THE TOWNSHIP AND
BOROUGH OF BRISTOL.
THE lands between the manor of Pennsbury and Neshaminy creek,
comprehended in Bristol township at the time when it was erected
in 1692, were originally seated by twenty individuals, viz.,
William Clark, Richard Noble, Jacob Pelisson, Samuel Allen,
James Boyden, John Swart, John Spencer, Thomas Holme, Edmund
Bennet, Griffith Jones, Francis Richardson, Christopher Taylor,
William Haige, Thomas Bowman, Thomas Rudyard, William Dungan,
Mordecai Bowden, Clement Dungan, Thomas Dungan, and Richard
Lundy. Clark received his grant from Governor Andros in 1679. It
was located at the mouth of Neshaminy creek, and comprised three
hundred and nine acres. He died in 1683, when his widow, Ann
Clark, succeeded to this property. Richard Noble, who was
appointed first sheriff of Bucks county in 1682, owned an
extensive tract adjoining Clark’s on the Delaware. He landed at
Salem, New Jersey, May 13, 1675, and settled west of the
Delaware within a few years afterward. He was a surveyor, and
held office under the Duke of York. Samuel Allen resided near
the Neshaminy about a mile from its mouth. The marriage of his
daughter Martha to Daniel Pegg occurred here on the 22d day of
the second month, 1686; this is one of the first ceremonies of
this character known to have occurred in the township. Pegg’s
run and a street in Philadelphia derive their names from one of
the parties most interested in this occasion.
James Boyden lived on the Neshaminy near Allen. He was (in
1682) one of the first representatives in the assembly from
Bucks county. It is said that this was one of the old Swedish
families who settled on the Delaware years before the inception
of Penn’s colonization scheme. The following incident is related
of a young girl whom the Boydens adopted and reared, and may
serve to illustrate certain phases of life at this period: "It
was her business to tend the cattle out of the swamps. One rainy
time she was lost, and wandered in the wet three days and nights
until too weak to go farther, when she lay down and cried. An
Indian heard her, and carried her home. She always retained a
peculiar friendship and esteem for the natives, having learned
their language in her infancy."
Captain Thomas Holme, a member of the Society of Friends, was
commissioned surveyor-general the 18th day of the 2d month,
1682, in which capacity he prepared and published a map of the
seated lands of the province. He owned all the land in the
vicinity of Newportville, and eastward along the Middletown
line, a distance of several miles. The township line roads were
laid out by him prior to 1695, in which year he died. The tracts
of Spencer and Swart extended eastward from the Neshaminy,
between those of Holme and Boyden. John Otter’s lands adjoined
the creek that bears his name. Christopher Taylor, an educated
gentleman, and a convert to Quakerism in 1652, emigrated to
Pennsylvania in 1682 from Yorkshire, England. He was a member of
the first assembly. His son Israel was granted two hundred and
fifty acres in right of his father in 1692. The latter died in
1696. Edmund Bennett was an early and also an extensive
land-owner, but lived in Northampton. Richard Lundy, who married
Elizabeth Bennet, came to the Delaware from Boston the 19th day
of the 3d month, 1682, but settled in Falls, although he owned
land in Bristol. William Haige’s five hundred acres adjoined the
lands of Taylor. The Dungans— Thomas, Clement, and William— were
from Rhode Island. The first grant was made to William on the
4th day of the 6th month, 1682. His father, the Reverend Thomas,
and brother, Clement, followed him from Rhode Island with other
Welsh families. It is probable that the Dungans left Bristol,
and removed to Northampton before the close of the century. All
of these tracts were rectangular in shape, and extended inland
from the river nearly the entire breadth of the township. With
many of the first owners, purchases were not made with
settlement in view, and as a transfer did not involve the
sacrifice of a prospective home, a number of tracts passed into
other hands within a few years. The lands of Otter, Bennet, and
Jones were sold to Samuel Carpenter in 1683, and he thus became
the largest landed proprietor at that time. Carpenter was a
Philadelphia merchant and ship-owner, and amassed considerable
wealth in the Barbadoes trade. He was the richest man in the
province in 1700. He was a member of the council and assembly,
treasurer of the province, and otherwise prominent in colonial
affairs. He made his residence at Bristol during the last years
of his life, and died in 1714. In these brief statements
regarding the people who first made this township their home is
comprehended their recorded history; and however interesting an
extended account of their experiences as pioneers might be to
the reader, the long vista of intervening years since their
active existence effectually precludes the recovery of such
details as form the essential features of a connected narrative.
The influx of population into this locality must have been
considerable; which is sufficiently indicated by the fact that a
market town was considered necessary for the comfort and
convenience of the community not many years after its first
settlement. The selection of sites for towns was among the
earliest projects of the colonists along the Delaware; and the
elevated flat on the right bank of the river at the mouth of
Mill creek presented peculiar advantages, which did not escape
the notice of the more enterprising and farseeing men of the
county. At this time there were but two towns in the province,
Philadelphia and Chester. The propriety and feasibility of a
third being laid out were considerations of greater importance
than would enter into the calculations of the founder of a
prospective town at the present time. The project was brought to
the notice of prominent men in the colony, and being received
with favor, a petition was presented to the provincial council
at a meeting of that body June 10, 1695, at the house of Phineas
Pemberton in Falls, Governor Markham, Samuel Carpenter, Joseph
Growdon, Caleb Pussey, and Phineas Pemberton being present. It
was shown that the county had as yet no market town; that for
this purpose the ferry opposite Burlington was regarded as a
good location; that ways and streets had been projected there,
"having regard to the division of divers men’s lands," and
therefore requesting the governor and council, if the proposed
location should be approved, to alter or confirm the streets;
grant a weekly market; the liberty of wharfing and building to a
convenient distance into the river and creek; that every street
terminating at the banks should be a public landing; that the
buildings on the bank might be so regulated as to leave
sufficient space for a street at the water’s edge; that the
major part of the inhabitants might have power to appoint two or
more of their number to see that these regulations were
observed; and also that a proper officer be appointed to seal
liquid and dry measures. The authorities thus consulted were
pleased to regard this as "verie reasonable," and graciously
consented to the proposed action on the part of the "inhabitants
and owners of land in the county of Bucks, but more especially
in the township of Bucks." Phineas Pemberton was directed to
prepare a draft of the town, and John White appointed "sealer"
agreeably to the terms of the petition. The survey was probably
made the same year (1797); and with this date the chronological
record of the oldest town in Bucks county may be said to begin.
In the two centuries less one decade that have elapsed since
that time, many things have occurred which may interest the
present generation in their recital, and are well worthy of
preservation for their intrinsic value.
The importance of the place in the first quarter of the last
century was derived in great measure from the location here of
the seat of justice for the county. Court was held here from
1705 to 1725. The first court-house, a two-story brick building
with whipping-post attached, was built in 1705. The upper floor
was used as a court-room, the lower one as a prison. This
building was situated on Cedar street, and the lot extended to
Radcliffe. Upon the removal of the county seat to Newtown in
1725, John De Normandie purchased the property; it was
transferred by him to the borough in 1772. The second floor was
adapted for use as a council chamber, and the lower room used as
a school-room and for the holding of elections. The burgess and
council sold the property to William Kinsey in 1834, when it was
The fairs and markets contributed not a little to the early
importance of Bristol. Two fairs yearly were authorized by the
charter, the first to be held on the 8th and 9th days of May,
the other from the 29th to the 31st day of October, and their
management was intrusted to the burgesses. The first mention of
fairs in the borough records occurs in 1742, when Market street
was decided upon as the place for the fair to be held. The
rental of booths was regulated in 1747. Cattle were first
exposed for sale in 1759, when they were advertised at the
expense of the council. This made the fairs a greater centre of
attraction than ever before. As early as 1773, there appears to
have been considerable dissatisfaction among the inhabitants,
and the council passed a resolution requesting the assembly to
annul that clause in the charter in virtue of which fairs were
held. They were continued twenty years longer, however, but in
1796, by act of the legislature, were discontinued. The building
of a market-house was agitated as early as 1753, when William
Buckley and John Abram DeNormandie were appointed to secure
subscriptions for that purpose. At a meeting of council,
December 8, 1759, the question of a location was submitted, but
no decision was made, and Councilman Alexander Graydon, who was
absent, was asked to decide the matter. It does not appear
whether he did so or not, but in 1760 the council selected for a
site the middle of Mill street at the intersection of Cedar. It
was finally built in 1768, but blown down in the winter of
1773—74. John and Charles Bessonett superintended its
re-erection on the same site. In the autumn of 1790, ‘William
McIlvaine, John Hutchinson, Archibald NcElroy, Phineas Buckley,
and Pierson Mitchell, a committee appointed to select a better
location, reported in favor of the square at the crossing of
Market and Cedar streets, whither the market-house was forthwith
removed. It is probable that nearly all the buying and selling
of staple goods in the county were done through the medium of
the market and fairs for some years, until the growth of stores
and shops at other points eventually deprived them of their
The "ferry against Burlington" was regarded as of sufficient
importance to influence the location of the town. The river was
at that time and for many years afterward of much greater
advantage to the towns along its banks than at present. It was
in 1697 the only means of communication with the outside world.
This ferry was established by Samuel Clift; and upon his death
in April, 1684, his executor, William Biles, leased the
ferry-house for two years to Michael Hurst. The ferry was
recognized by the provincial council in 1709, upon petition of
John Sotcher, who owned the landing on the Pennsylvania side.
The assembly of New Jersey passed a similar act in 1714. The
first mention concerning it in the town records occurs in the
minutes of a meeting held May 28, 1750, when a complaint was
made that the public suffered "great inconvenience, and that
therefore some measure for regulating the said ferry and
preventing those inconveniences is of absolute necessity." It
appeared that the sense of the meeting "without a dissenting
voice" was that the ferry was the undoubted right of the
corporation, which should therefore receive possession from the
tenant. The records further state: "Patrick O’Hanlan being
called in and required to hold the same as a tenant under this
corporation has consented thereto and has agreed with this
present town’s meeting for the use thereof for one year
commencing the first day of April past at the rent of twelve
pounds per annum." It would seem from subsequent developments
that this arrangement was not advantageous to Mr. O’Hanlan. It
appears that in September, 1753, he was in debt for the rent of
nearly two years. Ennion Williams, the borough treasurer, was
directed to call upon him and compel payment, if necessary.
O’Hanlan appeared before the counsel in person, and stated that
his profits did not amount to six pounds in the past year. He
was allowed an abatement; and that the business might be made
more remunerative, the following schedule of rates was adopted:
"Single foot passengers, six pence, two persons at the same
time, four pence, and three or more, three pence each; a single
horse and rider, one shilling, and any greater number, nine
pence; a single ox, one shilling three pence, and any greater
number, one shilling; sheep, two pence each, hogs (alive), six
pence; dead, three pence; four wheeled carriages, with two
horses and one person, five shillings; two wheeled carriages
with a single horse and one person, two shillings and six
pence;" and in every case the rates were increased one-half
after ten o’clock at night. This code of regulations remained in
force under successive lessees for many years.
The Bath springs, which were known to exist as early as 1700,
gave Bristol a wide celebrity and made it the most fashionable
watering-place in this country. The local prominence it had for
a short time maintained in legal circles was thus relinquished
in favor of a central position among the pleasure resorts of
cultured and wealthy people. What Saratoga and Newport are to
society today, Bristol was three generations ago. The water is
chalybeate in character, and was resorted to for its medicinal
properties by persons from all parts of the country. Leading
medical men, among others Dr. Benjamin Rush, have pronounced it
to be efficient in the treatment of certain diseases, and at one
time it enjoyed considerable reputation. Doctor Minnick, who
owned the grounds in 1807, erected the large frame building,
still standing, for the accommodation of guests at the springs.
Among those who patronized him were many distinguished men. The
favorable issue of the war of 1812 was celebrated by a national
ball at the springs. A number of military and naval officers
were present, and also the representatives of several foreign
countries. Doctor Gill, a Frenchman, lived on the property in
retirement after its celebrity as a watering-place began to
decline. He was a member of the medical staff of the first
Napoleon and accompanied him on his campaigns to Egypt and
While thus a noted place of residence for families of wealth
and social position, a number of distinguished persons have from
time to time lived here permanently. The famous actor, Thomas A.
Cooper, was among this number; also Major Kneas, U.S.A., Captain
Biddle, U.S.N., Major Lenox, Pierce Butler, James SimeEnto, Don
DeOnis, Augustus Claudious, Baron Ludwig, Antoni Farcy Piquet,
the DeNormandies, and others. SimeEnto was the Spanish minister.
He lived on Radcliffe street in the house owned by Charles
Fenton. It is related that he built a miniature fort at the foot
of his grounds facing the river, upon which two small brass
cannons were mounted. There were two sets of halyards upon the
flagstaffs, one for the flag of Spain and the other for the
national colors of this country. On a certain fourth of July
occasion, William Gosline, who had charge of the munitions of
war, was directed to run up the flags. He did so in such a way
as to place the stars and stripes above the flag of Spain.
SimeEnto inquired with some surprise why they were not run up
together, upon which Gosline replied, "his country’s flag first,
and those of others afterward," a sentiment which his master was
generous enough to appreciate. He was recalled after some years
and succeeded as minister by Don DeOnis, who took up his
residence on Radcliffe street, and laid out the grounds
adjoining with care and taste. It is said that the marriage by
proxy of his daughter and a Spanish army officer was the first
ceremony so performed in this country. It occurred at high noon
in both countries, Father Hogan, of Philadelphia, officiating at
Bristol. Augustus Claudious, the German consul at Philadelphia,
Baron Ludwig, of Prussia, and Captain Piquet, of the French
navy, as the representatives of their respective governments,
added much to the wealth and respectability of the community. It
is said that Joseph Bonaparte, upon his arrival in America in
1816, was very favorably impressed with several properties in
the vicinity of Bristol, one of which he might have purchased
but for the fact that the laws of the state prohibited a
foreigner from acquiring real estate. The DeNormandies, who were
once prominently identified with affairs in Bristol, were
descended from Andri, who was born at Geneva in 1651, and
emigrated in 1706 with his two sons John Abram and John Anthony.
The family is no longer represented in this locality.
Several houses of the ante-revolutionary period have survived
the condition of society under which they were built. Of the
three oldest in existence at present, one, a brick building, is
situated at the foot of Wood street on land belonging to John
McGinley. It was occupied at one time by William Davis, a
ship-builder, who built some of the fastest sailing vessels of
his day. The house now owned by John McOwen on Mill street is
thought to have been one of the first brick buildings erected in
the borough. Another old house, which has been demolished in the
present year (1887), was that of Mrs. Closson, adjoining her
hotel on Mill street. It must have been a house of some note,
for the assessed valuation as given in an old record was three
hundred and fifty pounds, the highest sum assessed upon any of
the fifty-three houses in Bristol at this day. Mr. John Gosline,
chief burgess for many years, a large landowner, and prominent
free-mason, lived here at the beginning of the century. These
three houses are supposed to have been built prior to 1720, in
which year the borough charter was granted. Among other old
buildings are the Friends’ meeting-house at the corner of Market
and Wood streets, and the house of Richard Corson, which was
built in 1745 as a work-house, on the Beaver Dam road. The
oldest hotel in the borough is the Delaware house. It was
originally opened as the "George the Third," in 1765, by Charles
Bessonett, a Frenchman, who settled at Bristol as early as 1730.
