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Full text of "The historic mansions and buildings of Philadelphia : with some notice of their owners and occupants"

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THE 



HISTORIC MANSIONS 



AND 



Buildings of Philadelphia, 



WITH SOME NOTICE OF 



THEIR OWNERS AND OCCUPANTS 



BY 

THOMPSON WESTCOTT, 

AUTHOR OF 
THE OFFICIAL GUIDE-BOOK TO PHILADELPHIA," "A HISTORY OF PHILADELPHIA," ETC., ETC. 



"The knights are dust, 

And their good swords are rust ; 

Their souls are with the saints, we trust.'', s jjj > 3 

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PHILADELPHIA : 

PORTER & COATES, 

822 CHESTNUT STREET. 



Copyright, 1877, by Porter & Coaxes. 




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• • • 

• •• 



•• • • • 
• • • • 



• • • • ♦ 



. V/estcott & Thomson, 

Stereotypers and F.lectrotypers, Philnda. 



Henky B. Ashmead, 
Printer, Philada. 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

PENN'S COTTAGE, AFTERWARD CALLED "THE LETITIA HOUSE"... ii 

THE SLATE-ROOF HOUSE 37 

SWEDES' CHURCH (GL-ORIA DEI) 56 

OLD LONDON COFFEE-HOUSE 68 

CHRIST CHURCH 79 

THE QUAKER ALMSHOUSE 96 

INDEPENDENCE HALL: THE STATE-HOUSE 103 

GERMAN LUTHERAN CHURCH: ST. MICHAEL'S AND ZION 129 

STENTON 141 

OLD ACADEMY, FOURTH STREET 155 

THE FISHING COMPANY OF THE STATE IN SCHUYLKILL 171 

BARTRAM'S HOUSE 180 

THE LOXLEY HOUSE 190 

CARPENTERS' HALL 200 

MOUNT PLEASANT 212 

CLIVEDEN (CHEW HOUSE), GERMANTOWN 230 

THE WASHINGTON MANSION, MARKET STREET : 250 

THE WISTER HOUSE, GERMANTOWN 272 

WASHINGTON'S HEAD-QUARTERS AT VALLEY FORGE 289 

THE HOUSE WHERE THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE WAS 

WRITTEN 307 

THE OFFICE OF SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS.... 318 

FREE QUAKER MEETING HOUSE 321 

5 



6 CONTENTS, 



PAGE 



LANSDOWNE m 

ROBERT MORRIS'S FOLLY 351 

THE HILLS 367 

BELMONT 381 

THE PHILADELPHIA LIBRARY 396 

BUSH HILL AND THE WOODLANDS 415 

FIRST BANK OF THE UNITED STATES 428 

THE SOLITUDE 437 

SEDGLEY 449 

HARRITON 454 

WALNUT GROVE 466 

FAIRHILL 481 

CLARKE HALL, EVERGREEN, THE PLANTATION 494 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 



PAGE 

State-House in Philadelphia in 1778 Frontispiece. 

An Old House in Trotter's Alley, built in 1685 9 

Plan of the City in 1682 12 

Cherry Tree at Pennsbury, planted by William Penn 13 

William Penn's House in Letitia Street 17 

William Penn's Coat-of-Arms..... 21 

Penn Treaty Monument , 33 

Tail-Piece: The Advance of Trade 36 

The Slate-Roof House 39 

Penn's Proprietary Seal 43 

British Coat-of-Arms 55 

Old Blockhouse 57 

Old Swedes' Church (Gloria Dei) 59 

Wilson Schoolhouse 67 

Old London Coffee-House 70 

Christ Church 82 

Interior of Christ Church, looking toward the Chancel 89 

Franklin's Grave 94 

Quaker Almshouses 97 

Quaker Almshouse, Walnut Street Front 99 

Old Court-House, formerly at Second and Market Streets 104 

Liberty Bell 108 

Independence Hall 113 

Speaker's Chair, and Table on which the Declaration of Independence 

WAS Signed 119 

The State-House as it appeared between 1741 and 1750 123 

Interior of Independence Hall 125 

Tail-Piece: American Eagle 128 

7 



8 ILL US TRA TIONS. 

PAGH 

St, Michael's German Lutheran Church 131 

Stenton 143 

The "New Building," Fourth Street below Arch 159 

Entrance at Eggi.esfield 172 

Castle of The State in Schuylkili 177 

Bartram's House 183 

Tree planted by Bartram 186 

LoxLEY House 191 

Carpenters' Hall in 1774 201 

Carpenters' Hall 204 

Pat Lyon 209 

Mount Pleasant Mansion 215 

The Procession of Arnold and the Devil 227 

Chew House, Germantown 237 

Door of the Chew House, showing Marks of the Battle 243 

Johnson House, Germantown 249 

Washington's Mansion 251 

Wister House 275 

Fort Wilson 281 

Valley Forge from the Railroad 290 

Washington's Head-Quarters at Valley Forge 295 

House where the Declaration of Lndependence was Written 309 

Office of the Secrbtary of State for Foreign Affairs 319 

Apprentices' Library, formerly Free Quaker Meeting-House 329 

Lansdowne Mansion 334 

Morris's Folly 357 

The Hills, Robert Morrls's Mansion 368 

Fountain near Mineral Spring, Lemon Hill 373 

Lemon Hill, Fairmount Park 377 

East Terrace, Lemon Hill 379 

Belmont Mansion 383 

Philadelphia Library '„, 3^^ 

Loganian Library 404 

RiDGWAY Library ,^07 

Interior of the Philadelphia Library 410 

Bust of Minerva, formerly over the Chair of the Speaker of Congress.... 411 

Penn's Clock 412 

The Bookworm , 413 

Bush Hill Mansion 418 



ILL USTRA TIONS. 



PAGE 

Solitude 439 

Cabinet belonging to John Penn 442 

Monkey House, Zoological Garden 448 

Sedgley 450 

Harriton 461 

Walnut Grove (Wharton House) 468 

Association Battery 472 

Fair Hill Mansion 482 

Reading- Stand belonging to John Dickinson 486 

Fair Hill Meeting-House 492 

Plantation House 5^4 




An Old House in Trotter's Alley, built in 1685. 

From an original sketch taken in 1825. 



PENN^S COTTAGE, 

AFTERWARD CALLED "THE LETITIA HOUSE." 



E sure to settle the fig-ure of the town so as that the streets 



hereafter may be uniform down to the water from the country 
_ bounds," wrote Wm. Penn, the proprietor and governor of 
^^ Pennsylvania, on 30th of September, 1681, to his trusty and 
^ loving friends, Wm. Crispin, John Bezar, and Nathaniel Allen, 
who were his commissioners " for the settling of the present 
colony this year transported into the said province." " Let 
the place for the storehouse be on the middle of the key, which will 
serve for market and storehouses too. This may be ordered when I 
come, only let the houses built be in a line, or upon a line, as much as 
may be." 

" Pitch upon the very middle of the plat, where the town or line of 
houses is to be laid or run, facing the harbor in the great river, for the 
situation of my house ; . . . . the distance of each house from the 
creek or harbor should be in my judgment a measured quarter of a 
mile; at least two hundred paces, because of building hereafter streets 
downwards to the harbor." 

" Let every house be placed, if the person pleases, in the middle of 
its plat as to the breadthway of it, so that there may be ground on 
each side for garden or orchards or fields, that it may be a green coun- 
try town which will never be burnt and always be wholesome." Such 
was the idea of the founder in regard to the characteristics of the capital 
of his new settlement. His hope was that Philadelphia would prove 
to be a quiet, shaded, green country town, after the pattern of many 

English places and villages, " far from the madding crowd's ignoble 

II 



12 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADEIPHIA. 



strife," and free from the excitements, animosities, frivolities, and vices 
of a metropolis. He could not anticipate the eventful future. His 
great town was to be situate within an English colony, governed by 
English policy, influenced by English habits, protected by English 
authority, but scarcely daring to hope for fostering care and helping 
assistance from the English government. Wisdom m laying out the 
plan of the city has been often claimed for the scheme of Penn, and 




Plan of the Cnv in 16S2 

posterity has not denied the proper acknowledgment. According to 
his own expectation — the anticipation of the great events of the future 
being beyond moral ken — his plans were philosophical and practical. 
He could not foresee the stronij influences which would result from 
the sturdy spirit of freedom which was diffused among the English 
people during the times of the Commonwealth ; nor could he antici- 
pate that within a century the principles of government for which his 



PENN\S COTTAGE. 



13 



countrymen, Hampden and Sydney, contended, would be the control- 
ling philosophy in the American Colonies, and that his own town of 
Philadelphia would be the place at which a government representing 
the purified theories of the English constitution would be most 
effectively enforced. A '* green country town," sweet and wholesome, 
was all that he could hope for; and as for his own residence, his 




Cherry Trke at Pfnnshury, lately Standing, planted by Willlam Fenn. 

desire was that it should be simple, pleasantly situate, so as to over- 
look the broad river, and placed in the middle of its plat, with gardens 
and orchards surrounding it. 

The commissioners selected for the Governor's lot a piece of ground 
which at the time was in the most conspicuous portion of the town. 
The Front street from the Delaware was its eastern boundary, the 



14 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

High street was upon the north, the Second street upon the west. It 
was not the desire of the founder that the house should be large and 
costly. His great ambition was that his principal seat should be up 
the river at Pennsbury : a house in the city was necessary when he 
should come down to meet the assembly, to attend Friends' meeting, 
or to despatch business. His barge or his yacht would bring him in 
proper state and show, and take him away again. For, although the 
proprietary had adopted the simple habits and doctrines of the Society 
of Friends, there was within him much of the manner of his father's 
house. Formality and a certain degree of luxury, with attention to 
many worldly fashions, which were to the strictest Quaker vanities of 
vanities, were kept up. In truth, all that we know of the early Quakers 
must satisfy us that the severe simplicity which is supposed to have 
been characteristic of the Children of Light was the rule among 
the poor members rather than among those who were possessed of 
means. Penn himself was particular in regard to his beaver hats and 
his periwigs. His shoes were not allowed to disdain the meretricious 
pride of buckles. He resorted to leather overalls for riding or shoot- 
ing. His wife and daughter on his second visit, when he resided at 
the Slate-Roof House, held their consultations with haberdashers and 
mantuamakers in relation to the style of their caps and frocks. They 
wore buckles. Letitia rejoiced in a watch, and goldsmiths' bills, which 
must have been for chains or other jewelry, were paid by the great 
Quaker. The cellar of the governor was stored with beer, cider, sherry, 
madeira and claret wines. Of strong liquors, rum and brandy, he had 
little, and preferred them not for ordinary drinking, because, according 
to his own sentiment, they were '' better for physic than food, for cor- 
dials than for common use." 

The proprietary's lot extended from High street, southward on 
Front and Second streets, halfway to Chestnut street. It was in 
length, east and west, 402 feet, and in depth 172 feet. Almost liter- 
ally was the request that the house be placed in the middle of the 
plat complied with. The building was a little west of the centre of 
the enclosure, and at nearly equal distances between the upper and 
lower boundaries. It must have been commenced before Penn's arrival. 
Gabriel Thomas, in his account of Pennsylvania, published in London 
in 1698, said : " I saw the first cellar when it was digging for the use of 
the house of our gouvernour, William Penn." Gabriel says that he 



FENN'S COTTAGE. 15 



himself came to Pennsylvania in the first ship, the John and Sarah, 
of London, Henry Smith commander, in 1681. This vessel probably 
arrived in November. Penn came in the Welcome, which arrived 
at the Capes of the Delaware on the 24th of October, 1682, nearly a 
year after Thomas was in the colony. It might seem from this state- 
ment that Penn's house was the first one erected in the city, but in re- 
gard to that matter there is only conjecture. Thomas says it had the 
first cellar which was dug for a house. It is claimed that the first house 
was built in 1682 by Andrew Griscom, but this seems to be a matter 
of tradition only. In regard to the materials of Penn's house, it is 
stated by Watson that some of the finer fittings of the interior were im- 
ported in the first vessel, but most of the work, it may be presumed, 
was done in Pennsylvania. Concerning the bricks which form the 
walls, it is proper to allude to the prevalence of stories which frequently 
assume, in the case of old buildings, '' the bricks were brought from 
England." No doubt there have been such houses in America, but 
the probability is that the greater number of mansions to which such 
distinction has been assigned were constructed entirely of brick manu- 
factured in this country. In regard to Penn's house, it is sufficient to 
say that if he sent out bricks from England to build it, such care was 
not necessary. He could have bought at his own door all the bricks re- 
quired. There was a brickmaker in the neighborhood, before the city was 
laid out, in the person of Daniel Pegg. Pegg succeeded Jurian Hartzfel- 
der, who obtained from the court at Upland, in the time of the Swedes, 
a grant of the ground between the Cohoquinoque, afterward called 
Pegg's Run in remembrance of Daniel himself, and the Cohocksink 
Creek, embracing in his estate almost entirely the district afterward 
known as the Northern Liberties. The soil furnished the best material 
for bricks, and the presence of brickmakers was spoken of at a very 
early period. Penn, in a letter dated July, 1683, says, "I have here the 
canoe of one tree y^ fetches four tunns of bricks ;" which shows that 
bricks were a common article of transport, some of them being pro- 
bably brought from Burlington in West Jersey, an older place than 
Philadelphia. Some might have come from Chester or Newcastle. In 
A Furtlier Account of Penitsylvania, published in 1685, Penn said, "Di- 
vers brickeries going on, many cellars already stoned or bricked, and 
some brick houses going up." In this paper he publishes a letter 
from Robert Turner at Philadelphia, which is dated 3d of 6th month, 



1 6 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHIIADEIPHIA. 

1685, in which the latter gives an account of the improvement in the 
country after Penn's departure. Turner says : " And since I built my 
brick lioi(SL\ the foundation of which was laid at thy going, which I 
did design after a good manner to encourage others, and that from 
building with wood it being the first, many take example, and some 
that built wooden houses are sorry for it. Brick building is said to be 
as cheap ; bricks are exceeding good, and better than when I built; more 
makers fallen in and bricks cheaper. They were before at i6s. English 
per 1000, and now many bi'avc brick Jiouses are going up with good 
cellars." Turner then goes on to speak of the brick houses of Arthur 
Cook, William Frampton, John Wheeler, Samuel Carpenter, John Test 
and others, including the foundation of a large brick building for a meet- 
ing-house in Centre Square. He adds, " all these have balconies." 
" Thomas Smith and Daniel Pege (Pegg) set to making of brick this year 
and they are very good ; also Pastonts, the German Friend, agent for 
the company at Frankford, with his Dutch people, are preparing to 
make brick next year. Samuel Carpenter is our lime-burner on his 
wharf Brave limestone found here as the workmen say being proved." 
The house erected for Penn according to his direction was plain in 
appearance and small. It was two stories in height, with garret 
room and a small back building. The doorway was in the centre, 
with a bracketed porch-roof above it. There were rooms on each 
side. The second story front had three windows. There were two 
windows in the first stor}^ and one in the second story on the north- 
ern side, and two windows in the northern wall which gave light to 
the garret and loft. The latter was lighted from a plain, square-headed 
dormer window opening in front. The eaves were heavy and plas- 
tered, and extended around on the north wall toward the head of the 
second-story window, where the eave was cut through, so that this 
part of the cornice was displayed on either side of the head of the 
second-story window which looked northward. Along the north- 
ern side of the house was a road or path which led toward Second 
street, where the Governor's Gate was established immediately oppo- 
site the great meeting-house. We may suppose that the grounds 
retained the original forest trees, that they were laid out with suf- 
ficient taste and comfort to be agreeable, and that the proprietor en- 
joyed his residence there during periods when business kept him in 
the town, or after he returned fatigued, wet, cold, or suffering from 



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PENN'S COTTAGE. 



19 



heat, according to the vicissitudes of the seasons, from his visits to 
Pennsbury. At what time this house was finished for the governor 
is not known. It must have been some time after the proprietary 
arrived in Pennsylvania. A curious bill rendered against William 
Penn by Thomas Fairman, the surveyor, contains items of charges 
for services rendered during the laying out of the city, and was re- 
corded at Philadelphia in Deed Book D, No. 13, in 1785, the object being 
to prove a release of the claim. Fairman was settled at Shakamaxon 
before Penn's time. He was a surveyor, and, most opportunely to suit 
the proprietary and his companions, he was a member of the Society of 
Friends. He aided in the surveys of the city and proceedings re- 
lating thereto by Lieutenant-Governor William Markham, the com- 
missioners, William Hague, Nathaniel Allen and John Bezar, and 
the surveyor, John Holme. From these items it appears that Mark- 
ham, Hague, Holme and his two sons and daughters lodged at 
Fairman's house on their first arrival, and there is an item, *' to the 
leaving of my house in the winter season for the proprietor's use." 
No money charge is made for that accommodation, but it shows that 
during the winter of 1682-83, Penn resided at Shackamaxon, and 
justifies the inference that his house in the city was not finished at 
that time. The minutes of the Society of Friends state, ** At a 
monthly meeting, Ninth month (November), 1682, at this time Gov- 
ernor William Penn and a multitude of Friends arrived here and 
erected a city called Philadelphia, about half a mile from Shaka- 
maxon, where meetings, etc. were established, etc. Thomas Fair- 
man at the request of the governor removed himself to Tacony, 
where there was also a meeting to be kept, and the ancient meeting 
of Shakamaxon removed to Philadelphia." This clearly establishes 
that Fairman vacated his house and that Penn took possession of it. 
The governor could not have occupied his house in the city until 
some time in 1683. According to Holme's portraiture of Philadel- 
phia, this lot on High street was reserved for Letitia, the daughter of 
William Penn, from the beginning. It is numbered 24, and shows 
upon the plan that there is one house upon it. Letitia was at this 
time in England, as was Penn's entire family, and when the proprie- 
tary went into the house he kept there something like " Bachelor's 
Hall." When he sailed from England he left two children, William 
and Letitia. He was married to Gulielma Maria Springett in 1672, 



20 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



and when he came to Pennsylvania Letitia must have been about 
eight years old. Her father had reserved for her use the lot at the 
south-west corner of Second and Market streets, but Lieutenant- 
Governor Markham, before the proprietary arrived, under some mis- 
apprehension, it may be supposed, granted that lot to the Society of 
Friends for the building of a meeting-house. Penn complained very 
much of that action as unauthorized. The lot upon which he built 
his house would probably have been considered his own if Letitia 
had been provided for as he intended. But the premises were 
marked for her use, although transfer was not made until many 
years afterward. The affection of the founder for his family was 
very warm. In his letter of farewell addressed to them just before 
he left England he wrote with rich expression and pathos, " My dear 
wife and children, my love, which neither sea, nor land, nor death it- 
self, can extinguish or lessen tov/ard you, most endearedly visits you 
with eternal embraces and will abide with you for ever. Some things 
are upon my spirit to leave with you in your respective capacities, as 
I am to one a husband and the rest a father, if I should never see 
you more in this world. 

" My dear wife, remember thou wast the love of my youth and the 
joy of my life, the most beloved as well a.s the most worthy of all my 
earthly comfort, and the reason of that love was more thy inward than 
thy outward excellencies, which were yet mxany. God knows, and thou 
knowest it, it was a match of Providence's making, and God's image in 
us both was the first thing and the most amiable and engaging orna- 
ment in our eyes. Now I am to leave thee, and that without knowing 
whether I shall ever see thee more in this world. Take my counsel 
into thy bosom, and let it dwell with thee in my stead while thou livest. 
.... And now, my dearest, let me recommend to thy care my dear 
children, abundantly loved of me, as the Lord's blessing and the sweet 
pledges of our mutual and endeared affection. Above all things, en- 
deavor to breed them up in the love of virtue and that holy plain way 
of it which we have lived in, that the world in no part of it get into my 
family. I would rather they were homely than finely bred as to out- 
ward behavior ; yet I love sweetness mixed with gravity, and cheerful- 
ness tempered with sobriety. Religion in the heart leads into this true 
solidity, teaching men and women to be mild and courteous in their be- 
havior — an accomplishment worthy indeed of praise." 



THE LETITIA HOUSE. 



21 



Jeffrey, the celebrated critic, in his review of Clarkson's Life of Perm, 
published July, 1813, said of this letter : '' There is something, we think, 
very touching and venerable in the affectionateness of its whole strain 
and the patriarchal simplicity in which it is conceived, while the lan- 
guage appears to us to be one of the most beautiful specimens of that 
soft and mellow English which, with all its cumbrous volume, has to 
our ear a far richer and more pathetic sweetness than the epigrams and 
apothegms of modern times." After a stay of about twenty-one months 
in Pennsylvania, Penn was re- 
quired to return to England 
in order to take care of his 
proprietary interests and title 
in Pennsylvania, which were 
threatened by the proceedings 
of Lord Baltimore. He sailed 
from Philadelphia on the 12th 
of the 6th month in the ketch 
Endeavor. He commissioned 
the Provincial Council to act 
in his stead, made Markham 
secretary, and assigned his 
mansion to be used during 
his absence for the public ser- 
vice. A letter to James Har- 
rison, his steward at Penns- 
bury, directs him : "Allow my 
cousin Markham to live in 
my house in Philadelphia, 
and that Thomas Lloyd, the 
deputy governor, shall have 
the use of my periwigs and any 
wines and beers that may be 
there left for the use of strangers." In a letter written in 1687, Penn 
says : " Your improvements now require some conveniency above what 
my cottage has afforded you in times past." This little house was 
therefore for some time the State House of the province. It was the 
place where the officers of government met. Here the Provincial Coun- 
cil deliberated solemnly upon subjects connected with the interests of 





UM CLAVUM TENEA 



William Penn's 
Coat-of-Arms. 



22 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHIIADELPHIA, 

the infant colony, and into this house came at the time the most eminent 
among the settlers, men of grave demeanor, serious members of the 
Society of Friends, the pillars of the state which supported the fabric 
of government. Prominent among these may be named the man of 
many employments, William Markham. He was the very Proteus of 
officeholders. He was lieutenant-governor under Penn's original com- 
mission, and represented not only the claim of the owner of Pennsyl- 
vania, but in some sort the majesty of the English crown. When the 
proprietary arrived, Markham sank from his high estate to the position 
of secretary of the Council. In 1691 he was made deputy governor 
of the "territories" now known as the State of Delaware. In 1693, 
when the Crown seized upon the proprietary government and appointed 
Benjamin Fletcher, who was governor of New York, to be also gov- 
ernor of Pennsylvania, the latter appointed Markham deputy governor, 
and he held the office for nearly two years, until the government of 
Pennsylvania was restored to Penn, after which Markham continued in 
office till Penn's arrival in 1699. Subsequently he seems to have retired 
from active life, but retained several of his employments and his seat in 
the Council. Concerning Markham before he arrived in Pennsylvania 
very little is known. He is represented to have come from London, 
and to have been a soldier who had attained the rank of captain in the 
British army. In after years he was called *' colonel," but how he 
reached the rank is unknown. Watson says that when Markham ar- 
rived in Pennsylvania he was but twenty-one years of age, which, if cor- 
rect, would show that he had seen but little military service. He died 
June II, 1704, and at that time, if he was not more than twenty-one 
years of age when he came to Pennsylvania, he was in his forty-fifth 
year. Yet he left besides his widow Joanna a daughter, Mrs. Ann 
Brown, who had two sons, James and William, and '* a daughter-in-law," 
Elizabeth, who was married to J. Regnier. From this it is to be in- 
ferred that he was either twice married or that his wife was a widow 
when he married her, she having a child by a former marriage. It is 
possible that he might have been a grandfather before the age of forty- 
five, but taking all the circumstances into consideration, if it is neces- 
sary to carry out the theory, his daughter must have married very 
young. Regnier was a lawyer, and there are in the Logan papers letters 
which show that he had the settlement of Colonel Markham's estate, 
and that there was some trouble about the accounts, it being claimed 



THE LETITIA HOUSE, 23 



that Markham wa-s in debt to Penn for moneys received for various pur- 
poses. The widow of Markham after his death went to York, England. 
James Logan, writing to Jonathan Dickinson on the 12th of 4th month, 
1704, says : " Poor, honest Colonel Markham this morning ended a mis- 
erable life by a seasonable release, in a fit of his old distemper that 
seized his vitals." Logan, writing to Penn shortly after, says : " I before 
advised of Colonel Markham's decease on the nth of last month; 
he died of one of his usual fits." Samuel Preston, writing on the 12th 
of the 4th month, 1704, says : "This morning, about two of the clock, 
our near neighbor and old friend. Colonel Markham, ended a sorrowful 
life ; a man, thou knowest, well respected, but not to be lamented by his 
best friends. I was a spectator of his latter end ; it was not with much 
hardship or struggle." Concerning the important subject of his accounts 
Logan wrote : " I have received all the papers from the widow, and we 
are to have the accounts viewed and examined, but J. Regnier, the coun- 
sellor, her son-in-law, stands very firm to her, and they plead debts due 
to them for services over and above all that can be presented against 
them The old gentleman made a will, but has left his own daugh- 
ter very little, though with him." This phrase, " old gentleman," used 
in relation to Colonel Markham, could scarcely have been employed in 
relation to a man forty-five years of age, and shows that Markham was 
something more than a boy when he came to Pennsylvania. Governor 
Evans had just undertaken to establish a militia, and the burial of the 
late lieutenant-governor gave an opportunity for that sort of display 
which attends a soldier's funeral. Logan, writing to Penn in reference 
to the matter, said that " he was buried very honorably like a soldier, 
with the militia," etc. It is somewhat remarkable that the proprietor 
should have chosen a soldier for his lieutenant-governor, his object 
seeming to be to establish a peaceful commonwealth in which should 
prevail the law of love. Markham had executive abilities, and a man 
accustomed to command was preferable in the exigencies of a new gov- 
ernment. There is extant in Markham's handwriting a proclamation or 
draft of a proclamation dated at Upland, October I, 1682, in which he 
requires all male persons within the Province from "16 years of age and 
upward, and under y® age of 60, be ready at an hour's warning with 
arms and ammunition fitt for a defence, and to repaire to such place or 
places of rendezvous as shall be directed by me or by my order." At 
the time of his death Colonel Markham lived in Front street, and, it is 



24 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

to be presumed, owned the house in which he resided. He was also 
owner of a house on the north side of Market street, at the north-east 
corner of an alley since known as Grindstone Alley. By his will he 
left all his servants and slaves to his wife, with the exception of one 
Indian boy, Ectus Frankson, born in 1 700, whom he directed should 
be set free when twenty -four years old. 

Connected with the Provincial Government at the time when the 
Penn Cottage was occupied by Markham was Thomas Lloyd, who 
was President of the Provincial Council. It was to him and to James 
Claypole, John Simcock, Christopher Taylor, and James Harrison, as 
members of the Friends' meetings in Pennsylvania, that Penn poured 
out his feelings from on board the ketch Endeavor before leaving the 
Delaware : " My love and my life is to you, and with you, and no 
water can quench it nor distance wear it out or bring it to an end. I 
have been with you, cared over you, and served you with unfeigned 
love ; and you are beloved of me and near unto me beyond utterance." 
Thomas Lloyd must not be confounded with David Lloyd, who was 
very conspicuous and troublesome — was notorious in the affairs of 
Pennsylvania as a bitter opponent of the proprietary's policy. Thomas 
was a man of a different sort. David was fiery, aggressive, and a 
thorough politician. He gave great trouble to Penn, who speaks 
of him in his letters in a tone and manner scarcely accordant with 
peaceable professions. Thomas Lloyd came from Dolobran, Mont- 
gomeryshire, North Wales. It is stated that he was born in 1649, 
his father being descended from an ancient and respectable family. 
His brother Charles, who had been justice of the peace and high 
sheriff of the county of Montgomery, was " convinced of the truth " by 
the gospel labors of Richard Davies, who in 1662 held meetings for 
divine worship at the house of Cadwalader Edwards in Dolobran. 
Charles, with Edwards and some others, having embraced the tenets 
of the Society of Friends, they were summoned before Lord Herbert, 
baron of Cherbury, and required to take the oath of allegiance ; which 
they refused to do, and for their contumacy were thrown into prison 
at Welsh Pool. Thomas Lloyd was then a student at Oxford, and 
came to visit his brother while in prison. " During his intercourse 
with friends there," says Janney, " his understanding was opened by 
divine grace, so that he embraced the truth, and, taking up the cross of 
self-denial, became an immediate disciple of Christ." The persecution 



THE LETITIA HOUSE. 



25 



of the Quakers led to the imprisonment, or rather the arrest, of Davies, 
with Thomas Lloyd and Samuel Lloyd, who were held for some time. 
Soon the trouble of the Welsh magistrates was to know what to do 
with them. Davies and the two Lloyds were promised a release by 
Justice Corbet " if they would go to church and hear divine service." 
They agreed to this, went on a certain Sunday, listened to the Liturgy, 
and after the services were over made some remarks which were 
listened to without trouble in the congregation. Thus these men 
secured their liberty by the peculiar punishment, which the magis- 
trate must have supposed it to be, of being compelled to attend 
church. Thomas Lloyd was President of the Provincial Council of 
Pennsylvania from August, 1684, to December, 1686, when, in conse- 
quence of the troubles of administration, Penn appointed five com- 
missioners, Thomas Lloyd, Nicholas More, James Claypole, Robert 
Turner, and John Eckley. More and Claypole never acted, and Arthur 
Cook and John Simcock took their places. Lloyd after a time became 
tired of the continual contests in which the government was involved. 
Penn with great reluctance gave him his dismissal. He remained in 
private life something over two years, was again called to the presi- 
dency of the Council in January, 1690, and held that position until 
March, 1691, when he was made deputy governor of the province, and 
Markham deputy governor of "the territories." In April, 1693, Gov- 
ernor Lloyd was superseded by the seizure of the Provincial Govern- 
ment by the Crown, and the appearance of Benjamin Fletcher, gover- 
nor of New York, as the representative of the royal authority. He 
assumed no further high trust. He died in the early part of October 
of the following year, at the age of forty-five. He was well educated, 
a university man, talked Latin fluently on the passage over with 
Francis Daniel Pastorius, the classic German who was one of the 
founders of Germantown. Haverford Monthly Meeting gave out a 
testimony concerning him in which it was said, " His sound and 
effectual ministry, his godly conversation, meek and lamb-like spirit, 
great patience, temperance, humility and slowness to wrath ; his love 
to the brethren, his godly care in the Church of Christ that all things 
might be kept sweet, savory, and in good order ; his helping hand to 
the weak, and gentle admonitions, we are fully satisfied, have a seal and 
witness in the hearts of all faithful friends who knew him, both in the 

land of his nativity and in these American parts." 
4 



26 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

The first wife of Thomas Lloyd was Mary Jones, daughter of Col. 
Roger Jones of Welsh Pool, who was governor of Dublin in the reign 
of James 11. , and who defeated the Marquis of Warming in Ireland. 
This marriage took place before Lloyd came to Pennsylvania, and his 
wife died in 1680. His second wife was Patience Story or Patience 
Gardner, who died while her husband was in Pennsylvania, and was 
the first person buried in Friends' burial-ground at Arch and 
Fourth streets. William Penn attended the funeral, and spoke at 
her grave. His children were by his first wife only, and they were 
seven boys and three girls. 

His three daughters were Hannah, Rachel, and Mary, and two 
of these accomplished women were foremothers of some of the 
principal families in Pennsylvania. Hannah married Captain John 
Delaval, and, being left a widow, married a second time Richard 
Hill. It was during Penn's second visit, 1 700-01, that these espousals 
took place. " Tell Hannah Delaval that to be one of her witnesses 
[at her marriage with Richard Hill] is not the least motive to hasten 
me," wrote Penn from New York at this period. 

Francis Daniel Pastorius, who came over with Lloyd's daughters, ad- 
dressed to them annually a commemorative poem on the anniversary 
of their arrival at Philadelphia, 20th of 6th month, 1683. Hannah had 
no children by John Delaval, but was the mother of five children dur- 
ing her marriage with Richard Hill, but they all died unmarried. 
Richard Hill was Provincial Councillor in 1703, member of the Assem- 
bly 1705-06, and Speaker; three times Mayor of the city, and Justice 
of the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia 1715-24. Rachel Lloyd 
married Samuel Preston, who was Provincial Councillor in 1700, Mayor 
of Philadelphia in 171 1, and for many years Treasurer of the province. 
She had two children, through whom have descended the Moores, Car- 
penters, and other families. Hannah Shoemaker, a granddaughter of 
Hannah Preston, married Robert Morris, Jr., son of the eminent finan- 
cier. Mary, daughter of Thomas Lloyd, married Isaac Norris the first, 
a merchant, who was a member of the Assembly, 1699- 1 703, Mayor 
of the city 1724, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia, 
1715-24. He was offered the commission of Chief-Justice of the Su- 
preme Court in 1 73 1, but declined it. He died suddenly in the latter 
year, being seized with an apoplexy in the meeting-house in German- 
town. He was succeeded in public life by his son, Isaac Norris, who 



THE LETITIA HOUSE. 



27 



entered the Assembly as a representative of Philadelphia county in 1734, 
was elected annually for thirty-one years, being Speaker from 1750 to 
the end of his last term, 1765-66. He died shortly afterward. He 
married a daughter of James Logan, secretary and friend of William 
Penn. Mary, one of his daughters, married John Dickinson, author of 
the Farmer's Letters. Her sister Mary, who was born in 1744, died in 
the bloom of womanhood in 1769. Maria, daughter of John Dickin- 
son, married Albanus Logan, grandson of James Logan of Stenton. 
The families of Hill, Wells, and Morris are connected with the 
Norrises. 

The sons of Thomas Lloyd have attracted less attention than his 
daughters. Thomas, the third son of Thomas the second, and grand- 
son of Thomas the first, married Susanna Owen. Their daughter Sarah 
married William Moore, merchant, who was Vice-President of the Su- 
preme Executive Council of Pennsylvania from 1779 to 1781, when 
Joseph Reed was President, and succeeded the latter as President No- 
vember 14, 1 78 1, and held the office for a year. Susanna, a daughter 
of President Moore, married Thomas Wharton, Jr., who was the first 
President of the Supreme Executive Council. Colonel Thomas Lloyd 
Moore, a son, was a fine, dashing gentleman, and toward the close of 
the last century lived in style on Pine street, below Third, near the 
Stamper and Blackwell mansions. He married Sarah Stamper, and their 
daughter Eliza married Richard W^illing. Elizabeth Moore, sister of 
the colonel, married the French diplomatist, M. Barbe de Marbois, who 
resided in Philadelphia during a portion of the Revolution as Secretary 
of Legation, Charge d' Affaires, and Consul-General of France until 
1785. He afterward attained the rank of marquis, was senator of France, 
and count of the Empire. Washington gracefully wrote to M. de 
Marbois : " It was with great pleasure that I received from your own 
pen an account of the agreeable and happy connection you are about 
to form with Miss Moore. Though you have given many proofs of 
your predilection to this country, yet this last may be considered not 
only as a great and tender one, but as a pleasing and lasting one. The 
accomplishments of the lady and her connections cannot fail to make 
it so." A daughter of the Marquis de Marbois and Elizabeth Moore 
became by marriage the Duchess of Plaisance. 

It is curious that in the line of Thomas Lloyd, lineal and by mar- 
riage, occur more instances of the occupation of high office than can 



28 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



be furnished in any other family in Pennsylvania. In the list of chief 
executive officers of the Commonwealth, President Lloyd is followed by 
Presidents Logan, Wharton, Moore, and Dickinson. In other offices 
of less dignity and importance almost every branch of the family was 
represented. 

Thomas Lloyd was keeper of the Great Seal during his presidency of 
the Council, and Nicholas More, William Welch, William Wood, Rob- 
ert Turner, and John Eckley were commissioned as Provincial Judges. 
More was an eminent man in the affairs of the Province. He held 
many important offices. He was Speaker of the first Assembly 1682-83, 
and remained a member of the House until 1685-86. He was also 
president of the Free Society of Traders, a corporation from which 
highly important influences toward the prosperity of the Province were 
expected, but which, as the result showed, turned out a delusion. He 
remained on the bench as Chief-Justice 1684-85. He was a lawyer, 
came from London, took up large quantities of land, w^hich were em- 
braced in the manor of Moreland, in the upper part of Philadelphia 
county. Montgomery county has since divided this tract, and there was 
a township of Moreland in Philadelphia, and one of the same name in 
Montgomery. After 1687, Nicholas More fell into a languishing con- 
dition of health, his pecuniary aflairs were neglected, and after his death, 
though he had been one of the richest men in Pennsylvania, the sheriff 
sold his estate to satisfy his creditors. 

These men, with many others of reputation and influence, were 
occupants of the governor's cottage between 1684 and 1700, during 
which time the government of Pennsylvania was represented within its 
walls. Upon Penn's last visit — possibly before that time, as we 
have already shown that in 1687 he considered the cottage too small 
for the public use — the offices of the Provincial Government were trans- 
ferred to some other place. When Penn came to Pennsylvania the sec- 
ond time, he brought his wife and his daughter Letitia, and whilst in the 
city transferred the lot on Market street, between Front and Second 
streets, to Letitia, by patent granted 29th of the ist month, 170 1. 
There were added to it seventy feet adjoining to the south, the whole lot 
being one hundred and seventy-two feet on Front street, and extending 
four hundred and two feet to Second street, being bounded by ground 
of Widow Jennet. The property south of this lot is laid down in 
Holme's Portraiture as having been conveyed to Charles Pickering, 



THE LETITIA HOUSE, 



29 



Thomas Bearne. and John Willard. The patents for these lots seem to 
have been issued in other names. Robert Ewer became, before 1700, 
the owner of a lot of ground nearest the Penn property, and through 
these premises an alley was laid out extending from Front to Second 
streets, which Gabriel Thomas in 1698 speaks of as Ewer's Alley. 
Subsequently it was called Black Horse Alley, it is believed from 
the name of an inn upon it. Letitia Penn was impatient to turn this 
property into money. She sold the lot at the south-west corner of 
Front and High streets, upon which was erected the building afterward 
known as the Old London Coffee-House, to Charles Read, July 9, 1701, 
executing the deed herself, from which we may infer that she was then 
over the age of twenty-one years. On leaving Philadelphia with her 
father in the latter part of the year, she appointed James Logan and Edward 
Pennington her attorneys to sell the "great lot" for her benefit. Either at 
this time or shortly afterward a court or alley was laid out halfway between 
Front and Second streets, which was eighteen feet wide at High street, 
extended that width seventy-four feet southward, where it widened to 
thirty-six feet. Pennington and Logan, and Carpenter, who succeeded 
Pennington, made sales of various lots upon these premises, and acted 
with fidelity to their principal until the time came when another had an 
interest in it. 

Letitia did not like Pennsylvania, and was v^ry willing to return to 
England. Penn, writing on the 8th of September, 1 701, to Logan, says : 
" I cannot prevail on my wife to stay, and still less with Tisli. I know 
not what to do. Samuel Carpenter seems to excuse her in it, but to all 
that speak of it say I shall have no need to stay, and great interest to 
return." They set sail in the Dalmahoy, on the 3d of November, 170 1, 
and reached Portsmouth in thirty days, after some sickness at the be- 
ginning, which they got rid of in less than a week. In England the 
charms of this young girl, together with the reputation which her father 
had for wealth, obtained for her a speedy suitor. Reports came over 
to Philadelphia that she was engaged to be married to a certain William 
Aubrey, concerning whom very little is known except that he belonged 
to the city of London and was a merchant. The rumors created some 
excitement, particularly as it was believed in the city that Letitia had 
plighted her troth to young William Masters, with whom she was at 
least on friendly terms if their relations were not tender. Logan, writ- 
ing to Penn in 3d month (May), 1702, refers to the fact that Masters 



30 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

had gone over to London with Janney, who carried the letter from 
which this quotation is made. Letitia, upon leaving Philadelphia, re- 
ceived from Friends' Meeting, as was usual at the time, a certificate of 
her membership and prudent deportment, accompanied with a declara- 
tion, common in such papers, that she was under no marriage engage- 
ment. The secretary dehcately hinted the difficulty to the proprietary : 
" As duty on the one hand obligest me to hint, so prudence on the other 
to touch with the utmost tenderness if upon the news brought by sev- 
eral letters on board Guy, that in all probability my young mistress 
(Letitia) by this time has changed her name, though I willingly would, 
yet cannot, forbear informing thee of what has been since too liberally 
discoursed of her, and among the rest not sparingly, by some that 
signed her certificate, viz., that she was under some particular engage- 
ment to the before-mentioned W. M., the said signers having upon some 
unhappy information given them lately expressed so great a dissatisfac- 
tion at what they had done that it had been proposed among them to 
send over and to contradict or retract it." Logan was fearful that Mas- 
ters would break out in London and make some objection in Meeting 
which might break off the match. He recommended a delicate course 
of conduct with Masters, and said : " My reason of mentioning this is 
that if she is since engaged to W. A., but all not confirmed, such caution 
may be used with W. M. as to get a clearance from him the best way 
it may be obtained, or if all be over, lest W. M., on the disappointment, 
which he will bitterly resent, should be guilty of any expression that 
would tend to her disquiet, but that prudent endeavors may be used to 
soften him or stop his mouth from injuring her, either in respect to her 
husband or the world." The wisdom with which the secretary treats 
this subject is amusing. Here is a case of a jilted lover, who possibly 
expected to make his trip to London beneficial to his suit, and learns a 
short time before his embarkation that reports are abroad that his fickle 
mistress in six months had forgotten him and pledged herself to an- 
other. It would be difficult to deal with a disappointed suitor of the 
worldly kind in the discreet manner suggested by Logan, or to " stop 
his mouth " if he thought he had been shabbily treated. It was the 
discipline of the Society of Friends which must have made the differ- 
ence, so that one Quaker, writing to another Quaker, imagined it would 
be no difficult thing to quiet expressions of the dissatisfaction of a young 
member of the Society who was wounded and mortified by the faith- 



THE LETITIA HOUSE. 



31 



lessness of his soul's idol. Masters was not to be dealt with in that way. 
William Penn, Jr., in a letter written shortly after the marriage, said of 
William Masters : " Whatever grounds he had for it in Pennsylvania made 
a mighty noise here, but it lasted not long." Letitia was married to William 
Aubrey on Thursday, Fifth day. Sixth month (August) 20, 1702. Penn, 
writing to Logan from London in September, said : " We have brought 
her home where I write, a noble house for the city, and other things I 
hope well. But J. Pennington's, if not S. Harwood's, striving for William 
Masters against faith, truth, righteousness, will not be easily forgotten, 
though things came honorably off to his and the old envies' confusion, 
his father's friends nobly testifying against the actions of both." Au- 
brey turned out to be a very great annoyance to his father-in law, being 
of an avaricious, grasping disposition, and importunate for his wife's 
portion. William Penn, Jr., said of him, shortly after the marriage : 
" My sister Letitia has, I believe, a very good sort of man, that makes 
a good husband." In the next year Penn says, in a letter to Logan : 
" I am now to tell thee that I am to make my daughter's lots and lands 
up to two thousand sterling to William Aubrey, and what yet is want- 
ing, a farm in England is to supply that deficiency, though I hope her 
interest is better worth there." In 1 704 he writes : " Be punctual in my 
son Aubrey's business, to keep my credit with my poor girl." A short 
time afterward Logan expressed himself in a letter to Penn : " This 
business of William Aubrey's is a heavy addition. I write this to thy- 
self, and cannot forbear saying he seems to be one of the keenest men 
living, but believe I write no news." Penn replied the same year : 
" Both son and daughter clamor, she to quiet him, that is a scraping 
man, will count interest for a guinea." In the next year Logan com- 
plained to Penn that in answer to his letters about Letitia's lots and 
lands he had received nothing " besides two very angry letters from her- 
self and husband, threatening to send over some person to look after 
it at thy (Penn's) charge." Logan, in a later letter, compared Aubrey to 
Philip Ford, w^ho had robbed Penn and thrown him into Fleet Prison, 
and he warmly declared that in his opinion the conduct of the son-in- 
law toward the father-in-law seemed " barbarously unjust." Penn wrote 
to Logan in 1707 : " All our loves are to thee, but W. A. a tiger against 
thee for returns. Come not to him empty, as thou valuest thy comfort 
and credit." Whilst the father was struggling to pay off his undertaking 
on behalf of his daughter, Aubrey was charging him with interest on the 



32 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

amount. Penn got tired of this at last, and in October, 1708, gave order 
to Logan : ** Pray stop occasion of more interest to my son Aubrey, for 
I will to pay no more on account of my daughter's ^^2000." Next year 
Penn wrote : " Oh, whatever thou dost, let my poor daughter have some 
money, for great is the ciy of William Aubrey and old Norton against 
Pennsylvania paymasters." Under the constant demands for money the 
'* great lot " was sold to various purchasers. Eventually, Aubrey dis- 
pensed with his agents, and seems to have managed the business for 
himself The lots on Front street, except that of Charles Read on the 
corner, which was twenty-five feet, were twenty-four feet six inches 
front ; the lots on High street thirty feet front and seventy-four deep. 
The lots on Second street were one hundred feet deep. Ann Fell was 
the purchaser of a lot on Second street, which commenced at the dis- 
tance of seventy-four feet south of High street, exactly upon the line 
running east to where Letitia Court widens. It ran east one hundred 
feet to a court, which was the little court or alley still existing upon 
the north side of the old mansion. In the description of the bounda- 
ries this lot is mentioned as bounded on the east by William Eastman, 
and this was therefore the name of the first purchaser of the governor's 
house, with the lot upon which it stood. 

Appurtenant to the great lot was a Bank lot extending from the 
east side of Front street to the Delaware. Grants of portions of this 
lot were made at various times, beginning soon after Letitia left Penn- 
sylvania. 

At what time William Aubrey died is not now known. Letitia, in 
a deed of family settlement dated 2 2d of September, 1731, is described 
as " widow, daughter and only surviving child of the said William 
Penn," by Gulielma, his first wife. Her will is dated July 20, 1744, 
and she calls herself Letitia Aubrey of London, widow. At the time 
of her death, on or about March 31, 1746, she lived at Christ Church, 
Spitalsfield. The will contains sundry specific legacies. To her 
nephew, William Penn, son of her brother William, a silver cup and 
salver, silver tea-kettle, tortoise-shell cabinet, etc. ; plate and other 
articles are bequeathed to others, including " a broad piece of gold 
to Eleanor Aubrey, now Clark, niece of my late husband, William 
Aubrey;" to her nephew, Robert [Edward] Fell, son of her niece 
Gulielma Maria, who married Charles Fell, ;^40; to his sister, 
Mary Margaretta Fell, who afterward married John Barron, £^0; 



THE LETITIA HOUSE. 



33 



to Gulielma Maria Francis Fell, daughter of her niece Gulielma 
Maria Penn, who afterward married John Newcomb, £^0. She left a 
legacy of ;^50 " to the poor women of Devonshire House Meeting, 
Bishopgate street." To her nephew, William Penn, she bequeathed all 
her American estate during his life — after his death to his daughter, 
Christiana Gulielma Fell, who afterward married Peter Gaskell, in fee. 
The residue of her estate went to her nephew, William Penn, and his 
daughter, Christiana Gulielma. Indeed, Letitia seems to have been 
careful that none of her property should go into the line of the 
Callowhills. Her mother was a Springett, and none of her wealth 
went to the representatives of her father by his second marriage. 




Penn Monument, Kensington. 



The subsequent histor>^ of Penn's house cannot be accurately 
traced. It was occupied by Mrs. Elizabeth Roberts, widow and 
gentlewoman, in 1794-95. Mary Williams put it to a useful purpose 
as an eating-house in 1800. It fell into neglect, and in the course 
of time its historic character became lost altogether. In 1822, in a 
case tried at Philadelphia involving a title to a right of way from 
Letitia Court, as it then stood, into Black Horse Alley, Timothy 
Matlack, who was born in 1745, stated that "there was a famous beer- 
house on the west side of Letitia Court, where all the fashionables 



34 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



would go ;" and this place, it is believed, was the old cottage. About 
1760, as testified to by William Bradford on the same trial, a house 
was built across the head of the court [it must have been upon the lot 
which belonged to Ewer, which had its front on Black Horse Alley, as 
well as on Letitia Court]. Mr. Bradford testified that it was first oc- 
cupied by Benjamin Jackson, then by Bradford himself, and afterward 
by John Doyle. It had been called the Leopard Tavern, but Doyle, in 
honor of the location and of the fact that William Penn once owned the 
property adjoining, changed the name to Penn Hall, and here in 1824, 
some of our grave and reverend citizens who were beginning to 
cultivate historic tastes were beguiled into an amusing blunder. They 
had determined to celebrate the anniversary of the landing of William 
Penn, and seeking for his house on Letitia Court, the bold claim of 
Penn Hall attracted them, and led to the hasty belief that this v.'as the 
house in which the founder had reposed during the first years of his 
residence in the city. Therefore they met in a solemn spirit of rever- 
ence for the past, ate their dinners, made their speeches and became 
enthusiastic over the sacred memories which hovered around the spot, 
and after a season of enjoyment retired to their homes, satisfied of 
having done something for history. They soon discovered, however, 
that they had become enthusiastic in the WTong house. They had 
passed the Rising Sun tavern at the corner of the lane running toward 
Second street, which was the real mansion of Penn, and had wasted 
their antiquarian fervor within the walls of a building of which the foun- 
dations were not laid until the original Penn house was eighty years old. 
They rectified the mistake on the next anniversary, and met at the 
right place. They created the Penn Society, erected the little monu- 
ment on Beach street, Kensington, commemorating the supposed 
treaty of Penn with the Indians, and after a few years gradually lost 
their interest in such affairs, until the association was dissolved. The 
house of Doyle maintained its false pretence long afterward. It finally 
was leased by Gottlieb Zimmerman, who established there between 
1 830 and 1 840 a " free and easy," the only one perhaps known at that 
time in Philadelphia. There was singing there on Saturday nights, 
and 'from that school of amateur vocalists graduated some who after- 
ward became professionals whose voices were heard in concerts and 
choirs. Zimmerman made a charge of admission to his " free and 
easy " — the simple sum of six and a quarter cents, expressed in the 



THE LETITIA HOUSE. 



35 



money of the time by the httle Spanish coin commonly called a " fip." 
A fip gained the visitor access to this palace of delight and the right 
to call for refreshments. His ticket of admission was a broad copper 
cent, upon the face of which the letters '' G. Z." were deeply incised. 
Frequently these tokens were not used, and got into general circulation, 
and many through whose hands they passed little imagined their 
original intention and value. Zimmerman retired from the William 
Penn Hotel and went to Camden, where he opened a pleasure-garden 
distinguished by having built therein a tun as big as, and probably big- 
ger than, that famous one of Heidelberg. Here in the lower story, ice 
cream and beverages of malt or spirit (lager beer had not then been 
introduced) were dispensed, whilst above, the merry strains of two or 
three musicians set the twinkling feet of the German girls and their 
Teutonic attendants in the whirling mazes of the waltz. 

The neighborhood in which the Letitia House stood eventually 
demanded a new commercial street and convenience for the ware- 
houses on Front street. The old Leopard Inn was removed. The 
line of the court was opened to Chestnut street. Letitia Court became 
Letitia street. But still the old house remained. It was the Rising 
Sun Inn in 1824, and long before. It has gone through various changes, 
and is now called the Woolpack Hotel. Next door to it on the south 
is a house which dates since 1700, which looks nearly as old as its 
neighbor. This building, in the spirit of fraud which must have 
descended from the Leopard establishment, dubs itself the " William 
Penn Hotel," and presents to the admiring stranger a rubicund effigy 
of a solid beef-eating man who wears a broad-brimmed hat, and which 
representation may be said to be a most excellent portrait of the great 
Quaker viewed from the sign-painter's standpoint. It matters little. 
This William Penn Hotel is not the building in which the founder 
of Pennsylvania enjoyed his madeira and ale. It is simply an im- 
postor which seeks to obtain credit for selling good lager beer under 
false pretences. 

A story is told about one of the more recent owners of the property 
which has a little interest. He was an emigrant who landed in the city 
some years ago, strange and not knowing where to go. Chance led 
him to the Letitia House, and there he obtained his humble lodgings 
for the night. It was his first night in America. Whether the peace- 
ful spirit of the Founder hovered over him, or whether the associations 



36 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



were such as to affect his resolves, is immaterial. That stranger re- 
solved — if not then and there, somewhere else at a later period — that if 
he remained in the United States and should become rich, he would en- 
deavor to become the purchaser of that house — a property which was 
so closely associated with the history of his own fortunes. He obtained 
employment, was attentive, industrious, and thrifty, and in time the op- 
portunity came, and he was the owner of this ancient property. What 
did he do ? Did he — as the Penn Society was ambitious to do if funds 
could have been raised for the purpose — repair and restore it to some- 
thing like its old uses and redeem it from degradation ? No ! Per- 
haps he cared nothing for its history. He knew the house first when 
he was poor, and now he was rich. But his hopes and thoughts were 
connected with wealth and how to get it. So he changed the interior to 
suit the tenant, and the Letitia House put on a modern, garish appear- 
ance, and wooed the patronage of the thirsty, who judge of the quality 
of beer by the appearance of the place where it is sold. 




