East Vincent Township
Township municipal offices are located at 262 Ridge Road, Spring City, PA 19475; phone: 610-933-4424.
From 1682 to 1729, Chester comprised all the land west of the Schuylkill River to approximately the Blue Ridge range of the Appalachians to the north and west. From this area, Lancaster County was formed in 1729, Berks County in 1752, and Delaware County in 1789.
The king's court physician, Daniel Coxe, received a land patent from William Penn, Proprietor of Pennsylvania, in 1686. Coxe, Sir Mathias Vincent, and Major Robert Thompson combined their resources to form the New Mediterranean Sea Company and purchased 30,000 acres of land in Chester County from William Penn. The land included that area which is now comprised of East Pikeland, West Pikeland, East Vincent, and West Vincent Townships. Each partner owned 10,000 acres. Sir Mathias Vincent owned what is now East and West Pikeland. Coxe and Thompson owned what is now East and West Vincent. Vincent died in 1687, and his heirs sold his land to Joseph Pike. Neither Vincent, Coxe, Thompson, nor Pike ever visited their lands or set foot in America.
After Penn's death, his widow and sons disputed the sale of land to Coxe and his partners. The dispute carried through negotiations and court proceedings for 100 years. Long delays were caused because of the ensuing legal wrangle and the Revolutionary War. After the Revolutionary War, the dispute was finally resolved in 1786.
Since title to the land was unclear during the 100-year controversy, none of the land could be sold. The land could only be rented. No land was sold in East and West Vincent until after 1790.
It was logical that the first land route used by Europeans followed the French Creek Indian Path. The route is more familiar as Ridge Road or Route 23. Today's alignment of Ridge Road is the same as the early road, except that the original road followed the ridge top from Ridge Road at Buckwalter Road and connected directly with Bonnie Brae Road, and followed Slonaker Road at Brownback's. By the 1740's, Schuylkill Road and Pughtown Road had been established. There were few other roads except local lanes that led from farm to farm.
Actual settlement was sporadic and sparse. Peter Bezallion, a trapper and trader with the Indians, was one of the earliest to have moved into East Vincent. It is said that he first lived in a cave. His stay was not long. He moved to a location near Pottstown Landing in North Coventry Township and then farther westward with the Indians and the fur trade. By the early 1730's, enough people had moved to the area to establish the German Reformed Congregation of Vincent Township (1733) and the Vincent Mennonite Meeting (1735). An early permanent settler was Garrett Brumbaugh, who opened a tavern on Ridge Road (at Ellis Woods Road) around 1735 to serve those who traveled that route. Most moved to the East Vincent area to take advantage of the good farmland and the ample supply of water. By 1746, all lands were leased. There were 46 renters.
The farmers were soon followed by a variety of millers and manufacturers who set up their works along French Creek and other tributaries to the Schuylkill River. The creeks were easily dammed, and there was sufficient water to power the mills. As early as 1737, Nicholas Kaiser established a grist mill near the mouth of Pigeon Creek.
Michael Cyfer opened another tavern along Ridge Road (Seven Stars Inn) in 1754. Peter Stager established his inn on Schuylkill Road (White Hall Inn) in 1762. Edward Parker opened a tavern near a ford on the Schuylkill River in 1768. Despite some of these early enterprises, significant growth and investment did not begin until after the Revolutionary War and after the settlement of the land dispute, when renters could purchase their lands. By 1790, the number of renters had increased to 90. The population is estimated at about 430. There were seven mills, including a forge, and six inns. Many of the present roads (except local subdivision streets) were in place in the eastern part of the Township, but in the west, Bertolet School Road was the only north-south road west of Sheeder Road. There were two fords on the Schuylkill River and five crossings on French Creek. Within a decade or two, there were four fords on the Schuylkill and seven crossings of French Creek.
Source: Township of East Vincent; www.eastvincent.org