Hulmeville takes its name from John Hulme, who settled here [about the close of the eighteenth century*], purchased the site of the village and a large tract adjoining, with water [privileges, taking possession, 1792. The place was then called Milford and had only one house. The town site was laid out 1796-99, a post office opened with a weekly mail, and the name of the place changed to that of the new owner. It was called Hulmeville Landing, 1812, by many.
Additions were made to the corn and grist mills; fulling mill, merchant four and saw mills erected, followed by a machine shop. In a few the years the village had grown into a place of thirty dwellings, besides stores, work-shops, and mills, and a stone bridge across the Neshaminy.
Mr. Hulme brought up his sons to practical and mechanical pursuits, and had them settled around him. For several years he would not allow a public house to be opened in the village, but entertained travelers at his own residence. When the growth of the town forced him to change his policy, he built a tavern, but prohibited the opening of a bar. [After the war with England, 1812-15, a crash came, and disaster overtook the sons. The population of Hulmeville was 376 in 1880 and 418 in 1890. A new iron bridge was erected here in 1899, the spans making 430 feet.*]
About 1834, two little girls, of six and seven years, respectively, lived in the village - one, Martha Crealy, an orphan child, adopted by Mary Canby, widow of Joshua Canby, who lived in the dwelling lately owned and occupied by Elisha Praul; the other, Mary Parsons, who lived with her aunt, Mary Nelson, on the site of William Tilton's residence. The girls played in the yard, around the house, at toss and catch with acorns; both died before they reached ten years, leaving monuments to their memory without knowing it. In each yard a little oak sprang up and in the years that have intervened, developed into splendid specimens of trees; that in Mr. Tilton's yard being a red oak, twelve feet eight inches in circumference and ninety feet high; the one in Elisha Praul's, a Spanish oak, ten feet three inches in circumference and ninety-six feet high, measured four and one-half feet above ground. The trees are seventy feet apart, and the lower limbs intertwine, forming an arch over Neshaminy street, the Doylestown and Bristol trolley running under it. What more beautiful and suggestive memorial. The trees are named Martha and Mary, respectively.*]
Edmund G. Harrison, son of George Harrison, was born at Hulmeville, May 2, 1828, and his mother a daughter of John Hulme, who established industrial work on the Neshaminy one hundred years ago. The father of Edmund G. was a prominent man, and twice elected to the Assembly. The son spent several years at Asbury Park, on the Jersey Coast, and from there went to Washington to take charge of the Roads Division of the Agricultural Department, where he died February 6, 1901. In the summer of 1900 he put down a specimen road from Doylestown to the Farm School. Mr. Harrison founded the "Delaware Valley Advance," 1877; was deputy collector of Internal Revenue, and during the Civil War served a tour of duty in Capt. Burnett Landreth's state militia. His first public honor was a seat in the legislature, to which he was elected, 1854, at the age of 26.*
In the autumn of 1809, Josiah Quincy, of Boston, with his family, on his way to Washington to attend Congress, stopped overnight at Hulmeville, and were entertained by Mr. Hulme. Mrs. Quincy made a flattering notice of Mr. Hulme in her journal, and afterward spoke to him as one of the most practical philosophers she had ever met, and that "his virtues proved him truly wise." Mr. Hulme rose from poverty to wealth and influence by the force of his own character. He became one of the most respected men in the county, was several times elected to the legislature, was the first president of the Farmers' bank of Bucks county, and held other positions of honor and trust. He died in 1817.
The following extract from the "Memoir of the Life of Eliza S. Quincy," Boston, daughter of Josiah Quincy, tells of the visit to Hulmeville. "In the autumn of 1809, Mr. and Mrs. Quincy left Boston for the City of Washington, with two of their children and three servants. They traveled in their carriage with four horses and in passing through New Jersey (Pennsylvania) they stopped over night at Hulmeville, a town situated on the Neshaminy, four miles from the Delaware. In the evening Mr. Hulme, the proprietor of the place, a venerable man in the Quaker dress, visited them, attended by two of his sons. He informed Mr. Quincy that he had often read his speeches in Congress, and came to thank him for the views and principles he supported. In reply to inquiries, Mr. Hulme said: 'When I purchased the site of this village, fourteen years ago, there was only one dwelling house upon it; now there are thirty, besides stores and workshops, a valuable set of mills, and a stone bridge over the Neshaminy. Here I have established a numerous family. I might have educated one of my sons as a lawyer, or set one up as a merchant, but I had not property enough to give them all such advantages; and I wished to make them equally attached to each other, and useful members of society; one of them is a miller, another a storekeeper, a blacksmith, a tanner, a farmer, a coachmaker, all master of their respective employments and they all assist one another. I have been rewarded by their good conduct and grateful affection. No one envies another. I have never heard an expression of discontent. We live like one family and my children and grandchildren are the comforts of my old age.'"
