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Willits family papers


Held at: Concord Township Historical Society [Contact Us]659 Smithbridge Road, Box 152, Concordville, PA, 19342

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Concord Township Historical Society. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Francis P. Willits, son of David and Charlotte Parvin Willits, was born in Berks County, Pennsylvania in 1856. After studying at the Maplewood Institute in Delaware County, Pa., he began working in a store, but left in 1885 to purchase a 95-acre farm in Concord Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Willits is notable for being among the first to cultivate mushrooms in America; he acquired mushroom spores from England and began growing them on his farm in 1892. His family occupied the home that he bought with his farm in 1885 for nearly one hundred years. Known as the "Pierce-Willits House," the structure is occupied by the Concord Township Historical Society as of 2013.


Concord Township Historical Society. "Pierce-Willits Main House." Accessed May 30, 2013.

Cope, Gilbert and Henry Graham Ashmead. Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Chester and Delaware Counties, Pennsylvania, Volume 2. Chester County, Pa. : Higginson Book Co., 1904. Accessed May 30, 2013. Page 285.

This collection consists largely of photographs that date between 1860 and 1940 of the Willits family and related families, especially the Palmer and Pancoast families. Also included are deeds, genealogical materials, correspondence, a typescript draft of A Quaker Forty-Niner: The Adventures of Charles Edward Pancoast on the American Frontier, and a Concord Mushroom Co., Inc. minute book (1959-1971).

Gift of several Willits family members.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Concord Township Historical Society directly for more information.

Concord Township Historical Society
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Faith Charlton through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Access Restrictions

Contact Concord Township Historical Society for information about accessing this collection.

Collection Inventory

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