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HISTORICAL SOCIETY of Frankford
vol. 2. No. 2.
"THE FRANKFORD GAZETTE" 1910
John Comly, a History Bird Life in Frankford -
41 49 63 67 69 70 70 71 73 78
By Nathanial Richardson
By Henry S. Borneman
Military Companies of the War of 1812
Presented by Guernsey A. Hallowell
Minutes of Meeting held Jan. 19, 1909
1 March 10, '09 arcn IQ
May 18, 1909 Nov 23, 1909 Jan. 18, 1910 Frank-ford's Share in the Development of Photography By Eleanor E. Wright
Frankford in the Forties By T. Worcester Worrell
The Frankford Lyceum
By Robert T. Corson
JOHN COMLY-A HISTORY.
By Nathanial Richardson. (Read before the Historical Society of Frankford, December 1908)
Published under the Direction of the Committee on History of the Historical Society of Frankford.
Our civilization is not the result of a single generation or a single century, but it is the product of many generations and many centuries of culture. Emerson's advice, "Hitch your wagon to a star" is no doubt good, but there is probably a choice in stars. Shall we hitch to Matthew Arnold's "power not ourselves which makes for righteousness," or to Herbert Spencer's "Infinity and Eternal Energy from which all things proceed," or Shakespeare's "Divinity that shapes our ends rough hew them how we will"? The fact is that some great compelling power is drawing us, and it was this power that John Comly acknowledged as the controlling influence of his life. He had a conscience. By way of contrast let us consider a man without a conscience. Max Lenz says of Napoleon, "Never controlled by conscience, never recognizing the supremacy of the moral law, never obedient to any authority superior to his own, at the best only acknowledging a or destiny, or star whose unmoral purpose he must execute." It would seem preposterous to say that the causes which led to the development of such a character as John Comly were as old as the pyramids, but it is safe to say that the first century, and the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were as essential to the production of such a character as the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Christianity came in the first century, and John Comly was a Christian. The Protestant Reformation occurred in the sixteenth century, and John Comly was a Protestant reformer. The Society of Friends came into existence about the middle of the seventeenth century and John Comly was a member of the Society of Friends. It is doubtful whether he would have taken the initiative in any of
JOHN COMLY—A HISTORY. these movements, but he was the product of all three. Thus we see how Christianity had its roots in a far away, dim and almost forgotten past, while its branches, its blossoms and its fruits are in the living present. Born in 1773 and dying in 1850, John Comly lived twenty-seven years in the eighteenth century and fifty years in the nineteenth century. He records his early impressions of life in a very simple way and attaches more importance to his spiritual development than anything else. Thus he speaks of an incident which occurred "in the fourth or fifth year of my age which was the occasion of bringing my mind to an acquaintance with the divine law of mercy." The incident was that of killing a small bird with a stone. He says: "I retired into the house and shed many tears. The tree of knowledge of good and evil was now clearly shown me and the divine prohibition of eating thereof in future was plainly and intelligently sounded in the ear of my soul. This divine law thus early written on the table of my heart has been of incalcuable advantage to me." He refers to it in another place as a "heaven born principle of mercy and tenderness." This precocity was much exceeded by Thomas DeQuincy who before he was two "felt the passion of grief," and soon afterward "awe the most enduring and a dawning sense of the infinite." When John Comly was ten, he says, "suitable books were not to be had. My father's library, if such it may be called, consisted of a common school Bible much worn, Edinburgh Edition; Three treatises by Wm. Penn, Robert Barclay and Joseph Pike, bought in 1771; Richard Davies' Journal; John Churchman's Journal; John Griffith's Journal; a borrowed Young Man's Companion, and some pamphlets and part of a copy of Watts' Hymns. "This small collection of books was generally kept on a shelf in the common room, in which we lived, so high from the floor that I had no access to it but by climbing on the top of a door that opened back under the library shelf. "The old small library on the shelf had so often been resorted to that I wanted something fresh and better adapted to my childish understanding. Hence at school among the children I sometimes met with such as 'Tom Thumb's Folio,' 'Goody Two Shoes,' fable or riddle books. But when any of these were borrowed and taken home to read, they were apt to be condemned by my parents as pernicious books against which the discipline of the Society of Friends advised and they were consequently sent back to their owners
JOHN COMLY—A HISTORY. without my being allowed to read them." This repressive influence exerted by his environment was the probable cause of his discarding all works of fiction, so that it would seem that he never read Shakespeare, Cooper or Scott, much less Thackeray or Dickens, and there is little doubt that he would have recoiled in horrors from Dumas and consigned 'Quo Vadis' and Gola's 'Rome' to the rubbish heap. Thus, while he had a great thirst for knowledge, he clipped the wings of fancy which might have enabled him to soar above depression. Passing over his early school days during which he records the fact that as soon as he learned to write, he copied several books on sheets of paper folded into sixteen leaves as a book, he begins his eleventh year by reading the Bible and most of the New Testament in eight weeks. While this was a great pace it was much exceeded by Thomas Carlyle, who says that he read Gibbon's Rome in six days, or at the rate of a volume a day. As an evidence that he was active physically as well as mentally, the following extract from his journal shows that he was selftaught in manual training: "From the operations of a pocket knife in carving out the imitation of spades and shovels, of axes and wagons, carts, wheelbarrows, plows, etc., these amusements extended to the construction of mills to be propelled by wind and water." It was thus that his versatile disposition qualified him to become proficient in a great variety of avocations. He now records his attempt to become a sporting man. "With moneys raised by trapping muskrats and partridges, gathering chestnuts and raising tobacco, as well as from the perquisites arising from the turning lathe, I contemplated the purchase of a gun" (a powder horn and shot bag had been procured), but conscience intervened and the idea was abandoned because "such a weapon was so often the instrument of wanton destruction, misery and death." He speaks of this experience as a temptation and feels "gratitude to the God of mercy" who had delivered him. One is reminded of the experience of John Ridd, the hero of "Lorna Doone," who when appointed to a responsible office in the neighboring church, was conscience smitten by the recollection that he had when a boy robbed that same church roof of many pounds of lead to mould into bullets for the purpose of shooting at the barn door. In 1790 he makes this record: "If I found a piece of a leaf of the Bible or Testament, I put it in my pocket, and when at plow, 43
JOHN COMLY—A HISTORY. when the horses were turning round at the end of a furrow, frequently had opportunity of taking it out and reading a verse without hindrance to my work." His journal abounds in quotations from the Savior, and he tells us that "the main object in preserving this narrative is to commemorate and exemplify the goodness of the Almighty." Total abstinence from rum, the fashionable drink of his day, and other spirituous liquors became a rule-of his life. The cruelties of slavery and the slave trade appealed powerfully to his sympathetic feelings and he abstained for a long while from the products of slave labor. On all these subjects I have mentioned and many others he discourses at great length. In 1792 he records this brief prayer: "0 Lord, thou art merciful and kind to us, Thy poor, helpless creatures. Teach us, 0 Lord, to make a right use of the blessings and favors which thou in tender compassion art pleased to bestow upon us. Lead us in the paths of humility and guide us by thy truth, that so we may answer the end of our creation and return acceptable worship and gratitude to Thee for all Thy goodness and mercies toward us." Letter writing was practiced with the view of "correcting my deficiency in relation to communicating my ideas." When he was nineteen he took Latin lessons of Samuel Jones, a Baptist minister living at Bustleton and who had about ten other students boarding at Ms house, several of whom were preparing for the ministry. He says. "I was annoyed and hindered from my lessons by some of the students introducing arguments on doctrinal subjects, such as original sin, total depravity, election and reprobation, the ordinances, etc." He wrote, "In the study of Latin and Greek I could not estimate a knowledge of those dead languages very highly, unless in what are called the learned professions." Yet he admits that the study of Latin has greatly obviated the difficulty of communicating his ideas as well as understanding the English language in the definition and use of words. "The roots and derivations of mahy English words could now be traced to the Latin and Greek and thus a more copious fund of expression was furnished." In 1794 he commenced teaching in Byberry Friends' School. "Thirty-eight children attended the first day, and before a week had elapsed the number had increased to about fifty." This for a youth of twenty was a heavy burden. Deep religious exercise was felt and "faith in the sacred truths of the Bible." In 1795 he was induced to take a weekly newspaper published 44
JOHN COMLY—A HISTORY. by Hall & Sellers, but was disappointed because, "I found that, as my thirst for a knowledge of the outworld and its affairs was indulged, my relish for Divine things and my attention to the inward world of my own mind diminished. I also observed that my newspaper reading did not afford that solid satisfaction and peace which I had heretofore learned to prize as my best treasure." Three years later the ravages of the yellow fever in Philadelphia claimed so many victims as to make a deep and lasting impression on his mind. In 1800 he made this record in his journal: "As I walked about the city the ancient philosopher's exclamation at the fair often occurred to my mind—'How many things are here which I do not want.'" The following quotation also indicates the bent of his mind: "'Tis greatly wise to talk with our past hours And ask them what report they bore to Heaven." In 1801 he went to Westtown Boarding School and remained there as a teacher for about two years. Returning to Byberry, having married Rebecca Badd, one of the teachers at Westtown, in 1803, he and his wife opened a boarding school for girls at Pleasant Hill. Pleasant Hill Boarding School continued to be a school for girls for six years, when it was changed into a school for boys, for the express purpose of preparing young men for teachers. The latter was abandoned five years later for farming, surveying, editing, religious work and the preparation of a speller, a reader and a grammar for schools. Job Scott's Journal was compiled and edited in two large volumes. Friends' Miscellany in twelve volumes. The Spelling Book, Reader and Grammar all passed through several editions and were extensively used throughout the United States, and, being non-sectarian, were freely admitted into a number of sectarian schools. He introduced the student to a great variety of subjects. The inhabitants of the earth, sea and air were minutely described, the manufacture of sugar from the cane, of linen from flax, besides many moral and religious lessons. Among the latter the following may be taken as a sample: "You should love to read the Bible or to hear other people read it. It was written by good men, and it is the best and most excellent of all books. "In the Bible we read of good men who loved God and whom He loved and blessed, such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Joseph and Moses and Samuel and David and many others. There we 45
JOHN COMLY—A HISTORY. read of the great and good things that God has done for us, and for all people; how just, and wise, and kind, and powerful He is; and what we must do to serve and to please Him. There also we read of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who never did anything that was wrong. He never did harm to any, but went about doing good to the bodies and to the souls of men. He was gentle, patient and kind to all persons, even to those who were unkind to Him, who mocked Him, and treated Him with scorn and derision. And even when cruel men were about to kill Him, and had nailed Him to a cross, He prayed for His persecutors, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'" In his religious work he traveled extensively, mostly by carriage; in one journey alone covering in this way a distance of upwards of twenty-two hundred miles. This was besides preaching many funeral sermons and constant attendance at his own meeting. The following is an extract from a sermon preached in Carpenter's Flail, Philadelphia, July 1, 1827: "A desire after happiness has been implanted in the breast of every intelligent being; and it is a desire implanted by our Heavenly Father. And when the mind is opened to see that there is such happiness, and that there is a life that may be attained to, which expires not with these animal bodies—that there is a happiness which shall be continual, and as enduring as the immortal spirit— when our eyes are opened to behold this pearl of great price, and when we are called to seek after it in proportion to the importance of the object, and the duration of the prize, then, why do we try to delay it? This is the life that we are called to hunger after; but every creature has to prepare himself for this state of happiness which shall endure forever and brighten to all eternity." As an evidence that he took an intelligent interest in agriculture, the following certificate, dated September 13, 1825, bears witness: "We, the undersigned inhabitants of Byberry and Moreland, in Philadelphia County, having seen the operations of Jereman Bailey's patent mowing machine, in this neighborhood, do certify as our opinion that it fully answers the purposes intended, both for grass and grain; the former, though lodged or bent down by the wind or rain, it cuts without difficulty and nearly as fast as when standing upright, and the latter from an experiment made on wheat, we have seen not only cut clean, but laid in swath so straight and even 46
JOHN COMLY—A HISTORY. that it might be raked and bound as readily as if cut by the best cradle or sickle. We recommend it to the attention of farmers as a valuable improvement. "John Comly and Others." In stature John Comly was of medium height, broad shouldered and stout, with a full, round face and the hair worn low on the forehead, closely resembling the familiar portrait of William Dean Howells. His disposition to be monastic was counteracted by a custom prevailing in the Society of Friends requiring ministers to earn their own living and support their families. If he had lived in the middle ages he would probably have been a monk somewhat after the order of Thomas a'Kempis and have devoted his time to writing essays and books in Latin. A dissenter from the ways of the world, he was conformist in the little matters of daily life. Like our "greatest American," he was merciless with himself, but lacking in that saving sense of humor which enabled Lincoln, as one of his biographers has said, "to put a saddle and a bridle on depression and ride it to immortality." That the restrictions he put upon himself in the choice of books he extended to others is evidenced by the following extract from the constitution of Byberry Library, said to have been written by him: "No book or books shall ever be admitted into this Library that has a manifest tendency to corrupt the morals of mankind; such as theistical or deistical publications, novels, plays, romances, or any other that in any wise contradicts or derogates the truths of the gospel, or is prejudical to the Christian religion." We must remember, however, that the Puritans and Methodists were inclined to exclude fiction from their homes and libraries a century ago. In closing this brief account, the writer begs leave to introduce a few lines from an historical poem written by him to commemorate the building of Byberry Meeting House, one hundred years ago: When this meeting house was new John Comly was a preacher, Author, editor, surveyor and teacher. In one of his books I first learned to spell, And took easy lessons in reading as well. And last, but not least, a much-dreaded grammar Struck blows on the head as bad as a hammer. Yet competent critics were able to say, That his books were the best of the kind in their day, And the book stores reported the Reader and Speller, 47
JOHN COMLY—A HISTORY. Well known to the trade as a very good seller. At a time the world never heard of rebates, They sold in all parts of the United States. And contrary to canonical rules, Were freely admitted to Catholic schools. Having spent two years at Westtown, And as a teacher won renown, He returned to Byberry and Pleasant Hill, Where the school house and dwelling are standing still, In which a school for girls in auld lang syne Became a school for boys at a later time. A commodore's son attending as a student, Swore a little more than was considered prudent. His father when informed of it in words profane and homely Called on Neptune with his trident to defend Mr. Comly. As the Indians say, it is now "many suns" Since the old commodore stood by his guns, And since the teacher inspired to preach, Endeavored by scholarly methods to reach The souls of his hearers and lead them from war And up to the beautiful "gates ajar," And still there are wars and rumors of war, And still there are battleships sailing afar, And still men will fight for lucre or pelf, Yet, "Peace hath her victories no less than war itself." The editors of John Comly's Journal close their introduction in these words: "With natural powers which might have made him conspicuous in any station, he studiously avoided popularity. Modest and retiring, he never sought to put himself forward, either in public assemblies or the social circle; choosing rather to walk in the footsteps of our holy pattern, who, when the multitude would have promoted him to worldly honor, immediately retired from the crowd and 'went into a mountain himself alone.' His death, apparently sudden, came, not unawares, but as unto one who, with oil in his vessel, his lamp trimmed and his light burning, was quietly awaiting the coming of his Lord."
