History of Philadelphia

by J. Thomas Scharf and Thompson Westcott

Topography of Philadelphia


This chapter would be made much more useful with the addition of the various maps that the authors describe only verbally. A few were included in the book; others are accessible through various Web sites. I will add links to these maps in the appropriate places as I find them. The Library of Congress Web site has a number of these maps, available in high resolution files. Also, a good "geneaology" of the changes in Philadelphia's political ward boundaries can be found at the Places in Time Web site out of Bryn Mawr College. See my "Links" page for their addresses.

The History of Philadelphia's Watersheds and Sewers

Compiled by Adam Levine
Historical Consultant
Philadelphia Water Department
HomeCreek to sewerDown underarchivesmapsAdam LevineLinks

HISTORY, as men have come to learn, is not simply the annals of kings and queens, of factions and parties, nor must it rest with recording the battles and movements of armies and the proceedings of parliaments and assemblies. To satisfy intelligent inquiry, to instruct as well as amuse, it should present a picture of the country and the people, and show how external circumstances and internal relations have reciprocally acted one upon the other to mould character and determine events. The court, the forum, the public assemblage are not to be neglected, but the full history of a country or a period cannot be written until we have accompanied the people to their firesides, and seen how they lived, ate, dressed, thought, spoke, and looked. The historian should be an artist, full of sincerity, full of imagination, and even a degree of sentiment for his work, but that work must be founded in the first instance upon close, accurate, exhaustive study of the age, the men, the manners and customs, and all the private concerns, as well as the public performances of the community which is dealt with. In the pursuit of such inquiries nothing which is relevant can be trivial, for history resembles a post-mortem examination, which must be so conducted as to enable us not only to reconstruct an actual living frame from inanimate remains, giving accurately all the details of race, age, sex, complexion, frame, general conformation, and individual peculiarity, but to show also with firm and irrefutable demonstration what was the lesion under which the vital powers were extinguished, what organs were affected, and how their disorder came to be climaxed in dissolution. An era or an epoch is as the life of a man, and must be studied with the aid of the scalpel and the microscope. In no other way can an accurate and vivid reproduction of the past be effected. Especially should the historian avoid interpreting a past age by the feelings, sentiments, and experiences of the present. He must, as nearly as possible, assimilate himself to the times and the men he is describing, analyze their shortcomings and prejudices in the same atmosphere and light that engendered them, and enter into the period as if he belonged to it. Thus, as Taine has acutely said, “through reflection, study, and habit we succeed by degrees in producing sentiments in our minds of which we were at first unconscious; we find that another man in another age necessarily felt differently from ourselves; we enter into his views and then into his tastes, and as we place ourselves at his point of view we comprehend him, and in comprehending him find ourselves a little less superficial.”

The historian who holds this opinion of his duty and his task must always look with peculiar pleasure upon all that concerns the birth, growth, and development of cities, for it is in these congregated and crowded communities that man is seen working at most freedom from the restrictions and limitations of nature and evolving the greatest results from that complex and co-operative force which we call society. Civilization itself is the product of civic and social life, and depends for its continuance upon the maintenance of society in a healthy civic condition. The city is the fountain of progress; it is the type, however, and exemplar of the State, though often its forerunner.

The city of Philadelphia must always be an object of particular and inexhaustible interest to the student of American history and American institutions. Peculiar in its origin and initial institutions,—a city which was made and did not spring spontaneously from the concurrence of circumstances and surroundings,—it yet took its place at a very early day as the focus of [PAGE 2] American tendencies and aspirations, and became the centre and the birthplace of the United States as an independent Commonwealth. In the military and in the political history of this nation Philadelphia occupies the foremost place. It was founded as an asylum of peace and the home of pacific industry, but it he-came not only the sport and the prey of contending armies, but the arsenal of the war-making power of the continent during seven years of eager and fluctuating contest. The greatest of deliberations were carried forward to national conclusions within its venerated walls, and from it as a centre were derived those impulses to sublime action which attain even grander proportions as they recede in the vista of time. Here, too, American industry was first fostered in a peculiarly national and American way, until a continental policy grew out of local practice and the successes which attended local experiment. Philadelphia has besides a history of its own, which catches in a peculiar manner the light of the genius loci. In many respects of constitution, institutions, municipal rule and law, construction, manners and customs, it is dissimilar from other cities and possesses a physiognomy all its own. It is the aim of the present work to give the history of Philadelphia with accuracy and intelligence, omitting nothing that will contribute in any degree to illustrate its origin and growth, its national importance, and its peculiar local features,—to paint a portrait of the city as it was and as it is, in which every lineament shall be truthfully portrayed and represented with life and vigor enough to make its fidelity acknowledged by all. If these objects can be attained by zeal, sincerity, and faithful, patient, and exhaustive research, the author has no fear of the reception which awaits his formidable undertaking.

“Philadelphia,” says the worthy Dr. James Mease, in his “Picture” of the city, published in 1811, “lies on a plain nearly level, and on the western bank of the river Delaware, in 39 degrees 57 minutes of north latitude, and 75 degrees 8 minutes of longitude west of London. It is about one hundred and twenty miles distant from the ocean by the course of the river, and sixty in a direct line; its elevation above low-water mark ranges from two to forty-six feet, the highest part being between Seventh and Eighth Streets from Schuylkill.” This topographical description is not, however, so accurate as that of Mr. Makin, the learned schoolmaster, quoted at the head of this chapter, and which his successor, Proud, the historian, has rendered into stanzas after the style of Alexander Pope,—

“Fair Philadelphia next is rising seen,
Betwixt two rivers plac'd, two miles between,”—

and so on. This is not precisely what Mr. Makin says, but it will serve. The peculiarity of the site proceeds from the fact that the city, placed upon the western side of one great river, lies almost immediately upon the delta of another stream not so large, yet of considerable length and volume, and draining a wide section of country. The Delaware empties at a distance below into a wide bay, but the Schuylkill has a true delta, comprising several mouths. When the Swedes first came upon the spot these outlets were still more numerous than now, and it has been conjectured, not without probability, that in some prehistoric period some one of the main debouches of the stream was from Fairmount, or some point between that and the Falls of the Schuylkill, eastward across to the Delaware at or about Kensington, by the beds of the streams, creeks, and coves now or formerly known by the names of Frankford, Cohocksink, Pegg's Run, Gunner's Run, etc. [1] If this were the case really, Philadelphia would properly be described, so far as the original city is concerned, as occupying the upper part of an island in the delta of the Schuylkill, where its several mouths empty into the Delaware.

The range of hills and mountains in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania is invariably from northeast to southwest. The streams of these sections, on the other hand, flow in a general course from northwest to southeast. They are thus forced to cut through the ranges transversely in their course to the sea. What the Potomac does at Harper's Ferry and Point of Rocks and the Susquehanna between Harrisburg and Port Deposit, the Delaware repeats at the “Water-Gap” and the Schuylkill at Fairmount. The Potomac, in bursting through the South Mountain of Maryland and Virginia, needed the waters of the Shenandoah to aid it. In the same way the Schuylkill is reinforced by the Wissahiccon before it cuts through the Fairmount barriers. The Delaware and the Susquehanna neither of them have risen as far west as the loftier and broader breastworks of the Alleghanies, their upper streams passing to the eastward of these ranges and descending almost on north and south parallel courses from the neighborhood of the noble table-lands of central New York, where the flattening out of the mountains has enabled an easy artificial stream for commerce to be constructed from the great lakes to the Hudson River. The Schuylkill rises in the eastern foot-hills of these mountains, and, fed by many small streams and forest rills, makes a tortuous way through an uneven country to the Delaware, with which it mingles by mouths so obscure and insignificant that the Dutch called it “hidden river,” and the early Swede cartographs confounded it with the minor coves and creeks which indent the western bank of the Delaware in so many places from the Horekill to the Neshaminy. Leaving [PAGE 3] out the strictly alluvial country, we may assume that it is the general topographical characteristic of Philadelphia County to consist of gentle ranges of hills running from northeast to southwest, separated by valleys or low plains, and cut transversely by numerous streams flowing from northwest to east and southeast, except where the water-shed deflects them into the Schuylkill, in which case their course is from a little east of north to a point or two west of south. This of course is the general description only. There are many exceptions, the character of which will be shown farther on. Each of these streams, cutting through the ranges of high ground, had its own conterminous valley, and these valleys interrupted and broke up the bluffs bordering on the Delaware, which otherwise would have been continuous. These bluffs, it must be remarked, on the Delaware side had the true characteristics of river dykes or levees, the result, in part at least, of glacial action. They rested upon gravel, and were higher than the land back of them, so that the original ground upon which Philadelphia stands did not drain to the river directly, but backwards to the smaller streams, which broke through the dyke at intervals. In the tide-washed flat lands near the debouch of the Schuylkill the minor streams originally flowed indifferently between the Delaware and the Schuylkill, with openings into both rivers, like canals. When there was a freshet in the Delaware that river must have overflowed by Hollandaer's Kyl and half a dozen more such estuaries into the Schuylkill.

The true latitude and longitude of Philadelphia we give from a compilation made by Prof. B. A. Gould for one of the numbers of “The American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac.” The data are determined for the observatories in each case (Independence Hall being here taken):

PHILADELPHIA, N. Latitude, 39° 57' 15”. (MS. communication from Prof. Kendall); Longitude E. from Washington (U. S. Coast Survey):

By 5 sets Eastern clock-signals: 7 minutes 33.66 seconds
By 5 sets Western clock-signals: 7 minutes 33.60 seconds
Mean.........................................7 minutes 33.63 seconds

The mean, by comparison with the next East station (Jersey City), is 7 33.64

Hence the longitude in arc is 358° 6' 35.4” from Washington, and from Greenwich, 75° 9' 23.4”. [2]

The city is 96 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, 125 miles in a direct line northeast of Washington, and 85 miles southwest of New York. Its greatest length, north-northeast, is 22 miles; breadth, from 5 to 10 miles; area, 82,603 acres, or 129.4 square miles. The surface between the rivers Delaware and Schuylkill varies in elevation from 30 to 300 feet, the alluvial flats, however, having originally no actual relief above the line of high tide, while in the district west of the Schuylkill the face of the country is undulating to a degree which is almost rugged in contour and romantic in aspect. The valley of the Wissahiccon and the reservations made for Fairmount Park have long been celebrated for their effective scenery and the fine composition of forest and stream, rocky hillsides, deep vales, and wild ravines.

Penn's original city was laid off in the narrowest part of the peninsula between the Delaware and the Schuylkill Rivers,—the belt of the irregular-shaped urn or vase, so to speak, which is thus formed,—and five or six miles above the mouth of the latter river. If we might take the peninsula to be a guitar, and could place the strings across the instrument instead of lengthwise, they would represent the contour of the old city's streets, bounded on the west by the Schuylkill, on the east by the Delaware, determined on the north by Vine Street, and on the south by South Street, or Cedar Street, as it was formerly called. [Small illustration of this not included in this version.]

