Monday, August 31, 2015

Middletown Academy Exhibit

 Taking a glimpse into the history of classrooms and school work can be interesting, exciting and educational all at once. The building that the Middletown Historical Society is housed in happens to be the “Middletown Academy” building. In 1826 the Middletown Academy was a private academy and didn’t open its doors as a public school until 1876.  One of the exhibits you can visit on the second floor shares the history of the “Middletown Academy” and some of the changes that took place. When you walk into the “Middletonians Go to School: A History Look of Educating the Local Populace” you see how   things changed throughout the years and going from a private academy to public school.   

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday Cemetery - Five Children Now Orphans

Published on the 9th of October in 1907 in the Baltimore American out of Baltimore, MD
Murderer Taken to Cemetery Just Before Dark – Wife to Be Buried Today
With no friends or relatives present, the body of Albert Fiedler, who murdered his wife and committed suicide last Sunday afternoon, was lowered into a grave dug in unconsecrated ground shortly before dark yesterday afternoon in Holy Redeemer Cemetery on the Belair road. The time of the burial of the murderer and suicide was kept secret by the undertaker. It was stated in East Baltimore yesterday that the burial of Fielder would take place in Holy Redeemer Cemetery in the afternoon, and scores of persons, mostly women, went to the cemetery and waited several hours for the appearance of the wagon. When the shades of evening began to fall the crowd, which had gathered at the cemetery, left the graveyard and returned to their homes thinking that the funeral of the suicide would take place this morning.
Funeral Director Wendell Dippel had made arrangements with the official at the cemetery for the interment to take place as late in the afternoon as possible, and at 5:30 o’clock the undertaker’s wagon passed through the entrance of the cemetery. The wagon was driven to the part of the cemetery which is unconsecrated, where solitary grave had been dug. The grave is surrounded by the graves of suicides and christened persons, and when the wagon drove up the grave digger laid the ropes across the opening and in the presence of the two men the remains of Albert Fiedler were covered with earth. There were no mourners and no flowers of a religious ritual over all that was mortal of the man who had made five happy children orphans in the space of a few minutes. When the grave was filled the shades of night had enveloped the cemetery.

The funeral of Mrs. Fiedler will take place this morning at 8 o’clock from St. Michael’s Church. Wolfe and Lombard streets. Interment will be in Holy Redeemer Cemetery, but the grave will be nowhere near that of the man who was once her husband. 

Saturday Spotting - Ole Anderson

Published on the 20th of February in 1938 in the Richmond Times Dispatch out of Richmond, VA
Dean ‘Ole’ Tells
Origin of Name
Brigadier-General James A. Anderson, dean of Virginia Military Institute, solved the mystery of his nickname last night.
Here to address the V.M. I. Club of Richmond, General Anderson was greeted by hearty friends as Ole Anderson, as usual. He had been called Ole since the days he was a rat at the Institute, so nobody thought much about it. But nobody knew why, because he certainly wasn’t old.
The nickname was a matter of speculation in Richmond when the general was State PWA director several years ago, but the mystery was never solved until after his speech last night.
Came the showdown.
A Swede by General Consent “When I first arrived at the Institute,” the general explained, “another rat asked me my name. I told him “Then you’re a Swede,” he said. I denied that. “Well,” he insisted, “you ought to be a Swede. Out in California where I come from everybody with that name is a Swede.”
 “So form that day to this I’ve been Ole Anderson. It didn’t make any difference that my name is not spelled Andersen.”
In his talk before the club, General Anderson outlined the work of General Charles E. Kilbourne, the new superintendent, and declared the Institute is entering a period of progress under his administration unprecedented in the history of America’s military institutions.

