Friday, January 29, 2016

Delaware County's 19th century Arctic Explorer

Mill dam on Cobbs Creek c.1900

 He Was Much Interested in the Latest Exploration 
 Well Known in This County

                The following from the Philadelphia Press, will be read with interest by the many Delaware countians who know Amos Bonsall, the survivor of the famous Kane expedition to the Arctic.  Mr. Bonsall, whose home is now in West Philadelphia, formerly resided in Upper Darby.  Training School, at Elwyn, and a manager of the House of Refuge, at Glen Mills.  The Press says: 
                “No Philadelphian probably felt a livelier interest yesterday in the Duke of Abruzzi’s achievement in reaching the farthest point north in search of the pole than Amos Bonsall, president of the Geographical Society.  Mr. Bonsall and John Wall Wilson, a native of Concord, N.H., who, at last accounts, some months ago, was in rapidly failing health, are the only survivors of the second Grinnell expedition to the polar regions in 1853, commanded by Dr. Bonsall, may be, at this time, the only survivor.  In early life he became a commissioned officer in the United States Navy.
                “The first Grinnell expedition of 1850, sent out in search of Sir John Franklin’s party of 1844, was commanded by Lieutenant DeHaven, U.S.N., of this city, and Dr. Kane, who was a surgeon in the navy, went with it as medical officer.  Mr. Bonsall was an officer of one of the two vessels in this expedition.  The second expedition, in the brig Advance, was commanded by Dr. Kane and Mr. Bonsall was sailing master of the vessel.  Nearly all the important surveys in Arctic latitudes, by which the geographical boundaries of northern Greenland and Baffin’s Bay were established were made by Amos Bonsall.  As president of the Geographical Society and a member of other scientific bodies.  Mr. Bonsall has devoted some study to Arctic research apart from his own experience as an explorer among the seas and glaciers of the frozen north.
                A DARING VOYAGE – “The Duke of Abruzzi’s feat in reaching the farthest point north,” said Mr. Bonsall, yesterday, “at once challenges interest in every part of the world.  But the information that comes to us is yet too meager for any extended comments on its importance in the field of Arctic research.  We only know from his own record of his voyage among the ice that he has reached a point nineteen miles nearer the Pole that any previous explorer.  That in itself is important when one considers the obstacles and almost insuperable barriers to the progress of Arctic travel, and the inexhaustible perseverance it takes to overcome them.  I have that respect for a man who adds nineteen miles to the record of our progress toward the pole that the sporting world has for an athlete, who surpasses all previous records of strength or skill, or a horse that lowers the records of the turn by a fraction of a minute.  It is a feat that challenges praise when we consider the immense obstacles to its accomplishment. 
                “I have always thought and still think that Nansen and his companion Johansen in 1696 undertook a task that taxed the last resource of human hazard and determination when they left the side of the Fram fastened in the ice to pursue a winter journey farther north on sledges.  I think that fact has never been surpassed in the annals of daring exploration, except perhaps by Andree’s suicidal expedition in a balloon.  Every candid mind in the world shares the one opinion there can be no doubt that Andree’s balloon enterprise was one of the most melancholy of absurdities.
                “One of the interesting things that may develop from a more definite knowledge of the Duke of Abruzzi’s journey is the effect of the flow of the Snitsbergen ice.  The drift of ice packs in the Polar seas, so far as it has been investigated, is always westward.  It was one of the earliest theories of Arctic explorers that this was produced by the earth’s rotation.

                “Sir Edward Parry was one of the earliest explorers to note the effect of this current in changing his latitude while traversing fields of ice in the opposite direction.  The Polar current flows south between the coasts of Greenland and Norway and through Baffin’s Bay, and north from the coast of Japan, between Asia and North America, at a uniform rate of three miles an hour.  This current most make a circuit of the pole, as shows partly by the relics of the Jeanette which drifted from the islands north of Siberia to the shores of Baffin’s Bay.  This was Nansen’s theory when he attempted to drift across the pole, and it will probably be found that Abruzzi’s vessel drifted in the ice packs north of Siberia to the extreme northern latitude which has been reported.
                “I notice that the Duke of Abruzzi laid out relays of provisions on the ice.  That is something that was never attempted before with success.  Peary’s experience in trying to keep provisions where they could be found on the returning voyage was a disastrous failure.  They were buried and lost in the snow.
                “The Duke of Abruzzi is a daring fellow, but perhaps few Philadelphians know that his ascent of Mt. S. Elias in Alaska.  IN July 1898, was accomplished on plans laid out for the undertaking by Henry G. Bryant of this city.
                “Mr. Bryant pointed out how the summit could be reached from the interior instead of the coast.  The Duke appropriated this plan and accomplished the feat with the aid of imported Alpine guides.  Mr. Bryant was compelled to abandon the undertaking for the lack of guides"
Special thanks to Mary Giove for her typing expertise!! 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Williamson Trade School Strike part 2 and Giving a talk in Bethel this Tuesday


