My Book of Old Chester
Louis J. Warfel, loujwarfel@juno.com

A COLLECTION OF HISTORICAL FACTS AND STORIES ABOUT OLD CHESTER, PA.
AND BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF SOME OF THE PEOPLE WHO LIVED IN OR NEAR THE OLD CITY

Introduction & Dedication  |   Index
Part I  |  Part II  |  Part III  |  Part IV
(7-53)  |  (54-89)  |  (90-127)  |  (128-164)


Part II desire to break away from the Union was strong in many of the southern leaders.

To add to the problem, a serious financial panic occurred in 1857 which caused the closing of many manufacturing plants.

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A joyous celebration was held at St. Michael's Parish in 1858 when a new bell was installed in the Church tower.

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In 1859 Thomas Reaney and his partner McAfie, started the Pennsylvania Iron Works in Chester. This was the start of the shipbuilding industry for which the City became famous.

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A City directory was printed for the years 1859-1860. In that book I found the first mention of my great grand- father Patrick Bunce and his brothers. It listed;

Thomas Bunce laborer front below Franklin
Patrick Bunce corewinder front below Franklin
James Bunce laborer 2nd below Parker

Patrick Bunce, 29, was married to 20 year old Margaret Manning. Their son William, born in 1857, was two. Their second child, Ella, was born in that year of 1859.

The Bunce men worked at the Reaney and McAfie boat yard. Work was done there for the Union Army during the Civil War.

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* * *

In the City of Chester in 1859 there were 1865 white males, 1927 white females, 142 colored males, and 173 colored females. In 1870 the population was 9500 people.

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Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States, had only been in office for a few months when the Civil War began at Fort Sumter.

He issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. Later that year he delivered his immortal Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery.

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A third child, Mary, was born to Patrick and Margaret Bunce in 1863.

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In 1864 St. Michael's Parish purchased seven acres of land on Edgmont Road in North Chester Borough to be used for a cemetery. The bodies that had been buried beside the Church were moved to the new resting place.

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The War continued to rage during 1864. Nevada was admitted to the Union that year because of it's anti-slave, pro-union sentiment.

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PENNA. MILITARY COLLEGE

From 1862 until 1865 the U. S. Government maintained a hospital in Upland, Pa. At first it was used for the care of wounded Union soldiers. After the battle of Gettysburg the facility became a prison hospital for confederate prisoners. On the walls of the tower atop the building hundreds of men wrote their names and the date they were confined. Some added the name of their wife or sweetheart and the location of their home. This tower and the writing of the soldiers has been preserved for it's historical value.

The old building, now part of the Crozer Theological Seminary, was originally the Crozer Normal School. In 1865 it was acquired from the government by the Pennsylvania Military Academy.

That institution traced it's beginning to 1821 when John Bullock founded a private school for boys in Wilmington, Del. That school was purchased in 1853 by Theodore Hyatt who previously had been in charge of the parochial school of the First Presbyterian Church of Wilmington.

Hyatt effected a merger in Feb. 1859 with another boys school in the city and secured a charter for the expanded institution as the Delaware Military Academy. On April 19, 1859 Hyatt was appointed Aide-de-camp, with the rank of Colonel, on the staff of the Governor of Delaware.

At the outset of the Civil War the school was moved to larger facilities in Westchester, Pa. It was then incorporated under the name Pennsylvania Military Academy.

Still looking for the best permanent location, Col. Hyatt brought the school to Upland, Pa. in Dec. 1865. Two years later he bought a plot of land in the

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Borough of North Chester. The corner stone for a new building was laid in June 1867. The structure, later known as the "Old Main", was completed by Sept. 3, 1868.

* * * * *

The military department of the institution was patterned after West Point. In 1869 it was accorded recognition by the Federal Government and Army personnel were assigned there.

* * * *

On April 15, 1865,the Del. Co. Republican had the story about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. On the previous evening he had been shot by John Wilkes Booth while attending a performance. of the play "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D. C.

Vice President Andrew Johnson became the 17th man to hold the reigns of our government.

* * *

The Civil War was over but in it's wake the country was unsettled, confused and exhausted from the bloody struggle. Thousands of young men had been killed or wounded, many would be crippled or otherwise handicapped for the remainder of their lives.

Nevertheless, everyone was relieved that peace had once again settled over the land. Patrick Bunce, 35, and his wife Margaret, 25, had good reason to be joyful in 1865 because they had a new little daughter, Anne. On Christmas day their home at 731 W. 2nd street, Chester was filled with the merry laughter of four lively children; William, 8, Ella, 6, Mary, 2, and baby Anne.

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CITY OF CHESTER

The Borough of Chester became the City of Chester in 1866. The first Mayor elected was John Larkin. The boundaries of the City extended from the Delaware River north to about 14th street, and from Ridley Creek west to Broomall street. The Borough of South Chester ran from Broomall street west to Trainer and the Borough of North Chester was above 14th street.

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The Chester Water works was built in 1866.

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Through the years immigrants from Ireland continued to arrive in America. One such family came in 1867 and settled in Warwick, Cecil County, Maryland. Patrick O'Hara was a Surveyor. He and his wife Rose had four little girls when they came to their new home. The oldest was Annie, born in 1859, then Mary, 1861, Catherine, 1864, and Sarah, born in 1866. Rose O'Hara was 26 years old and I would guess Patrick was about 40. Pat's sister lived in nearby Middletown, Delaware. She had married into the McMahon family.

