Sunday, October 23, 2016

Lansdowne to Wallingford 130 years ago and a Prospect Park Talk


The Lansdowne Railroad Station 100 years ago


Lansdowne to Wallingford 130 years ago

A look back at the West Chester Railroad Local and the railroad stations

      Lansdowne, or the old Darby Road Station, is about three-quarters of a mile below Fernwood.  It has undergone many and striking improvements in the last five or six years.  The railroad house at the station has been enlarged and improved, and the grounds more neatly arranged.  Fine summer residences have been recently built here and the surrounding acres much beautified.  Joel J. Baily, the Philadelphia merchant, has a fine summer residence at Lansdowne, and nearby is the residence of Mr. Samuel Harlan, of the shipbuilding firm of Harlan & Hollingsworth.  Messrs. James P. Scott, the son and Howell W. Bickley, own and occupy handsome villas and about a mile and a half further south, towards Darby, is “Woodburn,” the summer residence and park of Colonel Scott, where he died in May last.  Mr. Harry Peale, of the firm of Thomas A. Biddle & Co., stock brokers and Rene Guillou own properties at Lansdowne.  Ten acres of the Dunk property, nearby, have just been purchased by a Philadelphia gentleman, for a thousand dollars an acre, most probably for immediate building purposes.  Real estate near Lansdowne brings from one to two thousand dollars per acre.
                Kellyville is a small station further west.  There are several fine residences nearby, and a number of valuable bustling properties, principally woolen mills.  A new shoddy mill, the property of Sellers Hoffman, is in course of erection.
Clifton proper has been increased by the addition of a number of houses, one or two churches have been built, and the place wears a thriving, prosperous look.  Here are the Glenwood Mills, owned by Samuel C. Lewis & Sons; the Clifton Mills by Randolph & Jenks and the Union Mills, by Thomas Kent.  Among the recent sales of property at Clifton were about twenty acres of land belonging Oborne Levis’ estate, to Wm. Longstreth of Philadelphia, for about $16,000.  Few building improvements or land sales have been made at Oak Lane recently.  Here is situated Dr. Given’s Inebriate Asylum.
                Property is in demand at Spring Hill.  W. J. Howard, Esq., has just purchased a farm of fifty acres on the north side, near the station.  Mr. James D. Rhodes occupies a fine residence on the hill.  Many old time mansions and landmarks are to be seen hereabouts.
                Morton station is conspicuous by reason of a handsome pressed brick railroad house, one of the neatest along the road.  Several buildings, principally private residences or annexes thereto, are being erected.  Thomas T. Tasker owns 600 acres here, with a fine residence and barn.  J. H. Irwin has just purchased 80 acres at Morton for about $300 per acre, and has erected a new hotel near the station, fitted up with has, &c.  At the time of his purchase Mr. Irwin owned 70 acres, nearly adjoining the new territory, and has a large machine shop there.  H. A. Bregoard is another large property owner at Morton.  He owns one hundred acres thereabouts, which he is daily improving.  Dr. Kingston Goddard, ex-Coroner of Philadelphia, owns a handsome property lying near the railroad.  The J. Edgar Thomson estate owns about 160 acres near Morton, fronting on the Delaware County Pike and near the railroad.  Handsome residences, built after the Swiss chalet style of architecture, adorn nearly all of the properties named, which have undergone vast improvement within a few years.  The old Morton homestead stands back some distance from the railroad station.
                Swarthmore is the name of the next station on the West Chester Road.  The college is the most conspicuous public object hereabouts.  The spirit of improvement shows itself about the institution as well as generally along the road, and during the last two or three years important changes have been made, notably the long and broad sweep of pathway running from the railroad to the college building. 
The high hill in the distance is dotted with several handsome new stone houses, the residences of a number of the college professors.  The West Hill Land Company has purchased two hundred acres adjoining the college property on the east.  Their acreage is all high and health land.  The company is effecting many improvements in the vicinity of Swarthmore. On the hill a large water works is being erected.  Thomas Foulke, Prof. Beardsley and S. Kent occupy fine houses at Swarthmore, and Sylvester Garrett is erecting for himself a valuable residence.  Nearly all the property lying hereabout belongs or originally belonged to the John Ogden family.  J. H. Linville, President of the Keystone Bridge Company, and President of the new Southern Maryland Railroad, has a fine residence on the south side of the road.  So also has Mr. Callander I. Leiper, of the firm of Leiper & Lewis, who own the stone quarries near Swarthmore, of the stone of which nearly all the new houses in the neighborhood are built.  An interesting relic of other days is built.  An interesting relic of other days is the old cottage on the college grounds, which was the birthplace and for many years the home of the painter, Benjamin West.  It is in the center of a small orchard, and has every appearance of age.  Real estate at Swarthmore ranges in value from $500 to $1000 per acre.  East of Swarthmore Charles Ogden has built tow handsome residences, and Henry Ogden has a fine residence on the Delaware County Turnpike.
                Wallingford is distinguished for its many fine residences.  Directly opposite the station, on the north side, is the residence of Horace Howard Furness, Esq.   The mansion is very large and handsome.  Mr. Furness’ property embraces some 65 acres, and contains another residence besides that named.  Three acres were recently purchased by Mr. Furness at the rate of a thousand dollars per acre.  S. D. Hibbert has a handsome house with a new stable at Wallingford.  Among the other fine properties or new residences here are those of D. B. Paul, President of the Third National Bank; James Spear, the stove manufacturer of Philadelphia, who has just purchased thirty additional acres has just purchased thirty additional acres from Samuel C. Lewis; C. W. Godfrey, of the firm of Drexel & Co., who occupies a handsome stone house, with a tract of eighteen acres; Henry P. Dixon, of the firm of Thomas S. Dixon & Sons, who has just purchased nine acres of the Miskey property for $15,000.  Two acres of an adjoining property were recently sold for a thousand dollars an acre.  Louis Drake has eleven acres near Wallingford, with a modern style of house; Isaac Lewis, proprietor of the Wallingford Mills, has a farm of sixty-four acres, worth, it is said, $500 per acre; J. Howard Lewis owns six hundred acres fronting on the pike, which, at this point, is about a mile to the south of the railroad track.  Samuel C. Lewis, George C. Howard, J. Edward Farnum, ex-President of the West Chester Road, Isaac L. Miller and M. Kershaw own properties varying in size, lying at or near Wallingford.  Many of these properties front on the old Providence Road, which runs from Chester due north to Media.  This road was laid out by William Penn’s Commissioners in 1682, and many old line marks are still standing.  Nearly all of the properties named are undergoing improvements of some kind or other, and, with the growth of this popular station, proportionately increase in value. 
                From Wallingford to Manchester, and indeed to Media, are many desirable building lots, with high and healthy grounds, large water power from Ridley Creek, and many other local advantages.  Prices hereabouts range from $400 to $800 per acre.  One of the largest landowners near Media is Sam Bancroft, proprietor of the Todmorden Mills.  Several large sales of available building slots have recently been made in and about Media for good prices.
                Along the line of the road, even as far as West Chester, the march of improvement is marked at times, but the chief improvement in recent years has been between West Philadelphia and Media.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

