Saturday, August 20, 2016

The "Red Gables" Murder early 20th century crime in Aston


 The murder of Captain Erb at his Aston estate, "Red Gables" was in the newspaper for months

NOTE; One of the rarest books of Delaware County history is "Red Gables" published anonymously that first hinted Erb's wife may have been behind his murder and it was not just a domestic gone awry. Less than 6 copies of the book are known to exist. And yes I have one.
CHESTER TIMES – October 7, 1908


Women to be Given A Hearing in Chester This Evening When Inquest on the Death is Held 

 Mrs. Beisel Admits Doing the Shooting

            What was no doubt the culmination of the family troubles of Captain J. Clayton Erb, of Village Green, who has figured to a great extent in the newspapers for some time, resulted in his death at “Red Gables,” his home, last night.  That it is equally certain that his death was the result of a quarrel in which his sister-in-law, Mrs. Catherine Beisel, figured is also beyond question.
            Dr. L.I. Kalbach of Village Green, was called from his bed last night about 10 o’clock and hurried to the Erb home, which is about four blocks from the village proper, and found the body of Erb lying on the floor in the hall in the second story, just outside the bedroom door, his face turned to one side and the body in a pool of blood.
            Upon examination it was found that the man was past all human assistance – that life was extinct.  What appeared to be a gunshot wound was seen on the right side of his head.
            All was excitement in the house.  Mrs. Catherine Beisel is said to have exclaimed that she had shot the captain and that she had shot him in self-defense.  As there was absolutely nothing that Dr. Kalbach could do he immediately notified coroner’s physician, H.F. Taylor of Ridley Park and Deputy Coroner E.F. White, who hurried to the scene of the tragedy.  County Detective Berry was also on the scene within a short time, and a thorough examination was made of the house and all the occupants of the house.  Coroner Barney Carr of Colwyn was soon at the scene of the grim tragedy.  Later Mrs. Beisel was arrested and taken to Media and placed in the county jail.
            After the shooting Mrs. Erb went out to the stable and said to the farm superintendent, William Nichols:
            “You go get a constable.  My sister just shot the Captain.”
            Nichols at once drove to Rockdale and secured Constable Tom Simpson, who remained there until the arrival of the authorities.
            Detective Richard Doyle and Attorney Horwitz, counsel for Captain Erb, left Philadelphia in Phillip H. Johnson’s automobile at 2 o’clock this morning.
            Captain Erb had been in Philadelphia all day and left Philadelphia on the 55 train in the evening from Broad Street station.  He was met at Glen Riddle at 6:26 by William Nichols, his superintendent.  Eugene Poulson, the colored coachman, was also in Philadelphia and three servants were at home, including one colored girl.
            The body of Captain Erb is now laid in his bedroom and arrangements will be made for the funeral after the inquest.
            MRS. ERB ARRESTED – A conference was held late this morning at District Attorney MacDade’s office in Media, at which County Detective Berry recited the facts in the case as he had found them, going over the ground, carefully describing the details of the crime, and the actions of the members of the household both before and after the tragedy.  After considering the facts as laid before him, District Attorney Albert Dutton MacDade sprung the sensation of the morning by ordering the arrest of Mrs. Clayton Erb at her home, demanding her arrest at her residence, “Red Gables,” and ordering that she be kept under surveillance.
            County Detective Berry hastened to Village Green in an automobile to execute the orders of the District Attorney’s office, and tonight he will bring Mrs. Erb to Chester, who with Mrs. Beisel, will be taken before Alderman Robert Smith, of the Third Ward.
            Before Alderman Smith a joint inquest and hearing will be held and the two women will have to face the serious charge of being responsible for the death of J. Clayton Erb.
            Dr. H.F. Taylor, the coroner’ physician, conducted a post mortem and found that three shots had been fired, one ball passing through the left hand, another directly through the chest and lodged in the wall, and the third in the head.  The shot through the chest is the one that caused death, proving fatal in a very short time.  The revolver, a six-shooter, was found in the room of the sister-in-law, Mrs. Beisel, who admitted that she fired the shots, but claims that she did so in self-defense.
            It was a family dispute, Captain Erb and his wife getting into an argument over their domestic difficulties and the sister-in-law finally became involved in the argument and the shooting followed.  The only witnesses to the tragedy, as far as can be ascertained were Mrs. Erb and the sister-in-law, as the servants were all downstairs in their quarters, none able to come upstairs until summoned by members of the household or given permission to be there.
            INTERVIEWS CONDUCTED – County Detective Berry and Detective O’Neill visited Mrs. Beisel at the jail in Media this morning and had a lengthy talk up to 11 o’clock with her.  It is evident that she gave forth some important information as it was decided at once to remove the surveillances of Mrs. Erb, at her home and to transfer her to jail.  The two officials left Media with that purpose in view.  When asked if Mrs. Beisel admitted shooting, County Detective Berry said, “not to me.”
            Mrs. Beiser became very ill after being confined in jail and retired to bed.  She pleaded for her husband and he was summoned.  Her husband is an engineer on the Reading road.
            THE FAMILY TROUBLES – The trouble which ended the life of Captain J. Clayton Erb was not by any means the first to engage the attention of the public, but was the climax to a series of events which have been brewing toward wrecking the domestic felicities of the pair.  Among the first of the troubles to be aired was that which is alleged to have become known shortly after the captain returned from the maneuverers at Pine Plains, New York, with the Third Regiment.  Erb alleged that during his absence there and again while he was at the Chicago National Republican convention, Mrs. Erb showed too great friendliness for a physician in the vicinity of “Red Gables” and for other men who were entertained frequently at his home.
            It is alleged that when the captain called for an explanation that he was beaten by his wife with crockery and with heavy silverware and lacerations on his head were put in evidence of this fact, it is stated.  Erb is alleged to have charged that his home difficulties were brought about through his sister-in-law, Mrs. Catherine Beisel of 1626 South Sixteenth Street, Philadelphia, who frequently visited “Red Gables.”  Erb had some feeling against her and refused the use of his horses to her.  This is said to have incensed his wife.  But a treaty of peace was about to be signed in the office of Squire William E. Griffith, of Rockdale, a few weeks ago, but this was not consummated and later Erb was held in bail for an alleged hissing of dogs upon his wife.  Prior to this Eugene Poulson.  Erb’s colored coachman, was arrested for alleged assault on Mrs. Erb, but was defended by the captain.  This case was deferred to the next court at the present sessions.  Before her marriage to Erb, the wife was a Mrs. Rothermel, wife of a retired broker, who died by suicide about two years ago.  Shortly after that she lived at Atlantic City in comparative ease and was thrown into contact with Erb through their mutual love of horses.
            ERB’S CAREER – Captain Erb was an expert in the State Insurance office under Insurance Commissioner Israel W. Durham.  He was for years private secretary to Mr. Durham and was still connected with his office.  He was one of the best-known figures in Philadelphia politics, entering political life in the 29th ward, under Hamilton Disston, and was later associated with the leadership of James McManes.  When Mr. Durham became Insurance Commissioner he made Captain Erb his expert and actuary.  In addition to being active politically Captain Erb had engaged in the brokerage business and was for a time in the oil trade.
            Three years ago when the Insurance Department was under investigation by the Legislature Erb was the chief witness.  He testified that the enormous fees, amounting to more than $100,000, which was supposed to have gone to Mr. Durham, were paid to him as actuary.  During Durham’s incumbency Erb virtually managed the office.
            Of late years Captain Erb had confined his political activity to the Seventh Ward, Philadelphia.  For many years he had been a leading figure in the military life of the State.  At the time of his death he was captain in the Third Regiment and appeared with his regiment in the military parade Monday.  Through Captain Erb’s influence the Third Regiment was aboard ship ready to sail from Tampa for Cuba during the Spanish war.
            This was accomplished through political influence, but the War Department discovered the trick before the transport sailed and the regiment was ordered to disembark, and it never saw active duty.
            Erb lived, until his marriage several years ago, in South Thirteenth Street, near Pine Street, Philadelphia.  He was more than 50 years of age, and is survived by an unmarried sister, who lives in Tioga.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Essington the "Party Town" 115 years ago!! DEBAUCHERY !!!