The distance between the Delaware and the Schuylkill on Market Street was 10,922 feet 5 inches (2-15/100 miles). The distance from north side of Vine Street to south side of Cedar (or South) Street was 5370 feet 8 inches, being 90 feet 8 inches over one mile. Excluding the width of streets the space was divided thus: From Cedar to [PAGE 4] Lombard Street, 322 feet; to Pine, 282 feet; to Spruce, 473 feet; to Walnut, 820 feet; to Chestnut, 510 feet; to Market, 484 feet; to Arch, 664 feet; to Race, 616.5 feet; to Vine, 632.3 feet, making, with the width of the streets added, an area of nearly two square miles, or twelve hundred and eighty acres. The width of the squares from the Delaware to the Schuylkill varied from three hundred and ninety-six to five hundred feet. [3] In 1854 the limits of the city were widely extended, so as to embrace the whole of Philadelphia County, including the area and dimensions given above. This was effected by the “consolidation” of all the suburbs and outlying districts and townships with the city proper. Consolidated Philadelphia is bounded on the east by the Delaware River, on the north east by Bucks County, on the north-northwest and west by Montgomery County, on the west and the south again by Delaware County and the Delaware River. The northeast boundary line follows Poquessing Creek from its mouth along towards its source, the ancient boundary of Byberry; just northwest of the old road to Newtown the line corners and runs southwest in a straight line to the Tacony at what was called Grubtown; from this point it goes straight northwest on the boundary of Bristol township to a corner more than a mile northeast of Mount Airy; thence a mile southwest to the line of German township; thence northwest four miles to a corner; thence southwest straight to the Schuylkill at the point of the old soapstone quarries, crossing the Wissahiccon about half a mile northwest of Chestnut Hill. The line now follows the bed of the Schuylkill southeast to a point just below the mouth of the Wissahiccon, from this corner crossing southwest in a straight line to Cobb's Creek at a point a mile and a fourth west from Haddington; thence by Cobb's Creek to the junction of Bow Creek north of Tinnecum, and by the east bank of Bow Creek to the Delaware. The distance from the extreme northeast corner of By-berry to the extreme southwest corner of Kingsessing is between twenty-three and twenty-five miles. From League Island northwest to the Chestnut Hill corner is very nearly fifteen miles; from the soapstone quarry on the Schuylkill across to the mouth of the Poquessing it is fifteen miles; and from Gloucester Point to the ford at the old Blue Bell tavern is seven miles. The general statement of the “ face of the country” in the old maps, made on the basis of townships, is: City, “level;” built part of Northern Liberties and Southwark, “level;” Blockley, “gentle declivities;” Bristol, “hilly ;” Byberry, “pretty level;” Dublin, “gentle declivities;” Germantown, “hilly;” Kingsessing, “mostly level;” Moyamensing, “level;” Moorland, “pretty level;” Northern Liberties (out part), “mostly level;” Oxford and Frankford, “gentle declivities;” Passayunk, “level;” Penn, “mostly level;” Roxborough, “hilly.” Of the townships, Blockley and Kingsessing were west of Schuylkill, bordering on Montgomery and Delaware Counties; Kingsessing, Passayunk, Moyamensing, Southwark, City, Northern Liberties, Oxford, and Dublin were touched by or bordered on the Delaware; Byberry bordered on Bucks and Montgomery; Moreland, Dublin, Oxford, Bristol, Germantown, and Roxborough bordered on Montgomery; and Roxborough, Penn, City, and Passayunk had the Schuylkill on their west.

The most picturesque and agreeable approach to Philadelphia is from the northwest, crossing the Schuylkill above the Falls, and descending by way of the Ridge or the Germantown road. The least imposing approach, so far as the land surface is concerned, is by the west bank of the Delaware, following the line of the old King's road and the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad. This road, however, is made beautiful by the aspect of the noble river lying upon the right in broad and generous reaches, and seeming to rise above the level of the foot-passenger as he looks across its populous and busy bosom; by the multitudinous evidences of a gigantic industry, employing force and machinery with an intelligent usurpation that inspires new conceptions of man's power over nature; and by the gentle beauty of the margin of firm land in Delaware County parallel to the river at about an average distance of a mile inland. This, called “the water-shade,” marks the bank of the prehistoric river before its present margin of flats was upheaved, and its moderate elevation and rounded slopes afford many fine building sites, while contributing largely to the advantage of the adjacent manufacturing establishments. This line of approach, moreover, was that by which the early settlers came to Philadelphia, the route of the Swedes and of William Penn. We cannot do better than follow in their footsteps in attempting to trace up the topography of Philadelphia.

The circle of twelve miles radius from New Castle as a centre which defines the boundary of the State of Delaware on the northeast, touches the banks of the Delaware River a few rods northeast of the mouth of Naaman's Creek or Kill, a stream whose several forks, rise not far inland of the water-shed line. The land through which the body of the creek flows is flat and diluvian in its origin, as is all the land from the river's margin to the “water-shade,” from this point until Cram and Ridley Creeks are reached, when we begin to encounter marsh, swamp, and pure alluvium or mud deposits. The Swedes held most of the land in this section at the time of Penn's arrival. Oelle (or Woolley or Willy) Rawson owned the mill-site on the creek where the King's road crossed it. Naaman, it is supposed, was an Indian chief who gave his name to this kill, a fact which Lindstrom's map seems to show. He was one of the sachems treating with Governor Printz on his first arrival, and Campanius quotes a friendly speech he made on that occasion. [PAGE 5] The arc of the boundary circle dips into the river in what was the land of Nathaniel Langley. Adjoining him on the northeast were plantations sold by Penn to William Hewes, Robert Bezar, William Clayton, William Flower, Sandeland, and other old settlers. These lands lie in Chichester township. The main public road from Concord to Chichester (or rather to Marcus Hook landing), which was laid out as early as 1686, reached the Delaware between the lands of Clayton and Sandeland, and here was doubtless a landing and a shipping place from a very early period. Marcus Hook, with the adjacent creek, variously called Marrieties Kill, Chichester Creek, Memanchitonna (La Rivière des Marikes is Lindstrom's translation of the name), was deeded by Queen Christina to Lieut. Hans Amundsen Besh, the deed including all the land to Upland. It afterwards fell into various hands. The Marrieties Kill, like Naaman's, was the main channel of several forks rising in the front part of the water-shade. All the rivers in this section which have been or will be described are, without exception, tidal and salt-water streams from their mouths to the rising ground of the water-shed, where they lose their character of coves or estuaries and become brooks, rills, or inland rivers, with volume ample for milling purposes but too much fall for navigation. The Swedes gave the name of “Finland” to this entire township, the Indian name of the district being Chamassung.

Several creeks or kills of minor importance, but all of which extend inland across the railroad and the ancient King's road, succeed one another to the northeast of Marcus Hook--Middle Run, Stony Creek, Harwick's Kill, Lamako Kill, etc.--until we come to Chester Creek. The character of the face of the country hereabouts as it was originally may be gathered from the fact that before Upland (now Chester) acquired its importance as the seat of the colonial court, the old King's road diverged to the left to avoid the low lands, and crossed the creek at Chester Mills, at the foot of the water-shed. Afterwards it was continued along the water-front, passed through the town, and then made a sharp angle to the left in quest of firmer ground. On the southwest side of Upland Kill, from the mill and ford to the Delaware, the land was originally owned by Holbert Henriksen, John Bristow, and Robert Wade, the latter a Quaker early settler, who entertained Penn at his house, Essex House, the site at least of which had been formerly occupied, and the house probably built, by the daughter of the Swedish Governor Printz, Armgart Pappagoya. Chester Creek, Upland Kill, or Mecoponacka was called by Lindstrom Tequirasi (otherwise Techoherassi), from the Indian name of a property bordering on it and fronting on the Delaware, which had been patented by Oele Stille, and was later the home of Rev. L. Carolus. This Stille property, however, some of it marsh or flooded land, extended northeastward probably from Ridley Creek to Crum Kill, and Lindstrom seems to have wrongly named it Stille's or Priest's Kill, being the alternate names of Ridley Creek, and the stream was most likely called also after Stille's property. The streams which give volume to Chester Creek rise some of them in Chester County, flowing through several townships of Delaware County, and furnishing a good deal of water-power to factories and mills. Many of Penn's thrifty followers—Caleb Pusey, the Sharplesses, Crosby, Brassy, Sandeland, etc.—took up land on it or adjacent to it. Ridley Creek and Crum Kill, the next streams northeast of Chester, were also important for mill purposes. The neck of land at the debouch of these creeks upon the Delaware was marshy, and this was mostly occupied by Swedes. Mattson, Van Culen, Johnson, Hendrikson, Cornelis, Mortenson, Nielson are names of settlers along this water-front from Ridley Creek to Tinnecum, while back of them, on the water-shade, we find the Quakers took up large tracts,--Simcock, Harvey, Maddock, Steadman, Ashcom, Hallowell, Whitacre, etc. The Swedes called the settlements northeast of Finland “Upland,” then came “Car-coen's Hook” lands, then “Tennakong.” Amesland comprised a portion of Darby and Ridley townships. Crum Kill was, as Lindstrom interprets, La Rivière Courbée. or Crooked Kill, otherwise Paperack or Peskohockon in Indian dialect. These names on the Delaware present almost insuperable difficulties from their variety and confusion, the fact that the Indians seem to have had no standard titles for their streams, and the want of any rule in guiding the attempts of Europeans to give a phonetic interpretation to the Indians' indistinct, guttural pronunciation. Amesland Creek (Amesland, or Amas-land, is said to mean the “midwives' land”) was formed by the junction of Darby and Cobb's Creeks. It flowed southeast into the Delaware, separating Tinnecum from the mainland and Amesland. But at this point we find a network equally of names and rivers, all equally running into swamp and confusion. The delta of the Schuylkill begins here, and here also Philadelphia begins, for, though Bow Creek is the formal county line at the Delaware, the actual boundary is Darby Creek, after it has united with Minquas Kill, Cobb's Creek, and the true Amesland Kill, the Muckinpattus or Mokornipates Kill, a smaller stream than the Darby, flowing into it between its junction with Cobb's Creek and its mouth. The topography of this lower part of Philadelphia is peculiar and must not be slighted. There have been great changes in the face of the country, in its levels and contour, and in the direction and beds of its water-courses since the days of the Swedes and the early Quakers. Some streams have disappeared, some have changed their direction, nearly all have been reduced in volume and depth by the natural silt, the annual washing down of hills, by the demands of industry for water-power, the construction of mill-dams [PAGE 6] and mill-races and bridges, the emptying of manufacturing refuse from factories, saw-pits, and tan-yards, and by the grading and sewerage necessary in the building of a great city. In this process old landmarks and ancient contours are not respected, the picturesque yields to utility, and the face of nature is transformed to meet the exigencies of uniform grades, levels, and drainage. The Board of Health, the Police Department, the City Commissioners, and the Department of Highways have no bowels of compassion for the antiquarian and the poet. They are the slaves of order, of hygiene, of transportation, of progress.