"Divers Horrid" Early hangings and crime in Delaware County and a Keith Talk


 Traditions states early hangings took place at what is now 7th and Edgmont Aves. aka Avenue of the States today, The above picture is from about 1900.

Note; There was a big interest in my column last week about witches in Delco. So this week some early hangings. 

 "Divers Horrid"

   In Colonial times, hangings costs were 1b 6s 6d, or about eight dollars, for it was in Colonial money, in which a pound was only a little more than half the value of the pound sterling. Below are some interesting and unusual early criminal cases and punishments. Hangings were done in Chester then it was the county seat for Chester County, Delaware County was not created till September 1789.
           In 1722, William Batten, who had “been convicted of Divers horrid, complicated crimes,” was on August 3 of that year, ordered by the Provincial Council to “be executed and hung in chains in the most public place at such time as the Governor shall appoint, and that the warrant for the execution be issued before the Governor set out for Albany.”  I cannot fix the exact date when execution was made.  This is the only instance in the criminal history of Chester and Delaware Counties when after execution, the body of the convict was gibbeted – that is, suspended in any iron frame work until the elements slowly destroyed the body.
            At the court held September 27, 1728, William Davis was convicted of murdering his master, William Cloud, and was sentenced to be hanged “and his body at ye Disposal of ye Governor.”   I cannot fix the date when Davis was executed.
            At a special court held for the trial of negroes under the act of 1706, Phoebe, the slave of Joseph Richardson, was on March 2, 1764, convicted of burglary in entering the house of Thomas Barnard – that adjoining to the north Jonathan Pennell’s dwelling on Edgmont Avenue, facing Fourth Street.  John Morton presided at the trial.  Richardson her master, lived in his then new residence – the present Steamboat Hotel – and the Colonial treasury paid to him fifty-five pounds, the sum at which Phoebe was appraised, for the act of assembly providing that when a slave was executed the province must make good the loss to the owner of the Negro.
            FIRST HOMICIDE TRIAL – The first homicide in our county was in the consequences which followed the execution, the most momentous in the history of the Colony and State.  Hugh Pugh, a wheelwright, and Lazarus Thomas, a laborer, were hanged in Chester, Friday, May 9, 1718, for the murder of Jonathan Hayes, a resident of Marple Township and one of the judges of the county court.  The crime was committed three years prior to the execution of the culprits.
            The case was one which excited the public to that extent that in October, 1715, the Court instructed Henry Worley, Robert Carter and James Sandelands, the younger, to procure a place “more Convenient than the Court House for holding the Supreme Court for ye Tryail of these persons ye are holden in ye Jail of ye County on Suspition of murder.”  We learn from the minutes of the Provincial County that for some reason the accused parties had been admitted to bail, “and through the indolence of a former administration,” that of Governor Charles Gookin, the men were not brought to trial until April 17, 1718, when Chief Justice Lloyd and the four associate justices of the Supreme Court were present as was Governor Sir William Keith, who occupied a place on the bench.
            It seems that the prisoners were leaders of a “Lawless Gang of Loose fellows, Common Distrurbers of the public peace,” and “were so hardened and became so audacious as still to continue in their publick Rioting, Caballing and fighting.” Boasting openly that it was not within the power of the Government to try any capitol case, according to the common and statute laws of England, which the prisoners claimed as a right, they being English subjects.
            On May 8, the day previous to the time set for the hanging, Hugh Pugh and Lazarus Thomas petitioned Sir William Keith for a stay of execution, until the pleasure of the King could be ascertained and at the same time formerly lodged with the Governor and council their appeal to George, the lst, in which they assigned three reasons rendering their conviction illegal.  First, because seventeen of the Grand Jury and eight of the Petit Jury were Quakers, who had not been sworn.  The Act of Assembly permitting affirmations by Governors and witnesses was enacted in violation of the Act of Parliament, passed in the first year of his majesty’s reign; second, because the Act of Assembly permitting affirmation to be made in all legal proceedings, was not enacted until “after said murder was supposed to be committed,” hence was expost facto and not applicable to their case, and third, because the Act of Assembly was repugnant to reason and in conflict with the laws and statutes of England, and therefore void.
            The Governor and council refused to reprieve the prisoners and Sheriff Nicholas Fairlamb was instructed to execute the two men according to the death warrant, which, signed, by Chie justice Lloyd and the associate Justices of the supreme Court, had already been placed in his hands.  The men were hanged and the public excitement ceased.
            It was then the authorities began to question the legality of the execution, for the appeal to the King had not been forwarded, although it accompanied the petition for a stay of execution, or reprieve, and just at that time the King and his ministry regarded with no favor the mild criminal code framed by Penn which was then recognized in the province, and had repeatedly urged the colony to adopt that of the mother country.  Only a few days elapsed when the legal reason which were urged by the hanged men to set aside their conviction, aroused such alarm among the leading class in the providence, as to the legality of the trial and subsequent execution of judgment, that in twenty-two days after May 31, 1718, the Assembly passed the act which substituted the fierce criminal code of England, which its then seventy odd offense punishable with death, in the colony, simply in exchange for the right to use affirmations in place of corporal oaths, the Legislature feeling assured that the little matter of illegally executing two “bad men,” would not weigh with the King if it accomplished his policy of substituting a rigorous system of punishment for crimes in Pennsylvania.  The King approved and confirmed the Act of the Assembly early in 1719.  The legal points raised by the accused in their petition was never made the subject of judicial consideration and decision, but the effect of their petition was to wholly change the criminal code of the province, and today the consequences of that trial, to a large extent obtain in our penal laws.
            THE CASE OF SHIRTLIFFE – In the case of John McDonough, convicted of rape and executed Saturday, June 17, 1786, at Gallows Hill, was indicted jointly with Richard Shirtliffe and sentenced to be hanged at the same time and place with McDonough.  A few days after the death warrant was delivered to Sheriff Gibbons, the supreme Executive Counsel, with a refinement of cruelty difficult to understand, considering the high character of the individuals then composing that body, ordered Richard Shirtliffe reprieved, but directed the Sheriff not to notify the man of the fact until he had been taken under the gallows and the rope placed under his neck.  What became of Shirtliffe afterwards, how long he was detained in prison or formally pardoned, I do not know, but certain it is he was not hanged.
            Thirty one persons have paid the death penalty in Delaware County, four of whom were women.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

