Bethel Township, only three miles long and 1 1/2 miles wide, is situated on a summit between the Delaware River and Brandywine Creek. Smaller feeder creeks, such as Green Creek and Naaman's Creek, wind through the landscape. When cleared of rocks, the rocky clay soil provides very fertile farmland. English Quakers were the first European settlers in Bethel Township. They arrived in 1683, eager to clear and work the fertile land, and build their homes. By the late 1700s Methodists, also of English origin, outnumbered Quakers. The 1790 census reported Bethel's population of 224 residing among 39 households.
From its founding as a township in Chester County (from which Delaware County was carved in 1786), Bethel was an agricultural community of relatively small, self-sufficient individual farms. General mixed farming categorized late-18th- and early-19th-century Delaware County agriculture. Farmers grew a variety of crops and raised livestock for home use and sold surplus at markets in Chester, Philadelphia and Wilmington. Typical crops included wheat, rye, oats, barley, buckwheat, hay and Indian corn. Orchards (apple, peach and cherry) and vegetable gardens rounded out the produce yield. Flax and hemp supplied fiber and oil. Cattle, swine, sheep and poultry provided meat and dairy products. Bee hives were also common for honey production and pollinated clover. While detailed accounts for the Booth Farm do not exist from this period, it can be assumed that the Booths followed the norm of diversification.
Two villages developed in Bethel: Chelsea, originally known as Corner Ketch (Catch), in the northern part of the township and Booth's Corner (originally Boothville) in the western end. The latter, located halfway between Concord and Upper Chichester Townships, got its name in 1835 when Isaac Booth, son of the first Thomas Booth, opened a general store on a property having a blacksmith shop. General stores added to life's necessities and conveniences in the 1830s for Bethel's approximately 367 inhabitants. Post offices at Booth's Corner and Chelsea followed two decades later, Isaac Booth serving as first postmaster for the former.
Nearby Towns: Aston Twp • Bellefonte Town • Brookhaven Boro • Chadds Ford Twp • Chester City • Chester Heights Boro • Concord Twp • Edgmont Twp • Lower Chichester Twp • Marcus Hook Boro • Media Boro • Middletown Twp • Parkside Boro • Rose Valley Boro • Royersford Boro • Thornbury Twp • Thornbury Twp • Trainer Boro • Upland Boro • Upper Chichester Twp • Upper Providence Twp • Westtown Twp •