Sunday, January 10, 2021

 

A postcard from c.1910 of the Newtown Hotel. The hotel was torn down in the 1950's and the Color and Style home business at 3707 West Chester Pike stands there today. Originally the West Chester Pike stopped at Rt. 252 aka the Paoli Road.

Note: One hundred years ago when the majority of property in Delaware County was farmland every little town had their own hotel, for visitors and business people etc. After WW2 as Delco grew like crazy, these hotels all but disappeared. A little history of the Newtown Hotel.


THAT OLD HOTEL AT NEWTOWN SQUARE First Application for License was made by William Beaumont in July 1796 

 Owners Past and Present

            Travelers who follow the old West Chester Pike or trolley line to Philadelphia, says the Local News, are interested just now in the old hotel at Newtown Square, which is soon to be remodeled.

            A man who heard various comments on the property comes to the front with a bit of history showing who the previous owners were and tracing the title in regulation style.

            The property belongs to William T. Davis, and is leased by Ed. Summeril.  Mr. Davis will erect a building worth about $10,000 thus complying with the requirements of the Delaware County Court.

            The first application for a liquor license at the old hostelry was made by William Beaumont, on the 25th of July, 1796.  Further data is appended, from a search of the records.

            William Penn, at the time of the settlement of this county of Chester, conceived the idea of locating a townstead in the township of Newtown, now Delaware County, and donated to each purchaser of property within the township a portion of land fronting on Newtown Street, now Paoli Road, the amount of land being in proportion to the number of acres taken up in the outlaying portion of the township.

            The amount of land within the limits of the townstead was about equal to one mile square, yet its length from north to south was greater than from east to west.  These town lots have mostly been purchased by persons owning adjoining properties and at the present time there is but little of the old lines of the townstead left.

            About the time of the settlement of these parts Daniel Williamson came to be the owner of different lots on the southwest corner of the townstead and among them was the one upon which the hotel buildings at Newtown Square now stands.

            On the 13th day of the 10th month, 1719, Daniel Williamson conveyed to John Allan 174 acres of land in Newtown, in which tract was included what is now the thirty-six acres, comprising the Newtown Square Hotel property.

            John Allen’s will, dated the 6th day of second month, 1720, after he had bequeathed to different persons various sums and articles, says:  “7th.  I give and bequeath all the remainder of my real and personal estate to my well beloved wife, Alice Allan.  Lastly, I do nominate and appoint my wife and John Williamson to see this, my last will and testament, fulfilled and performed.”

            Alice Allan, the widow of John Allan, afterwards married Edward Woodward, and the said E. Woodward and Alice, his wife on the 25th day of 9th month, 1733, conveyed by deed of trust to John Williamson the above mentioned tract of ground.  John Williamson afterwards re-conveyed the property to E. Woodward and Alice, his wife.

            By the will of E. Woodward, whose death occurred in 1754, the property then consisting of about 200 acres, passed to his son, George Woodward.

            George Woodward’s will, dated the 13th day of 12 mo., 1756, devised the above mentioned real estate to his sister, Jane Woodward.

            Jane Woodward afterwards became the wife of Nathaniel Newlin.

            After the death of Nathaniel Newlin, this widow, Jane Newlin, conveyed to Robert Mendenhall, blacksmith, on the 12th day of 3rd mo., 1783, the following described tract of 36 acres, which comprises the Newtown Square Hotel property.

            “Beginning at an “S” at the mouth of the lane or road passing through the aforesaid plantation, where the same intersects with the road leading through Newtown to Chester, near a fork thereof, being in the line of the land late of Morgan James (now Penn Hospital property), thence by the said James land and the land now of Samuel Kelley north 25 degrees west 74.5 perches to the corner of the land late of Evan Lewis (now the Haines property), thence by the same south 54 degrees, west 76 perches to a post, thence by the said Jane Newlin’s other land south 25 degrees, each 86 perches to a stone by the first above mentioned road, thence by said road north 45 degrees, east 73 perches to the place of beginning, containing 36 acres,” and was the northeast corner of the before mentioned 200 acres.

