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Wallace Township local history collection


Held at: Wallace Township Archives [Contact Us]P.O. Box 670, Glenmoore, PA, 19343

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Wallace Township Archives. 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

"Wallace Township [Chester County, Pa.] was formed through a division of West Nantmeal Township in 1852. The Township-as defined by its current boundaries-includes nearly the same territory as the early eighteenth century Springton Manor, minus a small portion of land that was granted to Uwchlan Township in 1853. Township boundaries were slightly revised in 1860, when the lines abutting East and West Nantmeal Township were changed and a second adjustment between Uwchlan Township and Wallace Township was finalized.

"Archaeological and historical research indicates that Wallace Township's earliest eighteenth century inhabitants included remnants of the Brandywine and Okehocking bands of the Lenape Indians...A Brandywine Indian burial site, excavated in 1952 and again in 1982, is currently owned and maintained by Wallace Township.

"The first official Wallace Township survey, completed in 1729, canvassed the 8,313 acre Springton Manor. Springton Manor, one of seven Chester County manors established as part of an agreement between Charles II and William Penn, was originally located in the Downingtown area. According to nineteenth century Chester County historians, J. Smith Futhey and Gilbert Cope, the first European settlers to occupy the early Springton Manor tracts were almost entirely of Scottish descent...Ultimately Penn's manorial system failed; by the time the Revolutionary War broke out, most Springton Manor settlers had been able to secure patents to their own tracts of land.

"...[A]griculture represented either a primary or secondary source of income for most eighteenth century Wallace Township residents...The East Branch of the Brandywine Creek and its tributaries, coupled with the area's extensive stands of hardwood forests, attracted forge and mill workers to Wallace Township. The Village of Glenmoore and the hamlet of Cornog developed as eighteenth and nineteenth century industrial centers because of their ability to support mill activity through ready water supply.

"In the south-central part of the Township, Robert McConaghey, an important early settler, began operating a forge in 1766. Springton Forge, located adjacent to what is now the County-owned Springton Manor Farm, was operated by a succession of owners for more than one hundred years; the Forge turned out superior-grade iron during the Revolutionary War and produced first-quality bars for blacksmiths and rolling mills well into the nineteenth century. Robert McConaghey has also been credited with building the 1769 saw and grist mill located near the corner of Creek and Devereux Roads.

"Wallace Township's less than efficient access to Downingtown, the area's closest center of activity, created a great demand for cottage industries. Wheelwright, blacksmith, cobbler, butcher, and coachmaker shops fulfilled the daily requirements of local residents. Taverns and inns served travelers and provided informal space for meetings.

"As early as 1810, a group of local residents 'associated themselves for the purpose of erecting a subscription schoolhouse' at the intersection of Fairview and Indiantown Roads. After the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed the Free School Act in 1836, 'Indiantown School' was opened to the public; the facility continued to support Wallace Township in an educational capacity for more than one hundred years. Additional early Township schools included West Nantmeal Seminary and Lincoln School on Little Conestoga Road, Glen Dale School on Indian Run Road, and Locust Grove School at Highspire and Marshall Roads.

"The advent of the railroad and main transportation corridors considerably altered the face of Wallace Township in the late nineteenth century. The hamlets of Cornog and Glenmoore, for example, developed substantially as a result of Downingtown and Waynesburg Railroad stops and a new major thoroughfare, Creek Road. Rail access also precipitated the conversion of eighteenth and nineteenth century farmsteads to summer estates. Summer residents included John Wanamaker, the Philadelphia merchant, who bought the large estate of 'Glen Cairn' in 1888.

"Twentieth century influences have had a profound effect on the Wallace Township landscape. A segment of the Pennsylvania Turnpike was constructed through the Township in 1950 and late twentieth century residential subdivisions have replaced what was once productive agricultural land. Worth noting, however, is the Wallace Township Comprehensive Plan comment that 'despite evolution from an agrarian countryside with one village and one hamlet to a proliferation of subdivisions,' residents can still appreciate the area's past 'because of the many symbols and artifacts which survive to reflect that heritage.'"

Ada Fleming Ford was a local historian, who was instrumental in establishing the Wallace Township Historical Commission. Many, if not all, of the materials she amassed over the years were donated to the Commission's collections.


Quoted text from: Wallace Township Historical Commission. "A Brief History of Wallace Township." Last modified 2012. Accessed February 24, 2014.

This collection consists of a mix of primary and secondary-source materials relating to the history and residents of Wallace Township. A portion of the collection is organized into subject files in alphabetical order; remaining materials are stored in various locations depending on document type and size

Materials include: financial and administrative records of local organizations and businesses, such as minutes, ledgers, receipts, and account books; scrapbooks, including a large number of clippings scrapbooks from the mid-20th century; maps, blueprints, and posters; deeds, several of which date to the late 18th century; photographs, photograph negatives, and family photograph albums; pamphlets and ephemera; family and business correspondence; autograph books, certificates, and other personal documents; and secondary-source materials such as photocopies and genealogy and other research materials. There are 46 audio cassette tapes with transcripts containing oral histories, 1977-2009.

Many items in the collection, including most of the newspaper clippings scrapbooks, were donated by local historian and genealogist Ada Fleming Ford.

A handwritten item-level inventory for each drawer, photograph index, and card catalog are available on-site.

Materials collected at various times from various sources. Many items were donated by Ada Fleming Ford.

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 Wallace Township Archives directly for more information.

Wallace Township Archives
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu 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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