Historical Collections Relating to Gwynedd (Pennsylvania)

By Howard M. Jenkins

Second Edition


Chapter 16. The Early Roads

[Bethlehem Pike, Chestnut Hill to Spring House & Sumneytown Pike, Spring House to Towamencin]

Naturally, roads to meeting, to mill, and to market, required immediate attention. For thirty years after the first arrival they formed one of the most important objects of the settlers' concern. Their desire for a road to Philadelphia was among the first shown. To the Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia county, June, 1704, there was presented "the petition of the inhabitants of North Wales", who recite "that there are in the said Township above thirty families already settled, and probably more to settle in and about the same, especially to the northward thereof, and as yet there is no road laid out to accommodate your petitioners, but what Roads or Paths have formerly been marked are removed by some and stopped by others:" they therefore ask an order from the court for a "Road or Cartway from Philadelphia through Germantown to the utmost of their above-mentioned Township of North Wales."

Upon this, the court "ordered that the said road [be laid out] from Philadelphia through Germantown, and so to the house of Edward Morgan, in North Wales, and that Edmund Orpwood, Robert Adams, William Howell, John Humphrey, Toby Leech, John Cook, Robert Jones, Owen Roberts, or any six of them, do lay out said road, and make return at the next sessions."

This road appears to have been laid out at this date --say 1704-5. It began at Whitemarsh, went past where Spring House now is, and then up through the township, substantially on the bed of the present [Sumneytown] turnpike. That it extended as far as what is now Towamencin, is fairly certain, because Edward Morgan had his lands there, above the Gwynedd line. "The house of Edward Morgan," mentioned in the order of court, was most probably not "in North Wales," but over the line, in Towamencin.

[Welsh Road, Pennypack Mills to Maple Glen, Norristown Rd., Maple Glen to Spring House]

Even earlier than this, however, the "Welsh road" originated. The mills on Pennypack creek, above Huntingdon Valley and below, were the first to which the settlers turned their attention, and their road from Gwynedd down was begun as early as 1702. At the March sessions of court, 1711, a petition was presented, reciting as follows:

"That whereas for about nine years past a road was laid out from a bridge in the line between the lands of John Humphrey and Edward Foulk in Gwynedd to the mills on Pemapeck, which said road having been and is likely to be of a general service to several of the adjacent townships as well as the undersigned, and not being yet confirmed by authority and recorded, [they ask it may be laid out, etc. The signers are as follows:]

William Jones

Edman Maguah

Ellis Davis

Thomas Evan

Hugh Evan

Rowland Hughs

Jno. Hugh

Evan Griffith

George Lewis

Robert Jones

Hugh Griffith

Edward Roberts

Edward Ffoulk

Evan Jones

Rowland Robert

Robert Evan

Evan Griffith

Evan Evans

Owen Evan

Hugh Robert

Jno. Evans

Jno. Humphrey

Ellis Lewis

Hugh Foulke

Cadwalader Evan

Evan Pugh

Evan Evans

Thomas Foulke

Robert Humphrey

Morris Robert

Cadwalader Jones

John Robert

John William

Nichlas Robert

Ellis Roberts

David Jones

Ellis Hugh

John Roberts

Richard Pugh

Edward Morgan

Robert Thomas

Humphrey Ellis

Richard Lewis

Samuel Thomas

John Barnes

Morris Edward

Alexander Edward

Jo. Iredell

Richard Whitton

Hugh Griffith

Peter Davis

John Morgan

Robert Ffletcher

Uimas Luckens

Wm. Roberts

Thomas Canby

Thomas Palmer

John Cadwalader

Thomas Roberts

Robert Whitton

The court appointed as viewers John Cadwalader, Thomas Kinderdine, Robert Jones, Rowland Hugh, Owen Evan, and Thomas Canby, who at the June session (1712), reported the road, which they had laid out on March 28th. Their report, however, is endorsed: "There being a question against this return, the court ordered a review, and appointed Toby Leech, Thomas Rutter, Benjamin Duffield, Peter Taylor, and Robert Jones of Merion," to make it. The remonstrance, as found in the file of court records, was as follows:

