirely to conjecture, with very few hints to assist such an attempt. The assembly of 1683 authorized each county to erect a house of correction with dimensions of sixteen by twenty-four feet, and at this session of the court "It is ordered that William Biles and William Beakes shall take care to buy 10 or 12 acres of land to be layed to the prison for ye publique use of the county and that they do it if they can before the next court." By an entry in the record of the proceedings of the Falls Monthly Meeting, under date of 7th, 5/mo., 1686, it appears that the court-house was proposed as a place of holding meetings at a rent of ten shillings for four months, but at a meeting held two months later the idea was relinquished, "because there was no convenience of seats or water." In 1693 it was "ordered that William Taylor put up payles about the courthouse, stayres and rayles about the table for which he is to have 16s. to be paid by Mr. Wheeler;" also "ordered a new table to be made by William Taylor for which he is to have 15s. to be paid by Robert Cole." In 1697 it was "ordered that the sheriff get the court stairs repaired or made new, and two of the windows of the court-house glazed and one of them shut up, and the north end plastered; and that the same be paid for out of the county stock." Under date of "14 7/mo., 1687," is found the following significant entry: "Philip Conway being in custody for misdemeanor and being in the prison below the court was very unruly in words and actions to the great disturbance of the King’s peace and to the court in the exercise of their duties, cursing the justices and other officers, casting logs against the door, and endeavoring to make as much disturbance as he could, therefore the court orders that the £40 forfeited by him be levied according to his said recognizance on his lands, goods and chattels."(11*) This is all that has been discovered in the records bearing upon the character of the first court-house of the county. From these facts it may be conjectured that it was built of logs; that it was of two stories, with the prison below and the court-room above, to which access was gained by outside stairs; and that little care was taken to provide for the accommodation of any audience in attendance.

In 1854 Dr. E. D. Buckman made some researches in regard to this matter, and in a published letter in l884 gives the result of his investigations as follows:
     "The most substantial matter learned was a tradition by a Jacob Smith, who then owned the first firm below Morrisville, and showed us the building that was said to have been the first court-house and jail of Bucks county. It was situated on a part of his farm, about two hundred yards from the river bank, at the mouth of a small creek, and opposite to what was then called Moon’s island. The building was of log on a stone foundation, and two stories in height, with an attic under the roof. It was estimated to be about forty feet in length by twenty in width, and was divided on the lower floor in two rooms, one large one about twenty feet square, the other the width of the house and from twelve to fifteen feet in depth. The floor of this room was laid in double plank fastened with pins; the two windows had been grated with iron bars (long since removed), and the doorway entrance from the other and larger room has also been grated; the chimney that stood between the two rooms, built with large fire-place for a wood fire, had its throat grated also with iron bars, which yet remained there. This room was said to have been used as the jail, and the larger one as the court—room, and the second story for the accommodation of the keeper."

The author of the letter does not lay great stress upon this evidence, and this traditionary court-house certainly does not accord with the facts found in the records. An entry under date of "2d Wednesday, December, 1693," however, suggests that there may have been two court-houses which preceded the one erected in Bristol. The opening minute of this session begins, "At the Court-House near the falls." This is the only instance in which this language is employed, while the evidence of an earlier as well as a later date indicates a different location for the first court-house.

Under date of October 4th, 1692, the court decided in the case of a prisoner that "it being the winter season, and the prison inconvenient for the season, thought good to order that hail be taken." Evidently the court did not refer to a prison provided with a good fire-place. In the record of the next session of the court," at the court-house, 14 10/mo., 1692," is followed by the entry of the names of the justices and officers present, when the entry, "adjourned to the house of Joseph Chorley" appears. Immediately after this the regular minutes of the proceedings follow without interruption, suggesting that the court-room may have been as "inconvenient for the season" as the prison, and that the regular session was held at Chorley’s house. This occurs again in December, 1695, and in December, 1702, a similar adjournment is made to the house of William Biles. In 1686 Biles is called a "merchant" in the records and probably had ample accommodation for the court. Chorley kept an inn, and in 1698 was presented for selling beer by unlawful measure. He made his submission to the courts which let him go on paying costs. At the same time the grand jury presented the "necessity of another house of entertainment at court-time," and Samuel Beakes was licensed to keep an "ordinary." In January, 1704, Beakes was "presented for keeping an ill and disorderly house, suffering and countenancing drunkenness, both in English and Indians, and suffering gaming and drunkenness on the first day of the week." The court ordered the suppression of his ordinary, but gave him permission to sell what he had on hand. Subsequently, however, when called for trial none appeared against him, and he was discharged after paying his fees. If the site of these inns can be fixed, the location of the court-house can be closely approximated, for the certain indications are that it was in the near vicinity of these houses of entertainment. The court-house was also probably in the neighborhood of William Biles’s place, which was just above the point, and not far from the place of Pemberton, to which a road was early constructed from the court-house. In regard to the site of Beake’s ordinary nothing is known, but the location of Chorley’s ferry is pretty well ascertained. It was established in 1697 "agt the house or Lane of the sd Joseph Chorley," and at the same time a road leading from Bristol "to Joseph Chorley’s house, and thence to the river side," was ordered to be laid out. This road is the one which now leads from Tullytown to the late Bordentown ferry, the successor of the one kept by Chorley nearly two hundred years ago. It was on this road, or near it somewhere in "the point," that the first court-house probably stood.

When the site for the first court-house was selected the population of the county was found generally located along the Delaware, from the Poquessing to the falls. Subsequent settlements were made in the interior, and the old seat of justice gradually came to appear too far from the centre of population. On the 13th of March, 1700, the grand jury recommended the necessity of correcting this inequality, and estimated the middle of the county "to be the Neshaminah meeting-house," a locality now known as Langhorne. The subject thus broached became a question of large public interest, and the usual variety of considerations contributed to its final settlement. The offer of a building site in Bristol by Samuel Carpenter was at last accepted, and on March 11, 1705, the "court adjourned till the 13th day of June next, and to sit then at New Bristol, in and for the said county of Bucks." On the same day, however, in view of the prospective change, the court took a step which was anything but flattering to the reputation of the borough for sobriety and good order. The court had been accustomed to the rural quiet of "Crookhorn," and it doubtless viewed the removal to the busy precincts of the county metropolis with some disquieting forebodings. Accordingly, "it appearing to this court that there is necessity for a pair of stocks to be built in the town of Bristol to regulate disorders that may happen by drunkenness, etc., this court doth order Edward Mayos, William Croasdale, Lemuel Oldale to erect and build a pair of stocks and a whipping-post in the most convenient place in the said town of Bristol as they shall think fit, and to cause the same to be done with all convenient speed."