A company of Yankee troops passed through the town at the
outbreak of the revolution, and upon seeing the name of the
royal sovereign against whom they were in rebellion emblazoned
in so conspicuous a manner, they opened fire upon the
unfortunate sign and did not desist until it was riddled with
bullets. Mr. Bessonett’s next device was a fountain, and was
received with popular favor. John Bessonett succeeded his
father, and changed the name to that which it now bears. His son
John also became proprietor. The elder Bessonett established the
first line of stage-wagons from Philadelphia to New York. His
advertisement was as follows: "Unparalleled speed; from
Philadelphia to New York in two days, fare four dollars. Comfort
and safety assured." He was assessed in 1785 for one building,
two cattle, sixteen horses, one bound servant, three negro
slaves, two stage-wagons, one ferry, and his occupation, his tax
of three pounds one shilling being the largest of any person in
the borough. The records at Doylestown show that the first
petition for license to keep a public house in Bristol was
presented in 1705 by Thomas Brock. The applicants for that
privilege in 1728 were Henry Betz, James Moore, and Evan Harris.
Patrick O’Hanlan kept the ferry-house at the foot of Mill street
in 1730. The records of 1768 show that licenses were granted as
follows: to Mrs. Eliza Jackson for a public house upon the site
of the Closson house; to Robert Reese for the "Rising Sun," on
Mill street; to John Dowdney for the "King of Prussia," at the
corner of Mill and Pond streets; to Charles Bessonett for the
"George the Third," at the foot of Mill street. What is now
known as the Closson house was established in 1857 as the
Exchange hotel by William Early. Ten different public houses
have been licensed for Bristol by the courts since 1705. In
1800, with a population of five hundred and twenty-one, there
were four hotels— one to every one hundred and thirty persons;
with a population of six thousand in 1885, there were four
hotels— one for every one thousand five hundred of the
Mr. Bessonett’s experience with the provincial militia has
been related; but there were other occurrences during the
revolution of more serious import. General Cadwallader encamped
near the borough in 1776 with three thousand troops. One
thousand five hundred men were billeted on the town at one time
in 1777. Armed boats guarded the river from Bordentown to
Philadelphia. During the occupation of the latter place by the
British in 1777—78, a detachment of militia was stationed at
Bristol as a protection against a threatened attack. As no
hostile demonstrations were made, their discipline was allowed
to relax. The favorable opportunity for an attack thus presented
was not neglected by the enemy. On the morning of Good Friday,
1778, a party of British cavalry left the city and proceeded as
far as Newportville, where they remained secreted in the woods
until daybreak. The sentinels had no sooner been drawn in at the
sound of the morning gun than they dashed into the town to the
surprise and consternation of the people. A number of the
principal citizens appeared at their doors only to find
themselves prisoners. This was only a secondary object of the
expedition, however. Several militia officers were known to be
in the town, and their capture was what most interested the
enemy. It is said that the American captain was in hiding in a
garret. When it became apparent that their object was
frustrated, they threatened to burn the mills unless a certain
amount of money was paid them. At this juncture of affairs,
Captain John Clark, a British officer who lived at Fairview,
rode into town and protested against the destruction of the
property on the ground that he was a subject of the crown and
interested in its ownership. When asked where his regiment was
stationed and why he was not with it, he replied that it was in
the West Indies, and he was home on a furlough. This had the
desired effect. A rumor was circulated in the meantime that a
corps of marines from a point farther up the river had received
intelligence of their presence in the county; and the troops
with their prisoners retreated in all haste to the city. The
prisoners were exchanged shortly afterward. Captain Clark
subsequently resigned his commission and lived at Fairview the
remainder of his life.
The Marquis de La Fayette’s visits to Bristol may also be
mentioned in this connection. He was wounded in the battle of
Brandywine, and after leaving the field hospital was brought to
Bristol, where he remained until strong enough to be taken to
Bethlehem. He again arrived in the town on the 27th day of
September, 1824. The citizens had previously appointed Dr. John
Phillips, David Dorrance, and William F. Swift a committee to
make arrangements suitable for the reception of their
distinguished guest. A triumphal arch, with the inscription,
"Welcome, Friend," was erected at the Hollow bridge. Stores and
residences were decorated with flags. A large concourse of
people assembled from all parts of the surrounding country. The
general and his suite were escorted to the residence of Mr.
Bessonett, the house now occupied by Nathan Tyler, where
refreshments were provided, speeches made, and every assurance
of appreciation bestowed upon the distinguished visitor.
hundreds of people pressed into the house to shake his hand.
Mrs. Bessonett was introduced and related the circumstances
under which she had nursed him on the occasion of his former
visit. He recognized her, and recollected distinctly his short
stay in the place on his way to Bethlehem. After a rest of
several hours, the march of the procession was resumed towards
Until within recent years, notwithstanding its advantages for
business, the distinguishing character of the place has been its
quiet rural beauty. The ratio of growth and improvement in the
last century may be inferred from what people have said at
various times in that period. Oldmixon, writing in 1708, places
the number of houses at fifty, and mentions the mills of Samuel
Carpenter, "an eminent planter." Alexander Graydon, writing in
"There are few towns, perhaps, in Pennsylvania, which in
the same space of time have been so little improved or undergone
less alteration. Then (1715) as now the great road leading from
Philadelphia to New York, first skirting the inlet at the head
of which stand the mills, and then turning short to the left
along the banks of the Delaware, formed the principal and indeed
only street marked by anything like a continuity of building. A
few places for streets were opened from this main one on which,
here and there, stood an humble, solitary dwelling. At a corner
of two of these lanes was a Quaker meeting-house, and at a still
more retired spot stood a small Episcopal church, whose lonely
graveyard, with its surrounding woody scenery, might have
furnished an appropriate theme for such a muse as Gray’s. These,
together with an old brick jail, constituted all the public
edifices in this my native town. With the exception of the
family of Dr. DeNormandie, our own, and perhaps one or two more,
the principal inhabitants of Bristol were Quakers. Among these,
the names of Buckley, Williams, Large, Merritt, Hutchinson, and
Church are familiar to me." Scott’s Geography states that the
houses in 1806 numbered about ninety, an increase of forty in a
hundred years. Within the present century, the town as it exists
to-day may properly be said to have come into existence. William
Bache, writing in 1853, thus summarizes its industrial and
business interests at that time:
. . . The greater amount of business in general
store-keeping is carried on in Mill street, which now has twelve
retail stores for the sale of groceries, provisions, clothing,
dry-goods, and housekeeping articles generally. Besides these,
there are now in the same street two fancy dry-goods and
trimming stores, two leather and shoe-finding stores, three tin
and sheet-iron manufactories, three millinery and two tailoring
establishments, three harness manufactories, three boot and shoe
makers, a grin and a saw mill, two hat manufacturers, one
smith-shop, two drug and medicine stores, two tobacconists, one
soap and candle manufactory, one cabinet-ware maker, a printing
office, a watchmaker and jeweller, two bakers, and one public
On Radcliffe street we have three or four stands for general
store-keeping, one millinery and one ladies’ shoe store, a
confectionery, two public houses, a few shopkeepers, and a
Bath street is at present chiefly occupied with private
residences. The property on the upper side, however, has been
rendered very valuable for landings on the canal, and on a small
inlet of sufficient capacity to admit canal-boats. Two extensive
lumber and coal yards are upon this inlet, which yards open on
On Cedar street, one small grocery store, one blacksmith’s
shop, one wheelwright’s shop, and a livery-stable.
On Wood street are two small grocery shops, an iron foundry,
one ladies’ shoe-shop, and one paint-shop.
On Market street, one blacksmith’s shop, one paint-shop, one
cooper-shop, one ladies’ shoe-shop, and two livery-stables.
At Mulberry and Pond streets are erected Hibb’s, Fry & Co.’s
machine shops for the manufacture of clover-hullers and
cleaners, invented and patented by Jonathan Hibbs, one of the
partners. Also on Mulberry street is carried on the business of
grain cradle making.
On Walnut street, several boot and shoe manufactories.
On Buckley street have recently been erected Strong &
Morgan’s malleable iron and tilt-hammer works, now going into
active operation. The business of rope-making is also carried on
in this street.
In Otter street have recently been erected one wheelwright’s
shop and pump-maker’s shop. Otter street is becoming one of the
most favorable localities for the erection of shops for carrying
on the mechanic arts, particularly such as are more generally
required by our neighbouring farmers. A small grocery store has
recently been opened on this street, required by the rapid
advancement in building up the lots opened for improvement in
that neighbourhood in 1851.
On Linden street (in the plot just noticed) is erected an
extensive and complete coach, wheelwright, blacksmith, painting,
and coach-trimming establishment.
A large amount of river front, and sites of the canal, are
occupied by coal operators, and some portions for boat-building.
Along the line of the canal within the limits of the town are
several extensive stables, smith shops, a cooper’s shop, and
stores adapted to the wants of watermen.
Mill street has continued to be the principal business
thoroughfare of the town. The number and variety of the stores
have not increased in proportion to the growth of the town in
other respects. The nearness of Philadelphia attracts a great
deal of business to that city which would otherwise be
transacted by local establishments. Every line of business is
represented, and many of the store-rooms are commodious.
Commercial transactions are greatly facilitated by the
operations of "The Farmer’s National Bank of Bucks County." This
institution, the oldest in the county, was established in 1814
at Hulmeville, and organized December 12th of that year with
John Hulme president, and George Harrison cashier. Joseph
Pickering was elected clerk. A portion of the house of George
Hulme was occupied as a banking-room, and the president was
directed to procure a large chest made of strong plank, covered
with sheet-iron, and secured by strong locks and bolts in a
secret manner. Joseph Hulme became president in 1818, John
Newbold in 1821, Anthony Taylor in 1823, John Paxson, Anthony
Burton, and Caleb N. Taylor subsequently. George Harrison was
succeeded as cashier by William Newbold in 1823; Robert C.
Beatty was elected to this office in 1827, C.T. Iredell in 1867,
and Charles E. Scott in 1882. The original capital was sixty
thousand dollars. This was increased to ninety thousand in 1836,
and to ninety-two thousand two hundred dollars in 1837, at which
sum it has since remained. It was reorganized as a national bank
January 13, 1865, and has been rechartered. The surplus fund is
equal to the capital. The bank was removed from Hulmeville to
Bristol in 1824, and has since occupied the present banking
house on Radcliffe street.
Postal facilities also date from a comparatively early
period. The first post-office in the county was established here
in 1790, with Colonel Joseph Clunn as postmaster. He opened the
office at his residence on Mill street, and continued it there
until his death, in 1816, when his son-in-law, John Priestly,
was appointed. The successive incumbents since then have been as
follows: John Bessonett, John Bessonett, Jr.; 1841—45, Gilbert
Tomlinson; 1845—49, William Kinsey; 1849—53, Samuel Pike;
1853—61, Hugh and Charles Dongan; 1861—65, Nathan Tyler;
1865—69, Israel Tomlinson; 1869—77, Jesse B. Mears; 1877—85, W.B.
Baker; 1885----, James Drury. Previous to 1820 the Philadelphia
mail arrived at six o’clock p. m., and the New York mail at
midnight. This office has always been managed judiciously, and
is at present a mail distributing point for several smaller
offices in the southern part of the county.
Public improvements and manufactures have made Bristol what
it is to-day. The turnpike, the canal, and the railroad have
successively assisted the place to a more advanced position in
material progress. At the meeting of the council at which the
town was authorized to be laid out, measures were also taken to
provide it with the advantages of a road to Philadelphia. The
only highway of this description previously existing was the
"king’s path," opened in 1675 to the falls, but this was
literally what the name implied, merely a bridle-path. The
council of 1697 directed that a road should be laid out crossing
the Neshaminy at Joseph Growdon’s landing, thence to
"Buckingham" (Bristol), and thence to the falls by way of Joseph
Chorley’s ferry. For many years after this, however, public
travel was confined almost exclusively to the river. The first
important step in bringing about a different state of things was
the construction of the Bristol and Frankfort turnpike. The
company was incorporated March 24, 1803, upon petition of Joseph
Clunn, John McElroy, Derrick Peterson, Isaac Merrill, Nathan
Harper, James Fisher, and Richard Gorman, nearly all of whom
were citizens of Bristol. Work was begun in the following year.
The road was completed to Bristol in 1810, and to Morrisville in
1812, at an aggregate expenditure of three hundred and nine
thousand, three hundred dollars. During the most prosperous
period of its history the annual dividends were uniformly ten
per cent. The route at first proposed was a straight course from
Otter’s bridge to the Bloomsdale ferry-house, thus diverting
travel from the principal public houses and stores of the town.
Through the intervention of the town council, the directors were
induced to divert the course of the road from the line at first
intended at the intersection of Otter and Mill streets, and
thus, continuing by Mill and Radcliffe streets, pass through the
business quarter of the borough. It was stipulated, however,
that the turnpike company should receive the sum of five hundred
dollars and be relieved from building or repairing the culverts
within the limits of the town. The turnpike had scarcely been
completed before Bristol became an important intermediate point
on the stage route from Trenton to Philadelphia. Thomas Porter
ran a two-horse coach from John Hammil’s tavern, Trenton, to the
city, three times a week. A rival line was established the
following year by Peter Probasco and John Dean. The third local
line was started in 1807 by John Mannington, who reduced the
fare to one dollar and a half, and made the journey from city to
city in four hours. He was well patronized. A Mr. Stevens, of
Bristol, started a tri-weekly two-horse coach from that place to
Philadelphia in 1824, but it did not pay sufficiently, and was
discontinued. And thus, although sustained with changing
fortunes for many years, the stagecoaches were a principal
source of Bristol’s importance during the period of their
The construction of the Delaware division of the Pennsylvania
canal was the next great public improvement after the opening of
the turnpike. This enterprise was undertaken under the auspices
of the state, and the act for the construction of the Delaware
division was passed in 1827. The southern terminus was located
at Bristol after prolonged and bitter contention regarding the
eligibility of different places. Morrisville and Tullytown were
suggested, and the latter was regarded with favor by the
engineers, as Scott’s creek, in the immediate vicinity, was well
adapted for the purposes of the outlet lock. The board of canal
commissioners held several meetings to consider the question. A
decision in favor of Tullytown was about to be made, when the
citizens of Bristol requested one more hearing, alleging that
they wished to present certain facts which had not yet been
obtained. This induced the board to adjourn, leaving the matter
unsettled. The next meeting was held at the Delaware house,
Bristol. Counsellor Swift presented the claims in favor of that
place, and stated that there was not sufficient water at
Tullytown at any time to float a vessel of two hundred tons,
while at Bristol a craft of five hundred tons’ burthen could
readily be sustained. These statements were based upon soundings
secretly made by two men employed by Swift. It was urged in
behalf of Tullytown that the measurements should have been made
publicly; but the commissioners were satisfied with Swift’s
representations, and Bristol was decided upon as the terminal
point. The excavations were begun on a beautiful October day in
the year 1827, with imposing civic and military demonstrations.
