Name: Thomas LEIPER
Given Name: Thomas
Birth: 15 Dec 1745 in Strathaven, Lanark, Scotland
Christening: 15 Dec 1745
Death: 6 Jul 1825 in Delaware Co. Pa.
DSCR: Medium height, dark brows, hazel,dk blue eyes, clear and ruddy complexion.
Home of Thomas Leiper
1 1 2
Change Date: 14 Dec 2005 at 21:26:10
In 1963 there were plans to tear down this fine house and build the Midcounty Expressway
through this site. Several Delaware County residents fought this move, then founded Historic
Delaware County, Inc.
Not having the money to purchase the property, they asked Nether Providence Township
to acquire it, with the four small dependencies. Historic Delaware County would restore it for
headquarters, furnish it appropriately and open it to the public.
Before this was accomplished, the owners sold to local developers. The latter listened to the
members of Historic Delaware County, and finally, in December 1973, sold it to the township.
Because the cost was more than the township anticipated paying, Historic Delaware County had
to borrow and contribute $20,000 at the time of settlement.
Historic Delaware County also paid $5000 to fix the house so that caretakers could live there.
Vandalism had been bad and this old home needed protection. In 1975, with the help of local
groups, an effort was made to make the main floor attractive by the Bicentennial year.
The woodwork is being repainted as it was originally and old papers have been selected.
The house has already been given some handsome antiques, so it should be well along by
May 1976 for the expected visitors. In the meantime, contributions to help with the
restoration will be tax deductible, and gratefully received by Historic Delaware County, Inc.,
Box 267, Swarthmore, Pa. 19081
A RELATIVE VISITED THOMAS LEIPER'S HOUSE. IT WAS BUILT IN 1785.
AT THE TOP OF A DRAINPIPE UNDER THE EVES WERE HIS INITIALS T.L.
AND THE DATE 1785. SHE AND A FRIEND TOURED THE HOUSE AND
OUTBUILDINGS. SHE HAS PICTURES. THE HOUSE WAS BUILT AS A
SUMMER HOME ON CRUM CREEK. IT IS NOW OWNED BY NETHER
PROVIDENCE TOWNSHIP. IT IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC ON WEEKENDS.
IT IS BEING RESTORED BY THE FRIENDS OF THE LEIPER HOUSE, INC.
SOME INFORMATION FROM
"THE NATIONAL CYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY"
OTHER INFORMATION FROM:
"THE NORTH AMERICAN PHILADELPHIA ,SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1 1912 "
BY GEORGE A. CHANDLER
TITLED LEIPER CXXVI OLD PHILADELPHIA FAMILIES:
BY FRANK WILLING LEACH
THERE IS A DETAILED STORY ON THOMAS AND FAMILY. THOMAS CAME TO AMERICA IN 1763.
"he having been the founder of the Leiper line in Pa. He was born at Strathaven in the Parish of Avondale, shire of Clysdale, Lanark, Scotland.
MR.LEIPER WAS THE ABODE OF UNOSTENTATIOUS HOSPITALITY. HIMSELF TEMPERATE , ALMOST ABSTEMIOUS AS TO DIET AND DRINK. HE REJOICED TO SEE HIS GUESTS ENJOYING THE GOOD THINGS AT THE TABLE.
HE WAS NOTICED FOR COMLINESS OF COUNTENANCE AND GRACE OF FIGURE. SLIGHTLY ABOVE AVERAGE HEIGHT, WITH A SQUARE AND COMPACT FRAME, AND FINELY PROPORTIONED LIMBS, WITH APPEARANCE OF STRENGTH AND AGILITY. HIS COUNTENANCE
EXHIBITED AN AMPLE AND PERFECTLY FAIR FOREHEAD, DARK BROWS, BRIGHT BUT THOUGHTFUL EYES OF A HUE BETWEEN A HAZEL AND DARK BLUE, FINELY CUT AND EXPRESSIVE FEATURES WITH A REMARKABLY CLEAR AND RUDDY COMPLEXION.
THESE PECULIARITIES HE RETAINED TO EXTREME AGE, AS CAN BE SEEN FROM HIS PORTRAIT
WHICH, WHEN SEVENTY YEARS OLD HE CONCENTED TO HAVE TAKEN BY THE LATE CHARLES WILLSON PEAL.
