1Underground Railroad activism in Middletown was centered primarily at Honeycomb U.A.M.E. Church on Barren Road, supported by the community of free blacks who founded it, with support from white, mostly Quaker activists in the area.  None of the principals in our story were direct agents.   Likewise none owned or operated the cotton mills springing up along Chester Creek and described by Anthony F. C. Wallace as “enterprising men.”  Nonetheless these nearby scenes help define the neighborhood, and Larry Smythe, Jr. adopted Wallace’s phrase to identify Thomas Pratt’s farming capitalism as well as the mill owners’.  See Mary Ann Eves, Middletown Township, Delaware County (Charleston, S. C.:  Arcadia, 2011), 90-91 on Honeycomb Church; Wallace, Rockdale:  The Growth of an American Village in the Early Industrial Revolution  (New York:  W. W. Norton, 1972), 406 on the cotton mills; Larry Smythe, Jr., “Thomas Pratt:  An ‘Enterprising Man’ of Nineteenth-Century Delaware County, Pennsylvania” (Schreyer Honors College thesis 2002), 1-2.

2Penn State Brandywine student Breath-Alicen Hand measured and estimated the age of the sycamore, following her work on the project “Penn State Brandywine Tree Removal Eco-Services Impact Survey” (2016), with professors Laura Guertin and Joshua Marquit.  Thanks to all of them as well as to biology professor Mark Boudreau for suggesting this measurement.  Hand also found twenty-three black cherry trees in the immediate vicinity of the Pratt farmhouse.   This discovery corresponds to John Vairo’s memory of fruit trees as well as lilacs on first seeing the house site, as recounted to Phyllis Cole and Laura Guertin in 2003 when we walked the campus land together. 
3Schreyer Honors theses:  Smythe, “Thomas Pratt” (2002, winner of Delaware County Annual Preservation Award Certificate 2003); Eileen M. Fresta, “A Study of the Cumberland Cemetery in Middletown Township, Pennsylvania” (2013); both theses are available through Penn State Libraries and deposited at the Brandywine library.   Independent Studies Projects:  Gloria Boyd, “The Pratts, Painters, and Darlingtons:  Three Generations of Change” (2004); Virginia Livanos, “The Social Context of Nineteenth-Century Women” (2014); Kevin Pistiner, “James Emlen’s Expedition to the Native American Treaty,” “Sarah Emlen’s Poetic Letters,” and “Operation of a Grist Mill” (2014).  Internships:  Eileen M. Fresta at Cumberland Cemetery (2012), Shannon Crowe, Youth Education Intern at Tyler Arboretum (2014).  Beyond undergraduate work, Kevin Pistiner wrote his MA thesis in American Studies at Penn State Harrisburg on this local case study:  “The Great Schism:  A Divide among Quakers and its Impact on the Middletown Friends Preparative Meeting in Pennsylvania” (2017).
Shorter projects from Cole’s “American Lives” (AMST 491W) classes, as well as projects by Guertin’s students, are cited in other notes, but a special acknowledgement is due to the Fall 2003 classes of both:  Cole’s students researched information on individuals interred at Cumberland, and Guertin’s studied tombstone weathering rates; both presented to campus guests on Penn State Day under the title “Tombstones and Spirits” and were co-winners of a Delaware County Annual Preservation Certificate in 2004.
Since returning to teach on campus, Smythe has always introduced his American Studies and History of Pennsylvania students—including Fresta and Pistiner—to this historic landscape. 

4Smythe, 20-22.

5As children (1828) both Thomas Pratt and Mary Worrall were listed along with their elders as members of meeting.  But the Worralls apparently opted out, because on May 21, 1840 the Orthodox meeting questioned Thomas’s marriage to “a woman not in membership with friends by the assistance of a magistrate.”  In 1883, after Thomas’s death, Hicksite records still listed him as a member, but not Mary.  Membership 1827-64, Chester Monthly Meeting Records [Hicksite], Swarthmore Friends Historical Library; Minutes 1821-47, Middletown Preparative Meeting [Orthodox], Haverford Quaker and Special Collections.

6Smythe, 6-9, citing Tobi Graham, Pratt Family Tree and Genealogy, 1600-1871 (1999 typescript provided by Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation), 1-4.  The family history of Thomas’s older brother Joseph is detailed in Graham, 5-9.