At eleven o’clock in the morning a procession numbering several
hundred men marched from the town to the present location of
lock number three, under the direction of chief-marshal William
F. Swift. The exercises began at high noon with prayer by the
Episcopal rector, after which an address was made by Peter A.
Browne, of the Philadelphia bar. Then followed the nominal
object of the occasion. George Harrison, of Hulmeville, and
Peter Shin, of Easton, appeared, the former with a wheelbarrow,
the latter with a pick and shovel, with which he dug a
wheelbarrow load of earth, which Harrison wheeled a short
distance and dumped. Marshal Swift delivered an oration replete
with congratulations to the people of the county upon the
beginning of what was described as one of the grandest
enterprises of the age. The band played "Hail Columbia," the
people gave three cheers, and then adjourned to the Delaware
house, kept by Mr. Bessonett, where several hundred persons
"dined and wined, made speeches, and got happy under the music
of the popping corks." There was a second gala occasion three
years later, when the first boat was launched. David Dorrance
and Richard Morris, citizens of Bristol, contracted for the
excavations from that place to Yardley, and having executed
their contract in 1831 the canal was declared open for
navigation from Bristol to New Hope. A number of prominent
citizens made the journey thither in a boat drawn by four
horses. A public dinner was given by the borough, bells were
rung, speeches made, and bonfires kindled in honor of the
occasion. Results for the first few years justified the
expectations of the most sanguine. Thousands of tons of coal
from the Lehigh and Hazel regions, en route for the New England
states, were annually consigned to Bristol for re-shipment in
sailing vessels. There was a great demand for property having a
river front, and wharves were built eastward from the basin a
distance of several streets. Labor for two or three hundred men
in transferring cargoes was thus provided; vessels bound for
eastern ports were usually provisioned here; horses and draymen
were also employed, and thus every branch of business was
liberally patronized. The cessation of this era of prosperity is
directly traceable to two causes, viz., the establishment of the
shipping depot of the Philadelphia & Reading railroad at Port
Richmond, and the construction of the outlet lock at New Hope.
Philadelphia is twenty miles nearer the capes than Bristol, and
this advantage in time and distance is sufficient to divert from
the latter place a large proportion of the traffic it might
otherwise enjoy. The lock at New Hope enables the transfer of
boats to the Delaware & Raritan canal, a much more expeditious
route to the seaboard than by way of Bristol, as formerly. The
loss of the coal trade seriously injured the prospects of the
town, and no compensating advantages were acquired until the
introduction of factories. But before considering this topic it
may be well to acquaint the reader with the development of an
enterprise which has rendered profitable manufacturing possible.
The Philadelphia & Trenton railroad was constructed under a
charter granted by the legislature in 1832. It was completed in
1833, and horse-cars were run from Morrisville to Bristol in
that year. A depot was built at the foot of Market street at the
latter place, where passengers and freight were transferred to
boats, and thus taken to Philadelphia. Market street was rented
to the railroad company at the rate of three hundred dollars a
year. Considerable difficulty was experienced in winter on
account of the ice, and the depot was thereupon removed to
Tacony, and finally to Kensington. The first locomotive, the
"Trenton," was placed on the road in 1834. Subsequent changes in
the management of the road belong to the history of the county
in general, and will not therefore be given here. It need only
be stated that without the advantage for traffic and travel thus
conferred, it is not probable that Bristol would have improved
to any extent after losing the coal trade.
Although Bristol was among the earliest settlements in the
state, but little attention was given to manufactures until a
comparatively recent period, and, as is usual in all new
departures, the early ventures were unfortunate. The Bristol
mills were among the first erected in this county. An old record
states that they were built by Samuel Carpenter in 1701 upon
Mill creek, about a quarter of a mile from the river. Vessels
sailed up to the door to load and unload their cargoes. The
saw-mill was seventy-five feet long and thirty-two feet wide,
with a daily capacity of three thousand feet. An undershot
waterwheel supplied the power for the flouring mill, which was
fitted up with four runs of stones. The mill-pond covered two
hundred and fifty acres, with fifteen feet of fall at the mills,
and yet there was an adequate supply of water only eight months
of the year. There was also, prior to the revolution, a
ship-yard, and although at one time the construction of
sea-going vessels was a business of considerable importance, it
has for many years been entirely abandoned.
A woolen mill was erected in 1815 by Joseph and Abraham
Warner, at that point on the south side of Mill street now
occupied by the canal and railroad. It was a three-story frame
building, forty by eighty feet, and comprised seven hundred and
eighty spindles, with the requisite carding and other machinery,
two hand-looms for weaving satinets, and six looms for plaids
and checks, employing twenty-four hands. The mill was leased to
Isaac Pitcher. A dispute arose between him and the owners,
involving his right to use the water-power when there was not
sufficient to run both mills. Pitcher was defeated in the
courts. He removed the machinery to Groveville, N.J., and the
abandoned building was afterward destroyed by fire.
In 1852 a stock company, with a capital of twelve thousand
dollars, built the Bristol forge for the manufacture of heavy
shafting and other large pieces of wrought iron. This business
was fairly successful. When the demand for armor plates for
government war-ships created a market for their products both
active and profitable, the capital stock was increased to one
hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars, and the capacity of
the works greatly enlarged but, unfortunately, too late to reap
the anticipated advantage therefrom. The large amount of
iron-working machinery put into operation all over the country
during the war, and the sudden withdrawal of demand for the
products consequent upon its termination, created a depression
in the business from which this company never recovered. The
plant has since been entirely removed.
Stimulated by the large profits of the Bristol Forge & Iron
Company during the brief period of its prosperity, a second
organization was formed under the name and title of the Keystone
Forge Company, with a capital of eighty-seven thousand dollars.
An extensive plant was erected, but too late to receive any
profitable business. Losses thus incurred absorbed nearly the
The Bristol Woolen Mill Company was organized in 1864 with a
capital of sixty thousand dollars, which was afterward increased
to seventy-five thousand, and a large two-story building was
erected for the manufacture of fancy knit goods of wool, at that
time very popular for ladies’ wear. This enterprise enjoyed a
brief period of fair success, but fashions changed and after a
season of unprofitable business, it shared the fate of its
unfortunate predecessors and was closed with considerable loss.
The property passed into other hands and was converted into a
hosiery mill, in which capacity it is at present employed by
Lewis Jones, of Germantown, under the management of Thomas
Hughes, of this place. It has an aggregate of about twenty-five
thousand square feet of floor surface, and is fully equipped
with cards, spindles, and knitting machines, adapted to the
manufacture of plain and fancy cotton and merino hosiery. The
Providence Knitting Mill, owned and operated by Mrs. Clara
Appleton, is engaged in the same branch of industry.
The Livingston mills were built in 1868 by Messrs. Charles W.
and Joshua Pierce for the manufacture of printed felt druggets
and floor cloths; but the character of the product has changed
from year to year to meet the demands of a changing market. A
large part of the product during the first few years of its
existence consisted of ladies’ felt skirts, of which two
thousand per day were regularly produced. The exhibit of this
firm at the Centennial Exposition was attractive and varied in
character. At that time the establishment in all its departments
comprised seventy-five thousand feet of floor surface, boilers
and engines of three hundred and two hundred and twenty-five
horse-power respectively, the equivalent of eight sets of cards
in the manufacture of felt cloths for decorative purposes, four
sets of cards, one thousand six hundred spindles, and eighteen
broad looms in the production of cassimeres and suitings. The
manufacture of felt cloths ceased in 1882 in favor of medium and
fine woollen cassimeres. The number of operatives employed at
present is about two hundred and fifty. The plant consists of
boilers of four hundred and fifty horse-power and engines of
three hundred horse-power, twelve sets of cards, three thousand
five hundred spindles, and fifty broad looms. The finer grades
of cassimeres manufactured at these mills are unsurpassed in
quality, color, and durability. The value of the annual product
is estimated at five hundred thousand dollars. Charles W. Pierce
withdrew from the management in January, 1883, and the business
has since been conducted under the firm name of Joshua Pierce &
The Bristol foundry, operated by the T.B. Harkins Foundry
Company, was established in 1871 for the manufacture of
stove-plate and fine castings. Though limited in extent, this
enterprise has been successful and prosperous, and has acquired
an extended reputation for superiority of workmanship. About
forty men are employed.
The sash and planing-mill of Joseph Sherman was built in
1873, and continues in prosperous activity. A noticeable feature
of this business is the manufacture of strawberry-boxes, of
which several thousand per day are produced in the summer
The Bristol Rolling-mill was built in 1875 by Messrs.
Nevegold, Scheide & Co. for the manufacture of hoop, scale, and
band-iron from scrap and muck bar. Since the withdrawal of
Frederick Nevegold in September, 1886, the proprietorship has
been vested in the Bristol Rolling-Mill Company, which was
incorporated December 1, 1881, with Charles E. Scheide
president, and Grifford V. Lewis secretary and treasurer. A
blast-furnace and rolling-mill at Hamburg, Berks county, were
leased from the Philadelphia & Reading Coal and Iron Company in
1881 for a term of five years. The annual product amounts to
about seven thousand five hundred tons of finished iron, in
making which an equal quantity of raw material and five thousand
tons of coal are required. The employees number about one
hundred and forty. The works are supplied with boilers of four
hundred and eighty horse-power, engines of four hundred and
twenty horse-power, four heating furnaces, three train rolls,
and one continuous hoop-train.
The Bristol Worsted mill was established in 1876 by Messrs.
Grundy Bros. & Campion, and at once became a marked feature of
the industrial interests of the town. The senior partner, Mr.
Edmund H. Grundy, died in 1884, but the firm-name has remained
unchanged. Mr. George A. Shoemaker is superintendent of the
works. The buildings comprise sixty thousand square feet of
floor surface. They are fitted up with intricate and valuable
machinery, representing the equivalent of fourteen sets of
cards, three thousand seven hundred spindles, seven
combing-machines, and boilers and engines of more than three
hundred horse-power. About two million pounds of long staple
wools are annually consumed, producing finished worsted yarns
about half as great in weight and quantity. These yarns are used
in the manufacture of high-grade cassimeres and jerseys, for
upholstery purposes and for ornamental knitting. About three
hundred and fifty operatives are employed.
Messrs. Wilson & Fenimore are manufacturers of wall paper on
an extensive scale. This industry involves the exercise of high
artistic and mechanical talent. The process of printing is
effected by complicated machinery, the goods being finished in
one transmission of the paper, which receives the colors from a
series of rollers corresponding in number to the shades desired.
A separate apartment is set apart for the preparation of
designs, and another for the preparation of the rollers. White
clay from South Carolina is used as the basis of all colors.
This firm has always been among the most enterprising in
producing original and striking designs. Their product is known
to the trade as brown blanks, white blanks, plain and embossed
gilts, plain tints, color borders, gilt borders, and ceiling
The Bristol Improvement Company was incorporated December 18,
1876, with a capital of sixty thousand dollars, mainly through
the efforts of Joshua Pierce, to whom much credit is due both
for the establishment and successful operation of the
enterprise. The original organization was constituted as
follows: president, Joshua Pierce; secretary, Charles E. Scheide;
treasurer, C.W. Pierce; directors, Joshua Pierce, Charles W.
Pierce, Robert W. Rogers, Charles E. Scheide, William H. Grundy.
It is the purpose of the corporation to offer facilities to
manufacturers desiring to locate here by erecting buildings for
their accommodation, thus encouraging the growth of
manufacturing industries in the borough. The operations of the
company have been aggressive and uniformly successful. The real
estate in its possession consists of the following factory
properties, all of which are unincumbered: the Bristol worsted
mill, leased by Grundy Brothers & Campion; the Keystone mill,
leased by John Mundell & Co.; the Star mill, leased by Grundy
Brothers & Campion for storage purposes; the Bristol foundry,
leased by the T.B. Harkins Foundry Company; the wall paper
factory, leased by Wilson & Fenimore; and the Bristol carpet
mill, leased by Thomas L. Leedom & Co. The last named has but
recently been erected, and is the largest building owned by the
corporation. It is a fine three-story structure, five hundred
feet in length, with a wing one hundred feet long. The present
capital stock is two hundred and nineteen thousand dollars. It
is intended that this shall be increased from time to time as
demands are made for additional buildings. The Improvement
Company has proven to be a valuable agency in promoting the
growth of manufacturing interests, and thus insuring the general
prosperity of the town.
Several years since the old and well-known flour and lumber
mill of Mr. John Dorrance passed into the hands of Rogers
Brothers, who have introduced steam, thus rendering it
independent of the uncertainties incident to a fluctuating water
supply. The facilities of the old mill have otherwise been
enlarged, with the purpose of producing a high grade of flour
for the wholesale market. There are other smaller industries of
a varied character, which may appear comparatively unimportant
as compared with some of those mentioned, but perceptibly swell
the aggregate of production.
In the early days of domestic manufactures, the only
practical motor-power was derived from the streams, and hence
the employment of every available stream, however remote and
secluded. But with the disappearance of the forests, the streams
have ceased to be trustworthy, and with the constantly
increasing demand for fabrics the use of steam has become
indispensable. Ease of access and rapidity of transportation
have thus become the paramount considerations in influencing the
selection of factory sites. Bristol is exceptionally fortunate
with regard to railroad facilities. The class of labor is also
above the average, and much superior to that of large cities.
This is the natural result of more comfortable homes, purer
atmosphere, and the larger individuality incident to
semi-country life. The increased self-respect and intelligence
of the laboring man in turn secure to the employer more and
better work than is obtainable under less favorable conditions.
Manufacturers are becoming cognizant of this fact. Capitalists
are looking to the country for locations more each year; and
Bristol, already recognized among the points around Philadelphia
that present more than ordinary advantages, is destined to
become, at a not distant period, a centre of industrial
While concentrated capital has thus revolutionized the
industrial condition of Bristol, the efforts of that large
proportion of the population known as the laboring classes have
also been productive of much improvement to the town. It is not
often in a manufacturing town that so many of the operatives own
the houses they occupy as is the case in Bristol. This condition
of things, so desirable and necessary in every well-ordered
community, has been brought about mainly through the agency of
building and loan associations. The second organization of this
character in the state, the Bristol Building Association, came
into existence February 22, 1847, when Joshua V. Buckman was
elected president, Anthony Swain secretary, Robert C. Beatty
treasurer, and Lewis P. Kinsey, Charles W. Pierce, Charles T.
