Home > Biographies > John Price Crozer

Old Chester, PA: Biographical Sketches

John Price Crozer

John Price Crozer

Photograph from
One Hundred Years, The Delaware County Nation Bank Chester, PA 1814-1914

John Price Crozer

(A biographical sketch taken from One Hundred Years, The Delaware County National Bank Chester, PA 1814-1914)

Years in parentheses are years of service as a Director of The Bank of Delaware County and/or The Delaware County National Bank

John 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 spare hour.

As 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 obtained manhood.

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 credit.

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.

For 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 charity.

John P. Crozer died at Upland, March 11, 1866, aged 73 years.





If you have any information and or pictures that you would like to contribute about individuals in Chester, please forward it to john@oldchesterpa.com

2002 John A. Bullock III.

GDPub2.JPG (7902 bytes)

This page last updated 02/24/07