“I have always loved books. When I was a baby my mom put books in my crib and told me they were my friends. As moms usually are, she was right.  I can’t remember not having a library card and I  have always used it.  When my children were young we used the local Bookmobile from Chester County Library,in Exton Pa.  It even came to our small school every few weeks to supplement our small library.  Now my children are grown and each has their own library card for their new home towns. Now I use my local library, Newtown Public Library in Newtown Square PA, for books, e-books and audiobooks .  I realized  that I love listening to audiobooks while I sew or cook. And I  take my Kindle with me just about anywhere. Thank You for your work in keeping libraries open for people like me.”

— Laura Stratton, Pennsylvania

Tell us your library story.


Bartram’s Covered Bridge by Thomas
Oct. 27, 2015, on the border between Delaware County and Chester County, Pennsylvania

I’m having a Waffle House moment today.

Y'all, I HAD A DREAM I WENT TO WAFFLE HOUSE LAST NIGHT and it was glorious! I legitimately woke up this morning mentally planning my day so I could fit in a trip to the Waffle House around lunch. I went so far as to decide whether I would

A) take a book (no, because it’s hard to keep a book open while you eat unless you put the edge of your plate on it, but then you have to move the plate every time you turn a page)

B) read a book on my phone (no, because for some reason, my whole existence ends up greasy when I’m eating there and I don’t want to touch my phone, even with my pinky, to make the page flip)

or C) continue my quest to finish all 13 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy before September and stream Netflix on my phone (yes, I settled on this option).

Then I had to figure out if I would go to the Waffle House 7 miles away or the one 12 miles away. The one 12 miles away is farther, but the one 7 miles away always seems to have somebody in there who worked with, went to school with, or got their hair done by my mama and I don’t need random conversations with old Black people I haven’t seen in 15 years when I just want an omelette and a waffle. I had completely decided on the one 12 miles away before I fully came to and realized I HAVE NOT LIVED IN CHESTER COUNTY SOUTH CAROLINA IN OVER A DECADE and the closest Waffle House to me is a few hours away in Pennsylvania.

This was at like 9am and honest to god I haven’t even had a meal yet today because my mouth was fixed on Waffle House and I still don’t know what I want. I’ll just wait til I’m starving because then I will eat just about anything and what I wanted won’t matter.

Do you ever wake up and mentally planning your day before you realize whatever you’re planning is for an area you don’t live in anymore? I’m still mildly distraught.


Exton Witch House

Hidden behind a Holiday Inn in Exton, PA is an abandoned mansion that was built in the late 1700s. The legends surrounding this house first appeared in the late 1800s, when the house’s last occupants all died under mysterious circumstances.

Jessie and Mary Jane Ferrell lived in this home on Gordon Drive, Exton, with their two children, Annie and Walter. Sometime in the late 1800s, the entire family died under what historical record lists only as “suspicious circumstances.” Throughout their lives, the Ferrell family were relatively cut off from their community and often accused of practicing witchcraft. After their deaths, they were buried on their property directly next to the main house. The flat grave stones weathered away, and were recently stolen by vandals. Supposedly, the Ferrells were buried in a standing position known as the “witch’s burial.” Although their gravestones are now missing, their bodies are still there. 

The property itself is in a state of disrepair, and it is covered in graffiti from years of neglect. It was recently renovated to repair some structural issues, but otherwise sits vacant. There is evidence of a fire on the first floor, most obvious at the main entrance, but there is no record as to when that fire occurred. 

In addition the main house, the Ferrell property also consists of a barn, a spring house, and a shack. The barn has multiple rooms including bed and bath, but it is the tiny, inconspicuous shack that holds the most intrigue. It is the entry to a tunnel that connects to the basement well in the main house, which is now filled with water. There are records showing the property was once used as a stop on the Underground Railroad, and this tunnel may have been a mechanism to hide escaping slaves. 

Although many local legends circulate around the property, there is no definitive answer to what really happened to the Ferrell family. Visitors to the house often report feeling watched or followed. They say an overwhelming dark feeling occurs the higher one goes in the house. People have also reported being touched. 


Plantation Field 2 by Patty O'Brien

First use of the word 'fuck' found in 1310 court case

Dr Paul Booth of Keele University spotted the name in ‘Roger Fuckebythenavele’ in the Chester county court plea rolls from December 8, 1310, and believes it was a nickname.

“Either this refers to an inexperienced copulator, referring to someone trying to have sex with the navel, or its a rather extravagant explanation for a dimwit, someone so stupid they think this that is the way to have sex.”

I assume you all follow my blog so that you will be informed about important news like this.

Downingtown Tunnels

Often called the “Twin Tunnels” despite the fact there are three, these railroad bridge tunnels in Chester County, PA, have multiple urban legends associated with them. Hikers and paranormal enthusiasts will often explore the tunnels for fun. The first tunnel is accessible by car, the second runs over the Valley Creek, and the third is walkable, although it is very dark and full of debris. Each tunnel has a shaft of light about halfway through. 

The tunnels were built from around 1860-1912 as a crossing for the railroad over the Valley Creek. Unfortunately, the tunnels soon became known as “the murderous mile” after a group of Irish rail workers were buried during construction. A number of deaths have occurred at the site over the years. 

One legend is about a woman, possibly named “Mary”or “Paula,” who gave birth out of wedlock. Scared of the consequences, she hanged herself from the electric wire in the tunnels while still clutching her baby. When her neck snapped, her arms went limp and the baby fell to its death. The apparition of a woman swinging from her neck is reportedly seen in the first or third tunnel, and a baby’s cries are heard in the area. Dark shadow men are seen walking through the tunnels, thought to be the spirits of the Irish rail workers who died during construction. 

The most recent tragedy at the tunnels came on July 11, 1995, when the dismembered body of a twenty-something year old woman was found in a suitcase by a fisherman just outside the second tunnel. Investigators were unable to make an ID, and she became known as “Suitcase Jane Doe.” She was missing her legs at the time, but on January 29, 1996, partial leg remains were found in Cores Creek State Park. They were believed to be hers. She was average height and weight, had brown hair, and had no dental or fingerprint records on file. A facial reconstruction was made, but she remains unidentified to this day. 

Some say it is her spirit that haunts the tunnels, bringing with her disembodied whispers and cold spots. 


A couple of weeks ago I drove to Chester County, Pennsylvania from Raleigh to see family and friends. On the way I was able to make an stop at the Middleburg Tack Exchange in Virginia. I found an equestrian tie, a vintage Pytchley riding jacket and a pair of heavy wool breeches that were made in the 60’s. I was lucky enough to wear these items last Saturday morning when I was with Bella. She was more impressed with the apple and carrot snacks I gave her after our ride! 27 Feb 2016.