In 1705 the assembly authorized the sale of the old building and the erection of a new one on the site selected, but the matter seems to have been delayed until 1709 for reasons which an unfortunate hiatus in the records at this point leaves wholly unexplained. Whether the court secured temporary quarters in the borough during this interval or returned to the old court-house is also "lost among the rubbish of forgotten things." On March 8, 1709, however, "the grand jury presented the necessity of a tax of two pence per pound to be raised for building a court-house and prison, and maintaining the poor. The assessors not being legally returned and refusing to act with the justices in making assessments, therefore the justices adjourn time grand jury until the 21st instant to assist in making the assessment." On the latter day they met, made the assessment, and appointed a collector and treasurer. At the same time they appointed Thomas Stevenson, Edward Mayos, Thomas Watson, John Rowland, and Jeremiah Langhorne "to choose a person or persons to build the court-house and prison of what dimensions they shall think fit, John Rowland, the treasurer, to pay for the same out of the tax when collected."

No further particulars of the new building are to be gleaned from the records, but a description of it is obtained from an article published by the Hon. William Kinsey, who, in 1834, bought it and tore it down to make way for the structure which still stands upon the site of the court-house. It was a two-story brick, twenty-four by thirty-four feet, with a whipping-post attached. A beam was extended from the gable to be used as a gallows, in case an execution was to take place. The upper room was used for a court-room and the lower one as a prison. The building stood on Cedar street, on the lot now owned by William Booz, upon which his dwelling stands. The lot extended from Cedar to Radcliffe street.

When this building was completed is a matter of considerable doubt. Whether there was any determined opposition to the selection of the site is now unknown, but there appears to have been an unaccountable delay in accomplishing the erection of the new structure. All practical measures for building the court-house were delayed until 1709, and four years later it was still unfinished, or at least unpaid for. A kind of guarantee fund appears to have been subscribed by "certain of the inhabitants of this county," and on the 11th of March, 1713, the several assessments that had been laid for defraying the charge of the building, not amounting in the whole to a sufficient sum to answer the charges "already contracted," the court, therefore, urged that there was "an absolute necessity for collecting the said subscriptions to defray the aforesaid charges." It accordingly ordered that the treasurer, Thomas Stevenson, shall take such measures for the speedy collecting of the said subscription as may be most expedient for the benefit of time public."

It is questionable whether the selection of Bristol as the seat of justice was wise. The borough was certainly not destined to long retain the seat of local government, and when, in 1718, the assembly passed an act authorizing the erection of a new house of correction, the people who had gradually pushed the line of settlements to the upper limits of the present county boundaries began to protest against the expenditure of any more of the public money in a way that was likely to prevent an early removal of the seat of justice to a more central position. The house of correction was not erected, and the movement which begun in protest finally assumed the form of a demand for the removal of the county seat to Newtown. It was represented that a great number of the inhabitants of the county were settled many miles back of Bristol, which rendered their attendance upon time courts "inconvenient and burdensome to the people living so remote." It was represented also that the "township of Newtown was near the centre of the inhabited part of the said county, and if a court-house and prison were erected in the said township it would be very commodious and much for the ease of the inhabitants of the said county in general." These representations were brought to the attention of the general assembly, which passed, on the 24th of March, 1724, "An act to enable Jeremiah Langhorne, William Biles, Joseph Kirkbride, Jun., Thomas Watson, practitioner in physick, and Abraham Chapman to build a new court-house and prison in the county of Bucks." These persons, or any three of them, were authorized to purchase land and erect the buildings according to their own judgment, but at an expense not to exceed three hundred pounds. Accordingly, in July of the following year, five acres of land, in the township of Newtown, were purchased of John Walley.

This property had a frontage of forty perches on the east side of State street and twenty perches on the north side of Penn street. In 1733 this plat was divided into six equal squares, Court street dividing it lengthwise and Mercer and Sullivan streets transversely. The northwest corner square, lot No. 1, was the site of the public buildings. The portions of the original purchase not needed for the use of the county were sold at a yearly rental for the public use of the county, which in some cases has been paid until quite recent years. Neither the records nor tradition has preserved any particular account of these buildings. The court-house and prison were separate structures, made of brick, and fronted toward the south. The prison was soon found "too small for the purpose," and in 1745 a more commodious structure was erected for "the public use of the county."(12*) This stood near the rear of the D.B. Heilig residence, and had an ample yard extending to State street, inclosed by a stout stone wall. It was then proposed to use the old jail "as a workhouse and house of correction for the said county," but there were serious doubts whether there was any authority for diverting it to this purpose, and the assembly was asked to confer such power. This was done on March 1, 1746, and in the following December the court assigned the old prison to its new functions and appointed Benjamin Field, of Middletown, president, Samuel Carey, of Newtown, treasurer, and Timothy Smith, of Makefield, and Amos Strickland, of Newtown, assistants. In 1757 Joseph Justice was the keeper of the work-house, but "having informed the court that he intended leaving the township," Samuel Smith was appointed in his place. In 1776 the appointment of Solomon Parks and in 1810 that of Asa Carey are noted.

The stocks apparently constituted an indispensable part of the instruments of justice, and in 1742 Joseph Thornton erected "a pair" in Newtown for which he received thirty-three shillings and sixpence. In 1772 an isolated fire-proof vault with walls two feet thick, arched with brick, and superficial dimensions of twelve by sixteen feet was built near the court-house for the safe storage of the records. In 1776 it was employed as a magazine, but early in the following year it was restored to its original use. In the February session of 1796 " the grand inquest present that in their opinion the office for holding the records of the county ought to be enlarged, and submit the plan and extent thereof to the court and commissioners." The court concurred in the opinion of the jury and recommended to the commissioners the erection of a stone building on the south corner of the court-house lot. It was not to exceed forty feet in length and thirty-six in width, and to front to the south. It was to be divided into four rooms, "the two in front to have an entry between them and a cellar under them, and to be made convenient, the one for the accommodation of the prothonotary, clerk of the sessions, etc., and the other for the register and recorder, etc. The two back rooms to be vaulted for the safe-keeping of the public records belonging to each department." Henry Wynkoop and Francis Murray were appointed to attend the commissioners, to contract with the workmen, procure materials; and agree upon other particulars relating to the building. In August the court and commissioners met together to consider the plans of the new structure, when it was decided to proceed with the work as already begun. The building was made two stories high in front, thirty-two by forty-five feet in superficial dimensions, and the "entry" extended through the building.

