18th Century

Throughout the 18th Century the entire circle of life in the area of present-day Upland centered on the developments, owners, support skills, and employees of the Chester Mills.

In 1705 Samuel Carpenter sold 22 shares in the three existing Chester mills to Caleb Pusey. In 1707 Caleb Pusey sold a one-quarter interest in the Chester Mills to his step-son Henry Worley and for a short time he operated the Chester Mills as “Henry Worley and Company”, and he is said to have lived in the old house at the time.

In 1717, after a very full life Caleb and Anne Pusey retired to their property in London Grove.

In 1719 the Chester Mills and lands were sold to Jonathan Dickinson and Isaac Norris of Philadelphia. Under this sales agreement Norris and Dickinson got the 21 acres of mill land, but the remaining 100 acres of the original Pusey land were reserved for the Proprietor, William Penn. The Chester Mills remained in their ownership and estates until 1749. For all this time the mills remained successful as grist, fulling and saw mills for the surrounding communities. For a short time the mills were owned by the Pennell family, and then the Shaw brothers owned them until after the American Revolution.

According to Henry Graham Ashmead in 1884, “On Oct. 31, 1777, Gen. Washington ordered Gen. Potter to remove the millstones at Chester Mills so that no flour could be ground there for the British army, and we know that these orders were obeyed, but where the stones were removed to is not known. After the Revolution, due to the shrinkage in the value of real estate, the Chester Mills passed out of the ownership of Samuel Shaw, and were purchased by Henry Hale Graham, who subsequently sold them to his son-in-law, Richard Flower. In 1793, Richard Flower purchased from Oliver Evans the right to use the his patent “for elevating grain and meal from the lower to the upper stories, and conveying the same from one part of the mill to another, and for cooling the meal and attending the Bolting Hoppers.” The power for the mills, we learn from this old document, then consisted “of two Water wheels situated on Chester Creek . . . called Chester Mills.” The same year Richard Flower made entry under the act of Assembly at the county court of the brands exclusively used by him at these mills, which were “Chester Superfine,” “Chester,” “Chester Middlings, No. 2-96,” “No. 4-98.” While he was still engaged in milling, Richard Flower made several successful ventures in shipping flour to Europe. When the misunderstanding existed between France and the United States, previous to 1800, he, in connection with his brother, John, his half-brother, Reece Wall, and his brother-in-law, Capt. John McKeever, loaded three vessels with flour and cleared them for Liverpool. All three of the ships were captured by French cruisers and condemned in French prize courts, although one of the vessels was within sixty miles of the Delaware Bay when taken. The loss he sustained by French spoliation was so great that he never again attempted to seek a foreign market for his bread-stuff. During the war of 1812 the American troops were instructed to impress all the flour at Chester Mills for the army, but the government paid full value for all that was taken.”

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