TYPEWRITER

The first practical and efficient typewriter was built in the year1868.

Men had worked on the idea of a mechanical writing device from at least as early as 1714 when Queen Anne granted a patent to Henry Mill for a writing machine which was never actually built. In America during 1829 and in France in 1833, machines were made but they were not practical. During the next 40 years several models were made but they were too slow, costly and cumbersome.

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About 1867 C. Latham Sholes, a Milwaukee printer, with financial help from James Densmore of Meadville, Pa., produced a machine which was almost completely satisfactory. It was tested by professional stenographers, improved, and by 1873 it was sufficiently perfected sold.

The firm of E. Remington and Sons of Ileon, New York took up the Sholes machine and put it on the market as the Remington Typewriter in 1874. It is known today as the Model 1 Remington Typewriter, the ancestor of all Typewriters. That model printed only capitol letters. The Model 2, which came out in 1878, printed both caps and small letters.

E. Remington & Sons of Ileon, New York also manufactured Sewing Machines and a variety of Farm implements as well as an assortment of firearms.

MOYAMENSING FIRE CO.

On April 7th, 1868, the Moyamensing Fire Co. was organized in Chester. To house their equipment the members erected a brick building on the north side of east Broad Street (9th st.) between Madison and Upland. Instead of the old style hand operated pumps, a modern horse-drawn engine was put into service. That Fire Company was not the first in Chester to have horses. That honor goes to the Hanley Hose Company who had the first Horses and the first Steam Engine.

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In 1867 the Crozer Family founded the Crozer Theological Seminary at Upland, Pa. in honor of John P. Crozer, who died in 1866.

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JOHN P. CROZIER

John Price Crozier was born Jan. 13,1793. His father James Crozer, a French Huguenot, went to Antrim, Ireland from France in 1700. From there he immigrated to America and settled in a section of Chester County which later became part of Delaware County. He married Esther Gleave. Their son, James Samuel Crozer married Sarah Price.

John Price Crozer, one of their 5 children, was born on January 13, 1793 at West Dale, Delaware County in the house where some years before the Famous Painter, Benjamin West had been born.

For the ten years from 1810 to 1820, John as a young man, John farmed the 173 acres left to him by his father. For about two years after that he traveled by horseback in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky, just to see the Country. Upon returning home he invested his inheritance of $3400.00 in used machinery and began making yarn. But his product was poor quality and he went into weaving.

In 1824 John bought a Mill-seat and Farm in Aston Township along the West Branch of the Chester Creek. He called his place West Branch but in later years the entire area was named Crozerville. In that location he became very successful. In 1825 John P. Crozer married Sally L. Knowles.

Crozer had been surrounded in his youth by strong Baptist and Quaker influences. In 1828 he built his first meetinghouse which served as a Church and a Schoolhouse for his employees.

In 1839 he borrowed the money to install power machinery in his mills and thereafter his business flourished.

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Crozer took a great interest in the people who worked for him, visiting them when they were sick. But he did not take kindly to any opposition. He had the leaders of a strike in 1842 convicted of conspiracy.

He became crippled for the rest of his life when a sleigh in which he rode overturned in 1843. During that same year flood waters swept away his Mill-Dam buildings at a loss of $50,000.00.

The flood occurred on August 5, 1843.

The Chester Times reported; Nineteen people were killed, 32 bridges were wholly or partially destroyed, and property damage in the thousands resulted after more than 16 inches of rain pelted the County in less than three hours. The extreme suddenness with which the streams were seen to rise was the most remarkable circumstance. At one point there was an almost instantaneous rise in the water from five to eight feet.

Tornadoes, cloudbursts, and thunder and lightning struck terror to the hearts of all.

Darby Creek reached a height of 17 feet, Crum Creek rose to 20, Ridley Creek to 21, and the Chester Creek crested at 33 ft. 6 in.

Crozer recovered from the flood loss in a short time. In 1845 he purchased the Flower Estate near Chester, Pa. John Pusey's mill and home was located on the 65 acres of the estate which Crozer called Upland.

John P. Crozer built a mansion on his new property and had a meetinghouse erected. In 1847 he retired from active participation in his business and turned the management of the Mills over to his son Samuel who he made a partner. Thereafter he devoted himself to his Philanthropies.

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He founded a Normal School in Upland. That was a school that offered a two year program for high school graduates who were preparing to be teachers. The Normal school building served the Government as a Hospital during the Civil War.

John P. Crozer also built the Upland Baptist Church and endowed a professorship at Bucknell College.

John P. Crozer died on March 11, 1866.

His sons Samuel and George K. Crozer carried on the business enterprises that he had developed.

His widow and children founded the Crozer Theological Seminary in his memory. They spent $195,000.00 for the addition of a Library and new buildings on the Normal School property and an endowment.

The Library itself was donated in the memory of John P. Crozer's deceased daughter Margaret Crozer Bucknell.

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MATTHIAS BALDWIN

Matthias Baldwin died in 1866. He made many important improvements to the locomotives which were used in the early days of the Railroads of the United States.

Matthias William Baldwin was born in the city of Elizabeth, N. J. on December 10, 1795. Baldwin's father was a moderately successful carriage maker who's estate was mishandled by the executors and his family therefore was left in poor circumstances.

Matthias went to good schools but he was not much interested in books but rather in mechanical things. As a child he took apart his toys to learn how they were constructed. He then used his clever imagination to build a variety of devices which he put together with neatness and skill.

