The first settlers arriving in Concord in 1683 encountered a heavily forested area with few treeless spaces. This was a consistent pattern not only in the township but also throughout SE Pa during the first decades of settlement in the colony. Open ground, called "Indian fields":, was so uncommon that one early settler in 1638 took special note of such a find " I know a man, together with 2 or 3 more, that have happened upon a piece of land some hundred acres, that is all cleare, without trees, bushes and stumps, that may be plowed without let." The only other open land in Chester county was found along the Delaware River, but the Swedes were already farming that area, clearing the land for housing and cultivation was among the first concerns of the early inhabitants. The primary concern of the first settlers was shelter. The most primitive of all shelters, the cave, was utilized by those who could find no family to stay with while a cabin was being constructed. Joseph Gilpin who immigrated from Warborough, England, arrived in Birmingham in 1695 and lived initially in a cave in the side of a hill near Dilworthtown. Another early resident, William Brinton, also took shelter in a cave until a suitable home was erected. Suprisingly, the most common usage of a cave dwelling was in Philadelphia, near the Delaware River. Francis Pastorius, one of the first to settle in Philadelphia in 1683, described his early shelter. "The caves were only holes digged in the ground, covered with earth, a matter of 5 or 6 feet deep, 10 or 12 wide and about 20 long; whereof neither the sides nor the floors have been plank'd. Herein we lived more contentedly than many nowadays in their painted and wainscotted places...." This romanticized recall was obviously based on the rose-colored hue of later years!

Many settlers, however, conformed to the conventional methods of housing. Based on the Swedish model, the early homes were log cabins of one room. A pre-Penn description of lodging along the Delaware River by two Dutch travelers in 1678 provides a good illustration of the typical cabin: "They usually built their homes here, which are block-houses, being nothing else than entire trees split through the middle or squared out of the rough and placed in the form of a square upon each other as high as they wish to have the house; the ends of these timbers are let into each other; the whole structure is thus made without a nail or spike. the houses are quite tight and warm, .The chimney placed in one corner." A later account helps complete the picture; "The whole house consisted of one little room, the door of which was so low that one was obliged to stoop in order to get in. As they had brought no glass with them they were obliged to be content with little holes, before which a movable board was fastened. They found no moss, or at least none that was felt serviceable in stopping up holes or cracks in the walls. They were therefore forced to close them using clay both inside and out. the chimneys were masoned in a corner, either of grey stone or, in places where there was no stone, of mere clay."

In addition to providing for basic housing necessities, the early settlers hadto establish transportation and communication lines. the journey from Chester, the logical disembarkation point for settlers in SE Chester County, to Concord was not an easy one. Newly arrived immigrants had to follow either Indian trails, which were relatively narrow or one of the 2 winding streams, to find their way to their new home. Once having arrived in Concord, the early residents found that transportation routes in the township were not much better. Concord Street outlined on the 4-5-1683 survey map divided the township in half from north to south. It must have been very crudely laid out because it never became a major thoroughfare; if anything it was used as a surveyor's reference point. By the beginning of the 18th century, Concord would have appeared to a traveler as exactly what it was, a settlement on the edge of the wilderness. The land was being cleared, houses built and roads constructed, but the progress was slow. One early account by a woman who was born in 1688 in Thornbury gives a good indication of the initial efforts " ..father and others deaded the timber and burned the leaves and hold in their wheat by hand, there being few horses and scarcely a plow in their settlement."

Concord - 1st purchasers to acquire title to the land after arriving in PA


Concord 1st purchasers who acquired title to the land while in England

The Original 24 Landholders in Concord

This page updated on February 28, 2009