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Horsham Preservation & Historical Association

...the Future of Horsham's Past

History Social Gathering

Social Gatherings

from Craven's History of Horsham

Social gatherings were popular among the early residents of Horsham Township. People came together to share news and to help with the work. Sewing circles served a utilitarian, as well as social purpose, since all clothing was made by hand. Eight girls from the village of Babylon formed the “Thimble Club” which met for nearly seventy years during the nineteenth century.

It was customary for young girls to practice the various embroidery stitches on pieces of linen. These were called samplers, because examples of each type of stitch mastered would be included in a design. Sometimes a Psalm or a proverb would be embroidered on the cloth, or perhaps, the letters of the alphabet. The sampler would then be hung on the wall for all to see. Sometimes a girl would give a small square piece of material to each of her friends, and ask that they write their names on the material. Often a child would write a small verse or decorate the square in addition to the signature. Always the best handwriting would be used for the signature. The squares were then collected by the owner of the material, who would then embroider whatever design and name appeared on the square. Finally the squares were sewn together to make a quilt cover.

In 1867 Elizabeth Walton Mullin made a quilt, now in the possession of her grandniece, Mrs. Helen Stemple Childs, of Doylestown, on which can be found the names of the descendants of the first settlers of Horsham. The following surnames appear on the quilt: Lukens, Slack, Doan, Hallowell, Armitage, Kenny, Watson, Walton, Carr, Iredell, Lewis, Mullin, Kermey, Kirk, Pristley, Dresher, Logan, Kenderdine, and Wilson.

The Prospectville Community Hall was the scene of many cultural activities. In 1873 a “Singing School” met weekly at the Hall. In that same year, George Worth of Prospectville and a few friends founded a “Literary Society”.

The Horsham Debating Society met at the school house near the corner of Horsham and Babylon Roads. The meetings drew a large attendance as people gathered to hear discussions on a variety of topics. A similar group formed in the eastern part of the township during the 1890’s, and was called the “Trolley 500”, because the members all lived along the Doylestown-Willow Grove line. A topic would be chosen and assigned to a member, who then would research the subject, and present an original paper at the next meeting.

During the Civil War, women from Horsham met at Three Tuns, the Inn at the junction of Butler Pike and Norristown Road, to make bandages for the wounded soldiers. The Horsham Farmers Club, which drew its membership from Horsham and the surrounding area, first met on February 10, 1887. It was active until 2002, and at each meeting a ‘farm report’ was read, noting types and quantity of crops and livestock produced in the area during the previous month.

Horse racing was a favorite sport. In July of 1892 Mr. and Mrs. Daniel H. Buck opened the Lindenwald Race Track at their farm, located behind the Hallowell Hotel in the northeastern part of the Township. The Thanksgiving Day races were immensely popular since horses and riders from Willow Grove, Hatboro, and Jenkintown competed with men from Horsham.

By the 1920’s the children of the township could belong to the Boy Scouts or the Girl Scouts. During those years the Boy Scouts met in the Fire Hall, in the Grace Presbyterian Church and in the Horsham Elementary School. Troop 241, formerly was called Troop 1, and was organized in October of 1924. Irvin Radcliffe was one of the first Scoutmasters. From 1927-34 Clarence Haggerty was Scoutmaster. The first Cub Scout pack was Pack 310, formed in November of 1944. In 1953-54 a Scout Cabin was built on Meetinghouse Road after funds were raised by subscription. All the work was done by volunteers.

Katherine Brooks started Girl Scout Troop 1 of Hatboro in 1920. Girls from Horsham were members of this first troop. Some of the early leaders were: Helen White, Sarah White, Dot Berrige and Anna Ford. In 1946 Mrs. Gus Britland established a troop in Horsham Township.

In 1955 the Woman’s Community Club of Horsham was organized and federated. members participate in civic work throughout the Township.

Logo Greater Horsham Chamber

On September 11, 1961 a group of business men and women met at the township building to organize a Chamber of Commerce to replace a former organization that was no longer active. The new Chamber of Commerce has as its purpose the promotion of the business interests of the community. The area is currently served by the Greater Horsham Chamber of Commerce which was organized in 2009. HPHA is a founding member of the GHCC and its Non-Profit Round Table.

The Propectville Branch of the Needlework Guild of America made clothes for people in need. Mr. John J Nesbitt III, formerly of Horsham and now residing in Newtown Square, PA, recently donated some memorabilia from the Prospectville Branch of the Needlework Guild of America. Mr. Nesbitt's mother had been a member of the guild.

photo of title page Prospectville Branch Needlework guild of America Organized 1951
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Prospectville Branch NGA
Title page of book Prospectville Branch Needlework guild of America Organized 1951 donated to HPHA by John J Nesbitt III
photo of title page Prospectville Branch Needlework guild of America Organized 1951
Horsham Preservation and Historical Association
The Future of Horsham's Past
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