Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Delco's growth due to World War One

 Chester Sun Ship yard about 100 years ago


 War Contracts, New Industries and a Rise in Real Estate Values the Principal Factors in Producing the Result – Local Builders Very Busy
                Delaware County, always rich and always peaceful, is from $45,000,000 to $50,000,000 richer because Europe went to war.
                These figures are not alone an estimate of the industries that war has brought to the banks of the Delaware River below Philadelphia.  They are partly that and partly the real estate development that has resulted from those industries.
                While everyone has heard how industries have sprung info life along the Delaware since the war began, the effect of these industries has been overlooked.  Here is the effect:
                Every village, hamlet, town and city in the eastern end of Delaware County has scores or hundreds of brand-new houses for the assessors’ books.  Builder and contractors are overworked and refusing to take more jobs.  For this development is just at  its height, and the assessors’ books already show an increase that will add $10,000,000 to the county’s assessed valuation this year.  And that isn’t half of what will be added by next year.
                New houses have sprung up everywhere in the eastern townships.  Villages have become towns, fields have become suburbs, waste lands have become factory sites, vacant lots and ball fields in cities have become rows of houses, the river shore has become a line of smokestacks.  And, most of all, this has happened in the last two years and is happening now.
                Out in the Media court house, where all is still and quiet and characteristic of the old Delaware County, they are tabulating the triennial assessment, made in February by the local assessors.  Part of the story is in these untabulated figures.
                For these figures incomplete as they are, show that the assessors found almost $10,000,000 to add to the real estate values of the county last winter before this wonderful summer building began.  And next year – well, the assessors hesitate to think of what the increase will be.
                Chester, the very center of that new Delaware County, is no longer quiet or peaceful.  Here is where the new wealth that the war brought is centered, and here you can find a man who estimates that the new industrial wealth of Delaware County’s riverfront is about $36,000,000.
                This is the man who knows about it, too, for he is T. Woodward Trainer, secretary of the Chester chamber of commerce, and of the Chester Board of Trade, thru whom most of the land that these new industries use was secured.
                And if the Media visit and the Chester call don’t convince, take a trolley ride around the county and look into those places you hardly know the name of villages or crossroads once, now thriving, newly-painted towns and suburbs.
                All this wealth made since the war broke out.  And it is so big that no one can count it and every estimate is no better than a guess.  But it is wealth, nonetheless.
                Take Chester’s real estate development for a guide, for here, at least, actual figures are available.  This is a city that the old-timer remembers as the place of great waste tracts.  Time was when every other block in Chester was a vacant lot.  Not so now.  They need the vacant lots now.
                CHESTER DOUBLES BUILDING – Building permits issued since January 1, 1916, in Chester, show that 330 buildings of all kinds are built or building in Chester at a cost of $1,579,430.  This is twice as much as was spent during the whole of 1915, when 290 buildings were erected, at a cost of $746,815.
                In 1914, a record year, the city spent $1,221,200 for its new buildings.  Chester, at this rate, expects when all the summer building is on records to have more than $2,000,000 invested in new houses and other structures.
                The most remarkable thing about these six months of 1916 is that the bulk of the money has not been spent for industrial buildings, but for dwellings of different kinds.  The total amount spent for these dwellings will be $477,500.
                An eight-story office and bank building accounts for $400,000 and the new buildings of the Sun Ship Building Company, the most recent of the new industries, will cost $250,000.  Sixteen of the structures are to be used for stores, an unusual number to be added in Chester.