Iredell, Walter Laing, Joshua Fell, Jonathan Milnor, John
Dorrance, L.A. Hoguet, and William Hauk directors. The plan was
simple; the funds first realized amounted to four hundred
dollars, which was loaned in sums of half that much to the
person offering the highest premium. Mortgages on real estate
and the shares of the borrower were held as collateral security.
The principal and interest on the debt were paid in monthly
instalments of one dollar a share and one dollar for every two
hundred borrowed. This association was closed in 1859. Two
others had meanwhile come into existence, the "Franklin" and the
"Union." The former was organized November 7, 1853, with Anthony
Swain secretary, and Robert C. Beatty treasurer. The "Union" was
established about the same time with Andrew Gilkeson secretary.
The "Home" and "Cottage" Building Associations were started in
1867 and 1870 respectively, the principal promoters being
William Hauk, L.A. Hoguet, and Samuel Swain. The Bristol
Building Association was incorporated in December, 1866, having
organized August 6th the previous year with William Hauk,
president, J.V. Buckman, secretary, and L.A. Hoguet, treasurer.
It has issued eight series, three of which have matured and been
paid. The aggregate of loans in the twenty years of its
existence has been two hundred thousand dollars. Available
assets, as shown by last annual report, about fifty-six thousand
dollars; rate of interest, seven and eighty-five hundredths per
cent. The Union Building and Loan Association was organized June
8, 1874, and incorporated for a period of thirty years. Original
officers: president, Jonathan Milnor; secretary, Samuel Swain;
treasurer, Charles T. Iredell. Four series have been issued, one
of which has matured. About one hundred thousand dollars have
been loaned by this organization. Fidelity Building Association
was organized February 18, 1885, and incorporated March 26,
1885. Original officers: president, James Wright; secretary, A.
Weir Gilkeson; treasurer, Robert W. Rogers. This was the first
association at Bristol to adopt the instalment plan of paying
premiums. The Merchants and Mechanics’ Building Association was
organized October 21, 1885, with Charles W. Peirce president,
John C. Stuckert secretary, and Dr. Howard Pursell treasurer.
One thousand three hundred and seventeen shares were issued the
first year. It has been incorporated for a period of twenty
years. The distinctive feature of this association is the
payment of premiums in advance. The "Bristol," "Union,"
"Fidelity," and "Merchants and Mechanics’" are in active and
prosperous operation at the present time.
The borough limits have been extended from time to time, as
the increase of population required. The original boundaries as
described in the charter of 1720 were as follows: "Beginning at
the mouth of Mill creek where it empties into the river
Delaware; from thence extending by the channel of the same creek
upwards by the several courses thereof to a bridge called
Otter’s bridge; thence by Joseph Bond’s land, north fifty-two
degrees, east ninety-six perches to a post; then north
thirty-nine degrees, east fifty-five perches to a post; then by
the waste and the mill dam southeast fifty-eight perches; then
from the end of the said dam east eight degrees, south one
hundred and forty perches to a post; then southeast one hundred
and five perches to a post by the said river Delaware; thence
down the same river west twenty-seven degrees, south one hundred
and ninety-two perches to the place of beginning, including
Phineas Pemberton’s survey of the said town, with additions
according to the agreement of the said inhabitants." Pemberton’s
draft has unfortunately been lost; and Cutler’s, made in 1715,
has become exceedingly rare. Old Bristol (or properly speaking,
New Bristol, as it was called at that time), as comprehended in
the boundaries above given, comprised the following streets,
viz., Mill street, beginning "at an ash tree . . . . at the
northeast side of the sd Mill street and northwest side of
Radcliffe street," and extending to the mill-race; Radcliffe
street, sixty-six feet in breadth, beginning at the ash tree and
extending to the limits of the town; Market, Mulberry, and
Walnut, parallel with Mill street; Cedar, Wood, and Pond,
extending in the same general direction as Radcliffe street; the
continuation of Pond, Wood, and Cedar from Mill street to the
creek, and of Market, Mulberry, and Walnut, from Radcliffe to
the river, and Water street, subsequently vacated, sixty feet
below Radcliffe and parallel with it. Otter street (the turnpike
road) was also an original highway, but was not regarded as a
street. Bath street, otherwise known as the terminus of the old
Newtown road and as part of the turnpike in its intersection
with Otter, was opened and widened in 1809 by private
individuals, but without the co-operation of the proper borough
authorities, who finally accepted it in 1821. The Beaver Dam
road, otherwise known as Beaver street, was surveyed in 1821.
The borough limits had meanwhile been extended eastward to
Adam’s hollow and westward to the millpond in 1801. A further
addition was made in 1852, and the boundaries then established
are those of the present, and are thus described: "Beginning at
a point in the river Delaware near the mouth of Mill creek, at a
distance of ---- chains from the centre point of Mill and Water
streets; from thence extending by the channel of the said creek
upwards, by the several courses thereof to a bridge called
Otter’s bridge; thence by lands formerly Joseph Bond’s, north
fifty-two degrees east ninety-six perches to a post; thence
north thirty-nine degrees east fifty-five perches to a post;
thence by the waste and mill-dam southeast fifty-eight perches;
thence up the several courses of the mill-pond on lands formerly
of Phineas Buckley to a stream of water running from the said
mill-pond to the river Delaware, commonly called Adam’s hollow
creek; thence down the several courses of said creek to the
river Delaware; thence down the several courses of the river
Delaware to the place of beginning," embracing an area of about
four hundred and fifty acres. It is worthy of notice that the
built-up portion of the town was first extended west of the
mill-race, about the years 1811—25, as shown by the improvement
of Bath street in 1809, and of Otter a few years later. The
construction of the turnpike probably influenced this. There was
considerable building activity from 1833 to 1855, the period of
prosperity incident to the canal trade. Property having a river
front was in demand at this time; and hence the opening of
Franklin and Penn streets from Radcliffe to low-water mark in
1336. Wilson street was opened in 1849. Pond street was extended
from Walnut to Lafayette in 1855. Wood street, which was
continued easterly from Walnut in 1766, upon land vacated by
John Hutchinson, was further opened to Washington in 1851. Cedar
street was extended from Walnut to Franklin in 1849, and thence
to Lafayette in 1851. Wood and Pond were further laid out in
1874. Franklin and Penn streets were opened from Radcliffe to
Pond in 1855. Dorrance street was opened from low-water mark to
Pond in 1855, and thence to Canal street in 1881. Washington and
Lafayette streets were laid out from the river to Pond street in
1855, and continued in 1874. Jefferson avenue was opened in
1873. Lincoln street has been projected between Radcliffe and
Pond. Similar changes have been in progress in the vicinity of
Bath and Otter streets. Buckley street was laid out in 1847,
Mifflin in 1853; Spruce, Race, Swain, and Locust in 1874,
Linden, Maple, Green, and. Pearl in 1880, by the borough
authorities, although opened by private individuals in 1851. A
considerable area adjoining Beaver street above the canal has
recently been surveyed in streets, of which the most important
are Garden, Mansion, Spring, Summer, Corson, and Jefferson
Mention of repairing the streets occurs in the records at an
early period, and it appears that as early as 1769 half the
money realized from fines was applied to this purpose. In March,
1798, Mill street was declared to be impassable, and a number of
the inhabitants subscribed a sum of money for its repair. No
systematic efforts in the direction of permanent improvement
were made until recent years, beginning with 1856, when Dorrance
street was paved, curbed, and graded by order of council. This
treatment has since been extended to every highway in the
borough, and few towns in the state are more likely to impress
the observer more favorably in this respect. Two enterprises
indicative of this spirit of improvement deserve mention in this
connection. The Bristol Gas-Light Company was incorporated March
29, 1856, and organized with Lucius H. Scott, president, and
Charles W. Pierce, secretary and treasurer. The manufacture of
gas was begun July 30, 1857. Four or five miles of pipe have
been laid, and the convenience of gas light brought within the
reach of all. The Bristol Water Company was incorporated August
31, 1874. The source of water-supply is the Delaware river. The
average consumption is about two hundred and fifty thousand
gallons per day. The safety and healthfulness of the town are
thus provided for. The latest improvement agitated is the
construction of an adequate system of sewerage, a project that
commends itself to every public-spirited citizen. There are two
fire companies, Bristol No. 1, and the America, both of which
possess complete apparatus and own halls. Although these
organizations are purely voluntary, the town council
appropriates money for their support, and usually meets in the
building owned by Bristol No. 1, instead of in the town hall as
formerly. The latter is situated in Market street on Radcliffe.
Changes in the condition of society incident to the expansion
of a feeble frontier settlement into a populous manufacturing
town have necessitated corresponding alterations in the
machinery of local government. Bristol was incorporated as a
borough by virtue of a royal charter granted November 14, 1720.
The matter had evidently been agitated some years previously,
for in 1718 a petition was presented to the provincial council,
and the subject was referred to the chief-justice. The charter
provided for the election of two burgesses, a high constable,
and such other officers as were necessary to preserve the peace,
on the 8th day of September in each year. The chief burgess was
to appear before the governor within five days after his
election and take the oath of office, after which he qualified
his colleague and the other elected officers. They were
authorized to be "conservators of the peace and without any "law
proceeding, to deal summarily with rioters, law-breakers, and
other offenders." The functions of the high constable were of a
varied character; he was to be "clerk of the market,. . . . have
assize of bread, wine, beer, wood, and other things." A person
elected to the office of burgess and declining to serve was
liable to a fine of ten pounds, or if high constable, under
similar circumstances, five pounds, which is the only provision
for a revenue the framers of the charter considered necessary.
The legislative powers were vested in the whole body of
citizens, who were to assemble in town meeting at the call of
the burgess or constable. It is a question, however, whether the
town meeting consisted of other than members of the council with
the burgess. It is not known how the council came into
existence, but in 1732 it numbered six members, and the other
officers at that time beside the burgesses were the constable
and pound-keeper. As fiscal affairs became more important it
became necessary to provide for their regulation, and in 1745
the assembly passed an act providing for the election of
assessors, whose duty was simply to compute the tax from returns
made by the high constable. The limit of taxation was fixed at
three pence per pound. The appointment of a borough treasurer by
the council was also authorized. As the corporate existence of
Bristol was derived from the crown of Great Britain, it was
dissolved by the declaration of independence; whereupon the
assembly passed an act September 16, 1785, re-establishing its
former powers and privileges. The original charter thus revived
continued operative until 1851. Its defects were many; as a
writer of 1849 thus forcibly expresses it: "The powers reposed
in our borough officers should be amply explicit and determined;
those conferred by the present charter are vague, uncertain, and
undefined. In some instances their want of authority has been
severely felt and universally deprecated. In others it is
exceedingly questionable, while oftentimes it is absolute and
unbounded." At a general town meeting, held July 26, 1850,
Samuel Allen, Dr. Benjamin Malone, Andrew W. Gilkeson, Anthony
Swain, William H. Swift, Isaac Van Horn, Pugh Dungan, William M.
Downing, Gilbert Tomlinson, and William Bache were constituted a
committee to prepare a draft of a new charter, which, with
slight amendments, was passed by the legislature and approved
February 15, 1851. It increased the number of councilmen to
nine, but abolished the office of second burgess. The council
was increased to ten members in 1863, and to twelve in 1878,
when the borough was divided into three wards for election
purposes, and is at present so constituted. The other borough
officers are high constable and pound-keeper. Prior to 1863 all
officers were elected annually; but since that time the burgess
and councilmen are elected for two years, two of the latter
being chosen every year from each ward. The borough records now
extant begin with the year 1730. The official acts of the town
fathers reflect much that is of interest in connection with
village politics in the last century. The ferry, encroachments
upon the streets, and local nuisances were the most fruitful
sources of legislation. Public morals were jealously guarded. In
1769, when it appeared that crowds were accustomed to collect at
the Baths on Sunday and become disorderly, an ordinance was
passed forbidding any one to loiter in that vicinity; and in the
following year the custom of collecting on the street corners
was severely censured. It was the disorder incident to the fairs
that resulted in their discontinuance. The penalty for
Sabbath-breaking was confinement in the workhouse five days at
hard labor upon an allowance of bread and water. Election days
were sometimes disorderly; and that this might not occur, the
council decreed in 1751 that the polls should be opened at one
o’clock in the afternoon and close precisely at six in the
But two religious persuasions were represented in Bristol
during the first century of its history, the Friends and
Episcopalians. The meeting-house of the former, which is still
standing, and from all appearances may survive another hundred
years, was built in 1710 upon ground deeded for that purpose by
Samuel Carpenter to Joseph Kirkbride, Tobias Dimick, Thomas
Watson, Edward Mayos, and William Croasdale. This building was
repaired in 1738 and enlarged in 1763. The meeting was
established in 1704 by Falls meeting, with which many members of
the society in this vicinity were then connected. A
meeting-house was built for the orthodox Friends in 1828, and a
third for those of their number who accepted the Millerite
doctrines in 1867. These unfortunate divisions among the members
of the society have greatly reduced its numbers and influence.
The St. James’ Protestant Episcopal church originated
indirectly in a division among Friends about the year 1696, when
the more conservative party took the name of Keithians, from
George Keith, their leader, who maintained that the "inner
light" was not a sufficient guide, and that the only rule of
life was the written word of God, at the same time strenuously
advocating the sobriety and plainness of the sect. Keith
promulgated these doctrines with such success that fifteen
different meetings of the Friends were brought into full
agreement with him during a stay of several years in America.
Upon his return to England, Keith was again brought into contact
with the Anglican church, and the influence thus brought to bear
upon his mind completed his separation from the Quakers; he was
ordained to the ministry by Compton, bishop of London, and was
at once commissioned the first missionary of the "Society for
the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts." There was at
this time a single Episcopal clergyman in the province, Mr.
Evans, of Philadelphia. His arrival preceded that of Keith on
his second voyage two or three years, during which period
several hundred persons had been baptized. The presence of Keith
gave a new impetus to the movement; and during his brief stay,
he baptized at least two hundred persons, some of whom were from
Bristol. The Reverend John Talbot was chaplain on the man-of-war
in which Keith came out on his missionary voyage, and became
greatly interested in the plans of the society. When Keith
visited this locality, he was accompanied by Talbot, who became
the first rector of St. Mary’s parish, Burlington. Subsequent
developments with reference to this town are thus explained by
Dr. Humphreys: "New Bristol lies opposite Burlington, on the
other side of the Delaware. The people there forsook Quakerism
much about the same time the inhabitants of Burlington did. A
church was soon erected there through the zeal of the people,
especially through the means of two worthy gentlemen of the
place, Mr. John Rowland and Mr. Anthony Burton, who were chiefly
instrumental in this work. They had no missionary sent to reside
among them constantly, but used to be visited by the minister of
Burlington. Mr. Talbot, who was fixed at Burlington, used
frequently to cross the water to them, and preach and perform
all the ministerial offices . . . . . The people were sensible
that the society was not able to establish missionaries in every
place, and were therefore content to be assisted by the minister
of Burlington, and the society has always given directions that
the minister of that place should take Bristol into his care;"
so that the Reverend John Talbot was the first rector in charge
of this parish.