THOMAS LEIPER'S TOMBSTONE AT WEST LAUREL HILL CONTAINS THIS DISCRIPTION. THE AURORA, PUBLISHED BY A LONG TIME FRIEND AND POLITICAL ASSOCIATE, COLONEL WILLIAM DUANE, IN IT'S ISSUE OF JULY 8, CONTAINED A EULOGLISTIC OBITUARY OF THE DECEASED.
Born at Strathaven
Scotland Dec. 15, 1745
Came to America 1763
Settled in Philadelphia 1765
One of the Organizers of the
First City Troop, Phila. 1774
Engaged in action as First
Sargeant of the Troop at
Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine,
Germantown and Monmouth
and in special service of Yorktown. President of the Common Council
Philadelphia 1801-5, 1808-10, 1812-14 Constructed and operated the first railroad in Pennsylvania, 1809-10 For sixty years active and successful
in business as Merchant and Manufacturer honored by his
City and state for patriotic services and unselfish devotion to the cause
of liberty and his country
Died at Philadelphia
July 6, 1825
From Thomas Leiper Gravestone
BELOW:PHOTOCOPIED FROM The National Cyclopedia of American Biography by James t. White & Co.
Clifton, J.J.-1979 (IN LAWRENCE,KS LIBRARY) (INDEXED AS 11:167)
LEIPER Thormas, manufacturer. was born in Strathaven, Lanark, Scotland , Dec. 15, l745. He was educated in Glasgow and Edinburg, and in1763 emigrated to Maryland. Two years later he removed to Philadelphia, and engaged in the storing and exportation of tobacco. At the beginning of the revolution the principal tobacco house was interdicted, and taking advantage of the situation, Mr.Leiper forwarded his business until he became the leading tobacco merchant in the city. Subsequently, he built in Delaware county, Pa. several large mills, for the manufacture of snuff, and in 1780 he bought and operated quarries not far from his mills. Eventually he ammassed a large fortune, which he drew upon freely for the improvement of Philadelphia and that part of Delaware county in the vicinity of Avondale, his country residence. He assisted in organizing the Philadelphia city troop of horse, and served with it as lieutenant during the revolution, taking part in the battles of Princeton.Trenton, Brandywine, and Germantown. As treasurer of the troop he carried the last subsidies of the French to the Americans at Yorktown. With his corps he afterward aided in quelling several civil insurrections, notably the whiskey riot of 1794. In the attack on the house of Jamas Wilson he was one of the seven troopers who charged on the mob and put it to flight. The first tramway in America, running from the quarries on Crown Creek to the landing on Ridley's Creek, was constructed by Mr. Leiper in 1809. The road was three-forths of a mile in length and was continued until 1828, when it was superseded by a canal. In politics Mr. Leiper was a democrat, and often served as chairman of the Democratic town meetings. He was a presidential elector; director of the Pennsylvania and United States banks; the U.S. commissioner for the defence of Philadelphis in 1812, and a member of the common council of the city , finally becoming its president. In 1824 he was one of the first officers of the Franklin Insitute. Mr. Leiper died in Delaware county, Pa. July 6,1825. His son George Gray Leiper, born in Delaware county, Feb.3,1786,was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1803. He became prominent in his native county,representing it in congress in 1829-31, also being for many years lay associate judge of the Delaware county circut court.
He died Nov.17.1868.
SIMILAR STORY FROM"DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN BIOLOGY" VOL.VI. LARNED-MILLINGTON
EDITED BY DUMAS MALONE CHARLES S. SCRIBNER'S SONS NEW YORK 69-4726
LEIPER,THOMAS (Dec. 15, 1745-July 6, 1825), merchant, was born at Strathaven, Lanark, Scotland, the son of Thomas and Helen (Hamilton) Leiper. He was educated in the schools of Glasgow and Edinburgh, for his parents wished him to become a minister of the Scottish Kirk. Such was not his desire, however, and in 1763, after the death of his father, he joined his brothers who had emigrated to America some years previously. Landing in Maryland in June 1763, he was first employed as a clerk in the store of John Semple at Port Tobacco. Later he went to Frederick County, and in 1765, to Philadelphia, where he entered the employ of his cousin, Gavin Hamilton, a tobacco exporter. In a few years he left his cousin and embarked in business for himself, becoming one of the leading wholesale and retail tobacco merchants of the city. He also built several large mills in Delaware County, Pa., for the manufacture of snuff and other tobacco products; and in 1780 he bought and operated stone quarries near his mills. Through the exercise of a high order of ability, energy, and business tact he soon accumulated a considerable fortune.