THE SLATE-ROOF HOUSE. 




'HE Abbe Raynal, in his Philosopliical History of the East 
and West Indies, published in 1 770, observes in effect that 
the houses of Philadelphia are covered with slates, a ma- 
terial amply supplied from quarries in the neighborhood. 
Alexander Graydon, noticing this statement in Memoirs 
of his own time, says, " Unfortunately for the source from 
which the abbe derived his information, there were no 
such quarries near the city, that ever I heard of, and certainly but a 
single house in it of this kind of roof, which from that circumstance 
was distinguished by the name of the Slate House. It stood in Second 
street, at the corner of Norris Alley, and was a singular, old-fashioned 
structure, laid out in the style of a fortification, with abundance of an- 
gles, both salient and re-entring. Its two wings projected to the street 
in the manner of bastions, to which the main building, retreating from 
sixteen to eighteen feet, served for a curtain. Within, it was cut up into 
a number of apartments, and on that account was exceedingly well 
adapted to the purpose of a lodging-house, to which use it had long 
been appropriated. An additional convenience was a spacious yard on 
the back of it, extending halfway to Front street, enclosed by a high 
wall, and ornamented with a double row of venerable, lofty pines, which 
afford a very agreeable nis in tirbe, or rural scene in the heart of the 
city. The lady who had resided here and given some celebrity to the 
stand by the style of her accommodation, either dying or declining 
business, my mother was persuaded by her friends to become her suc- 
cessor, and accordingly obtained a lease of the premises, and took pos- 
session of them, to the best of my recollection, in the year 1764 or 

.3; 



38 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

1765." This description, so far as it likens the whole ground-plan of 
the building to the style of a fortification, was not correct. The front 
on Second street might justify the comparison, but in the rear the 
house was of peaceable configuration. The northern wall extended 
along Norris Alley some seventy or eighty feet, including on the east- 
ern portion a two-story back building, used as a kitchen, which was 
some twenty feet in breadth, and looked out into an enclosed yard, the 
western boundary of which was the back part of the main building, 
which was the full width of the bastions and curtain on the front. 

It was an oddly-built, rambling sort of a place to persons instructed 
only in the modern style of American house architecture. The 
bastions, so called, contained neat little chambers. Those upon the 
first floor were probably used for sitting-room or library. The second 
story bastion-rooms were furnished with odd little chimney-places in 
the corners, and the entrance to them was by steps from the main 
second-story apartment, so that the occupants of this part of the house 
went down into their chambers. The kitchen was made happy by 
an immense fireplace, which occupied a space between two rooms, 
being built in a very thick and wide chimney, in the construction of 
which, far beyond our modern ideas of size and necessity, thousands of 
bricks must have been wasted. The garret-rooms afforded height 
and space, and were well lighted. The upper stories were divided into 
rooms connected with each other, with entries and passages odd and 
embarrassing to strangers. The slate which covered the roof when 
the house was built may have been imported from England. The 
material was plenty enough near Philadelphia, but Graydon may be 
correct in observing that there were no quarries of this material in his 
time. Gabriel Thomas, in his Account of Pennsylvania, published in 
1698, says : "There is a curious building-stone and paving-stone; also 
tile-stone, with which latter Governor Penn covered his great and 
stately pile, which he called Pennsbury House." It is known that 
Pennsbury had a slate roof, which Thomas calls tile-stone. Before 
1700, therefore, it need not have been difficult to have obtained a 
supply of slate sufficient for the house in Philadelphia. The builder 
of the house is said to have been James Porteus. The period of its 
construction is not certainly known. It was finished some time before 
the year 1700. Samuel Carpenter, for whom it was erected, was 
an original purchaser of lands from Penn, and the owner of the lot 



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THE SLATE-ROOF HOUSE, 41 



running from Front to Second street. He first built upon Front street, 
and probably one or two houses upon the alley on the north side of 
his lot which was subsequently called Norris Alley. Samuel Carpen- 
ter was one of the foremost citizens of the Province, a man of great 
enterprise and ability, who did more to build up Philadelphia during 
thirty years than any other person. When he came to Pennsylvania 
he was unmarried. On the 12th of December, 1684, he married 
Hannah Hardiman, a minister of the gospel among Friends, and a 
native of Haverford West in South Wales. From this worthy citizen 
descended in the male line the Carpenter family of New Jersey, and 
in the female line the Whartons, Fishbournes, Merediths, Clymers and 
Reads of Philadelphia. Carpenter, being a man of vigorous intellect 
and administrative ability, was early placed in positions of trust and 
responsibility. He was made member of the Provincial Council in 
1687, reappointed in 1695 and in after years. He was member of the 
Assembly 1693-94, 1696-97 ; he was treasurer of the Province for 
some years — an office in which he was succeeded by his son. Besides 
his trade of merchandise, Carpenter bought lands and built to an 
extent beyond the ability of the settlers to follow him. He therefore 
fell into embarrassment. Besides his improvements in the city, he had 
extensive mill enterprises in Bucks county. In a letter written to 
Jonathan Dickinson in 1705, Carpenter says: "Upon the falling off of 
trade, and losses and disappointments in many ways, I have of late in 
my endeavors to sell what I can to pay off debts, and if it please God 
to spare my life to disencumber myself before I die, which is and hath 
been very burdensome to me ; so that, although I am possessed of a 
very considerable estate, I am very uneasy and look upon myself as 
very unhappy, and worse than those who are out of debt, although but 
mean or have but little of this world's goods " In this letter Carpenter 
offers to sell various pieces of property to Dickinson. Among them 
were a " parcel of corn-mills and saw-mills at Bristol, over against 
Burlington," upon a creek within a quarter of a mile of the Delaware, 
where a "vessel of good burthen may come to the tail of the mills to 
load or unload," 

Besides these mills, there were islands in the Delaware of about three 
hundred and fifty acres, land and town-lots near two thousand acres in 
that neighborhood. He had also five thousand acres of land on the 
Pennypack and Poquessing Creeks, a house and granary on his wharf 



42 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

in the city, warehouses, three-sixteenths of a mine, interests in the 
Chester mills, the Coffee-House and Globe, and other properties. He 
was considered at one time the wealthiest man in the Province, but 
Logan said, in 1703, he had become much embarrassed. He died 
April 10, 1714, after an illness of two weeks, at his house in King street, 
now Water street, between Chestnut and Walnut, and left considerable 
property, having in some degree recovered from his difficulties. Friends' 
Meeting, shortly after his death, adopted a minute in relation to Samuel 
Carpenter, in which it was said : " He was a pattern of humility, patience, 
and self-denial ; a man fearing God and hating covetousness, much given 
to hospitality and good works. He was a loving, affectionate husband, 

tender father, and a faithful friend and brother He was ever ready 

to help the poor and such as were in distress His memory^ is 

precious to the living and renowned among the just." J. Meredith 
Read says that an original portrait of Samuel Carpenter was for a long 
time in the hands of his great-granddaughter, Mrs. Isaac C. Jones, and 
a copy exists in the hands of Samuel Carpenter of Salem, N. J. 

It was in this slate-roof house of Carpenter's that William Penn, 
with his wife Hannah (the daughter of Thomas Callowhill) and his 
daughter Letitia, lived during the greater portion of his second visit to 
Pennsyh^ania, and in it was born his son John Penn, commonly called 
" the American," the only member of the family who was not born in 
England. On his second visit the proprietary arrived in the Delaware 
in the ship Canterbury, Captain Fryers, December i, 1699. At Chester 
a military salute was fired in honor of his coming — a ceremony which 
resulted disastrously to one of the participants, who had his hand and 
arm shot off, results from which he died four months afterward. This 
misfortune occasioned delay, so that Penn did not arrive at the city until 
Sunday, the 3d. From the wharf he paid a visit to Governor Markham, 
perhaps at the Penn Cottage, thence to Friends' Meeting, at Second and 
Market streets, where he " spoke on a double account to the people." 
Afterward, Penn, with James Logan, went to the house of Edward 
Shippen, in Second street above Spruce, which probably from that cir- 
cumstance was in after days frequently called the Governor's House, 
where they lodged for a month. Some time in January, 1700, the pro- 
prietor and family, with Logan, removed to the Slate-Roof House, which 
must have been already furnished, and had been probably occupied by 
Carpenter himself John Penn was born at this house on the 29th of 



THE SLATE-ROOF HOUSE. 



43 



January. Here they remained until the ist of November, 1701, when 
the family embarked on board the ship Dalmahoy, Captain John Fitch, 
and sailed back to England, none of them to return except the little 
American, who in after years came back to sojourn for a time at his 
birthplace. Isaac Norris, writing in March, 1701, said: "Their little 
son is a comely, lovely babe, and has much of his father's grace and 
air, and hope he will not want a good portion of his mother's sweetness, 
who is a woman extremely well beloved here, exemplary in her station, 
and of an excellent spirit, which adds lustre to her character, and has a 
great place in the hearts of good people." In September, 170 1, Penn 
very unwillingly made preparations for his return. Money was his great 
anxiety. He wrote to Logan : " The necessity of my going makes it 
absolutely necessary for me to have a supply, and though I think 
1000 pounds should forthwith be raised by friends at least to help me, 
yet while land is high and valuable, I am willing 
to dispose of many good patches that else I 
should have chosen to have kept." How to 
sell and whom to sell to were the principal 
points in this letter, together with the unwill- 
ingness of his wife and daughter to stay. 

During his occupation of the Slate-Roof 
House, Penn maintained a certain amount of 
dignity, more becoming to a nobleman than to a 
Quaker. In Nczvs from Pennsylvania^ pub- 
lished in London in 1703, and said to have 
been written by Francis Bugg, the Quakers are 
abused roundly, and the following description 
is given of the manner in which William Penn 
lived : " Our present governor, William Penn, 
wants the sacred unction, tho' he seems not to 
want majesty, for the grandeur and magnificence 
of his mien (tho' his clothes be sordid in re- 
spect to his mind, being not arrayed in royal 
robes) is equivalent to that of the Great Mogul, 
and his word in many cases as absolute and binding. The gate of his 
house (or palace) is always guarded with a janisary armed with a var- 
nished club of nearly ten foot long, crowned with a large silver head, 
embossed and chased as an hieroglyphic of its master's pride. There 




Pexn's Proprietary Seal. 



44 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHIIADELPHIA. 

are certain days in the week appointed for audience, and as for the rest, 
you must keep your distance. His corps du guard generally consists 
of seven or eight of his chief magistrates, both ecclesiastical and civil, 
which always attend him, and sometimes there are more. When he 
perambulates the city, one bareheaded, with a long, white wand over 
his shoulder, in imitation of the Lord Marshal of England, marches 
grandly before him and his train, and sometimes proclamation is made 
to clear the way." 

This satirical rogue, who was an apostate Quaker, and was become a 
red-hot Churchman, had little patience with the operations of Friends, 
which he did not scruple to stigmatize as controlled by pretence and 
luxury. Hence, said he, at their meeting-houses " first Williain leads 
the van like a mighty champion of war, rattling as fast the wheels of 
his leathern conveniency. After him follow the mighty Dons accord- 
ing to their several movings, and then for the Chorus the Feminine 
Prophets tune their Quail pipes for the space of three or four hours, 
and having ended as they began with bowlings and yawlings, hems 
and haws, gripings and graspings, they spend the remainder of the 
day in feasting each other, and to-morrow they ^o into the country, and 
so on from meeting-house to meeting-house till, like the Eastern armies 
in former times, they have devoured all the provisions both for men 
and beasts about the country, and then the spirit ceasing they return 
to their own outward homes." 

Before Penn left the Province he signed the great Charter of Privi- 
leges, granted a charter to the city of Philadelphia, and made other ar- 
rangements for the benefit of the people whom he left behind him. Ad- 
dressing Logan from on shipboard before he left the Delaware, he said : 
" I have left thee in an uncommon trust with a singular dependence on 
thy justice and care, which I expect thou will faithfully employ in 
advancing my honest interests.". ..." Thou may continue in the house 

I lived in till the year is up Give my dear love to all my friends, 

who I desire may labor to soften angry spirits and to reduce them to a 
sense of their duty; and at thy return give a small treat in my name to 
the gentlemen at Philadelphia for a beginning to a better understanding, 
for which I pray the Lord to incline their hearts, for their own ease as 
well as mine and my friends." The parties to this treat were men- 
tioned in a subsequent letter from Logan to Penn, in which he said: 
" When I came to town, I made bold to give a small treat at Andrews' 



THE SLATE-ROOF HOUSE. 45 

to the governor [Andrew Hamilton], Richard HaUiwell, Jasper Yeats, 
J. Moor, and some such others about a dozen, including T. Farmer 
and the other owners of the small yacht or vessel the family were 
down to Newcastle in, on thy behalf in thy name, which being very 
well timed and managed, was, I have reason to believe, of good service." 

John Penn, "the American," who was born in the Slate-Roof House, 
was educated in England. By the will of his father, which was proved 
at London November 3, 17 18, was devised all the proprietary lands in 
Pennsylvania, and the proprietary government to the Earl of Oxford, 
Earl Mortimer, and Earl Powlett, in trust for Penn's children by his 
wife Hannah, " in such proportion and for such estates as she should 
think fit." Thus the mother had full power of distribution according 
to her own discretion. Shortly after the will was proved she con- 
veyed to the trustees three-sixths — one-half of the proprietary inter- 
ests — to young John Penn, subject to the payment of £\ 500 to his sister 
Margaret. The other sons, Thomas, Richard, and Dennis, were granted 
three-sixths as joint tenants. Dennis died February 6, 1722, and three 
years afterward a new conveyance was made — one-half to John Penn, 
subject to payments to his sister Margaret, and the other half to 
Thomas and Richard as joint tenants. Margaret married Thomas 
Freame. 

Possibly the property was not considered sufficient to maintain all 
the children of Hannah Penn without the necessity of labor or 
employment. Two of them were brought up to business. This 
might have been prudence merely, and Hannah Penn was recognized 
as a sensible and practical woman. In a deed between the children of 
Hannah, July 5, 1727, for adjusting all disputes and controversies 
between them, John Penn, the American, is styled "gentleman," 
Thomas, his brother, merchant, Richard, woollen-draper, and Mar- 
garet, who afterward married Thomas Freame, spinster. 

John Penn visited Pennsylvania in 1734, arriving in September. 
Thomas had come over two years before, and was received with great 
ceremony, a reception at the lower ferry and an escort into town. The 
City Council provided "a decent collation to entertain him at the 
expense of the corporation." The churchwardens and vestry of 
Christ Church gave him a banquet, as did the Assembly, and there 
being chiefs of Indian nations in town, the " fire-engines played all the 
afternoon, and diverted the chieftains greatly." When John Penn 



46 HISTO/^IC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

came he was accompanied by his sister, Margaret Freame, and her 
husband, and there was much ceremony — an escort from the Schuyl- 
kill, reception by the Mayor, Recorder, and Aldermen, a speech by the 
Recorder, a procession, firing guns, addresses, and a feast by the City 
Councils, which cost £40 12s. 2d. The "American" returned the 
compliment. He gave an entertainment at Shewbart's coffee-house to 
the Assembly, and the next day to the city corporation, and after about 
a year spent in the Province he returned to England in the London 
packet. He died October 29, 1746. unmarried, and devised his interest 
in Pennsylvania to his brother Thomas for natural life, and the 
remainder to the sons of the latter. 

Logan had permission to live in the Slate-Roof House until " the 
year was up," which must have been in January, 1702. In May, 1702, 
Logan writes to Penn : " I am forced to keep this house still, there 

being no accommodation to be had elsewhere for public business 

Jacob Taylor likewise tables here [the office must pay for him], and 
holds it in thy closet that was, the books, etc. being removed into the 
next room just above it." In June, Lord Cornbury came to Philadel- 
phia to proclaim Queen Anne. Logan entertained him in the Slate- 
Roof House, and writing to Penn, said : " I hasted down to make pro- 
vision, and in a few hours' time had a very handsome dinner, really 
equal, they say, to anything he had seen in America." That night 
Cornbury lodged at Edward Shippen's, and dined the next day there. 
Logan hurried off to Pennsbury, where a handsome country entertain- 
ment was got ready for his lordship, then on his way back to New 
York. Cornbury was well pleased with the house, garden, and orchards 
at Pennsbury. His coming created much attention and some excite- 
ment. Noblemen were not plentiful on this side of the Atlantic, and 
we can fancy the dissatisfaction and dismay of the old woman who 
hastened out of her house to enjoy the reception and procession to the 
great man, and declared that she could discover no "difference between 
him and other men, save that he wore leather stockings." He was the 
son of Henry Hyde, second Earl of Clarendon, and was at this time 
governor of New York and New Jersey. His aunt married the Duke 
of York, afterward James II., and Mary, who was queen with Prince 
William of Orange, and Anne, who afterward came to the throne, were 
his cousins. Cornbury, so nearly related to royalty, was, therefore, a 
man of importance, but he was of small mental capacity, wanting in 



THE SLATE-ROOF HOUSE. 47 

balance, who conducted himself on some occasions like a fool. At 
New York he ran into excesses, clothed himself in female apparel, and 
was guilty of many disgraceful antics. Logan remained in the Slate- 
Roof House until Governor John Evans, William Penn, Jr., and Judge 
Mompesson arrived from England, when the four young men went to- 
gether and kept bachelor's hall at the Clark mansion, afterward Pember- 
ton's, south-west corner of Third and Chestnut streets. Before Logan left 
the Slate-Roof House it was purchased in the latter part of 1703 by 
William Trent for ^^850. Trent was a native of Scotland, born at In- 
verness, and came to Philadelphia at an early age, where he became 
at manhood a merchant. He bought a large tract in the lower part of 
the city, lying adjacent to the road to Passyunk, about 1701, and 
shortly afterward built there a house which was called the Plain 
Pleasant House. It was situated near the intersection of Passyunk 
road and Broad street, and was lately standing. Trent did not 
remove to the Slate-Roof House immediately, and for a time he was 
Penn's landlord of the premises. He moved mto the house after 
Logan left it. His wife, who was a sister of Judge Coxe, died in that 
house. Trent was member of the Governor's Council, being appointed 
in 1704, member of the Assembly 1710-11, also 1716-17-18, when he 
was elected Speaker; Justice of the Supreme Court 17 15. He became 
interested in property near the Assanpink Creek, New Jersey, where 
he bought 800 acres in 17 14. Here he set up mills and other improve- 
ments, and a settlement was commenced to which was given the name 
of Trentstown or Trentown, which finally became Trenton. Gradually 
his New Jersey interests carried him to that Province, where he finally 
settled and became Speaker of the House and Chief-Justice of the 
Supreme Court, dying on Christmas Day, 1724. His second wife was 
Mary Burge, daughter of Samuel Eckley of Philadelphia. The family 
has been brought down to the present time in the Trents of South 
Carolina and Tennessee, and the Rossel family of Trenton. In 1709, 
Logan apprised Penn that Trent was about to sell out the Slate-Roof 
House, '' with the improvement of a beautiful garden. I wish it could be 
made thine, as nothing in this town is so well fitting for a governor; his 
price at ^^900 of our money, which it is hard thou canst not spare. 
I would giv^e ^20 to ^^30 out of my own pocket that it were thine — 
nobody's but thine." But Penn did not buy it. It fell into the 
possession of the first Isaac Norris, who lived in it until he removed to 



48 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

his country-seat at Fairhill in 1717. The ownership continued in the 
Norris family down to 1868, when it was sold by Sally Norris Dickin- 
son, a descendant of Isaac Norris, to the Chamber of Commerce of 
Philadelphia, which erected thereon the Corn Exchange Building, dedi- 
cated March i, 1869, burned December 7 of the same year, and rebuilt 
and put in service as the Commercial Exchange in the year 1870. 

Concerning the history of this house between 1 71 7, when Isaac Nor- 
ris removed from it, and 1764, when Mrs. Graydon became the lessee, 
little is known. It became a fashionable boarding-house, and had a va- 
riety of occupants. Brigadier-General John Forbes, who had been sent 
over in 1758 by the British government to superintend the military ope- 
rations in Pennsylvania against Fort Du Quesne, died in Philadelphia, 
upon his return from his expedition, in March, 1759. He was boardmg 
at Mrs. Plowell's in Second street, and Mrs. Howell was the lady who 
was then living in the Slate-Roof House. There were important mili- 
tary ceremonies on the occasion. It was the first time that a brigadier- 
general of the British army had died in Philadelphia, and all that could 
be done for a soldier's funeral was faithfully carried out. The Seven- 
teenth regiment and two companies of Colonel Montgomery's regiment 
attended the funeral with two pieces of cannon. The governor, mem- 
bers of the Council, judges, magistrates, and gentlemen marched two 
by two. A led horse, with the usual accompaniment of empty boots, 
pistols, cocked hat, etc., attracted much attention. The funeral proces- 
sion passed up Second street to Christ Church, where, after appropriate 
religious ceremonies, the body was buried in the chancel. 

Graydon, in his Memoirs, does not state how long his mother remained 
in the Slate-Roof House, and there is no means of judging from his 
narrative whether the persons whom he speaks of lodged at the old 
house in Second street, or the still " more commodious one " in the 
upper part of Front street to which he some years afterward removed. 
Mrs. Graydon had a succession of notable and agreeable lodgers. Her 
son said of them : " Among these were persons of distinction, and some 
of no distinction; many real gentlemen, and some, no doubt, who were 
really pretenders to the appellation ; some attended by servants in gay 
liveries, some with servants in plain clothes, and some with no servants 
at all." British officers particularly liked boarding in Mrs. Graydon's 
house. The Highlanders and the Royal Irish displayed their uniforms 
in its parlor. The Baron de Kalb, who, Graydon says, visited America 



THE SLATE-ROOF HOUSE. 49 

about 1768 or 1769, was a lodger. He was at that time an officer of the 
French army, and had been sent during the Seven Years' war to America 
as the civil agent of the French government in order to ascertain the sen- 
timents of the colonists toward Great Britain, the French court even at 
that time perceiving how England could be weakened if the American 
Colonies were separated from her, De Kalb during this visit was ar- 
rested — not in Philadelphia, however — as a suspicious person. Nothing 
was found upon him, and he was discharged. Subsequently he went 
to Canada and returned to France. He came back to the United States 
in 1777, offered his services to Congress, was made a major-general, 
and fell gallantly at the battle of Camden, S. C, whilst fighting on foot 
and commanding the right wing under Gates. He was a native of 
Alsace, German by descent, but made a Frenchman by the conquest of 
that province. '* The steady and composed demeanor of the baron," 
said Graydon, '' bespoke the soldier and philosopher — the man who had 
calmly estimated life and death, and, though not prodigal of the one, 
had no unmanly dread of the other." A person called Badourin, who 
" wore a white cockade, and gave himself out as a general in the Aus- 
trian service," but who eventually decamped without paying his board 
bill, and was possibly an impostor, was for a time a member of Mrs. 
Graydon's family. Major George Ethrington of the Royal Americans, 
on the recruiting service, who had risen from a drummer to rank as a 
commander of a battalion, was a man of the world who had a large 
knowledge of human nature and employed it shrewdly for the benefit of 
His Majesty's service; General John Reid, who died 1807 in his 87th 
year, the oldest officer in the service, was a fine performer on the German 
flute; Captain Wallace, of the Royal Navy, an officer, but not a gentleman; 
and other military and notable people were lodged in this house. Sir 
William Draper, general in the English service, brigadier at Belle Isle 
in 1 76 1, and leader of the land-forces at Manilla in 1763, Knight of 
the Bath, and, after he left the Slate-Roof House, lieutenant-governor 
of Minorca, was among the inmates of Mrs. Graydon's family. His 
character as a soldier is one of which he had a right to be proud, but 
unluckily he got himself mixed up in the *' Junius " controversy by an 
act of unnecessary gallantry. When the Great Unknown in 1769 
attacked the Marquis of Granby, Draper boldly came forward under 
his own signature in defence of the nobleman. '' Junius " turned at once 
upon the unlucky friend, against whom he aimed sev^eral epistles sharp 



50 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

and full of polished invective, which Draper with all his skill was 
unable to parry successfully. What the knight came to America for 
may be conjectured. He was not on this side of the water more than a 
year, but during the time married the rich Miss Delancey. Rivington, 
the printer, who carried on business in Philadelphia before he went 
to New York, and celebrated afterward as the printer of that atrocious 
Tory sheet, the New York Gazette, during the British occupation of the 
city, ate and slept at the Slate-Roof House, and was chiefly distin- 
guished for the volubility with which he spouted poetry. Greater 
than these guests of Mrs. Graydon were John Hancock and George 
Washington, the latter, probably, during the early weeks of the session 
of the Congress of 1775, before he was appointed commander-in-chief 
In contrast to the men of war who submitted to the regulation of Mrs. 
Graydon's family, her son mentions with admiration a few of the ladies 
who enlivened the family. Among these were Lady Moore, wife of 
Sir Henry Moore, the last British governor of New York, and her 
pretty daughter, a '* sprightly miss, not far advanced in her teens," and 
who had apparently no dislike to be seen. Graydon flattered himself 
that " she was condescendingly courteous." But it was not for him, the 
son of a boarding-house keeper, to aspire in those ante-Revolutionary 
days to the daughter of a baronet and one of his mother's chief 
boarders. Lady Susanna Maria Louisa O'Brien, commonly called Lady 
Susan O'Brien, with her husband, was an occupant of the mansion. 
She was a daughter of Stephen Fox, first Earl of Ilchester, and a niece 
of the first Lord Holland. She was painted with her two sisters — Lady 
Lucy, who afterward married Hon. Stephen Digby, and Lady Christian 
Harriet Caroline, who afterward married Colonel Ackland of the 
British army — in the famous picture of the Beauties of Holland House. 
Her father employed as a teacher in elocution a gay and gallant actor, 
William O'Brien, who had figured on the London stage during the 
time of Garrick, Barry, and Woodward. Churchill in the Rosciad 
charged O'Brien with being an imitator of Woodward : 

" Shadows behind of FooTE and Woodward came — 
Wilkinson this, O'Brien was that name. 
Strange to relate, but wonderfully true, 
That even shadows have their shadows too! 
W^ith not a single comic power endued, 
The first a mere mere mimic's mimic stood. 



THE SLATE-ROOF HOUSE. 5 I 

The last, by Nature formed to please, who shows 

111 Johnson's Stephen wliich way genius grows; 

Self quite put off, affects with too much art 

To put on Woodward in each mangled part — 

Adopt his shrug, his wink, his stare : nay, more. 

His voice, and croaks; for Woodward croaked before. 

When the dull copier simple grace neglects, 

And rests his imitation in defects. 

We readily forgive; but such vile arts 

Are double guilt in men of real parts." 

Lady Susanna was young and susceptible. O'Brien was handsome, 
graceful, and easy. Admiration soon ripened into love, and the actor 
in 1764 married the earl's daughter, greatly to the horror of \X\z 
family. Lady O'Brien with her husband came to New York in April, 
1765. By recommendation of the young wife's uncle, the first Lord 
Holland, the couple became the guests of Sir William Johnson, the 
great friend oi the Indians of the Six Nations, who possessed much 
influence with that confederacy. They went to Johnson Hall on the 
Mohawk, where they were guests^ for some time, and Lord Adam 
Gordon, afterward commander-in-chief of the army in Scotland, who 
met Lady Susan and her husband, took a strong liking to him. He 
wrote to Lord Holland and recommended a reconciliation, saying that 
O'Brien seemed to be a " worthy young man, possessing in the highest 
degree the affections of his wife." Sir Henry Moore and his wife and 
daughter were guests at Johnson Hall in 1766, and it is possible that 
an acquaintance commenced there which brought Lady O'Brien and 
her husband to Philadelphia. The latter, it is said, held some office in 
the Colonies under the government through the influence of his wife's 
family, but it is not known what the office was if it ever had existence. 
Lady Harriet Fox, sister of Lady Susan, married Major John Dyke 
Ackland of the Twentieth British regiment of foot, and attended 
him during a long and perilous campaign in America. It is said 
that she became a widow and married a chaplain in Burgoyne's army. 
But the latter part of this story lacks confirmation. Wilkinson in his 
Memoirs says that Major Ackland fell in a duel, and that his wife 
bceame insane through much suffering and privation. 

Here, at the Slate-Roof House, Rivington and one Rumsey, with 
Doctor Kearsley, doubtless the younger, perpetrated, as Graydon tells 
us, a " howl," to the annoyance of the other boarders, in which the 



52 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

■ — ' — — — ■ ■ - ■■— . . -, — ^ 

" doctor, mounted on horseback, rode into the back parlor, and even 
up stairs, to the great disturbance and terror of the family ; for it may 
well be supposed there was a direful clatter." Kearsley scarcely 
imagined while engaged in this prank that the day would come when 
he would be ridden through the town in such a fashion as created no 
amusement either to himself or others. He became a violent Tory at 
the outbreak of the Revolution. He was of fiery temper and saucy 
impulse, and gave much umbrage to the Whigs. He lacked prudence 
also, and was not skilled in the art of holding his tongue. In July, 
1775, Isaac Hunt, a lawyer, father of the celebrated English author, 
Leigh Hunt, undertook to apply a little of King George III.'s law 
to the Committee of Inspection and Observation of the city of 
Philadelphia, a Revolutionary body, the existence of which was in 
entire subversion of the order of things which remained in the city 
before the news was received of the battle of Lexington. Hunt 
determined to put the old-fashioned remedy of a writ of replevin in 
force to test the legality of the proceedings of the committee, and the 
committee gave Mr. Hunt a taste of the new code. They put him 
in a cart, formed a procession, playing the Rogue's March as they 
proceeded, took a circuit of the city, and stopped in front of the 
house of Dr. John Kearsley, Jr. The latter could not restrain his 
anger at witnessing the insult to his fellow-Tory. Throwing up the 
window of his house with pistol in hand, he snapped the weapon twice 
in the face of the crowd, fortunately without effect. This foolish 
proceeding was resented. Hunt was released and escorted home. 
Kearsley's house was entered, and the doctor, despite resistance, 
during which he was wounded in the hand, was carried out and put 
in the place of Hunt in the cart. Graydon tells the story thus : 

•* He was seized at his own door by a party of the militia, and in the 
attempt to resist them received a wound in his hand from a bayonet. 
Being overpowered, he was placed in a cart provided for the purpose, 
and amidst a multitude of boys and idlers paraded through the streets 
to the tune of the Rogue's March. I happened to be at the Coffee-House 
when the concourse arrived there. They made a halt, while the doctor, 
foaming with rage and indignation, without his hat, his w^ig dishevelled, 
and bloody from his w^ounded hand, stood up in the cart and called for 
a bowl of punch. It was quickly handed to him, when, so vehement 
was his thirst, that he drained it of its contents before he took it from 



THE SLATE-ROOF HOUSE, 



53 



his lips. What were the feelings of others on this lawless proceeding, 
I know not ; but mine, I must confess, revolted at the spectacle." 

They let the doctor off with the carting, and did not tar and feather 
him, as had been proposed, very much to the disappointment of that 
interesting portion of the population who liked to see sights. The 
part which Dr. Kearsley took against the Whigs was the cause of 
great misfortune. He was arrested shortly after he was carted, having 
been detected in sending a letter to England giving an account of his 
sufferings, and containing, according to Christopher Marshall's state- 
ment, " cruel invectives against the liberties and calculated by wicked 
men to inflame the minds of the people of England against the Colo- 
nies in general." Kearsley, with Leonard Snowden and James Brooks, 
together with Rev. Jonathan Odell, minister of the Church of England 
at Burlington, who had also written letters, were taken into custody 
and confined in the State-House. The epistles were found sewed up 
in a garment belonging to a woman who was with Carter, a passenger, 
who was to carry the letters. They were addressed to Lord Dartmouth 
and other ministers in the care of Thomas Corbin and Mrs. McCauley. 
In Kearsley's letters he asked that five thousand regulars should be 
sent over, on the landing of which force he w^ould raise five thousand 
more if he was appointed to bear the royal standard, and boasted that 
he made five thousand men run by snapping his pistols. A drawing 
accompanied the letter representing Kearsley in the cart with a halter 
around his neck, which it was designed should be engraved in London 
to influence the royal cause. Plans of the Delaware bay and river were 
also in the collection, and the intention was to injure the patriot move- 
ment This was too much. The party was tried before the Committee of 
Safety in the lodge-room in Lodge Alley. The society of Englishmen 
called the Sons of St. George, of which Dr. Kearsley was a member, 
forthwith expelled him. Toward the end of October, Kearsley was 
sent to Lancaster as a prisoner, where he became a maniac, and died 
in 1777. Meanwhile, he was attainted of treason and his estates 
confiscated. He was a nephew of Dr. John Kearsley, the founder of 
Christ Church Hospital, the architect of Christ Church building, and to 
whom has been occasionally but erroneously ascribed the distinction 
of having been the architect of the State-House building. 

Upon the heels of the British army after their departure from Phila- 
delphia, besides Arnold, came Steuben with Peter S. Duponceau, his 



54 niSTOKIC MANSIONS OF PFIILADELPIIIA. 

aide-de-camp. They became temporary occupants of the Slate-Roof 
House, of which his reminiscences are these : 

** The first observation I made on entering Philadelphia was that the 
city had been left by the British and Hessians in the most filthy con- 
dition. I joined Baron Steuben at the Slate-House in Second street, 
the celebrated boarding-house so much spoken of in Graydon's 
Memoirs. Such was the filth of the city that it was impossible for us 
to drink a comfortable dish of tea that evening. As fast as our cups 
were filled myriads of flies took possession of them, and served us as 
the harpies did the poor Trojans in the JEjieid. Some said they were 
Hessian flies, and various other jokes were cracked on the occasion, 
for the evacuation of the city had put us all in good spirits, and we 
enjoyed ourselves very well, the filth notwithstanding. The next day 
a house was provided for us in New street, where we stayed but a few 
days, being anxious to join the army. That quarter of the city was 
inhabited almost entirely by Germans ; hardly any other language but 
the German was heard in the streets or seen on the signs in front of the 
shops, so that Baron Steuben fancied himself again in his native 
country. A great number of the inns in town and country bore the 
sign of the king of Prussia, who was very popular, particularly among 
the Germans. We were, however, not captivated with the delights of 
Capua ; we bade adieu to Philadelphia and all its German attractions, 
and joined General Washington's army in New Jersey." 

After the departure of Mrs. Graydon the occupancy of the Slate- 
Roof House was generally by undistinguished persons. A Madame 
Berdeau kept a boarding-school there toward the end of the last 
century, who tradition says was the widow of the well-known Dr. 
Dodd, somewhat notorious as the first person in England who was 
executed for forgery. It might have been. Dr. William Dodd was 
executed July 27, 1777. He was then forty-eight years old. His 
well-known poems, TJwiigJits on Death and Reflectio7is on Death, writ- 
ten in better years, were not indications by their sentiment and 
morality of the shameful end of the life of the author upon the 
scaffold. 

Afterward the building became a workshop, a place of business, a 
tenement-house. In time it came to be numbered 87 South Second 
street. Thomas Billington, tailor, lived in it in 1795. In 1 801, William 
Carr, engraver, John Draper, engraver, John Webb, tailor, and Patrick 



THE SLATE-ROOF HOUSE, 55 

Kennedy, watchmaker, were tenants of the old mansion. About that 
time it is a fair presumption that the space between the bastions, as 
Graydon calls them, was filled up by a frame building two stories in 
height at the garret, which was divided into two shops. These 
apartments ran through a great variety of uses. Joseph Marshall 
and Robert Tempest became tenants of the bastion wings at the 
corner of Norris Alley as early as 1812. They were goldsmiths 
and silversmiths, and remained upon the premises nearly half a 
century, until it ceased to be available for business purposes. In latter 
times their establishment looked old and seedy enough, and the casual 
passer-by must have wondered how the establishment got business 
enough to support it. But when the young proprietors opened their 
shop at that place they occupied the best stand in town, exactly in 
the centre of business and fashion. In fact, everything going on in 
Philadelphia worth seeing was visible in the neighborhood. In times 
still later there was a famous oyster-cellar opened in the south bastion, 
to which the merchants and bankers adjourned from the mart of busi- 
ness opposite and ate their oysters and drank their gin and brandy, 
bought out of the very cellars m which a century and a half before 
the proprietor had stored his madeira and his beer. The shops in the 
first story were in time degraded to the sale of second-hand clothes, 
fruits, shells, and curiosities, and in the upper stories carpenters sawed 
and hammered and painters daubed window-shutters and sashes in the 
most sacred of the chambers. Practically, there was no reverence for 
the old house, and it was time that it should fall. 




British Coat-of-Arms. 



SWEDES' CHURCH (GLORIA DEI). 




HE famous Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, in his charter to 
jj^^ the first West India Company of 1626, declared that there 
was a duty in relation to the heathen people inhabiting rich 
lands in America, and said, the " hope strengthens of bring- 
ing such people easily, through the setting on foot of commer- 
cial intercourse, to a better civil state and to the truths of the 
Christian religion ;" and he declared that the company should be 
instituted for the " spread of the Holy Gospel and the prosperity of 
our subjects." Twelve years afterward the first party of Swedish 
emigrants arrived upon the Delaware, bringing with them a clergyman, 
Rev. Reorus Torkillus. Governor John Printz brought another clerg)^- 
man, Rev. John Campanius, in 1643. A church was established at 
Tinicum in 1646, and when Rev. John Campanius began to officiate 
and preach according to the Swedish Lutheran service, the Indians 
who came to hear him became strangely suspicious. They greatly 
wondered that he had so much to say, and that he talked so much, 
and stood alone, while the rest were in silence. *' They thought every- 
thing was not right, and that some conspiracy w^as going forward 
amongst us." The Rev. Jacobus Fabritius was the first minister of 
the church at Wicaco, where he began to preach on Trinity Sunday in 
1677. He was a Dutchman, and was unable to preach in Swedish 
according to the wants of his congregation, but it is supposed that by 
the intercourse between the Dutch and Swedes on the Delaware, and 
the similarity of dialects, there was not much difficulty on the part of 
the congregation in understanding him. This, at all events, was the 
best the Swedes could do, and Fabritius remained pastor of the 

56 



SWEDES' CHURCH {GLORIA DEI), 



57 



Wicaco Church for fourteen years, during nine of which he was bhnd. 
The estabh'shment of this the first church in the hmits of what was 
afterward Philadelphia county was in a blockhouse erected for defence 
against the Indians, and situate near the Delaware River in what sub- 
sequently turned out to be the district of Southwark. The block- 
house is supposed to have been a small square building of logs with 




An Old Block- House. 

From Annals of the Szuedes on the Delaivare, by Rev. Jehu C. Clay. Philadelphia, 1858. 

loopholes for defence, which was built in 1669. The court at New- 
castle, in 1675, directed that a church or place of meeting should be 
built at Wicaco, to be paid for by general tax — a very early exempli- 
fication in America of the principle of Church and State. It is be- 
lieved that this direction was not carried out, for which reason the 
old blockhouse became convenient as a place of worship. Fabritius 
died probably about 1691-92. The congregation was then without a 
pastor. The church was supplied by Andrew Bengsten or Bankson, a 



58 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

layman and member of the congregation, for five or six years. The 
king of Sweden sent out a new delegation of clergymen, who arrived 
in 1696 or 1697. Among them was the Rev. Andrew Rudman, who 
was destined to take charge of the church at Wicaco. About this 
time a glebe was bought for the Wicaco church in Passyunk. Rud- 
man wrote : " The minister's garden and mansion-house are at a distance 
of four English miles from Philadelphia, a clever town built by 
Quakers." This ground was eighty acres in extent, situate at Point 
Breeze, exactly where the lower road running from the road to Penrose 
Ferry strikes the Schuylkill, proceeding up the bank past Port Gibson 
to the Gas-Works. The glebe was afterward enlarged by a purchase 
of sixteen acres more, and the whole tract of ninety-six acres cost £yo. 
The glebe-house was erected shortly afterward, and was in turn the 
residence of Rev. Andrew Rudman, Rev. Andrew Sandel, Rev. Jonas 
Lidman, and J. Eneberg. The glebe-house was burned down in 17 17, 
but immediately rebuilt. About 1727 it was abandoned as a place 
of residence for the clergyman, a nearer and more eligible site having 
been procured at Wicaco, adjoining the church. Mr. Rudman and 
the Rev. Eric Bjork, who had taken charge of the lower church at 
Christiana, were anxious, as were the members of the congregation at 
Wicaco, to obtain a better place of meeting than that afforded by the 
blockhouse. Then there sprang up a warm controversy as to where 
the new church should be located. A large number of the Swedes were 
settled on the west side of the Schuylkill, and many along the Dela- 
ware. The western and southern party were in favor of the church 
being near the Schuylkill. The residents of Wicaco and Moyamen- 
sing, and the Swedes of Kensington, desired that the building should 
be erected near the site of the old blockhouse church. The disputes 
were long and warm, and neither party would give way. Finally, it 
was recommended to leave the matter to be settled by lot, which was 
agreed to. There were religious services, singing and prayer, in which 
the blessing of God was invoked on the undertaking, and His wisdom 
sought to direct the impending choice. Upon a piece of paper was 
written the word ** Wicaco," upon another " Passyunk." These were 
folded up, shaken in a hat, and emptied on the ground, and the first one 
picked up bore the word " Wicaco." Immediately all opposition ceased, 
a hymn of praise was sung, and those present by their signatures rati- 
fied the choice. Even then the matter was not settled. The church 



SWEDES' CHURCH {GLORIA DEI). 



59 



lot at Wicaco did not extend to the river Delaware. New dissensions 
arose from those who professed to fear danger from shipbuilding and 
other operations in the neighborhood. The project was nearly aban- 
doned. But better counsels at length prevailed. Subscriptions were 
obtained, and the ground in front of the church was purchased. The 
nev/ building was commenced by the workmen who had just finished 
the Swedes' church at Christiana, now known as Wilmington, Delaware, 
shortly after the thirteenth Sunday after Trinity in 1698, and the site 
chosen was very near, or perhaps upon the identical ground occupied 
by, the blockhouse church. Joseph Yard was mason, bricklayer, 




Old Swedes' Church (Gloria Dei), present appearance. 

plasterer, and laid the floor. John Smart and John Brett, carpenters, 
prepared the woodwork, doors, framework, windows, pews, and the 
woodwork and ironwork of the interior and exterior, except the pulpit, 
banisters, and pews, which were made by John Harrison. The founda- 
tion was of stone, upon which was placed walls of brick. The interior 
was sixty feet in length, thirty in breadth, and twenty in height, and 
was of the same size as the church at Christiana ; " Only," said Mr. 
Bjork in a letter to Sweden, "that one of the corners is shortened in 
order to make a belfry or steeple, which has been begun at the west 



6o HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

end, but which must remain some time unfinished in order to see 
whether God will bless us so far that we may have a bell, and in what 
manner we can procure it." The building cost, when finished, about 
twenty thousand Swedish dollars, of which fifteen thousand dollars had 
already been collected at the time of dedication. That ceremony took 
place on the first Sunday after Trinity, 2d of July, 1700. On this 
occasion Rev. Mr. Bjork preached from Second Samuel, v. 29: ''There- 
fore let it please Thee to bless the house of Thy servant, that it may 
continue for ever before Thee ; for Thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it, 
and with Thy blessing let the house of Thy servant be blessed for ever." 
The building was the handsomest church in the Province, and at the 
dedication there were present many from Philadelphia, to whom Mr. 
Bjork afterward delivered a summaiy of his discourse in the English 
language. At the time of the dedication the church was called 
" Gloria Dei." There was no steeple then. The porches on the north 
and south sides were not a portion of the original church, but were 
built in 1702 as supports of the walls, which at that time were consid- 
ered in danger of falling down. A bell was procured, at what time is 
unknown ; the present bell bears the inscription : 

"Cast for the Swedish Church in Philadelphia 

STYLED ' Gloria Dei,' 

Partly from the Old Bell, dated 1643. 

G. Hedderly, Fecit, 1806. 

I to the church the living call, 
And to the grave do summon all." 

The old bell from which this was cast, dated 1646, must have been 
from the old Tinicum church. Hedderly was a bell-founder and 
coppersmith, who in 1806 kept his establishment at 63 South Fifth 
street. The cupola was erected upon the west tower after the bell was 
procured. An antique font of marble is still in possession of the 
church, and is believed to have been used either in the Tinicum church 
or the blockhouse church at Wicaco. On the front of the west 
gallery is an antique representation of two cherubs, with their wings 
spread over what is intended to represent the Holy Bible, on one of 
the open pages of which is the following passage from Isaiah in the 
Swedish language : " The people who walked in darkness have seen a 
great light," etc.; and on the other page, also in Swedish characters, 



SWEDES' CHURCH {GLORIA DEI). 6 1 

that passage at which the angels on the birth of our Saviour are spo- 
ken of as celebrating the event in the anthem of '' Glory to God in 
the highest," etc. A small organ was one of the acquisitions of the 
church, but it is not known when it was procured. The ground on 
which the church stands, an acre and a half and five perches, was given 
to the congregation by Catherine Swenson, daughter of Swen Swen- 
son, and by the daughters of Swen Swenson and their husbands — to wit : 
Swen and Bridgitta Boon, Hans and Barbara Boon, and Peter and Cathe- 
rine Bankson. Additions were made to the grounds at various times. 
An acre on the north was given by Hans and Margaret Boon his wife, 
and here was built the old parsonage about 1733, which stood till 1832, 
when it was replaced by a more commodious house. Twenty-five 
acres lying at Wicaco near the church were bought from Martha Cock, 
a granddaughter of Swen Swenson, in 17 19. This ground, it is said, 
extended west of the church beyond Tenth street. The church really 
owned at one time a considerable part of what was afterward called the 
districts of Southwark and Moyamensing. But how the property was 
parted with is not known by the modern church authorities. There is 
no evidence of its having been sold, nor was there effort to prevent 
" squatters " from taking possession of it and holding it. At all events, 
the church treasury realized nothing from this most valuable estate. 

During the eighteenth and part of the nineteenth century the suc- 
cession of ministers from Sweden continued. The names of Fabritius, 
Rudman, Bjork, Sandel. Lidman, and Eneberg have already been 
mentioned. Rudman in 1702 relinquished his charge, and became 
pastor of the Dutch church at Albany, N. Y. He did not remain there 
more than three years, when he returned in the character of mis- 
sionary of the British Society for Propagating the Gospel, commonly 
called the Venerable Society. He was pastor of Trinity Church, 
Oxford, and Christ Church in the city, in communion with the Church 
of England. He died in 1708, at the age of only forty, and was buried 
at Wicaco, where his tombstone still attests his labor and virtues. 
Rev. Gabriel Falck came in 1732, and remained a year. Rev. John 
Dylander succeeded, and preached from November 25, 1737, to 
November 2, 1742, when he died, aged thirty-two years. Tradition 
says that he had a fine voice, which was constantly heard in the church 
services. On his tombstone beneath the chancel at Wicaco is this 
inscription : 



62 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



'* While here he sang his Maker's praise ; 
The listening angels heard his song, 
And called their consort soul aM'ay, 
Pleased with a strain so like their own. 

" His soul, attentive to the call, 
And quickly listening to obey, 
Soared to ethereal scenes of bliss, 
Too pure to dwell in grosser clay." 

Rev. Gabriel Nesman, who arrived in 1743, held the pulpit for 
nearly seven years. The Rev. Olof Parlin, who succeeded Nesman, 
died December 22, 1757, aged forty-one years. He was buried at 
Wicaco by the side of his predecessors, Rudman and Dylander, and 
over his stone is the Latin inscription which commences, *'Siste, viator, 
quisque et mortalis, funde lachrymas in hoc corruptionis domicilio." 
To this is added an English inscription setting forth the virtues of the 
deceased as a father, husband, and friend, and as a valiant and faithful 
soldier of Jesus Christ. Rev. Mr. Norderlind, who was an eloquent 
man and drew crowds whenever he preached, not only of Swedes but 
of English, succeeded for a time, but gave way to Rev. Charles Magnus 
von Wrangel, who came in 1759, remained till 1768, and returned to 
Sweden, where he was made a bishop. Rev. Andreas Goranson, sent 
from Sweden in 1766, took charge of Gloria Dei in 1768, and remained 
until the end of 1779. During the rectorship of Rev. Mr. von Wrangel, 
Gov. John Penn on the 25th of September, 1765, by charter united the 
Swedish Lutheran churches of Gloria Dei at Wicaco, St. James at 
Kingsessing, and Christ Church at Upper Merion. Rev. Mathias 
Hultzgren became pastor in January, 1780, and officiated until the 
spring of 1786, when he was succeeded by Rev. Nicholas Collin, the 
last of the Swedish pastors. He had been sent over from Sweden in 
1770, and was stationed at Swedesboro', New Jersey, where he 
remained sixteen years. During the early portion of his term he was 
anxious to return to Sweden. The war was active and the situation 
was not tranquil. Permission was given him by the king of Sweden 
to return to his native country in 1783. By that time the establish- 
ment of peace had changed the condition of affairs, and Mr. Collin 
resolved to remain. The great difficulty by this time in conducting 
these churches was that in the ordinary pursuits of life in Philadelphia 
the Swedish tongue was superseded by the English, and the children of 



SWEDES' CHURCH {GLORIA DEI). 63 

the communicants were ignorant of the language of their fathers. This 
was found to be an obstacle as early as 1722, when the subject of pro- 
viding a Swedish school was considered at a church meeting, and it 
was concluded that they themselves would instruct their children after 
they had learned to read English. In 1758 the congregation requested 
of the archbishop and consistory of Upsala in Sweden that their pastor 
might be allowed to preach occasionally in English, the Swedes and 
English becoming so mixed that it was necessary to render religious 
instruction in both languages. Rev. Nicholas Collin found this condi- 
tion of things an impediment, and the king of Sweden in 1785, noting 
the fact that the congregations " had nearly lost the language of their 
ancestors," which was a principal tie of their connection with Sweden, 
therefore ordered that congregations could not in future obtain any 
ministers from Sweden without formal stipulations to defray the whole 
expenses of the voyage coming and returning, and afford them decent 
support during their continuance in the ministry. 

And so in time the Swedish missions in Pennsylvania and Delaware all 
went out. Rev. Mr. Collin for forty-five years remained in charge of Glo- 
ria Dei, and was rector and provost of all the Swedish churches in Penn- 
sylvania. He became as well versed in the English as he was in his na- 
tive language. He was prominent in good works. He became a member 
of the American Philosophical Society. His taste inclined to mechanical 
inventions, and there are extant a few papers from his pen suggesting 
improvements in the simple machinery which then prevailed, for the 
wonderful days of intricate design and fulfilment by minds, nerves, and 
muscles of brass, steel, and iron had not yet come. He translated into 
English, for the New York Historical Society, Acrelius's description of 
New Sweden. The Philosophical Society elected him vice-president. 
He was member of the society to commemorate the landing of William 
Penn. Simple in habits, peculiar if not eccentric in manner, he was 
greatly beloved, and during half a century was known and respected 
by every resident of Philadelphia. He was called away on the 7th of 
October, 1831, in the 87th year of his age, and died calmly at the old 
parsonage at Wicaco. Good luck, it was believed, attended the nuptial 
unions of those who were married by this old Swedish minister. This 
was the reputation which obtained not only in Southwark, but in the 
city and neighboring counties. His assistance in tying the marriage 
knot was therefore above premium. The books of Gloria Dei show 



64 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHIIADEIPHIA. 

that during Mr. Collin's ministry of that church he solemnized 
matrimony to the satisfaction — at the time, at least — of three thou- 
sand three hundred and seventy-five couples, an average of eighty- 
four couples a year. In the early part of his pastorship the average 
was much greater. He married one hundred and ninety-nine couples 
in 1795, and in the following year one hundred and seventy-nine. His 
record, still extant, states particularly all the circumstances connected 
with these marriages — on some occasions what he said to the parties, 
and what they said to him, and how much they paid for the minister's 
fee. Instances are recorded where parties on the wings of love came 
to be married at unseemly hours of the night, and how he — night-cap 
on head, it may be supposed — raised the window, spoke to them, and 
made them wretched by declaring that he could not perform the cere- 
mony until the morrow. Instances are given in which he refused alto- 
gether to officiate on account of obstacles which impressed his con- 
science. 

After the death of Mr. Collin there was a contest in the church as to 
what should become of it. All interest in the Swedish origin of the 
congregation had ceased. Some members preferred to remain in com- 
munion with the Lutheran churches ; others preferred the Protestant 
Episcopal. There were dissensions and a lawsuit or two, but the Church 
party triumphed, and in 183 1 Rev. Jehu Curtis Clay was elected rector 
of the Protestant Episcopal church of Gloria Dei. 

