Detweiler Lane

Updated: Jan 3

This street is located near the intersection of Butler Pike and Morris Road. Before it was developed into a neighborhood, it was a property, owned by "Jos. Detweiler." The full name is "Joseph Detweiler."


When finding his name online, there wasn't much about him. But, his name appeared in Mary P.H. Hough's publication of "Early history of Ambler, 1682-1888." The first settler before Ambler's established was William Harmer.


His father came to America in 1682 possibly with William Penn, but with the same purpose: religious freedom from England. He built the first grist mill. The first to till its soil, and to create a fulling mill to provide clothing and blankets for comfort and protection. According to her source, Harmer sold his property to the Whitpain family in the early 18th century, who started Whitpain Township.


William Harmer died in 1731, and according to his will, he sold 408 acres to Morris Morris and his sons Samuel and David. Yes, Morris Morris was a real name. Then to Joseph Morris, then to Joseph Detwiler in 1775.


He bought the property from Joseph Morris for $10,000 for 84 acres.


Sad Fact: In 1887, Anne Jane Mercer purchased the property... to demolish the barn and the grist mill invented by William Harmer.

"The loss of the old grist mill which possessed 'a beauty that was a joy forever,' was greatly lamented by those who appreciated the charm possessed by these historic sites."

In 1902, Ann Detwiler, a descendent of the original Joseph Detwiler, purchased the property where the grist mill once stood. Her purpose was to destroy the water right.


There's no evidence of who Ann Detwiler was, but luckily there's something about her and her life. She was 84 years old when she died, so she was born in 1860. She was the only child to Joseph and Amanda (Wentz) Detwiler. She was a graduate of the Friends' Central School and was a teacher at a young age.


It was confirmed she did indeed lived on the property at the corner of Butler Pike and Morris Road, where William Harmer lived on.


I also found something about the mother of Ann Detwiler Amanda. E. (Elizabeth) Amanda was born in 1830, the daughter of Jacob and Catherine Wentz. In 1859, she married Joseph Detwiler. She and Joseph first lived at the Detwiler homestead on the north side of Plymouth and Conshohocken Pike, then at the southwest corner of Butler Pike and Morris Road.


It was confirmed in Amanda's obituary that her family did indeed lived in the pottery that has been in the family since 1775.

Clipping from Ambler Gazette- December 7, 1944 (Page 5)
Clipping from Ambler Gazette: February 13, 1913 (Page 1)


Montgomery County 1893, Whitpain and Worcester Townships, Bethel Hill, Fairview, Cedar Hill, Washington Square, Broad Axe Left; J.L. Scott, Publisher
Atlas of the North Penn Section of Montgomery County, Pa., 1916, Plate 28; A. H. Mueller, Publisher

Short story short... the property was owned by a generation of Josephs!


NOTE: It's interesting how the street name came to be. I guess it's whoever was more "famous" and who stayed in the area the most.


Bibliography:


Hough, Mary P. H. "Early history of Ambler 1682-1888." Accessed June 14, 2020. https://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/hough/ambler/ambler.html.


"Wissahickon Valley Public Library's Ambler Gazette Collection."POWER Library: Pennsylvania's Electronic Library. Accessed June 14, 2020. http://digitalcollections.powerlibrary.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/wivp-gazett.


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