The club afterwards adopted a resolution commending General Kilbourne’s policies. General Anderson was introduced by Kirkwood Adams, newly-elected president of the club. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Saturday Spotting - Middletown Academy's Teacher Qualifications Questioned

Published on 20th of February in 1855 in the Delaware State Reporter out of Dover, DE 
                                                                          Middletown Academy.
                                                                                  MIDDLETOWN ACADEMY,}
                                                                                               Feb’y, 19, 1854.
Mr. Editor: There was a published in the Delaware State Journal a letter of 6 inst., accompanied by editerial comments everely reflectin upon my qualifications as a teacher. The said letter is a false copy, and its author has made himself a menable to the law, and will be dealt with according to his just deserts, as I have placed the mater in the hands of Mr. ROGERS. The author of the said letter is an entire stranger to me, and why he sould thus unaliciously attempt to destroy my reputation, I am at a loss to know. By his conduct, he has exhibited an inbred wretchedness of heart, made up between the venemous malignity of a serpent, and the spiteful imbeaility of and inferior reptile. The editor of the Delaware State Journal is even a crow of the same nest, and will be dealt with accordingly.

  Your, &c.                                                                                             T.E. PRIMROSE

Friday, August 28, 2015

Four Month Presentation Wrap Up

“Thank you so much for your assistance, and sharing your wealth of knowledge about this field.   I have already made progress as a result of your help.  If you do another set of lessons, I will definitely attend.  - Claude Newton

That was just one comment from those who attended four presentations over a four month span that I did here in Middletown, Delaware at the Middletown Historical Society Museum. It always feels good knowing that what I love to do helps others, wither it be in breaking that brick wall or helping them and encouraging them to continue the research that they started.

For a quick look back it all started on the 28th of May with the first presentation title “Where do I begin?” the turnout was fantastic. The presentation was what you read in the title, we covered the research process, where to start and the process of collecting and organizing your research. The feedback and questions were some that many of have heard before, “where do I get birth certificates”, “can I compile all information on one surname into a folder” and “is it better to keep everything on a computer or in binders on paper”.

The second presentation happened on the 25th of June with “Records? What Records?” and just like the last presentation was great. With this one we went a step further and I guess you could say piggy backed on the presentation in May. I mentioned the importance of records in not only the beginning of your research but throughout the whole process. So we went over what records are available, the information that some records contain and how to obtain those records. I have to say the feedback and questions were good, “are the death certificates 100% accurate”, “why are some name’s misspelled from one year to the next on census records” and “why can’t I find a death certificate for all of relatives”.

The third presentation was on the 30th of July “Researching from Your Couch” again another great turn out with fantastic questions and comments. Yes going to a facility to conduct our research is a must for most of us. But at the same time we like to conduct some of our research from the comfort of our own homes. This was the perfect opportunity to take a different approach on presenting. I thought it might be fun to ask those who would be at this presentation to email me someone they would like to receive more information about or maybe a brick wall they have hit. So during the presentation I would actually plug in those surnames into many different research sites. I was a nice new way to present and they not only learned how to navigate some sites but also get some answers.

Then the fourth and final presentation was last night the 27th of August “Middletown’s Treasure Trove” with yes, another nice turn out for the final presentation. For the final presentation I wanted to be able to not only show everyone the wonderful treasures of information that is available in the research room. But I also know that there were still questions about research and I wanted to make sure that everyone had a chance to get answers to some of those questions. The class was split up into two sections and half went up into the research room and took a tour with George Contant, who answered question and showed the request for records process. While the other half stayed with me and took the opportunity to ask questions and get some additional information. Then they switched so everyone had a chance to take a tour and get those answers.    


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Final Presentation Awaits

Today is the last day of a four month research presentation that I’ve had the pleasure of being the lead presenter in Middletown, Delaware at the Middletown Historical Society Museum. I’ve truly enjoyed each of the three classes, “Where do I begin?”, “Records? What Records?” and “Researching from your couch”. As many of you know who attend events like these you have the opportunity to meet some great people and hear some interesting family stories. That held true with this group and I say group because those who attended have continued from beginning to end. I wasn’t sure what the turn out would be but am pleased with the max room number being met. Tonight the final and fourth presentation will be “Middletown’s Treasure Trove”.  They will get the opportunity to tour the research room, see what is there to assist them in their research and ask questions.  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again and I will include a follow up blog on each presentation with some photographs and comments.   