In defence of this change it is said in Rev. Jesse Y. Burk's sermon 
on the one hundred and seventieth anniversary of the old church that 
during Rev. Mr. Collin's rectorship he constantly used the Prayer-Book 
of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and that the Bishop of Pennsylva- 
nia regularly visited and confirmed in the Swedish churches. Mr. Clay, 
indeed, had been assistant minister to Dr. Collin, and officiated at Gloria 
Dei for one year before the death of Collin. He remained in this charge 
with much acceptation until his death. During his rectorship a move- 
ment was made to build a new church, but by his counsels and influence 
it was prevented, and measures were taken to alter the interior so as to 
make it more comfortable for modern use. This change was made in 
1846. Rev. Snyder B. Simes, describing the condition of the church 
at that time, says : " Before the pews were altered and the galleries put 
in there was in the east end of the church an old-fashioned, octagon- 
shaped pulpit, with a small window behind, a large window originally 



SWEDES' CHURCH {GLORIA DEI). 65 

there having been boarded up outside, and bricked and plastered inside, 
and a small one placed in the centre. Over the pulpit was a sounding- 
board, and in the chancel a small reading-desk. There was an aisle 
leading from the west door up the middle of the church, and another 
across it from the south door to the north side of the church. The 
pews were high and uncomfortable; but when in 1846 the alterations 
were made, the church assumed the appearance it now presents " Rev. 
Mr. Clay died in 1863, and was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Leadenham, 
who had been his assistant in the last year of his life. The Rev. J. 
Sanders Reed was the next rector, and remained three years. He was 
succeeded in 1868 by Rev. Snyder B. Simes, who still (in 1877) holds 
the pulpit. Mr. Simes is a grandson of John Binns, once famous as 
political leader and editor of an influential newspaper in Pennsylvania. 
Mr. Binns made and unmade governors and other officers. He was a 
great friend of Simon Snyder and Joseph Findlay his successor. He 
turned against the latter before the conclusion of his term, and defeated 
his re-election. Governors Heister and Schulze were indebted to his 
powerful aid. His journal, the Democratic Press, superseded Duane's 
Atirora in influence in American politics. But at length the good for- 
tune of Mr. Binns departed with the advent of Andrew Jackson as a 
candidate for the Presidency. In 1824 the Deinoc7'atic Press was in 
favor of William H. Crawford of Georgia for President, and opposed 
to the other principal candidates, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, 
and Henry Clay. Crawford was the nominee of the Congressional 
caucus, and, according to every precedent, was entitled to the support 
of the Democratic party. But a feeling against caucus dictation had 
arisen, which commenced in Pennsylvania and worked itself into na- 
tional politics. The division in the Democratic party threw the elec- 
tion into the House of Representatives, and John Quincy Adams was 
chosen. During the campaign Mr. Binns had been extremely active 
against General Jackson, and originated and published the celebrated 
" Coffin Handbills," which created great excitement. After the elec- 
tion of Adams the Democratic Press went over to the support of the 
administration. In 1828, General Jackson again came before the people 
as a candidate for the Presidency, with better prospects than before. 
The Democratic Press opposed him bitterly, and a new set of coffin 
handbills and " Monumental inscriptions " were issued. The tide was 
too strong. It swept General Jackson into the Presidential chair and the 
5 



66 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

Democratic Press out of existence. It was sold to the Pennsylvania 
Inquirer. Mr. Binns, who during his days of power was appointed an 
alderman, withdrew to the magistracy and performed its duties with 
credit and dignity. He was a native of Ireland, born at Dublin De- 
cember 22, 1772. At the time of the political excitements in Ireland 
in 1792, Mr. Binns became interested on the patriot side, and soon was 
so active and energetic that his proceedings attracted the attention of 
the British government. He was accused of sedition, arrested at Bir- 
mingham in England in 1797, charged with seditious and inflamma- 
tory language, and convicted. In 1798 he was arrested and tried for 
high treason at Maidstone with James Coigley, Arthur O'Connor, James 
Allen, and Jeremiah O'Leary. Binns was sent to the Tower, and con- 
fined in the room once occupied by Lord Balmerino, a Scotch noble- 
man active in the rebellion of 1745, and afterward by Lord Ferrars. 
Binns was acquitted, but Coigley was convicted. After his discharge 
and a short respite, during which he was in business, he was again ar- 
rested, and put in Clerkenwell prison in 1798, where he remained until 
1 80 1, when he came to the United States, landed at Baltimore, and set- 
tled at Northumberland in Pennsylvania, where he established the Re- 
publican Ai'gus early in 1802. He was induced to come to Philadel- 
phia, and on the 27th of March, 1807, published the first number of the 
Democratic Press. His life was active, and his services in many in- 
stances of advantage to public affairs. 

The ground adjoining Gloria Dei has been used for burial 
purposes since the church was built. Most of the old tomb- 
stones are obliterated : the oldest in the graveyard is in memory of 
Peter, the son of Andreas Sandel, minister of the church, who died 
1708, aged two years and four months. The remains of Alexander 
Wilson the ornithologist lie in this yard, and the tomb is conspicuous 
near the western entrance of the church. Wilson, who was born at 
Paisley in Renfrewshire, Scotland, on July 6, 1766, came to America in 
1794. He was by trade a weaver, and worked at that occupation in 
this country. But in 1800 he was induced to take charge of the Union 
school-house, Kingsessing. This was near the residence of the cele- 
brated naturalist, William Bartram. From the conversations of Bar- 
tram, Wilson became an enthusiast in the study of ornithology. He 
left the school in 1804, held communion with Nature in the woodi 
and fields; and when he died in 1813 seven volumes of the America?, 



SWEDES' CHURCH {GLORIA DEI). 



67 



Ornithology, splendidly illustrated and written in an attractive style, had 
been brought out. Another prominent tombstone in this ground is 
erected to the memory of 
Joseph Blewer, a patriot of 
the Revolution, whose name 
is scarcely known at the 
present time, even in the 
neighborhood where his 
services were most prom- 
inent. He was of English 
parents, but was born in 
Pennsylvania in 1734, took 
to the sea, and became cap- 
tain of a vessel. He was 
an original member of the 
Society of Sons of St. 
George. He was a mem- 
ber of the Committee of Inspection and Observation in 1775 ; delegate 
to the Provincial Convention at Carpenters' Hall, June, 1776; mem- 
ber of the Council of Safety, July 23, 1776; member of the Penn- 
sylvania Navy Board in 1777. He was warden of the port in 1781, 
and died August 7, 1789. He was a citizen of worth and energy, and 
was well known to every patriot in " the times that tried men's souls." 




Wilson School-house. 



OLD LONDON COFFEE-HOUSE. 




O sooner had William Penn granted to his daughter Letitia 
the large lot of ground upon Market street from Front to 
Second, upon which his cottage was built, than she showed 
great anxiety to realize on the investment. Four months 
after the transfer was made by her father she sold to 
Charles Read, merchant, by deed of 9th of 5th month 
(July), 1701, the finest piece of ground in the property at 
that time. It was situate at the south-west corner of Front and Market 
streets, with a breadth of twenty-five feet on Front street and a depth of 
one hundred feet on Market street. The purchase-money was one hun- 
dred and fifty pounds. Upon this lot Read shortly afterward built a 
house, which was probably finished in 1702. It is a house of two prin- 
cipal stories upon Front and Market streets. Above the eaves on each 
street springs a gable sufficiently high to accommodate two garret- 
rooms, the upper one perhaps too low to be used as a bed-room, so 
that the house may be said to be four stories high, or, prudently speak- 
ing, of three stories and an attic. It is of the width of twenty-five feet 
on Front street and probably of forty feet on Market street. There is 
a heavy eave from the second stor}^, and the gables are timbered and 
squared near the apex, so that the building presents a quaint appear- 
ance. West of it, during Charles Read's time, there is every reason 
to suppose, there was a yard or garden, which was subsequently built 
upon until the whole lot became occupied. Charles Read was a per- 
son of considerable importance in the young Province. 

Logan writes of him to Penn in 1702, in relation to some trans- 
actions in which he acted as appraiser, that he took him, "with the 

68 



OLD LONDON COFFEE-HOUSE. 69 

most here, to be a truly honest man." He held several important 
offices. He was a member of the Assembly from the city in 1704-05 
and 1722-23. He was a Common Councilman in 1716, Alderman 
1726, and Mayor of the city 1726-27. He was Sheriff of the county 
1729-31 ; Justice of the Peace in 17 18 and until his death. He was 
clerk of the Court of Quarter Sessions and Orphans' Court for some 
time before his death, which happened in 1737; member of the 
Governor's Council 1733, and judge of Admiralty under the king, 
appointed 1735. All these were highly important positions, showing 
that Mr. Read was a man of most excellent character, trustworthy in 
all respects. Two years after Read's death his widow conveyed the 
house and lot at Front and Market streets to Israel Pemberton, son of 
Phineas, who was a weighty man in the councils of the Society of 
Friends, a leader of great influence in Pennsylvania politics, whose 
counsels guided the Quaker party in its constant opposition to the 
policy of the proprietary family and their officers. Pemberton went 
into Common Council in 1718, and was alderman in 1722. He was 
elected to the Assembly in 173 1, and was re-elected every session until 
1750-51, when he declined a re-election from conscientious reasons. 
Pemberton, it is safe to assume, lived in this house for five or six years, 
and until he removed to Clarke Hall. By his will it became the prop- 
erty of his son John, and it was during the ownership of the latter that 
the house became appropriated to public uses. It is sufficient, in tra- 
cing out the title, to say that the property afterward belonged to the 
Pleasants, and to James Stokes. The latter bought it in 1796, the lot 
being then lessened to the depth of eighty-two feet, for the astonish- 
ingly large sum of ^8216 13^. A^d. Pennsylvania currency, at the rate 
of ^2.66 per pound. The idea of establishing a coffee-house at this 
place originated in 1754. In Bradford's Journal of April ii of that 
year there is a notice that the " subscribers to a public coffee-house are 
invited to meet at the Court-house on Friday, the 19th instant, at 3 
o'clock, to choose trustees agreeably to the plan of subscriptions." 
In 1755 the London Coffee-House trustees were George Okill, 
William Grant, William Fisher, and Joseph Richardson. They had 
collected at that time thirty shillings each from two hundred and thirty- 
two subscribers, and two at twenty shillings, making three hundred and 
forty-eight pounds. They had paid to William Bradford his account 
of the expense of opening said house, £(^ 6s., and had lent him in 



70 



HISTORIC JMANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 




T"^^ vT^hSj^ 



-** — :i-. 






-=^^-^"'"5:V 



Old London Coffee-House, 

cash, "pursuant to the plan of subscription," ^,259 6s. \ a balance of 
£<^o \A^s. was held in trust. Bradford made application to the 
Governor and Council for a license, in which he said : " Having 
been advised to keep a coffee-house for the benefit of merchants 
and traders, and as some people may at times be desirous to be 
furnished with other liquors besides coffee, your petitioner apprehends 



OLD LONDON COFFEE-HOUSE. 



71 



that it is necessary to have the government hcense/' The term 
coffee-house had by this time ceased to distinguish a place in which 
coffee only was sold. The English coffee houses when first estab- 
lished were for the purposes of refreshment with a decoction of the 
fragrant berry, and were somewhat more respectable than the ordinary 
taverns. In time, however, tavern customs and manners invaded the 
coffee-house, until it became nothing more than a tavern under a more 
respectable name. 

William Bradford was grandson of that William Bradford who was 
the first printer in Pennsylvania, the latter being himself a son of 
William and Anne Bradford of Leicester, where he was born in 1658. 
William Bradford the first, being a Quaker, came over in 1682, and 
remained for about ten or eleven years, when, becoming involved in 
the political and religious controversies attending the schism of 
Robert Keith, he was imprisoned and punished as the author of a 
seditious paper, which induced him to remove to New York, where 
he became printer to the government. His son Andrew came back 
from New York in 17 12, and established the business of printing and 
bookselling, and in December, 17 19, together with John Copson, 
started the American Mercury, the first paper printed in Pennsylvania. 
William Bradford of the coffee-house was the son of William, Jr., and 
grandson of the first William Bradford. He was adopted by his uncle 
Andrew in Philadelphia when young, and instructed in the art of 
printing. In consequence of the second marriage of his uncle he lost 
his position in his regard and affections, the new wife being inimical to 
him. He had been partner with his uncle in the publication of the 
Mercury in 1739-40, but the connection was dissolved, and in the next 
year he went to England for a stock of books and printing materials, 
came back, and set up as a bookseller in Second street, between Market 
and Chestnut. Here he commenced a new paper, the Petmsylvania 
jfournal, which was published without change up to 1800. He sold 
books at the sign of " The Bible " at Second and Black Horse Alley in 
1743. After the coffee-house was opened the publication of the Penn- 
sylvania jfoiirnal was removed to an adjoining house on Market street. 
Mr. Bradford became interested in military matters as early as I755> 
under the provincial militia law so called, which was really an act 
allowing of the formation of companies of volunteers, and did not compel 
military service or contribution toward it. The Association which had 



72 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



been established in 1747 was also a voluntary force, set up by a move- 
ment among the people who were in favor of defence, assisted by the 
countenance and support of the proprietary government The militia 
of 1755 was really a volunteer force, as the Association was. William 
Bradford was elected captain of the company for Chestnut and Walnut 
wards before the end of December, 1754, and retained his connection 
with the military until and during the Revolution. He was a member 
of the committee with Robert Morris, Charles Thomson, and others 
which waited upon John Hughes, the stamp-agent in 1765, and 
requested him to resign. He signed the non-importation agreement in 
the same year, and on the day the Stamp Act was to go into effect 
brought out the Journal with ghastly emblems — skull, crossbones, 
pickaxe, coffin, etc. — and said in relation to the necessity of using the 
stamps or breaking the law: "The publisher of this paper, unable to 
bear the burden, has thought it expedient to stop a while, in order to 
deliberate whether any method can be found to elude the chains forged 
for us and escape the insupportable burden." 

When the Revolution broke out promotion had reached Bradford, 
and he held the commission of major. He served with a detachment 
of Philadelphia militia sent to the assistance of Washington in the bat- 
tle of Princeton in December, 1776. He was wounded on that occa- 
sion, and came back to Philadelphia with the rank of colonel. Colonel 
Bradford was active in connection with measures for the fortification of 
the Delaware at Fort Mifflin, Red Bank, and Billingsport. He was ap- 
pointed a member of the State Navy Board in February, 1777, and 
served in that important body with constant attention, intelligence, and 
patriotism as long as it remained in existence, a period of about eight 
months. He was appointed by the Supreme Executive Council, Sep- 
tember I, 1777, chairman of the committee to arrest "such persons as 
are inimical to the cause of American liberty." Under the authority 
of this committee a number of Quakers and Tories were arrested, some 
of whom were sent to Virginia. He remained in Philadelphia until 
near the time of the British occupation, when he removed to Mud Fort, 
afterward called Fort Mifflin, and was in that work during the whole of 
its terrible siege and bombardment by the British fleet and army, evacu- 
ating the fortress when the last commander withdrew. William Brad- 
ford, a son of Colonel Bradford, studied law and obtained high position. 
He was Captain and Deputy Muster-Master-General, with the rank of 



OLD LONDON COFFEE-HOUSE. 73 

colonel, in the Continental army. He was a graduate of Nassau Hall, 
Princeton; was appointed Attorney-General of Pennsylvania in 1780, 
appointed Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 1791, and 
in 1794 declined the commission of Federal Judge. Immediately af- 
terward he was appointed by Washington Attorney-General of the 
United States. His memoir, published in 1793, entitled An Inqiiiiy how 
far the Punishment of Death is necessary in Pennsylvania^ was one of 
the first essays which drew attention to the evil of capital punishment 
for inferior crimes, which was at the time a weakness in the administra- 
tion of the criminal law in America, England, and Europe. Attorney- 
General Bradford died August 22, 1795, ending a brilliant career in the 
fortieth year of his age. He married Susan Bergeman Boudinot, only 
daughter of Hon. Elias Boudinot, at one time member of Congress 
from New Jersey, and director of the United States Mint in 1796. 

The mother of Hon. William Bradford was Rachel, a daughter of 
Thomas Budd. William Bradford the elder lived with her forty-nine 
years, and died September 25, 1791. Besides his son William, he 
had two other sons, Thomas, and Schuyler, who died in the East 
Indies. One of his daughters married Elisha Boudinot of Newark, 
N. J. ; another married Joshua Wallace of the same state, and another 
Captain Thomas Huston, who commanded the gunboat flotilla in the 
Delaware during the Revolution. Thomas Bradford graduated at 
the College of Philadelphia; became partner with his father in the 
publication of the Pennsylvania Journal in 1762 ; was captain and 
lieutenant-colonel during the Revolution ; and published the True 
American after the Pennsylvania Journal was discontinued in 1801. 
In 1 8 19 the True American was merged into the United States Gazette. 
One of his sons was Thomas Bradford, a prominent lawyer of Phila- 
delphia from 1799 until 185 i. He was nominated by President John 
Tyler Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern 
District of Pennsylvania, after the death of Judge Hopkinson. The 
Senate refused to ratify the nomination on political grounds, the 
defection of Tyler from the W^hig party, which had elected him, 
having commenced. William Bradford, lawyer, and Vincent L. 
Bradford, also a member of the bar, and for some time President of the 
Philadelphia and Trenton Railroad Company, were sons of Thomas 
Bradford. Judge T. Bradford Dwight of the Orphans' Court of Phila- 
delphia is a grandson. The wife of Thomas Bradford the lawyer, who 



74 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHIIADELPHIA. 

was grandson of Col. William Bradford, was Elizabeth, eldest daugh- 
ter of Vincent Loockerman, of Dover, Delaware. She was married to 
him April, 1805, and died April, 1842. 

Upon the retirement of the British army Col. Bradford in 1778 came 
back to the city, opened the Coffee-house, and re-established the 
Pennsylvania yoiirnal. He found a change in the public mind as 
regarded the famous old place of resort. The City Tavern, a much 
larger and finer house, which had been built and opened shortly before 
the outbreak of the Revolution, in Second street above Walnut, had 
superseded the Coffee-house as the principal place of resort. Colonel 
Bradford relinquished the lease in 1780, and Gifford Dally rented the 
property of John Pemberton, who then owned it, on the strict covenant 
that Dally should " exert his endeavors as a Christian to preserve 
decency and order in said house;" that he would not allow cursing 
and swearing in it, or the playing of any games of cards, dice, or 
backgammon ; and that he would not keep the place open on the first 
day of the week. Dally did not remain in the establishment very long. 
James Stokes succeeded him in the occupation, but changed the 
business, so that the house was now used as a place of merchandise. 
He was in business there as early as 1790, and was probably estab- 
lished two years earlier. He remained at that corner for many 
years. Subsequently, the property passed through many hands. It 
was always used for business purposes. Samuel Croft, manufacturer, 
is or was lately owner, and has taken great pride and interest in an 
endeavor to maintain the old property as near as can be in a condition 
conforming to its original architecture and style. 

There had been coffee-houses and taverns before this one was 
established, which were places of resort for various classes of citizens. 
But there were none which might be conceded to be superior to all 
others as a central point for news and intercourse among leading 
citizens. The London Coffee-house satisfied this necessity. The 
respectability of Bradford and his long connection with the leading 
journal gave him a position and influence which insured success at the 
beginning to an enterprise which in other hands might have been a 
failure. The Coffee-house became at once a place of resort for the best 
people. Here merchants greatly did congregate ; captains repaired to 
the Coffee-house to make their reports and to discuss with consignees 
or consignors, as the case might be, the incidents of the last and the 



OLD LONDON COFFEE-HOUSE. 75 

expectations of the coming voyage. Strangers resorted to the Coffee- 
house for news. Provincial dignitaries, officers under the Crown and 
of the army and nav>', frequented the estabhshment in the colonial days 
and gave way in turn to rebel militiamen, Continental colonels and 
majors, and captains of the State and Continental flotillas and fleets. 
It was the head-quarters of life and action, the pulsating heart of 
excitement, enterprise, and patriotism as the exigencies of the times 
might demand. In front of the building public auctions were held ; 
many a slave, stood up there on bench or box, was exhibited to the 
bystanders, and after strenuous efforts on the part of the auctioneer to 
obtain an exorbitant price was knocked down to the highest bidder. 
Here frequently the Sheriff was seen exposing to sale the real estate 
of some unfortunate debtor or putting up under proceedings in parti- 
tion property the proceeds of which were to be divided among anxious 
and expectant heirs. All Philadelphia ranged round this old building 
for a quarter of a century, and it was the scene of many excitements. 

Here in front of the central place of popular resort many curious 
scenes were enacted. In the street before the house in 1765 a harm- 
less newspaper published at Barbadoes, bearing a stamp according to 
the provisions of the Stamp Act, was publicly burned amidst the 
cheers of the bystanders ; and shortly afterward three nine-penny 
stamps, found in the possession of a certain Captain Malone of Halifax, 
and a sheet of stamped parchment, were subjected to the same ordeal. 
Some months afterward similar bonfires were made. 

Here, too, in May, 1766, Captain Wise of the brig Minerva, from 
Pool, England, who brought news of the repeal of the Stamp Act, was 
sent for by the gratified crowd, which escorted him from the wharf to 
the Coffee-house with colors flying and loud huzzas, and ordered to be 
prepared for him a foaming bowl of punch, in which he drank deeply 
to the sentiment " Prosperity to America !" after which he was com- 
plimented with the present of a gold-laced cocked hat, and gifts 
were made to his crew, lucky in being the bearers of such happy 
news. 

Here on the 3d of May, 1774, were burned in effigy figures repre- 
senting Thomas Hutchinson Governor of Massachusetts, and Alex- 
ander Wedderburn, British Solicitor-General, whose gross insults to 
Dr. Franklin, the agent of Massachusetts, when the cases of Hutchin- 
son and Oliver were before the Privy Council, had created great 



y^y HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

excitement throughout America. The figures were covered with 

inscriptions pinned to the clothing; Hutchinson was represented with 

two faces. The placard upon the Q.^^y of the solicitor commenced as 

follows : 

The Infamous Wedderburn. 
A pert prime prater of a scabby race, 
Guilt in his heart and famine in his face. 

Churchill (ahered). 

Similis Proteo, mutel ut fallacior, Catalina 
Hunc vis Britanni Cavete. 

After being drawn through the principal streets, exposed to the 
hootings and jeers of the people, these figures were hung on a gallows 
in front of the Coffee-house. Faggots were piled around which were 
sprinkled with powder. By an ingenious and appropriate arrangement 
a train was laid from the pile, so that it was set on fire by an electric 
battery which probably belonged to Dr. Franklin himself. The flames 
flashed up high around the effigies, and soon they fell into the fire — a 
consummation which the concourse gathered around hailed with loud 
cheers. 

A more significant bonfire took place in front of this house on the 
8th of July, 1776, the day on which the Declaration of Independence 
was read in the State-House Yard by John Nixon. On that occasion a 
committee of Associators took down the king's arms, which had for 
years remained in the chamber of Supreme Court in the State-House, 
west room, first floor. These emblems of an authority which was no 
longer to be maintained in Pennsylvania were carried in procession to 
the London Coffee-house, and there burned in the open street. 

In 1775, Isaac Hunt, a Tory lawyer, father of the famous English 
author Leigh Hunt, who was carted, accompanied by a procession, 
to the tune of the " Rogue's March," in consequence of his attempting 
to stem the popular current, stood up in front of the Coflee-house, 
humbly acknowledged that he did wrong, and put himself under the 
protection of the Associators to shield him from the mob. To the 
same place on the same day was carted Dr. Kearsley, who afterward 
became involved in the same proceeding, and there drank down a 
bowl of punch to quench the thirst created by excitement and anger. 

Charles Stewart, Cashier and Paymaster, writing from New York 
Dec. I, 1778, to Joseph Galloway, the traitor, then in London, said: 



OLD LONDON COFFEE-HOUSE. rjj 

*' Great dissensions have arose among the leading people in Philadel- 
phia, insomuch that General Thompson laid his stick over Chief- 
Justice McKean's head in the Coffee-room at Philadelphia, calling 
him and many of the Congress rascals, for which he has been taken 
before a committee of Congress, where it still rests. He is supported 
by Generals Mifflin, St. Clair, and Arnold, and many of the citizens." 
Brigadier-General William Thompson was a man with a grievance. 
He raised a rifle regiment of several hundred men in Pennsylvania 
early in the war, and marched with it to Cambridge. He was commis- 
sioned brigadier-general on the 1st of March, 1776, and succeeded 
Lee in command at New York a few days afterward. The next month 
he was sent on the Canadian expedition under Arnold, and was made 
prisoner at Trois Rivieres. After four months' imprisonment he was 
released on parole, and he came to Pennsylvania, where for two }'ears 
and a half he remained, no exchange being effected for him, while 
other officers had been released and went into the army again. 
The long delay embittered his spirit, and for some reason he blamed 
McKean for the manner in which he had been treated. At the time 
the parties met in the Coffee-house McKean was about to congratulate 
Thompson that Gen. Clinton had consented to his exchange. Thomp- 
son was not in a good humor, and said that he had been treated in a 
" rascally manner by Congress," and particularly by McKean, and 
that he ought to have been exchanged long ago. He sneeringly said, 
" Some who were taken sleeping in their beds [alluding to the capture 
of Gen. Lee] were exchanged, whilst he who was taken fighting in the 
field was not exchanged." If he was to be free, he was obliged to 
Gen. Clinton, and not to Congress. High words ensued and blows 
were given. McKean complained to Congress of Thompson's con- 
duct as a breach of privilege. The latter was discharged on making 
an acknowledgment. He subsequently published a card abusing 
McKean, and sent him a challenge to fight a duel. Upon this provo- 
cation Chief-Justice McKean responded in a card to the public in the 
following sensible and judicious manner: "The brigadier is unfortu- 
nately a prisoner of war; and, as the chief-justice of a new republic, 
nothing shall shake the steady purpose of my soul by my precepts and 
example to maintain peace, order, the laws, and the dignity of my 
station. The honorable offices I hold were freely conferred upon me 
without the least solicitation on my part, and without my previous 



78 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

knowledge. It was greatly against my interest and inclination to ac- 
cept them ; but private opinion and private interest were overruled by 
public considerations. It is well known that office is no new thing to 
me, and that none of the insolence sometimes attending the possessors 
ever appeared in any part of my conduct. I shall take no further 
notice of the vile epithets contained in this publication than to inform 
the author and printer that both are equally punishable and criminal, 
and that I cannot set the precedent obliging a member of Congress or 
a magistrate to subject himself to a duel with every person against 
whose opinion he gives his vote or judgment." Thompson could 
scarcely have had chance to fight a duel, for, instead of being released, 
as McKean said he would be, he was called to return to New York on 
parole, and he remained there for some months, being finally exchanged 
together with Col. Webb for the British generals Phillips and Reide- 
sel and their aide-de-camp Captain Watterson of the 2ist regiment. 
Thompson did not obtain an opportunity for further service. He died 
at his home near Carlisle on the 4th of September, 1781. Meanwhile, 
McKean had sued him as well as Dunlap, the printer of the Packet, in 
which Thompson's card was published, for libel. Dunlap confessed 
judgment, but against Thompson, in the spring of 178 1, McKean re- 
covered a verdict of i^S/oo damages. He released all claims in both 
cases, " as he only wanted to see the law and the facts settled." 

This occurrence was about the last of any great importance with 
which the Old London Coffee-house was associated. After Bradford 
gave it up its short remaining history as a place of public resort was 
monotonous and uninteresting. 



CHRIST CHURCH. 




HE Quakers and the Swedish Lutherans were the only 
rehgious sects embodied in congregations in Pennsyl- 
vania during five years succeeding the settlement of 
the city under William Penn. The Baptists established 
a church at Pennypack, the first of that denomination in 
the Province, in 1687. In the city the Baptist congre- 
gation was established about April, 1695. The Presby- 
terians attempted the formation of a small congregation 
as early as 1692, and the two sects occupied the Barba- 
does store at the north-west corner of Second and Chestnut streets until 
1698, when the Baptists left the building and met at Anthony Morris's 
brew-house, under the Bank and near the dock. At what time the 
Church of England was established by the formation of a congregation 
is not exactly known. Gabriel Thomas, in his Account of Pennsylvdnia, 
printed in 1698, said, " The Church of England .... built a very 
fine church in the city of Philadelphia in the year 1695 ;" which is a 
mistake. An address by members of the Church in Philadelphia, dated 
January 18, 1696-97, to Governor Francis Nicholson of Maryland, 
signed by thirty-six persons, thanks him for his extraordinary bounty 
and liberality " in assisting us to build our church, which being now fin- 
ished, your kindness and favor rested not here, but Your Excellency was 
pleased, without our knowledge (after a most gracious manner), to apply 
yourself to His Majesty and Council not only for a settlement for main- 
tenance and support of a good ministry among us, but also for a school." 
The earliest date at which it can be discovered that the Church in 
Philadelphia was established is the year 1695. Although the church 

79 



8o HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

building was not completed until 1697, it is not unreasonable to sup- 
pose that the congregation was formed at an earlier period. Who was 
first in charge is in doubt. It has been assumed that the Rev. Thomas 
Clayton was the first rector, and was appointed by the Bishop of 
London, through the influence of Rev. Dr. Thomas Bray, commissary 
of the Bishop of London to Maryland But Dr. Bray did not come 
to America until 1696. Robert Suder, writing to Governor Nicholson 
from Philadelphia in November, 1698, said that he came from Phila- 
delphia to Jamaica in the year 1694-95. He says, in reference to the 
Church of England, *' I finding none settled here, nor so much as 
any lawful one, here being a considerable number of the Church of 
England, we agreed to petition Our Sacred Majesty that we might 

have the free access of our religion and arms for our defence The 

Quaker magistrates no sooner heard of it but sent for me and the 
person that mentioned it by a Constable to their Session. I told them 
we were Petitioning His Majesty that we might have a Minister of 
the Church of England for the exercise of our Religion, and make use 
of our arms as a Militia to defend our estates from enemies. Edward 
Shippen, one of the Quaker Justices, turning to the other of his fellows, 
say'd, * Now they have discovered themselves. They are bringing the 
priest and the sword amongst us, but God forbid ; we will prevent 
them.' Edward Portlock, writing from Philadelphia July 4, 1 700, to 
the Archbishop of Canterbur>% said that in less than four years from a 
very small number the community of the Church of England in and 
about the city consisted of more than five hundred sober and devout 
souls. These references support the probability that although the 
church was completed in 1696-97, the Rev. Mr. Clayton did not as- 
sume charge as rector before 1696, so that the history of the congre- 
gation for a year or two is incomplete. 

Where the first church building was erected is now a matter of 
doubt. It has been usual to suppose that the location of Christ 
Church was always upon the lot on the west side of Second street 
above Market, which has certainly been occupied by the congregation 
since the year 1702. But it now appears from the record of a memo- 
randa of brief of title quoted in the Life of Rev. William Smith, D. D. 
(page 80), that the congregation did not come into ownership of the lot 
on Second street until the year 1702. The property was originally 
taken up by Lawrence Cock by patent of December i, 1688, and 



CHRIST CHURCH. 8 1 



conveyed by him to Griffith Jones October 4 of the succeeding year. 
Jones conveyed the property to Joshua Carpenter April 4, 1702, and 
the latter in the succeeding July made a deed " describing the uses 
of the deed between him and Griffith Jones for the church-ground." 
This must have been a declaration of trust, stating, in the terms usual 
in such instruments, that the conveyance by Jones to Carpenter was 
really for the benefit of the church, and that he, Carpenter, held the 
property for such uses. It might have been that the congregation had 
the use of the lot while it belonged to Griffith Jones under an arrange- 
ment for a subsequent sale, and that the church was built upon the 
ground held by lease or otherwise. This is a matter of conjecture, 
and as the records of deeds do not contain the conveyances spoken 
of in the memorandum of title given in the Life of Smith, the matter 
must remain in a state of obscurity. It appears that on the ist of 
January, 1704-05, a lot adjoining the church was conveyed by Thom- 
as Peart to Joshua Carpenter. Carpenter made an acknowledgment of 
this trust nearly five years afterward. 

Watson says that the original church was of wood. Rev. Dr. Dorr 
in his History of Christ CJmrch, gives his reasons for his belief that it 
was of brick. It was enlarged in 171 1 and in 1720, and yet being too 
small the necessity of erecting a more spacious building w^as agreed 
upon. The vestry resolved in April of that year that the church was 
too small to accommodate the congregation, and resolved that an 
addition or enlargement of thirty-three feet should be added to the 
west, with foundation for a steeple or tower adjoining the west end. 
Dr. John Kearsley undertook to superintend the digging in order to 
lay the foundation, and himself, Thomas Tresse, Robert Ellis, and 
Thomas Leech were appointed overseers of the work. The corner- 
stone of this addition, which was in reality the commencement of the 
present building, was laid on the 27th of April, 1727, by Honorable 
Patrick Gordon, Lieutenant-Governor of the Province, with the 
Mayor, Charles Read, and the Recorder, Andrew Hamilton, Rev. Mr. 
Cummings, and others. The addition was nearly finished in Septem- 
ber, 1730, and was considered complete in the middle of July, 173 1. 
It was then resolved to remove the eastern end of the building and 
erect a more permanent part. The church was not considered as com- 
plete until August, 1744, although the tower and steeple were not yet 
built. An organ was ordered to be imported from London in 1728, 

6 



S2 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



which was to cost ;^200. It was in use thirty-eight years, and was 
replaced in 1766 by a new organ, built in Philadelphia by Philip Firing, 
for ;^500. The latter, after seventy years, gave place to a magnificent 
instrument having over sixteen hundred pipes. It was built by Henry 
Erben of New York in 1837. A chandelier which cost £^(y was 




Christ Church. — Presknt Appearance. 



received from London in 1744. Dr. John Kearsley was credited with 
the reputation of being the architect of the new church building, and 
the vestry voted that the '* uniformity and beauty of the structure, so 
far as it appears now finishing, is greatly owing to the assiduity, care, 
pains, and labor of him, the said Doctor John Kearsley." In 1753-54 
the tower and steeple were completed, and a ring of eight bells was 

6 



CHRIST CHURCH. 83 



procured from London at a cost of ^^560 sterling. Captain Budden of 
the ship Myrtilla brought over the bells without charge of freight, 
specifying only that they should be muffled and rung when his funeral 
should take place — a contract more than carried out, for the bells were 
also rung at the death of his wife, and it is said that whenever his 
vessel arrived in port, he being engaged in the regular trade between 
London and Philadelphia, the bells were sounded in his honor. Over 
the eastern window of the wall on Second street, at the time of the 
Revolution, was a profile bust in alto-rilievo of George II., above 
which was a crown, all being carved in wood. They remained there 
during the Revolution and until the year 1796, when they were taken 
down, it is said by order of John Wilcocks, member of the vestry, 
and thrown into the street. They were picked up by Zaccheus Collins 
and taken to the Philadelphia Library, in possession of the directors of 
which institution they remained until within a few years, when they 
were restored to the vestry of Christ Church. 

The church plate is rich in antique tokens. There are a flagon and 
a chalice presented to the vestry by Queen Anne in 1708; a flagon 
and two plates given in 171 2 by Col. Robert Quarry; and a silver 
basin, for the font, weighing over sixty-three ounces, presented by the 
same gentleman at the same time. There is a deep cup on which is 
engraved the figures of six of the apostles, marked St. Petrus, St. 
Paulus, St. Joannes, St. Jacobus, St. Matthaeus, and St. Thomas. 
There are three other cups, paten and spoon, with some modern 
pieces lately presented. 

The exterior of the church building stands as it was finished, with 
scarcely any change from its appearance a century and a quarter ago. 
The interior has been subjected to some alterations, and was recon- 
structed in 1836-37, according to the plan of Thomas U. Walter, 
architect. The object was to secure the comforts to the minister and 
congregation in warming, lighting, and ventilation which had been 
introduced into churches built in recent times, and which were 
unknown to those churches constructed after the old fashion. The 
changes were made with skill for the attainment of those objects, 
whilst as nearly as possible the ancient peculiarities of architecture and 
arrangement were preserved. The dimensions of the church are 
sixty-one feet in breadth, ninety feet in length, and the tower at the 
west end is twenty-eight feet square, making the length of the building. 



84 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



including the tower, one hundred and eighteen feet The walls of the 
tower are of stone four feet thick, but cased on the outside with brick, 
to correspond with the main building. The steeple is one hundred 
and ninety-six feet nine inches from the base to the mitre, and about 
two hundred feet to the top of the lightning-rod. It was built by 
Robert Smith between 1751 and 1755, and cost ^3000. After the 
Revolution and the establishment of the Protestant Episcopal Church 
in the United States, the spire was topped with a mitre in allusion to 
the episcopal office held by Right Rev. William White, Bishop of 
Pennsylvania, who was then officiating as rector of the church. 
During the long life of that venerable prelate Christ Church was con- 
sidered the cathedral church. 

With this building many events of historical value and interest are 
connected. Before the Revolution it was the principal church in Phil- 
adelphia. All the lieutenant-governors under the proprietaries, except 
William Markham, and the proprietaries themselves after William Penn, 
were members of the Church of England, and attended this church. 
The royal officers, with scarcely an exception, were attached to the 
congregation. There was a governor's pew, rather more ornamental 
than those in use by ordinary worshippers. When things changed 
and the Continental Congress and the Federal government came to 
Philadelphia, the same pew was appropriated for the use of Presidents 
of Congress and the Presidents of the United States. Washington 
and Adams occupied that pew, and some of the Presidents of the 
Continental Congress during their terms of office. During the early 
part of the Revolution, immediately after the battle of Lexington, 
several patriotic sermons were preached in this church. Rev. Dr, 
William Smith on the 23d of June, 1775, delivered a discourse to 
the Third battalion of Associators, which was afterward published 
under the title of A Sermon o?i the Present Situation of American 
Affairs. Rev. Dr. Jacob Duche preached July 7 to the First bat- 
talion of Associators on TJie Duty of Standing Fast to our Spiritual 
and Temporal Liberties. On the 20th of July, being the day of fast 
recommended by the Continental Congress, he preached a sermon 
called the American Vine. Rev. Thomas Coombe, associate minister 
of Christ and St. Peter's, preached at the latter, July 20, from Second 
Chronicles, chap, xx., verses 11, 12, 13. Notwithstanding this early 
patriotism, all of these clergymen afterward fell into suspicion of dis- 



CHRIST CHURCH. 85 



affection to the American cause. In Christ Church, September, 1785, 
assembled a convention of the churches formerly attached to the com- 
munion of the Church of England belonging to the United States. 
They represented seven States, and there they resolved that the 
Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States should be organized. 
The next year Rev. William White was elected Bishop of Pennsylva- 
nia. Together with Samuel Provoost he sailed to England, where, 
Feb. 4, 1787, Messrs. White and Provoost were consecrated bishops by 
the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York, assisted 
by the Bishop of Peterborough and the Bishop of Bath and Wells. 

The succession of ministers of Christ Church from 1785 to 1876 
embraces the names of twelve rectors and about eighteen assistant 
ministers, some of whom afterward became rectors. Among these 
have been several eminent men. From this church, with the associate 
church of St. Peter, have gone out Bishop William White of Penn- 
sylvania, Jackson Kemper of Missouri and Indiana, afterward of Wis- 
consin, William Heathcote De Lancey of western New York, William 
Henry Odenheimer of New Jersey. Within the walls of Christ 
Church were consecrated Bishop Robert Smith of South Carolina, 
1795; Theodore Dehon of South Carolina, 1812; Nathaniel Bowen 
of South Carolina, 1818; Edward Bass of Massachusetts, 1796; 
Henry Ustick Onderdonk of Pennsylvania, 1827; James Hervey Otey 
of Tennessee, 1834; Nicholas Hanmer Cobb of Alabama, 1844; 
Cicero Stephen Hawks of Missouri, 1844; Alonzo Potter of Pennsyl- 
vania, 1845; Samuel Bowman of Pennsylvania, 1858. 

The rectors and ministers of Christ Church have always held po- 
sitions of importance outside of their influence in the congregation. 
Up to the time of the Revolution, while they were not active leaders 
of the Church party in opposition to the Quakers, their advice was 
sought and their counsels frequently followed. During the Revolution, 
if they had been inclined to the popular cause, they could have led a 
large number of lay members of the persuasion to the patriotic side. 
But with the exception of Rev. William White, the rectors and assist- 
ant ministers were either openly disaffected or doubtful, and a grand 
opportunity was lost to the persuasion in consequence. Since the 
Revolution the rectors of Christ Church have been prominent in 
movements of a moral, philanthropic, and religious character in which 
the co-operation of members of all religious persuasions was required. 



S6 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

Bishop White was during his Hfetime member, manager, or president 
of a large number of associations estabhshed for good objects, and 
the benefit of his name and aid was sought whenever any new phil- 
anthropy was proposed in order to give it strength. 

Rev. Thomas Clayton, the first rector, died in 1699, probably from 
the effects of the yellow fever. He was succeeded by Rev. Evan 
Evans, a Welshman, who was sent over by Henry Compton, Bishop 
of London, and was very successful in his ministration in bringing 
over to the communion of the Church of England many of the Keith- 
ian schismatics, who had fallen away from the Quakers, and making 
of them useful church members. Mr. Evans had a long and comfort- 
able connection of twenty years with Christ Church, after which he 
left its pulpit and went to Maryland. But returning to Philadelphia 
on a visit, and preaching on the 8th of October, 1721, at Christ 
Church, he was struck by the hand of death in the midst of the af- 
ternoon service, and being carried from the church speechless, died 
two days afterward. His body was buried in the chancel. The in- 
scription upon the stone, as well as upon other stones in the neighbor- 
hood, has long since been worn away by the feet of constant worship- 
pers, so that the exact spot cannot now be determined. 

Rev. Richard Welton, who claimed to be a bishop, having been con- 
secrated to that office by the English non-juring bishops who had re- 
fused to take the oath of allegiance to William and Mary, became 
rector of Christ Church by invitation of the vestry in 1724, the mem- 
bers of the latter being ignorant of the circumstance or that Welton 
claimed the episcopacy. After he took possession of the church his 
principles began to show themselves. Sir William Keith complained 
of him and others, alluding, no doubt, to Rev. Mr. Talbot of Burling- 
ton, claiming to be a non-juring bishop ; that in Christ Church they 
" read prayers and speak without mentioning the king, prince, and 
royal family according to the rubric, so that myself and family, with 
such others as are of unquestioned loyalty to His present Majesty, are 
deprived of the benefit of going to church, least it might give encour- 
agement to a spirit of dissatisfaction." Welton brought over with 
him, according to a correspondent of the Bishop of London, " ;^300 
sterling in guns and fishing-tackle, with divers copies of his famous 
altarpiece at Whitechapel ; he has added a scroll with words proceed- 
ing out of the mouth of the Bishop of Peterborough, to this effect, 



CHRIST CHURCH. 8/ 



as I am told : " I am not he that betrayed X^, tho' as ready to do 
it as ever Judas was.' " Welton was recalled and ordered to come 
to England, but instead of going there, he went to Portugal, where 
it is said he died in 1726. 

Rev. Archibald Cummings, who was sent out from England, suc- 
ceeded Dr. Welton, and served the church for more than fourteen 
years with great acceptance. Two years after his arrival he married 
Jane Elizabeth Asheton, a lady connected with an influential family in 
the Province. Rev. Robert Jennings, Doctor of Laws, succeeded Mr. 
Cummings, and was rector of Christ Church for twenty years. He 
died in January, 1762, at the advanced age of seventy-five years, fifty- 
two of which had been spent in the ministry. The Rev. Richard 
Peters succeeded Mr. Jennings as rector. He had been assistant min- 
ister to Rev. Archibald Cummings for a short time on his coming to 
Philadelphia in 1735, but only held that position for a few months. 
Mr. Peters had studied common law in the Temple, and devoted two 
years to the study of the civil law, and was college bred. But having 
contracted an unfortunate marriage with a servant girl when he was 
fourteen years of age, he left her shortly afterward and refused to own 
her. Fourteen years afterward, upon a rumor of his first wife's death, 
he married a lady of Lancashire, with whom he lived some time. But 
subsequently hearing that his first wife was living, he was compelled 
to abandon her and came to Pennsylvania. Besides being a lawyer, 
Peters was qualified as a theologian and took holy orders. He 
preached for some time in England, but on coming to Pennsylvania 
seemed to be willing to assume official service. He officiated in Christ 
Church as an assistant to Mr. Cummings for more than two years, 
but becoming involved in disputes with the rector, he withdrew and 
found no difficulty in obtaining employment in civil life. He became 
secretary to the proprietaries almost as soon as he left the church, and 
after nearly six years' service was made Provincial Secretary and Clerk 
of the Council. In 1749 he was made a member of that important 
body. He resigned those offices in September, 1762, when, after 
twenty-five years' absence from the pulpit of Christ Church, he was 
made rector — a charge which he held until his resignation in 1775. 
He lived long enough to witness the overthrow of the British domina- 
tion. On the tenth of July, 1776, two days after the Declaration of 
Independence adopted on the 4th was read to the people in the State- 



88 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

House yard, Dr. Peters died, and escaped the troubles and anxieties 
of the six following years of war. His brother, William Peters, must 
have come to Pennsylvania about the same time as himself or shortly 
after. He was a man of wealth, and acquired large landed estates in 
Blockley township. 

During the third quarter of the last century three young men, all 
natives of Philadelphia, were preparing for the ministry. They were 
Jacob Duche, Thomas Coombe, and William White. All of these 
gentlemen were destined to occupy prominent positions in connection 
with the church. Jacob Duche was educated at the College of Phila- 
delphia, and was sent by his father to Cambridge, where he finished 
his education. Upon the recommendation of the vestry of the church 
he was ordained and licensed in 1759, and upon returning to his native 
city became assistant minister under Dr. Jennings. When Dr. Peters 
succeeded as rector, Duche remained as assistant minister, and is un- 
derstood to have had principal charge of St. Peter's Church. He suc- 
ceeded Rev. Richard Peters as rector in 1775. He was a fine writer 
and a man of taste. In 1774 he published at Philadelphia the Letters 
of Tanioc Caspipina, a name framed in acrostic from his title, " The 
assistant minister of Christ Church and St. Peter's in Philadelphia in 
North America." These essays were afterward published in England 
(in 1777). He was an easy writer, and occupied an important position. 
At the beginning of the American Revolution he sided with the pa- 
triots. He was called upon to open with prayer the session of the 
first Continental Congress at Carpenters' Hall in 1774, on which occa- 
sion, in addition to the regular services of the Episcopal Church, " he 
unexpectedly to everybody," said John Adams, " struck out into an 
extemporary prayer which filled the bosom of every man present. 
I must confess I never heard a better prayer or one so well pro- 
nounced." Mr. Adams was warm in his expressions of admiration 
of the " earnestness and pathos " and the language " elegant and sub- 
lime " which Dr. Duche used on that occasion. During the course 
of the contest Duche's opinions must have been gradually changing, 
but his defection could not have been suspected. He was chosen 
chaplain to Congress on the 9th of July, 1776. An approval of inde- 
pendency being at that time the great test of patriotism, he could 
not have been honored with such a mark of confidence if his vacilla- 
tion had been known. He did not hold the position very long, 



CHRIST CHURCH. 



89 



having resigned in about three months. He remained quiet, appar- 
ently engaged in the discharge of his clerical duties, until the British 
army took possession of the city in September, 1777. On the Sun- 
day succeeding the occupation he officiated at Christ Church, restor- 




Interior of Christ Church 
looking toward the chancel. 

ing the prayer for the king and royal 
army, instead of reading the prayer for 
the American States, which had been in use 
from the 4th of July, 1776, at which time 
the vestry, knowing of the passage of the resolution of Independence 
on July 2, declared that the prayers for the king and royal family 
should be omitted. General Howe ordered Dr. Duche to be ar- 
rested, and it is said that he was taken into custody after leav- 
ing the church. Through the intercession of friends he was re- 



90 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

leased after only one day's detention. Eight days afterward (October 
8, 1777) he addressed to General Washington a remarkable let- 
ter, which is said to have produced in the mind of that patriot 
violent feelings of anger. In this epistle Duche said to the com- 
mander-in chief, " Represent to Congress the indispensable necessity 
of rescinding the hasty and ill-advised declaration of independence." 
" If this is not done," said he, " you have an infallible resource still 
left ; negotiate for America at the head of your army." This letter 
was delivered to Washington by the celebrated Mrs. Elizabeth Fer- 
guson, daughter of Dr. Thomas Graeme and granddaughter of Sir 
William Keith — the same lady who was alleged to have been the 
bearer of the proposal from Governor George Johnstone to Joseph 
Reed that the latter should sell himself to the British Crown. Wash- 
ington transmitted it to Congress. Duche remained in the city until 
near the evacuation, took passage in the fleet, and went to England, 
where he became chaplain to an orphan asylum at Lambeth. His 
house in Philadelphia — a large and splendid mansion in the Eliza- 
bethan style at the north-east corner of Third and Pine streets — was 
confiscated and bought by Thomas McKean, Signer of the Declara- 
tion of Independence, and afterward chief-justice and governor of 
Pennsylvania. Duche remained in England for some years, and, being 
a proclaimed traitor in Pennsylvania, did not dare to come back till 
long after the close of the war. He found things much changed. 
Washington, whom he had advised to abandon a wretched cause, 
was President of the United States, the Confederacy had given way 
to the Federal government, and all who sided with the political opin- 
ions of Duche after he became a Tory were still unpopular and with- 
out influence. There was no employment for him. He died January 
3, 1798, and was buried in St. Peter's churchyard. He had married 
Sophia, the daughter of Thomas Hopkinson, who was sister of Fran- 
cis Hopkinson, the Signer of the Declaration of Independence. This 
lady died a year before her husband, having been killed in March, 
1797, by the falling of a sandbag on her head while opening a 
window. 

Jacob Spence Duche, a son of Dr. Duche, was born in Philadelphia 
about 1766, and became an artist, receiving instructions, it is said, in 
England from Benjamin West. Portraits of Bishop Provoost of New 
York and Bishop Seabury of Connecticut were painted by him. The 



CHRIST CHURCH. 



91 



latter received the honor of being engraved at London by Sharpe. 
Some other small pieces are known to have been painted by him. He 
died young. Sophia, a daughter of Dr. Duche, married John Henry, 
the author of the "John Henry Plot," so called in American politics 
and connected with the incidents of the war of 181 2. 

Rev. Thomas Coombe was considered a patriot in the early part of 
the Revolution, but subsequent events proved that he only floated 
with the tide. He had begun to talk strongly against the existing 
state of things before the British had entered the city. He was 
arrested in September, 1777, among others, the majority of whom 
were Quakers, and ordered to be sent to Virginia. The vestry 
endeavored to obtain a reversal of the sentence of banishment, with- 
out effect. A subsequent application in his favor by Col. Lambert 
Cadwalader and the Rev. William White received more consideration, 
and Mr. Coombe was enlarged upon parole. He was in charge of the 
churches as long as the British army was in possession of the city, and 
remained until 1778, when he obtained permission to go through the 
enemy's lines to New York, where he embarked for England. Sub- 
sequently, he went to Ireland, became chaplain to Lord Carlisle, was 
made prebendary of Canterbury and chaplain to the king. Trinity 
College, Dublin, conferred upon him the degree of D. D. He was 
one of the few loyalists who can be said to have obtained in England 
anything like recompense for their sacrifices in the cause of the king. 

Rev. William White might have had as many reasons for adopting 
loyalty as his colleagues, but he seems to have lacked the disposition. 
He was educated at the College of Philadelphia, licensed by the Bish- 
op of London, and entered upon his duties as assistant minister in 
November, 1772. He was a son of Colonel Thomas White, an Eng- 
lish gentleman who upon coming to America settled in Maryland, 
from which he removed to Philadelphia before the birth of his son 
William, which occurred on April 4 (new style), 1748. He was 
ordained in England in 1772. During the Revolution, Bishop White 
was firm in his adherence to the patriot side. He took the oath of 
allegiance to the United States shortly after the 4th of July, 1776, and 
in connection with that important act the following anecdote is related 
by Rev. Dr. Bird Wilson : " When he went to the court-house for the 
purpose, a gentleman of his acquaintance standing there, observing his 
design, intimated to him, by a gesture, the danger to which he would 



92 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

expose himself. After having taken the oath he remarked, before leav- 
ing the court-house, to the gentleman alluded to, ' I perceived by your 
gesture that you thought I was exposing my neck to great danger by 
the step which I have taken. But I have not taken it without full 
deliberation. I know my danger, and that it is the greater on account 
of my being a clergyman of the Church of England. But I trust 
in Providence. The cause is a just one, and I am persuaded will be 
protected.' " 

He was chaplain of Congress during the Revolution, and after the 
Federal government was organized in Philadelphia was chaplain of the 
United States Senate until the removal of the seat of government to 
Washington City. 

