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Lower Makefield Historical Society deeds and manuscripts collection


Held at: Lower Makefield Historical Society [Contact Us]P.O. Box 228, Yardley, PA, 19067

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Lower Makefield 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

The Yardley family, friends of William Penn, were among the first English settlers who lived in the area later known as Makefield in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. They and other Quaker families began to settle the area in 1682.

"The Township of Makefield was founded in 1692 when Bucks County appointed a grand jury to divide the county into townships. The original five townships were: Bensalem, Bristol, Falls, Makefield and Middletown. Richard Hough [who married into the Yardley family] is credited with naming Makefield Township. He was a provincial councilor and may have chosen the name Makefield as an Americanization of the name "Macclesfield," his native home in Cheshire, England. In 1737, a realignment of Makefield boundaries divided it into Upper and Lower Makefield."

Lower Makefield Township remained largely rural for the next couple centuries. "In the 18th century the farms averaged about 150 acres and the farmers harvested wheat, corn, rye, oats, hay, and some flax... In the 19th century agriculture practices changed. Wheat, corn and hay were still the principal field crops, but urban growth fostered a dairy revolution on Pennsylvania farms. Lower Makefield farms became "specialized" in crops for the urban market, producing exotic vegetables, flowers, prize horses, other livestock and milk.

"These activities fostered minor commercial activities that concentrated at important crossroads" and led to the development of bustling villages such as Edgewood Village, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. "In the 19th century, a minor tourism industry developed that allowed local farmers to supplement their incomes by taking in boarders. First by stage and horse traffic, then after 1876, by the nearby Reading railroad, city dwellers arrived to vacation in the healthful farm air.

"As transportation and communications networks extended from Trenton and Philadelphia into suburban Bucks County areas in the 20th century, Lower Makefield farms turned into suburban housing developments for workers at nearby industries. This trend became particularly intense after the arrival of U.S. Steel's Fairless Works and the expansion of Route 1 corridor south of the Township. Interstate 95 bisected the Township in the 1970s, and Lower Makefield's central location in the Washington, D.C. to New York City corridor made the development of residential housing the Township's principal economic activity in the waning decades of the century."


Quoted text from: The Township of Lower Makefield, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. "History of Lower Makefield Township." Accessed September 3, 2013.

This collection consists primarily of deeds, releases, mortgages, and other property-related documents from the area of Lower Makefield Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, dating from 1729 to 1925. The Palmer, Yardley, Ely, Stapler, Cadwallader, and other local families are represented. The collection also includes two minute books from local organizations, the Lower Makefield Total Abstinence Temperance Society (1836) and the Lower Makefield Fremount and Dayton Club (1856).

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 Lower Makefield Historical Society directly for more information.

Lower Makefield 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.
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Contact Lower Makefield Historical Society for information about accessing this collection.

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