BIRD LIFE IN FRANKFORD.
By Henry S. Borneman.
Published under the Direction of the Committee on History of the Historical Society of Frankford.
Since its organization the Frankford Historical Society has been engaged in reviewing the history of the men and women of this community in their social, political, religious and industrial activities. It may seem like a note discordant with the purposes of the organization to divert your minds for a little while from the doings of man and to invite your attention to life as it manifests itself in another form of creation in our midst; or, in other words, as good Izaak Walton, in his "Angler," so quaintly puts it, to "Those nimble musicians of the air, that warble forth their curious ditties with which nature has furnished them to the shame of art." My reasons for calling attention to the subject of bird-life in Frankford are two-fold. I believe, in the first place, that it is one of the proper functions of an historical society to record such matters, now passing, as will likely be of interest to the coming generation. The observations which I have made of the birds in our midst during the last ten years enable me to record facts which can no longer be observed within the same locality. During that period many of our open fields have been appropriated by the builder, who is never a nature lover, and they are now occupied by rows of houses; some of our fresh water streams have been turned into illsmelling sewers, and some that have not should be; and many noble trees have been felled, not by the woodman's ax of the poets, but by the ill-directed stroke of the grimy foreigner. And so I am glad to put into this permanent form as a record certain observations of the birds about us. In the next place, I have selected this subject in order to call public attention to it. The general impression is that there are not as many birds as there used to be and that the city, at any rate, is not the place to observe them. In large measure, this impression is 49
BIRD LIFE IN FRANKFORD. true, but there are more birds at our very doors than people commonly suppose. I would like to see an interest in this subject created among our school children, and there certainly should be an active Audubon Society in Frankford. We are within the limits of one of the great cities of the world. From this it must not be supposed that our particular portion of that great city is no longer suited to bird life. We still have some small fresh water streams on their way to a great river, on whose very banks we are. The open, level, clay flats over which the west winds blow, reaching from Bustleton Pike westward through Summerdale and Cedar Grove; the hollows in the wooded groves known as Smith's woods, Paul's woods, and Whitaker's Hollow; the mcdow-like lands along the Little Tacony Creek from the "Viaduct" southward; the tangles of underbrush covering land simply awaiting the builder's approach; the level woods of beech, oak, poplar, gum and ash at Cedar Grove and Summerdale—all these are suited to various species of birds which may always be found there. I have always felt it as a matter of pride that our locality has been praised by so eminent a poet as Whittier. In his poem entitled "Chalkley Hall," he says: "And hence this scene, in sunset glory warm— Its woods around, Its still stream winding on in light and shade, Its soft, green meadows and its upland glade, To me is holy ground." Since then, the glory of our forests has gone, but trees are still here in great variety and of beautiful growth. Our meadows are not as soft and green as they once were; but there are remnants left us. The early spring is still ushered in by the blooming hepatica, bloodroot, anemone and saxifrage. The Cedar Grove woods are covered every spring with the flowers of the true anemone; and the partridge berry, with its fragrant little white flower, grows there in profusion. In the Country Club woods there is a large space which in the spring is fairly carpeted with the beautiful green foliage and the flowery white spikes of the maianthemuni. The wild honeysuckle, the cassandra, the huckleberry, the violet, the buttercup and the daisy are still among our blooming plants. So long as these displays of nature remain in any community, no seeker will go unrewarded. And now let me call attention to some of our feathered tribe specifically. Dr. Henry Van Dyke, in his "Fisherman's Luck," says:
BIRD LIFE IN FRANKFORD. "The kingdom of ornithology is divided into two departments—the real birds and English sparrows. English sparrows are not real birds, they are little beasts." His animosty is so strong that he even calls these waifs of our streets "ungodly," a word which, as a preacher, Dr. Van Dyke would not use unless it had an apt application. The English sparrow is an inhabitant of Europe from Sweden to Italy; of Morocco, Algiers, Egypt and Persia. As we all know, the English or house sparrow was introduced from Europe, the first effort having been made in Portland, Me., in 1858. In 1869 about 1000 birds were imported by the City of Philadelphia, and let loose in our public squares. His development is best described in a poem on the English sparrow by Mary Isabella Forsythe: "So dainty in plumage and hue, A study in grey and in brown, How little, how little we knew, The pest he would prove to the town. Scarce a song-bird he fails to molest, Belligerent, meddlesome thing! Wherever he goes as guest He is sure to remain as a king." Having disposed of these little street scavengers, the slummers among birds, let us refer to some real birds in our community. Alphabetically BLACKBIRDS head the list. On March 8th, 1892, I saw one of the largest flocks of blackbirds I ever saw, flying over the flats near Cedar Grove. in fact, large flocks may be seen there for days during each spring until they mate and begin nest building, and again in the fall, when they disappear for their winter trip to the Southland. The COW-BIRD may be seen following the plough and in the presence of the cattle in our fields. This bird is a Mormon, and, as you know, deposits its eggs in the nest of another bird, very often much smaller than itself. I have often wondered how surprised a catbird, a vireo, a yellow warbler or a chipping sparrow must be as a little black cow-bird emerges from an egg in its own nest. The RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD comes into our midst early in the spring. As you hear his clear call, his "o-ka-lee," coming over the meadow, and as you see him rising from yonder fence, his feathers of coal with a flame of fire on his wing, you know that winter has ended and spring has begun. 5'
BIRD LIFE IN FRANKFORD. One of our earliest arrivals is the BLUEBIRD which seems to come alone and to hunt his mate here after his arrival. On clear days, during the fall of the year, large flocks of bluebirds, high in the air, sending forth their rich and mellow single notes, pass over the Country Club grounds. During this month of November, 1908, I have a number of times seen and heard flocks passing over the north end of Frankford flying southward. I can't refrain from quoting the beautiful description of the bluebird by John Burroughs: "When nature made the bluebird she wished to propitiate both the sky and the earth, so she gave him the color of the one on his back and the hue of the other on his breast, and ordained that his appearance in spring should denote that the strife and war between these two elements was at an end. He is the peace harbinger; in him the celestial and terrestrial strike hands and are fast friends. He means the furrow and he means the warmth; he means all the soft, wooing influences of the spring on the one hand, and the retreating footsteps of winter on the other." Sometimes taken for the bluebird is the INDIGO BUNTING. It is interesting to note that every day out of doors has its prevailing mood. One dreamy fall day it is the floating spider's webs; another windy day the cawing of the crows high in the air is the most noticeable note; another snappy raw day in Spring the hylas' peep sounds the dominant note. And so some day as you approach the brush along the fence on the hill of Dark Run Woods you hear a high alarum. You wonder where the volume and vivacity of sound comes from. Backwards and forwards dart with lightning speed two birds of metallic blue feathers and yellow bills, singing on the wing, chasing each other in merriest glee. It is the day of days for the Indigo Buntings. Everywhere you may hear and see them going through their merry frolics and gambols. Among the sedate birds with us the year round is the CROW, the "Ignoble," the "Foreboding," the "carrion" crow. The crow has always had a bad reputation. St. Ambrose, in the fourth century, said: "If truly all shamelessness and sin is dark and gloomy, and feeds on the dead like the crow, yet virtue is close to the light, shining with the mind's purity and simplicity." Spenser, in his Shepherd's Calendar, refers to "Carrion crows That in our peare-tree haunted"— Well, the crow is with us all the time and its bulky nest is
BIRD LIFE IN FRANKFORD. placed in the tops of the trees in our wooded groves. One of our pleasantest winter residents is the CHICADE. His "chicadee-de-de" in our bushes at once carries you into the very woods of Maine, where you heard his note along the banks of a sylvan trout stream last June. These birds come into our midst in flocks, and I noted one flock that numbered over 200. Another of our active and cheering winter visitants is the Junco or snow bird. Its coat is a beautiful slate color, and in flight it always reveals white lateral tail feathers. I have also seen the snow flake in a flock of chicadees and juncos feeding on the seeds above the snow. A bird much more frequently heard than seen is the CUCKOO. This bird is a great destroyer of caterpillars and, therefore, very valuable to the fruit-grower. For years a pair of cuckoos has been nesting in the neighborhood of Rehoboth M. E. Church. The cuckoo has made its impression upon man as a weather prophet, and he is, therefore, also known as the Rain-bird. I don't know how true his prognostications are, but I do know that the modern cuckoo-clock is an abomination and no credit to the bird, either to his beautiful glossy brown feathers or to his weird resonant call. The cuckoo has most beautifully impressed the poets. One of the first English lyrics preserved to us is the celebrated Cuckoo Song, dating back to about A. D. 1250: "Summer is icumen in, load sing cuckoo! Growth seed and bloweth mead and springeth the wood nu. Merry sing cuckoo, Cuckoo, Cuckoo." Wordsworth in a later day most accurately describes this bird in his lines "To a Cuckoo": "0 blithe new-corner! I have heard, I hear thee and rejoice, O Cuckoo! shall I call thee bird, Or but a wandering voice? Thrice welcome, darling of the Spring! Even yet thou art to me No bird, but an invisible thing, A voice, a mystery. 53
BIRD LIFE IN FRANKFORD. To see thee did I often rove Through woods and on the green; And thou wert still a hope, a love, Still longed for, never seen." That mocker, the familiar CAT-BIRD, still nests here. The little Chebec, with a white ring around his eye, is particularly noticeable in the fall in the thickets near our woods. During October and November of this year this least of the flycatchers was for a period of about three weeks busily engaged in ridding the trees on Dyre street of the small larvae deposited in their bark. In winter the Brown Creeper, with its slender bill, with its tail bent to the trees, gleaning for insects, creeps up and around the trees in our woods, ascending spirally, and keeping on the side of the tree opposite to the observer. The CARDINAL, or red bird, with his brilliant costume, inhabits our thickets and swamps, and his vivacious whistle is a challenge and delight to the ear. I have found the CRESTED FLYCATCHER in Peter's Quarry, at Summerdale, and at the Viaduct. This is the bird that uses cast-off snake skins for its nest. Last spring as I approached the woods at Cedar Grove I heard a loud scratching among the dry leaves on the ground. Now I knew who the scratcher was, and the rustling of the leaves was so loud that I said to myself: "Here are at least a dozen at work." As I approached cautiously I at last discovered, not a dozen, but just two Chewinks at work, busily turning over the dry leaves on the ground for worms and grub. Several white-throated sparrows were gleaning in their trail. The plumage of the Chewink is black, white and brown, and is most striking and beautiful. Its note, "chewink," is easily recognized. AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES may be observed here every month of the year. They are easily recognized by their yellow bodies and black wings; and as they pass all over Frankford in undulating flight they may easily be identified by their loud "per chic o' pee" uttered on each ascending stroke. An occasional rose-breasted grosbeak tarries here, but I have not heard from him in this locality the beautiful song which he has in store for the residents of Maine in the month of June. The wedge-shaped flight of the wild geese high in air, may be seen in proper conditions of the weather; the humming-bird visits 54
BIRD LIFE IN FRANKFORD. the undeserving four o'clocks in our back yards; an occasional great blue heron wends his lumbering flight over our streams; different varieties of hawks, ascending on spiral wing, sail away over the highest tree-tops; and I have heard the whisted "chickee" of a hawk flying directly over the trees of the Frankford Presbyterian Church; the belted kingfisher sounds his rattle, both summer and winter, as he follows the ways of our watercourses, and occasionally dives into the water for the little minnows. For several years I found evidences of the blue jay without actually having seen him; but one morning in the spring of 1908, just as I was entering the north end of the Country Club woods, I heard the scream of a blue jay in the south end. His screams became louder and louder, as he came closer and closer. I was in the very path of his flight, and presently he perched for a moment in the tall, leafless oak, almost overhead, gave several piercing shrieks, and passed on his way to the northwest. The Federal Court for the District of California has decided that the blue jay is an outlaw, indeed. By solemn adjudication that Court declared that blue jays are well-known pests and unfit for human food, and, therefore, not within the province of the police power of the State. Oliver Wendell Holmes' "Autocrat of the Breakfast Table" says: "If you ever saw a crow with kingbird after him, you will get an image of a dull speaker and a lively listener." Now I won't offer any comment upon the talkers or listeners we have in Frankford, but 1 know that the kingbird still pursues the crow in our midst in as lively a fashion as he ever did, and he most gracefully pursues bees and insects as he snaps his bill and displays a conspicuous white terminal band on his tail. Among the surprises which nature has in store for the nature lover is the ability of the smallest birds to stand the seventies of winter. One very cold winter's day, in the sleet-covered trees near Dark Run Woods, the golden-crowned kinglet, a little bird about four inches long, was busily engaged in scouring the trees for such insects, lice, etc., as he might find in the bark not covered with ice. The little winter wren, with tail erect, may always be found in the railroad cut at Cedar Grove, and ice and snow only seem to make him the happier. The chimneys of our old houses and abandoned mills are still the homes of the chimney swifts, which, the whole summer long, are Constantly twittering over our fields; and the graceful flight of the 55