A dormitory at Williamson Trade school about 1908


The Williamson Trade School Strike

Part 2

A number of my readers asked what happened at the Williamson Trade School Strike from 1900
  The school strike started when the students protested, President John M. Shrigley’s constant teachings and lectures on temperance and the dangers of drinking alcohol. Shrigley forced the resignation of Robert N. Crawford, the school superintendent, “for business considerations” who disagreed with the teachings of temperance. Crawford continued to live on school grounds and the battle was on. On April 9, 1900 the students erected flags all over the campus grounds overnight, calling for Crawford’s reinstatement. They nailed the school’s United States flag at half mast so the school could not lower it. When Shrigley had the flag taken down, the students accused him of desecrating the U.S. flag. The flags were erected at night so President Shrigley would have no idea who the student ringleaders were.  On April 11 the students went on strike. They met in the school auditorium and demanded an investigation into their grievances and the firing of Crawford. No one was more shocked than Shrigley; he had considered the strike over and done with. Shrigley met with the group but promised nothing, he considered the strike as just a “nuisance” led by a small group of “insurgents”.  The “small group” was approx. 40 boys who were suspended by the board of trustees of Williamson. Shrigley allowed no reporters on campus and refused to answer any questions for a week, he told the Times newspaper, through the new school superintendent, a Mr. Bitting that “all the departments were running along as usual”. What running as “usual” will never be known but the school trustees upheld the firing of Superintendent Robert Crawford whose last day on the campus was April 23. When Crawford left the school by train for his home in Lansdowne the entire student body turned out. They met at his cottage and walked him and his family to the school train station were Crawford gave a small speech. After the speech as he was boarding the train the students gave three cheers and sang, “ My Country tis of thee” and the “Star Spangled Banner”.
   Shortly after leaving, Crawford called the school to talk to student Joseph Hoffman about sending an article to the Chester Times office in Media. While on the phone, President John M. Shrigley walked in demanding to know what was going on and what Crawford was saying. Hoffman refused to say and when Shrigley demanded an answer, Hoffman resigned and left the school on the spot. That was the end of the strike, most of the 40 suspended student were never reinstated.
Special thanks to John Coleman, Brookhaven Historian, for his help with this article.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

7 Stars Inn in Aston Township and book signing in Lansdowne

The 7 Stars Inn at 5 Points in Aston Township shortly before it was torn down in September of 1950. The Inn was built about 1762 and was owned by the Massey Family for over 100 years. The Inn stood about where Zac's Hamburgers is today at 3600 Concord Rd.
July 25, 1899


