In Langhorne Borough, the early crossroads were known as Willett Street (later Maple Avenue, the Lincoln Highway or Route 213) and Montgomery Street (later Bellevue Avenue or Route 413).
Joseph Richardson built the large white house on the southwest corner in 1738 as a family home. It was so elaborate that a worried Quaker admonished the builder: “Thee had better see Thee don’t reach the bottom of Thy purse before Thee gets to the top of Thy fine house.”
Built of limestone and framed in handcrafted wood (there were no saw mills in those days), it was both a residence and a general store. Because of the busy thoroughfare, Joseph added a store carrying unusual and necessary items for the Colonial home. One of these staples was molasses, which he imported from Jamaica.
The store between Bristol and Durham was the only place for miles around that stocked thread and cloth, needles and buttons, rice and allspice, paper and candlesticks, hammers and sheep shears, ropes and steel.
Here, Joseph established the first trading post between Bristol and the upper section of the county, Durham. Old ledger books reveal signatures of Indians, John Hancock, and many local settlers.
Richardson diaries have recorded that after the Battle of Trenton in the winter of 1777, part of Washington’s Army came to Attleboro (Langhorne) with 300 Hessian prisoners. A man came riding ahead of the army and requested that they should clear as much of the house as they could for the soldiers.
The family cleared the south room, which would serve as a hospital during the winter. The Marquis de Lafayette, brought from a boat on the Delaware after the Battle of Brandywine, would become one of the patients. He was on his way to the Moravian settlement in Bethlehem to be treated for his wounded leg. He found Langhorne to be a convenient stopping place.
The soldiers stacked their guns around the clock in the office room, placing their trunks and camp chests in front of the guns. They slept on the floor, using hay they gathered from the barn.
Many of the soldiers fell ill from camp fever that winter. One hundred and sixty soldiers died and were buried in the corner lot down the street.
Joshua Richardson’s diary of 1869 mentioned soldiers of the Revolutionary War “being buried in the corner lot opposite where Mercy Stackhouse now lives, in the south part of the village” (this is assumed to be the Woods School property today).
This was one of the two documents that sparked an investigation which led to the rediscovery and preservations of the burial site which has since become registered as a National Historic site.
After World War I in 1919, the Richardson family sold the home. The boroughs of Langhorne, Hulmeville, and Penndel, along with Langhorne Manor, combined resources to acquire the property as a memorial to those who served in the conflict.