BIRD LIFE IN FRANKFORD. swallow may at any time be seen just beyond the house lines. One morning in the hollow field west of Dark Run Woods, I almost stumbled upon a night hawk. True to his habits, he allowed me to approach, and seemed to feign an inability to fly as if his wing were broken. I' got so close to him that I actually reached forth my hand to touch him and I suppose the only reason the charm was broken was the fact that I had none of the proverbial salt to put on his tail. This bird is very common in our city and may be seen any summer evening flying to and fro over the tall buildings in the neighborhood of the City Hall, uttering a loud, shrill cry. It is said that they breed on the flat-roofed houses in the very heart of the city. Before the Pratt street sewer was constructed and while Little Tacony Creek was still pursuing its natural water courses, I was for several years interested in a night heron, whose habit it was to fly westward along the stream in the shadow of the evening hour. From the rear of my house on Dyre street, when twilight approached, I often waited for and saw this bird on the wing, with its legs stretching backwards, with its lumbering flight, with its "squawk, squawk, squawk," impelled onward in its flight by some mysterious motive that seemed to me to have been born of the night. In my walks I have met the turtle dove, the kildeer, the rubycrowned kinglet, the mocking-bird, the orchard oriole, the crested titmouse, the nuthatch, with his "honk, honk," the demure pewee, the wood pewee, who audibly snaps his bill together with a feeling of great satisfaction when he has caught an insect; the Virginia rail, timid and shy, quickly running under cover and as you approach him, again only retreating and seeking another hiding place. The sand-pipers, of different varieties, are very busy in the shallow waters of our streams, and along their overflowed banks. In the middle of winter the northern shrike, or the butcher bird, that fierce flyer, he who impales his prey upon a thorn, may occasionally be seen. The shy and skulking thrushes never fail the observer. I have identified the olive-backed thrush, Wilson's thrush, or veery, and the wood thrush. The song of the wood thrush rings most delightfully and with a perennial freshness through our woods, and I have even heard his note as I sat reading a book in my own house. The brown thrasher comes every year. I have heard his song, which, as Brewer truly says, is "full of great beauty, * * loud, clear, emphatic, full of variety and charm.*" This bird sings 56
BIRD LIFE IN FRANKFORD. by the hour and its song may be heard at a great distance. I have found his nest very close to the ground in the vines and underbrush which cover parts of the glacial rocks deposited near the "Viaduct." The well-known, vivacious house wren annually builds his nest here, among other places, at Penn and Wakeling streets. The American sparrow hawk may be seen at all times, halfflying, half-sailing over the flat fields between Summerdale and Cedar Grove, and I suppose there is no more favorable place anywhere in which to study his habits than right there. I have seen him poise in air as if motionless, and then suddenly swoop down, with a sheer drop, upon his prey. One summer's evening I saw this hawk swoop down upon a flock of English sparrows feeding in the street on Frankford avenue, near Bridge street. He rose, carrying off in his talons one of the sparrows of the flock. Of course, the robin, one of the earliest spring arrivals, and one of the best singers of the early spring, is familiar to us all. I have never seen more robins at one time than I saw about two years ago in a plowed field in the north end of Frankford. Meadow larks are here the year round. The third of December, 1908, I saw a flock of over 25 near Cedar Grove Station, disturbed by the train. Their loud clear call, "spring o' the year," may be heard not only in the spring, but I have heard them singing on the Country Club grounds in the month of November. The Baltimore oriole sends forth his clear ringing note and considers our place worthy to suspend his hanging nest. The owl, whose place in literature is fixed, is an inhabitant of the trees of our lawns and woods. I have seen him or heard his scream on Leiper street, in the Thompson property, at Wakeling street, on Dyre street, and in Dark Run Woods. During November, 1908, one night at 11 o'clock, his screech was heard as he sat perched on the Dyre street trees. This "secret bird whom sunset wakens" has always been a bird of ill omen. Spenser, in the "Faerie Queen," has the lines: "The messenger of death, the ghastly owl, With dreary shrieks, did her bewray." And Shakespeare, in a song, says: "The scritch owl, scritching loud, Puts the wretch that lies in woe In remembrance of a shroud." You remember the splendid atmosphere which Gray in his "Elegy" 57
BIRD LIFE IN FRANKFORD. creates when he says: "And all the air a solemn stillness holds, Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower The moping owl does to the moon complain, Of such as, wand'ring near her secret bow'r, Molest her ancient, solitary reign." Keats opens his "St. Agnes' Eve" with the words: "Ah! bitter chill it was! The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold." Somehow those lines establish what might be called the atmosphere of the whole poem, and those words, though few in number, haunt the reader through all the subsequent lines. The song of the Red-eyed Vireo, by many confused with the melody of the robin, may be heard all around. In the summer they are constantly singing in the thickly leaved trees on the Hospital grounds and the Thompson property, and, of course, in Dark Run Woods. One morning I saw two Cedar Waxwings, or Cherry Birds, in the low evergreens at the gate of the Frankford Hospital. This is the bird with the bright red dots on his wings, as if painted with a delicate brush. An occasional Woodcock may be seen. Last week one was picked up in the Country Club woods by a golfer who had gone there to search for a stray ball. By reason of his coat of brilliant scarlet and his strongly contrasted wings of black, the Scarlet Tanager is one of our most attractive birds. They appear in the trees of our yards and lawns on their arrival in the spring, and may be looked for in Dark Run and Summerdale Woods throughout the summer. The female Tanager is olive green in color, and the uninformed would never suspect that so demure a wife would have such a Beau Brummel of a husband. We now come to a very numerous class of birds—the Warblers. They are small and very active, and the species are hard to differentiate one from the other, especially so when observed on the wing at long range. The lumbermen of Maine refer to birds belonging to this class as "them pesky fly-ketchers." I believe there are fiftyfive species of warblers in North America, only fifteen of which I have found in Frankford, although I have seen many more that I was unable to identify. I will refer to a few of those that I have identified. The Black-poll Warbler is interesting, especially be58
BIRD LIFE IN FRANKFORD. cause of its great power of flight in migration. Chapman records that no black-poll seems to spend his winter north of South America, and that no black-poll has a migration route less than 2500 miles in length, while those that travel to Alaska have some 7000 miles to travel to their probable winter home in Brazil. The Maryland Yellow Throat always makes his presence known by his emphatic song, described somewhat by the words "witchery, witchery, witchery," with the accent on the first syllable. Another interesting warbler is the Oven Bird. This bird is a walker, and spends most of its time on the ground in our open woods, at Cedar Grove and Dark Run. Occasionally it rises from the ground and perches on the limb of a tree, and then gives forth a vigorous song that rings throughout the woods. It seems to say, "teacher, teacher, teacher," each word being louder than the preceding. The American Redstart, with its graceful flight and fan-shaped tail, frequents Dark Run Woods. Chapman says: "With the redstart we reach the acme of the warbler activity. If a bird exists which is more constantly in motion and in a greater variety of ways, I have yet to see it. . . . With what dainty grace he spreads his tail, half opens his wings and pirouettes from limb to limb, like a village belle with coquettishly held skirts tripping the mazes of a country dance." In the tangled undergrowth along Little Tacony Creek, above Dark Run lane, the sharp and patient eye may see the Yellow Breasted Chat. The chat is the largest of the warblers, and the shyest of birds; full of suspicion and always on his guard. His habits have an individuality peculiar to him, and his song, when once recognized, will not be forgotten. Burroughs, in his "WakeRobin," gives a peculiarly apt description of the habits of this bird. The Woodpecker family is well represented by the Hairy Woodpecker, the Downy Woodpecker, the Red-headed Woodpecker and the Golden-Winged Woodpecker, or flicker. The flicker is one of our most interesting birds. During the mating season his antics are most fantastic and his vocal abilities are profusely amorous. His loud "wick-wick-wick," as if it were an open defiance, may be heard ringing through the woods or across the fields during the entire year. The Red-headed Woodpecker nests near Summerdale Woods. Apparently he and the crow are on the outs, for Upon two occasions I have seen the Red-headed Woodpecker at59
BIRD LIFE IN FRANKFORD. tacked by the crow. I can't help but refer to a fact mentioned by Plutarch in his life of Romulus. He says that while the infants, Romulus and Remus, lay under a wild figtree, nursed by a she wolf, they were watched and constantly fed by a woodpecker, and that woodpeckers were, therefore, esteemed holy to the God Mars, and in Plutarch's time the Romans still especially honored and worshipped the woodpecker. There are many species of Sparrows in our locality. They are, however, so very similar in their coloring that very often not enough opportunity is given to determine their identity. Among those which I have identified, however, are the Song-Sparrow, the FoxSparrow, the Field-Sparrow, the Chipping-Sparrow, the VesperSparrow, the Tree-Sparrow and the White-throated Sparrow. The song-sparrow is very abundant, and I am pleased to find that Audubon was "at all times very partial" to this bird. The whitethroated sparrow is known in New England as the Peabody Bird, and its whistle, while clear and penetrating, is very pleasing to the ear as this bird comes to us in the fall to escape the rigors of the northland. One of the prettiest of all birds' nests is that of the Chipping-Sparrow. It is made of horse hair and placed in some low bush. I have found his nest in shrubbery near the Country Club buildings. DAY RECORDS. As examples of what may be seen in a single walk, the following records are given: January 8.—Sparrow-hawk, Kingfisher, Song-sparrow, Winter Wren. January 17.—Flicker, Crow, Hawk, Song-sparrow, Juncos, Crested-titmouse, Sparrows, not identified. February 9.—Woodpecker, Brown Creeper. Nuthatch, Hawk. Crows, Juncos, Song-sparrow, Tree-sparrows, taking a bath in a brook. April 4.—Song-sparrow, Tree-sparrow, Flicker, Robin, Chickadee, Junco, Field-sparrow, Nuthatch, Cardinal, Blackbird, Crow, Red-wing Blackbird, Pewee, Chebec, Meadow Lark. May 11, 1908 (7.30 to 9 A. M.).-23 identified, as follows: Blackbird, Catbird, Song-sparrow, Maryland Yellow Throat, Baltimore Oriole, Downy Woodpecker, Red-eyed Vireo, Flicker, Oven bird,
BIRD LIFE IN FRANKFORD. Chestnut-sided Warbler, Peabody bird, Black and White Creeper, Thrush, Crow, Goldfinch, Meadow Lark, Chipping Sparrow, Martin, Red-wing Blackbird, Red-headed Woodpecker, Swift, Field-sparrow, Vesper Sparrow. LIST OF BIRDS IDENTIFIED, NUMBERING 86. Common Crow, Blackbird or Sparrow Song. is Vesper. Purple Grackle. is Chipping. Red-winged Blackbird. " English. Cow-bird. " Field. Bluebird. Swift, Chimney. Indigo Bunting. Snowflake. Crow. Sand-piper, Spotted. Chickadee. Solitary. Cuckoo (yellow-billed). It (black-billed). Swallow, Bank. 44 Barn. Catbird. It Martin. Brown Creeper. Titmouse, Crested. Chebec. Northern Shrike. Cardinal. Thrush, Wood. Crested Flycatcher. it Chewink. Olive-backed. cc Goldfinch. Wilson's. it Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Hermit. Brown Thrasher. Wild Geese. Hummingbird. Tanager (scarlet). Great Blue Heron. Vireo (Red Eye). it (Yellow Throated). Night Heron. Warbler, Canadian. Hawk (several not differentiated). Black Poll. Sparrow Hawk. Black Throated blue. Bluejay. Black & White Creeper. It King Bird. Ky. Kingfisher. Magnolia. Kildeer Md. Yellow throat. Golden-crowned Kinglet. Myrtle. Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Oven Bird. Turtle Dove (Mourning). Parula. Mocking Bird. Red Start. it Meadow Lark. Yellow or Salad Bird. It Nuthatch. Yellow-breasted Chat. 6i
BIRD LIFE IN FRANKFORD. Orchard Oriole. Woodcock. Baltimore Oriole. Cedar Waxwing. Wren, House. Screech Owl. Pewee. " Winter. Woodpecker, Hairy. Wood Pewee. it Robin. Downy. Virginia Rail. " Flicker. it Sparrow, White-throated. Red-headed. it Tree. I will merely refer to other forms of animal life that you may see at times in our neighborhood. An occasional rabbit hops across your path. I have often found in midwinter the nests of field mice in the undergrowth along our streams. Muskrats sometimes are alarmed by your approach. Once in a great while a chipmunk or a red squirrel lends variety, but their chances of existence here are very slim. I have found tunnels under the snow, made by mice, and have seen the weasel carry a captured mouse to his tunnels under the ground. On the 8th of June, 1902, I was very much surprised to find a monkey swinging in the tree tops of Paul's Woods. It was interesting, even though I afterwards learned that he had escaped from a circus. Lastly, snakes appear in your path often enough to keep the story of the fall of man ever before you. It need hardly be said that the writer of this paper has not pursued his observations of the bird life in our community in any scientific spirit. The observations forming the basis of this papel were made at irregular intervals, often far apart, and many times not during the hours of the day most favorable for the observation of bird life. It has been entirely a means of recreation and enjoyment. It has been a simple walk along the open road, through the aisles of the woods, over the barren, wind-swept fields, by the gently-flowing stream, with an ear open for the melody in the air, and with an eye ever upon the bird in the bush.