 Anniversary of the Battle of Brandywine Creek – An Anecdote of Farragut

                In the northwest angle, made by the crossing of Marcus Hook and Concord Roads at village Green, Delaware County, is located “The Seven Stars,” a tavern which has been a public house since Colonial days.  In the middle of the last century the prosperous Sarum Forge from Works were a Glen Mills and the ore there melted was conveyed by wagons from Marcus Hook, then an active shipping place.  The manufactured bars were in turn carted to Marcus Hook, where they were loaded on vessels for transportation to Philadelphia.
                The number of teamsters thus employed as well as the general heavy travel to the then “backwoods,” required the location of an inn at an intermediate point and “The Seven Stars” was the outgrowth of this public need.  Thy the tavern was so called is not certainly known, but tradition tells that its name was bestowed in honor of the Ursus Major, the beauty of whose seven suns had excited the admiration of an astronomical student, closely connected in sentiment or kin with one of its earlier proprietors.
                The records show that prior to the Revolutionary War it bore that title.  The reason the little hamlet which has grown about it was known as Village Green is lost.  Our information goes no further than the fact that it went by that name early in Colonial times.
                IN REVOLUTIONARY DAYS – More than a century has elapsed since the battle of Brandywine but the incidents of that eventful period at Village Green are yet the glory of “The Seven Stars”.  It was a sultry morning that Thursday, September 11, 1777, and a thick fog clung to the earth, shutting out the autumnal landscape.  The children of the neighborhood had gathered at the school, for while to the matured dread and dismay came with the news of the approach of the British Army and the certainty that the crash of arms between it and the Continental forces, which then lay at Chadd’s Ford, only ten miles away, could not be long averted, it is nowise lessened the ardor of the urchins’ play in the school yard.
                Yet even the youngest pupil noticed that the aged theater, James Rigby, appeared depressed, and with difficulty could follow the mumbling scholars in their recitations.  So merged was this impression that Thomas Dutton, the centenarian, then a lad of 8 years, remarked the circumstances.  Shortly after 10 o’clock when the fog lifted, disclosing a cloudless sky, the distant booming of a cannon startled the master and pupils.  Colonel Proctor, of the Pennsylvania Artillery, at Chadd’s Ford, had opened fire on Knyphausen’s advance.
                The reverberations had hardly died away when another booming sound followed, which was followed in quick succession by others.  James Rigby for a short time strove to continue the usual exercises, but the excitement of the hour was so intense that finally he said:  “Go home children, I can’t keep school today.”
                All that afternoon stragglers from the field of battle hastened along the highway to Chester, but when the American army was driven backward by the English advance, many of the Continental troops lost all company organization and fled, each intent only on personal safety.  When Knyphausen forced the passage of the Brandywine compelling Wayne to retire from Chadd’s Ford, the Pennsylvania militia, under General Armstrong, although it had taken no active part in the contest, broke in a body and joined the demoralized throng that well nigh choked the Concord road with a struggling mass of panic-stricken men, hastening wildly in the direction of Chester.
                The artillery jolted and surged onward as rapidly is the weary horses, under the goading lash, could be forced to move, while the baggage wagons crowded to the front, compelling the foot-sore men to make room for them to pass.  The oaths of the teamsters and the soldiers clearly indicated that the army in Flanders was not alone given to profanity.  Fortunately the early evening was still and clear, and the moon looked down kindly on the defeated troops, who, jaded with their long march, had recovered in a measure from their panic e’re they reached the Seven Stars.  When General Greene’s division, which had acted as a rear guard of the army, marched by the ancient tavern shortly after midnight it was in order such as became the brave soldiers who that day had proved themselves to be on the heights of Brandywine.
                CORNWALLIS WAS THERE – Two days later at 4 o’clock on the afternoon of Saturday, September 13, Lord Cornwallis and his staff reached Village Green, where they drew rein before the side porch of “The Stars”, James Fennell, the landlord, despite his political bias, hid his chagrin with a host’s smile and watched with interest the unusual spectacle.  Cornwallis naturally was the center of attraction.  His tall stately form, his rich musket coat loaded with gold lace and decorations, his white sheepskin britches, tog boots and his superior horsemanship all combined to render him a figure never to be forgotten by those who envy the able soldier on that occasion.