Various views of Tinicum Township from over 100 years ago! Recognize anything?

NOTE. Tinicum aka Essington is not considered a big "party town" today but 115 years ago, Essington was the place to go for gambling, drinking etc. Gamblers etc. from Phila and Chester came here because it was isolated from major roads and had fulltime few residents then. For about 6 years Essington was the place to go till a special force led by the Delaware County D.A. shut it down. Read below to get an idea of what Essington was like. Articles like this appeared monthly in the Chester Times.

August 3, 1900 – CHESTER TIMES

                THE BOOKIES HAVE FOUND A GOOD THING Race Track Gamblers Playing the Game above Essington 

 The “Bow Creek Club”

                Things are once more “wide open” from the viewpoint of the gambling element which follows the horses, for another place has been found where racing pools can be made, contrary to the laws of the Commonwealth, but without fear of arrest, says the Philadelphia Press.  This time the sports, with their usual faculty of finding “good things,” have chosen a pretty, rural spot, a short distance below Bow Creek, on the line of the Southwestern trolley road, and there for nearly a month with the knowledge and protection of the Delaware County police officials who are also wise on winners, the Quaker City admirers of the swift-going equine, have been placing their bets at a pace which recalls to the memories of the vets the days when Gloucester had the merry-go-round.
                “Mum” has been the word passed along the line, and as the result the talent of the front rank have been the only ones admitted to this sylvan poolroom, which bears the euphonious title of “Bow Creek Club.”  The directors, although they keep their identity a close secret, have established a rule close secret, have established a rule that only those having tickets can enter the wicket and in this way the expected to make the “organization” very exclusive.
                They manage, however, to see that all those having a good-sized “roll” are not left in ignorance of the poolroom’s existence.  This has been done through the instrumentality of a man named Carroll, who, since the place opened, has established himself in clubs and hotels patronized by the sporting fraternity, and placed himself in communication with the “elect,” who were left to tip off such second-raters as would keep the matter under cover.
                In passing the word Mr. Carroll never forgot to mention two things, one of which was highly important.  First, the police, he gave out, were “cinched to death,” and secondly, the place was in such beautiful country that visit there was a veritable picnic, from the viewpoints of pleasure and profit.
                As the result many business men were drawn to the poolroom.  Restaurant keepers, cigar dealers, saloon keepers, lawyers, and other professional men sought the poolroom by the creek, and it became necessary for a reporter to go also.
                Years ago, it appears, a photographer tried to anticipate the tide of civilization and went down the Neck to raise pictures.  It is the relic of his rashness – a tumble-down shack – that is now used as a poolroom.  A high board fence cuts off the shanty front public gaze, and a gate has been out, though which the faithful walk.
                “Where’s your ticket?” asked the gatetender, when the reporter went ill.
                “Why I didn’t connect until today, and I didn’t have time to get one,” was the reply.
                “Well, you’ll have to get one before you come in,” the gatetender said in pensive tones.
                Once before the “persecuted” gamblers had a poolroom in a field out in Manayunk, and mention of this proved the open sesame.
                “Well, if you went there I guess you’re straight,” said the wicket man.
                Inside the place was full of bustle.  It was evident that the proprietors of the joint, wished to make their patrons comfortable, for an awning was spread out from the house, and when the betters got real warm they came out and made themselves at ease in this shaded spot.
                In the shanty the gamblers were doing a big business.  A glance inside, brought to sight a heavy volume of cigar smoke and at least fifty betters orating on the value of the “good thing” they have picked.  A blackboard showed the odds on the horses, and a ticker in a corner was rapidly clinking off, the doings at the track.
                It seemed as if several corners had lost those who kept them warm.  All the men in the room were “vets.”  In the game and their presence indicated that it was a good, well-protected “on the level joint,” at that.
                Somehow, those inside didn’t share the sentiment of the gatetender in regard to the reporter.  When he showed himself inside the room, a man who appeared to control the situation came forward and said:  “How are you?  Can we do anything for you today?”
                “Oh, nothing particular.  I came down to look over the field,” was the answer, “is anything good on tap?”
                “Nothing today,” said the man, suppose you call again.  We’re busy now and you haven’t any ticket.  The club men don’t like strangers about.”
                Although not a particular stranger to some of the “members,” the reporter left and it is likely that the joint will not be opened again.

