CHESTER COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
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BIRMINGHAM TOWNSHIP 
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 lore." 

The following were taxables in 1715

The taxables of 1753 were as follows:

LAND OWNERS IN 1774

John Bennett
William Boid
Obadiah Bonsell
Edward Brinton
Caleb Brinton
George Brinton
David Brinton
Thomas Bullock
James Chandler
Robert Chandler
Thomas Chandler
Abraham Darlington, Jr.
Joseph Davis, Sr.
Joseph Davis, Jr.
Charles Dilworth
James Dilworth
Joseph Dilworth
Lydia Dilworth
Robert Frame
Jane Gibbons
Gideon Gilpin
Harry Gordon
John Gordon
Robert Green
Thomas Hannum
William Harvey
John Henderson
Fras. Herberson
Amos House
David Johnson
Thomas Jones
William Jones
James Latimore
Robert Logan
Benjamin McDaniel
Thomas McDaniel
Robert McElhoe
John McGlochlin
William Mason
David May
Robert Messer
Benjamin Miller
Elias Neals
James Newman
John Nicklin
Samuel Painter
John Perry
Robert Rankin
Benjamin Ring
Nathaniel Ring
James Russell
Rachel Sail
Edward Simpson
James Smith
William Smith
James Stroud
Thomas Stroud
John Thatcher
Rachel Warson
John Woodart
Nathan Yarnall
Elias Neals
Thomas Stroud
Thomas Jones
John Perry
James Dilworth
David Johnson
David May
Thomas McDaniel
Benjamin McDaniel
James Latimore
John McGlochlin
Robert Logan
James Newman
Fras. Herberson

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 built thereon.


Source: 
History of Chester County, Pennsylvania; Futhey & Cope; Louis H. Everts; Philadelphia; 1881.



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