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Old Chester, PA: Biographical Sketches
John Price Crozer
(A biographical sketch taken from One Hundred Years, The Delaware County National Bank Chester, PA 1814-1914)
Price Crozer, the elder (1825, ‘32, '34, '36, '42, '44, '46, '48, '50,
'52, '54, '66, '58, '62), son of John and Sarah (Price) Crozer, was born
January 13, 1793, at West Dale, now Swarthmore, Delaware county, his birth
occurring in the same apartment in which, fifty-four years before,
Benjamin West, the famous American artist, first saw the light of day.
John Crozer was a carpenter by trade, but he was an educated man,
particularly in the Latin classics, a study to which he devoted every
was the custom in rural districts, he was also a farmer. With limited
means and the charge of a growing family, the father could give his son
only the limited advantages which the crude school of the neighborhood
afforded, but the few well chosen books the household contained were
diligently used by the lad, who, in a manner self-taught, acquired an
ability to express his thoughts logically, with clearness of statement and
an exact and apt use of words - evidenced by the productions of his pen
yet extant, so that John P. Crozer was mentally well trained when he
When fourteen, he united himself with the First Baptist Church of
Philadelphia, an act which gauged and colored his entire after life. As a
youth, he labored on the paternal farm diligently, and when he reached
full age, his father gave him one-third interest in the profits of the
land. In 1816, his father died, and the mother the following year. It had
been John P. Crozer's wish to purchase and till the home farms, but he was
unable to command the means to carry out that purpose, and contemplating
removal to the West, in 1820, he made an extended tour on horseback,
covering nearly three thousand miles through Western Pennsylvania, Ohio,
Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, at a time when Fort Dearborn, a frontier
post, was the only promise of the present city of Chicago.
Returning in December of that year, he found the home farm sold, and
with his share of the purchase money and something over a thousand dollars
he had saved of his earnings, with a capital of $3,500 he began his
wonderful business career, his first venture being in partnership with
Hon. George G. Leiper in the conduct of a saw and grist mill. The
enterprise was not successful, and the firm was dissolved. Mr. Crozer then
embarked in manufacturing cotton goods, but the market was depressed and
bankruptcy confronted him.
John Lewis, who had confidence in the young man's business ability,
placed two thousand dollars at his command, and from that time Mr.
Crozer's fortune was assured.
Self reliant and untiring, in 1825, he was looked upon as a rising man,
and that year he purchased the Mattson paper mills, at what is now
Crozerville, Aston, adapted them to cotton manufacture and began to
accumulate money rapidly, so that in 1843, when the great flood of that
year brought a loss of more than $46,000 to him, it nowise affected his
Two years later he purchased the Chester Flouring Mills, at what is now
Upland, and expended large sums in erecting a factory, equipping it, and
building dwellings for the employees and a mansion for his own residence,
thereby laying the foundation for a fortune among the largest ever
accumulated by a family in the history of textile manufacturing.
During all his days of prosperity, he gave liberally to charitable,
educational, and religious movements. At his personal cost, he erected the
fine Baptist Church, at Upland,
gave the land upon which the First Baptist
Church, of Chester, was built, and contributed largely to the
building. He endowed a professorship at the University of Lewisburg,
erected the Normal School at Upland, which, during the Civil War, he
placed at the use of the National Government for a soldiers' hospital,
which after his death was endowed by his children as the Crozer
Theological Seminary - a memorial to their father.
many years he was president of the Pennsylvania Colonization Society;
president of the Board of the American Baptist Publication Society;
president of the Pennsylvania Training School for Feeble Minded Children
at Elwyn; president of the Home for Friendless Children at Philadelphia;
president of the Woman's Hospital, Philadelphia; president of the
Pennsylvania Baptist Educational Society, and one of the organizers of the
Christian Commission. These were but a few of his good works for humanity,
for throughout his life his hands were ever open to deserving objects of
P. Crozer died at Upland, March 11, 1866, aged 73 years.
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© 2002 John A. Bullock III.
This page last updated 02/24/07