                The urchins gazed with open-eyed amazement as the group of grandly equipped officers and listened with awe to the tingling of their swords and spurs and the chomping of the bits by the horses as the men dismounted at the tavern door that raw autumn day.  His lordship stood on the porch and watched the soldiers of the Second Battalion of British Infantry, Second Battalion of Grenadiers, which accompanied him and the first and second Brigades under General Grant, as they entered the fields, south of the Concord Road, their left resting at Mount Hope and their right extending a short distance east of the road leading to Marcus Hook.
                The few Hessians, not the advance, were objects of the utmost curiosity to the rural lookers on, for they, for the first time, saw those men who “were their beards on their upper lips.”  In the dusk of the evening the campfire stretched in a semi-circle more than half a mile.  That night Cornwallis slept at “The Seven Stars,” and early next morning accompanied the advance to Thaw’s Mill – now Upland, where he seized a large amount of flour, which he forwarded, under guard to the headquarters of the army.
                On Sunday evening, September 16, three soldiers who had been of a party of foragers, straying away from the main body and crossing Chester Creek above Dutton’s mill, entered the dwelling of Jonathan Martin, where they plundered the family of many articles of value, among these, some personal trinkets belonging to his daughter, Mary Martin.  The latter was a lass of 18, who fearlessly upbraided the men for their dishonest and cowardly acts.  One of the soldiers became enraged at the girl, angrily struck at her with his bayonet, inflicting a slight wound on the hand, with which she had attempted to ward off the blow.
                The men the same evening went to the residence of Mr. Cox, nearly a mile distant, where they committed similar acts of pillage, among the articles stolen being a silver watch.  Miss Cox was about the same age as Miss Martin and early next morning the two girls in company repaired to the British headquarters where they had an interview with General Howe, just as the latter was about to visit Cornwallis’ extreme outpost at Upland.
                It chanced that the troops encamped at Village Green were mustered for inspection and Howe stated to the young women that if they could recognize the men who had been guilty of the theft they should be punished as prescribed in his general order.  The commander-in-chief- with the girls at his side, walked in front of the lines its entire length and the women pointed out three men whom they declared were the culprits.  That there should be no mistake the officers were instructed to march the troops by a given point, and again the girls selected the same men, and a third trial resulted in their recognition out of the three or four thousand soldiers then assembled.  Howe ordered the men searched, and some of the stolen articles were found secreted on their persons.
                They were immediately tried by court martial and as the evidence was direct and contradicted, they were found guilty and sentenced to death, but only two of the three were hanged, the third was required to act as executioner for his companions.  The one who should do service as Jack Ketch was determined by lot.  That evening after General Howe and his escort of dragoons returned from Upland, the sentence of the court was complied with.  An apple tree near the roadside was used for the gallows in full sight of the officers who stood on the porch of the tavern watching the ghastly sight.  Tuesday morning the British army broke camp and marched away.  General Grant, who four days thereafter, perpetuated the massacre at Paoli, gave no attention to the dread case and their lifeless bodies were left dangling from the limb, fearful silhouettes outlined against the leaden sky.
                On the porch of the Seven Stars, in 1817, David Glascoe Farragut, then a young midshipman on leave, whiled many an hour during the intervals of study, for he was then a student under Joseph Weef, a Frenchman, who established a school in Philadelphia founded on the system in vogue at the noted Pestallozzi in Switzerland, which he subsequently removed to Village Green.  The future admiral homely in face and diminutive in stature, at that day carried himself very erect and wore an ample neckerchief to stiffen his head, because as he frequently declared, he could ill afford to lose a fraction of an inch in his height.  An elderly lady of striking physique, even in her declining years, who died nearly twenty years ago, told the writer than on one occasion at a sleighing party at the Seven Stars she danced with Farragut, and they were the target of the would-be wits.  But when the boy midshipman in after years became one of the giants of the world the fact that she had been his partner in that dance was the proudest memory of her life.
                New Book and signing's this week!!