MILITARY COMPANIES OF THE WAR OF 1812.
Recruited from Frankford, Oxford Township and vicinity, not heretofore published by the Frankford Historical Society. Presented by Guernsey A. Hallowell. Published under the Direction of the Committee on History of the Historical Society of Frankford. ROLL OF CAPTAIN FESMYER'S COMPANY. Camp near Marcus Hook, October 15, 1814. Pay-roll of a volunteer company of riflemen called the Independent Frankford Riflemen, under the command of Captain John Fesmyer, attached to the Second Brigade, Pennsylvania Militia, in the service of the United States, commanded by Lieut. Colonel Joel B. Sutherland. Captain JOHN FESMYER First Lieutenant CHRISTIAN FESMYER Second Lieutcnant ANDREW ENYARD Sergeants NORTHROP, JEREMITH WURTZ, PETER RODGERS, SAMUEL SMITH, JACOB Corporals SHEARER, JOSEPH P. FOUL.KROD, SAMUEL RUPERT, JOHN LISTER, HENRY Privates ARVIS, JACOB LEAR, THOMAS BARNET, DAVID LEISTER, JOHN BARNET, JACOB LIST, JACOB BARRETT, ROBERT MAL.LANE, BARTHOLOMEW BAVINGTON, WILLIAM MILLER, JAMES ERIENT, DAVID NEWKIRK, GEORGE BRILL, GEORGE PEKEY SAMUEL PRICE,'LEWIS BROWN, JOSEPH 63
MILITARY COMPANIES OF THE WAR OF 1812. CARLON, JACOB E. CARSON, JACOB CARTER, JOHN COLUMN, BENJAMIN CONROD, CASPER DAVIS, HENRY DAVIS, JONATHAN DINGAST, JACOB DUFFIELD, SAMUEL ENGLE, JOSEPH ENYARD, WILLIAM EVANS, DAVID EVANS, HUGH F'ESMYER, JOHN, JR. FESMYER, PETER FLETCHER, WILLIAM FOSTER, JACOB FOSTER, SAMUEL GIBESON, JOHN GILBERT, JOSEPH GLENN, DAVID GLEN, JOSEPH GLEN, THOMAS GRUB, HENRY GRUB, JOHN GURDON, JOHN EGER, MARTIN ENGLE, JACOB LEAR, ANDREW E. LEAR, JOSEPH RIAL, GEORGE H. RICH, HENRY ROARER, DAVID (RORER?) SHEARER, JOHN SHETSLINE, SAMUEL SIMONS, JOHN SLAUGH, FREDERICK SLYHOOF, GODFREY HUNTER, DAVID LEAHY, DAVID SMITH, JOHN SMITH, WILLIAM SNYDER, JOHN SOURMAN, JONATHAN STAPLETON, ABNER STARNE, ISAAC STARNE, WILLIAM STROUS, JOSEPH TALLMAN, MATTHIAS THOMAS, FRANCIS THOMAS, SAMUEL TODD, JAMES VANDEGRIFT, LEVI VANFOSSEN, JESSE WARTENBEE, JOHN WATSON, JOHN WRIGHT, JACOB WILSON, WILLIAM YOUNG, HENRY
See Pennsylvania Archives, Second Series, Vol. XII, page 121.
ROLL OF CAPTAIN DAVID ALTEMUS' COMPANY. Pay-roll of Captain David Altemus' company of light infantry of the Second Brigade, First Division, Pennsylvania Militia, late in the service of the United States, under the command of Brigadier General Thomas Snyder. Sergeants McNELLY, JOHN HALLOWELL, JOSEPH CLAYTON, ZEPHANIAH VANHARN, SAMUEL
FOSTER, STRICLEN S. VANDEGRIFT, JOSEPH
CLARK, CALEB REED, JOHN 64
MILITARY COMPANIES OF THE WAR OF 1812.
Musician WILLIAM ADAIR Privates ALTEMUS, JONATHAN HENDERSON, JOHN JOHNSON, WAS SCUFF, SAMUEL (ACUFF?) KELLY, WILLIAM BRITTON, THOMAS LYONS, AARON W. BODINE, JAMES BEISH, GEORGE (never mustered). McNELLY, BERNARD BURK, WILLIAM MOONEY, JOHN MILLER, JOHN CUCKLE, JOHN CREWSON, JOHN J. (KREWSON?) MANN, CHARLES CREWSON, JESSE (KREWSON?) MERKLE, SOLOMON OTTERSON, JOHN CURTIS, BENJAMIN C. CREWSON, WM. (KREWSON?) O\VEN, OWEN DEPREFONTAINE, JOHN SENIN, RODEY ENGLE, CHARLES TFTOMSON, ROBERT VANDEGRIF'T, BENJAMIN EDWARDS, ROBERT (appointed sergeant major) WATTON, WILLIAM (WALTON)? WYBRANT, HUGH FARR, GEORGE FRITZ, GEORGE WALTON, BRITTON HAMILTON, JOHN WHARTENBY, JOHN HENDRICKS, JOSIAH
I certify, on honor, that the aforegoing is a true list of the men's names who were late in the service of the United States from the 11th day of September, 1814, to the 2d day of January, 1815. (Signed) JOHN FOULKROD, Late Lieutenant Commanding in service of United States. Oxford Township, Philadelphia County, February 7, 1815. JOHN THOMPSON, Colonel Commanding. See Pennsylvania Archives, Second Series, Vol. XII, page 7. ROLL OF CAPT. MICHAEL KNORR'S COMPANY. Pay-roll of Capt. Michael Knorr's Company of infantry, of Second Brigade, First Division, Pennsylvania Militia, in the service of the United States, under command of Col. John Thompson, October 17, 1814.
Captain MICHAEL KNOOR Lieutenants BROUS, NICHOLAS Ensign JOHN RIMEL, JR. 65
MILITARY COMPANIES OF THE WAR OF 1812. Sergeants BRAMIN, JOHN HILT, MOSES Corporals HENDRICKS, WILLIAM FAUNCE, JACOB WILSON, RUDOLPH P. ROGERS, CORMICK Privates DYER, CHARLES HEARSE, PETER DUNGAN, JOHN MATCHNER, JOSEPH KREWSON, JOSHUA FOY, JOHN FOLKROD, PHILIP VANHORN, GEORGE WOODROUGH, CHANCY HILL, BENJAMIN L. PHILLIPS, WILLIAM PHILPOT, THOMAS, JR. VANHORN, DERRICK KREWSON, ISAAC STILWELL, ISAAC MARKLY, CHARLES ROADS, JONATHAN COWHER, JACOB HILT, JOHN, JR. DAVIS, JACOB JENTRY, THOMAS SNYDER, BENJAMIN SCATTERGOOD, WILLIAM WHITESALL, JACOB MOORE, JAMES HEARTLY, THOMAS BROWN, CLARK LOWRY, WILLIAM ACHUFF, JOSEPH DUNGAN, WILLIAM KEYLER, JOHN McVAUGH, CHARLES DOUGHERTY, DANIEL McDONALD, WILLIAM HOOVER, THOMAS SMITH, BENJAMIN BUTCHER, JOSEPH MATHIAS, JOSEPH F. ELLIS, JAMES WHITE, JOSEPH ROBERTS, JESSE STRICKLAND, JOHN STROUSE, JACOB KREWSON, JACOB CHRISTIAN, CASPER HULINGS, THOMAS RICHARDS, JOHN ROGERS, WILLIAM PRENTICE, CALEB BOII.EAU, JEREMIAH LINGERMAN, CONRAD MOORE, HENRY RIKLE, JOHN SMITH, FREDERICK JUDGE, PATRICK BILLINGS, JOHN WELSER, GODFREY REECE, EZEKIEL PUGH, HENRY CRISPEN, MOSES ELLIS, GEORGE BOOTH, WILLIAM BOILEAU, NATHAN SIMONS, HENRY ACHUFF, JOHN BRYAN, FRANCIS STROUP, JOHN SHOWERS, PETER ROADS, JOHN STRICKLAND, ABRAHAM See Pennsylvania Archives, Second Series, Vol. XII, page 249. GAUDIN, CHARLES MURCILLIOT, PETER V.
MINUTES OF MEETING Held January 19, 1909.
The fourth annual meeting of the Historical Society of Frankford was held on Tuesday evening, January 19, in the lecture room of the Frankford Library. The president, Franklin Smedley, called the meeting to order. The minutes of the meeting held December 3 were read and approved. The Board of Directors recommended the following named persons for lection as members of the society: Daniel B. Greenwood, Mrs. Daniel R. Greenwood, Mrs. E. F. Smith, Emmett O'Neill and Miss Lizzie O'Neill, and on motion they were declared elected. The following annual report, reviewing the work of the society during the year, was read and accepted: In the year 1908 the Historical Society of Frankford held four meetings— the annual meeting of January 21 in the Free Library, and three stated meetings —on March 17, in the Free Library; on May 26, in the Friends' Meeting House, Unity and WaIn streets, and on December 3, in the Free Library. At the annual meeting three papers were read and a report regarding the proceedings of the Federation of Historical Societies in their annual meeting at Harrisburg, by Miss Eleanor Wright, who was in attendance as delegate from our society. At the meeting held on March 17 four Papers were read. At the meeting held May 26 three papers were read. The paper regarding the Frankford Artillery Company, and which Was written by Charles E. Deal, is of special interest because the writer was a witness of what he describes and remembered seeing the parade when he was a boy. At the meeting in December two papers were read. Twelve papers in all were presented and read. From these papers. much valuable information has been obtained. We have learned that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania sat for a time in Frankford, meeting in the old Academy. That four companies of volunteers went from Frankford for service in the War of 1812. The story of the finding of the treasure at Port Royal has been explained, and we have been compelled to relinquish our old belief in Captain Kidd's hidden gold. The tradition that Lafayette was a guest at the ball given by Samuel Allen, at the Allengrove Mansion and that he had danced with the fair ladies of Frankford has not Wen proven. But much has been found and preserved for the use of future generations. The library of the society has been added to by the purchase of a copy of Watson's Annals in three volumes and by the presentation of a copy of the Constitution and By-Laws of the Frankford Library, which was revised in January, 1823. This copy was printed by William Higgs, at No. 38 Main street, 1847. It, therefore, belongs to the Bibliography of Frankford. Charles H. Duffield also presented several very valuable manuscript books,
compiled from the papers of his grandfather. Various articles were during the year presented and their names and donors recorded. The society received also at its December meeting two photographs, four books, old papers and the document of the three additional companies from Frankford and vicinity for the War of 1812. The society has received from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and from the Washington County historical Society their regular publications as exchanges. The society during the year lost by death Milton E Leshor, Samuel Christian and Elizabeth B. Shallcross, members; a number have been dropped for dues arrears. The Society at present numbers 204 members. Proceeding to the election of officers and directors the following were nominated: For president, Franklin Smedley; for vice president, William W. Poulkrod; for treasurer, T. Comly Hunter, and for three directors, in place of those whose terms had expired and to serve until 1912: Robert T. Corson, Benjamin S Thorp and George S. Webster. There being no other nominations they were, upon motion and majority vote of the members, ordering the secretary to cast the ballot, declared elected. Upon the reports of committees Mr. Thomas Creighton, chairman of the Committee on Pictures, Photos and Paintings, presented the list following: Photographs by Schofield, viz.: 60. Faunces Quarry. 61. Old house—Frankford avenue above Foulkrod street, one of the first school house in Frankford. 62. The Coats' house, the first public clock was placed in circular window. 63. Dr. Deaèon's house, Frankford avenue and Sellers street, site of
Waterhouse store. 64. House, Frankford avenue below Unity street, site of Howard George's store. 65. Laying corner-stone of Mr. Cooper's church, Paul and Unity streets. 66. Kiggin's Hotel, site of car barns. 67. M,arshall Public School, Sellers street. 68. Northeast side of Sellers and Penn streets, site of new boys' school. 69. The Griscom house, Frankford avenue. 70. House occupied by Dr. Richard Allen. 71. View over Faunces' quarries, showing Solemn Wilds Mills, Church and Adams streets. 72. Lukens' Mansion, Tacony street. 73- House built by Mr. Wallet, now owned by Dr. Ross, Frankford avenue, above Foulkrod street. Bought from Schofield, viz.: 74. Dark Run Mills. 75. The Wain Mansion, Tacony street. 76. View from top of Wright's Institute, looking north. 77. Old Market House, Paul and Ruan streets, torn down In 1872. 78. Van Kirk residence on the left; Dr. Taylor's on the right, site of the Second National Bank and Stearns' store, Frankford avenue. 79. Residence of Joseph Allen, Frankford avenue and Wakeling street: built in 1801. 80. Chalklcy Hall, Wheatsheaf lane, residence of Thomas Chalkley. 81. The Large Mansion, Asylum road. Presented by Mr. Lincoln Cartledge: 82. The Lower Dublin Poor House. 83. The old ring barn, Cedar street. 85. Old Grist Mill, Holmesburg, built in 1697. Presented by Miss Bertha Wright: 84. The Ball Mansion, torn down in 1905, situate Frankford avenue and Harrison Street.
