Friday, February 27, 2015

James and Rose Moore in Philadelphia 1684-1720

I am going to try to summarize here what I know and what I do not know about my 9-gr-grandparents, Joseph and Rose/Roose Moore.  If you scroll down you will find lots more information about my research on this couple in other posts in February 2015.  I learned so much about my ancestors and about the very early days of Philadelphia this past week that I can not begin to write it all down.  However, there were a few things I wanted to note before life begins to blur my research.  The area that is pictured below is almost certainly where the couple lived from 1684 until they sell the land in 1693.  James is listed as a blacksmith in the "Philadelphia Business Directory of 1690" in the book, Colonial Philadelphians by Hannah  Benner Roach (I own this book) for this time frame.

Everything that I have read has explained that while William Penn had a very clear master plan for the city of Philadelphia, the actual development did not follow his plan.  Penn chose the site that is shown above as the center of the town.  Of course, the City Hall pictured was built MUCH later.  This  site was to be a center open space that was square in shape.  Penn pictured Philly to be a town with much green space everywhere.  Not the helter skelter town that it has become.

William Penn had chosen the land where the Delaware and the Schuykill Rivers come close making the neck of land narrow for his new city.  You can see the Center Square right in the middle of the map.

 However, those who settled did their own thing.  You can look at Elfreth's Alley to see that there is absolutely NO green space between the row houses that were built on that site.  Jeremiah Elfreth died before 1700, so that Alley is VERY old.  What really happened is that the settlers ended up settling along the Delaware River and ignored the center of the city and the land on the side of the city nearest the Schuykill River.  So the Center square remained outside of the more heavily settled area in the early days.

Wikipedia says:

However, the Delaware riverfront would remain the de facto economic and social heart of the city for more than a century.
[…] hardly anyone lived west of Fourth Street before 1703. Consequently Penn's design of a center square as the hub of his community had to be abandoned. The large Friends meeting house which was built in 1685 at the midpoint between the rivers was dismantled in 1702. Efforts to develop the Schuylkill waterfront likewise collapsed. Of the merchants, tradesmen, and craftsmen who can be identified as living in Philadelphia around 1690, 123 lived on the Delaware side of town and only 6 on the Schuylkill side. One of the latter, a tailor named William Boulding, complained that he had invested most of his capital in his Schuylkill lot, 'so that he cannot, as others have done, Remove from the same.' Not until the mid-nineteenth century, long after the city had spilled northward and southward in an arc along the Delaware miles beyond its original limits, was the Schuylkill waterfront fully developed. Nor was Centre Square restored as the heart of Philadelphia until the construction of City Hall began in 1871.[10]

This information gives me the idea that James and Rose may have decided to move to the Delaware River front as they found that the center of the city did not develop as they had expected.  James had spent his years while they lived at Center Square working on Penn's Mill and on the leaded glass windows at the Center Meeting house.

From  Narratives of Early Pennsylvania, West Jersey and Delaware 1630-1707 Edited  by Albert Cook Myers, Charles Scribners Sons NY 1912:

A footnote by Mr. Myers on page 271 says:  "The Friends' Meeting House in the Centre Square of the city, midway between the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, where the City Hall now stands, was built of brick, in 1685-1686, and was used for a time for the more important First Day (Sunday) morning and business meetings of the society.  The location being in the midst of the forest some little distance without the town, and its two or three streets along the Delaware, the meeting was not well attended;  the Friends preferred to wait for the afternoon meeting at the Bank Meeting house, near at hand, within the town proper; consequently, in a few years the Centre Square meeting was abandoned."

My best guess is that James and Rose lived these truths and when the land just to the north of Vine Street (the northern boundary of Philadelphia) opened up, decided that they would move there in order that James' business would be more accessible to the population that was more heavily settled along the Delaware River.  The area in which their land lay was in what is now the Northern Liberties:

 The historical boundaries:  Vine Street as the southern border and the Cohocksink Creek serving as the northern border. The creek now flows as a storm sewer under the following streets (starting at the Delaware River and running from southeast to northwest): Canal, Laurel, Bodine, Cambridge, and Orkney Streets.

The below is the map that Lynn sent to me that helped me locate the bank lot.  Lynn says that the maps came from:  The Philadelphia Map by Holmes was published in 1687. The northern Bank lot area came from the PA State Archive online.

James and Rose sold their Center Square lot in 
James died in 1694.

Rose sold the Delaware River bank lot in 1709.  Rose died in 1720.  It is not likely that she moved outside of the city limits as her burial is recorded in the Philadelphia Meeting records.  She is listed among the non-Quakers whose burial is recorded by.....

The one more piece of information that I want to add into this post deals with:

pp 581-582, in archives of the Historical Society of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

JAMES MOORE’S LOT ON THE WEST SIDE OF SECOND STREET IN PHILADELPHIA, PURCHASED 12 OCTOBER 1691 AND CONVEYED BY DEED FROM JOHN MOORE, HIS SON & HEIR, TO NICHOLAS PEARCE ON 2 JANUARY 1694, for use of the Quakers to build a meeting house (James Moore having prior to his death agreed to the sale to Pearce and Pearce having paid him the seven pounds price for it, the same being acknowledged in the following deed by John Moore, son of James, in order to convey title from Moore to Pearce and the Society of Friends.) [this information sent to me by Joseph Moore}

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