After the Revolution the condition of the congregations in America 
which followed the worship of the Church of England was embarrass- 
ing. They had been under the control of the dignitaries of the Church 
in the old country : they could not submit longer to such authority ; 
neither the political nor social feelings of the American people would 
have allowed it Mr. White, even before the war had closed, perceived 
the difficulty, and published in 1782 a pamphlet entitled the Case of 
the Episcopal CJiiircJies considered, in which he advised union and the 
adoption of such measures as might eventually bring about the crea- 
tion of an American episcopacy. The Protestant Episcopal Church 
of the United States was in fact founded in Christ Church in 1785 in 
two conventions — the first of clerg)'^ of the State of Pennsylvania; 
the second of representatives of seven States. They recommended 
the election of American bishops, and asked for their consecration in 
England. An act of Parliament was in the way, but by the advice of 
the House of Bishops this law was repealed, and in 1787 the Rev. 
Samuel Provoost, who had been elected Bishop of New York, and the 
Rev. William White, chosen Bishop of Pennsylvania, were consecrated 
at Lambeth by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the 
Bishops of Bath and Wells and of Peterborough. The Rev. Samuel 
Seabury of Connecticut had obtained consecration three years and a 
half before them — not from the English bishops, however, but from 
Scottish Episcopal Bishops, who were more independent in action. 
Although Bishop of Pennsylvania and for forty years senior Bishop of 
the United States, Right Rev. William White remained rector of 
Christ Church and St. Peter's, and subsequently of St. James's, from 



CHRIST CHURCH. 93 



1779 until his death, which occurred July 17, 1836. He was then in 
the eighty-ninth year of his age, and had been connected with Christ 
Church as assistant minister and rector for over sixty-five years. His 
end was gentle, as his life was. There was no pain, no violent suffer- 
ing. His mind was " unclouded, tranquil, and serene." The decay of 
his natural powers brought on the closing scene. It was on a Sunday 
morning, shortly after the bells in Christ Church, which had so often 
summoned him to his sacred duty, had ceased to chime, that his spirit 
passed away. He was buried on the 20th of July in the family vault 
in Christ churchyard, amidst the testimonials of respect and affection 
of multitudes of mourning citizens. The remains were deposited in 
the White and Morris family vault, in which already reposed the body 
of Robert Morris, the patriot financier of the Revolution. The 
mother of Bishop White was a widow when his father married her. 
Her maiden name was Esther Hewlings. She was the widow of John 
Newman, and was the second wife of Colonel White. Her family came 
from Burlington, N. J. By that wife there were two children, William 
and Mary. The latter married Robert Morris. In February, 1773, Rev. 
William White married Miss Mary Harrison, daughter of a sea-cap- 
tain and merchant, who before the Revolution was an alderman and for 
some time Mayor of Philadelphia. They lived together in great hap- 
piness until her death, which occurred on the 13th of December, 1797. 
He never married again. There were five children by this marriage ; 
Elizabeth, who was born in 1776, married General John Macpherson, 
commander of the fine military legion during the time when the 
Federal government was in Philadelphia known as " Macpherson's 
Blues." He was an officer in the British army at the outbreak of the 
Revolution. He resigned from that service as soon as he could be 
released, came back to America, and was commissioned by Washing- 
ton. He was Surveyor of the Port of Philadelphia, Inspector of 
Revenue, and Naval Officer under Adams, Jefferson, and Madison; 
colonel and brigadier-general of the State militia. 

Mary, another daughter of Bishop White, married Enos Bronson, 
who was at one time editor and publisher of the United States Gazette. 
Their son, the Rev. William White Bronson, a grandson of Bishop 
White, was at one time assistant minister of St. Peter's Church. 

Thomas Harrison White, son of the bishop, became a merchant. 
Two of the children, Matthias and William, died young. Thomas H. 



94 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



White married Mary Key Heath, daughter of the Revolutionary 
patriot general Richard Heath of Baltimore. A daughter of Enos 
and Mary Bronson married the Rev. Alfred A. Miller. 

Bishop White was succeeded in the church as rector by Rev. John 
W^aller James, who had been assistant minister. He held his position 
but four weeks. He died at an early age. 

Rev. Benjamin Dorr succeeded Mr. James as rector in 1837, and 
officiated twenty-two years. He was born in Salisbury, Mass., in 
1796, and graduated at Dartmouth College in 18 17. His original 
intention was to study law, but he abandoned the design for the- 
ology. He was elected Bishop of Maryland in 1839, but declined the 
honor. 

For some time after the foundation of Christ Church burials were 
made in the church and in the lot adjoining. The increasing number 

of interments soon made 
it necessary to provide a 
burial-ground, and in 17 19 
a lot of ground at the 
south-east corner of Fifth 
and Arch streets was pur- 
chased, and since that time 
has been used for purposes 
of interment. Within that 
enclosure rest the remains 
of many eminent men who 
were buried there, but the 
precise place of interment 
of some of them is now 
unknown. Among the lat 
ter may be mentioned 
Peyton Randolph, Presi- 
dent of the First Conti- 
nental Congress, who was 
buried here in 1775 ; and Francis Hopkinson, Signer of the Declara- 
tion of Independence, Judge of Admiralty of Pennsylvania, who died 
in 1 79 1. The grave of Benjamin Franklin, marked by a flat stone 
with the simple inscription, " Benjamin and Deborah Franklin," is at 
the north-west corner, and visible from the street. There are monu- 




Franklin's Grave. 



CHRIST CHURCH. 95 



merits in the graveyard to the memory of Revolutionary patriots 
— Commodore Richard Dale, General Jacob Morgan, General James 
Irvine, Major William Jackson, Dr. Benjamin Rush. Eminent men of 
a later time are buried there ; among them, Commodore William 
Bainbridge, General Thomas Cadwalader, Dr. Philip Syng Physick, 
Henry Pratt, the eminent merchant, Chief-Justice William Tilghman, 
Rev. Bird Wilson, Doctor of Laws and Doctor of Divinity, who 
practised as a lawyer, and after being for seventeen years president of 
the Court of Common Pleas of the Seventh District of Pennsylvania, 
became rector of St. John's at Norristown, and afterward professor of 
systematic divinity in the General Theological Seminary of the 
Protestant Episcopal Church at New York. 



THE QUAKER ALMSHOUSE. 




CCORDING to tradition, the ground upon which the 
Friends' Almshouses, on the south side of Walnut street 
between Third and Fourth streets, were erected was given 
to the Society by John Martin in 1713, upon condition that 
they would support him for the remainder of his days. Tra- 
j)^ dition is very often at fault, and not careful about its dates, so 
that by trusting to it ideas frequently get much mixed and lead astray 
those who trust to legend. 

John Martin was a tailor, and there are deeds on record which 
show that he was possessed of valuable lots of ground on Chestnut 
street and Walnut between Third and Fourth streets and else- 
where, so that it was not likely that he was in such a condition of 
poverty as to justify the story that he gave the property on Walnut 
street to the Society of Friends with the stipulation that they should 
take care of him. In fact, the property was held by him during 
his life, and only came into the possession of the Quakers through 
an implied trust in his will. He must have owned three or four 
lots on the south side of Walnut street between Third and Fourth, 
being together of the width of one hundred and forty-eight feet six 
inches and two hundred and twenty feet in depth. 

There is a conveyance on record by Thomas Cros^:, wheelv/right, to 
John Martin for a lot on the south side of Walnut street between Third 
and Fourth, forty-nine and a half feet front and two hundred and twenty 
feet deep, and for an adjoining lot of the same width, but not of the 
same depth, making the front on Walnut street ninety-nine feet. 
The consideration was ;^30, current silver money, and the deed is 
dated December 11, 1697. Two other lots of the same dimensions 
must have been acquired by Martin from some other owner. On the 
14th of September, 1702, Martin granted the lot forty-nine and one- 
half by two hundred and twenty feet to John Budd for ^^15. He 

96 



THE QUAKER ALMSHOUSE. 



97 



died shortly afterward, his will being dated in November, 1702. By 
that instrument he bequeathed his whole property, real and personal, 
to Thomas Chalkley, Ralph Jackson, and John Michener for their 
own use. They were leading members of the Society of Friends, 
Chalkley and Jackson being eminent preachers. The will makes no 
reservations, and seems to be entirely for the benefit of Chalkley, 
Jackson, and Michener. Per- 
haps a portion of the bequest 
might have been for their own 
benefit, but as for two of the 
three lots on Walnut street 
which were still Martin's prop- 
erty, there can be little doubt 
but that they were intended 
for charitable uses. This is 
evident from the minutes of 
the Monthly Meeting of the | 
Society of Friends held 27th 
of 9th month (November), 
1702, from which it appears 
that there was an understand- 
ing that Martin intended that 
*' his estate should be dis- 
posed of for the use of poor 
Friends, according to this 
Meeting's directions ;" and 
accordingly, Thomas Story 







Quaker Almshouses, destroyed in 1876. 
and David Lloyd were desired to draw the necessary papers fo • 
the executors to sign to declare the trust thereof to Edward Shippen, 
Samuel Carpenter, and Anthony Morris for Friends' service, according 
to the said John Martin's intent. It is not known whether this decla- 
ration was made. In 17 14 the executors made a declaration in which 
they declared to William Hudson, John Warder, and Anthony Morris, 
Jr., that they held the two lots of ground for the use of the Society, 
" for the habitation and succor of such and so many poor and unfor- 
tunate persons of the people called Quakers as the members of the 
Monthly Meeting at Philadelphia should nominate and appoint, and for 
want of such poor to inhabit said premises, that the said messuage and 
7 



98 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

messuages, or such part or parts thereof happening to be vacant, should 
be let and rented to others, and that the rent and profits thereof, as 
well as the surplusage of said estate, should be applied for the relief 
and maintenance of the poor of the said people called Quakers in such 
manner as the said Monthly Meeting should order and direct," etc. 

When this deed was executed the property had come into use, 
small buildings for almshouse purposes having been erected during 
the previous year, and the dimensions of the premises were increased 
by the purchase of a strip of ground three feet two inches in width 
adjoining on the west, 

Morris in 1724 was the surviving person to whom this declaration 
was made, and was considered by the Quakers as trustee. He was 
ordered to make over the trust to William Hudson, John Warder, 
and Anthony Morris, Jr. Although the equitable title was in the 
Society, there was no actual conveyance made at that time. 
This was done in 175 1 by Rebecca James, who was the surviving 
child and heir of Thomas Chalkley, who was the surviving executor 
and devisee of John Martin. Abel James, her husband, joined in the 
conveyance with her. They made the deed to Edward Cathrall, John 
Reynell, John Armit, Israel Pemberton, John Smith, John Emlen, and 
John Morris, in trust for the use of the Society of Friends. Since 
that time various conveyances have been made from trustees to trus- 
tees, and in time this property was included in the general convey- 
ances of all the property of the Society. 

In later years such trusteeship is traceable. On the 22d of 4th 
month, 1809, the Society of Friends put all its property, including 
the Mulberry street Meeting-house and the Almshouse on Walnut 
street, in the names of Samuel Sansom, John Field, and others, 
trustees of the Monthly Meeting of the " Religious Society common- 
ly called Friends of Philadelphia." Another deed was made in 18 17, 
creating a new set of trustees ; another in 1828 ; another in 1843. 

Upon this property in 171 3 the Society of Friends erected a few 
small houses for the accommodation of its poor members. They were 
one story in height, with a garret room and a great tall chimney, and 
each sufficient for the accommodation of one or two inmates. The 
steep overhang roof was of a style common in the early part of the 
last century, but which soon went out of fashion. The situation was 
secluded and peaceful. Trees and shrubbery ornamented the grounds, 



THE QUAKER ALMSHOUSE. 



99 



and the inmates devoted themselves to the cultivation of flowers and 
medicinal plants. It was a place of calm seclusion, partitioned off 
from the noise and bustle of a city, and it afforded to the inmates 
opportunities for study and meditation, while at the same time they 
could follow such light occupations as were suited to their age and 
weakness. In 1729 an odd-looking building was erected upon the 




Friends' Almshouse, Walnut Street Front. 
Torn down in 1841. From drawings by the late John Skirving and William L. Breton. 

Walnut street front, and took up the whole width of the lot. The 
central portion rose above a simply ornamented doorway to an open 
arched entrance, which led from the street by steps to the garden and 
buildings in the rear. The ground was naturally higher than the level 
of the street. The central buildino" rose above the winsfs. which were 



100 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

two stories in height, one of them being of a basement character. The 
garrets were under a steep-pitched roof The centre had a third story 
and garrets. Four chimneys were conspicuous from the street. The 
eaves were heavy and the roofs pitched sharp and high. The entire 
appearance of the structure was quaint, and unhke anything else to be 
seen in the city. There was a fitting accompaniment to the oddity 
of the structure in a h'ttle one-story building with steep garret-room 
on the west, which in modern times was known as the Wigmore 
House, in which lived at one time Joseph A. Wigmore, a bottler, who 
was succeeded in the occupation by his widow, famous for many years 
among the young population as a fabricator of molasses candy. Far 
different in appearance were the two houses on the east of the Alms- 
house, which were high, broad, and grand. They were numbered 68 
and 70 in 1795. The one nearest Third street was occupied by Ben- 
jamin Chew, attorney-at-law, and that next door to the Almshouse 
by Edward Stiles, gentleman, who is said to have made much money 
during the Revolutionary war as the owner of lucky privateers. His 
country-seat was at Green Hill, far out on the Ridge road, occupying 
a piece of ground of several acres in the neighborhood of the present 
Girard Avenue. Concerning the occupants of the old Quaker Alms- 
house, there is nothing in the shape of song or story. They were 
reputable people whom fortune had treated unkindly, but who were 
not suffered by the richer members of the persuasion to want. There 
is no veritable incident to add point to the 

" Short and simple annals of the poor." 

The Friends' Almshouse was the first constructed in the city, but, 
being intended entirely for poor members of the Society, the necessi- 
ties of the public required some addition to this class of institutions. 
As early as 171 2 the City Council minutes note the fact that ''the 
poor of this city is daily increasing," and it was resolved to hire a 
workhouse " to employ poor p'sons." The mayor, two grave and rev- 
erend aldermen, and three Common Councilmen had charge of the 
arrangements, but do not appear to have perfected anything at that 
time. Seventeen years went by without further movement, but in 
1729 the Assembly, in an act directing the emission of bills of cred- 
it, provided that ;^iOOO should be loaned the city for the purpose 
of erecting an almshouse. The money was paid over in the sue- 



THE QUAKER ALMSHOUSE. lOI 

ceeding year, and was put in the hands of trustees. In 173 1 a lot of 
ground was purchased of Aldran Allen, which comprised the entire 
square bounded by Third, Fourth, Spruce, and Pine streets. It was 
then a pleasant green meadow. The structure occupied a position 
nearer to Third than to Fourth street. There was a great gate on 
Spruce street, and an entrance by an X stile on Third street. There 
were outbuildings. The principal building had a piazza around it, and 
in style presented much the same appearance as the Friends' Alms- 
house. Here commenced the Philadelphia Hospital in connection 
with the Almshouse about 1732, being the first hospital established 
in the American Colonies. The municipal care of this almshouse was 
superseded by the creation of the Corporation for the Relief and 
Employment of the Poor in 1766. That institution was supported 
by contributors. The new almshouse was built on a lot between 
Spruce and Pine and Tenth and Eleventh streets, and opened to poor 
persons in October, 1767. The old almshouse property at Spruce 
and Third streets was then abandoned, and the premises were sold, 
and Union street opened through the centre of the lot. 

In modern times the publication of Longfellow's poem of Evan- 
geline has led persons whose imaginations are vivid to attempt to iden- 
tify the Friends' Almshouse with the closing scene of that idyl. It 
would be delightful if Fact could thus be brought to the assistance 
of Fancy. But, if the best must be told, it may be said that although 
the poet may have had recollections of a visit years ago to the Friends' 
Almshouse upon which he based the description of the place where 
Evangeline met Gabriel, there could be no other point of resemblance 
in truth and in fact, as the lawyers say. The passages in Evaiigeline 
which relate to this subject are these : 



" In that delightful land which is washed by the Delaware's waters, 
Guarding in sylvan shades the name of Penn the apostle, 
Stands on the banks of its beautiful stream the city he founded. 
There all the air is balm, and the peach is the emblem of beauty, 
And the streets still re-echo the names of the trees of the forest, 
As if they feign would appease the dryads whose haunts ihey molested 
There from the troubled sea had Evangeline landed in exile, 
Finding among the children of Penn a home and a country." 

" Then it came to pass that a pestilence fell on the city, 
Presaged by wondrous signs, and mostly by flocks of wild pigeons, 



102 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

Darkening the sun in their flight, with naught in their craws but an acorn." 

" WeaUh had no power to bribe, nor beauty to charm the oppressor ; 
But all perished alike beneath the scourge of his anger ; — 
Only, alas ! the poor, who had neither friends nor attendants, 
Crept away to die in the almshouse, home of the homeless. 
Then in the suburbs it stood, in the midst of meadows and woodlands; 
Nmo the city surrounds it ; but still with its gateway and wicket 
Meek, in the midst of splendor, its humble walls seem to echo 
Softly the words of the Lord — ' The poor ye always have with you.'" 

According to the poet, Evangeline, after years of separation from Ga- 
briel, devoted herself to assuaging the sufferings of the sick and poor. 
The almshouse was crowded with sufferers, and it was in this place 
that Gabriel was met. Except for the use of the word " now " in the 
line which describes the almshouse as still existing when the poem was 
written, it might apply as well to the old city almshouse at Fourth and 
Spruce as to the Quaker Almshouse. Evangeline was published in 
1847. The quaint front building of the Quaker Almshouse was torn 
down in 1841, and the ground utilized for the construction of modern 
offices, the income of which adds greatly to the available amount of 
funds for charitable purposes which remained in the hands of the 
Society of Friends. Back of this building two or three one-story 
houses remained, which was all that was left of the establishment. 
The Friends' Almshouse was really a community for the support of the 
old and feeble. It was not a hospital for the sick, so that if Gabriel the 
stranger had been found prostrate and dying in the streets of the city, 
he would have been taken to the City Hospital, which was in operation 
long before the French neutrals were sent to Philadelphia from Acadia. 
There was room for sick strangers at Fourth and Spruce streets, but 
there was none at Walnut and Fourth. Still, Fancy is so earnest in 
some people that in time not only was the story of Evangeline 
determined to refer to the Quaker Almshouse, but there were persons 
ready to show exactly where in the garden the bodies of Gabriel and 
Evangeline were buried. 



INDEPENDENCE HALL: 

THE STATE-HOUSE. 




'HE construction of a State-house in the city of Philadel- 
phia was a necessity which the proprietary government 
and the General Assembly of the Province endeavored to 
postpone as long as possible. Forty-seven years went b}' 
after the city was founded before this want was provided 
for. The Assembly meanwhile had occupied various 
places for its sessions — rooms in private houses, school- 
rooms, and the great Quaker meeting-house. After the county court- 
house was built in the middle of Market street at Second street in 1709, 
the Assembly and the Supreme Court of the Province, it is supposed, 
held their sessions there. On the 1st of May, 1729, the Assembly of 
Pennsylvania made an appropriation of i^2000, inserted as an item in a 
paper-money bill for the issue of ^^30,000, for the building of " a house 
for the Assembly of this Province to meet in." The bill was finall}- 
passed on the lOth of May, and the Speaker, Andrew Hamilton, with 
Thomas Lawrence and John Kearsley, members of the House, were 
appointed trustees of this appropriation. The money was not in the 
treasury, but had to be raised by the preparation and issuing of paper 
currency. So it happened that for sixteen months after the bill was 
passed no movement was made toward carrying out the design. 
A lot on Chestnut street was bought by William Allen in 1730, and 
other lots between that time and the summer of 1732, extending from 
Fifth to Sixth street halfway to Walnut street. The State-House was 
commenced immediately thereafter. Andrew Hamilton, the Speaker, 
prepared the plan of the building and was the architect, and not Dr. 
John Kearsley, as has been erroneously stated by Watson. This is 

103 



104 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 




Old Court-House, formerly at Second and Market streets. 



shown by a complaint made by Hamilton to the House in August, 
1732, that Dr. Kearsley would not act with him, and opposed the 
place where the House was to be built and " the manner and form 
of the work." The Speaker was very much in earnest, and was deter- 
mined that his position in relation to the work should be settled. Not^ 
only was he thwarted by Dr. Kearsley, but his colleague, John Law- 
rence, who made no pretence of being an architect, had done but little 
to help him. 

" Mr. Speaker desired to know the sentiments of the House there- 
upon ; and the said John Kearsley, being present as a member, stood 



OLD INDEPENDENCE HALL: THE STATE HOUSE. 105 

up in his Place, and having offered to the House his Reasons and 
Allegations touching the Premises, which were fully heard, Mr. 
Speaker moved the House would resolve itself into a Committee of 
the Whole House, that he might have an opportunity of answering the 
said John Kearsley 

" Mr. Speaker produced a draught of the State-House, containing 
the plan and elevation of that building, which being examined by the 
several members was approved by the House." 

After this Mr. Hamilton preferred a request to be relieved from the 
care of conducting said building, which ** had hitherto almost entirely 
rested upon himself," and requested that some skilful person be 
appointed to superintend the work. But the House resolved that " Mr. 
Speaker be the person appointed by this House, with the advice of 
the two gentlemen before nominated, to superintend and govern the 
building of the State-House, and that for his trouble therein the House 
will make him compensation." Even after this Kearsley's objections 
were again brought up. Kearsley and Hamilton debated the question 
upon Kearsley's complaint that the House of Representatives *' had 
never agreed it [the State-House] should be erected in the place where 
it now stands, and that the form of the said building was liable to great 
exceptions." But the House, after hearing both parties, resolved 
"that Mr. Speaker, both in regard of the place whereon the building 
of the State-House is fixed and his manner of conducting the said 
Building, has behaved himself agreeable to the mind and intention of 
the House." Very stubborn was Dr. John Kearsley on this subject. 
His efforts at Christ Church, the western end of which had been com- 
menced in 1729 and finished in 1731, seem to have made him vain of 
his architectural accomplishments, and he could see no merit in the 
plan of Hamilton. Nevertheless, the work went on, and without the 
assistance of Kearsley or Lawrence. Of this Hamilton complained in 
a petition to the Assembly in January, 1734, in which he said that he 
was embarrassed by Kearsley and Lawrence, each of whom held one- 
third of the fund of i^2000, and that several plans or elevations for the 
house or building had been prepared, " one or more of which were pro- 
duced by one of the gentlemen joined in the said undertaking, and 
compared with the plan or elevation adopted, and that the latter was 
agreed upon, not only as the least expensive, but as the most neat and 
commodious, by the persons entrusted to build the same, and was 



I06 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

likewise approved by the then House of Representatives." He com- 
plained that many persons made it their business "to unjustly charge 
the said Andrew Hamilton with being the sole projector of building 
a house for the purposes aforesaid, and of his own head running the 
county into a much greater charge than was necessary." But the 
Assembly did not release him, and the work went on gradually and 
with no haste. Two offices were ordered to be built adjoining the 
State-House in March. 1733. They were square buildings, two stories 
in height, with a hip roof, and the second story was entered by stair- 
ways leading from an open arcade adjoining. 

It is probable that the State-House was first occupied by the Assem- 
bly in 1735, and that the adjoining buildings, called Province Hall, were 
finished at the beginning of 1736. The Register-General of Wills, the 
Recorder of Deeds, and the Master of the Rolls were provided for in 
those buildings. The title to the lot and buildings, which had been in 
Hamilton and Allen, was directed to be conveyed by act of February 21, 
1736, to John Kinsey, Joseph Kirkbride, Caleb Copeland, and Thomas 
Edwards, ** in trust to and for the use of the representatives of the free- 
men of the Province, which now are and from time to time hereafter 
shall be duly elected by the freemen aforesaid," etc. A proviso to this 
act declared that no part of the said ground lying south of the State- 
House " should be made use of for erecting any sort of building there- 
on, but the said ground shall be enclosed and remain a public green 
and walk for ever." The conveyances to the trustees were not 
promptly made. Hamilton made none, but by his will ordered his 
heirs to execute the trust. Allen made some conveyances. New trus- 
tees were appointed from time to time as the old ones died, and as soon 
as the State declared its independence of Great Britain the property was 
considered as vested in the Commonwealth without further ceremony. 

For some years the building remained in an unfinished condition 
— so much so that in 1741 the Assembly became impatient and 
appointed a committee of inquiry to know why after nine years of 
work upon the structure it was not completed. At that time the As- 
sembly chamber, east room, first floor — now known as Independence 
Hall — needed plastering, glazing, and finishing. In 1743 the west 
room was ordered to be finished as soon as possible, and in November 
of that year a plan for finishing the court-room and the piazzas between 
the main building and the offices was laid before the House and ap- 



OLD INDEPENDENCE HALL: THE STATE-HOUSE. 107 



proved. It is supposed that the building was finished by the end of 
17ZJ4, inckiding the central building and the offices and piazzas. Low 
wooden sheds of an oblong shape were erected on the Fifth and Sixth 
streets sides of the State-House lot at Chestnut street for the accom- 
modation of the Indian deputations which often visited the city in 
large numbers. These buildings were appropriated to storehouse pur- 
poses, and became arsenals in which were lodged cannon, cannon-balls, 
and muskets during the Revolution. 

There was no steeple to the State-House as originally finished. 
In February, 1750, the Assembly ordered that "a building should be 
erected on the south side of the State-House to contain a staircase, 
with suitable place for hanging a bell." The building was a tower, 
and when the plan was adopted a wooden steeple was added. It 
was some time before this work was done. In October, 175 1, the 
steeple project must have been well advanced, as the superintendents 
of the work were directed to get a bell of such dimensions and weight 
as they should think suitable. Under this authority Isaac Norris, 
Thomas Leech, and Edward Warner wrote to Robert Charles of 
London, asking his friendly services to get a good bell of about 
two thousand pounds weight for the use of the Province, which 
they presumed would cost i^ioo sterling or perhaps more. They 
wanted the bell by the end of the summer or beginning of the fall 
of 175 1, before which time the steeple would not be finished, and they 
directed that the following words, well shaped in large letters, should 
be cast round the bell : 

" By Order of the Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania, for the 

State- House in the City of Philadelphia, 1752." 
and underneath — 

" Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land, to all the Inhabitants 

thereof." Levit xxv. 10. 

The bell was cast at Whitechapel ; by whom is not now known. It 
was received in August, 1752; but when it was brought on shore and 
hung up to try the sound, it was cracked by a stroke of the clapper. 
The superintendents were about to send it back to England to be re- 
cast, when they were prevented by the offer of a firm of brass-founders 
in Philadelphia, Pass & Stow, who undertook to recast the bell, and 
made an excellent mould, the letters being better than those on the 



io8 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADEIPHIA. 




Liberty Bell. 



English bell. Though it was handsome, this bell was deficient in 

tone. The founders made a new mould, broke up the bell, altered 

the proportion of materials, and cast it 

again. The original inscriptions were 

upon it, and it was raised in the steeple 

of the State-House about the beginning 

of June, 1753. A clock was finished 

about the same time ; it was made in 

Philadelphia by Peter Stretch, and cost 

nearly ^500. The English bell cost 

^198, but Pass & Stow, for recasting 

it, received in September, 1753, i^6o 13^". 

and 5^., they having, of course, the 

benefit of the material. 

In 1777, previous to the entiy of the 
British, the State-House bell was taken 
down and removed " to a place of safety," 
together with the bells of Christ Church 
and St. Peter's. They were transported 
to Bethlehem, where they remained until the evacuation of the city, when 
they were brought back and placed in their old positions. In 1774 it 
was perceived that the woodwork of the State-House steeple was 
decaying, and the superintendents were directed to have it taken down, 
and the brickwork cheaply covered, in order to prevent its being 
damaged by the weather. The events of the Revolution interfered, so 
that it was not till 178 1 that the wooden steeple was removed. The 
tower was then covered with a low hip roof, from which rose a short 
spire with a vane. The bell, which had remained in the steeple or 
tower, was removed to the roof of the State-House, and suspended in 
an open belfry supported by four posts. 

In 1828, City Councils determined to erect a new steeple upon the 
tower. The architect was guided in the restoration by the shape of the 
old steeple, which he increased in height, adding an additional story. 
A new bell was cast by John Wiltbank, but it did not give satisfaction, 
and he made another, which was soon cracked, and which was replaced 
by yet another, which was satisfactory. The weight was four thousand 
six hundred pounds. The old clock made by Peter Stretch had its 
dials displayed under the east and west peaks of the main building, 



OLD INDEPENDENCE HALL: THE STATE-HOUSE. 1 09 

being exhibited in a stone clockcase extending to the ground and 
built in the shape of the old eight-day clock-cases of the period. This 
clock was replaced by one made by Isaiah Lukens of Philadelphia, 
displayed on four sides of the steeple in semi-transparent dials capable 
of illumination at night. In 1876 the clock and bell gave way to a 
new clock made by the Seth Thomas Clock Company of Thomastown, 
Connecticut, and a bell cast by Menealy & Kimberly of Troy, N. Y., 
which weighs thirteen thousand pounds. The clock and bell were 
presented by Henry Seybert, a citizen of Philadelphia. The new bell 
was not satisfactory ; it was taken to Troy, and, after being twice 
recast, was at length brought back to Independence Hall steeple. 
The old bell, which, according to the poetic fancy of Isaac Norris, was 
ordered to " Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, to all the inhab- 
itants thereof," was rung on the 8th of July, 1776, in celebration of the 
Declaration of Independence, which instrument was formally read to 
the people on that day from an observatory erected in the State-House 
Yard by the American Philosophical Society in 1769 to observe the 
transit of Venus. It was afterward used as a fire-bell, and also as a bell 
for the clock. The bell cast by Mr. Wiltbank in 1828 replaced it in the 
public service in striking the hour and for alarms of fire. When the 
new bell was hung a fire-signal system was adopted, by which the 
direction of a fire from the State-House could be learned from the 
number of strokes sounded upon the bell. This system was proposed 
by Franklin Peale, but it is said that it was suggested to him by Dr. 
Robert M. Patterson, who had heard of some such practice in Holland. 
The old Liberty Bell, as it was now called, was removed to a lower 
story of the tower and only rung on particular occasions. It was tolled 
in 'rejoicing at the news of the passage by the British Parliament of 
the act emancipating the Catholics in 1828. It was sounded Feb. 22, 
1832, in honor of the centennial anniversary of the birth of Washing- 
ton. It was cracked early in the morning of July 8, 1835, while being 
tolled in memoiy of Chief-Justice Marshall, who had died in Philadel- 
phia, and Avhose body at that time was being taken to the wharf, where 
it was to be put aboard of a steamboat to be carried to Richmond, Va. 
It was subsequently rung on certain occasions, although the sound was 
doleful. Finally, on the celebration of Washington's Birthday, Feb. 
22, 1843, the crack was so much increased in size that the bell thence- 
forth was mute for ever. 



I lo HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHIIADELPHIA. 

The principal mechanics who worked upon the building were 
Edmund Wooley, Eleazar Tomlinson, master carpenter ; John 
Harrison, joiner ; Thomas Boude, bricklayer ; William Holland, 
marble-mason; Thomas Kerr, plasterer; Benjamin Fairman and James 

Stoops, brickmakers; Tyson, lime-burner; Thomas Godfrey 

(inventor of the quadrant), painter and glazier ; John Palmer and 
Thomas Redmond, stone-masons and cellar-diggers. The carved 
work of the interior of the main building was executed by Bryan 
Wilkinson. 

The State-House Yard did not attract much attention for many 
years after the principal buildings were finished. Up to 1762 the 
enclosure occupied only half the square, but in that year the re- 
maining ground upon Fifth, Sixth, and Walnut streets was purchased 
of various persons, and the whole of the State-House Yard became 
the property of the public. In 1785, through the influence of Samuel 
Vaughan, Colonel George Morgan of Morganza presented the State 
with one hundred elms, which were planted in the square. This was 
the commencement of improvements, among which was the erection of 
a brick wall around the enclosure, which was protected from intru- 
sion by a central gate on Walnut street, which rose high and proudly 
in the style of a grand doorway. Walks were laid out ; seats were 
planted in various parts of the enclosure; it became a fashionable place 
of resort, and the city poets raved about its beauties in newspapers 
and magazines. About 18 16 the wall on Fifth, Sixth, and Walnut 
streets was taken down, the lofty gateway removed, and there was sub- 
stituted a low brick wall with an iron palisade fence, and a grand 
entrance on Walnut street guarded by gateways of pretentious design. 
This in 1875 was replaced by another arrangement, and the iron gate- 
ways and palisades disappeared altogether. The ground, which was 
above the level of the street, was guarded by a low wall and coping. 
Broad avenues running diagonally and straight divided the surface so as 
to allow the shortest cuts across. The grass has been banished to tri- 
angular and circular patches. Some flowers have been planted, and the 
State-House Yard tries to make up in utiHty w^hat it has lost in beauty. 

The square buildings east and west of the State-House were taken 
down in 181 3 by the County Commissioners under authority of an 
act of Assembly, and the two-story brick offices, which still remain, 
were erected for the use of public officers. 



OLD INDEPENDENCE HALL: THE STATE-HOUSE. m 

In 1785 the Assembly, out of the money received from the sale 
of the old jail property at the south-west corner of Third and 
Market streets, appropriated ;^3000 to the city of Philadelphia 
for the erection of a city hall at Fifth street, and ^^3000 to 
the county for the erection of a court-house on Sixth street. The 
ground had already been conveyed to the city and county as early 
as 1763, each lot being fift}^ by seventy-three feet. An addition 
of fifteen feet made the depth of each lot eighty-eight feet. Work 
on the court-house was commenced in 1787, and the building was 
finished probably about 1789. As soon as the seat of the Federal 
government was removed to Philadelphia, the County Court-house was 
given up entirely to the use of Congress. The Senate Chamber was 
in the back room second story, the House of Representatives in the 
back room first story. The entrance was from Chestnut street by a 
passage which ran through to the hall, from which the stairway rose to 
the second story. There was no doorway on Sixth street at that time. 
There were offices on each side of the first-story entry, and committee- 
rooms in the space now occupied by the front room second story. A 
contemporary writer thus describes the appearance of the legislative 
halls at the time. Referring to the Senate, he says : " In a very plain 
chair without canopy, and a small mahogany table before him, fes- 
tooned at the sides and front with green silk, Mr. Adams, the Vice- 
President, presided as President of the Senate, facing the north 

Among the thirty Senators of that day there was obsen^ed, constantly 
during debate, the most delightful silence, the most beautiful order, 
gravity, and personal dignity of manner. They all appeared every 
morning full powdered, and dressed, as age or fancy might suggest, in 
the richest material. The very atmosphere of the place seemed to 
inspire wisdom, mildness, and condescension. Should any one of 
them so far forget, for a moment, as to be the cause of a protracted 
whisper while another was addressing the Vice-President, three gentle 
taps with his silver pencil-case upon the table by Mr. Adams immedi- 
ately restored everything to repose and the most respectful attention, 
presenting in their courtesy a most striking contrast to the independ- 
ent loquacity of the Representatives below stairs, some few of whom 
persisted in wearing, while in their seats and during the debate, their 
ample cocked hats, placed fore and aft upon their heads, with here and 
there a leg thrown across the little desks before them, and facing Mr. 



112 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



jfiipiter Dayton, as he was sometimes called by writers in the Aurora 

of Benjamin Franklin Bache The House of Representatives in 

session occupied the ground floor. There was a platform elevated 
three steps, plainly carpeted and covering nearly the whole of the area, 
with a limited promenade for the members and privileged persons, and 
four narrow desks between the Sixth street windows for the stenog- 
raphers, Lloyd, Gales, Callender, and Duane. The Speaker's chair, 
without canopy, was of plain leather and brass nails, facing the east 

at or near the centre of the western wall Speaker Muhlenberg 

was succeeded by Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey — a tall, raw-bone<g[ 
figure of a gentleman, with terrific aspect, and, when excited, a voice 
of thunder. His slender, bony figure filled only the centre of the 
chair, resting on the arms of it with his hands, and not his elbows. 
From the silence which prevailed, of course, on coming to order after 
prayers by Bishop White, an occasional whisper, increasing to a buzz, 
after the manner of boys in school, in the seats, in the lobby, and 
around the fires, swelled at last to loud conversation, wholly inimical 
to debate. Very frequently, at this stage of confusion among the 
' babbling politicians,' Mr. Speaker Dayton would start suddenly upon 
his feet, look fiercely around the hall, and utter the words, 'Order! 
order without the bar,' in such an appalling tone of voice that, as 
though a cannon had been fired under the windows upon the street, 
the deepest silence in one moment prevailed, but for a very short 
time." 

Washington and Adams were inaugurated as President and Vice- 
President of the United States in the House of Representatives' cham- 
ber in 1793, and Adams and Jefferson in 1797. 

The City Hall was occupied during the time the Federal government 
was in Philadelphia by the Supreme Court of the United States. 
That tribunal occupied the back room second story. The judges then 
upon the Bench were Chief-Justices John Jay and Oliver Ellsworth, and 
among the associate justices were John Rutledge of South Carolina, 
William Cushing of Massachusetts, James Wilson of Pennsylvania, 
Samuel Chase of Rhode Island, and others. The United States 
Circuit Court and District Court also occupied that chamber, the 
latter under Judges Francis Hopkinson, William Lewis, and Richard 
Peters. The Mayor's Court is supposed to have occupied the lower 
back room. After Congress removed, this building became the office 



OLD INDEPENDENCE HALL: THE STATE-HOUSE. 



113 



of the Mayor, and for many years was used by Councils, which had 
their chambers and committee-rooms in the second story. 

South of the City Hall, on Fifth street, the American Philosophical 
Society managed to obtain the grant of a lot from the State of Penn- 
sylvania in 1785, and erected a hall for its own purposes, which was 
finished in 1787. The upper portion of the building is occupied by 
the library and museum of the society. The first story has been 
appropriated to various purposes. At one time it was used by the 
Athenaeum as a library and reading-room. The United States Circuit 
and District Courts were held there for many years. City offices and 
departments have been there, and lately the Court of Common Pleas 
occupies the whole first story with two court-rooms. 

When the State- House was finished it was occupied on the east 
room first floor by the Provincial Assembly and the second Continental 

Coneress 



until that body 
went to Princeton on ac- 
count of the fright caused 
by the mutiny of the Penn- 
sylvania line in 1783. The 
Federal Convention of 1787 
for the purpose of forming 
the Constitution met also in 
the east room. General 
George Washington presi- 
dent, and Major William 
Jackson secretary. 

The west room on the first 
floor was appropriated to the 
use of the Supreme Court 
of the Province from the 
time when the building was 
finished, and was occupied 




Independence Hall. 

Present Appearance. 



by that tribunal at the time of the Revolution. Afterward it was 

probably used by the Assembly at the same time when Congress was 

in session in the east room. Subsequently, and for some years, it was 

used by the Mayor's Court of the city, and was afterward appropriated 

to the Court of Common Pleas. After that tribunal was removed a few 

years ago, it was devoted to the purposes of a National Museum. The 
8 



114 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



Upper portion of the building was originally devoted to office purposes, 
and contained an apartment called the Long Room or the Assembly 
Room, which seems to have been appropriated during provincial times 
to purposes of festivity. Here, in 1752, Governor James Hamilton, 
after having celebrated the king's birthday by a dinner at his country- 
seat at Bush Hill, gave a grand ball to the belles and beaux of the 
time, which was attended by one hundred ladies and as many gentle- 
men, the affair winding up with a sumptuous supper in the long gal- 
lery. Governor Robert Hunter Morris gave a supper and ball there 
in 1754, and Governor William Denny was honored by a dinner in the 
same apartment on his arrival in 1756. Other fetes of note took place 
in this building. The city corporation thus honored the Earl of 
Loudon, commander of the British forces in America, in 1757. The 
merchants of the city complimented John Penn at a feast in 1763, 
Richard Penn in 1771 and in 1773. Richard Penn was superseded as 
gov^ernor by John Penn at this latter date, and the city corporation, 
fearing that the latter might feel slighted at not receiving a similar 
compliment to that given to his brother, gave him a dinner in the 
State-House a few days afterward. Here also dined the representative 
men of a new order of things who came upon the eve of great events. 
The first Continental Congress, w^hich met at Carpenters' Hall in 1774, 
was feasted at a public dinner given in the State-House, and that oc- 
casion may be assumed to be the last on which the building was used 
for such purposes. Before the Revolution the Philadelphia Library 
stored its books in one of the rooms of the second floor of the State- 
House building. In old Colony times the Governor and Supreme Ex- 
ecutive Council occupied a room in the second story, and afterward the 
Governor, Supreme Executive Council, and other officers were there 
accommodated. The Grand Lodge of Free Masons occupied a room 
in the western part of the building, second story, from the close of 
1799 to 1802. In the latter year Charles Wilson Peale obtained a 
grant of the whole of the second story for his museum. His collec- 
tion was removed there, and held possession until the Arcade building 
in Chestnut street, between Sixth and Seventh, was finished in 1828-29. 
The upper portion of the building then passed into the tenure of the 
United States government, and was occupied by the Circuit and Dis- 
trict Courts, with their offices and clerks, until the consolidation of the 
city and county in 1854, when the City Councils took possession of 



OLD INDEPENDENCE HALL: THE STATE-HOUSE. 



115 



the entire floor, and created two apartments and a committee-room for 
their use. 

The State of Pennsylvania owned the State-House Yard and building 
until 18 1 8, when they were sold to the city of Philadelphia for ;^70,ooo, 
excluding the portion of the square occupied by the hall of the Ameri- 
can Philosophical Society. 

Popular demonstrations naturally sought the State-House as an ap- 
propriate place for the promulgation of sentiment in words, or by ac- 
tions which sometimes spoke louder than words. The building and 
yard and the pavement space in front and on the sides were frequently 
the places at which strong feelings, political or otherwise, were mani- 
fested. Here in 1748, when the stubborn policy of the Assembly, 
which was ruled by Quakers, had by inaction and refusal to aid in 
the war which was then going on between France and England, 
even so far as to authorize home defence, put the Province in 
great peril, came in martial array the " Associators," a voluntary mili- 
tary force embodied for defence and resolved to sustain the burden 
itself, since the provincial government would not assume it. The city 
regiment, one thousand strong, assembled at its respective places of 
rendezvous, marched to the State-House, and elected Abraham Taylor 
colonel, Thomas Lawrence lieutenant-colonel, and Samuel McCall 
major. The troops then marched through the town, and returned to 
the State-House, where they were drawn up in three divisions and fired 
three volleys. In April the Associators again met at the State-House, 
and Colonel Taylor made a speech, and informed them that the Asso- 
ciations formed in the other counties of the Province had agreed to 
march to the defence of the city if an attack was made on it by the 
enemy. In case they came, the colonel suggested that each of the As- 
sociators ought to take three or four of the volunteers from the coun- 
try into his house as cheerfully as if they had been billeted there. 
This proposition was received by the regiment with three cheers and 
three volleys, after which they marched off, and were ready for the 
emergency; which, however, never came. On the 5th of October, 
1765, when the consummation of the Stamp Act in Pennsylvania was 
expected to be accomplished by the distribution of the " detested stamp 
paper," invoices of which had arrived in port in the ship Royal Char- 
lotte, Captain Holland, which was convoyed by the sloop-of-war Sar- 
doine, Captain James Hawkes, several thousand citizens assembled in 



Il6 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHIIADELPIIIA. 



the State-House Yard to express their feehngs of indignation upon the 
subject. They appointed James Tilghman, Robert Morris, Charles 
Thomson, Archibald McCall, John Cox, William Richards, and William 
Bradford a committee to wait upon John Hughes, who had been ap- 
pointed stamp-master for Pennsylvania, and ascertain of him whether 
he intended to act in that office. There was no disposition to dilly- 
dally over this subject. The committee repaired at once to Mr. 
Hughes's house, whilst the persons composing the meeting waited 
until they should return with an answer. Mr. Hughes was found in 
bed, confined by sickness. His mind, however, was sufficiently strong 
to lead him to resist the suggestion that he should resign the office. 
He replied that he would not relinquish the position, but that he would 
do nothing to carry the act into execution in Pennsylvania and the 
three lower counties on the Delaware until it was generally executed 
in other colonies. The reply was not well received by the meeting, 
and a proposition was made by some of the more heated participants 
to go to Hughes's house — a movement which might have resulted in 
riot. The majority, however, determined to give him time to consider, 
and at a second meeting, held two days after, his reply was received. 
It was not approved of, but in consequence of his ill-health the meet- 
ing resolved to leave him alone. 

The repeal of the Stamp Act caused great rejoicings in Philadelphia 
in May and June, 1766. The congratulations which were then general 
were nugatory. The British ministry had not relinquished the 
determination to tax America, and in Pitt's bill repealing the Stamp 
Act it was directly asserted that Parliament had a right to tax the 
American colonies. This was no idle assertion. It was followed in 
June, 1767, by the passage of the act to levy duties on paper, glass, 
painters' colors, lead, and tea imported by the Americans. On the 1st 
of August, 1768, a meeting to protest against the taxing act was held 
at the State-House, at which the duties levied by Parliament were 
denounced as an infringement of the natural and constitutional rights 
of the people, and a long address was adopted. 

On the 18th of October, 1773, news having been received that the 
East India Company had determined to send out a cargo of tea to 
Philadelphia, a large meeting of citizens was held in the State-House 
Yard, at which eight resolutions were adopted, the seventh of which 
was as follows . 



OLD INDEPENDENCE HALL: THE STATE-HOUSE. 



117 



"That whoever shall directly or indirectly countenance this 
attempt, or in any wise aid and abet in unloading, receiving, or 
vending the tea sent or to be sent out by the East India Company 
while it remains subject to the payment of a duty here, is an enemy 
to his country." 

There was spirit and force in this declaration, and a little more than 
two months afterward, on the 27th of December, a meeting was called 
at the State-House upon the news that the tea-ship Polly, Captain 
Ayres, was in the Delaware River, and had got up as far as Gloucester 
Point. Eight thousand persons attended the meeting, which was 
much too large to be accommodated in any room in the State-House 
building. ' The w^eather, we presume, was very cold, but the proceed- 
ings of the meeting were very brief, and were curtly expressed in the 
following resolutions. 

^^ Resolved — i. That the tea on board the ship Polly, Captain Ayres, 
shall not be landed. 

*' 2. That Captain Ayres shall neither enter nor report his vessel at 
the Custom-House. 

" 3. That Captain Ayres shall carry back the tea immediately. 

" 4. That Captain Ayres shall immediately send a pilot on board his 
vessel, with orders to take charge of her and proceed to Reedy Island 
next high water. 

" 5. That the captain shall be allowed to stay in town till to-morrow 
to provide necessaries for his voyage. 

" 6. That he shall then be obliged to leave town and proceed to his 
vessel, and make the best of his way out of our river and bay. 

" 7. That a committee of four gentlemen be appointed to see these 
resolves carried into execution." 

Captain Ayres was present at this meeting, and saw in the faces of 
those who were there a stern determination not to be trifled with. He 
discreetly took the hint, and very little time was given him for trifling. 
In two hours the Polly was loaded with fresh provisions and water, her 
bow was turned seaward, and Captain Ayres sailed out of the Dela- 
ware to convey " the detested tea back to its old rotting-place in Lead- 
enhall street." The mechanics of the city responded at a meeting held 
in this building to the mechanics of New York on the 9th of June, 
1774, after the Boston Port. Bill was passed. It was then resolved that 
the mechanics would aid the merchants of Philadelphia in all measures 



Il8 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHIIADELPHIA. 

needful for the public advantage. In the afternoon of the 24th of April, 
1775, information was received by express of the battles of Concord 
and Lexington on the 19th. The news was partially known during 
that evening, but next day the intelligence was widely spread ; so that, 
without any previous agreement the people came to the State-House, 
at which place eight thousand persons were assembled. Their pro- 
ceedings were very brief, but to the point. They were embodied in a 
single resolution, which was in effect that the persons present would 
" associate together to defend with arms their property, liberty, and 
lives against all attempts to deprive them of them." Volunteering for the 
Association companies at once commenced. In a few days three bat- 
talions were formed under Colonels John Dickinson, Daniel Robardeau, 
and John Cadwalader. 

The second Continental Congress assembled at the State-House at 
the beginning of May, 1775, and found that the war had already 
opened. On the 15th of June, George Washington, then a member 
of Congress and delegate from Virginia, was chosen commander-in- 
chief of the American army. On the 7th of June, 1776, Richard 
Henry Lee of Virginia moved that " these United Colonies are, and of 
right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved 
from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connec- 
tion between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, 
totally dissolved." Consideration of this matter was postponed to 
June 8, afterward to June 10, and finally to the ist of July, ''and in 
the mean while, that no time be lost in case the Congress agree thereto, 
that a committee be appointed to prepare a declaration to the effect of 
the first said resolution." Two other committees, quite as important, 
were appointed at the same time : one of them was to prepare and 
digest the form of " a confederation to be entered into between these 
colonies," thus preparing for a union of policy and action ; another 
was " to prepare a plan of treaties to be proposed to foreign powers." 
Upon the first committee was appointed Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, 
John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, 
Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecti- 
cut. The chairman, according to parliamentary precedent, ought to 
have been the member who moved the resolution of independence, 
Richard Henry Lee, but he was called away to Virginia, and Jefferson 
was substituted in his place. On the 28th of June the committee 



OLD INDEPENDENCE HALL: THE STATE-HOUSE. 



119 



brought in the draft of a Declaration, which was laid on the table. 
On the 1st of July, Lee's resolution was taken up in Committee of the 
Whole, debated, and postponed until the next day, when it was 
adopted by the vote of twelve States, New York not voting. Debate 
on the draft of a Declaration of Independence commenced on the 3d, 
and was continued until the 4th, during some period of which it was 
adopted, as Lee's resolution had been passed two days before, by the 




Speaker's Chair, and Table on which the DeclaratiOxN of Independence was 

Signed, now in Independence Haix. 

vote of twelve States. There was no excitement in Philadelphia or 
in the neighborhood of the State-House on any of those days. Con- 
gress was in secret session, and the people could not anticipate w^hat 
was being done. The passage of Lee's resolution on the 2d was not 
known until the 4th, and its adoption on the 2d, as John Adams 
thought, was the great act. The Declaration adopted on the 4th was 



I20 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

merely a statement of reasons for an act already done. It was not 
until the 6th that the passage of the Declaration was generally known 
in Philadelphia. On the 8th the document was read to the people 
from the observatory in the State-House Yard which was erected in 
1769 to observe the transit of Venus over the sun. John Nixon, a 
member of the Council of Safety, read the document on this occasion, 
instead of the sheriff of the county of Philadelphia, who had been 
originally designated for that purpose. The situation of this " awful 
platform," as John Adams says, is supposed to have been west of the 
middle walk, and on a line with the present Sansom street. The peo- 
ple listened in silence and with solemn thought upon the momentous 
character of the act. But the occasion did not pass without some 
active proof of the overthrow of the old authority. A committee 
of Associators appointed for the purpose entered the Supreme Court 
Room on the first floor of the State House, opposite the room occupied 
by Congress, tore down the king's arms, which were probably over the 
bench, and carried them away. In the evening they were burned at 
Front and Market streets amid the acclamations of the people. The 
Declaration was read the same afternoon to five battalions of Associa- 
tors assembled on the commons. Bells were rung ; among them the 
old bell of the State-House fulfilled its mission according to the direc- 
tion cast upon its side — " Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, to 
all the inhabitants thereof" There were bonfires at night and general 
rejoicing ; so that the fact that great deeds had been accomplished on 
the 2d and 4th of July was thoroughly understood by every patriot. 

During the occupation of Philadelphia by the royal army, 1777—78, 
the State-House served the purpose of a hospital and a prison. After 
the battle of Germantown, October 4, 1777, the wounded were brought 
to the city, and the Americans were taken to the State-House, where 
in the Assembly Room, the Supreme Court Room, the Great Hall, and 
upon the steps and in the lobbies and arcades adjoining, were placed 
the ghastly and bleeding bodies of the sufferers. Very few physicians 
or surgeons remained in the city, and attendance upon the sufferers 
was dependent upon the time and good-will of the British army-sur- 
geons. The latter considered it a duty to attend first to the wounded 
British and Hessian soldiers, after which they might be inclined to 
give some aid to the rebel soldiers. In this unfortunate state of af- 
fairs the sympathies of the women of Philadelphia, nearly all of whom 



OLD INDEPENDENCE HALL: THE STATE-HOUSE. 12 1 

were wives, daughters, or sisters of Tories, were aroused to the assist- 
ance of their unfortunate and, as they thought, misguided countrymen. 
Deborah Logan thus tells the story : 

" The day of that battle [of Germantown] the inhabitants passed in 
great anxiety. We could hear the firing and knew of the engagement, 
but were uninformed of the event. Toward evening many wagons 
full of the wounded arrived in the city, whose groans and sufferings 
were enough to move the most inhuman heart to pity. The American 
prisoners were carried to the State-House lobbies, and had, of course, 
to wait until the British surgeons had dressed their own men. But in 
a very short time the streets were filled with the women of the city 
carrying up every kind of refreshment which they might be supposed 
to want, with lint and linen and lights in abundance for their accom- 
modation. A British officer stopped one of these women in my hear- 
ing, and not ill-naturedly but laughingly reproved her for so amply sup- 
plying the rebels, whilst nothing was carried to the English hospitals. 
* Oh, sir,' replied she, * it is in your power fully to provide for tlicin, but 
we cannot see our own countrymen suffer and not do something for 
them.' They were not denied that poor consolation." 