Monday, August 24, 2015

Middletown's "Downtown Abbey Exhibit"

Many of us have heard of the Masterpiece Theater hit show “Downton Abbey” and if you’re like me you can’t wait until the next season begins. For those of you in the Delaware area you might not be aware of an exhibit that the Middletown Historical Society has on the second floor. Thanks to the hit show it sparked some interest as to what life was like in Middletown during the same time frame. A visit to the second floor “Downtown Abbey” exhibit you can see some of the popular clothing styles and activities that took place from 1912 to 1924.  

Middletown Historical Society Museum
216 N. Broad Street
Middletown, DE

Hours of operation: 
Every Friday 9am - 3pm 
1st Saturday of every month 9am - noon 
3rd Wednesday of every month noon - 4pm

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Cemetery - Mine Swallowing Cemetery

Published on the 1st of February in 1907 in the Wilkes-Barre Times out of Wilkes-Barre, PA
To Save a Cemetery
Residents of Duryea fear the total destruction of Marcy cemetery by mine caves. A portion of the iron fencing surrounding the cemetery has been carried down.

The recent cave-ins occurred on the Foot street side of the cemetery, and there is fear felt for the safety of the entire grounds. It is believed the bodies will be carried into the mine. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Saturday Spotting - Object to Reach the Free States

Published on the 6th of September in 1831 in the Delaware Gazette & State Journal in Wilmington, DE  
From the Norfolk Beacon.

     Com. ELLIOTT, arrived in the town of Southampton, in the southern stage yesterday afternoon. – He left there at two o’clock on Saturday, at which time perfect tranquility had been restored.  
     Since our last papers, a few of the volunteers who were engaged in the expedition against the NEGROES in Southampton County have returned to their homes. They state that the object of the expedition had been effectually accomplished, and that the troops were on the return home. The insurgents it is believed have either been killed or taken prisoners.
     We learn that Ned, the preacher and prophet, had been taken – 75 whites killed, and some missing – 38 blacks killed, Nelson killed, and Porter (General so called) in Jail – negro Tom had made a general confession, being desperately wounded, and about to die – Broadnax’s servant stated their object to be to reach the free states, where they expected to make proselytes and return to assist their brethren – Mr. Blount, his son, overseer and negroes beat off the party which attacked his house. From all that we can learn there appears to have been no concert with the blacks in any other part of the state.
     A friend has permitted us to make the following extract of a letter from a gentleman attached to the Richmond Cavalry, dated.
August 25, 12 M.
     “There appears to have been about 70 white persons murdered. I have just been conversing with one of the ringleaders, who is mortally wounded and will probably die to-night. He says the insurrection was urged & headed by a black preacher who is not yet taken – that they commenced with six only, under impression that all would join if their masters were murdered, and thus they could get a large force and sufficient ammunition, &c. There appears to have been no concert with the blacks of any other part of the state. From what I learn there have been about forty blacks killed and taken prisoners and about thirty probably remaining which are dispersed in the swamps, and must in a day or two surrender themselves to the detachments who are tin pursuit of them.”
     Extract of a letter from a gentlemen of Norfolk (one of the mounted volunteers) to the editors, dated
                                                                                     SOUTHAMPTON, August 26th, 1831.
“On our arrival at Jerusalem, within seven miles of the scene of massacre and devastation, after the  Norfolk and Portsmouth Volunteers had reported themselves to Gen. Eppes, the commanding officer, they received orders to proceed to Cross Keys, the immediate vicinity of the massacre, where they succeeded in making prisoners and brining in 12 men and one woman who it is said had taken a very active part, together with the head of the celebrated Nelson, called  by the blacks, “General Nelson,” and paymaster, Henry, whose head is expected momently, Herk (the blacks abbreviation of Hercules) and Gen. Nat Moore have also been shot and taken prisoners; in fact almost all ringleaders, with the exception of the Prophet, have been either taken or killed. Several have been captured who have confessed assisting in the murder of their mistresses’ children. The country we have passed through is completely deserted, and the inhabitants have absolutely left their doors oven unbarred – In the vicinity of the massacre, we witnessed the greatest scene of devastation imaginable. The inhabitants are regaining confidence and returning to their homes.
     “We saw several children whose brains were knocked out, and we have accounts of the number of 68 men, women and children.
     The skull of Nelson taken by us is in possession of Dr.--, and will be taken to Norfolk.
     “We are very much fatigues having rode 65 miles the first sixteen hours. Our horses worn out and ourselves completely knocked up.
     “The Norfolk and Portsmouth Volunteers have done their duty. We shall with the XXX of the General, perhaps leave here this evening or tomorrow morning, or soon as our horses are refreshed. 

