Wm. P. Brinton House
William and Mary 1903
William P. Brinton married Mary E. Cooper on Valentine's Day in 1867 and built her a house on the land that was part of his father's farm.
In 1813, Samuel Brinton (William's Father) bought 200 acres of land.
1910 Wm. P. Brinton
Brinton House today
Samuel and Lydia Brinton (the parents)
Their farm was a station on the Underground Railroad. Lydia was one of the 12 who served on the Sadsbury Friends Committee which composed a letter sent in 1848 to other meetings pleading with them to be 'faithful in our testimony against the sin of slavery'.
In January 1851, prior to the Resistance in September, a fugitive named John Williams was kidnapped, beaten and sold back into slavery by the 'Gap Gang'. Samuel Brinton was one of the 6 who met secretly to discuss what could be done to prevent another kidnapping.
Wm. P. Brinton
William was integral to the early development of Christiana. In 1851, William and his son Maurice created an extensive nursery with 13,000 square feet of glass greenhouses and 25 acres of nursery.
Their specialties were peach trees and carnations.
William was one of the organizers of the State Horticulture Society and lectured in Philadelphia.
He was also a Lieutenant of the Volunteers formed when the Confederate Army threatened to cross the Susquehanna river during the Civil War.
In 1929, Maurice (son of Wm. P.) sold the business to the Smallwood family. That's why you still see the name 'Smallwood' on the smoke stack.
In 1967 the property and business was sold to Niels Rasmussen and Ian McKay, who shortly thereafter sold his portion to Niels. The Rasmussen family ran the business for 35 years. The business was selling 30,000 cut roses a week to Reading and D.C. Some of these roses were used for White House events.
Fun Fact: The Rasmussen nursery supplied the roses for Tricia Nixon's wedding.
In 1998 the Rasmussens sold the business to Mark McDonald who ran the business for about 4 years, then sold the property to 'Harrison House Nursing Home'.
June 2021, the Christiana Borough Authority purchased the property from Harrison House. The community leaders see that it is important to keep this open space within our town and maintain a future water source.
March 2022 the Christiana Historical Society was granted the use of the historic Brinton home to educate, preserve the story of the Christiana Resistance, preserve the historical legacy of the Brinton family and the Victorian architecture, industrial and agricultural history of Christiana and the outlying areas.
The Brinton house will be our meeting place, a place to archive and exhibit our treasures, be an integral, fun part of our community and the home of the Christiana Historical Society.
The house and the 7-acre property will be used for exciting, historical events and activities that promote community growth.
Help us continue our mission! Consider making a donation!
The Brinton family origins
The Brintons were a prosperous family, owned farms and mills, and participated in other business ventures. They were of English heritage and members of the Quakers, or Society of Friends. In order to escape religious persecution in England, William Brinton purchased 200 acres in Birmingham Twp., Pennsylvania in 1684. His descendants eventually moved further west to eastern Lancaster County.
Click here to view the Brinton family geneology.
Fun Fact: In 1905 Pierre S. duPont purchased the farm owned by Mary Peirce's family (3rd generation) and soon began creating what would become Longwood Gardens.