Bedminister, which was included in Plumstead from its first settlement down to the date of its organization as a township, lies wedged between Plumstead, Hilltown, Rockhill, Haycock, and Nockamixon, having the tortuous Tohickon for its north and north east boundary. All the surrounding townships, except Haycock, were organized prior to Bedminister, and afterward this township was formed of part of Plumstead. William Allen, of Philadelphia was one of the largest landowners in this section of the county, and his possessions lay in several townships. When settlers began to enter Bedminster he and the Proprietaries owned all the land in it. His was called the Deep run tract, and as late as 1800 twenty-two hundred acres, divided into convenient-sized farms, were put up at public sale at the tavern-house of John Shaw. In 1734 John Hough purchased two hundred acres on Deep run, and John Brittain one hundred and fifty on the same stream. August 6, 1741, one thousand acres and one acres were patented by Ralph Ashton for the use of Richard Hockley, and the survey was made by virtue of a warrant dated Mar. 20, 1734. This tract lay "near Tohickon above Deep run" Settlers came in quite rapidly, and in a few years there was considerable population along the Deep run, which name the settlement bore until the township was organized. These first-comers were from the north of Ireland and belonged to that sturdy race known as Scotch-Irish, which played such an important part in the settlement of both the county and state. Although the township is now German, this race settled there at a subsequent period, and their descendants have gradually pushed out the English-speaking people and become dominant. The Scotch-Irish Presbyterians had not been long seated on Deep run before they organized a church, which took the name of that stream, and bears it to this day. A log meeting-house was built near the creek, in the south-west corner of the township as early as 1732 and the first settled minister was there six years later. It was the original place of worship of all the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians of the region of country, and although it has lost its importance since the organization of the Doylestown church, it nevertheless remains the cradle of Presbyterianism north of Neshaminy.There must have been a small frontier congregation here as early as 1726 for when Mr. Tennent was called to Neshaminy in that year, he preached for them. At this time there is hardly a Presbyterian family in the bounds of the old congregation, and serve is only held there at long intervals. In the old graveyard lie the remains of former generations, the inscriptions on the tombstones carrying us back nearly a century and a half. We read on these mute memorials of the past, that Alexander Williams died January 22, 1747, Samuel Hart, jr. 1750, Samuel Cochran in 1767, Thomas Thompson in 1765, JamesGrier in 1763, John Grier in 1768, and William Hart, who was killed at the capture of MosesDoane, at the age of forty, in 1783. At a later day were buried there, Robert Barnhill, Robert McNeeley, Thomas Darrah, Robert Robinson, and others of the fathers of the township. The Reverend Francis McHenry settled in the township in 1738, four years before it was organized, when he was called as pastor at Deep Run. His son Charles, who was a lieutenant in the Revolutionary army, made a narrow escape at the massacre of Paoli, in 1777. Nathan and Agnes Grier were early immigrants from Ireland and members of DeepRun church. One account tells us they lived in Plumstead and another in Bedminster. This family gave three members to the ministry, James and Nathan, their sons, and John Ferguson, the son of James. James became pastor of Deep Run and spent his life there. Nathan, born 1760, graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1783, was licensed to preach in 1786 and installed at Forks of Brandywine in 1787. His wife was a grand aunt of General Percifer F. Smith, distinguished in the Mexican war. Nathan Grier died in 1814. John Ferguson Grier was born in 1784 and graduated at Dickinson college with the first honors, in 1803. He studied divinity with his uncle Nathan, and was installed pastor of Reading Presbyterian church in 1814 and died there in 1829. The late Judge Grier of the supreme court of the United States is said to have been a descent of Nathan and Agnes Grier.