Olde-Tyme Peach Festival

Most of us have had the opportunity to attend some interesting, fun and historical community events. Well Saturday of last week Middletown, Delaware had the”22nd Annual Olde-Tyme Peach Festival” hosted by the Middletown Historical Society.  Everything kicked off with a parade at 9am making its way down Broad Street, it was a typical parade with floats, bands, horses and the streets lined with members of the community and surrounding communities. When the parade came to an end the estimated 30,000 plus people then made their way wondering around Main Street seeing all of the booths, exhibits and historical reenactors. You could find music, food, games and of course peaches lots of peaches, peach pies, jams, jellies even peach butter.

This was the first year that I played a part in the event and had a great time.  As I’ve mentioned in past postings I spend some hours volunteering in the research room at the museum.  This year it was decided that we bring some items out of the research room and display them for everyone to see. As most of us know not everyone is aware of what information can be found in some historical societies.  What better way to share these hidden treasures then at an event like this.  Yes this is where part of my role was this year, just in case you are wondering.

Just one of the valuable resources that were offered was the chance to see if “Did your family make Middletown's headlines?”. This alone brought a lot of interesting family stories to the attention of some. The historical society took the opportunity a few years back to have the Middletown Transcript, the oldest existing newspaper in Delaware, digitized and searchable covering 124 years from 1868 – 1992. There were many lined up to enter a surname or two hopping to find their names in the headlines or at least mentioned in an article. Of course some were shocked, to say the least, to find their family member was arrested for public disturbance. Others weren’t so shocked and even said, “Of course they were what else would you expect from a family that celebrates life.”

 I was happy to answer questions and provide some help to those who had always thought about researching their families but had no idea where to start or hit a “dry dead weed rough patch” as one lady put it with a smile and a laugh. The Middletown Historical Society accepted a $150 genealogy research report from me, ARodesky Genealogy, to be given away at $1 chance drawing and all of the money collected went to the society. This was a chance drawing that was very well accepted and some entered many times for the opportunity to find out more about their family history.  The family “stories” that were shared with me were some of the most amazing, funny and some heartbreaking but a reality that they wanted to find out more about.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Congratulations We Have a Winner

Congratulations to Jennifer Beyer of Wilmington, Delaware on her recent win at the 2015 Olde-Tyme Peach Festival in Middletown, Delaware. Jennifer Beyer was the lucky winner of the $150 Genealogy Research Report that was offered by the Middletown Historical Society and donated by Angela Rodesky, owner of ARodesky Genealogy.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Letting Go of the Stories

Something to remember while doing your family research, and it might be the hardest thing you will ever do while researching.  “Let go of the stories and search for the truth”, some of you have already tackled a task like this and others haven’t found comfort in doing so yet.