CHESTER TIMES – February 26, 1901


 Pool Rooms are doing a Rushing Business Every Day

 Sports Have Their Parades

            The Essington pool rooms are in full blast again and everything goes at that famous place for the gamblers on horseflesh.

            The headquarters are well known to the sporting fraternity and the Philadelphia plungers are on hand in full force every day.  Upon one of the days last week it is estimated that one thousand persons entered the building where the tickers sing their merry song all day and a large amount of money was staked on the results of various tracks.
            A day or two ago one of the sporting men of Chester went to the rooms to see if the business was really as prosperous as reported and he came away with the impression that not one-fourth had been told in that story of the Essington pool game.
            One of the things that struck the visitor sadly was the number of young men who were there staking their money all to be lost in the shuffle for the agents of the concern were busy moving through the crowd and working their alleged tips to the greenhorns in the business. They found easy victims.
            Beer and whiskey bottles were much in evidence, while money flows freely almost every day.  The major portion of the visitors are Philadelphia men, but some of them are from Delaware County, a few being from Norwood and nearby towns; but the proprietors are afraid of the local people and prefer to deal with the sports from the big city.
            A threat was made a day or two ago by local officials to cut the wires but the rooms have been running without interruption thus far with the list of patrons apparently on the increase.


CHESTER TIMES – August 11, 1904


 Investigation Being Made into the Speakeasy Parties Conducted above Essington by Philadelphia Societies on Sundays in Which Much Debauchery is in Evidence 

 Pay One Dollar and Be a Club Member

            The arrests made at the instance of District Attorney Smith yesterday caused a flurry of excitement in the Darby Creek boat house colony, some of the members of which have been very insistent that no liquor has been sold at any of the boat houses along the stream.  There are about seventy-five houses in the settlement, but as far as the investigation revealed, there is no reason to suspect any than the three places against which action has been instituted.
            It is alleged against the Baker and Kay houses that drunken men were very numerous about their club rooms, that poker was a regular pastime and that scenes of debauchery make the Sabbath a mockery.  All this is averred by the men who made the investigation, notwithstanding the hot protests of the people of the boat house settlement and some of their apologists, that such scenes did not occur along the creek.
            THE PICINC DEBAUCHERY – An investigation has been made into other forms of evil on Tinicum Island, but just what was the outcome will be is problematical, as the ruling of the Supreme court on what is termed the club house decision had hedged the violators of the law so completely that it is difficult to frame a prosecution that will be effective.
            The territory above Essington has been made the resort of picnic parties for a number of years.  The payment of a dollar admission to the officers of the society conducting these parties entitles the person to all of the privileges, which include beer.  At some of these picnics children have been seen in a state of intoxication.
            A week or two ago eight barrels of beer were consumed at one of these picnics, which was conducted by a society from Philadelphia.  Each person paying a dollar was given a blue badge that bore the letter “R” and the wearer was one of the members of the club for the day, so was free to get all of the intoxicants he could pour down his throat.
            MANY PEOPLE DRUNK -   A Chester man who visited the place and paid a dollar says of that picnic:  “Beer was very much in evidence.  When I bought the blue badge, which I still have as a memento of the visit, I was told that I could have anything I wanted.  I saw men, women and children so intoxicated that they reeled and children were helplessly drunk when the party, off of whom were under the influence of liquor, started for home.  The picnic party came from Philadelphia in wagons and brought the beer along.  Those sober enough to play indulged in a game of baseball, but the affair partook of a bacchanalian celebration and I left in disgust.”
            THE CLUB HOUSE RULING – Speaking of the difficult of getting violators of the excise laws convicted, District Attorney Smith said yesterday during an interview with a Times man:  “That decision of the Supreme Court on the club house has resulted in filling the State with speakeasies.  There are clubs of all kinds and many of the boys get their first lessons in drinking at such resorts.  There should be a law defining the term ‘club’.  We have in all parts of this county and in this city these so-called clubs, whereby the payment of twenty cents a month a member can buy beer and other drinks on Sunday and when the man who runs the place is arrested, the plea is entered that he is the treasurer of the club, which in nine cases out of ten is a falsehood, as he is simply the proprietor of a speakeasy den.  If the law will say a club must possess its building, owned by a chartered organization, with privileges prescribed by the act of Assembly, we can get at these illicit places.  Then if we have men in the jury box who are not in sympathy with lawbreakers, we will drive speakeasy keepers out of business by running them into jail.  It cannot be denied that our present rulings of the highest court of the State give free reign to lawlessness along the line of liquor selling.”
CHESTER TIMES – August 16, 1904