Darby and Cobb's Creeks both rise in the slate beds of the upper corner of Delaware and the adjacent townships of Montgomery County and flow eastward towards the Delaware, each augmented in volume as they descend through the mica, slate, and gneiss regions parallel to each other. After they reach the margin of the “water-shade,” which is here as far inland as Heyville on the Darby and the Burd Asylum on Cobb's Creek, the two streams approach each other in the diluvial lowlands, uniting just below the towns of Darby and Paschallville. The common stream, now called the Darby, flows east with serpentine course until it touches the edge of the alluvium and marsh section, when it turns more towards the left, and with two or three sweeping curves reaches the Delaware. Just after the turn is made the Darby receives the waters of the Amesland or Muckinpattus Kill, and the neck of land between was well known to the Swedes under the name of Carcoen's Hook, a name it still retains. [4] This section at the bend, a low, marshy flat, is cut by several canal-like streams or guts, forming the two islands, Hay and Smith's. The neck was early occupied by the Swedes, and the names of the Boons (Bondes), Mortonsons, Keens, Streckets, Cornells, Jonsens, Mounsens, Jorans, Petersons, Hanssens, Joceums, Urians, and Cocks may be found on all the old land-plats of that region. Darby Creek was called by the Indians Nyecks, Mohorhoottiuk, or Mukruton; Cobb's Creek, named after William Cobb, a contemporary of Penn, was also called Karkus or Carcoen's Creek by the Swedes, a corruption of the Indian name of Karakung, or Kakarakonk, and by the English, Mill Creek. This name came from the old Swedes' mill, built by Governor Printz, at the ford where the old Blue Bell tavern and Paschallville now stand, the crossing of the Darby road. Cobb took the mill after Penn came in, and gave his name to the stream. The mill was used by a wide circuit of people, from the Swedes at Upland and Tinnecum to the Welsh at Haverford and Merion and the first Quakers in Bucks County. From its bend towards the left to its mouth Darby Creek flowed west and south of Tinnecum Island, dividing it from the main land. This tract is all alluvium, except one spot of firm ground, where the underlying gneiss rock comes boldly to the surface. Tinnecum, Tennakong, Tutenaiung was the site selected by the Swedish Governor, Johann Printz, for his fort of Nya Gothe-borg, and for his residence of Printz Hall. The channel used by vessels at that time probably flowed on the west side of the Delaware, in which case Printz's fort commanded it. Off Tinnecum in the Delaware was a long, narrow sand and mud and marsh spit, designated by the name of Little Tinnecum Island, and somewhat above it, in the river channel, was Hog Island, as it is now called, but which the Indians knew as Quistquonck, or Kwistkonk, and the Swedes dignified with the title of Keyser Island, or Iledes Empereurs, as Lindstrom explains on his map. Tinnecum Island is cut in half by a kill of many forks, uniting it with the Darby, and traversing the island in several directions. This stream is known as Plum or Plom Hook, and its branches are variously called Long Hook, Grom Creek, and Middle Creek. On the Delaware side of Tinnecum were situated Printz's Hall and the first Swedish Church and churchyard on the Delaware, consecrated in 1646. This spot is now occupied by the Philadelphia Quarantine station and the Lazaretto Hospital, the site of the ancient fort and grounds belonging to it being adjacent to what is now Tinnecum Hotel.

On the right or east side of Darby Creek, midway between the junction with the Karakung and the sharp bend of the creek to the left, Minquas Kill enters it. This once broad tidal estuary, which united the Schuylkill and the Delaware with the Darby by a four-pronged fork, is differently called Mincus and Mingoes Creek, and derives its name from the Indian nation, the Iroquois, whom the Delawares called Minquas or Mingoes. The Susquehannocks, who were of this race, frequented these swamps, probably to facilitate their military operations against the warlike Nanticokes of the Delaware peninsula. The Swedes called this kill with its southernmost fork Church Creek, because they used it in going by boat from Kingsessing, Karakung, and the islands near the Schuylkill to the church at Tinnecum. At the elbow of Darby Creek, where it turns to encircle Tinnecum, it is joined by Bow Creek, another tidal estuary, which connects it with the Delaware opposite Hog Island. Bow Creek or Kill, the southern boundary of Philadelphia, was called by Lindstrom Boke Kyl, Beech Creek, and also Kyrke Kill, or Church Creek, as it was another route to Tinicum. Bow Creek, with Church Creek, Bonde's Creek, and another small kill, one of the mouths of the Schuylkill, combined with the Minquas Kill, the Delaware, and the Schuylkill to form three small islands, more or less entirely marsh land and liable to floods and tide overflow. These were Minquas or Andrew Bonde's Island, Aharommuny Island, and Schuylkill Island, the first occupied by Andrew [PAGE 7] Boone or Bonde, and the other two by Peter Cock, both of them Swedes and among the earliest settlers. All this region is now fast, firm land, and the streams we have been describing, once so considerable, have dwindled into insignificance or disappeared. The Swedes called the district east of Darby Creek and Minquas Kill, Tennacong; that west of Minquas Kill, between Cobb's Creek and the Schuylkill, was Kingsesse or Kingsessing, a Swedish hamlet, where the Duke of York's court used sometimes to hold its sessions instead of at Upland, and west of that, and divided from Kingsessing by the Darby road, was the district called Arunnamink. Above Quistkonk or Hog Island, and immediately at the mouth of the Schuylkill, on the west, was Mud Island, a bank of tide-washed alluvium, where Mud Fort was built and offered such a gallant resistance to the English during the Revolutionary war. This island is now fast and solid and united to the mainland.

We have now reached the point of junction of the Schuylkill and the Delaware Kivers. The Schuylkill was called by the Indians indifferently Manayunk, Manajungh (Swedish spelling), Manaiunk, and Lenni Bikbi (having some allusion to the linden-tree or its bark). Lindstrom terms it the Menejackse Kill (another Indian name), but also designates it as the Skiar-kill, elle (or) Linde River. Skiar-kill in Swedish would be “Brawling Creek,” a derivation no better than that from the Dutch of hidden or “Skulking Creek,” from its insignificance and obscurity of its mouth. On Lindstrom's map, indeed, the river is marked as if it were no bigger than Crum Kill or Plum Hook. It is really, however, a stream of extensive drainage, having its source in the coal-fields west of the Blue Mountains, descending by Pottsville, Reading, and Norristown, by beautiful valleys, to the Delaware. Its chief tributaries--Maiden Creek, Manatawny, Monocasy, Tulpehocking, Little Schuylkill, Norwegian, Mill Creek, Perkiomen, and Wissahiccon--flow through a goodly expanse of territory. From its junction with the Delaware to the Falls above Fairmount no important affluents are received by the Schuylkill upon either side. Opposite the mouth of Minquas Kill there is still a small stream draining through the swamp, called Sepakin Kill, and above it the Piney or Pinneyes (an Indian name, interpreted to mean “sleepy”), a small creek, emptied into the east side, at the site of the Swedish fort and trading-post, Korsholm, now occupied by the Point Breeze Gas-Works. Drainage has obliterated this stream; the old Passayunk road used to border it. Nearly opposite, marking the boundary line between Kingsessing and Arunnamunk, the Inkoren Kill (named after Andries Inkhooren, a Swedish landholder) flowed from the west side of Schuylkill. The next stream on that side which was important enough to bear a name (excepting the runlets called Botanic Creek and Peach Creek, on the property of Peter Joccum and Moens Jonson, which afterwards John Bartram owned) was Mill Creek, a brook large enough to support two mills. It rose in Upper Merion township. Near its mouth was the property of Hans Moens, containing such an eligible mill-seat that the Upland court gave the owner the option of erecting a mill upon it or surrendering the land to his neighbors who would build. Gray's Ferry bridge is three blocks below the mouth of Mill Creek. This ferry was for the convenience of travelers to Darby by the Darby road. In the neck between Mill Creek and the Schuylkill is situated Woodlands Cemetery, which was laid out upon the fine grounds of William Hamilton's country-seat, called “The Woodlands.” Mill Creek, in the course of its descent from Merion, passes through the grounds of the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane and a corner of the Cathedral Cemetery. This stream, now obliterated, was once romantic and attractive. A branch of it, called George's Run, nearly touches the southwestern extremity of Fairmount Park, and bisects Hestonville. In the part of Philadelphia (Twenty-seventh Ward) we have been speaking of only one brook of importance--Thomas' Run--flows into Cobb's Creek. Beyond the Almshouse grounds, on the north, is Beaver Creek, then no more streams on the west side of the Schuylkill until Fairmount Park is reached. On the east side used to be Minnow Run, flowing from Bush Hill through Logan Square, and reaching the Schuylkill by a winding route, in the course of which two or three springheads lent their waters to it. Another small brook emptied into the east side of the Schuylkill below Fairmount; a third, Darkwoods Run, below Lemon Hill; a fourth, Falls Run, reached it at the Falls.

About half a mile beyond the Falls the Schuylkill receives the waters of the romantic Wissahiccon. The Quakers gave this stream, which has delighted both poets and artists, and is the most charming accessory to the beauties of Fairmount Park, the unromantic name of Whitpaine's Creek, from the original settler on its bank, John Whitpaine, who built a “great house” in Philadelphia, too big for his humility, and in the large front room of which the Provincial Assembly used to meet. The Indian meaning of Wissahiccon, however, is said to be “catfish,” and certainly “Catfish Creek” is not susceptible of adaptation to poetical forms of speech. The Wissahiccon rose in Montgomery County, in the same water-shed which supplies the sources of Stony Run, the Skippack, Pennepacka Creek, and the southwestern branch of the Neshaminy. Its chief branches were Paper-Mill Creek, on which the father of the astronomer Rittenhouse built the first paper-mill in Pennsylvania, a mill that supplied the presses both of William Bradford, of Philadelphia, and Christopher Saur, of Germantown, and Cresheim Creek, named for the Rhenish town from which the earlier settlers of Germantown came. The northwest corner of Philadelphia approaches, but does not touch, the banks of the Perkiomen.

