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Old Philadelphia County Pennsylvania

The following "list" was publshed in 1846, less than 10 years prior to the consolidation of Philadelphia County and City into the hybrid Philadelphia City-County it remains today. [1]

Note the certain placenames typeset in syllables with accent marks. The text was intended as a "text." An introductory page contains:

To the Controllers, Directors, and Teachers of the Public and Private Schools of the State of Pennsylvania.

The State Book of Pennsylvania; Containing an account of the Geography, History, Govenrment, Resources, and Noted Citizens of the State: with a Map of the State and of each County. For the use of schools and families. By Thomas H. Burrowes.

    PHILADELPHIA, a south-eastern county, is bounded on the S. and S. E. by New Jersey, N. E. by Bucks, N. and N. W. by Montgomery, and W. by Delaware county. Its area, including the city, is 120 square miles, being the smallest of all the counties in the state.
  1. It contains neither mountains, nor large hills; but a low range of the latter traverses the north-western part.
  2. The STREAMS are the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, and Pen-ny-pack', Tac'o-ny, or Fran-ford, Po-ques'sing, and Darby creeks, falling into the Delaware, and Wis-sahicion into the Schuylkill.
  3. The SOIL, though not naturally very fertile, has been rendered productive by skilful cultivation. That portion of it lying on each bank of the Schuylkill below the city, is noted for its excellence as pasture and meadow-land.
  4. It contains few MINERALS of value in the arts, or for the ordinary purposes of life, except stone and other materials for building, which are found at various points.
  5. The INCORPORATED or built DISTRICTS of the county adjoin the city, and really form part of it. They are: the JWorthern Liberties, with 34,474 inhabitants; Spring Garden, with 27,849; and Kensington, with 22,314, on the north; and Southwark,* with 27,548, and .Aloyamensing, with 14,573, on the south of the city.
  6. The county also contains the TOWNSHIPS of Blockley, Bristol, Byberry, Germantown, King-ses'sing, Lower Dublin, Moreland, Moy-a-men'sing, Northern Liberties, Pas-sy'unk, Penn, Oxford, and Roxborough.
  7. These townships, which constitute the country part, as the incorporated districts do the town part of the county, contain the boroughs of Germantown, Frankford, West Philadelphia,and Man-a-yunk'; and the villages of Brides-burg, Bustleton, Holmesburg, Haddington, Hamilton, Mantua, Sunville, Arc.
  8. The PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS are: Railroadsleading to the Susquehanna, at Columbia and Harrisburg, to Norristown, Reading, and Pottsville, and to Trenton, New York, Wilmington, and Baltimore; Canals,to the coal region in Schuylkill and Carbon counties, and to the Susquehanna, at Middletown; Turnpikes connecting with all the surrounding towns and cities; and seven Bridges across the Schuylkill.
  9. 1The POPULATION of the county (exclusive of the city) was, in 1840, 164,372, and in 1845, at least 200,000.
  10. The value of PROPERTY in the city and county, assessed for taxation in 1845, was $116,985,697; but the actual value of all the property in the city and county was probably not less than $250,000,000.
  11. The first permanent settlers of the county were Swedes. These were followed in 1682 by English Friends, and others, under William Penn. Since that period, it has become the dwelling-place of citizens from almost every civilized nation in the world.
  12. The MAIN PURSUITS of the people of the incorporated districts of the county, are commerce and manufactures; of the outlying townships farming and gardening; and of the boroughs and villages, chiefly manufactures.
  13. The LITERARY INSTITUTIONS are a large number of academies and female seminaries, and numerous common schools; with several literary and scientific societies and institutions.
  14. This county elects eight members to the House of Representatives, and three to the Senate of the state, and with a small portion of the city, 3 members of Congress.
  15. The county and city form the first judicial district, and have a Court of Common Pleas, with four law judges, and a District Court with three law judges; each court possessing similar powers with those of the same class in the other counties.
  16. The county of Philadelphia contains many thriving and pleasant towns, in most of which large manufactories of various kinds have been established.
  17. The borough of Frankford is five miles N. E. of the city, and contains over 2000 inhabitants. It is in the midst of a well cultivated and populous country, and has in the vicinity a number of extensive manufacturing establishments.
  18. Germantown, with a present population of not less than 3000, was laid out in 1684, and incorporated as a borough in 1689. It was first settled by German Friends, from which event it took its name. It contains several schools, churches, and a bank. It is six miles N. W. from Philadelphia, with which it is connected by railroad and turnpike.
  19. Man-a-yu'nk' is on the eastern bank of the Schuylkill, eight miles above the city. It is now one of the busiest manufacturing towns in the state, and has been wholly built up, since 1819, by the immense water-power created by the construction of the Schuylkill canal. That work passes through it, as do the Norristown railroad and turnpike. It now contains 600 dwelling houses, with upwards of 30 establishments for the manufacture of cotton, wool, flour, paper, and other articles. It has five churches, and two bridges over the Schuylkill.
  20. Near Bridesburg, at the mouth of Frankford creek on the Delaware, the United States arsenal is erected.
  21. West Philadelphia, Holmesburg, and Haddington are also pleasant and flourishing towns, with several manufacturing establishments.
  22. The Wire Suspension Bridge across the Schuylkill at Fairmount is a noble and beautiful structure. The road-way is suspended on immense cables, made of Juniata iron. The span is 343 feet, and the breadth of the wagon and foot-ways 27 feet. The cost was $55,000. It was completed in 1842.
  23. The old Permanent Bridge across the Schuylkill at Market street was finished in 1805, at a cost of $275,000. It is now a free bridge.
  24. The country portion of the county is mostly occupied by gardens and small farms, producing articles for the Philadelphia market. The immense quantities of manure annually carted from the city have enabled the owners of the soil to render it very productive. The fruit and vegetables supplied by them are consequently excellent, abundant, and cheap.
  25. This county is watered by several small creeks, all of which afford considerable water-power for mills and factories. Po-ques'sing separates it on the N. E. from Bucks, and Darby on the S. W. from Delaware. Wis-sa-hickion flows from Montgomery, and passing through a more hilly country than the others, presents much beautiful scenery along its banks.
  26. History – Philadelphia is one of the three original counties established by Penn in 1682, at which time it extended indefinitely towards the N. W., bounded on one side by Bucks, and on the other by Chester. Previously, and as far back as 1642, it had been partially occupied by the Swedes and Dutch, the former of whom, in 1677, built a church at Wec-ca-coe', in Southwark. The county, soon after its settlement by the English, became thickly peopled. In 1752, part of it was taken off to form a portion of Berks. During the Revolutionary war, it was the scene of many stirring events, especially of the battle of Germantown, which took place on the 4th of October, 1777. In 1784, it was reduced to its present size by the formation of Montgomery. Since that period, its history has been so intimately connected with that of the city. as not to admit of separate detail.
  27. The same remark applies to the many noted citizens of the county. They will be named under the head of the city; in which connection, also, the incorporated districts of the county will be described.

Source: Burrowes, Thomas H. Esq., State Book of Pennsylvania, 1846, Uriah Hunt & Sons, Philadelphia

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