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Anthony Morris House


The Anthony Morris House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Text below was selected and adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1]

Description

The Anthony Morris House, a two-story, 25 ft. square house was constructed of coursed rubble; two bays wide and two deep, its original floor plan was two rooms over two. The land associated with this house, originally 158 acres, also bears the remains of a gristmill constructed in 1728.

The front of the house, facing southeast, is protected by a pent eave between the first and second floors. The original door at the left, removed about 1930, has been replaced by a Dutch door. Under the window to the right is an arched doorway giving access to a cold storage area. This door is reached via flagstone steps, and is also accessible from the inside. A flagstone terrace provides firm footing around the front door. The three windows along this wall are (as are all but the attic windows) double hung sashes, 6 over 6. Heavy stone lintels top all the exterior wall openings. Quoins are somewhat larger at the south corner than elsewhere.

The northeast wall is broken by three openings: one window on each floor at the left, and a casement window in the attic. This wall has been plastered, and exterior stone chimney of recent construction stands just to the right of the gable peak.

The rear wall is broken by a window and a door on the first floor (the door is to the right) and two windows on the second floor.

The southwest wall has been altered considerably over the years. Originally both the first and second floors had a door to the left and a window to the right. A pent eave (or more likely a porch) at the second story level was partly protected by a water table above. Higher up in the gable was (and still is) a casement window. Over the years the exterior wood structures were removed, and both doors were converted to windows.

Atop this structure is a wood shingled roof with close verges and boxed cornices at the end of a slight kick in the roof. Just off center at the peak of the roof is a brick chimney.

Passing through the front door, one enters a wide hall separated from the rest of the first floor by the stairway and a fireplace. This fireplace, constructed of stone with a chestnut lintel, extends from the rear wall 12 feet to the center of the house. The original trammel bars remain. The chamfered chestnut ceiling beams rest on a sawed beam that runs southwest to northeast the entire length of the house.

Beyond the stairway is a large room that has been divided into a living room and kitchen by board partitions; cleats may be found at the bottom of these board partitions. Unlike the rest of the house (which has a floor of random-width tongue-and-groove pine boards) the living room floor is doubled, with thick oak flooring and a thin pine floor insulating the room from the damp storage area below. The storage area is accessible from the hall via flagstone steps. All electric wires and pipes are hidden behind plastered walls; there are no base boards.

The second floor, originally two rooms, has been divided by board partitions into two bedrooms on the southwest and a bedroom and bath on the northeast.

Most window sills retain traces of black paint. Most of the single needed batten doors still have their original iron strap hinges and latches.

Just to the east of the house stands a small stable, 16'5" x 16'7".

Significance

The Morris Haines Manor House is a well preserved very early Montgomery County residence of an important early settler.

Anthony Morris [1654-1721] purchased 158 acres of land from Sarah Harsent of Worminghurst, England in 1717. The tract was situated in what later became Worcester Township. Here Morris reared his family of 15 children. Morris was a merchant brewer of Philadelphia. In addition to serving as a member of the Supreme Court, the Provincial Council and the Assembly, he was mayor of Philadelphia.

He had this house built in 1717. In 1721 at his death his son Anthony Morris Jr. and Israel Pemberton were named executors. Anthony Jr. continued his father's brewing business and was interested in iron industries at Colebrookdale and Dale Forge, Berks County.

Architecturally about 80% of the original building is intact with the exception of the doors to the outside. It has been restored with great care and dedication by the Haines. All electric wires, and water pipes are behind plastered walls. The paint was removed correctly and evidence of original black paint on window sills has been retained. Original local flagstone inside steps lead from the hallway down to the cold storage room. There are no baseboards. Cleats are along the board partitions.

The Executors of Morris Sr. sold the property in 1728 to Johannes Beehn, a weaver of German ancestry who later built a grist mill on the small stream, an affluent of the Zacharias Creek, which flows near the house. This stream propelled the grist mill, the foundations of which are still visible, and also was utilized to ret the flax that was used in the weaving industry.

  1. Butler, Mary E., Towamencin Historic Society, Anthony Morris House, nomination document, 1980, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Anthony Morris House Map

Street Names
Stump Hall Road

**Information is curated from a variety of sources and, while deemed reliable, is not guaranteed.
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