The next morning Mr. Hulme attended Mr. and Mrs. Quincy to see his mills and improvements. They were delighted with his arrangement, and when the hour of parting came, took a reluctant leave of their new friend, who had highly excited their admiration and respect." The descendants of Mr. Hulme kept up a correspondence with Josiah Quincy and family for many years, numerous letter passing between them.*]
According to Holme's map the site of Hulmeville was covered by Penn's grant to Henry Paulin, Henry Paxson, and William Carter. The original name was Milford, derived from "mill-ford," the mill at the ford across the Neshaminy, the first erected on that stream and being driven by its waters. The mill, of stone, built prior to 1725, stood just below the wing-wall of the present bridge (20). A plaster-mill was connected with it, and subsequently a woolen-mill. The erection of the dam across the stream prevented shad running up which greatly offended the Holland settlers of North and Southampton who made several attempts to tear it away. The town site was first laid out into building lots in 1799, and again in 1803. Its incorporation into a borough, in 1872, gave it an impetus forward, and since then the improvements have been quite rapid. Among the industrial establishments of Hulmeville are a cotton factory, erected in 1831, two years after the old woolen factory and grist and merchant-mills were burned, where 1,000 pounds of cotton yarn are turned out daily, a grist-mill, and large weaving shop and coverlet factory, and the customary mechanics. In the village there are two churches, the Episcopal, founded in 1831, and Methodist, in 1844, a large public and private school, lodges of Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, and Good Templars, Young Mens' Christian Association, two building associations, Fire Insurance company, organized in 1842, a manufacturing company, etc. Johnson's building contains a handsome hall that will seat 350 persons, with stage, drop curtain, etc. The bridge across the Neshaminy, 425 feet long, was re-built after the freshet of 1865, and is said to be the highest bridge spanning the stream. Three stages connect with the Philadelphia and Trenton railroad, and the Philadelphia and Bound Brook railroad passes within a mile of the village. Beechwood cemetery, a handsomely laid out burial place, is located on the brow of the hill on the south bank of the Neshaminy.
Probably the oldest mills on the lower Neshaminy, erected at Hulmeville about 1720, both grist and saw. The old foundations were exposed many years ago, when Silas Barkley made excavations for a new mill. The old mills were burned down, 1829, flour and plaster mills and woolen factory. The saw mill ceased running, 1834. In digging for the foundations of the new mill the water wheel of the old one was found. The present bridge, over the Neshaminy at Hulmeville replaces the last of the structures, built 1865, after the great flood. Henry Mitchell was one of the original owners of Milford mills, in partnership with Jeremiah Langhorne, Stoffell Vansant, John Plumley and Bartholomew Jacobs, and assisted in building them.
Grace Episcopal church, Hulmeville, was formerly a mission station of St.James' church, Bristol. A Sunday school was organized about 1826, and occasional service was held in the old school house. A subscription to raise funds for "an Episcopal church edifice" was started July 18, 1831, naming George Harrison, G. W. Rue, and William Johnson trustees. The principal subscribers were Reverend George [Greenbury*] W. Ridgeley, [who studied law with Henry Clay], George Harrison, Elizabeth and Hannah Gill, and Esther Rodman, each $100, besides many others of $50, and less. The building was commenced September 16, 1831, and finished October 21st, same year, a plain stone structure sixty by forty feet. It was consecrated July 3, 1837. In 1866 the church was remodeled and enlarged, and a two-story Sunday school-room erected in the rear. A tower was added to the church the following year. The cost of the improvements was about $4,000. [Mr. Ridgeway was the first rector.*]
A post office was established at Hulmeville in 1809, and Isaac Hulme appointed the first postmaster. [A public library was organized the winter of 1877.*]
NOTE: The above historical information is extracted from the following (which can be found at http://files.usgwarchives.org/pa/bucks/history/local/davis/davis11.txt):
THE HISTORY OF BUCKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, CHAPTER XI, MIDDLETOWN, 1692. from the discovery of the Delaware to the present time by W. W. H. Davis, A.M., 1876 and 1905* editions..
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Note: Where names differ, the 1905 edition spelling is applied