In the meanwhile the increase of population was most marked in the northern portion of the county, the upper limit of which advanced with every new purchase from the Indians. In 1742 Smithfield township, with a population of five hundred, was formed; Milford, with a population of seven hundred, was formed in the same year; in the next year Upper Saucon was formed with a population of six hundred and fifty; in the same year Lower Saucon, with a population of seven hundred, and Macungie, with a population of six hundred and fifty, were formed; and in 1746 Bethlehem, with a population of six hundred; Allen, with a population of three hundred, in 1748, and Williams, with a population of two hundred, in 1750, were successively formed. Mount Bethel was also an organized township, dating from about this time, of which the particulars are not to be found in the records. The large population thus situated were obliged to make tedious journeys to Newtown to attend court and elections, and in 1751 these "inhabitants of the upper end of Bucks" sought relief in the erection of an independent county. Bucks extended to the treaty line established by the purchase of 1749, and when its present upper limit was fixed by the act of March 11, 1752, the new county of Northampton included time territory now constituting the counties of Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Monroe, most of Pike, and part of Schuylkill and Luzerne.

This division of the county for a time allayed the restlessness of the people in the upper end, but time county-seat was still below the geographical centre, and the growth of the upper settlements was gradually placing it in a similar relation to the population. In 1795 there was a movement to effect the removal of the seat of justice to a more central position, but it was evidently premature and was effectually defeated for the time by the erection of the stone office-building in the succeeding year. The necessity of erecting a new courthouse, however, had already begun to cast its shadow before. In 1779 "the court concurred with the grand jury in the necessity of repairing the county gaol, and accordingly recommended that, together with the court-house, to the commissioners for that purpose." What was the result of this recommendation is not known, but in 1798 the subject again presented itself, and the attention of the commissioners was called to sundry needed repairs about the building and jail-yard walls. Two years later the necessity of new buildings was suggested which at once developed the strength of the demand for removal which had been rapidly gaining force in the past five years. From this time until the matter was affirmatively settled, the question of the removal of the county-seat remained alive and vigorous issue. The erection of new buildings at Newtown was opposed as tending to "permanently fix the seat of justice at that place," and the place was objected to because it was "about thirteen miles from the centre of the county, and because the roads through the place are so unpopular as never to support a sufficient number of public houses to accommodate the many that will be obliged to attend court." A thorough canvass was instituted, petitions were drawn up and numerously signed, and the subject pressed upon the attention of the assembly by committees appointed.

In 1810 the cause of the removal triumphed, and on the 28th of February the assembly authorized three "discreet and disinterested persons" from the counties of Northampton, Chester, and Berks, respectively, "to fix on a proper and convenient site for a court-house, prison, and county offices, to be erected not more than three miles from Bradshaw’s corner, where the road leading from Wilkinson’s tavern to the Cross Keys intersected with the public road leading from Doylestown to Vanhorne’s tavern, admitted to be the centre of said county." On March 30th the governor appointed Nicholas Kern, of Northampton county; Edward Darlington, of Chester, and Gabriel Hiester, Jr., of Berks, as commissioners to select the site, and early in May they assembled at Newtown. Strong influences were brought to bear in favor of Houghville, now "the Turk," and Bradshaw’s corners, now "Pool’s," and tradition has it that the commissioners had drawn up their report in favor of the latter place, when prominent persons interested in the present site of Doylestown submitted new proposals in favor of that location. Nathaniel Shewell, who owned the wedge of land between Court and Main streets, offered to give the present court-house site of two acres and one hundred and twenty-one perches; the owner of the Clear spring offered unrestricted access to it for public use; and another worthy citizen offered a plat of ground near the present site of the Catholic place of worship for a "potter’s field." These offers won the commissioners, and on the 8th day of May they filed their report in favor of the present location.

On the 12th of May this site was conveyed to the county in the presence of the "three discreet persons" appointed by the governor, but there appears to have been an unaccountable delay in commencing the work of building. The rest of the year was allowed to pass apparently without effort in this direction. The first practical step is noted on the 13th of May, 1811, when "Levi Bond having been sent up to Wall’s landing to buy boards for the public buildings, returned and reported that he had engaged two rafts." These were purchased of James Wright for $684.70, and the county commissioners with commendable energy went the next day to superintend their removal to a place convenient for landing the lumber. On the 15th, "it being battalion day," only two hands could be obtained "to carry out boards," and the commissioners left their clerk to assist Mr. Bond in this work. On June 4th, John Dungan contracted to furnish stone at twenty cents, and James Wigton agreed to haul the same at fifty cents a perch. On the same day the commissioners were at Doylestown and "went through the neighborhood in search of stone," but no record is made of the result of this visit. In October they were again in search of stone for the prison, and visited Andrew Dunlap’s and Jonathan Fell’s, among other places, but could not agree on the price. On November 4th, however, they concluded a contract with Septimus Evans "for one hundred perch of stone to be quarried and perched on the bank at his quarry by his house, and if he can work his quarry to advantage, to deliver four hundred perch more on the same conditions, which is fifty-six cents per perch." They contracted also for the privilege of taking five hundred perches of loose stone from his "woodland," at twelve and a half cents per perch. Stone was procured of James Armstrong and James Dunlap, and bricks were brought from John Reasner’s in Nockamixon, and from Philadelphia. Beside Wright, Joseph Smith & Sons, Daniel Michener, Abraham Ward, J. & C. Ely and others furnished the lumber, and Keyser & Gorgas furnished the shingles. Lime was brought from Whitemarsh, and Joseph Derickson "furnished a block and tackle."

On August 1, 1811, Levi Bond and Enos Yardley agreed to do the carpenter work of the public buildings at eight shillings and fourpence per day; the county to furnish the whiskey at the several "raisings" of the said buildings. On the same day Timothy Price and William Hill were selected to do the mason work on "terms to be agreed upon when they come forward." Thomas Atkinson contracted for the iron-work, and Asa Baldwin for the tin-work. The plans for the prison were completed and given to Bond and Yardley on November 9th, and it appears probable that the work was begun on that structure first. The foundations of the court-house and offices were laid out on the 9th of April, 1812, on the 22d instant the corner stone was laid, "and the masons began the work." The bill authorizing the erection of the new public buildings required them to be completed within three years from the date of the act, and on August 7, 1812, the board, taking into consideration that the carpenter’s work on the public buildings could not be completed in due season unless more men were employed, increased the rate of wages to one dollar and a quarter per day, and ordered that twenty-five men be employed. In the following January the public buildings and property at Newtown were advertised for sale, and on the 25th of January, 1813, "the court-house, old office, jail-yard and jail, and public ground thereto appertaining was struck off to John Hulme at the sum of sixteen hundred and fifty dollars. The new office and lot of ground thereto appertaining were struck off to William Watts at the sum of nine hundred dollars."

