Crier in the Country

There are numerous stories floating around the web and in books about ghosts at the Crier in the Country restaurant in Glen Mills, most of which name one of the spirits as being that of Lydia Pennell. When we look in to the history of the place, and comb the various resources regarding the property, we learn a bit more about "Lydia". While the stories do have her first name right as Lydia, her last name was never Pennell, though her husband was descended from the Pennell family.

The house in question was built by Thomas Pennell about 1740. His daughter Catherine married Davis Powel of Chester county and among their children was a son Thomas P. Powel, born in Philadelphia in 1811. Thomas spent much of his early life in Maryland where his father had moved, but returned to the Ivy Mills area in the mid 1800's where he married Lydia Garrigues, daughter of William Garrigues in 1852. In 1861, Thomas inherited the family farm complete with the house built by his grandfather, Thomas Pennell, and he and Lydia made it their home. Thomas died in 1872 and was buried at St. John's Episcopal in Concordville. After his death, Lydia sold the property to Henry E. Saulnier, who lived there until the early part of the 20th century. Lydia remarried sometime after 1875 to Robert McCall, whose wife Anna, had died in 1875. Robert died in 1888 and is buried at St. John's. Lydia died in 1906 and is buried with her first husband at St. John's, sharing a stone with him. Apparently, even though she had remarried, her heart was still with her first husband.

Henry Saulnier's spirit is also said to haunt the Crier, as he also loved the place and is perhaps keeping an eye on it. Henry was very involved in the local fox hunting scene and had been a member of the Rose Tree Hunt Club for many years, remaining active until his death in 1907. He is buried with his wife Harriet at the Media cemetery.

The property went through quite a few changes of ownership, and in the 1940's it was operated as a retirement home. In 1968, it became a restaurant for the first time as Deveraux's Fox Crest Inn and in 1983, the Ianucci family bought it and it became the Crier In The Country. The Jacksons bought it in 1995 and I believe were the last active owners. A catering company has expressed an interest in the property, but I don't know what the current status is.

Though the benevolent presences of both Lydia and Henry are said to haunt the Crier in a gentle sort of way, it is the unpleasant spirit on the third floor that attracts the most attention. Laurie Hull, in her book, Brandywine Valley Ghosts, tells of sensing a young girl being savaged by a very large man in a bedroom on the third floor, and mentions that her image included seeing the young girl being buried on the property with her belongings. The real mystery now becomes identifying this pair, which will probably be a much harder task than finding Lydia.