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East Fallowfield Twp, Chester County, PA

Historic Baptist Settlement [1]

Hephzibah, a straggling group of frame houses on Strasburg Road about a mile south of Coatesville, is one of the oldest Baptist settlements in Chester County. As early as 1707 Rev. Owen Thomas, a Welsh Baptist preacher, held Bible meetings on the farm of Jeffrey Bentley, but no effort was made to form the Hephzibah Baptist congregation until 1720. The name was taken from the Bible because Hephzibah played a prominent role in the life of her son Manasseh, who was 12 years old when he began to rule Jerusalem, and her name was later mentioned after the country was destroyed to personify the restored Jerusalem. But the village's real development did not start until Samuel McWilliams bought a large tract of land here in 1797. Not long after that there was a demand for postal accommodations, and on Jan. 26, 1824, John T. Walton, justice of the peace, rented a store from McWilliams and opened the McWilliamstown post office. Not until long after the post office was closed in 1879 did Hephzibah supplant McWilliamstown as the name of the locality.

  1. Edward Pinkowski, Chester County Place Names, Philadelphia, Sunshine Press, 1962

Nearby Neighborhoods

Street Names
Strasburg Road