1790 Pennock Log House

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Pennock Log House, Landingford Plantation, Upland, Pa. 2014

 

The Pennock Log House Story© 2012

 

History from Penn to William Pennock: In the year 1681 William Penn sold 1500 acres of land in Pennsylvania to Henry Maddock of Holm Hall in Cheshire and his brother-in-law, James Kennerly. They came out by 1682 and had approximately 1006 acres laid out for them on the east side of the Crum Creek in Springfield Township. They built a house by 1683, when it is shown on the Charles Ashcomb map. It seems quite possible that this may have been a log cabin, now incorporated in the larger home of Mrs. Samuel Symond (?), off of Walnut Lane, close to North Swarthmore Avenue and the present Baltimore Pike.

 

James Kennerly died in Pennsylvania and Henry Maddock returned to England. Both vested their interest in Henry’s son, Mordecai Maddock. Patent Book A, Vol. 1, pages 324 and 325 in the Rolls Office in Philadelphia says that on the 4th month 5, 1701, (or possibly it was 1702), Edward Shippen, Griffith Owen, Thomas Story and James Logan granted to Mordecai Maddock 521 acres, part of a tract of 1500 acres conveyed by William Penn to Henry Maddock and James Kennerly. This tract goes all the way to Morton Station, and we have since discovered that it also included the land where the Benjamin West House stands. The location of the new Target Store (the former location of the old Strawbridge & Clothier store) would also likely be part of this tract.

 

On the 15th of May, 1705, Mordecai Maddock sold part of this tract to Isaac Norris, including the section where the Pennock Log House would be built.

   

Isaac Norris owned this land when he died in 1753. He was the second largest owner of land in Pennsylvania, second only to Samuel Carpenter, who died in 1714. Isaac Norris left a widow and a large family of children. In the division of the estate, Isaac Norris, Jr. acquired the land where the log house would be built.(NOTE: in the same division of his father’s estate, part of Chester Mills, including Caleb Pusey’s house also came to Isaac Norris, Jr.. He sold the mill to John Pennell, Jr. in 1749, and John Pennell, Jr. sold the mill and messuage to Samuel Shaw and his brother Thomas in 1752.)

 

Isaac Norris, Jr. in 1743/4 sold 202 acres in Springfield to John Crosby. (records at West Chester). Of this, William Caldwell, butcher, of Springfield Township, bought 70 acres and 22 perches from John Crosby and his wife, Susanna. 

 

William Caldwell died leaving certain debts and his two contiguous properties in Springfield were put up for sale. The best and highest bidder was Nathaniel Pennock of West Marlborough, who paid 270£ on or about August 31, 1756. (Deed Book K – page 544 at West Chester)

 

On November 28, 1755, John Morton, Esq. attempted to sell goods, chattels and the tenements of Job Dick, “yeoman of my bailiwick”. Job Dick owed 401£ to Reese Meredith. So Job Dick’s two plantations were seized to pay this debt, in all about 190 acres in Springfield Township. Apparently Nathaniel Pennock bought this land, although not until November 16, 1765, for 571£.

 

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 Pennock Log House, with stucco exterior, Springfield, Pa. 1960s

   

History from William Pennock to the Friends of the Caleb Pusey House, Inc.:  

 

Nathaniel Pennock, member of the Pennsylvania Assembly, and son of Joseph Pennock of Primitive Hall, was the purchaser of all this land. He wrote his will in 1774. He owned 500 acres in West Marlborough Township, 500 acres in London Grove, and 270 acres in Springfield Township. He had four sons, John, Joseph, Samuel and William. In the division of this estate, the Springfield holdings went to William, who was much the youngest son. 

 

In the accounting of Nathaniel Pennock’s estate, filed February 25, 1786, we learn that rents from the Springfield Township plantation were 858£. This was, however, for a period of 11½ years, for Nathaniel Pennock had died in the 6th month 1774. William Pennock, born the 8th month 15, 1763, married August 18, 1785 Lydia Jackson, daughter of Caleb and Hannah Bennett Jackson. She was a year younger than her husband. They came to Springfield Township to make their home built the log house and made it their home for the first several years of their marriage.

