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1649 - 1686
|PARENT (M) Robert Southery|
|Death||1686||Bethel, Delaware, Pennsylvania, USA|
|Marriage||to (unknown) Gibbons|
|PARENT (F) (unknown) Gibbons|
|Birth||BET 1645 AND 1660|
|Marriage||to Robert Southery|
|Father||(unknown father) Gibbons|
|Birth||ABT 1670||Bethel, Delaware, Pennsylvania, USA|
|Death||1742||Chester Co., PA|
The Earliest Settlers in Bethel Township:
Their Origins and Contributions
Bethel Township is located along the southern border of Delaware County, in the western suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bethel is bordered by Concord Township to the west, Upper Chichester to the east, Aston Township to the north and New Castle County, Delaware to the south.
The name of the township was recorded as "Bethel Lyberty" and was imported directly from Palestine. The word is said to signify "House of God" being the name of the second Hebrew letter (Beth-el) which is made after the fashion of a Hebrew house. Bethel Hamlet had an existence at a very early date, and was probably composed of the first rudely constructed dwellings of the early immigrants who built them near each other for safety.
Date of Settlement: 1682
Bethel Township was incorporated from Concord Township in 1683
Area: 5.44 square miles
Edward Bezer, Robert Eyre, John Gibbons, Robert Pyle, and Robert Sothery vie for the honor of being the earliest settlers in Bethel Township. All were immigrants from England, and had contracted for tracts of land before coming to these shores. Evidently they all arrived with their families and settled in Bethel about 1683, the year the township is first mentioned and recognized as a township or hamlet.
John Gibbons and Robert Southery each settled on 150 acre tracts, above Robert Pyle's 150 acres. Bethel Road ran thru each of these properties. The Gibbons Family is said to have built the first brick house in Bethel, it being on the south side of Bethel Road. The last of the Gibbons descendants moved from the township about 1720.
Robert Southery built a log house on the north side of Bethel Road, remnants of which have remained to the present. Robert died in 1686. He is remembered chiefly because his daughter Mary married John Palmer of Concord, and daughter Marjorie married John Hannum of Concord. Both families attained much prominence in the County, and their descendants are widely known.
As early as August 1-2, 1681, the first two leases and releases of land were made in what is now Bethel Township. The first were made to Edward Bezer and Edward Brown for 500 acres at the Chelsea end of the Township, and the second was made to John Gibbons, Sr. on what is now Bethel Road. Leases and Releases were preliminary transactions for land to be later confirmed by surveys and sometimes by resurveys. Later "patents" were given, which corresponded to what we now call "deeds".
The parcels of 150 acres each, which were taken up by Robert Southery, Robert Pyle, and Joseph Bushel, were part of the same tract taken up by John Gibbons, Sr., as noted above and may have been part of a parcel of 1,250 acres granted to a William Smith.
The first recorded survey made in what is now Bethel Township under the Penn Government was to Francis Smith on March 6, 1683, based on the above Lease and Release on September 9-10, 1681. The same year, surveys were made of the Bezer-Brown tract, the John Gibbons tract, and the Robert Southery Tract. The same named families probably settled on these lands, in 1683 or 1684.