                These are the Chester records, and are conclusive.  They include building operations, such as that of Brigadier General William G. Price, Jr., now on the border with the Philadelphia brigade of the National Guard.  General Price has a $500,000 project under way at Twelfth and Potter Streets, Chester.  About fifty houses, all of high grade, are under construction.
                An old baseball field is being developed into a residential district.  The Chester Shipbuilding Company, which is spending $2,000,000 in reviving the Delaware shipbuilding industry, at Chester, is also doing a little bit for real estate with a development of 100 houses costing about $250,000 at Sixth and Pennell Streets.
                VACANT LOTS DISAPPEAR – All over Chester the vacant lots are being filled with small projects of from two to a dozen houses.  Real estate men are so busy you can’t find them for a talk about business.  Everybody has a hand in it.  Irvin Taylor and Samuel Bell are making the most extensive and widespread operations Mr. Taylor, who has built up a great part of Ninth Street in Chester, is now adding scores of houses in other sections of the city.
                But the big wealth that has come to the county is found along the river front, where Mr. Trainer, the secretary of the Chester chamber of commerce, estimates that $36,000,000 has been or will be invested.  Here are some of the real estate purchases and contemplated expenditures of the new and old industries:
                Sun Shipbuilding Company, Chester, sixty acres expects to spend $8,000,000, employ 5000 men and turn out ships 900 feet long.
                Chester Shipbuilding Company, Chester, eighteen acres, six ships on the way, three more way under construction, the first ship, 450 feet long, about to be launched, 1500 men at work and expenditures of $2,000,000 contemplated.
                Stewart Distillery Company, making industrial alcohol, on a twenty-acre tract.  Spending about $1,000,000.
                Commercial Box and Envelope Company, fifteen acres, spending $750,000.
                Beacon Light Company, Chester, bought twenty-one acres for $75,000, building turbine power plant, with 120,000 kilowatt capacity, spending $3,000,000.
                The Westinghouse Electric and Machine Company, with a purchase of 600 acres in Tinicum adjoining Eddystone, will spend $8,000,000, it is said in equipping a plant to make supplies and equipment for the Delaware shipbuilding industry.
                The expenditures in Eddystone at the Baldwin plant, the Remington Arms and Eddystone ammunition plants, are given in round figures as about $10,000,000, and here alone 28,000 men are working, and in need of homes.
                MARCUS HOOK SHARES PROSPERITY – In Marcus Hook, below Chester, more of this wonderful riverfront development has added to the already big industrial investment of the American Viscose plant and the oil companies.
                The General Chemical Company, with sixty-five acres, and an investment of nearly $2,000,000 and the Benzol Products Company, which is working out the aniline dye problem on a thirty acre tract, in a $1,000,000 plant, are the big ones.
                Marcus Hook has spread out.  A hundred new houses are going up and nearly another hundred have been built in Linwood Heights.  Twenty more are under construction, and two more farms, containing eighty acres, are to be developed by Chester men.
                Next to the Chester and Marcus Hook development, the greatest building has been going on in the last two years in Upper Darby Township.  Here Drexel Hill has developed from a few houses to a community with 250 voters.  Collingdale has become a thriving town of industrial workers, with nearly 3000 inhabitants, and the third school building is going up.  Highland Park, with its neighborly communities of Observatory HiIl and Kirklyn, are growing into a suburb of several hundred houses.
                A. Merritt Taylor is developing Springfield, and already about thirty-five houses have been built in an attractive substantial suburban residential community.  Near Sixty-Ninth Street John McClatchy is developing another tract.  Bywood, another suburb, has grown up in a year and more houses are under construction this summer.  Clifton Heights is so big now that it is getting ready to float a bond issue of $90,000 to buy asphalt streets, sewers and a disposal plant.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Some Forgotten Revolutionairy War Women

