First Settler of Springfield Township
In 1728, the first recorded white man to arrive in the area now called Springtown was an Englishman named George Wilson. He came into the area by way of Cook’s Creek. He built a crude log hut on a portion of land along Silver Creek, a tributary branch of the larger Cook’s Creek. He was an innkeeper, storekeeper, and a retailer of rum. He traded goods with the Indians. George Wilson lived on the land as a squatter. A squatter was a settler who selected a tract of land, built a log house upon it, and began to clear and cultivate the soil as though he owned the land. Years later his widow secured patent deeds for the land and paid from ten to fifty pounds per hundred acres to the proprietors, the sons of William Penn.
The usual method of purchasing land was to locate a tract, secure a warrant for its survey, and then obtain a patent deed. Original deeds to many properties in this area are traceable to land grants from William Penn in the late 1600s and early 1700s.
Lottery Lands in Springfield Township
In 1735, the sons of William Penn decided to sell a tract of about 4,000 acres of their best land in southeastern Pennsylvania by lottery. The area was over 3 miles long and 2 miles wide. 7,750 lottery tickets were issued at 40 shillings each (1 shilling was equal to 12 pennies). 1,293 lottery tickets were marked as award prizes of 25 to 3,000 acres. Holders of the tickets were allowed to locate the land indicated as the prize on the lottery ticket. Eventually, holders of lottery tickets were allowed to secure the deed to the land. These acres became known as the Lottery Lands of Springfield Township. German immigrants obtained most of the land involved in the lottery ticket sale.
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The Springfield Township Historical Society
The above information is from the archives of the Springfield Township Historical Society as compiled by Betty Gross Riter.
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