            At that time, 1783, what is now the West Chester road, had not been opened west of Newtown Street or what is now known as Paoli road.  After purchasing the said property Robert Mendenhall commenced to improve and build for himself a dwelling which is still standing and is the east end of what is now the hotel building.  He also built a smith shop and other shops on Newtown Street, along by where the store and other buildings now stand.  He continued to own the property till the lst day of 3d mo., 1796, when he conveyed it by deed to William Beaumont, who soon afterwards built to the west end of the dwelling which Robert Mendenhall had elected and prepared to open a hotel.  He continued in ownership of the property until his death, which occurred in 1810, and by his last will and testament, he devised it to his son, Davis Beaumont, who by deed dated August 2, 1869, conveyed it to William T. Davis, who is the present owner.

            The first license for a public house at that place was granted to William Beaumont, and since that time the different landlords have been Davis Beaumont, James D. McClellan, John Paschall, Joseph Hizer, William T. Davis and Edward Sumeril, who is the present landlord.

A historic loss 

A. Richard Paul, 77, a long time Marple Twp. resident died on December 29, of covid. For the last 30 years Rich has been involved in Delco History. Starting with the 1696 Thomas Massey house in Marple where he served as Vice President and Property Manager and then as President and Treasurer of the Delaware County Historical Society. He has been the Chairman of the Delaware County Heritage Commission for the past 18 years. As chairman, Rich was involved with every historic group in Delco, with planning, promoting, etc. with every idea, program and event in Delco. He was the unofficial historian of Marple Twp. and if he did not know the answer to a historic question he knew who to call. Currently, Rich was helping me with several of my history projects that included Marple. He worked with so many historic groups on so many projects, I do not know where to start. He was always there to help me and anyone else in Delco with a history question or problem. He will be greatly missed.

His family respectfully requests that anyone who wishes to express their condolences at this time, do so by sending a donation to the 1696 Thomas Massey House at 

Thomas Massey House, P.O. Box 18, Broomall, PA 19008


Sunday, January 3, 2021

A forgotten Delco Hero



A print of George W. Roosevelt as a diplomat about 1885. He was a third cousin of Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt.






Note: George W. Roosevelt was one of the very few men to be nominated for the Medal of Honor twice. A of Chester, after the war he served overseas as a diplomat for some 30 years. He has long been forgotten as a true Delco hero.



George Roosevelt received his Medal of Honor in the mail in Brussels, Belgium where he worked as a diplomat. He received it in the late summer of 1887. There was no big ceremony, etc. Roosevelt had waited almost 25 years for the honor.
George Washington Roosevelt  was born in Chester in 1843. He was the son of Solomon Roosevelt and his wife Elizabeth Morris. His parents ran a small store on Market St. in Chester. Following the outbreak of the American Civil War, Roosevelt enlisted as a corporal in Company K of the 26th Regiment of the Penna. Infantry on May 1, 1861. Roosevelt was just 17 years old. He was promoted to sergeant on September 1, 1862.
His Citation for the Medal of Honor is quite brief, see below

For extraordinary heroism while serving with Company K, 26th Pennsylvania Infantry. At Bull Run, Virginia, on 30 August 1862, First Sergeant Roosevelt recaptured the colors, which had been seized by the enemy. At Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on 2 July 1863, he captured a Confederate Color Bearer and color, during this heroic effort he was severely wounded.
Note: wounded was an understatement, Roosevelt lost his leg at Gettysburg.  
He was honorably discharged from the Army at Philadelphia on March 14, 1864. In recognition of his war service, Roosevelt received a brevet promotion to captain. Although he was one of the few men in American history to be nominated twice for the Medal of Honor, Roosevelt rarely mentioned he had been nominated twice. When contacted by an author writing a book on Medal of Honor winners, Roosevelt only mentioned the Battle of Bull Run as his only nomination, See below                                            
                                                                                                          75 Boulevard de Waterloo                                                                                                                                  Brussels, Belgium                                                                                                                                              January 9, 1894                             
                                                                                                           
