whitpaintownship

by mrsswanger
Last updated 12 years ago

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whitpaintownship

Whitpain is one of the oldest Townships in Montgomery County, however much of its original history has just recently been unearthed, dispelling some myths about its early years. The most significant discovery is that the first Whitpaine arrived on the ship, “The Welcome” with William Penn in 1682.

Whitpain Township

Richard300th Anniversary Whitpaine, a London butcher, purchased a 4500-acre tract of land as part of Penn’s Holy Experiment. There is no documentation proving that Richard Whitpaine ever visited his land in America. He sent his 16-year old son, Zechariah, to settle his properties. Zechariah met his bride Sarah Songhurst, on The Welcome. By 1685, Zechariah had established a plantation house along the Wissahickon Creek, near Mount Pleasant. Shortly after, he and Sarah married.

By 1734, Whitpain Township had 24 landowners. It maintained steady growth for more than two centuries, expanding from 771 people in 1800 to 3,063 people in 1950. In recent years, the Township has experienced rapid growth. Today, Whitpain Township is home to approximately 18,000 residents.

Whitpain Township earned a place in history during the Revolutionary War, when George Washington and many of his generals spent time in the Township. In fact, Dawesfield, a home on Lewis Lane, is considered the most significant historic site in the Township, because it was Washington’s headquarters from October 21 to November 2, 1777.

Although the Whitpain Township of 2000 is home to residents of many religions and nationalities, its earliest settlers were Protestant and Quaker. Prior to the Revolutionary War, the Township had two churches: Boehm’s Reformed Church (circa 1740), and St. John’s Lutheran Church (circa 1769). Zechariah Whitpaine, a Quaker, came to America to escape religious persecution and seek his fortune.

Until 1840, Blue Bell was known as Pigeontown, because of the presence of large flocks of pigeons in the area.


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