Many of us have grown up with some of the most amazing family stories that have been passed down from one generation to the next. They were shared during dinners, holidays, and family reunions and even during visitations at funerals. For the most part they are that “stories” and as researchers we not only listen to the stories but we search for the facts, documents. Don't get me wrong not all of our family stories lack truth. I only bring this up because there are some who search for the facts to match the stories and either come up empty handed or with false documentation. While researching your families start with the facts that you do know and work backwards and then the stories will fall into place.
This photograph was taken in 1986 at family gathering. In photograph Fred Elfrank, Willard Estes, Ruth Strum, Mac Estes, Dallas Estes, Doris Collier, Dottie McLeon and Jean Hatson.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sunday Cemetery - Farming a Cemetery

Published on the 16th of August in 1902 in the Philadelphia Inquirer out of Philadelphia, PA
Flower Converted Burial Ground Into a Farm, But Nothing Would Grow
Lightning Strikes His Barn and Flames Destroy the Buildings
Special to The Inquirer.
     VINCENNES, Ind. Aug. 15 – George Flower, a promment young farmer, bought a strip of land at Sand Ridge, near here, on which was located the oldest cemetery in this section. The cemetery was surround by a grove and contained three hundred headstones.
     Flower removed and headstones, throwing some of them in the Embarrass River, and with the rest built a foundation for his house. The cemetery he plowed up and planted it in melons and potatoes. Although similar crops on the rest of the farm grew in abundance, the cemetery crop has been eaten up by a strange bug.
His House Haunted
     Flower’s house is now haunted, and for several nights past the building was shaken violently. Flower, his wife and two children are distracted with fear and have fled form the place. People having  relatives buried there have taken the matter up, and threaten to prosecute Flowers of obliterating the graves without giving them notice, so that they could have reinterred the dead. The grand jury of Lawrence county is investigating the case and may indict Flower.
Flower’s brother and sister and two of his children he buried in the devastated cemetery. Flower secured the money from his father, Frank Flower, in Colorado Springs, to by the farm.
Family May Go Insane
     The Flower family, it is feared, will go insane with fear. The neighbors dare not harbor them. The father seems to be impelled by an irresistible force to visit the haunted farm daily, only to flee again with increased fear.
To-day lighting struck the barn on the Flower place and burned the stock and buildings. The place is in an unfrequented portion of the county, and the little settlement of the vicinity is greatly excited over the mystery.  

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Saturday Spotting - Train stops in Middletown

Published on the 4th of September in 1855 in the Delaware State Reporter out of Dover, DE

Ho! FOR MIDDLETOWN! – Cars commenced running form this city in Middletown, on Saturday last. This will be good news to many hundreds of people who have business in either place. They leave Middletown at 5:40 A.M., and this city at 6:25 P.M. We hope that patronage will soon be found sufficient to warrant the running of two trains, one in the morning, and the other in the evening, as the present arrangement will not allow Wilmingtonians to visit Middletown and return the same day. – Republican. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - Dodson Family

Family found in the Bethesda United Methodist Church Cemetery

                                                FATHER                          MOTHER
                                        JAMES DODSON              LETTIE DODSON
                                           JULY 15, 1815                 APRIL 20, 1820
                                            JUNE 2, 1891                   JUNE 17, 1894

 [1]1860 United States Federal Census in the St Georges Township of New Castle County in the state of Delaware.  James Dodson, head of household, male, white, d.o.b. abt. 1816 born in Maryland, he is 44 years of age at the time of this census. His occupation is farmer, value of personal estate listed at 1,400. Letia Dodson, female, white, d.o.b. abt.  1822 born in Delaware, she is 38 years of age at the time of this census.  May A Dodson, female, white, d.o.b. abt. 1840 born in Maryland, 20 years of age at the time of this census. Araminta Dodson, female, white, d.o.b. abt. 1842 born in Maryland, 18 years of age at the time of this census. Sarah F Dodson, female, white, d.o.b. abt. 1851 born in Maryland, 9 years of age at the time of this census. Catharine Dodson, female, white, d.o.b. abt. 1854 born in Maryland, 6 years of age at the time of this census. Also listed in the house hold are John Lockrey, male, white, d.o.b. abt. 1833 born in Ireland, 27 years of age at the time of this census. His occupation is listed as farm laborer.   Joseph Ford, male, white, d.o.b. abt. 1838 born in Delaware, 22 years of age at the time of this census. His occupation is listed as farm laborer.  James Bowie, male, white, d.o.b. abt. 1842 born in Maryland, 18 years of age at the time of this census. His occupation is listed as farm laborer. Thomas Cornegies, male, black, d.o.b. abt. 1838 born in Maryland, 22 years of age at the time of this census. Charles Coleman, male, black, d.o.b. abt. 1853 born in Delaware, 7 years of age at the time of this census.  

