Established in 1723, William Penn’s vast lands were divided first into counties (Chester, Bucks, Philadelphia, and Montgomery), and then into townships. Vincent Township was divided roughly in half in 1832, with about 12,000 acres in the western portion. Algonquin and Lenni Lenape Indian tribes held this land before European settlement: Conestoga Road (Route 401) and Nantmeal Road (now Horseshoe Trail) were Indian trails.
West Vincent played its part in the Revolutionary War: the countryside was scoured for wagons, firearms, blankets, shoes and stockings. After the Battle of the Brandywine, General Washington marched his eleven thousand troops across Vincent Township on his way to Valley Forge, where the army spent the hard winter of 1777-78. The hospital at Yellow Springs, built to handle the sick and wounded, was run by Dr. Samuel Kennedy and West Vincent residents surely aided as best they could. Congress at this time encouraged construction of powder mills; traces of one of those mills still stand in Birchrunville on Powder Mill Hill.
When public school systems were mandated by the state in 1834, West Vincent residents responded enthusiastically, and by 1875 there were five school houses providing basic education. All are still standing; the largest of which was our township building on School House Lane. West Vincent’s four original churches also still stand.
Pausing in front of the Victorian building now known as the Birchrunville Café and Post Office, provides a reminder of
its earlier function as a general store; the wooden sign above the front porch, the large glass display windows, and the marble
date stone above the entrance relate its history.