[PAGE 8] The Delaware River, the eastern boundary of Philadelphia, which the Indians called by several names not having any especial relevancy, rises on the border of Greene and Delaware Counties, N. Y., on the western slope of the Catskill Mountains, in two branches, the Popacton and the Oquago, which unite at Hancock, on the line between Pennsylvania and New York. It flows southeast, continuing to form the boundary between those States, until it reaches Port Jervis, where it turns southwest, flowing at the western base of the Kittatinny Mountains until it bursts through these at the Water Gap. At Easton it receives the volume of the Lehigh River, and from the Water Gap to Bordentown speeds southeastward as if intent upon reaching the Atlantic at Barnegat or Egg Harbor. At Bordentown it encounters the bluffs, however, and turns southwestward again, until at New Castle it resumes its seaward direction, soon widening into Delaware Bay. Between Port Jervis and the mouth of Naaman's Creek it is the boundary separating New Jersey from Pennsylvania; below that it divides New Jersey from Delaware. It has many tributaries within the limits of Philadelphia, besides inclosing several islands in the arms of its channel. The first of these islands above the mouth of the Schuylkill is that low-lying mud-bank (as it used to be) called League Island, a tract of over nine hundred acres, which during the civil war the city of Philadelphia purchased and presented to the United States government for a navy-yard, in order to expedite the removal of the existing navy-yard from its place on the river-front in Southwark. League Island is separated from the mainland by a narrow sort of canal called the Back Channel. Into this Back Channel empties Hollandaer's Creek, named for Peter Hollandaer, second Swedish Governor on the Delaware. This stream also flows into the Delaware at the beginning of Oregon Avenue. It is a tidal estuary traversing what was once a swamp, and is considerably diverted from its original course, since there seems to be no doubt that it once crossed the neck, also uniting the Schuylkill as well as the Back Channel with the Delaware. The Swedish records make mention of Rosamond's or Roseman's Kill, which cannot now be traced with certainty, beyond the fact that it was one of the branches of Hollandaer's Creek. Hay Creek was another of these intersecting streams; a third bore several names, among which were Dam, Hell, Holt, Float, or Little Hollandaer; Jones' Creek was a fourth, and Malebore fifth of these marshland conduits for the tide. Malebore's Creek was called by the name of an Indian chief; it was also called Shakanoning, or Shakaning. The Indian name for Rosamond's Creek was Kikitchimus, meaning the woodchuck. Hollandaer's Creek and its branches made two islands of the extremity of the peninsula, the one on the Delaware side being originally called by the Swedes by a name which Lindstrom interprets as Ile de Rasins, Grape Island, now Greenwich Island, and the one on the Schuylkill side Manasonk or Manayunk Island. Careful study of the old surveys and narratives will enable all these points of interest in the southwestern necks to be made out with sufficient accuracy, and their relations to one another determined. Moyamensic (Moyamensing) marsh, which also had a kill of its own, we read, comprised sixty-four acres, lying between Hollandaer's and Hay Creek. This latter creek was 93 perches south of Hollandaer's and Rosamond's Creeks, 158 perches south of Hay. Bonde's Island is called 1-1/4 Swedish miles--8.31 English miles--from the old Swedish Church at Wicaco; Matson's Ford, 17-1/2 English miles from that central point of Swedish associations; Kingsessing, 5 miles; Carcoen's Hook, 9.9 miles.

Dock Creek, the next stream towards the northeast after passing Hollandaer's, was in many respects the most interesting of all the Delaware tributaries within the limits of Philadelphia. A street now covers its bed, a wharf marks the place where it emptied into the Delaware, but its course may still be distinctly traced. In fact, the Philadelphia of the primitive Quakers was built quite as much with reference to this stream as to Penn's plans and the plats of Surveyor Holme. The Indians called it Coocanocon, but the name of Dock Creek was shorter and more descriptive from the time of the English settlement, for the obvious reason that the stream was used as a dock or quay for all the smaller craft. Boat-yards and tan-yards were established along its banks, it was encumbered with depots for lumber, and the first landing-place and the first tavern of Philadelphia were planted at its mouth. In those early days it was thought to be a good thing for the well-to-do merchant of the Quaker City to build his mansion on the slope in sight of the creek, his garden and lawn extending down to its green banks. One of its branches rose west of Fifth Street and north of Market Street, another began west of Fifth Street between Walnut and Prune Streets, the two uniting about where the Girard Bank now stands. At Third Street the creek widened into a cove, receiving here another branch, which flowed into it from the rear of Society Hill. Penn and the early inhabitants were anxious to have this creek become a permanent dock, but it lost its usefulness from being filled up and made shallow with rubbish and tan-bark, it became foul and unwholesome from accumulated filth, and the doctors raised an outcry against it as the fruitful source of malaria, typhus and yellow fever, and the summer diseases of children, so that in 1784 an act was passed requiring it to be arched over. At the northeastern mouth of this creek was the sandy beach known as Blue Anchor Tavern landing, for several years the chief public wharf the city had. Opposite the wharves on the Delaware front between Fitzwater and Arch Streets, and in mid-channel [This footnote, at the bottom of page 8, had no reference point in the text: “See Chapter III for the names and dates of discoveries, etc.”]

[PAGE 9] of the river, was one long, narrow island, since separated into two by a canal. Smith's Island and Windmill Island, as the upper and lower ones were subsequently named, are really but one island of gradual growth and importance. On the maps of Thomas Holme, the first surveyor, the island is put down as bars or shoals in the river's bed, extending from opposite Spruce Street to a point below Cedar Street. The accumulation of sand, silt, and refuse brought down by the ice and by spring floods united these bars and flats and lifted them above the surface and the overflow of tides. They became fast land, and the new island was leased unto an enterprising man. John Harding built a wharf and a windmill on it, and it took its name from the latter structure. The island was not exactly a permanent establishment for some time, as it washed away at one end as fast as it grew at another; however, bathing resorts were stationed upon it, willow-trees were planted and flourished on it, and Thomas Smith, an old occupant, became so identified with it that it finally took his name. A canal was cut through the island in 1838 to promote the rapid transit of ferry-boats, and railroad companies now own the southern section, that to the north of the canal being called at present Ridgway Park, and used as a public resort. The present Treaty Island, which belongs to New Jersey and lies in the bed of the Delaware opposite Kensington, was patented as early as 1684 by Thomas Fairman (an early Quaker, in whose house Penn spent the first winter in Philadelphia), under the name of Shackamaxon Island, of which name Treaty Island is a reflection, Shackamaxon or Kensington being the place where Penn's reputed treaty with the Delawares was negotiated. After Fairman's death it was called Petty's Island, from John Petty, the then owner.

Willow Street, as laid out at present, represents part of the bed of the stream called Pegg's Run, named from Daniel Pegg, who owned extensive tracts of meadow, marsh, and upland in the Northern Liberties on the Delaware border. The Indian title of this stream was Cohoquinoque; one of its branches rose about the neighborhood of Fairmount Avenue and Fifteenth Street, the other west of Eleventh between this avenue and Green Street; at Vine Street east of Tenth Street they united to flow northeast to the Delaware. Much of the ground bounding on this stream was marshy and alluvian, liable to be flooded both by tides and freshets, and requiring dykes and ditches to fit it for cultivation even as meadow. At the next bend of the Delaware above the mouth of Pegg's Run the river received the waters of Cohocksink Creek, a stream composed of Mill Creek (so called from its being the site of the mill built by Penn, where the Globe Mills were later) and the Coozaliquenaque, rising above Jefferson Street near Broad, where the Gratz property lay. Cohocksink (Cuwenasink) is supposed to mean “pine grove.” About the northern limits of Kensington another kill flowed into the Delaware from the west, by the English called Gunner's Run, after Gunner Rambo, a Swede settler who held adjacent lands; the Indian name was Tumanaramaning; its sources were found on the west of Fair Hill, near Harrowgate, where was a mineral spring, and near Nicetown and the old Cedar Grove property.

At “Point-no-Point” is the mouth of Frankford Creek, the product of the Wingohocking, Tacony, Little Tacony, and Freaheatah Creeks. The Swedes called the whole stream Tacony (Taokanink), and gave the same name to all the districts north and east of Wicaco, or, as some say, and the tax-lists of the Dutch and Duke of York's Governors show, from Carcoen's Hook to the Falls of the Delaware. The source of the name is doubtful; some take it from Tekene, a Lenape word supposed to mean “inhabited.” On Lindstrom's map the Swedish and French equivalents are Aleskyns Kylen, “La Rivière des Anguilles ecorchées,” Skinned Eels River. The Wingohocking (Winge-hacking) is thought to mean “a good place for planting.” This stream is also called “Logan's Run,” because it flows by Stenton, the country-seat of James Logan, Penn's secretary; it rises near Mount Airy, and the Tacony in Montgomery County. Indian dialects afford the philologists the same chances to disagree which they seek in more polished tongues. A small stream rising in Dublin township and entering the Delaware near the United States Arsenal staggers under the triplicate alias of Sissiniockisink, Wissinoming, and Little Wahank, derived, says one, from Wischanmunk, “where we were scared;” says another, from Wissachgamen, “vineyard.” [5]

Above Frankford Creek what is called Dublin Creek empties into the Delaware, a stream which is the product of four small forks, and which is often called by its Indian name of Pennipacka or Penniceacka. Two miles north of this is the Poquessing, the northeast boundary of Philadelphia, a stream [PAGE 10] coming down from Montgomery County by a circuitous course, in which it receives the waters of Byberry Creek and several minor brooks. The ancient spelling of this name is Poetquessingh and Pouquessinge, interpreted by Lindstrom as “Rivière de Kakamons,” or (as a variation) “Rivière des Dragons.”