The society received from Mrs. A. W. Axe the following communication: I would state as an addition to the discussion relating to the ball given in Frankford in honor of. Lafayette during his visit that the facts: That he visited Frankford; that the bail was given; that the house is in Frankford in which tne ball was given; that it was given here on the evening of the day on which Lafayette made the visit; that he passed down the road leading to this house; all having been acknowledged as proven, it is more than probable that he did, however great his haste, so favor the gathering in his honor, as to grace it with at least a moment of his presence; all of this agreeing with the accounts which have been handed down to us. That the badges and medals preserved and distributed at the ball were gotten up by the city for general distribution, does not lessen their value as mementoes of the ball, for medals have, times since, been Issued by the city upon the occasion of the visit of distinguished persons; but never a sufficient number of medals to supply every one. But Representatives of Assemblies in honor of the guest were favored with a number of them for distribution, and the people who thus obtained them have preserved them as mementoes of the pleasantly combined affairs that enabled them to obtain them. The larger share of the evening was devoted to an address by ex-Governor Samuel W. Pennypacker, which was of exceeding interest, upon the subject of charactere unknown in history whose deeds, although not sung by poets, as fully added lustre to themselves and to our State. and people. Adjournment. A. GORTON, Secretary
MINUTES OF MEETING Held March 16, 1909.
A stated meeting of the Historical Society of Frankford was held on Tuesday evening, March 16, in the lecture room of the Free Library. The meeting was called to order by the president and the minutes of the January 19th meeting were read and approved. The president appointed the following directors: Henry S. Borneman, Esq., to the vacancy occasioned by the death of Dr. Edward A. Singer. for the remainder of the term ending 1910. Mr. Thomas Creighton to the vacancy occasioned by the death of Hon. Samuel Christian, for the remainder of the term ending 1911, and appointed the following committees for the year: On History—T. Worcester Worrell, George S. Clark, Dr. W. B. Dixon, Miss M. C. Markle, Miss Mary Wright, Dr. S. F. Hotchkins, Robert T. Corson; Biography —Guernsey A. Hallowell, Dr. B. C. Allen, Frederick P. Lovett, Henry S. Borneman, Mrs. I. M. Otter, Eleanor E. Wright; Curios, etc.—William Overington, Jr., Robert T. Corson, Earl W. Huckel, Helen S. Rowland, Adaline McMullen; Pictures, etc.—Thomas Creighton, Guernsey A. Hallowell, Lincoln Carteledge, Dr. J. T. Hammond, John M. Justice, Mary Shalleross. The meeting was addressed by Mr. Watson W. Dewees, on the subject of History and Historians, and a paper was read by Dr. D. F. Hotchkins on the Ephrata Cloisters, and an album and 35 views in and around Bustleton, photographed by William Collins, were presented to the society by Dr. Hotchkins. To Mr. Dewees for his address and to Dr. Hotchkins for his paper and pictures the president expressed the thanks of the members. Adjourned. ADELOS GORTON, Secretary.
MINUTES OF MEETING Held May 18, 1909.
The stated May meeting of the Historical Society of Frankford was held in the Friends' Meeting House, Unity and WaIn streets, on Tuesday evening, the 18th. The meeting was called to order by its president, Franklin Smedly. A good number of members and their friends were present. The minutes of the meeting of March last were read and approved. The society received two volumes of the early issues of Frank Leslie's Magazines, which were bound by William C. Sheard when he kept the book store in the old building still standing on west side of Frankford avenue, between Church and Unity streets, and with a United States flag, one of an order of ten thousand printed by Robert Patterson for Horstman & Co., Philadelphia, 1875, for sale during the Centennial year. Presented by George Patterson. Also received, a roster of the State Society of the Cincinnati of Pennsylvania, presented by Major Robinson. Professor T. Worcester Worrell brought with him a framed copy of the deed of the ground on which the Friends' Meeting House stands, and it was hung upon the walls of the building. A paper prepared by Eleanor Wright was read, entitled "Frankord's Share in the Development of Photography," describing the work of Robert Cornelius, a former fellow-townsman of Frankford, in the development of shadow pictures, and show that he, in November, 1839, took the first picture of the human face by the action of sunlight, now "photography." This was but a month after an account of Daguerre's method reached Philadelphia, before an attempt had been made by Daguerre or any others
to take the human face, and a month before Daguerre's landscape pictures reached America from Paris. An address, "My Recollections of the boys and girls, men and women, and places and events in Frankford and vicinity, since the days of Pres. James K. Polk" was given by Professor Worrell, and a poem written by him was read by him, entitled "Maryland." Upon resolution offered a vote of the thanks of the members was given to Franklin Smedley for his efficient efforts in having the high school building located in Frankford. Adjourned. A. GORTON, Secretary. * * *
Minutes of Meeting Held November 23, 1909.
The Historical Society of Frankford met on the evening of Tuesday, November 23, in the lecture room of the Free Library, Franklin Smedley presiding. The minutes of the last meeting were read and approved. A paper, "A History of the Frankford Lyceum," was read by Robert T. Corson, Eeq, and Mr. George H. Pattison gave a lantern exhibition of views of places of interest in and around Frankford, particularly those along the Main street. The meeting then adjourned. A. GORTON, Sec'y.
MINUTES OF MEETING Held January 18, 1910.
The stated annual meeting of the Historical Society of Frankford was held in the lecture room of the Free Library on Tuesday evening, January 18. The president, Franklin Smedley, made a short address expressing his appreciation of the consideration and kindness that had been shown to him, extolling the members' interest, inviting also their friends to a part in the work of the So city and to becoming members. After the reading of the minutes the election of officers and directors was announced. The following of those who were put in nomination were, upon unanimous vote, declared elected: President, Franklin Smedley; vice president, William W. Fouikrod; treasurer, T. Comly Hunter; directors, to serve until 1913, William Overington, George W. Wright, H. S. Borneman. The fifth annual report of the Society was presented, following: In the year 1909 the Society held four meetings—the annual meeting of January 19, in the Free Library, and those of March 10, in the Free Library; May 18, in the Friends' Meeting House, Unity and Wain streets. and November 23, in the Free Library. At the annual meeting, after the usual business, the time was devoted to an address by ex-Governor Samuel Pennypacker, subject, "Characters Who Are Unknown in History." At the March meeting there was an address by Watson W. Dewees, on "History and Historians,' and a paper read by Dr. D. F. Hotchkins. On "The Ephrata Cloisters." At the May meeting a paper prepared by Mies Eleanor Wright was read, the subject, "Frankford's Place in the Development of Photography," Frankford having in photographic portraiture the first place, Robert Cornelius, of Frankford, the first to make shadow pictures of the human face, and Professor Worrell gave "A Narrative of Events" and described many people who lived in Frankford and vicinity since the days of President James K. Polk. At the November meeting a paper, "A History of the Frankford LyceumT" was read by Robert T. Corson, Esq., and Mr. George H. Pattison gave a lantern exhibition. Four papers in all were read. Some of them, if not all of them, will be Included in the Society's next pamphlet publication. The Committees on Biography, History, Relics, Curios and Antiquities, Pictures, Photographs and Paintings report a fair success in gathering the material for the work in their hands. Many ancient and valuable books, magazines, papers, photographs and relics were presented to the Society, which have been, with their titles and the names of their donors, reported and recorded or filed with the minutes of the proceedings of the Society's stated meetings, particularly a case of 35 volumes, books from the estate of Richard A. Martin, by the executor, George Castor Martin, his brother. The Society acquired by purchase from the Kenworthy estate the fire horn and records of the old Excelsior Hose Company. The Society received as dona-
fions eight photographs rrom the Old Home Week Committee, two from Robert Sheppard, 12 from Lincoln Cartellege, 40 from Guernsey A. Hallowell and procured seven from John Schofield. Two hundred and thirty-seven photographs are now the property of the Society. The treasurer reports receipts of $155, of which, with formerly reported balance, amounts to $333.24; expenditures, $181.02, leaving a balance on hand of $152.22. The secretary reports the loss by death during the year of three members, and a roll at present of 204 members. During May last the Society issued pamphlet No. 1, Vol. 2, of its publications, which contained "The Bells of Frankford," "An Old-Fashion Garden of Frankford," "The Old Frankford Academy," "The Descendants and Possessions of Edward Stiles," "Main Street, Frankford, During the Thirties" and "The Proceedings of the Society, May 26 and December 3, 1908," the last year then closed. A copy of this number was mailed to every member, and any not having received it should state the fact to the Librarian. By the Directors, A. GORTON, Secretary. The president announced his appointment of the following committees: On History, T. W. Worrell, George S. Clark, Dr. W. B. Dixon, Miss M. C. Markle, Miss Mary Wright, Dr. S. F. Hotchkins, H. T. Corson; Biography, G. A. Hallowell, Dr. R. C. Allen, F. P. Lovett, Miss E. E. Wright, H. S. Borneman, Miss I. M. Otter; Curios, etc., William Overington, H. T. Corson, Miss E. W. Huckel, Miss Helen S. Rowland, Miss Adaline McMullin; Pictures, etc., T. Crighton, G. A. Hallowell, L. Cartellege, Dr. J. P. Hammond, John M. Justice, Mary Shallcross. Benjamin L. Myers, of Germantown, presented the muster roll of the 114th 72
Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, engaged in the battle of Gettysburg; Captain William S. Robinson a volume, "Records and Members of the Pennsylvania Cociety of the Cincinnati." An address by Professor Worrell and an exhibition of the Society's photographs closed the evening's proceedings. A. GORTON, Secretary.
FRANKFORD'S SHARE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF PHOTOGRAPHY.
By ELEANOR E. WRIGHT Published under the Direction of the Committee on History of the Historical Society of Frankford.
Through our late honored and respected fellow townsman, Robert Cornelius, Frankford has a place in the history of the development of sun pictures, the discovery of which by the great French scientist, Daguerre',in 1839, has revolutionized modern art. Daguerre' announced the discovery of his process at the meeting of the French Institute, held on the 19th of August, 1839. The French Government at once granted him a pension in recognition of his great invention. The granting of the pension created considerable discussion, and the French people were so skeptical concerning his claims that he was ordered to make a public demonstration of his process. Therefore, on September 17th, 1839, he took three pictures from the window of a public building in Paris, before a crowd of people assembled in the street. The time occupied by Daguerre' in producing a single picture was one hour and twenty minutes. The first description of this invention to reach America came in a letter written by Alexander I. Bache, of Philadelphia, a member of the American Philosophical Society and of the Franklin InstiThis letter was published in the United States Gazette tute. for September 25th, 1839, and also in the Journal of the Franklin Institute, Vol. 28, p. 303. After the public exhibition given by Daguerre' on September 17th, a detailed account of his methods reached Philadelphia in a private letter written by a gentleman who had witnessed it. This letter was published in Philadelphia on October 16th, 1839, one day less than a month after the public demonstration in Paris. Philadelphia claims that the first picture taken in America by this process was one made by Joseph Saxton, an attache of the United States Mint. The newspaper articles attracted his attention. 73
FRANKFORD'S SHARE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF PHOTOGRAPHY.