The church site and burial-grounds, comprising an acre and a
half, were donated by Anthony Burton. It is thought that the
donor first gave the lot upon which the church was to be
erected, and afterward supplemented this with the wider limits
now established. The church edifice was probably commenced in
1711. The founders of the parish had but little or no exterior
aid. The title-page of the old record book says of the church
that it was "built by subscription of several well-disposed
persons, and being finished was dedicated to the honor of St.
James the Greater, the festival of that apostle being ye 25th
July, 1712." Queen Anne favored this parish in common with many
others with the gift of a solid silver communion service, which
must have been given soon after the opening of the church, as
the queen died in 1714.
Mr. Talbot continued his connection with the parish until
1720, when he returned to England on a mission of great interest
to the church in this country. When he came to America again,
three years later, it was in the capacity of bishop, the first
ecclesiastical dignitary of his church in the British colonies.
During the three years of his absence the parish was supplied by
Reverend Thoroughgood Moore, and upon his death in 1827 Reverend
Robert Weyman took charge. The oldest records of the vestry
begin in his incumbency, with Matthew Rue and Francis Gaudorett,
church wardens; John Abram DeNormandie, William Hope, John
Anthony DeNormandie, John Bessonett, William Gregory, William
Silverstone, Evan Harris, John Underwood, Matthias Keene, John
Williams, Jonathan Bourne, and Thomas Worrell, vestrymen. It
appears that at this time the parish owned a "Church House,"
bequeathed by John Rowland. Mr. Weyman received ten pounds
yearly salary from Bristol. His successor, Reverend William
Lindsay, received twenty-four pounds. While he was in charge, an
entry was made in the records respecting "ye hours given to ye
church by Otter Atherson." This piece of property was sold for
thirty. seven pounds ten shillings. Reverend Carlin Campbell,
the next rector, was in charge from 1741 to 1766, a period of
twenty-five years, during all of which time the local
contributions to his support did not exceed ten pounds a year.
His successor, Mr. Odell, presided at a vestry meeting in 1768,
beyond which fact nothing more is known of him. Reverend Mr.
Lewis was the rector in 1776, and, with many other of the clergy
throughout the country, continued his attachment to the English
government. The odium which this course incurred was transferred
in great measure to the church itself. Buildings consecrated to
worship were visited with all the displeasure the uniform
loyalty of the clergy inspired. Bristol was no exception. The
parish church was not only desecrated, but wholly dismantled.
Its chancel furniture disappeared. The doors and windows were
carried away, and so it remained exposed to sunshine and storm;
and when an American cavalry company were stationed here for a
time, this venerable house of worship was used as a stable for
their horses. After the war, it remained in this half-ruinous
condition for a considerable period. It was for a time used as a
barn, and the graves in the unfenced burial-ground were trodden
under foot of man and beast with impunity. As late as 1806, a
former member of the parish gave charge that he should not be
buried in that neglected ground, but miles away in Bensalem
where his grave would be less open to violation.
Indeed, it seemed more difficult for the church to gain a
footing when the country entered upon a period of prosperity and
independence than it had been a century previous. In this
parish, it seemed as if the work of threescore years and ten had
been utterly lost. At the organization of the diocesan
convention at Philadelphia in 1785, Christopher Merrick
represented St. James’, Bristol, and although an effort was made
to secure a rector, no minister is reported as stationed here
until 1809. Services had been held for three years previously by
Reverend Henry Waddell, D.D., of Trenton, who officiated once in
two weeks, the stipulated compensation for which was fifty
pounds, or as much as the pew money should amount to. He appears
to have dissolved his connection with St. James’ in 1810.
Reverend James Andrews, D.D., provost of the University of
Pennsylvania, was the next rector. The record book makes no
mention of this fact, but journals of the early Pennsylvania
conventions make it evident. The ministry of Reverend Richard
Drason Hall began in February, 1813. This stipend, including
pew-rents, amounted to five hundred dollars, the largest yet
paid in the history of the church. The building of a new church
was agitated in view of increased attendance under his ministry,
but not effected. The bounds of the parish in 1815 are indicated
by the appointment in that year of John Harrison collector for
Bensalem, Joseph King and James Wright for Bristol, and George
Remson for Newport. The property outside of the church and
graveyard, vested in the parish, consisted in 1816 of the house
bequeathed by John Rowland in 1715, and a lot of half an acre in
Attleboro of which the donor is not known. Of the pews in the
church as enlarged in that year, one was free and one was set
apart for persons of color. The ministry of Mr. hail was one of
great zeal and in some respects of remarkable success. The
membership was largely increased and the church property greatly
Mr. Jacquette succeeded him in 1822, and Reverend Albert A.
Muller in 1823, but neither remained very long. The ministry of
the next rector, Reverend J.V.E. Thorn, was eminently
evangelical, but too short to have effected much permanent good.
He resigned February, 27, 1828. Reverend William H. Rue was
elected and appointed rector April 7, 1828; George W. Ridgeley
in 1830; W.S. Perkins in June, l833; Henry B. Barton January 1,
1855; Joseph W. Pierson July, 1857; W.W. Spear, D.D., in 1861;
John H. Drumm, D.D., February, 1863; John C. Brooks 1876; and
Joseph Lee 1878. Mr. Perkins thus speaks of things as they
existed when he entered the parish: "The church was discouraging
and unbecoming to the character of the place and the people; the
yard around was nearly destitute of trees, and even the
old-fashioned spire on the roof seemed to sympathize in the
general depression, for it had ceased to point directly
heavenward." The decaying edifice was at length repaired, but
the expense thus incurred absorbed all the property of the
parish. The communion plate given by Queen Anne had long since
disappeared; it was followed, one by one, as all the other
benefactions made to the parish were sold. At length it became
apparent that further repairs to the old church building were
useless. Mr. Barton began the erection of the present edifice,
and it was completed by his successor, Mr. Pierson. The
consecration occurred Wednesday, September 8, 1857, Right
Reverend Samuel Bowman, D.D, Assistant Bishop of the diocese,
presiding. Mr. Barton pronounced the sentence of consecration.
The edifice is of the Byzantine order of architecture, built of
Trenton brown-stone with bead mouldings and corbels, in
dimensions one hundred by forty-five feet, with a chancel
sixteen feet deep and seventeen feet wide, and a seating
capacity of five hundred. A handsome chapel for Sunday-school
purposes has recently been erected under the auspices of the
Ladies’ Aid Society.
The Methodist Episcopal church of Bristol is the oldest in
the state outside of Philadelphia, with a single exception. As
early as the year 1771, Captain Webb, of the British army,
stopped here on his way from New York to Philadelphia and
preached under a chestnut tree that stood upon the site of the
present Methodist church. On a later occasion, while on a visit
to Burlington, he crossed the river and preached to a large
congregation in his military uniform, causing much criticism on
the part of some of his hearers as to the propriety of a man in
the habiliments of war preaching a gospel of good-will to men.
Webb was licensed to preach by Mr. Wesley before the latter came
to America the second time. His military career was not
uneventful. He was present at the siege of Louisburg and with
Wolfe at the Plains of Abraham. He was wounded and lost an eye.
President Adams, who heard him preach in St. George’s Church,
Philadelphia, said that he was an eloquent speaker. Although the
formation of the society originated in his efforts, the first
class was not organized until the close of the revolutionary
war, probably fifteen years after Webb preached his first
sermon. It numbered eleven members, among whom were Mary Connor,
Francis Stackhouse, his wife Priscilla, Richard Gosline, his
wife Mary, Job Stackhouse, his wife Rebecca, William Kinsey, his
wife Catharine, Joseph Stackhouse, and his wife. It does not
appear that a leader was appointed for some years.
Meetings were held in private houses, which occasioned great
inconvenience. It was decided to build a place for worship, and
Mary Connor was authorized to solicit funds. Her efforts on this
occasion justly entitle her to the honor of founding the church.
The ground upon which Webb had preached his first sermon was
purchased for twenty-five pounds. The work progressed so far
that the materials were collected and money placed in the hands
of the treasurer sufficient for their payment, when he defaulted
and the labor of collecting was repeated. The building was
finally completed in 1804. No event of signal importance
occurred for some years. There were great revivals in 1825 and
1827, and in the latter year seventy persons united with the
church, among whom was William Kinsey, one of the oldest living
members of this denomination in the county. Bristol circuit was
formed in 1788, and included the whole of Bucks county, with
portions of Montgomery, Lehigh, and Northampton. It was divided
in 1840, when Bristol, Bustleton, and Holmesburg became a
charge. In 1844 Bristol became a separate station. The old
church building was enlarged in 1827 by the addition of twenty
feet. It was then forty feet long in a direction parallel with
the street, and half as wide. The present church edifice was
built in 1852, and has been remodelled and enlarged quite
frequently. Its estimated value is thirteen thousand dollars;
present membership, three hundred.
A list of preachers in charge of Bristol since the circuit
was established, compiled from annual conference minutes, is
herewith presented: 1788, William Dougherty; 1789, Robert Kane;
1790, Robert Hutchinson; 1791, Gamaliel Bailey, Joseph Lovell;
1792, Simon Miller, Isaac Robinson; 1793, N.B. Mills, E. Pelham,
L. Rogers; 1794, William Hunter, John Bateman; 1795, William
Hardesty, Joseph Rouen; 1796, William Colbert, Joseph Whitley;
1797, Charles Caverder, Richard Lyon; 1798, James Moore; 1799,
Joseph Ebert; 1800, Anning Owen, James Osborn; 1801, W.P.
Chandler, John Ledler; 1802, Thomas Everard, R. McCoy, T. Jones;
1803, Henry Clark, John Bethel; 1804, David Bartine, David
James; 1805, Asa Smith, Daniel Highbee; 1806, Asa Smith, William
Hogen; 1807, John Walker, Richard Lyon; 1808, Thomas Dunn, James
Polemus; l809, D. Bartine, J. Akins, J. Stepless; 1810, J.
Akins, W.S. Fisher, W. P. Chandler; 1811, Thomas Boring, William
S. Fisher; 1812, Richard Smith, John Walker, John Fernon; 1813,
P. Dimm, Charles Reed, James Polemus; 1814, Charles Reed, D.
Bartine; 1815, William Torbet, William M. Foulke; 1816, Asa
Smith, Daniel Ireland, P. Price; 1817, John Fox, Asa Smith;
1818, John Robertson, John Price; 1819, Samuel Budd, John Price;
1820, Manning Force, Phineas Price; 1822—23, Jacob Gruber,
Daniel Fiddler; 1824, William Williams, Thomas Davis; 1825,
Edward Stout, James Grace; 1826, Edward Stout, Joseph Carey;
1827, Henry G. King, Robert Lutton; 1828, Henry G. King, J.B.
Ayres; 1829, Thomas Neal, Nathaniel Chew; 1830, Thomas Neal,
Manlove Hazel; 1831, Edward Page, John Finley, James Long; 1832,
Edward Page, Asbury Boring; 1833, D. Bartine, J. Nicholson:
1834, D. Bartine, C.S. Wharton: 1835, J. Woolston; 1836, D.W.
Bartine, Jr., R. McNamee; 1837, D.W. Bartine, Jr., James Hand;
1838, William Williams; 1839, William Gentner; 1840, John Ludnam,
William McMichael; 1841, R. Thomas, G. Allen; 1842, R. Thomas,
J. Walsh; 1843, James Asprill; 1844—45, Thomas S. Johnson; 1847,
G.D. Carrow; 1848, G.D. Carrow, L.K. Berridge; 1849, R. McNamee,
W. McMichael; 185l—52, William McCoombe; 1853—54, M.H. Sisty;
1855—56, J.F. Boone; 1857—58, E.J. Way; 1859—60, G.N. McGrauth;
1861—62, P.J. Coxe; 1863—64, A. Johns; 1865, William Barnes;
1866, I.H. Irwin; 1867, H. Grove; 1868, ----- Griffith; 1869—70,
William Riull; 1871—72, William Dabright; 1873—74, F.E. Church;
1875—77, J.S. Cook; 1878—80, I. Cunningham; 1881—83, H.E.
Gilroy; 1884—86, -----Ridgway; 1887, S.T. Kimball.
The Presbyterian church, Bristol, Reverend E.P. Shields,
pastor, owes its origin to the energy and self-denying efforts
of the Reverend James M. Harlow, who came to Bristol and moved
in the matter of its organization, and especially in the work of
the erection of a house of worship, as early as the spring of
the year 1844. He seems to have secured subscriptions in every
quarter to which he could make appeal, churches, ministers, and
individuals listening favorably to his plans. He also gave
diligence to the work of building, not only by planning the only
edifice the congregation has ever occupied, but also in material
service with manual labor and by securing like help from willing
hands in the community. Presbytery received the organization
under its care at the session of April 22, 1846. The fourteen
original members were John Koons, Sarah P. Harlow, Anna M.
Harlow, Anna M. Strigers, Elizabeth M. Wright, Isaac Van Horn,
Adaline Van Horn, Anna Van Horn, Mary (Van Uxem) Pierce, John
McQuilkin, Mary MeQuilkin, W.W. Wallace, Clara Wallace, and
Elizabeth Evans, of whom Mrs. Pierce is the only survivor. It is
a remarkable fact that all the pastors are still living and
engaged in active work. Their order of succession is as follows:
James M. Harlow, 1844—50; Franklin D. Harris, 1851—61; Alfred
Taylor, 1862—64; Henry F. Lee, 1865—68; Jacob Weidman, 1868—73;
James H. Mason Knox, D.D., 1873—83; Edward P. Shields, 1884. The
church building was enlarged and re-furnished in 1872 at
considerable expense. There is also a large and commodious
parsonage conveniently located near the church. With the growth
of the town there are many reasons for the confidence that this
church, distinguished for its harmony and energy, will advance
to still greater usefulness in the future.
St. Mark’s Roman Catholic parish originated in the efforts of
Reverend McGordon more than fifty years ago. He was then pastor
at Trenton, but came to Bristol at stated periods and celebrated
mass at private houses, among others those of James Ryan,
Matthew McAdams, James Johnson, Terence Brady, and William
Donald. Funeral services were always held at Trenton, then the
only place of interment within the bounds of that extensive
parish. Father McGordon was an old man of venerable appearance.
Father Gilligan succeeded him, and continued to visit Bristol.