On May 4, 1813, "the public offices being in readiness for the reception of the records and papers thereunto appertaining, and the prison for the reception of the prisoners, the board appointed Thursday, the 13th instant, to remove the said records, papers, prisoners, etc., from Newtown to their proper receptacles in Doylestown, and directed the clerk to write the sheriff requiring him to attend at Newtown at ten o’clock, the morning of the said day, to take charge of the prisoners and conduct them to the new jail in Doylestown aforesaid." Ten wagon loads of public property were brought to the new buildings, among which were the twelve stone steps of the old court-house. The first session of the court in its new quarters was held on the 31st day of May, 1813.(13*) The building was constructed of stone, rectangular in shape, two stories high, with a pyramidal roof surmounted by a lantern. Extending across the front, and projecting beyond the side walls of the main structure, was a one-story parallelogram, the middle of which formed a portico leading directly to the court-room entrance, and on either side to the offices. A small, isolated one-story structure, a few feet to the south of and aligned with the front of the court-house, furnished quarters for the Orphans’ Court. The jail stood northwardly of the court-house. It was a stone structure, consisting of a rectangular building, with the eves presented to Court street, and two square wings attached to either rear corner of the main building, thus forming three sides of the jail-yard which was completed by a stone wall in the rear. The wings were employed as prisons, and the main structure as the office and residence of the sheriff.(*14)

The removal of the county-seat had not been effected without the earnest opposition of the people in the lower end of the county, and they had too long held sway to acquiesce in this distasteful decision. The court had therefore scarcely become adjusted to its new surroundings when a spirited canvass was begun for a division of the county. John Hulme, the purchaser of time old public buildings, was a leader in this movement, and in January, 1814, carried to the legislature a petition for such division supported by more than fifteen hundred signatures. The upper end of the county was not slow in meeting this movement with similar tactics, and the project met a natural death in the hands of a legislative committee. In 1816 the subject was revived, numerous petitions and remonstrances were presented to the legislature, but the project had now a friend at court, and in the winter of 1817 Phineas Jenks, a representative of Bucks, presented a bill for the erection of the lower part of the county into a new one to be called Penn. The dividing line was to begin "at or between Upper Makefield and Centrebridge" and cross the county parallel with the northern boundary Newtown was to be the county-seat and the old public buildings to be made once more the seat of justice for the new county. The bill did not reach a vote, however. In 1821 the effort was renewed and was formulated in a bill that was brought before the senate in 1822 only to fail.

In 1825 the projectors of the division of the county made another effort of a very determined character. Dr. Phineas Jenks, William Swift, and Samuel Hulme were the leaders in the movement. The character of the project was unchanged. The new county was to be called Penn; it was to include Upper Makefield, Wrightstown, Northampton, Southampton, and all the districts south of these; Newtown was to be the county-seat, and the almshouse property was to remain the joint property of both counties. The main arguments upon which the advocates of division relied were that it was too inconvenient to go to Doylestown for the transaction of public business; that small counties were more apt to facilitate justice; that Bucks county was too long for its width; that the people employed along the river were unprovided with the means of travel to Doylestown, and that the two sections of the county had natural conflicting interests. On the other side it was maintained that Doylestown was near the centre of the county as any seat of justice in the state; that the upper end suffered more inconvenience in reaching the county seat; that the new county buildings were paid for, and it was inexpedient to make further unnecessary expense for that purpose. The best judgment was undoubtedly opposed to the division, and again the movement "lost the name of action." The subject was still kept alive, however, and came to the surface in 1827, in 1832, and in 1836, but each time with inconclusive results. In 1854 it was again revived with new leaders, new specifications, and renewed energy. The champion of division was the Honorable Caleb N. Taylor, with George Lear and General John Davis foremost in opposition. Public discussions were held, in which Messrs. Taylor and Lear presented the two sides of the question; the usual petitions and remonstrances were prepared and forwarded to the legislature; a bill to effect the division was introduced and passed by the house of representatives, but failed in the committee of the senate. In this bill the location of the county-seat was held in abeyance, and Byberry, Moreland, Dublin, Oxford, Bridesburg, and Whitehall, of Philadelphia, were joined with the part of Bucks which had figured in all the previous projects. Since then the probability that a division of the county will ever commend itself to the judgment of the people and legislature has steadily diminished. In 1872 Byberry and Moreland sought to escape the high rate of taxation by annexation to Bucks. In face of the city’s opposition this was a hopeless effort, and received encouragement in Bucks county only from those who hoped such an arrangement would prepare the way for the long-cherished design of dividing the county. But the recent erection of the fine public buildings at Doylestown has probably put an end to this agitation for years to come, if not forever.

The demand for the erection of a new court-house in the place of the venerable structure of 1812 took practical form when the grand juries of February and April sessions in 1877 presented the necessity of a new building. The court approved the finding of the juries and the commissioners set promptly at work to accomplish the task thus laid upon them. On May 15th, Messrs. Hutton & Orr, of Philadelphia, were selected as architects; the specifications were completed on June 18th, and on July 9th the contract was awarded to James B. Doyle, who agreed to complete the work within twelve months. Work was begun at six o’clock in the afternoon of July 19th, when Attorney-General Lear broke the sod for the foundation of the court-room, and on August 2d the masons laid the first stones of the foundation near the corner of the jail yard. On the same day the demolition of the old building was begun. The county offices and archives had been removed to the Lenape building; on July 16th a formal farewell had been paid to time old structure in a public meeting held in the court-room, and little remained save its bare walls. On August 18th the last remnant of the old court-house had been removed from its place, and on September 3d the work of replacing it by the new building was begun. The corner-stone was laid October 3, 1877, with interesting ceremonies in the presence of the members of the bar and of the local press, the workmen, and several hundred other citizens. Judge Henry P. Ross presided and began the ceremonies with a brief address, after which Rev. L.C. Sheip offered prayer. General W.W.H. Davis delivered the oration of the occasion, Judge Richard Watson formally laid the stone, and Rev. V.H. Berghaus pronounced the benediction. The work was now pushed with all possible vigor. On August 25th there were sixty men engaged on the work, a week later the number was increased to seventy, and in October the force numbered one hundred. On Christmas the work was abandoned for the winter, but was resumed early in the spring, and on August 12, 1878, the contractor delivered the completed building to the commissioners.(15*)