"The petition of Robert Evans, of the Township of Gwynedd, in the said county, Thomas Siddon and Ephraim Heaton, both of the said county, humbly sheweth: [That the road as laid out from Gwynedd to Pemapeck Mills will incommode and injure the signers. They assign the following specifications]:

  1. For that it cuts through the sd Robert Evan's land, being but 150 acres, so that 40 acres of it is separated from the water. [Note from HMJ: This is not Robert Evans of the four brothers, but Robert Evans ap Rhiderth. This Robert Evans owned 250 acres which must have covered part of the site of the village of Spring House and extended to the Horsham line. In 1745 he was living in Hilltown, and he then sold 200 acres of his Gwynedd land to his son Evan Evans. He died about 1747; His will was proved Feb. 12, 1747. He names his son Evan Evans, his grandsons Robert and Jonathan Evans, and daughter Elizabeth Jarvis, and leaves 3 pounds to Gwynedd Preparative Meeting.]
  2. For that this road very much incommodes your petitioner Thomas Siddon's lands, and cuts you petitioner Ephraim Heaton's land cross from one corner to another, and is laid out through his corn-field.
  3. For that the greater part, if not all those that laid out this Road were either Petitioners or Contenders for it.
  4. For that when Joseph Fisher's land comes to be settled the lands of several inhabitants of Gwynedd and others must be cut in pieces to branch into the road as now laid out, whereas if it had gone up that division line between the sd Fisher and Gwynedd, it would be a more general accomodation and bring the Road along your petitioners Heaton's and Siddon's lines upon a more direct course and better answers the Inhabitants on both sides the last mentioned line, there being two townships already settled with many families, joyning upon Gwynedd township above the said Fisher's tract.

{They therefore ask a hearing, with the opportunity to prove their case. The signers are as follows:]

Joseph Ffishore

Benjamin Charlesworth

Fd. Barch

David Marple

Evan Morgan

Mikel Trump

Peter Lester

John Nash

Nicholas Hicket

Thomas How

William Rundols

Richard Carver

James Haines

Thomas Fitzwater

George Burson

Nathan Page

John Bradfield

John Trout

Patrick Holly

Joseph Hall

Thomas Siddon

Samuel Hallowell

Thomas Hallowell

Rouberd Evan

David James

Joshua Holt

Ephraim Heaton

Methusaleh Griffith

James McVeagh

William Story

Bartholomew Longstreth

Abraham Griffith

Abraham Hill

John Hurford

George Phillips

John Evans

Mathis Tyssen

Allen Foster

Morris Davies

Willem Hendricks

Nicholas Scull

Henry Jones

John Cunnard

John ffisher

William Roberts

John Huntsman

Richard Rogan

Thomas David

Joseph Charlesworth

Alexander Guah


The second jury made their report to the court at the March sessions, 1712. They located the road somewhat differently from the previous jury, though not with any important variation. Their las course and distance was precisely the same: "north 59 degrees west, 166 perches to the above said bridge" [at John Humphrey's].

This road was the present Welsh road, up as far as the point on the Horsham and Upper Dublin line, near Pennville, and above that point the road by Three Tuns up to the Spring House. The Welsh road, up the township line above Pennville, was opened several years later.

[1714: Bethlehem Pike, Spring House to Quakertown]

At the June sessions, 1714, the following petition was presented:

"The humble petition of several of the inhabitants of Montgomery, Gwinedth, and Richlands, within the said county, showeth:

That your petitioners many of them being newly settled in these parts, having want of roads to meetings, mill, and market, do therefore pray this Worshipful Court that you will be pleased to order a Convenient road to be laid out from Joseph Growden's plantation in Richlands aforesaid to John Humphrey's at North Wales."