7Smythe, 8-9, 12, citing Graham, Pratt Family Tree (“1999 Update”) on Thomas Pratt (1764-1820) and his second marriage.

8Smythe, 12-14, citing “Enos Painter Guardian of Thomas Pratt,” Series 4, Box 27, Painter Family Papers, SFHL.

9Membership 1827-64, Chester Monthly Meeting Records, SFHL; Minutes 1821-1847, Middletown Preparative Meeting Records, HQ&SC.  For the history of Westtown School, a resource for so many Middletown Quakers, see Watson W. and Sarah B. Dewees, History of Westtown Boarding School: 1799-1899  (Philadelphia: Sherman, 1899) and Helen G. Hole, Westtown through the Years, 1799-1942 (Westtown:  Westtown Alumni Association, 1942).

10Smythe, 22; on women’s crucial role in Pennsylvania dairy farming, Joan M. Jensen, Loosening the Bonds:  Mid-Atlantic Farm Women, 1750-1850 (New Haven:  Yale University Press, 1986), especially chs. 5 and 6.

11Jensen, 94.  Gloria Boyd, in “The Pratts, Painters, and Darlingtons: Three Generations of Change” (2004), interviewed descendant Jared Darlington about this business and its wide market, dependent on the train stopping directly at their property in Middletown.  A direct sign of their prosperity was the quadrupling of their original farmhouse into an Italianate Victorian; likewise the Pratts and Painters either remodeled their pre-Revolutionary houses into country mansions or built anew. 

12Smythe, 35-36, quoting Ashmead, History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia: L. H. Everts & Co., 1884), 633, and citing Jane Levis Carter, Edgmont: The Story of a Township (Kennett Square, PA:  KNA Press, 1976), 41.

13Smythe, 37, quoting the Delaware County American, May 9, 1860 (Accessible Archives).

14Smythe, 23, 26, 28-29, citing Ashmead, 590, 632-33.

15Smythe, 38, 40-41, 50-55, citing Delaware County Republican, October 1857, September 11, 1863 (Accessible Archives).

16Pre-trial depositions, Pratt v. Pratt Papers, Delaware County Archives; “Bench Bar and Jury:  Pratt vs. Pratt,” Chester Times 23 Sept. 1884, 3 (Digital Archives). Both documents were discovered through the research of Eileen Fresta, 2016.  “Map of Middletown Township, 1875,” in Everts and Stewart, Combination Atlas Map of Delaware County (Philadelphia:  Hunter, 1875), online at  Keith Lockhart, “1875 Atlas,” Delaware County PA History
Accessed April 10, 2017.

17Smythe, 39, 24, 28, 31-32, citing Ashmead, 619, 633, 597, 626-27.

18Tyler Arboretum website,; “Background Note:  Inventory of the Painter Family Papers, 1687-1948,” SFHL, friends/ead/5110paif.xml#bioghist.  Accessed March 15, 2016.

19Hannah Minshall Copy Books 1795, 1796, Album Collection,  SFHL;  research of  Eileen Fresta for AMST 491W, 2011.

20Interpretation by Tyler guides Pamela Harper and Lois Brooks (2003, 2011) supports this reading of the kitchen’s material objects.  In 2014 intern Shannon Crowe reflected on Hannah Minshall Painter’s family roles, especially as seen in her lesson books in housewifery, as well as on the surviving artwork of the Painter children, in “From Minshall to Matriarch” and “Minshall/Painter Mysteries,” entries for the blog “Tyler Tales,”  Accessed June 26, 2016.

21“Genealogical Notes,” Series 5, Box 28, Painter Family Papers.

22“Genealogical Notes”; Middletown Preparative Meeting Records, January 24, 1828, Haverford Q & SC.   The Painter Family Papers include entire files of both legal papers and “writings” on the fence dispute:  Series 4, Box 25 and Series 6, Box 39.

23“Genealogical Notes”; Jacob Painter poem quoted in Carter, Edgmont, 169.

24Minshall Painter, Day Book, Jan. 30,1824, Series 2, Box 8, Painter Family Papers, SFHL; research by Robert Ripson, AMST 491W, 2011.

25Tyler Arboretum website,, observation by Phyllis Cole and students.

