Thank you for a very interesting question. I'm very familiar with the
area because I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and went to
college in Philadelphia, PA. :)
(some background information on the word - hook.)
The word 'hoek' means what we now call 'hook', and is often found
connected with a 'creek'; but it is believed properly to express a
'bend', a 'cove', like a 'hook'.
From Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
Main Entry: 1hook
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English hOc; akin to Middle Dutch
hoec fishhook, corner, Lithuanian kenge hook
1 a : a curved or bent device for catching, holding, or pulling b :
something intended to attract and ensnare
Please note: due to the length of the following article - ANNALS of
PHILADELPHIA AND PENNSYLVANI VOL. II - I have placed astericks (***)
at the begining of the line wherever pertinent historical origin
information appears for the name Marcus Hook.
Chapter 4. THE PIRATES
"A bucaniering race ----- The dregs and feculence of every land."
"It would appear as if none of the pirates so much agitated the minds of
our proper ancestors as Blackbeard -- his very name raising ideas of
something terrific and cruel. Hid proper name was Teach, who acquired the
`cognomen' as possessing in his person an alarming black beard, probably
cherished for purposes of effect to terrify his enemy, and as in full
keeping with his black or bloody flag. His depredations in our proper seas
were considerably more modern than the piracies of Kid; and after
Blackbeard's career was ended in 1718, there were many, as we shall
presently show, to succeed him."
"In the year 1701, such were the apprehensions from pirates from their
depredations on the seacoast, that watches were appointed to give alarm in
Mrs. Bulah Coates, (once Jacquet -- this was the name of the Dutch
governor in Delaware in 1658) the grandmother of Samuel Coates, Esq., late
an aged citizen, told him that she had seen and sold goods to the
celebrated Blackbeard, she then keeping a store in High street, No.
77, where Beninghove owned and dwelt -- a little west of Second
street. He bought freely and paid well. She then knew it was he, and
so did some others. But they were afraid to arrest him, lest his crew
when they should hear of it, should avenge his cause by some midnight
assault. He was too politic to bring his vessel or crew within
immediate reach; and at the same time was careful to give no direct
offence to any of the settlements where they wished to be regarded as
visiters and purchasers, &c.
Blackbeard was also seen at sea by the mother of the late Dr. Hugh
Williamson, of New York; she was then in her youth, coming to this country
and their vessel was captured by him. The very aged John Hutton, who died
in Philadelphia in 1792, well remembered to have seen Blackbeard at
Barbadoes, after he had come in under the Act of Oblivion. This was but
shortly before he made his last cruise, and was killed, in 1718. The late
aged Benjamin Kite has told me, that he had seen in his youth an old black
man, nearly a hundred years of age, who had been one of Blackbeard's
pirates by impressment. He lived many years with George Grey's
family, the brewer in Chestnut street, near to Third street. The same
Mr. Kite's grandfather told him he well knew one Crane, a Swede, at
the Upper ferry, on Schuylkill, who used to go regularly in his boat
to supply Blackbeard's vessel at State island. He also said it was
known that the freebooter used to visit an inn in High street, near to
Second street, with his sword by his side.
*** There is a traditionary story, that Blackbeard and his crew used
to visit and revel at Marcus Hook at the house of a Swedish woman,
whom he was accustomed to call Marcus, as an abbreviation of
FACTS AND OCCURRENCES OF THE SWEDES SETTLED IN UPLAND.
"The records of Upland", a folio cap book of one hundred and eighty-eight
pages MS., having been lent to me by the Logan family, I have made the
following extracts and notitia from the same, with a view to show the state
and action of society, in that primitive day : say from the year 1676, when
the administration of Governor Andross began on the Delaware, down to the
year 1681, when it began to be the province of Pennsylvania, under William
(various court hearings)
"Their power under Governor Andross reads thus, viz., "to be justices
of the peace for the space of one year, and any three or more of them to be
a court of judicature, and to act according to law and the trust reposed in
At the same time Ephraim Herman is constituted "clarke of the court of New
Castle, and also of the court at Uppland in the river".
Then follows, in three and a half pages, a record of the instructions of
Governor Andross, comprised in twelve articles. Some of them to this
effect, viz. The book of laws as practised in New York to be also
practised in this river and its precincts. To have three courts --
"one at New Castle -- one above at Uppland, another below at the
Whorekill". Each to have the power of a court of sessions, and to
decide all matters under £20 without appeal. In cases above £20, and
for crime extending to life and limb or banishment, to admit of appeal
to the court of assizes."