At the age of 16 Matthias became a Jeweler's apprentice with Woolworth Brothers of Frankford Philadelphia County, Pa. When his training was finished he moved to Philadelphia with his mother. He went to work for Fletcher & Gardener, Jewelry Manufacturers on Chestnut Street and soon became one of the most useful men in the shop. He was a clever innovator and always strove for perfection in his work. After two years as a journeyman he began to work on his own. Baldwin improved many of the tools of his trade and invented a new method for the plating of Gold which was general employed.

A sudden recession in the Jewelry business in 1825 caused him to look for other fields of endeavor. He formed a partnership with a machinist, David Mason, for the manufacture of bookbinding tools, machinery and dies which were not available in this country at that time. In a short time they added the manufacture of cylinders for the printing

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of Calico and improved the etching devices on the steel mills that transferred the designs to the cylinders.

In order to supply power to his workshop Baldwin built a small stationary steam engine of about 5 horsepower. It was so well made that it was in use for the next 40 years. Once again his clever innovations resulted in a product superior to any previously built. By degree the manufacture of steam engines became the most important part of his business. In ten years he was regarded as the foremost steam engine builder in the Country.

In 1830 the Camden & Amboy Railroad Co. imported from England the largest locomotive ever seen in this country. That engine, known as the "John Bull" is now in the Smithsonian. It was one of the wonders of it's time.

The Philadelphia Museum asked Matthias Baldwin to build a miniature of the locomotive. Baldwin's working model operated so perfectly that he was soon after given an order for a full size locomotive by the Philadelphia, Germantown and Norristown Railroad.

The first locomotive from Baldwin's shop, "Old Ironsides" was given a grand public trial run on Nov. 23, 1832. During the next three years he built 10 locomotives, each one with some further improvements. He invented many new devices to make the locomotive work better. He found a way to overcome the difficulty of turning curves by installing the six-wheel-gear which he patented in 1841.

Baldwin was one of the most active founders of the Franklin Institute. He died at his country home at Wissinoming near Phila. on Sept. 7, 1866.

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GEORGE GRAY LEIPER

George Gray Leiper, son of Thomas and Elizabeth Coultis Gray Leiper, was born at Avondale, the family estate in Nether Providence, on Feb. 3, 1786. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1803.

George Leiper became prominent in Delaware County politics and served as Representative to the U. S. Congress in 1829--1831. During those years he formed a close friendship with another Penna. Congressman, James Buchanan. George Leiper was also an associate Circuit Court Judge in Delaware County.

He was associated with his father's many business enterprises, which he carried on after his father's death. In 1828 he replaced the railway, which Thomas Leiper had built in 1810, with a Canal.

The canal was originally planned by Thomas Leiper but he was not able to get permission to have it built. It was about a mile long, connecting the Quarry with Crum Creek. There were two locks on the canal, one was named for Thomas Leiper, the other for his wife Elizabeth.

The first boat to navigate the new waterway was the 55 foot long "William Strickland". A grand ceremony was held to mark the opening of the canal on October 8, 1829. The Upland Union Weekly Newspaper of Oct. 13, 1829 told of a band playing "most fashionable Airs" with two handsome Wind Flower Colts, neatly decorated with covers and trimmed with ribbons, pulling the boat.

George G. Leiper built a short horse-drawn railway in 1852. It was used until 1887 when it became a spur of the B. & O. Railroad. According to Railway

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Magazine, it was the first railway in America to develop into a common carrier.

George G. Leiper died Nov. 17, 1868.

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Ulysses S. Grant became president of the United States in 1869.

During that year a financial panic occurred when financiers Gould, Fiske and Drew tried to corner the Gold Market.

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The Union Pacific and the Central Pacific Railroads were linked up at Promontory, Utah forming the transcontinental rail line.

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A stagecoach carried passengers between Media and Chester twice daily.

CELLULOID

In 1869 celluloid was invented. It was developed by John Wesley Hyatt who won a $10,000.00 prize for finding a cheap substitute for the expensive ivory used in making billiard balls. Celluloid has been largely replaced by more modern plastics but in it's day it was extensively used in the manufacture of battery cases, pens, pencils, buttons, combs, drawing instruments, toothbrush handles, clock cases, photo equipment and even shirt collars.

STEEL CASTING INDUSTRY

On Dec. 1, 1870 the Steel Casting Industry had it's start in the United States when the McHaffie Direct Steel Casting Co. was organized in Chester. The plant covered about 12 acres. It was bounded by the P. W. & B. and the Chester Creek railroads, between Broomall and Norris St.. extending north to 7th street.

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RAILROAD IMPROVEMENT

In 1871 the P. W. & B. railroad effected the "Darby Improvement". New tracks were laid, essentially in a straight line, traversing the range of hills from Gray's Ferry to Ridley Creek. Thirteen new stations were established between Phila. and Chester. The old line of tracks along the Delaware were eventually sold to the Reading Railroad. It was agreed that they would be used to transport only freight.

The executives of the P. W. & B. wanted to build a community of homes outside of Phila. similar to the town of Bryn Mawr which the Penna. R.R. officials had developed along their Main Line. A section of Ridley Township was selected and five farms were purchased. They were the Dutton, Burk, Trainor, Henderson and Ward estates. The Trainor House built in 1765 was left standing as was the Burk residence which later became the Taylor Hospital nurses' home. On the remainder of the property many fine stately homes were built. An ornate Station House added to the charm. A lovely lake was formed by building a dam across the little stream which flowed through the land. The town was incorporated as the Borough of Ridley Park.

