History of Asten Township, Pa.
From: A History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania
Edited By: John W. Jordan, LL. D.
Published By Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York 1914


Aston Township. - Aston township as now constituted is separated on the north by Chester creek from Middletown, and part of Chester township, while on the west and south it joins Upper Chichester, Bethel and Concord. It is long and narrow in shape, containing in 1910 a population of 2135. Its schools, churches and mills are elsewhere noted in this work. Aston was first known as Northley, probably so named by Edward Carter, who owned a tract of 250 acres in the township, which assumed its present name in 1688, when John Neal (Neild) was appointed first constable of the township of Aston, this being the first recorded mention of that name as applied to the township: Carter was not the first settler, for Charles Ashcom, the surveyor, wider date of October 8, 1682, returned 500 acres laid out to John Dutton on the west of Upland creek, beginning at Nathaniel Evans corner tree "and so unb the woods." Even before Dutton, William Woodmansey took up 100 acres at the southeastern end of the township on Chester creek, in 1680, naming his home in the forest "Harold," and there Friends meetings were held.

Among the early settlers was Thomas Mercer, who took up too acres on Chester creek, near Dutton's Mills; Nathaniel Evans in October, 1682, had surveyed to him 300 acres laid out so as to have the greatest possible frontage on the creek, but extending west across the entire township. Above the Dutton tract, John Neild in 1682 had surveyed to him 250 acres, which included the site of the present village of Rockdale. Other settlers came in, and in 1715 the taxables were: Robert Carter, John Pennell, Moses Key, John Dutton, Thomas Dutton, Thomas Woodward, John Neild, James Widdows, William Rattew, Samuel Jones, Thomas Barnard, Abraham Darlington, John Hurford, Jonathan Monroe, Thomas Gale. The freemen were Thomas Dunbabin, Isaac Williams, Joseph Darlington, Edward Richards, Samuel Stroud.

The road from Chichester to Aston was laid out by the grand jury at a court held 3 day, 10 mo., 1688, and on the same day they laid out the road from Aston to Edgemont.

The second day following the battle of Brandywine, Lord Cornwallis "with the 2nd Battalion Light Infantry and 2nd Grenadiers marched to join the body under Major General Grant." That evening "the troops reached Ashdown within four miles of Chester." Here Gen. Cornwallis established his headquarters, the encampment extending from Mount Hope to the lower part of Village Green. He sent out foraging parties to secure supplies for the army, seizing for that purpose the flour in all the mills within reach. The express orders of Howe and Cornwallis forbade all plundering of private houses, but these orders were freely disregarded. The plundering of the house of Jonathan Martin is narrated elsewhere in this work.

Manufacturing began in the township at an early date, and constitutes an important item in the township's wealth. All leading denominations are represented by places of worship, and many of the secret orders have lodges in the township, the oldest being Benevolent Lodge, No. 40, I. O. O. F. Chester Heights Camp Meeting Association, formed in 1872, purchased a farm in Aston, containing 162 acres on the line of the Baltimore Central railroad, and there hold annual camp meetings. The principal villages in the township are Village Green, four, miles northwest from Chester; Rockdale; Darlington, on the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore railroad, eighteen miles from Philadelphia; Aston Mills, where large plush mills are located. Public schools are the Village Green, Aston Mills, Chester Heights, Crozerville and Brookside schools, At Village Green there is a Baptist church; at Rockdale, a Methodist Episcopal church; Catholic churches at Brookside and Chester Heights. The convent of the Sisters of St. Francis is located near the centre of the township. One railroad crosses the township, its eastern line being traversed by the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore, with stations at Bridgewater, Morgan, Rockdale, Wawa, from whence the Baltimore Central crosses the township, passing through the grounds of the Chester Camp Meeting Association, where they have a station of the same name. There are no incorporated boroughs in the township.

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