The court thereupon appointed Edward Farmer, Thomas Rutter, Thomas Siddon, Robert Jones, of Merion, Thomas Jones and Robert Evan, or any four of them, a jury of view. [editor, 2001 - See 1717 below too, as this seems to be the same road]


[1715: Plymouth Road from Gwynedd Meeting, southwest to Spring mill, Whitemarsh township]

At the March sessions, 1715, the following petition was presented:

"The petition of the subscribers, inhabitants of Gwynedd, Montgomery, Skippack, and other of the adjacent townships, humbly sheweth:

That inasmuch as the mill late of David Williams in Plymouth is built on a spring which neither the Drought of Sumer nor winter's ffrost hinders from supplying the neighbourhood with grinding when all or most of the other mills are dormant...our and others being so supply'd in times of such necessity lays [us] under great obligations to frequent the said mill [they therefore ask convenient roads to it] several of which said roads have been made use for these tenn or twelve years past, but obstructed at the pleasure of ill minded and contentious persons. [They then suggest the roads as named in the record of the court, adding] and your petitioners bringing their corn to mill in order to bring the mela to markett another road wants a confirmation leading from the said mill to the Great Road from Parkysomeny to Philadelphia, without which your petitioners must labor under great hardships and difficulties, for what is more necessary than a Convenient road to places of worship and to mills and marketts" [etc. The petition is signed by thirty person, most of them Gwynedd people]. [HMJ: The mill in the petition actually was situated at Spring Mill (as now known) in Whitemarsh.]

The jury on this were William Harman, Matthew Holgate, Rowland Ellis jr., Richard Jones, John Rhodes, and Thomas Stroud, who laid out the road from the Meeting-house, at Gwynedd, to the mill on the Schulykill - now Spring mill -- owned then by Anthony Morris and Robert Jones; and from the mill eastward to the Perkiomen road, at a point just below where the village of Barren Hill now is. They made their return to June sessions, 1716, giving the courses and distances, "beginning at a corner tree of Robert Evans's land, about 15 perches north-east from the said Gwynedd meeting-house." The first half-dozen of courses and distances are a follows: "South 12 degrees west, 440 perches; South 45 degrees west, 30 perches; South 12 degrees west, 500 perches; South 28 degrees west, 130 perches; South 45 degrees west, 138 perches; South 13 degrees east, 80 perches; South 4 degrees east, 52 perches;" etc. etc.

The location of this road did not, it appears, give universal satisfaction. At the same sessions, --June, 1716, --a remonstrance was presented from a resident of Gwynedd, as follows:

"The petition of David Jones, of Gwynedd, in the county of Philadelphia, humbly sheweth: That inasmuch as by force and virtue of a late order of court for a road to be laid out for the use and service of Robert Jones and Anthony Morris in Whitemarsh, your petitioner, upon the laying out of the same is much damnified and discommoded by so dividing and parceling one hundred acres of land, the tract of your petitioner, that he, your said petitioner must unavoidably leave his settlement except relieved by this honorable court, which it's presumed may be easily done by carrying the said road to the line a few perches off, which when done the same may be as commodious without either damnifying your petitioner or any other to his knowledge. There is another road laid out by Thomas Fairman about 10 or 12 years ago, that goes through part of my land without so much damnifying me, which said road is now turned, to my considerable damage, to save discommoding the large tracts of others, but I am ready and willing the old road should be continued, and to allow more land to enlarge it, if required. [HMJ note: David Jones owned the farm, now [1884] Eliza S. Davis's, on the Plymouth road, by the Wissahickon. A draft of the road, among the files of the Court, shows his house located on the east or lower side of the road, and it is probable that this crossed the Wissahickon above the present bridge, and nearer to the State road.]