Lafayette's Headquarters at the Brandywine Battlefield 100 years ago when it was still a working farm.

NOTE: Found this interesting article a few days ago and wanted to share

Some forgotten Revolutionary War Women

an article from 1911

“The incidents that I am about to relate are not so well known in the annals of the War of Independence as are the stories of Deborah Sampson, the warrior-maiden of Massachusetts, who for three years served in the Continental Army before her sex was discovered; nor that of Sally St. Clair, who, as a soldier in battle, gave her life to save Sergeant Jasper; nor Emily Giger, who volunteered to carry a message from General Greene to General Sumpter and when captured by the enemy, ae the letter she bore, that it might not fall into the hands of Lord Rawdon of Molly Pitcher, the women-artillerist at Monmouth; or Rebecca Mott, who gave into the hands of Light-Horse Harry Lee, the burning arrow with which to destroy her home that sheltered the enemy at Fort Mott; nor that of many courageous women of the Revolution whose deeds are closely interwoven with the story of the struggle from which a new nation was born to the world.  The incidents that I shall recall are all associated with the old county of Chester, two of which are closely connected with the story of Brandywine Field, which we are this day celebrating.
WOUNDING OF LAFAYETTE – “The young Marquis de Lafayette, a General in the Continental services, was wounded at Brandywine, when a musket ball, as he describes it, went through and through my left foot. The surgeon prepared his dressings, but the shot fell so thick around us had we remained, we should both have been past surgery.  Being mounted on my horse, I left the field and repaired to the bridge near Chester – where I halted and placed a guard to stop fugitives and soldiers and direct them to join their respective regiments.  I could do no more.  I was becoming faint.  I was carried into a house in Chester and laid on a table, where my wound received its first dressing.  That houses was the ‘Plough and Harrow’ tavern, which occupied the site of the present Cambridge Trust Company building.  She, for it was a women dressed his wounds, was Mary Gorman, of Chester.  At the time there was no resident physician in the town – the nearest practitioner being Dr. John Smith, who was located in Lower Chichester.  In case of accident the townspeople would call upon Mary Gorman, a young woman of steady serve and considerable skill, to dress the wounds of the injured and she, it was, who waited upon the young Marquis in this emergency.  One of the men who entered Chester that night was Jedediah Lyons, a native of New Jersey, and one of the ‘Jersey Blues’ who had been with Washington in his retreat – through the Jerseys had shared his triumph at Trenton, had fought at Brandywine, and whose feet were frozen during that dreary winter at Valley Forge.  H, it was, to whom Mary Gorman was married.  They built the house still standing on Fifth Street, facing the post office, Chester, where they resided most of their married life, and it is still in the ownership of a descendant.
“It was five o’clock in the afternoon at Saturday, September 13, 1777, when Lord Cornwallis and his staff reached Village Green, where they drew rein before the wide porch of the Seven Stars.  James Pennell, despite his political bias, bid his chagrin with a landlord’s smile and watched with interest the unusual spectacle.  Cornwallis naturally was the center of attraction.  His tall, portly form, in scarlet coat, loaded with gold lace and decorations, white buckskin breeches, top boots, and his superior horsemanship, all combined to render him a figure never to be forgotten by those who saw him on that occasion.
“His Lordship stood on the porch and watched his soldiers of the Second Battalion of British Infantry, Second Battalion of Grenadiers, which accompanied him, and the first and Second Brigade, under General Grant, as they entered the field south of Concord Road, their left resting at Mount Hope, and their right extending a short distance east of the road leading to Marcus Hook.  The few Hessians who accompanied the troops were objects of the utmost curiosity to the onlookers, for they for the first time, sow those men of bad repute who wore their beards on the upper lip at a time when all the men of the colonies were closely shaven.
“On Sunday evening, the fourteenth, three soldiers, who had been of a party of foragers, strayed away from the main body and crossed Chester Creek above Dutton’s Mill, now Bridgewater.  Here they entered a dwelling of Jonathan Martin, where they plundered the family of many articles of value, among them some personal trinkets belonging to a daughter, Mary Martin, a lass of eighteen years, who fearlessly upbraided the marauders as a disorderly and cowardly set of men.  One of them became so enraged at the girl’s words that he struck at her with his bayonet, inflicting a wound on her hand with which she had attempted to ward off the blow.
“That same evening, the same men had gone to the home of Mr. Cox, about one mile distant, where they committed similar acts of pillage.  Among the articles stolen was a silver watch.  Martha Cox was about the same age as Mary Martin.
