BETWEEN Edge hills and Bowman’s mountain, the northern boundary of Falls and southern boundary of Solebury, a section of country is inclosed presenting greater diversities of surface and soil than the townships included in the preceding chapters, and conforming in this respect to the general character of the northern part of the county. The watershed between the Delaware and Neshaminy is a clearly-defined feature of the topography. Its general trend is in a direction nearly parallel with the course of the river and at a mean distance of probably five miles from it. Numerous tributaries of the Delaware rise in the eastern slope of this declivity, and although not large, would possess some value for manufacturing purposes, as the fall is considerable in every instance. Pidcock, Knowles, Hough, Brock, and Mill are among the names applied to these creeks. This region, one of exceptionally beautiful scenery and unsurpassed fertility, is included within the territorial limits of the townships which form the subject of this chapter.

LOWER MAKEFIELD is the older in point of settlement and political organization. It is the first mentioned among the five original townships erected in 1692, and its boundaries are thus described in the report of the jury of that date: "The uppermost township being called Makefield, to begin at the uppermost plantations and along the river to the uppermost part of John Wood’s land, and by the lands formerly belonging to the Hawkinses and Joseph Kirkbride and Widow Lucas’ land, and so along as near as may be in a straight line to ---- in Joshua Hoops’ land." Holme’s map of 1684 gives the following names as those of persons who owned land adjoining the river in regular order north of Wood: John Luffe, John Parsons, William Beakes, William Venables, Andrew Heard, John Parsons, Luke Brinsley, Richard Hough, Thomas Janney, Richard Vickers, Samuel Overton, John Brock, John Clows, William Yardley, Eleanor Pownal, Thomas Bond, and James Harrison. The tract of the latter extended from the river to the Newtown line, a distance of three miles, and adjoined Upper Makefield. Harrison lived in Falls, and so did Beakes. Richard Hough was from Macclesfield in Cheshire. With his family and several servants— Francis Hough, James Sutton, Thomas Wood, and Mary his wife— he arrived the twenty-ninth of seventh month, 1683, in the Endeavor, of London. In the same ship came Thomas Janney, yeoman, from Shioll in Cheshire, with his wife Margery and their children, Jacob, Thomas, Abel, and Joseph. He brought as servants John Neald and Hannah Faulkner. It was he who gave the ground for "the old stone graveyard," a burial-ground of much local historic interest. It was confirmed to Falls monthly meeting in 1690, and was among the first places for public interment in this county, private family burial-grounds having previously been in exclusive use. Janney was a preacher among the Friends and visited New England in that capacity. He returned to England in 1695 on a religious mission, and died there, having been throughout his life "a man of good reputation, character, and example." Samuel N. Janney, the biographer of Penn, was a descendant, and inherited to a great extent the characteristics of his ancestor. There were three others from Cheshire, of whom John Clows accompanied Hough and Janney in the Endeavor. His wife Margery, children— Sarah, Margery, and William— and servants— Joseph Chorley, Samuel Hough, and John Richardson— constituted his household. Margery, the daughter, was married to Richard Hough just prior to their departure from England. Sarah married John Bainbridge, the fifteenth of the sixth month, 1685. Clows was from Gosworth. John Brock from Stockport, Cheshire, and George Pownal from Laycock, Cheshire, arrived in the Friends’ Adventure, the twenty-eighth of seventh month, 1682. The former brought with him as servants Job Houle, William Morton, and Eliza Eaton. Penn granted him one thousand acres while both were yet in England. Pownal’s wife Eleanor, children— Reuben, Elizabeth, Sarah, Rachel, and Abigail— and servants— John Brearly, Robert Saylor, and Martha Worral— came with him. He was accidentally killed by the fall of a tree, the thirtieth of eighth month, 1682. William Yardley was a passenger, in the same ship, with his wife Jane, children— Enoch, Thomas, and William— and one servant, Andrew Heath. His native place was Ranscleugh, near Leeke, Staffordshire. Phineas Pemberton was his nephew. He was a zealous Friend, and avowed his convictions with such freedom as to render him a subject of prosecution. He was a member of the first general assembly, and on several subsequent occasions. In 1689 he was one of the justices for Bucks.

