Thornbury Township.— The present township of Thornbury, in shape, baffles description, the wonder being
that any surveyor was able to run its lines and then describe them: The line separating the township from Chester
county, resembles nothing so much as a series of mountain peaks and table lands, and could only have been determined
by allowing each landowner to elect which county he wished to be in, when the act of September 26, 1789, created
the new county of Delaware. In 1842 a part of Aston township, was annexed, which added further irregularity to
its shape in a parallelogram of land lying between Middletown and Concord townships. The original township was
divided by the erection of Delaware county, about three-quarters of its area going into the new county, the other
fourth constituting a township of the same name in Chester county.
The first mention of Thornbury as a municipal district occurs in 1687, when Hugh Durborow (Darborough) was appointed
constable. In that part of the township formerly Aston, Joseph Baker, John Worrilow and Daniel Hoopes on 1st mo.
12th day, took up 500 acres, part of John Simcock’s grant of 1500 acres, 400 acres of which comprised almost all
the territory of Aston. Neither of these purchasers settled on the tract, the greater part of which in 1724 was
ptirchased by Jobmi Taylor, who erected at Glen Mills the noted Sarum Forge. That portion of the township jutting
into Edgemont and extending to the Middletown line was seated by William Bostock in March, 1681. \Vest of the Taylor
tract and on a straight line drawn from the overlapping corner of Edgemont across the township to the Birmingham
line, 1500 acres was surveyed to John Simcock in March, 1681. This tract embraced the present village of Thornbury
and all the land south of the line mentioned to Concord township. The tract later passed to the ownership of a
number of persons: Joseph Taylor, before mentioned, obtaining the greater part of 500 acres, Randolph Vernon John
Kingsman, George Pearce, and Elizabeth Hickman, also obtaining large portions. West of Thornton, Edward Brown took
up 500 acres in 1683. A great deal of the land in Western Thornbury was taken up in one hundred acre lots, but
in the north, 1500 acres belonged to John Belier, taken up in 1685, but in 1724 passing to the ownership of John
and Thomas Cheney. Chester Creek with its abundant water power, attracted many manufacturing enterprises, including
one of the earliest iron works in the county, Sarum Forge, of which Acrelius wrote, referring to the period of
1756, “Sarum belongs to Taylor’s heirs, has three stacks and is in full blast.”. (See chapter on manufacturing
for an account).
Glen Mills is the principal village in the township, having a population of 300, with paper mills, stone works,
etc. Thornton is another village, early located; Cheney and Locksley are stations on the Philadelphia, Wilmington
& Baltimore railroad, as is Glen Mills. In Thornbury is located the House of Refuge, a well managed institution
with ample grounds and good buildings. In 1910 the population of Thornbury township was 1944.