Benjamin Parry was a third generation Quaker, born on March 1, 1757. He came to New Hope, then Coryell’s Ferry, in the early 1780s from Upper Moreland Township when it was part of Philadelphia. He purchased the Hope Flour Mill from the Todd family after Dr. Todd’s death in 1785. The Bucks County Playhouse now occupies that site. Parry expanded the mill operations along the river, adding a lumber mill, saw mill and flaxseed oil mill. When the Hope Flour Mill was destroyed by fire in 1790 Benjamin Parry rebuilt it within a year and named it the New Hope Flour Mill, thus giving Coryell’s Ferry its new name. New Hope Borough was incorporated in 1837.
Benjamin completed the construction of the Parry Mansion in 1787, the year of his marriage to Jane Paxson.
Parry invented a process for preserving corn and grain for long distance shipping in 1810, and in 1812 he led a group of local businessmen and investors in the construction of the first bridge to Lambertville. Shortly after that he and his investors opened the first New Hope bank.
Parry also operated a flour exporting business in Philadelphia.
Benjamin Parry dominated the New Hope community for more than a half century. He was well respected for his integrity. When he died on November 22, 1839 his obituary noted that he was esteemed by a large circle of acquaintances and revered as an honest and good citizen.
His son Oliver Parry continued Benjamin’s legacy in New Hope and became one of the major developers of the Spring Garden district of Philadelphia, building more than 300 homes in that neighborhood.
The New Hope Historical Society celebrates Benjamin Parry Day each year on the first Sunday in March . We'll see you on March 5th from 4-6 pm.
Celebrating in 2016, Benjamin Parry's 259th Birthday Anniversary