Growing Up Lansdowne

 is a personal and creative account of childhood and adolescence experienced in a conservative Philadelphia suburb during the 1950s and 1960s.
               The 519 page book is composed of 171 diverse essays depicting growing up years in Lansdowne including eight sections of “Random Remembrances, ” where dozens of additional recollections are displayed. Enhancing the text are over thirty period photographs and supportive images.
               The author’s childhood memories deliver a nostalgic and unusually candid account that will endear and entertain readers.  A revealing snapshot of family life during the era is also presented. 
              Growing Up Lansdowne further touches upon memorable historical events and sensitive social issues of the times and their impact on adolescent transition to adulthood.
              Growing Up Lansdowne is part innovative memoir, part local/national history, part social landscape, and part love story.
Book Signings by the author are below:
Friday Jan 15        Vinyl Revival Records          Lansdowne Theater Building      6-8 PM                                                                               Lansdowne
Saturday Jan 16    Cathy"s Half Price Books    1305 West Chester Pike             4-6 PM                                                                               Havertown

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Temperance Instruction, The Williamson Trade School Revolt in 1900

The main building of the Williamson Trade School in Middletown about 1908.
The School was founded in 1888 from the will of Philadelphia merchant, Isaiah V. Williamson. Williamson wanted to start a school that taught the "Trades", carpentry, plumbing etc. In 1900 the students revolted against the administration at the school, because there was not enough trade instruction and too much temperance aka not to drink instruction. SERIOUS
Read below
April 9, 1900 – CHESTER TIMES
                WILLIAMSON BOYS ENTER A PROTEST – Students of the Free Trade School Are in Open Revolt – An Appeal to the Public
                There is a good deal of speculation as to the result of the resignation of Lieutenant Robert Crawford as superintendent of the Williamson School.  Half of the students are in open revolt over the matter.  They visited Philadelphia in a body on Saturday afternoon and filed their protests with the different Philadelphia papers.
                They demanded the re-instatement of Mr. Crawford and the removal of President John M. Shrigley and Harry A. Bitting, who, in all probability, will succeed Lieutenant Crawford.
                The boys complain that John M. Shrigley, president of the school, is defeating the objects for which in institution was founded by the late Isaiah V. Williamson, by giving temperance lectures instead of instruction in mechanics, and that Mr. Shrigley’s peaceful sentiments lead him to banish everything patriotic from the school, including the Stars and Stripes from the campus, and the pictures of the country’s great men.
                PROTEST OF THE BOYS – The following is the boys’ appeal to the public:  We are students at the Williamson Trade School.  At present we are surrounded with great sorrow over the forced resignation of our able superintendent, Robert Crawford.  We entertained the Williamson School with the understanding that we should be taught a mechanical trade, but under the rule of President John M. Shrigley, trade construction has been made a matter of secondary importance, while instruction in temperance has been made a matter of primary importance, until we are tired of being compelled to listen to long-winded discussions of the subject, being almost made to believe that all men are the low brutes of the slums, rather than the exalted creatures God intended them to be.   Mr. Shrigley’s declared purpose is to make us “temperance boys,” whether we become what we went to the school for or not.  This is evidenced by the oft-repeated remarks:  “I would rather give one Loyal Temperance Legion diploma than six, ten or a dozen diplomas for proficiency in trade work.”  We believe that Williamson School is a public institution, and that the public has a right to see that we have removed from the head of our institution such incompetency as exists in President Shrigley, who manifests no interest in our trade work and academic studies who has not once, during our entire course, so much as asked us how we are getting along and Assistant Superintendent Bitting, whose knowledge of the English language and scientific and practical branches is, indeed, very limited.
                One would judge from Mr. Shrigley’s manner that we are a lot of young reprobates who should be in a reformatory, yet the fact remains that we come from good Christian homes.
WANT BETTER TREATMENT – We wish it understood that it is not our desire to strike a blow at good cause, such as temperance, but we do wish to be treated as reasonable beings. 
                Mr. Crawford’s ambition has been to make us good mechanics and loyal American citizens, and this ambition has caused President Shrigley in the name of the trustees to call for his resignation.
                The public of Philadelphia is too well acquainted with Mr. Crawford, through his connection with the Spring Garden Institute and Manual Training School, to believe any such trash as is put before them by President Shrigley.
        Mr. Shrigley’s desire seems to be diametrically opposed to Mr. Crawford’s as displayed by his abolishing the American flag from the grounds to our great disgust, and extolling the merits of the country’s enemies by placing or causing to be placed on the school bulletin board their pictures and refusing to allow to remain the likenesses of America’s greatest men, declaring that he intended to control the politics of the school bulletin.
  It seems that any man who appears to suffer at the sight of the Stars and Stripes does not deserve the protection of the United States Government.  After the removal of the flag pole the boys erected one of the campus.  Inside of twenty-four hours it was prostrate on the ground, with the flag on it, by order of Mr. Shrigley.  We are sorry to inform the public that Mr. Shrigley is a member of the Universal Peace Union.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Quarantine Station at Marcus Hook