He procured a cigar box, with which and an ordinary burning glass he improvised a camera. A piece of polished silver ribbon used for making coins furnished the plate, and some flakes of dried iodine in a Seidlitz powder box completed his apparatus. An account of the operation states "that amid the ridicule of his friends he set the box on a window sill in the second story of the Mint and pointed it in a northeasterly direction." He followed the methods used by Daguerre' described in the newspaper articles, and after an hour's exposure, to the surprise and joy of Mr. Saxton, his attempt resulted in a perfect picture. Impressed upon the silver plate was a view of the old Philadelphia High School and of the State Arsenal. This original plate is preserved in the rooms of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. The story of Mr. Saxton's success soon become known, and Robert Cornelius, a lampmaker and metalworker; and a member of the Franklin Institute, made a tin box designed after the pattern of Daguerre'. He bought from Mr. McAllister, the optician, on Chestnut street, an opera glass lens two inches in diameter. With this instrument, in the open yard of his dwelling, now 710 Chestnut street, he took a picture of himself. The figure is not in the centre of the plate. Mr. Cornelius stated, "that being alone, he ran in front of the camera, and could not know, until the picture was taken, that he had not stood directly opposite the centre of the lens." Mr. Cornelius made use of iodine, and it required some minutes to produce the impression. The success of Mr. Cornelius was considered extraordinary, as in Europe it had been announced that Daguerre's invention could never be applied to the taking of portraits, because of the length of time necessary for an exposure. These facts can be found in the Franklin Institute Journal, Vol. X, p. 50. The exact date of Mr. Cornelius' successful effort at portraiture he was not able to recall, beyond knowing it was in the early part of November. The picture was exhibited at a meeting of the Philosophical Society, held on December 6th, 1839, and recorded in the proceedings, Vol. I, p. 155. To Mr. Cornelius, therefore, belongs the distinction of having taken the first portrait of a human face by the action of sunlight. A month later the first French daguerreotype reached America. This was purchased in Paris by Henry Seybert, of Philadelphia, and sent to the Philosophical So74
FRANKFORD'S SHARE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF PHOTOGRAPHY.
ciety and exhibited at the regular meeting, held January 3d, 1840. See Proceedings of A. P. S., Vol. I, p. 169. It is also recorded that at the same meeting a comparison was made between Daguerre"s landscape picture from Paris and Mr. Saxton's picture taken from the window of the Mint and Mr. Cornelius' portraits, and it was shown that the work of these Philadelphians was much superior to that of Daguerre'. In an exhaustive article prepared by Julius F. Sachse on "Philadelphia's Share in the Development of Photography," see Franklin Institute Journal, Vol. CXXXV, No. 4, p. 271, Mr. Sachse states, "that Daguerre', after discovering his wonderful process, did nothing to perfect his invention, and that few persons are aware that photographic portraiture is a Philadelphia invention, and that the present state of universal photography was mainly brought about by Philadelphia investigators and experimenters, fostered in their efforts by two of Philadelphia's great scientific institutions, the American Philosophical Society and the Franklin Institute." To continue the narrative, we find that before the meeting of the Philosophical Society, above mentioned, held January 3d, 1840, Dr. Paul Beck Goddard, a professor in the University of Pennsylvania, in experimenting with bromine, produced out of doors several instantaneous pictures. To Dr. Goddard belongs the honor of making possible the universal application of photography, for the use of bromine as an accellerator forms the basis of the whole photographic system of to-day. Meanwhile Mr. Cornelius was continuing his experiments in portrait making. He and Dr. Goddard were so much encouraged by their success that they opened a studio for the taking of portraits, in the second story of a building on Eighth street, above Chestnut street, at the corner of an alley now known as Jayne street. During February, 1840, an advertisement appeared in the Public Ledger, which announced that "Goddard and Cornelius were ready to take portraits, weather permitting, at the above mentioned place, and that five dollars would be charged for a sitting." All the apparatus used was made by Mr. Cornelius. The first portrait taken was one of the father of Mr. Julius F. Sachse, which is still in existence, and shows the excellent quality of the work done from the beginning by Mr. Cornelius. Mr. Cornelius soon improved his pictures by increasing the 75
FRANKFORD'S SHARE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF PHOTOGRAPHY.
size of the image. The improvement is duly noted in the proceedings of the Philosophical Society. At the meeting held March 6th, 1840, Dr. Patterson exhibited a daugerreotype of large size executed by Robert Cornelius. Pro. A. P. 5., Vol. I, p. 181. Within less than a year from the date of Cornelius' first portrait Daguerrean portraiture had ceased to be a novelty in Philadelphia. The Public Ledger for October 12th, 1840, in describing the Annual Exhibition of the Franklin Institute, states that "throughout the room there are various specimens of the Daguerreotype, chiefly miniatures." Sittings were not attempted at first in cloudy weather, but by July 1st, 1841, Mr. Cornelius had so far perfected his process that we find an advertisement in the Public Ledger of that date stating that "recent improvements are such that pictures can be made in the shade, without regard to the state of the weather." The last record relating to Mr. Cornelius as a professional daguerreotypist is an entry in the minutes of the Philosophical Society, at the meeting of April 15th, 1842, when some portraits made by an improved process were presented for examination, and it is stated "that the results obtained by Cornelius and Goddard in Philadelphia gave the science the impetus which has placed it among the indispensable arts of the day." In closing this article, it may be interesting to note the many discoveries made by Philadelphians in perfecting Daguerre's great discovery of the possibility of taking pictures by the use of sunlight. In 1841 Joseph Saxton made the first instrument for use with printers' ink. It combined a daguerreotype with an electrotype. The earliest paper negatives were made by Francis Schreiber, of this city, in 1847. In 1851 the Messrs. Langenheim invented the use of glass negatives and positives. These were used for the making of lantern slides and stereopticon views. It is interesting to know that at the great Crystal Palace Exhibition, in London, in 1851, Philadelphia daguerreotypists were awarded the medal over all competitors. In later days, also, Philadelphians have been prominent in photographic development. In 1882 William N. Jennings, a member of the Franklin Institute, took the first picture of a flash of lightning, proving that electrical discharges from the clouds were 76
FRANKFORD'S SHARE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF PHOTOGRAPHY. wavy and not zigzag in form. This discovery opened an immense field for scientific research, which afterward resulted in the discovery of the X-rays. About the same time M. Cary Lea invented the half-tone process which bears his name. In 1892 Frederick E. Ives discovered a method of color photography. For this discovery he was made a member of the French Institute, under whose patronage, fifty years earlier, Daguerre' had published the account of his discovery. All the early specimens of photographic art as it was developed in Philadelphia are preserved in the rooms of the Pennsylvania Historical Society. They form the most complete and important exhibit of the earliest development of photography to be found in the world. The facts presented in this paper are drawn from an article previously referred to, written by Julius F. Sachse, and from information obtained from Robert Cornelius, not long before his death.
FRANKFORD IN THE FORTIES
By T. WORCESTER WORRELL Published under the Direction of the Committee on History of the Historical Society of Frankford.
My RECOLLECTIONS or FRANKIORD run many years back to the time of the election of James K. Polk as President of the United States. This ribbon that I now show you was worn by my father round his hat in 18, while participating in a Democratic procession. I distinctly recall the excitement incident to the Mexican war and the Jackson Artillery, the march of the regular troops through Frankford and the general rejoicing when peace was declared. At that time there lived among us a very excellent pyrotechnist, a Mr. John Axe, called "Johnny" because he stood well in the affections of the people. He was a prominent Democrat and always celebrated a victory of his party by an exhibition of fireworks. One of his most ambitious displays was on Buckius's meadow, commemorating the bombardment of Vera Cruz, in which bombs and roman condles represented the explosion of cannon and small arms. Mr. Axe was a taxidermist also and was celebrated for excellent work. His son "Ed" succeeded him in the business and is a worthy successor. The first "Kriss Kingle" in this part of the city made his appearance on top of Mr. Axe's chimney. My father saw him and told me that he was confident that "Old Kriss" would stop at our house. Sure enough he did, and left, among other things, a child's Bible. I have it yet. I went to the Marshall School when I was a little more than four years old, and was spanked for getting into the hole made for the second tree on Sellers street, counting from Franklin. While standing gazing down into the enormous hole some boy pushed me in and then told my teacher that I had disobeyed the command not to go near the place. However, I had my revenge, for the first railroad train I ever saw was seen by me from the 78
FRANKFORD IN THE FORTIES window of her dwelling on the old State road, now Tacony street. As this was in the fall of 1846, you can calculate the age of the tree. When the first telegraph line was run through Frankford I saw the whole operation, from the planting of poles to the stringing of the single wire. This wire was exceedingly useful to our people. They used it to support the "Paddies." These were suits of clothing stuffed with straw, and, according to the custom of the times, hung in front of the residences of newlymarried couples. Duffield's dam was on the Frankford Creek, west of the town. Enough water was diverted by a race to turn the wheel of the old grist mill. The race ran under the roadbed and in front of Worrell street. The mill was situated on the Frankford Creek; its waterwheel was inside. It is the intention of Mr. John Schofield and myself to reconstruct the mill in miniature and present it to this society. It was to this mill that Lydia Darrach came during the British occupation of Philadelphia and made most of her opportunity to apprise General Washington of a contemplated attack by the British. You are all familiar with the story. Last Sunday week the Record published a cut of Rowland's Mill, built about 1850, supposing it to be the old "Swedes," above mentioned. I recollect Mr. David Chipman, an excellent musician and He kept a store next door but leader of our local orchestra. one to St. Mark's Church and sold toys and candies. He was succeeded by "Ikey" Rorer. Mr. Rorer sold ice cream—small plates, three cents; large ones, six cents—mead and sarsaparilla. The principal undertaker was a Mr. Williams, who lived on the west side of Main street, opposite Dr. Burns's residence. Mr. Slack, on the east side above the "Town Hall" lot, and Mr. Harry Schoch, located where the Wilgus pharmacy stands, were the principal tailors. The grocers have been named in papers by Mr. Sim. Rorer and Dr. Dixon. By the way, Simmons Rorer was named after a lady principally instrumental in the establishment of the Free Will Baptist Church, of Frankford. Dr. Wallace Voigt, my uncle by marriage, was, I think, the first regular dentist. I'll not forget him, for he pulled a tooth for me. He had what was at that time the most modern appli79
FRANKFORD IN THE FORTIES ances. He used forceps instead of keys (I think they were called "keys"). These last were shaped like piano tuners and when they were hooked under a tooth and turned something had to give way. The old Lyceum building, now succeeded by the Insurance building, was the only public hail. Here lectures were given, dancing taught, concerts "rendered," and here the beaux and belles danced the fashionable capers of the day. It was in this building that I took dancing lessons from Sheldon. Don't think hard of him; he did the best he could with me. The first floor of the Lyceum was occupied by surveyors and lawyers. 'Squire Shalicross had his office here, as did Major Parrish also. He was a lawyer who afterward removed to the city and served with distinction in the Civil War. On the corner of Main and Sellers streets, where the Waterhouse store is, lived the rector of Oxford Church. He was familiarly known as "Parson" Sheets. I am told that "Parson" is the proper title for the clergyman because in his person the parish acts. Mr. Sheets had a very attractive daughter, Miss Caroline. She was frequently serenaded by admirers. The public market was situated on the back part of the town lot, where the Police station is now. Sunday services were held there, and "Davy" Crockett, an earnest Christian and temperance exhorter, through his rude eloquence has been the instrumnt of leading a number to safety. The iron work of the market was furnished by the foundry of Pugh & Maybury, whose works after being used by Lehman & Miller, were sold to William Baird, who established a textile manufactory there. The place is now occupied by the stocking works of Simons. Major Pugh was a soldier, and at the outbreak of our Civil War was a mustering officer. The other market house was on the southeast corner of Main and Church streets, opposite the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Edward Dyer was a saddler. His shop was at the upper end of his residence, a long stone building that stood upon the ground now occupied by Dr. Burns. He and his brother Charles were soldiers of the war of 1812. Other soldiers that I recollect were John Rorer, the prin8o
FRANKFORD IN THE FORTIES cipal cabinetmaker; John Newcamp, William Berger, Mr. Hilt, Mr. Coon, Isaac C. Worrell, John Allen, Gardiner Fulton, Mr. Holden, Robert Huckel, Colonel Duffield and Mr. Schoch. One of my most precious recollections is of a Revolutionary soldier. He was the grandfather of Mrs. Clark, wife of Charles Clark, who lived next to Venable's store, on Orthodox street. Mr. Clark was in the express business with a Mr. Parsons. Afterward he cut and sold ice from the Wissinoming Creek under the name of the Rock Run Ice Co. I regret that I cannot recall the name of the Revolutioner. All the family are dead, and I fear the name is lost. A small stone house formerly stood where Mr. George Wright has his pharmacy. The good people of Frankford woke up one morning to find that it was occupied by a Madame Ford. The Madame was an object of interest to the community. Her demeanor was mysterious and caused a deal of gossip. It was learned, however, that she was a fortune teller. Next below the residence of Joseph Ball, Esq., the operatives of the "French Mills" lived. They worked in the above factory on Powder Mill lane. The French were most polite and cheerful. They had plenty of music and often danced and sung on Sunday, greatly to the scandal of the sedate Frankfordians. Mr. Samuel Swope, a High Constable of our borough, lived on the southeast corner of Sellers and Main streets. He kept a grocery there. The first blacking brush and shiner combined I ever saw I got from Mr. Swope for my father. Mr. Swope's house was noted for its hospitality. He was one of the charter members of the New Jerusalem Church, located on Hedge street, now the James Seddon Special School No. 9. William Berger lived in a house that stood where Miss Clara Markle lives. His son went to California during the gold excitement in 1849, and was not heard from for many years, but recently he has visited friends in this locality. Dr. Spackman, rector of St. Mark's, lived at the house of Mrs. McMullen, about where the Wingert studio now stands. Dr. Spackman was very near-sighted, and absent-minded. Sometimes he would stumble into a coal pile, at others he would step very high to get over a shadow. He afterwards
FRANKFORD IN THE FORTIES became connected with the Episcopal Hospital. On the lower corner of Main and Oxford streets there was a hotel called "The California House." It was frequented by "Little Britainers," operatives in the Pilling and the Horrocks works. These were rough and boisterous and caused a deal of trouble on Sundays and holidays. One df the prettiest riots I ever saw started there one Christmas day. I observed the affair from my grandfather's yard. I was too young to realize danger, and was quite put out when called into the house. The "Blue Bell" succeeded the California House, and was a quiet, respectable place. Henry Schoch, called "Tailor Harry" to distinguish him from other Henry Schochs before mentioned, was very small, but very spirited. He was the image of General Taylor, and generally rang the "Washy" bell for fires. It was the custom for any one to give the bell rope an occasional pull, so neighbors were pretty generally advised of a fire by the incessant tones of the bell. Mr. Louis Emery kept a grocery opposite the "Jolly Post." He was a Frenchman of large frame, very great strength and was perfectly fearless. Captain Murphy, brother of Letitia Murphy, who kept a private school opposite Dr. Allen's house, told me that when he was attacked by several Kensington rowdies and was getting a beating, a Frenchman sailed into the crowd and rescued him. The captain said this Frenchman had three or four down at once. The Frenchman, as probably you have guessed, was the Louis Emery that I spoke of. Near the junction of Main and Paul streets lived the Kinsey family. They had a tannery where the Kiukerter property is now. Judge Kinsey was of that family and went to the Friends' School on Oxford Street. The Friends' School building was razed to permit the opening of Oxford Street. It stood on the north-west corner of the property. I went there as did my father and also my grandfather, I think. Some of the teachers were Absalom Barnett, John Lewis and Henrietta Rose. Miss Rose was the last to teach in the building. The school was removed to a house on Paul Street just below Unity. Some of the boys that went to the school are here tonight.