26Phyllis Cole, interview with Al Palmer, Delaware County Institute of Science, before presenting lecture at DCIS, “The Worlds of Minshall Painter:  From Tyler Arboretum to the Delaware County Institute of Science,” April 2008; expanded into “Founding Families:  The Painters and the Pratts,” to Middletown Historical Society, May 2011.

27Wilmer Worthington to Ann Painter, April 8, 1836, Series 1, Box 6, Painter Family Papers.

28“Background Note:  Inventory of the Painter Family Papers, 1687-1948” (SFHL); Helen Barnard to Ann Painter Tyler, 1886-91, Series 1, Box 6, Painter Family Papers

29 Swarthmore FHL website, on antislavery affiliation, as well as 2003 interview with Pamela Harper; Jensen, Loosening the Bonds, 184, 199 on Jacob Painter and women’s rights.

30December 8, 1902,

31Thanks to Lisa Marranzini for providing documents related to this property in 2013 and to George Franz for leading a walk-through of the barn (Davis) property with Phyllis Cole, Kevin Pistiner, and Virginia Livanos in 2014.  Its address is 437 Old Forge Rd.; the privately owned miller’s house and second house are 432 and 411 Old Forge respectively. 

32Report of the Committee of Delaware County on the Subject of Manufactories, Unimproved Mill Seats, &c (Chester:  Lescure, 1826), 17-23, Yearsley Mill on 22; county historian Nancy Webster on the “granary of America,” cited in Mary Anne Eves, Middletown Township, Delaware County (Charleston, SC:  Arcadia, 2011), 7-8.

33Richard T. Baublitz, Phase I and II Archaeological Investigations, Meyers Bridge Replacement Project (Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation, 2001), 23, 27-30. Kevin Pistiner, “Operations of a Grist Mill” (2014), citing “The Grist Milling Process,” on the website of the Penn State/National Endowment for the Humanities research project Building Community:  Medieval Technology and American History (  The additional streams, canal, and pond feeding the mill are clearly marked on the 1848 Ash Map, accessible at, and still survive on the 1875 Combination Atlas Map.

34Kevin Pistiner, “The Emlen Family of Middletown Township, Pennsylvania,” AMST 491W research paper 2013, citing J. Smith Futhey and Gilbert Cope, History of Chester County, Pennsylvania, with Genealogical and Biographical Sketches (Philadelphia:  Everts, 1881), 537. The present-day value of Emlen’s estate is estimated from Middletown legal historian Leslie Potter compiled documentation from the Record of Deeds for all property transfers at the mill in “Chain of Title for Mill Owner’s House at Yearsley Mill, Old Forge Road, Middletown Township, Pennsylvania” (1971), and the typescript was provided to us by Kathleen Conn, owner of the miller’s house in 2013.  Thanks to both for this vital information.

35Pistiner, “Emlen Family,” citing James Emlen, estate will and inventory, September 22, 1797, December 5, 1798, Delaware County Archives; and “Memoir of James Emlen, Late of Delaware County, Pennsylvania,” The Friend:  A Religious and Literary Journal 54 (1881), 161.

36“James Emlen [Jr.]:  “Memorials concerning Deceased Friends,” The Friend:  A Religious and Literary Journal  41 (1868), 75-87; “Memoir of James Emlen [Sr.],” The Friend 54 (1881), 161-62.

37“James Emlen [Jr.],” 75; “Memoir of James Emlen [Sr.],” 161-62; James Emlen [Sr.], will.

38Pistiner, “James Emlen’s Expedition to the Native American Treaty in Canandaigua, New York,” Independent Study 2014, citing William N. Fenton, ed., “The Journal of James Emlen Kept on a Trip to Canandaigua, New York,” Ethnohistory 12: 4 (1965), 279-342, quotation 329.

39 Pistiner, “Emlen Family,” 6, citing Futhey, 537; “Chain of Title,” 1818.

40“James Emlen [Jr.],” 75-77 on his experience at Westtown.  Sarah alludes to her experience of the school in manuscript journals for 1807-08 and 1812-14, the first written under the name Sarah Foulke and the second Sarah Farquhar, both before her marriage to James; Journal Collection, SFHL.