Upon his death in 1693 Thomas Yardley, his son, established a ferry, which was confirmed to him by act of assembly in 1722. It was the radiating point of the then principal highways to Philadelphia through southern Bucks county, and was correspondingly important to the people of a large section of New Jersey. No effort to found a town seems to have been made until 1807, when a number of building lots were laid off on a public road or street parallel with the river. The residents at this time numbered four families— Eastburn, Pidcock, Brown, and Larue. There was a tavern near the bank of the river, but the ferry was located some distance below what is now the central portion of the town. Among the landlords of this hostelry were John Jones and Benjamin Flemming. Its day of prosperity ceased when the ferry landings were changed, and the "Swan" succeeded as its natural heir. The Yardley mansion subsequently passed into the possession of Neill Vansant, Richard Mitchell, Atlee and Mahlon Dungan. The latter was appointed first postmaster in 1828. The widow of Thomas Yardley was the first merchant. The growth of the village derived some impetus from the construction and opening of the canal in 1831. The first lock-keeper at this place was Charles Shoemaker. The canal storehouse was operated by Aaron La Rue, whose conscience experienced some unpleasant feelings in the first great anti-liquor agitation in this country. He poured several barrels of rum into the canal and applied the match to others. Nevertheless, the number of public houses was augmented until at one time there were four. There are now two, but the temperance sentiment in this community, as in others where the Quaker element predominates, is very strong. The ferry of a half-century ago was superseded by a wooden bridge, but the latter succumbed to the united force of ice and water in 1841, and the flat-boat was again resorted to for purposes of trans-navigation. The present structure is a substantial and enduring factor of importance in sustaining the advantages of the village as a business centre. The railroad bridge with approaches on either side is nearly two miles in length. The embankment on the Yardley side is about as high as the highest house in the village. Although no manufacturing industries have been established in view of the increased railroad facilities thus secured, the opening of this railroad has had a marked influence upon the town. It is estimated that about two hundred railroad employees reside here. A number of substantial houses have been erected within recent years, and the value of real estate has perceptibly advanced. The principal street is broad, well-shaded, and the sidewalks are as well paved as in some towns of larger size which boast a borough government. A movement in this direction has several times been discussed by leading citizens, but formal action on the subject has always been delayed. Among the attractions of the village are Methodist, Catholic, Episcopal, Advent, and Friends’ churches, secret and benevolent societies, and a graded public school. Its industrial interests comprise extensive flouring mills, spoke-works, and stone quarries. The latter are of great age, and were alluded to by Penn in a letter written to Logan regarding certain land titles in this section. The quality of brownstone here produced takes equal rank with that of any other section of the country. The population of Yardley has been estimated at eight hundred.

Edgewood, the second village of Lower Makefield, is situated in the western part of the township on the road leading to Langhorne. Samuel Tomlinson was commissioned postmaster here in 1858, being the first person so appointed. The village, if such it may be called, comprises about a dozen houses, a store, and Presbyterian chapel, built by the church at Newtown, the pastor of which preaches here occasionally. A Sunday school is sustained, which may ultimately prove to be the nucleus of a strong and influential organization.

UPPER MAKEFIELD originally consisted in large part of the manor of Highlands, a tract of about seven thousand acres laid out by Thomas Holme, surveyor-general of the province, prior to 1695. It seems to have been Penn’s original intention to confer this land upon his children, but on his second visit to Pennsylvania, or possibly before that time, five thousand acres were disposed of to Henry Goldney, Tobias Collet, and Daniel Quere, the constituent members of a corporation known as the London Company. It was surveyed in 1709, at which time Gilbert Wheeler, John Pidcock, and Thomas Kirle were owners of lands adjoining on the north. At a much earlier period (1684), Thomas Hudson, Daniel Milner, Joseph Milner, Henry Baker, Richard Hough, and Edward Luffe owned the lands between the manor and the Lower Makefield line. The London Company seem to have invited settlement upon their lands, and before 1737 Goldney and his associates had disposed of a large portion of their generous area. Of these purchasers the names of the following are appended to a petition in 1737: John Palmer, Daniel Palmer, Jonathan Palmer, William Russel, Alexander Richey, William Lee, Eleazar Doane, Richard Hough, Edward Bayley, Zebulon Heston, Joseph Tomlinson, Charles Reeder, Thomas Smith, Richard Parsons, John Atkinson, John Osmond, ----- Trego, James Tycliffe, Thomas Lancaster, William Smith, James Tomlinson, John Brown, John Wall, John Gaile, and John Whitacre. They state that "whereas whilst there was but few inhabitants on that part of the manor of Highlands called Goldney’s and Company’s land, they were taken notice of by the constables and officers of Makefield as within their districts (as it has been in many other places); but now the said Company’s and other lands being thick settled, it is a great hardship for the officers and others to have so large a district that is fourteen or fifteen miles in length and contains about twenty-two thousand acres of land; and of late the constable of Makefield has returned the names of sundry persons, owners of land adjoining to Buckingham and Wrightstown, not part of the said Company’s land, who have for many years been taxed as inhabitants of Wrightstown and done service on the highways there to the assessors who by them are now taxed as inhabitants of Makefield to their great dissatisfaction; and further, the overseers of highways of Makefield by reason of the great length of the same neglect taking good care therein. To prevent which inconvenience your petitioners humbly request that the said Company’s land and lands lying between the same and Wrightstown may be either joined to Wrightstown (which is a small township), or be made a township of itself and divided from the lower part of Makefield either by the line of the said Company’s land, or lower where you may see more convenient." The court acceded to the extent of appointing a constable and supervisor for the lands in question, but the boundary line was not established until 1742, at which date the separate existence of Upper Makefield began.

