remains of the day…on bacton hill

Bacton Hill Farm house March 2013

Bacton Hill Road Farmhouse March, 2013

The other day I wrote one my last big post on Ebenezer AME on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer, PA. I told you my faithful readers and local history buffs why I was giving up, and there is no need to re-hash that.  Nothing has changed.

However, my friend and I came down Bacton Hill on our way back from Fricks Locks.  As she was driving, I was able to snap a few photos.  I think it is important to record it now, because as soon as those development houses go up next to Ebenezer and the Malvern Courts mobile home park, what is left of old Bacton Hill will cease to exist for sure.

It’s almost gone, now. This farmhouse I have photographed should be some sort of historic asset, but it is not.  It has been rotting and will be demolished so the land can be cleared for part of this development that is coming.

IMG_9384

Bacton Hill Road  Farmhouse in Frazer August 26, 2018. This farmhouse was built in 1840, just a few years after Ebenezer AME was built. It was a four bedroom farmhouse and was undoubtedly purchased for it’s 2 acres of land. I think this may have been called the Benjamin Smith House but am not certain.

Bacton Hill has serious historic significance, but it doesn’t matter. Only progress and development seem to matter. The park East Whiteland is planning up the road towards where the road meets Swedesford will carry the name Bacton Hill, but give it 10 years more and no one will remember what Bacton Hill was.

IMG_9377 - Copy.JPG

Alice Gassaway’s grave August 25, 2018. The only grave you can now see at all through the brush and weeds.  She is buried closest to the road.

Bacton Hill is a region in East Whiteland that was an early village (and one of the largest early settlements) in Chester County settled by and for African Americans. The Ebenezer AME Church and cemetery is a sacred space where at least three Civil War soldiers are buried.

8586314486_6a450b7464_o

Alice Gassaway’s grave in 2016

The AME Church grew out of the Free African Society in the late 1700s, but the church became it’s own entity founded in Philadelphia around 1816.  So you can see given the age of Ebenezer AME in East Whiteland, Chester County, PA that it is truly part of the early days of a church and religion founded in Philadelphia.  Bishop Richard Allen died in 1831, just months before Ebenezer came to be after Joseph Malin deeded the land.

Hiram Woodyard was a Township resident and former slave who served in the Union Army as a teamster. He was a leader in the African American community and is buried at the Ebenezer AME Church. His home still stands on Congestoga Road. Other homes he built still stand. He was an inhabitant of Bacton Hill.

Soon all that will be left of the area will be my blog posts including this one from 2017 which is an oral history complete with some really cool photos courtesy of Claude Bernadin, or this one from 2015, this one from 2016, this one from 2017, the ceremony November 2016, a post from October 2016, another one from October 2016, when for  brief moment people stopped to visit the old souls now covered by weeds and brush once more, 2015 post which had links to earlier posts. Also will be the occasional newspaper article from every newspaper reporter who tried to raise awareness to this area and to Ebenezer.

Once upon a time people tried to get a Bacton Hill Historic District or something like that. It’s a shame it never happened.  Because at least then there would have been a more organized history of the place.

We can’t keep developing away our history, or can we?

I will leave you with that for now.

 

IMG_9378 - Copy

Ebenezer AME August 25, 2018.  Once again swallowed by weeds and brush.

One thought on “remains of the day…on bacton hill

  1. What can be said, beyond what you have said here? How does that quote go, about those without respect for history are doomed to repeat it? So sad, EWT has apparently never had sufficient appreciation for those things that actually would make it more than just another area of commercial strips along Route 30.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s