"Guilty of the common fame of a witch" and Medieval Days in Edgmont

A very early view of the Baldwin Locomotive works in Eddystone about 1912

 With Halloween coming the talk of Witches comes naturally. We all think of Salem, Mass. and the witches there but Delaware County had it's own witch trial years before Salem. The information below is taken from the Penna. Colonial Records.

"Guilty of the common fame of a witch"

Mention is often made of a trial for witchcraft in Pennsylvania, but, except the mere mention of the matter, no further information is given.  The record of the trial is found in Volume 1 of the Colonial Records of Pennsylvania, in which all the proceedings of the Provincial council are recorded.
            The two accused persons, old women, were Swedes, Margaret Mattson, wife of Noel Mattson, and Yeshro Hendrickson, wife of Hendrick Jacobson.  While both persons were called before the Council, the first only seems to have stood a regular trial.  Margaret Mattson lived on a plantation owned by her husband on the Delaware River, on the west side of Crum Creek, in Ridley Township, now Delaware County.  She was long known in local legends as “The Witch of Ridley Creek.”
            She was first brought before the Council on December 7, 1683, no provincial court having yet been organized in the colony, when her trial was set for December 27.  On that day the accused appeared in the city of Philadelphia before William Penn, his Attorney General, a grand jury of twenty-one persons, all English apparently, and a petit jury of twelve persons, one of whom Albertus Hendrickson, was a Swede.  One of the Council Lassse Cock was a Swede.  The grand jury brought in a true bill, reporting in the afternoon.  The indictment was then read to the accused.  She pleaded not guilty, the petit jury was empaneled, the trial held, the Governor charged the jury, which retired, brought in a verdict, the prisoner was discharged, and THE WHILE BUSINESS WAS CONCLUDED THAT SAME AFTERNOON SO FAR AS PENNSYLVANIA WAS CONCERNED, THE VERDICT was as follows:  “GUILTY OF HAVING THE COMMON FAME OF A WITCH, BUT NOT GUILTY IN MANNER AND FORM AS SHE STANDS ENDICTED.”
            Nine years later, 1692, Massachusetts was for a whole year shaken with most horrible trains for this imaginary offense, until no person in that colony was safe from accusation, NINETEEN PERSONS WERE HUNG and one pressed to death under heavy weights, while a great number suffered intolerable imprisonment.  The whole population became infected with a craze concerning “witchcraft,” the shame of which endures there to this day.  In this matter the sober Quaker reached a righteous conclusion much quicker than the hasty Puritan.
            SOME OF THE TESTIMONY – Henry Drystreet, attested, said he was told 20 years ago that the prisoner at the bar was a Witch and that several cows were bewitched by her; also, that James Saunderling’s mother told him that she bewitched her cow, but afterwards said it was a mistake, and that her cow should do well again, fir it was not her cow but another person’s that should die.
            Charles Ashcom attested, said that Anthony’s wife being asked why she sold her cattle, was because her mother had bewitched them having taken the witchcraft of Hendrick’s cattle, and put on their oxen; she might keep but no other cattle, and also that one night the daughter of the prisoner called him up hastily, and when he came she said there was a great light but just before, and an old woman with a knife in her hand at the bad’s feet, and therefore she cried out and desired Jno Symock to take away his calves or else she would send them to hell.
            The accused flatly denied all the allegations.
            ASTROLOGERS AND NECROMANCERS – In 1695 John Roman and his two sons, residing in Chichester, were reported to be students of astrology and other forbidden mysteries.  The public tongue had so discussed the matter that on the tenth of the tenth month, 1695, Concord Monthly Meeting of Friends gravely announced that “the study of these sciences bring a vail over the understanding and that upon the life.”  John Kingsman and William Hughes were ordered to speak to the parties, and have them to attend at the next monthly meeting.  The offenders were seen and stated that if it could be shown wherein it was wrong, they would desist from further investigation in these arts.  For several months the matter was before the Concord Monthly Meeting without resulting in suppressing the evil.
            Extracts from the records of Concord Monthly Meeting commencing September 11, 1695, are interesting:  “Some friends having a concern upon them concerning some young men who came amongst friends to their meetings and following some arts which friends thought not fit for such as profess truth to follow, viz., astrology and other sciences, as Geomancy and Cliorvmancy and Necromancy, etc.  It was debated and the sense of this meeting is that the study of these sciences brings a vail over the understanding and a death upon the life.
            “And in the sense of the same, friends order Philip Roman be spoken too to know whether he have dealt orderly with his two sons concerning the same art; and that his two sons bespoke to come to the next monthly meeting; “friends orders John Kingsman and William Hughes to speak to Philip Roman and his two sons to appear at the next monthly.”
            CONVICTED IN COURT – The ease finally reached a stage through the report of the committee that Robert Roman was arrested, tried at Chester for practicing the black art, was fined five pounds and the following books were seized and burned; Hidon’s Temple of Wisdom, which teaches Geomanycy, and Scott’s Discovery of Witchcraft and Cornelios Agrippos teach Necromancy.”


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Norwood millionaire wants to marry 18 year old girl!! Hearth cooking and Chester Rural Cemetery tour


