Colonial Nottingham

A Collection of Christian & Brotherly Advices Given forth from time to time By the Yearly- Meetings of Friends For Pennsylvania & New Jersey. . . . Manuscript volume, c. 1682-1763 Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
A Collection of Christian & Brotherly Advices Given forth from time to time By the Yearly-Meetings of Friends For Pennsylvania & New Jersey. . . .
Manuscript volume, c. 1682-1763 Manuscript Division, Library of  Congress

1701 During the period after the accession of William and Mary in England when Lord Baltimore fell into disfavor, William Penn pushed his settlements southward into George Talbot’s Susquehanna Manor grant and here laid out the 37 lots of 500 acres each under the name of Nottingham.

A draught of Nottingham Township, 1702. From copy at Chester County Historical Society.
A draught of Nottingham Township, 1702.
From copy at Chester County Historical Society.

With a small band of settlers, mostly Quakers and friends whom he had known in England, William Penn set out from Chester on an exploratory trip from the mouth of the Octoraro toward the tide water of the Chesapeake Bay. Here he selected a site “where water descended in all directions” and donated the 40 acres of ground to his Quaker followers and their successors for “a Meeting house and Burial Yard, forever.”

1702 The first permanent settlements in this neighborhood were made in 1702 when two brothers, James and William Brown, Andrew Job, John Churchman, Messer Brown, Jeremiah Brown and a few others, on pack horses from New Castle (which was then next to New York in commerce and population) came into the wilderness to make themselves a home. The brothers Brown, like their father, were ministers of the gospel and in 1704 a meeting was organized at the house of James which was origin of the Quaker congregation of East Nottingham.

Artist's representation of a Shawnee Indian. Courtesy Ohio Historical Society
Artist’s representation of a Shawnee Indian. Courtesy Ohio Historical Society

1709 With an interpreter, Thomas Chalkley led an expedition from Nottingham Meeting on a religious visit to the Seneca and Shawnee Indians at Conestoga. His zeal equaled by his meekness touched their hearts and he was kindly received. One tribe was governed by an “empress” whose advice the Indians sought before they consented to hold a meeting. When the surprised Quakers questioned this the Indians replied that “some women are wiser than some men.”

 

1710 The first tavern was established about 1710 on Lot 35 of the Nottingham Lots by Andrew Job. Job’s son, Thomas, married Elizabeth Maxwell, niece of Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe.

A surveyor’s plain compass made around 1800 by Goldsmith Chandlee (ca. 1746-1821), a prolific maker of mathematical instruments, clocks, sundials, telescopes, steelyards and other scales, and surgical instruments. Courtety Virtual Survey Museum.
A surveyor’s plain compass made around 1800 by Goldsmith Chandlee (ca. 1746-1821), a prolific maker of  mathematical instruments, clocks, sundials, telescopes, steelyards and other scales, and surgical instruments.  Courtety Virtual Survey Museum.

1711 Benjamin Chandlee, emigrated from Ireland arriving in Philadelphia in 1701. Having learned the trade of clockmaker from Abel Cottey, he married Cottey’s daughter, Sarah, in 1710 and the couple located at Nottingham after Abel Cottey’s death in 1711. Three sons and three daughters were born to the Chandlees. Benjamin, Jr. born in 1723 attained eminence in the manufacture of scientific, mathematical and chemical instruments but probably best known in Cecil County for the clocks that bear his name. His sons, Isaac and Ellis, carried on the firm of Chandlee & Sons, with equal success after their father’s death until Isaac died on December 10, 1813.

1719 Roger Kirk, a weaver, who came to America from Ireland in 1712 and purchased property after death of James Brown in 1714 and built his home on Lot 27.
1724 An impressive two and one-half storied brick structure was built, known as Brick Meeting House, and is the 8th oldest church in Maryland.
1739 John Day established his tanyard about 1739.

1740 Joseph England settled on land which Penn had granted to James Parke in 1681. Joseph England’s brother settled at Principo Furnace.

The Danger of an Unconverted Ministry Gilbert Tennent, A.M. Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin, 1740 Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress
The Danger of an Unconverted Ministry 
Gilbert Tennent, A.M. 
Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin, 1740 
Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress

1740 The Great Awakening 

Gilbert Tennent (1703-1764), was a Presbyterian leader of the Great Awakening in the Middle Colonies. Upon George Whitefield’s departure from the colonies in 1741, he deputized his friend Tennent to come from New Jersey to New England to “blow up the divine fire lately kindled there.”
Despite being ridiculed as “an awkward and ridiculous Ape of Whitefield,” Tennent managed to keep the revival going until 1742. In this famous sermon, preached at Nottingham, Pennsylvania, in 1740, Tennent lashed opponents who had reservations about the theology of the new birth as “Pharisee-Shepherds” who “with the Craft of Foxes . . . did not forget to breathe the Cruelty of Wolves in a malicious Aspersing of the Person of Christ.”
1744 The front portion of Cross Keys Tavern was built by Thomas Hughes and was halfway point between Baltimore and Philadelphia on the old stage post road.
1745 John Churchman, the son of John Churchman, the original settler, was distinguished for his piety and his ability as a preacher. The minister built a brick house on the family lot and had the date 1745 placed on the brickwork on the east end. George, the minister’s son, was founder of Westtown, the first Quaker boarding school in America.

1763 survey by George Churchman, showing lots owned by John Day and the Friends Meeting from the collection of Edward Plumstead.
1763 survey by George Churchman, showing lots owned by John Day and the Friends Meeting from the collection of Edward Plumstead.

1763 Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon begin a survey for the Royal Society to establish the boundaries of the lands of the Penn family and those of the Calverts. The survey, completed in 1769 provided that 16,700 acres of the Nottingham Lots belonged to Maryland, while only 1,300 acres lay within the limits of Pennsylvania.

1765 John, Thomas and Richard Penn, heirs of William Penn, deeded title to the Friends, who had held the Meeting House only by verbal declaration.

Samuel England’s Indenture to Benjamin Chandlee, for twenty-eight Pounds, twelve shillings sixpence, 21st 4th month 1770. From the collection of Edward Plumstead.
Samuel England’s Indenture to Benjamin Chandlee, for twenty-eight Pounds, twelve shillings sixpence, 21st 4th month 1770. From the collection of Edward Plumstead.

Thanks for contributions for this exhibit from: Library of Congress, Maryland Historical Society, Ohio Historical Society, Edward Plumstead, Virtual Survey Museum, Frances M. Hubis.