Jeremiah Langhorne (1680-1742) was one of the earliest settlers and largest landowners in Bucks County. He was a lawyer, or esquire, and held many legal positions in his life. He served as a justice of the peace from 1715-1719, president of the provincial council, and justice of the Supreme Court from 1726-1739. He served as chief justice from 1739 until his death.
As we said in an earlier entry on Hargrave House’s history, Langhorne was a major landholder in central Bucks County.
He also established a manor, or plantation, with many slaves in what is now Bensalem, lower Bucks County. Langhorne purchased two parcels of land totaling 7,200 acres – 5,200 acres sold for the equivalent of almost $4,700 and the remaining 2,000-acre parcel sold for $1,300. Portions of those two sites make up what is Doylestown Borough today.
William Scott became owner to land that Hargrave House sits on now, following Langhorne’s death. But land across the street from our house was bequeathed to two of Langhorne’s slaves, Cudjo and Jo. We’ll talk more about that unusual transaction at that time in history in an upcoming installment on our blog.
Looking for some family fun this weekend? Look no further than Delaware Valley College just outside of town as they head into their 65th annual A-Day.
What started in 1949 as a one-day Activities Day has expanded into a three-day agricultural event that draws thousands of visitors throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. The kids will get a kick out of the tractor parade or milking demonstration. Mom and Dad might learn some gardening or bee-keeping tips. And the livestock and horse competitions are always crowd-pleasers.
Hours are noon to 8 p.m. Friday, April 25; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 26; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, April 27. Don’t forget to try one of A-Day’s famous milkshakes before you leave!
Been dying to try some of Domani Star’s famed meatballs? What about that luscious creamy crab soup served piping hot by Pennsylvania Soup & Seafood House? Here’s your chance. Both are among the more than 20 restaurants participating in the second annual Doylestown Restaurant Week April 21-27.
Special menu options will be showcased, along with the restaurant’s normal culinary fare. You can get a preview of some of the offerings April 17 when Discover Doylestown will hold its brand launch party at The Standard Club.
Our town has so many options when it comes to dining out. From casual to more formal, BYOB places, al fresco dining, and a multitude of ethnic eateries – there’s bound to be something for anyone’s taste!
There is plenty of history behind what is now Hargrave House. And it began with William Penn, who asked England’s King Charles II for land in America as payment for a debt owed to his deceased father. The king granted him 40,000 acres in 1681, which eventually became known as Pennsylvania.
Eleven years later, Penn sailed to America and decided, as a way of enticing people to emigrate here, to offer land at a cheap price – 100 pounds ($166 in today’s U.S. dollars) would buy you 5,000 acres. During that trip, he established both Bucks and Philadelphia counties. He also made a treaty with the Lenni Lenape tribe of the Delaware Indians who are also native to our area.
Realizing the massive amount of land he owned was too large to manage alone, Penn sold about 20,000 acres to The Free Society of Traders, a wealthy group of Quaker merchants in England. The Society had offices in Philadelphia too, close to the Delaware River, in an area that later become known as Society Hill.
In 1724, The Society sold large tracts of land to Jeremiah Langhorne. Nearly half of his land was located in what is now Central Bucks County – Doylestown, New Britain and Warwick townships, to be exact. We’ll talk about that a little more in our next blog about Hargrave House’s history.
We have so many wonderful little shops around town – anything you can imagine, really. And we’ve got one as a new neighbor, right around the corner from us, to which we’d like to extend a heartfelt welcome. Cowgirl Chile Co. Jewelry just relocated to 4 W. Oakland Ave. Laura Rutkowski handcrafts her own designs of jewelry, but you’ll also find an eclectic mix of women’s accessories, vintage items, artwork, hot sauces and lots of other cool stuff. Stop by their grand reopening this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for some goodie bags and live music. Your own zest for life may just mirror the boutique’s own celebration of cowgirl spirit.
Doylestown is a treasure box filled with all kinds of interesting historical nuggets. We stumble on them now and again as we look into Hargrave House’s past and celebrate its 200th year at what is now 50 S. Main St.
J. Kurt Spence of Doylestown Historical Society pieced together our 200-year history through various sources. It’s much like detective work. One lead points the way to another. Property deeds, found in the Bucks County Courthouse, show land transfers, with some going back to the late 1700s. The records give the names and addresses of the buyers and sellers, description of the property and the purchase price. Sometimes maps were even attached.