* * *

A school house was built by the parishioners of St. Michael's Church in 1871. It was the first parish school in Delaware County. The children of the Bunces and the O'Haras attended that school.

* * *

In the year 1871, the famous P. T. Barnum put his traveling circus on the road. He called it "The Greatest Show on Earth".

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HOW ONE FAMILY CAME TO CHESTER

It was in May of 1870 that the widow Rose O'Hara and her five daughters came to Chester from Middletown, Del.

When Patrick and Rose McConaghy O'Hara came to America from Ireland in 1867, they had four girls. Mary, the oldest, remembered playing near Ross Castle. They settled in Middletown, Del. Where Pat's sister lived. She was the mother of the McMahon Family.

Pat O'Hara was a surveyor and he was able to get work right away so they made out rather well. In a short time they were able to send money to Ireland so that Rose's brother Michael could join them. As it turned out, somehow his sister Mary got hold of the money and came in place of Michael. Extra sacrifices were made so they could send more funds to finally get the young man to America.

The O'Hara family had their fifth child, Rose Ellen, in 1868. The infant was Baptized at the Old Bohemian Manor Church at Warwick, Cecil County, Md. This is a famous old Historic Place where the Jesuits had established a Mission early in the 18th Century. From there they traveled throughout Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania, saying Mass and administering the Sacraments.

Pat O'Hara died suddenly in 1870. Rose was able to get through the end of winter with the help of her brother Michael and the McMahon Family.

Rose had friends, the McCallister Family, who lived in Chester. They wrote to her about the City and she became convinced that she would be

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better able to provide for her family there. So when the weather was better for traveling she made arrangements to move. Her brother Michael went with her of course. Her sister Mary was married by then to a man named Taylor who worked on the locks of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. They lived at St. George, Del.

Mr. McCallister took a boat down the Delaware River to St. George. He hired a Horse and Buggy to drive the rest of the way to Middletown. There he arranged for a freight wagon to haul the family's belongings to St. George where they could be loaded on another river boat for the return journey. Before embarking, they spent one night with Rose's sister Mary Taylor who had a little toddler, Charles and an infant, Margaret.

The boat docked at the Market Street Wharf late in the afternoon. They had made stops on the way up the river at, Wilmington, New Castle, and Marcus Hook. It had been a pleasant journey. The beauty of the trees and wildflowers along the river banks, bursting forth in all the glory of renewed life, gave hope and confidence to the young widow that her new life would be successful.

They spent their first night in Chester, crowded into the McCallister home; weary, yet much too excited to sleep soundly.

The following day their belongings were brought over from the dock and they moved into the house at 532 W. Front Street, just a few doors away from their benefactors.

Rose O'Hara and her daughters attended Sunday Mass at St. Michael's Church the next morning and thanked God for the help they were getting from their good friends.

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Father Haviland greeted Rose and the girls on Monday afternoon when they went to register in the Parish. He recorded the pertinent information. They had all been born in Ireland except for the baby, Rose Ellen. Annie was 12, born 1859, Mary was 10, born 1861, Katherine was 7, born 1864, Sarah was 4, born 1866, and Rose was two, born 1868.

Rose and her girls spent the next few days getting settled into their new house. Chester was a big City compared to where they had lived before. The stores along Third Street sold a variety of things they had never before seen. The town was a beehive of exciting activity.

Bat at the same time Rose was planning her future. She intended to provide for her family by making and selling Irish Lace and by working as a seamstress. She was very skilled in both of those arts.

Rose O'Hara never remarried. When the girls were old enough they went to work in the Mill that was near their home. Later, they opened a dress shop; at another time they operated a Grocery Store.

Two of the girls married, two remained single. One of the girls died from injuries sustained when she was accidently run down by a horse and wagon.

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VINDEX

The first Iron Sloop Yacht was built in 1871 by the Reany, Son & Company of Chester. It was named the "Vindex". The yacht was 54 gross tons, Sixty two and a half feet long and seventeen feet wide. A Sloop is a single masted, fore and aft rigged sailing vessel. The first owner of the Vindex was Robert Center.

EDDYSTONE PRINT WORKS

William Simpson came from England in 1872 and purchased Henry Effinger's farm in Ridley Township, near Chester. He erected a plant for the printing of fabrics and a little village to house his employees. The brick houses lined two streets, Lexington and Concord Avenues.

William Simpson called his company the Eddystone Print Works after the Eddystone Lighthouse which stands on a bluff, overlooking the English Channel. During the next few years many homes were built in the area and in 1888 it was incorporated as the Borough of Eddystone.

ROACH SHIPYARD

In 1872 a successful New York industrialist, John Roach, purchased the Chester Shipyard of Reany, Son & Archbold. His son, John B. Roach was put in charge of the facility. The Company was The Delaware River Iron Shipbuilding Company, but it was known simply as , Roach's Shipyard.

Roach began improving the plant right away. He had a rolling mill and a blast furnace erected at the yard. During the following years 114 vessels were built there for Corporations, Private Persons and for the Government.

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* * *

The Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish was formed in South Chester in 1873. A temporary wooden Chapel was erected at Second and Broomall Street, for use while the Stone Church was being built.