[2]1870 United States Federal Census in the St George Hundred, county of New Castle in the state of Delaware.  James Dodson, head of household, male, white, d.o.b. abt. 1815 born in Maryland, he is 55 years of age at the time of this census. His occupation is listed as a farmer, the value of his personal estate is listed at 2,000. Letitia Dodson, female, white, d.o.b. abt. 1820 born in Delaware, 50 years of age at the time of this census. Her occupation is listed as keeping house. Mary A Dodson, female, white, d.o.b. abt. 1840 born in Maryland, she was 30 years of age at the time of this census. Susan Dodson, female, white, d.o.b. abt. 1848 born in Delaware, she was 22 years of age at the time of the census. Catharine Dodson, female, white d.o.b. abt. 1853 born in Maryland, she was 17 years of age at the time of this census.  Also listed in the house hold are, Ann Pins, female, black, d.o.b. abt. 1860 born in Maryland, she was 10 years of age at the time of this census. Her occupation is listed as a domestic servant.  James Pearce, male, black, d.o.b. abt. 1840 born in Maryland, he was 30 years of age at the time of this census. His occupation is listed as farmer laborer.   Moses Jones, male, black, d.o.b. abt. 1851 born in Maryland, he was 19 years of age at the time of this census. His occupation is listed as farmer laborer.  Lewis Carty, male, black, d.o.b. abt. 1852 born in Maryland, he was 18 years of age at the time of the census. His occupation is listed as farmer laborer.   Henry Carty, male, black, d.o.b. abt. 1854 born in Maryland, he was 16 years of age at the time of the census. His occupation is listed as farmer laborer.  Philip Simmons, male, black, d.o.b. abt. 1810 born in Maryland, he was 60 years of age at the time of this census. His occupation is listed as farmer laborer. 

 [3]1880 United States Federal Census in Appoquinimink Township in the New Castle county in the state of Delaware. James Dodson head of household, male, white, d.o.b. abt. 1815 born in MA along with both parents being born in MA. His occupation is listed as a farmer, he was 65 years of age at the time of this census.  Letitia Dodson is listed as wife, female, white, d.o.b. abt. 1820 born in Delaware, both parents were born in Delaware. Her occupation is listed as keeping house, she is 60 years of age at the time of this census. Also listed in the household is John Jefferson male, black, d.o.b. abt. 1869, born in Delaware, both parents born in Delaware. His occupation is listed as servant/laborer; he was 11 years of age at the time of this census. Edward Sickz, male, black, d.o.b. abt. 1865, born in Delaware, both parents born in Delaware. His occupation is listed as servant/laborer; he was 15 years old at the time of the census. Rebeca Macin, female, white, d.o.b. abt. 1856 born in Delaware, both parents were born in Delaware. Her occupation is listed as servant/laborer, he she was 24 years of age at the time of the census.

