History from William Pennock to
the Friends of the Caleb Pusey House, Inc.: (FCPH)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 last year 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.
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.