 Paper Now Receiving Signers for a Legal Movement Against the Invasion of Tinicum Island by the Hordes of Sabbath Desecrators, Whose Debauchery Has Aroused the Residents to Action to Protect Themselves Against Scenes of Indecency and Drunkenness in Which the Visitors Indulge – Threats Made Against People in the Crusade
            The residents of Essington are again up in arms against the continued invasion almost every Sunday of an undesirable class of people from Philadelphia, who assemble on Smith’s field, near the tracks of the Southwestern line of the Chester Traction Company and make the Sabbath Day hideous with their orgies.
            Postmaster A.M. Diehl, ex-Justice of the Peace Charles Seiberling, George B. Reynolds, proprietor of the Yacht Restaurant, and other prominent and substantial citizens of Essington began yesterday to get up a petition praying the Court to instruct the officers of the law to live up to their duties, alleging that last Sunday when a crowd of five hundred or more people from the lower precincts of Philadelphia and Chester were violating the law in various ways, the officers of Essington, instead of making any attempt to stop the all-day disturbances, cohorted in a certain degree with the lawbreakers.
            CRAP SHOOTERS IN EVIDENCE – The above gentlemen claim that a number of crap shooters, who were plying their nefarious game along the public highway, were told by the constable to get out of sight behind the bushes along the road.  They further allege that an official, ever accommodating in his manner, hired teams for the conveyance of the crowds from the trolley lines to the scene of the Sabbath Day desecration.  It is also claimed that one of the county officials was also in the vicinity, but made no attempt to make any arrests.
            The head signers of the proposed petition also allege that a full-fledged bawdy house is conducted in a boat house in the locality of Smith’s field, and that among the patrons of the place are well known residents of Essington.
            BASEBALL IN FULL SWING – Among the various attractions on Sunday was a game of baseball between a team managed by Lew Bailey, called the Broadway Club and the National Club the aggregations being composed of pugilists, who find contests on the diamond a pleasant diversion from the slugging that is necessarily infused in the manly art.
            A large number of lewd women were numbered in the Philadelphia crowd and the language that was used by both sexes was unfit to hear by the Essington people who found it necessary to pass the high carnival to and fro from services in the Essington Protestant Episcopal Mission.
            Mr. Reynolds had to secure assistance from neighbors to eject four intoxicated women from the porch of his Yacht Restaurant.  The women finding the porch a refreshing place to sleep off their booze, highly resented the attempts made to remove them and the language used was of the foulest character, being mingled with oaths.
            During the baseball game, a fierce fight ensued between the rooters, one of whom picked up a bat and struck his opponent over the head.  The man lay unconscious on the ground for several minutes.  Other quarrels took place and the air was filled with oaths and ribald talk.
            A GAMBLING DEN – Another place that the people of Essington will file complaint against is the headquarters of a local club not a thousand yards from the railroad station, where it is alleged a gambling den and drinking hole exists.  Sunday is a big day at this place and one walking along the road when the excitement is at its height can hear such remarks as
            “I raise you ten.”
            “I’ll see you.”
            “Let’s have another drink.”
            “Make mine a dark beer,” and other talk of a like character, which pollute the care of the good people of Essington, who are tired of being compelled to put up with this sort of thing and have decided to take the bull by the horns by bringing the attention to Judge Johnson to the Sabbath Day disorder.
            THREATS ARE MADE – The Sunday desecrations boldly enter Charles Seiberling’s pasture field and milk his cows.  He made complaint once, but was told that if “he made too much of a holler” his cows would be all poisoned.
            It is estimated that eleven beer wagons, hailing from Philadelphia and Chester, make weekly trips to Essington and that the beverage is stored ready for Sunday distribution in a boat house along Darby creek and above Essington.


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Camp Meetings in Boothwyn 120 years ago, Twin Oaks and Beulah!!


A rare picture of the Twin Oaks Camp in Boothwyn from my collection


NOTE; 120 years ago summer camp meetings were the thing. Besides Chester Heights there were several others. The two below started almost back to back. Read the articles and get an idea of living in a tent at four dollars a week was like.

August 22, 1895 – CHESTER TIMES
            NEW CAMP GROUNDS 
Boothwyn Will be Selected and Camp Meetings Held There – Thirty Acres Will Be Bought – Local Preachers of Philadelphia, Wilmington and Delaware County Interested in the Movement Which is About to be Consummated
            The movement which has been on foot among the local preachers of Wilmington, Philadelphia and Delaware County, to establish at Boothwyn a camp meeting grounds, is about being consummated.  There have been two meetings of those interested, the last one having taken place on Saturday last, when a good representation went over the ground with Superintendent McCartney.
            The company has decided to purchase thirty acres of ground and it is proposed in the future to sell lots and erect cottages thereon.  A series of meetings have already been arranged to take place in the beautifully shaded woods, south of the Chichester Road, which is within easy access of the station on the B & O Railroad.
            On September 18, a grand temperance rally will be held followed on the 19th and 21st respectively, by a Christian Endeavor and Epworth League meeting.  On the 20th and 22nd, the day will be set apart exclusively for focal preachers.  A meeting will be held in the near future at which the local preachers from all points are invited to be present. 
The services will be held in the main Tabernacle in the center of the grove and benches are arranged in a semi-circle.  The dwelling tents are arranged in a circle with two avenues for entrance.  Large oak trees keep the circle comfortable and shady in the warm weather.
The Heavenly Recruits’ Camp Meeting will commence this evening at 8 o’clock in the Thorpe Woods, at Twin Oaks.  Presiding Elder L. F. Haas, of Philadelphia, will be in charge.  There will be several appropriate and short addresses, and some excellent singing.  During the ten days’ session of the camp, the following ministers, with several laymen, will take part:  Rev. L. F. Haas, Philadelphia; Rev. J. Trumbauer, Philadelphia; Rev. E. L. Hyde, Chester; Rev. C. W. Ruth, Indianapolis; Rev. H. M. Tengle, Auburn, Pa.; Rev. W. P. Jones, Conshohocken; Rev. J. Redgreaves, Wilmington; Rev. C. Brown, Freeland, Pa.;  Rev. T. J. J. Wright, Reading, Pa.; Rev. Moses Weber, Ontario,, Canada; Rev. Lewis Matson, Norristown; with a few other ministers and laymen from other denominations.
                The large auditorium tent has a seating capacity for 5,000 people, and as the weather is so beautiful, and the Recruits are noted for their earnest speaking and hearty congregational singing, there will doubtless be a very enthusiastic and soul-stirring time.  After this evening seven services will be held each day at the following hours:   6 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m., and 8 p.m.  For the evening service the 7:03 train from Chester, on the B. & O. R. R., will be found very convenient, and the 10:17 train for return.

