Collection Title: Reid-Gordon Company Title Search Collection: Arthur P. Reid Company

Collection Number: 240

Dates of Collection: Late 1800s-1954; bulk, 1930s-1950s

Box Numbers: 1 – 173

RepositoryChester County Historical Society, West Chester, PA

Language: English

Project Archivist: E. Richard McKinstry


The Reid-Gordon Company, as it is informally called, was a leading Chester County, Pa. title search and abstract company. Throughout its years of operation, it was also identified as the Arthur P. Reid Company and Reid Title Plant. The business was established by Arthur P. Reid as part of his work as a lawyer. The business researched deeds in Chester County to identify liens or encumbrances against real property, thereby ensuring clear titles and transparency in real estate transactions.

Arthur Parke Reid was born in 1877 and died from a short illness in 1950 in his seventy-fourth year. Reid was from West Chester, Pa.; his parents were Emma Bowman Reid and Alfred P. Reid, a lawyer and bank official. According to his draft registration card, Reid was of medium height and build, had hazel eyes and light hair. In 1911, he married Ethel Helen Darlington (1880-1963). Reid’s obituary does not mention them having children.

Reid attended West Chester Normal School and the Lawrenceville School, and in 1899, he graduated as Latin salutatorian from Lafayette College, which his father attended as well. Reid also had a graduate degree from Lafayette. An 1893 article in the Daily Local News, published in West Chester, states that “At Lawrenceville Mr. Reid won several honors … His name appears in the list of those punctual in attendance upon every exercise and service during the year, and he was accorded honors for scholarship in Greek, Latin, algebra, English, botany, drawing and study of the Bible.” In college, Reid was on the track team and served as editor of several undergraduate publications. In his senior year, he won the senior historical essay prize for his study, Admiral Coligny and the Huguenots in America. After college, Reid taught languages and mathematics at Lafayette. Reid then studied law in the father’s office and in 1902 was admitted to the county bar. Three years later, he was admitted to the Superior and Supreme Court bar.

Reid held a number of positions associated with his profession and in banking. He was librarian of the Chester County Law Library Association; a member of the Board of Law Examiners; director, president, trust officer, and board chairman of the First National Bank; director and chairman of the executive committee of the Dime Savings Bank; director and president of the Penn Mutual Fire Insurance Company; and director of the Chester County Trust Company.

Reid was also a trustee of the West Chester Normal School and a charter member of the Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Ella May Gordon was an employee of Arthur P. Reid in his title research business. She was often identified as a stenographer, including in the 1940 federal census when she was residing in Uwchlan Township, Pa. When Arthur P. Reid died in 1950, she continued searching titles.

Gordon was born on May 23, 1900 in Chester, Pa. and died in Lionville, Pa. on January 13, 1976. She is buried in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Exton, Pa. Gordon was a member of the church, the Chester County Historical Society, the Republican Club, and the Lionville Fire Company Auxiliary. Her parents were George M. and Margaret Smiley Gordon.

Collections Scope:

The Reid-Gordon files contain information on property titles in Chester County, Pa. While the depth of research varies with each property, many of the collection’s title searches take the chain of ownership of properties back to early colonial times. Deeds, sheriff’s deeds, mortgages, subdivisions, easements, and copies of wills or probates were typically fully researched and cited. Plot plans are often included.

The files also contain a small group of archival records of the Arthur P. Reid Company, estate records, and a card file of deed and mortgage receipts.

Information For Researchers:

  • Access:
    This collection is open to researchers.
  • Preffered Citation:
    Item description. Box number, Folder number. Reid-Gordon Company Title Search Collection, Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, PA.
  • Acquisition Information:
    Gift of Ella May Gordon, 1975/76

Collection Arrangement:

Much of the collection is arranged numerically by a reference number assigned to each title search, four boxes contain miscellaneous archival material from the Arthur P. Reid Company, there are seven volumes containing title information about West Chester, Pa. properties, there are 16 folders of estate records, and there is a card file that documents the receipt of deeds and mortgages by banks and other businesses.

Collections Contents:

How to Use the Collection

The Reid-Gordon files are accompanied by copies of Breou’s Official Series of Farm Maps: Chester County, published in 1883 by W. H. Kirke & Company and certified by the Chester County Commissioners. Each map has been marked with a title search reference number assigned to properties. Maps often include such information as the names of owners of a property, the number of acres owned, house and barn locations on parcels, type of construction of improvements (brick, frame, stone, etc.), roads, transportation networks, watercourses, mills, and business establishments.

The maps do not label properties by postal address. In order to use this collection, researchers must be capable of locating their property visually on the map, or provide the name of the owner in 1883. A mailing address is not used in historic property research. To learn how to identify property owners circa 1883, please read the Property Research Guide

The reference number on the county maps key into numbered title searches of the Reid-Gordon collection. 