Some time before the Declaration of Independence he raised a fund for open resistance to the Crown, and when war 'was declared he contributed large sums to the cause. He was one of the original and most active members of the 1st Troop, Philadelphia City Cavalry (formed Nov.17, 1774), taking part in the battles of Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, and Germantown, and in several skirmishes. He was ranked as first sergeant until 1794, when he became second lieutenant, and then, treasurer of the troop. As such he carried the last subsidies of the French to the American army at Yorktown. After the war , he acted with the troop in quelling several civil riots in Philadelphia. One of the leading Democrates in Pennsylvania, he was in strong opposition to President Washington and the Federalists; later he acted as a major of the "Horse of the Legion" raised, largely at his expense, to oppose the "Black Cockade" forces of the friends of the Adams administration.
In his business affairs he was enterprising and progressive, adopting new machines and improvements in agricultural implements. He constructed, for example, in 1809, an experiment railroad in Philadelphia, on which vehicles were drawn by horses. After various experiments I became satisfied that the principle was sound and in 1810 he built and equipped a tramway from his quarries on Crum Creek, Delaware County, Pa.to tide-water, a distance of three-quarters of a mile. This road continued in use until 1828 when it was superseded by a canal. He also subscribed largely to the stock of various turnpikes and canals in Pennsylvania, often without hope of any immediate return. He made it a rule never to accept offices of pay or profit; but, without ever seeking them, he was elected or appointed to many of trust and distinction. He was a presdential elector in 18o8, and in 1825, a director of the Bank of Pennsylvania and the Bank of the United States; commissioner for the defense the city in the War of 1812; a member and ultmately president (1801-05, 1808-10, 1812-14 of the Common Councils of the City of Phildelphia; one of the executive committee of the St. Andrew's Society; and one of the founders, and first officers (1824) of the Franklin Ins tute in Philadelphia. On Nov. 3, 1778, he married Elizabeth Coultas Gray, and to them wet born thirteen children. He died at his country estate, "Avondale," in Delaware County, Pa.
[Henry Simpson, The Lives of Eminent Philadelphians now Deceased (1859); J. T. Scharf and T. Westcott, Hist, of Phila. (1884), vol. I; E. P. Oberholtzer Phila., A Hist, of the City and Its People (1912), vo I; J. L. Wilson, Book of the First Troop Phila. City Cavalry 1774-1914 (1915); L. B. Thomas, The Thomas Book (1896); A. Ritter, Phila. and Her Merchants (1860); Aurora and Franklin Gazette (Phila.), Jul. 8,1825.]
OTHER SOURCE INFORMATION.
Results of research done for source, 12 Nov. 1957, (# B 12, 586) by the Scots Ancestry Research Society, Edinburgh, Scotland:
Report on: The ancestry of Thomas Ieiper who married Helen Hamilton in 1731 in Avondale.
The old parochial registers of Avondale were searched for the marriage of Thomas Leiper, which was found to have been recorded there as follows:-
"February 21st 1731 proclaimed Thomas Leiper and Helen Hamilton." Issue:
Agnes baptieed 5: 3:1732 (Father a maltman)
Robert 2: 9:1733
James " 5: 9:1736
Barbra " 13:10:1738
John 24.: 1:1714 (Father an innkeeper)
Janet " 23:10:17113
Andrew " 13:11:1711.8
William " 20:10:1751
The old parochial registers of Avondadale were then searched from 1752-80 for the marriages of the above children, and the following entries were found:-
1) "January~ 4th 1752 William Kilpatrick and Agnes Leper."
2) "February 22nd 1761 John Leiper and Mary Young."
3) "March 29th 1761 John Cochran and Janet Leiper."
4) "August 23rd 1772 John Leiper and Elizabeth Somervil."
The Edinburgh University Medical Graduation Lists were then consulted, but no entries were found relating to Andrew and. James Leiper.
The old parochial registers of Avondale were then searched from their commencement in 1698-1733 for the birth of Thomas Leiper, and the following entries were found:-
1) "October 8th 1699 Thomas son to Thomas Leiper in East Newtoune."
Also: John baptised 22: 6:1701
2) "July 5th 1702 Thomas son to Robert Leiper, messenger in Strathaven."
Also: Marion baptised 28: 7:1700
James " 11: 1:1705
John " 12:12:1706
3) 'June 24th 1711 Thomas son to John Leiper in Chaple of Locharmie."
