PA-OLD-CHESTER-L ArchivesArchiver > PA-OLD-CHESTER > 2005-12 > 1135096328
From: "Mal Humes" <>
Subject: RE: [PaOldC] Blue Bell in Darby?
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2005 11:32:08 -0500
Seems likely the tavern cited is related. It's about 10 miles from Chester,
and a mile from what is now Chester Pike, and close to Darby.
I found an interesting page on tavern icons common back in the day when not
everyone could read, and back when street numbers didn't exist that offers a
little context on why they'd be cited as landmarks. Blue Bell was probably
not an uncommon tavern sign, and other symbols like Red Lion and Blue Ball
are tavern names that later turned into town names in PA that date back to
the original Kennet river area in the UK that some of the early Chester
settlers came from.
Some history on tavern signs can be found here:
There is also a town called Blue Bell in the area also but further north and
about 25 miles from the town of Chester. This Blue Bell has a famous Blue
Bell Tavern also, with Washington cited as having been there but in December
1777. But the history of the tavern name and town name are actually post
Rev. War, though it's unclear if the tavern may have had a Blue Bell sign at
the time of the war.
For Blue Bell, PA, see:
Zoom out a little or scroll right and you can see context close to Ambler
and Norristown, and just west of Germantown area of Philly. It's in Whitpain
Township, Montgomery County:
This page covers some of Washington's stay at the a Blue Bell Tavern there:
That area relates specifically to December 1777 movements by Washington that
are also related to Matson's Ford. I found another link with good info on
"Matson's Ford played a small part in history during the Revolutionary War.
In 1777, Washington's army left Whitemarsh and traveled down Conshohocken's
Fayette Street towards Matson's Ford. They constructed a bridge of wagons,
over which rails were laid as the soldiers crossed under the command of
Lafayette. As they were coming over, Lord Cornwallis and his British
soldiers appeared from the hills. Our soldiers were forced to retreat and
cross Swede's Ford into Valley Forge on December 13, 1777."
Then there's Blue Ball, PA, a bit east of Chester County in Lancaster
County, in more of a Mennonite area, and a famous Blue Ball Tavern in Paoli,