The Quarantine Station at Marcus Hook about 1907 it opened in 1897. The 19 acre property closed and was bought by Sun Oil in 1948.
September 5, 1901 – CHESTER TIMES
                WORK OF THE MARCUS HOOK QUARANTINE – Station Now Splendidly Equipped With Modern Appliances  - How Fumigation Is Done
                At a meeting on Tuesday of the State Quarantine Board, Enoch Tetterman, an old employee of the station at Marcus Hook, was made superintendent of buildings, grounds and fumigation, and Henry Lewis was made first mate on the quarantine boat.  The salary of Chief Clerk Joseph D. Brown was increased $5 a month and that of Chief Engineer Conn was increased $10 a month.  Contracts were also closed with Ward & McGinness, the Chester builders, for the construction of barracks hospital and crematory.
                IMPORTANT IMPROVEMENTS – During the past year great improvements have been made at the boarding station at Marcus Hook and the Times is indebted to Dr. J.L. Forwood of this city, who is a member of the State Quarantine Board, for the interesting facts contained in this article.  The boarding station has, in fact, been made a complete quarantine, with all modern and scientific improvements.  The property has been purchased, which includes eighteen acres of land on the river edge with four beautiful buildings for housing the officials and the administration building, two barns, barracks for the accommodations of 500 persons, a hospital, complete disinfecting plant and crematory.
                The hospital for infectious diseases has twenty-five beds, with other accommodations for sleeping purposes and caring for persons including seventy beds adjoining a disinfectant plant, 100 beds and cots in the administration building and 100 tents, so that the accommodations will provide sleep and care 600 persons at one time.
                For the boarding of vessels there is an ample and commodious wharf, with a steam launch.  The quarantine regulations at the present time differ very much from what they did a few years ago.   Under the regulations all steamers coming from south of Florida are required to be fumigated and all vessels going outward to points beyond the United States are required to submit to the same rules.
                Whenever a steamer has a suspect on board or has come from an infected port and had disease on board, all officers, men and passengers are required to land at Marcus Hook, the steamer fumigated and a similar treatment of the clothing worn by those who come on shore.  For this purpose the modern disinfecting plant has been erected.  A person goes into the bathroom stripped of his clothing, has a shower bath, a disinfecting bath of a solution of 4 per cent of carbolic acid.  In the meantime his clothing is disinfected by being placed in a wire crate, along with all others, tied in a bundle and marked.  This large wire crate, resting on a sliding track, is pushed into a large iron cylinder, with a steam tight door closed and is kept under steam pressure for one hour.  Then the steam is allowed to escape, the air to enter and the heat of the cylinder in a few minutes dries the clothing they come out dry and are put on again by the persons in the bath.  This process can be conducted with remarkable rapidity.
                The steamers, the Grayfield and Helga, of the Earn Line, were disinfected last week, their passengers, officers, and men being handled on shore.  Seventy persons and their effects were disinfected and fumigated in four hours.
                A BUSY PLACE – To give the public some idea of the work done at this station and the wonderful and growing commerce of Philadelphia, the Times herewith appends the official reports to the Quarantine Board for the months of July and August 1991:
                For the month of July, 1901 – Number of vessels inspected and passed, 145; vessels spoken and passed, 7; vessels detained for observation, 1; passengers inspected and passed, 1540; officers and inspected and passed, 1540; officers and men inspected and passed, 3675; officers and men detained for observation, 41; total number of persons examined detained, etc., 556; number of medical and surgical cases examined and treated, 46.
                For month of August, 1901 – Number of vessels inspected and passed, 146; vessels spoken and passed, 6; vessels detained for observation, 3; vessels detained for disinfection, 2; passengers inspected and passed, 1966; officers and men inspected and passed, 3810; officers and men detained for observation, 99; officers and men detained for disinfection, 44; total number of persons examined, detained, etc., 6019; number of medical cases examined and treated, 234; surgical cases examined and treated, 23.
                It must not be supposed that with its large capacity and efficiency, is intended or is used for the purpose of treating contagious diseases.   It is simply for a boarding and disinfecting station, an accommodation in barracks and hospital for sleeping and for the care of those who may be ill at the time.  The hospital for the treatment of the sick is on Reedy Island and far away from the danger of any population here.
                As will be seen by the above reports and as has been stated, the requirements of the present quarantine laws require that the efficiency of a boarding station shall be ample and be handled by men who are thoroughly posted and competent to do so in the direction of the advancement of modern science.  In this connection it may be said that the Deputy Quarantine physicians.  Drs. J.M.B. Ward and L.T. Kennedy are the right men in the right place and that Delaware County is fortunate in having such an efficient representative as Dr. J.L. Forwood on the State Quarantine Board.
                CAREFUL PRECAUTIONS – Previously, and still at almost all stations, the boarding of vessels is done from sunrise to sunset.  It is the quarantine regulations all over the world.  In order to further the commercial interests of Philadelphia, the Marcus Hook station officials board night and day, so that no steamer is delayed and if fumigation is required, through the efficiency of the service it is the matter of but a few hours.
                The large number of steamers boarded 145 in July and 146 in August indicates the growing commerce of the cities of Philadelphia and Chester and the great amount of business done at the station just below this city.  These figures, taken from the official reports, which is the only correct way of knowing, shows that the commerce to the Quaker City has doubled in the past year.  This has given great satisfaction to the Commercial Exchange of Philadelphia and has placed in the hands of the Marcus Hook officials nearly all the fumigation of their respective lines coming into the Delaware River.
                There is a telegraph station on the grounds at Marcus Hook, an operator constantly in service and when a vessel passes the Breakwater the station is immediately notified as to what character of vessel she is, whether fumigation is required and about the time she will arrive at Marcus Hook. The disinfecting plant for steamers or incoming vessels is on the quarantine boat and it is very gratifying to know that recently there was obtained an appropriation which will enable the quarantine officials to build a new and modern floating disinfecting plant.  The advantage of this will be that when it is towed alongside it will relieve the visiting boat.  All in all, the station at Marcus Hook is now equipped with modern and scientific methods that are not surpassed by any boarding station in the country, the only one surpassing it, and that by a very small margin, being the station at New York.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Foxhunting in Upland 114 years ago!!

