Chester County Land Resources

1847 Map of Chester County, Library of Congress
Ancestor Tracks is committed to becoming a one-stop resource for researchers of early Pennsylvania landowners. In addition to publishing our own books, we are posting images of 19th century maps and atlases that we personally took in the Library of Congress. Our goal is to post landowner maps, or links to other websites with landowner maps, for every county in the state.

Original Land Owners: Unfortunately, the state of Pennsylvania did not plat the original warrantees and patentees on township maps, so there will be no volume regarding Chester Co. joining the Early Landowner series. However, a 1683 map of landowners was published in Henry Ashmead’s Historical Sketch of Chester, On Delaware with Maps and Illustrations (Chester, PA: Republican Steam Printing House, 1883).

See our explanation of how land was transferred from the government to individual owners from the earliest days of settlement.

The only way to find the date, book and page of the original warrant, survey, and patent for your ancestor is to do what the state draftsmen did to create their warrantee maps of other counties.  They searched through the relevant county Warrant Register, and that of its parent counties, now posted on the Pennsylvania State Archives website where each page of each county’s ledger is a separate pdf file, or download and save to your computer the entire set of 67 county Warrant Registers plus 3 pre-1733 ledgers called First Landowners of PA: Colonial and State Warrant Registers in the PA Archives, Harrisburg, 1682-ca 1940 ($35).   Once you have found the information, you can access the free online surveys, and you can order copies of the original documents from the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg using their order form

If you cannot find an original landowner’s name in the Warrant Registers, the next place to look is in Pennsylvania’s index to Patent Registers ($35). Within an index covering the relevant years, the names are grouped alphabetically by the first letter of the patentee’s surname, then grouped by volume number of Patent Book, and finally arranged chronologically by date of patent. Thus, you have to look through the entire alphabetical section (which may be as little as one page to as many as 50) to be sure you don’t miss anyone. See our explanation of how land was transferred from the government to individual owners from the earliest days of settlement.

Please note that these land transfers predate the deed books located in each county because they deal with the first transfer of land to private individuals at the state level. Once the land passed into the hands of a private owner, any subsequent transfer of the land was recorded as deeds in the county courthouse as it existed at that time.

Also, Estelle Cremers has created connected draft maps of the original owners of land in several townships in northern Chester County:

  • East Coventry
  • North Coventry
  • South Coventry
  • East Pikeland
  • West Pikeland
  • East Vincent
  • West Vincent
  • Warwick
  • Upper Uwchlan

She also published five books:

  • 30,000 Acres, History of the Vincents and the Pikelands
  • Reading Furnace, 1736
  • Treasures of the Upper French Creek, Warwick Township
  • Coventry the Skool Kill District, Basic History of the Three Coventry Townships, 1700-1850
  • The Upper Uwchlan, A Place Betwixt and Between

Check the Chester County Historical Society, the Tri-County Heritage Society, and Chester County Archives & Records Services for copies. These maps show the tracts according to metes and bounds and include the survey numbers so that the original surveys can be obtained from the Pennsylvania Archives in Harrisburg.

Revolutionary War Residents: The Chester County Archives has produced an outstanding interactive map showing residents in 1777, British depredations reported by property owners, locations of churches and meetinghouses, etc.

19th-Century Residents:  In lieu of being able to produce a book of the earliest landowners, we are posting images from Breou’s Official Series of Farm Maps, Chester County published by W.H. Kirk, 1883, courtesy of Nancy Romig of the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society. This atlas should be an invaluable tool when used in conjunction with the 1870 and 1880 census and with the several published histories of Chester County: Futhey and Cope’s 1881  1881 History of Chester County, Pennsylvania, with Genealogical and Biographical Sketches; Samuel Wiley’s 1893 Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chester County, Pennsylvania: Comprising a Historical Sketch of the County; Thomson’s 1898 Chester County and Its People; and Charles William Heathcote’s ca 1926 History of Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Click on the township of your choice below. Once the images are loaded, they can be enlarged by clicking on them. If an image doesn’t enlarge, right-click on it and choose “Open Image in New Tab.”  When it is opened in a new tab, you will be able to zoom in.


Breou’s Official Series of Farm Maps, Chester County, Pennsylvania, 1883

See the unparalleled 1777 Chester County Property Atlas project  by the Chester County Archives, along with their 1777 Atlas Landowner Key. This amazing site contains a plethora of information on men and properties of Chester County during the Revolutionary War. As their website states: 

“One of the defining moments in Chester County’s long history occurred on September 11, 1777 along the Brandywine Creek in the southern part of the county. Long-time residents or general history enthusiasts may be familiar with the story—General George Washington’s Continental Army stood between the rebel capital of Philadelphia and General William Howe’s advancing British Army. Capturing Philadelphia would deliver a crushing moral and tactical blow to the American war effort, and Howe wanted a quick and decisive end to the rebellion. To prevent the British from reaching Philadelphia, Washington fortified various fords along the eastern side of the Brandywine. He expected Howe to press forward using the Nottingham Road in a direct attack, therefore Washington concentrated the bulk of his army near John Chads’s ford….For example, in 1771, residents of West Bradford Township petitioned the Chester County Court of Quarter Sessions to lay out a road beginning “In the line of Samuel Hunt’s land in the Lancaster Road,” and ending “In the road near Stephen Harlan’s corner.” They did not use official road names but rather the names of property owners. Therefore, to map the network of 1777 roads surrounding the battlefield, Archives staff had to first map property owners in each township being studied by the grant. This is how the mapping project was born. While the focus of the American Battlefield Protection grants extended beyond the battlefield itself to include troop movements throughout the county, the ultimate goal is to create a county-wide atlas featuring all 1777 property owners and roads. Because mapping a township can take a long time, there is no expected end date for this project.”