* * *

It was a difficult time because after a few years of post war prosperity the country had slipped into a depression. Over-speculation in securities and land, and the issuance of too much paper money, increased inflation. In a very short span of time, over 5000 businesses in the country failed.

* * *

In Norwood the first few houses were built on redeveloped farmland along the Chester Pike.

HOLLY TREE HALL

In 1873 the Holly Tree Hall was opened in three rooms over H. B. Taylor's Hardware Store on Third Street in Chester, Pa. One room contained a Library and the other two were sitting rooms.

It was established as a place where working people could go to read and converse. Two very popular books of that time were Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

Holly Tree Hall was the brainchild of Miss Laura J. Hard. Money and Books were donated to her for the opening in 1873. She accumulated about 2000 volumes for the library.

The first officers of the venture were;

Mr. Hugh Shaw...........Pres.
Mr. George B. Lindsay...Sect.
Miss Laura J. Hard......Treas.

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Miss Hard taught Bible Class in one of the rooms at Holly Tree Hall.

* ** *

Dr. Jonathan L. Forward was the Mayor of Chester in 1873. He was a member of a prominent pioneer family. Forward had defeated Mayor Larkin in the election of 1872.

Mayor John Larkin Jr. was the first man to hold that office in Chester. He had been elected to that position one month after the city was incorporated on Feb. 14, 1866. Mayor Larkin was also a member of a pioneer Chester family. The neighborhood from 10th and Madison to 11th and Upland was known as Larkintown. Larkin School was named in his honor.

Larkin was reelected in 1869. When he ran for office again in 1872, he was defeated by Forward.

Dr. Forward was at the helm of the City Government for three terms. He lost the election in 1881 but came back and won again in 1884. The election in 1881 had gone to James Barton Jr. Dr. Forward tried for a 5th term in 1887 but was defeated by Maj. Joseph R. T. Coates.

* * *

Even after the Immaculate Heart Parish was formed there were still more people attending St. Michael's than the old Church could accommodate. The obsolete building was torn down in 1874 and the corner stone was laid for a new and larger edifice. Services were held in the School building during the construction.

CITY OF PEKING

In 1874 a spectacular event took place at the roach's Shipyard where Patrick Bunce worked . The

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5079 Ton Ship " City of Peking " was launched with a tremendous celebration.

* * *

Prospect Park was originally called Ridleyville. In 1875 it consisted of about 20 homes around Lincoln Ave. on the Philadelphia Pike. A resident of the area, Benjamin Moore, donated a parcel of land to the railroad on which to build a Station House. At his request it was called Moore Station.

* * *

On Feb. 23, 1876, the temporary Chapel of the Immaculate Heart Parish was completely destroyed by fire. During the next few months the parishioners had to attend services at St. Michael's until their new Church was ready to open on Oct. 1st.

* * *

In 1876 some businesses opened that were very successful and continued to operate for many years. One such was T. Frank McCall's feed and grain store at Sixth and Madison St. Another was the Stone Yard of John F. Cullis at 410 E. Seventh Street where beautiful cemetery monuments are produced.

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On Sept. 7, 1876 the first issue of the Chester Times Newspaper was printed. About 6000 people lived in Chester at that time.

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Police officers in Chester received Twelve Dollars a week salary. They were required to buy their own uniforms and locusts ( night sticks ).

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CENTENNIAL EXPOSITION

The people of Chester and surrounding farms and villages traveled to Philadelphia a variety of reasons, business, shopping, legal, etc. In the year 1876 the International Centennial Exposition was the big attraction from May 10 to November 10. It was the first World's Fair of Art and Industry held in the United States.

Preparations for the Fair were begun at least as early as 1872. The required space in Fairmount Park was turned over to the Centennial committee and work of organizing the event was begun.

Each of the 37 States erected it's own building. There were also exhibits by 50 foreign countries. All of the exhibits were classified according to a unique method of numbering which was the fore runner of the Dewey Decimal System developed for Libraries.

It was expected by the planning committee that more than one steam engine would be needed to run all of the machinery at the exposition. But that was not the case. George Henry Corliss designed and built an engine of 700 tons with cylinders 40 inches in diameter with a 19 foot stroke and a flywheel 30 feet in diameter. It powered everything and proved to be the marvel of the Fair.

All of the many technical advances in the U. S. since winning Independence were demonstrated at the Exposition, although many of the discoveries had originated in the countries of the European exhibitors.

It was said that the most popular displays were in Machinery Hall.

Improvements in Railroad Equipment included Pullman Sleeping Cars developed in 1864, Air Brakes (1868), Automatic Car Couplers (1873) and

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Refrigerated Cars by Swift (1874).

There was a model Hospital Ship on exhibit.

Ruth Burritt demonstrated the most modern methods of conducting a Kindergarten.

A few of the other things shown were;

Portland Cement Products developed 1824
The Elevator (1852), Gasoline Engine (1860), Improved Bicycle (1862), Dynamite (1866)
Reinforced Concrete (1867), Celluloid ( 1869).
The latest in Photography.
The newest printing methods.
Yale cylinder locks.
The latest in Farm equipment including new model Reapers, first designed in 1833.
Barbed Wire (1874)
The most modern Guns and Rifles.
Rubber Products
Improvements in Steam engines and tools such as the steam hammer.

There was a demonstration of the Telephone . The newest model typewriters were on shown.

The sewing machines attracted much attention.