41Pistiner, “Sarah Emlen’s Poetic Letters,” Independent Study 2014.  References here are from her letters to James for August 30, 1817, December 30, 1817, December 17, 1837, December 29, 1831, July 27, 1828, Series 2, Emlen Family Papers, SFHL. 

42Sarah to James, August 7, 1828, Emlen Family Papers.  On James’ teaching, Pistiner, “Emlen Family,” citing Frances C. Tatum, Old Westtown: A Collection (Philadelphia: Freris Brothers, 1888), 70-71.  Sarah’s later travels are recorded in her journals and letters, especially her 1844 experience in England and Ireland; Journal Collection, SFHL.

43Delaware County Tax Assessments (County Archives); Ashmead, 624.  Claiming Yearsley’s ownership of the gristmill before 1823 on the basis of taxation conflicts, however, with deeds listed in the “Chain of Title,” which call the mill Emlen property.  The two families must have shared financial responsibility for the business in ways now undecipherable.

44Middletown Preparative Meeting of Women Friends, SFHL;  Middletown Preparative Meeting Records: Minutes 1821-1847, HQ&SC.

45Inventory of estate, September 21, 1825 (County Archives); Ashmead, 624.  

46Delaware County Tax Assessments (County Archives); Middletown Preparative Meeting Records: Minutes 1821-1847, including reference to “Humphrey Yearsley, Minor” in 1833 (HQ&SC);  Delaware County Republican, November 29, 1839 (Accessible Archives).

47Lima Temperance Hall in Upland Union, July 21, 1847 (Delaware County Historical Society); “Ladies Fair” in Delaware County American, June 3, 1868 (Accessible Archives); “Almost an Accident” in Delaware County American, April 13, 1864 (Accessible Archives).

48Potter detailed the steps in this transaction in “Chain of Title.”  Virginia Livanos tracked Yearsley property documents in her Independent Study, as well as building on them in “The Social Context of Nineteenth Century Women” (2014).

49Federal Census, Middletown Township, Pennsylvania, 1850, 1860, 1870; “The Late Freshet” in Delaware County Republican, August 26, 1870 (Accessible Archives); “Chain of Title,” 1876 for the mortgage.

50Yearsley, Orphan’s Court Estate, June 20, 1887 (Delaware County Archives).

51“Chain of Title,” 1901, 1922, 1945.

52Edward G. Smedley, “Article Written for a Gathering of the Meeting Members in 1881,” Middletown Preparative Meeting files, SFHL.

53“As nothing appears on our minutes,” untitled manuscript history by a Middletown Orthodox writer, n.d., Series 4, Box 1, Emlen Family Papers;  Hamm, The Quakers in America  (New York:  Columbia University Press, 2003), ch. 3 on the Hicksite Separation, quotation 43.  Kevin Pistiner shows that, on the larger scale, lockouts were the form of opposition adopted by Hicksites in their conflict with the Orthodox, and he uses the rich information available for Middletown to study the personal impact of this antagonism on individuals from both sides (“The Great Schism,” especially Introduction and ch. 4.)

54 Series 6, Box 36, Painter Family Papers; transcription of the Painter-Emlen argument by Robert Ripson, AMST 491W, 2011.

55 “Notes Respecting the Middletown List of Friends,” Series 6, Box 27, Painter Family Papers.  Pistiner recovered and analyzed Minshall Painter’s survey in his MA thesis at Penn State Harrisburg: “The Great Schism,” especially 48-55 for this window on the divided community. 

56Pistiner discovered Sarah’s Emlen’s graphic reports and interpreted them in context of her larger career as a minister and mother (“The Great Schism,” ch. 2, pp. 44-47).  Letters quoted here for August 18, 1828, August 3, 1828, and August 7, 1828, Series 2, Emlen Family Papers.

57Sarah Emlen letters, August 7, 1828, October 22, 1828; Minshall Painter Daybook, November 2, 1828, Series 2, Box 8, Painter Family Papers.  Eileen Fresta quoted Minshall’s report in her honors thesis, A Study of the Cumberland Cemetery in Middletown Township, Pennsylvania (2013), 26.

58Pistiner, “Emlen Family,” citing Tatum, 71.

59Sarah Emlen, “Journal of a Trip to Europe,” Journal Collection, SFHL;  Smedley, “Article”;  “James Emlen [Jr.]:  Memorials concerning Deceased Friends,” 78-86.