We describe an eligible farm as being well watered, and having due proportions of meadow, intervale, upland, and forest, with a various and undulating surface, all susceptible of tillage. By well watered a farmer means “water in every field.” The description suits the topography of the site of Philadelphia exactly. If the city as Penn found it had been divided into twenty-five-acre lots, it would have been so proportioned as to have water in every field. A perfect network of small brooks and spring-heads inland joined one another on their way to the main trunk arteries, the Delaware and the Schuylkill. Their courses were various, their volumes now small now great, and the surface of the city's site was like a complicated map, yet the general topography of Philadelphia obeyed the general rule of the Atlantic States,--streams flowing from northwest to southeast, hills ranging from southwest to northeast. In this case the Delaware from Burlington, in its changed course, represented the ocean, the common receiver, and the Schuylkill flowed southeast into it after taking up the small streams on its eastern side, which were prevented by the water-shed from reaching the Delaware directly. The intersection of the valleys between hills by the valleys following water-courses apparently cut up the surface into detached elevations and depressions, but there was still a regular rise from tide-level at the Schuylkill delta to three hundred feet in Bristol, and three hundred to four hundred feet in Germantown and Roxborough, and there was besides a regular “water-shade” at the margin of the alluvium, beginning at Point Breeze on the Schuylkill, and tending northeast to Society Hill. From this point the “water-shade” ran flush with the bank of the Delaware, except where the stream valleys cut through it, up to near Kensington, where it receded inland for some distance. The first spot in the southeast where the underlying gneiss rock broke through the alluvium so as to form an elevation was at a point midway in Kingsessing, east of Minquas Kill. Here, at a place called Blakeley, and near by the old Bowling Green, was a considerable hill, a spur repeated opposite on the west side of Darby Creek, and again just by the mouth of the Schuylkill, where the old pest-house used to be. This was Peter Cock's land at one time, and his house may have been here. The next elevation on Cobb's Creek was a spur adjacent to the bridge at the Blue Bell Tavern, called Pleasant Prospect. St. James' Church was built on it. This elevation corresponded with that which began on the east side of the Schuylkill below Gray's Ferry. It was the beginning of the “water-shade” which extended east toward Southwark. From Society Hill the bluffs on the Delaware front were continuous, except where streams cut through, with an elevation of fifteen to fifty feet, averaging about thirty feet. A line drawn from the Blue Bell Tavern bridge to Southwark would touch Point Breeze, which is the beginning of continuous rising ground on the Schuylkill. The Passayunk road, midway between Schuylkill Lower Ferry and Cedar (now South) Street, passed over another considerable elevation. The plateau of the original Philadelphia laid out by Penn was not broken much except on its eastern and western sides, where it came to the rivers. On the line of the Northern Liberties, however, Philadelphia County showed a sort of terrace, extending from Cobb's Creek almost to the Delaware, and rising into occasional domes, as at Fairmount and Bush Hill, with corresponding elevations west of the Schuylkill. North of this terrace another rose still higher, beginning with Green Hill on Cobb's Creek (the Morris property), then, as we pass eastward, George's Hill, Lansdowne, Belmont, and Mount Prospect, and east of Schuylkill, Fairmount, Lemon Hill, Mount Pleasant, Edgely Point, Vineyard Hill, Laurel Hill, Green Hill, and several other elevations. From the spurs of Lower Merion township another terrace stretched eastward, having among its domes various gentle rises, but not so steep or abrupt as near the Schuylkill River. Still another terrace rose to the northward, conspicuous in which range were Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill.

The hills and streams are included in the class of natural landmarks. Roads are artificial landmarks, which nearly always are found to be as old as any settlement, and almost as enduring. A certain habit of use clings to all old-established roads, making a change in their bed very difficult. We have elsewhere spoken to some extent of the oldest roads in Philadelphia County. The first of these was the Darby road, though it is possible that there was a still older road of the Swedes from the Lower Schuylkill Ferry between Tinnecum and Wicaco. The Darby road crossed Cobb's Creek at the Swedes' mill and Blue Bell Tavern; it ran northeast towards the Schuylkill, crossing it at Gray's Ferry, but originally, it is supposed, only at Middle Ferry, where High Street touched the river. The old York road followed the bed of this road from Upland, proceeding through Market Street (High Street) in Philadelphia to Front Street, and thence by the bed of the road to Bristol. Another route was to go north by way of Second Street to the junction of the Germantown and Frankford roads, and follow the latter. Later the York road followed the margin of the Delaware from Chester, crossing Tinnecum, and crossing the Schuylkill by the Lower Ferry, where it could either pass eastward, striking the Moyamensing road to Wicaco on the Greenwich and Gloucester Point road, or else follow the Passayunk road to Dock Creek draw-bridge, and so get into [PAGE 11] Second or Front Street. What was called the “Federal road,” from Gray's Ferry to Southwark (to meet the Darby and Great Southern road), was not laid off until 1788. The “Baltimore Post and Stage Road,” however, long preferred the line from Middle Ferry (Market Street bridge) to the Blue Bell Ford. At Middle Ferry (or Woodlands, just west of it) the Chadd's Ford road began, running southwest, crossing Cobb's Creek where the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad now crosses it, and thence to Kellysville. This road, now Baltimore Avenue in Philadelphia, became Delaware County turnpike after crossing the county line. The Westchester road ran due west from Middle Ferry, on the line of the present Market Street, for some distance. The road to Lancaster ran northwest from the same ferry, crossing Cobb's Creek at West Haverford. The Haverford road ran northward above the Lancaster and the West Chester roads, passing through Haddington. The Manatawny or Ridge road, running from the corner of Vine and Ninth Streets, in Philadelphia, to Norristown, in Montgomery County, had its counterpart in the River road, which started from the Lancaster road and followed the west bank of the Schuylkill into Montgomery County. From Vine Street and Schuylkill Front Street a road proceeded to Fairmount, then diminished to the narrow dimensions of a country lane, turned northward, rounding Lemon Hill, and cutting the Ridge road at Turner's lane, which latter extended to the Germantown road north of Fair Hill. There were several minor roads, all now streets, between the Germantown and Ridge roads north of Turner's lane, and between that and the county bounds. The Germantown road passed from the end of North Second Street through the Northern Liberties to Fair Hill, nearly due north. Just beyond this elevation the Township Line road left the Ridge road at the old Botanic Garden, and went northwest in a straight line, dividing Roxborough township from Germantown. This road crossed the Wissahiccon at Dewees' mill and went to Perkiomen Town. Another Township Line road crossed the Germantown road at Logan's Hill, and the Wissahiccon at Weiss' mill, going thence to the Lutheran Church at Barren Hill, where it intersected the Ridge road. At Naglee's Hill the Germantown road parted with Fisher's lane, running northeast across the Old York road. At the market-house in Germantown Indian Queen lane led off southwest; parallel to it, a little more north, was School-house lane, opposite which Church lane branched off northeastward to Lukens' mill, where it struck the Limekiln road running north. Farther up Germantown road, at Green Tree Tavern, was Meeting-House lane running east, and Rittenhouse Mill lane running west; the road to Abington crossed at Chew's house; Trullinger's lane and Gorgas' lane at Beggarstown; Miller's lane went east from Mount Airy; Alien's lane west from the same point; Mermaid lane east and Kerper's and Weiss' Mill lanes west from Chestnut Hill. At this point the Germantown road forked, one branch going towards Reading, the other towards Bethlehem. Mermaid lane going northeast intersected the Limekiln road, and the two became the road to Skippack, a more easterly branch running towards Bethlehem. The old York road (one branch of it) followed the Germantown road to Sunville, and thence went north by Miles Town through Bristol township. The Frankford road ran eastward from Front Street, passing farther east by Harrowgate and Holmesburg. It had many branches and feeders leading to various points in Bucks and Montgomery Counties.

The sites of forts afford another means for clearing up the topography of any locality. They are ordinarily put in commanding places, where lines of travel or a wide sweep of country may be kept under control of their guns. The Dutch, the Swedes, the English, and our own countrymen have all erected forts at different epochs within the present limits of Philadelphia. The history of these forts belongs to subsequent chapters, as part of the regular account of events to be narrated. Their sites, however, are part of the topographical history of the city. The earliest of these structures was Fort Beversrede, erected by the Dutch, and, it is affirmed, before the Swedes established themselves upon the river. It was built where it would be convenient for the beaver trade with the Indians, and it must have served that purpose, for we find that the Swedish Governor Printz went the length of building a trading-house directly in front of it, not a biscuit-toss away, in order to destroy its utility. Fort Beversrede stood on the east bank of the Schuylkill, in the district of Passayunk, opposite the debouch of Minquas Kill, where the river-bank begins to rise, beyond the Penrose Ferry bridge. The Susquehanna Indians appear to have used Minquas Kill to come out from their hunting-grounds, and a trading-post at that point would naturally attract them. The Delawares and Iroquois also came down the Schuylkill in their canoes, making a portage at the Falls. The second Swedish fort was built at Nya Götheborg, or New Gottenburg, on that outcrop of gneiss rock which gave a patch of dry land to Tinnecum Island. The Swedes imitated the Dutch in building a fort in Passayunk [sic], on the property given by Queen Christina to Lieut. Sven Schute. It was on the east side of the Schuylkill above Beversrede, probably on the rising ground at Point Breeze. Manayunk, another Swedish stockade on the Schuylkill, “on Manayunk Island,” probably near the junction with the Delaware. Fort Gripsholm was built by Governor Printz on an island in the Schuylkill, “within gunshot of its mouth.” Its site is disputed, but Mr. Westcott conjectures that from the Dutch descriptions of it by Andrew Hudde it was most probably built at the mouth of Minquas Kill, on the west bank of the Schuylkill, on Province Island. The block-house at Wicaco, which was converted [PAGE 12] into a church in 1677, became the site of the venerable church Gloria Dei of the Swedes, and was convenient to the settlers of that race in the district of Passayunk and Moyamensing. This spot was the first rising ground on the Delaware above the mouth of the Schuylkill, and as such was a favorite point of defense against foes expected to come up the river. As such it was used in 1747 when the “Association Battery,” the first fortification of the Quaker City, was erected by a committee at the time of the renewal of hostilities between France and Great Britain. The Friends would not build forts, but the Penn family promised the artillery if the citizens would erect the breastworks, and the Association Battery was built with this understanding by “the Association for General Defense,” part of the funds for it being raised by a lottery. About the same time and by the same devices another battery was erected upon Society Hill, on the bluff between Lombard and Cedar Streets. During the Revolution a fort was erected on Mud Island, in the Delaware, off the shore of Kingsessing and between Hog Island and Province Island. This fort was begun in 1773 by the Province of Pennsylvania. It was a position commanding the channel of the river and the chevaux-de-frise between it and Red Bank. Subsequently to the Revolution it was called Fort Mifflin, after Pennsylvania's general and Governor, Thomas Mifflin. At the capture of Philadelphia by the British the fort was gallantly defended by Col. Samuel Smith, of Maryland, holding out against an overwhelming force of British until nine-tenths of its garrison was hors du combat. In 1776, Gen. Israel Putnam was deputed by Congress to provide for the safety of Philadelphia and look after its fortifications. The object sought was defense on the land as well as the seaward side. Putnam made his surveys and began his intrenchments, of which next year the British showed their approval by adopting and completing them. A battery was thrown up on Darby Creek or Tinnecum Island, below Mud Fort. The British entered the city in 1777 and commenced fortifying it, after they had reduced Mud Fort and Red Bank. A battery was erected near Reed and Swanson Streets, the Association Battery at Wicaco was renovated and armed, and a third battery put up near Swanson and Christian Streets, on the other side of Wicaco. A fourth battery was erected on a wharf at Kensington, above the mouth of the Cohocksink. On the land side Putnam's unfinished lines were followed up with a series of redoubts and intrenchments [sic], protected by outworks and abattis. The first of these was on the bank of the Cohocksink, east of Front Street and above the Frankford road, a square redoubt, commanding the approach to the Northern Liberties by three important roads. It was flanked with abattis and redans. The next redoubt was west of the Germantown road, north of Poplar Street; the third was on the same line, west of Third Street, and the fourth northwest of that, with a redan to support its flanks.

