A place to gather and share information about the Thomas Willcox and Elizabeth Cole Willcox Family of Ivy Mills, PA. For more information see the Home page link above or contact Deniane Kartchner at Denianek@gmail.com. My husband is a descendant of Thomas and Elizabeth's son James who married Prudence Doyle. Their son John's daughter Prudence married John Christopher Kartchner.

Note: This is a work in progress! I am trying to verify everything before I post, but feel free to send me corrections and/or suggestions. It’s also not a complete history of Ivy Mills or a website for current operations, although I will gladly try to answer any questions and/or lead you to the right information.

I'm currently working on tracing this family back to England through this link:


Tour of Ivy Mills and St. Thomas the Apostle

Photos taken by Deniane Kartchner

As part of a trip back East our family was able to visit Ivy Mills and take a tour of the Willcox family homestead and Saint Thomas the Apostle. Our guide, Mike Squyres, is a volunteer with Friends of Old St. Thomas who leads free, guided tours once a month in the summer. Mike was so gracious to meet us at the homestead on a Friday morning and tell us about the Willcoxes, William Penn and the beginnings of Pennsylvania, Ben Franklin, paper making, and how they all tie together. We then traveled down the road to the church where we and our children enjoyed learning more about the Catholic faith. 

This is what remains of the mill. It almost felt like a monument in honor of the Willcoxes hard work as paper makers and prominent citizens of Pennsylvania.

Clerk's house. 

The painting above shows the relationship of the mill to the clerk's house (which has been maintained and currently (2012) has tenants living there.)

Stairs leading to the entrance of the home.  I love the lions' expressions. 

Front and rear views of the Willcox Mansion built by James M. Willcox.  Most of the original home was torn down when the new home was built; the section on the right in the back is original to the home that Thomas Willcox built.

Front porch. 

Inside the front door ... pictures of several generations of the Willcox family.  On the far right is Joseph Willcox who wrote the family histories I have found.

Located by the window you can see the altar used when Ivy Mills was the home of "St. Mary's Chapel" (Catholic Mass held in the Willcox home, part of the Saint Thomas the Apostle parish.)

A close-up of the altar. A tag reads: "Early Ivy Mills Alter prepared for Mass celebrated at Ivy Mills November 8, 1997. Archdiocese of Philadelphia Collections". 

They had just had a celebration before we came (June 2012) and brought the alter back to Ivy Mills on loan for the occasion.

The portrait over the mantle is of James M. Willcox. 

Looking upstairs ... and downstairs.

The home is a restoration in progress. Following are some of the period pieces they have collected.

The following photos were taken in the original portion of the Willcox mansion (built by Thomas Willcox). Notice the oven!  

Of course, the bar isn't original. 


This is the only picture I took of the outside of the church and it is terrible. :( It's such a beautiful church. 

Mike and our daughter ringing the bell.

This stained glass window was placed in memory of Mark and Ellen Willcox.

Placed in memory of James M. Willcox

Willcox section of the cemetery at St. Thomas.



And the restoration goes on upstairs!

During the restoration of the rectory they found this doorway ... which had been filled in by a wall.

Thanks to Friends of Old St. Thomas for the tour! If you would like to learn more about what they've accomplished and how they have helped preserve Ivy Mills, go to this link: http://www.friendsofoldstthomas.org/


  1. So...what is the relation to the property on Stonybank in Chester Heights that is currently under contract with Toll Brothers? There are long stone walls....remnants of the Glen Mills?

    Babs562 at gmail

  2. Very nice report on the Willcox estate, thank you for making and posting it. - My great-great-great-grandmother, Juana Ferreira Carman, was buried at St Thomas the Apostle, downhill from the Willcox plot, in 1865, her stone is still legible, on a sunny early morning. - Joseph N. DiStefano, Wilmington, Del.

  3. New to the Glen Mills area and really enjoying the local history. Ivy Mills is a perfect example of the rich historical significance of the area. We drove through the Ivy Mills property on Pole Cat Rd last week - it is equally stunning and wistful. Thanks for putting this page together and sharing your experience.