CULPRITS IDENTIFIED – “Early Monday morning she went to the Martin house, where she told what had happened at her home the previous evening.  Informing no one of their intention, they went to the British headquarters at Village Green, which point Lord Howe had reached with his escort of Dragoons on his visit to Cornwallis outposts at Cartertown.  The British commander-in-chief listened to their complaints, and as it chanced, the troops encamped the Green were then mustered for inspection.  Howe told the girls if they could identify the men who had been guilty of the theft they should be as prescribed in his general orders.  The General, with the women beside him, walked in front of the line its entire length, and they pointed out the men whom they declared were the culprits.  That there should be no mistake in the identification.  Howe ordered that the troops be marched to the given point where he stood with the girls, and again they pointed out the three men, and a third trial resulted in them being recognized out of two or three thousand soldiers there assembled.  The three were put under arrest, some of the stolen property was found in their possession and they were immediately tried by a drumhead court martial, found guilty and sentenced to death; but only two of the three men were to be hanged, the third was to act as executioner of his companions, that to be decided by drawing lots.  Late that afternoon, when Howe returned from Cartertown, the sentence of the court was carried into the effect.  An apple three near the roadside was used for the gallows, in full sight of the officers, who stood on the porch of the tavern, witnessing the ghastly sight.  Capt. John Mountveson, chief engineer of the British Army, records in his diary under date of September 15:  When the British troops broke camp and marched from the ‘Seven Stars’ to the ‘Turk’s Head’ near West Chester.  General Grant, who four days thereafter perpetrated the massacre at Paoli, gave no attention to the dead men and their lifeless bodies were left dangling from the limb, fearfully silhouetted against the leaden sky.  A few years later, Mary Martin died, and was buried in a now unknown grave in old St. Paul’s graveyard, Chester.
CALL ON MILITIA – “In the early part of December, 1776, the militia of the counties of Philadelphia, Berks and Chester were called into service and ordered to New Jersey to aid in repelling the threatened invasion of Pennsylvania by the victorious British troops.  A company of the Fifth Battalion of General Cadwallader’s Brigade assembled at the White House Tavern, Ridley Township, to be mustered into service.  In less than half an hour after the muster, a private, enraged at a harsh remand of Captain Culin, shot the officer, who died almost immediately.  John Crosby, the first lieutenant and brother-in-law of the murdered man, (his second wife being Ann Culin), succeeded to the command, and as the orders were urgent, the company was hurried forward and took part in the campaign of Trenton and Princeton.  A year subsequent to this incident, and after the occupancy of Philadelphia by the British Army Captain Crosby was on leave at his home on Ridley Creek, where the Post road crosses that stream a short distance northeast of the bridge, where is now the residence of the Leiper family.  The sturdy patriotism of Crosby had given offense to his Tory neighbor, and tradition says that Henry Effinger, Jr., who then owned the farm where is now the Eddystone Print Works and adjoining the great Baldwin plant, informed the officers of one of the British men-of-war lying off Chester, of the captain’s presence at home.  In the dusk of the evening, Effinger piloted a boat’s crew of the enemy up the creek to Crosby’s home.  The American officer was at the pump, washing his face, when arrested.  He was forwarded to New York on a transport, where he was confined for six months on the prison ship Falmouth.  His wife, Ann Culin Crosby, after several weeks, learned of his whereabouts, and despite the earnest pleadings of her family and friends, who urged the difficulties attending such a journey and the hopelessness of her visit, made her way to New York where by constant importunity she finally obtained from the British authorities the discharge of her husband on parole.  The vigorous treatment to which he had been subjected and the want of proper nourishment during his confinement, although a young man of twenty-nine years, had caused his dark hair to turn an ashen white, and while he lived many years thereafter, the peculiar color of his hair was throughout his life a distinguishing feature of his personal appearance.  He, too, lies in St. Paul’s graveyard, Chester.
“My theme is not exhausted, although the time allotted us is, or I might tell of many more of the noble women who lived in the old county of Chester at the times which tried man’s soul, and I may add, those of women, as well.
“All hail to the men and women of the Revolution.  The memory of those heroes, heroines and martyrs will never be effaced from the memory of our people, while this glorious Republic stands one of the greatest in the galaxy of nations.”