At the same time a remonstrance was presented from Whitemarsh township concerning the location of the roads "to and from Robert Jones's mill to divers points in this county," and especially representing that one "from his mill up to the great road that goes to Whitemarsh mill and so thence to town" was solely for Robert Jones's private benefit, and would be very expensive to the township. Upon this Abraham Dawes, Isaac Dilbeck, John Ball, Thomas Strod, John Hank, and John Nicholls were appointed. The court, however, received at the same sessions the report of the original jury, and approved it, as appears by the following record:

"Pursuant to an order of the Court held for this City and County last March, wherein it was ordered that we should view and lay out certain roads leading from North Wales and adjacent settlements to Plymouth, thence to Robert Jones's mill, and so to the road leading from Perkioming to Philadelphia; which said roads, after view and Consideration thereof [we] think convenient to make return of the same according to the several courses and distances and a draft of the whole hereunto annexed. (Signed by William Harman, Matthew Holgate, Rowland Ellis, jr., Richard Jones, John Rhodes, Thomas Stroud.)

Which is confirmed by the court. The mill is to be at the charge of cutting the Road from the mill to the great road, and after cut to be maintained as other roads are."

But it seems that general acquiescence was not given to the location of the road, even after it had been formally located by the court, and following report was filed at the December sessions, 1716:

"Thomas Ellis, Constable of Whitpain Township, presents John Huntsman and Edward Endehaven for stopping up the great road laid out from Gwynedd meeting-house to Plymouth meeting-house, and to Anthoney Morris and Robert Jones his mill, which said road was laid out and allowed by all the Inhabitants of the Township the same runns thro' ye said Huntsman and Endehaven [and they] have this fall plowed and sowed their land and fenced in the said road and still refuse to open the same tho' often thereunto required."

[1717: Spring House and Hilltown Turnpike, today's Bethlehem Pike north from Spring House]

At the December sessions, 1717, the following petition was presented:

"To the Honorable the Justices at the County Court of Quarterly Sessions, held at Philadelphia the 2d day of December, 1717. The petition of subscribers, Inhabitants of the Township of Montgomery and the parts adjacent humbly sheweth: That your petitioners and others the neighboring inhabitants are very much incommoded for want of a road from Montgomery aforesaid to the great road from the Township of Gwynedd to Philadelphia, wherefore [they suggest that a convenient one to meeting and market would be] beginning at the plantation of Theophilus Williams and now thence as near as may be on a direct course to John Humphrey's bridge on the great road aforesaid. [The signers of this petition are as follows:]

John Williams

John Roberts

Joseph Bate

Evan Griffith

George Lewis

Theophilus Williams

Griffith Hugh

William Williams

Morris Davis

Rowland Roberts

William Story

Jenkin Evans

John David

Richard Lewis

Cadwallader Morris

David Hugh

Francis Dawes

William Morgan

John Johnson

Garatt Petterson

John Bartholomew

The court thereupon appointed as a jury of view: David Potts, William Harmer, Isaac Knight, Morris Morris, Toby Leech, jr., and Humphrey Bates, who at the March sessions, 1717, made the following return:

"And now here at this day, viz., at the Sessions of the Peace of our Lord the King held at Philadelphia, came the aforesaid [jury just named] and return that pursuant to an order of Court bearing date the second day of December, anno 1717, for the laying out a road from Theophilus Williams's plantation thro' the township of Montgomery to the great road from Gwynedth to Philadelphia, they had laid out the said road: Beginning at a hickory tree standing on the bank of Neshaminy Creek, in Theophilus Williams's land, then s. 19 degrees e., 20 p.; s. 30 degrees e., 120 p.; s. 12 degrees e., 70 p.; s. 5 degrees w., 46 p.; s. 3 degrees w., 124 p.; s. 40 degrees e., 72 p; s. 190 p.; 2. 24 degrees east, 100 p.; s. 11 degrees e., 110 p.; s. 24 degrees e., 360 p.; s. 4 degrees w., 486 p.; s. 16 degrees w., 90 p.; s. 56 degrees w., 48 p., to the Gwynedth road about 8 perches to the southward of a bridge on the Gwyndedth road commonly called John Humphrey's bridge. Which said road is by this Court confirmed."