Also:. Robert baptised 5:5:1706
Issobell " 7:8:1708
Of these three birth entries, the second would appear the most likely one to be relevant, as Thomas Ieiper called his eldest son Robert, probably after his father. As, however, there are no exŘant marriage records for Avondalo prior to 1709, no search could be made for the marriage of Robert Leiper, and the investigation was here concluded.
The old parochial registers of Avondale were searched from 1763- 1771 for the second marriage of Helen Hamilton or Leiper to---- Scott, but this was not found to have been recorded there.
The old parochial registers of Avondale were then searched from their commencement in 1698 to 1713 for the birth of Helen Hamilton, and the following entry was found:-
"February 20th 1706 Helen daughter to William Hamilton yr (Little Kype) ."
Also: Helen baptised. 26:10:1701 (Presumably died young)
Agnes " 16: 5: l7O3
It was also noted that a Gavin Hamilton in Little Kype was recording the births of children during this period, but ho does not appear to have recorded the birth of a daughter, Helen. Other Helen Hamilton births recorded during this period were :-
1) "May 26th 1703 Helen daughter to Mr. John Hamilton, minister of Avondale
This child presumably died young as, according to the Fasti Ecolesiae Scoticanae, John Hamilton had another daughter Helen who was born in 1719, and who died in 1720.
2) "April 7th 1700 Helen daughter to Alexander Hamilton in Conanhill "
The Pedigree of the Hamiltons of Kype in Paterson's History of Ayx was then consulted, but unfortunately this pedigree only commences with the birth in 1737 of Gavin Hamilton, son of John Hamilton of Kype and Jacobina Young.
As there are no extant old parochial registers for Avondale prior to 1698 the investigation was here concluded.
September The first experimental railroad track laid down in the United States was constructed by Somerville, a Scotch millwright, for Thomas Leiper of Philadelphia, and laid down in a yard adjoining the Bulls?s Head Tavern, in the Northern Liberties. It was sixty yards in length, and graded an inch and a half to the yard.
The gauge was four feet, the sleepers eight feet apart. The experiment with a loaded car was so successful that Leiper had the first practical railroad built in the United States constructed for the transportation of stone from his quarries on Crum Creek to his landing on Ridley Creek, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, a distance of about one mile. It continued in use for nineteen years, and was superseded in 1828 by a canal, which was again superseded in 1852 by a railroad.
A line of telegraphs (semaphore) was set up and operated by Jonathan Grant, between the head of Delaware Bay to Reedy Island and Philadelphia, under patronage of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
The first insurance corporation was organized in this city.
Excerpted from "Happenings in ye Olde Philadelphia 1680-1900" by Rudolph J. Walther, 1925, Walther Printing House, Philadelphia, PA
Return to A Background to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Prepared by the Independence Hall Association
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More on Thomas Leiper Family
Part of an article found online.
History of Delaware Co. PA
Mills on Ridley Creek-Leipers Snuff Mill and Avondale
The first appearance of the name of Thomas Leiper in connection with manufactures in this county occurs in an assessment-roll of Nether Providence in 1779. In that year he was assessed on a snuff-mill, which was located on Crum Creek, in Nether Providence, opposite and a little above where the Avondale Mill is now. In 1790 he was operating two snuff-mills and was the owner of two hundred and ninety-six acres of land. A dry-house was added about 1800, and in 1811 there was at Avondale, in addition to the snuff-mills, a spinning-house, in which tobacco was spun, at a later date called the tobacco-factory. These mills were conducted by Thomas Leiper until his death, in 1825. By his will, April 21, 1824, he devised his real estate to his sons, George G., William J., and Samuel M. Leiper. The estate remained undivided until 1843, when the property on which the snuff-mills were located was conveyed by his co-heirs to William J. Leiper. Shortly after the death of Thomas Leiper a two-vat paper-mill was erected, which was supplied with water from the same race which gave power to the snuff-mills. In 1826, and for several years thereafter, the paper-mill was operated by John Holmes(husband of Elizabeth Gray Leiper,g-dau:of Thomas Leiper). In 1829, George G. Leiper conducted the business at this mill, which was destroyed by fire in 1836.
