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My name is Elaine Pennell from Nottingham, Chester Co., PA, USA. I live near an area of serpentine rock which was mined beginning in the 1830s for chromite by Isaac Tyson, Jr., a Quaker entrepreneur from Baltimore, MD. Chromite is used in manufacturing pigments, steel, make-up & in other ways. Tyson shipped to Liverpool, England & I'm interested in learning as much background as possible about the industrial firms and their representatives Tyson might have dealt with. After Tyson's death, his sons continued the business; I'm also interested in how the American Civil War influenced the exportation of the chromite since this outcropping of serpentine straddles the Mason-Dixon Line. Did Tyson use both Philadelphia & Baltimore to export chromite?
Much of the area mined by Tyson is owned now by Chester County (Nottingham County Park, where I work part-time) or the Nature Conservancy. Serpentine ecosystems are globally rare & support species of flora that have adapted to the soil which is low in nutrients & high in metals toxic to plants. Certain endangered species grow only on serpentine & the Park also contains areas of savannahs and true prairies. I grew up here and am happy to see the preservation of such a rare habitat.
I'm hoping to receive loads of information on Tyson and his Liverpool connections to add to our historical files. Thank you for your attention.
Elaine Witman Pennell