My dear Sir and Comrade:
   I have pleasure in acknowledging receipt of your favor of December 23, 1893, and in filling out the blank
as requested.  I may mention that at the time of action (Bull Run)j which won for me my medal. I was only 19 years of age, having enlisted at the early age of seventeen. I inclose herewith a photograph taken two years ago.  Please tell me the cost of your book when it is finished.
                                                                                                          Very sincerely yours,
                                                                                                         Geo. W. Roosevelt
                                                                                                         U.S. Consul"
The author was stunned when he found out the truth, that Roosevelt had been nominated twice and had lost a leg at Gettysburg.
                                                                                        
 Following the war, Roosevelt had a 30-year career as a diplomat with the U.S. Department of State. He began serving in 1877 and never returned to the U.S. His final posting was as the U.S. Consul General in Brussels in 1906.
Captain Roosevelt died in Brussels in 1907 at the age of 63. He is buried  in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington D.C.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

How old is your church? Every church is different on how old they think their church is


The Prospect Park Methodist Church at 8th and Lincoln Aves. about 1948 before it was remodeled. In 1979 the church celebrated it's 100 anniversary even though the church started in 1877. I made the correction in the churches 125th anniversary book.


How old is your church?

Note: Every church selects their own date on how old they are. Whether it be first meetings, the church being chartered, the church's cornerstone being laid, or the churches dedication etc. Every church is different. As a historian, to me, a churches age starts when the first meeting to organize the church happened.



Some church histories can be very confusing. Most church histories tend to be very good, EXCEPT for age and that is what I want to talk about today. I'm not going to mention any churches by name. Some churches date their beginning from when members first began to meet to start the church, some churches use the date when they were chartered, and others when the church was officially dedicated. Some churches use the date when the cornerstone of the building itself was laid. The difference between the first couple meetings and the time a church is dedicated can be years. 
  When a church is chartered and recorded at the Delaware County Courthouse can be years apart. One church was chartered 3 years before the church was built while another church was never charted till some 50 years after it was erected. My church was dedicated in 1879 and the 100th anniversary was held in 1979, even though newspaper accounts clearly showed meetings to organize the church were held in the summer of 1877 and services started shortly afterward. As a historian, I always have thought when a church first starts meeting to organize, is when the the church "officially" starts, but many people do not buy into that theory. A church I was just researching is a perfect example, it started prior to 1836, bought property and built the church in 1838, BUT their anniversary date is 1840. WHY?  because that is when the church was finally dedicated. 
 Even when a church first began meeting can cause heated discussion. A church recently celebrated their 150 anniversary but county deeds show the church received the property the church was built on and still stands on 5 years before their anniversary date. 
 I was doing research on a Chester Pike church and they had everything, the first minute books, trustee books etc. all you could ever want. Well, almost everything. I was looking in the Chester Times Newspaper for something else and came across in article about the church. The church had started having meetings for over 6 months before anyone ever thought to take notes. Lastly, some churches seem to pick a date right out of the blue. I have run into several churches, whose anniversary date of it's founding matches none of the above criteria. They just picked a date. The church had been built and there were meetings but nothing special happened on that date. I finally figured out it was the year the church finally got their first full time pastor. It was just a date they picked. That simple.

The picture below I posted several weeks ago. It is a mansion in Chester looking for a location and information. Thanks Keith





Sunday, December 20, 2020

Aston's Village Green Methodist Church, Baptist Church, Grange Hall and today is now a business.

If you drive thru  "5 Points" in Village Green, Aston Twp. you see this building. If has a history of being the home of 2 churches, etc. Today the building is a business at 5130 Pennell Rd. This picture from the 1940's shows part of the church building.

