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