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Old Chester, PA: Biographical Sketches

Joseph H. Jeffries

Joseph H. Jeffries

Joseph H. Jeffries

(A biographical sketch written in June 1954 possibly by Chester F. Baker)

June 1954

Life Member of Sgt. Alfred Stevenson Post 190 American Legion, Chester, PA
Life Member Penn Lodge #709 F. and A.M. Chester, PA
Member Cemetery Superintendents Association both Philadelphia and National
Member National Geographic Society
Member National Association of Gardeners and the Philadelphia branch
Member Delaware County Field & Stream Club
Commander Stevenson Post 190 American Legion 1954-1955

Born February 5, 1894 at Burlington, North Carolina

March 20th, 1915:  Came to Chester, PA and resided at 706 Potter St.

Had restaurant on Morton Ave.

On or about September 20th, 1917:  Went into the Service

Was in Headquarters Detachment of the 304th Ammunition Train, 79th Division at Camp Meade, Maryland

November 11th, 1918:  The War ended and was discharged from the Service at Camp Lee, Virginia and got home for Christmas in North Carolina.

February 1919:  Came back to Chester and went to work for Baldwin Locomotive Co.

Spring 1921:  Went to work at Aberfoyle Manufacturing Co. and worked in Cloth production department

About. 1925:  Took over the job of Entertainment Director in the Service Department.  The duties of this job was to plan all programs for the four mills, Aberfoyle at 4th & Morton Ave, Arasapha t 10th & Walnut St., Highland Mill at 15th & Upland Ave., Townsend at west end of Chester and the Aberfoyle Country Club.  Continued in this work until December 1st, 1929 when all such activities were closed down and when hundreds of the production employees were laid off due to the depression.

Christmas of 1929:  Worked at Chester Post Office

January 1930:  Went to work at Ford Motor Co. in the Export Department.

April 1930:  Elected Superintendent of Chester Rural Cemetery Association.

April 9th, 1930:  Took over the job at Chester Rural Cemetery


American Legion

Joined Sgt. Alfred Stevenson Post 190, American Legion in August 1919 just after they had received the Charter, was a Charter member in the fall of 1919 after the Charter had been properly granted to the Post.

Has served some Committee job under every Commander from Dr. George L. Armitage who was elected to succeed Howard T. Innis in 1920 and on to 1954 under Commander Alfred V. Stiscia.

Was elected Commander of Stevenson Post on June 10th, 1954 and will be installed in office on September 9th, 1954.

During Christmas 1929 Stevenson Post conducted a show and toy party for more than 1500 children.   At that time things were very bad and we raised funds for rent, food, fuel and clothing for several families.

Stevenson Post continued the Christmas basket projects until the depression eased up in about 1935.

Was Chairman of Stevenson Post Entertainment Committee in 1922 when we conducted an Armistice Ball with over 3500 present.  Miss Chester (Anne Burke) lead the Grand March when 22 other couples were on the March.

We made a net profit of one thousand dollars on the Ball and very soon we bought our present Legion Home at 227 West 7th St. Chester.  Now we will be in that home for 32 years next November.

We went in debt for a ten thousand dollar mortgage so we had to hustle to get going.

Was given enough good furnishings from Aberfoyle Manufacturing Co. from a big Boarding House that had been closed to completely furnish our Legion Home from bulletin board on the front porch to third floor bedrooms.

Hauled the furniture and completely set up the Home before letting anyone know about it.

At the regular meeting in December 1922 was voted a Life Membership for getting the first thousand dollars and furnishings for the Home.  As far as we know that was the first Life Membership ever given in the American Legion.

In 1928 we had a campaign for funds for our Legion Home and at this time about eighteen thousand dollars was raised and the Auditorium and other improvements were made to our Post Home.  Also the mortgage was paid off at that time.

About 1929 the first Citizens Service Award was presented by our Post and in the past twenty five years there has been nineteen such awards presented.

Has worked on that Committee since it was begun.  These awards are now presented on a National scale, however, we think Stevenson Post originated this award.

Stevenson Post was the first to take entertainment to Veterans Hospitals and in 1921 we made our first trip to Marshalton, Delaware before Perry Point Hospital was completed.