A draft of the road thus laid out is among the court files. It shows the beginning squarely from the bank of the creek, the course generally southward, until in the last course it bears sharply westward and comes into the Gwynedd road nearly at a right angle. It is obviously, the old road, which the present Spring-House and Hilltown turnpike substantially follows.

[1721, Road from Robert Humphrey's to school on Bethlehem Pike]

At the December sessions, 1721, there is the following record:

"Upon the petition of Rowland Hughes and Robert Humphreys of the township of Gwynedth, setting forth the necessity of a road to be laid out from their plantations to the great road leading to Philadelphia by a school-house lately erected by their neighborhood, which said road might be laid out thro' the partition lines without detriment to any person. [The court appointed as a jury:] Edward Farmer, Rowland Ellis, Everard Bolton, Toby Leech, jr., Humphrey Ball [Bate?], and John Jones, carpenter, or some four of them. [The petition of Hugh and Humphrey, on the files of the court, recites that they "being of late debarr'd of a direct road from their habitations to the great road from Philadelphia to and through Gwynedd aforesaid" --"inasmuch as several of the neighbourhood in conjunction with your petitioners have erected a school-house upon the great road aforesaid," -they desire a road from Robert Humphrey's "by the said school-house."]

[1723, Welsh road from Bethlehem Pike to Maple Glen; Norristown Rd. from Maple Glen to Horsham Meeting]

At the September sessions, 1723, "divers of the inhabitants of the Townships of North Wales and Horsham" asked a road "from the corner of Ephraim Heaton's field to Horsham meeting-hosue, whereupon the court appointed John Cadwalader, John Evans, John Humphrey, Rowland Hugh, Thomas Iredell, Sampson Davis, or any four of them, a jury. December, 1723, they reported that on November 27th, "with the assistance of a surveyor" (Peter Taylor) they laid it out, "Beginning at or in the North Wales road, near the corner of the said Ephraim Heaton's field, thence e. 14 1/2 degrees n., 440 p.; east 14 degrees north, 144 p.; thence s.e. along Fisher's line, 208 p.' thence e. 5 degrees south, 92 p. to Horsham meeting-house." Which report the court confirmed, nisi.

[1727, Valley Forge Road, Sumneytown Pike to Ridge Pike]

At the March sessions, 1727:

"Upon the petition of several of the inhabitants of the county of Philadelphia [representing their want of roads] to places of Worship, Mills, and Market, [and asking] a road to be laid out, beginning at or near a creek by John Jones' house, in the upper part of Gwynedth township and turn off at the Great Road through some part of the said John Jones' land to the Susquehannah Road or Line, six or seven miles along the same and running partly by the meeting-house and Garret Clement's mill to a branch of Perkyoming Creek; the Court ordered that Henry Penebecker, John Jones, of North Wales, John Newberry, William Harmar, Peter Wence [Wentz], and William Roberts, or any four of them, do view and judge if there be occasion for the road petitioned for, and if one road can be laid out to accommodate the said petitioners and those of Skippack who now petition for the road now petition for a road from a branch of the Perkyoming to the said Skippack Road, and if they judge that there is necessity for a road" [then to lay it out, etc.]. " [JQ: I am guessing that the meeting-house is the Schwenkfelder Church on Valley Forge Road.]

The original petition referred to in this record remains on file. It is signed by mainly residents in Towamencin, thirty names altogether. Nearly half sign in German, and some of these are undecipherable. As far as can be made out they are as follows:

Jacob Gaedtschalck

Joseph Lucken

Christian Kuntzig

Gaetschalck Gaedtschalck

John Edwards

Carl Ludwig Raeber

Hendry Hendricks

Jacob Hill

Andreas Schwartz

William Nash

Christopher Buhler

Nicholas Enser

Herman Gaedschalck

Hans Lebo

Chr. Meyer

Abraham Lucken

Gabriel Breyer

Christian Breneman

Hugh Evan

John Lucken


The jury made their return to the June court [1728], that they had laid out a road, "Beginning at the Beech Tree near the North Branch of Perkyoming; thence n. 76 degrees e. 48 perches, thence s.e. 262 p., thence s. 22 degrees east, 52 perches, thence s. 25 degrees e. 90 perches, thence [by eleven courses] to Skippack creek, then s. 67 degrees e. 26 p., thence s.e. 424 p. to Hugh Evan's fence; thence e. 16 p., thence s. 12 degrees east 18 p.; thence s.e. 219 p., thence s. 40 degrees 3. 146 p., thence s. 62 degrees e. 150 p. to the great road along by John John's at North Wales to Philadelphia." Which report the court confirmed.