Chester Pike in Norwood looking west from Cleveland Ave. c.1910

Note. In the summer of 1910 the big talk, aka gossip was the Bullitt marriage in Norwood. Bullitt wanted to marry an 18 year old girl, and his family wanted him declared legally insane!! Imagine that, a fun read for the week
CHESTER TIMES – June 3, 1910
            LEGAL FIGHT TO PREVENT MARRIAGE OF MILLIONAIRE – Sensations Sprung at Yesterday’s Hearing to Restrain Dr. Bullitt of Norwood from Making Miss Edna Dever His Bride – Preliminary Injunction Continued
            Some surprising developments have arisen in the proceedings to prevent the proposed marriage of Dr. John Christian Bullitt, Jr., a Norwood millionaire, to Edna Dever, the eighteen year-old daughter of his caretaker, John E. Dever, a former police lieutenant in Philadelphia, in which the names of several other women figure.  A hearing in the injunction proceedings was held yesterday in court room No. 2, at Media before Judge Isaac Johnson and after the arguments were presented the Court continued the preliminary injunction until Saturday morning, June 11.  The injunction restrains John E. Dever from assisting in the proposed marriage of his daughter and Miss Dever and Dr. Bullitt from marrying.
            QUESTION OF JURISDICTION – When the hearing began a motion was made by V.G. Robinson, Esq., of Clifton Heights, representing the petitioners, Logan M. Bullitt, Theresa L. Coles and Julin Bullitt Gross, who declare their brother, Dr. Bullitt, is a lunatic, that the preliminary injunction be continued.  This was objected to by William I. Schaffer, Esq. of Chester, with whom is associated John J. Steiser Esq. as counsel for Dr. Bullitt and the Devers.  After offering the objection he filed a demurrer which accompanied an answer to the bill in equity under which the preliminary injunction preventing the marriage was granted.  The contents of the demurrer were read to the Court.  The same attorney also filed a motion to quash the proceedings in lunacy in which his contentions were outlined.
            Attorney Robinson asked that first the question raised as to the jurisdiction of the Court in equity he decided and the argument mainly hinged on this point.  He declared that the proposed marriage is a matter of public policy.  He said that the equity proceedings are supplementary to the petition for a commission in lunacy. 
            “All we need to do at the present time, he said, “is to show the proceedings in lunacy are going on in good faith,” and he also stated to show a basis for the case.
            Judge Johnson suggested that the demurrer be considered before further argument on the part of the attorneys or before the calling of witnesses.  No witnesses were called at the hearing.
            NO PROPERTY RIGHTS INVOLVED – Attorney Schaffer declared that there are no property rights involved.  He asserted that the brothers and sisters of Dr. Bullitt have no right to say that he shall not marry or that the girl shall not marry.  The State, and the State only, he said, has the power to control marriages.  The Court must be satisfied, he said, that this is a proper case for a commission in lunacy.  He declared that the affidavits set forth that Dr. Bullitt is of unsound mind and that the law requires reasons to show this by affidavits or proof.
            The petition, Attorney Schaffer declared, does not contain facts on which the Court can primarily conclude that Dr. Bullitt is of unsound mind.  No committee in lunacy ought to be issued, he said.  He then referred to Dr. Bullitt’s standing as a member of Norwood Borough Council for three years and as a Justice of the Peace.  He is a man of property properly conserved under his father’s will under trustees appointed, he declared.  These trustees are H. Gordon McCoach and Joseph L. Doran.  “A man’s sanity is just like a woman’s honor,” he said, in declaring that no commission be appointed, saying it would be an everlasting reflection on Dr. Bullitt.
            PROOFS OF PREVIOUS MARRIAGE – Attorney Robinson presented a copy of the proceedings in the New Jersey Court which on March 13, 1909, annulled the marriage of Dr. Bullitt to Miss Josephine Zinque, nurse in the private hospital in Trenton at which he was a patient.  In that action Dr. Bullitt himself testified that he was of unsound mind.  “We want to prevent the same sort of proceedings as occurred in the New Jersey Court,” he declared.  He then stated as facts that John E. Dever, the caretaker for Dr. Bullitt and father of his betrothed, actually claims to own the roof that covers him, he residing at “The Homestead, Dr. Bullitt’s home at Norwood.  He also stated that Dr. Bullitt’s yearly income is $10,000 and that he receives about $60 a week.  He declared that the proposed marriage is even against the desire of Miss Dever, who is being forced into it.  He also claimed that the brothers and sisters of Dr. Bullitt are denied access to him.  He said that Dever alleges that the property of Dr. Bullitt belongs to him.  He also asserted that Dr. Bullitt has hallucinations and that he evidently believes that a former policeman would be able to protect him.  He said that Dr. Bullitt having an income of $10,000 a year there must be property rights involved which would justify equity proceedings.  He insisted that it would be a wrong to the community to permit the marriage.
            HIS RIGHT TO MARRY – If Dr. Bullitt is not locked up behind the bars, his attorney declared, he can marry Miss Dever, committee or no committee, inquisition or no inquisition, and the committee could not invalidate the marriage.  He argued that the Court cannot prevent the marriage but could afterwards annul it if it found proper under the law.
            Judge Johnson stated that the question at stake was whether or not the Court had the authority to halt this contract, and he asked the attorneys to submit paper books on the subject containing their arguments.  If the Court does not have the power the proceedings will consequently fail.