   The prices for board are:  $4 per week; 75 cents per day; dinner, 35 cents; breakfast or supper, 25 cents.
   The B and O Railroad Company will sell return tickets, good for the entire season, and has also kindly consented to convey camp equipage free of charge.
   The woods are in splendid order, and the favorite well of water is also in good shape.
   The Chester Times, as usual will be served on the grounds, and will contain daily accounts of the proceedings.
                The camp woods are pleasantly situated about a quarter of a mile from Twin Oaks station, and immediately adjoining the school house.  There is an excellent well of water and a new pump, and cold water is guaranteed to all, but if the supply runs short, J. C. Thorpe’s spring house will be called on.
            The restaurant and store will be conducted by Adam Summers and William Riley and they will receive the provisions from Chester.  No privileges will be granted to outsiders to sell their wares on the grounds, and ice cream, soda water, soft drinks, tobacco, and other articles of this kind are tabooed.  Nothing but the necessities of life will be offered for sale.


June 29, 1896 – CHESTER TIMES

            PRETTY BEULAH PARK – The New Religious Resort Opened on Saturday – Very Impressive Ceremonies – A Glorious Time in the Woodsy Boothwyn – Excellent Speeches by Able Speakers and a Vigorous Song Service Conducted in a Shady Nook
            Beulah Park at Boothwyn, the new religious resort, was formally opened and dedicated on Saturday for divine worship.  At ten o’clock the Sabbath schools of Mt. Zion Church, this city, made their appearance and soon the beautiful grove began to resound with the voices of the delighted visitors.  Games of various kinds, singing of hymns, social chats and the expressions of joy on all faces indicated the pleasure of the occasion.
            At 3:30 o’clock Rev. B. F. Campbell called the people together under a large, shaded spot and opened the religious exercises by conducting a vigorous song service of fifteen minutes duration.
            The program for the dedicatory exercises was completed and the preliminaries rendered as follows:  Invocation, Rev. W.H. Aspril; hymn, “Coronation;” Psalm 68, Rev. T. M. Griffith, D.D.; dedicatory prayer, Rev. J. W. Miles; hymn, “A Charge to Keep I Have;”  Remarks, Rev. B. F. Campbell.  Rev. Dr. Griffith, pastor of the South Chester M. E. Church was the first speaker, who delivered an eloquent address on the thought of the occasion.
            “One of the most beautiful things on the face of the earth is a grove and the trees with their leaves clapping for hoy is a fine type of a man possessing God.”
            “Earth is only an outlying country, our home is heaven, and when we get there we will be very much like angels.”  “There are three things for which we ought to be thankful.”  1.  Where we are.  2.  When we are.  3.  What we are.  Mr. Griffith broadened his thought under these three headings and closed with some illustrations.
            Rev. W. H. Aspril, pastor of Upland M. E. Church, followed in a neat address.  Rev. J. W. Miles, pastor of Wallingford M. E. Church, Rev. C. W. Langley of Sloam M. E. Church, and Rev. Hiram McVey of Trainer M. E. Church, all delivered telling addresses and wished the camp meeting great success and a harvest of souls.  Rev. B. F. Campbell made a few announcements, the doxology was sung and Rev. T. M. Griffith, D. D. pronounced the benediction.  The outlook for the camp meetings from July 11-19 is very promising.


Friday, July 29, 2016

Delco Republicans "Cornboil" TRUMP!! LOL A look back at Delco Politics!

The above invite is extremely rare. For approximately  40 years starting in the 1870's the Republican Party of Delaware County held once a year "Cornboils". At this meetings, a picnic basically, attended by some 250 to 300 of the parties movers and shakers. Andrew Dalton ran them for many years the above meeting his 15th was held in Essington.

Delaware County Republican's Cornboils 100 plus years ago

NOTE: As hard as it is to imagine, the "Corn boil" was the way political business  was handled in Delaware County. At the "corn boil" nominees and elections were planned and discussed, local problems, solutions etc. were handled and planned. The following articles give some idea of what they were like.




