1681-1687

what became Abington Township


...to Penn's surprise, the King granted an extraordinarily generous charter which made Penn the world's largest private (non-royal) landowner, with over 45,000 square miles (120,000 km2). Penn became the sole proprietor of a huge tract of land west of New Jersey and north of Maryland, and gained sovereign rule of the territory with all rights and privileges (except the power to declare war).

Before William Penn even came to the New World in 1682, he was already selling Pennsylvania land in England. The first map of Pennsylvania, circa 1687, is a detailed delineation of waterways and property lines along with the names of who owned what.




The double line running lower center right to upper center left is the planned Susquehanna Road (which was to connect the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers). The Mannor of Moreland became what is today Upper Moreland and Lower Moreland Townships with Bryn Athen and Hatboro. The strip of parallel tracts of land running from John West at the bottom to Humphrey Mo(?)y at the top became what is today Cheltenham Township. And the strips of parallel tracts of land either side of Susquehanna Road running from Walter King and William Stanly at the bottom to William Powel to Samuel Clarridg at the top became what is today Abington Township.

It is easy to see that many of the major streets of Cheltenham and Abington Townships started as property lines on the 1687 map.

What's interesting here, however, is that two of the major traffic arteries of Abington Township today, namely Old York Road and Huntingdon Pike, exist without any indication on the 1687 map, yet these arteries were already in existence well before the 1687 map because they are actual "Indian" trails. In fact, there are four "Indian" trails that still run through Abington Township: Old York Road, Huntingdon Pike, Old Welsh Road and Limekiln Pike. And possibly a fifth, Jenkintown Road.

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