FRANKFORD IN THE FORTIES I see Joe Tolbert and Aaron Coats. Joe helped me to carry the new blackboard from the paint shop of Holme Bros. to the old building. He also assisted to move books and supplies to the new school. Others of the boys were Gus Deal, Justus Holme, Jim Swope, Ellis Swope, Matt. Coats, Aaron Yerkes, William Kirk Williams, Harrison Shalicross. Among the girls were Mary Abbott who stood an easy first for scholarship. Once after an absence of a day I found a new girl had joined. Her name was Susan Meldom. My! but she was pretty! she had auburn hair and a pink and white complexion. I found that she was in my class of reading, and determined to stand next to her, but I was assigned to another place in class, much to my disappointment. I remember that upon that occasion I first came across the word "fatigue" and that the teacher corrected me for pronouncing it "fatty-gue." When we moved I made the acquaintance of Harry Garsed, Done Bone, Bob Burns, Joseph Harding and a number of girls among whom was Margaret Murray, one that I will not forget. One day I fell from a tree and landed on a picket fence a picket slightly penetrating my abdomen. I hung powerless to release myself. Margaret Murray being strong and tall lifted me off. I suffered for days but concealed my hurt from my parents, getting well finally without medical attention. Howard Deal and his twin brother went to the school also. Howard is dead, but his brother is now present. A cousin of the Deals, who lived at the corner of Sellers and Paul streets, a schoolmate, died, and at that time we were reading and studying one of the Bryant's poems—"The Melancholy Days Have Come." The funeral and the poem made a combination that depressed me greatly. Other girls were named Burns, Wright, Kinkerter, Sidebotham, Swan and Isabella Betancourt, the daughter of a Cuban refugee. There was school on Saturday mornings and classes were arranged according to merit. I was in the first class in spelling and in the last in arithmetic. Once a week we read from Goldsmith's Natural History and on Friday afternoons the pupils recited extracts and poems. 83
FRANKFORD IN THE FORTIES The boys were fond of playing marbles. I now exhibit real marbles. You see that they are marble, and the game took its name from the mineral. The first marbles were made by breaking the stone into small cubes. These were placed in metal boxes and fastened to water wheels. As the wheels revolved, the edges of the cubes wore off, and the stones gradually assumed a spherical shape. These marbles were used by my father and grandfather. Chinese were made from porcelain with the colors fire-baked on. Commons were simple clay. We had red allies and black allies. Red allies were made by baking commons for several days in the stove. Black allies were made of commons by enveloping them in a greased rag and lighting it, allowing it to smoulder. The heat melted the grease, which being colored by the smoke, was absorbed by the common, which became permanently black. Black allies were usually ornamented by crosses made with a file. Large commons were called "tom-trollers," and very small ones were called "peewees." The streets were very dark at night. Gas had not been introduced and coal oil not yet discovered. The principal illuminant was whale oil, of which there were two kinds, the blubber oil and the sperm. Camphene and burning fluid were used extensively, but they were exceedingly dangerous, being very inflammable and explosive. The portable lights were candles. There were two kinds of candles, tallow and wax. Tallow candles were either "moulds" or "dips," and each had its clientage. Mould candles were made by pouring melted tallow into moulds and they were regular and pleasing to the eye. Dip candles were made by dipping wicks into melted tallow, allowing them to cool and then redipping; each immersion adding a coat of tallow that made the candle thicker. This process was repeated until the candles became of the required size. These candles were tied in bunches and labeled "eights dips" (that meant eight candles to a pound), "tens dips," etc. When a pound of "eights dips" was ordered the grocer would cut eight candles from the bunch for his customer. When gas was introduced a "gasometer" or reservoir was established in Aramingo near the bank of Frankford Creek. 84
FRANKFORD IN THE FORTIES This supplied the community. An attendant, finding that gas escaped from some crevice entered the tank with a lighted candle to find the leak. You may imagine the result. An explosion followed that scared the people almost into fits. Some poet embalmed the incident in verse, and the song was popular for a long time. While attending the Marshall School, I was under the instruction of Mrs. Bird. Of the other teachers there were Mr. Gunn and Miss Cole. These names were fixed in my memory because a boy said: "A gun shot a bird and a coal cooked it. One of the principals of the boys' department was Mr. Wood. He was succeeded by Mr. Cressman, Mr. Corliss, Mr. Joseph Sickel, Mr. Charles A. Singer and Mr. \Voodin We had two bands in Frankford. The Frankford Band was a brass band and played for picnics and military displays. The other, called Reilly's Band, after its leader, consisted of a fife played by Eddy Reilly, a snare drum played by his son, and a bass drum played by a Mr. Faunce. The present Frankford Band was organized in 1850. These programs of the Frankford Choral Association witness that it gave concerts in April, 1858, for the "Benefit of the Poor," and in November of the same year, in connection with "an exhibition by the present and former pupils of the Marshall Boys' Grammar School." The Choral Association was conducted by my father, Thomas B. Worrell. I was one of the altos. Among the pupils participating were: T. Smith, Con McArran, Jacob Peters, Wm. Solly Jim McArran, J. McCormick, Billy Davis, Jo. Sweeting, Billy McCaull, Alf Broadbent, Wm. McCormick, C. Gibbs, W. VanHorn, Wm. Hilt, Charley Blaker, Billy Irwin, Wm. Crans, Theo. Smith, Jim McKinley, and Wilds, Johnson and Warhurst. Admission, 25 cents. Doors to open at a quarter before 7. Concert to commence at half-past seven. Stewart & Griscom kept a grocery in the same building that A. Hoff Gilmour occupies. The first specimens of assorted coal that I ever saw were exhibited at this store. The sizes were stone, egg, stove and chestnut. The specimens did not last long, for they were just the size the boys wanted to throw. 85
FRANKFORD IN THE FORTIES I recollect when the first passenger railway was built. It was the Frankford and Southwark, commonly called the "Fifth and Sixth." This disc I now show you is one of their tickets. It is made of hard rubber, with a hole in the centre. Riders usually bought a quantity at a small reduction and strung them on shoestrings, gravely untying the string and handing over a "button" when the conductor collected his fare. At first the cars ran in the city from the building now occupied by the Sheppard Stove Co., on Berks street, down Sixth and up Fifth. At that time Berks street was named Chatham. When the Frankford line was laid, the Reading Railroad refused to allow the cars to cross their track at Richmond, so it was necessary for passengers to alight at the Reading rails and cross on foot to get the car in waiting on the opposite side. After litigation the Fifth and Sixth obtained the right to run a continuous rail from Frankford to Chatham street. The Fifth and Sixth street line had other troubles. Just below Odd Fellows' Hall there was a heavy grade, and Mr. Womrath would not part with any of his front, so the grade was aggravated by a very sharp double curve to reach the plank road, now Kensington avenue. This was a combination that was too much for the pair of horses that drew the cars, so the company kept a third horse at the foot of the curve to assist in pulling cars up the hill to Odd Fellows' Hall. Even with that help passengers were obliged to alight and walk to the top of the hill before re-embarking. As the Post Office was next to Romaine Block, many would hurry up to post letters or get mail before the cars completed their ascent. Mr. John Deal was the Postmaster. And this reminds me that the most accomplished swordsman in the town lived just below the curve. His name was Major Mitchell Bomeisler. Next to him in skill came Major Parrish, before mentioned. The principal fire companies were the Washington, next to the Lyceum Building; the Decatur, located on Church street; the Franklin, whose. house was where Kearney Post, G. A. R., meets, and the Rescue Hook and Ladder Company. The Decatur had the contract for ringing the church bells, morning and evening. Two bells were rung for each service. The first warned you to go to church; the second announced 86
FRANKFORD IN THE FORTIES that services were about to begin. It was considered a disgrace to be late at church, so very few were to be seen on the streets after the first bell. Church began at 10.30 in the winter, and at 10 in summer. The "Washy" was instituted in 1793 and was housed on John H. Worrell's land. In 1834 Rev. Isaac C. Worrell agreed to let the company put up a building on land now occupied by No. 14, at a yearly rental of one dollar, provided that the company would vacate on three months' notice. The old house was sold to Jacob Deal & Son for $15. The building is still standing. About the year 1850 the cholera made its appearance in Frankford. Many of the people were stricken. A schoolmate named Colebaugh, living on Main street, and a man named Schwenk, on Oxford street, died about the same time. There was great distress in Frankford about that time. Nurses could not he had and domestics were scarce. Those families in which sickness existed could not get any assistance, as people were greatly afraid of the epidemic. Every precaution was taken to guard against infection. Chloride of lime was freely used, and camphor was supposed to be a preventive. My mother made small flannel bags, which when filled with camphor were suspended around the necks of my brother Edward and myself. Great care was shown in diet, and I recollect that cucumbers especially were tabooed, although my father always ate heartily of them. Some few of the citizens were courageous enough to go among the stricken families and minister to their comfort. Of these I mention Father O'Kane, the priest of St. Joachim's parish; Dr. Spackman, rector of St. Mark's, afterward of the Episcopal Hospital, and Rev. Isaac C. Worrell. These names should be written in gold upon the highest arch in our Temple of Fame. They consoled the distressed, ministered to the sick, and in many cases performed domestic services even to scrubbing the floors and placing dwellings in sanitary condition. Father O'Kane deserves special mention. There are persons now living who have seen him washing clothes in the Frankford Creek. 87
FRANKFORD IN THE FORTIES Another coadjutor in this glorious work was Mrs. Alice Ann Allen, a fearless woman, untiring in her efforts to ameliorate conditions, and faithful in the discharge of her self-imposed Christian duty. At the outbreak of the Civil War a Southern poet named Randall wrote a fiery song called "Maryland." Its words were stirring and being set to a piece of fine German college music called "Danenbaum," became very popular in the South and was adopted as a nationalsong by the Confederacy. Several Union Marylarids were written and sung in the North. Like Silas Wegg, I too "dropped into poetry" and composed a song to the same tune. Of this I recall only three stanzas. This was sung by friends but of all the little group that gathered around the piano I alone am now living. I will now recite the poem: Recall thy glorious past, thy fame, Maryland, 0 Maryland! Maintain the honor of thy name, Maryland, 0 Maryland! Defend thy sacred Flag once more, McHenry's Flag, so loved before, Stand with the Union, as before, Maryland, 0 Maryland! Our Capital, the city fair, Maryland, 0 Maryland! That trust confided to thy care, Maryland, 0 Maryland! Holds out her suppliant hands to thee, Implores thy aid, 0, can it be Thou hast forgot thy chivalry, Maryland, 0 Maryland! Thy loyal sons, they daughters true, Maryland, our Maryland. Thy star undimmed in field of blue, Maryland, our Maryland. Proclaim that thou didst choose aright, Now draw thy sword in righteous fight, And smite the dragon with thy might, Maryland, our Maryland. —T. Worcester Worrell, 1861. 88
THE BUILDING OF THE FRANKFORD LYCEUM
After its purchase by the Frankford Mutual insurance Company.
THE FRANKFORD LYCEUM
An Address Delivered Before the Frankford Historical Society by
ROBERT T. CORSON Published under the Direction of the Committee on History of the Historical Society of Frankford.