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Clifton Heights Carnegie Hero

Darby Creek in Clifton Heights a 100 year old view

NOTE: In 1904 Andrew Carnegie, the steel magnate from Pittsburgh, created the Carnegie Hero Fund. The fund awards medals and cash to individual heroes who are nominated and approved. The fund still exists today.



 Event Will Take Place Sunday Evening in the First Presbyterian Church at Clifton Heights

February 11, 1910

                There will be a service of great interest in the First Presbyterian church of Clifton Heights next Sabbath evening at 3 o’clock when the pastor, Rev. W. R. Huston, will tender to William C. Buley of Clifton Heights, the Carnegie Hero Medal recently awarded to him by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission for saving of the life of Mrs. Hannah A. Lewis, wife of George D. Lewis, at Clifton Station, Aldan, April 16, 1908.
                The address will be made by V. Gilpin Robinson, Esq., the undistinguished attorney of Delaware County on “Christian Courage” and the choir will render special music.
                An invitation has been extended to both the local fire companies to attend this service and also to the community in general when all may fittingly recall the words of Jesus inscribed upon the medal, “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John XV.-13.
                Mr. Buley’s act in saving the life of Mrs. Lewis was one which at the time, attracted the attention of the whole community of Aldan, Clifton Heights and vicinity and called forth unstinted praise.  Mrs. Lewis, who lives in Germantown, has been on a visit to friends in Clifton Heights, and going to the train to return home crossed over the tracks of the Pennsylvania railroad from the Clifton Heights to the Aldan side by walking on the tracks over the Springfield Road bridge and around the end of the track fence rather than go down the steps and under the railroad.  While on the bridge on the Aldan side the train came around the curve behind her and she started to run, fell upon the bridge, arose, and ran forward only to fall again in front of the approaching train.  Mr. Buley was on the platform of the station waiting for the train and seeing the woman’s peril ran to her help, jumped down upon the track, seized her prostrate form and threw himself backward upon the station platform just in time to save both the woman and himself from a terrible death.  The rescue was so close that the engineer thought he had run over both of them.  Mrs. Lewis was slightly struck by the engine in passing.  Mr. Buley was unhurt.
                The tragedy of the occasion was greatly increased by the death of Mr. McCue, a young man employed by the Pennsylvania railroad, who was on the train which came to such a sudden and unexpected stop upon the Springfield Road Bridge.  In attempting to go forward to see the cause of the sudden stopping of the train, Mr. McCue stepped out from the train upon the railing of the bridge, which broke beneath his weight and he was thrown to the street below injuring his spine and causing his death a few days later.
                The attention of the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission was called to the act of Mr. Buley by the pastor of the First Presbyterian church and that Commission, after careful investigation, examination of the conditions and hearing of the witnesses awarded to Mr. Buley a bronze medal and seventeen hundred and fifty dollars ($1750), a sum sufficient to cancel the mortgage upon his home.  Mr. Buley is married and has six children, and had his noble effort cost him his life their loss would have been irreparable.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Huddell Ave. in Linwood named for Joseph Huddell