"The court ordered "that Mr. William Tom, the former clarke, should deliver
unto the present clarke, Ephraim Herman, the records and other public
bookes and wrytings, belonging to this court". At the same time the
court ordered that execution should be granted against all debtors to
said William Tom, for his just fees due in former actions, &c. [This
Mr. Tom gave name to Tom's river.]"
"Robert Hutchinson appeared, and declared that he assigned to Israel Helm,
his man-servant William Broomfield, for the term of four years, he paying
him 1200 gilders; at the same time, the said servant promised faithfully to
serve his new master.
Ordered that 100 acres of land be added to the tract held for the mill at
*** [This same place is often called Carkoen hoek -- and 'hoek' means
what we now call 'hook', and is often herein found connected with a
'creek'; but it is believed properly to express a 'bend', a 'cove',
like a 'hook'.]"
*** "Carell Junsen, of Marreties-hoeck, in Delaware river (is not this the
origin of Marcus-hook ?) appears in court to acknowledge conveyance of land
at Marrities-hoek, adjoining to land of Jan Hendrickson, sold unto Morgan
Druit, of London, mariner."
"Rodger Peddrick & Wm. Hews, joint partners with the rest of the
*** inhabitants of Marrities-hoek, (Marcus-hook) by their petition,
desire that the land there, 1000 acres, be laid out and equally shared
between all thepartners, by dividing equally to each the proportions
of good and bad land. The court orders that the petitioners, or those
who are dissatisfied with the division, as of old hath been, may at
their proper cost have the same surveyed and shared."
"Donation to Captain John Amundson Besh, made by decree of Queen Christina,
dated Stockholm, August 20th 1653 -- "that in consideration of the zeal and
fidelity of the brave and courageous Captain John A. Besh, and because he
has engaged to serve us with equal zeal so long as he shall live, we
therefore accord and grant to himself, his wife, and to his heirs, and
their heirs, a tract of land in New Sweden extending to Upland Kyll,
to keep and possess the same for ever as his inviolable property.
[This tract of land is said to be considered as beginning at and
appertaining to, what *** is now called Marcus Hook, and extended up
to Chester, built upon Upland creek.]"
History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania - Chapter XXXVIII
Lower Chichester Township
(see bottom of page)
"A few years before the Dutch wrested the authority from the Swedes on
the Delaware, Queen Christiana, of Sweden, was graciously pleased to
grant a large tract of land in the colony to Capt. John Ammundson
Besk, his wife, and heirs, in consideration of services he had
rendered the State and was expected to render to the government in the
affairs of New"
click on Next Page (Page 456) »
"Sweden. The following translation of this royal gift is reputed to be
the most accurate extant:1
"We Christiana, by the Grace of God, Queen of Sweden, Gothen and
Wenden, Grand Princess of Finland, Duchess of Eastland, &c.:
"Be it known that of our favor, and because of the true and trusty
service which is done unto us and the Crown, by our true and trusty
servant, Captain Hans Ammundson Besk, for which service he hath done,
and further is obliged to do so long as he yet shall live; so have we
granted and given unto him freely as the virtue of this open letter is
and doth show and specify, that is, we have given and freely granted
to him, his wife and heirs, that is heirs after heirs, One Certain
piece and tract of land, being and lying in New Sweden, Marcus Hook by
name, which does reach up to and Upwards of Upland Creek, and that
with all the privileges, appurtenances and conveniences thereunto
belonging, both wet and dry, whatsoever name or names excepted of
them, that is which belonged to this aforesaid tract of land, of age,
and also by law and judgment may be claimed unto it and he and his
heirs to have and to bold it unmolested forever for their lawful
possession and inheritance. So that all which will unlawfully lay
claim thereunto, they may regulate themselves hereafter. Now for the
true confirmation hereof have we this with our own hand underwritten,
and also manifested with our seal, in Stockholm, the 20th of August,
in the year of our Lord, 1653.
"Neils Tungell, Secretary.