Federal census information – gathered every 10 years since 1790 – is also culled. Where you were born, if you immigrated to the United States, when you were married, your occupation and your approximate personal worth were all recorded. (One of those curious historical tidbits from the 1930 census even notes whether a resident owned a radio!)
Other particulars came from old maps, tax records, newspapers, books, local publications, and, yes, the Internet also was used as a research tool.
Spence also credited the late Wilma Brown Rezer, an avid Doylestown historian, for providing firm groundwork in researching early Doylestown land transfers and history.
In the upcoming months, we’ll let you in on some more HH history – who some of its owners were, problems with a property line and renovations along the way. It’s a fascinating trip through time.
This year is an important year in Hargrave House’s history. We’re celebrating the building’s 200th anniversary!
According to historical research, the three-story stone building was erected sometime between 1812 and 1814. The house itself has had several owners with varied professions during that time period, including a doctor, a Bucks County judge, a family whose young son would grow up to be a noted Doylestown reporter, and a successful marble carver whose surname has graced the building in its most recent existence as a flourishing bed and breakfast.
Join us over the course of 2014 as we share some of what we’ve learned of our past and what that means to our future in Doylestown. We’re looking forward to having you celebrate with us!
The holidays are past us. Perhaps you’ve just put away the last of the Christmas decorations. Time to settle in to what could be a few long and cold winter months. (We don’t even want to HEAR an utterance of the recent polar vortex weather oddity!) A good way to chase away those winter blues would be a visit to Michener Museum’s exhibit on actress-princess Grace Kelly. If you haven’t yet gone, you better hurry. The exhibit closes Jan. 26. Step through a portion of her world via film clips from some of her best onscreen roles, home movies from her growing-up years in Philadelphia and, of course, those spectacular designer gowns she wore. (Don’t we all wish for a 21-inch waist?) Call ahead for tickets.
December happens to be one of our favorite months here at Hargrave House. Doylestown is all gussied up for the holidays – from the stately Christmas tree set up in Starbucks’ parking lot at State and Main, to the snowflake ornaments adorning streetlamps, to the larger-than-life dreidel at Hamilton and State streets. It’s just so pretty to walk through town! We also love the long-standing tradition Mercer and Michener museums have of jointly hosting their holiday open houses on the same night. Make sure you set aside a few hours Tuesday evening, Dec. 10, to sample some of their seasonal spirit and maybe check out a few things you’ve never seen at the two cultural institutions. It runs from 7 to 9 p.m. And don’t forget to throw an evergreen branch into the bonfire near Mercer’s log cabin as part of the annual “burning of the greens.” The symbolic gesture allows you to “wish your troubles away” in hopes of a better new year to come – a perfectly pleasant idea!
Have you gotten your tickets yet for the Grace Kelly exhibit at Michener Art Museum? Don’t delay. We hear they’re selling fast and furiously. “From Philadelphia to Monaco: Grace Kelly – Beyond the Icon” opens Monday. The art museum, celebrating 25 years, will be closed to the public Saturday and Sunday while it gets ready. (There is a special members-only reception on Sunday.)
The museum also has additional programming to complement its exhibition, some with advance registration. “Adorning Grace: Jewelry Fit for a Princess” will be held Nov. 3 and include talks, demos and displays. On Nov. 7, join the lecture series for “Grace Kelly: Beyond the Icon.” And on Nov. 12, the curator’s lecture will focus on Bucks County Playhouse, which is celebrating its 75th year and where Kelly made her stage debut. BCP is the subject of another exhibit opening at Michener the same day.
We’ve also noticed some of the businesses in town have caught Grace Kelly fever. Cowgirl Chile Co. Jewelry’s display window features the many faces of the beautiful 1950s actress. Across the street, L.A.D. & Co. Hairdressing of Distinction offers Grace Kelly cuts. And The County Theater on Nov. 13 plans a 3-D showing of Hitchcock’s “Dial M for Murder.” It’s part of their “Grace Kelly & Hitch Series.”
So, make your plans to visit – the exhibit runs through Jan. 26 – and keep us in mind for your overnight stay.