The furniture and fixtures were subsequently added, and on September 4th the office of the commissioners was moved into their new quarters. On September 9th at 10.30 a.m. the first session of court was opened in the new court-room, and in his charge to the grand jury, Judge Watson said: "In this meeting in our new court-house it is a matter of congratulation to you and to the people of the county that it has been built so well. Whether it is adapted in all respects to the business of the county is a matter that must be determined very much by experiment. We think great praise is due to those who have been engaged in its construction. We are satisfied that they have worked well and honestly, and are greatly deserving of the thanks of the people of the county. It will be within your province to inspect these buildings and any other building belonging to the county and make such comment upon them in your general report to us as you may think the subject deserves." In their report the jury indorsed the approval of the judge, but at the same term of court it was discovered that the acoustic properties of time court-room were of a poor order. The architect was consulted, and in a written opinion advised the laying of matting on the floor and placing cushions on the seats. This advice was not adopted, however, and the bewildering continued to confound the eloquence of the bar. Various expedients were subsequently tried in vain until 1884, when it was decided to cover the walls with cloth. Above the wainscotting a band of red, laid plain, is surmounted by a "dado" of blue, which is finished by a heavy frieze of red drapery in pleated folds. The stained-glass skylight is bordered by red, festooned curtains. The cloth is stretched on wooden supports about an inch from the wall, and, by providing a less resonant surface, almost entirely overcomes the acoustic annoyance.

The structure is built of stone, principally from the Lumberton quarries, and consists of two parts, virtually distinct and separate. The principal entrance to both is from Court street. Here a square building, the front line of which marks that of its predecessor, contains the county offices. In the rear of this and connected with it is a large twelve-sided structure, three hundred feet in circumference, which is devoted to the uses of the court and bar. A flight of eight or ten steps leads to the entrance over which are the arms of the state carved in bold relief on a huge block of Newtown stone. This entrance leads to a vestibule above which a tower rises to the height of one hundred and twenty-seven feet, and bears aloft the town clock, the joint contribution of time citizens and county. On either side of the vestibule are the offices of the sheriff and the clerk of the quarter-sessions court, and above them on tile second floor are the offices of tile treasurer and superintendent of public schools. The vestibule itself challenges attention by its attractive floor of tiles and the historical legend(16*) cut in the stone above tile doorway leading to the main part of the building. Within, a spacious passageway, open to the ceiling of the second story and floored with encaustic tiles laid in a somewhat elaborate pattern, gives access to the four offices below, and to the entrance of the courtroom. On the left are the offices of prothonotary and recorder, and above them, on the second floor, are two rooms occupied by the commissioners. On the right are the offices of the clerk of the orphans’ court, and the register, and above them on the second floor are the arbitration room and the Historical Society’s room. The upper offices are reached by an iron stairway and a gallery which leads to the various rooms. An alcove in the second story over the vestibule admits to the offices that here flank the tower and to a spiral iron stairway that permits the visitor to ascend to the clock room. A short passageway connects the two parts of the building and ushers the visitor into a large amphitheatre, the farther side of which is cut off by the "bench" and the partition walls that reserve the rear of the building for retiring rooms for the judge and lawyers, waiting rooms for witnesses, the law library, several jury rooms, and a hallway that leads to a rear entrance. The appointments of the court-room and offices are characterized by good taste and durability, while the stained-glass windows of the upper corridor, and of the court-room add a touch of elegance that is striking without being extravagant. Beneath the building is a capacious cellar with ample room for the storage of fuel and musty archives, beside a steam apparatus that supplies the means of heating the whole building.

The demand for a new jail at this time was scarcely less urgent than the one for a new court-house. The equipment was behind the necessity of the times, and it had fallen into a state of "general debility" that demanded constant repairs to delay the day of final dissolution. In 1877 a fire did considerable damage, as if to emphasize the contrast with the new court-house in course of construction, but the usual patching of old garments with new cloth prolonged its term of service. This state of things began at last to find reflection in the reports of the grand juries, and a round of changes was rung upon time phrase, "everything found in as good order as the old fabric will admit of." At the February session of 1882 the grand jury made a new departure, and declared themselves "unanimously of the opinion that the present building used for the purposes of a jail, is entirely unfit for the purposes for which it is used, and earnestly recommended the construction of a new building." The question of providing a new jail was brought before the succeeding grand jury in May. The gentlemen of the State Board of Public Charities enlarged upon the general subject, and after inquiring into the matter "with considerable care," the jury recommended "the erection of a new jail after the present indebted-ness of the county is paid off, at the present rate of taxation." The last instalment of the debt was not due until October, 1883, but the rate of taxation had accumulated a sufficient surplus above the regular demands of the county to suggest the erection of a bridge at Bridgewater at an expense of $35,000, and it was urged that the limitation of the jury was not obligatory upon the commissioners. They took an opposite view of the matter, however, and the new jail was therefore delayed for nearly two years.

