Once Upon A Time
In New Garden Township
by Ann Hagerty
We are pleased to be able to publish on this website the
text of Ann Hagerty's long out of print history of New Garden Township. This history, published in 1977, is a fascinating account of the people that
settled here in bygone centuries and the industries of the area. We are
thankful to Robert Simon who did the tedious OCR work necessary to ready the
book for web publication.
The book itself contained many historic photographs.
Unfortunately, we will be unable to include these photographs on this website
until we obtain permission from their current owners. We will seek permission
to publish these photographs as we identify their owners, but expect this
will be a lengthy process. In the meantime, please enjoy the text of the
ONCE UPON A TIME... A phrase that conjures visions of
knights and princesses, goblins, and ghouls, fairy godmothers and witches
seemed an appropriate title for this story of New Garden Township, for often
the whole account seemed like a fairy tale. I hesitate to call it a history for
much trivia is included to "lighten the load," and many important
facts have been omitted. This can be attributed to lassitude.
Interest in New Garden Township began as we heard local
stories of events, people, and places well-remembered and well-loved. After
twenty years, we have decided that New Gardeners are delightfully maverick in
much they do or say! We thought this attitude was engendered by those who
arrived long after the "staid and somber" Quakers, but after research,
I am convinced that "our" Friends, while certainly devout and firm in
their beliefs, were mavericks themselves as they first went to Ireland and then came to America - hardly the somber, staid, patterned individuals they were
An attempt was made to write of the early Quaker families,
but that project was soon abandoned because of the enormity of the task. Our
whole early Township story is theirs. Much information is readily available at
the Chester County Historical Society library and in repositories of the
Society of Friends for those wishing more detail. Greater space has, therefore,
been given to the story of those who arrived later and of whom little is
written, for their part in our story is equally important. Generally, the tale
stops with the advent of the Twentieth Century excepting the sections on
mushrooms, a product so vital to our Township, and on those who grow them.
Many lament the passing of "the good old days,"
but they weren't so good in some ways. With our mixture of people of various
backgrounds and cultures, perhaps we can select the best parts and adapt them
to current times and "live happily ever after."
Many people helped with this project and to them go great
thanks. In addition to those listed below, members of individual families and
owners of older homes furnished much information. Special thanks to my husband,
Edward, who has never complained of inconveniences caused by piles of papers
and endless telephone calls; to my friends, Alice Aurig and Lorraine Crossan,
who supported the project and listened when the need arose; to my friend,
Dorothy Powell, who lent material and endless support and designed and drew the
cover in addition. Some others were:
Mrs. Christopher Vandegrift
Mr. and Mrs. Leon Wilkinson
Mrs. Mary Douglas
Mrs. Chester Dickerschied
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas DeCecco
Ernest Crossan, Sr.
Mr. and Mrs. James Bacino
Ernest Crossan, Jr.
Mr. and Mrs. Louis Pia
Mrs. Nora McComsey (deceased)
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Mendenhall
George Holton (deceased)
G. Pownall Jones
Mr. and Mrs. W. Thomas Kelleher
Benjamin J. Reynolds (deceased)
Mrs. Lyle Amberg
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Ciarrocchi
Mrs. Ernest McMaster
J Raymond Crossan
Miss Johanna Kelleher
Mrs. Anne S.
J. Louis Landenberger
Ernest W. Haines
John "Tibbie" Connell
Edward "Ted" Strode
Mrs. Paul Wollaston
Some sources of information
other than those listed in the text were:
"History of Chester County" by Futhey and Cope
"Little Known History of Newark, Delaware and Its Environs" by Francis A, Cooch
"Immigration of Irish
Quakers In Pennsylvania" by Albert Cook Myers
New Garden Civic Association
New Garden Meeting histories by Eleanor
Cooper, Eleanor Parrish, Vera Schrader
"The Ethnic Experience in Pennsylvania" edited by John E, Bodnar
Houses" by Horace Mather Lippincott
"Manual of Mushroom
Culture" by G, Raymond Rettew; published by Mushroom Supply Co.
"Some Recent Changes In the
American Mushroom Industry" by Richard Bucksar in
Journal of Geography" - March 1966.
"The Outline of
History" by H. G. Wells
Irish" by John Philip Cohane
"The Education of an
American" by Mark Sullivan
All of the New Garden files - Chester County Historical Society Library
"Autobiographical Notes of
Ezra Michener, M.D."
"Indians in Pennsylvania" by Paul A, Wallace
"Delaware's Buried Past"
by C. A. Weslager
"The Story of the Wilmington and Western Railroad" by Arthur G. Volkman
Background" In Centennial Memorial of St. Patrick's Church by
"The Negro In Pennsylvania History" by Ira V, Brown
Architecture" by Irwin Richman
Architecture of Pennsylvania" by Eleanor Raymond FAIA