[1728, Road to Gwynedd Meeting-house from Montgomery township, today's Meetinghouse Rd.]

At the June Sessions, 1728, there was presented the following:

"The petition of the subscribers Inhabitants of Montgomery and the adjacent parts, on behalf of themselves and others, humbly sheweth: That your petitioners and others having long labored under divers difficulties and inconveniences occasioned by the want of a legally established road leading to public places of Worship, Markett & Mill are by necessity constrained to make application [for a road] leading from and beginning at the Bucks County line in the Line dividing the Lands now or late of Andrew Hamilton and Thomas Shute and running along the said Division Line and then taking and running along the line dividing the lands of John Roberts [black-]smith, and Garrett Peters, to Gwynedd meeting-house and answering (in a straight line) the road leading thence directly to Robert Jones and Anthony Morris his mill. [Signed by:]

Joseph Naylor

Samuel Thomas

Jno. Bartholomew

Thomas Reess

Theophilus Williams

Griffe Hugh

Griffith Evans

John David

James Davies

George Shoemaker

John Williams

David Evans

Daniel Kirk [?]

William Morgan

David Johns

John Richard

Evan Steven

Joseph Eaton

Thomas Edward

Garet Peters

Rowland Roberts

Daniel Williams

John Jones

Th. Bartholomew

Richard Williams

John Robert

Joseph Ambler

Upon this petition the Court appointed Rowland Hugh, Robert Humphrey, Humphrey Jones, George Lewis, Evan Griffith, and Rees Harry a jury. They made their report (signed by all but Harry) to the September Court, stating that they had surveyed a road on the 19th of 6th month (August) and located it as follows:

"From the Bucks County line, beginning at a black oak in the said line, thence s. 44 degrees w. along a straight line 316 p., dividing the lands of Andrew Hamilton and Thomas Shute, thence, s. 63 degrees w. 18 p. to a black oak; thence upon a straight line s. 44 degrees w. 140 p., thence s. 67 degrees w. 72 p.; thence s. 44 degrees w. along a straight line 360 p., dividing the lands of John Bartholomew and Rowland Roberts, John Roberts [black-]smith, and Garrett Peterson; thence s. 3 degrees east 196 p.; thence s. 44 degrees w. 174 p.; thence s. 15 degrees w. 55 p.; thence s. 45 degrees w. 10 p.; thence s. 3 degrees west 80 p.; thence s. 25 degrees w. 30 p., falling into the great road by Gwynedd meeting-house, answering the end of the road that leads to Robert Jones's and Anthony Morris's mill."

The return the Court confirmed, nisi. A draft submitted with the report shows that Andrew Hamilton's land in Montgomery (he owned also on the Bucks side of the county line), lay along the lower side of the new road, with Shute's land on the upper side. The end of the road at Gwynedd meeting-house met directly the road to Plymouth, and so formed a cross-roads with the "great road" running upward through Gwynedd.