On the 21st of January, 1884, the Board of Public Charities and commissioners examined the different sites suggested for its location. Only two of these claimed serious attention, the one at the corner of Church and Court streets and the site selected, and the latter was chosen because the situation, while every other way equal to the other, being on lower ground, gave opportunity for a better water supply. On February 1st, the selection was approved by the state board, and on the 5th the commissioners entered into contract with G.T. Harvey for the tract of four acres. Hutton and Ord were engaged as architects, and the contract for the construction of wall and buildings awarded on April 10 to Henry D. Livezey at seventy-two thousand dollars. On Saturday, January 3, 1885, a final settlement was made with the contractor, who with the architect "handed the prison over to the commissioners, after which the commissioners delivered the keys of the new prison to Sheriff Allen H. Heist personally." The prison is a T-shaped building, one story high, and built of stone quarried a short distance back of the jail-yard. In planning its construction the comfort and health of the prisoners was considered not less than their security, and the best possible means of providing proper ventilation and sanitary arrangements were employed. The demands of such a structure are strength to resist the escape of the inmates, durability, and a neat and workmanlike appearance. In all these respects the prison has proven satisfactory and equal to any of its character in the state. There is much less than the ordinary amount of metal used in its construction, and strength and durability are both obtained by the massive character of all its details. The outside walls are two feet nine inches thick, between the cells two and a half feet, and along the corridors two feet thick. The main entrance, fronting toward the west, is in the middle of the horizontal bar of the letter which characterizes the ground-plan of the building. From this a corridor, ten feet wide and one hundred and seventy-five feet in length, leads through the rear extension to the back entrance. A corridor of the same dimensions traverses the other arm of the building, and crosses the first at right angles. At the point of intersection a space some twenty-three by thirty-four feet, lighted through a vaulted dome about twenty-eight feet high, is known as the "guard-room," and commands a view of the whole extent of both corridors. On either side of these are arranged the fifty-two cells, vaulted apartments eight by eighteen feet on the floor and twelve feet high. A slot in the crown of the arch, four inches wide and three feet long, admits light from a sky-light above, which may be adjusted by a lever below to admit as much ventilation as desired. On either side of the main entrance is a room, lighted by ordinary windows in the front, for the accommodation of the guards. Opposite these are two larger cells, the one fitted for a bathroom, and the other intended for the purposes of a hospital, but used as a storeroom. At the southern end of the main part of the prison is an L-shaped building containing a laundry, twenty-one by twenty-five feet, an ironing room sixteen by twenty-five feet, and a kitchen of the same size. A cellar under this building furnishes storage for food supplies and fuel, and two low-pressure sectional boilers, by which the steam is supplied for heating the entire prison. The sewer, water, and gas mains are placed in vaults under the corridors, easy of access for repairs, and safe from the effects of frost. The whole ground is inclosed by a stout stone wall, four feet thick at the bottom and diminishing to two feet at tile top, and an average of twenty-four feet high. In the central front of this wall is the sheriff’s residence, a structure about thirty-six by fifty-four feet, through which passes a wide drive-way guarded by massive oak doors. The whole cost of the prison was $83,274, and in 1885 a stone stable was erected outside the inclosure at a cost of seventeen hundred dollars.

While Bucks county has been thus liberal in its expenditure for the proper comfort as well as the restraint of its vicious classes, it has not been unmindful of the indigent portion of its people. During the first century and a quarter of its existence as a political organization, the maintenance of this class of the community was not a matter of county concern; and only to a limited extent of any public care and charge. The utmost care was exercised by Penn to guard against the emigration of heedless and unequipped adventurers, but the improvident are not found alone in these classes, and poverty was a misfortune early known in the province. In a new country where the greater part of the settler’s capital is invested in land, it requires the constant labor of the investor to make it remunerative, and the early death of the father often suddenly reduced the family from the rude comforts of frontier life to dire privation. In fact, it is but a step between comfort and privation in the large majority of cases in a pioneer community, and sickness or accident too often broke the courage of the farmer and transferred him to the helpless class. The creed of the Friends, however, was well adapted to meet such cases, and the society with judicious oversight and care prevented the destruction of many who were cast down. A similar care for communicants was exercised to a considerable extent by the churches that were subsequently transplanted here, but misfortune and improvidence recognize no church lines, and the dissolute and criminal classes, recruited from neighboring settlements as well as the home community, soon demanded attention from the general public.

The earliest mention of the indigent class in Bucks county is found under date of December 11, 1695, when the executor of Francis Rossill’s estate announced to the court that he was prepared to pay, as it should direct, certain sums of money left by the decedent for the benefit of the poor. The court at once recommended two persons to receive fifty shillings each, and from time to time persons were appointed to "inspect" the necessities of different applicants, and "allow what is fit for present supply," probably from this bequest. In 1682 the assembly provided "that if any person or persons shall fall into decay and poverty, and not be able to maintain themselves and children, with their honest endeavors, or shall die and leave poor orphans, that upon complaint to the next justices of the peace of the same county, the said justices, finding the complaint to be true, shall make provision for them, in such way as they shall see convenient, till the next county court, and that then care be taken for their future comfortable subsistence." This appears to have been the method by which the public care was bestowed upon indigent persons until 1718, when an act was passed "to relieve the poor." Under this "overseers of the poor" were appointed in this county, though they appear seldom in the records, and then only in some attempt to avoid the care of those whom they seek to impose on other districts. The one thing that appears to be made plain is that there was no dearth of these objects of public care. In 1752 the inhabitants of Newtown complain to the court that "for several years they have been much burdened with poor, which burden is likely to increase, and pray assistance may be granted them by the neighboring townships of Northampton and Wrightstown." The court held the matter under advisement and finally ordered "notice to be given to the overseers of the poor" in the townships mentioned, but to what effect or with what result cannot be determined, as there is no further record of the matter.

On March 9, 1771, the justices of the peace of the several counties, or any three of them, were authorized by an act of the assembly to meet on the 25th of March of each year and appoint two persons for each borough and township for one year. These persons were empowered to levy assessments when necessary, build and maintain houses of lodging and employment, apprentice poor children, etc. The act was to expire by limitation in five years, but on April 6, 1776, it was made perpetual. This last act, however, was passed under provincial authority, and on March 24, 1778, it was thought necessary to re-enact it to make it binding upon the people. To what extent the provisions of this law were appropriated in Bucks county cannot now be discovered, but as late as 1806 Amos Gregg, one of the guardians of the poor, made public announcement that he had organized a house of employment for the poor of his district, and invited the officers of other districts to avail themselves of his establishment. But thoughtful people had long before this decided that some better method must be devised to meet the changing condition of things and the increasing ratio of pauperism. The discussion of this question and its solution occurred at the same time in several of the southern counties of the state, and in the constitutional convention of 1790 was a much debated issue. The idea of concentrating the efforts of a county for the support of its poor was new to the mass of the people, and the more conservative element strongly combated the proposed change. The numbers of those who favored the new plan increased slowly, but their persistence and energy won others, and after an agitation of twenty years they constituted a majority.