The Linwood R.R. Station about 110 years ago

Joseph Huddell


      Joseph H. Huddell, deputy United States Marshal for the eastern district of Pennsylvania, was found dead in bed at his home in Linwood this morning.  The news of his demise was received in this city with a distinct shock of regret and sorrow.  He was one of the best known and most beloved citizens of the county.  It is no exaggeration to say that he was known personally and was well liked by a majority of the residents of this county, while his circle of friends and acquaintances was not confined within the borders of Pennsylvania but extended to every part of the United States.
            Mr. Huddell, or Captain Huddell, as he was more familiarly known, was enjoying robust health and attended to his duties in connection with the Marshal’s office up until last evening.  He was in Chester yesterday and about the streets of Philadelphia, where he greeted friends as usual and seemed in particularly good spirits.  The suddenness of his death is therefore the more keenly shocking.
            Except for a slight cold, which apparently developed yesterday, there was no previous complaint from Mr. Huddell.  Last night, on reaching his home, he remarked to his daughters that he did not feel well and that there was a Pain in his side.  It was thought to be superficial and no attention was paid it.  This morning, however, when his daughter, Miss Jennie Huddell, went to his room to awaken him, there was no response.  Further investigation disclosed the fact that the Captain had passed away some time before.
            A LOVABLE SPIRIT – CAPTAIN Joseph H. Huddell was a man of genial spirit and had a most sympathetic heart.  He was particularly a friend of the newspaper men and in many of the banquets of the Chester Press Club, of which he was a member, he was a hail fellow well met.  Nothing was too arduous or him to do to assist his friends of the craft and they will always remember his kindly deeds in their behalf.
            In politics, he was an ardent Republican and probably no man kept a closer tab on the doings of the party in Delaware County.  He has been honored time and again with an election to the County Republican Executive Committee, has been a State delegate and has served in other capacities of trust and honor.  He was the closest of friends of the late Judge Thomas J. Clayton and managed several of his campaigns.  He also was a particular friend of former Congressman John B. Robinson now United States Marshal, and was active in the conduct of his canvass for the place as representative from the old Sixth district.  He was particularly well versed in county politics and always drafted the resolutions in conventions when the time was opportune for the advocacy of anything that tended to advance the interests of the party.
            When John B. Robinson was given the United States Marshalship, Captain Huddell was chosen one of his deputies and has remained in office during the entire time the genial former Congressman has held the place.  He was a faithful servant and will be missed by all who knew him.
            SKETCH OF HIS LIFE – Joseph H. Huddell was a son of George H. and Rebecca H. (Mildlen) Huddell, and was born in Philadelphia on October 17, 1837.  He would therefore have observed his sixty-eighth birthday had he lived until tomorrow.  The Huddells were natives of Philadelphia from shortly after William Penn took charge of his New World Possessions on the Delaware, and Andrew Bankson, a member of the General Assembly for 1686, under Penn, was connected with the family by marriage.
            Captain Huddell was reared principally in his native city, receiving his education in the public schools and the Protestant Episcopal Academy of that city.  Leaving school in the autumn of 1853 he entered the employ of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Company as shipping clerk, and in the summer of 1854 became assistant bookkeeper in a large wholesale coal office in Philadelphia, where he remained until 1861.
            In April of that year he formed a partnership with Col. Alfred Day, under the name of Day & Huddell, and engaged in mining and shipping coal, their main office being on Walnut Street, Philadelphia.  He continued in that business successfully as a member of the firms of Day & Huddell, day, Huddle & Co., Joseph H. Huddell & Co., and Huddle & Seltzinger until 1871.  In January, 1892, he was appointed superintendent of construction for the new United States post office building in the city of Chester, which position he held until October, 1893, when he was removed by the Democratic administration.  The duties of this office he discharged with ability.
            Since 1849 Mr. Huddell has spent his summers in Delaware County, and since 1868 has been a permanent resident of Linwood.
            In 1891 he served as secretary to Hon. Boles Penrose, president of the state Senate at Harrisburg, and filled the same position with Hon. John P.S. Gobin, president of the extra session of the Senate in the autumn of 1891.  His appointment as superintendent of construction on the United States post office building in Chester was secured through Hon. John B. Robinson.
            On November 11, 1858, Mr. Huddell was married to Rebecca W. Ayers, a daughter of Samuel W. Ayers of Philadelphia.  She died February 10, 1879, aged forty years, leaving a family of nine children, three sons and six daughters Rebecca A. Alfred D. Joseph H., Jane N., Kate T., Esther M., Sarah A., Draper and Elizabeth B.  These children were members of the Episcopal Church of which Mr. Huddell was an attendant.  He was a member of Lodge No. 2, A.Y.M., Excelsior Mark Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, and of Keystone Chapter, No. 176, Royal Arch Masons of Philadelphia.

Upcoming Events


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Folcroft vs Hook, a look back

Above is part of the old Ridgeway Farm bought by H. K. Mulford Co. about 1910. Mulford moved to Glenolden in 1896 and began making vaccines etc. In the early days vaccines where derived from animals and Mulford bought 140 acres south of today's Delmar Drive as their farm. They sold it in the early 1950's right before they merged with Sharp and Dome and left the area.

NOTE: A 110 years ago the unthinkable happened for the first time in Penna. Blacks living in Darby Township wanted to create their own boro, the town of Folcroft to become the Boro. Sorry this is late been without power for 4 days.