 

The house passed to Susanna Yarnall Thomas, the widow of Benjamin Thomas (who had been a “saddler”) and she was living in “a certain log messuage with 27 acres of ground” by July 8, 1795. By July 8, 1796 she was to pay William Pennock and his wife Lydia 310£ for this property. The 1798 direct tax, taken only in Pennsylvania, mentions this house and says that it was almost new. There was also a barn and a spring house and there was likely still 27 acres of land. William Pennock and his wife were living then in a brick house, the measurements being 33 feet square. They likely moved here after selling their log house.

   

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Pennock Log House, Landingford Plantation, Upland, Pa. 2008

 

This log house stayed in the Thomas family for altogether 113 years, until 1908. There was a division of property when Susanna Thomas died. This log house went on to her son James, who died on the 11th day of October, 1842. (as recounted in Deed Book V, page 580 in the Delaware County Court House) 

 

The next owner was John F. Thomas, son of James Thomas. He died about July 29, 1890, his will being proved on August 19, 1890. (Will Book K, page 211) He left the property to his wife Catherine A. Thomas. She died intestate about November 1, 1907, leaving three unmarried daughters, who, the following year, sold the property to Edward J. Frame of Philadelphia for $3,000. The 27 acre property by then had shrunk (?) to 5 acres.

   

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Pennock Log House deconstruction, Springfield, Pa. 1964

 

The recital is interesting in the notice of the changing of the names, but another interesting item is the changes in the street names of the location. In the early days, this property was on the Amosland Road. In 1964, when the log house was disassembled for the move to Upland, it was located on Swarthmore Avenue. Once this was called the “road to the Lazeretto”, the old quarantine hospital in Tinicum. 

 

The last sale of the log house was from Mr. and Mrs. Frame to their daughter and son-in-law (the Moores) for $500 during the depression years. The Moores also acquired one-half of the land which the Frames then owned in addition to the log house.

    

Mrs. Mabel Moore-Horne gave this old log house, located at 357 South Swarthmore Avenue, Springfield Township, to The Friends of the Caleb Pusey House, Inc., by deed of gift on February 19, 1964 with the provision that it had to be moved off of the property by April 1, 1964.

 

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Pennock Log House deconstruction, Springfield, Pa. 1964

 

During March of 1964, the Log House was slowly dismantled, beginning with the attic. Then the logs, which were carefully marked, were lifted off one at a time, so that the house could be reconstructed faithfully on the meadow near the Caleb Pusey House. This was carried out during the 1964/1965 time frame.

 

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Pennock Log House, Landingford Plantation, Upland, Pa. 2008

    

Recent History. Over the years since the Log House has been assembled on this site, it has been subjected to serious flooding events. On September 13th, 1971 and June 22, 1972, Hurricane Ginger and Hurricane Agnes produced Chester Creek Flooding not seen again until Hurricane Floyd on September 16, 1999. The first floor of the Log House was completely under water during these events and the first floor was a total loss. It was necessary to completely replace the electrical, sanitary, and security systems in the building.

    

During the events of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011 we experienced 5 feet of water in the first floor. As can be seen, the walls of the old structure are rapidly deteriorating from the effects of the weather and repeated flooding events.

  

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Pennock Log House, Landingford Plantation, Upland, Pa. 2014

 

In order to be more in compliance with the requirements of FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), we have had to remove the modern shed addition so that future losses, due to flooding, might be mitigated to the fullest extent possible. 

 

Going forward, The Friends of the Caleb Pusey House, Inc. (FCPH) is committed to the eventual restoration and preservation of the exterior walls of the log house. To this end, we have applied for several rounds of CDBG (HUD) grants with no success. We have also set up a special “Log House Exterior Wall Restoration” fund-raising effort, which continues today.  

 

With good luck and the continued support of our donors, we hope to add the 1790 Pennock Log House to our active site interpretation in the next couple of years. Contributions, restricted for this use, are being sought and gratefully accepted.

 

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Pennock Log House, Landingford Plantation, Upland, Pa. 2008

 

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Landingford Plantation,15 Race St. Upland, PA.