In the legislature of 1806—7 Bucks county was represented by friends of the measure, and on April 10, 1807, an act was passed authorizing the erection of a county almshouse. The commissioners of Bucks, with the consent of the court of quarter sessions and the grand jury, were empowered to act. After determining upon the erection of an almshouse, they were directed to authorize an election of seven citizens, to fix upon a site for the purpose, and also an election of three persons to be directors of the poor, who should divide themselves into three classes with reference to their term of office. They were to appoint a treasurer, employ and dismiss at pleasure a steward, matron, physician, surgeon, and any other necessary attendants; to indenture apprentices till the time at which they should become of age, and exercise all such powers as had previously been vested in the overseers of the poor. Hilltown, New Britain, Plumstead, and all townships below, were named in the bill; the others were exempted from its provisions, but authorized to share in them by paying their share of the cost of the house and farm. The matter passed the several stages prescribed, and in October, 1807, the election was held, resulting in the choice of Thomas Long, William Buckman, David Spinner, William Watts, Thomas Stewart, Joseph Clunn, and Samuel Gillingham to fix upon a site, and James Chapman, John McMasters, and Ralph Stover as directors. The election was closely contested by a strong element opposed to the measure in itself and to its ultimate bearing upon the change of the county-seat, and after the election every possible effort was made to prevent the purchase of a site. After a delay of fourteen months, however, the commissioners for the location made choice of the Gilbert Rodman tract of three hundred and sixty acres, situated in Warwick, on the Easton road and the Neshaminy creek, which was purchased at twenty pounds per acre. The selection and purchase were severely criticized, and public meetings were called to support or condemn it, but the court’s approval of the purchase ended the contest, though the animosities engendered lived long afterward.

Measures for the erection of the building were at once taken. The counties of Lancaster, Chester, and Delaware had erected similar institutions, and McMasters and Chapman were dispatched to these counties to glean such information as would be useful in the construction of the proposed building. They made a report on January 15, 1808, and on the following day the proposals of mechanics were received. From the 25th to the 31st instant the board was in continuous session engaged in preparing estimates and plans, and the contract was finally awarded to Timothy Smith. Chapman and Smith then visited Delaware county to examine the almshouse there and secure plans. The stone was quarried upon the farm, and the men were stimulated to their best endeavor by a half-barrel of whiskey placed at their disposal by the directors. On the 21st of June the directors went to New hope and purchased lumber of Hugh Smith. Shingles were bought of Henry Bell, of Philadelphia, and lime of Tyson Hill, and Samuel Gilbert. Building operations began on the 4th of May, 1809, when the corner-stone was laid. The character of the ceremonies is not known, but they doubtless were of a hilarious order, as the directors and two other equally benevolent gentlemen furnished the liquor at their private expense. In fact, whiskey entered very largely into the expense of construction, eight hundred and twenty-two gallons of it being consumed by the workmen in the course of the building’s erection. About one-fourth of this amount is itemized as whiskey, at a cost of $94.77 1/2, the rest being conveniently included in the general item of "diet." The aggregate cost of the building was $19,030.47 1/2, to which the sum of $19,280 paid for the farm should be added, bringing the total to $38,310.47 1/2. It was occupied on March 20, 1810, twenty-four townships contributing one hundred and thirty-nine inmates. The rest of the townships subsequently availed themselves of the privileges of the act, and all now approve the wisdom of a measure many once opposed. The almshouse is a stone structure with two stories and an attic, and stands upon an eminence which overlooks a wide scope of surrounding country, insuring good air and the best facilities for drainage. The experience of some three-quarters of a century has confirmed the claims originally made in defense of the selection, save in the matter of the water supply. A hydraulic ram was at first constructed to convey water from the small tributary of the Neshaminy to the buildings. This was found inadequate, and a number of wells were dug. In 1875 a severe drouth affected the water supply of the whole county, and a steam pump and a reservoir, with a capacity of twenty-seven hundred barrels, were constructed by the steward, at a cost of four or five thousand dollars. In 1881 an artesian well was sunk, and the stream abandoned as a source of supply for the buildings. The well has proven practically successful, and the water is forced from thence by a steam pump to all parts of the buildings.

The sick and insane here have always been cared for in a separate building provided for them. The old Rodman farm-house was converted into a hospital, with a stone building furnished with cells for the worst cases of insanity. Many of these, however, were subsequently transferred to the state institutions. A new stone hospital, in many respects patterned after a similar institution in Lancaster county, was erected in 1868—9. It is a massive stone structure, forty-five by one hundred and twenty feet in superficial dimensions, four stories high, and contains sixty rooms. It is provided with solid brick partition walls throughout; with water and heating appliances, offices, kitchens, etc., of the most approved kind. The entire cost is estimated at S144,001.70. In 1849 the cholera reached Bucks county, and in July made its appearance at the alms-house with unusual virulence. In less than a week eighteen cases had proven fatal, and a dozen inmates were complaining with premonitory symptoms of the dread disease. Naturally it was difficult to find any brave enough to face this danger, and render such help as was needed. Before the close of the second week eighty of the one hundred and fifty-four occupants had perished. Medical aid was then secured, and several gentlemen of the vicinity volunteered their services. William Edwards, the steward, and his wife, both died in the discharge of their duties, and the senior physician, Dr. O.P. James, declared that nothing but the imperious demands of duty sustained him in the terrible experiences of that time. But one of the directors, William B. Warford, ventured to visit the plague-stricken spot, and when he arrived more than forty were dead or dying. The fear of contagion for a time stifled every humane sentiment, and the unburied bodies were necessarily permitted for too long a time to add their poisonous contribution to the already heavily freighted air. No great degree of censure is due for this state of things. In the presence of such danger the simple performance of duty rises to the height of heroism, and all cannot act the heroic part.

The general administration of this institution has been creditable throughout its history. In 1819, when the ill-feeling engendered by the erection of the almshouse, and the removal of the county-seat was still active, a widespread disposition to criticize the management of the public charity was developed. On May 22d a meeting was held in the court house to discuss the matter. The meeting was practically unanimous in its condemnation of the administration, and a committee was appointed to examine the condition and the methods employed in conducting the institution. The result of the committee’s exploration was rather inconclusive; in their report they criticized the methods employed, but brought no charge of culpable neglect or incompetency. In 1877 a commission was appointed to inquire into the condition and conduct of the institution. They reported much to the credit of the management, so far as the conduct of the steward and his assistants were concerned, but seriously reflected upon the financial policy of the directors. Many practices that had come into use were condemned as irregular and extravagant, and calling for immediate reform. The effect of this examination and report was to bring about a radical change in this respect, and it is believed that the institution is now conducted as efficiently as any similar one in the state. In the support of this charity the county has expended fully a million dollars during the three-quarters of a century that it has existed. Its present available assets may be estimated at two hundred thousand dollars, and the balance of this large expenditure must be accredited to the noble satisfaction of having established and generously dispensed a great public charity.

