Header:Philadelphia History

Incorporated District, Boroughs, and Townships in the County of Philadelphia, 1854

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Situated on Tacony, since called Frankford Creek, in the lower part of the township of Oxford. The name of the village was very likely derived from the title of the Franckfort Company, which took up ground there. This village was incorporated into a borough by act of March 2, 1800. By act of April 4, 1831, the boundaries of the borough were extended.


Afterward called Germantown township, was laid out by virtue of three warrants: October 12, 1683, for 6,000 acres, to Francis Daniel Pastorius, for the German and Dutch purchasers; February 13, 1683, to Francis Daniel Pastorius for 200 acres; April 25, 1684, to Jurian Hartsfelder, for 150 acres. The first purchasers of Frankfurt in Germany were Jacobus van der Walle, Johann Jacob Schutz, Johann Wilhelm Ueberfeld, Daniel Behagel, George Strauss, Jan Leureiss, Abram Hasevoet. Among them were divided 2,675 acres. The same quality was divided among the first purchasers of Crevelt in Germany, namely, Jacob Felner, Jan Strepers, Dirk Sipman, Ganert Reniks, Lenard Artes, Jacob Isaacs. The township was divided into settlements, called Germantown, Cresheim, Sommerhausen and Crevelt. These Germans were from the palatinates of Cresheim and Crevelt, many of them having become Friends through the preaching of William Penn in Germany. The greatest length of the German township was 5 1/2 miles; the greatest breadth, 2 miles; area, 7,040 acres. The township was bounded on the northwest and northeast by Springfield township, Montgomery county; on the northeast partly by Bristol township; on the southeast by Penn township and Roxborough. Within the German township were the settlements known as Germantown, Cresheim (afterward Mount Airy), Sommerhausen (later called Chestnut Hill) and Crevelt, a rural section north of Chestnut Hill.


A settlement in German township, which was commenced by Francis Pastorius, October 21, 1685. On August 12, 1689, William Penn at London signed a charter constituting some of the inhabitants a corporation by the name of "the bailiff, burgesses and commonalty of German towne, in the county of Philadelphia, in the province of Pennsylvania." Francis Daniel Pastorius was the first bailiff. Jacob Telner, Dirck Isaacs Opdagraaf, Herman Isaacs Opedegraaf and Tennis Coender were burgesses, besides six committeemen. They had authority to hold "the general court of the corporation of Germantowne," to make laws for the government of the settlement, and to hold a court of record. This court went into operation in 1690, and continued its services for sixteen years. Sometimes, to distinguish Germantown from the upper portion of German township, outside the borough, the township portion was called Upper Germantown.


That part of the township of the Northern Liberties which lay between Cohocksink Creek and Gunner's Run, in the neighborhood of the road to Frankford, and between that road and the Delaware River. It was a tract of land lying on the River Delaware above Hartsfield, subsequently a part of Northern Liberties, lying north of Peg's Run. Shakamaxon was known as a town before November 12, 1678, when Lawrence Cock made a grant of 300 acres there. In the deed it is stated that the whole tract of land surveyed at Shakamaxon was 1800 acres, of which Lawrence Cock, Moens Cock, Gunner Rambo and Michael Neilson were owners. It began to grow into a settlement soon after the village of the Northern Liberties felt an increase of population. Kensington was a straggling, scattered region of streets running parallel with the Delaware from southwest to northeast, and crossed by others from southeast to northwest. It was inhabited principally by fishermen and ship-carpenters. On March 6, 1820, the Legislature created a new corporation, called the "commissioners and inhabitants of the Kensington district of the Northern Liberties." Their jurisdiction extended over the ground which commenced at the mouth of Cohocksink Creek (Brown Street) and the Northern Liberties line, along the River Delaware to the south line of Gibson's land, and thence along that line to Gunner's Creek, and across to the south line of the land of the Norris estate, then along the same crossing Frankford Road, to the Germantown Road, down the eastwardly side of the latter to the middle of Sixth Street, and then down said street to the line of the Northern Liberties, which touched Sixth Street at Cohocksink Creek, and then along that creek to the place of beginning. The name is derived from Kensington town and parish of Middlesex, England, and a western suburb of the city of London.

The town hall, or rather Commissioners' hall was in the centre of a plot of ground extending from Frankford Avenue to Front Street, from Master Street northward. From the consolidation of the city in 1854 and for a long period afterwards it was used as a police station.


A township in the extreme southwestern portion of the city, bounded on the north by Blockley; on the east by Mill Creek and Schuylkill River; on the south by Delaware River and Bow Creek; and on the west by Darby Creek and Cobb's Creek; shaped irregularly. It embraces the site of the old village of Kingsessing, by no settlement of any size except except Maylandville. It was traversed principally by the Darby Road and the road to Lazaretto. Its greatest length, 5 miles; greatest breadth, 2 1/2 miles; area, 6,800 acres. This was the oldest settled portion of the country of Philadelphia.

Kingsessing, or Chinsessing (a place where there is a meadow), was the name of a place lying on the west side of the Schuylkill River, below the western abutment of Penrose Ferry Bridge, and not far distant therefrom.

Kingsessing became the name of the township in which the original Indian and Swedish village stood. The Kingsessing settlement was called a town by the Swedes, and was the first village entitled to that appellation made by white men within the territory of Philadelphia. The township of Kingsessing was created at very early date after the settlement by William Penn.


A Native American Indian name which means "our place for drinking" and applied to the Schuylkill River, was a borough near the Schuylkill, south of the Wissahickon. The original name was Flat Rock, from a peculiar flat rock lying on the lower side of the bridge, which was subsequently called Flat Rock Bridge. The settlement had its origin from the construction of the dam, canal and locks there by the Schuylkill Navigation Company. These works were finished about the end of the year 1818, and, the water-power being extensive, the Navigation Company sought for lessees of the power for use in mills and factories. Capt. John Towers was the second person who bought a water right and erected an oil-mill. After that purchases of water-power and the erection of mills and factories increased greatly, and the place became famous as a manufacturing village. After a time the inhabitants became dissatisfied with the name Flat Rock, and held meetings on the subject. On such an occasion, in 1824, it was resolved to adopt for the place one of the names of the River Schuylkill, and from that time the village was know as Manayunk. The borough of Manayank was incorporated June 11, 1840.

See also: Petty's Island