The planting of towns has been attended with gratifying success in this township; or, to use a modified form of expression, enterprising founders have pressed their claims upon that dignity with the courage of conviction and with results that justified the effort. Taylorsville is pleasantly situated on the Delaware in the southeastern part of the township. It derives its name from the Taylor family, numerous and influential a half century ago. The land in the vicinity was seated by Henry Baker and Joseph Milner, names still familiar in the locality. The present designation has superseded that by which it was known a hundred years since— McConkey’s ferry. Its location was nearly identical with that of the bridge, which has succeeded to the emoluments of river transportation at this point, and the landing on the Bucks county side was the nucleus around which subsequent growth has gathered. It was here that Washington crossed the river in that masterly movement which decided the fate of his cause. The station on the Belvidere-Delaware railroad on the Jersey side bears the appropriate name of "Washington’s Crossing," from this historic circumstance. Brownsburg was ushered into the world under the unpretentious title of Pebbletown, which name it bore until 1827, when Stacy Brown secured an appointment as postmaster, the name of the office being that by which it has since been known. Mr. Brown continued as the incumbent of this position for more than fifty years. In 1790 there was as much variety in the construction of houses at this place as was compatible with their number, one being of stone and the other of wood. The former was occupied by Joseph Dubree, the latter by Joel Doane, who owned both. The log building eventually succumbed to the effects of wind and weather, and in 1812 was replaced by one of frame, owned by Harman Michener, whose residence was at one end and store at the other. His claim as the pioneer merchant of the village has not been disputed. About this time there was a building boom that never reached large proportions, from some unexplained reason; but David Livezey completed a tavern at the ferry before it had completely subsided. Brownsburg has persistently urged its eligibility as the terminal point of a river bridge, but thus far with only indifferent success. Jericho was founded by the son-in-law of the patriarch of Brownsburg, and the genealogist may possibly discover some relationship between the two places. Jeremiah Cooper purchased three acres beneath the shadow of Jericho mountain in 1795, built a house and stone fence, the latter, perhaps, in imitation of the walls of a city famous in biblical annals. Subsequent growth can scarcely be reduced to statistics, but it may be stated with perfect safety that the increase in the number of houses has not exceeded one in each decade. Dolington is so named in honor of Peter Doling, its earliest settler. Benjamin Canby and William Jackson were the other two members of the triumvirate to whose wisdom, prudence, and patience the village may well ascribe its early existence. "Dolinton" was the first name; but when the study of English grammar made it apparent that this was really though unintentionally ignoring one of the ancient and honorable characters in the alphabet, the "g" was promptly inserted and the wrong righted as far as possible. The change received legal sanction in 1827, when Dolington became a post-office. It had previously been known as Lower Makefield. The village was laid out in 1806. It is situated on a much frequented thoroughfare, partly in both the Makefields. The Friends’ meeting house and school property are located here.

That time-honored institution of Bucks county, the horse company, originated in Upper Makefield. Tradition asserts that at the close of the revolution, when society had not yet assumed the steady habits of ante bellum days, and horse thieves, among other products of the period of disturbance, became uncomfortably numerous, it was the custom to fire a cannon from Doylestown hill to summon the farming community in pursuit. This crude organization was eventually elaborated and became the "Brownsville Persistive," the first annual meeting of which was held in the summer of 1806. Two divisions have since been formed, the Durham road being the dividing line.

The interests of education receive fair attention from the residents of this section. Lower Makefield sustains nine schools an annual term of nine months, at a total expenditure of five thousand six hundred and forty-seven dollars and sixty-three cents (1885). The showing for Upper Makefield is not so creditable. The annual school term is nine months, seven schools are maintained, and the sums expended aggregate two thousand eight hundred and seventy-two dollars and fifty-seven cents. Graded schools have been established at several points, and the standard for teachers is becoming more elevated year by year. Among the curious features of the school system of several generations ago was the shape of some of the school-houses. One of this character was eight-sided, built near Yardley by ----- Brelsford on land given for the purpose by Thomas Yardley.

Although the number of Friends in Makefield was not inconsiderable from the time of its earliest settlements, no effort to establish a meeting within its geographical limits was made until the middle of the following century. The following extract from the minutes of the Falls monthly meeting explains the origin of the Dolington meeting (1750): "The Friends of Makefield having represented their being heretofore exposed to difficulty in attending meetings in the winter season, and this meeting taking the same into consideration, does, agreeably to the request of the said Friends, consent that there may be held a meeting for worship the first day in each month at Benjamin Taylor’s, and the third first day in each month at Benjamin Gilbert’s," etc. Two years later it was reported that a meeting-house had so far approached completion as to be "fit to meet in," whereupon the former arrangement was discontinued. Meetings at Yardley were begun by indulgence of Makefield monthly in 1857, Zephaniah Mahan, William Cadwallader, Joseph Paul, John Mahan, and Joseph Flowers being appointed to its supervision for the first six months.

Yardley and Taylorsville constitute a Methodist Episcopal pastorate, the value of church property in the charge being six thousand dollars, membership fifty, and pastor’s salary four hundred dollars. Church buildings were erected in 1858 and 1838 respectively. The Advent congregation here has usually been connected with that at Morrisville. The pastor resident at Newtown supplies the pulpit of the Roman Catholic chapel. The Reverend R.H.G. Osborne is the rector of St. Andrew’s Protestant Episcopal parish, which was founded in 1835, and has experienced many vicissitudes, but enjoys a period of prosperous activity.


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