            In the demurrer to the injunction proceedings it was set forth:
            1.  The parties’ plaintiff in the said bill of complaint have no equitable right to file such a bill of complaint against the defendant.
            2.  The parties’ plaintiff are without equity to maintain their said bill of complaint, as appears by the inspection thereof.
            3.  The Court is without jurisdiction to entertain the bill of complaint against the defendants or to grant any relief therefrom.
            4.  The matters set forth in the plaintiff’s bill of complaint are not cognizable in a court of equity and a court of equity is without jurisdiction under the bill filed by the complainants to grant any relief against the defendant.
            Accompanying this demurrer is the answer to the bill in equity containing a denial of the allegations.
            The answer to the petition for a commission in lunacy is in the form of a motion to quash.  It sets forth:
            1.  The petition is not supported by any affidavits showing the mental state of the respondent or establishing that he is of unsound mind.
            2.  The petition sets forth no facts which warrant the conclusion that the respondent is of unsound mind.
            3.  The petition is not supported by the affidavits of any persons versed in mental diseases setting forth that the respondent is of unsound mind.
            “The petition is otherwise informal and incomplete and avers conclusions instead of facts.”
            The bill of equity under which the injunction was granted restraining the marriage sets forth that Dr. Bullitt is of unsound mind, and altogether unfit to govern himself or to manage his affairs.  The next of kin are given as Theresa L. Coles, William C. Bullitt, Julia Bullitt Gross, Logan M. Bullitt, James F. Bullitt and Helen B. Furness.
            HIS MENTAL FACULTY – The bill, which was previously impounded, set forth that for four years John Dever and his family and daughter, Edna, have resided at Dr. Bullitt’s residence.  It sets forth that the petitioners are informed and believe that Dr. John Christian Bullitt, Jr., is seeking to bring about his marriage with Miss Eda Dever and that Dr. Bullitt is incapacitated, mentally and physically from entering into the marriage contract.  The brother and sisters making the petition allege in their bill in equity that John E. Dever is attempting to procure the marriage by fraud, force or coercion.  They looked for the preliminary injunction, which was granted, restraining John E. Dever from procuring or attempting to procure the marriage and restraining Dr. Bullitt from entering into the contract of marriage.
            Accompanying the request for the injunction was the affidavit of Clement H. Congdon of Philadelphia, who set forth that he was employed by the plaintiffs to ascertain the mental condition of Dr. Bullitt and the likelihood of a marriage between him and Miss Dever, and whether this was voluntary on the part of Dr. Bullitt and Miss Dever whether it was being procured by fraud, force or coercion.  The affidavit process.
            “That in pursuance of said employment he had made inquiry of sundry and various persons residing in Norwood and who are familiar with all the circumstances surrounding the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., and the condition of his health, and from these investigations your deponent believes:
            “That said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., for a period of over ten years has been of unsound mind, possessed of hallucinations and unable and unfit to care for his person or his affairs; that he is under duress by John E. Dever, the father of Edna Dever, who is endeavoring to force a marriage between the said Edna Dever and the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr.; that the said John E. Dever has caused the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., to employ counsel to prevent the next of kin of the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., from seeing him and that unless an injunction is issued restraining the said marriage that the said John E. Dever will through fraud, force and coercion cause a marriage ceremony to be performed between the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., and Edna Dever against the will of both contracting parties.
            OTHER WOMEN NAMED – “That the investigation thus far made has disclosed the fact that the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., while of unsound mind and understanding did marry in the State of New Jersey a woman by the name of Zink; that he represented and declared that he had married a lady resident in the State of Missouri named Neideringhaus and that he repeatedly declared and represented to his near friends that a young woman visiting in Norwood with whom he had but a speaking acquaintance set about and intended to entrap him into an undesired marriage; that he repeatedly endeavored to have his attending physician act as his agent in an effort to induce Miss Anna Duffy, a resident of Norwood, to marry him and that he believed and understood that the said John E. Dever intended to force him to marry his elder daughter, Lula Applegate, nee Dever, now a resident of Wilmington, Del.:
            In connection with the request for the injunction, an affidavit was taken by Logan M. Bullitt, a brother of Dr. Bullitt, and one of the plaintiffs.  It is as follows:
