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Weather causes cancellation of Moland House events


Canceled last year because of Covid restrictions, severe weather was the reason for the recurring cancellation of events this year.
Scheduled to appear Aug. 28 along with the annual Revolutionary War Reenactment performance of the First Crossing and Donegal Regiments at Moland House were the Penns Woods Puppet Theater, Colonial cooking, lacemaker, brewer, gunsmith, folk artist, and woodworkers.
Unable to reschedule, they will wait eagerly in the wings for next year.
In the past it proved difficult at best to reschedule the varied artisans and volunteer, according to JoAnne Mullen, reenactment chair. Moland House is staffed strictly on a volunteer basis. Many are not available to convene at another time.
“Each year at the time of the Neshaminy encampment a reenactment celebrates the events of 1777,” said Dave Mullen, former president. “Over the past 15 years the event has drawn 300 to 600 attendees per seasonal event.”
Moland House, Washington’s Headquarters Farm, is a stone farmhouse built around 1750, by John Moland from London, a prominent Philadelphia and Bucks County lawyer. The house served as headquarters for Gen. George Washington during the American Revolutionary War from Aug. 10 to 23, 1777 on his way to the Battle of Brandywine. The encampment stretched along Old York Road, and Bristol Road from Mearns Road to Meetinghouse Road.
In the early evening of Aug. 10, 1777, 11,000 Continental Army and militia soldiers were marching up York Road on their way to Coryell’s Ferry (New Hope), intending to camp four miles beyond the Delaware River in New Jersey. Gen. George Washington received a dispatch from John Hancock, president of the Second Continental Congress, informing him that the 260-vessel British fleet, hauling 17,000 British Army and Hessian troops led by Gen. William Howe, was 50 miles south of the Delaware Capes (May and Henlopen) on Aug. 7.
Unsure and wary of Howe’s intentions, Washington immediately halted his force to encamp around the bridge over the Little Neshaminy Creek in Warwick Township. He selected the substantial stone dwelling of Widow Moland as his headquarters on the farm north of the bridge. Gen. Washington held a Council of War with his four major generals and six brigadier generals in the Moland House.

While in Warwick Township an American flag believed to be designed by Betsy Ross, was first presented to Gen. Washington. Verbal history of the area alleges that the encampment was the site where the American flag was first flown.
It was at Washington’s encampment that the Marquis de Lafayette and Count Casimir Pulaski joined the American Revolution and soon distinguished themselves at the Battle of Brandywine and for many years thereafter in the fight for American freedom. Joining as a major general, Lafayette, a French aristocrat, brought with him financial aid. Pulaski, “father of the American Cavalry,” an experienced military commander, joined the army as a general and aided in the formation of the U.S. Cavalry. He was later appointed brigadier general of mounted troops.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Moland House was recognized as an important landmark, and remained a private residence.
Moland house was the site of meetings of history-oriented groups during the first half of the 20th century. Members of Sons of the Revolution met there in 1903 and a group of French educators and military officers taking part in the Lafayette College Centennial Celebration met there in 1932.
During the 1960s or early 1970s Moland House ceased to be a private residence and became a rooming house. According to local residents it was frequented by members of motorcycle gangs and fell into disrepair. Abandoned in 1985, a concerned group of local citizens took action to rescue it.
Owned by Warwick Township, it is currently being restored and maintained by the Warwick Township Historical Society through grants from Warwick Township, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the federal government, plus private foundations and individual donors.
Restoration began in 1997, with colonial gardens, and a nature trail added later. Although it is nearly complete, a number of projects remain to be funded.