Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Chester County, Pennsylvania

Thomas Holme’s 1687 Map of Pennsylvania

A map of Pennsylvania in 1687 showing land purchases and town and county borders

Parts of the original territory of Chester County, labeled “The County of Chester” left of center of this 1687 map by Thomas Holme, became Lancaster County (1729), a small part of Berks County (1752), and Delaware County (1789). (Library Company of Philadelphia)

Library Company of Philadelphia

William Penn arrived in Pennsylvania accompanied by surveyor Thomas Holme. Holme drafted this map of Pennsylvania in 1687 delineating the land bought by the First Purchasers in the region that became Philadelphia, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and southern Bucks Counties. Penn had envisioned a colony of townships, where farms would produce the crops and livestock needed to fuel local centers of government, religion, industry, and trade. However, as this map indicates, scattered farmsteads became the pattern of settlement.

Parts of the original territory of Chester County, labeled “The County of Chester” left of center of the map, became Lancaster County (1729), a small part of Berks County (1752), and Delaware County (1789).

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