The fifth battery and redoubt was at the corner of the present Poplar and Sixth Streets; the sixth, east of the Ridge road near Fairmount Avenue; the seventh, near Fairmount Avenue on Bush Hill. An advance battery on the Ridge road covered the approach to this redoubt. Number eight was near the intersection of Twentieth Street with Fairmount Avenue; ninth, near Lemon Hill; tenth, on the northwest slope of Fairmount Hill. This commanding point had also small batteries on its west and northeast slopes. There were rifle-pits in advance of the redoubts on all the main roads, and a lunette was thrown up on the Ridge road below the present site of Girard College. This line, it will be noted, was the line also of fine residences and country-seats. It commanded generally what would have been the south bank of the Schuylkill, provided that river ever actually crossed to the Delaware from above Fairmount to Kensington. Two or three fascined redoubts were built on the hills on both sides of the Schuylkill commanding the Lower and Middle Ferries. In the time of the late civil war, when it was feared Philadelphia would not be safe from Confederate raids, this important spot was once more fortified. In 1812 forts were erected on the east side of Gray's Ferry, commanding that road of approach, and on the same elevation west of the Schuylkill, opposite Hamilton's Grove.

A good deal has been said in regard to the early occupants of land along the Schuylkill and Delaware on the site of Philadelphia, and much more will be found on this subject in connection with the narrative as it progresses. It is necessary to the full comprehension of a city's topography, and it is also an integral part of that city's history, to trace the lines on which population spread from point to point until the wilderness became thickly settled. It is not needful, however, to give the names and the lots taken by all the first settlers of Penn's newly laid off city, since one lot is but the pattern of all the others, and the history of one is the history of all. That history will be found to be fully treated. But with regard to land outside the city the case was different. Here men had a choice, and the eligibility of this or that locality is illustrated by the promptness of its occupancy as compared with the taking up of others. Fortunately there are extant maps which enable us to give the ownership of tracts in Philadelphia at several intervals with very satisfactory exactness. The first and most important of these maps is that of Thomas Holme, Penn's first surveyor-general, who began in 1681 “A Map of the Improved Parts of the Province of Pennsylvania.” It is remarkably clear and accurate for the first survey of a wooded wilderness, is well engraved, and a handsome fac-simile of it has recently been republished. Beginning, as we did when tracing the streams, at the south corner, we find the line of swamp northeast of Bow Creek very clearly marked and colored in green. Peter Ellet, who held the point of land where Cobb's and Darby [PAGE 13] Creeks unite, held also the point on the east side of Cobb's Creek, and a piece of dry land in the swamp to the east, which he had to reach by a bridge or causeway. There are three other dry spots in these swamps, occupied by Andrew Boon, Ernest Cock, and Peter Cock. These were old Swedish titles, confirmed by patents from Upland Court under the Duke of York's laws. No other land is marked as being held southwest of Schuylkill and east of Minquas Kill. Northwest of this kill and of Peter Ellet's land is the tract of Otto Ernest Cock, running up to the Swedes' Mill tract. On the east of these are the lands of Oelle Dalbo, I. Hunt, Enochson and Jonas Neilson, and then come the farms of Widow Justice, Andreis Justeison, Andrew Peterson, and Robert Longshore. A large tract northwest of these is assigned to Peter Joccum, Thomas Pascall, Wm. Clayton, Neil Jonson, Mouns (Moens) Jonson, and Lawrence Hedding. Northwest of these again are “The Liberty Lands of Philadelphia City,” a broad, long belt, crossing the Schuylkill above the city, extending to Frankford Creek and the Wingohocking in one direction, and descending to the Delaware between Pegg's Run and Vine Street. This tract included Springettsbury Manor, Fairmount, and in fact the entire townships of Blockley, Penn, and Northern Liberties, except a part of the latter on the Delaware front. On the east side of Schuylkill, northwest of this tract, are lands which belonged to Robert Turner, Richard and Robert Vicaris, and the “German Township Company,” their tract being bounded north and northwest and northeast by “ Gulielma Maria” and “ Penn's Manor of Springfield.” Roxborough is assigned respectively to Phil. Tathman, Francis Fincher, James Claypoole, Samuel Bennett, Charles Hartford, Richard Snee, Charles Jones, Jonas Smith, Jasper Farmer, and the Plymouth Company, whose tract extends into Montgomery County. When we return to the Delaware we find the farms on that stream from the Liberties up marked down to Andrew Salung, Michael Neelson, Thomas Fairman, Samuel Carpenter, John Bowyer, Robert Turner, Gunnar Rambo and Peter Nelson, Mouns Cock, George Foreman, Wm. Salway, and Eric Cock. Northeast of Frankford Creek is Toaconing (Tacony) township, bounded by the Little Tacony and the Delaware. Between the Little and Great Tacony were holdings of Thomas Fairman, Henry Waddy, Robert Adams, John Harper, John Hughes, John Bunto, Henry Waddy again, Benjamin East, etc. In Bristol, between the Tacony and Wingohocking, the holders were John Moon, Griffith Jones, Thomas Bowman, Barnabas Wilcox, John Goodson, Richard Townshend, John Barnes, Samuel Carpenter, John Songhurst, and Benjamin Whitehead. From Taoconing township to Dublin or Pennepack Creek on the Delaware were Enoch & Keene, George Hutchinson, Charles Claus, Neels Nelson, Peter Rambo, Erick Meels, Antony Salter, Elenor Holme, Ha. Salter, Charles Thomas, Thomas Sare. West of these were John Ducket, John James, Kat. Martin, Joseph Ashtot, John Simmer, Richard Worrul, Thomas Levesly, Robert Fairman, Walter King, Richard Dungworth, William Chamberlin, and Joseph Phipps. Coming down on the northeast side of Dublin Creek, and south of Moreland Manor, we find Daniel Heaphy, William Stanley, Silas Crispin, John Mason, Allen Foster, Jam. Atkinson, Joseph Fisher, Robert Turner, Samuel Claridg, Thomas Holme, Peter Rambo, Jr., Lase Bore, and Benj. Acrod. This brings us to the Poquessing. The original occupants of Byberry were Robert Fairman, Thomas Young, John Carver, Edward Godwin, Nicholas Rideout, Giles Knight, John Tibby, Thomas Cross, Samuel Ellis, Daniel Jones, Andrew Griscomb, George John, and Collis Hart.

The names upon Holme's map, however, do not always include a case of actual occupancy. Many allotments were never taken up at all by the parties who subscribed for land; many never immigrated; many let their subscriptions lapse without payment, and the assignments in numerous cases were altered or modified by the Proprietary Government. This is shown, for example, in Reed's map, reproduced in fac-simile in 1846. On this map the Northern and Western Liberties are no longer unoccupied, and it is evident that many landholders under Swedish, Dutch, and English grants, ignored by Holme, have had their claims and locations recognized. Peter Cock, for instance, had a two-hundred-acre tract of this description in Blockley west of Mill Creek; William Warner and son three large tracts northwest of this, stretching from Schuylkill half-way to Cobb's Creek on the line of the Haverford road. Jurian Hartfelder's patent for four hundred and fifty-seven acres at what was afterwards Campington, southwest of Cohocksink Creek, is now mapped. The Swansons, who owned Coaquinnoc as well as land at Wicaco, having given up the former, are assigned in recompense a large tract, twelve hundred and twenty acres in all, west of Springettsbury, and lying between that and the Welsh purchase of Griffith Jones and John Roberts. This Swanson tract was on both sides the Schuylkill from the Falls to Fairmount. Northwest of it and between it and the purchases of Pastorius for the Frankford (Germantown) Company were numerous small farms averaging not over fifty acres, of which one is put down to Penn's Deputy Governor, William Markham, and one to Dennis Rockford. Actual settlers and “Welcome” passengers or immigrants of 1682-83 are found among these landholders' names in goodly numbers. Shakhamaxunk (Shackamaxon, Kensington) lands appear in a large tract without names, while Kensington proper appears to be laid off into town lots; but northwest of these many names familiar in the first years of Penn's proprietorship are found, and they do not agree in many instances with names attached to the same [PAGE 14] localities in Holme's map. Among these names are those of Holme himself, Nicholas Moore, Thomas Lloyd, John Goodson, James Claypoole, James Harrison, Christopher Taylor, Robert Turner, Joseph Fisher, Isaac Norris, Joseph Growden, Society of Free Traders, John Mifflin, Samuel Carpenter, John Songhurst, Enoch Flower, John Barber, Thomas Bowman, Robert Greenway, Silas Crispin, Nicholas Wain, Thomas Pudyard, etc., all names recorded among those of the first Quaker settlements and names of persons prominent in the history of Philadelphia and the province.

The quaint-looking map of Nicholas Scull and I. Heap is dated 1750. It is small and not very precise, yet it conveys a good deal of topographical information. On this map Bow Creek is distinctly marked and named, but it opens on the Delaware at Mud Island; Minquas Kill is called Kingsesse Creek, Boon's Island retains its name, but Simcock now owns Peter Ellett's land, and the names of Boon and Cock are no longer found on these swampy lands. The middle of the three islands that now appear east of Mingo Creek is called Carpenter's; the one at the mouth of Schuylkill, Province Island. Joccum holds his own southeast of the Darby road, and the lands west of Penrose Ferry belong to Bonsal and Jones Hunt. On the east side of Schuylkill at this point, going northwest, the names are Hannis, Penrose, Cox, Lord, Morris, Cadwallader, Rambo, and then we come to Gray and Gray's Ferry. Besides these there are not many names in all of the Southwark, Moyamensing, and Passayunk peninsula; Cox, Brockden, Morris, Wharton (Wharton's lane named for him), Duche, Pemberton, Lorenz, Turner, Davey, Sims, Griffin, Powell, Lawrence, Crouse, and Poll are all of them. Northwest of the Darby road, on Cobb's Creek, the names are found of Rambo, Stilly (Stille), Whitman, showing that the Swedes still held their own here. On the Darby road, between Blue Bell Tavern and Gray's Ferry, were Gibson, Bartram, Hanby, White, Jones, Coffman (Kaufman), Richard, Lois, and George. The Warners still held on the Schuylkill west from Fairmount; Scull kept the Upper Ferry, Springettbury became a small, insignificant tract. Bush Hill adjoins ground of Plumsted, Swansons still hold (under the name of Shute) their tract east of Schuylkill, and Mifflin, Harrison, etc., remain where they originally planted. The house of Isaac Norris at Fair Hill is given with a cupola on it. There is another on James Logan's mansion at Stenton. The families of Wain, Greenway, More, Ashmead, Whitman, Griffith appear still on original sites in the northeast, yet after all there has been a woful [sic] thinning out of “first purchasers.”

