History of Radnor 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


Radnor Township.— Radnor occupies the extreme northern part of Delaware county, bordering both Montgomery and Chester counties. From its extreme southern point to the Chester county line it borders Newtown township, and from the same point to the Montgomery county line borders Marple and Haverford townships. Its first settlers were natives of Radnorshire, Wales, members of the Society of Friends, Radnor being included in the “Welsh Tract.” In 1681, a Welshman, Richard Davies, purchased 1000 acres of land from William Penn in England, lying chiefly in the southern part of Radnor, which he soon sold to various purchasers, there being no record of his ever visiting this county. The highway, Radnor street or road, was laid out in 1683, and divides the township into nearly equal parts, the road running almost north and south through the township. John Jerman or Jarman, Stephen ap Evan, David Meredith, Richard Miles, John Morgan, Evaii Protherah, Richard Ormes, William Davis, Howell James and others, all Welsh Friends, were the fitst to settle in Radnor and were all located on their lands by 1686. The first white child born in Radnor was John Jerman, Sr., November 12, 1684. Sarah, daughter of Stephen Evans, was the first girl born there. In the French and Indian war many Radnor men served, including eight young Friends, who on their safe return were “disowned” by the Society. Radnor suffered from the British foragers during their occupancy of Philadelphia, many families bdng left without live stock or provisions to carry them through the winter of 1777-78. The bill for damages from the township for losses in that year amounted to over £1000. Many skirmishes occured in Radnor between the British and the American militia.

After the Revolution, an unusual degree of prosperity was noticeable in Radnor-new highways were laid out, new settlers came in, and a new Methodist church erected. In 1792, the Philadelphia and Lancaster turnpike was commenced, to be completed two years later. This was the first turnpike built in America, and was the cause of increased travel through the central part of the township, causing the establishment of numerous wayside inns along its route. in 1809, Radnor Library was established, and through the liberality of eighteen subscribers five hundred volumes were placed in a store near Friends’ Meeting House. In 1820 an attempt was made to annex Radnor to Montgomery county, but a strong opposition defeated the movement. In 1838 Radnor Lyceum was organized. In 1847, Radnor polled over 100 majority in favor of the removal of the county seat of Delaware county from Chester. Saw and grist mills abounded in the township as early as 1766, other mills following. Along the lines of the Pennsylvania railroad, the Lancaster pike and the electric railways, villages and numerous costly private residences have been built, making the northern half of the township a most popular residential section. Among many others, George W. Childs, the Philadelphia publisher, chose it for his country residence, purchasing ample grounds, creating a Perfect country estate known as Wootton, residing there until his death. In cooperation with his friend, Anthony J. Drexel, the village of Wayne was founded, which has become the leading residential section of that part of Pennsylvania. In 1906, Wayne had a population of about 3000, the entire population of Radnor township in 1900 being 5474, according to the census report. In 1910 the population of the township was 7094, according to the same authority. Banking advantages are furnished by the Wayne Title and Trust Company, organized in 1891, Louis H. Watt president, John H. Maguire, secretary and treasurer. The Suburban, a Republican weekly newspaper, established in 1895, is edited by A. M. Ebart.

Other stations on the Pennsylvania Railroad in the township are : Villanova, where the college of the .Augustiniau Fathers, known as Villanova College, is located; Radnor, and St. David’s. On the Philadelphia & Western railway, which enters the township at Bryn Mawr station, running westward across the township to Stratford, the stations are: Rosemont, Vilhanova, Radnor, Ithan, St. David’s, Wayne, and Stratford. On the Philadelphia & Delaware County railroad, which crosses the southern corner of the township, a station is maintained at The Hunt, not far from the grounds of the Radnor Hunt Club. Darby creek is the principal water course of the township, running in a general southeasterly direction through the southern part of the township, not iar from the Newtown line. Good roads and all the attending conditions of a prosperous suburban section prevail in all parts of the township. Its streets, churches, and mills, are elsewhere described.

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