60Wallace, 251; Minshall Painter, “Reflections and Observations on the Subject of Friends Treating with the Orthodox Elders,” Series 6, Box 37, Painter Family Papers.

61 Jensen, xiii.

62Jensen, 18-19; Kathleen S. Sullivan, Constitutional Context (Baltimore:  Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007), chs. 1-3; Marylynn Salmon, “Equality or Submersion? Feme Covert Status in Early Pennsylvania,” in Carol Ruth Berkin and Mary Beth Norton, eds., Women of America:  A History (Boston:  Houghton Mifflin, 1979), 92-113.

63The difference between Quaker and other Protestant belief about women (especially women’s ministry and women’s meetings) was defined early in the women’s studies movement by Mary Maples Dunn, “Women of Light,” in Berkin and Norton, 114-36. Jensen follows all three dimensions of change in Loosening the Bonds.

64Ira V. Brown, “The Woman’s Rights Movement in Pennsylvania, 1848-73,” Pennsylvania History 32: 2 (1965), 154-55; on equity, Salmon, 93-98.

65“Deposition of Sharpless Worrall,” Pratt v. Pratt Papers, Delaware County Archives, supplemented by the news report in “Bench Bar and Jury.”  Sullivan, ch. 4, stresses the ways that the apparent gains of Married Women’s Property Rights legislation were undermined in legal and domestic practice. 

66Enos Painter, Will, Series 4, Box 26, Painter Family Papers.

67Minshall Painter, Will, Series 4, Box 26, Painter Family Papers; “Map of Middletown Township, 1875.”

68Virginia Livanos, in “The Social Context of Nineteenth-Century Women” (Independent Study, 2014), discovered Ann Painter Tyler’s Articles of Agreement with tenants, Jan. 18, 1875 and June  8, 1874 among others;  Series 4, Box 26, Painter Family Papers.

69“Map of Middletown Township, 1875.”

70Series 3, Boxes 10, 14, 6, Painter Family Papers.

71 Rachel Painter to Hannah Minshall Painter, letters 1812-33, Series 1, Box 1, Painter Family Papers; Rachel Painter to Sarah Painter, 1821, Series 1, Box 6. 

72 Sidney Painter Barnard to Ann  Painter Tyler, Nov. 7, 1887, Nov. 15, 1889, March 9, 1891; Helen Barnard to Ann Painter Tyler, Sept. 25, 1887, Sept. 14, 1888, August 4, 1891. Series 1, Box 6, Painter FP.

73Copy Books 1795, 1796, Album Collection, SFHL; research of Eileen Fresta for AMST 491W, 2011.


75Jensen, 145.  Hannah Minshall often represented Middletown at women’s Monthly Meetings and once served as clerk; even though a newcomer in town after her marriage to James Emlen, Sarah’s particular gifts were quickly recognized in appointments to “unite with the men in having the care and oversight of the school,” as well as to join others in visiting a prospective member.  Middletown Preparative Meeting of Women Friends, 1813-21, SFHL. 

76Sarah recorded a brief autobiography in her journal of September 10, 1812, at the age twenty-five; in earlier journals, she recalled Westtown October 14, 1808, lamented the death of her husband Dec.15, 1810, and told of her trip back to Westtown January 2, 1812.  She went by her birth name, Sarah Foulke, in the earliest of these, then her first married name, Sarah Farquhar, and after 1816 Sarah Emlen.  Journal Collection, SFHL.  

77 Janis Calvo uses Sarah Emlen as an example of “role strain” as well as divinely inspired “instrumentality” in “Quaker Women Ministers in Nineteenth-Century America,” Quaker History:  The Bulletin of the Quaker Historical Association, 63: 2 (1974), 75-76.

78The certificate is a headnote in Emlen’s journal for 1825, recording a travelling ministry of more than two months to New Jersey, New York and New England; Journal Collection, SFHL.  Hamm, 86 on Quaker ministry; Jensen, 151 on women ministers in the Philadelphia area.

79Journal, Oct. 9, 1825, Oct. 8, 1825, Jan. 9, 1849.

80Interview with Al Palmer, Delaware County Institute of Science, 2008.

81Jensen 184-85, 199.

