Friday, August 16, 2013

On the Origins of the Greenbank and Marshallton Mills, Part 2


Researched and written by Walt Chiquoine --

In my first post, I discussed the early history of the property of Thomas Gillet, lying on Red Clay Creek between Ham Run and Hyde Run. This property passed to Nicholas Allum and Mathias Mattson of Cecil County, MD, then likely to Mattson’s nephew, Richard Rumsey. Rumsey lost the property at sheriff’s sale to Hipolitus Lefeaver, who sold the tract to Nils Laican in 1711. Laican would split the property in two halves.

Much of the early history of both properties of Nils Laican comes to us from his will of 1721 and a deed for the southern property written in 1730. By will, the southern property was to be sold to cover the expenses of Laican’s estate. In 1722, and after Nils’ death, John Seeds married Brita Laican. About the same time, he bought both a tract in Christiana Hundred and the southern Laican tract. Not long after, Seeds sold an interest in the southern property to Isaac HercĂ© (now Hersey or Hershey), a French Huguenot who had arrived in MCH several years earlier.

[While researching the Stanton area, I have located deeds whereby Isaac Hersey also purchased three mills from William Guest at a sheriff’s sale in 1723. These mills were the original mill seat of Charles Rumsey and John Watkins from about 1680. Hershey sold part of this tract (without the mills) in 1733/4; I have not found when he sold the mill seat itself. But this is really the story of Cocclestown or Stanton, and it deserves its own telling someday.]

John Rambo and Mary Laican, widow of Nils, were appointed administrators of Nils’ estate. The property transactions were within the family, so deeds were not written at the time of sale. But in 1730, John Seeds and Isaac Hersey were forced to put the property up for sale. In a three-way agreement with Nils’ administrators, the southern tract was sold to Solomon Cresson of Philadelphia. Solomon was a wealthy uncle of Isaac’s wife, Elizabeth Sluyter.

Buried in this deed is a clear statement: “…he the sd Isaac Hershe hath erected the said messuage + mill upon the piece of land hereby granted.” (Sorry for the quality of the image.) Based on the dates above, the first grist mill of Isaac Hersey was built between 1723 and 1728, or nominally about 1725. His sons and grandsons would occupy and run the mill seat until 1819 – a span of over 90 years. No wonder the area became known as Hershey’s Bridge! While Isaac Hersey built and operated the mill, Solomon Cresson would hold title to the property until his death in 1746. In Cresson’s will, he left the land to Isaac and Elizabeth, but for the benefit of their five children: Solomon, Benjamin, Isaac, Henry, and Rachel.

Isaac and Elizabeth Hersey and their son Henry died before 1764. In that year, daughter Rachel sold her (now) ¼ interest to her brother Benjamin, then Benjamin sold his ½ interest to his brother Solomon in 1767. It is believed that Solomon, now holding at least ¾ interest, rebuilt the mill about that time. I’m afraid I don’t know what happened to Solomon’s brothers Benjamin and Isaac. But Solomon Hersey left the mill to his sons Benjamin and Isaac in 1801. They are noted in the Assessment List of 1804, each owning ½ a mill, and operated the mill until 1819.

I have offered this story based on primary evidence that the Marshallton Mill site began as part of the tract of Thomas Gillet in 1684. It passed to Nils Laican in 1711, then to his son-in-law John Seeds in 1722. Seeds sold his interest to Isaac Hershe who built the first mill about 1725. The mill remained in the Hersey family until 1819.


  1. Walt....I do not know how you keep all the names straight! I commend you. Good Job!!
    Little did Isaac Know when he built his mill it would be an active site for 278 YEARS until the current owners closed its doors in 2003!!..
    WOW....that's a long time!

  2. Walt --- great work! A lot of those people are in my tree and ancestors of my Shakespeare and Springer cousins.

    I pointed out this story to two Springer cousins who are descendants of Isaac Hersey.

    Rich Morrison

  3. I just found these article while researching my family tree. This is interesting to learn about my family history since my grandfather didn't like talking about the Hersey bloodline.

  4. Leanne Hersey BeaghanJanuary 15, 2019 at 12:00 PM

    This is amazing! I'm curious how the Hersey's made their way to southern York County in Pa.