Reverend John Mackin was next in order, and through his efforts
a church was built. This was a one-story building, with six
windows on each side, the vestibule in front, flat roof,
surmounted by a cross at the apex above the door. It was
dedicated in 1845 by Bishop Neuman, of the diocese of
Philadelphia. The following clergymen have successively been
pastors since that time: John C. Flanagan, Patrick Nugent,
Laurence A. Brennan, Daniel Kelley, Patrick McSwiggen, James
Cullen, Henry Riley, Edmund Prendergast, Patrick Lynch, and John
Ward, the present incumbent. Father Flanagan was the first
resident priest. The church building was destroyed by fire in
1866. It was rebuilt in 1867; the corner-stone was laid on the
first Sunday in September of that year by Bishop Shanahan,
assisted by the clergy. This edifice was consecrated under the
ministry of Father Lynch, but not finally completed until quite
recently. Father Ward is at present concentrating the energies
of the parish upon the erection and equipment of a parochial
school building. An eligible site has been secured on Radcliffe
street, between Penn and Dorrance, and active building
operations are in progress. The present numerical strength of
the parish is about one thousand souls.
The First Baptist church of Bristol was constituted September
29, 1848, with fifteen members, viz., Amos Corson, Peter W.
Appleton, Mary A. Pennington, Melissa Kinsey, Mary Earl,
Margaret A. Booz, Susan Booz, Mary A. Sneger, Margaret Wesinger,
Mary Appleton, Elizetta Corson, Maria A. Corson, Emily Forest,
Caroline Murphy, and Sarah Johnson. A council was immediately
called to consider the propriety of recognizing this body as a
regular Baptist church. This council was composed of delegates
from several churches of Philadelphia, and many honored names
appear in the records on this occasion, among them Doctors Ide,
Kennard, Dodge, Gillette, Allison, and Hansell. The sermon was
preached by Reverend J.B. Stetler, in the Methodist church
building by the kind permission of that body. Reverend C.
Davidson was at that time the acting pastor, and continued in
that capacity until February, 1850, when Rev. C.J. Page became
pastor, the "Pennsylvania Baptist State Convention" contributing
to his support. An act for the incorporation of the church was
secured in the following June. The church increased in numbers
and influence under Mr. Page’s administration. Measures were
taken for the erection of a house of worship, which resulted in
the completion of the fine brown-stone edifice at the corner of
Walnut and Cedar streets. The list of Mr. Page’s successors is
as follows: Reverends William Swinden, John Miller, Malachi
Taylor, N.B. Baldwin, Thomas Goodwin, C.E. Hardin, William H.
Conard, L.G. Beck, and I.W. King, the present incumbent (1887).
Mr. Hyde’s pastorate was marked by many accessions. Mr. Hardin
was active in the building of a parsonage; Mr. Conard directed
his efforts to the liquidation of the indebtedness, an
incumbrance that greatly retarded the growth of the church, and
this movement was successfully completed by his successor, Mr.
Beck. The usual lights and shadows of church history have been
mingled in this instance; but with an unincumbered church
property eligibly located, and a harmonious membership, its
prospects of future usefulness are encouraging.
The Masonic fraternity has been represented in Bristol more
than a century. Bristol Lodge, No. 25, A.Y.M.. was instituted
March 29, 1780, with John Clark, W.M., Samuel Benezet, S.W.,
William McIlvaine, J.W., under a dispensation granted two weeks
previously by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
Tyrringham Palmer, Patrick Griffith, Joseph McIlvaine, Samuel
Bloomfield, Samuel Priestly, David Kennedy, and John Dowdney
were also among its earliest members. Daniel Kennedy was first
secretary, and Jacob Shallers first treasurer, and it is
supposed that the first meetings were held at the house of Henry
Shillingberg on Cedar street near Mill. The first hall owned by
the lodge was dedicated to masonry, November 18, 1815; the
second and present hall is similarly situated, and was dedicated
May 1, 1854. The active existence of the fraternity has been
suspended at two periods of its history, 1801—12 and 1825—48.
Its present condition is prosperous.
Hopkins Lodge, No. 87, I.O.O.F., was instituted October 16,
1843, with the following officers and members: Pugh Dungan, N.G.,
Joseph W. Carton, V.G., Charles T. Brudon, S., William Earley,
A.S., James Strimbach, T., Andrew W. Gilkeson, Jacob McBrien,
Morton Righter, Abraham Kelley, and John McEntee. Present
membership, one hundred and forty; available assets, eleven
Hermione Lodge, No. 109, K. of P., was instituted September
The original members were: William K. Evans, William T.
Ennis, Edward B. Brown, Joseph M. Randall, John K. Bunting,
Allen L. Garwood, Charles S. Wollard, Samuel P. Bains, and
Mohican Tribe, No. 127, Imp. O. of R. M., was instituted May
19, 1870, with C.C. Brown, S., William Holt, S.S., C.E. Seibert,
J.S., Thomas B. Douglass, C. of R., Henry M. Wright, K. of W.,
and William F. Bailey, P. Present membership, one hundred and
thirty; available assets, eleven thousand dollars.
Captain H. Clay Beatty Post, No. 73, G.A.R., was constituted
September 13, 1877, with the following named members: Jacob C.
Hamilton, Richard H. Morris, Eli West, John W. Ryan, John Ward,
William B. Baker, Burnet Landreth, J. Wesley Wright, J.C. Tabram,
W. Taylor Potts, George E. Pettit, William Bache, Charles
Appleton, Eugene Highland, A.L. Garwood, Strickland Yardley,
John L. Lashell, Hugh Mackie, Thomas B. Harkins, M.R. Doan,
Samuel Holt, William H. Girton, James G. Paxson, William Ackers,
and Samuel Hoff. Auxiliary to this, a Ladies’ Loyal Circle was
organized July 13, 1883, and Col. J.M. Goslin Camp, No. 98, S.
of V., July 4, 1886.
Fidelity Council, No. 21, Jr. O.U.A.M., was instituted
November 27, 1882, with the following named members: Robert H.
Neely, Harry W. Hart, William B. Douglass, F.P. Doble, J.T.
Stradling, Robert Fetrow, George Cramer, Samuel Van Horn, George
Vanzant, Charles Booz, William H. Hall, William E. Appleton, F.B.
Booz, W.H. Holt, Charles McCorkle.
Bristol Castle, No. 103, K. of M.C., organized May 19, 1883,
with William F. Bailey, P.C., H.C. Barnes, C., L.A. Roden, V.C.,
S.W. Minster, Lieut. Present membership, one hundred and forty.
Martha Washington Chamber, No. 2, K. of F., was instituted
July 7, 1553, with forty members. Past officers: John J. Wilson,
H.C. Vendere, R.F. Buseman, A.F. Irensmeyer, J.B. Farrel, W.P.
Wright, J.S. Fine, W.W. Smith, W. Robinson, W. Ackers, John
MacCorkle, W.H.P. Hall, James Gentleman, Hugh Mackie, John
Carty, and W. Woodington.
Light of Liberty Lodge, No. 135, American Protestant
Association, was instituted December 16, 1884, with William
Chase, W.M., John Young, W.D.M., Asher Conn, R.S., Peyton
Dewitt, F.S., G.W. Fisher, A.S., Thomas Dewitt, T.
Bristol Lodge, No. 16, O. of T., was organized January 12,
1886, with Henry B. Banes, P.P., W.H.H. Hall, Pres., John McLees,
V.P., Thomas B. Douglass, Sec., John H. Young, Treas., and W.
Taylor Potts, M. Ex.
The Women’s Christian Temperance Union of Bristol was
organized in the Methodist church, October 25, 1885, with Mrs.
Joshua Pierce, president, Mrs. E.J. Groom, vice-president, Miss
L. Swain, secretary, and Miss Ellen Warner, treasurer, all of
whom have continued as incumbents of their respective offices to
the present time, and, with a vice-president representing each
religious denomination, form the executive committee. The union
organized with thirty-five members, and now numbers one hundred
and forty. It has taken up the following branches of work with a
superintendent for each department: Evangelistic, press,
temperance literature, petitions, and unfermented wine at
communion. Thousands of tracts have been circulated. The union
has been aggressive, and, so far as could be expected, quite
Nonpareil Council, R.A., was instituted April 18, 1887, with
J. Wesley Wright, R., J.K. Young, V.R., H.G. Peters, P.R., W.E.
Doron, S., Byram C. Foster, T., Abram S. Wilson, M. Ex.
The public school system of Bristol was inaugurated in 1837,
with Gilbert Tomlinson, David E. Woodington, James Johnson,
James Harrison, Jonathan Adams, and William Kinsey, directors. A
school building was erected on land given for that purpose by
the town council at the corner of Wood and Mulberry streets. It
cost when furnished about six thousand dollars. The schools were
opened December 15, 1837, the male and female departments being
under the supervision of James Anderson and Anna N. Smith
respectively. A second school building was erected in 1853 on
Otter street; a third in 1877 on Washington street; and a fourth
on Bath street in 1880, to take the place of the Otter street
building, which hail become inadequate in size and appointments.
The office of borough superintendent was created in 1885, of
which Miss Matilda Booz is the present incumbent. The
subordinate teachers number sixteen. The schools have been
maintained ten months in the year for some time, and the
efficiency of the system thereby assured.
The Bristol Library is an important auxiliary to the schools
in promoting the general intelligence of the town. Its affairs
are managed by a sort of joint stock company, which was
organized April 2, 1878, with James H. Mason Knox, D.D.,
president, A. Weir Gilkeson, secretary, and Dr. G.W. Adams,
treasurer. The library was opened in Washington hall with three
hundred and twenty-seven volumes, which number has since
increased to two thousand. Under the present social conditions
of the borough there is a wide field of usefulness for an
institution of this character; and under the liberal management
of its promoters, its possibilities may ultimately be realized.
The public school system, as promulgated in the act of April
1, 1834, was adopted by the people of Bristol township at the
following election. The directors chosen, Moses Larue, Henry M.
Wright, Lardner Van Uxem, Daniel Bailey, Samuel L. Booz, and
Joshua Wright, held their first meeting on Saturday, September
27, 1834, at the house of Willis H. Baldwin, and organized with
Moses Larue president. It does not appear that the schools
received much attention during the first two years. At the
election in March, 1837, the question of "school or no school"
was again voted upon and decided in the affirmative, which
placed the system on a permanent footing. Five schools, known
respectively as Newportville, Centerville, Laurel Bend, Smith’s
corner, and Badger’s, were opened November 1, 1837, with Daniel
B. Hibbs, James C. King, Andrew J. Gilkeson, William Paxton, and
E.Q. Pool teachers. The following entry in the minutes of the
board for 1840 may interest the pedagogue of the present day:
"Horace Estes agrees to teach the Centerville school ten months;
to commence on the first day of June, at the sum of twenty-three
dollars per month. He agrees to teach reading, spelling,
wrighting, geography, astronomy, arithmetic, English grammar,
natural philosophy, intellectual philosophy, rhetoric,
book-keeping, algebra, geometry, history, and the French
language," from which it would seem that the curriculum has been
contracted since 1840, notwithstanding the boasted progress of
the school system.
Bristol College, an institution under the auspices of the
Protestant Episcopal church, was established at China Retreat,
in this township, in 1833, with Reverend Chauncey Coulton, D.D.,
president. It collapsed within a few years, and was subsequently
transformed into a classical school, a military academy, and a
school for the children of colored soldiers. A school of
experimental agriculture under the Fellenberg system was
established near Tullytown in 1830 by Anthony Morris under the
principalship of F.A. Ismar, a student in the Hofwyl school in
Prussia. This project also collapsed.
There are several agricultural features worthy of
notice—among others the Bloomsdale seed farm of D. Landreth &
Sons, established in 1784, the most extensive in the world.
Plants of every variety have been propagated here. A number of
garden implements have been originated in the course of the
experiments constantly in progress. No establishment of a
similar character is so widely and favorably known.
The Belle Meade farm was once owned by Bela Badger, one of
the most widely known men of his day. Born at Windham,
Connecticut, in 1768, he engaged in business in Baltimore, and
removed to this county in 1807. Here he owned the Belle Meade,
Island, and Fairview farms, comprising about eight hundred acres
of the best land in the county, about half of which he reclaimed
from a marsh by a system of embankments and drainage. He became
interested in the turf during his residence in Baltimore, where
he purchased "Hickory," and with him won a race on the
Germantown course with "Postboy," owned by Ethan Allen, at two
thousand dollars a side. He was subsequently associated with
William R. Johnson, of Virginia, in the ownership of some of the
best racing stock of that day; it was by their efforts that the
superiority of southern horses was first demonstrated.
The villages of the township are Pine Grove, a suburb of
Bristol, Newportville, and Emilie. The former was laid out in
1800, and was known as Newport until 1836, when it became
necessary to add the third syllable in locating the post-office.
It comprises extensive mills, carriage works, several stores,
with other necessary features of a country village. Emilie was
formerly known as Centerville, and is situated partly in
Middletown. The Episcopal church in Newportville is connected
with that in Hulmeville. The Methodist church building at Emilie
was built by the Presbyterians, subsequently sold to the
Baptists, and finally disposed of to the denomination by which
it is now owned, in 1858, principally through the efforts of the
trustees of Bristol M.E. church. Reverend William P. Howell was
the first pastor. By far the earliest denominational
organization was the Cold Spring Baptist church, established by
the Reverend Thomas Dungan in 1684. It was disbanded in 1702.
Among others who were buried in the graveyard were Reverends
Samuel Jones, Joseph Wood, and Thomas Dungan, all of whom were
identified with the early history of the Baptist church in this
1720. Burgesses, Joseph Bond, John hail; high Constable,
1730. Burgesses, John Hall, Nathan Watson; High Constable,
John Priestly; Council, John Abram DeNormandie, Ennion Williams,
Thomas Marriott, James Higgs, John Elfreth, William Hope.
1731. Burgesses, John Abram DeNormandie, Nathan Watson; high
Constable, John Priestly; Council, Thomas Marriott, James Higgs,
Ennion Williams, Benjamin Wright, John Elfreth, William Hope.
1732. Burgesses, John Hall, Ennion Williams; Council, John
Abraham DeNormandie, Thomas Marriott, Benjamin Wright, James
Higgs, William Hope, John Elfreth.
1742. Burgesses, John Abram DeNormandie, John Frohoe; high
Constable, John Hutchinson; Council, Joseph Jackson, William
Buckley, Thomas Marriott, Ennion Williams, Nicholas Allen,
1743—44. Burgesses, John Abraham DeNormandie, John Frohoe;
High Constable, John Hutchinson; Council, Ennion Williams,
Thomas Marriott, Joseph Jackson, John Anthony DeNormandie,
1745. Burgesses, John Hall, William Buckley; Council, John
Abram DeNormandie, Ennion Williams, Thomas Marriott, Joseph
Jackson, William Atkinson, John Frohoe.
1746. Burgesses, John Hall, William Buckley; high Constable,
John Priestly; Council, John Abram DeNormandie, Ennion Williams,
John Frohoe, William Atkinson, John Anthony DeNormandie, William
1747. Burgesses, William Buckley, Matthias Keen; High
Constable, John Priestly; Council, John Abram DeNormandie, John
Hall, Alexander Graydon, Ennion Williams, Thomas Marriott,
Joseph Jackson (John Anthony DeNormandie, John Frohoe, Samuel
Harker, elected February 29, 1745, to fill vacancies).