            “John C. Bullitt, Jr., is a resident of the borough of Norwood, in said county of Delaware, and is at the present time and for a space of more than two years last past has been of unsound mind and has been so far deprived of his reason and understanding that he is rendered altogether unfit and unable to govern himself or to manage his affairs.  That said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., has been of unsound mind since his early childhood and during the past twelve years, he, on three different occasions had to be physically restrained on account of outbreaks of violent lunacy.  From time to time he is possessed with hallucinations that people are trying to kill him and to do him great bodily harm.  That for the past two weeks he has been in a state terror and collapse which produced in him complete physical prostration as well as great mental anguish, and that the complainants in this case, in consequence of the mental state of John Christian Bullitt, Jr., have filed in this court a petition for the appointment of a commission to inquire into the lunacy of the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr.  That for more than four years last past the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., has been living at Norwood aforesaid and has employed one John E. Dever as his personal caretaker.  That said John E. Dever together with his wife and daughter, Edna Dever, have been residents of the house occupied by the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., during the whole of said period.  That the said John E. Dever was selected to care for the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., for the reason that inasmuch as he was constantly suffering from or possessed of hallucinations that people were trying to kill him, the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., had great confidence in the ability of the said John E. Dever to protect him from bodily harm and injury for the reason that the said John E. Dever had been on the police force in the city of Philadelphia.  That the said John E. Dever by reason of his association with the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., under the circumstances aforesaid, has acquired great power and influence in a way that the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., has been cut off from intercourse with his family and as deponent is led to believe from conversation he had with the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., he has been prevented from making trips which he desired to make and which the said John E. Dever did not wish him to make for fear he (Dever) would lose his influence over the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr.
            ANNOUNCES THE ENGAGEMENT – ‘That recently the said John E. Dever caused to be announced in the newspapers that the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., was engaged to be married to his daughter, Edna Dever, who is a girl as your deponent is informed and belies of her than 18 years of age, while the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., is past 33 years of age.
            “The said John E. Dever has well known that the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., is of unsound mind and incapable of entering into a marriage contract or to care for his person or his affairs.
            “Your deponent is informed and believes and expects to be able to prove that the said John E. Dever if not restrained by your Honorable Court will by force and fraud, threats any coercion induce and procure a marriage between the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr, and the said Edna Dever, although he will knows that the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., is not of sound mind, and not capable of entering into the said marriage contract and your deponent is informed and believes that coercion will be exercised by said John E. Dever on his said daughter, Edna Dever, to force her to consent to such marriage.  Your deponent is informed and believes that neither said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., nor said Edna Dever desire to enter into said marriage, but that said Edna Dever is too young to resist the coercion used by his father, the said John E. Dever, and the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., is of such unsound mind that he cannot resist the force and coercion employed by said John E. Dever to get him to enter into such marriage.
            “Deponent further says that within 48 hours after said John E. Dever caused the announcement of said proposed marriage to be made public said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., was taken violently ill with an extreme collapse, that his pulse went down to 46 and his respiration to 14.  The physicians attending the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., have informed your deponent that they did not know the cause of this as said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., was suffering from the physical ailment or disease.  That this was on the sixth day of May, 1910, and since that time the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., has been so confined to his bed in a dangerous state of health and without reason admission has been refused to members of the family of the said John Christian Bullitt, Jr., who have endeavored to see him, all of which deponent believes to be at the instance of the said John E. Dever
CHESTER TIMES – June 27, 1910
            COMMISSION IN LUNACY TO PASS ON DR. BULLITT – Ultimate Solution of Legal Battle to Prevent His Marriage Will Be Expedited; Mutual Agreement of Parties Concerned – An Interesting Phase of the Case
            To expedite the ultimate solution of the legal battle in which a brother and two sisters of Dr. John Christian Bullitt, Jr., of Norwood, are trying to prevent his marriage to Miss Edna Dever, the eighteen-year-old daughter of John A. Dever, his caretaker, and in which they declare Dr. Bullitt insane, Judge Isaac Johnson on Saturday afternoon appointed Carols M. Broomall, Esq., a Media attorney, as a commission in lunacy, and dissolved the injunction preventing the proposed marriage with an agreement of counsel that the status quo shall be maintained.  This means that the time of the court and expense will be saved by having the proceedings before the commission, who will act in a capacity similar to that of a master in divorce.  After taking all of the evidence the commission will make his report to the Court with findings and a recommendation.  It may be some time before the proceedings are finally completed, but time will be saved by this method.