In 1861, Simeon Lord purchased the Darby Mills of Thomas Steel and removed to that place. The Avondale property passed from William J. Leiper, by sheriff's sale, to Mrs. Helen H. Patterson, Aug. 24, 1858. At that time the mill property consisted of nine acres, a cotton-mill, and twenty-two stone tenements. On May 1, 1865, the large stone factory was burned, the machinery being at the time owned by Charles M. Gilberson, the lessee. The factory was rebuilt. Callender J. Leiper purchased the property of Helen H. Patterson, Nov. 1, 1870, and in 1872 he sold to William J. Leiper, who now owns it. William J. Leiper leased the property to Messrs. Callahan & Sharkey. `The mill was destroyed by fire Aug. 23, 1873, involving a loss to the lessees of about thirteen thousand dollars and a heavy loss to Mr. Leiper. The factory was rebuilt and operated by John Greer & Co. until 1878, then by David Brown, of Haddington, until May 1, 1881, when it was dismantled. The building was subsequently used by the Franklin Artificial Stone Company from the fall of 1882 to the spring of 1884
Strath Haven Mills. - In the summer of 1776, Dr. Robert Harris, at this locality, had established a powder-mill, under a contract with the Committee of Safety, which required him to deliver one ton of powder to the State authorities every week.1 The mill, which was of frame and hastily constructed, disappeared with the occasion which called it into being. About 1824, Thomas Leiper, who then owned the estate, erected on the site of this mill, on Crum Creek, a tilt- or blade-mill, which was operated by Nahum Keys. In 1826 he was reported as then making about two hundred dozens of scythes and straw-knives per annum. For several years after that date, until 1830, the mill was operated by George G. Leiper, when it was changed to a paper-mill and leased to Park
Elizabeth Coultas Gray 1762-1829 married in 1778 to Thomas Leiper 1745-1825, son of Thomas and Helen (Hamilton Leiper of Strathavon, Lanark, Scotland, where he was born. He immegrated to America in 1763, joining two bothers in Mayland. In 1765 he accepted a partnership in the export of tobacco business with his cousin Gavin Hamilton and moved to Philadelphia where he became a successful manufacturer and public spirited citizen. In 1775 Mr. Leiper was one of the founders of the Philadelphia First City Troop of Light Horse with which he served as First Sergeant and later as Lieutenant, being present at the battles of Trenton, Princeton, Monmouth, Brandywine, and Germantown, besides serving throughout the Revolution on many speical missions. As Treasureer of the Troop he carried the last subsidies of the French to Washington at Yorktown. In 1810 he built the first permanent tramway in America to carry stone from his quarries on Crum Creek, Delaware county , to the Schuylkill (someone crossed out Schuylkill and wrote in Tidewater, Deleware River). He owned much property and many factories in Philadelphia and the vicinity, was active in politics, an ardent democrat and an intimate of Jefferson. Although filling many civil posts he never accepted pay for any of his political activities, but instead contributed large sums to public ends.
My husband's mother is a Leiper/Gray descendant and we have a book privately published in 1940 in Ann Arbor Michigan entitled "The Hon. George Gray, 4th of Philadelphia, His Ancestors & Decendants" that has all of the Leiper/Gray (and much more) geneology in it. It starts in 1683 and ends in 1939.
Father: Thomas LEIPER b: 5 Jul 1702 in Strathaven,Lanark,,Scotland
Mother: Helen HAMILTON b: ABT 1706 in Kype,Scotland
Elizabeth Coultas GRAY b: 26 Aug 1762 in Philadelphia, PA.
- Thomas LEIPER b: 1780
- Thomas LEIPER b: 1782
- Martha Gray LEIPER b: 2 Sep 1783
- Judge George Gray LEIPER b: 3 Feb 1786 in Delaware Co. Pa.
- Elizabeth Coultas LEIPER b: 28 Jun 1788
- Thomas LEIPER b: 1790
- Helen Hamilton LEIPER b: 20 Apr 1792
- James Gray Sproat LEIPER b: 21 Jul 1794
- Jane Duval LEIPER b: 10 Nov 1796
- Ann Gray LEIPER b: 18 Dec 1798
- Julliana Dunlap LEIPER b: 11 Jan 1801
- William Jones LEIPER b: 17 Apr 1803
- Samuel McKean LEIPER b: 20 Aug 1805
Name: Family History Library
Salt Lake City, UT 84150 USA
Title: International Genealogical Index (R)
Author: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Publication: Copyright (c) 1980, 1997, data as of February 1997
Name: Family History Library
Salt Lake City, UT 84150 USA
Source Media Type: Film
Page: Film #: 1985317, Page #: , Ordinance #: