Glen Providence Ghosts!

Oct 2, 2011 by

Yes, this is an actual 18th century ghost story that takes place in Glen Providence Park! This story was found among the papers of the late Dr. Anna E. Broomall, who died in 1931.  She was a relative of John M. Broomall, who until his death in 1894 owned the land that is now Glen Providence Park and Broomall’s Lake Country Club.

You can follow along the with the locations in the story on these 1810 and 1909 maps- see our Endnotes!  There is also a Witch Story recounted in the same article, which we will share at a later date…

From the May 15, 1931 Chester Times article, Local “Witches” of Long Ago Described by Dr. Broomall:

 

1810 Map of Delaware County

“In the latter part of the eighteenth century a young man and woman living in Marple township decided to get married.  The nearest available minister was at the Presbyterian Meeting House in Marple township [1].  One evening the couple started out for Middletown the two of them riding the same horse as was sometimes the custom in those days.  The pair arrived safely at the meeting house and were forthwith married.  Their road to and from the meeting house was by the way of Rose Tree Tavern and down Kirk’s lane the latter at that time a rather important road [2].  On the way back from the meeting house some quarrel probably arose between the two but at any rate the man killed his wife and escaped from the neighborhood and was never heard of again.  The finding of the woman’s body was the only thing left to tell the story.

“The ghost of this unfortunate woman was for many years afterwards reported to walk up and down the valley to the west of Media along the old race bank which extended from Scroggie about as far up the valley as the present Broomall’s Lake [3]. The remains of this race bank are still visible [4].  The ghost was reported to have been seen by many people and every night was said to appear punctually at 11 o’clock. [5]

“Many years after this occurrence was found in the valley between Kirk’s Lane and what is now Media, near what is known as the “Iron Spring,” the decomposed body of a man [6].  The remains were unidentifiable and it was never known who the man was.  It was supposed by many that the repentant husband and murderer of the young woman referred to above had returned to the scene of his crime and committed suicide.

“Shortly after the finding of the body it was reported on good authority that the ghost of this unfortunate was also taking nightly walks on the old race bank.  The two apparitions were said to walk back and forth in opposite directions.  This effectively settled the rumors in regard to Ghost No. 2 being the murderer of Ghost No. 1 as they hardly would have passed night after night without some sign of recognition [7].  The identity of the man was never established.

“These events occurred many years ago and probably the nightly walking of the ghosts has ceased, as there are no reports of their having been seen of late years.  Further the path along the old mill race is now grown up with bushes and shows no sign of use.  

 

End Notes:

[1] The church where they wed appears to be the current Middletown Presbysterian Church, the oldest Presbyterian Church in Delaware County, which dates back to the early 1720’s.   It seems Dr. Broomall meant to say Middletown, not Marple, otherwise the couple would have no need to travel on Kirk Lane to get to the church!

[2] Click on our 1810 map and follow the couple’s route!  Start at “Rose Tree” in the upper right (that’s the Rose Tree Tavern in the current  Rose Tree Park), along the unmarked Kirk Lane (running above the word “Providence”), straight to the church marked with “Presb. M.”!

1909 Map of Upper Providence Township

[3] The valley west of Media, which is now Glen Providence Park, used to be called Scroggie Valley.  The Little family house at Kirk Lane and Ridley Creek Road was referred to as Scroggie as late as 1952.  You can see the “Scrogie” house marked on this 1909 map!  So the ghosts were pacing up and down Broomall’s Run, from Scroggie to Broomall’s Lake, straight through Glen Providence Park!

[4] We would like to investigate where this race bank may have been- and we  found record of an old mill on Broomall’s Run!   The November 13, 1948 Chester Times obituary of Louis Little indicates that his family estate Scroggie “was named for an old shingle mill that was located in the valley where Glen Providence Park is now situated”; his family moved there in 1881. The January 7, 1949 Chester Times asked, “Do you recall when George W. Hill had a Shingle Mill, at Scrogie?”

[5] Could the ghosts’ nightly walks be the real reason Glen Providence Park is closed after dusk?

[6] We will try to identify the location of the “Iron Spring”!

[7] How interesting that the ghosts’ behavior is used as evidence of their identity in life.

 

We will add to these notes as we gather more information!

 

Researched by Stephanie Gaboriault

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