 In 1762, Matthew Clarkson and M. Biddle published a map, principally of the front of the city, as far west as Eighth Street, and in Southwark to Second Street at that day. Windmill Island then lay in the channel between Pine and Christian Streets, the mill on the extreme north end. There was a fort just south of Wicaco lane, closing Swanson Street in that direction. Coates' wharf was midway between Wicaco lane and Christian Street, Dennis' factory, the Swedes' Church, Gloria Dei, Wharton's, immediately above Christian Street. The Dock at that time extended from Third Street, half-way between Chestnut and Walnut Streets, diagonally to a point just east of the foot of Spruce Street. Reynolds and Penrose were wharf-owners foot of Queen Street; Trotter, foot of Catharine Street; Niemans, Lewis, Allen, and Penrose, to beyond Almond Street; Moes, Hockley, Mifflin, Church, Morton, Moore, and Willing, to Lombard Street; Eagan & Nixon, Rhoads & Emlin, Plumstead, Sims, May & Allen, Powel, and Stamper, as far as Dock Creek. On the east side of the Dock the wharf belonged to “The Corporation;” then came Hamilton, Penrose, Dickinson, Fishbourne & Meredith, Carpenter, Flower, Morris, King, Pemberton, and then the “Crooked Billet” public landing, foot of Chestnut Street. Old Ferry Slip and Austin's Ferry were at the foot of Arch Street. From Chestnut Street to Callowhill Street the names of wharf-holders were Sims, Lawrence, Allen, Henry, Masters, Hoop, Potts, Bickley, Aspend & House, Clifford, Rawle & Peel, Warner, Okill, Wilkinson, Hoops, Shoemaker, James, Hodges, Hasell, Parrock, Goodman, Mifflin, West, Hewling, Salter, Allen, Clifton, Moyer, and Huston.

William Faden, of London, got out a map in 1777, which is founded upon Scull and Heap's with few alterations, even copying the names of occupants of country-seats, etc., from the latter, although in the course of twenty-five years many of them were dead. A few prominent alterations were made by Faden, whose enterprise was no doubt stimulated by the curiosity of the British people in relation to America, and particularly Philadelphia, where the Congress sat. The streams are precisely the same as in Scull and Heap's maps. The principal novelty is the marking of a fort on Mud Island, the line of the chevaux-de-frise in the Delaware, and Governor John Penn's seat at Lansdowne, with a little more prominence to the claim of Kensington to be a settlement than was allowed in 1750. P. C. Varle, geographer and engineer, about 1797 or 1798, drew, and Scott engraved, a very interesting map, which took in the Delaware and the Schuylkill from about Wharton Street on the south to Columbia Avenue on the north.

Hill's maps of 1796 and 1808 (the circular map) are almost purely topographical, and their leading features have been embodied in the foregoing pages. The Swedes' Church at Wicaco appears on the edge of the river bluff; the bed of Church Street, in the rear, runs through a deep ravine, widening at Wharton Street. There is a pond by the Passayunk road, south of Prime Street, and several of them south of Cedar Street between Shippen's and Irish lane. The changes in the channel, some land emerging, some [PAGE 15] sinking, and the peculiar way in which the ranges of hills are divided into knobs and domes by the transverse ravines along the course of the streams, are curiously illustrated upon these maps. No Philadelphian would be able to recognize the contour of his city if the streets, roads, and houses should be removed from this checker-board scheme of knolls and ravines, with a stream at the bottom of every hollow. The idea that Philadelphia is a flat and level city disappears in the presence of so much, evidence of variety of grade. It may be added, in conclusion, that both the surface contour and the subsoil of Philadelphia are favorable to good drainage; none of the rock-masses are so continuous nor are the underlying clays so tenacious as to prevent water from sinking through them.

To complete the chronographic history of Philadelphia it is proper to add something concerning the city's political and quasi-political divisions. The city, laid off in 1681-83, was part of Philadelphia County, which, having about its present northern and southern boundaries, with the Delaware on the east, extended westward indefinitely towards the State line. From time to time other counties were cut out of it until the present western boundary was practically established by the erection of Montgomery County in 1784. In 1701 (October 25th), Philadelphia was chartered by William Penn as a sort of borough city, with a government of its own, separate from that of the State and county. This charter, which is said to have been modeled upon that of the old city of Bristol, England, bestowed only a very limited sort of municipal authority upon the mayor and corporation of the town. It was, however, divided into wards as the population increased, though the adjoining districts, boroughs, and townships of this county were not incorporated with the city until its final consolidation in 1854. The previous act of incorporation of the old city was passed March 11,1789, but the charter of 1701 had been materially modified several times in this interval. In 1749, when Dr. Franklin, Joseph Shippen, Chief Justice Allen, and others took the census of the city, it comprised ten wards, named Mulberry, Dock, Lower Delaware, Upper Delaware, South, North, Middle, and the wards between, and named for High (or Market) Street, Chestnut Street, and Walnut Street, inclusive, with Fourth Street on the west. Upper and Lower Delaware, High, Chestnut, Walnut, Dock were on the east. There were four western wards,—Mulberry, North, Middle, and South. In 1800 the ward division was improved and the number increased to fourteen, seven commencing at the Delaware and ending at Fourth Street, and seven extending from Fourth Street to the Schuylkill. This shows that half the population of the city at that time was east of Fourth Street, south of Vine Street, and north of South Street. These wards were thus laid off—Delaware side: New Market Ward, South to Spruce Street; Dock Ward, Spruce to Walnut Street; Walnut Ward, Walnut to Chestnut Street; Chestnut Ward, Chestnut to Market Street; High Street Ward, Market to Arch Street; Lower Delaware Ward, Arch to Sassafras Street; Upper Delaware Ward, Sassafras to Vine Street. Schuylkill side: Cedar Ward, South to Spruce Street (west of Fourth Street); Locust Ward, Spruce to Walnut Street; South Ward, Walnut to Chestnut Street; Middle Ward, Chestnut to Market Street; North Ward, Market to Arch Street; South Mulberry Ward, Arch to Race Street; North Mulberry Ward, Race to Vine Street.

Philadelphia now comprises thirty-one wards, a less number, in proportion to the increase of area and population, than it had in 1800. The First Ward of the city begins on the Delaware at Wharton Street, runs west to the Passayunk road, down the latter to Broad Street, and thence south to the Delaware, taking in the whole of League Island. This ward includes part of Southwark, partly incorporated in 1762, the oldest district of Philadelphia County. Parts of the Swedish settlements of Wicaco and Moyamensing are within its limits, and it includes also Greenwich Island, with Girard Point, Martinsville, etc. Adjoining the First Ward on the left, and bounded by the Schuylkill River, up to Washington Avenue, Ellsworth Street, Passayunk road, and Broad Street down to League Island, the Twenty-sixth Ward is found. It includes a portion of what was once Moyamensing and part of Passayunk; it lies “down the Neck,” and includes what was once nearly all meadow, with, however, solid ground above Point Breeze. Moyamensing, originally a farm tract deeded to Stille, Clensmith, and Andries, Swedes, in 1664, and confirmed to Stille, Andries, Bankson, and Mattson in 1684, later became a township. When it was incorporated, in 1812, it had an area of two thousand five hundred and sixty acres. Passayunk (called by Lindstrom, Paisajungh, and variously named in former times Passuming, Perslayonk, Passayon, etc.) is said to have been the site of an Indian village, and to mean “a level place.” The first survey of it included a tract of one thousand acres, granted to Lieut. Swen Shute in 1653. It was afterwards patented by Governor Nichols to the brothers Ashman and others. The Twenty-sixth Ward contains two cemeteries, the County Prison and the Point Breeze Gas-Works, Point Breeze Park, Girard Point, and the oil wharves. Opposite the Twenty-sixth Ward, on the other side of the Schuylkill, is found the Twenty-seventh Ward, taking in all the southwestern part of the city, between Bow, Darby, and Cobb's Creeks and the Schuylkill to Market Street, in West Philadelphia. Suffolk Park, the Almshouse property, Mount Moriah and Woodlands Cemeteries are within its extensive limits. It contained Kingsessing and part of Blockley townships, the Darby and Baltimore roads, and the villages of Paschallville, Maylandville, West Philadelphia, Hamilton, and other ancient and modern settlements. North of the [PAGE 16] Twenty-seventh Ward, still on the west side of the Schuylkill, and bounded by the city limits from Cobb's Creek to the corner opposite the mouth of the Wissahickon, is the Twenty-fourth Ward, which included the rest of Blockley, part of West Philadelphia, Mantua, Hestonville, Haddington, etc., with the grounds of the insane asylum and the greater part of Fairmount Park, with all its historic sites. Originally it was part of the Western Liberties, and it contained the district of Belmont also, which took its name from the country-seat of the Peters family, so distinguished in the Revolutionary and subsequent periods of the history of Philadelphia. Blockley was one of the oldest townships of the county, and contained originally seven thousand five hundred and eighty acres.

Returning to the Delaware side we find the Second Ward small and compact in comparison with those just mentioned, lying north of the First, from Wharton to Passayunk road, then to Ellsworth, to Broad, and to Christian Streets. This was a part of Wicaco, and the old United States Navy-Yard, now occupied by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, was within its limits. The Third Ward, having the same boundaries south, east, and west as the Second (Broad Street and the Delaware), lies north of it, following Mead Street from Delaware Avenue to Second, and German Street west to Passayunk road, to Fitzwater Street, thence to Broad Street. The Fourth Ward is north of the Third, within the same limits east and west, running up to South Street, west to Broad Street. These three wards include all the remaining part of Southwark and a portion of Moyamensing to the old city limits. West of them, from Broad Street to the Schuylkill, lies the Thirtieth Ward, between South and Washington Avenue, running west along the latter to Gray's Ferry road, up that road to Ellsworth Street, along Ellsworth to the Schuylkill River, then to South Street and to Broad Street. The United States Arsenal and Naval Asylum are in this ward. The Fifth Ward lies between Seventh Street and the Delaware, South Street on the south and Chestnut north. It abounds in the historic monuments of Philadelphia, for here the town began, here Penn first landed, and here the Declaration of 1776 was adopted and signed. Windmill Island, in the Delaware, belongs to the Fifth Ward.

The Sixth Ward lies north of the Fifth, with Seventh Street for its western limit, and Vine Street on the north. West of Seventh Street, extending to the Schuylkill, are the Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Wards, Spruce Street marking the north limit of the Seventh, its southern line South Street; Chestnut Street is the north boundary of the Eighth; Arch Street of the Ninth, and Vine Street of the Tenth. Old Philadelphia, therefore, is entirely included in Wards Five to Ten, inclusive.