John K. Zimmerman, manager of the Broad Street Theater, introduced on the grounds of the Exposition a unique form of entertainment called a Cyclorama. That is a painting of a panoramic view on the walls of a circular room. One of the scenes depicted was the Siege of Paris, another , Paris by Night. They attracted the attention of thousands of visitors and were so successful they were sent on a tour of the leading cities of the Country.

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There was a big demonstration of Aniline Dyes, the first of which was discovered in 1856. William Perkin, an 18 year old English Chemistry Student was trying to synthesize quinine by mixing aniline with chromic acid. He failed, but formed instead a beautiful purple colored liquid that could be used to dye textiles. That was the start of the synthetic Dye business and the other huge industries which are involved in the chemical synthesis of organic Chemicals.

Many marvelous paintings and sculptures were on display by artist such as Cordier, Cain, Dalow DeGroot, Rodin, and Vincotte.

The arm of the Statue of Liberty holding the torch was on display.

During the week there was an admission charge to enter the Exposition. In the early weeks of the Fair throngs of people were visiting it on Sunday with complimentary tickets but the general public was not permitted to enter. A prominent man in Philadelphia, Rudolph Blankenburg, saw that practice as unjust treatment, especially of the working class. Through his efforts the grounds were opened to everyone.

I have read that a great many miners and their families came to the Exposition from the coal region, at the expense of the mine owners. It was apparently and attempt to win the favor of the miners after the bitter strikes a short time earlier and the execution and imprisonment of the men of the Molly Maguires.

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EDWARD F. BEALE

Edward Fitzgerald Beale was a famous American who lived for some year in Chester. He was born Feb.4,1822 in Washington D. C. Both his grandfather and his father were Naval Officers who had received the Congressional Medal of Honor. His father, George Beale was awarded the Medal for gallantry during the Battle of Lake Champlain, Sept. 11, 1814. Edward's mother was Emily Truxton, the daughter of a famous Commodore. Edward studied at Georgetown College and the U. S. Naval Academy.

During the Mexican War, Edward sailed to California, then traveled to join the troops who, under the command of Kearney, were marching from New Mexico to California. He met that force shortly before they were attacked and surrounded by the Mexicans on Dec. 6,1846. Beale, his Delaware Indian servant and Kit Carson, after the battle performed the heroic act of creeping through the enemy lines and taking word of Kearney's plight to Stockton in San Diego.

After the War Beale resigned his Naval commission and was appointed Superintendent of Indian affairs in New Mexico and California. He was given the rank of Brigadier General in the California Militia. He conducted important explorations in the far west for ten years. A great deal of that time was spent laying out routes for roads and railroads.

In about two years time Beale made six journeys from coast to coast. On the second of those he brought back to the East the first authentic news of the California Gold strike and a bag of the precious metal.

After his forth journey Edward married , on June 27, 1849, Mary Edwards, daughter of Representative Samuel Edwards of Chester,

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NEW AMERICAN TERRITORY

As a result of the Mexican War the vast territory of New Mexico and California were ceded to the U. S. for the payment of fifteen million dollars. That area became the States of California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and part of Colorado and Wyoming.

Many opposed the acquisition because they thought the land worthless. They were unaware of the vast deposits of Copper, Silver and gold in the mountains of the west. Arizona became the leading producer of copper in the United States. In fact, Arizona produced more copper than any single nation in the free world.

But travel in the old west was hard. The terrain was rough enough to tear up the feet of horses and mules in a short time, and water was scarce.

Sect. of War, Jefferson Davis was of the opinion that Camels were the solution to his transportation problems. He put Edward "Ned" Beale in charge of the program. Beale went to North Africa and arranged for the purchase of eighty camels. They arrived in Texas in 1856.

The mule skinners hated them. Language was a big problem. The camels responded to commands in Arabic not English. Quickly a number of Arabic drivers were imported to work with the camels. They had names like Long Tom, Short Tom and Greek George. One of the drivers was Hadji Ali, called Hi Jolly. He never left the South West. In time he became a prospector. Hi Jolly died in 1902. He is buried at Quatzsite, near the Colorado River. There is a pyramid shaped monument at his grave, a

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with a figure of a camel on top. The inscription reads, "The Last Campground of Hi Jolly".

With the Arabic drivers the camels were a great success. They could go from 35 to 75 miles in a day, carry 800 pounds, live off local forage and go for long periods without water.

Beale was completely sold on the camels. He was challenged to pit them against mules on a 60 mile trek. Using six camels against twelve mules. A two and a half ton load was divided among the camels and two and a half tons was loaded on two wagons, each pulled by six mules. The camels finished the trip in two and a half days, the mules took four days.

But the camel experiment was doomed from the start. The political opposition from the Mule Market in St. Louis was very strong. The Civil War in the east was imminent so further experiments in the southwest were promptly discontinued. When the Civil War started the camels were all but forgotten. Many were sold at auction, others were turned loose to roam the desert.

In 1861 Beale was appointed Surveyor General of California by President Lincoln. But as soon as the War began he offered his service in a military capacity.

Beale owned Rancho Tejon , an immense ranch near Bakersfield, California. He also owned the Decatur House in Washington. After the end of the Civil War he divided his time between the Ranch, his home in Washington and his home in Chester, Penna. I have read that he purchased a Hotel in Chester I'm not sure about that. But I do know that his name is on the top of one of the buildings in downtown Chester and the area around that

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building was known as "The Beale Block". I am pretty sure it is the block on the east side of Edgmont Ave. between Sixth and Seventh street.

