Enclosed is a photograph of the great white oak tee which grew next to St. Andrew's Chapel in Belmont Hills (formerly West Manayunk). I also enclose a clipping from the Evening Bulletin, September 26, 1932, which refers to the tree.
When you wrote up Baffa's restaurant you said that the original stone house of the widow Jones is still standing in Belmont Hills. Did you know Belmont Hills was settled two months before William Penn arrived?
It was called Glanrason. The creek is called Glanafron Creek because that is the way Glanrason was spelled in the days when an "f" stood for "s".
West Manayunk's Old Oak
Sir: On the southwest corner of Ashland and Lyle Ave, in West Manayunk, Lower Merion township, Montgomery county, in front of St. Andrew's P.E. Mission, stands a white oak which measures 13 feet in circumference and about the same measurement 10 feet above ground.
There is no doubt about it being a member of the "Ancient and Honorable Order of Penn Trees" because William Penn was a visitor at the house which belonged to the plantation on which the tree now stands, on August 12, 1682.
Two months before the arrival of Penn, Edward Jones, a surgeon, and a band of Welshmen arrived in the ship "Lyons". They landed at what is now Pencoyd. They walked inland and chose land on which to build their future homes in the new world. John Apt. Thomas, who was to be one of their number, fell ill on the eve of sailing and was left at Liverpool. Jones promised to set aside a portion of land and erect a home for the Thomas family. On his arrival he set aside 4,000 acres on the hillaside and named it Glanrason Plantation.
When the "Lyons" returned to Liverpool it was learned that John Apt. Thomas had died. The widow, her children and servants, numbering 20 persons, sailed for Glanrason and on her arrival a deed was given her in the name of Jones instead of Thomas.
The original homestead is still standing. Thomas Jones, the surgeon, built the Merion Meeting House and it is known as the first place of worship built in Pennsylvania and in which Penn preached. Glanrason Plantation is not the site of both Belmont and Ashland Heights, with over 400 homes built upon it.
A stone in the center of the house reads "P 1682-1771 and a family named Lentz now reside in it. In the days of William Penn glass was unknown and large slits were left in the walls, over which oiled paper was used instead of window glass. The slits can still be seen tiday at Glanrason, so shat is to question the old oak tree in front of St. Andrew's Mission on a hilly rocky roadside at the foot of a house built before the arrival of William Penn and the very ground he is believed to have walked over. - John M. SICKINGER, 4423 Mansion Road, Manayunk, Philadelphia.
The boy in the photograph is Stwart Lyle, great-great-grandson of Stewart Lyle, master farmer. ASHLAND HEIGHTS