 Note: Every old building has it's secrets and this building at 5130 Pennell Rd. was the home of 2 churches.  On August 18, 1860 Joseph Baker of Aston sold [X2-295] for one dollar a lot of 6,504 square feet to the trustees of the Village Green Methodist Church.  Those trustees were: Samuel Barton M.D., Stephen Hall, George Van Zant, James Baker, Simeon Cotton, Nathan Howatt, Abram Blakely, William Guthwait and Harvey Barton.  “ that they shall erect and build thereon a house of worship for the Methodist Episcopal Church”. This church was an off shoot of Mt. Hope Church over an argument among the congregation to repair Mt. Hope Church or build a new church.  Services were held here for five years, when the property and church was seized and sold [U2-516] by Sheriff Caleb Hoopes on November 13, 1866 to Richard S. Smith of Phila.  On June 1, 1869 Joseph and Olive Baker of Chester sold [X2-507] to Richard S. Smith of Phila. and Rev. William Ely of Middletown $100.00 a lot of 2,143 square feet in Aston Twp. at Pennell Rd. with buildings and improvements. The church was seized for a debt of $317.00. The deed [U2-516] states the church was a two-story stone building and on a lot 45 by a depth of 50 feet. On June 8, 1871 it was sold [C3-345] to Sallie K. Crozer for $2,000.00 by Richard Smith and William Ely of Middletown.  The property contained a “certain stone church” lot size unknown.  On January 30, 1873 Sallie Crozer sold [H3-218] for one dollar the church and lot to the “Delaware County Baptist Mission”.  For the next ten years the Crozer Theological Seminary of Upland held a mission here. More ground was added and a parsonage and wagon sheds were erected.  Village Green Grange bought the property in May of 1914. 


Below is a article, from Chester Times on August 5, 1914 when it became the "Village Green Grange"


TO DEDICATE GRANGE HALL 

 Village Green Farmers Ready to Occupy Re-modelled $12,000 Building Thursday Night

          The members of Village Green Grange will dedicate their new $12,000 hall on the Mount Alverno Road, at Village Green on Thursday evening, an elaborate program having been prepared for the special occasion.  The committee on arrangements comprises the following officers of the Grange:  Master George, D. Armstrong, Secretary L. D. Pancoast and Lecturer Florence Pancoast.

          The program that has been prepared for the occasion includes addresses by State Grange Master William T. Creasy, A. G. C. Smith county superintendent of schools, John G. MacSparron, Past State Grange Lecturer, who represented the Pennsylvania Granges in Europe last year to study the question of farmers’ credits, and Mr. Durnall, who has charge of the Swarthmore college farm.  It is also expected that large delegations will be present from Bethel, Brookhaven, Concord, Birmingham and Newtown Square Granges.

          The Village Green Grange’s new building was formerly the Village Green Baptist Church property.  The building, which is constructed of stone, was extensively remodeled at a cost of about $1,000 and the present value of the structure, which occupies a tract of ground 150 by 300 feet, with spacious shed in the rear for the accommodation of carriages and automobiles is estimated at $12,000.

          DIRECTED BY TRUSTEES – The work of remodeling the building was done under the direction of George G. Dutton, Howard Dutton and Edward E. Conn, trustees of the Grange.  The meeting room, which is on the second floor, has been handsomely equipped with Grange furniture.  A library room and a cloak room are located in the fear of the meeting room.  A spacious ante-room, two kitchens, one equipped with a range and the other containing a closet filled with plenty of dishes.  There are also two rooms in the front part of the first floor, one for children and the other to be used as a waiting room.  The main apartment on the first floor will be used as a dining room.  The main apartment on the first floor will be used as a dining room.  The trustees also propose to construct a large portico at the front of the hall.

          The Village Green Grange, which has a membership of about one hundred and fifty, is nearly ten years old.  The regular meetings are held on the first and third Thursday nights of the month.  The Delaware county Farmer’s Institute will meet in the new hall during next February.  A course of lectures will be given on that occasion by prominent Grangers.  The Village Green Grange also proposes to hold a corn show in the hall in November.  The annual excursion of the Grange will be given to Augustine Beach on Thursday of next week.  A new piano has been ordered for the new Grange Hall. 