[1] 1860 United States Federal Census ( accessed 14 July 2015) Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Census Place: St Georges, New Castle, Delaware; Roll: M653_96; Page: 910; Image: 213; Family History Library Film: 803096 NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
[2] 1870 United States Federal Census ( accessed 14 July 2015) Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Census Place: Saint Georges Hundred, New Castle, Delaware; Roll: M593_120; Page: 747A; Image: 719; Family History Library Film: 545619 NARA microfilm publication M593, 1,761 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
[3]1880 United States Federal Census ( accessed 14 July 2015) Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010. Census Place: Appoquinimink, New Castle, Delaware; Roll: 120; Family History Film: 1254120; Page: 389D; Enumeration District: 031; Image: 0299 NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sunday Cemetery -Hood's Cemetery

Published the 12th of May in 1902 in the Philadelphia Inquires out of Philadelphia, PA
Interesting Historic Memories Cluster About Hood’s Cemetery, in the Heart of Germantown’s Business District
     It is somewhat of a surprise to the chance visitor to discover a burying ground right in the heart of the business part of Germantown, on valuable property along the main street, with stores on either side. The fact that it must ever continue a cemetery, and that the bodies cannot be removed to give opportunity for building operations lends special interest to the spot, for the old deeds state that it must “continue a burying ground forever.” Since the handsome marble wall and entrance gate have been erected the place had been known as Hood’s Cemetery, after the giver of the find inclosure, but it is still popularly known as the “Old Lower Burying Ground,” in contrast to the “Old Upper Burying Ground,” another rare old historic cemetery in the upper part of Germantown. 
     The Old Lower Burying Ground or Hood’s Cemetery crowns the summit of the hill leading form Wayne Junction along Germantown avenue to Logan street. Though only five acres in extent, this diminutive city of the dead – according to a local historian – possesses a history which, bit by bit, links the present to the period when Germantown avenue was an Indian trail, and the city of Philadelphia itself a collection of about one hundred houses, lying for the most part east of Second street. Peculiar interest is attached to the cemetery from the fact that the Lower Burying Ground antedates any cemetery in this city. The history of this little graveyard begins with the incorporation of the borough of Germantown. The lot at the corner of Main street and Fisher’s lane was selected as a suitable site for a burying ground I 1690, a few months after the borough’s organization.
     The plot was secured by gift form Jan Streepers, of Holland, probably one of the Moravian emigrants who came to Germantown with Pastorius. The first authentic record of a conveyance is a deed dated February 12, 1692, in which one Leonard Arets granted the land to Paul Wolff, his heirs and assigns, for no other use than a burying place forever. The ground mentioned in this transfer measured one-half acre, of a square form, laying along the eastern side of Main street, or Germantown avenue. By subsequent purchases the premises were enlarged to their present dimensions. The frontage on Germantown avenue is one hundred and eighty feet, with a depth along Logan street, on Fisher’s lane, of three hundred and fifty feet, the whole lot containing about five acres.
     In March, 1847, William Hood, a rich but eccentric Germantown merchant, made a proposition to the trustees, that, in consideration of allowing him to build a vault in the doorway near the front gate, he would erect a marble gateway and entrance. This offer was accepted, and Mr. Hood built a beautiful entrance gate of Pennsylvania marble, with a handsome arch, the canopy supported by Corinthian columns. He also put a marble wall and handsome railing along the whole front. Mr. Hood died in Paris in 1850 and his instructions regarding the wall were carried out by his nephew, William H. Stewart. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Saturday Spotting - Free Blacks in Hayti

   Published on the 12th of February in 1817 in the Delaware Gazette & State Journal out of Wilmington, DE
From the New York Columbian
Necessity of Colony of Free Blacks,
  We have and abstract of the constitution of Hayti some weeks ago; and out of compassion for the conscientious members of the Colonizing Society, who cannot sleep in their beds, we again publish the 44th clause, which show a land of promise nearer our doors than Sierra Leone:
          44. “Every African, Indian and their descendants, born in the colonies of foreign countries, who shalt come to reside in the Republic, shall be recognized as Haytians, but shall not enjoy the rights of citizenship until after a years residence.”

     The same constitution that excludes the white man, invites the black, and gentlemen form Port au Prince have assures us that President Petion gives a marked welcome to the Free Blacks from the United States who settle in Hayti.