Hard to believe Upland once looked like this and had a fox hunting club


 Friends Entertained at the famous West House on the Bridgewater Road, Now the sumptuous Home of the Gentleman’s Organization 
 All the Appurtenances of a Country Club
                The Upland Fox Hunting Club yesterday opened their splendidly appointed club house with a formal reception given by the house committee to the members and their friends.  The club house is situated on the old West farm, and has stood on the outskirts of Upland Borough for more than two hundred years.  It is in a most delightfully picturesque spot and during the fall and winter will be the scene of many happy gatherings of the sportsmen throughout this and adjacent counties.
                The house and its surroundings have recently been improved and it was the completion of these changes which were announced in the event yesterday.  From 4 to 6 o’clock in the evening the members and their friends to the number of perhaps fifty, wended their way to the hunt club’s domicile and after being shown through the structure were served with tea under the direction of Caterer Morrison of Chester.
                The house committee acted in the capacity of receivers and included in the number were:  Victor J. Petry, Robert H. Page, Edward Crozer, Harry E. Wilson and the following officers ex-officio:  President, John P. Crozer, Louis R. Page, vice president and treasurer.  Harry E. Wilson is secretary.
                THE CLUB HOUSE – The old West farm was purchased some months ago, the sale being consummated by Edward Crozer, who has been one of the leading spirits in the movement to form the Upland Fox Hunting Club.  The steps toward this were taken soon after the improvements were begun and the charter was accordingly secured.  In making the changes it has been the aim of Mr. Crozer, Mr. Wilson and their advisors to retain as far as possible the antiquated appearance of the building.  The visitor to the premises sees the old beams and girders, the ancient stairways, the old closets, the solid oaken floor timbers and everything connected with a house built in the seventeenth century, preserved, yet so brightened that the effect is very beautiful.
                The house has been furnished with tables and chairs in keeping with the surrounding appearances, and altogether the Upland Hunt Club, with its ideal grounds, is one of the best equipped in the country.  There is a lounging room or the members and their associates; there is a spacious dining room, with a large round table in the center; a kitchen with an old log fireplace and a massive stone hearth.
                On the second floor the various rooms are furnished with enameled individual bedsteads, so that members coming in from a ride through the country or belated on the road at night, may come in and spend the time there and find all the comforts of home.
                One of the apartments is to be fitted up with a modern bath room, with shower baths, and is to be supplied with city water.  The secretary of the club has his room finely furnished with roll top desk and all the appointments of a high-class office.  In nearly all the rooms there remain the old fireplaces intact.
                SOME UNWRITTEN HISTORY – One place on the first floor is an object of interest, and there is connected with it something uncanny.  Just what it was built for is not known.  To the side of the fireplace in the apartment which is to be used for the lounging room there is a close-like aperture the entrance to which is the width only of a foot plant inside, the place is large enough for one person to sit comfortable.  Built therein is a seat.  It is believed that this was for the purpose of hiding slaves.
                The door was placed so that it could not be seen from inside the room it being even with the wall.  For years this was covered with the paper which was upon the wall, and would not have been known to the new owners had it not been pointed out.  This is preserved, the original door still hanging.
                The grounds about the house and the buildings have been greatly improved.  Mr. Crozer said yesterday to a Times man:  “This was a discouraging looking place when we got hold of it, but we have made many changes.  There is still much to be done.  We shall lay out a number of gold links and have places for other interesting amusements.”
                TYPICAL COUNTRY CLUB – Mr. Wilson said:  “We shall make this a typical country club for one is needed more than anything else for Chester and its environs.  We shall have someone here at all times in charge and our members can come here and get anything they want to eat.  One improvement contemplated is a road out from the kennels direct to the main highway.”
                The kennels are another point which was a great attraction to the visitors yesterday.  These are in charge of an experienced man, who is known as the huntsman.  He is Marshall Altemus, formerly of the Radnor Hunt, and a fine keeper he is.  Not only yesterday was everything in cleanly and splendid shape, but every day, and at all times, the kennels are in such excellent condition.  These houses of the hounds are built on the most approved plans so that the sleeping apartment of the dogs can be kept clean easily.
                THE FOX HOUNDS – The hounds themselves are high bred American animals.  “The English hounds,” said Secretary Wilson yesterday, “are not as popular as the American, therefore, we have confined our ideas to the latter.  They are by far the keener.  We have but two English dogs in the twenty-five or more of the whole lot.”  The kennels are situated in a most delightfully shaded portion of the grounds, the whole of which comprise 119 acres.
                The old barn has also received attention from the hands of the carpenters.  A large number of fine box stalls have been built while other stalls have been erected so that more than seventy-five head can be accommodated at one time.  At the present season of the year the horses are let out to pasture on the hunt club fields.  There are a large number of them, which are very valuable not only from the point of view of breeding, but as hunters.
                AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL FIND – While some of the repairs were being made to the porch recently there was unearthed a mummified cat.  The skin of the cat is preserved and is like a drum head.  But the outlines of the head, feet and tail are intact.  It is believed that the condition of the earth is responsible for the preservation.  The animal is placed away in the secret closet and is shown only to the friends of the club.
                At the present time there are about thirty members active, contributing and non-resident.  The active membership is limited to 25, and of this number there are present 18.

