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Old Chester, PA: Biographical Sketches
John J. Thurlow
(A biographical sketch taken from One Hundred Years, The Delaware County National Bank Chester, PA 1814-1914)
J. Thurlow (1831-32), son of Thomas and Mary Thurlow, was born in
Essexshire, England, February 1, 1795. His parents possessing but limited
means, could not afford their son educational advantages, but,
industrious, aspiring, and observing, the lad, when fifteen, was employed
by Thomas Barston, of Yorkshire, a wealthy landowner, and soon was
entrusted with the management of the large estate, including the purchase
and sale of realty and collection of rents. At the end of the War of 1812,
the stories told by returning soldiers of opportunities afforded energetic
men to achieve fortunes in the New World so impressed young Thurlow that,
in May, 1819, he and his wife sailed for Philadelphia, where they landed
June 12, and shortly afterward purchased a farm at Newport, Delaware, and
procured license to use the dwelling as a public house.
1823, he rented the Columbia
House, at Fifth and Market streets, Chester, from Nimrod
Maxwell, to which he gave the name: "The Sign of the Ship,"
and while landlord of that inn, Mr. Thurlow started a line of stages
running from Philadelphia to Baltimore, which he disposed of when he
became one of the contractors for the building of the P., W. & B.
Railroad through Delaware county. In 1830, he removed to the "Eagle
Hotel," afterward the City Hotel, of which he continued the landlord
until 1840, when he retired from active business, other than the
supervision of his farm in Chester township, afterward known as "Thurlow's,"
when the P., W. & B. Railroad located a station in that section of the
present City of Chester. Much of the responsibility of conducting the
tavern fell to Mrs. Thurlow, while her husband was engaged in constructing
public works, and the hostelry was 'noted far and wide for its hospitality
and comfort. He secured the contract for building one of the sections of
the Pennsylvania canal, and a large tunnel on the North Pennsylvania
Railroad; his last work being the construction of the Spruce street tunnel
for the Pennsylvania Railroad. John J. Thurlow died May 16, 1887, aged 92
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This page last updated 10/17/05