An American Family History

17th & 18th Century Manor of Moreland

Manor of Moreland (now Upper Moreland Township),
Philadelphia County (now Montgomery) County, Pennsylvania


A grist mill is a building where a miller grinds gain into flour.

William Penn, the first proprietary and Governor of Pennsylvania, named Moreland in honor of Nicholas More who was a London physician, president of the Free Society of Traders, and the first chief justice of Pennsylvania. More came to Pennsylvania in November, 1682.

A warrant was granted on November 5, 1682, for 9,815 acres. The patent stipulated that Nicholas More and his heirs pay an annual quit-rent of one shilling per hundred acres to the proprietary and his heirs.

About 1685, Nicholas More started building near the village of Somerton which is now in Philadelphia.

In 1695 Henry Comly, of Bucks County bought Nicholas Mores' mansion and six hundred acres near Somerton from John Holme.

In 1702 John Boutcher bought 350 acres.

In 1703 Nicholas Waln and Thomas Shute bought 1,200 acres in and around the Willow Grove and on the western corner of the township.

On November 5, 1709, Anthony Yerkes bought three hundred acres from John Holme.

In 1711 the Welsh road was mentioned as crossing at a ford in Huntingdon Valley over the Pennypack.

The old York Road was laid out in November, 1711, from John Reading's landing, by way of the swamp to Fourth and Vine Streets, Philadelphia. About this time a small wooden bridge was built over the stream to permit easier transit for wagons.

In 1711 Richard Hill of Philadelphia bought 405 acres and, in 1713 bought 1,404 more along the Abington line.

James Cooper purchased three hundred acres, in 1711, in the vicinity of Morgans Milland settled there. On a part of this tract Thomas Parry built a grist-mill before 1736.

The York Road, in 1711, was extended across the full breadth of the northwest part of the township up to the river Delaware; at the present Centre Bridge. The Welsh road was laid out the same year from Gwynedd to the present Huntingdon Valley, to enable the people settled there to reach the Pennypack Mills.

In 1712 William Allen, of Philadelphia sold William Walton 552 acres southeast of Hatboro.

John and Sarah Michener settled about a mile east of Willow Grove in 1715. John Michener was one of the founders and overseers of Horsham Meeting.

Henry Comly was collector in 1718.

Joseph Hall was collector in 1719.

In 1719, James Dubree bought two hundred acres and Jacob Dubree bought one hundred acres where they settled.

The Byberry road was extended to Horsham Meetinghouse in 1720.

Marcus Huling was collector in 1720.

In 1722 roads were laid out from the York Road at the present Willow Grove, and on the Bucks County line to Governor Keith's settlement, in Horsham. A bridge was built over Round Meadow Run.

Thomas Parry was collector in 1723.

William Britain was collector in 1724.

By 1734, James Dubree bought 150 acres of land in and around the Willow Grove, on the Moreland side, and which comprised all that portion of the swamp.

Joseph Kelly was collector in in 1741 and on his refusal to serve was fined ten shillings.

Thomas Parry built a grist mill in 1731.

Walter Comly was collector in 1742.

Thomas Hallowell shot two deer, in 1744, near the Upper Dublin line.

The Rev. Joshua Potts was the first pastor of the Southampton Baptist Church, built in 1746.

The Union Library of Hatboro was formed in August, 1755 by 38 men who met at the Crooked Billet Tavern. They each paid ten shillings a year to buy books. In August, 1756, the first shipment arrived from England.

Samuel Lloyd built a mill before 1762.

James Dubree, in 1762, shot a wild turkey that weighed thirty-two pounds, on a tall hickory-tree, half a mile west of Willow Grove.

Joseph Butler was constable in 1767 and Philip Wynkoop and John Hancock were supervisors.

In 1768, John Paul advertised his tavern, Sign of the Wagon, for sale. It included 102 acres, 100 horses and the best house between the Rising Sun and Coryell's Ferry

A bear was seen as late as 1772.

Isaac Cadwallader and John Sommer were supervisors in 1773.

John Wynkoop was constable in 1774.

During the Revolution the British did some damage in Moreland,
Samuel Boutcher, £402;
William Tillyer, £250;
James Dyer, £176 and
John Wynkoop, £119.

An interesting sight was witnessed on this hill on the morning of the 23d of August, 1777, being no less than the crossing of General Washington and his army, accompanied by a lengthy baggage and artillery train. They had just broken up their encampment at the Cross-Roads, near the present Hartsville, six miles from here, where they had been the previous two weeks waiting to hear of the landing of the British. They were now marching to Philadelphia, and from thence towards the enemy, whom they finally encountered on the fields of Brandywine.

After the Revolution, Durpee built a dam across the stream about eighty yards above the Round Meadow Bridge, and had a race from the same to propel the machinery of a scythe factory.

Montgomery was formed into a county from Philadelphia by an act passed September 10, 1784.

Garret Van Buskirk and John Rhoads were supervisors in 1785.

In the assessment of 1787
Peter Tyson, oil and fulling-mill;
David Cumming, store-keeper, 2 bought servants, 134 acres, 4 dwellings, 3 horses and a riding-chair;
Mordecai Thomas, 194 acres, 4 dwellings, grist-mill and 3 horses;
William Dean, Esq., 108 acres, 3 horses and a riding-chair.
Mr. Cumming kept store at the Willow Grove,
Mordecai Thomas resided at Hatboro, and
Mr. Dean was a magistrate at Huntingdon Valley and colonel of the Fourth Battalion of the Philadelphia militia from 1777 to 1780.

About 1794, Thomas Langstroth built a paper-mill on the Pennypack, near the central part of the township.


William Penn (1644-1718) was a Quaker philosopher and real estate developer. He was the founder of the Province of Pennsylvania.

American colonists continued to use British monetary units, namely the pound, shilling and pence for which £1 (or li) equalled 20s and 1s equalled 12d. In 1792 the dollar was established as the basic unit of currency.

The American Revolution was ended in 1783 when the Treaty of Paris was signed.



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©Roberta Tuller 2023
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