The Buried Past: An Archaeological History of Philadelphia

By John L. Cotter; Daniel G. Roberts et al. | Go to book overview

8

Bucks County

PENNSBURY MANOR: PENN'S ARCHAEOLOGICAL PROBLEM

FALLSINGTON: "THE TOWN TIME FORGOT"

THE WYNKOOP HOUSE: A MODEST DUTCH DWELLING IN THE HINTERLANDS

TREVOSE, THE GROWDEN MANSION

Bucks County was created in March 1683, when the first provincial assembly voted to divide Penn's colony into Bucks, Chester, and Philadelphia counties (Figure 8.1). Like the other counties, Bucks served not only as a source of food for Philadelphia, but also as the site of various early industries. In 1679 the first permanent European colonists in this area—a group of English Quakers from West New Jersey—ventured across the Delaware to establish a little community called Crookhorne on the Fall Line opposite present-day Trenton. By 1692 Crookhorne was part of Falls Township, one of the recently formed political subdivisions in the lower part of Bucks County. Three miles inland in the northern part of Falls Township, another little settlement was evolving around a meetinghouse English Quakers had built in 1690; this village became known as Fallsington.

Also in Falls Township, but lower down beyond the great bend of the Delaware, was Pennsbury Manor, William Penn's country seat. Although Penn set aside manorial lands for himself and his family in all of Pennsylvania's three counties, it was only in Bucks County that he actually developed an estate. No doubt Pennsbury Manor's access to the Delaware River was a drawing card. From there Penn was able to avoid the bumpy by- ways of the interior (then little more than narrow Amerindian paths worn by centuries of travel) and commute to Philadelphia by water, rowed along in his river barge.

Not many would-be lords of the manor followed Penn north from the city to the banks of the Delaware in Bucks County; nor, for that matter, did many of them gravitate south to the Delaware in Chester County. Finding the climate of the riverfront not very conducive to comfort or health,

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