Have continued this work ever since and many years ago this was organized into a Tri-State Committee of Eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.

Every week of the year there is some kind of entertainment taken to such Hospitals as Perry Point, MD, Coatesville, Valley Forge and Philadelphia Naval Hospital.

Clarence Yelton has been Chairman for Hospital entertainment and he and his family have provided fine programs for Stevenson Post for many years.


Chester Veterans Council

Was Commander of Veterans Council in 1938 when the 300th Anniversary celebration was held for the Finnish at which time the fine Monument was dedicated in Crozer Park, Chester, PA.

This dedication was held on June 29th, 1938 when thousands of people were here from the north, south, east and west.  The Finnish government issued 25 Medals, two were gold and twenty three were bronze.  One gold was presented to the President of the United States and one to the King of Sweden.  The 23 bronze medals were presented to various people that helped in the celebration.

Was presented with one of the bronze medals for activities in the celebration.  Also received fine letters from the Finnish Societies in Washington, New York and Chicago.

During 1946 and 1947 obtained two complete sets of photos of ships that had been built and named for Signers of the Declaration of Independence.  These ships were built in yards from Portland, Maine to California.  This project was made possible by the cooperation of U.S. Maritime Commission.  These photos were compiled in two large albums and one was presented to the National Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence at their annual meeting in Philadelphia and the other was presented to the Delaware County Historical Society at their fall meeting in 1947 and can be seen at the Old Courthouse.

During WW2 Stevenson Post operated Observation Post 190 A. for more than fifty thousand man hours with the help of members and many friends.

Was treasurer of the Observation Post and raised funds to supply all the needs of the Post while in operation which included a new building and all equipment and other necessities.

During WW2 worked on Victory Garden projects, put on two Victory Garden shows in Chester Armory, one held August 18th, 1944 and one held August 20th, 1943.  All the produce that was exhibited was given to Chester and Crozer Hospitals, also most of the prize money was donated to the Hospitals.

Was Chairman for Stevenson Post 30th Anniversary Meeting which was held October 13th 1949.

Was Chairman of Stevenson Post 35th Anniversary Meeting which was held October 8th, 1953.

Now Chairman on a Committee that is working on obtaining photos of all Past Commanders of Stevenson Post to be put in a large Memorial frame in our Legion Home.

Worked with a Committee of five in 1947 that was working in the name of Chester Veterans Council did the work of restoring John Morton monument and its immediate surroundings, the cost of which was about two thousand dollars.  The same committee continued on to complete a renovating job on the whole of old St. Paul’s Cemetery at 3rd & Market Streets, Chester.  This was completed on July 3rd 1947 after a total of about five thousand dollars had been spent.  The committee raised this money to do this work.

Was on Tide-O-Toys Committee in 1951 and 1952 when Stevenson Post collected, packed and shipped overseas more than fifty thousand Toys in two years.  We topped the Nation in this project.


Work on various Veterans Memorials

Erected the big gun in Soldiers Circle, Chester Rural Cemetery and also the Monument for Spanish American War Veterans, these were dedicated on May 30th, 1932.

Erected the Monument and flagpole in St. Michael’s Cemetery and it was dedicated May 30th, 1933.

Erected the big gun on Stevenson Post Memorial plot at 13th & Providence Ave., built fence and put in shrubbery.  This was dedicated on November 11th, 1933.  Anne K. Jeffries did the unveiling at this dedication.

Worked on Committee to erect and dedicate the Veterans Memorial plot in Immaculate Heart Cemetery at Linwood.  This was completed and dedicated in November 1934.

Helped the Jewish War Veterans with their Memorial plot in Brookhaven Cemetery and took part in dedication of the new plot since end of WW2.

Helped Louis Hunt in planning a Veterans Memorial plot in Haven Memorial Park where several colored Veterans have been buried.

Worked on a Committee of five, Mayor Wm. Ward, deceased, Hugh Collins, deceased, Capt. Al Quinn and Jas. S. Desmond to get the big columns that the Veterans Memorial in Crozer Park was made from.  This was erected by funds raised by Mayor Ward and that Committee.  It was completed and dedicated in November 1936.

