The Vernon family of Nether Providence were prominent during the Revolution. Nathaniel Vernon had two sons, Nathaniel Jr. and Frederick, and resided at a home located at the end of present day Hickory Lane. At the outbreak of the war he was sheriff of Chester County and was an outspoken advocate of the cause of the crown, and subsequently became so offensive to the colonial authorities that he was declared a traitor, as was his son, Nathaniel Jr. The father fled to the protection of the British army, while Nathaniel, joined the Brithsh army serving with the Tory Light Horse. Frederick, sided with the Continentals, joined the army, and rose to the rank of Major.
During the British occupation of Philadelphia, Frederick obtained permission to visit his wife and family at his home in Nether Providence located at 204 West Brookhaven Road. His brother, Nathaniel learned of his visit and, and marched a platoon of Tory Light Horse from Philadelphia to Nether Providence, intent on capturing Major Vernon. The troops surrounded the house. Nathaniel entered the home and was about to climb the stairs, when Frederick, who was aroused by the noise, halted him from the head of the stairs, where he stood armed with a pistol. Nathaniel made it known that he had come to take him prisoner and that he must surrender, since troops were surrounding the house. Nathaniel tried to convince his brother of the inevitable British victory, and offered him a commission in the British army. He had come for his welfare he assured his brother. Frederick replied that he would never surrender, that the British could not take him, and that if his brother or any other person attempted to ascend the stairs he would shoot; only as a dead man could they capture him. Nathaniel finding his brother so determined, withdrew his troops, and Frederick remained true to the Patriot cause. At the conclusion of the war he was one of the founders of the Society of the Cincinnati, and died in Nether Providence at an advanced age. The fate of his loyalist brother Nathinel is unknown.
Contributor: Merv Harris
Chairman – Nether Providence Historical Society