Only that portion of Lower Chichester lying east of Marcus Hook Creek
was included in this patent, as has been very conclusively shown by
the late Edward Armstrong, and it is unnecessary for me to further
allude to his argument.2 The land west of that creek, comprising all
the remaining territory now known as Lower Chichester, was patented by
Governor Andros, March 28, 1679,3 to Charles Jansen, Olle Rawson, Olle
Nielson, Hans Hopman, John Hendrickson, and Hans Olleson, containing
one thousand acres. Dr. Smith says, in the survey, it is mentioned
that this land "was formerly granted unto the said persons in the time
of the Dutch Government."4 The quit-rent reserved in the patent by the
Duke of York was ten bushels of winter wheat. At Upland Court, March
13, 1678/9, Rodger Pedrick appeared and acknowledged that he had sold
to William Hughes, in fee, half of his land at Marcus Hook, which land
he, Pedrick, had purchased of John Hendrickson; and at the same court,
Hans Ollsen (Olleson) acknowledged a deed to William Clayton for all
his land, "right & interest of & to his houses and appurtances Lying
and being att Marretties hooke."5
(Record of Upland Court, p. 135)
The ancient name of Marcus Hook was sought to be changed by the
residents of that locality early under Penn's administration, for at
the court at Upland, June 13, 1682, the old records show that "the
grant formerly made from Governor Markham to the inhabitants of Marcus
Hook, at their request for the the calling of said Chichester, which
said Grant bears date the Twentieth day of April, Anno 1682, and was
read and published in the Court held at Upland June the Sixteenth,
Anno 1682, according to order as a record thereof."
Although in legal documents for many years thereafter the settlement
at Chichester is thus designated, the popular name was so fixed in the
public mind that it would not accept the more modern title, and to
this day, despite legislation and executive power, the village still
retains its time-honored nomenclature.
In September, 1682, as before mentioned. Marcus Hook was visited by
Lord Baltimore when the latter was on his way to New Castle, after his
unsatisfactory interview with Markham at Upland, and by his assertion
of title to that place and all the territory north of the degree of
forty, occasioned the utmost consternation among the settlers there.
The first appearance in our records of Chichester township was at the
court held 27th of Fourth month (June), 1683, when Willard Hughes was
appointed constable for "Chichester liberty." What territory was
included in that term liberty is now purely conjectural, but Dr. Smith
is doubtless correct in declaring that it was probably the township of
Chichester, as it had been laid out by Charles Ashcome. That there was
some dispute respecting the bounds of that municipal district is
evident from the decree of court made the 6th day of Eighth month,
1685, whereby it was "Ordered that the township of Chichester extends
its bounds as formerly laid out by Charles Ashcome until further
After the coming of Penn, in 1682, Marcus Hook grew apace, and for a
time it was a formidable rival to Chester. In 1708 the two places were
of almost equal size, for a writer at that time, describing them,
states that both of these settlements "consist of almost 100 houses."
Miller, Patricia A. - THE STORY OF THE CORNERSTONE OF PENNSYLVANIA;
MARCUS HOOK, A HISTORY BOOK FOR AGES 8 - 80
Marcus Hook, Pa.: Self-published, 1986.
22 pp., hardcover.
The Earliest Settlers in Bethel Township: Their Origins and Contributions
"Edward Bezer, who took up 500 acres in the extreme northeast corners
of Bethel in a Lease and Release Agreement, must have built a home in
the Chelsea area, near or on what is now the Chelsea Tank Farm. The
boundaries of his tract apparently determined the boundaries of Bethel
with her neighbors of Concord, Aston, and Chichester. The record of
the Quaker meetings held in his humble home confirms that he was
settled in the area.
Bezer had come to Pennsylvania with two brothers, John and William.
John, who was one of the commissioners appointed by William Penn to
lay out the City of Philadelphia, settled at Marcus Hook (Chichester)
and died shortly thereafter (1684). William took up land in Concord,
on a tract adjoining Edward. Their sister Frances married Edward
Pennock who purchased a part of Edward's tract in 1696 or earlier.
Edward was a member of the Provincial Assembly in 1687, but died in
1688. His son Edward, as heir to the property in Bethel, carried on
and was a member of the Provincial Assembly in 1715. The family has
disappeared from the scene."
The Laying Out of the Roads in Bethel Township
"The laying out of the roads was of prime importance in the settlement
and development of Bethel Township. It was necessary to connect
neighbor with neighbor, but it was more important to enable people to
pass through the area to and from the Delaware River and the interior
for trading purposes. This need was anticipated even in the closing
days of the Duke of York's Government, before Penn came, when plans
were made for the layout of the highways.
The first roads, of course, were not roads in the modern sense, but
rather "rights of way" through private tracts of land or between
properties. The improvement of roads to make them passable would come
In accordance with the policy of the Provincial Government, the first
public road in Bethel was ordered by the Provincial Court in the year
1686. Dr. George Smith, in the History of Delaware County, gives the
detail in these words: "The grand Jury laid out and made return of a
road from Bethel to Chichester (Marcus Hook) sixty foote broad". And
then the very interesting detail of the order itself:"
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