Folcroft Boro

“Shall Folcroft be incorporated as a borough or shall it remain Folcroft precinct of Darby Township?”  This is the question which is agitating the minds of the colored population of a settlement called Hook, in Folcroft.  For several weeks past the colored citizens of that place have been holding meetings and discussing the matter of applying to the Court for a charter incorporating Folcroft into a borough.  So far as could be learned there is not a single white citizen Folcroft who will favor the proposition, and, in fact, it will be fought bitterly when the proper time arrives.  On Tuesday evening there was a meeting in Madison’s Hall, Folcroft, and there were present more than sixty persons, among the number being but two white men. The meeting was presided over by David Kinsey, one of the leading colored men of Folcroft.  The matter of forming a borough was discussed at length, and all times present were unanimously in favor of applying for a charter to incorporate Folcroft as a borough.  A petition was passed through the audience and was signed by nearly every one present.
                WANT BETTER STREETS – A Times reporter interviewed a number of the colored residents of the place yesterday on the subject of a borough and they were all very enthusiastic, and felt that when they apply for a charter that the court will grant their prayer.  The colored man claim that they pay a large percentage of the taxes of the township of Darby, and that the money is spent in other parts of the township and that they are being neglected as far as good roads Are concerned, and they believe that by having the township incorporated into a borough that the taxes would be more equally distributed.
                Robert Kelson, a prominent colored citizen, who is a contractor, said yesterday that the object of forming the borough was to get better streets, which they do not now enjoy, and besides that, Folcroft is sufficiently large to become a borough and been self-sustaining.  There are now in the precinct more than 12100 houses and a great number of these are owned by colored people, and many more are being built by members of the race at this time.  He also said that the colored people desire to make it a town for colored people to reside in, and that at the present time they are I the majority.
                BUILDING HOMES – From the appearance of things surrounding Hook, which is a part of Folcroft, the colored man’s statement seems to be correct, as many new homes are being erected by the more progressive colored people and these are being inhabited by colored families.  Most of the stores are conducted by colored people and there is a large brickyard which is being operated by William Balue, a colored man.  The colored man also said that Folcroft had nearly 300 voters, while Horntown precinct had but 71 votes, which has been the same number of votes polled for many years and most of these are dead ones when the vote is being counted.  Glenolden precinct has only 16 votes.  “Why should we not receive some recognition?” he asked.  He also said that they wanted their own school and own government, ruled by colored people.  He said that eight per cent of the taxes came from Folcroft and are used in other parts of the township.  Among the prominent colored citizens interested in the formation of a new borough are:  J. B. Randolph, a local preacher; J. W. Madison, a contractor and builder; Ephraim Robinson, John W. Ewing, James Bennings, John Dowdy and others.
                As far as is known this is the first time in the history of this State that colored people ever made an effort to have a borough of their own, but that it will not be smooth sailing for them is indicated by the fact that the white citizens are going to oppose the plan with all their strength and influence.
                WHITE CITIZEN’S VIEW – It was a hard matter to get an interview with any of the white citizens yesterday as most of them are business men and professional men, with their business in Philadelphia.  They all have handsome homes that are located along the Pennsylvania railroad. One of these white citizens who was seen yesterday but who did not want to be quoted, said that there is no doubt that the colored people are making a hard fight to have Folcroft incorporated into a borough, but that their plans will be opposed and before they would allow the colored men to take a part of their properties into a borough they would apply to get into Glenolden borough.  This citizen also said that the colored men were in a majority when it comes to voting and that therefore they would have the entire municipality governed by their own race, which would never do and that it would not be tolerated.  He also said if the colored men want a borough why don’t they take in their own settlement and not take in the part where the white people live.  He believed if they did this they would not be so bitterly opposed.
                This citizen also said that it is not the truth that the colored men pay a large proportion of the taxes of the township, but that many of them who own houses of property do not pay their taxes, and that their properties have to be liened, and that they are not building any extra fine dwellings.
                However, the project is being watched by both sides and some interesting developments are looked for.  It is expected that when the meeting is held by the colored men on next Monday night that more definite plans will be formed, as the colored people are going to engage an attorney.
                Among the prominent white citizens residing in Folcroft are:  J. H. Anderson, chief clerk of the second vice president of the Pennsylvania Railroad; C. F. W. Boone, cashier of the Evening Telegraph; William Wright, a furniture dealer; William Allen, a grocer; Postmaster C. B. Shaw; Edward Rice, a plumber, and other prominent Delaware County men.
Upcoming Workshop in Historic Sugartown’s Bindery
Paper Marbling Workshop
Saturday, March 17
9AM – 2PM
(Malvern, PA) Learn to create marbled paper in Historic Sugartown’s Bindery!
Marbling is the art of floating and designing watercolors on a base fluid then permanently transferring the design to paper. Colonial Williamsburg trained
instructor, Ramon Townsend of ColonialBindery.com, will lead the class through the
entire marbling process. Participants will take home their finished papers.
Workshop Admission: $65/Adult, $50/Child (Ages 8 – 17; must be accompanied by an adult).
All supplies included.
The workshop will take place from 9AM – 2PM. Pre-registration is required and space is limited to 8 participants.

