John Price Crozer (January 13, 1793 – March 11, 1866) was an American textile manufacturer, banker, and philanthropist from Upland, Pennsylvania. His mills produced clothing for the US Army and other customers.
Crozer was born January 13, 1793 to John and Sarah Crozer. Crozer grew up on a farm in Delaware County that is now the location of Swarthmore College. He eventually took over management of the family farm and sold it and used the profit to start his business ventures.
In 1821, Crozer rented a mill near Crum Creek in Ridley, Pennsylvania. In 1825, Crozer purchased the Mattson mill on the west branch of Chester Creek in Chester, Pennsylvania and altered it by removing the cotton machinery. In 1845, Crozer purchased the Chester Mills from John W. Ashmead and converted it to a cotton mill. In 1846, Crozer built the mill known as No. 1, a five-story stone structure with 6,000 spindles and 150 looms and a number of stone houses for the workers. In 1852, Crozer built No. 2, a four-story mill with 7,000 spindles and 150 looms. In 1863, Crozer built mill No. 3, a four story mill with 7,140 throstle-spindles, 2,112 spinning mules and 256 looms. The three mills together consumed ninety bales of cotton and produced eighty-two cases of goods weekly.
After his death, the mills were divided amongst his sons. Samuel A. Crozer inherited the No. 2 mill and Nos. 1 and 3 were operated by J. Lewis, George K. and Robert H. Crozer under the name J.P. Crozer & Sons.
Crozer donated liberally to charitable, educational and religious organizations. At his own cost, he built the Upland Baptist Church. He donated the land on which the First Baptist Church of Chester was built and contributed largely to the construction of the church. He endowed a theological studies professorship at the University of Lewisburg and built the Normal Institute for Boys in Upland (see Old Main Building below).
In 1849, Crozer convinced the school district of Chester to establish a school in Upland. He erected a building to be used exclusively as a school at his own expense. The building is currently used as The Schoolhouse Museum.
He was president of the Pennsylvania Colonization Society; president of the board of directors of the American Baptist Publication Society; president of the Pennsylvania Training-School for Feeble-Minded Children; president of the Home for Friendless Children; president of the Woman's Hospital of Philadelphia and president of the Pennsylvania Baptist Education Society. He was one of the founders of the Christian Commission.
Old Main Building
Crozer provided the land and funds for the construction of Old Main in 1857 to house the Normal Institute for Boys. In June 1862, Crozer offered the building, without charge, to the United States Government for usage as a hospital. During the Civil War, the hospital treated wounded soldiers from both the Union and Confederate armies. The property was returned to Crozer and subsequently leased to Colonel Theodore Hyatt for use as the Pennsylvania Military Academy.
After Crozer's death in 1866, his children established the Crozer Theological Seminary in the Old Main building as a tribute to their father. The most famous student of the seminary was Martin Luther King, Jr.. He enrolled on September 14, 1948 and graduated on May 8, 1951 with a Bachelor of Divinity degree.
In 1970, the school moved to Rochester, New York in a merger that formed the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. After the relocation of the school, the Old Main building was purchased by Crozer Hospital (now part of Crozer-Chester Medical Center) for use as medical offices.
The Old Main building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
Crozer married Sallie L. Knowles on March 12, 1825. They had nine children, - Samuel A., Margaret, Elizabeth, J. Lewis, Sallie K., James, George K., Robert H. and Emma. Margaret Crozer married William Bucknell, businessman and benefactor to Bucknell University. Crozer is interred at the Upland Baptist Church cemetery in Upland, Pennsylvania.
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- "National Historic Landmarks & National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania" (Searchable database). CRGIS: Cultural Resources Geographic Information System. Note: This includes Pennsylvania Register of Historic Sites and Landmarks (June 1972). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Old Main" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-01-06.
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