The Thomas Massey House is a monument to the American dream – the home of an indentured servant who became a landowner, and like the American dream the house has endured over 300 years. The Thomas Massey House is one of the oldest English Quaker homes in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is on the National Register of Historical Places, and the Historical American Building Survey.
The Thomas Massey House is unique because so much of the original fabric has survived. The 1696 brick portion was built by Thomas Massey as an addition to the existing log or frame house. In 1731 his son, Mordecai, replaced the log or frame house with a stone section. During the restoration, evidence of a walk-in-fireplace and beehive oven was discovered. These features have been reconstructed and are in use today.
Ninety-three years before the Declaration of Independence was signed, a group of people, known as The Society of Friends departed England to come to Pennsylvania where they could practice religious freedom. A part of this group of Friends, or Quakers, came on the Ketch “Endeavor”, arriving in the Delaware River on September 29, 1683, and disembarked at Upland, which is now Chester.
Thomas Massey was born in the village of Marpoole (Marple) in Cheshire, England. Arriving in America at the age of twenty Thomas disembarked at Chester as an indentured servant to Francis Stanfield, who thusly provided transportation for eight people to the New World. Thomas fulfilled his indenture and received the promised 50 acres of ground from his master and 50 acres from William Penn. Arriving with Thomas on the “Endeavor” was a thirteen year old girl, Phebe Taylor, who came with her mother and seven siblings to join their father, Robert. In 1692 Thomas Massey married Phebe Taylor – he was twenty nine, she was twenty two.
By 1696 Thomas was able to buy three hundred acres of land from James Stanfield, the son of Francis, and established his “plantation” in Marple Township. At this time he started his fine brick house. Seven children were born to Thomas and Phebe before his death in 1707. In his will Thomas left his “plantation” to his eldest son, Mordecai, with the provision that Phebe should have “the lower room in the brick end of the house, a horse and a cow” as long as she remained a widow. Mordecai was thirteen when his father died, and his youngest sister was less than a year old. With seven small children to raise it was no wonder that in two years Phebe married Bartholomew Coppock, a widow with two children.
Mordecai Massey married Rebecca Rhoads in 1731, it was probably about this time that he changed the original log or frame house to stone. A kitchen addition was made in the early 19th century and about 1860 a room was added over the kitchen. It was fashionable at this time to have a section of siding on a house, which is why the second story of the kitchen was faced with siding on one side.
In 1964 the Massey House was on the verge of demolition when a descendant, Lawrence M.C. Smith bought the house and one acre of ground, and gave it to the Township of Marple for restoration. Restoration was to be completed in ten years. Although the “plantation” is now only one acre, gardens of the period are maintained.
The Massey House is presently furnished with appropriate late 17th and 18th century furniture.
Children of Thomas and Phebe Massey:
Early residents of the Massey House:
Thomas and Phebe Massey
Mordecai and Rebecca Rhoads Massey
Henry and Hannah Massey Lawrence
The house is open for tours each Sunday from the last Sunday in April until the last Sunday in October between 1pm and 4pm with the exception of holiday weekends or by appointment.
The Massey House is open
Sunday's from 1 PM to 4 PM
May through October except
for holiday weekends.
We appreciate any contribution
to the continuous upkeep
and preservation of the Thomas Massey House.
Send donations to:
Thomas Massey House,
P.O. Box 18, Broomall, PA 19008. .