[1731, Route 202 from the Bucks county line to Bethlehem Pike]

At the September Court, 1731, was presented the following:

"We ye inhabitants of the Township of Montgomery and others near joyning, Humbly petition: Whereas there is a road Lately laid out and confirmed at the last court of Quarter Sessions held at Newtown for ye County of Bucks, beginning at James David's corner on ye county Line and thence Leading to Pine Run Mills and to Buckingham meeting-house, which road will be very usefull to us and those near us in the County of Bucks in order to pass & Repass to ye said pine run mills and also to markett and to have intercourse beteen several places of worship. [They therefore ask] an order to extend ye road into this township from ye said road into this township from ye county line as far as ye great road and to fall into the same by or near Isaac James's corner, and to branch out somewhere near Isaac James, as may be thought most convenient to lead to ye Baptist meeting-house in this township. [Signed by]

Thomas James

Jno. Davis

Thomas Rees

Evan Steven

Thomas Lewis

Thomas John

David Stevens

David James

Joseph Naylor

William George

Griffith Hugh

John Roberts

Simon Matthews

Joseph Eaton

George Lewis

William Morgan

Thos. Bartholomew

Richard Lewis

Benjamin Griffith

James David

William Williams

Griffith Owen

Simon Butler

Samuel Thomas

Isaac Evan

William Thomas

Joseph Ambler

[Note from HMJ: Pine Run mills stood where the village of Chalfont now is]

Upon this petition the Court appointed John Jones, carpenter, John David, of Plymouth, Theophilus Williams, Joseph Bates, David Evans, and Jenkin Evans a jury, who reported at December Court, and presented a good draft of their road, showing not only ints courses and distances, but the land-holders on each side, and even the topographical features. The road ended by coming into the great road at Isaac James's corner," but a branch from a point east of this ran up to the Baptist meeting-house.

[1734-38: Swedesford Road, from Norristown borough to Sumneytown Pike]

Up to 1734, the road to Plymouth supplied the only public way to the Schuylkill. In June, 1734, a petition was presented to the Court for a road from the Swede's Ford to North Wales meeting-house, and a jury, consisting of Reese Williams, Rowland Hugh, Robert Rogers, Richard Thoms, Hugh Jones, and Job Pugh, reported a road at the September session; but Isaac Norris, who owned a large part of the present township of Norriton, and borough of Norristown, strenuously objected that it would damage his property, "cutting asunder the best part of his tract," and a review was ordered, which seems to have had the effect of postponing any definite action. In September, 1737, however, a new petition was presented, which said that several roads from Bucks county now led to North Wales meeting-house, but that to get from there to the Swedes' Ford, the way was very roundabout, making it inconvenient to travelers, as well as residents. John Bartholomew, George Lewis, David Evans, Jonathan Potts, Jonathan Robeson, and Abraham Dawes were appointed a jury, and reported at the March term, 1738, their road being thus described.

"Beginning at a hickory tree standing near the landing of the Swedes Ford, on the south west side of the river Schuylkill, then n. 31 degrees east 33 p. to a stump, standing at the landing on the n.e. side of Schuylkill, thence the same course, n. 31 degrees e., on Norris land, 59 p. to a road leading to Norris's Mills, then n. 59 degrees w., along the aforesaid road 160 p. to a stake, thence n. 19 degrees east, along Norris's land, 280 p. to a line of Samuel Evan's land, thence n.e. along a line between the said Evans, Edward Farmer, and Aaron Roberts, 136 p. to a corner of said Evans's land, thence n. 24 degrees east, 71 p. to a corner of Roger Pugh's land, then n.e. along the line dividing the lands of Roger Pugh, Norris, and Robert Rogers, 196 p. to a stake, thence n. 61 degrees e. along land leased of Ellis Ellis, and part of Whitpaine's tract, 222 p. to a small sapling in a line of George Fitzwater's, Thomas Fitzwater's and Whitpaine's tract, 406 p. to a white oak standing near Skippack Road, thence the same course along the line of Peter Indehaven, Henry Levering, Daniel Levering, Samuel Linderman, and Jacob Levering, 404 p. to a stake; thence n. 14 degrees west through Jacob Levering's and Ellis Pugh's lands 106 p. to a stake in the line dividing Evan Evans's and the aforesaid Pugh's lands, thence n.e. along the line of the said Evan Evans, Ellis Pugh, Thomas Evans, William Roberts, Owen Evans and Margaret Evans, 464 p. to North Wales road [Sumneytown Pike], then s. 52 degrees e. along the said road 84 p. to North Wales meeting-house, being in all 8 miles, 243 p.