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Fire company members and their "ornaments"

 

The above postcard from about 1910 was sent to members about an up coming election of officers for the Morton Fire Co. Many Delco Fire Cos. had problems in the early days prior to 1920.


Note: Prior to 1920 most Delco Fire Cos. equipment was pulled by hand and everyman over the age of 18 was expected to be an active member of their local fire department. At this time most twps. and boros were small in population and many men worked in Phila. Men who were in town during the day were important. It was not unusual for fire cos. to call the local school during a fire asking for junior members for help. Of course some local men considered their fire co. a mens club and were not real members, just "ornaments". I deleted the name of the fire co. in the article below.


One Fire Cos. Problem


If you want the name of being a fireman and belong to the fire co., you must be an active fireman and not an ornament, and if you want to be the latter and belong to the fire company, then it will cost you $5 a year.  This has been decided by the Fire Company, with the result that three would-be firemen or ornaments have resigned from the company.

The Fire Company has since its organization, earned the reputation of being one of the best equipped fire companies in Delaware County, besides its firemen have done yeomen work at all fires in the borough so much so that there has not been a disastrous fire in the borough for many years.  But this has been due because the firemen have already been active, with few ornaments which seemed to have developed during the past year.

Several months ago, the firemen in the company that is the active firemen, began to grumble because a certain number of men who were on the active list did not appear at drill night practice, and absented themselves on the nights when the fire equipment was to have been cleaned.  This was finally brought up in open meeting, and the result was that the president of the company, appointed a committee to investigate the delinquent members.  The result was that the committee reported back that twenty firemen were on the list who had failed to assist in cleaning fire equipment, or who had been absent from drill nights.  After this report was made another committee  was appointed by the President.  This committee also made a similar investigation and it reported back to the fire company that it would be unable to punish the delinquent members, but it did advise that the by-laws be changed so they could be associate members if they did not desire to be real firemen.  This would mean that all persons who had failed to comply with the requirements of active firemen would have to either be active or become associate members, and this would, of course, also mean to be an associate member.  It would cost $5 annually instead of $1 per year, which the active firemen pay.

The President when interviewed said that it was true that there were members in the company who were on the active list, and who had been very inactive which resulted in the real firemen of the company putting up a kick against the drones.  He said that if any of the members wanted to be ornaments, they could do so by becoming associate members and paying $5 per year, if not they must be active.  He admitted that the trouble caused three resignations and he said that the “house cleaning” was a good move and that there would be more active work done by the firemen.  He said there is always plenty of work to be done after each fire, such as cleaning up the machinery and re-charging the chemical tanks.  “Some of the firemen like to go to fires, but they do not like to clean up when they return from the fire,” said the President.

 


Sunday, December 6, 2020

Leiperville v.s. Crum Lynne the post office and town name fight!

 

A picture of Chester Pike at Fairview Rd. looking northeast. Notice the Packard Car Dealership at Hollis Ave. This picture is labeled Leiperville although the area was taken over by the Crum Lynne Post Office in 1884.


Note:The Leiperville Post Office was established in 1829 by Samuel Leiper who named the post office after his family who had mills and quarries close by. The post office closed for unknown reasons in 1872 and in 1884 a new post office opened named Crum Lynne. The name comes from "Crum" Creek and "Lynne" means lake or waterfall. Crum Lynne was the original name for Ridley Lake. The western part of Ridley Park became known as Crum Lynne because of the golf course and the newly established Crum Lynne Railroad Station a name the railroad selected. The new name Crum Lynne upset many Leiperville residents who still used the old name Leiperville. When I first became a Ridley Township Police Officer some old residents still called the town Leiperville. The article below is from 1901.


