Beginnings of Pocopson Township (1870-1900)

Tobacco growing and processing in Pocopson Township

Pocopson was reported to be one of the principal tobacco-growing townships in the county, with 150 acres devoted to that crop in 1884. Tobacco proved to be a profitable crop, with production growing from 2,400 pounds in 1869 to 600,000 pounds in 1889. The leaves of Chester County tobacco typically was used to stuff the center of cigars in the 19th century.

Wilkinson House

In 1884 landowner Lewis Wilkinson constructed a new Rural Gothic style dwelling house on the lot adjacent to his bran warehouse at Seeds Bridge Station. An earlier spur line was removed and the railroad right of way passed in front of the new residence. The house was of a simple cross gable design and had a simple 3 bay front porch adorned with turned posts and ornamental brackets.


The rural area known today as Wawaset had early beginnings as a fording location across the western branch of the Brandywine Creek.

Prior to 1834 the rural area was known as Seeds' Ford, so named for the farm family that owned significant acreage on either side of the Brandywine at that location. Emmor Seeds owned the farm property on the north side of the Brandywine and his brother George owned property to the southeast across the creek.


Covered bridges in 19th century Pocopson Township

  Between 1807 and 1899 there were 98 documented covered bridges in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Five of these were located, at least partly, in Pocopson Township as they were shared with neighboring townships. These bridges were built over streams that provided power to nearby mills supporting the local residents. Bridges were often constructed at natural fords (shallow crossings) but were elevated to withstand the dangers of floods.

Wistar's Farm

Lenape has been known by different names over the past 200+ years.  It grew from a locality named Wister's or Shunk's Ford before a bridge was built over the Brandywine.  The John P. Sager purchased the old mill on the east side of the creek, and the name changed to Sager's Mill.  Eventually, that name changed to Sager's Station when the Wilmington and Northern Railroad built a station on the west side of the creek.

The origins of naming Wawaset

Courtesty Chester County Historical Society


The village of Wawaset is two miles down-river from Northbrook.  It was called Seed’s Ford until 1834, named for Emmor Seeds, a farmer who owned the land across the river. It was re-named Seed’s Bridge after the West Chester-Unionville road spanned the Brandywine.  The Wilmington and Northern adopted this name when it built a station in 1870 at the west end of the bridge.  Thus it remained for only a few years, until it was re-named Wawaset.

There are two widely differing stories about this change of name.


Lenape is another village associated with Pocopson, although the formation of the township out of part of Birmingham Township essentially divides the village.  It grew from a locality named Wister’s or Shunk’s Ford before a bridge was built over the Brandywine.  Then John P. Sager erected a mill on the east side of the creek, and the name changed to Sager’s Mill.  Eventually, that name changed to Sager’s Station when the Wilmington and Northern Railroad built a station on the west side of the creek.

Locust Grove

The village of Locust Grove was the dream of businessman Pennock Marshall, who wanted to establish a settlement that would resemble William Penn’s “greene country towne.”  He laid out three streets in a stand of locust trees and planned a total of twenty-nine lots.  But he was to be disappointed, and the village never had more than two dozen families. By 1847, the village could boast only a smithy and wheelwright shop, a shoemaker shop and a general store. 

Pocopson Railroad Station


The "Shingle Style" structure that most people recognize as Pocopson Station is the second structure constructed for that purpose.

Haines Mill



Abner Haines had a grist and sawmill on Haines Mill Road; In 1884, the Mill burned down, apparently because Mr. Henry Haines built a wood fire in the office stove to ward off the chill.  The chimney caught fire and the property was destroyed.