The Northern Chester County Colonial Ironworks:
Coventry, Reading, Warwick
“I was in hopes I should have seen thee at the Forge before ths time…[It is] our Intentions of
putting up another forge this fall upon the french Creek a little above James Pughs upper line
and shall Dam up above the forks of the North & South Branches ” Samuel Nutt to Isaac
“That Whereas ye Petitioners haveing Laid out great sums of money To building and Errecting
of Iron works for the making of Iron In this Country which said manufacturing must
unavoidably advance the intrest of the same…” 1726 Road petition from Samuel Nutt, William
Branson and Jonathan Robeson.
English Quaker, Samuel Nutt (c1683-1738) immigrated to Chester County from
Coventry, England in 1714. Through warrant and patent, he quickly obtained several
tracts of land from the Penn government near the forks of French Creek at Coventry,
Chester County. On that property, in 1718, he built Chester County’s first ironwork and
Pennsylvania’s second. Shortly thereafter, after obtaining partners, he closed his initial
ironwork and built a cold blast charcoal furnace and a refinery forge. This two-step
system produced larger quantities of iron. Nutt called his complex the French Creek
Iron-Works and the Chester County iron industry was off and running.
On October 18, at 7:00 p.m., at the East Nantmeal Township Building, Dan Graham
will discuss the history of the French Creek Iron-Works, its various forges and furnaces,
and the two furnaces it spawned: Reading and Warwick. Graham is an early
Pennsylvania iron researcher and a Potts and Rutter family historian. He holds a B.S.
from West Virginia University and an MPA from George Washington University. He is
retired and lives in Montrose, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania.