Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Kingsessing Park

My daughter and her husband were visiting over Christmas and it reminded me of the trip my son in law and I took to Kingsessing Park the first weekend in November. My wife and I were in Philadelphia for a visit and I told him I wanted to see what was there, since it was the original homestead of one of her great grandfathers.  

I wrote earlier about her distant cousin, James Barton Longacre,who was the Engraver for the US Mint in Philadelphia during the mid 1800s and their common ancestor who had settled in the Kingsessing area, which is just a few blocks from where my daughter lives.

Peter Longacre, who was born November 16,1682, was the son of Andreas Peterson Longacre and Magdalena Cock. Peter's father was the first Longacre in the family.

According to the book "The 1693 Census of the Swedes on the Delaware River" by Peter Stebbins Craig, the Swedish families adopted surnames for the census as requested by William Penn, the Governor of Pennsylvania. Their custom had been to take a name from their father's first name rather than having a surname like their English neighbors. At this point the Swedes who had settled in the area first were not getting along too well with their English Governor but they complied with the order to start using surnames. Longacre is supposed to mean long field or maybe designate someone who owned a lot of land. That would have fit Andres Peterson when he added the name since he owned a large farm in Chester County.  

St. Paul's Episcopal Church marriage record
His son, Peter Longacre married Barbara Nilsdotter (Friend) at the St Paul´s Episcopal Church in Chester, Pennsylvania on November 16, 1705. 

Peter owned 200 acres in what is now southwest Philadelphia in a community called Kingsessing. This was the first area settled by Europeans in Philadelphia when they arrived in 1646. They had at least five children, including my wife's ancestor Andrew Longacre. Peter died on May 7, 1739. I found his death notice in the American Weekly Mercury newspaper from Philadelphia.

American Weekly Mercury 5/10/1739

Andrew Longacre moved from Philadelphia to Virginia. He was the first in four generations of Longacre men who moved from the State they were born in to another, before the family ended up in West Texas in the 1860s. They followed a migration like many after the Revolutionary war, to the South and then West as Indian Land was opened to settlement.

So anyway, we walked around Kingsessing Park and the neighborhood back in November. There wasn't much there of note but my wife would be proud that a branch of the Philadelphia "Free Library" is located there.

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