The Eleventh Ward extends up the Delaware from Vine Street to Poplar, with Third Street on the west. On the west of Third Street, as far as Sixth Street, from Vine to Poplar Street, is the Twelfth Ward; west of that the Thirteenth Ward extends to Tenth Street; the Fourteenth, to Broad Street; and the Fifteenth, to the Schuylkill, all three with Poplar and Vine Streets on north and south. The Eleventh and Twelfth and part of the Thirteenth Wards were in what was the Northern Liberties. The land was part of Jurian Hartfelder's original purchase, called Hartsfield. Part of the Fourteenth and of the Fifteenth were in Springettsbury Manor, including Fairmount and Lemon Hill. Willow Street occupied the bed of Pegg's Run. Spring Garden District was partly in this parallelogram. It contains the Eastern Penitentiary and the Fairmount Water-Works. In this group were also to be found the so-called town of Callowhill, between Vine and Willow Streets and Front and Second, in the Northern Liberties, Campington, where the British barracks stood, the towns of Bath and Morrisville. Fairmount Park extends along the western boundary. The Sixteenth Ward is bounded on the east by the Delaware River, and on the south by Poplar Street. It extends on the north along Maiden or Laurel Street to the Frankford Road or Avenue, northward along the latter to Girard Avenue, and thence to its western boundary at Sixth Street. The Seventeenth Ward lies just north of it, between Girard Avenue and Oxford Street, and Sixth and Frankford road. The Eighteenth Ward is part of old Kensington, with the Frankford road on the west, the Delaware on the east, Maiden Street on the south, and Norris Street on the north. Immediately above is the Thirty-first Ward, cut out of the old Nineteenth, bounded east by the Delaware, south by Norris Street, west by Frankford road as far northwest as Oxford Street, then along Oxford to Sixth, Sixth to Lehigh Avenue, along the latter to Frankford road, and then by that road to Westmoreland Street, thence to the Point road, and thence, substantially in the same direction as Westmoreland Street, to the Delaware River. Here was an Indian town, perhaps a council-seat, called Shackamaxon; here was the tree in front of Fairman's house, under the branches of which, it is alleged, William Penn held his treaty with the Indians, and here was ground owned before Penn's time by Lasse Cock, Gunner Rambo, and other Swedes. The Nineteenth Ward lies north of the Seventeenth. It extends along Frankford road from Norris to Oxford Street, then to Sixth, then to Germantown Avenue, then to Lehigh Avenue, along the same to Kensington Avenue, then to Front Street, along the latter to Norris, and along Norris to the intersection of Frankford road. The Twentieth Ward is west of the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, and Nineteenth Wards, extending along Sixth Street from Poplar to Susquehanna Avenue, then west to Eleventh, south to Montgomery Avenue, and along the latter west to Broad Street, thence south to Poplar, and thence to the place of beginning. The Twenty-ninth, again, [PAGE 17] is west of the Twentieth, with Broad Street on the east, and extending west to the Schuylkill, with Montgomery Avenue on the north and Poplar Street south. Girard College is in the Twenty-ninth Ward. The Twenty-eighth, a large ward, lies north and west of the Twentieth and Twenty-ninth, and west of the Twenty-fifth and Nineteenth, Sixth Street and the Germantown road marking its east line, and the Schuylkill its west, Montgomery Avenue on the south, School lane northwest, and Wissahickon and Roberts Avenues north. This ward has seven cemeteries in it, with Laurel Hill and Schuylkill Falls on the west. The villages of Nicetown and Rising Sun are partly in it. The Twenty-first Ward, on both sides the Wissahickon, contains Manayunk and the township of Roxborough. The Twenty-second Ward, besides Germantown and Chestnut Hill, has a number of villages, —Somerville, Branchtown, Crescentville, McCartersville, Olney, Feltonville, Milestown, Pittville, etc. The Twenty-fifth Ward, created out of portions of the old Nineteenth and Twenty-third Wards, begins on the Delaware River at a point where Lehigh Avenue would intersect if continued in a right line, and along Lehigh Avenue to Germantown Avenue, along the latter to the line of the Twenty-second Ward, along that line to Frankford Creek, along the creek to the Delaware, and down the latter to the place of beginning. It has in it Hunting Park, the New Cathedral Cemetery, Cooperville, Harrowgate, Franklinville, and Bridesburg. The Twenty-third Ward, the city's northeast corner, contains the old townships of Oxford, Byberry, Lower Dublin, and Moreland, the boroughs of Frankford, Tacony, and Holmesburg, and the settlements and villages of Olney, Milestown, White Hall, Volunteertown, Cedar Grove, Rockville, Hollinsville, Torresdale, Mechanicsville, Pleasantville, Smithfield, Knightsville, Bustleton, Vereeville, Sandy Hill, and Fox Chase. Byberry, Oxford, Moreland, and Dublin are all old-established townships.

Philadelphia County before 1784 contained much territory which had not been subdivided into townships. On the creation of Montgomery County, the following were in the county as of its present boundaries: Moyamensing, Passyunk, Northern Liberties, Oxford, Bristol, Byberry, Moreland, Lower Dublin, Frankford, Germantown, Roxborough, Blockley, and Kingsessing. These were all that remained of forty-seven townships existing in 1741. The county of Montgomery took away with it the townships of Amity, Abington, Creesham, Cheltenham, Douglass, Upper Dublin, Franconia, Frederick, Gwynedd, New Hanover, Upper Hanover, Horsham, Limerick, Montgomery, Upper Merion, Lower Merion, Norriton, Plymouth, Providence, Perkiomen, Skippack, Salford, Springfield, Towamensing, Whitpaine, Worcester, and Wayamensing. Berks took Allemingle, Amity, Colebrookdale, Exeter, Murder Creek, and Oley.

In Philadelphia's 82,700 acres there are more than twelve hundred miles of streets. Their continuous length would extend four hundred miles beyond Chicago, or reach to New Orleans. A man walking four miles an hour and ten hours a day would need a good month to traverse them all. There are about six thousand streets, lanes, alleys, and courts, all told, but a plain and simple method of enumeration enables the stranger to find any place in any one of them, the number of the house describing in what part of the city it is to be sought. Names of streets have undergone great changes in Philadelphia since Penn established his system of numbering them from the Delaware running from north to south, and using names of trees for streets running east and west. Any such method ought to have been adhered to, if for no other reason at least to protect a city from the niaiseries and bad taste of city councilmen, who are commonly presumptuous in proportion to their ignorance. At present the nomenclature of streets in Philadelphia resembles a “Dolly Varden” print of a very irregular pattern,—one style here, another style there, particolored and piebald all over. A street name should not be outre in its form, nor difficult to pronounce; it should signify something, either an object, a person, or an event, and it should never be changed when once permanently bestowed.


[1] Note 1, Page 2: On Hill's map of the city, 1796, the approach of Falls' Run to the head of Wingohocking, which flows into Frankford Creek, and the ponds and hollows stretching across on the line of Pegg's Run, are marked in such relief as to give a topographical plausibility to this idea. A canal was at that time cut across part of the peninsula in such a way as to show a design to unite the two rivers at that point. An original cut-off of the Schuylkill at the Falls would account for this insignificance of the river's mouth where it actually and finally empties into the Delaware. The assumption that there was such a cut-off, however, must be left where it belongs, in the domain of pure conjecture.

[2] Note 1, Page 3: On July 5, 1773, the Right Honorable the Earl of Dartmouth, who was at that time Colonial Secretary (he had succeeded Lord Hillsborough one year before) in the cabinet of George III., wrote to the Deputy Governor of Pennsylvania (John Penn, the son of Richard Penn, who was the fifth child of William Penn by his second wife, Hannah Callow-hill) propounding certain “Heads of Enquiry relative to the present State and Condition” of Pennsylvania. The answers to these inquiries were transmitted to Lord Dartmouth under date of Jan. 30, 1775. In the communication the following occurs: “The City of Philadelphia, situated near the Conflux of Delaware and one of its chief Branches, the Schuylkill, is the most considerable Town in the Province, or indeed in North America. The State-House in this City lies in North Latitude, 39° 56' 53”; its Longitude from the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, computed West, 75° 8' 45”; or, in time, 5 hours and 35 seconds. This Latitude and Longitude were both fixed by accurate astronomical Observation at the Transit of Venus, 1769.” In the Journal of Mason and Dixon, November, 1763, we learn that these surveyors established an observatory in the southern part of Philadelphia, in order to find the starting-point of the parallel which they were to run off. Their point of departure was “the most Southern part of Philadelphia,” which they ascertained to be the north wall of a house on Cedar Street, occupied by Thomas Plumstead and Joseph Huddle, and their observatory must have been immediately adjacent to this. The latitude of this point they determined to be 39° 56' 29”.1 [sic] north. In 1845, when the northeast cornerstone of Maryland could not be found (it had been undermined by a freshet, and was then taken and built into the chimney of a neighboring farm-house), the Legislatures of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware appointed a joint commission, who employed Col. Graham, of the United States Topographical Engineers, to review Mason and Dixon's work so far as was requisite in order to restore the displaced corner. Col. Graham, in the course of his measurements, determined the latitude of the Cedar Street observatory to be 39° 66' 37.4” north. This is 8.3”more than the latitude given by Mason and Dixon. If we add the distance from Cedar Street to Chestnut Street, 2650 feet, we have for Independence Hall latitude as determined by Mason and Dixon, 39° 56' 55”; as determined by Col. Graham, 39° 57'03”. The slight variation in these calculations is surprising. That reported by Governor Penn may have been based upon data differing from those of the surveys of 1761 and of Mason and Dixon. The house selected by Mason and Dixon was on the south side of Cedar, east of Front, No. 30, standing in 1883.

[3] Note 1, Page 4: Hazard's third volume of Watson's Annals.

[4] Note 1, Page 6: Carcoen's Hook, Kalkonhutten, place of wild turkeys. Calcoen's Hook was the neck formed by the junction of Crum Kill and Little Crum Kill.

[5] Note 1, Page 9: Very little dependence can be placed on the spelling or interpretation of these Indian words, and particularly little upon attempts to get at the meaning of Indian names of things and places by analysis and recomposition of their roots. Some illustration of this fact may be found in the vocabularies collected by Maj. Ebenezer Denny, and inserted in his journal, which has been lately published by the Pennsylvania Historical Society. Maj. Denny collected these words in Ohio in 1785-86, while at Forts McIntosh and Finney, from Delawares. One gives for “very bad” the word machelesso, the other matia-wissah; the words are similar, but the consonants differ. Probably Maj. Denny heard the same word each time, but the pronunciation was not distinct enough to enable him to catch the proper form of spelling. So, again, “woman” is in one place ochgwe, in another auquawan; evidently the same word, with the same difficulty in writing it down phonetically. “Sleep” in one place is nepaywah, in the other caaweela: “pipe,” ohquakay and hobocaw; the numerals are guttee, or necootay; nechshaa, or neesway; nochhaa, or nethway; nevaa, or neaway, etc. When it comes to give these Indian sounds an English form and interpretation after reaching us through a Swedish, Dutch, or French medium, the difficulty is increased almost immeasurably, and a decent skepticism is the only defense behind which criticism can shelter itself if it would avoid absurdities and escape glaring contradictions. It is for this reason that in this chapter Indian words and their translations are treated as allegations rather than facts; and this will continue to be done throughout.


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