In contrast with this scene of distress and dejection to every patriot 
was one which happened on Saturday, the 3d of November, 1781, when 
twenty-four standards of colors taken from the British army under com- 
mand of Earl Cornwallis at Yorktown were brought into the city under 
the escort of the volunteer cavalry, and then '' carried into Congress 
and laid at their feet." Thus burst forth the Allied Mercury, or Inde- 
pendent Intelligencer^ upon that important occasion : 

" The crowd exulting fills with shouts the sky ; 
The walls, the woods, and long canals reply ; 
Base Britons ! tyrant Britons ! knock under; 
Taken's your earl, soldiers, and plunder. 
Huzza ! What colors of the bloody foe, 
Twenty-four in number, at the State-House door! 
Look ! they ai-e British standards ; how they fall 
At the President's feet, Congress and all !" 

This joyful ceremony was an appropriate sequel to those which hap- 
pened at the State-House in July, 1778, when Conrad Alexander 
Gerard, the first minister from France to the United States, was for- 
mally introduced to Congress. They brought him in a coach drawn 



122 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

by six horses to the building ; Richard Henry Lee and Samuel Adams 
accompanied him. Introduced into the chamber, Gerard bowed to 
Congress, and the members of Congress rose and bowed to Gerard. 
The various credentials were then read, after which President Henry 
Laurens rose in his place, made a profound bow to Gerard, which was 
followed by a bow in return from the great Frenchman and a bow 
from Congress, the members of which, not to be outdone in civility, 
bowed again to the minister. He then withdrew, and was carried home 
in his coach-and-six. In 1787, December 13, the convention of the 
State of Pennsylvania, together with the President, Vice-President, and 
members of Congress, with the faculty of the University and officers 
of militia, and the Supreme Executive Council, went in procession 
from the State-House to the court-house at Second and Market streets, 
where the ratification of the new Constitution of the United States was 
read amidst the acclamations of a great concourse of citizens. Cannon 
were fired and bells were rung — among them, no doubt, the Liberty 
Bell in the steeple. The procession marched back to the State-House, 
where the members of the Convention subscribed the two copies of 
the ratification, and adjourned to Epley's tavern, where a good dinner 
finished out the exercises of the day. 

There was more than ordinary reason for this demonstration. The 
adoption of the Federal Constitution in Pennsylvania was a measure 
the opposition to which was strong, and which was carried in the heat 
of feeling by expedients that were not exactly fair. The delegates to 
the convention to frame a Federal Constitution began to arrive in the 
city in May, 1787. General Washington was received on the i8th, 
being escorted by the City Troop. In the latter part of that month 
delegates from twelve States assembled at the State-House and elected 
General George Washington president and Major William Jackson 
secretary. For neaHy four months the convention sat with closed 
doors, and all that the people knew of their doings was limited to the 
appearance of the delegates on public occasions. Washington on the 
27th of May attended divine service at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic 
chapel, and listened to a sermon by Rev. Dr. Beeston. He reviewed 
the volunteer militia on the commons in June, and visited Moore Hall in 
Chester county, near the scene of his Revolutionary trials at Valley 
Forge, shortly afterward. On the 2 2d of August the members of the 
convention generally — Washington, however, not being present — made 



OLD INDEPENDENCE HALL: THE STATE-HOUSE. 



123 



a trip on the Delaware in John Fitch's steamboat, the first party of 
distinction that was ever carried in a vessel moved by steam. The 
convention adjourned on the i8th of September, and the draft of the 
instrument was perfected. The people were divided into two parties, 
Federalists, or Republicans, and Anti-Federalists, or Constitutional- 
ists, as they were called in Pennsylvania — not Federal Constitutional- 
ists, but State Constitutionalists. There was a desire among the for- 
mer that immediate measures should be taken to obtain a ratification 
of the instrument. Eight days after Congress adjourned a petition to 
the Legislature was presented, signed by 3681 citizens, asking that 




The State- House, as it Appeared between 1741 and 1750 . • 

prompt measures should be taken toward the ratification. There was 
evidently a majority of the House in favor of such action, the first 
resolution having been passed by a vote of forty-five to nineteen. Upon 
this the House adjourned till the afternoon, and in the mean time the 
minority having determined to thwart the accomplishment of the meas- 
ure, resolved to absent themselves from the meeting, so that no further 
proceedings could be carried on in consequence of the want of a quo- 
rum. The trick was successful. The Assembly could not proceed to 
business, and after waiting for a reinforcement the House adjourned 
until the next morning. At the time of meeting it was found that 
the same line of tactics was followed, and a bold method of pro- 



124 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

ceeding was determined upon. A number of the citizens — among 
whom it was charged was Commodore John Barry — forcibly entered 
the lodgings of James McCalmont of Franklin county and Jacob 
Miley of Dauphin, who were among the seceders, seized them, dragged 
them to the State-House, and pushed them into the chamber, when the 
door was closed upon them. Their presence made up the necessary 
quorum. McCalmont then appealed to the Speaker, stating the man- 
ner in which he had been treated and asking leave to withdraw. A 
long debate followed, in which all the speakers were against the rec- 
usants. Notwithstanding their protests, the resolutions were passed 
providing for the calling of a convention to consider the Constitution. 
The lobbies were crowded and several hundred citizens were at the 
doors. When the result was announced cheers were given, and some 
enthusiastic persons rushed off to Christ Church and had the bells rung. 
This was on the 28th of September, ten days after the Federal conven- 
tion had adjourned, and the resolutions provided for the election of 
members to a convention to consider the Constitution. The conven- 
tion met on the 20th of November. The Constitution was adopted by 
that body on the 12th of December. Pennsylvania was the first State 
to act, but the second State by which the Constitution was ratified. 

Some time after the Revolution — it is supposed after 1800 — persons 
in authority in the city of Philadelphia — believed to be the City Com- 
missioners — attempted to fix up the east room in accordance with their 
ideas of taste. They tore out the ancient panelling wainscoting, carried 
off the carvings and old furniture, and modernized the apartment, so 
that it would be fit for use as a court-room. About the same time the 
plain front doorway in the centre of the building was torn out, and 
something " prettier " substituted, with pillars, round arch, and mould- 
ings. There was not even originality in this change, the substitution 
being merely a copy of the western doorway of St. James's Protestant 
Episcopal Church, Seventh above Market street. 

In 1824, when La Fayette visited Philadelphia, it was considered ap- 
propriate that he should be received at the State-House and in this 
particular room. Its condition, which was so different from the man- 
ner of its appearance when the Continental Congress awarded a briga- 
dier-general's commission to the enthusiastic young Frenchman, at- 
tracted some attention to the propriety of the alterations which had 
been made. A better taste began to prevail. The people of Philadel- 



OLD INDEPENDENCE HALL: THE STATE-HOUSE. 



125 



phia, who had for half a century held possession of this important and 
venerable building without caring for the associations connected with 
it, began to cultivate in a small degree a taste for local history. The 
formation of the Pennsylvania Historical Society in 1824 had some- 
thing to do with increasing this feeling, and also the publication of 
Watson's Aniials of Philadelphia in 1830. In the latter year petitions 
were sent to Councils asking that Independence Hall should be re- 
stored as near as could be to its original condition ; that the old 
carvings, many of which were stored away in the lofts of the building, 
should be restored ; that the walls should be covered with portraits of 




Interior of Independence Hall, 1877. 

the great men of the Revolution ; and that for the future the apartment 
should be devoted to " dignified purposes only." Councils in April, 
1833, appropriated ^1200 for this purpose. John Haviland, architect, 
was entrusted with the work. He used the old wainscoting and carv- 
ing as far as the material which was found would go, and added new 
work made upon the pattern of the old. The ancient chandelier, a 
relic of colonial days, was recovered and placed in its old position. 
The only matter in which the restoration was not complete according 



126 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

to the style of 1776 was in the omission of a small gallery which was 
supported on slender columns, and formerly occupied the western part 
of the room. In other particulars the old fashion was followed. A fine 
wooden statue of Washington, carved by William Rush, was placed 
at the east end of the apartment upon a pedestal which bore an in- 
scription taken from the resolution offered by Henry Lee in Decem- 
ber, 1799, in memory of the patriot whose death was then announced 
to Congress: 

" First in war, first in peace, 
And first in the hearts of his countrymen." 

Portraits were placed in the room, including the full-length of La 
Fayette by Sully and of William Penn by Inman. From the Peale col- 
lection several heads of Revolutionary characters were obtained. In 
time the old Liberty Bell was brought down and elevated upon a 
pedestal, and Independence Hall became a shrine of pilgrimage for 
Americans from ever}^ part of the country. 

After the La Fayette reception the east room was the chosen 
place in which distinguished men were received by the Mayor and 
Councils, or in which they were allowed to receive the congratula- 
tions of the people. For this purpose the hall was used at various 
times by the Presidents of the United States — Jackson, Van Buren, 
Harrison, Polk, Taylor, Pierce, and Lincoln. Eminent men were also 
received there ; among them, Henry Clay, Major-General Winfield 
Scott, the Prince de Joinville, General Paez of Venezuela, Louis 
Kossuth, and others. In the hall were laid in state the bodies of 
men of distinction when conveyed through the city to their final 
resting-places. Among these were John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, 
Abraham Lincoln, and many officers and soldiers who fell on the 
battlefields of the rebellion. 

The court-house at Second and Market streets was the place of elec- 
tions for the city and county under the Provincial government. Dur- 
ing the Revolution the elections were held generally at the State-House, 
and in consequence the practice of holding the elections there was con- 
tinued, and the neighborhood was for a long time, on the second Tues- 
day of October in each year, a scene of great animation and confu- 
sion. The inhabitants of the city of Philadelphia gave in their votes 
at the windows, principally of the State-House building, each window 
being assigned to the use of the citizens of a ward. By this means 



OLD INDEPENDENCE HALL: THE STATE-HOUSE. 127 

large numbers of persons were brought together, and in times of high 
excitement it was impossible to prevent disorder. Occasional fights 
enlivened the scene. As the city grew in size and the population in- 
creased, the means afforded for taking the votes was insufficient. 
Hence arose, almost from necessity or anxiety to deposit votes, the 
blocking up of the polls, crowding, roughness, and fighting. North 
Mulberry Ward poll in particular became a scene of gross confusion and 
disorder. The ruffians of the party in power generally took possession 
of the window there, and allowed no citizen whose vote was expected 
to be given for the opposition to have a chance to deposit it. His hat 
was mashed over his eyes ; he was hustled, pulled, and kicked ; and if 
these hints that his presence was not pleasant were not sufficient, 
stronger knock-down arguments were used. In time, however, the 
good sense of the people rectified this evil by establishing a regulation 
that the voters should form in line, each man to wait his turn and reach 
the poll in a quiet and orderly manner. This system continued until 
the passage of the act of the 3d of May, 1850, which provided that 
thereafter the elections of the city of Philadelphia, instead of being 
held at the State-House, should be held in the respective election divis- 
ions of the wards of the city. Under this change the annual election 
glories of the State-House came to an end, and ceased for ever. 
The crowds which thronged the pavement in front from Fifth to Sixth 
street, or swarmed in the State-House Yard, were divided and sta- 
tioned in little knots and handfuls at the division polls. The fierce 
transparencies upon which the features of ambitious candidates, whether 
patriots or placemen, were painted with wonderful gaudiness of color- 
ing, which glared at night with grand illuminations at the party head- 
quarters, were seen no more. The carriages and wagons which 
brought the lame and sick voters to the polls were relieved from fur- 
ther duty. The boiled-chestnut venders and the merchants of oyster 
stews departed for other scenes. Even Holahan's, the place where 
on election day the first beer of the season was tapped, ceased to be 
longer distinguished in that line. The glory had departed. Solemnly 
and sadly the State-House bell was tolled through the day in notifica- 
tion that the election was held somewhere else. The knell of disap- 
pointment was heard in those tones. The requiem of regret was 
sounding. The State-House was no longer upon election day the 
centre of attraction for persons from all parts of the city and county. 



128 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHIIADELPHIA. 



Its mission had ended, and it was nothing more than a venerable build- 
ing preserved as a memorial of the past. 

It has become in the lapse of time a building, in the language of the 
suggestion made in 1830, "devoted to dignified purposes." It has 
been called the " Mecca of Liberty," and is an object of interest to 
every American. No better conclusion to the history of the old build- 
ing can be given than is to be found in a quotation from an oration by 
Edward Everett made on the 4th of July, 1858 : 

" Eighty-two years ago this day a deed which neither France nor 
England, Greece nor Rome, ever witnessed, was done in Independence 
Hall in the city of Philadelphia — a deed which cannot be matched 
in all the hi.story of the world. That old hall should for ever be kept 
sacred as the scene of such a deed. Let the rains of heaven distil 
gently on its roof and the storms of winter beat softly on its door. 
As each successive generation of those who have been benefited by 
the great Declaration made within it shall make their pilgrimage to 
that shrine, may they not think it unseemly to call its walls Salvation 
and its gates Praise." 




GERMAN LUTHERAN CHURCH: 



ST. MICHAEL'S AND ZION. 




'HE German Lutherans of Philadelphia are supposed to 
have been embodied in congregations before 1742, but 
there are no records which conclusively prove the fact. 
St. Michael's Church of Germantown is the oldest Ger- 
man Lutheran congregation in Pennsylvania. The cor- 
ner-stone of the church building in that village was laid 
by John Dylander of the Swedish Lutheran church 
(Gloria Dei) at Wicaco in 1737, and the ministrations there were under 
the charge of Mr. Dylander for some time, but having his duties to per- 
form at Wicaco, his services at Germantown were irregular and the 
congregation dwindled to six or seven persons in 1740. Rev. Valentine 
Kraft was in charge of a German Lutheran congregation in Philadel- 
phia in 1742, but being dismissed, he went to Germantown and filled 
the pulpit of St. Michael's, when at the end of a year that congrega- 
tion became dissatisfied with him, and he was again removed. The 
German Lutheran congregation in Philadelphia under Kraft, and 
probably John Philip Streiter and Rev. Mr. Faulkner, worshipped in 
a barn in Arch street near Fifth, which it occupied jointly with the 
German Reformed congregation. This congregation, anxious for the 
services of a pastor, united with the Lutheran congregations of New 
Hanover and Providence in application to the Lutheran authorities at 
Halle for the appointment of a minister. Deputies were sent abroad, 
among whom was Daniel Weissenger. The first overtures were made 
to F. M. Zeigenhagen in England, who was chaplain to King George 
n. He took an interest in the matter, and by communication ad 
9 129 



130 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

dressed to Dr. Franken of the University of Halle induced the Lutheran 
authorities to send out to Pennsylvania Rev. Henry Melchior Muhlen- 
berg. He landed at Charleston, S. C, in 1742, and arrived in Philadel- 
phia November 28 of that year. He found the Lutheran congregations 
not only in Germantown and Philadelphia, but in other parts of Penn- 
sylvania, involved in controversies serious in character. Germantown 
and Philadelphia congregations, besides the trouble with Rev. V^alentine 
Kraft, were struggling against the assumptions of Count Nicholas 
Louis von Zinzendorf, the Moravian leader, who had come to Philadel- 
phia in 1 741, assumed the name of Louis von Thurnstein, and claimed 
authority to be inspector-general of the Lutherans in Pennsylvania. 
Zinzendorf under this assumed authority commenced the building of 
a church for the use of the Lutherans at the corner of Sassafras (Race) 
and Bread streets, and laid the corner-stone September 10, 1742. The 
building was under way when Muhlenberg arrived, and if the latter 
had been submissive to the claims of Zinzendorf, the first German 
Lutheran church built in the city would have been dedicated in the 
building on Race street. But Mr. Muhlenberg stoutly resisted the 
authority of the Hernhiitter, and although the latter was sustained 
by some members of the Lutheran congregation, Muhlenberg had suf- 
ficient strength and influence in argument to carry the congregation 
with him ; and so it happened that a Moravian congregation was after- 
ward formed which took possession of the church building originally 
designed for the Lutherans, and the latter looked about for a site suit- 
able for a building of their own. The church on Race street was 
transferred to the Moravians on the ist of January, 1743. Mr. 
Muhlenberg preached his first sermon on the morning of the 5th of 
December, 1742, in the barn on Mulberr)' street, and the same after- 
noon preached at the Swedes' Church in VVicaco. For some time he 
officiated for both congregations, there being a vacancy at Gloria Dei 
in consequence of the death of Rev. John Dylander. In the year 1743 
the Lutheran congregation bought a lot of ground situate on the east 
side of Fifth street, extending from Appletree alley to Cherry lane, 
for the sum of ;^200. The corner-stone was laid on the 5th of April, 
1743. The congregation had but little money, but great faith, and 
the construction of the building was pressed on in hope that the money 
necessary to pay for it would be raised by contribution as necessity 
required. On the 29th of October the work was so far completed that 



GERMAN LUTHERAN CHURCH: ST. MICHAEL'S AND ZION. 131 




it was possible to use the house for worship. There had been ex- 
pended upon it up to that time ^^"1500 — an enormous sum for the 
times, and which weighed heavily on a congregation few in numbers 
and poor in purse. To finish the edifice required, according to esti- 
mate, a very consid- 
erable additional sum. 
They resolved to use 
the building as it stood, 
the interior work not 
being completed. The 
scaffolding erected to 
enable the bricklayers 
to put up the walls re- 
mained on the outside. 
The windows were with - 
out sashes or crlass. St. Michael's German Lutheran Church. 

Several were nailed up with boards, not sufficiently close to keep out 
the drifting snows in winter. The humble congregation formed their 
auditorium by placing loose boards on logs, and these were their pews. 
There was no stove to keep the interior warm, and yet during five 
years in summer and winter the church, furnished in that rough fashion, 
was used by the congregation. In winter the drifting snow sometimes 
covered up the text in the Bible which lay on the pulpit, so that the 
minister was compelled to wipe it off before he could read from the 
sacred volume. The money required to pay the debt of the church 
was slowly obtained. The church when finished cost, including the 
ground, about $8000. The interior work was finished by degrees, and 
on the 14th of August, 1748, the church as completed was solemnly 
dedicated to the service of Almighty God. The ceremonies were 
imposing. The pastor. Rev. Henry M. Muhlenberg, officiated, and 
was assisted by Revs. Brunnholz, Handschuh, Kurz, and Schaum of 
the German Lutheran Church, and Rev. Mr. Sanderlin of the Swedish 
Lutheran church at Chester. The building, according to the original 
plan, was seventy feet long, forty-five feet wide, and thirty-six feet high. 
A steeple fifty feet in height rose from the centre of the roof, but being 
heavy for the supports, the walls showing a tendency to spread, it was 
taken down in 1750, and even then, weakness being apparent, as a 
measure of strength two porches were erected upon the north and 



132 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

south sides near the eastern end of the building, thus giving to the 
church a cruciform shape which was not according to the original 
intention. The congregation, when the church building was completed, 
increased rapidly, so that in two years after the dedication it was found 
necessary to erect galleries. This work was accomplished in 1750, 
and in 175 1 the church furniture was made complete by the placing of 
an organ in the gallery which was considered at the time one of the 
largest and finest instruments in America. No alteration was made in 
the interior during the one hundred and thirty years it remained in use. 
Stoves were introduced toward the end of the last century, when relig- 
ious people generally were coming to the conclusion that it was not 
sinful to worship the Lord in a building comfortably warmed. The 
old chandeliers, resplendent with glass drops, remained until the last. 
The pulpit was a little old, queer-shaped tub with sounding-board 
above it. The pews were square and roomy, with backs sufficiently 
high to hide children and small persons entirely from the general view 
of the congregation. The galleries were supported on low pillars, and 
the ceilings under them came much nearer the floor beneath than is 
usual in modern churches. The interior had a strange appearance to 
worshippers from other churches, and the effect upon the mind was 
suggestive of the sincerity and piety of the humble congregation which 
had erected this quaint temple. During the whole period of its use 
for worship the German language was maintained by a succession of 
pious and earnest pastors whose hearts were in their ministry. In 
1759, ^200 were appropriated to the purchase of additional ground for 
burial purposes. The graveyard was established on the north side of 
the church, extending to Cherry street, with a lot on the north side 
of Cherry street which was purchased for £()\^ currency. Here were 
deposited during a hundred years the remains of the leading members 
of the congregation and their families. The old tombstones bore the 
names of citizens whose descendants have attained to wealth and local 
distinction. Upon the weather-stained tablets were to be found me- 
morials of the families of Lex, Ludwig, Hansell, Fritz, Graff, Huber, 
Greiner, Riehle, Woelper, Boraef, Fromberger, Eisenbrey, Mierken, 
Emerick, Shubcrt, and many others. 

In 1760, ;^447 were appropriated for the purchase of a house and 
lot adjoining the church, upon which to erect a school-house. The 
building was commenced the same year, and finished July 27, 1 76 1. 



GERMAN LUTHERAN CHURCH: ST. MICHAEL'S AND ZION 133 

The school was opened April 13 of that year by Pastor Brunnholz 
with a small number of pupils. It soon increased to one hundred 
and twenty children. This number being more than the school-house 
could comfortably accommodate, the scholars were transferred to the 
church during the summer and the moderate weather of spring and 
autumn. In the winter they were crowded in the school-house, which 
was warmed by means of stoves. There were six classes, and the 
tuition was upon the plan of the German orphan schools. Quarterly 
examinations were held in the church before the whole congregation, 
and among the best scholars cakes were distributed as rewards of 
merit, and printed verses from Scripture were given to the deserving. 
There were other recreations for the pupils. Mr. Brunnholz, writing 
to Halle, said : " In pleasant weather we go out into the country, with 
the children walking two by two. At one time they repeat their 
verses as if with one mouth, and at another time they sing, which ani- 
mates me even in the greatest despondency. Sundays they assemble 
in front of my house, whence they go by twos to the church, where 
they are examined by Mr. Heinzelman." On the occasion of the dedi- 
cation of the school-house Dr. Muhlenberg preached in the church 
from Second Kings, 2d verse, concerning the miraculous purification 
of a poisonous spring. Afterward, Provost Wrangel, Pastor Hand- 
schuh, and Pastor Muhlenburg, with the elders, deacons, and mem- 
bers of the church, and the scholars, went in procession to the new 
school-house, which was consecrated with prayer, singing, and a short 
discourse upon a text taken from the 80th Psalm. The schoolmaster 
examined the children, and a collection was made amounting to i^i2. 
After the consecration, which took place on Monday, the pastor, elders, 
deacons, and some friends dined together, a dinner being a method of 
winding up the ceremonies of an important celebration as much in 
vogue at that time as it is now. The congregation increased so much 
in the course of a few years after the church was established that an- 
other building for the use of Lutherans became necessary. Thomas 
and Richard Penn granted a charter to St. Michael's September 25, 
1765, with authority for "erecting and supporting 07ie church more 
within the said city of Philadelphia or the liberties thereof for the bet- 
ter accommodating the said congregation." Thus was formed a new 
congregation, which went out from St. Michael's, and which was estab- 
lished under the care of that church. This was Zion Lutheran Church, 



134 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

at the south-east corner of Fourth and Cherry streets, which was dedi- 
cated on the 25th of June, 1769, During the occupation of Philadel- 
phia by the troops, Zion Church was seized by the British and con- 
verted into a temporary hospital, and St. Michael's was used as a gar- 
rison church. In 1791, St. Michael's was embellished and improved, 
and the front organ-pipes gilt, to the great comfort of the congregation, 
which accomplished the work with the moderate sum of £(^0. The 
additions could not have been many, but they were satisfactory, and 
St. Michael's was rededicated in honor of the embellishments. The 
yellow fever of 1793 was very severe upon the congregations of St. 
Michael's and Zion churches, no less than six hundred and twenty-five 
members dying within three months. The burning of Zion Church 
in 1794 crowded in the worshippers of Zion upon the church edifice 
of St. Michael's, which accommodated them as well as room would al- 
low until Zion Church was rebuilt and rededicated in November, 1796. 
The German element in these churches met in time the same difficul- 
ty which had injured the Swedish Lutheran congregation and reduced 
the number of members, but it presented itself in a different way. 
The children of the original members, growing up among an English- 
speaking population, and understanding the usual language of the 
country much better than that of their fathers, were anxious for Eng- 
lish preaching. The agitation in favor of this change met with stub- 
born opposition from the old members. In 1802 the controversy as- 
sumed importance, and the question of introducing English preaching 
was carried into the election of trustees in February, 1803, the German 
party and the English party each nominating a ticket. The German 
party were triumphant. The question was again in contest in the elec- 
tion of 1804, when the German party had only a majority of seven. 
In 1805 they had a majority of thirty-four. They then offered the 
English party the use of St. Michael's Church and the Cherry street 
school-house, with the privilege of burying in the Eighth street grave- 
yard to those who had relatives interred in the old ground, the new 
congregation to pay one-third of the old debt. The offer was not 
accepted. In 1806 the quarrel reached its height. Nearly fourteen 
hundred votes were cast. The Germans had a majority of one hun- 
dred and thirty. After this the English party virtually separated from 
the church. They formed a new congregation under the Rev. Philip 
F. Mayer, who preached to them in English at the old Academy in 



GERMAN LUTHERAN CHURCH: ST. MICHAEHS AND ZION. 1 35 

Fourth street. From this movement originated St. John's EngHsh 
Lutheran Church, which was built in Race street between Fifth and 
Sixth, and opened in 1809. In 18 14 the same question was again agi- 
tated in Zion and St. Michael's by a new English party, which num- 
bered about one-fourth of the congregation. After three years of trial, 
not succeeding in overcoming the steady adherence of the Germans to 
the ancient method of worship, this party also separated and went to 
the Academy in 18 17, where they established C. F. Cruse as pastor. 
The congregation adopted the title of the church of St. Matthew. 
The resistance to the introduction of English finally came to a limited 
compromise. It was resolved that within the schools the English lan- 
guage might be taught, but that the German language in the church 
should not be given up so long as fifty members were in favor of its 
use. On the 14th of June, 1843, the Centenary Jubilee of St, Michael's 
was celebrated by the members. The interior was beautifully deco- 
rated. Every pillar was entwined with flowers and evergreens. The 
door-frames, windows, gallery, choir, and organ were wreathed with the 
same materials, and festoons of roses filled up the open spaces in other 
parts of the building. The pulpit was handsomely decorated, and 
above it appeared upon a ground of sky-blue silk the inscription, 
" Peace be within thy walls." Tablets of marble were upon the north 
and south walls, which bore inscriptions in German of which the fol- 
lowing are translations : 

This Church, In Memory 

a work of faith and love of the teachers of this congregation, 

of our German ancestors, ^'^°'^ ^^""'^^^y tabernacles found a resting. 

place in front of the altar of this Church, 

and the fervent zeal of their first regularly- t^ r -n. tt 

^ ■' John Dietrich Heinzelman, 

called minister, called as assistant minister the 26th of July, 

the Rev. Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, i753; died the 9th of February, 1756; 

^ag Peter Brunnholz, 

, T^. . . , called as minister in January, 174;; died 

by Divine assistance, •' ^ >tj? 

July 5, 1757 ; 

founded the 5th of April in the year 1743; John Frederick Handschuh, 

opened for Divine service the 20th of Oct'r, called as minister in the year 1757, died the 

1743; finished and dedicated the 14th of 9th of Oct'r, 1764; 

Aug., 1748 John Frederick Schmidt, 

J • J .1 ,• called as minister the iSth of Sept'r, 1786, 

and received the congregation r ' / » 

died the 12th of May, 1812; 
at the celebration of its looth Jubilee, j^^^^^ ^^^^^ Christian Helmuth, 

the called as minister the 25th of May, 1799, 

14th of June, 1843. died the 5th of Feb'y, 1825. 



[36 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

- The Rev. Henry Melchior Muhlenberg may be justly considered 
the founder of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He was 
<lescended from a Saxon family which during the Thirty Years' War 
removed to Eimbeck in Hanover, a free city of the German Empire. 
His father held a judicial position in the city, and Henry Melchior, 
the son, was born there in the year 171 1. His father died, 
leaving a small estate, w^hile the boy was young. By the kind- 
ness of friends he was enabled to continue his studies, and in the 
struggle with adversity which followed he acquired courage, energy, 
and determination, which were to be of the utmost advantage to him 
in after life. In 1735, being twenty-four years of age, he entered the 
University of Gottingen, which had been founded during the previous 
year by George H., king of England and elector of Hanover, and 
during his studies at that university became chaplain to Count Reuss 
XXIV. He made here some valuable and influential friends, among 
whom was Gesner the painter and poet and Count Erdman Henkel. 
After graduation, by the advice of the latter, he removed to Halle, 
where he enjoyed the friendship of Franke, Celarius, and the inspector 
Fabricius, men of influence in the Lutheran Church. They advised 
him to accept the mission to America. For this charge he was pecu- 
liarly fitted from his skill in languages. After his arrival in Pennsyl- 
vania he frequently preached not only in German, but in English and 
Low Dutch. His influence among the Germans was very great. He 
remained at Philadelphia, in charge of St. Michael's, preaching also at 
Germantown, New Hanover, and Providence, until the opening of Zion 
Church in 1767. He resigned in 1774, and went to the church of 
Augustus at the Trappe, where he remained until his death in 1787. 
Muhlenberg married, shortly after he came to America, Anna, the 
daughter of Conrad Weiser, a man of great ability and activity, and 
of influence with the Indians. The records and archives of Pennsyl- 
vania are full of accounts of the transactions of Conrad Weiser with 
the Indians and his reports of internal affairs. By this wife Mr. 
Muhlenberg had three sons. John Peter Gabriel, the eldest, born in 
1746 at the Trappe, was sent to Germany for his education, and while 
at Halle ran away and enlisted in a regiment of dragoons as a private. 
Being discovered and reclaimed, he finished his studies, and was or- 
dained to the ministry in 1772. At the commencement of the Revo- 
lution he beat the drum ecclesiastic, and, declaring to his congregation 



GERMAN LUTHERAN CHURCH: ST. MICHAEL'S AND ZION 137 

that there was a time to preach and a time to fight, appeared in the 
pulpit in miHtary uniform covered by the minister's gown, which after 
a stirring patriotic sermon he stripped off, disclosing the soldier's garb 
and announcing his intention to recruit. He already held the com- 
mission of colonel, and he raised the Eighth Virginia, commonly called 
the German regiment. He rose rapidly in the Continental army, and 
became finally major-general. He fought at Brandywine, Germantown, 
Monmouth, and Stony Point, and was next in command to La Fayette 
at the capture of Yorktown in 1780. Afterward returning to Penn- 
sylvania, he became Vice-President of the State, member of Congress, 
United States Senator, and finally collector of the port of Philadelphia, 
to which position he was appointed in 1803, and which he held till his 
death in 1807. 

Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, second son of the founder of the 
Lutheran Church, born at the Trappe in 1750, was ordained to the 
ministry, officiated in Philadelphia and New York, was member of the 
Continental Congress, and Speaker of the first and third Federal Con- 
gresses. He was President of the Council of Censors of Pennsylva- 
nia, State Treasurer, President of the State convention which ratified 
the United States Constitution, and Receiver-General of the Land 
Office under the Federal government. It was his casting vote as 
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives which carried 
the bill that provided for the fulfilment of some of the stipulations 
of Jay's treaty — an instrument exceedingly unpopular among the hot 
Democrats in the last decade of the last century. 

Gotthilf Henry Ernst, the third son, was also educated at Halle, and 
returning to America was ordained in 1774 third minister and assistant 
in the Philadelphia congregation. In 1780 he removed to Lancaster, and 
took charge of the Lutheran church in that town, holding it for thirty- 
five years, until his death. He had botanical tastes, and was a member 
of the American Philosophical Society and of scientific associations 
in Berlin and Gottingen. He published some works on botany, and 
left in manuscript a treatise on the flora of Lancaster county. Henry 
Augustus Muhlenberg, clergyman and statesman, born at Lancaster in 
1782, was his son. He served as pastor of the Lutheran church at 
Reading for twenty-six years, was member of Congress from 1829 
to 1838, and was supported as Democratic candidate for governor of 
Pennsylvania by the anti-Wolf branch of that organization ; the result 



138 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

of which was that both Wolf and Muhlenberg were defeated and 
Joseph Ritner elected. He was minister to Austria in 1838-40. One 
of his sons, Henry A., third in descent from Henry Melchior, was 
member of Congress in 1853-54, and died in the latter year. Rev. 
William A. Muhlenberg, a great-grandson of the Lutheran founder, 
became an Episcopal minister, was rector of St. James's, Lancaster, 
of the Holy Communion, New York ; founder of St. Luke's Hospital, 
New York, and of the Matthias Industrial Community of St. Johnland. 
He was the author of that well-known hymn, ** I would not live alway." 
He died in New York City April 8, 1877, aged eighty years. 

Concerning John Dietrich Heinzelman, who was assistant minister 
of St. Michael's a little over two years and a half, scarcely anything is 
known. He was probably sent over from Halle. He was very earnest 
in the school-work of the congregation during his ministry. 

The Rev. Peter Brunnholz, a native of Schleswig, ordained April 12, 
1744, was sent over from Germany, and sailed for America near the close 
of 1744. Messrs. Schaum and Kurtz, afterward most excellent and earn- 
est Lutheran ministers in Pennsylvania, came with him. The voyage was 
long and the winds contrary. They reached the city on the 25th of 
January, 1745. They probably landed at some distance from the built- 
up portions of the town. After they reached the shore, and were 
walking to the city, they met a German who came out of a piece of 
woods near the road. Observing that they had just come from a 
vessel lying in the Delaware, this man accosted them with the ques- 
tion, "Are there any Lutheran ministers on board?" On learning 
their character he leaped for joy; he took them to the house of a 
German merchant known for hospitality. The elders, the deacons, 
many members of the church, soon gathered around them ; an express 
was sent off to Providence to convey the intelligence to Muhlenberg ; 
and upon that day they all united to "thank God and to take courage." 
They found immediate service. Schaum opened his school in Phila- 
delphia, and Kurtz took the school at New Hanover. Brunnholz 
officiated at St. Michael's, part of the time at Germantown. 

Pastor John Frederick Handschuh arrived from Germany in 1748; 
was sent by Muhlenberg to Lancaster, but returned to Philadelphia, 
where he first became permanently attached to the church of St. 
Michael's, Germantown, and in 1756 became permanently attached to 
St. Michael's, Philadelphia, where he remained eight years. 



GERMAN LUTHERAN CHURCH: ST. MICHAEUS AND ZION. 139 

Rev. Johann Frederick Schmidt filled the pulpit of St. Michael's for 
twenty-six years. He was born in Germany on the 9th of January, 
1746, and was nearly twenty-three years old when he came to 
America in 1769. He was educated at Halle, and had charge of the 
Germantown congregation for sixteen years, including the Revolu- 
tionary period. In memory he remains with a fragrant odor of piety. 
He was earnest, industrious, simple and kindly in his manners, and 
held in universal respect. 

Rev. Justus Henry Christian Helmuth came over with Schmidt in 
1769, and was shortly afterward elected pastor of the Lutheran church 
at Lancaster. He came to Philadelphia in 1779, and was first associated 
in the service of Zion. He was a man of more than ordinary ability. 
" He always preached with surprising unction, with great fervor and 
pathos. He was able not merely to hold an audience subdued under 
the charm of his eloquence, but at times to electrify them. The 
minds of those who heard him could not wander : they were chained. 
Their feelings seemed to be completely under the control of the 
speaker. His commanding, impassioned manner gave to his words a 
power which was felt by all — an effect which was truly astonishing." 
Dr. Helmuth was a fine scholar and linguist. He was professor of 
the German and Oriental languages in the University of Pennsylvania 
for eighteen years, and for twenty years he was principal of the theo- 
logical seminary for the preparation of candidates for the ministry. In 
the fevers of 1793 and 1800 he remained with his flock, in the midst 
of which the effects of the pestilence were terrible. He lost no occa- 
sion for the performance of his duty at the bedsides of the sick and 
dying, and was earnest and devoted throughout his service. 

The German Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium of Pennsylvania was 
present at the centennial celebration of St. Michael's Church in 1843, and 
several of the descendants of Father Muhlenberg. The exercises were 
deeply interesting, and the spirit then manifested ought to have been 
sufficient to preserve the church as a venerable memorial of the past. 
In twenty years the interest in the old building had entirely died out 
in the congregation. Zion had left its position at Fourth and Cherry, 
and erected a grand edifice on Franklin street above Race. St. 
Michael's had fallen into disuse. The churchwardens and vestrymen 
were divided as to the use of the property. Some of them joined in 
the erection of a new St. Michael's, corner of Trenton avenue and 



140 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

Cumberland street, which they claimed was truly the mother-church. 
Others abandoned all interest in the estate. Acts of Assembly 
were passed in 1853 and 1 871, giving authority to the rector, vestry, 
and wardens to sell the church property. An attempt was made to 
prevent this consummation by an application to the Court of Common 
Pleas for an injunction. The effort failed. During the course of that 
year the church and lot at Fifth and Appletree alley were sold. The 
mouldering remains of the founders of the church were removed from 
the burying-ground by such of their descendants as lived and who 
cared for the memory of their ancestors. The bones of others, in in- 
distinguishable confusion, were transferred to a corporation cemetery. 
The weather-stained walls, the curious low, round-arched windows, and 
all the distinguishing features of this old landmark were removed from 
sight, and the history of St. Michael's, after more than a century and a 
quarter of usefulness in Philadelphia, ceased. 



STENTON 




F an ancient Scotch family, the Logans of Restalrig, James 
Logan, the secretary and confidential friend of William Penn, 
was, by what is sometimes called the " accident of birth," 
an Irishman. His ancestors were Scottish lairds whose 
personal history can be traced through several generations 
in the chronicles of the kingdom. Two of the Logans were compan- 
ions of the Douglas and the flower of Scottish chivalry when the 
heart of Bruce was carried toward the Holy Sepulchre. They never 
reached the sacred goal, but fell under the walls of Granada in battle 
with the Moors — a bravely-contested fight in which the Christians 
were vanquished and the great object of the expedition was lost. The 
heart of Bruce was rescued, and brought back to Scotland by the sur- 
viving companions of the Logans, and buried in the monastery at 
Melrose. A Logan of Restalrig was Lord Admiral of Scotland in 
the year 1400, and defeated an English fleet in the Firth of Forth. 
The family was active in public affairs, and the last Logan, Baron of 
Restalrig, who died in 1600, was accused of participation in the Gowrie 
Conspiracy, and was tried for complicity in that affair eight years after 
his death. It was easy to obtain a verdict of guilty against a dead 
man when power was to be gratified and confiscation to follow. 
The Logan estates in Scotland were forfeited, and the sons of Sir 
Robert Logan by the change in their circumstances were induced to 
settle in Ireland. They took up their residence at Lurgan. Patrick 
Logan was the son of Robert, who was the son of Sir Robert of 
Restalrig. Patrick was educated in the University of Edinburgh, and 
was intended for the clerical profession. He was ordained, and was for 
some time a chaplain of the Established Church. In time he became 

141 



142 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

impressed with the principles of the Society of Friends, and connected 
himself with the followers of George Fox. His wife was Isabel Hume, 
of the Scotch family of Dundas and Panure. There were several chil- 
dren, but two only, William and James, attained manhood. William 
went to Bristol, England, where he settled and practised as a physician. 
James, who was born at Lurgan on the 28th of October, 1674 (old 
style), was precocious. He had attained some proficiency in Latin, 
Greek, and Hebrew before he was thirteen years of age, and made 
himself skilful in mathematics at sixteen in consequence of having 
come across a treatise on that subject. He added French, Italian, and 
some Spanish to his accomplishments. 

The condition of the affairs of the family would not admit of the 
Logans being brought up to idleness or elegant leisure : it was neces- 
sary that they should follow some occupation. James was apprenticed 
to a linen-draper in Dublin, but the indentures being broken, he went 
w^ith his father and mother to Edinburgh, London, and Bristol. In 
1698, being twenty-four years of age, he commenced trade between 
Dublin and Bristol, and was getting along with success when William 
Penn, who was in want of a bright, active young man as his secretary, 
and who must have come across Logan by reason of his father's con- 
nection with the Quakers, invited him to go to America. Against the 
advice of friends he sailed in the Canterbury, which arrived in the Del- 
aware in the latter part of 1699. He was immediately inducted to 
office, and without any delay plunged into work for the proprietary. 
He soon showed such talent for business that his services were indis- 
pensable. After Penn's departure he became a man of important 
offices. He was in the course of his life Secretary of the Province, 
Commissioner of Property, member of the Provincial Council, and for 
some time President of the Council and Chief-Justice of Pennsylvania. 
He was a student of literature and science, corresponded with the 
learned men of the time, and accumulated a fine collection of valuable 
books, classic and scientific, composed of rare editions, which formed 
the foundation of the Loganian Library. Into his hands more especial- 
ly Penn entrusted his interests when he left the colony in 1 70 1 for 
England. " I have left thee in an uncommon trust," said he, " w^ith a 
singular dependence on thy justice and care, which I expect thou wilt 

faithfully employ in advancing my honest interests For thy own 

services I shall allow thee what is just and reasonable, either by a com- 



S TEN TON. 



143 



mission or a salary. But my dependence is on thy care and honesty. 
Serve me faithfully, as thou expectest a blessing from God or my favor, 
and I shall support thee to the utmost as thy true friend." As years 




^^^ 



Stenton, still Standing. 

rolled on, the burdens became heavier on 
Logan, but he sustained them with strength 
and resolution. After the departure of Penn, 
and after his death, and for some years subse- 
quent, during the disputes in the proprietary 
family, he may be said to have had absolute 
control of the Province in affairs of a private 
nature, and in public matters where the lieu- 
tenant-governors were deficient in devotion to the family. After 
the settlement of the proprietary affairs and the assumption of author- 
ity by the proprietaries themselves, Logan's task was lighter, and he 



:M^^n 



t^ 







144 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



had time to devote himself to seeking benefit for the people of the 
Province. 

The places of Logan's residence during the early part of his career 
in Pennsylvania are not entirely known. He had permission to live in 
the Slate-Roof House until Penn's lease was up. The time expired in 
1702, but finding the premises comfortable, and believing that he 
should, as representative ^ of the proprietary, maintain a certain degree 
of state, he exceeded the time, and was there in October, 1 702, when 
he wrote : " I, finding things bear too hard upon me, design speedily to 
go, table myself and man abroad, and shorten my charges, which I 
have hitherto been at chiefly for public considerations." In 1 704, 
Logan mentions to Penn in a letter that he requested to be excused 
from building a lodge at Fairmount. When Governor John Evans, 
William Penn, Jr., and Judge Mompesson came over in 1704, they 
rented Clarke Hall, a very pretty property, rural in situation, quite out 
of town, with walks and gardens and forest trees, at the south-west 
corner of Third and Chestnut streets, extending down to Dock Creek. 
Logan went with them to live there, and they kept bachelor's hall in a 
manner not agreeable, it is likely, to the young Quaker, though he re- 
mained with them as long as Evans was governor. There was no partic- 
ular reason why he should leave the establishment except an occasional 
unpleasantness on the part of his companions. Evans and young 
Penn were gay, and not given to strict obedience to the Ten Command- 
ments. Mompesson was probably more staid in his deportment, and 
with him in the house Logan managed to get along comfortably. A 
bachelor life was not according to his tastes, and he had hoped to 
change it in such manner as would contribute not only to his happi- 
ness, but to his personal comfort and means. An attachment for Ann 
Shippen, daughter of Edward, who was first Mayor of Philadelphia, gave 
him considerable anxiety, which was heightened by the stings of disap- 
pointment. The fair Ann was inclined to listen to another's vows. In a 
small place, as Philadelphia was at that time, the progress of the love- 
affair was a matter of town-talk, the burden of which even crossed the 
water and got to the ears of Penn. The lady preferred Thomas Story 
to Logan, and this was well known. " I am anxiously grieved for thy 
unhappy love," writes Penn to Logan in February, 1705, ** for thy sake 
and my own. for T. S. and thy discord has been of no service here, 
any more than there ; and some say that come thence that thy amours 



ST EN TO. W 145 



have so altered or influenced thee that thou art grown touchy and apt 
to give rough and short answers, which many call haughty, etc. 1 
make no judgment, but caution thee, as in former letters, to let truth 
preside and bear impertinencies as patiently as thou canst." To this 
hint Logan responded the next month (March) : '* I cannot understand 
that paragraph in thy letter relating to T. S. and myself; thou says our 
discord has done no more good there than here, and know not who 
carried the account of it, for I wrote to none that I know but thyself 

in /ber, 1703 Before that we had lived eighteen months very 

good friends, without any manner of provocation, only that I had 
about three or four months before spoke something to Edward Ship- 
pen " 

Thomas Story proved to be the successful suitor, and his marriage 
with Ann Shippen took place on the loth of July, 1706. Logan, like 
a philosopher, became reconciled to a disappointment which he could 
not prevent, and resolved to let the lady go. He wrote to William Penn, 
Jr., in August of that year : " Thomas Story carries very well since his 
marriage. He and I are ver).'- great friends, for I think the whole busi- 
ness is not now worth a quarrel, and I believe he will be serviceable to 
thy father's interest here. I therefore request thee to abate of thy for- 
mer resentment, and look upon such as I have last mentioned." 

About the same time Edward Shippen, the father of Ann, taking 
courage from the example of his daughter, married Elizabeth James, 
it being his third marriage. The lady did not belong to the Society 
of Friends, and his alliance with her led to Mr. Shippen's withdrawal 
or expulsion from the sect. 

Thomas Story was one of the luckiest adventurers that ever visited 
Pennsylvania. In company with Roger Gill he came to America in 

1698, upon an itinerant mission. They arrived in Virginia, and trav- 
elled through North Carolina and Maryland, reaching Pennsylvania in 

1699. When Penn came over for the second time, he found Story in 
Philadelphia ready to return to England, but having great confidence 
in his ability and integrity, the proprietary showered upon him official 
favors. He was made a member of the Provincial Council, Keeper 
of the Great Seal, Master of the Rolls, Commissioner of Property, and 
Recorder of the city of Philadelphia. Add to this, the good luck of 
winning one of the finest and richest girls in the Province, and it must 
be admitted that Mr. Story's visit was by no means unprofitable. Ed- 

10 



146 JIISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



ward Shippen made a liberal settlement on his daughter. Among other 
properties, he gave her a large brick house and lot on the west side 
of Second street, north of Walnut, the precise location of which is 
known to a later generation as the site of the Bank of Pennsylvania 
and afterward of the United States Appraisers' stores. It was two 
hundred feet deep, bounded on the south by an alley which ran from 
Second street to Dock Creek, and is known in modern times as Gold 
street. It is a curious incident connected with the grant that it con- 
veyed the *' privilege of said alley down to the dock westward of said 
premises, and with the privilege of any wharf built or to be built at 
the end of the said alley." This wharf, if built, would have been about 
where the footwalk of Dock street crosses Gold street. 

In course of time Logan got over all his disappointments, and, being 
more lucky in his second choice, was married on the 9th of lOth month 
(December), 1714, to Sarah Read, daughter of Charles Read, merchant, 
a man of wealth and distinction in the Province. He was Mayor of 
the city 1726-27, was appointed a member of the Governor's Council 
in 1733, and Judge of Admiralty under the Crown in 1735. Her sis- 
ter was the wife of Israel Pemberton. By this marriage he had seven 
children, three of whom died young. Sarah, the oldest child, married 
Isaac Norris, Jr., one of the influential men of the Province, and for a 
long time leader of the Quaker party. Hannah, fourth child and 
second daughter, married John Smith, an enterprising merchant of 
Philadelphia, who exercised much influence in the Society of Friends. 
The sons who attained to manhood were William and James. 

The residence of Mr. Logan in the early part of his life is, as we 
have said, not well known. He owned a great deal of property in 
the city and county, and, it is to be presumed, lived in his own house. 
April 8, 1728, he bought of Thomas Story the house on Second street 
which w^is the wedding-gift of P^dward Shippen to his daughter Ann. 
The lady had died some years before, and Story, giving up his rich 
possessions, went back to England. In the deed he is described as 
of " Inslingtown, County of Cumberland, Great Britain." About the 
same time James Logan commenced the building of a house upon 
a piece of ground which belonged to him on the Germantow^n road 
south of the village. This property was composed of several pieces 
which had been acquired by various titles. It was a large tract, which 
touched on the east side of Germantown road above Nicetown. at 



S TEN TO IV 147 



the intersection of the Township Line road, and running over to the 
old York road. Through the ground ran the Wingohocking, a branch 
of Tacony or Frankford Creek, afterward known as Logan's Run. The 
house was a plain two-story brick, with a pent roof and attics, suf- 
ficiently spacious to ensure ease and elegance. The house is believed 
to have been finished in 1728. Mrs. Sarah Butler Wister, in the sketch 
of Deborah Logan in Worthy Woniot of Our First Century, describes 
Stenton with a loving minuteness which fills out a perfect picture : 
*' Round the house there was the quiet stir and movement of a country 
place, with its large gardens full of old-fashioned flowers and fruits, its 
poultry-yard and stables. The latter were connected with the house 
by an underground passage which led to a concealed staircase and a 
door under the roof, like the ' priest's escape ' in some old English 
country-seats The offices surrounded the main building, con- 
nected with it by brick courts and covered ways. They were all at the 
back, and so disposed as to enhance the picturesque and dignified air 
of the old mansion, the interior of which is as curious to modern eyes 
as it is imposing. One enters by a brick hall, opposite to which is 
the magnificent double staircase, while right and left are lofty rooms 
covered w^ith fine old-fashioned woodwork, in some of them the 
wainscot being carried up to the ceiling above the chimney-place, 
which in all the apartments was a vast opening set round with blue 
and w^hite sculptured tiles of the most grotesque devices. There are 
corner cupboards, and in some of the rooms cupboards in arched 
niches over the mantelpieces, capital showcases for the rare china 
and magnificent old silver which adorned the dinner-table on state 
occasions. Half of the front of the house in the second story was 
taken up by one large finely-lighted room, the library of the book- 
loving masters of the place." 

The grounds were adorned with fine old trees. A splendid avenue 
of hemlocks — which legend would only be satisfied with declaring 
were planted by William Penn, although he, poor man ! was dead 
years before Stenton was built — led up to the house. The Wingo- 
hocking meandered through the plantation, lighting up the landscape 
with brightness wherever its placid surface v/as seen. Stenton was a 
house for the living, but the affection which the owners had for it 
connected with the estate in time a last resting-place for the dead. 
The family graveyard is romantically situated, surrounded with old 



148 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

trees and with all accessories of a spot to be picked out as a beautiful 
garden of the dead. 

Well considered as were Mr. Logan's plans, circumstances prevented 
him from superintending the work. About the time when this mansion 
was building he met with a painful accident, which confined him for a 
long time to his house and made him a cripple for life. By a fall he 
broke the head of a thigh-bone near the socket, and it was several 
months before he could go about on crutches. During the period of 
recovery he remained in his house at the city, solacing himself with the 
pleasures of literature. In a letter dated May 17, 1729, he said: " For 
these twelve months past it is certain I am much weaker, yet should 
be very easy in my mind could I be freed from other people's business, 
and left to amuse myself with no other care on me than what my family 
absolutely requires. Having a true helpmate, children not undutiful, 
and a plantation within five miles of this town, to which I am retiring 
this summer, I believe that if I were troubled with nothing but what 
truly concerns me, notwithstanding I have had much greater losses 
since I received this hurt than in all my life before, I should be able to 
have my family tolerably supported and be helpful to my children in 
their education. For it is my greatest happiness in this condition that 
with the advantages already mentioned I am naturally or by long habit 
disposed — for which I am truly thankful — to account a solid, inward 
peace of mind, and the enjoyments of myself by reducing my own 
thoughts to bear some proportion to the beautiful order conspicuous 
in all the outward objects of the natural creation, to be the only basis 
of a real felicity. And for a variety I would amuse myself with some 
small entertainments from science, for in Dryden's words, which have 
always affected me, I take it to be true that 

* Knowledge and innocence is perfect joy.' " 

Logan was at this time comfortable, and it may be supposed that 
he got rich by his connection with the proprietary family. In a letter 
to Thomas Penn in 1747, when he was importuned to take the presi- 
dency of the Province for a second time, he said that his success was 
owing to commerce and to the trade with the Indians for furs. Dur- 
ing Penn's time his salary was only i^ioo a year, and the perquisites 
were not sufficient to maintain a clerk and a horse. Between 17 10 
and 1730 he did not receive a farthing from the Penn family, although 



STENTON. 