The Distinguished Orr family of South Carolina claims descent from Bucks County ancestry. The Orrs were in this county early. The first of the name was Humphrey Orr, who took up near two hundred acres on the Tohickon, then in Plumstead, but now in Bedminster, at the point where the Durham road crosses that stream, which was known as "John Orr's ford" until a bridge was built. What time Humphrey settled here isnot known. He was probably there as early as about 1730 and perhaps earlier and died about 173, leaving a widow, Elizabeth. On the 13th of June, 1737, John Orr, of county Donegal, Ireland, the only son of Humphrey Orr, appointed his friend Andrew Henderson, merchant, his attorney, to collect and receive all estate left him by his father, the said Humphrey, lately deceased, '"of Bucks county, Pennsylvania". Soon after, John Orr immigrated to America and settled on the farm he inherited from his father in Bedminster, where he lived to his death in 1762. His will is dated December 4, 1761, and probated June 16th the following year. In it he mentions his wife, Jane, son Thomas, daughter, Isabella Patterson, and grandchild, Rebecca, but no others. There was a John Orr in Bedminster in 1846 and a Samuel Orr in Hilltown in 1860, but we know of none of the name in the county now, although there may be. In the land office in Harrisburg thre is a record of a warrant to JohnOrr for two hundred acres in Makefield township, now Upper Makefield, dated 19th March, 1733. The South Carolina Orrs trace descent from Robert, probably a son of John, who went to North Carolina prior to the Revolution, where he lived during the war and had five sons in it. John distinguishing himself as a captain of cavalry. Robert Or had nine sons and one daughter, and after the war several of them removed to South Carolina. Among them were Benjamin and Samuel, Baptist ministers, who would not remain in that state on account of their hostility to Negro slavery, but removed with their families to the territory, northwest of Ohio. Their brother Christopher settled in the Indian territory of north Georgia, where he became rich in this world's goods, and in a family of nine children, and died at a good old age.John Orr's first wife was a Miss Green of Pennsylvania, by whom he had four sons, double twins, and two daughters, and his second Jane B. Chickscales of South Carolina by whom he had one son, Christopher. He married Martha McCann, and had five children, the late James L. Orr, of South Caolina being the second son, born the 12 of May 1822 in Anderson district, and who became the most distinguished member of the family., He married Miss Mary J. Marshall. He was elected to the Legislature in 1844 and 1846. He died May 5, 1873 a few days before reaching his fifty-first birthday.
James L. Orr left a family of five children, three sons and two daughters. The oldest, James L. Orr, jr. Born in 1852 and educated at the University of Virginia was secretary of legation while his father was minister to Russia.
Dilman Kolp, probably Kolb, was living in the township before 1746 and his land abutted on the Mennonite farm. The first movement toward the organization of a township was made in 1741, when "thirty-five inhabitants of Deep Run" petitioned the quarter sessions to form the territory into a township with the following boundaries:
"Beginning upon Plumsted corner, coming along that line to Hilltown corner, and from that line to Rockhill corner, and down Tohickon till it closes at Plumstead corner, where it begins"
The names attached to this petition give us some insight into the quality of men who peopled the woods north of Plumstead, namely: James Hughes
We have given the spelling of these names as we find them on the records, although some of them are evidently erroneous. The prayer prayer of the petitions was granted at the March term 1742 and the court appointed as jurors John Kelley, William James, Griffith Davis and Lewis Evins, with John Chapman as surveyor. The township was surveyed and laid out sommetime during the year and the boundries returned were about the same as at present. On the report of the jury is endorsed the following: "Confirmed with the name of Bedminster." (sub-note)probably named after the parish of Bedminster, county of Somerset, England) In the report the Tohickon is spelled "Tohickney" and they gave "Socunk" as the name of a place, whose locality is now entirely unkown. The area of Bedmister is sixteen thousand and fifty-eigh acres.
