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Hammer Hollow

Hammer Hollow

1887 Atlas with annotations

Hammer Hollow is located near the source of Trout Creek between Valley Forge and West Valley Roads. The mills of Hammer Hollow have a varied history with their use changing frequently during their lifetime. The first mention of a mill is in 1783 when Jacob Sigler was taxed for a saw mill. He was not financially successful in operating the mill and it was sold in a Sheriff’s sale to Benjamin Rowland in 1787. This is the third mill in Tredyffrin that the Rowland family owned, the others being the Great Valley Mill and St. Peter’s Mill.

Rowland added a Grist Mill. He then split the tract, which was originally 300 acres in extent, and sold the mill property to William Cooper in 1793. John Souder leased the mills from Cooper and added a Fulling Mill. The 1798 Glass Tax records show a stone grist mill, 26’ by 18’, a stone fulling mill 24’ by 18’, and a sawmill.

The mill tract was then split into separate properties. The grist mill was acquired by Charles Thatcher and after his death the property was advertised in the Daily Republican of the 27th August 1833:

Pursuant to an order of the Orphans Count of Chester County, will be exposed to public sale, on Saturday, the 21st September next, a certain messuage plantation and tract of land late the property of Charles S. Thatcher, deceased, situate in the township of Tredyffrin, county of Chester, bounded by the lands of Devault Beaver, Wm. Campbell, Jonathan Moore, and others containing 33 acres and 140 perches more or less. The improvements are a log house 3 rooms on a floor, stone kitchen, an excellent spring of water and spring house, near the dwelling, a large stone grist mill, log stable.

Alexander E. Findley, Guardian

Elijah Priest purchased the fulling mill in 1802 and converted it to a tilt mill. This mill was then acquired by John Snyder where he manufactured sickles. He posted the following advertisement in the Daily Republican of the 24th December, 1833:

… Tilt and grinding mill, a comfortable dwelling house, part stone part frame, new stone barn, and a lot of land containing 4 acres ... apply to John Miles living there or John Snyder, Gwynedd township.

Thomas Brown purchased the property in 1847 and installed and operated a lathe. The business was later described as a turning mill and then a bobbin factory. On the 17th March 1854 the factory of William Cundy caught fire:

the spool and bobbin manufactory of William Cundy, at a place called Hammer Hollow, was discovered to be on fire … the whole building including turning lathes, machinery steam engine, tools, finished and unfinished material etc. were destroyed. (Daily Republican, 3/28/1854).

William Cundy continued operating the factory until his death in 1876. The property was then acquired by William Colket. The factory is last shown in the atlas of 1887. Franklin Burns discusses some aspects of the operation in his article on Local Textile Mills (incorporated in Myrtle Wandless’ article).


The author would like to thank Tucker Moorhead for helping to sort out the complexities of this mill site.

A detailed timeline for the Mill(s)