 

* Proud and other early historians have stated that this ship sailed in the same autumn with the other vessels mentioned, but was blown off the coast to the West Indies by adverse winds, a mishap which delayed its arrival until the following spring. Many later writers have accepted this statement, but Mr. Hazard, in his "Annals of Pennsylvania," pp. 557—8, clearly shows this to be an error.

** Of these Penn wrote: "None miscarried; only two or three had the smallpox; else healthy and swift passages, generally such as have not been known; some but twenty-eight days, and few longer than six weeks."

*** Of these families and others who came as late as 1687, further particulars may be gathered from Pemberton’s "Book of Arrivals," to be found in the Appendix to this volume.

(4*) The sheriffs were appointed at the time the counties were formed. Pemberton’s commission as clerk "to be in force as long as thou shalt well behave thyself therein," was dated 21st, fifth month, 1683.

(5*) The names of this somewhat famous jury were Joseph Milner, Anthony Burton, Henry Marjerum, Edmund Lovett, Edward Lucas, Walter Pomphrey, William Darke, John Shaw, John Stackhouse, Jacob Janney, Thomas Janney, and James Moon.

(6*) The provincial council appears to have been present at this session of the Court, or very near at the house of Phineas Pemberton, and adopting the suggestion of the grand jury, "ordered that a road be laid out from the passage over Portquessing creek to Neshamine creek, att Joseph Growden’s landing, in the land hee Latelie bought of Thomas ffairman, & from thence to Buckingham, and thence to Joseph Chorley’s house, and thence to the river side; and that a ferrie be settled att the aforesaid place att Neshaininee, and another over delaware, agt the house of or lane of the sd Joseph Chorley, where the road shall be laid outt."

At the same time the council granted a license to Chorley to keep ferry on the Delaware and to John Baldwin to keep ferry on the Neshaminy, and ordered that the counties of Philadelphia and Bucks should forthwith erect a bridge over the Poquessing "att their equall charge."

(7*) This district was subsequently divided into two parts, the one to extend "from lower end of Robert Hall’s plantation to Newtown;" the other "from thence to the uppermost lands taken up."

(8*) Doylestown township, formed from three others, alone affords an exception in Bucks County.

(9*) The method employed in indicating the date is peculiar and demands great care in the uninstructed student to avoid misinterpretation. From the fourteenth to the middle of the eighteenth century the legal and ecclesiastical year began with time 25th of March, though it was not uncommon to reckon it from the 1st of January. The Society of Friends introduced another arbitrary distinction, and in the first assembly of the province passed a law "that ye days of ye week & ye months of ye year, Shall be called as in Scripture, & not by Heathen names (as are vulgarly used,) as ye first, Second & Third dais of ye week, and first, Second & Third months of ye year, beginning with ye day called Sunday, & ye month called March." Double dating was resorted to for the period between the 1st of January and the 25th of March in each year, as January 8, 1702/3, thus indicating both the historical and legal year. In 1752 the change from the "old style" to the "new style" was effected in England and her colonies. Eleven nominal days were omitted from the calendar and the day next succeeding the second of September was reckoned as the fourteenth instead of the third, and time legal year was begun on time first of January. In determining the present anniversary of an event which happened before 1700, therefore, it is necessary to add ten days to the nominal day of the month on which it occurred. From 1700 to 1752 eleven days must be added. The change in Pennsylvania was enjoined by the act of March 11, 1752, and the Friends acquiescing in the demands of the law thenceforth called January the first month.

(10*) An interesting newspaper scrap gives an idea of the accumulation of papers in the county offices. In 1853 the prothonotary of that time rearranged the papers on file in his office, and found the accumulation of term papers from 1743 to December, 1854, numbered 33,700; judgment notes, bonds, and amicable revivals of judgment from 1805 numbered 22,018; from 1711 there were 17,400 declarations; from 1789 there were 13,750 praecipes; from 1718 there were 12,240 original writs; and from 1746 there were 9878 executions.

(11*) Conway was evidently a bad character who had in some way invaded this peaceful community. In 1689 he was again before the court, when it was "adjudged that Philip Conway for the lye he told in Jon Swift’s case, whereof he was convicted, by his own confession, before this court, that he shall pay 2s. 6d." His course was still downward, and in the following year, "for stealing a mare belonging to Governor Penn," he was sentenced to make threefold restitution, to be whipped on the bare back with thirty-nine stripes, anti to be banished out of the government, not to return under penalty of one hundred pounds.

(12*) There has been a generally accepted tradition that the Newtown jail was destroyed by fire; which building is thus referred to cannot be determined, nor is there anything upon the books of record to clear up this point. Among the loose papers of the office of the clerk of quarter sessions, however, has been discovered the following undated presentment of the grand jury: "The grand inquest for ye county of Bucks present that John Webber of ye said county, laborer, being a prisoner in ye prison house at Newtown, willfully set fire to ye said house, whereby the same was consumed to ashes." Witnesses, James Yates, Nathaniel Twining, and John Carter.

(13*) See proclamation of Judge Bird Wilson, dated at Newtown, May 28, 1813.

(14*) The total cost of time public buildings was $38,057.03 1/2, and was paid in full before January 1, 1814.

(15*) A more accurate statement of the fact would be that he asked the commissioners to "take the new court-house off his hands." This they refused to do, though no reason is assigned for their action, and no formal acceptance of the building is anywhere else~ recorded. At this time the commissioners paid the balance due on his contract, and subsequently paid all his claims without demur. It is difficult to closely estimate the cost of the building and surroundings, but including the cost of moving, rent of offices in Lenape building, etc., the sum paid was $99,160.44.

(16*) Thee inscription is as follows:—

BUCKS COUNTY WAS ORGANIZED IN 1683.

COURT-HOUSES WERE BUILT AS FOLLOWS.

IN FALLS TOWNSHIP 1684.
IN BRISTOL 1705
IN NEW TOWN 1725
IN DOYLESTOWN 1812 and 1877

 

Over the entrance to the court-room the following may ne seen:
Samuel Keller:

Hutton & Ord,
Andw. J. Solomon:

County

Architects.

Edmund Goddard:

James B. Doyle,

Commissioners.

Buildings.

Builder.

William Closson

H.D. Livezey and

Clerk.

1877.

Francis Adelman

Superintendents.

Lewis Essick, Stone Mason.

 
     
     
     
     
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