149 



he had made outlays on their account. In 1724 he received five hun- 
dred acres in Bucks county and five thousand acres on the Springetts- 
bury estate, including Bush Hill and other lands in the vicinity. He 
parted with one thousand acres to Andrew Hamilton for the proprie- 
tary's benefit, and one hundred acres to another person. The remain- 
der of the lands were disposed of at much better bargains for those 
who bought than for Logan himself. 

After Stenton was built, it was first occupied as a summer residence, 
but in time it became Logan's permanent dwelling. In deeds made in 
1730 he describes himself as *' James Logan of Philadelphia," but in 
1732 he begins to call himself "James Logan of Stenton." Here, in 
consequence oi his sickness, many affairs of state were transacted. 
From August, 1736, to August, 1738, James Logan was President of 
the Council, and many consultations were held at Stenton. Deputa- 
tions of Indians who visited Philadelphia found it convenient to seek 
the. seat near Germantown, and accommodations which might be called 
permanent were made for their reception on the grounds. On some 
occasions there were three or four hundred sons of the forest at Sten- 
ton, and the deputations would remain for days enjoying the hospitality 
of the plantation. Cannassetego, chief of the Onondagas, in a treaty made 
with the Six Nations at Philadelphia in July, 1742, by Governor George 
Thomas and council, thus expressed himself in relation to Logan : 
^* Brethren, we called at our friend James Logan's on our way to this 
city, and to our grief found him hid in the bushes and retired through 
infirmities from public business. We pressed him to leave his retire- 
ment, and prevailed with him to assist once more on our account at 
your council. He is a wise man and a fast friend to the Indians, and 
we desire when his soul goes to God you may choose in his room just 
such another person of the same prudence and ability in counselling, 
and of the same tender disposition and affection for the Indians." Be- 
tween 1 73 1 and 1739, Logan was Chief-Justice of the Province, and 
when he was not able to come to the city the consultations of himself 
and associates were held at Stenton. 

The enforced seclusion to his own house which the accident he had 
met with caused, had the effect of drawing his mind to the necessity 
of study and to indulgence in literature. He wrote in Latin scientific 
and philosophic treatises upon botany, the generation of plants, 
particularly the maize, the quadrant, lightning, optical phenomena, 



150 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

radiation of light, and other subjects. In his old age he translated 
Cicci'o de Sencctiitc, with notes and a preface by Dr. Franklin ; also 
Cato's distichs into English verses. He was never happier than when 
among his books, and as age crept on he seems to have regretted that 
his children did not inherit the tastes which would make his library- 
useful. Writing to Thomas Story in 1734, he said: "I have four 
children now with me, who I think generally take more after their 
mother than me, which I am sure thou wilt not dislike in them ; yet if 
they had more of a mixture it might be of some use to bring them 
through the world ; and it sometimes gives me an anxious thought 
that my considerable collections of Greek and Roman authors, with 
others in various languages, will not find an heir in my family to use 
them as I have done, but after my decease must be sold or squandered 
away." These thoughts gained strength as he grew older, and led to 
the institution by him of the Loganian Library for the use of the 
citizens of Philadelphia, which he intended to endow by his will, but 
which he failed to legally accomplish. It is honorable to the descend- 
ants of James Logan that, though they were not obliged to carry out 
this intention, they resolved to execute not only the designs of their an- 
cestor, but to give to the library more than he had originally intended. 
It was at Stenton that Thomas Godfrey, glazier, by accident discov- 
ered the principle upon which he invented his improvement on Davis's 
quadrant, which superseded the latter and has hardly been improved to 
this day. A piece of broken glass which had fallen in such a manner 
as to reflect the sun engaged his attention, so as to induce him to quit 
his work and go into Mr. Logan's library, where he took down a 
volume of Newton. Mr. Logan came in while he was reading, and 
ascertaining the object of his search, gave him so much encourage- 
ment that he proceeded to construct an instrument according to the 
plan in his mind. When completed it was found to be an important 
apparatus. Godfrey was a member of the Junto founded by Franklin. 
He made optics and mathematics his study, and learned enough Latin 
to render his knowledge available, for scientific works were then 
generally written in that language. The instrument was first tried in 
Delaware Bay by Joshua. Fisher of Lewes, and afterward at sea; and 
in London, Hadley, who pirated the invention, described it before the 
Royal Society and succeeded in affixing his name to the product of 
another's talents. 



S TEN TON. I 5 1 



" In personal appearance," says Watson, *' James Logan was tall and 
well proportioned, with a graceful yet grave demeanor. He had a 
good complexion, and was quite florid even in old age, nor did his 
hair, which was brown, turn gray in his decline of life, nor his eyes 
require spectacles. According to the customs of the times, he wore 
a powdered wig. His whole manner was dignified, so as to abash im- 
pertinence ; yet he was kind, and strictly just in all the minor duties 
of acquaintance and society." 

James Logan died 31st of loth month, 1751, having just entered his 
seventy-seventh year. He was buried in the ground of the Arch street 
Meeting. He was succeeded at Stenton by his eldest son, William, 
who was born there. He was educated in Pennsylvania and in Eng- 
land, and intended to be a merchant. After his father's death he 
removed to Stenton and gave up trade. He was chosen a member of 
the Governor's Council in 1747. He devoted himself to agriculture after 
the elder Logan's decease, and resided at Stenton during the remain- 
der of his life. He imitated his father in hospitality toward the Indians 
and in public exertions on their behalf. He travelled extensively, and 
was in England during the war of the Revolution, and thereby escaped 
the suspicions and responsibilities of the times. He died in 1776. 

After the British army left Philadelphia, and before the outlying 
forces were withdrawn, General Howe occupied Stenton as his head- 
quarters. It was here that early on an October morning he received 
intelligence of the bold advance of Washington which led to the battle 
of Germantown, and to Stenton he withdrew after the Americans, hav- 
ing failed in the main object of their attack, marched away. 

William Logan the second afterward occupied Stenton, and lived in it 
until his death. His mother was Sarah Emlen : he married Sarah Ports- 
mouth. He was succeeded at the family seat by Dr. George Logan, 
grandson of James Logan, who was born at the mansion in 1755. He 
was educated principally in England. It was intended that he should be 
a merchant, and on his return to America he was placed in a counting- 
house as an apprentice. Upon attaining manhood, always having had 
a great liking for the study of medicine, he determined to embrace that 
profession. After three years' study at Edinburgh he travelled in 
France, Germany, Italy, and Holland, and returned home in 1779. 
He found family affairs in such a condition that he was unable to de- 
vote himself to the practice of medicine. The estate at Stenton was 



152 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

in bad condition through the ravages of the war, and he determined 
to restore it. He became a scientific farmer, joined the Philosophical 
and Agricultural Societies, and wrote papers on agricultural subjects. 
Gradually he drifted into politics. Sympathizing with France, he be- 
came a fervent Democrat. He was elected to the Assembly of Penn- 
sylvania for the county of Philadelphia for the session of 1795-96. 
Dr. Logan was conspicuous during the troubles between the United 
States and France, and undertook, upon his own thought and without 
authority from the Federal government, a mission to the French Di- 
rectory in 1798, in hope to prevent war between the United States and 
France. He was successful as far as the assurances of Talleyrand and 
Merlin, chief of the Directory, were concerned, but actually accom- 
plished nothing. His effort created much excitement and indignation 
among the Federalists, who were opposed to this measure. The feeling 
was so high that in 1799 Congress passed a law, sometimes called the 
" Logan act," which declared it to be an offence for any American citi- 
zen to influence the course of diplomacy or to presume to make treaties 
with foreign nations. The obloquy to which Dr. Logan was subjected by 
the enemies of Mr. Jefferson did not affect his standing with his own 
party. He was again elected to the Assembly for the session of 1798- 
99. He was appointed a Federal Senator in 1801 in place of General 
Peter Muhlenberg, who had resigned. The Legislature confirmed this 
honor, and he was United States Senator from Pennsylvania from 1801 
until 1807. Notwithstanding the Logan act, he endeavored at a later 
period to save his country from the horrors of war. In 1810 he under- 
took another voluntary mission to France, in the hope that he might 
advise and convince English statesmen of the impolicy of their conduct 
toward the United States, which, if not changed, would result in war. 
His well-meant efforts in this direction failed, and in 18 12 the storm 
of hostilities broke over the country. After this failure Dr. Logan re- 
turned to Stenton, where he remained in the prosecution of congenial 
studies and pursuits until his death, on the 9th of April, 182 1. 

Dr. Logan married Deborah Norris, daughter of Charles Norris and 
granddaughter of Isaac Norris the elder. She was born at the old 
Norris mansion, on Chestnut street between Fourth and Fifth, on the 
19th of October, 1761. She was married to Dr. Logan September 6, 
1780. Deborah Norris received as good an education as the American 
Colonies could afford. She was accomplished, of a sweet disposition, and 



STENTON. 



153 



had literary and antiquarian tastes. After her marriage, besides faith- 
ful attention to her duties as a wife and mother, she gave earnest and 
continued attention to subjects connected with the history of Pennsyl- 
vania. Connected as she was with the leading families of the Province, 
this taste was natural. She found much to strengthen it at Stenton. 
James Logan had preserved with care the letters which he had 
received during the entire course of his public life, with copies of 
many letters of his own. These furnished a mine of contemporary 
history, the value of which can scarcely be estimated. Mrs. Logan 
addressed herself to the task of copying these old letters, or at least 
such parts as illustrated historical matters, and she devoted to the 
employment many years of her life when she could spare an hour or 
two from other affairs. Many thousand pages were copied by her, 
with notes and explanations whenever obscurities were obvious. 
These volumes went into the possession of the American Philo- 
sophical Society. They are the foundation of the Pciin and Logan 
Papers, two volumes of which have been published by the Pennsylvania 
Historical Society, the interest of which has been added to by publica- 
tion of other letters belonging to the latter association. Probably two 
more volumes will be required to finish them, a delay occurring on 
account of the death of the lamented Edward Armstrong, an intelligent 
and faithful student, at one time Vice-President of the Society, who 
had engaged in their compilation. Mrs. Logan survived her husband 
nearly eighteen years, and died February 2, 1839, at Stenton. Besides 
her historic tastes, she possessed poetic ability, and wrote some fugitive 
pieces which were published in the National Gazette. She dearly 
loved the repose and ease at Stenton, and spent there the happiest 
portion of her life. In 18 15 she wrote for her relatives, William 
Logan Fisher and Sarah Logan Fisher, the following : 

SONNET TO STENTON. 

(by OUK BF loved and honored friend, DEBORAH LOGAN. 

Written in 1815 for her affectionate relatives, W. Logan and Sarah L. Fisher.) 

My peaceful home ! amidst whose dark green shades 

And sylvan scenes my vi^aning life is spent, 

Nor without blessings and desired content ! 

Again the spring illumes thy verdant glades, 

And rose-crowned Flora calls the Ionian maids 

To grace with songs her revels, and prevent, 

By charmed spells, the nipping l)lasts which, bent 



154 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PIIIIADEIPHIA. 

From Eurus or the stormy North, pervades 

Her treasures — still 'tis mine among thy groves 

Musing to rove, enamor'd of the fame 

Of him who reared these walls, whose classic lore 

For science brightly blazed, and left his name 

Indelible — by honor, too, approved. 

And virtue cherished by the Muses' flame. 

One year before her death Mrs. Logan wrote the following: 

LINES WRITTEN IN OLD AGE— 1838. 

Oh, say not Time, with ruthless wing, 

Damps the best feelings of the mind ; 
Say not his scythe, that sweeping thing, 
Can level thought and fancy bind. 
I cannot bear to see decay 
Usurp the place where Reason lay. 

Methinks it might the wizard please 

To stamp his ruin on the face ; 
To mark his grasp, the victim seize, 
And the fine form bow in disgrace. 
"Were this his aim, he'd welcome be. 
So he would leave my mind Xo me. 

Leave me the dreams of other years ; 

Leave me the free, expansive thought, 
The courage which supports from fears. 
The kindness kindred feeling wrought. 
Then could I bear Time's spoils to see. 
So he would leave my mind to me. 

After the death of Dr. George Logan, his son, Albanus C. Logan, 
lived with his mother at Stenton, and after his death some of his chil- 
dren, of whom there were five, occupied the property. Of late years 
it has fallen into disuse as a residence, and must soon yield to the 
unpitying progress of " improvement," which, for the benefit of the 
interests of the present, cherishes no sentimental reverence for the 
past 



OLD ACADEMY, FOURTH STREET. 




EV. GEORGE WHITEFIELD, celebrated for his oratorical 
power and fervor, paid seven visits to America between 
1738 and 1770. Fervent as a preacher, he was fluent, bold, 
and denunciatory. His mission was to thunder against sin 

' and to hold forth to the view of the trembling sinner the 
J^ terrors of eternal punishment. A companion of the Wesleys at 
Oxford in the association of students for religious purposes 
dubbed the Holy Club, which was the foundation of the society of 
Christians called Methodists, Whitefield finally separated from his 
companions upon a question of faith. His opinions led him to Cal- 
vinism, and the Arminian principles of the Wesleys not agreeing with 
his own belief, he gradually withdrew from the communion and sought 
employment for his excitable disposition in apostolic labor. He first 
visited Philadelphia during his second trip to America, and preached 
at Christ Church in November, 1739. He came with a reputation. 
He had preached in the early part of the year in different parts of 
England in the open air to enormous crowds of people, addressing at 
one time at Moorfields sixty thousand persons, according to estimate. 
The fame of his wonderful eloquence and the effects which he had pro- 
duced preceded him, and to Christ Church members of all denomina- 
tions went to hear him. His style of speaking was quick, declamatory, 
and earnest — so different from the set preaching of the period that the 
novelty attracted much attention among the laity, whilst at the same 
time it caused doubt and dissatisfaction in the ranks of the clergy. 
The church accommodations were too small for the throngs which 
were anxious to hear the preacher, Whitefield then held forth from 
the balcony of the court-house at Second and Market streets to a great 

155 



156 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

crowd, extending eastward toward Front street. Franklin said of him : 
** He had a loud and clear voice, and articulated his words and sentences 
so perfectly that he might be heard and understood at a great distance, 
especially as his auditory, however numerous, observed the most exact 
silence." Upon one occasion Franklin practically tested the power 
of the voice of Whitefield, and found that it was distinct until he came 
near Front street. Upon that occasion he computed that more than 
thirty thousand people, if he had preached in an amphitheatre, could 
have heard him. " This reconciled me to the newspaper accounts of 
his having preached to twenty-five thousand people in the fields, and to 
the histories of generals haranguing whole armies, of which I some- 
times doubted." In a very short time Mr. Whitefield managed to 
affront or alarm the members of the Established Church and of some 
other sects, so that the facility with which he obtained the means of 
preaching in regular houses of worship was very much curtailed. 
Rev. Jonathan Arnold of New York, minister of the Church of Eng- 
land, charged him with "being against all bishops and clergymen of the 
Church of England," and with passing " unwarrantable sentences on 
men, as if he were the supreme judge." Having gone to New York 
and returned, Whitefield preached in Christ Church, at Germantown 
from a balcony to five thousand people, and from the balcony of a house 
on Society Hill, below Dock Creek, to ten thousand people. His suc- 
cess induced several young clergymen of the dissenting sects to imitate 
his style. Among these were the brothers Tennent, Davenport, and 
Blair, Presbyterians, Rowland and Jones, Baptists. The Rev. Ebenezer 
Kinnersley of the Baptist Church denounced those sermons as " horrid 
harangues " and "enthusiastic ravings designed to affect weak minds." 
Kinnersley was arraigned for this attack on his brother clergymen, and 
was directed to make an apology, which he refused to do, and the affair 
ended in his dismissal from the ministry. 

Through his wanderings Whitefield was attended by a faithful squire 
or chronicler, William Seward, a sort of Boswell, who recorded the 
sayings and doings of his clerical Johnson. This person records mi- 
nutely in his Journal^ published in London in 1740, the circumstances 
attending the journey from Savannah to Philadelphia and from Phila- 
delphia to England. When they came to the city they went directly 
to the house on Society Hill from which Mr. Whitefield had preached 
his last sermon on the occasion of his previous visit. During their 



OLD ACADEMY, FOURTH STREET. 1 57 

stay Seward and Whitefield involved themselves in a controversy with 
the leading people of the city, which had a tendency to diminish their 
popularity and to embody opposition to their efforts. Seward under- 
took the bold measure of endeavoring to close the dancing-school and 
the dancing assembly and the concert-room, the two latter being kept 
up by subscription among people of wealth and fashion who aspired to 
be leaders of society. This invasion of their rights occasioned con- 
siderable indignation, and was characterized as an " unwarrantable 
piece of impertinence," which did not prevent the dancing from going 
on or the concert from being held. Seward tells the result in this way: 
" A friend came in and told us that some gentlemen threatened to cane 
me for having taken away the keys of the assembly-room, dancing- 
school, and music-meeting, which the owner delivered to me on my 
promise to pay for any damage which he might sustain thereby. May 
the Lord strengthen me to carry on this battle against one of Satan's 
strongest holds in this city, supported in part, too, by the proprietor, 
whose father bore a noble testimony against those devilish diversions, 
which shows us how dangerous a snare it is to our children to leave 
them ricJi in this worhVs goods and not rich in faith/'' Other preachers 
took advantage of the feeling raised by Whitefield to preach numerous 
sermons in the open air. Fourteen of them were preached in five days 
in June and July on Society Hill by Rev. Gilbert Tennent, William 
Tennent of the Second Presbyterian Church, Mr. Davenport, Mr. 
Rowland, Mr. Blair, besides sermons at the Presbyterian and Baptist 
meeting-houses and exhortations in private dwellings. " The altera- 
tion in the state of religion here is altogether surprising," said the 
Gazette in July. '' Never did the people show so great a willingness 
to attend sermons, nor the preachers greater zeal and diligence in per- 
forming the duties of their function. Religion is become the subject 
of most conversations. No books are in request but those of piety 
and devotion, and instead of idle songs and ballads the people are 
everywhere entertaining themselves witl^ psalms, hymns, and spiritual 
songs ; all which, under God, is owing to the successful labors of Rev. 
Mr. Whitefield." 

The sinners who were not affected by Whitefield's sermons, as well 
as people who went to church, but who did not favor his eccentricities, 
were lively in their sarcasms. One of the opponents of the movement 
thus addressed Whitefield in the Mercury : 



158 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

3 

" THE CONGRATULATION : 

HUMBLY ADDRESSED TO ReV. Mr. WhITEFIELD ON HIS SiXTY-EIGHTH PREACHMENT IN 

Forty Days, with the Great and Visible Effects of Meat and Money that 

ENSUED therefrom. 

" Great miracle of modesty and sense ! 
Recount thy prayers and reckon up thy pence 
Secure, while these you tell and those you show, 
To meet your great reward — at least below. 
But, waiving lesser points for solid things. 
We find from whence thy cash and credit springs; 
When duly touched by corresponding tools, 
Loud sounds the noble symphony of FOOLS; 
Skeptics no more contest thy pious arts 
Of crazing noddles and of cobbling hearts, 
When such convincing prodigies arise, 
And sin and folly make us good and wise ; 
We see the holy proselytes expose 
Their meekness, truth, and charity in prose, 
While in their matchless poetry is shown 
Genius and sense not much unlike thy own." 

Many years afterward Whitefield saw through the hght of sober 
experience how unwise and uncharitable he had been, and with ripened 
opinions made the following confession : " I have carried high sail 
whilst running through a torrent of popularity and contempt. I may 
have mistaken nature for grace, imagination for revelation, and the fire 
of my own temper for the flame of holy zeal ; and I find I have fre- 
quently written and spoken in my own spirit when I thought I was as- 
sisted entirely by God." 

The popularity of Whitefield, aided by the opposition of the regular 
clergy, which bid fair to shut him out from all places of worship, led to 
the determination to erect a special building for his use large enough 
to accommodate the great crowds which followed him. Franklin says: 
" It being found inconvenient to assemble in the open air, subject to its 
inclemencies, the building of a house to meet in was no sooner pro- 
posed, and persons appointed to receive contributions, but sufficient 
sums were soon received to procure the ground and erect the building, 
which was one hundred feet long and seventy broad — about the size of 
Westminster Hall; and the work was carried on with such spirit as to 
be finished in a much shorter time than could have been expected. 



OLD ACADEMY, FOURTH STREET. 



159 



Both house and ground were vested in trustees, expressly for the use 
of any preacher of any rehgious persuasion who might desire to say 
something to the people of Philadelphia ; the design in building not 
being to accommodate any particular sect, but the inhabitants in 
general ; so that even if the mufti of Constantinople were to send a 
missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at 




The " New Building," Fourth street below Arch, 
afterward known as "the Academy" and occupied by the College of Philadelphia and 
University of Pennsylvania, with the adjoining buildings occupied by the " Charitable 
Schools." (From a rare old Print.) 

his service." Whitefield did not understand the object of the building 
to be as broad and liberal as Franklin here says. In a letter dated in 
1740 he said: " I am chosen one of the trustees, and have promised to 
procure a master and mistress for the first scholars. I think it my 
duty to make what interest I can toward carrying on so good a work. 



l6o HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHIIADELPHIA. 

The house is intended for pubhc worship and a charity school. None 
but orthodox experimental ministers are to preach in it, and such are 
to have free liberty, of whatever denomination." 

The property selected for the " New Building," as it was called, was 
situate on the west side of Fourth street, commencing one hundred 
feet south of Mulberry or Arch street. It was one hundred and 
fifty feet front and ninety-eight feet deep. It was conveyed by 
Jonathan Price and wife, by deed of September 15, 1740, to Edmund 
Wooley, carpenter, John Coats, brickmaker, John Howell, mariner, and 
William Price, carpenter, subject to a quit-rent and a yearly ground- 
rent of fifteen dollars. On the 14th of November, 1740, Wooley, 
Coats, Howell, and Price conveyed the lot to George Whitefield 
of the Province of Georgia, clerk ; William Seward of London, in the 
kingdom of Great Britain ; John Stephen Benezet, merchant ; Thomas 
Noble of the city of New York, merchant ; Samuel Hazard of the 
city of New York, merchant ; Robert Eastburne of Philadelphia, 
blacksmith ; James Read of Philadelphia, gentleman ; Edward Evans 
of Philadelphia, cordwainer ; and Charles Brockden of Philadelphia, 
gentleman. The deed recited that whereas a considerable number 
of persons of different denominations in religion had united their 
endeavors to erect a large building upon the land above described, 
intending that the same should be appointed to the use of a charity 
school for the instruction of poor children gratis in useful literature 
and in the Christian religion, and also that the same should be used as 
a house of public worship, and that it was agreed that the use of the 
said building should be under the direction of certain trustees — viz. 
the persons above named, Whitefield and others — with power to 
appoint new trustees, etc. ; also with power " to appoint fit and able 
schoolmasters and schoolmistresses for the service of the said school, 
and to introduce such Protestant ministers to preach the gospel in tlie 
said house as they should judge to be sound in their principles, zealous 
and faithful in the discharge of their duty, and acquainted with the 
religion of the heart and experimental piety, without any regard to 
those distinctions or different sentiments in lesser matters which have 
to the scandal of religion unhappily divided real Christians." 

In this building, before a roof was on it, Whitefield officiated in 
November, 1740, sixteen times. In 1745 and 1746 he preached there, 
and probably for the last time. Meanwhile, the building had been 



OLD ACADEMY, FOURTH STREET. l6l 

appropriated for the purpose originally intended, as a place to be used 
by any religious sect which might apply for it. The Tennents (Gilbert 
and William), who had followed Whitefield in his vehement style of 
preaching, became heterodox, according to the notions of the old Pres- 
byterian party, particularly by their violence and denunciatory course. 
The Synod required suitable acknowledgment and amendment on the 
part of the New Lights or Tennent party, which they refused to make, 
and withdrew from the jurisdiction, thus splitting up Presbyterianism 
in North America. The congregations were divided ; some went with 
the New Lights and some with the Old. There was but one Presby- 
terian church in Philadelphia up to 1 741. But the New Lights had 
been worshipping at the New Building under Rev. Samuel Finley and 
Gilbert Tennent. In 1743 this congregation offered Whitefield i^8oo 
if he would remain with them six months and preach. He declined 
the offer, and the congregation became the Second Presbyterian 
Church, and was connected with the Presbytery of Londonderry and 
New Brunswick. The Second Church remained in this building till 
the end of May, 1752, when its meeting-house at the north-west corner 
of Third and Arch streets was finished and ready for use. 

One of the objects for which the building was erected was the 
establishment of a charity school, but no action was immediately taken 
in pursuance of that important matter. Some attempt was made in 
1743 to carry out the plan. Benjamin Franklin drew up a proposal for 
the establishment of the school, and supposed that the Rev. Richard 
Peters, who was then out of employment, would be willing to superin- 
tend such an institution, but he declined, " having more profitable 
views in the service of the proprietaries." The project rested for some 
years. In 1749, Franklin wrote and published a pamphlet entitled 
Proposals relating' to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania, which he 
distributed gratis. Afterward he set on foot a subscription for an 
academy, the amount to be paid in yearly quotas for five years. The 
proposition was so successful that ;^5000 were subscribed. A house 
was hired and masters were engaged. The school was opened 1749- 
50. The pupils soon became more numerous than the accommoda- 
tions would serve, and while the trustees were looking out for a lot on 
which to build a proper building, accident threw in their way the New 
Building erected for Whitefield. There was trouble among the 
trustees who represented the different sects about the election of a 
11 



1 62 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

successor to the Moravian trustee, who was dead. The last person 
of that persuasion who had held that position had made himself 
unpopular with his colleagues, and they resolved that there should be 
no more Moravians in the board. Therefore they elected Benjamin 
Franklin, who, as he says, was *' of no sect at all." The building was 
in debt, and difficulty was experienced in paying what was due 
upon it. Franklin, being a trustee of the academy and also of the 
New Building, had by his position authority to make an arrangement 
beneficial to both. The trustees of the New Building were brought to 
an agreement to cede it to the trustees of the academy, the latter 
agreeing to pay off the debt and to keep a portion of the building for 
ever for occasional preachers, according to the original intention, and 
to maintain a free school for the instruction of poor children. 

On the 1st of February, 1749, Edmund Wooley and John Coats, 
surviving trustees, conveyed the New Building property to James 
Logan, Thomas Lawrence, William Allen, John Inglis, Tench Francis, 
William Masters, Dr. Lloyd Zachary, Samuel McCall, Jr., Joseph 
Turner, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Leech, Dr. William Shippen, 
Robert Strettell, Philip Syng, Charles Willing, Dr. Phineas Bond, 
Richard Peters, Abraham Taylor, Dr. Thomas Bond, Thomas Hop- 
kinson, William Plumstead, Joshua Maddox, Thomas White, and 
William Coleman. The consideration was the payment of the debts 
due upon the building, which were ^775 i8i". \\d. ^f. This deed 
was made by Wooley and Coats, the survivors of Whitefield in the 
trust, " to the end that said building and appurtenances may be at 
length applied to the good and pious uses originally intended," etc. 
There was an agreement in the deed that there should be established 
and founded upon the ground a house or place of public worship, and 
also one free school for the instructing, teaching, and education of 
poor children or scholars, and that Logan and the others would supply 
" the schoolmaster or masters, usher or ushers, mistress or mistresses, 
to teach and instruct the said children gratis in useful literature and 
knowledge of the Christian religion, and likewise from time to time to 
introduce such preacher or preachers whom they shall judge qualified, 
as in the above-recited indenture is expressed, to teach and preach the 
word of God occasionally in said place of public worship, but yet so 
as that no particular sect be fixed there as a settled congregation ; and 
shall at all seasonable times permit and suffer in his reasonable turn 



OLD ACADEMY, FOURTH STREET. 163 

any regular minister of the gospel to preach in the house or place 
on the premises which shall be set apart for public worship, who shall 
sign, or hereafter shall sign, certain articles of religion, a copy whereof 
is hereto annexed, and whom they shall moreover judge to be other- 
wise duly qualified as aforesaid ; and particularly shall permit the free 
and uninterrupted use of said place of worship to Rev. Mr. George 
Whitefield whenever he shall happen to be in this city and shall desire 
to preach therein." Also, that the said trustees " shall have full power 
to found, erect, establish, and continue in and upon the said house and 
premises such other school, academy, or other seminary of learning 
for instructing youth in the languages, arts, and sciences, and generally 
to improve the premises to such other use or uses for the benefit of 
mankind and the good of society, as to them, etc., shall seem meet, so 
that the same be not inconsistent with the above-declared and origi- 
nally-intended uses, which are bond fide to be always fulfilled and pre- 
served, and never impeded, interrupted, or discontinued." Further 
provision gave a right to the trustees to obtain a charter. This deed, 
although dated in 1 749, was not acknowledged until November 23, 
1753, which may be accounted for upon the supposition that the 
parties interested were in the mean while endeavoring to raise the 
money necessary for the transfer. They must have gone into posses- 
sion immediately. The deed is very precise and particular in relation 
to the furnishing and maintenance of the room for religious worship 
for the use of persons disposed to preach ; and there were appended to 
the instrument curious statements of doctrine which it was necessary 
that those who used the building for religious purposes should assent 
to. It may be called 

The Whitefield Creed. 

" We believe there is one eternal God who created upholds and 
Governs all things Visible and Invisible who hath revealed himself to 
mankind by his works of Creation and Providence and also by his 
written Word which he hath given by divine inspiration and is con- 
tained in the Scriptures of the old and new Testament from whence 
we learn and believe that the Father is God that the Holy Spirit is 
God the same in Essence Power and Glory yet that there are not three 
Gods but one God. 

" That God made man upright after his own image in Knowledge 
and Righteousness with a power of acting agreeable thereto that 



164 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHIIADELPHIA. 

immediately after Mans creation God entered into a covenant with him 
in which Adam for himself and as the Representative and Father of 
all his Posterity Promised perfect and perpetual obedience to the will 
of God which he well knew and was able to perform and God upon 
condition of his obedience promised to him and all his Posterity 
Immortality and everlasting happiness and upon condition of his 
Disobedience threatened him and all his Posterity with Death Spiritual 
Temporal and Eternal. 

" That Man through the Temptation of the Devil broke the cove- 
nant which he had made with God whereby he and all his Posterity 
instantly fell under the Sentence of Death threatened on his Disobe- 
dience which awfull sentence began on the Day of his Transgression 
to be executed upon him in that guilty Fear that overwhelmed his Soul 
and caused him to hide himself from God in his loss of the divine 
Image whereby he perceived that he was naked in his Banishment 
from Paradise and the Favour and Presence of God in that Curse which 
was brought upon the ground for Mans sake under which the whole 
Creation groans and travelleth in Pain even unto this Day whereby the 
whole nature descending from Adam by ordinary generation is natu- 
rally become ignorant at enmity with him and under the Bondage of 
Satan and destitute both of power and Will ever to return to god and 
to regain its happiness in which every Child of Adam is Born under 
the curse of this Broken Covenant is loaded with the Guilt and defiled 
with the Pollution of the first Transgression in consequence of it 
temporal Death hath reigned and Still continues to reign over every 
generation of Mankind and every individual of Human Race from the 
very moment of its first Existence stands exposed on the account 
thereof to the bitter Pains of eternal Death. 

"That God in his infinite mercy and compassion to man and fore- 
seeing his Fall did in his eternal Councils decree the means of his 
Recovery and Salvation and in order to render it effectual the Father 
gave to the Son a Chosen People from among men which the Sun 
Accepted of and covenanted with the Father to redeem and save. 

" That this gracious design of God was revealed to the first Parents 
of Mankind soon after the Fall in that Promise that the seed of the 
Woman should bruise the Serpent Head and was afterwards more clearly 
revealed at Sundry times and in diverse Manners to the Fathers by the 
Prophets under the old Testament Dispensation till at length in the 



OLD ACADEMY, FOURTH STREET. 1 65 

fullness of time God sent forth his Son made of a Woman made under 
the Law who being very God and very Man in one Person did for Man 
and in his Stead fulfill all Righteousness by a Perfect obedience to that 
Law which Man had broken and to make Satisfaction for Man's Trans- 
gression of that Law did endure the Curse of it in his afflicted life and 
Ignominious Death and thereby according to the eternal covenant 
between the Father and the Son did work out and purchase a compleat 
Redemption for his Chosen People in Testimony whereof he rose from 
the Dead and is ascended into Heaven where he sits at his Father's 
right hand and ever lives making Intercession for them. 

" That in order to Man's being made partaker of this Redemption 
the blessed Son of God before his ascension commissioned his Disci- 
ples to go & Teach all Nations the Things concerning himself and has 
promised to be with them in so doing to the End of the World and 
also hath according to his Promise made to his Disciples before his 
Passion sent down his holy Spirit into the World to convince men of 
Sin and of their Fall & apostacy from God to make them feel their 
Misery thereby and see their utter inability to save and deliver them- 
selves therefrom to lead them to the knowledge of Christ and to dis- 
cover them his ability and Willingness to save them to persuade- and 
enable them heartily to approve of and consent to the Way of Salvation 
by him and with a Deep sense of their Unworthiness and thankful 
acceptance of offered Mercy to give up their Souls into his Almighty 
Hands to be taught ruled and Saved by him. 

'' That whosoever is enabled thus to give up himself to Christ and 
Trusts and reposes his Soul in his Saving Hands is made one with him 
and on the account of what Christ hath done and suffered is delivered 
from the Curse of the Law of his servile subjection to Satan his Sin 
is pardoned and he is accounted Righteous in the sight of God a 
beam of Divine light shining into his Soul dispels the natural 
darkness and Ignorance of his Mind a new heart is given to him 
his natural enmity to God is Slain, the Dominion of Sin within him is 
broken he is created anew in Christ Jesus & an entire change is pro- 
duced in the Temper & Disposition of his Soul, he is born of God and 
is adopted into his Family and brought into a state of Favour and 
Friendship with him, he is made an Heir of Eternal Glory, his title 
to it is infallibly secured and he sometimes enjoys the foretastes the 
Holy Spirit dwells in him leads and guides him in all the ways of well 



1 66 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

doing, quickens him when he is dull revives him when drooping, raises 
him when he falls heals his backslidings restores him from his wander- 
ings, resolves his doubts and makes his way plain before him succours 
him under all Temptations helps him to mortify his corruptions to 
overcome the World and vanquish the Devil. Sanctifies him Day by 
Day and causes him to grow in every Grace and every virtue till at 
length in a future life the divine Image which by the Fall was lost is 
compleatly restored and the Soul having obtained an entire Victory 
over all its enemies is thro' free Grace and meer Mercy made perfectly 
blessed in the full enjoyment of God to all eternity. 

*' That all those who attain to years of discretion and live under 
the sound of the Gospel who never see the evil of Sin and their apos- 
tacy and Fall from God nor feel the misery that it hath brought upon 
them that have no sence of their want of Jesus Christ to save them 
and all others that having but an imperfect sence of their Sin and 
Misery do either in the whole or in part trust to and depend upon 
some supposed good thing in them or to be done by them to intitle 
them to the divine Favour & either neglect or Reject the way of Salva- 
tion by the free Grace of God in Christ all such persons remain under 
the curse of the Law, the dominion of Sin and the Slavery of the Devil 
and the wrath of God abides upon them. 

" We believe that this life and only this is the Day of God's patience 
wherein he is waiting to be gracious to the Sons of Men that in the 
Gospel salvation is offered freely to all that will believe in and obey 
Christ Jesus that he affords his Grace and spirit to assist those in so 
doing who being deeply Sensible of their want of Help do earnestly 
and sincerely seek it that notwithstanding that universal depravity & 
Depth of Misery into which Mankind is fallen yet God in every age hath 
had a People to serve him who have been made willing in a Day of 
his power that when the number of the Elect are accomplished Christ 
will appear to Judge the Quick and Dead that he will in that great and 
terrible Day of Judgment render to every man according to his deeds 
done in the Body that the wicked shall goe into everlasting Punish- 
ment but the Righteous into Life eternal. 

" We do also give our assent and consent to the 9th, lOth, i ith, 12th, 
13th & 17th articles of the Church of England as explained by the 
Calvinists in their Litteral and Grammatical sence without any equivo- 
cation whatsoever. We mention these in particular because they are 



OLD ACADEMY, FOURTH STREET. 1 67 

a summary of the foregoing articles. We believe all that are sound in 
faith agree in these whatever other points they may differ in." 

Some alterations were made in the building to fit it for the uses 
intended. The great and lofty hall was divided into stories, with dif- 
ferent rooms above and below for the schools. Additional ground was 
purchased, and thus the " New Building " changed its name to that of 
the "Academy." The school had first been opened in Allen's private 
house in Second street. It was removed to the New Building in 175 1, 
Rev. David Martin, D. D., being the rector. He died in December 
of that year, and was succeeded by Rev. Francis Allison as rector and 
master of the Latin school. In July, 1753, the trustees were incor- 
porated under the name of the " Trustees of the Academy and Chari- 
table School in the Province of Pennsylvania." The title of the cor- 
poration was altered and enlarged in the succeeding year, and the in- 
stitution was named *' The College, Academy, and Charitable School 
of Philadelphia." William Smith, a Scotchman, who was born about 
1725, and educated in the University of Aberdeen, came to America 
in 1753, and having shown interest in the plan of education to such a 
degree as to have attracted the attention of Dr. Franklin, his services 
were engaged for the institution, he stipulating that he should be 
allowed to go to England and receive holy orders. He came back 
deacon and priest in the Church of England in May, 1754, and be- 
came teacher of natural and moral philosophy to the Senior and 
Junior classes. Upon the reorganization of the College, Rev. William 
Smith supplanted Dr. Allison as provost of the institution, whilst the 
latter became vice-provost The first commencement took place in 
May, 1757, when there were seven graduates for the degree of bachelor 
of arts, among whom may be named Jacob Duche^and Samuel Ma-' 
gaw, afterward ministers of the Church of England ; Francis Hopkifr^ 
son. Signer of the Declaration of Independence ; Dr. Hugh William- 
son, professor of Greek and Latin in the College for three years, mem- 
ber of the Continental Congress and of the Convention to form a 
Federal Constitution ; Dr. John Morgan, physician and surgeon, the 
founder of the medical school ,of the University, and professor for 
many years ; and Paul Jackson, who became a teacher in the College, 
a man of fine acquirements, who died young, much regretted. Rev. 
Ebenezer Kinnersley of the/Baptist Church, whose discoveries in elec- 
tricity were second if not equal to those of Franklin, was professor of 



1 68 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

oratory and English literature for six years, after which the chairs 
were divided, oratory being given to Jacob Duche, and to Kinnersley 
English literature — a trust he held until 1773. Rev. John Ewing, 
D. D., a man of power and influence in the Presbyterian Church, be- 
came professor of natural and experimental philosophy in 1758. 
Among the tutors were Charles Thomson, the well-known Secretary 
of the Continental Congress ; David J. Dove, whose eccentricities are 
humorously told by Graydon ; and John Beveridge, Latin tutor, of 
whom Graydon says, " His acquaintance with the language he taught 
was, I believe, justly deemed to be very accurate and profound." Dr. 
Smith went to England in 1758, and received the degree of D. D. 
from the University of Aberdeen and the University of Oxford. In 
1762 he visited England to solicit subscriptions on behalf of the col- 
lege, and was so successful that he raised ^^6921 js. 6d., to which 
was added by other subscriptions ;^4200, with some other revenues. 
In 1762 a large building was erected on the north side of the College 
lot, fronting on Fourth street, which was devoted in the lower stories 
to the charitable school, and the upper stories were fitted up with dor- 
mitories for the students who had no residence in the city. 

A dwelling-house for Provost Smith was erected in 1760 at the 
south-west corner of Fourth and Arch streets. It was a fine large 
building, and was standing in 1877. The medical department of the 
College, although important as a branch of the institution, seems to 
have been at no time located in the Academy building. It was estab- 
lished in 1765, Dr. John Morgan being elected professor of the theory 
and practice of physic in May, and Dr. William Shippen, who had a 
private school for medical instruction three years before that time, 
being elected professor of anatomy and surgery in the College in 
September of the same year. It is believed that Dr. Shippen's 
lectures were delivered in his own class-rooms in rear of his father's 
residence. Fourth above Market street, west side ; the subjects were 
anatomy, surgery, and midwifery. The other lectures might have been 
delivered in the great hall of the Academy building. Some time before 
1779 a special building for the use of the medical department, called 
Anatomical Hall, was erected on Fifth street below Chestnut, adjoining 
on the south the lot on which the Philadelphia Dispensary building 
was erected. After this Anatomical or Surgeons' Hall was built the 
medical department did not use the old Academy building. 



OLD ACADEMY, FOURTH STREET. 1 69 

During the American Revolution the College of Philadelphia fell 
into discredit upon suspicion that the majority of the trustees and some 
of the teachers were not well affected to the popular cause. The 
Assembly of Pennsylvania in February, 1779, directed an inquiry into 
the rise, design, and condition of the institution. Provost Smith made 
a long reply. President Reed and the Assembly were hostile to the 
provost and some of the trustees. The result was, that an act was 
passed annulling the charter of the College and the Academy, creating 
a new institution, which was called the University of Pennsylvania, and 
authorized to take possession of the property of the College and con- 
duct the institution for the benefit of education. Some of the old 
professors remained with a new board. Dr. William Smith, the 
provost, refused to have anything to do with them, and Dr. John 
Ewing was made provost. During ten years the College and 
Academy remained practically dead. But in 1789 the Council of 
Censors of Pennsylvania declared that the forfeiture of the charter 
was illegal, and the Legislature passed an act restoring the franchises of 
the institution. The University of Pennsylvania, thus suddenly ousted, 
sought new quarters, its charter being continued, but its use of the 
property of the old institution being declared illegal. The College 
was reorganized with some of the old professors, others of the latter 
having gone over to the University. For two years there was a rivalry 
between the institutions, but at length good sense prevailed ov^er bad 
feeling. A union was determined upon. The Legislature gave 
prompt assent to the compromise, and on the 30th of September, 
1 79 1, the united colleges became the University of Pennsylvania. They 
remained in the Academy building until the spring of 1802, when the 
trustees of the University, having bought the building on Ninth street 
between Market and Chestnut, which had been originally erected for 
the accommodation of the President of the United States, transferred 
the University from Fourth street to that location. The property was 
purchased in July, 1800, for ;^4i,650, the lot extending from Market 
street to Chestnut street. 

After the transfer of the principal institution to Ninth street the old 
Academy structure was still appropriated to the purposes originally 
intended. The southern portion of the great building was sold to a 
Methodist congregation which took the name of the Union Methodist 
Episcopal Church, and was generally known as " the Academy." This 



1^0 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

society occupied the southern part of the building, extending from the 
balcony south. In the second story of the northern portion of the 
building a large room was appropriated, according to the original in- 
tention, for the use of religious congregations or ministers. Several 
religious societies which blossomed into congregations were started 
there, or used the room until they had means to build church buildings 
elsewhere. For several years there was a classical school in the old 
building, kept by Rev. Samuel Crawford. The charity schools were 
not neglected. There was a girls' school in 1826 and for several years 
afterward in the north-east room of the old Academy building. Two 
boys' schools were in the large building north of the Academy, front- 
ing the Academy yard, from which it was separated by a fence or 
passage. During a portion of the time we have named they were 
under the charge of Dr. Joseph Bullock and John McKinley. The 
ground becoming valuable, changes were made in the character of 
the buildings, probably about 1839 or 1840. The Union Methodist 
Church tore down their part of the old structure, and erected a much 
larger meeting-house, and the northern portion of the Academy 
building and the large house north of it occupied by the charitable 
schools, and also as a dwelling by one of the teachers of the boys' 
school, were torn down and stores were erected, which bring in a 
considerable revenue to the University. A hall was built on the rear 
portion of the ground, in which a room was dedicated for the use of 
ministers of the gospel of religious sects, stipulated for when the New 
Building was erected to accommodate Whitefield in 1 74 1. Apartments 
for the charity school were also prepared, and those institutions were 
until lately held upon the old site, so that after one hundred and thirty- 
six years a portion of the ground upon which the Academy was built 
was still devoted to its original purposes — to free education and to free 
speech on religious topics. 



THE FISHING COMPANY OF THE STATE IN 

SCHUYLKILL. 




'FiERE was a good deal of fun in our ancestors. They 
were not in many respects the grave and solemn people 
which some persons, in order to show their reverence for 
antiquity, would have us believe. Their amusements 
were not always of a sort which would find favor at the 
present day, but they enjoyed them, and the usual solem- 
nity of business and the quiet atmosphere of a plain town 
were in contrast to any sort of recreation and added to the pleasure 
of a festive occasion. The newness of the country, the abundance 
of fish and game which existed, and the ease with which such supplies 
could be obtained, made every Pennsylvanian of the sterner sex a 
hunter and a fisher in his boyhood, and continued in his nature a taste 
for the sportsman's life after he had attained manhood. The earliest 
society of a social character established in the city carries back its long 
and pleasant history to the year 1732. The founders called it the 
" Colony in Schuylkill," and assumed the right of eminent domain 
over the woods and fields and streams within the vicinity of their 
Castle. At the beginning they were established for fishing and sport- 
ing purposes on the west bank of the Schuylkill River, upon the estate 
of William Warner, who granted to the company the right of building 
on his own property, and appropriated for the use of the members 
about an acre of ground. For this favor the lord of the soil, who was 
dubbed by the citizens of the Colony in Schuylkill, Baron Warner, re- 
ceived annually three fresh fish, the first of the season, in full for the 
annual rent. And there was some ceremony upon such occasions. 

171 



1/2 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



His mansion was on the west side of the Schuylkill, a little north of 
the site of the present bridge at Girard Avenue. The property in after 
years was called Egglesfield or Eaglesfield, and was owned success- 
ively by Robert E. Griffith, merchant, Richard Rundle, gentleman, and 

John J. Borie, mer- 
chant. The Park has 
absorbed it, and the 
fine house at Eggles- 
field, which ought to 
have been preserved 
as a memorial of the 
past, has been demol- 
ished. It was here 
that in the spring- 
time of the year the 
members of the com- 
pany with great cere- 
mony, by a commit- 
tee duly appointed, 
carried up the hill 
to the porch of the 
mansion the annual 
piscatorial rent. The 
baron, dressed in full 
suit of black, looking 
grand and dignified, 
was there to receive 
it, and after mutual 
bows and compli- 
ments the fish were carried to the kitchen, the baron invited his tenants 
into the mansion to take a glass of wine with him, and after mutual 
compliments the ceremony ended and the fishermen withdrew. The 
founders of the Colony in Schuylkill were men of credit and renown. 
The first governor of the Colony was Thomas Stretch. The Assem- 
blymen were Enoch Flower, Charles Jones, Isaac Snowden, John How- 
ard, and Joseph Stiles. The Sheriff was James Coultas, who in 1755 
was Sheriff of the county of Philadelphia, and in 1764 Justice of the 
Peace and Judge of the Quarter Sessions and Common Pleas. At one 







Entrance at Egglesfield. 



THE FISHING COMPANY OF THE STATE IN SCHUYLKILL 173 

time he was keeper of the Middle Ferry, and afterward of the Lower 
Ferry. He built for his own use Whitby Hall on Gray's lane, north 
of the Darby road. The Coroner was William Hopkins. The origi- 
nal members, besides the officers named, were — John Leacock, who was 
Coroner of the city and county from 1785 to 1802; James Logan, the 
friend of Penn, secretary of the proprietary for many years, Chief- 
Justice, President of the Council, a statesman and a scholar, a citizen 
of influence and public spirit, to whom we are indebted for that valu- 
able collection the Loganian Library, the use of which by the terms 
of Logan's will is ensured to the citizens of Philadelphia. Thomas 
Tilbury and Caleb Cash were members. The latter was Coroner of the 
county from 1764 to 1772 ; Philip Syng, the noted goldsmith, grand- 
father of the eminent physician, Philip Syng Physick, was a member 
of the Colony. So was William Plumstead, merchant, who was Mayor 
of the city in 1750-55. Peter Reeve owed allegiance, with William 
Ball, also a goldsmith, who for a long time was Grand Master of the 
Free Masons in Pennsylvania. William Parr, Sheriff of the county 
1764-66, Recorder of Deeds and Master of the Rolls from 1767 to 
1777, was associated with Daniel Williams. Isaac Stretch, Hugh Rob- 
erts, Samuel Neave, Joseph Wharton, Joseph Stretch, Cadwalader 
Evans, Samuel Garrigues, and Samuel Barge. Among the members 
added in 1748 were — Thomas Wharton, Jr., in after years President 
of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania ; John Lawrence, 
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court 1767 to 1776, Mayor of the 
city 1755-56; Samuel Mifflin, Common Councilman and Alderman, 
captain of the Association Battery at Fort Wicaco in 1758 — he was ap- 
pointed commodore of the Pennsylvania navy in September, 1776, but 
declined after eighteen days' continuance in the office ; George Gray 
of Gray's Ferry, conspicuous as a public man during the Revolution, 
member of the Committee of Safety, Chairman of the Board of War, 
member of the Assembly from Philadelphia county in 1772, and after- 
ward member of the Convention to amend the Constitution of the 
State, and Speaker of the House of Representatives. A Quaker by 
birth, he was turned out of Meeting in 1775 for taking the side of the 
Colonies. Captain William Dowell, commander of the Pandour pri- 
vateer, was elected a member in 1754, at which time also came in 
Thomas Lawrence, merchant, who between 1727 and 1764 was eight 
times Mayor of the city. Judah Foulke, who came in at this time, was 



1^4 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

Sheriff of the county 1770-72, afterward Clerk of the Market and 
Keeper of Standard Weights and Measures. Joseph Galloway, the 
lawyer, for some years Speaker of the Assembly, member of the first 
Continental Congress, one of the most eminent men of Pennsylvania — 
who might have been during the Revolution and afterward whatever 
his ambition demanded, but who lost everything by a timidity which 
carried him over to the royal side — was admitted a citizen of the Colony 
in 1759. Thomas Mifflin, for many years member of the Assembly, 
Major-General in the Continental army. President of the Supreme 
Executive Council, and Governor of Pennsylvania from 1788 to 1 800, 
was elected a member in 1760. At the same time came in Tench Fran- 
cis, son of Tench who was Attorney-General of Pennsylvania from 
1 744 to 1752, and Recorder of the city from 1750 to 1754. The younger 
Tench, who was a citizen of the Colony in Schuylkill, married Anne, 
daughter of Charles Willing. He was the father of Thomas Willing 
Francis, an eminent merchant before the Revolution, who married 
Dorothy, daughter of Thomas Willing. John, one of his sons, was 
the father of John Brown Francis, erst Senator of the United States 
and Governor of Rhode Island. His daughter Sophia was married to 
George Harrison, and his daughter Elizabeth Powell married Joshua 
Fisher, and was the mother of Joshua Francis Fisher, long well known 
as a citizen and an historical scholar, who died a short time ago. 

At this time was admitted William Bradford, printer, a patriotic and 
useful officer during the Revolution, and John Nixon, merchant, who 
read the Declaration of Independence in the State-House Yard July 
8, 1776. Samuel Hassell was elected in 1761. He was Councilman, 
Alderman, and Mayor in 1740. There were many valuable citizens 
who felt it a privilege to relax from the stiffness and dignity which 
ruled society in the ease and pleasant intercourse of the Fish-house 
Club. Samuel Morris became member before the Revolution, and was 
active in reorganizing the company, which suspended its meetings 
during the greater period of the long and exciting struggle. He suc- 
ceeded Captain Abraham Markoe in command of the company of light- 
horse afterward known as the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry. 
He was captain of the troop in the campaigns of \'/y6-'/y, and was 
in the battles of Trenton and Princeton, where his brother, Anthony 
Morris, also member of the Colony in Schuylkill, was killed. He 
received a bayonet-wound in the neck and a bullet in the leg. Samuel 



THE FISHING COMPANY OF THE ST A IE IN SCHUYLKILL. 175 

was Sheriff five times between 1752 and 1760. He was a member of 
the Committee of Safety during the Revolution and of the Board 
of War. He was appointed Register of Wills in 1777, and held 
the office until the time of his death. In after years, among the 
members of the company were — Robert Wharton, who was Major- 
General of the First Division after 1800, and Mayor of the city 
between 1798 and 1824 for ten terms; General Thomas Forrest, a 
Revolutionary officer and member of Congress from Philadelphia 
1 8 19-2 1 ; Francis Johnston, Sheriff of the city and county 18 10-14; 
Charles Ross, captain of the City Troop during the war of 1812; 
John Swift, a soldier of the war of 1812, and Mayor of Philadelphia 
during twelve terms between 1832 and 1849. Much more might be 
said in relation to the members of this ancient organization, scarcely 
one of whom might not have written in his honor a biography, not 
fulsome but true, showing great worth and valuable service, in the 
benefits of which the community has participated for over one hundred 
and forty years. It is enough to say that the society has always 
enjoyed the choice of gentlemen among the applicants for member- 
ship, and that, as the number is limited, there are more anxious to 
enter than can be received. 

