History of the Property and House
Deed research has traced the land upon which the Morgan Log House stands to the Commissioners of William Penn, who granted it as part of a 600 acre patent to a merchant named Griffith Jones on February 12, 1702. Six year later on February 26, 1708 a Welshman named Edward Morgan purchased 309 acres of land from Griffith Jones. In this transaction an extant “dwelling house” is recorded.
On August 23, 1723, Edward Morgan deed 104 acres to his son John Morgan. This 104 acre tract included the land that contained the house. Then on August 12, 1741 John Morgan deeded the 104 acres to an Evan David. This same tract of land was then deeded to a Schwenkfelder named John Yeakel on May 20, 1770.
Four years later on May 14, 1774, John Yeakel deeded 82 acres of this formerly 104 acre tract to a Mennonite named Yellis Cassel. This land descended through the Cassel family for 99 years. Then on May 14, 1873, 62 acres of the Cassel original 82 acres were deeded to a Frederick Bower. After this a succession of owners and divisions followed until on June 6, 1965 a William Nash purchased the 17 remaining acres and planned to subdivide the property. The house remaining on this property stood vacant for several years and was condemned in 1967.
Detected as a unique historic structure by architect Albert F. Ruthrauff later that year, the house was brought to the attention of historic restoration architect G. Edwin Brumbaugh who identified the building as a log structure of architectural significance. The Towamencin Township Board of Supervisors was notified and Supervisor John B. Jacobs then spearheaded a movement to save the house from demolition.
Adjoining the Township pool and park area, the house and a 1.7 acre site surrounding it, including a concrete silo and ruined barn, were designated a public recreational area in 1968, and were purchased by Towamencin Township on June 25, 1970.
The Towamencin Historical Society was founded to support the restoration of site and G. Edwin Brumbaugh was retained as Project Architect for the restoration of the log house. After removing building materials of modern origins, Brumbaugh determined that 90% of the house’s architectural fabric dated from the initial construction period. From its remaining features, Brumbaugh deduced that the house was Germanic in design and recommended restoring it accordingly.
The Towamencin Historical Society also researched the previous owners of the property. This effort concentrated on the family of Edward Morgan, owners of the property from 1708 to 1741.. The Morgan Family was identified as being among the earliest Welsh settlers in the Towamencin area and the first settlers of the land the house currently sits on. Among the descendants of Edward Morgan and his wife Elizabeth are the frontiersman Daniel Boone, the Revolutionary War Brigadier General, Daniel Morgan, journalist/broadcaster Lowell Thomas, and mutual fund industry pioneer, Walter L. Morgan.
Restoration was completed in 1976. Based on evidence found by the architect, a pent roof was recreated to encircle three sides of the Log House at the second floor line. The wooden doors were reproduced based on Germanic design. An oak roof of three courses of hand-split shingles was reproduced to cover the entire structure.
The floor plan was restored to consist of a partial basement functioning as a spring room, three rooms on the first floor, three rooms on the second floor and a full attic. A large, stone, central fireplace with brick topped chimney opening into the first floor hall was virtually untouched. The position of the staircase was unaltered, although the bottom four steps were re-configured as winders. The original pegged roof trusses were sound and left intact, as were beaded wooden board partitions, doors, flooring, and first floor joists and a chamfered summer beam. The original interior hardware was also left unaltered.
In 1973 the Morgan Log House was deemed a National Register of Historic Places.
A new frame section was constructed for the purpose of a property caretaker’s quarters next to the Log House and was built on an early stone foundation. Today this wing houses the Visitor Center, Gift Shop, and public research library.
The Welsh Valley Preservation Society
The Welsh Valley Preservation Society was originally founded as The Towamencin Historical Society with the mission to support the restoration of the Morgan Log House. In 1970 the Society was incorporated in perpetuity as a private, non-profit corporation as defined by Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
In 1975, the Towamencin Historical Society signed a Lease Agreement with Towamencin Township to preserve, restore, administer and maintain the Morgan Log House. Restoration was completed in 1976 and the museum opened to the public as an historic house museum that same year.
In 1979, the Society was awarded the Historic Preservation Commendation for Excellence in Restoration by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s National Register Review Committee for the work done at the Morgan Log House.
In 1985, The Towamencin Historical Society formerly changed its name to the Welsh Valley Preservation Society in response to a need to expand its educational programming.
Today the Welsh Valley Preservation Society is a Membership-comprised organization, governed by a Board of Trustees, and whose Mission is to educate the public about the history of Towamencin Township and its place in Pennsylvania history as demonstrated by the architecture of the Morgan Log House, the lives of its past residents and their material culture.