Delaware County Politicians Will Not Let This Time-Honored Custom Go by the Board

            “Will the cornboil be held this year?”  Foolish question No. 7,655,432.  Of course it will.  How could Delaware County get along without a cornboil?  Who would think of shattering a time honored tradition and breaking up the annual gathering along the historic Brandywine?  Shatter the thought!  Who has ever been on a cornboil excursion has ridden with the jolly gathering from Media to Chadd’s Ford, traveled in hay wagons which bounced up and down, striking with heavy jolts, while the dust piled over the occupants, and enjoyed the feast and sport at the famous park would ever think of doing away with such a memorable event?
            The cornboilers have played an important part in Delaware County’s history for some years.  They have assisted in making the list of candidates for office.  A few years ago it was on the cornboils that the leaders would nod their heads or shake them in disapproval of a candidate for office in the county, and those nods and shakes meant the will of the people, so to speak, for seldom if at all, the nods and shakes failed of their purpose.  Far from it, for when the work went forth it was known who would land in the official positions.  So history says, and it is seldom mistaken in facts.  Last year it was different.  Candidates were on the grounds, but they were unable to secure assurances of support except from individuals, and they were not in haste to pledge themselves.
            Of course, the cornboil will be held this year.  Captain General Andrew Dalton, the genial prothonotary, verifies the statement, and he knows.  He is the chiefest among all of the cornboilers, from Radnor to Birmingham, and the clans gather about him to take part in the annual celebration.  And, oh, such corn!  What does it matter if the cornboilers have to be gathered about a rough board table in the grove and crowd together so that there may be seats enough for all, as long as the corn is delicious, juicy and the finest that the county can produce?  He who has eaten of the corn and well prepared potatoes and enjoyed the other provisions and eatables (washed down with good pure water) cannot resist an invitation to be present the next year.
            The cornboil will be held the latter part of next August, and preparations will soon be begun for the affair.  Deputy Prothonotary J. Harvey Smith was very active in the work last year and it was largely through his good management that last year’s event was such a success.
            If you aren’t a cornboiler you cannot realize what the annual cornboil is, and what an important event it is.  Men prominent in affairs in Delaware County will again be numbered among the cornboilers this year.

CHESTER TIMES – August 31, 1910


Gathering of the Clans at Birmingham Park on Saturday Next Will Be a Big Event – Politicians Will Be There

            Next to the annual banquet of the Young Men’s Republican Club, which always brings together men prominent and active in the political affairs of the city and county, the Cornboilers’ yearly outing is one of the two big events that are looked forward to with great interest, one occurring in the waning summertime and in the open, while the corn is green on the cob, and the other late in the fall, around the festive board in the banqueting hall when the summer days are over.  Both are opportunities for the men who do the political hustling to meet each other and get better acquainted in talking over past and future campaigns.  The Cornboilers’ outings have taken the place to some extent of the popular excursions down the bay conducted by the Delaware County Republican Executive Committee and kindred organizations and they are becoming more popular every year.  Old friends meet and greet each other, learn what is going on politically, socially and otherwise and have a general good time at least one day in the year.
            From present indications there will be a t least 300 persons from different parts of Delaware County at the annual outing of the Delaware County Cornboilers Association of which Captain General Andrew J. Dalton is chairman.  The cornboil will be held at Birmingham Park and the Captain General has announced that the special car which will take the party to the affair will leave Media station at 9 o’clock sharp on Saturday morning.  Captain General Dalton says that the arrangements are almost complete and a big day is expected.  Everyone present may expect to have the time of their lives.
            There will be plenty of sports at the cornboil and some interesting events are being arranged, but the contestants will not be announced by the Captain General for a day or two at least.  He says that Kelly will be there with his green necktie, positively, as Kelly, who has been in obscurity, has sent on his $2, which means that he will be present.  There will be several 100 yard dashes between men weighing 200 pounds, lean men’s race and other odd sports.
            “Tom” Berry will also be present and Captain General Dalton says that “Tom” was at the original cornboils held years ago by the Indians, and that is where he first became acquainted with “Tom.”  The Captain General also says that “Tom” has been an old man as long as he knew him.
            The Chester City Band has been engaged to enliven things with sweet music.  Every man who attends the cornboil and pays his $2 will be guaranteed to weigh 10 pounds more when he leaves Birmingham Park than when he left his home.  There is every reason to believe that if the day is a favorable one that a big crowd will be present, among them the big and little politicians of the county.


CHESTER TIMES – September 5, 1910



Captain General Andrew J. Dalton and His Band of “Warriors” Have a Jolly Time at Birmingham Park – Feast on Good Things and Make Merry

            Amid a heavy downpour of rain, about one hundred and fifty cornboilers of this county left Media shortly after nine o’clock on Saturday morning on a special train for Birmingham Park.  The annual conclave of politicians, big and small from this county was the best ever.  Captain General Andrew J. Dalton, who had charge of the affair, had everything arranged in fine style, but he certainly went wrong on his wireless message which he received on Thursday telling him that the weather would be fair and that Jupiter Pluvius would be good on the day of the cornball.  Now Captain General Dalton asserts that he was given the wrong message.  On the other hand George Darlington, Esq. consulted an almanac which told him it would be a wet day and the result was he remained home.
            Once the train reached the station all hands made for the big pavilion which was used during the day and later on about fifty more cornboilers came in automobiles and other vehicles.  Despite the inclement weather, a very delightful day was spent; the trying circumstances and the rain did not dampen the ardor of the cornboilers in the least.  Of course the Citizen’s Bank of Chester which was present was forced to play oftener that it would have had the weather been fair.  The time was spent in exchanging stories, while others rendered songs at intervals.  Once during the day that the rain halted for a short time, there were some quoit matches and other sports but the “boys” soon had to retire to the pavilion.
            While there was no slate-making, many little political confabs were held and candidates for various offices were on hand seeing the “boys” and sizing up their chances as best they could.  Taken all in all, however, the cornboil was more on the order of a family gathering than a political function, and politics were not permitted to mar the pleasure of the cornboilers, or to interfere with their appetites.
            Among the prominent visitors present was Hon. Isaac Johnson, president Judge of the Delaware County Courts.  Judge Johnson mingled with the “boys” and enjoyed the occasion very much.
            The dinner was served on tables neatly arranged and the menu was made to tickle the palates of the politicians, consisted of corn on the ear, chicken, clam chowder, rolls, coffee, sandwiches and cigars.  The cornboilers, together with Kelly and his green necktie, returned to Media shortly after seven o’clock, well pleased with the day’s outing.  Captain General Dalton was not dismayed at the weather, but he said that the next time he would consult a real weather prophet before setting the date for the cornboil.  Among those present were:  Judge Johnson, Major Jesse Baker of Media; John J. McClure of Chester; John E. Hayburn Harry Hayburn of Concord, Frank Thomas of Yeadon, Nelson Kershaw of Upper Darby, A.M. Getz of Morton; Geo. T. Wadas, Isaac E. Johnson, Hon. Thomas H. Garvin, chairman of the Republican County Executive Committee; Edward McKeen of Clifton Heights; Harry J. Makiver of Media; Thomas Fields, warden of the county prison; Frank Worrell of Swarthmore; William H. Garrett of Upper Darby; Deputy Prothonotary J. Harvey Smith; Richard J. Baldwin of Chadd’s Ford; County Commissioners George W. Allen Van Leer E. Bond E. Louis Barlow; Richard A. Donnelly of Fernwood; Charles Mathues of Media, and others.