Although the orginal settlers of Bedminster were English speaking, the Germans were not far behind them. The first of this race were Mennonites, who settled on and near Deep run on the banks of which stream they erected a log church in 1746. On the 24th of March, William Allen gave the congregation the church lot and a farm of fifty acres, the deed being executed intrust to Abraham Swartz, Hans Friedt, Samuel Kolg and Marcus Oberholtzer, bishops and deacons.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION SENT IN BY FELLOW RESEARCHER Here's a little more Bedminister information. History of Bedminister The following information was forward to me, with notes stating 1976 & 1983 - Forming a Township. In March,1741 thirty-five inhabitants of the area of Plumstead, which was called Deep Run, petitioned the Quarter Session in Newtown to form the territory into a township. The boundaries were: beginning at the Plumstead corner, coming along that line to the Hilltown corner, and from that line to the Rockhill corner and down the Tohickon Creek until it closes at the Plumstead corner where it began. The signatures attached to this petition were: James Huges, Abraham Black.Mr. Miller, Thomas Darrah, Mark Overhold, Nicholas Angony, Jacob Leatherman, Jacob Wisemore, John Fretts, William Graham, John Townsend, Henry Groud, Michael Lett, David Kulp, Daniel Norcauk, John Bois, Joseph Armstrong, John Riffle, Ralph Traugh, Fetter Ryner, Matthew Ree, Andrew Sloan, Tillman Kulp, Christian Stover, George Lynard, John Clymer, Nicholas Keen, and Frederick Croft. The Petition to form the township was granted or allowed at the March 1742 Spring Session, John Chapman, surveyor, was ordered to lay out the boundaries of the township. It is assumed that it was Chapman who gave the township itís name of Bedminister.The petition is pretty evenly divided between the German settler and the Scotch-Irish settlers. It provides us with an idea as to just who felt strongly enough to request the partitioning of the area into a township. Unfortunately, there are no early records of the township in existence. After the township was recognized, there would have been supervisors appointed or elected. Also a tax collector was necessary, as well as anoverseer of the poor. The first records available are an incomplete tax list of 1782. There is also a notice sent to the Quarter Session, dated May 1762, informing the Session that the supervisors elected for the coming year were Tilman Kulp and____ Kinnird [Kennard]. The notice is signed Jacob Fox - his mark. Fox may have been an outgoing supervisor. He would not have been the tax collector since he could not write. The notice also informs the Session that Bedminister considers itself one district insofar as licenses are concerned. There were five villages in the township of Bedminister. Pipersville was not named such until 1845. At that time a post office was located there with David Glick as Postmaster. George Piperís Inn called PiperĒs Inn was there from 1784 to 1823. Piperís son-in-law assumed the inn on the death of Piper, and the name was changed to Upper Bucks Hotel. It was probably still known as Piperís Inn. So, in 1845, with a post office and a name for the town a necessity, they chose Pipersville. Hagersville was a small village on the Old Bethlehem Road. By 1850 it had a post office and a blacksmith. Later it boasted a hotel. Keelersville was named for the Keichline family. It is located on the Old Bethlehem Road above Ridge Road. Before 1838. it had a church [Tohickon]and an inn [Keichline] next door. After 1838 the church was across the street. By 1850 it had a tanyard, a store, a hotel, a meeting hall, aschool house and a lumber mill. Dublin was the largest of the villages in Bedminister. It was located on Swamp Road in the Southwest corner of the township. It appears the town was known as Dublin before the township was formed. With the number of Scotch-Irish in the area, this is not surprising. The idea of a ďdouble innĒ would seem to be a myth. The first Tavern in the village was that on Robert Robins and the only thing double at this inn was a double wall - possibly between the inn and his house. However, the town was Dublin before his inn was built.It was the largest village mainly because the speculators who held the land as early as 1681 were not farmers - simply speculators. They sold off small lots - 2 acres on up - very early along Swamp Road [Dublin Pike]. This quickly led to the development of a small village. Robinsonís farm of 75 acres was one of the larger in the immediate vicinity. Bedministerville was located at the intersection of the roads that lead from Mennonite Meeting House to Kellerís Shop and from the Durham Road to the Dublin Road. It, too, had its store and a school house. However, the village remained rural. JERRY
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