Friday, December 11, 2015

" A mere Trifle"

Clement Clarke Moore poet

Clement Clark Moore c. 1850

    Clement Clark Moore never really understood what all the fuss was about. He just did not get it. Moore[1779-1863] was  a writer and American Professor of Oriental and Greek Literature, as well as Divinity and Biblical Learning, at the General Theological Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in New York City. Moore graduated from Columbia College (1798), where he earned both his B.A. and his M.A.. The seminary was developed on land donated by Moore and it continues on this site at Ninth Avenue between 20th and 21st streets, in an area known as Chelsea Square.
   Moore's estate, named Chelsea, was on the west side of the island of Manhattan above Houston Street, where the developed city ended at the time. It was mostly open countryside before the 1820s. It had been owned by his maternal grandfather Maj. Thomas Clarke, a retired British veteran of the French and Indian War.
   Although a professor, Moore occasionally wrote poetry for special family occasions to amuse his wife and children. On December 24, 1822 he promised 6 year old daughter, Charity a special Christmas poem. In about 2 hours he wrote one of the best known poems in American History.
The poem, Moore titled, "A Visit from St. Nicholas" is largely responsible for the conception of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today, including his physical appearance, the night of his visit, his mode of transportation, the number and names of his reindeer, and the tradition that he brings toys to children. Moore thought nothing of it, until the next year the poem was published in the Troy, New York, Sentinel newspaper. Moore was horrified. It turned out daughter, Charity had let a cousin copy "her poem" and then a friend of the cousin had sent the poem into the newspaper anonymously. At a time when children's literature was generally frowned on, especially by college professors, Moore was worried what his colleagues would think of his poetry. Moore swore his family to secrecy and watched for the next 15 years as the poem was published in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States. Finally in the late 1830's when other people began to make claims as being the author of the poem, Moore finally stepped forward and admitted he had written the poem himself. Although praise was heaped upon him, Moore thought his scholarly work was much more important. Moore was asked numerous times to write the poem out in his own hand but he almost always refused, and only 3 copies are known to exist. Moore finally included the poem under his name for the first time in 1844 in a book he was editing on New York State poetry. In the book's preface Moore summed up his thoughts about the poem, "It was a mere trifle", Moore wrote," one which had been found to afford far greater pleasure, than what was by myself deemed of worth".