Up to the year 1747 the accommodations of the company in the 
shape of buildings were simple and inexpensive. It was then resolved 
to build a court-house for the more convenient accommodation of the 
Governor, Assembly, and colonists. The house was of timber, proba- 
bly cut on the spot, and cost when finished no more than £\6 Js. gd. 
During the Revolution the social operations of the company ceased. 
Its members, with perhaps a single exception, espoused the cause of 
the Colonies. Joseph Galloway, after an exhibition of patriotism in 
the early part of the controversy with Great Britain, weakened on the 
question of Independence, and went over to the royal army, which he 
aided while it was in possession of Philadelphia, after which he sought 
refuge in England. His estates in Pennsylvania were confiscated, and the 
pittance granted him by the Crown was a trifling recompense for the 
severity of his losses. The company of light-horse of the city of Phila- 
delphia since known as the First City Troop originated in 1774, it is 
believed, with members of the Colony in Schuylkill, among whom 
were Samuel Morris, governor of the company, William Hall, Samuel 
Howell, Levi Hollingsworth, Thomas Peters, and John Donaldson. 



176 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

Governor Morris succeeded Abraham Markoe as captain of the troop, 
and served with it during the whole war. The Fishing Company of 
Fort St. David's, a neighbor of the Colony in Schuylkill, added several 
members to the light-horse, as did also the Gloucester Fox-hunting 
Club, of which two associations several members of the Colony were 
also members. During the year 1779 a meeting was held by some of 
the members, at which it was determined to reorganize and continue 
the Fishing Company, but during the two years succeeding there were 
no meetings. In 1781 a meeting was held at which it was resolved 
that the Navy, Castle, Dock-yard and out-yards should be repaired. 
In October, 1782, there was a highly important meeting of the Colony, 
which without any formal act had assumed the title of the " State in 
Schuylkill," at which the following most important Declaration of 
Independence was adopted : ** Whereas, the court of Great Britain, 
soon after the Peace of Versailles, in the year 1763, began to oppress 
the inhabitants of then British America by laying restrictions on their 
trade and making laws to bind them in all cases whatsoever, con- 
trary to the original charters and just and natural rights of freemen, 
and in the year 1775 did with a strong fleet and army invade the same, 
which obliged the inhabitants thereof to unite for their mutual defence, 
and after frequent application to the court of Great Britain, without 
obtaining redress, they were necessitated to declare themselves on the 
4th of July, 1776, Free and Independent States; in consequence 
thereof, a large military force invaded this State, and the virtuous 
inhabitants thereof, being unprovided for defence, were obliged to 
withdraw into the neighboring States, until by their assistance those 
ravagers were driven out ; and as from the absence of the inhabitants 
of this State no regular meeting could be held before the 3d day 
of March, 1781, which has prevented the appointment of officers 
regularly, and making laws for the better regulation thereof; 

*^ Resolved, That the following be the Laws, Rules, and Regulations 
for governing the inhabitants in the nezv State hi Schuylkill,'' etc. 

Under the new administration there was a suitable change in other 
respects. Baron Isaac Warner was denobleized, and became Chief 
Warden of the Castle. A Legislative Executive Council was created, 
and the Court-house became the Castle of the State in Schuylkill. 
General Washington, with a number of friends, was entertained at the 
Castle in June, 1787. The Court-house or Castle built in 1747 had 



THE FISHING COMPANY OF THE STATE IN SCHUYLKILL. 



177 



become in the course of years decayed and inconvenient, and it was 
replaced in 1812 by a new Castle, built at an expense of about ;^8oo. 
This building remained at Egglesfield until 1822, before which time 
the work of building the dam at Fairmount and the obstruction to the 
navigation of the Schuylkill rendered it necessary to remove the do- 
main of the State from its ancient boundaries. A passage-way had 
been left in Fairmount Dam for the removal of this venerable building. 
The materials were carried through on the 7th of May, and landed at 
Rambo's Rock, upon the east bank of the Schuylkill below Gray's 
Ferry, where the old Castle was re-erected, and is still standing. It 
is eighteen feet in width and fifty-two feet in depth, and surmounted 
with a cupola with vane, in which is hung " a dinner-sounding bell." 




CAbTLE OF THE StATE IN SCHUYLKILL IN 1877. 

The interior is divided into two stories. On the first floor there is a 
store and room for the caterer of the day, closets, etc. The greater 
portion of this floor is occupied by the dining-room, which affords 
ample accommodations for eighty persons. On the walls are displayed 
old pictures and other curiosities presented to the company at various 
times. Over the President's chair is a bust in wood of the venerable 
governor Samuel Morris, which was cut by the well-known artist 
William Rush. Among the decorations of the table on great occasions 
are two immense pewter platters, upon which are engraved the arms 
12 



1^8 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

of the Penn family. These dishes were presented by a member of the 
Perm family before the Revolution to the Fishing Company of Fort 
St. David's, which club afterward united with the State in Schuylkill. 
The second story has accommodations for the members — chests for their 
clothing and equipments and fishing apparatus. The kitchen is at a 
little distance from the Castle, and is fitted up with every convenience 
for cooking in the most complete style. The members, it should be 
noted, do the entire work without the assistance of servants or cooks. 
Upon their arriving at the Castle each citizen of the State — there are only 
twenty-five of them — and the " apprentices," who are probationary can- 
didates for membership when vacancies occur, as well as invited guests, 
are apparelled with long white linen aprons bearing the badge of the 
club. Old straw hats are furnished them, and they are set to work. 
Some prepare the vegetables, pare the potatoes, shell the peas, and do 
other work ; others superintend the mystery of cooking, with due re- 
gard to the preparation of fish or meats and seasoning them with skill. 
An immense chimney filled with logs of burning wood suffices for 
the cooking of the planked shad and the boiling and stewing opera- 
tions, as well as the frying of small fish. Rock and larger fish are 
boiled out of doors on the lawn, in cabooses pitched under the cool 
shade of fine old trees. In the kitchen is erected a mound of brick 
scrupulously whitewashed and kept clean. Upon this is deposited at 
proper times live hickory coals, over which is placed a monster grid- 
iron, which is burdened with beefsteaks sufficient for the company. 
The result is such a triumph in the delicacy of cooking and preserva- 
tion of the flavor as {q.\n kitchens know. The members of this com- 
pany have always lived well at their stated meetings. The old records 
abound with charges for rounds of beef, sirloin steaks, pigs for roasting, 
green turtle, besides the products of the waters and of the woods — fish 
and game — with punch, wine, and tobacco. In 1824, General La Fayette, 
having made his tour of the United States, and being near the time of 
his return, was entertained at the Castle on the 2 ist of July, together with 
the members of his suite and fifteen visitors, among whom were Judge 
Peters, a committee of City Councils, and others. The Secretary of 
State, in addressing the nation's guest in terms of welcome, pleasantly 
said, " Your visit here completes your tour to all tJic States in the 
Union!' There was a fine time, an excellent dinner with the usual 
toasts, and not many speeches. Of late years this association has been 



THE FISHING COMPANY OF THE STATE IN SCHUYLKILL. 179 

socially kept up, as far as can be, in the old style, but circumstances 
have prevented the exercise of the undoubted rights of the citizens 
over the fish in the river and the birds in the air. The increasing com- 
merce of the Schuylkill, the erection of the gas-works, with other 
causes, have destroyed the fishing; and as for the fowling, market- 
shooters, who prosecute their trade against the reed-birds and rail which 
frequent the adjoining marshes, have rendered fowling unpleasant to the 
gentlemen sportsmen ; and so the citizens of the State in Schuylkill 
catch no fish and shoot no birds. But from the fulness of the treasury 
they buy what they need. The spirit of the old times has not deterio- 
rated in the matter of cooking, and the dinners which the members of 
the club prepare for themselves and for the very select number of 
guests who are allowed to participate are as delicious and enjoyable as 
they were one hundred and forty-five years ago. 

In time they will leave the old Castle and pleasant territory so long 
enjoyed by the citizens of the State. Streets must soon invade their 
domain. In view of this probability the Commissioners of Fairmount 
Park, from which the State had been removed, have made arrange- 
ments which will, when the worst comes to the worst, bring it back 
again. A new site for the Castle has been assigned the Fishing 
Company on the west side of the Wissahickon Creek, north of the 
great bridge of the Germantown and Norristown Railroad Company. 
Here, in a secluded nook, a building originally on the spot has been 
fitted up for occasional use — a temporary place until the company 
finally removes from Rambo's Rock. They call it '* the Colony in 
Schuylkill," reviving the old name. It will be " the State in Schuyl- 
kill " when the ancient seat is abandoned. 



BARTRAM'S HOUSE. 




N George Webb's poem, Bachelor's Hall, published in 1729, 
he sings of the glories of a place of resort situate in Ken- 
sington which was called " Bachelor's Hall," and was the 
head-quarters of a social company. In addition to its uses 
for such purposes there was attached to the building a botanic garden, 
cultivated for the production of plants useful in medicine. Speaking 
of this building, the poet says : 

" Close to the dome a garden shall be join'd — 
A fit employment for a studious mind. 
In our vast woods whatever simples grow, 
Whose virtues none, or none but Indians, know, 
"Within the confines of this garden brought, 
To rise with added lustre shall be taught ; 
Then culled with judgment each shall yield its juice, 
Saliferous balsam to the sick man's use; 
A longer date of life mankind shall boast, 
And Death shall mourn her ancient empire lost." 

It is not known why the members of a club social in its character 
should have interested themselves sufficiently in science to have ap- 
pended such a garden to their place of leisure and good fellowship. 
Nor is it known who superintended the garden, which must have been 
under charge of a person of more than ordinary taste. It is a matter 
of inference, from the after-history of John Bartram, that he might 
have been interested in the cultivation of this garden. At all events, 
he must have been a frequent observer and student there, and his pro- 
ficiency in botany was already well known. " Please to procure me 
Parkinson's Herbal," wrote James Logan in 1729, just about the time 

180 



BARTRAM'S HOUSE. i8l 



when Webb's poem was written. " I shall make it a present to a 
person worthier of a heavier purse than fortune has yet allowed him. 
John Bartram has a genius perfectly well turned for botany. No man 
in these parts is so capable of serving you, but none can worse bear 
the loss of his time without due consideration." 

Hector St. John (Crevecoeur), in Letters from an American Farmer, 
published in 1782, says that Bartram stated the manner in which he 
was induced to pay attention to botany in the following words : " One 
day I was very busy in holding my plough (for thee seest I am but a 
ploughman), and being weary I ran under the shade of a tree to re- 
pose myself I cast my eyes on a daisy ; I plucked it mechanically, 
and viewed it with more curiosity than common country farmers are 
wont to do, and observed therein very many distinct parts, some per- 
pendicular, some horizontal. Wliat a shame, said 7ny mind or some- 
thing that inspired my mind, that thee shouldst have employed so many 
years in tilling the earth and destroying so many flowers and plants, 
zvithout being acquainted with their structure and their uses T Acting 
upon this thought, and against the discouragement of his wife, he went 
to Philadelphia and obtained a botanical book and a Latin grammar. 
A neighboring schoolmaster taught him enough Latin in three months 
to understand Linnaeus's Treatise on Botany, which he bought after- 
ward. " I began to botanize all over my farm. In little time I became 
acquainted with every vegetable which grew in my neighborhood, and 
next ventured into Maryland, living among the Friends. In propor- 
tion as I thought myself more learned, I proceeded farther, and by a 
steady application of several years I have acquired a pretty general 
knowledge of every plant and tree to be found on our continent." 

John Bartram was born March 23, 1699, at Darby in Chester (now 
Delaware) county. His grandfather, John Bartram, with his family, 
came over from England with the original settlers of Pennsylvania 
about 1682-83. The family was French originally, but was settled in 
Derbyshire, England. William Bartram, father of John the botanist, was 
married to Elizabeth, daughter of James Hunt, at Darby Meeting, March, 
1696. We know nothing of the early education of John, but may pre- 
sume it was as good as the means of the Province afforded at the time. 
He was destined to be a farmer, and was particularly well suited for that 
avocation by reason of his intelligent mind and habit of observation. 
The ordinary farmer is satisfied with the assurance that according to 



1 82 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADEIPHIA. 

the course of human experience it is probable that where he plants 
something will grow, and where he sows he will in due time be able 
to reap. But the philosophy of the wonderful operations of Nature 
which justify such assurances scarcely ever occupies his attention. 
Bartram was not satisfied with being merely a farmer. He desired to 
understand the philosophy of his calling. He could not pass over a 
field without noticing the varieties in the plants, and comparing the 
situation, appearance, and habits of some of them with what he had 
previously observed. He had a taste for medicine and surgery, par- 
ticularly in reference to the effects of medicines and their nature and 
character. The woods and the fields were his apothecary-shop, and 
the nature, character, and uses of plants, either for purposes of food 
or for medicinal objects, were matters of frequent attention. For these 
reasons, after he had attained manhood and accumulated sufficient 
means to buy a farm for himself, he determined to establish in connec- 
tion with it a garden — botanical as well as exotic — for the reception of 
foreign and indigenous plants. In September, 1728, he bought at 
sheriff's sale a piece of ground on the west side of the Schuylkill 
River, below the Lower Ferry, on the road to Darby, which had be- 
longed to Frederick Schobbenhauser. Here was commenced in 1730, 
and finished in 1731, a house of hewn stone, of quaint, old-fashioned 
style of architecture, which, solid and enduring in its material, has 
stood against the dilapidating fingers of Time for nearly a century and 
a half It has been said that Bartram built this house with his own 
hands, but in regard to that story there mu^>t be doubt. A farmer and 
a student, whilst he might have had the skill to plan and the strength 
to build such a house, it is doubtful whether he possessed the deftness 
of the mason, the bricklayer, the joiner, the carpenter, and the plas- 
terer. Upon a stone built in the walls is this inscription: 

John and Ann Bartram, 1731. 

Nearly forty years afterward Bartram engraved or cut upon a stone, 
with his own hand, this couplet : 

" 'Tis God alone, almighty Lord, 
The holy One by me adored, 

John Bartram, 1770." 

This stone was built into the wall over the front window of the apart- 
ment which he used for his study. Bartram had been raised as a 



BARTRAM'S HOUSE. 



183 



member of the Society of Friends, but after manhood he disapproved 
of the Trinitarian opinions of the sect. He was a Unitarian in his 
beHef, and was dealt with for his heresy by the Friends' Meeting at 
Darby as early as 1758. 




^S^/^v^SS 



Hartram's House, present appearance. 



The garden which Bartram laid out adjoining his house sloped 
out to the banks of the Schuylkill, and by the exercise of his skill 
and industry and taste it became one of the most attractive places 
in the neighborhood of the city. The ground occupied six or seven 
acres, with a variety of soils and difference of exposure. 

St. John, speaking of Bartram's house and gardens, says : " His 
house is small, but decent ; there was something peculiar in its first 
appearance which seemed to distinguish it from those of his neighbors : 
a small tower in the middle of it not only helped to strengthen it, but 
afforded convenient room for a staircase. Every disposition of the 
fields, fences, and trees seemed to bear the marks of perfect order and 



1 84 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADEIPHIA. 

regularity, which in rural affairs always indicates a prosperous 
industry." . . . . " We entered into a large hall, where there was a 
long table full of victuals ; at the lowest part sat his negroes, his hired 
men were next, then the family and myself, and at the head the 
venerable father and wife presided. Each reclined his head and said 
his prayers, divested of the tedious cant of some and of the ostenta- 
tious style of others. * After the luxuries of our cities,' observed he, 
* this plain fare must appear to thee a severe fast.' — * By no means, Mr. 
Bartram : this honest country dinner convinces me that you receive 
me as a friend and an old acquaintance.' — * I am glad of it, for thee 
art heartily welcome. I never knew how to use ceremonies ; they 
are insufficient proofs of sincerity ; our Society, besides, are utterly 
strangers to what the world calleth polite expressions. We treat 
others as we treat ourselves.' "...." After dinner we quaffed an 
honest bottle of madeira wine, without the irksome labor of toasts, 
healths, or sentiments, and then retired into his study. I was no 
sooner entered than I observed a coat-of-arms in a gilt frame, with 
the name John Bartram. The novelty of such a decoration in such 
a place struck me ; I could not avoid asking, ' Does the Society of 
Friends take any pride in those armorial bearings, which sometimes 
serve as marks of distinction between families, and much oftener as 
food for pride and ostentation ?' — ' Thee must know ' (said he) * that 
my father was a Frenchman;* he brought this piece of painting 
over with him. I keep it as a piece of family furniture and as a 
memorial of his removal hither.' From his study he went into the 
garden, which contained a great variety of curious plants and shrubs ; 
some grew in a greenhouse, over the door of which were written 
these lines : 

* Slave to no sect, who takes no private road, 
But looks through Nature up to Nature's God.' " 

In the autumn season, when the labors of the farmer did not require 
his presence, Bartram travelled extensively through America, carrying 
his ambition for research into the wildest portions of the country. 
Among these journeys were visits to Lakes Ontario and Cayuga. He 
explored and examined the banks and sources of the rivers Delaware, 
Susquehanna, Alleghany, and Schuylkill. He travelled many thou- 

* This is a mistake. The reference was to an ancestor, a Norman Frenchman, who came 
with William the Conqueror into England. 



BAR TRAM'S HOUSE. 185 



sand miles in Virginia, Carolina, and East and West Florida, keeping 
up his journeys until after he was seventy years old. From these trips 
he brought home many rare and valuable plants, which enriched his . 
garden and were presented to his friends in Europe and this country. 
Among these friends were men of science and ability — Franklin, Logan, 
Governor Cadwalader Golden of New York, Sir Hans Sloane, Peter 
Gollinson of London, who knew almost every man of science in 
Europe and America. During his lifetime he published the first books 
of travels which were written by a native American. In 175 i he gave 
to the world his Observations Diade in Ids Travels from Pennsylvania 
to Onondaga, Osivego, and Lake Ontario. In 1766 he published the 
journal of his journey to St. Augustine and up the river St. John in 
Florida. He died September 22, i///. 

John Bartram married Mary, daughter of Richard Maris, at Chester 
Meeting in January, 1723. By this union he had two sons, Richard 
and Isaac. The former died young. Isaac died in 1 801, aged seventy- 
six years. Mrs. Mary Bartram died 1727. His second wife was Mary 
Ann Mendenhall, to whom he was married at Concord Monthly Meet- 
ing in September, 1729. By this marriage he had ten children — five 
sons and five daughters. William and Elizabeth, twins, were born Feb- 
ruary 9. 1739. 

John Bartram was succeeded at the garden and farm upon the 
Schuylkill by William Bartram, his son, who inherited all the tastes 
of the father and had accompanied him in many of his journeys. 
William was born at the plantation in Kingsessing. He was at 
the proper age put into a mercantile establishment in Philadelphia, 
where he was taught the theory and practice of trade. When he was 
twenty-two years old he went to North Carolina, where he established 
himself in business, and during that period accompanied his father on 
one of his trips to East Florida. Pleased with the climate and the 
country, he remained for some time on the river St. John, and returned 
in 1 77 1 to his father's house. Here he gave himself up more 
thoroughly to the study of botany, and in 1773, at the request of Dr. 
Fothergill of London, went to Charleston, from whence he proceeded 
through the Carolinas, Georgia, and the Floridas, gathering plants and 
noting the habits of beasts, birds, and insects, and acquiring a vast deal 
of information, the results of which were published in a book of trav- 
els printed in Philadelphia in 1791. He was elected professor of bot- 



i86 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 




any in the University of Pennsylvania in 1782, but did not occupy the 
chair. Four years afterward he was elected a member of the Ameri- 
can Philosophical Society, and subsequently became a member of sev- 
eral other learned bodies. In the latter part of his life he remained at 
the garden, where in 1823, after length of days far beyond the allotted 
threescore-and-tcn, he calmly passed away. 

Wansey, an English traveller who visited this 
country in 1794, speaks thus of William Bar- 
tram : " Monday, June 9th, went over the ferry 
of the Schuylkill to visit Mr. Bartram, the 
famous botanist, who gives us such suq^rising 
stories in his publication of his fierce battles 
with the alligators on the coast of Georgia, etc. 
while botanizing. He lives about nzjie miles 
from Philadelphia, retired from the bustle of life 
on an estate of his own on the banks of the 
Schuylkill. I saw his greenhouse and shrub- 
Trke PLANTED BY Bartram. i^^^,^, . j^^^.^^ j confess, I was much disappointed 

to find so little to look at. One of my companions joking the old 
gentleman about the alligators that his son had formerly fought with, 
he became so reserved that we could get but little conversation from 
him." * 

During the time that William Bartram lived near Gray's Ferry there 
came into the neighborhood a young Scotchman born in Paisley, 
where he learned the trade of a weaver. Having some literary taste, 
he wrote verses and published his poems in two volumes, which he 
peddled through Scotland, and wrote a poem in 1792 called Watty and 
Meg, which was considered so excellent that 100,000 copies were sold, 
and, as the name of the author was not made known, it was attributed 
to Robert Burns. Like many others, this Scotchman had some genius 
for satire, and he wrote political squibs and lampoons, which got him 
into trouble and compelled him to leave the country. The name of 
this man was Alexander Wilson. He came to the United States in 
1794, and landed at New Castle, Delaware, from which place he found 
his way to Philadelphia. His first resource was his trade, from which 

* Wansey seems to have been somewhat confused on this visit. The house is not more 
than a mile from the, south-west boundary of the city. The alligator-fighter to whom he 
alludes was not the son of "William, but William himself, to whom he was talking. 



BARTRAM'S HOUSE. 187 



occupation he changed to that of a peddler, and finally to that of a 
schoolmaster. In the latter vocation he taught a few pupils in the 
neighborhood of Gray's Ferry, where his schoolhouse still remains, 
and is used at the present time for the purpose of a blacksmith-shop. 
Being a neighbor of Bartram and a man of intelligence, Wilson soon 
became acquainted with the botanist, and was a frequent visitor. 
Indeed, it is said that the charms of a niece of Bartram's had consider- 
able attractions for the young Scotchman, who possibly might have 
hoped for a nearer relationship to his neighbor. If this was so, 
love's young dream was soon sacrificed to the demands of science. 
The conversations with Bartram fired his imagination, and at his 
suggestion, it is said, he resolved to study ornithology. He left the 
schoolhouse in 1804 for the woods, and during eight years worked 
with such diligence as to produce seven volumes of his splendid 
work on American Ornithology, the first of which was published 
in 1808. 

Dr. James Mease, writing in 18 10, said that Bartram's garden con- 
tained about eight acres. " From the house there is a gentle descent 
to the river Schuylkill, from the banks of which a fine prospect opens 
of that river and of rich meadows up and down on both sides. The 
Delaware is also seen at a distance. The garden contains many of the 
tall Southern forest trees, which have been successfully introduced by 
the father or his son William, and have been naturalized." 

The committee of the Horticultural Society which visited Bartram's 
garden in 1830, when it was under the direction of Robert Carr, found 
the estate to be in most excellent order. They said that *' the indige- 
nous plants of North America existed there in greater profusion than 
they could perhaps be found elsewhere." Colonel Carr conducted the 
establishment as a nursery and seed-garden, and is represented to have 
done a large business in raising and disposing of plants and seeds, 
having a considerable export to South America. There was a cypress 
upon the estate one hundred and twelve feet high, twenty-five feet in 
circumference, and ninety-one years old. It was near a Norway spruce 
of eighty feet, near which was a magnolia of the same height. The 
stock of rare exotics and plants, flowers, and fruits was very large, and 
the establishment was in fine order. 

Ann M., daughter of John Bartram (a nephew of William), married 
Robert Carr, a printer, in March, 1809. Mr. Carr was an officer in the 



1 88 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

United States army in the war of 1812, and conspicuous among the 
local miHtia. He was for some time adjutant-general of the State, 
with the title of colonel. After this marriage the father of Colonel 
Carr's wife assisted William in the garden until his death in 1812. 
" He was a very ingenious mechanic, and fond of using tools, but his 
greatest delight was in drawing and painting. He drew the greater 
number of plates in Professor Barton's Elements of Botany, published in 
1803. William died suddenly July 22, 1823. He was never married. 
Colonel Carr after his marriage became a resident of the botanic 
garden, and devoted himself with great care and interest to the pres- 
ervation of the collection. Upon the death of his wife, being lonely 
and without children, he concluded to abandon the property, and sold 
it to Andrew M. Eastwick, who resides there, and though he has built 
an elegant mansion adjoining, the old Bartram house is maintained 
with care and interest in the historical associations connected with it. 
Mr. Eastwick in early life was a machinist and became interested in 
the manufacture of locomotives as soon as the capabilities of that 
machine were known in America. He was partner in the firm of 
Garrett & Eastwick, which in 1835, being engaged in the manufacture 
of steam-engines and like machinery, received an order for the con- 
struction of a locomotive for the Beaver Meadow Railroad. They un- 
dertook the task, and Joseph Harrison, Jr., their foreman, who was then 
twenty-five years old, and had ten years' experience in the workshop 
as apprentice and journeyman, superintended the work. This engine 
was called the Samuel D. Ingham, and among its peculiarities was an 
ingenious mode of reversement invented by Mr. Eastwick, with some 
other improvements of great value in a class of machines then entirely 
new in America. Mr. Harrison soon became a partner. They built 
other engines, most of them with Eastwick's or Harrison's improve- 
ments on the old plans. One of the great achievements of this firm was 
the building of the freight-engine " Gowan & Marx," named after a Lon- 
don banking-firm. It performed the great feat for the times of drawing 
one hundred and four four-wheeled loaded cars from Reading at a little 
less rate than ten miles an hour. It was quite superior in powe 
to any other locomotive in the world. It made the fortune of Ea 
wick and Harrison. Colonels Melnikoff and Kraft had been sent oui 
by the emperor Nicholas of Russia to examine and report upon the 
various railroads and railroad machinery in the United States and 



BARTRAM'S HOUSE. 189 



Europe. The result of their examination was a report to the emperor 
that the " Gowan & Marx " came nearer the necessities of the Russian 
railroads than any other locomotive which they had seen. The result 
was a negotiation with Eastwick and Harrison, and with Thomas 
Winans of Baltimore, that they should go to Russia and undertake 
the construction of railroads and locomotives there. In 1844 the 
Philadelphia shops were closed. The parties went to Russia on 
a contract lasting till 1851, and subsequently to 1862. The part- 
ners returned to the United States well off in fortune, liberal 
in ideas, and with a love for Philadelphia which nearly twenty 
years of absence had not effaced. 



THE LOXLEY HOUSE. 




"^^^ N the east side of Second street, at the south corner of 
Little Dock, stood for a century, and until within a few years, 
a quaint low, old-fashioned, two-story house, which in style 
and appearance was exceptional and unlike any other build- 
ing, public or private, to be found in the city. When origi- 
nally erected it was a dwelling-house, the windows of the first story 
being upon the street, and the ceiling supporting the timbers of a gal- 
lery which rose from the second story toward the roof, and was en- 
closed by a plain railing. The main front of the second story stood 
back, so as to give considerable space in the gallery, which was partly 
defended from the weather by a peaked roof hanging over the gallery 
space and supported by large and ornamental consoles. The build- 
ing extended eastwardly, and was sufficiently deep to give accommoda- 
tions for a large family. In later years the rooms in the first story were 
devoted to business. There were two bulk windows, square in form, with 
small panes, and, in contrast with those of neighboring shops, terribly 
old-fashioned. The ground upon which this house was built was con- 
veyed by George Clymer to Benjamin Loxley, carpenter, on the 20th 
of April, 1759. From the price which was paid for it, the inference 
is reasonable that there was no house on the premises, and that the 
building called the Loxley House was erected afterward, probably in 
1759 or 1760. Loxley seems to have been enterprising and industri- 
ous, and was the owner of considerable other property in the neigh- 
borhood. As early as 1 75 1 he had bought two lots on the south side 
of Spruce street, between Front and Second, on the back part of which 



tan 



THE LOXLFY HOUSE. 



191 



he erected houses and cut through a court, afterward known as Lox- 
ley's Court. He bought a lot, north of that on which the Loxley 
House was built, in October, 1760. It extended along Dock alley, 
now known as Little Dock street, to Spruce, and along Spruce toward 
Front until it reached adjoining property purchased by Loxley some 
years before. These purchases made him the owner of the greater part 
of the square between Front and Second and Union and Spruce streets. 
The propeiiy it m.ay be presumed, was bought for speculation, Lox- 




The Loxley House. 



ley's residence since 1744 having been on Arch street between Third 
and Fourth. He owned several lots there, and opened a court toward 
Cherry street, which to this day is known as Loxley's Court. Accord- 
ing to the statement of Watson the annalist, Samuel Coates, as well as 
Benjamin Loxley, Sr., stated that George Whitefield, the celebrated 
itinerant preacher, had preached from the balcony of the Loxley House 
on several occasions, to the edification of an immense audience, which 
stood opposite and wherever they could obtain a place for hearing. 
Watson^ says in his Annals that immediately opposite this house was 



192 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

a spring which was called Bathsheba's Bath and Bower — a title 
rather curiously accounted for by a statement that the person who 
fitted up the spring for use was named Bathsheba Bowers. She built 
a small house near the spring, furnished it with table and cups, and, 
it is said by the chronicler, threw in the additional attraction of a 
library of books, so that the place might be a favorite resort for every 
one that thirsted, whether the thirst was physical or mental. As the 
Loxley House could not have been built before 1760, Whitefield's min- 
istrations there must have taken place either on his sixth or seventh 
visit to America. The former occupied the time between 1763 and 
1765 ; the latter, which commenced in September, 1769, was closed by 
the death of the industrious itinerant at Newburyport, Mass., on the 
30th of September, 1770. 

The Loxley House is associated in tradition with a story of Lydia 
Darrach (or Darragh) which first made its appearance in the American 
Quarterly Review of 1827 (vol. i. p. 32), published in Philadelphia. 
That periodical attributes it to Garden's Anecdotes of the Ameidcan 
Revohition, but it is not to be found in that publication in the first 
series. It appears in the second series, which was published in the 
latter part of 1828, nearly two years after the publication in the Review. 
The main portion of the story is as follows : " When the British army 
had possession of Philadelphia, General Howe's head-quarters were in 
Second street, the fourth door below Spruce, in a house which was 
before occupied by General Cadwalader. Directly opposite resided 
William and Lydia Darrach, members of the Society of Friends. A 
superior officer of the British army — believed to be the adjutant-gen- 
eral — fixed upon one of their back chambers for private conference, 
and two of the officers frequently met there with fire and candles in 
close consultation. About the 2d of December the adjutant-general 
told Lydia that they would be in the room at seven o'clock, and would 
remain late, and that they wished the family to retire early to bed ; 
adding that when they were going away they would call her to let 
them out and extinguish their fire and candles. She accordingly sent 
all the family to bed, but, as the officer had been so particular, her 
curiosity was excited. She took off her shoes, put her ear to the key- 
hole of the conclave, and overheard an order read for all the British 
troops to march out late on the evening of the 4th and attack General 
Washington's army, then encamped at Whitemarsh. On hearing this 



THE LOXLEY HOUSE. 



193 



she went to her chamber and lay down ; soon after the officer knocked 
at the door, but she rose only at the third summons, having feigned 
herself asleep. Her mind was so much agitated that she could neither 
eat nor sleep, supposing it to be in her power to save the lives of 
thousands of her fellow-countrymen, but not knowing how she was to 
convey the information to General Washington, not daring to confide 
it to her husband. The time left, however, was short. She quickly 
determined to make her way as soon as possible to the American out- 
posts. She informed her family that, as she was in want of flour, 
she would go to Frankford for some. Her husband insisted that she 
should take her servant-maid with her, but, to his surprise, she positive- 
ly refused. She got access to General Howe, and solicited what he 
readily granted, a pass through the British troops on the lines. Leav- 
ing her bag at the mill, she hastened through the lines, and encoun- 
tered on her way an American lieutenant-colonel (Craig of the Light 
Horse), who with some of his men was on the lookout for information. 
He knew her, and inquired where she was going. She answered in 
quest of her son, an officer in the American army, and prayed the 
colonel to alight and walk with her. He did so, ordering his troops 
to keep in sight. To him she disclosed her secret, after having ob- 
tained from him a solemn promise never to betray her individuality, as 
her life might be at stake. He conducted her to a house near at hand, 
directed something for her to eat, and hastened to head-quarters, where 
he acquainted General Washington with what he had heard. Wash- 
ington made of course all preparation for baffling the meditated sur- 
prise. Lydia returned home with her flour, sat up alone to watch the 
movements of the British troops, and heard their footsteps ; but when 
they returned in a few days after she dared not ask a question, although 
solicitous to learn the event. The next evening the adjutant-general 
came in and requested her to walk up to his room, as he wished to put 
some questions ; and when he locked the door and begged her with 
an air of mystery to be seated, she was sure that she was either sus- 
pected or betrayed. He inquired earnestly whether any of her family 
were up on the last night when he and the other officer met. She told 
him they all retired at eight o'clock. He observed : ' I know you 
were asleep, for I knocked three times at your chamber-door before 
you heard me. I am entirely at a loss to imagine who gave General 
Washington information of our intended attack, unless the walls of 

13 



194 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

the house could speak. When we arrived near Whitemarsh we found 
all their cannon mounted and the troops prepared to receive us ; and 
we have marched back like a parcel of fools,' " 

In comment upon this statement it is necessary to say that the 
British troops marched out of Philadelphia on the evening of the 3d of 
December, 1777, and not on the 4th, as the writer assumes — a matter 
of considerable importance in the consideration of such a question as 
this. If Lydia Darrach heard the conversation on the evening of the 
2d, she must have gone out to Frankford on the 3d, and with the diffi- 
culties in travelling and in getting through the lines, she could hardly 
have got back before the evening. As the British troops were already 
drawn up, and as they mostly occupied the northern portions of the 
city, she could not have watched their movements or heard their foot- 
steps from her home at Second and Spruce streets without having 
possessed extraordinary powers of seeing and hearing. It may be 
further said that although Howe's head-quarters, when he first came 
to the city, in September, 1777, were at the residence of General John 
Cadwalader in Second below Spruce street, and opposite the Loxley 
House, his removal to Richard Penn's house in Market street could 
not have been very long delayed, as it was not occupied on his arrival, 
and it may be supposed that Howe got into it as soon as possible. 
General Knyphausen, the Hessian, succeeded Howe in Cadwalader's 
house. If it were entirely true that the adjutant-general of the British 
army resorted to the awkward expedient of engaging an apartment in 
a house of which he was not a tenant for the purpose of holding a 
private and important conference, and even if it were admitted that the 
entire story of Lydia Darrach's conveying the information outside of 
the British lines were true, the news which she brought was stale. 
Intelligence of the intended movement was known at Washington's 
camp three or four days before. General Armstrong on the 29th of 
November wrote from the camp at Whitemarsh to President Whar- 
ton : " Every intelligence agrees that General Howe now, no doubt 
with his whole force, is immediately to take the field in quest 
of this army — a movement this so suddenly expected that yesterday, 
by the advice of the general (Washington), I ordered General Potter, 
with the better part of his brigade, to join us." Potter was then on 
the west side of the Schuylkill watching the British lines, and the 
calling in of his troops as early as the 28th of November shows that 



THE LOXLEY HOUSE. 



195 



Washington had knowledge of the intended movement on that day, 
if not before. Colonel Johm Clark, Jr., who was on spy-service in the 
neighborhood, wrote to Washington December i : " On Friday evening 
(November 30) orders were given to the troops to hold themselves in 

readiness to march They either mean to surprise your army or 

to prevent your making an attack on them." On the 3d of December 
he wrote : " The enemy are in motion ; have a number of flat-bottomed 
boats and carriages and scantling, and are busy pressing horses and 
wagons." Subsequently, on the same day, he wrote : " This morning 
a sergeant — a countryman of my spy's — assured him that the troops 
had received orders to hold themselves in readiness when called for, 
and to diaw two days' provisions. Biscuit was served out to them 
when he came away, and it was the current language in the city, among 
the troops and the citizens, that they were going to make a move." 

These references are sufficient to throw great doubt over the whole 
story of Lydia Darrach as told by the writer in the American 
Quarterly. On the day when, according to this author, she was going 
out to the lines to give information of her terrible secret, the Ameri- 
cans were ready and expecting the attack. The British army marched 
out of the city on the evening of the 3d. At Three-Mile Run the 
van was met by Colonel Allen McLane with one hundred men, sent 
out to skirmish and impede the march. He had been detached for 
that duty on the 2d of December, on the evening of which day Mrs. 
Darrach is said to have first learned the secret. The royal forces did 
not reach Chestnut Hill until about eight o'clock of the 4th of Decem- 
ber, when they halted. 

There is extant an odd caricature engraving issued by Dawkins after 
the expected attack of the Paxton Boys in 1764, which represents the 
preparations made in front of the court-house at Second and High 
streets to receive those terrible fellows, in which Captain Benjamin 
Loxley figures, together with his cannoneers and his artillery, which 
were put in order to properly receive the invaders. Graydon describes 
the scene : " Here stood the artillery under the command of Captain 
Loxley, a very honest though little, dingy-looking man, with regimen- 
tals considerably warworn or tarnished — a very salamander or fire- 
drake in the public estimation, whose vital air was deemed the fume 
of sulphurous explosion, and who, by whatever means he had acquired 
his science, was always put forward when great guns were in question. 



196 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

Here it was that the grand stand was to be made against the approach- 
ing invaders, who, if rumor might be credited, had now extended their 
murderous purposes beyond the savages to their patrons and abettors. 
.... As the defensive army was without eyes, it had of course no 
better information than such as common bruit could supply, and hence 
many untoward consequences ensued : one was the near extinction of 
a troop of mounted butchers, who, scampering down Market street 
with the best intentions in the world, very narrowly escaped a greeting 
from the rude throats of Captain Loxley's artillery. The word Fire ! 
was already quivering on his lips, but Pallas came in shape of some- 
thing and suppressed it. Another emanation from this unmilitary 
defect of vision was the curious order that every householder in Market 
street should affix one or more candles at his door before daylight on 
the morning of the day on which — from some sufficient reason, no 
doubt — it had been elicited that the enemy would full surely make his 
attack, and by no other than this identical route, on the citadel. 
Whether this illumination was intended merely to prevent surprise, or 
whether it was that the commander who enjoined it was determined 
like Ajax, that if perish he must, he would perish in the face of day, 
I do not know ; but certain it is that such a decree went forth and was 
religiously complied with." John Stockton Littell, in his annotations 
upon Graydon, speaking of Captain Loxley, said : " This doughty 
gentleman was a lieutenant under Braddock in 1756, and was 
certainly a man of considerable influence and repute, notwithstanding 
the humorous d-^scriptions of the text." 

Soon after Braddock's troops retreated to Philadelphia after their 
defeat by the Indians in 1755. a militia law was passed in Pennsylvania 
which authorized the formation of companies of militia in the wards 
and townships, and also of the organization of all citizens willing to 
associate for defence. The officers of the old Association of 1749 
were rather opposed to this arrangement, which superseded them to 
a certain extent, but Lieutenant-Governor Robert Hunter Morris 
granted commissions to the independent companies. Benjamin Loxley 
was commissioned first lieutenant of the independent artillery company, 
of which George North was captain. In due time he succeeded 
Captain North in command, and was in his legitimate position at the 
time of the expected invasion of the Paxton Boys. When the Revolu- 
tion broke out, Captain Benjamin Loxley was found arrayed on the 



THE LOXLEY HOUSE. 



197 



right side. He was in service as early as July, 1775, as the minutes of 
the Committee of Safety show. He made proposals in July, 1776, to 
cast brass mortars, howitzers, etc. for the use of the Province, agree- 
ing to superintend the operation if he were furnished metal, etc. The 
committee used Morgan Bustead's air-furnace for the purpose. In July, 
1776, he was in command of the first company of artillery of Phila- 
delphia in the regiment commanded by Colonel Samuel Mifflin, and on 
the 2 1st of July he marched that company, by order of Congress and 
his colonel, to Amboy. a diary of which campaign in his own handwrit- 
ing was republished in the collections of the Pennsylvania Historical 
Society (ist volume). The company had two twelve-pounders, and 
was well supplied with ammunition, utensils, stores, and wagons. It 
consisted of fifty-nine men, officers and privates. They reached 
Amboy after an eight days' march, being joined by another company 
of the same regiment and finding another in camp. The troops were 
in sight of the Britisli ships of war at Staten Island. The campaign 
was uneventful, but Captain Loxley's memorandums of his proceed- 
ings show that he was faithful to his duty; and when he returned he 
was honorably discharged from the necessity of immediate service. In 
fact, the Council of Safety five days after he left the city found the 
necessity of his presence so great, in order to promote the casting of 
cannon, that they sent a letter to General Roberdeau, who commanded 
the Pennsylvania troops at Amboy, to return Captain Loxley to the 
cannon-factor>% " as he would be likely to serve his country more 
effectively in that station than in any other." A boring-mill was added 
to the cannon-factory, and in August, 1776, the Council of Safety 
ordered the payment of ;^ioo toward that purpose to Major Benjamin 
Loxley, showing that he had won promotion. 

In civil affairs Captain Benjamin Loxley was equally busy from the 
commencement of the troubles with Great Britain. He was elected a 
member of the Committee for the city, Northern Liberties, and South- 
wark, which was chosen at the State-House Nov. 14, 1774. He was re- 
elected Aug. 16, 1775, and was a delegate to the conference of the 
Committees of Safety which met at Carpenters' Hall June 18, 1776. 

Captain Loxley is credited by Watson with the management of the 
fireworks which were given at Windmill Island, opposite the city, in 
honor of the capture of Louisburg by the British troops, on the 5th 
of September, 1758. This exhibition was very elaborate, representing 



1^8 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

fortifications with towers, citadel, castle, storming a city, springing a 
mine, a grand explosion, with the striking of the French flag and the 
hoisting of the British, together with cannon, rockets, and other noisy 
and showy accompaniments. It was the first exhibition of that kind 
ever seen in Philadelphia, and as the occasion was patriotic, immense 
numbers of persons came from all parts of the surrounding country to 
see it. 

Loxley removed to his house in Arch street, between Third and 
Fourth, on the corner of what was long known as Loxley's Court. 
Abraham Loxley, probably a son of Benjamin, was with him in the 
campaign at Amboy. Benjamin Loxley, Jr., was living in Spruce 
street in 1801, and the widow Loxley in the Arch street house. Ben- 
jamin, Jr., was brought before the Supreme Executive Council in 1779, 
charged, in connection with Robert French and Cornelius Hillman, 
" with endeavoring to entice away the seamen from this port, and in- 
duce them into service in the neighboring States while an embargo is 
in force to enable the Council to man the State-ship General Greene." 
This vessel was fitted up as a ship of war for the protection of the 
commerce of the State. There was difficulty in procuring seamen to 
man the ship, in consequence of masters of outward-bound vessels 
having induced the sailors of the Greene to serve with them. The 
embargo of April 30 prohibited the clearance of any vessel outward 
bound for fifteen days. Loxley urged in defence that he had been 
in search of sailors who had been on board of a vessel in which he was 
interested. His excuse seems to have been sufficient, but French was 
ordered to give security in iJ"iooo that he would not directly or indi- 
rectly entice any seaman from the State until after the General Greene 
had sailed. To fit out this vessel the citizens of Philadelphia subscribed 
i^20,ooo currency ; ^^40,000 were subscribed by the State. The ship 
sailed about the 1st of June with a crew of one hundred and twelve 
men, under command of Captain James Montgomery. The cruise 
lasted four months, during which the Greene captured the British pri- 
vateers Bayard, Impertinent, and another, all having been fitted out in 
New York, besides some mercantile vessels and their cargoes. 

The Greene participated in the operations in April, 1782, during 
which the Hyder Ally, Captain John Barry, captured the British ship 
of war General Monk, mounting eighteen nine-pounders and carrying 
one hundred and twenty-six men, under command of Captain Rogers 



THE L OXL EY HO USE. 1 99 



of the royal navy, which carried nearly twice as much metal as the 
Hyder Ally, and had a crew one-fourth larger. Freneau celebrated the 
victory in a long ballad, of which the following is a specimen : 

" Captain Barney, then preparing. 

Thus address'd his gallant crew : 
« Now, brave lads, be bold and daring, 
Let your hearts be firm and true ; 
This is a proud English cnaiser. 

Roving up and down the main; 
We must fight her — must reduce her. 
Though our decks be strewn with slain. 

" * Let who will be the survivor, 

We must conquer or must die ; 
We must take her up the river, 

Whate'er comes of you or I ; 
Though she shows most formidable, 

With her eighteen pointed nines. 
And her quarters clad in sable. 

Let us balk her proud designs, 

*' ' With four nine-pounders and twelve sixes 

We will face that daring band ; 
Let no dangers damp your courage; 

Nothing can the brave withstand. 
Fighting for your country's honor. 

Now to gallant deeds aspire ; 
Helmsman, bear us down upon her; 

Gunner, give the word to fire.' 

" Then, yard-arm and yard-arm meeting, 

Straight began the dismal fra.*- 
Cannon-mouths, each other greeting, 

Belch'd their smoky flames away. 
Soon the langrage, grape, and chain-shot 

That from Barney's cannons flew 
Swept the Monk, and cleared each round-top, 

Killed and wounded half her crew." 

Benjamin Loxley, Jr., is put down in the early directories as a 
" mariner," but withdrew from active business in the latter portion of 
his life, when he is designated as a " gentleman." One of his daughters 
married Rev. Mr. Rhees, a Baptist minister; another became in due 
time Mrs. Jones. Mary, the widow of Benjamin Loxley, Jr., died July 
23, 1828, aged seventy-six years. 



CARPENTERS' HALL. 




HY the first Continental Congress of 1774 should have 
met in Carpenters' Hall, instead of the State-PIouse, 
has seemed a mystery to some local antiquaries. The 
Assembly of Pennsylvania had formally approved of the 
general conference of representatives of the Colonies. 
Resolutions drafted by John Dickinson assenting to the plan had 
been adopted, and the House elected in July, 1774, Joseph Gallo- 
way, its Speaker, Samuel Rhoads, Thomas Mifflin, Charles Humphreys, 
George Ross, and Edward Biddle as deputies to the Congress from 
Pennsylvania. Perhaps it was feared that the session of the Congress 
would interfere with the meeting of the Assembly, that body having 
adjourned on the 23d of July to meet on the 19th of September, at 
which time it may have been supposed that the Congress would 
scarcely have got through its deliberations. At all events, on the 5th 
of September, 1774, the delegates from eleven Provinces met in the 
City Tavern, Second above Walnut street, at ten o'clock in the morn- 
ing, in order to inspect the advantages of Carpenters' Hall, the use of 
which had been tendered to them by the Carpenters' Company. 
John Adams was very much pleased with the accommodation, and 
tells the story of the acceptance of the hall as a place of meeting in 
the following words : " They took a view of the room and of the cham- 
ber, where there is an excellent library. There is also a long entry, 
where gentlemen may walk, and also a convenient chamber oppo- 
site the library. The general cry was that this was a good room, 
and the question was put whether we were satisfied with this room ? 
and it passed in the affirmative. A very few were for the negative, 
and they were chiefly from Pennsylvania and New York." 



CARPENTERS' HALL. 



20 1 



The gentlemen who formed this conference were not men who 
enjoyed a national reputation. They nearly all were strangers to each 
other, and until they met many of them had never even heard the 
names of their colleagues. John Adams and Samuel Adams, being 
early identified with opposition to Great Britain, were known by name 
all over the country. George Washington of Virginia had some 
reputation by his service as an officer of provincial recruits during the 
military operations against the French and Indians which resulted in 
Braddock's defeat in 1755. Patrick Henry was already known to be 
an orator from his memorable opposition to the Stamp Act, eloquently 




Carpenters' Hall in 1774. 

manifested in his speech in the House of Burgesses in May, 1765, 
when his bold words approached so near to expressions of treason that 
the friends of government were shocked and astounded. There were 
others more or less known as men of some influence in their own 
colonies, but what their qualities were in council upon matters which 
concerned not merely the separate colonial interests, but the good of 
the entire continent, were yet to be tested. Peyton Randolph was 
elected president, and Charles Thomson of Pennsylvania, who was not 
a member of the Congress, was requested to act as secretary. On the 
second day it was resolved that the proceedings should be opened 



202 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

with prayer, and on motion of Samuel Adams the Rev. Jacob Duche 
of Christ Church and St. Peter's was invited to read prayers on the 
next day. Mr. Duche therefore attended on the 7th in vestments, and 
read several prayers in the Established form and the collect for the 7th 
day of September, which was the 35th Psalm. A rumor that Boston 
had been cannonaded and destroyed by the British fleet, untrue in 
point of fact, had been in circulation, and the Psalm seemed to be so 
appropriate to the circumstances that the reading of it startled that 
grave assembly. John Adams said : " I never saw a greater effect 
upon an audience. It seemed as if Heaven had ordained that Psalm 

to be read on that morning I must beg you to read that Psalm. 

If there was any faith in the sortcs VwgilliancB or sortcs Honiericce, or 

especially the soi'tes Biblicce, it would be thought providential 

After this Mr. Duche, unexpectedly to everybody, struck out into an 
extemporary prayer, which filled the bosom of every man present. I 
must confess I never heard a better prayer or one so well pronounced." 
The following is a copy of this prayer: " O Lord, our heavenly Father, 
high and mighty King of kings and Lord of lords ! who dost from Thy 
throne behold all the dwellers on earth, and reignest with power 
supreme and uncontrolled over all nations, empires, and governments, 
look down in mercy, we beseech Thee, on these American States, who 
have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor, and have thrown 
themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth de- 
pendent only on Thee. To Thee they have appealed for the righteous- 
ness of their cause; to Thee do they now look up for that countenance 
and support which Thou alone canst give. Take them, therefore, heav- 
enly Father, under Thy nurturing care ; give them wisdom in council 
and valor in the field; defeat the malicious designs of our cruel adversa- 
ries; convince them of the unrighteousness of their cause; and if they 
still persist in their sanguinary purposes, oh let the voice of Thine own 
unerring justice, sounding in their hearts, constrain them to drop the 
weapons of war from their unnerved hands in the day of battle. Be 
Thou present, O God of wisdom ! and direct the councils of this 
honorable assembly ; enable them to settle things on the best and 
surest foundation, that the scene of blood may be speedily closed, that 
order, harmony, and peace may be effectually restored, and truth and 
justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst Thy people. 
Preserve the health of their bodies and the vigor of their minds; 



CARPENTERS' HALL. 203 



shower down on them and the millions they here represent such tem- 
poral blessings as Thou seest expedient for them in this world, and 
crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we 
ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ Thy Son, our 
Saviour. Amen." 

The proceedings of this assemblage were cautious and slow. The 
members did not hurry through with their business, as if their only 
object was to get done in the shortest possible time and return to their 
homes. The opening debates and discussions showed considerable 
diversity of opinion, which required time to reconcile. Reflection only 
could do this. After six weeks' deliberation the conference embodied 
its opinions of the measures necessary in the emergency by the adoption 
of a series of recommendations, fourteen in number, to the American 
people, as proper to be followed until such time as the British govern- 
ment would do justice to the Colonies. The measures recommended 
did not rise to the dignity of resistance ; they were those of abstention 
and self-restriction. British goods, it was determined, ought not to be 
imported into the Colonies. The teas of East India, the wines of Ma- 
deira, and the coffee, pepper, molasses, and syrups of the Western Isl- 
ands were not to be imported or used in America. It must have been 
in the earnest spirit of freedom that these delegates, all of whom rep- 
resented colonies and provinces in which slavery prevailed, declared 
that the slave-trade with America should be wholly discontinued, and 
that Americans should not hire their vessels nor sell their commodities 
or manufactures to those who were concerned in it. The increase and 
improvement of the breed of sheep were recommended to be made 
more effectual by resolution to kill those animals " as seldom as may 
be," and that the export of sheep to the West Indies or elsewhere 
should entirely cease. These were the principal resolutions recom- 
mended for adoption by the Colonies. Several of the suggestions con- 
cerned the method of carrying out the agreement. But there was 
coupled with them in the last clause a general resolution that the non- 
importation agreement should be adhered to until the acts of Parlia- 
ment imposing duties on imported articles should be repealed, and 
until several other acts passed in the same spirit, including the Boston 
Port Bill and the act for altering the charter and government of the 
Colony of Massachusetts Bay, should also be repealed. Before the 
Congress finally adjourned the members were entertained, besides the 



204 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



banquet at the State-House already alluded to, by the Assembly of 
Pennsylvania at the City Tavern, John Adams, who was present at 
this dinner, says : *' A sentiment was given : * May the sword of the 
parent never be stained with the blood of her children !' Two or three 
broadbrims were over against me at table. One of them said : * This 
is not a toast, but a prayer; come, let us join in it;' and they took 
their glasses accordingly." 




Carpenters' Hall. — Present Appearance. 

