Debunking real estate's information on these "historic" homes is one of my favorite parts when doing research on these old homes. I randomly found a historic home in Gwynedd that every real estate website and articles claimed that William Penn stayed at this home as well as George Washington and other Founding Fathers. They didn't even cite proof that they stayed at this home.
And how do they know this home was built in 1751? In this post, I'll be breaking down the background of this home, and the owners who lived in this home.
The Evans Family
One fact realtors got right was that this home was originally owned by the Evans for a very long time. It was specifically Cadwalader Evans (1664-1745) who was granted this particular land by William Penn in 1702. Cadwalader was one of the four brothers who came to Gwynedd from Wales in 1698 along with other early settlers, including the Foulke Family.
After he was granted this land by Penn, Cadwalader began erecting buildings and improving the land he was granted.
His land was passed onto his son John Evans (1689-1756), and the land was separated under his ownership. In 1751, he and his wife sold 151 acres to Archibald Hamilton, and 245 acres to their son John, Jr. (1729-1807) in 1754. Archibald sold back to John Jr., giving him a total of 396 acres. In his will of 1756, John gave 2 1/2 acres of land to his daughter Jane, and 40 other acres to his other daughters Margaret, Ellen, and Elizabeth. The sons of John (Cadwalader, Rowland, and John, Jr.) shared their father's land.
Cadwalader Evans (1716-1773) wrote in his will that he gave his lands to his brothers Rowland and John, Jr. John, Jr. was assessed for 250 acres. In his will, he gave 195 acres to his son John Evans III (1754-1814).
NOTE: Read more about Dr. Cadwalader Evans, a friend to Benjamin Franklin here!!
Unlike his ancestors, John III left no will. He was considered the last Evans family member to own Cadwalder's original property. It wasn't until Evan Jones bought 156 acres for $36,000 in 1817. He lived on the property for a long time until 1844.
Later on there were various ownerships:
1844- Evan Jones Lester (Evan Jones's grandson)
1876- Martin L. Bellows
1887- Nathan Followell
1892- Samuel S. Hollingsworth
1892- Nancy Hollingsworth (Samuel Hollingsworth's wife)
1907- Pemberton Hollingsworth
Right away, based on the context of the house's history, this home was built around the early 1700s after William Penn granted land to Cadwalader Evans. When a house is built in the 18th century, that means the house is either Georgian style or Federal style. For this home, this home has more of a Georgian-style with its...
Transom window above door
Pedimented dormer in the center
Paired end chimneys
Over time there were alterations and additions to the home that appealed to the owners during the time.
But what amazed me was the interior images. Inside each room they showed looked like it wasn't touched at all. The wallpapers in each room were possibly from the early 20th century while the interior structures, like the fireplaces and cabinets, are still intact from the 18th century. Possibly earlier.
Based on the conditions of the home, it looks like whoever owns this home now truly cares about its historical and architectural significance. It's important that a home shares its story about its origins. It tells you how old a home is, and who the early owners were when living in a home like this.
"Descendants of Ievan known as Evan Robert Lewis: The Evans family of Gwynedd, Pennsylvania." Gwynedd Friends Meeting Historical Notes. Accessed March 17, 2021. http://www.gwyneddmeeting.org/history/evans.htm#13.
“Google Maps Area Calculator Tool." DaftLogic. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-area-calculator-tool.htm.
Jenkins, Howard Malcolm. Historical collections relating to Gwynedd, a township of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, settled, 1696, by immigrants from Wales, with some data referring to the adjoining township, of Montgomery, also settled by Welsh. (Philadelphia: Howard Malcolm Jenkins, 1897): 147-150, 153-154, 167.
Jennings, James. "Know Your Roots: Glendower Farms Boasts History That Run Real Deep." Philadelphia Magazine. Last modified February 19, 2015. https://www.phillymag.com/property/2015/02/19/spotted-glendower-farm/.
"Local History Sketch. Interesting Local Matter Collected by 'E.M.': One of the Great Evans Plantations in Lower Gwynedd--Cadwalader Evans--John Evans--Rowland Evans--Evan Jones--Martin L. Bellows--Nathan Follwell--Samuel S. Hollingsworth--Pemberton Hollingsworth." Ambler Gazette. July 15, 1909: Page 3. http://digitalcollections.powerlibrary.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/wivp-gazett/id/6041/rec/6.
McAlester, Virginia Savage. A Field Guide to American Houses: The Definitive Guide to Identifying and Understanding America's Domestic Architecture. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2017): 200-214.
Mueller, A. H. Atlas of the North Penn Section of Montgomery County, Pa., Plate 29, 1916.
Scott, J. D. Montgomery County 1877, Gwynedd, North Wales, Ambler, Royer's Ford, Limerick Station, 1877.
Smith, J. L. Montgomery County 1893, Upper and Lower Gwynedd Townships, Lansdale, North Wales, Spring House, Ambler Right, 1893.