History of Concord 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

Concord Township. — This township, the largest in Delaware county, is first mentioned in the records of a court “held at Chester, on the 27th of the 4th month called June, 1683,” when John Mendenhall was appointed constable for “Concord liberty.” A small part of the township in the south, borders the state of Delaware, the other boundaries being Bethel, Birmingham, Thornbury and Aston townships. The township was laid out in rectangular form, and a road exactly in the middle, called Concord Street, ran from Bethel on the south to Thornbury on the north. This Street laid out in 1682 does not appear ever to have been opened to public travel. Elam road crosses the township from Elam post office, continuing on to Chester Heights, in Aston. The Baltimore turnpike also crosses Concord, as does the Central division of the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore railroad. Numerous creeks traverse the township.

Early surveys were made to William Beazer, March 29, 1683, which a little later passed to William Cloud, 300 acres; to John Beal, 200 acres the samc year; to John Haselgrove, 500 acres, October 12, 1683. Above Concordville, John Lee received a patent, December 3, 1701 for 152 acres; John Mendenhall purchased 300 acres June 27, 7684, on which Concord Friends' Meeting House was built, Mendenhall donating the land. A tract of 200 acres surveyed to William Byers passed in 1693 to Nicholas Pyle, who settled in the township in 1686. He was active in the early milling industry, served six years in the assembly, and was an important factor in the pioneer settlement. Another of the early settlers was Nicholas Newlin, reputed as very wealthy, a nobleman by descent, being one of the De Newlands who came over with the Conqueror. Although of English family, he came to this country from county Tyrone, Ireland. He was a member of the Provincial Council and a justice of the courts. His son Nicholas, a man of education and means, accompanied his father to Pennsylvania, being then twenty-four years of age. In 1698 he was a member of assembly, serving also during other years. He was one of the proprietaries, commissioners of property, a justice of the courts, and one of the commissioners of the loan office from 1722 until his death. A list of taxables, dated 1715, reveals the following settlers: Nathaniel Newlin Jr., Nicholas Pyle for ye mill, James Claniston, Nathaniel Newlin Sr., Joseph Cloud, Henry Oburn, John Palmer, John Palmer Jr., Goodwiti Walter, George Robinson, Jacob Pyle, Ralph Pyle, Henry Peirce, Matthias Carle, Ralph Evenson, James Heaved, William Ammett, Thomas Smith, John Lee, Robert Chamberlin, Robert Chamberlin Jr., Thomas West, William Hill, Morgan Jones, Thomas Durnall, George Lee, Daniel Evans, Joseph Nicklin, John Hannum, Benjamin Mendenhall, John Mendenhall John Newlin, Joseph Edwards, Thomas Broom, William iforde, ifrancis Pulin, John Penneck, James Cliiffers, John Hackney, Christopher Penock. Freemen: Caleb Pearkins, Richard ffar, Peter Poulson, John Pennock, John Egram, Henry Jones, Thomas Ealthan. Each successive year showed an increase of settlers and wealth, the census of 1910 showing a population of 1213. The schools, churches, mills and military of the township are treated elsewhere.

The villages of the township are Ivy Mills, Concordville, Ward and Elam, the largest being Concordville, with a population of about 300. A noted family of the township is the Wilicox, founded in 1718 by Thomas Willcox and his wife Elizabeth Cole, who settled on the west branch of Chester creek, in Concord. Both he and his wife were members of the Roman Catholic faith, this being, it is asserted, the second Catholic famiJy to settle in Philadelphia. The old Ivy paper mill, with which the family was so intimately connected, was founded by Thomas Willcox, and was the second paper mill built in this state, the first having been the Rittenhouse mill on the Wissahickon. This is the oldest business house now standing in the United States. It has had intimate relations not only with Franklin Carey and all the principal printing houses of the last century, but with the colonial authorities for forty years preceding the Revolution, issuing all their money, did business with the authorities of the Revolutionary period and with the United States government ever since, all in the line of its regular business as manufacturers of printing, currency and security papers. The Old Ivy mill, after standing one hundred years, was torn down in greater part and rebuilt by a grandson of the founder, James M. Willcox. Two men, the founder and his son, (Judge) Mark Willcox, conducted the mill ninety-eight years. It was then continued by James M. Willcox, who doubled its capacity, and with improved machinery, continuing with bank-note paper a specialty. For a long period not only were the banks of the United States supplied with their paper from the Ivy Mill, but its lofts were at times piled with peculiar looking paper of various tints, bearing ingrained watermarks of most of the governments and banks of South America. James M. Wilicox built Glen Mills No. 1 and 2, and also maintained his commercial house in Philadelphia. He took his sons Mark and William into partnership, and March 3, 1852, he retired, leaving his business to his sons, and died unexpectedly before the following morning. He is buried with his father, grandfather and many descendants, in the old family burying ground at Ivy Mills. The Sons continued the business, meeting the great demand made upon them during the civil war for bank-note paper. Later they manufactured in a costly mill the peculiar paper used by time Treasury department in their bank note iSSues, but patented by the Willcox house. This “localized fibre” paper, made at the Glen Mills, attained not only a national but world-wide reputation, it making counterfeiting impossible. For ten years the mills were jealously guarded by United States secret service men and forty employees of the Treasury department, to see that no scrap of the paper should reach any but its intended use. During that period, not a sheet out of the millions made was lost or missed; not a counterfeit on any treasury note or bond of the issue or series that began on that paper; and when in 1878 Secretary John Sherman removed the place of manufacture of government paper, tile paper account at Glen Mills balanced and a clear quittance was given. The old Ivy Mill is now a picturesque ruin, but it played an important part in Concord township history and will ever be an interesting relic.


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