Arthur Erwin was an Irish immigrant who came to Philadelphia on Aug. 18, 1768 on the ship, Newry Assistance with his pregnant wife and six children: John, Joseph, William, Sara, and Arthur. During the 3-month long voyage, his wife, Mary Scott Erwin, died at sea two weeks after giving birth to a baby who also died.
In March of 1769, Arthur Erwin bought 944 acres in Tinicum Township, the site of the town of Erwinna on a property then known as the Red House Farmstead. On July 27, 1771, Arthur Erwin married Mary Kennedy, of Springfield Township. Over the next decade, Arthur purchased more acreage and by 1780 was the largest landowner in the entire township with 2,555 acres. He was often described as being larger than life, standing at 6 foot 6 inches in height.