In 1937 helped in getting the Arch that was erected in Crozer Park for the Gold Star Mothers.

About 1938 there were ten cottages given to Stevenson Post by Mr. B.J. Williams of Westinghouse.  These were dismantled by our own labor and hauled to make more buildings for Camp Sunshine.

In 1946 remodeled the front of Stevenson Post home and built the brick wall at sidewalk, this was done to have the home looking good for the boys coming home from WW2.

Remodeled around the G.A.R. monument in Soldiers Circle in Chester Rural Cemetery.  A stone wall was built and topped with flagstone platform.   This was paid for with funds left in Observation Post treasury at the time we ceased to operate the Post.

Helped to get the monument of Joseph Wilde remodeled in summer of 1949 as he was the one the Wilde Post #25 G.A.R. was named for and there was no one left to do it.

Worked on a Committee of Stevenson Post to get a WW2 Memorial for Soldiers’ Circle in Chester Rural Cemetery.  A large Naval Gun was obtained and base built and a Memorial tablet placed therein where gun was mounted.   This was dedicated July 4th, 1949 by a very large group of Gold Star Mothers and Veterans of three wars.

Was Chairman of a Committee for Delaware County Historical Society when a fund of 1500.00 was raised to buy several acres of land from the Crozer Estate to add to the lands around the Pusey House in Upland, PA (better known as the Wm. Penn House).  It is the plan of the Delaware County Historical Society to restore this property and make it a historical shrine.

Worked on a Committee for seven years to assist Crozer Hospital with the June Lawn Fetes.  This Committee is known as the Traffic and Transportation Committee.

Worked with the Salem County New Jersey Historical Society for about two years to find the original Wm. Penn map of 1699 of Chester, PA.  this was eventually found in the tons of things in their Historical Society building and was brought to Chester by their Society’s officers and presented to Delaware County Historical Society on October 29th, 1952.  It is considered about the most valuable thing owned now by Delaware County Historical Society.

Presently working on a Historical Society Committee to preserve the Morton Mortenson House.   He was the grandfather of John Morton, Signer of the Declaration of Independence.  This house was built in 1707 and is the oldest house in Pennsylvania.  Letters have been exchanged with Historical Society, The Borough of Norwood and the present land owners that will give the house and about four acres of ground to the Society.  It is hoped that someone and some way can be found to restore this most valuable landmark to be made a fine shrine.

Begun work as Co-Chairman on a Veterans Council Committee in February 1954 to get the Veterans monument, Gold Star Mothers Memorial Arch and other property in Crozer Park moved to Edgmont Ave. entrance of Chester Park.  These monuments must be moved to make way for the super highway and B&O Railroad project.   Having failed to get them moved to Chester Park we have reached an agreement recently with the City Officials of Chester and the State Highway Department whereby we have been given a more desirable location in Crozer Park to place them in and it is expected that this work will be done within the next few months.

Was on a Committee from Delaware County Historical Society that took up the matter of the Finnish monument with our City Officials when it was brought to the attention the importance of this monument as an International shrine.  A plan was worked out whereby the Finnish people were asked to come to Chester to meet City Officials and help to work out a plan for new location of the Finnish monument.  This has been done and a plan approved for same.

Presently serving on a Historical Society Committee that is concerned with the John Morton grave and its surroundings where the Redevelopment Authority will destroy all of the buildings in what is known as the Bethel Court area.  In the proposed planning to follow the City wants to make Welsh St. 20 feet wider on the St. Paul’s Cemetery side and the same on the St. Paul’s Cemetery side on 3rd St. which would bring the road and parking lot up to within 19 feet of John Morton’s grave.  It is hoped that it will be decided to widen 3rd St. on the opposite side from the Cemetery and not infringe on the burial plot of a Signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Someone has said,

 “We go this way but once, let us so mark the way that those that follow will know which way we went.”


Joseph H. Jeffries died suddenly on January 16, 1958, two days after being elected Commander of Chester Veterans' Council.





If you have any information and or pictures that you would like to contribute about individuals in Chester, please forward it to john@oldchesterpa.com

2002 John A. Bullock III.

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