Sunday, July 24, 2016

Where is Prospect Park's Bessie Ward Hinkson??


The Morton Morton Homestead in Prospect Park about 1920 before restoration.

NOTE: In 1904, local Prospect Park businessman, Henry J. Borzener planned to tear down the old Morris Ferry House aka todays Mortonson Mortonson Home in Prospect Park. There were rumors about it's age etc. but no one really cared. Then in stepped Ridley Park's Bessie Ward Hinkson. Hinkson whose husband was lawyer Joseph Hinkson and yes Hinkson Ave. is named for their family. Bessie literally threw herself in front of the contractors, stopped the demolition and took over the care and maintence of the house for the next 32 years till the state of Pennsylvania restored and dedicated it in October of 1936. Bessie Ward Hinkson was guest of honor at the dedication.

Today the Mortonson Mortonson Homestead in Prospect Park sits empty and closed. It is the oldest house in the state of Pennsylvania. Depending on what rumor you hear the boro or another group are in charge of the building. It has been closed for the last 3 years at least. It is time to get the homestead up and running and OPENED!

 So who will be the next Bessie Ward Hinkson? Men can also apply!!


The articles below are from April 1904



            The cabin home of Mrs. Margaret Bailey along the banks of Darby Creek in Prospect Park, which was built in 1688, and to one of the oldest structures in the United States, is to be torn down and a modern dwelling erected on the site.
            The cabin was at one time the home of the late George Morris, a direct descendant of Robert Morris, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  It was known as the Morris Ferry House and George Morris was for many years the ferryman.
            Mrs. Bailey has received notice to move from the ancient cabin, which has been her home for quite a number of years.


            The latest historic relic to succumb to the march of progress is the old log cabin on Darby Creek, at the end of the draw bridge from Ridley Township to Tinicum Island, familiarly known as the “Morris Ferry House.”  The building has been standing for more than two centuries, but how much longer is a matter of some dispute.  However, on the inner side of the northwest end of the mantelpiece on the Darby Creek end of the original building are carved the figures “1698,” which doubtless indicates the time of its erection.  But tradition would have it much older, and that it was erected by one of Governor John Printz’s men.
            It was about a mile from Printz’s Hall, the seat of the Swedish colonial government as early as 1650.  Here, where the cabin was erected, the inhabitants from the lower settlements crossed the creek in the Governor’s mansion, and past this point in 1688, when the English were in possession and the road from Tinicum to Springfield was laid out.
            The old cabin is built of white cedar logs, flattened, the ends of which can be distinguished in the illustration in the Darby Creek end of the house, just within the log wall, is a huge stone fireplace, extending the full breadth of the building the chimney being on one side, thus permitting the settler’s family to use the other end for warmth and light during the cold weather.
            Here in the wilderness, with Indians and savage beasts on one side, and on the other an island spot which contained the buildings of Old World expansion, the seed of white conquest that has since spread over the continent from the landings of Leif Ericson and Medoc, to the Golden Gate where in loneliness and solitude dwelt the early settler by whom the cabin was built.  Here he drew forth the many denizens of the deep, forestalling Captain Rice and his seiners by several generations; here he brought down the wild game of the forest, and here in the old fireplace he planked his shad ere even the epicurean frequenters of Gloucester were born, and here on the red hot wood coals he broiled his venison and bear steaks.  Here he paddled his canoe across the creek with travelers, and here he kept in touch with European civilization through the foreign ships plying the stream.
            But it did not long remain a hunter’s cabin.  In 1729 one Adam Archer, who dwelt there, anxious to use it as a public house, with entertainment for man and beast, petitioned the court for a license, stating that his place was “on the Banks of a large Navigable Creek Leading out of the said River Delaware, commonly known as Amos Land,” and further explaining, “your petitioner’s Landing being close at his door.”  Although a remonstrance was filed he obtained a license.  The beer and cider that he sold, however, were not conducive to the peace and quiet of the neighborhood and his license was not renewed every year.
            In 1744 John Hendrickson of Amosland, obtained a license for the place which he said in his petition was “upon Darby Creek, where great numbers of travelers, as well by land as by water, only resort.”  At that time considerable shipping was done along Darby Creek, boats ascending up the creek, much higher than Hendrickson’s place. Up to this time and for many years later the only mode of crossing the creek was in canoe, for it was not until 1786 that John Hoof obtained the privilege of keeping not only a house of entertainment at that place, but also a conduct a ferry across to Tinicum Island from Darby Creek.
             Hoof kept the tavern and was ferry master till 1801, when George Gill got the place.  It is asserted that Robert Morris, the financier of the Revolution, was sheltered beneath its roof, for in 1804 Philip Morris obtained it, when it became known as the Morris Ferry House.  After his death his sons had it.  One of them, George, who died recently, was there until 1848, having been born in the house.
            The property is now owned by H. J. Borzener, who has contractors demolishing the building preparatory to erecting dwelling houses.  The building will be down by the end of the week.