            If the court had continued to hear the case and had then appointed a commission, it would have been necessary for the latter to also have heard all of the evidence.  Then if an appeal were taken and granted the court would again have had to review the entire matter and to have heard the testimony.  The possibly would have meant interminable litigation and expense.  The procedure before the commission will no doubt have time.
            INTERESTING QUESTION RECEIVED – Before making his decision Judge Johnson consulted V.G. Robinson, Esq., attorney for the petitioners for a commission, and William I. Schaffer, Esq., representing the Devers and Dr. Bullitt.  The lawyers consulted with their clients and reported to the court their willingness to abide by the result.
            An interesting question is here devolved.  At the present time there is no injunction preventing the marriage and the commission has not been informed of his powers in the proceedings.  If Dr. Bullitt and Miss Dever choose to marry there is no law which can prevent them.  If they do so and Dr. Bullitt is adjudged to be of unsound mind the marriage might afterwards be annulled.  The only thing to prevent the marriage is the agreement that the status quo should be maintained.  This means that no further action shall be taken by either side in this case, but that the result of the proceedings before the commission should be awaited.  This is not a legal preventive of the proposed marriage, it is said, and the principals could not be punished for contempt of court if they should marry.
            The hearing in the Bullitt case was late in starting, but when the matter was finally called it was readily disposed of by the court.  At that time Dr. Frank Woodbury, secretary of the State Lunacy Commission, who examined Dr. Bullitt, was called as a witness.
            Two hours previous to the decision of the court a private conference was held in the office of Judge Johnson between the court and Attorneys Robinson and Schaffer.  After the conference the attorneys returned to the court room ready to try the case.
            It is stated that Dr. Woodbury examined Dr. Bullitt at the request of William C. Bullitt, a brother who is not opposing the marriage, and that he was expected to be called in behalf of Dr. Bullitt.  It is asserted by the petitioners in the suits that they learned that the other side was not going to call him so they had him subpoenaed.
            A set of hypothetical question which would have been asked Dr. Woodbury in court were submitted to him previously and Dr. Woodbury had subscribed his answer to them.
            BELIEVES HIM UNSOUND – The questions and answers were:
            “From the examination you have made of Dr. Bullitt and from his speech, and behavior are you able to form an opinion as to whether he is of sound or of unsound mind?”
            Dr. Woodbury’s answer was, “He is unsound and constitutionally inferior.”
            “If you consider him of unsound mind, state whether or not in your opinion he is capable of governing or taking care of his person and estate.”
            The written reply was, “Not fully.”
            “If in addition to what you have observed, it were a fact that he has had violent outbreaks, during which he suffered, with the hallucination that he was in great danger of bodily harm, became so violent that it was necessary to put him in a straight-jacket; that upon occasion when he was not violent he labored under a morbid dread or fear of bodily harm from persons who were free from all suspicion of having any intent to do him harm, or was in morbid fear of great bodily harm from unknown persons and so completely subject to this fear of bodily harm that he employed persons to follow him and protect him from danger; that he had exaggerated ideas of his own importance and responsibility to and in the community in which he lived; that upon one occasion he was induced to marry a woman who was his nurse, acting solely on her statement to him that his people intended to put him in an insane asylum and to keep him there permanently.  Assuming the above statements to be true, how would they affect your opinion as to the soundness or unsoundness of the mind of John Christian Bullitt, Jr.?”
            The answer was:  “They would confirm my opinion.”
            “Assuming the above statements to be true and that the first violent attack occurred in 1890 and the last of several at the present time, as an expert will you please state whether, in your judgment, his condition of unsound mind is temporary or permanent?”
            The answer was:  “Permanent with occasional lapses into mania.”
            “Assuming the above statements to be true, as an expert will you please state what bearing in your opinion they have upon the ability of John Christian Bullitt, Jr., to govern or take care of his person and estate.”
            The alienist subscribed:  “They support the view that he is constitutionally incapable of taking care of himself and his estate.”
Join Dr. Edgette  on a guided tour of Chester Rural Cemetery on October 9, 2016 at 2:00 pm. The Making of Chester Through Chester Rural's Gravesites will be the emphasis of the tour. The worth and success  of any given community can be attributed to those people who were the impetus and pulse of that community.  Chester reached its prime near the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries  For nearly a century she was known as he " shipbuilding capital of the United Stated" and lived by the motto "What Chester Makes, Makes Chester"  The main focus of this tour will highlight the families who have been credited with having been the force behind the making of Chester as reflected by their final resting places.  The tour is being sponsored by the Chester Historical Preservation Committee.  It is free an open to the public.  Please meet at the main entrance to the cemetery across from Chester Crozer Medical Center.  Rain date October 16.  For further information call 610-872-4497