1748. Burgesses, William Buckley, John DeNormandie; High
Constable, John Priestly; Council, John Abram DeNormandie,
Ennion Williams, Alexander Graydon, John Hall, John Frohoe,
Samuel Harker, Nicholas Allen, John Hutchinson, Joseph Church.
1749. Burgesses, William Buckley, John DeNormandie; Council,
Joseph Atkinson, William Large, John Abram DeNormandie, Ennion
Williams, Alexander Graydon, Samuel Harker, Nicholas Allen, John
Hutchinson, Joseph Church.
1750. Burgesses, William Buckley, William Large; Council,
Ennion Williams, John Abram DeNormandie, Alexander Graydon,
Joseph Atkinson, Joseph Church, Thomas Marriott.
1751. Burgesses, William Buckley, Joseph Church; High
Constable, John Priestly; Council, John Abram DeNormandie,
Alexander Graydon, Joseph Atkinson, William Large, Ennion
Williams, John Allen, Barnard Duffield, Thomas Marriott, Anthony
1752—53. Burgesses, William Buckley, Thomas Marriott; High
Constable, John Priestly; Council, Ennion Williams, Alexander
Graydon, John A. DeNormandie, Joseph Church, William Large, John
Allen, Joseph Atkinson, Thomas Stapler, Ebenezer Robinson.
1754. Burgesses, William Buckley, Thomas Marriott; high
Constable, John Priestly; Council, Ennion Williams, Alexander
Graydon, John A. DeNormandie, Joseph Church, William Large, John
Allen, Joseph Atkinson, Thomas Stapler, Matthew Keen.
1755. Burgesses, John DeNormandie, Joseph Atkinson; High
Constable, John Priestly; Council, John Abram DeNormandie,
Ennion Williams, Alexander Graydon, William Buckley, Joseph
Church, William Large, John Allen, Thomas Marriott, Matthias
1756. Burgesses, John DeNormandie, Joseph Atkinson; High
Constable, John Priestly; Council, John Abram DeNormandie,
Ennion Williams, Thomas Stapler, William Buckley, John
Hutchinson, William Large, John Allen, Thomas Marriott, Matthias
1757. Burgesses, William Buckley, Joseph Atkinson; High
Constable, John Priestly; Council, Ennion Williams, John Abram
DeNormandie, Alexander Graydon, William Large, John Allen,
Thomas Marriott, Samuel Woolston, John Hutchinson, Daniel
1758. Burgesses, John DeNormandie, William Large; High
Constable, John Priestly; Council, Ennion Williams, Alexander
Graydon, William Buckley, John Hutchinson, John Allen, Daniel
DeNormandie, Thomas Marriott, Joseph Atkinson, Burnet Richards.
1759. Burgesses, Ennion Williams, William Large; high
Constable, Abraham Bulsford; Council, Alexander Graydon, Thomas
Marriott, John Hutchinson, Joseph Atkinson, Burnet Richards,
John Priestly, John Allen, John DeNormandie, David Pinkerton.
1760. Burgesses, Hugh Hartshorne, Burnet Richards; High
Constable, John Priestly; Council, Ennion Williams, Alexander
Graydon, Thomas Marriott, John Hutchinson, Joseph Church, Joseph
Atkinson, John Allen, John Green, J. DeNormandie.
1761. Burgesses, John Hall, John Green; High Constable,
Samuel Woolson; Council, Ennion Williams, Hugh Hartshorne, John
DeNormandie, John Allen, William Large, Joseph Atkinson, Joseph
1762. Burgesses, Hugh Hartshorne, John Priestly; high
Constable, Joseph Brown; Council, Ennion Williams, John
DeNormandie, John Hall, William McIlvaine, Joseph Atkinson,
William Large, Joseph Church.
1763. Burgesses, Hugh Hartahorne, David Pinkerton; High
Constable, Joseph Brown; Council, Ennion Williams, John
DeNormandie, Joseph Atkinson, Joseph Church, William Large, John
Allen, John Priestly.
1764. Burgesses, John Priestly, Joseph Hall; High Constable,
Joseph Brown; Council, Ennion Williams, Hugh Hartshorne, Joseph
Church, Joseph Atkinson, Jonathan Haight, William McIlvain, John
1765. Burgesses, Phineas Buckley, John Hutchinson; Council,
Ennion Williams, Hugh Hartshorne, Joseph Church, Joseph
Atkinson, Jonathan Haight, Joseph Hall, John Green.
1766. Burgesses, Phineas Buckley, John Bessonett; Council,
Ennion Williams, Hugh Hartshorne, John DeNormandie, Joseph
Atkinson, Jonathan Haight, John Green, John Priestly.
1768—74. Burgesses, Phineas Buckley, John Bessonett; High
Constable, Joseph Brown; Council, Ennion Williams, John
DeNormandie, Hugh Hartshorne, John Priestly, Joseph Atkinson,
John Green, Charles Bessonett. (Green was succeeded by Patterson
Hartshorne in 1772, and Priestly by John Hutchinson in 1773.)
1774—75. Burgesses, Phineas Buckley, John Bessonett; Council,
Ennion Williams, John Abram DeNormandie, Hugh Hartshorne, Joseph
Atkinson, Charles Bessonett, John Hutchinson, William McIlvaine.
(Joseph Church succeeded Charles Bessonett in 1775, and John
Gosline became High Constable in that year.)
1784-5. Burgesses, Daniel Kennedy, Joseph Clunn; High
Constable, Richard Gosline; Council, William McIlvaine, Joseph
McIlvaine, Charles Bessonett, Archibald McElroy, John Gosline,
John Dowdney, John Priestly. (William Rodman succeeded Priestly
1786. Burgesses, Amos Gregg, Thomas Pearson; high Constable,
Richard Gosline; Council, Joseph McIlvaine, Archibald McElroy,
John Hutchinson, Timothy Merrick, Job Stackhouse, Joseph
Vanschiver, Jonathan Pursell.
1787. Burgesses, Amos Gregg, Thomas Pearson; High Constable,
Richard Gosline; Council, John Hutchinson, Charles Bessonett,
Robert Merrick, Job Stackhouse, Timothy Merrick, Jonathan
Pursell, William Allen.
1788—89. Burgesses, John Hutchinson, Thomas Pearson; High
Constable, Timothy Merrick; Council, Samuel Kinsey, Amos Gregg,
William McIlvaine, Pearson Mitchell, Job Stackhouse, Jonathan
Pursell. (Archibald McElroy succeeded Gregg in 1789.)
1790. Burgesses, John Hutchinson, Joseph Clunn; High
Constable, John Murray; Council, William McIlvaine, Archibald
McElroy, Pearson Mitchell, Thomas Pearson, Samuel Kinsey,
Timothy Merrick, Jonathan Pursell.
1791. Burgesses, John Hutchinson, Jonathan Pursell; High
Constable, John Murray; Council, Archibald McElroy, Joseph Clunn,
Thomas Pearson, Pearson Mitchell, Samuel Kinsey, Timothy
Merrick, Joseph Minnick.
1792—93. Burgesses, Joseph Minnick, John Gosline; high
Constable, John Murray; Council, Archibald McElroy, Charles
Bessonett, Thomas Pearson, Timothy Merrick, Samuel Kinsey,
Jonathan Pursell, James Harrison. (Joseph Clunn and William
Crawford succeeded McElroy and Bessonett in 1793.)
1794. Burgesses, Joseph Minnick, Robert Merrick; Council,
Archibald McElroy, Charles Bessonett, George Merrick, Timothy
Merrick, Samuel Kinsey, Jonathan Pursell, Job Stackhouse.
1795. Burgesses, Amos Gregg, Richard Trimble; high Constable,
Richard Merrick, Jr. ; Council, Samuel Kinsey, John Gosline,
John Hutchinson, Joseph Clunn, Charles Bessonett, Job
Stackhouse, Benjamin Walton.
1796. Burgesses, Joseph P. Minnick, John Gosline; High
Constable, Francis Stackhouse; Council, Joseph Clunn, Amos
Gregg, Job Stackhouse, Timothy Merrick, Jonathan Pursell,
William Crawford, Lewis Howard.
1797. Burgesses, Charles Shoemaker, John Gosline; High
Constable, Francis Stackhouse ; Council, Joseph Clunn, John
Hutchinson, Job Stackhouse, Amos Gregg, Samuel Kinsey, Jonathan
Pursell, William Crawford.
1798. Burgesses, Amos Gregg, Joseph P. Minnick; High
Constable, Francis Stackhouse; Council, William Crawford, John
Hutchinson, Richard Lloyd, James Harrison, James Serrill, Joseph
Stackhouse, John Baldwin.
1799. Burgesses, John Gosline, Archibald McElroy; High
Constable, Francis Stackhouse ; Council, Joseph Clunn, John
Hutchinson, Job Stackhouse, Jonathan Pursell, William Crawford,
Richard Lloyd, John Hutchinson, Jr.
1802. Burgesses, Samuel Scotton, William Perkins; High
Constable, William Crawford; Council, John Gosline, Amos Gregg,
Joseph Clunn, Joseph Headley, Jonathan Pursell, James Harrison,
1803. Burgesses, William Perkins, Samuel Scotton; High
Constable, John Johnson; Council, Joseph Clunn, Jonathan
Pursell, Joseph Headley, Benjamin Swain, William McElhaney,
William Crawford, John Reed.
1804. Burgesses, Samuel Scotton, William Perkins ; High
Constable, John Johnson ; Council, Joseph Headley, Benjamin
Swain, Joseph Clunn, William McElhaney, William Crawford, Amos
Gregg, Job Stackhouse.
1805. Burgesses, Amos Gregg, Henry Disborough ; high
Constable, Enos Wright; Council, Joseph Clunn, John Reed,
William Crawford, Samuel Church, John Patterson, Noah Haines,
1806. Burgesses, John Gosline, Henry Disborough; High
Constable, Enos Wright; Council, Joseph Clunn, William Crawford,
Samuel Scotton, William McIlhany, Benjamin Swain, Joseph
Headley, John Patterson.
1807. Burgesses, Amos Gregg, John Reed; High Constable,
William Kinsey; Council, Phineas Buckley, Job Stackhouse, Samuel
Lounsbury, John White, Samuel Church, Joseph Stackhouse, Stephen
1808—9. Burgesses, Amos Gregg, J.S. Mitchell; High Constable,
William Kinsey; Council, Phineas Buckley, Joseph Headley, Job
Stackhouse, Ebenezer Headley, Joseph Stackhouse, Jonathan
Pursell, William Crawford. (John Reed succeeded Crawford in
1810. Burgesses, Amos Gregg, J.S. Mitchell; High Constable,
William Kinsey; Council, Phineas Buckley, Samuel Scotton,
Jonathan Pursell, Joseph Stackhouse, John Reed, Abraham Warner,
1811—12. Burgesses, Amos Gregg, Henry Disborough; High
Constable, Henry Tomlinson; Council, Joseph Clunn, Phineas
Buckley, Jonathan Pursell, John Reed, Samuel Church, Abraham
Warner, Samuel Lounsberry. (William Ennis became High Constable
1813. Burgesses, Archibald McElroy, John Bessonett; High
Constable, Henry Tomlinson; Council, Joseph Clunn, John
Patterson, John White, David Swain, William Crawford, Hugh Tomb,
1815. Burgesses, Archibald McElroy, John White; High
Constable, Abraham Hagerman; Council, Joseph Clunn, William
Crawford, John Patterson, John Bessonett, Benjamin Swain, Isaac
1816—17. Burgesses, Louis Bache, Abraham Warner; High
Constable, John H. Merrick (Abraham Hagerman in 1817); Council,
Benjamin Swain, Henry Disborough, Isaac Pitcher, Amos Gregg,
John Bessonett, John Phillips, John Reed.
1818. Burgesses, Archibald McElroy, William Crawford; High
Constable, Charles Snyder; Council, Amos Gregg, Benjamin Swain,
John Bessonett, John Reed, Ebenezer Stackhouse, David Swain.
1819. Burgesses, Archibald McElroy, John White; High
Constable, John Johnson; Council, John G. Priestly, Isaac
Pitcher, Samuel Lewis, Henry Tomlinson, Ebenezer Stackhouse,
John Bessonett, Lewis P. Kinsey.
1820. Burgesses, Archibald McElroy, Henry Disborough; High
Constable, John T. Brown; Council, Ebenezer Stackhouse, John
Bessonett, John Kinsey, Isaac Pitcher, John White, Fincher
Hellings, John Johnson.
1821. Burgesses, John Phillips, Benjamin Swain; High
Constable, John T. Brown; Council, John Reed, William Crawford,
Ebenezer Stackhouse, John Hutchinson, Samuel Allen, Joseph
Warner, L.P. Kinsey.
1822. Burgesses, John Phillips, Henry Disborough; High
Constable, John T. Brown; Council, Benjamin Swain, Joseph
Warner, Samuel Allen, David Dorrance, William F. Swift, Ebenezer
Stackhouse, William Crawford.
1823. Burgesses, Joseph Warner, Henry Disborough; High
Constable, John T. Brown; Council, William Crawford, Ebenezer
Stackhouse, John Hutchinson, Benjamin Swain, Samuel Allen, John
Kinsey, Isaac Wilson.
1824. Burgesses, David Dorrance, Joseph M. Downing; High
Constable, John T. Brown; Council, David Swain, James Johnson,
Robert Cabeen, John Heiss, William F. Swift, John White.
1825. Burgesses, Joseph Warner, Joseph M. Downing; High
Constable, William Gale; Council, Ebenezer Stackhouse, Benjamin
Swain, Samuel Allen, Robert Cabeen, William F. Swift, John
Kinsey, John Bessonett.
1826. Burgesses, Joseph Warner, Joseph M. Downing; High
Constable, John Johnson; Council, Ebenezer Stackhouse, Benjamin
Swain, William F. Swift, Samuel Allen, Robert Cabeen, John
Bessonett, John Kinsey.
1827. Burgesses, Joseph Warner, Joseph M. Downing; High
Constable, John Johnson; Council, Robert Cabeen, Samuel Allen,
Benjamin Swain, William F. Swift, John Bessonett, John Kinsey,
1828. Burgesses, Joseph M. Downing, Benjamin Swain; High
Constable, John Johnson; Council, Robert Cabeen, John Bessonett,
Samuel Allen, William Laing, John Hutchinson, John Boyd, L.P.
1829. Burgesses, Joseph Warner, Benjamin Swain; High
Constable, William Kinsey; Council, Samuel Allen, Robert Cabeen,
William Laing, John Hutchinson, John Boyd, L.P. Kinsey, John
1830. Burgesses, Joseph Warner, Joseph M. Downing; High
Constable, William Kinsey; Council, John Bessonett, Samuel
Allen, Robert Cabeen, William Laing, Robert C. Beatty, Eleazer
Fenton, L.P. Kinsey.