Edward Beale's son, Truxtun Beale went to school in Chester. He graduated from Chester High School, Then from Pennsylvania Military College in 1874. He then went to Harvard College for one year.

In 1875 Edward Beale was appointed as Minister to Austria by President Grant. His son Truxton was his private secretary in Vienna.

Edward resigned the post in 1877 and .retired. He died on April 22, 1893. To the best of my knowledge he is buried in the Soldier Circle at the Chester Rural Cemetery.

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When Rutherford Hayes became the 19th President on March 4, 1877 the Country was in the grip of a serious inflation. This caused a cutback in building and industry, so jobs were scarce. Charitable people did what they could to relieve the suffering in those troubled times.

From Kerlin's Drug Store Mr James Christie at three o'clock each afternoon distributed bread to the impoverished.. The Chester Times reported it as an "appalling sight ". "Half starved , half clad humanity of all ages, sizes and colors, from the deep black to the pale white, from the frail mortal to the vigorous person, from the four year old child to the gray haired veteran, all waiting for the signal to get a single loaf of bread".

Because of the hard time the completion of the New St. Michael's Church was delayed once the roof was finished.

I think the Bunce family managed to get through that period without too much difficulty. Pat Bunce continued to work at the shipyard. He may have lost some time due to cutbacks, but he never got into serious financial trouble. My Mother said that Margaret Bunce had a reputation for generosity and helped everyone she could during bad times.

Additional problems came as the result of the tragic launching of the Saritoga at Roach's Shipyard. As the workmen pounded away with their sledge-hammers, removing the blocks which were under the Ship, the huge vessel unexpectedly shifted. 7 men were killed as it rushed prematurely into the water.

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Thomas Edison invented the Phonograph in 1877.

* * *

The following are excerpts from the files of the Chester Times for 1877.

Feb. 9th; Samuel Houston, superintendent at the South Chester Rolling Mill, was injured when a small piece of metal flew in his eye.

Feb. 10th; Chicken robberies occur less frequently in South Chester thanks to a crack down by police.

Feb. 11th; South Chester is badly in need of a jail. When prisoners are brought to Chester it takes a lot of time to find an officer with keys to the lock-up.

Feb. 14th; Oglesby's Coronet Band marched down third Street to Bourke's Hotel at third and Howell to serenade recently married Mr. Conner who lives in the area. Afterwards they went into the house for food.

Feb. 21st; Rear Admiral Porter visited Chester. He stayed at the Norris House.

Feb. 22nd; On Washington's birthday the cadets from P. M. C. paraded in full dress to Market Square and performed a drill. With bright bayonets in the sunlight they march in solid phalanx to the beat of drums. Holiday drills are becoming a favorite enjoyment.

Feb. 28th; Last evening the Franklin Fire Co. gave their engines a trial with the new gum hose recently purchased by the city. The test was done at 2nd and Concord. A coupling blew off at 150 pounds.

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Mar. 7th; John Downs of Marcus Hook caught 100 pounds of Rock Fish in the Delaware, above Oldman's Creek.

Spring 1877; John H. Kerlin proprietor of the Spread Eagle Hotel in Marcus Hook, has newly refitted his establishment.

April 20; The famous Globe Hotel was sold at auction yesterday for $3,475.00. The glass soda water pavilion to the north sold for $175.00 and the plank walk around it for $110.00. The original cost of erecting the building and fitting it up was $6,500.00

June 6th; Leiper and Lewis, whose Quarries are in the vicinity of Avondale, are receiving orders for granite in spite of the dullness in the building trade. They are working about 30 men and shipping 2 boatloads of stone per day. In good times they have employed 300 men.

STEAMBOAT STOPS

From the middle of March through the fall, Steamboats on the Delaware go to Trenton, New Jersey with stops along the way at Tacony, Torresdale, Beverly, Burlington, Bristol, Florence, Penn's Manor and Whitehall.

Others sail to Burlington, Bristol, Riverton and Andalusa.

Steamers to Salem New Jersey stop at Chester, New Castle, Pennsgrove, and Delaware City; and to Bridgeton, Greenwich and Collin's Beach in the circuit.

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* * * * *

A ship called "The City of Para" was launched at Roach's shipyard on April 6,1878. It was a spectacular event. President Hayes along with many other dignitaries including members of his Cabinet, came from Washington to officiate.

A CHESTER FAMILY

For Patrick Bunce and his family 1879 turned out to be a tragic year. William, the oldest child, had been working at a shipyard in Baltimore, Maryland. On August 2, 1879 he died instantly when he slipped and fell from the upper deck to the bottom of a ship under construction. His death notice appeared in the Delaware County Republican newspaper. William was 21 years and 10 months old when the accident occurred. He was survived by his parents, Patrick and Margaret Bunce. two brothers, George 10 and Joseph 9, and by five sisters, Ellen, Mary, Annie, Elizabeth and Margaret. They lived at 731 West Second Street.

Thomas Brooks lived at 733 W. 2nd st. next door to the Bunce family. Brooks and his wife had seven children.

George Robinson, a weaver in a woolen mill, live with his wife and one child at 735 W. 2nd st.

737 was the home of a boiler maker, Thomas Anderson and his wife and six children.

At 729,on the other side of Bunce's house, resided Mr. and Mrs Oley Baum. They had one child. Oley was a ship's carpenter.

