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Old Chester, PA: Biographical Sketches

John J. Thurlow


John J. Thurlow

(A biographical sketch taken from One Hundred Years, The Delaware County National Bank Chester, PA 1814-1914)

Years in parentheses are years of service as a Director of The Bank of Delaware County and/or The Delaware County National Bank

John 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.

In 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 years.

 

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2002 John A. Bullock III.

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