  • 1781 Jacob Sickler. No mention of mill
  • 1781 Jacob Sigler to Abraham Robinson (Mortgage A-457)
  • 1783 Jacob Sigler Saw Mill, £80; Tax: 2.75%
  • 1785 Jacob Sigler Saw Mill on 200 acres, State Tax
  • 1787 Jacob Sigh Saw Mill (Tax)
  • 178? Sheriff to Benjamin Rowland (deed E2-451: boundaries: Radnor Church Road and land of Showalter, Paul Sharadin, Sarah Robinson, & James Davis)
  • 1788 Benjamin Rowland Saw Mill on 300 acres (County tax)
  • 1789 Benjamin Rowland Grist & Saw Mill on 277 acres (State tax)
  • 1791 Benjamin Rowland Grist & Saw Mill (tax)
  • 1793 Benjamin Rowland to William Cooper (100 acres 25 perches, deed K2-287)
  • 1795 John Sowders – Fulling Mill on 194 acres (tax)
  • 1796 John Sowders – Grist, Saw Mill on 100 acres (tax)
  • 1797 John Sowders – Grist, Saw Mill on 100 acres (tax)
  • 1798 John Sowders – Grist, Saw Mill on 100 acres (tax)
  • 1798 John Sowders – Grist, Saw & Fulling Mill on 99 acres (Glass tax)
  • 1799 County Tax Grist, fulling, & saw mill – John Souder
  • 1800 John Souder (Grist mill) – occupier John Roner Zachariah Long (saw & fulling mills)
  • 1801 Executors of William Cooper to John Sowder (84.75 acres 23 perches; deed V2-18).
    Executors of John Souder to Zachariah Long (8 acres 95 perches; deed T2-300) fulling and sawmills.
    Executors of William Cooper to Daniel Markley (deed T2-303).
    John Souder (Grist mill)
    Zachariah Long (sawmill)
    Elizah Priest (fulling mill)
  • 1802 Zachariah Long to Elijah Priest, sawmill & messuage formerly a fulling mill ( deed V2-238) John Souder (Grist mill; tax) Elizah Priest (tilt mill; tax)
  • 1804 Elijah Priest to Daniel Markley (deed Y2-80)
  • 1806 John Souder to Miles Abbott, 72 acres (deed Z2-430)
  • 1807 Miles Abbott to Enoch Watkins (deed B3-26) Enoch Watkins miller (Pennsylvania Septennial Census)
  • 1808 Enoch Watkins, miller to William Baker, 12 acres, part of 72 acres, grist mill (deed C3-537)
  • 1810 Daniel Markley tilt mill (county tax)
  • 1813 William Baker of Tredyffrin to Nicholas Custer and Abraham Hause, (deed H3-179)
  • 1814 ad in American Republican 1/25/1814
    Will be sold, at Public Vendue On Saturday the 12th of February

    A small tract of land containing 35 acres, 5 or 6 of which are woodland situated in Tredyffrin township, Chester county, adjoining lands of Devault Beaver, Benj. Brown, Dr. J.H. Davis, and others, 15 miles from Philadelphia, 1 mile from the Spread Eagle, ½ a mile north of the Philada. & Lancaster turnpike. The improvements are a two story house, part stone and part log, calculated for the purpose of 2 families, a log barn, frame waggon house, stone spring house, over a never failing fall of choice water, grist and plaster mill in complete order – machinery may be erected to great advantage; there is also a young thriving apple orchard. The land is in a high state of cultivation, all under close and complete fence. The terms will be known on the day of sale.

    Abraham Hause, Nicholas Custer

    No Hause sale deed found (maybe after 1820)
  • 1816 Nicholas and Catharine Custer of Vincent to Abraham Hause, (deed M3-497)
  • 1819 Elizabeth Markley to Charles S. Thatcher of Philadelphia (deed P3-313)
  • 1820 John Snyder - tilt mill on 4 acres (county tax) Charles Thatcher grist mill (county tax) John Snyder - tilt & blading mill – sickles (manufacturing census)
  • 1825 John Snyder - tilt mill (county tax) Charles Thatcher grist mill (county tax)
  • 1828 John Snyder, sickle smith (Pennsylvania Septennial Census)
  • 1830 John Snyder - tilt mill (county tax)
  • 1832 Charles Thatcher died (administration)
  • 1833 John Snyder, tilt and grinding mill (sale ads, American Republican 8/27/1833 and 12/24/1833)
  • 1833 Alexander Findley to Robert Brocklehurst (G4-309), 33+ acres & mills
  • 1835 Samuel Crew – mill (county tax)
  • ?1836 Stone Grist Mill on 34 acres at Hammer Hollow for sale or rent, enquire of George Iserman or Col. Alexander E. Finley (ad)
  • 1838 Robert Brocklehurst to Samuel Crew (deed C4-47)
  • 1847 Samuel Crewe to Thomas Brown (deed F5-211) T. Brown’s Lathe (1847 atlas)
  • 1848 Samuel Crew - Stone Grist and turning mill on 34 acres (sale ad)
  • 1854 Factory Burnt (Village Record 3/28/1854)
  • 1856 William Cundy turner (Pennsylvania Septennial Census)
  • 1860 Factory & mill (Kennedy’s map)
  • 1873 Cundy’s Bobbin & Spool Factory (Witmer)
  • 1876 William Cundy dies (administration of estate)
  • 1883 William Colket on 78 acres, factory. (Breou)
  • 1887 Factory buildings shown on Atlas
  • 1897 William Colket on 78 acres. Mill pond shown but buildings part of Presbyterian hospital (Mueller’s Atlas)