Joseph Mills, a foreman at the Shipyard, with his wife and four children occupied 727.

William Holywood, blacksmith, and his wife lived at 725.

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* * * * * *

In the year 1880 George Jenkins set up a newsstand on a tiny triangular plot of land in the center of the inter- section of Welsh street, Edgmont Ave. and 7th street.

* * *

During the summer the river boat "Thomas Clyde" took passengers from Market Street Pier to Augustine Beach.

* * *

The first Steamboat to successfully employ electric lighting was the 'Columbia', constructed at Chester Penna. The boat was 309 feet long and 38 feet wide. It belonged to the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company. The Columbia was put into operation on May 2, 1880. It was equipped with a Type A dynamo which illuminated the rooms of the passengers as well as the main Salons.

* * *

The 20th President of the United States, James Garfield was shot on July 2nd, 1881, four months after taking office. When he died on Sept. 19th V. P. Chester A Arthur assumed his office.

* *

Ellen Bunce and Michael Welsh were married on August 9, 1881. Ellen, 22, was the daughter of Patrick and Margaret Bunce. Pastor Thomas J. McGlynn officiated at the ceremony which took place in the Immaculate Heart Church, second and Norris streets, Chester.

* * *

Holly Tree Hall was moved in 1879 from third street to a larger building on the north side of seventh street, about a block west of Edgmont

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Ave. The new facility featured a library on the first floor and a meeting room for up to 600 people on the second level. During the year 1882 a hotel owner, Thomas Hargreaves, began to arrange entertainment for those who frequented Holly Tree. He produced Amateur Shows, Punch and Judy shows and light musical presentations. This was be just the start of Mr. Hargreaves career in the entertainment business.

DISASTROUS FIRES

The year 1882 had a disastrous start with too devastating fires in Chester. On Feb. 16 the Old Main building of the Pennsylvania Military Academy was ravaged by fire. The structure was located on 14th street between Walnut Street and Melrose Ave. The fire started at just about five o'clock in he afternoon and there was never a chance of saving the building. The horse-drawn steam engine pumper of the Hanley Hose Co. became mired in the mud before it could reach the scene. Firemen from the Franklin Company had to pull their steamer manually. They were exhausted from the effort when they finally arrived. It was not until the early hours of the following morning that the fire fighters stowed away their equipment, settled the horses and went home to rest.

Still weary at 7.30 the next morning they responded to the call of the fire alarm at City Hall and rushed to Second and Welsh Street. The old building burning there was known as "Green Banks". Originally it had been the home of Chief Justice David Lloyd who had it built in 1721. It was bought in 1806 by Major William Anderson as a home for his son-in-law Commodore David Porter.

As Captain of the U.S.S. Essex in 1812 Porter captured the British Warship Alert. As Commodore

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in 1824 he freed West Indian waters of pirates. Commodore Porter's son David Dixon Porter was born during 1813 at Green Banks in Chester. David D. Porter , like his father, had a long and distinguished Naval career. He became Admiral of the U.S. Navy in 1870 succeeding Admiral Farragut who often visited Green Banks.

When the old mansion caught fire on that February morning in 1882 part of it was occupied by Mrs Ann Blackstone and a married daughter. The rest of the building was being used by a Professor Jackson for the manufacture of fireworks and railroad fuses. He had been in the business for 20 years. The professors company was called the Jackson Pyrotechnical Manufactory.

The Franklin Fire Company, having a relatively short distance to come, was first to arrive at the scene of the blaze. They took the plug at second and Market st. and went into action. The Moyamensing and other companies soon followed. About a half hour later a minor explosion occurred. Chief Dalton contacted Charles VanHorn, the young man who had been in charge of the factory when the fire started. Dalton questioned him about the contents of the building and asked if it was then cleared of explosives. Reassured that there was no further danger from explosion the Chief ordered the fire men to resume action. About 15 minutes later the building blew up with a tremendous death dealing blast. A great mass of stone and debris shot from the building and smashed into people and homes at 2nd and Welsh Street. Bodies were hurled as much as 140 feet onto the flats of the river. Windows were blown out of the Methodist Church on Welsh St. and out of many homes, even some a great distance

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from the scene.

Dead and injured firemen and spectators, laid helpless in the street. Three women were treated in a home on Market street near second. Jane Roy's badly injured leg was amputated. Clara Lewis suffered a broken knee and Sally Black had multiple body injuries. There was no hospital in Chester at that time. William Farley, druggist at 9th and Madison Street, offered to provide the victims with drugs and medicine free of charge.

Fear and excitement gripped the city. Businesses closed and workmen left their jobs, including those at the Shipyard where Pat. Bunce worked. The streets filled with people concerned about their friends and families.

Chester firemen who were killed that "Black Friday" were William McNeal , Alexander Phillips, William Franklin, Thomas Anderson, Wm.Wood, Anthony J. Barber, John Pollock and Cornelius McDade. In all, 19 persons were killed including five young boys.

Fifty seven people were injured including Chief Dalton, a Cigar store owner, William Kelly, President of the Moya. Fire Company, Frank Hunter, a Pennell street barber , Frank McCall, feed store owner, John Miller, Chester Times reporter, and many neighborhood residents.

The Chester Hospital was established soon after this tragic day.

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Continue to Part III >


My Book of Old Chester
2001 Louis J. Warfel, loujwarfel@juno.com


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

2001 John A. Bullock III.

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This page last updated 10/18/05