Description of the Collection

Title Searches 

Boxes 1-10                  Chester County title searches             1-449

Boxes 11-20                Chester County title searches             450-707

Boxes 21-30                Chester County title searches             708-1006

Boxes 31-40                Chester County title searches             1007-1309

Boxes 41-50                Chester County title searches             1310-1608

Boxes 51-60                Chester County title searches             1609-1874

Boxes 61-70                Chester County title searches             1875-2140

Boxes 71-80                Chester County title searches             2141-2382

Boxes 81-90                Chester County title searches             2383-2570

Boxes 91-100              Chester County title searches             2571-2782

Boxes 101-110            Chester County title searches             2783-2962

Boxes 111-120            Chester County title searches             2963-3124

Boxes 121-130            Chester County title searches             3125-3285

Boxes 131-140            Chester County title searches             3286-3643

Boxes 141-149            Chester County title searches             3644-4210

Boxes 150-158            West Chester title searches                 1-727

Boxes 159-160            Miscellaneous title searches                287-316

Boxes 161-164            Miscellaneous title searches                unnumbered


Arthur P. Reid Archival Records 

Box 165, folder 1        Bank Burglary and Robbery Policy

Box 165, folder 2        Brief of Title to Land and Buildings … Township of Schuylkill

Box 165, folder 3        Brief of Title to William F. Gable Properties in Chester County, Pa.

Box 165, folder 4        Chester County Historic Sites

Box 165, folder 5        Chester County Trust Co. Financial Condition, 1931

Box 165, folder 6        Correspondence, etc., 1913-1941

Box 165, folder 7        Correspondence, etc., 1942-1943

Box 165, folder 8        Correspondence, etc., 1944-1947

Box 165, folder 9        Correspondence, etc., 1948-1951

Box 165, folder 10      Cox Lots

Box 165, folder 11      A Digest of the County Planning Law, by Walter A. Herley

Box 165, folder 12      E. M. Davis Insurance


Box 166, folder 1        Ella M. Gordon, Notary Public Certificate, 1939

Box 166, folder 2        Ella M. Gordon Notebook

Box 166, folder 3        Graham Heirs

Box 166, folder 4        Index of Plots and Searches

Box 166, folder 5        Miscellaneous Records – 1

Box 166, folder 6        Miscellaneous Records – 2

Box 166, folder 7        Miscellaneous Records – 3

Box 166, folder 8        Miscellaneous Records – 4

Box 166, folder 9        Miscellaneous Records – 5

Box 166, folder 10      Miscellaneous Records – 6

Box 166, folder 11      Miscellaneous Records – 7

Box 166, folder 12      Miscellaneous Records – 8


Box 167, folder 1        Miscellaneous Records – 9

Box 167, folder 2        Miscellaneous Records – 10

Box 167, folder 3        Miscellaneous Records – 11

Box 167, folder 4        National Bank of Chester County

Box 167, folder 5        Notary Fees

Box 167, folder 6        Old Roads: Tredyffrin, Charleston, Schuylkill

Box 167, folder 7        Pennsylvania Railroad and Downingtown Borough

Box 167, folder 8        Philadelphia & Reading Railway


Box 168, folder 1        Reid Title Plant Index

Box 168, folder 2        S. E. Ledgers

Box 168, folder 3        Settlement Account and Checks

Box 168, folder 4        Springton Manor, Old Roads, E. Caln Patent, etc.

Box 168, folder 5        Tax on Deeds

Box 168, folder 6        Uwchlan Township School District … Revenue for School Purposes

Box 168, folder 7        Wayne Title & Trust Co. Title Index

Box 168, folder 8        West Chester Titles Key #1-168, #201-323

Box 168, folder 9        West Chester Title Certificates


Estate Records 

Box 169                     

Miscellaneous wills

Joseph Arasim

Anna M. C. Eastburn

Thamazine R. Ellicott

Benjamin E. Fredd

Sarah W. Fredd

Lewis M. Hickman

Emma Longstreth

Enoch S. McCaughey

Anna Mary Manley

Box 170                     

Thomas W. Marshall (2 folders)

Robert T. Neely (2 folders)

John P. Tocydlowski

Levi E. Warner


Deed and Mortgage Receipt Card File 

Box 171                      undated and 1905-1923

Box 172                      1924-1935

Box 173                      1936-1950


Volumes Containing West Chester Title Searches 

Volume 1                    563-1934

Volume 2                    1935-3199

Volume 3                    3200-4850

Volume 4                    4851-6188

Volume 5                    6189-7400

Volume 6                    7401-8831

Volume 7                    8832-9622