Friday, July 15, 2016

New Media Library to Officially open tomorrow! And teaching chidren "Sheep to Shawl" at Colonial Plantation!!


The original library from 1910. It stood at the southeast corner of Jackson and Jasper Sts.


 About Seven Hundred Books and More to Come 

Everything is in Readiness

                The Media Free Library will be formally opened to the public on Thursday evening this week.  The librarian, Miss Johns, has been busy for some time cataloguing the books and getting things in shape to open, and everything will be in apple pie order on Thursday evening.
                The library contains about 700 books already and this number will be increased by at least 100 by the time winter weather comes.  The ladies and gentlemen of the borough who have devoted their time and money to establishing this library trust that the people will take an interest in it.  The library is something that the borough has needed for a long time, and if the public gives it the proper support, all the new books will be found there, and many a pleasant and profitable evening can be spent.  The room is in the borough hall, one of the most central places in the borough.
The above article is for the original library opening on July 31, 1901



Given before the Media Woman’s Club 

 A Child of the Organization

            The history of the Media Free Library formed the subject of an interesting paper read before the Woman’s Club on Friday last by Mrs. Henry C. Smith.  The story of the library project is as follows:
            That the Media Free Library is an assured success is a self-evident fact that all who live in the town must know, but I have been asked to take the place of Miss Lewis, who cannot be with us this afternoon, and give a brief sketch of its history.
            You also know that the first step towards starting a public library was taken in this club.  Less than a year ago the Civic Committee of the Woman’s Club formed as a branch of its work, a Library Committee, having as chairman and members, a few women of our club who earnestly desired to give Media the advantages of good literature free.  This committee worked faithfully, energetically and hopefully during the early winter months to stir up enthusiasm in the club and through the town, and to raise money through donations, but they soon found that the only way to create any great interest in the undertaking was to make it a more general movement.  Several gentlemen of the town, especially interested in such matters, were invited to meet with the Library Committee and through them much advice and help was obtained.  Then it was seen that the project to create and maintain a public library for the town, though started in the Woman’s Club and rightly called a child of the club, to be carried out successfully must join hands with and ask and support of the people of the town; as a public undertaking and not under the Woman’s Club or any other society or coterie of people.
            THE PUBLIC MEETINGS – Several mass meetings were held, still through the efforts and courtesy of the Civic Committee, for they gave the club room and defrayed the expenses.  These meetings called forth much discussion and difference of opinion among the people of the town as to the need of, or the possibility of maintaining a Town Library, but they had the desired result in creating interest and thought, in the matter.
            The battle was half won when we started people to thinking.  Conviction usually follows honest thought, and the majority being soon convinced that we would need a library and that we could have one if we willed to have it, a permanent Library Association was formed.  This Association to be composed of every person of the town feeling any interest in the library, either for himself or for the benefit of the town, held its first regular meeting May 14.  At this meeting the constitution and by-laws were adopted, with dues of $1 per year agreed upon and officers and Board of Directors elected as follows:  President, Dr. E.L. Clark; secretary, Miss Dora Lewis; treasurer, Mrs. Henry C. Smith; directors, Mrs. William F. Lewis, Miss Sallie Williamson, Mrs. William Easby, Mrs. Henry Wirz, Prof. Leon Watters, Horace Green and George Yarnall.
            On June 18 a book reception was held to which all people of the town were invited and where much interest in the project was shown and about 300 books donated.  Through the courtesy of the Media Town Council, we were given a room in the Town Hall, with light and heat; and in two months the Executive Board had collected $700 in contributions, furnished the room, engaged a regular librarian, and on the first day of August opened the library to the public.  The interest manifested in the library was shown by the large number of people who came to this opening on the evening of August 1, and in the demand for books, which immediately began.  In August 261 persons registered and took out books and in September 111 more added their names.  Of these 372 persons, 228 are women, 79 men and 65 children.  In August, 937 books were taken out and in September 1054 making a total of 1991 books in two months, or an average of 1000 books read each month.
            ONE THOUSAND BOOKS – Since the opening of the library about 200 more books have been brought or donated, so that the number of books at present on the catalogue is about 1000.  This number will be greatly increased shortly, as the Friends Library Association has loaned us all the books of their library, 500 in number, to be placed on our shelves in our room and made free to the public under exactly the same rules as our own.  Through the advice and generous help of the legal member of our Board, the Free Library Association of Media, has been made an incorporated body, with a seal in proof of which you will soon find a very handsome charter framed and hanging on our walls.
            Though this is a free library, I trust it will not escape the mind of anyone that it is maintained entirely by the generosity of the people of Media and that each person will feel it his or her privilege and duty to do something towards its support.  Surely anyone deriving any benefit from it can at least join the Association and pay the $1.00 a year.  The present membership is perhaps $1.50, but it should be twice, yes, four times that size.  Some people have been so generous that it should encourage others to greater effort.  The running expenses from year to year.  In keeping an efficient librarian and in renewing and adding to the books, will necessarily be great and therefore, every effort must be made to add continuity to our treasury.
            A project with this end in view is to have a bazaar in the Haldeman House on the afternoons and evenings of the 14th and 15th of November.  We earnestly request that you will all take the greatest interest in this effort to donate money and assist those who have undertaken the work with your contributions, kindly interest, and attendance, for only with the help of each and all can such an undertaking succeed.