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Athletic Club plus Country Club = Golf Course?? Flax day coming at Colonial Plantation and Delco history tour!!


The entrance to the "Orchards" the former Lazaretto in Essington, the summer home of the Philadelphia Athletic Club about 1908.

Note About 1900 the Philadelphia Athletic Club took over the former Lazaretto Quarantine Station
 in Essington as their summer home. In 1911 they merged with the Delaware County Country Club to form the Manoa Golf Club


 Athletic Club of Philadelphia Will Unite with County Country Club and Abandon Quarters at Essington

            The Delaware County Country Club will be taken into consolidation with the Athletic Club of Philadelphia for the purpose of securing a country home and golf course, and at the same time increasing its membership.
            The Delaware County Country Club has a membership of about 175, about 125 acres of rolling land at Manoa, on which is an old farm house, now used as a locker house.  The Athletic Club of Philadelphia has a fine club house at 17th and Arch Streets and a membership of about 400.
            Under the terms of the proposed amalgamation the name “Athletic Club of Philadelphia” will be retained and the dues placed at $50 a year, giving members all the privileges of both town and country clubs.  The membership under these arrangements is to be restricted to 500, so only about 225 new members will be needed, providing all the Delaware County Club members stick when the amalgamation takes place.
            The Board of Directors of the athletic club formally sanctioned the amalgamation last evening and as the Country club officials have also approved, it will require only a joint meeting of the two committees to complete the arrangements.  By May 1 it is expected the athletic club members may be playing golf over the Manoa links.
            Under these arrangements the athletic club will drop the Orchard, the Essington summer home of the organization, and make extended improvements in the Delaware County Country home.  When the full membership has been reached the income of the club will be $40,000 a year and the members at a very reasonable figure will have the benefits of a town and country home.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Saving and protecting History, Civil War in Ridley Creek State Park and DCHS annual meeting


Got this out of the trash when they tore down the old Ridley Township Junior High School aka Ridley North


Saving and protecting History the old Fashioned way


DD and TP

    Saving local history and preserving it comes in all sorts of ways. Including, Dumpster Diving [DD] and Trash Picking [TP}.  It still amazes even today,  what people toss out.  Over the years I have found and been giving things that people toss out. I started trashing early. The following stories I have changed the names and locations as to not embarrass anyone.
When Mr. Smith died. his son came to clean the house out. Mr. Smith had formed the local civic association and had put some booklets together over the years. Neighbors told me the son was throwing out everything. I walked down and looked at the trash and saw some promising boxes at the curb and walked home and got my car. As I was loading the first box the son came out yelling at me, “What was I doing?” I explained to him I was interested in local history and had known his dad. He invited me in the house and took me upstairs. His dad had saved all the civic association booklets all the way back to the 1940’s and the son gave me everything. Sadly much had already been thrown out. He didn’t think anyone would be interested.
John, one of my history buddies, stopped one day to show me what he had trash picked and he was shocked at what he had found. He had stopped to get some metal containers that he could use for storage in his shed but it was what was inside the containers that really surprised him. The father who had died a number of years ago had been a local builder and there was a bunch of slides of local buildings in various course of erection and John was giving me them. But it was the other pictures in the containers that he could not understand. They were all family pictures, picnics, weddings, confirmation, baptisms etc. Why would anyone toss them out?
   Schools I have never understood. When Delaware County Schools began to merge in the 1960’s and 70’s, especially high schools I was surprised at what happened with some. Most local schools saved everything and devoted rooms, aka museums to the old high schools. Yearbooks, trophies etc. were lovingly displayed but not everywhere.  I was shocked that one school tossed everything but their yearbooks. Trophies, pictures, plaques, programs etc. everything before 1960 was trashed. It had been done in secret, depending on what story you heard. Not even all the school board members had known what had happened until it was over and it was too late. I just could not believe it. Several of my history buddies found out and dumpster dived and got some trophies etc. The high school had a big alumni group and they had been told nothing and not offered anything, so sad.
   I had been asking the owner for weeks about the lights on the building, I had always loved them. The building was coming down and I really wanted to save them. The lights were an art deco style and I did not want to see them end up in the trash, I had gotten permission the day before demolition to take them. So here I was on a ladder at 1230 midnight taking the lights off the building. I had just gotten done work so I was still in my police uniform. Two cop cars pulled up and wanted to know why I was stealing the lights. Luckily I had gotten a letter from the owner that day that I could take the lights. The officer from the other town could not believe the company was just given the lights to me a Ridley Cop of all people. I showed him the letter and he still called the building’s owner to make sure everything was on the “up and up”. He could not believe that the company did not want them and neither could I. I had them restored and they look great.
Always look and always ask! You never know what is going to be trashed next week! Remember one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

Delaware County Historical Society

Cordially invites you to the Annual Meeting and Awards

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
5:00 pm
The Grange Estate
143 Myrtle and Warwick Roads

Havertown, PA 19083
The Friends of the Grange will provide a lecture and
Tour of this beautiful 18th century mansion
For Information please call: 610-359