1831. Burgesses, Joseph Warner, James Johnson; High
Constable, William Kinsey; Council, John Bessonett, Edward
Swain, Robert Cabeen, William Hawk, Robert C. Beatty, Eleazer
Fenton, L.P. Kinsey.
1832—33. Burgesses, William F. Smith, James Johnson; High
Constable, William Kinsey; Council, Robert Cabeen, William Hawk,
H.N. Bostwick, Samuel Allen, Edward Swain, James Harrison, John
1834. Burgesses, William F. Swift, James R. Scott; High
Constable, William Kinsey; Council, Robert Cabeen, John
Bessonett, William Hawk, Samuel Allen, H.N. Bostwick, James
Harrison, Edward Swain.
1835. Burgesses, William Hawk, James R. Scott; High
Constable, William Killingsworth; Council, Samuel Allen, H.N.
Bostwick, Eleazer Fenton, James Harrison, Edward Swain, John
Dorrance, William Kinsey.
1836. Burgesses, William Kinsey, Benjamin Brown; High
Constable, Timothy Stackhouse; Council, Samuel Allen, James
Harrison, Jonathan Adams, John Heiss, David Woodington, Gilbert
Tomlinson, Robert Patterson.
1837. Burgesses, William Kinsey, Joseph B. Pennington; High
Constable, Lewis P. Kinsey; Council, Samuel Allen, James Brudon,
David E. Woodington, Robert Patterson, Joseph F. Warner, William
Killingsworth, William F. Swift.
1838. Burgesses, William Hawk, Joseph B. Pennington; High
Constable, John Feaster; Council, Charles W. Pierce, Robert
Cabeen, Gilbert Tomlinson, John W. Vandegrift, Samuel Allen,
John Dorrance, Isaac W. Hall.
1839. Burgesses, William Hawk, Benjamin Blinn; High
Constable, Robert Patterson; Council, Samuel Allen, John
Dorrance, Robert Cabeen, James Irvine, James Johnson, John
Johnson, James Brudon.
1840. Burgesses, Charles Banes, Benjamin Blinn; High
Constable, Robert Patterson; Council, James Johnson, John
Wright, John Johnson, James Brudon, James Irvine, William
Kinsey, Charles Smith.
1841. Burgesses, Charles Banes, Benjamin Blinn; High
Constable, Robert Patterson; Council, James Johnson, James
Brudon, James Irvine, John Wright, William Kinsey, Andrew W.
Gilkeson, James W. Weiss.
1842. Burgesses, William Kinsey, Benjamin Blinn; High
Constable, Robert Patterson; Council, Lewis P. Kinsey, Andrew W.
Gilkeson, John Dorrance, Benjamin Malone, H.N. Bostwick, Samuel
Allen, James Brudon.
1843. Burgesses, William Kinsey, Benjamin Blinn; High
Constable, Joseph R. Hellings; Council, Chester Sturdevant,
Benjamin Ball, Andrew W. Gilkeson, Lewis P. Kinsey, James Brudon,
1844. Burgesses, William Kinsey, Benjamin Blinn; High
Constable, Joseph R. Hellings; Council, James Johnson, Andrew W.
Gilkeson, Robert Patterson, John Wright, John Stewart, John K.
loft, Augustus Gerrard.
1845. Burgesses, James Brudon, Benjamin Blinn; High
Constable, Charles Titus; Council, Lewis P. Kinsey, John Wright,
John K. Holt, Andrew W. Gilkeson, Robert Patterson, Morton
Righter, Jackson Gilkeson.
1846. Burgesses, Benjamin Malone, Augustus Gerrard; High
Constable, Charles Titus; Council, Andrew W. Gilkeson, William
R. Phillips, Lewis P. Kinsey, Anthony Swain, Henry M. Wright,
Jackson Gilkeson, James Phillips.
1847. Burgesses, Mahlon G. Hibbs, Augustus Gerrard; high
Constable, Lemuel Nilly; Council, Andrew W. Gilkeson, Lewis P.
Kinsey, John K. Holt, James Brudon, Joseph Wright, Jackson
Gilkeson, William Kinsey.
1848. Burgesses, William Hawk, Charles Thompson; High
Constable, Lemuel Nilly; Council, Anthony Swain, Samuel Allen,
John Eastburn, William H. White, Louis A. Hoguet, George C.
Johnson, Alexander Morrison.
1849. Burgesses, Isaac Van Horn, Robert Patterson; High
Constable, Charles Titus; Council, James Brudon, Andrew W.
Gilkeson, John Wright, John Davis, John K. Holt, Lewis P.
Kinsey, William Earley.
1850. Burgesses, Daniel P. Forst, William H. White; High
Constable, Chilion W. Higgs; Council, John Dorrance, William M.
Downing, William Killingsworth, John W. Bray, Robert Booz, James
Rue, Albert L. Packer.
1851. Burgess, Daniel P. Forst; High Constable, James
Phillips; Council, John Dorrance, John W. Bray, William M.
Downing, Robert Booz, William Killingsworth, James Rue, A.L.
Packer, William H. White, L.A. Hoguet.
1852. Burgess, William Kinsey; High Constable, Giles S.
Winder; Council, William Bache, John W. Bray, William M.
Downing, Edmund Lawrence, James Rue, Daniel Street, William H.
White, Henry M. Wright; Joseph Wright.
1853. Burgess, William Kinsey; High Constable, Giles S.
Winder; Council, Valentine Booz, Jesse W. Knight, James W.
Martin, Henry M. Wright, William Bache, Edmund Lawrence, Daniel
Street, John S. Kinsey, John S. Brelsford.
1854. Burgess, William Kinsey; High Constable, Giles S.
Winder; Council, Samuel Allen, Valentine Booz, Jesse Wright,
William M. Downing, W.H. White, John Vanzant, A.L. Packer, J.S.
Brelsford, L.P. Kinsey.
1855. Burgess, Daniel P. Forst; High Constable, Robert
Sanderson; Council, James Rue, William Bache, W.H. White, Joseph
S. Pierce, John Davis, John M. Brown, Charles W. Pierce, Jr.,
Nathan Taylor, Henry M. Wright.
1856. Burgess, Albert L. Packer; High Constable, Giles S.
Winder; Council, William M. Downing, Valentine Booz, James
Brudon, John S. Brelsford, Christian Sulger, John Vauzant,
Nathan Gaskell, Thomas B. Bailey, Lewis M. Wharton.
1857. Burgess, A.L. Packer; High Constable, John H. Smith;
Council, William M. Downing, Valentine Booz, John Vanzant, James
Brudon, Nathan Gaskell, Thomas B. Bailey, John S. Brelsford,
Christian Sulger, Lewis M. Wharton.
1858. Burgess, A.L. Packer; High Constable, William Fine;
Council, Valentine Booz, James Brudon, Jacob McBrien, William K.
Evans, A.J. Hibbs, L.M. Wharton, David Michener, H.L. Strong,
1859. Burgess, A.L. Packer; High Constable, Samuel Winder;
Council, John Dorrance, James Brudon, Jacob McBrien, H.L.
Strong, William K. Evans, David Michener, Thomas B. Bailey,
William H. White, Lewis M. Wharton.
1860. Burgess, A.L. Packer; High Constable, Samuel Winder;
Council, John Dorrance, James Brudon, Jacob McBrien, James W.
Martin, John S. Brelsford, Joseph M. Disborough, Robert Brooks,
A.J. Hibbs, William K.
1861. Burgess, James Brudon; High Constable, William D. Fenton;
Council, James W. Martin, Henry M. Wright, William H. White,
William B. Baker, John W. Bailey, Ellwood Doron, John D.
Mendenhall, Jacob McBrien, Lewis M. Wharton.
1862. Burgess, Robert Patterson; High Constable, John Taylor;
Council, Jacob McBrien, Ellwood Doron, William H. White, John W.
Bailey, Wesley M. Lee, Thomas B. Bailey, Charles G. Stout,
William B. Baker, Lewis M. Wharton.
1863. Burgess, Robert Patterson; High Constable, John Taylor;
Council, Ellwood Doron, Jacob McBrien, Nathaniel Brodnax, James
Brudon, Robert W. Brooks, Lewis M. Wharton, Charles G. Stout,
William A. Stewart, Wesley M. Lee, Timothy Stackhouse.
1864. Burgess, Robert Patterson; High Constable, John Taylor;
Council, Thomas Scott, William Hawk, Timothy Stackhouse, William
B. Baker, Wilham H. White, Wesley M. Lee, Ellwood Doron,
Nathaniel Brodnax, James Brudon, Robert W. Brooks.
1865. Burgess, Robert Patterson; High Constable, Anthony D.
Minster; Council, Robert W. Brooks, John W. Bailey, James
Foster, John Taylor, Ellwood Doron, William B. Baker, Thomas
Scott, W.W. White, T. Stackhouse, William Hawk.
1866. Burgess, Robert Patterson; high Constable, John Taylor;
Council, Robert W. Brooks, James V. Foster, John W. Bailey, John
Taylor, Ellwood Doron, James Brudon, Thomas Scott, Charles C.
Douglass, Nathaniel Brodnax, T. Stackhouse.
1867. Burgess, Ellwood Doron; High Constable, Reuben Pidrick;
Council, Dr. L.V. Rosseau, Dr. E.J. Groom, James W. Martin,
Henry A. Bailey, J. Wesley Wright, James Brudon, Thomas Scott,
Charles C. Douglass, Nathaniel Brodnax, T. Stackhouse.
1868. Burgess, Ellwood Doron; High Constable, John A.
Worrell; Council, Allen D. Garwood, Robert W. Brooks, James
Brudon, Thomas B. Bailey, Charles C. Douglass, L.V. Rosseau, E.J.
Groom, James W. Martin, Henry A. Bailey, J. Wesley Wright.
1869. Burgess, Ellwood Doron; Council, John R. Green, Charles
Pierce, Joseph Bailey, S.V. Rosseau, E.J. Groom, Charles C.
Douglass, Allen D. Garwood, Robert W. Brooks, James Brudon,
Thomas B. Bailey.
1870. Burgess, Ellwood Doron; Council, John W. Bailey,
William H. White, Gilbert Green, John Taylor, J. Wesley Wright,
John R. Green, Charles Pierce, Joseph Bailey, S.V. Rosseau, E.J.
1871. Burgess, Symington Phillips; Council, Samuel Pike,
Morton Walmesley, Charles Pierce, Joseph Bailey, James Brudon,
John W. Bailey, W.H. White, Gilbert Green, John Taylor, J.
1872. Burgess, Symington Phillips; Council, Albert L. Packer,
I.S. Tomlinson, W.B. Baker, William Jones, J. Wesley Wright,
Samuel Pike, Morton Walmesley, Charles Pierce, Joseph Bailey,
1873. Burgess, Charles E. Scott; Council, S.S. Rue, C.W.
Pierce, James M. Slack, David Stackhouse, Samuel Pike, A.L.
Packer, I.S. Tomlinson, W.B. Baker, William Jones, J. Wesley
1874. Burgess, Charles E. Scott; Council, Morton A. Walmesley,
A.L. Packer, Henry M. Wright, L.A. Hoguet, J. Wesley Wright,
S.S. Rue, C.W. Pierce, J.M. Slack, Samuel Pike, David
1875. Burgess, Charles E. Scott; Council, Charles W. Pierce,
James M. Slack, Samuel Pike, S.S. Rue, Jonathan Wright, J.
Wesley Wright, Henry M. Wright, L.A. Hoguet, A.L. Packer, Morton
1876. Burgess, Charles E. Scott; Council, H.M. Wright, J.
Wesley Wright, Charles York, Allen L. Garwood, Symington
Phillips, C.W. Pierce, J.M. Slack, Samuel Pike, S.S. Rue,
1877. Burgess, James M. Slack; Council, H.M. Wright,
Symington Phillips, A.L. Garwood, C. York, W.H. Booz, William
Lauderbaugh, Thomas B. Harkins, C.W. Pierce, S.S. Rue, J.W.
1878. Burgess, James M. Slack; Council, C.W. Pierce,
Symington Phillips, W.H. Booz, Charles York, Charles Scheide,
S.S. Rue, H.M. Wright, Thomas B. Harkins, Charles Fenton, J.W.
1879. Burgess, Allen L. Garwood; Council, L.A. Hoguet, W.H.
Booz, R.W. Holt, C.W. Pierce, Jr., T.B. Harkins, Henry Sutch,
C.H. Fenton, Symington Phillips, C.E. Scheide, H.M. Wright, J.W.
1880. Burgess, Allen L. Garwood; Council, Charles E. Scheide,
William H. Grundy, John S. Brelsford, James Wright, W. Taylor
Potts, Michael Dougherty, L.A. Hoguet, W.H. Booz, R.W. Holt, C.W.
Pierce, Jr., P.B. Harkins, Henry Sutch.
1881. Burgess, J. Wesley Wright; Council, John S. Brelsford,
W.H. Booz, M. Dougherty, William H. Grundy, R.W. Holt, L.A.
Hoguet, William J. Jones, W. Taylor Potts, C.W. Pierce, Henry
Rue, Charles E. Scheide, James Wright.
1882. Burgess, J. Wesley Wright; Council, John Burton, W.H.
Booz, Nelson Green, R.W. Holt, L.A. Hoguet, William J. Jones,
James Lyndall, C.W. Pierce, Henry Rue, William Tabram, James
Warden, James Wright.
1883. Burgess, J. Wesley Wright; Council, Nelson Green, A.
Holding, A.K. Joyce, James Lyndall, C.N. Pierce, G.A. Shoemaker,
Joseph Sherman, William Tabram, James Warden, Jacob M. Winder,
James Wright, John Burton.
1884. Burgess, J. Wesley Wright; Council, G.A. Shoemaker, C.N.
Pierce, A.K. Joyce, Joseph Sherman, A. holding, J.M. Winder,
James Wright, Nelson Green, W.S. Daniels, William Tabram, Thomas
B. Harkins, A. Loechner.
1885. Burgess, William H. Grundy; Council, Francis Fenimore,
A.K. Joyce, C.N. Pierce, G.A. Shoemaker, C.H. Holding, R.W.
Holt, James Wright, Nelson Green, W. Daniels, William Tabram,
T.B. Harkins, A. Loechner.
1886. Burgess, William H. Grundy; Council, W.S. Daniels, F.N.
Booz, A.L. Garwood, R.S. Buseman, A. Loechner, James Wright,
Francis Fenimore, A.K. Joyce, C.N. Pierce, G.A. Shoemaker, C.H.
holding, R.W. Holt.
1887. Burgess, William H. Grundy; Council, Francis Fenimore,
A.K. Joyce, G.A. Shoemaker, C.H. Brudon, Henry Rue, S.W. Black,
W.S. Daniels, F.N. Booz, A.L. Garwood, R.S. Buseman, A. Loechner,