Brinton 1704 House – West Chester, Pennsylvania - Atlas Obscura

Brinton 1704 House

Descendants of this colonial Pennsylvania family still travel from far and wide to visit the 300-year-old home of their Quaker ancestors.  


The Brinton 1704 House is one of the oldest and best preserved historic homes in America, a hidden gem located in the heart of the Brandywine Battlefield. The Brinton family, led by William the Elder, notable for his elderly age and “wild white hair,” settled the frontier of Pennsylvania with his wife and son to avoid persecution in England for his Quaker beliefs. 

Although the family spent their first winter living in a cave, William’s son—affectionately known as William “the Builder” by Brintons today—eventually built the 1704 house where he lived with his own family, his wife Jane and their six children. Future generations continued to live in the house and make it their own, eventually expanding the modest home into a sprawling Victorian mansion.

Today most of the Brintons living in the United States can trace their roots to William the Builder, and they are one of the few families in Pennsylvania that can trace their roots back to the founding of the colony, thanks to meticulous genealogy records kept by the family through the years. 

In 1950, Brinton descendants repurchased their ancestral home and spent the next seven years restoring it to its original appearance. The furniture, objects, and artifacts in the home are authentic to the 17th and 18th centuries; a few of the objects of note include a beehive oven, a mortar and pestle brought by the Brintons to the colony, and the Brinton family Bible box.  

Today members of the Brinton family travel from far and wide to visit the ancestral Quaker home of their family: a house whose family history stretches back more than 300 years in Pennsylvania and nearly a millennium in England.

Know Before You Go

Currently, the house operates as a museum by the Brinton Association of America, Inc. and is open to the public May through October on weekends (1 pm to 5 pm) or by special appointment. For reservations or information, call 610-399-0913.  

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March 27, 2018

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