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January 2, 1681. His land consisted of seven hundred and fifty acres and the original house is still standing about a mile east of Fox Chase in the thirty-fifth ward of Philadelphia. A son, Jonathan, married Rachel Taylor and of the six children born to them, Thomas, who married Elizabeth Heath, was the father of Thomas, Jr., born January 23, 1723, who bought the property on the Wissahickon Creek.

Thomas Livezey was a many sided man; he lived beside his mill on the Wissahickon and cultivated a large farm on the hillside and adjacent country. His house stood on a terrace with stone steps leading up to the door with seats on each side, over which there is a balcony. The hallway is rather small with a winding stairway leading to the second storey. The rooms are wainscotted in white panels and there is a fireplace in each room surrounded by dark marble. In the kitchen there is a fireplace of huge dimensions, large enough for several people to sit in, with a window alongside the seat in the inglenook which they called the “courtin corner.” In front of the house the old box-bushes denote the presence of a garden.

A spring sparkles forth at one end of the house and the whole is surrounded by the virgin forest.

Thomas Livezey was somewhat of a wag and given to expressing himself in verse at times. While interested in the law itself, as his mention of Blackstone's Commentaries in his will indicates, he enjoyed an opportunity to cast aspersions playfully upon its practitioners. He was a fellow-trustee of the Union School of Germantown, now the Germantown Academy, with Joseph

Galloway, a prominent Friend, lawyer, and politician. They seem to have been very close friends and Galloway was wont to poke fun at his friend Livezey for living in such a hidden place as the wilds of the Wissahickon, so far removed from the busy world and so inaccessible. This gave him the occasion to describe his abode in the following lines: DEAR FRIEND

Dec. 14th, 1769. As thou hast often concluded from the lowness of my situation, that I must be nearly connected with the lower regions, or some infernal place of abode, I have sent thee the following true description of the place of my residence in order to convince thee of that errour. Near Wissahiccon's mossy banks, where perling fountains glide, Beneath the spruce's shady boughs, and laurels blooming pride, Where little fishes sport and play, diverting to the sight, Whilst all the warbling winged race, afford the ear delight. Here's evergreens by nature set, on which those songsters sing, And flowery aromatic groves, form an eternal Spring. Refreshing breezes round me move, which with the blossoms play, And balmy odours on their wings, through all my vale convey. Those charming scenes, didst thou dwell here, would all thy care

beguile And in the room of anxious fear, would form a harmless smile. Here's innocence and harmony, which raises thoughts sublime Little inferior to the place, call’d Eden in its prime. Thus situated here I dwell, where these sweet zephyrs move, And little rivulet from rocks, add beauty to my grove. I drink the wine my hills afford, on wholesome food I dine, My little offspring round me are, like clusters on the vine, I, hand in hand, with second self oft walk amidst the bowers, Whilst all our little prattling ones, are gathering opening flowers,

In this low station here I'm fix'd nor envy courts nor kings,
Nor crave the hon’rs statesmen crave nor cares which riches bring.
Hon's a dangerous tempting thing, which oft lead men astray,
Riches like insects from them wing, and quickly flee away.
My meditations here are free from interrupting strife,
Whilst different ways aspiring men pursue indifferent life.
I see what art the clergy use, who will be paid to pray,
And how poor clients are abused, by Lawyers long delay;
I see what cunning artifice, the busy world employ,
Whilst I this lonely seat of bliss, unenvied here enjoy.
This is the place of my abode where humbly here I dwell,
Which in romantic Lawyer mood, thou hast compar'd to hell
But paradise where Adam dwelt, in blissful love & ease,
A Lawyer would compare to hell, if thence he got no fees.
Canst thou prefer heaven on earth, thy fee the root of evil,
To this my lonely harmless place, my hell without a devil?

Permit me from my low situation to thine of eminence, to do myself that justice as to say, I am with much respect thy sincere friend.


I shall conclude with the words made use of by Zacheus of old, “ Come down, Come down quickly, for I want thee to dine at my house."

Besides being a founder of the Union School House of Germantown in 1759, he was a justice of the peace and a Provincial Commissioner in 1765. Being a Friend, he took no part in the struggle for independence, but at the time of the Battle of Germantown, hearing the roar of the cannon, he ascended the hill back of his house and climbed onto a fence to get a view of the fighting. But a stray bullet broke off a limb of the tree under which

he was, and he concluded it was best to return to the house.

The house has capacious cellars and during the troublous times of the Revolution the girls of the family together with all the eatables and drinkables were locked below stairs for safety. Upon one occasion during the British occupancy of Germantown some red-coated soldiers came to the house and demanded food. The women folk said they had been cooking all day and were too weary to prepare it. Whereupon one of the soldiers drew his sword and smote off one of the women's ears. An officer entering at the time demanded to know who had done such a foul deed and when the soldier was pointed out to him he clave the culprit's head in twain with his sabre.

Livezey cultivated a fine vineyard on his hillside and his wine, indeed, brought him a little modest renown, for his friend, Robert Wharton, sent a dozen bottles of it to Benjamin Franklin from whom he received this reply:


February 20–1768. I received your favours of November 17th. & 18th., with another dozen bottles of excellent wine, the manufacture of our friend Livezey. I thank you for the care you have taken in forwarding them, and for your good wishes that accompany them.


An interesting description of the troubles these early Colonists had to meet is contained in Elizabeth Drinker's Journal under date of October 24, 1793, in which she states that Thomas Livezey's mill was on fire and that

crowds of people with buckets went on foot and on horseback together with the fire engine commonly known as the “Shag Rag,” now in the museum of the Mutual Fire Association, Main Street and School House Lane. The mill was burned down and six hundred barrels of flour, five hundred bushels of wheat, and a quantity of salt and ginger were lost, amounting to three thousand pounds sterling, indicating that Livezey did no inconsiderable business at that time. Elizabeth Drinker adds that “ the sufferers were pretty well and much composed considering.”

Even in his trade Livezey broke into verse, as this to Thomas Wharton shows:

Respected Friend I've sent thee bran
As Neat & Clean as any Man
I've took Great Pains for fear of Loss
To thee in foundering of thy Horse
It's Ground With Bur and Ground so nice
It Looks twas bolted twice
But that's No matter Since it's Such
thy Man Can't ever feed tomuch
I mean Can't founder if he would
I've took Such pains to Make it Good.
Nor will it Ever Dust his Cloaths
Nor Give thy horse a Mealy Nose
And further in its praise I'll Say
t'will Never Make him Runaway
but if on this alone he's fed
a Child may hold him with a thread
feed freely then Nor be in Doubt
I'le send thee More when this is out.

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