82 Jacob Painter, untitled essay on women, Series 6, Box 38, Painter Family Papers.

83Anna M. Sharpless to Ann Painter Tyler, March 18, 1888, Series 1, Box 6, Painter Family Papers.

84Eileen M. Fresta,  “A Study of the Cumberland Cemetery in Middletown Township, Pennsylvania” (2013), 28, 31, citing Painter, “Observations on Natural History and Phenomena,” Series 2, Box 9, Painter Family Papers, and “Death Notice,” Delaware County American, Dec. 19, 1860 (Accessible Archives).

85Fresta, 27, citing “Township of Middletown Showing the Early Grants and Patents,” map posted on
twnshpofmiddletown.jpg; 19 for Cumberland as a “rural cemetery.”

86 Fresta, 74.

87Fresta, 19, quoting Colleen McDannell, Material Christianity:  Religion and Popular Culture in America (New Haven:  Yale University Press, 1998), 103.

88Fresta, 32, 34-35.

89Conversation April 2011 following Phyllis Cole’s presentation on Cumberland Cemetery to the Middletown Township Business and Professional Association.

90 Fresta, 51; ground-penetrating radar study 62-67 and 88-93.  Fresta carried out this work in December, 2011 under the direction of Dr. Laura Guertin, with the support of Jay Graf of Geo-Graf, Inc. of West Chester and permission of the Monaghan family, owners of Cumberland.

91Fresta, 13, 55, 57-58.

92Fresta, 29.

93 Fresta, 36-37, citing “Bench Bar and Jury” on the lawsuit, “Big Purchase of Property by a Syndicate from the County Seat,” Chester Times, February 26, 1885, on the property auction, and “A New Place of Burial,” Chester Times, May13, 1885, on the incorporated cemetery.  Articles accessed through

94Fresta, 22 on Lawn Park style, citing Charles H. Lee Decker, “The Transformation of Mortuary Behavior in Nineteenth-Century North America,” International Handbook of Historical Achaeology (New York:  Springer, 2009), 40-44 on new Cumberland arrangements and the resulting “crossroads” of style. 

95The Interment Journal and WPA list are owned by Cumberland Cemetery, Inc.  Search tools allow online access to these, e.g., a website which also provides a historic overview by Eileen Fresta. 

96 “Necrology,” 1862-73, Series 5, Box 29, Painter Family Papers.

97Fresta, 46, 79-87.  She presented the initial results of this study, directed by Laura Guertin, in “Charting the Health History of Middletown Township, Pennsylvania through a Study of the Cumberland Cemetery Interment Records,” at the Pennsylvania Historical Association, Harrisburg, on November 2012, winning the award for Outstanding Student Poster.   

98Paola Pedraza-Rivera, Christopher Collins, Adrienne Showalter, and Joseph Lafauci, “Gender Differences as Perceived on Cumberland Cemetery Tombstones,” presented at the Sigma Xi Research Symposium, St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, PA, April 17, 2009.  Pedrazza-Rivera went on to a comparative study in “Tombstone Gender Epitaphs in Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico,” presented at the National Conference on Geography Education, San Juan, PR, September 25, 2009, discovering that rather than the “husband” or “wife” titles of Cumberland,  a roughly contemporary Puerto Rican site prefers memorial forms, especially “remembered by your wife.”

99Fresta, 68-69, quoting Painter, “Necrology,” 12.

100Papers of Robert Roggio, Jared Stafford, and Mary Gallagher, AMST 491W, Oct. 2003; “History Lost and Found:  Diary of CDM Broomhall, 124th Pennsylvania,”, accessed June 12, 2016.

101 Papers of Stacy O’Brien, Gloria Boyd, AMST 491W, Oct. 2003.

102Fresta, 33-34, quoting Painter, “Necrology,” 98, 95.

103Papers of Linyu Zhang and Jared Stafford, AMST 491W, Oct. 2003; Tobi Graham, “Pratt Family Tree and Genealogy,” 5-6 on Thomas Pratt’s brother Joseph, plus Graham’s handwritten addendum tracing the lineage of the elder Joseph down to his grandson Joseph (1834-1908). The Delaware County Business Directory of 1889 lists the younger Joseph as a “general store owner” in Glen Mills; information courtesy of Larry Smythe.