Visit HistoricSugartown.org or call 610-640-2667 to register!
Historic Sugartown, Inc., a private, nonprofit organization, inspires the community to engage with the past through authentic 19th-century experiences, participate in the village’s present life and protect it for the future. Located in the heart of Willistown Township, Historic Sugartown stewards 9.2 acres of land and nine historic structures, including 4.2 acres of open space under conservation easement with Willistown Conservation Trust. Historic Sugartown’s Carriage Museum interprets Chester County’s rich transportation heritage through a rare collection of historic carriages and sleighs in partnership with Chester County Historical Society. Historic Sugartown offers guided tours of the village on weekends from May through November, as well as workshops in its Book Bindery and other programs throughout the year. School and group tours are available year-round.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Date Stones? Not always correct.

The William Tranor Farmhouse by Ridley Park Lake about 1880. The date stone which today is under the chimney, is clearly not there.


Don't trust date stones!!


All of us see date stones and take for granted that is the date the structure was built but that is not always the case. There are several local examples of the date stones not been correct. There is a farmhouse in the ridley area that has a date stone of 1670. That is quite early for a stone farmhouse. William Penn came in 1681 and the Swedes before Penn in 1643 and the Dutch in 1655 almost always built structures of logs. So where did this 1670 date stone come from? I title searched the farmhouse and the deeds appeared to show the house was built c. 1765. While checking some old pictures I got the answer. A photo of the farmhouse from the mid 1880's clearly showed the date stone was not there! The cement  at the chimney was bare. The date stone had been added later by another home owner. As a joke? I have no idea.
   There is schoolhouse in western Delco with the same mystery, A 1820's date has been painted on the old school in several places. A title search of the property confirms the property was given for a school in 1820, so the date stone appears correct but it is not. In the 19th century Delco had a county school superintendent who was required to send reports to the state once a year. These reports, besides basic school information, talked about school closings, openings and new buildings etc. The report for 1969 clearly states the old school house was replaced with a new building. The report names the contractor, Osbourne Booth and the cost at $2,661.00 dollars. Another wrong date stone!!
   But sometimes date stones are correct and deeds are WRONG!! It was not uncommon for land to be sold with just a handshake in the 19th century. The official deed for the property might not be filed for several years. There is a former one room school in Newtown Square that fits this scenario. The date stone on the building, a fancy one built in to the wall, says the school was 2 years younger than when the deed was filed. Although this rarely happened between private sellers, it was some what common concerning school and church properties. For instance the Media Presbyterian Church was built in 1854, there is no doubt, but the deed for the property was not filed till 5 years later in 1859. No big rush in those old days!! Always title search to get the "right" answers!!
Still looking for some typists to help get more things on my site.
Good friend Charles LaMaitre does great work converting film, slides etc, to digital format, He does great work, His email is below
 Film Services:
VHS to DVD           (2-hours)                                                                               $ 21.00
Slides/Negatives to digital file format                                                                     .65 ea
Large Format Negatives/Slides                                                                                 .85 ea
8mm/Super8mm transferred to DVD    (50 foot  or 3” inch reel)                     8.00
             (8mm/S8mm are digitized using scanning equipment, frame by frame)
          Photographic   Prints  
(photo paper, glossy, 10.5mil)
                             (From digital files, phones, any image requiring printing)
                            8x10                                                                      $     4.00
                            8x12                                                                             4.50
                           11x14                                                                           7.00
                           11x16                                                                           7.50
                           16x20                                                                         11.00
                           16x24                                                                         11.75
                           18x24                                                                         13.00
                           20x24                                                                         16.00
                           24x36                                                                         21.00