Seventy years ago Frankford was much further from Philadelphia than it is to-day. Access to the city was by stage coach, over roads very unlike the well-lighted and smooth streets of to-day. It is not easy, with the modern facilities for travel which we have, to believe that Frankford at that time was a community in itself, depending upon itself for its entertainment and instruction. Swiftly moving railroad trains and electric cars every few minutes were not dreamed of. The stage coach to Philadelphia in the morning, returning in the evening, accommodated the few who had business in the city. A trip to the city to attend the theatre or a concert was so momentous an occasion that a party was usually formed weeks ahead and a special coach engaged to take the party and return after the performance. Then theatres were not so favorably regarded as at present; to many of that day a visit to the theatre was regarded as the first step on the way to destruction, and there was some reason for such a feeling, for, while many respectable people attended the theatre, there were so many not respectable who did, that special accommodations were provided for this latter class. A bar for the sale of liquor was, up to a period within the memory of many of our own time, quite a prominent feature of the Arch and Walnut Street Theatres. No wonder that some of our staid ancestors regarded the theatre with horror! Then, too, the people of that day took life more seriously than their descendants, and instruction was more a feature of their entertainments than simply amusement. Depending so much upon itself, Frankford about this time, 29
THE FRANKFORD LYCEUM as many other small towns did, established its Lyceum, combining instruction and entertainment. The Frankford Lyceum was the outgrowth of a meeting held on the 15th of April, 1836, at the Academy, for the purpose, as expressed in the printed call for the meeting, "of forming a Philosophical Society for the acquirement and diffusion of useful knowledge." This call is not signed, but it is known that Dr. Robert Burns was especially active in the movement, and it is probable that he was the originator of the society. The opening address was delivered by Dr. Burns, and in it he expressed the objects of the society as the establishment of a literary association for the acquirement and promotion of knowledge, including a reading room, library, cabinet of minerals, philosophical apparatus, the cultivation of history and literature and that lectures be delivered on the different sciences; and in relation to the origin of the society said that previous to this there had been an effort to establish something of the kind, not, however, meeting with success, but that the lectures recently delivered in Frankford by Dr. Dennis and the course of five lectures delivered by Mr. Coad on astronomy, mineralogy and geology had been so well attended as to show the room for a scientific association in Frankford, that in a very short time fifty names of individuals willing to support such an institution were secured. The whole address is most excellent, but too long to quote here. The conclusion, in addition to the other very worthy objects of the society, suggests the establishment of a reading room for the young men of the village. At this meeting the title of "The Frankford Lyceum Association" was adopted and forty-two persons enrolled themselves as members of the new association. The officers elected were: Dr. Samuel W. Pickering, President; Isaac Whitelock and Dr. Henry Taylor, Vice Presidents; Robert Burns, Corresponding Secretary; Thomas W. Duffield, Recording Secretary; Dr. John F. Lamb, Treasurer, and Curators, Enoch Roberts, Christopher Wesener and John G. Lewis. The new society was founded upon lines similar to the Franklin Institute, the American Philosophical Society and the West Chester Cabinet of Natural Science, a very successful
THE FRANKFORD LYCEUM society, of which Dr. William Darlington was president. Some interesting correspondence between him and Dr. Burns upon the subject of the formation of the new society I have been privileged to read. In one letter to Dr. Darlington, referring to the first meeting of the society, Dr. Burns says, "there is much good feeling manifested by the people toward it, and the beginning is certainly ominous of future good. We will endeavor to disseminate useful knowledge as far as our ability will permit." The meetings were held at the Academy, at which papers were read, lectures were given and debates held. No complete list of these has been preserved, but Dr. Burns delivered two lectures on chemistry in the course of 1837 and 1838, and on November 8, 1839, the introductory lecture of the course of 1839, in which, after three years of existence as a society, he says: "Upon this occasion, it would be well to inquire while surveying the past what good has resulted through the instrumentality of our Lyceum to its members and to the community at large. In answer to which I would say that its members, as a whole, by attaching themselves to such an institution, have shown to the world that they appreciated the advancement of useful knowledge and were willing to lend their influence to its promotion; were this the only benefit resulting to the members it of itself would be ample compensation, but this is not all—it hath offered facilities to those who are inclined to communicate a portion of their knowledge for the general good, and while they impart instruction unto others they are themselves improved by the cultivation of their respective talents. In relation to the advantages accruing to the neighborhood, they are neither few nor small. Opportunity has through it been afforded to the youth of seeking refuge under its peaceful shades from the contaminating influence of those places which allure but to destroy. The time was when some apology might have been offered for spending precious time in the bar room or other places of resort of a similar kind, but now all are left without excuse in this particular, since libraries, reading rooms and lyceums have thrown open their doors in almost every village in the country and proclaim a free entrance to the thus highly favored youth. Until our
THE FRANKFORD LYCEUM Lyceum was established, where could the people go to hear a lecture upon a scientific subject on such easy terms as they can now enjoy it? I answer, nowhere. Certain it is that an occasional lecturer has come amongst us at very distant intervals with the view of making money and giving but an imperfect view of scientific subjects widely different from the recent masterly and interesting lectures which I understand have been delivered before you through the instrumentality of the judicious committee who have the superintendence of that subject, and whose arrangements have furnished a weekly lecture throughout the winter with very few disappointments. Has all this not been attended with some good? I am lead to believe every individual present would instantly answer much good has been done, erroneous views have been corrected with some and entirely new ideas have been acquired by others, and scientific subjects, which were formerly considered peculiar to a privileged few, have been made not only plain, but interesting to the community at large, and were the question put to this audience whether our infant institution shall continue, or from this hour cease to exist, methinks the word "continue" would come from every tongue, and no exertion be spared to perpetuate its advantages. If such, then, is the case, let its members continue their exertions and go steadily forward, and let every individual enroll their names in its list of members and assist thus by their influence to bring about a thorough intellectual reformation throughout this borough and its neighborhood. In conclusion, suffer me to say that the best interest of this institution shall ever be near to my heart and hold a prominent place in my affections, and my ardent desire is that it may improve with each revolving anniversary; that its members shall always be first to promote the blessings of education, and that the public may reap much improvement from every lecture delivered under its auspices, and, lastly, that every lecture may not only inspire the hearers with a love for scientific pursuits alone, but improve the heart, reform the life and raise grateful aspirations to Him who is the author of all good, the Parent of all science, the Enlightener of every mind and worthy of individual praise from all the creatures of His formation."
THE FRANKFORD LYCEUM The center of Frankford by this time was moving northward, and the old Academy, situated, as many will remember, on Paul street, above Green, on the present site of the new Rehoboth Methodist Church, was not convenient for many members of the society by reason of its location, and the building having been divided into class rooms by the church, which was then its owner, the rooms were not suitable for the Lyceum. The subject of a building of its own having been for some time under discussion, an option was secured upon the lot on Frankford avenue, above Sellers street. In 1840 the society applied to the State for a charter, and was incorporated by the Supreme Court under the title of the "Frankford Lyceum of Science for the Acquirement and Diffusion of Useful Knowledge," with authority to hold lands, the yearly income of which was not to exceed the sum of $2000. The objects of the new corporation were recited to be "the promotion of knowledge by the cultivation of literature, the sciences and history, to facilitate which they may have a reading room—cabinets from the three grand kingdoms of Nature—a library and philosophical apparatus. They may establish popular and scientific lectures and use such other measures as they may judge expedient for the furtherance of the objects of their institution." It was further provided "that the discussion of sectarian religion or anything militating against the principles of Christianity, party politics or any other highly exciting subject, whether general or local, shall be forever excluded from the meetings of the corporation hereby created and from the building or buildings belonging to the same." The by-laws provided for standing committees on finance, lectures and library, each of three members, and a committee on real estate, consisting of the chairmen of the three former committees. The dues were fixed at one dollar per annum; twenty dollars constituted a life membership. The officers at this time were Enoch Roberts, President; William Ovcrington and John Deal, Vice Presidents; Dr. John F. Lamb, Treasurer; Nathan I-lilies, Recording Secretary, and Dr. Robert Burns, Corre93
THE FRANKFORD LYCEUM sponding Secretary. Isaac Shalicross, John Briggs, Harvey Quicksall, Walter Knight, Robert Huckel, Samuel Pilling and John D. Harper, Directors. The charter having been granted, subscription books were opened for the stock of the new corporation, the par value of which was fixed at ten dollars per share, and the stock rapidly subscribed, and in this connection I may say that it was for many years a matter of local pride for every one who could to own one or more shares of Lyceum stock. Sufficient subscriptions having been received, the lot on the northwest side of Frankford avenue, 85 feet northeast of Sellers street, 50 feet in front by 252 feet in depth, was purchased from Samuel Wakeling for $800. This was not the first site selected for the new building. I find that the original intention was to purchase a lot from Margaret Benner, on the east side of Frankford avenue, below Church street, and a deposit was actually made upon the lot, but when the present site was selected this was refunded. This lot was afterward bought by Dr. Burns and the house still standing, in which he resided for so many years, erected thereon. The Lyceum Building, as commonly known, was begun at once and completed in December, 1842, at a cost of $000. It was divided into three offices on the first floor, with the large lecture or assembly room on the second floor, with the entrance by a stairway at the north side of the building. Originally the basement, which was entered from the front by a flight of steps at about the middle of the building, was fitted up for business purposes. 'fhe building in its general appearance was not much changed from its erection, in 1842, to its removal to the rear of the lot, in 1898, except that the basement entrance from the front was abandoned and replaced by the stone base and cellar windows. Among the tenants of the basement were J. B. Myers, the well-known barber; George W. Felton, John Lister, Archer & Wilson, Purnel Watson and Mr. Formosa, who, I think, was a sign painter. The first floor was divided into three offices, of which the 94
THE FRANKFORD LYCEUM front was occupied by Isaac Shallcross and his son, John Shalicross, from 1842 to 1898; the middle room by the Frankford Mutual Insurance Co., and the rear, known as the library or managers' room, by the Old Frankford Library, by the Borough Council for many years and by Robert A. Parrish, Jr., a well-known lawyer. Miss Coburn also used the library room as a school. A cabinet of minerals occupied a conspicuous place in the hallway for many years and the skin of a large rattlesnake (some say blacksnake) killed at Cedar Hill Cemetery was displayed in the hallway. The lecture room, on the second floor, was the principal assembly room in Frankford until the completion of Odd Fellows' Hall, in 1855, and even after that for many years was the popular place where a smaller room than that of the new hall was sufficient. I find that the Lyceum Lecture Room was occupied for many purposes and by many tenants, some of them being— The Oxford Zetetic Institute for meetings, Frankford Artillery Co. for balls, Frankford Library Co. annual meeting, Professor Jonathan Sanderson for exhibition, Bell Ringers for concert, Lectures on mesmerism, Baptist Church for a fair, Concert for the blind, Exhibit for a Dwarf and a Giant, Oxford Building Club, Jackson Building Club, Franklin Building Club, John Deal for a temperance lecture, Signor Blitz for a slight-of-hand exhibition, Indian concert, Bridesburg concert, Magic lantern exhibition, Cotillon party, Dancing school, Exhibition of ventriloquism, Handel Choral Society, 95
THE FRANKFORD LYCEUM Professor Wyman, Mr. McBride for preaching, Concert by the Infant Drummer, Lecture on Indians, The New Jerusalem Church, Amateur Dramatic Association, Sanford's Minstrels from the Opera House, Twelfth and Chestnut Streets. Mattson Hilt for expounding the Scriptures, By the various fire companies for balls, Edmund S. Conner, the celebrated actor, who had hosts of friends in Frankford, for dramatic recitations, Tom Thumb and troupe, Minnie Warren. The Franklin Street lot was occasionally used for the circus and menagerie, and later 'Squire Shallcross had on this lot a fine garden and numerous fruit trees, as well as several bee-hives. It is a source of regret that I have been unable to find any complete record of the work of the Lyceum as a society, for at least at the beginning of its career, I believe, it did good work in its efforts to carry out the objects of its institution. For several years after it occupied the new building lectures were regularly delivered every winter season upon subjects of a varied character. Clayton Buckman and his brother, who were professors in Clermont Academy, a very celebrated school on the Nicetown Lane, delivered some illustrated lectures. Dr. Tillyer delivered lectures on Physiology and Professor Fowler upon Phrenology, a subject which was then attracting considerable attention. There were also several lectures upon animal magnetism, but by whom delivered I have been unable to learn, and also upon the magnetic telegraph, which had been but recently discovered, and these were accompanied by some very interesting experiments showing the working of the new telegraph. Dr. Harvey delivered lectures upon Physiology. Gradually, however, interest in its work died out, and the Lyceum appears to have languished and for many years no 96
THE FRANKFORD LYCEUM meetings of the directors were held and the management of the institution left chiefly in the hands of Dr. Lamb, who was treasurer from 1835 to 1863. In 1845 the Frankford Lyceum and the Mercantile Library, by an act of the Legislature approved April 12, were exempted from taxation. About 1848 there was a strong effort made to have the borough purchase the Lyceum Building for a town hail. The Borough Council had been meeting at the Academy, on Paul street (the cellar of which had been fitted up for a jail), and at Mrs. Rice's Cross Keys Hotel, on Frankford avenue, below Ruan street, and had also maintained an office in the Lyceum Building. It was felt that the borough had arrived at a stage where some habitation of its own was needed, and the suggestion that the Lyceum Building be purchased met with favor among the residents of upper Frankford. There was, however, a very large number of the citizens of Frankford living below Church street (which was then about the business center of the town) who opposed this site as being too far up town, and after a prolonged and very heated discussion of the subject the down-town party, favoring the Whildin lot, on Frankford avenue, opposite Ruan street, where the station house, patrol house and the old station house, occupied by the U. G. I. Co., was successful, and this lot was purchased for the site of the Town Hall, which, after all the heated discussion, never materialized further than the laying of the corner-stone, which, I am told, is still buried about the center of the lot, in the line of Thomas, now Salem street. In the meantime many of the original stockholders had died and it was difficult, if not impossible, to secure a quorum of stockholders. In this emergency an appeal was made to the Legislature, and an act of Assembly was passed in 1863 authorizing any three members to call a meeting and reorganize the Lyceum. The reorganization was not, however, very effectual, and gradually the Frankford Mutual Insurance Co. acquired a large portion of the Lyceum stock. In 1866 the Legislature passed an act authorizing the managers to sell the building and grounds at public sale, in accordance with which it was 97
THE FRANKFORD LYCEUM sold to the Frankfocd Mutual Fire insurance Co. for $4500. After the purchase by the insurance company the interior of the building was remodeled and the lecture or assembly room on the second floor altered into three offices, the front room being occupied by the insurance company and the rear room by Isaac E. Shalicross, the District Surveyor, and finally, in 1898, the old building was removed to the rear of the lot and again remodeled to form a part of the present new insurance building, and the original lecture room, now much enlarged, is the popular Assembly Hall.