Which said road is by this court confirmed, and the Overseers of the High Ways are Ordered by this Court to open the same, according to law, for public use."

[1737, private Road from Penllyn to Bethlehem Pike]

In 1737 the Court granted a private road, to be laid out 20 feet wide, to enable settlers about Penllyn to reach "the great road," on their way to Philadelphia. It was laid out, "beginning at a stone in the line of Edward Foulke, jun., thence n.e. between his lands and Lewis Williams's, 74 perches, then on L.W.'s land s.e., joining the land of Thomas David, 96 perches to a black oak near the line, then same course on Thomas David's land, to the far corner of the grave-yard, then on the line between Thomas David and Lewis Williams, and between Thomas David and Evans Roberts, s.e. 126 perches to the great road near the school house."

What "the grave-yard" was I do not know, --probably a family burial-place. The school-house is no doubt the same referred to previously in the petition of Rowland Hugh, and it must have stood on "the great road" --the present turnpike, --well down toward the Upper Dublin line.

[1751, the Plymouth Road's course is revised]

The Plymouth road was reviewed, in 1751, by a jury consisting of William Dewees, Archibald McClean, Peter Robison, Joseph Waln, Rees Harry, and Wickard Miller, the line varying considerably in the upper courses from the road laid out in 1716. Their road began "at Spring Mill door", and ran by 30 courses and distances, by Plymouth meeting-house, the Dutch church land (Boehm's), to Wissahickon creek, and "North Wales road near the meeting-house." The whole length of the road was 9 miles, 7 perches; from Plymouth m.h. to North Wales m.h., 7 miles, 24 perches.

[1760: Pennlyn-Bluebell Pike from Spring House to Boehm's Church]

The road from Spring-House to Boehm's Church (intersecting the Plymouth road at the latter point) was laid out in the spring of 1760 by John Trump, Benjamin Davids, John Potts, Peter Cleaver, and Charles Jolly, and the same jury at the same time laid out the township-line road between Gwynedd and Whitpain, from the present State road down to the Upper Dublin line. The road from Boehm's is thus described:

"Beginning near a stone spring-house in Gwynedd road; thence extending south-west 331 perches on a line between Evan Evans, Elizabeth Davis, and Hannah [Hannaniah] Pugh on the one side, [and] John Evans and Edward Foulke on the other side; thence South 75 degrees West, 60 perches to the end of William Foulke's lane; thence, South 69 degrees West, 32 perches along said Foulke's lane; thence, South 58 degrees West, 25 perches to William Foulke's house; thence, South 48 degrees West, 50 perches to said Foulke's Mill; thence, South, 84 degrees West, 68 perches through the land of William Foulke, and the land of John Roberts, to a stake; thence, South-west, 148 perches on a line between John Roberts' and Richard Thomas' land; thence South 15 degrees West, 55 perches through the lands of John Roberts and John Lewis; then South-west, 140 perches on a line between John Lewis, James Brown, Charles Cress, and Philip Duder, into a road leading from Gwynedd to Plymouth, near a Dutch meeting-house."

[Note: The above gives the origin of the name of the present village, "the Spring-House." There was no tavern at this place until 1763, or thereabout. But the spring was well known from the time of the first settlement. In 1709 John Humphrey, whose tract adjoined, secured of Robert Evans the right to use "a certain fountain or flowing spring of water, together with the free and undisturbed benefit of said spring, with a foot-path to and from it over the said Robert Evan's land. A stone house over it had been built, as shown above, between 1709 and 1760. It is on the property now [1896] owned by Isaac Hallowell, in the rear of his store, at Spring-House.]

[So much of interest as to ownership of land, location of places, etc., etc., is disclosed by a study of the road records, that I regret that I am unable to devote more space to this chapter. The most important roads in the township have now mostly been accounted for.]

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