History of Montgomery County within the Schuylkill Valley, Pennsylvania

For the but fifteen years, the author has been diligently engaged in collecting materials for the histories of Bucks and Montgomery counties. The various articles that he has already written, relating more or less to those counties, and published either in books, magazines, or newspapers, If collected, would amount to several Volumes; but these have been but a portion of what he has still on hand, besides what farther research may secure. Thus however long he has been engaged as a collector, he still owes an apology to his readers for the imperfections of this work. These arise, chiefly, from the hasty manner in which he was necessitated to prepare it for the press. The life of the writer has not been one of leisure; and the work as it now appears, was written under great disadvantages - it can be said, amidst many Interruptions which necessarily arise from one's business, independent of those of an official character. It had been the intention of the author to delay the publication of this work for several years, but owing to the encouragement offered by Dr. E. L. Acker, the editor and proprietor of the Norristown Register, he was induced to prepare it for that paper, to be afterwards issued in a volume. It was this unexpected offer and its acceptance that has occasioned Its early appearance. Immediately alter this arrangement. In the last two weeks of August, 1868, the writer set out on a pedestrian tow of the entire Schuylkill Valley, as embraced within the limits of Montgomery county, and visited, personally, every township, borough, village, and other objects of interest herein described. The distance traveled for this purpose was about two hundred and eighty miles, and to be more accurate all the notes taken were made on the spot. Just previous to setting out, all the requisite preparations were made to add to the success of this undertaking, in regard to procuring the information that was still wanting and unsupplied In our materials: for this purpose maps of aU the townships and boroughs were taken along to assist in our visits, besides numerous queries made up from our collections on additional information was desirable. In procuring the matter embodied in this work we were quite successful, even beyond our most sanguine expectations. There was no necessity with us to be diffuse, that too common fault of authors; on the contrary, we have tried to condense our matter as much as was practicable with the general plan of the work. For its sise, we are persuaded few works on American history contain more information derived from unpublished sources. It was this motive that prompted us in the undertakings namely, of contributing something additional to our country's annals - even if it should be a mite of local history. The reader must bear in mind, however imperfect this work may be in its present edition, that the result has not been achieved without great personal labor and expense; and had no higher motives than those to be derived from mere pecuniary profit actuated the author, the work would never have been undertaken; though if this had been the reality, no doubt, the field would haTe been occupied long ago by the reapers for the harvest it would bring. But, in our opinion, money cannot wholly make up the many hours spent in the solitude of the closet in concentrated study, away from society and the beautiful face of nature, but not absent from the midnight lamp, in digesting a mass of often crude and conflicting materials.


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On it in this distance are located ten townships and four boroughs, of whose history it is our intention to treat, vis: Pottsgrove, Limerick, Upper Providence, Lower Providence, Norriton, Plymouth, Whitemarsh, Springfield, Upper Merion and Lower Merion townships; and Pottstown, Norristown, Bridgeport and Conahohocken boroughs. Within these limits it is spanned by do less than eleven noble bridges; railroads pass on its eastern and western margins, while itself is made navigable for boats of one hundred and eighty tons. These grand improvements, wonderful to relate, have been effected in less than half a century. They show the energy, the thrift and enterprise of our countrymen in these latter days, for two hundred and forty-two years hare passed away since its first discovery by the European. What a subject is here offered for reflection!