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In this low station here I'm fix'd nor envy courts nor kings,
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
It is 30 bushels I have sent thee, and Notwithstanding the Labour & Care I have taken to oblige thee which the bran itself will testify to anyone who is a Judge I have Charged only 15 pr bushell—Lower than Can Well be aforded but I shall not Regard that as it is to a friend—it May appear to thee perhaps that I have Said Rather tomuch in praise of the bran yet upon Examination I think it will appear
(illegible) for if it Don' fully answer the Description I have Given it I should not be unwilling to make some abatement in price—this from thy Most Respectful & Sincere friend
Thomas Wharton was cousin to that Thomas Wharton whose father, Joseph Wharton, owned Walnut Grove in Southwark where the “Mischianza
was held. He was a prominent merchant in Philadelphia, a friend of Galloway and of Goddard the printer, and a partner with them in the establishment of the latter's newspaper, the Chronicle. He was on the King's side, as was Galloway, was arrested as a Loyalist by order of Congress, exiled to Virginia, and his estates confiscated.
From these examples of his writings we must not think of him as an illiterate man. He came to dwell in Germantown from well out in the country near the present Fox Chase, and the schools in that early day were purely elementary. We see, however, his gentle spirit, fair in his dealings and appreciative of the beautiful things he found in nature.
In these early days the Wissahickon Creek was more than twice its present size and volume, the cutting of the forests along its banks and near its source having decreased it since then. It was a favourite course for the Indians of the Delaware tribe and for some famous hermits. Here it was that the learned Kelpius had his cave and nearby Glen Fern, on a hill above a woody romantic dell through which the creek meandered, was the Monastery built by Joseph Gorgas, a Tunker-Baptist, who intended it as a branch of the brotherhood established at Ephrata in Lancaster County.
The entrance to Glen Fern was secured by the purchase of a private right of way from the property owners from the Cresheim Creek near the present Allen's Lane station of the Pennsylvania Railroad about a mile distant. This followed the line of Allen's Lane named for Major Allen, whose great house stood where the road joined the Main Street.
There was no means of refining the grist which was brought to the mill and often garlic became noticeable in the flour. This flour was not marketable in Philadelphia and so there arose a large foreign trade, for Livezey found a ready sale for the flour in the West Indies and countries of the south. To the profits he added Spanish dollars diligently gathered from the country round and so back in the ships came silks and delicate shades of crêpe and handsome chinaware. Thus the son John became a great merchant in the city and rode thence and back each day upon horseback.
Thomas Livezey married Martha Knowles April 2, 1748, the year after his purchase of Glen Fern. Five sons and five daughters were born to them. Rachel married John Johnson, Martha, Peter Robeson, and Ann, Isaac Williams, all of prominent Germantown families.