Sand Ridge Farm- Blue Bell, PA

I always wonder why there's a property with a very long pathway to the house. I began my research.


I found the name of the owner of the Sand Ridge Farm: Henry Myers. According to the 1850 census data, Henry was 26 at the time, and was a laborer. He was born in Ireland. It doesn't look like he had a family. The birthplace may be a clue of why he came to America. In the last post, I talked about the history of "indentured servants," and how different the term is to "slavery." According to an article by Carla Tardi,

Servants also fared better than slaves in other respects: they had access to the courts and were entitled to own land. However, masters retained their right to prohibit their servants from marrying. and had the authority to sell them to another master at any time.

It's possible that Henry Myers was an indentured servant under someone living in Whitpain. When trying to research other indentured servants from the last post, there wasn't any information about their background. It could be one possibility.


His name appeared on the census data, and had no family. He was young too: 26 years old. It's possible that his master was nice enough to give him that privilege of owning land. Tardi's statement about servants being prohibited from getting married sounds accurate about Henry Myers.

Atlas of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 1871, Page 031; G.M. Hopkins & Company, Publisher

The next owner was Mahlon Zearfoss. His name is also featured in the 1850 census data, and he was a mason at the time. He was also part of the Centennial Celebration in Norristown in 1884, as being an exhibitioner. He displayed a cane that was 125 years old, and was first used by Samuel Hagy.

Montgomery County 1877, Whitpain, Rahn Sta., Grater's Ford; J.D. Scott, Publisher

The next owner was Thomas F.B. Wunder (1834-1924). He presented one opossum and eight young in the annual report of the Zoological Society of Philadelphia. It said that he was from Penllyn, which is odd because he had more than one property. Which one is his "real" property? Possibly the one that's near Lower Gwynedd Township.

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

The construction material of the house is stone, and it looks like this house is indeed made out of stone. This property is closely similar to the historical maps I observed in terms of the VERY long pathway to the property.

Google Satellite View: 535 West Skippack Pike, Blue Bell, PA
Google Satellite Birdseye View: Looking East

Bibliography:


"Distance Calculator." DaftLogic. Accessed June 22, 2020. https://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-distance-calculator.htm.


Hobson, Freeland Gotwalts, William Joseph Buck, Henry Sassaman Dotterer. The Centennial Celebration of Montgomery County: At Norristown, PA, September 9, 10, 11, 12, 1884. (Norristown: Centennial Association of Montgomery Co., 1884): 243.


Hopkins, G.M. Atlas of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Page 031, 1871.

Mueller, A. H. Atlas of the North Penn Section of Montgomery County, Pa., Plate 28;29, 1916.


Scott, J. D. Montgomery County 1877, Whitpain, Rahn Sta., Grater's Ford, 1877.


Smith, J. L. Montgomery County 1893, Whitpain and Worcester Townships, Bethel Hill, Fairview, Cedar Hill, Washington Square, Broad Axe Left, 1893.


Tardi, Carla. "Indentured Servitude." Investopedia. Last modified November 13, 2019. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/indentured-servitude.asp.


The Sixteenth Annual Report of the Board of Directors of the Zoological Society of Philadelphia. (Philadelphia: Allen, Lane & Scott's Printing House, 1888): 19.


#pahistory #whitpain #skippackpike #1850censusdata #historicpreservation

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