WHAT’S IN A NAME IF LEIPERVILLE WILL DO 

Shall the Ancient and Historic Nomenclature Remain?  That is the Question Now

            It is to be Leiperville or Crum Lynne is the paramount question that is agitating the residents of that portion of Delaware County lying between the Leiper Mansion and Crum Lynne Station, along the line of the Chester Pike.

            The agitation was started a few weeks ago by Howard J. Smiley, who wrote a communication to the Chester Times questioning the propriety of the name of Leiperville and suggesting that Crum Lynne the name of the post office which is located in the heart of Leiperville, be permanently substituted.

            With a view of ascertaining the sentiment of the leading citizens of the place in regard to the agitation and which name was really preferred for the historical hamlet, a reporter of this journal interviewed a number of the prominent people on the absorbing topic yesterday afternoon Supervisor James F. Dougherty – “This place was founded by the Leiper family, the members of which were among the most patriotic people in the country.  General Leiper was among the few who escorted General Washington from the field of battle, and he was the organizer of the first Philadelphia Revolutionary troops. I fail to see why there is a desire among the residents, particularly the old-time residents to have the name Leiperville dropped in favor of Crum Lynne.  For one I am opposed to the proposed change.  By all means let the name Leiperville remain.”

            School Director J. Miller Quinn – “It does not make a particle of difference to me what they call the place.  For all I care they can call it Horntown.  Let me say, however, that the firm with which I am connected has the title Crum Lynne printed on their letterheads, etc., on account of the post office being of that name.”

            Daniel McKinney, the barber –“Leiperville is good enough for me.  I was born here and the name suits me to a T.”

            Jon Springer, manager of Mrs. EM. Feeley’s grocery store – “It seems to me that the place should be called Crum Lynne, on account of the post office bearing that name.  Personally, it makes no difference to me what name is used, although if the tow names in question were put to a vote, I believe I would select Crum Lynne.”

            Others who favor the name Leiperville are:  Constable Harry Weatherby, Mrs. Ellen Feeley, Edward F. McLaughlin, Patrick Wood, Charles Firth, David Snyder, James Dolan, William Dougherty, William Connor, James Houghton, Thomas Hutchinson and Peter Stewart.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

"Gallants" and "Flappers" can't walk home "slowly" in Haverford Twp.!!

 

This is a rare picture of the Oakmont Section of Haverford Twp. from about 1915.   This is West Eagle Rd.      



NOTE; This is a funny one. I have no date on this article from the Chester Times but it is probably the mid 1920's. America was going thru a big change after WW1 as the last of the Victorian Era met the "Roaring 20's". Dancing, short shirts and that all important "walking" you date home!! No kissing in Haverford Twp.!! and please walk fast or you will be arrested!!


LOVERS’ STROLLS TABOO IN OAKMONT

 

     Lovers who stroll down shady lanes in Haverford Township after midnight and are caught at it will probably spend the rest of the night in the police station at Oakmont.                                                                                                         From now on, young men taking girls home from late dances and theatre parties should avoid taking the longest way round and should walk homeward at a brisk, businesslike pace instead of the usual slow, dreamy, strolling gait.

  Such was the advice given yesterday by Chief of Police Scanlin in issuing an order that all persons on the streets after the trolley cars stop running, shortly after midnight, must give an account of themselves to the police.

Should a young gallant be surprised in the act of kissing his little flapper by a coarse, burly policeman, he mustn’t get mad.  Not only must he answer the cop politely, but shades permit the policeman to accompany himself and the flapper to her home.

“The order is not meant only for lovers who let the hours slip past”, declared Scanlin.  “It is meant for everybody.  I figure that few people are there after the cars stop running.  The order is primarily an effort to prevent crime.  If a man halted by a policeman says he has been visiting friends and has missed the last car, he must accompany the officer back to his friends’ house and prove his words.

     Young men and girls on the streets at 1 o’clock in the morning must file an account of themselves.  If they have homes to go to they will be accompanied there by the policeman.  If they give only vague replies, they will spend the night in cells in the police station.  The cells are clean and airy.