FROM THE HISTORY OF CHESTER COUNTY, PA
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This township was probably named by William
Brinton, one of the earliest settlers, who came from the neighborhood of the
town of that name in England, and, as was common with the early settlers,
selected for his wilderness home the name that would recall to his memory the
early associations of his life. It was surveyed about the year 1684 to
various persons, in right of purchases made in England, and was organized as a
municipal district in 1686, by the appointment of John Bennett as constable.
Upon the division of the county in 1789, the greater part of the original
township fell into Delaware County. Each division thereafter bore the name
of Birmingham township in its respective county. Until the year 1856 the
Street road was the northern boundary of the township in Chester County.
In the year (1856) it was enlarged by the addition to it of a portion of the
southern end of East Bradford township.
The battle of Brandywine was fought in this township. The site of the
field of operations at Chads' Ford is in Delaware County, and that at Birmingham
Meeting-house in Chester County.
The name of the township was originally pronounced Brummagem, and it is so given
on Holme's map of the early settlements of Pennsylvania. This
pronunciation was brought by the early settlers from England, and is generally
supposed to be a corruption of Birmingham. That, however, is a
mistake. The name Brummagem is derived from Brumwycheham, the ancient name
of Birmingham, and was used in common with Birmingham, which signifies the home
of the descendants of Beorm, a Saxon chief. Birmingham, in England, was
formerly the great emporium for plated ware and imitation jewelry, and hence the
word Brummagem came to signify anything trashy or common. The Saturday
Review, an English magazine, speaks of "Diluted history and Brummagem
following were taxables in 1715:
The taxables of 1753 were as follows:
LAND OWNERS IN 1774
Abraham Darlington, Jr.
Joseph Davis, Sr.
Joseph Davis, Jr.
Lying immediately north of the Street road,
and extending from Brandywine to the line of Westtown, was a tract of 1000
acres, laid out for William Cornthwet and Edward Atkinson, purchasers of 500
acres each from Penn, and who sold the same to John Cornwell and William Hudson,
of Philadelphia. By a resurvey in 1701 there proved to be 1,132
acres. John Davis, of Thornbury, purchased the eastern half of it in 1712,
and by will dated March 3, 1719, divided it between three of his sons, Daniel,
Abraham, and John, the first receiving 166 acres next the Street road, and the
others 200 each. Of the remainder of the large tract, Samuel Painter
purchased, in 1722, about 300 acres, much of which is still in the family
name. John Collier obtained, about the same time, 245 acres north of
Painter's, and Joseph Taylor, of Kennet, with an eye to a mill-seat, bought from
Collier 26 acres at what is now Sager's mill. He devised it to his
daughter, Sarah Jones, in 1744, and her husband and sons erected thereon grist-
and saw-mills. Some of the Collier lands passed into the Carter family,
and thence to the Forsythes.
Abraham Davis, who owned 200 acres next the Westtown line, was succeeded by his
eldest son, John, who in turn left one son, Amos. The latter, with
Eleanor, his wife, conveyed the land to Joshua Sharpless, 4, 19, 1784. It
was next divided between Joshua's sons, Benjamin and Isaac, the latter obtaining
the farm late of his son Aaron, whose family still reside thereon.
Benjamin left an only son, of the same name, who now holds his father's land,
120 acres, by bequest. His father built the barn in 1804, and the house in
1805, but the present owner, who began farming in 1856, has remodeled all the
buildings, and made many improvements in accordance with the progressive
age. A view of his residence is elsewhere given.
Susanna Davis, a widow, lived alone in a log house on the site of the residence
of the late Aaron Sharpless, and was murdered on the night of Jan. 3d,
1782. Joseph Dennis, of Vincent, offered a reward of ten pounds specie for
the arrest of George Holt, an Englishman, who was accused of robbery and the
murder, but it does not appear that he was caught.
In 1688 a survey was made for Daniel Smith on 360 acres in Birmingham, which by
resurvey proved to be 415 acres. It was sold by Sheriff Hoskins, April 25,
1702, to Richard Webb, to whom a patent was granted the same year. His
widow, Elizabeth Webb, by deed of 10, 27, 1721, conveyed one acre thereof to
William Brinton, of Birmingham, Joseph Taylor, of Kennet, Philip Taylor and
Joseph Brinton, of Thornbury, John Bennett and Nicholas Fred, of Birmingham,
trustees, for the use of he Society of Friends, and Birmingham meeting-house was
History of Chester County, Pennsylvania; Futhey & Cope; Louis H. Everts;