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Worcester Historical Society local history collection


Held at: Worcester Historical Society [Contact Us]P.O. Box 112, Lansdale, PA, 19446

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

"Worcester Township was formed in 1733 when twenty-two landowners petitioned the court to form a new township of about 10,000 acres. Before 1733, this area was called New Bristol. Worcester's name is said to come from the Saxon word "caester," meaning a station or camp. Worcester's first settlers were English, German, Welsh, and Dutch. German settlers included Mennonites, Schwenkfelders, and German Reformed - all groups that are still active here today...

"During the Revolutionary War, Washington's Army camped in Worcester before and after the Battle of Germantown. Peter Wentz Farmstead is the most well known place where Washington camped locally. After this excitement and danger, the township returned to its agricultural ways. By 1785, Worcester had three gristmills and one saw mill, most powered by the Zacharias Creek.

"There are three villages in the township: Center Point, the geographical center of Montgomery County; Fairview Village, with its commanding view toward Philadelphia on Fairview Hills; and Cedars, formerly Cedar Hills, named for the abundance of native cedars growing there.

"The first school was established in 1739 by Mennonites in their Meeting House located on Quarry Hall Road near Mill Road, site of the present Methacton Mennonite Church. This is also the site of the Methacton Oak, beneath which, tradition has it, many soldiers from the Continental Army lie buried. In 1880 the township was divided into seven school districts: Quarry Hole School in Fairview, which succeeded the Mennonite Church location; Water Street School (1830); Stump Hall School on Valley Forge and Stump Hall Roads; the Bethel Schoolhouse (still part of Bethel Hill United Methodist Church); Metz's School (1849) on Skippack Pike; Anders School on Shearer Road; and the Cassel School on Potshop Road.

"Farming has always been central to life in Worcester Township. By 1884, Worcester boasted three livestock dealers, three general stores, and a flour and feed dealer. Local farmers formed the Farmers Union in the 1890s. The organization grew to have a membership of 600 farmers in Montgomery and Bucks Counties. Worcester members built Farmers Union Hall in the village of Center Point, now the home of the Worcester Historical Society. Worcester Township farms were known for their wheat, dairy, eggs, poultry, and potatoes. In 1954, a Worcester farmer was fined by the U.S. government for growing more than his allotment of wheat, even though he needed all of the wheat he grew to feed his chickens, in order to run his poultry and egg farm! Today Worcester boasts the only certified organic farm in Montgomery County (Willow Creek Orchard) plus two Pennsylvania Century Farms - the former Heebner Farm, now Willow Creek Orchard, and Merrymead Farm - as well as many smaller farms."


Quoted material from: Worcester Historical Society. "History of Worcester Township." August 29, 2009. Accessed November 16, 2011.

This collection includes documents, ephemera, photographs, correspondence, and other records from several local clubs, associations, and schools. Materials from schools in Worcester Township include: numerous mid-19th century school records, a Worcester School District Authority minute book from 1954, binders of graduation and sports photographs from 1894-1959, and miscellaneous ephemera and publications including commencement announcements, annual reports, and yearbooks. Of special interest are a Worcester Alumni Association minute book from 1886 and Alumni Gazettes. There is one binder of miscellaneous Post Office documents, 1953-1997, including employee records, ephemera, correspondence, photographs, and newspaper clippings. There is an original secretary handbook from the Worcester Township Democratic Club, 1863, in addition to an 1895 minute book and newsletters (1957-2000) for the Worcester Township Republican Committee. There is a small amount of materials relating to the Farmer's Union Horse Company for the Recovery of Stolen Horses and Detecting Thieves, including brochures and organizational histories, circa 1958-1990. Small amounts of material from the Worcester Literary Society, Worcester Civic Association, and Fairview Village Singers are also included in this collection. Several ledgers, including an unidentified financial ledger, circa 1876; Sixth/Seventh War Loan ledger for Worcester Township; and a ledger from farmer Isaiah S. Anders, circa 1895 are in the collection as well.

In addition to the materials associated with a particular school, club, or association, the collection includes a series of miscellaneous documents related to the Worcester area. Framed items are located throughout the building, and the remainder of the miscellaneous documents are filed alphabetically in a vertical-file drawer. There are numerous funeral invitations, financial documents, legal documents, baptismal and marriage certificates, and miscellaneous other papers generated by Worcester residents, including 22 deeds.

Some secondary materials and copies are also considered part of the Worcester Historical Society local history collection. There are transcriptions, created between 1955 and 1990, of gravestone inscriptions at local cemeteries; several family genealogies; a "Recollections" file of oral history transcriptions, 1934-2000; a file on the Peter Wentz Farmstead with newspaper clippings and transcriptions of primary documents; and newsletters and mailings from local churches.

Materials donated to or collected by the Worcester Historical Society at various times.

Worcester Historical Society
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza 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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