The Carpenters' Company, for whose use this hall was erected, was 
established in 1724. In 1752 another Carpenters' Company united 
with it. The object of the association was the improvement of the 



CARPENTERS' HALL. 205 



members in the trade, '* to obtain instruction in the science of archi- 
tecture, and to assist such of the members as should be in need of 
support, and of the widows and minor children of such members." 
It was composed of master carpenters only, and for nearly forty years 
its meetings were held at such places as the members appointed, most 
probably at public-houses. In the year 1763 the erection of a hall 
was mooted, and a committee was appointed to select a site. Five 
years afterward, in 1768, a lot of ground was purchased on the south 
side of Chestnut street between Third and Fourth, which was sixty- 
six feet in front by two hundred and fifty-five feet in depth, and taken 
up on an annual ground-rent of one hundred and seventy-six milled 
pieces of eight, fine silver. Subsequently, the company sold the east- 
ern portion of the ground on Chestnut street, leaving an entrance 
leading to- the back part of the lot, where it was proposed to erect the 
hall. The fund was raised by loan. The building was commenced 
January 5, 1770, and was first occupied January 21, 1771, although in 
an unfinished condition. Indeed, it was not until 1792 that the hall 
was completed according to the original plan, although it had been oc- 
cupied for more than twenty years. One of the first tenants of the 
building was the Philadelphia Library Company, which came in 1773 
from its restricted quarters in the State-House and occupied the upper 
story of the hall for seventeen years. 

During the time of the patriotic work of the Revolutionary period 
Carpenters' Hall was the scene of several important conferences which 
did much toward the great result. The Continental Congress, indeed, 
had been preceded in the use of the hall by the Conference of the Com- 
mittees of Correspondence of the Province of Pennsylvania, the earliest 
Revolutionary body which assembled in the Colony in representation 
of the spirit of the people. Up to the time of the publication of 
the Boston Port Bill no measure of organization for purposes of 
resistance had taken place, except in connection with the Stamp 
Act, by refusal to use the stamps and the adoption of non-import- 
ation agreements. In May, 1774, Paul Revere of Boston arrived in 
Philadelphia, bearing the circular of the citizens of that town request- 
ing the advice of the citizens of Philadelphia upon the occasion. The 
result was that a meeting was called, somewhat informally, at the City 
Tavern, in Second street above Walnut, where the matter was debated 
between John Dickinson, Joseph Reed, Thomas Mifflin, and Charles 



2o6 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



Thomson, representing various interests and views. There were about 
three hundred persons present, and the consequence was the appointment 
of a committee, of which John Dickinson was chairman, to answer the 
circular from Boston by expressions of sympathy, A letter was 
adopted by this committee directed to the committee of the city of Bos- 
ton, in which it was said : " It is not the value of the tax, but the inde- 
feasible riglit of giving and granting onr oivn money (a right from 
WHICH WE CAN NEVER RECEDE), that is now the matter in consideration." 
Under the authority of this committee meetings were held by the mer- 
chants and mechanics of this city, and a general meeting was appoint- 
ed at the State-House on the i8th of June, at which Thomas Willing 
and John Dickinson presided, and Rev. William Smith made an address. 
This assemblage adopted resolutions denouncing the Boston Port Bill and 
declaring it expedient to call a Continental Congress. A committee of 
forty-three members on correspondence was appointed to ascertain the 
sense of the people of the Province on appointing deputies. By the 
request of the committee a Conference of Committees from all parts 
of the Province was held at Carpenters' Hall July 15, Thomas Will- 
ing chairman and Charles Thomson secretary. This conference, 
which embodied the sentiment of the patriotic people of Pennsylvania, 
did not hesitate to pass the necessary resolutions. The rights of the 
Colonies were asserted ; the unconstitutional and arbitrary conduct of 
Parliament was condemned ; and it was recommended that a conven- 
tion of the Colonies should be called, and that delegates should be 
appointed to the proposed Congress. In this manner originated the 
Continental Congress which met in the same hall in September. 

On the 23d of January, 1775, a second provincial convention was 
held in Carpenters' Hall to enforce the measures recommended by the 
Congress of 1774, and to devise means for supplying the wants which 
adherence to those measures would necessitate and create. Joseph 
Reed was president of this conference, and Jonathan B. Smith, John 
Benezet, and Francis Johnston secretaries. The resolutions were gene- 
rally in approbation and enforcement of the measures proposed by the 
Continental Congress. The preservation of sheep was recommended 
to the people of America for the sake of the wool-crop. The estab- 
lishment of manufactures in wool, iron, copper, tin, paper, glass, flax, 
hemp, and the making of salt, saltpetre, and gunpowder, were advo- 
cated. The manufacture of the latter article especially, in large quan- 



CARPENTERS' HALL. 20y 

titles, was advised, " inasiimcJi as there existed a great necessity for it, 
especially in the Indian traded Under authority of this convention, 
which did its work in five days, the county committees of correspond- 
ence and for other purposes were invested with considerable powers. 
The Committee on American manufactures subsequently occupied the 
hall during the year 1775 and afterward. 

The Continental government occupied the cellar of the building and 
part of the first story as a storehouse and office in connection with the 
army supplies. When the British army took possession of the city in i j'j'j 
the hall was used by the royal troops for the same purposes. During 
this time the room of the Philadelphia Library Company Avas occupied 
by sick soldiery for hospital purposes. In 1779, General Henry Knox, 
as commissary-general of the Continental army, occupied the first floor 
and cellar. In 179 1 the first Bank of the United States had possession 
of the entire hall for the purposes of the institution, and held it until 
1797, the Carpenters' Company having vacated the premises and hold- 
ing their meetings elsewhere. During the whole of that time Thomas 
Willing was president of the bank, and George Simpson cashier. The 
Land-Office of Pennsylvania, John Hall secretary, was held there 
in 1797-98. Tench Coxe, Purveyor of Supplies, had his office in 
the building in 1797-98. 

The Bank of Pennsylvania succeeded in occupation of the premises 
in 1798, and its business was transacted here until the new building for 
the bank, a very chaste and elegant edifice in Ionic style in Second 
street above Walnut, was completed. This institution, incorporated in 
1792, had transacted its business until the removal to Carpenters' Hall 
in the Masonic Lodp;e buildinsf in Lod<:{e allev. 

On the evening of the ist of September, 1798, the Bank of Pennsyl- 
vania was robbed of ;^i62, 821.61. It was during the time of the 
yellow fever that this loss occurred, and the officers of the institution 
were unable to find a clew to the detection of the perpetrator. As a 
consequence, they gave way to surmise and to suspicion, which was 
entertained without investigation or reflection. There was at this time 
a locksmith in Philadelphia named Patrick Lyon, a native of London, 
who was distinguished for his skill in his profession. He had been 
employed in May, 1797, sixteen months before the robbery, to make 
two doors for a vault in the bank. In August, 1798, the yellow fever 
then being malignant, he was again employed to mend the locks upon 



2o8 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

two inner doors of the bank vault, which he had when first employed 
pronounced insufficient, and recommended something better to be 
adopted. Out of economy, perhaps, this advice was not followed, and 
whilst mending them the last time Lyon again spoke of their insuffi- 
ciency. A week afterward he left the city with an apprentice-boy, and 
went to Lewes, Delaware, to escape the epidemic, the ravages of which 
were becoming so fearful that no prudent man who was not obliged by 
duty to continue in the town ought to have remained. Whilst he was 
absent the boy sickened and died of the yellow fever, the seeds of 
which he had brought with him. Lyon nursed him, and after his death 
superintended the burial. On the very night the bank was robbed the 
the locksmith was nursing the sick boy. About the middle of 
September, Lyon, at Lewes, heard of the robbery of the bank, and 
that he was suspected of being concerned in it. Astonished at such 
an infamous accusation, he determined to return to the city and meet 
his accusers. Not finding means of transportation from Wilmington, 
intercourse with the plague-stricken city being prohibited, Lyon 
walked up to Philadelphia, and reached the house of John Clement 
Stocker, who was one of the directors of the bank, and told him that 
he came to the city to meet the accusation, and that he would be at 
Stocker's house the next day. Faithful to his word, he made his 
appearance at the appointed time, and there found Messrs. Fox and 
Smith, the president and cashier, and Robert Wliarton, at that time 
mayor of the city, who seemed to have come as a sort of friend or 
counsellor. Before these gentlemen Mr. Lyon gave a full and minute 
account of where he had been and what he had done while absent from 
the city. The evidence of his words and manner ought to have been 
sufficient to have induced them at least to doubt ; but, on the con- 
trary, it convinced them that he was guilty. Mr. Wharton said in his 
evidence, " Mr. Lyon gave a history where he had been, but he told 
such a straight and well-connected story that I was sure he was guilty." 
If he had given a rambling, incoherent account of his actions, no doubt 
Mr. Wharton and the bank-officers would have taken that to have been 
a proof of guilt ; so that, whether Lyon told false or true, appearances 
would have been construed to be against him. Mr. Stocker was a 
magistrate, and he made out a warrant of commitment against the 
locksmith He was taken to the Walnut Street Prison in default of 
1^150,000 bail, which was demanded ere he could be released. Lyon 



CARPENTERS' HALL. 



209 



had friends, but they were mostly poor men, and the amount of 
security was at that time considered enormous. The fact that it was 
so great deterred those who might have helped from assisting him. 
fie remained in the jail for thirteen weeks, without bed to sleep upon 




Pat Lyon, from a painting by John Neagle. 

and exposed to risk from the yellow fever, which was raging among 
the prisoners. After he had been confined for about two months 
nearly the whole of the money stolen from the bank was obtained 
from one Isaac Davis, a carpenter, who had been associated with 
Thomas Cunningham, the porter of the bank, in the robbery. Cun- 
u . 



210 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

ningham had but short time to enjoy the plunder. The day after the 
robbery he divided the money with Davis. At a later period he was 
taken sick with the yellow fever, and died in the course of a week. 
Davis, on being arrested, was made to disgorge, and the bank-officers 
received from him ;$ 15 8,779.5 3 in gold and bank-notes, with an assign- 
ment of some property worth about ;^8oo. Upon this discovery being 
made, the officers of the bank, it would have been supposed, would 
have been eager to release Lyon ; but instead of doing so, they con- 
tinued his imprisonment, on the pretext that he might have been an 
accomplice. Davis was not prosecuted, but was suffered to escape. 
Finally, after remaining in prison three weeks after he should have 
been discharged, Lyon managed to have his bail reduced from 
;^ 1 50,000, to ;^2000, upon entiy of which he was discharged. Never- 
theless, an indictment was pressed against him, which the grand 
jury ignored in January, 1799. Lyon then brought suit against Fox, 
Stocker, and Haines (the high constable who arrested him) for false 
imprisonment. It was not till near the end of 1805 that the case was 
brought to trial — an instance of the law's delay which added to the 
injuries which the locksmith suffered. The jury which tried it gave 
a verdict of ^12,000 against defendants. Motion for a new trial was 
made, and it was granted in the succeeding year by Justices Tilghman 
and Smith, neither of whom had sat upon the trial, against the opinion 
of Judge Brackenridge, who tried it. The new trial would have taken 
place in the spring of 1807, but before that time there was a compro- 
mise, and Lyon received ;^9000 — certainly not a very liberal solace 
for his wrongs and sufferings. 

To the Bank of Pennsylvania in this building succeeded the United 
States government, which occupied it for a custom-house for more 
than fourteen years. During that period three Revolutionary patriots 
— General John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, General John Shee of 
Shee's Legion, and General John Steel — were Collectors of the port. 
The Surveyors of Customs were William Bache and James Glentworth. 
The Naval Officers were General William Macpherson of the Revo- 
lutionary army, afterward commander of Macpherson's Blues, and 
Samuel Clarke. John Smith was United States Marshal during the 
whole period, and until January, 18 19, when he disproved the maxim 
derived from Jefferson's sentiment, " Few die and none resign," by 
calmly relinquishing the office. The second Bank of the United 



CARPENTERS' HALL. 2II 



States, William Jones president and Jonathan Smith cashier, occu- 
pied the hall for nearly five years. Subsequently, the building passed 
to uses less conspicuous. The Musical Fund Society tenanted the 
first story for nearly four years. The Apprentices' Library Com- 
pany loaned books freely from its apartment in the second 
story for seven years and a half The Franklin Institute occu- 
pied the premises for sixteen months, and there were private lessees, 
prominent among whom was a well-known pedagogue w^ho infused 
education into the minds of many apt and inapt scholars who af- 
terward became leading citizens. Johnny Willets, the schoolmaster, 
was quite a character, and with all his peculiarities is affectionately 
remembered. A somewhat notable tenant in 1827 w^as that branch of 
the Society of Friends which adhered to the doctrines of Elias Hicks, 
and was disowned by their Orthodox brethren. The members met in 
Carpenters' Hall for a year, and until the new meeting-house in Cherry 
street near Fifth was finished. After this the old hall descended to 
unseemly uses. It became an auction-store, a place at which were 
sold second-hand furniture, broken pots, and leaky kettles, horses 
high mettled and spirited, spavined and unsound. The auctioneer's 
voice — and a strong, deep-toned voice it was when Charles J. VVolbert 
held the hammer — was continually heard. The floors were worn by 
the feet of bargain-hunters. The walls and ceilings were shabby and 
dusty. The rivalry of bidders, the push and obtrusiveness of persons 
who came to examine goods, but not to buy, — all these things contrib- 
uted to rob Carpenters' Hall of every grand association At length a 
new spirit was diffused among the members of the company. They 
determined to redeem the hall from its forlorn condition. After 
nearly twenty-nine years' occupancy in his vocation the auctioneer 
removed, and the Carpenters' Company took possession of the old 
hall, resolved to rescue it from degrading associations and to restore 
its appearance as near as possible to the original plan. The first story, 
in which the Continental Congress assembled, was renovated, and 
portions of the interior finish and architecture, which had been 
removed during the course of the time that various persons occupied 
the building, were renewed. Ancient furniture was placed around 
the walls, and objects of interest collected, so that this old building 
presents at the present day an accurate idea of what it looked like 
at the beginning of " the times that tried men's souls." 



MOUNT PLEASANT. 




OHN MACPHERSON, during thirty-five years of his hfe, 
was one of the most noted citizens of Philadelphia. A 
clansman of the Macphersons of Clunie, he left his native 
(^J^^^ home in Scotland at a period not now known. He 
^^^ followed the sea, and it is to be presumed went through the 
^ gradations of service which finally made him fit to take com- 
mand of a vessel. He first came into prominent notice in Philadel- 
phia in 1757. when he assumed command of the privateer ship 
Britannia, rated at twenty guns. War with France was then raging, 
and the hope of preying successfully upon French commerce was 
sufficient to incite the sailor element to action. The profits of this 
season were not heavy, and in the succeeding year there was more 
fighting than prizes. In May, 1758, the Britannia fell in with a 
Frenchman carrying thirty-six guns and well manned. The supe- 
riority of the enemy was very considerable, and the Britannia was 
badly manoeuvred. In the heat of the action Captain ]\Iacpherson's 
right arm was carried away by a cannon-shot, and he was taken 
below. The first lieutenant was disabled. The second lieutenant 
continued the fight until he was also wounded. The surgeon became 
the only officer in command, and he ordered the colors to be struck. 
When the officers of the French vessel boarded the Britannia thev 
beheld a bloody spectacle. Seventy of the crew had been killed or 
wounded. The deck was strewn with the bodies of the dead and 
dying. The action of the Frenchmen was inhuman. They carried the 
first and second officers on board their own vessel, cut down the masts 
and rigging, threw the cannon and ammunition overboard, and then set 
212 



MOUNT PLEASANT, 213 



the vessel adrift, with a disabled and wounded crew, to the mercy of 
the waves. The crew managed to get up jury-masts, and navigated 
the ship into Jamaica, where upon survey it was found that two hun- 
dred and seventy shot had passed into the larboard side of the Britan- 
nia, some below water. The damage was repaired, and the ship was 
sent back to Philadelphia. In the succeeding year Captain Macpher- 
son made up for his adverse fortunes. During 1759 he took eighteen 
prizes. Two of them were French sloops laden with plate and valuable 
effects, besides ^18,000 in cash. He relinquished the command to 
Captain Taylor, who cruised in the spring and summer of 1760 with 
no success. Macpherson was induced to return to the command. He 
beat up for a crew in October, and in his proposal for enlistment said 
as an inducement, " Seven hundred sail of ships lately employed as 
transports in the service of the French king are now converted into 
merchantmen, and these, with many more, encouraged by the great 
decrease in English privateers, are making voyages almost unmolested ; 
which is a great encouragement for adventurers." These declarations 
were verified by the success which followed in the latter part of 1760 
and the beginning of 1761. Macpherson took nine prizes on his first 
cruise, which were worth i^i 5,000. During that period he fell in with 
a French man-of-war of sixty guns, but managed to escape by the 
superior sailing qualities of the Britannia, by means of which the 
enemy was distanced. The scene of his operations was in the West 
Indies between Martinique and St. Eustacia, and he was a protector of 
the commerce of that section of the West Indies. He carried into the 
ports of the island of Antigua two French privateers of ten guns, having 
on board fifty negroes worth ;^4000. He captured a letter of marque of 
four guns loaded with coffee and cotton. The Council and Assembly 
of the island of Antigua considered him a defender, and voted him a 
sword. In 1762 the Britannia cruised with less profit than in the pre- 
vious year, and with more hard knocks. In May, near Laguayra, 
Macpherson attacked a large French ship, which proved more than 
his match. In fact, he was beaten off with a loss of three men 
killed. In July, war with Spain having been proclaimed in the mean 
while, the Britannia came into Philadelphia with two Spanish vessels 
laden with indigo and sugar, and Macpherson resigned the command. 
It was his last voyage during this war, as the preliminary^ treaty between 
France, Spain, and England at Fontainebleau was signed on the 3d of 



214 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADEIPHIA. 

November, and was followed by the definitive treaty at Paris on the 
1 0th of February, 1763. 

Captain Macpherson was now a rich man, and he had the ambition 
to live in ease. He bought in September, 1 761, from Benjamin Mifflin, 
a fine piece of ground lying upon the east bank of the river Schuylkill, 
nearly opposite Belmont. The original purchase was something over 
thirty-one acres. He added to it by subsequent purchases two other 
tracts of twenty-one and a half and twenty-six acres and some 
perches. Here he built a fine stone mansion according to the gene- 
ral style of the best country-houses of the day. In appearance and 
interior decoration it was equal to any country-seat of that date, 
although it may be said that, looking at it from a modern standpoint, 
it must have been very uncomfortable. The rooms are small, but it 
must be conceded that the stairways, especially at the landings, are 
large. In the best rooms fireplaces in the corners, with chimney-pieces 
not very handsome, but with pretentious panels above them, attract 
attention. The woodwork is in the old fashion, and the entire effect is 
of the old times. East and west of the mansion are detached build- 
ings with hip roofs, which were used for kitchen purposes, there 
being no conveniences in the mansion for such necessity. To this 
country-seat, when it was finished, Macpherson gave the name of 
Clunie, after the seat of his clan. Subsequently he changed the name 
to Mount Pleasant, and as such it was known before the Revolution. 
Here perhaps he hoped to withdraw himself to the enjoyment of ease. 
The situation was singularly beautiful. The house was on an emi- 
nence, and commanded a fine view of the Schuylkill River. The nat- 
ural forest was undisturbed, and the surroundings were of the most 
romantic and pleasant kind. John Adams, who dined at this house in 
October, 1775, said of Macpherson that he had "the most elegant 
seat in Pennsylvania, a clever Scotch wife, and two pretty daughters. 
His seat is upon the banks of the Schuylkill. He has been nine times 
wounded in battle, is an old sea-commander, made a fortune by priva- 
teering, had an arm twice shot off, shot through the leg," etc. For 
several years Captain Macpherson enjoyed the pleasures of life at 
Mount Pleasant. When the Revolution commenced he was found on 
the patriot side, and was ambitious of naval renown. To Congress 
in October, 1775, upon the establishment of a Continental navy, Mac- 
pherson applied for the chief command, and worried the Marine 



MOUNT PLEASANT. 



215 



Committee for the appointment. The commission was given to Captain 
Ezek Hopkins, and Macpherson then appealed to Congress, claiming 
that Randolph, Hopkins, and Rutledge had promised him the appoint- 
ment. This was denied by the members of the committee. Macpher- 




'^iji*' 



Mount Pleasant Mansion, now used as the Park Offices. 



son then applied to Congress by memorial, setting forth a plan for 
destroying the ships of the enemy, which was by the use of row- 
galleys. He offered to fit them out at his own expense if furnished 
with timber, guns, and powder, for which he was willing to pay. He 



2i6 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

only insisted that he should have the commission which was promised 
him, and that Congress would pay him the full value of the first 
British man-of-war he should take or destroy. The proposition was 
not acceded to. 

Captain Macpherson's wife was Margaret Rogers, a sister of Rev. 
Dr. John Rogers of New York. At the breaking out of the war 
Captain Macpherson had two sons, both of whom were destined to be 
of service to their country. One of these, William Macpherson, was 
then an officer in the British army, being at that time adjutant of the 
Sixteenth regiment of foot. Captain William Macpherson, upon hear- 
ing of the commencement of hostilities, his regiment being at Pensa- 
cola, tendered his resignation, which was refused. Subsequently, when 
the regiment arrived at New York in 1779, he again tendered his 
resignation, declaring that he never would serve against his country- 
men ; and Sir Henry Clinton accepted it, but at the same time refused 
to allow him to sell his commission, for which his father had paid a 
considerable sum of money. Afterward he obtained a commission, 
with the rank of major, in the American army, but not without con- 
siderable opposition on the part of other officers. He was earnest and 
true in his devotion to his country, as his services afterward attested. 
This was Macpherson of " Macpherson's Blues," Brigadier-General of 
the militia of Pennsylvania and of the provisional army of the United 
States during the " Hot- Water War." There was another son of John 
Macpherson, who became connected with the Associators of Pennsyl- 
vania as soon as hostilities commenced. This was Captain John Mac- 
pherson the younger, who was the first Philadelphian of any note killed 
during the Revolutionary war. He accompanied General Montgomery 
in his operations against Canada, and fell with his commander in the 
assault upon Quebec. The night before his death he addressed the 
following letter to his father, to be delivered only in case of his death : 

" My Dear Father : If you receive this, it will be the last this hand 
shall ever write you. Orders are given for a general storm on Quebec 
this night, and Heaven only knows what will be my fate. But, what- 
ever it may be, I cannot resist the inclination I feel to assure you that 
I experience no reluctance in this cause to venture a life which I con- 
sider as only lent, to be used when my country demands it. 

" In moments like these such an assertion will not be thought a 



MOUNT PLEASANT. 217 



boast by any one — by my father I am sure it cannot. It is needless 
to tell that my prayers are for the happiness of the family and for its 
preservation in this general confusion. Should Providence, in its wis- 
dom, call me from rendering the little assistance I might to my coun- 
Xxy, I could wish my brother did not continue in the service of her 
enemies. 

" That the all-gracious Disposer of human events may shower on 
you, my mother, brothers, and sisters, every blessing our nature can 
receive is, and will be to the last moment of my life, the sincere prayer 
of your dutiful and affectionate son, John Macpherson. 

" Head-quarters before Quebec, 30th Dec. 1775." 

This letter, accompanied by the following missive, was nearly six 
months later despatched to the father by General Philip Schuyler : 

" Permit me, sir, to mingle my tears with yours for the loss we have 
sustained — you as a father, I as a friend. My dear young friend fell 
by the side of his general, as much lamented as he was beloved ; and 
that I assure you, sir, was in an eminent degree. This, and his falling 
like a hero, will console in some measure a father who gave him the 
example of bravery, which the son in a short military career improved 
to advantage. 

" General Montgomery and his corpse were both interred by General 
Carleton with military honors. 

*' Your most obedient and humble servant, 

" Ph. Schuyler. 

"Albany, 14th June, 1776." 

During the Revolution, Captain Macpherson, Sr., got tired of his 
Mount Pleasant home, and advertised it for sale. He described it as 
being in the Northern Liberties on the Schuylkill. It contained one 
hundred and twenty acres, and extended to what was afterward Mifflin's 
lane, now partly the Park road which crosses the Reading Railroad 
beyond the ascent from Promontory Rock. The country-seat afterw^ard 
known as Fountain Green was within the boundaries of this property. 
There were mineral waters near the house. Seven stone-quarries were 
on the land. On a portion of the plantation was what was supposed 
to be a coal-pit. The person from whom Macpherson purchased re- 



2l8 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHIIADEIPHIA. 

served one quarter of the coal for himself and heirs, and Macpherson in- 
tended to do the same. The whole property, which cost ;^ 14,000, was 
offered for ;^20,ooo, paper money. The coal-pit was supposed to be 
upon the Fountain Green property, adjoining Mount Pleasant, which 
Macpherson had bought in 1768 and made a part of the latter es- 
tate. Benjamin Mifflin, the owner, seemed to have imagined that there 
was coal upon the premises, and reserved the coal rights. The prop- 
erty also included at this time the estate on the north-west since known 
as Rockland. 

Captain Macpherson seems to have been of a philosophic turn of 
mind, and was very eccentric. About 1771 he removed by machinery 
of his own contrivance a one-story brick house from the neighborhood 
of Front and Pine or Union street to the west side of Second street 
below Elmsley's alley. The operation was effected by apparatus 
placed inside the building and worked by himself He advertised in 
1782 to give lectures on astronomy at his house near Poole's Bridge. 
He published lectures on Moral Philosophy in 1791. He offered his 
services by advertisement as a ship, merchandise, and land broker in 
1783, and published the Price Current every fourteen days. He offered 
to allow his collection of late foreign price currents to be perused by 
any one who would " put sixpence or more into the charity -box for 
the relief of the widows and orphans dependent upon the sea-captains' 
club." He compiled and published the first directory for the city and 
suburbs of Philadelphia, which was published, according to the title- 
page, on the 1st of October, 1785, but first advertised as "just pub- 
lished " on the 14th of November. A rival directory by Francis White 
was advertised as "just published" at the latter end of the same 
month. Macpherson was evidently an individual disposed to stand no 
nonsense, and when, during his canvassing, his inquiry was met with a 
crooked answer, that answer went into the directory with the number 
of the house of the person who gave it. Thus, there are several 
instances in which grave and reverend citizens, as eccentric as the 
captain himself, are put down, among the " Ps," as " I won't tell 
you," " I won't have it numbered," or among the ** W's," as " What 
you please," or among the " C's," as " Cross woman," 93 South 
street. At the end of the directory he gives a long list of empty 
houses and of those in which persons would give no answer whatever. 
Macpherson was somewhat of an inventive genius. He advertised in 



MOUNT PLEASANT. 219 



1785 that he was the inventor of an " elegant cot which bids defiance 
to everything but Omnipotence. No bedbug, mosquito, or fly can pos- 
sibly molest persons who sleep in it." In March, 1792, he presented 
a petition to Congress setting forth that he had discovered an infal- 
lible method of ascertaining the longitude, and requesting of that 
body *' to send him out in the character of a gentleman on a voyage 
to France, with proper recommendations to our good ally, the king of 
the French." This was his last appeal. He died September 6, 1792, 
and was buried in St. Paul's churchyard, a little to the eastward of the 
church. 

After he left the mansion Macpherson leased it to Don Juan de 
Merailles, the Spanish agent or ambassador. For the purchase of the 
estate there was no acceptable offer until the spring of 1779, when 
General Benedict Arnold bought the property for the purpose of 
making it a marriage gift to his intended wife. 

While he was yet free from suspicion, and holding the high position 
of Military Governor of the city, Arnold met in the society which he 
frequented Miss Peggy Shippen, daughter of Edward Shippen, a lawyer, 
descended from one of the oldest and wealthiest families, and enjoying 
a high character and an excellent position. It may be proper here to 
say that he held no public office until after the close of the Revolution, 
being appointed President of the Court of Common Pleas and Quarter 
Sessions in 1784. He resigned the presidency of the Quarter Sessions 
in 1786, but remained President Judge of the Common Pleas until 
1789, when he resigned, and Enoch Edwards was appointed in his 
place. In 1791 he was made Judge of the Supreme Court of Penn- 
sylvania, and in 1799 became Chief-Justice. Peggy Shippen was one 
of the ladies of the " Mischianza," in whose honor the gallant knights 
of the British army couched their lances. On that occasion she was 
numbered among the " Ladies of the Burning Mountain." Her knight 
was Lieutenant Winyard, and her squire Captain Boscawen. The de- 
vice of her champion was a bay-leaf, with the motto ** Unchangeable." 
Curiously enough, in view of subsequent events. Captain John Andre 
was a participant in this carnival as a " Knight of the Blended Rose " 
— fighting in honor of Miss Peggy Chew. How soon after coming to 
Philadelphia, Arnold commenced to pay his addresses to Miss Shippen 
cannot now be known. He evidently lost no time. He came on the 
20th of June, and in a little over three months afterward he considered 



220 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

himself entitled to write to the object of his passion the following 
ardent and despairing letter : 

" Dear Madam : Twenty times have I taken up my pen to write to 
you, and as often has my trembling hand refused to obey the dictates 
of my heart — a heart which, though calm and serene amid the clash- 
ing of arms and all the din and horrors of war, trembles with diffidence 
and the fear of giving offence when it attempts to address you on a 
subject so important to its happiness. Dear madam, your charms have 
lighted up a flame in my bosom which can never be extinguished ; 
your heavenly image is too deeply impressed ever to be effaced. My 
passion is not founded on personal charms only : that sweetness of dis- 
position and goodness of heart — that sentiment and sensibility which 
so strongly mark the character of the lovely Miss P. Shippen — render 
her amiable beyond expression, and will ever retain the heart she has 
once captivated. 

** On you alone my happiness depends. And will you doom me to 
languish in despair? Shall I expect no return to the most sincere, 
ardent, and disinterested passion ? Do you feel no pity in your gentle 
bosom for the man who would die to make you happy ? May I pre- 
sume to hope it is not impossible I may make a favorable impression 
on your heart? Friendship and esteem you acknowledge. Dear 
Peggy ! suffer that heavenly bosom (which cannot know itself the 
cause of pain without a sympathetic pang) to expand with a sensation 
more soft, more tender, than friendship. A union of hearts is un- 
doubtedly necessary to happiness. But give me leave to observe that 
true and permanent happiness is seldom the effect of an alliance formed 
on a romantic passion, where fancy governs more than judgment. 
Friendship and esteem, founded on the merit of the object, is the most 
certain basis to found a lasting happiness upon. And when there is 
a tender and ardent passion on one side, and friendship and esteem on 
the other, the heart (unlike yours) must be callous to every tender 
sentiment if the taper of love is not lighted up at the flame. 

" I am sensible your prudence, and the affection you bear your 
amiable and tender parents, forbid your giving encouragement to the 
addresses of any one without their approbation. Pardon me, dear 
madam, for disclosing a passion I could no longer confine in my tor- 
tured bosom. I have presumed to write to your papa, and have re- 



MOUNT PLEASANT, 221 



quested his sanction to my addresses. Suffer me to hope for your ap- 
probation. Consider before you doom me to misery, which I have not 
deserved but by loving you too extravagantly. Consult your own hap- 
piness, and, if incompatible, forget there is so unhappy a wretch ; for 
may I perish if I would give you one moment's inquietude to purchase 
the greatest possible felicity to myself! Whatever my fate may be, my 
most ardent wish is for your happiness, and my latest breath will be to 
implore the blessings of Heaven on the idol and only wish of my soul. 
''Adieu, dear madam, and believe me unalterably your sincere ad- 
mirer and devoted humble servant, B. Arnold. 

" September 25, 1778. 
"Miss Peggy Shippen." 

What the family thought of this alliance is somewhat a matter of 
controversy. Mr. Thomas Balch [Letters and Papers rrlating chiefly to 
the Provincial History of Pennsylvania) says : " It was not long before 
he Ipecame captive to the fascinations of the beautiful Margaret Ship- 
pen ; and, to the great distress of her family, she returned his love. 
Tradition tells us that the connection was violently opposed — not so 
much from political feeling as from distrust of the man, objection to 
his origin, and dislike of his private character as far as it was known. 
Arnold was not, in fact, a gentleman. His birth and early education 
were low; and his peddling and smuggling trade with the islands, and 
his traffic in cattle and horses, could have improved neither his 
manners nor his morals." 

Mr. Balch also quotes statements of Mrs. Burd and Mrs. Lea, 
sisters of Peggy Shippen, that their father never " liked Arnold from 
the first, and was not friendly to the match ; but that it was encour- 
aged by a lady (a Mrs. P.) who thought highly of him, and had great 
influence over the mind of the young lady." 

Mr. Balch quotes a letter from Edward Shippen to his father, 
December 21st, 1778, in which he complains of the great expense of 
housekeeping, and says : " The style of life my fashionable daughters 
have introduced into my family, and their dress, will, I fear, before 
long oblige me to change the scene. The expense of supporting my 
family here will not fall short of four or five thousand pounds per 
annum — an expense insupportable without business. I gave my 
daughter Betsy to Neddy Burd last Thursday evening, and all is jollity 



222 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

and mirth. My youngest daughter is much soHcited by a certain 
general on the same subject. Whether this will take place or not 
depends upon circumstances. If it should, I think it will not be till 
spring." 

This language does not indicate a strong opposition to General 
Arnold's suit. In fact, it appears as if the father was but little con- 
cerned upon the subject, and was willing to allow his daughter to 
make her own choice. On the 2d of January, 1779, Edward Shippen, 
Sr., grandfather of Peggy, writing from Lancaster to Colonel Burd, 
says, after referring to Neddy Burd's marriage to Elizabeth Shippen : 
" We understand that General Arnold, a fine gentleman, lays close 
siege to Peggy ; and, if so, there will soon be another match in 
the family." The old gentleman evidently knew nothing which 
seemed to render this match an improper one, or which made its 
issue doubtful if the consent of his granddaughter could be ob- 
tained. 

In regard to the young lady herself, Mr. Balch says that, according 
to every domestic tradition, she was the " reverse of gay and frivolous, 
artful and extravagant." He quotes the opinion of a lady whose name 
is not given, but whose " personal and intellectual attractions are 
vouched for," who gives her mother's opinion of Mrs. Arnold : " She 
used to say that Miss Peggy Shippen was particularly devoted to her 
father, making his comfort her leading thought, often preferring to 
remain with him when evening parties and amusements would attract 
her sisters from home. She was the darling of the family circle, and 
never fond of gadding. There was nothing of frivolity either in her 
dress, demeanor, or conduct ; and, though deservedly admired, she 
had too much good sense to be vain." Whatever might have been 
the young lady's personal character and virtues, and however unfit 
Arnold might have been to become her husband, such considerations 
appear to have had no influence upon the wooing. 

On the 3d of February the charges of the Supreme Executive 
Council against Arnold were made public. They were of such a 
nature as to affect his character as an officer, a gentleman, and a man 
of honor, and were quite sufficient to put the members of the Shippen 
family on their guard, and to have given renewed strength to the ob- 
jections to the alliance which, it is said, existed from the first. But 
no change seems to have been made in the current of this affair by 



MOUNT PLEASANT. 



223 



the imputations against the suitor of Mr. Shippen's daughter. The 
arrangements for the marriage went on. It was proper, in order 
to give Arnold an acceptable appearance, that he should be able to 
make a settlement on his intended wife equal to her position and 
the wealth of her family. In the straitened pecuniary circumstances 
of the intended husband this was a matter of difficulty. He disposed 
of it, however, in a very cunning manner, seeming to be able to make 
a splendid gift. 

In a burlesque upon Arnold's address to the people of the United 
States, published after his flight, it is said : " A Frenchman, of whom 
I had borrowed i^i 2,000 to pay for a country-seat when Continental 
currency was four to one in silver and gold, had assurance to think 
that he would like to take a pair of my horses for £Zqoq of the money 
lent." 

On the 22d of March, 1779, he purchased the estate of Mount 
Pleasant, and made a settlement of the property on himself for life, 
with the remainder to his wife and children. This had the appearance 
of being a rich dower. But the value of the property was not near 
so great as it seemed to be, from the fact that there was a large 
mortgage existing against it, created by Macpherson ; which incum- 
brance reduced the amount of purchase-money necessary to be paid 
for the premises. That incumbrance subsequently divested Mrs. Ar- 
nold's title to the estate through a sheriff's sale, which cut out her 
interest altogether, without payment of a penny for her benefit. 

On the 8th of April — a little more than two weeks after this settle- 
ment was made — Benedict Arnold and Peggy Shippen were married 
at the residence of her father, a fine, substantial mansion on the west 
side of Fourth street, nearly opposite Willing's alley. 

It is a matter of conjecture whether Peggy Shippen stepped from 
the memories of the " Mischianza " and the frivolities of fashionable 
life into the position of a stepmother. She was Arnold's second 
wife. He married Margaret Mansfield probably about 176 1 or 1762. 
She died on the 19th of June, 1 77 5, in New Haven, leaving three sons. 
The oldest of these children when Arnold married Miss Shippen could 
not have been more than seventeen years of age. The ages of the 
the others can only be guessed at. Naturally, it would be expected 
that they should be brought to their father's house, and the care of 
them become one of the duties of the new wife. It might not have 



224 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

been, as Hannah — Arnold's sister — was much attached to them, and 
the children possibly remained with her. After his marriage, except 
when absent to attend the court-martial in camp, Arnold resided in 
Philadelphia for more than fourteen months — part of the time at 
Mount Pleasant. It was the fashion of the period for persons of 
wealth to retire to their country-seats, and it was a mark of social 
position to be able to do so. In his house at Philadelphia and in his 
house at Mount Pleasant, with the exception of occasional absences, 
he probably remained during the spring, summer, and fall of 1779 
and a portion of the summer of 1780, up to about the middle of July, 
when he set off northward in the hope of obtaining the command 
at West Point, for which he had made application. During his stay 
in Philadelphia his first child by his second marriage, Edward Ship- 
pen Arnold, was born, and was taken, with his mother, to West Point 
when the command of that post was given to the father. During the 
period of which we speak Arnold was once or twice conspicuously 
before the public. He attempted to intervene in the " Fort W^ilson 
riot," September, 1779, but arrived after the disturbance was over. 
Meanwhile, he was gradually sinking in pecuniary embarrassment. He 
endeavored to get his accounts through Congress under favorable cir- 
cumstances ; and, being sadly in want of money, he made an appli- 
cation to the Chevalier de Luzerne for assistance, ostensibly for a loan, 
but under such circumstances as to make it actually a grant of money 
from the French king. This must have occurred some time in 1780. 
Luzerne is represented by his secretary, M. de Marbois, to have 
listened to Arnold's discourse with pain. He said : " You desire of me 
a service which it would be easy for me to render, but which would 
degrade us both. When the envoy of a foreign power gives — or, if he 
will, lends — mone}^ it is ordinarily to corrupt those who receive it, and 
to make them the creatures of the sovereign whom he serves. Or, 
rather, he corrupts without persuading. He buys, and does not 
secure. But the firm league entered into between the king and the 
United States is the work of justice and the wisest policy. It has for 
its basis a reciprocal interest and good-will. In the mission with 
which I am charged my true glory consists in fulfilling it without 
resorting to any secret practices, and by the force alone of the con- 
dition of the alliance." 

How soon after he came to Philadelphia, Arnold commenced his 



MOUNT PLEASANT. 



225 



correspondence with the leading officers of the British army is a matter 
not now to be definitely settled. Among the papers seized by the 
Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania as soon as the treason 
of Arnold was known, was one from Major John Andre, in New York, 
to Mrs. Arnold, tendering his respects and offering his assistance if he 
could obtain for her millinery supplies in New York, among which he 
numbers " cap-wire, needles, gauze, &c." The tone of this letter is 
not of a character to intimate that Mrs. Arnold knew of the corre- 
spondence between Gustavus (Arnold) at Philadelphia, and John An- 
derson (Andre) at New York. This correspondence, historical writers 
believe, commenced as early as March or April, 1779, either about the 
time of Arnold's marriage or shortly before. Some writers seem to 
believe that Mrs. Arnold knew of the treacherous correspondence 
which her husband held with Andre, while others disbelieve it. Aaron 
Burr declared that after Arnold's escape from West Point, his wife, 
being on her way to Philadelphia, told Mrs. Prevost that " she was 
heartily sick of the theatricals she was exhibiting ;" that " she was 
disgusted with the American cause and those who had the manage- 
ment of public affairs ; and that, through great persuasion and un- 
ceasing perseverance, she had ultimately brought the general into an 
arrangement to surrender West Point to the British." Sabine (Ameri- 
can Loyalists) argues strongly against the truth of this assertion, and 
quotes the statement of Colonel Alexander Hamilton, who saw Mrs. 
Arnold at West Point immediately after Arnold had got safely on 
board the Vulture. 

The traitor, as soon as his own safety was sure, addressed a letter 
to Washington asserting his wife's innocence, and saying, " I beg she 
may be permitted to return to her friends in Philadelphia or come to 
me, as she may choose." Washington believed in her innocence, and 
offered to send her with an escort to Philadelphia, or to put her, under 
a flag of truce, on board the king's ship Vulture. She chose the 
former, and arrived in Philadelphia about the ist of October, 1780. 
It is said by the friends of the Shippen family that she had then re- 
solved to part from Arnold for ever, and had decided on a separation. 
If such was her intention, she was not allowed to carry out the de- 
termination. The Council was not satisfied that she should remain in 
the city. She had not been reunited with her family a month ere the 
following notice was served upon her : 

15 



226 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

" In Council, ") 

" Philadelphia, Friday, Oct, 27, 1780. | 

''The Council, taking into consideration the case of Mrs. Margaret 
Arnold (the wife of Benedict Arnold, an attainted traitor with the 
enemy at New York), whose residence in this city has become dan- 
gerous to the public safety, and this Board being desirous as much as 
possible to prevent any correspondence and intercourse being carried 
on with persons of disaffected character in this State and the enemy at 
New York, and especially with the said Benedict Arnold ; therefore 

''Resolved, That the said Margaret Arnold depart this State within 
fourteen days from the date hereof, and that she do not return again 
during the continuance of the present war." 

It is represented that her father and friends made strong efforts to 
have this decree reversed, stating that Mrs. Arnold had resolved to 
separate from her husband for ever. Nothing appears upon the 
minutes of the Supreme Executive Council to show that application 
was made on her behalf. Whatever efforts were made must have been 
in private conference with members of the Council. Major Edward 
Burd, in a letter to his father. Colonel James Burd, November lOth, 
said : " We tried every means to prevail on the Council to permit her 
to stay among us, and not to [compel her] to go to that infernal 
villain, her husband, in New York. The Council seemed for a con 
siderable time to favor our request, but at length have ordered her 

away It makes me melancholy every time I think of the 

matter. I cannot bear the idea of her reunion. The sacrifice was 
an immense one at her being married to him at all. It is much more 
so to be obliged, against her will, to go to the arms of a man who 
appears to be so very black." 

In 1785 she returned to see her father and family, but "she was 
treated with so much coldness and neglect, even by those who had 
most encouraged her marriage, that she was deeply pained. She 
never could come again." For eleven years afterward she lived with 
Arnold, to whom she bore after she left Philadelphia four children — 
James Robertson Arnold, who became a major-general in the British 
army, and died in 1854; George, who attained to the rank of colonel 
of cavalry, and died in India in 1828; William Fitch Arnold, at one 
time a captain in the British army, and afterward a magistrate in 



MOUNT PLEASANT. 



227 



Buckinghamshire ; and Sophia Matilda, who married Colonel Pownell 
Phipps, in the East India Company's service. Edward Shippen 
Arnold, the eldest son, born in Philadelphia, became lieutenant of 
cavalry and paymaster, and died in India in 18 13. None of these 
children ever came to America, although it is said that Major-General 
James R. Arnold at one time expressed a strong desire to visit the 
United States, but did not think it prudent to come. By his first wife 
Arnold had three sons — Benedict, Richard, and Henry. All three 
entered the British army, the two younger in the loyalist, or Tory, 
contingent. 

The reception of the news of Arnold's treason created great excite- 
ment in Philadelphia. The Supreme Executive Council at once 
seized his papers and confiscated his property. There was enough 
found to add to the evidence already obtained in regard to his shameful 
practices while in command of the city. The agreement with Mease 
and West was discovered, and proof of his interest in the claims of the 
seamen of the sloop Active, *' though he found witnesses to swear 
before the grand jury that he had no share in them." The public 
indignation took a more tangible shape. The next night after the 
news of his flight was received a hollow paper effigy, with a light 
inside and an inscription in large letters on the breast, was carried 
through the streets, and finally was hung upon a gallows. On the 




The Procession of Arnold and the Devil. From an Old Print. 

30th of September a much more striking manifestation took place. 
Upon a stage raised on the body of a cart was an ^'i^gy of Arnold 



228 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

dressed in regimentals, with two faces. The Devil, with the conven- 
tional pitchfork and a bag of money in his hand, was behind him. 
In front there was a transparency representing Arnold kneeling to the 
Devil, who was about pulling him into the flames. These figures were 
accompanied with a procession, drums and fifes preceding the cart, 
the musicians playing the " Rogue's March." A procession was 
formed on a lot in the rear of St. George's Methodist church at Fourth 
and New streets, and marched to the front of the Coffee-House at 
Front and Market streets, where the whole affair was burned. And 
thus ended the last incident connected with the career of Benedict 
Arnold in Philadelphia. 

The next lessee of Mount Pleasant was the celebrated German 
baron, P'rederick William Augustus von Steuben. On the 26th of Oc- 
tober, 1780, the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania granted 
him permission to occupy the premises until the ist of April, 1781, 
for ^^35, specie. He had been a member of the court-martial which 
tried and condemned Major Andre, and his occupancy of Arnold's 
house would have been the more appropriate. If he took possession 
of the premises, his tenancy was exceedingly short. He could 
scarcely have entered upon the premises before he received an 
order from Washington to proceed to the South with General Greene, 
who was directed to take command of the army hitherto commanded 
by Gates. This order was issued on the 14th of October, twelve 
days before the Supreme Executive Council resolved that the Mount 
Pleasant property should be leased to General Steuben. In the orders 
to Greene, Washington said : '* I also propose to them to send the 
Baron Steuben to the southward with you. His talents, knowledge 
of service, zeal, and activity will make him useful to you in all re- 
spects, and particularly in the formation and regulation of the raw 
troops which will compose the Southern army. You will give him 
a command suitable to his rank, besides employing him as inspector- 
general. If the Congress approve, he will take your orders from 
Philadelphia." Greene went South as soon as possible, and was in 
Philadelphia on the 27th of October, one day after the lease to Steu- 
ben. On the 30th Congress approved of Greene's appointment and 
of the assignment of Steuben to the Southern army. They could 
not have delayed their departure for more than three or four days, for 
Steuben's aides. Walker and Duponceau, were at the Head of Elk, 



MOUNT PLEASANT. 



229 



Maryland, on the 5th of November. Greene joined the army with 
Steuben, and was encamped at Charlotte on the 2d of December. 
The operations of Steuben and Greene were against Arnold, and as 
the baron was on the court-martial which tried Andre, this circum- 
stance, in connection with his pursuit of Arnold, would have formed 
a fine chapter of consequences. When he came back from the South 
he was in Philadelphia for some time, and one of his letters, of De- 
cember 27, 1782, is dated "Schuylkill," showing that he resided some- 
where near the river. It might have been at the Mount Pleasant house, 
but, as at that time the estate had another tenant, it is not probable. 

In 1 78 1, the property, having been confiscated, was conveyed to 
Colonel Richard Hampton for Arnold's life-estate. He held it for 
two years, when it passed into the possession of Blair McClenachan, 
merchant, who did not hold it long. He disposed of the premises 
in 1784 to Edward Shippen, Chief-Justice of Pennsylvania, the father 
of Margaret Arnold, possibly with the intention to secure the entire 
property to her. It was held by him till 1792, when he conveyed 
it to General Jonathan Williams, an old-time patriot. Under pro- 
ceedings, it is supposed, to still further protect the title, the property 
was sold on a mortgage which existed before Arnold's purchase. The 
sheriff made title to Williams, and thus Mount Pleasant became firmly 
vested in the latter. General Williams was a noted Revolutionary 
character. He was agent for the Continental Congress during the 
American Revolution at Nantes in France. He was born at Boston 
in 1752. After the Revolution he settled in Philadelphia, and was 
appointed a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in 1796. In 1801 
he was appointed major of artillery in the United States army, was 
inspector of fortifications, and was the first superintendent of West 
Point Academy. After having been brigadier-general of the New 
York militia in the war of 1812, he came to Philadelphia, where he 
soon got into public life, was elected member of Congress as a Fede- 
ralist in 18 1 5, and died the same year. He was a writer upon military 
subjects, including fortifications and the management of horse artil- 
lery. His son, Henry J. Williams, was for many years a recognized 
leader of the Philadelphia Bar. After the death of General Williams 
his family retained possession of the property until 1853, when it was 
sold, and in 1868 became the property of the city and a portion of 
Fairmount Park. 



CLIVEDEN (CHEW HOUSE), GERMANTOWN. 




HE history of the family of Chew is connected with events of 
<^^\ pubHc interest in four States of the American Union. John 
Chew and Sarah his wife, as appears from the muster of 
Lieutenant Edward Barkley, were residents of the hundred 
in Virginia over which Barkley was officer. He was a member 
of the General Assembly of Virginia about 1622-23, ^^^ ^^^^ 
name is met with as a member of the Upper and Lower House 
until 1643. It is believed that with his children, Samuel, Joseph, and 
others, he removed to Maryland in the latter year. Joseph in Mary- 
land married Miss Larkin, and Samuel married Ann Ayres, before 
1657. Samuel attained to considerable position, being one of the 
burgesses and a justice of the provincial courts. In 1670 he was a 
member of the Upper House, and held that office until his death, 
March 15, 1676. He had seven children. Among them was 
Benjamin Chew, born in 167 1, who died in 1699. He married, in 1692, 
Elizabeth Benson, and although he only lived seven years afterward, 
he left at his death two daughters and one son. The latter, Samuel 
Chew of Maidstone, may be considered the founder of the Chew 
family in Pennsylvania. He was born on the 30th of 8th month 
(October), 1693. He married for his first wife Miss Mary Galloway on 
the 2 2d of October, 171 5. After some years he became a widower, 
and having, it would seem, a great fancy for the name of Mary Gal- 
loway, he married for his second wife Mrs. Mary Galloway, ?iee Paca, 
on the 28th of September, 1736. She was widow of Richard Gallo- 
way of Cumberstone. 

Samuel Chew studied medicine, became a practising physician, and 

230 



CLIVEDEN ( CHE W HO USE), GERMANTO WN. 2 3 I 

joined the Society of Friends. He removed in the latter part of his 
Hfe to Dover in Newcastle county, one of the " Lower Counties " or 
" territories " attached to the Province of Pennsylvania which after- 
ward became the State of Delaware. Here, although he does not seem 
to have had a legal education, he was made chief-justice of the govern- 
ment of Newcastle, Sussex, and Kent upon Delaware. Such arrange- 
ments were not uncommon at the time. Many of the courts were 
presided over by laymen who had no legal education, but who by their 
general ability and intelligence, their intuitive ideas of right and wrong, 
aided by the references placed before them by learned and talented 
members of the bar, were enabled to discharge their duties on the 
bench with impartiality and to the general satisfaction of the people. 
Judge Samuel Chew, Quaker as he was, had still some of the old 
family spirit within him. In 1745, whilst the American colonies, 
involved in the war between Great Britain and France, were in great 
danger of invasion, whilst the proprietary government of Pennsylvania 
was engaged in the usual quarrel with the Assembly upon the subject 
of granting supplies for the use of the troops and the assistance of the 
king. Judge Chew was stirred up by the blood within him into taking 
a remarkable position for one who was connected with the Society of 
Friends. He had no scruples about the propriety of lawful war. In a 
charge to the grand jury of Newcastle county in 1741 he enforced 
strongly the duty of defence, and the obligation which rested upon 
every citizen to strengthen the hands of government and to give sub- 
stance and life in support of the king and the country's cause. This 
address was published in broadside and reprinted in journals published 
at Philadelphia, and created great excitement, earning the gratitude of 
the friends of defence, whilst the Quakers were scandalized at the fall- 
ing away of a member of the Society from Friends' principles against 
wars and fighting. 

A local bard, full of enthusiasm for the cause of defence, thus 
expressed himself on the occasion : 

" Immortal Chew first set our Quakers right : 
He made it plain they might resist and fight. 
His charge was penned with energy and sense ; 
He fully proved the justness of defence, 
And gravest Dons agreed to what he said, 
And fully gave their cash for the king's aid, 
For war successful, or for peace and trade. 



232 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



But why so squeamish they are grown 
Of late, is owing to their sad approaching fall, 
Full well convinced the late Association 
Will show their strongest hold's equivocation; 
Yet those who know their secret turns and ways 
Know that their mighty fear of losing power 
Is the deep wound their consciences devour." 

Benjamin, son of Dr. Samuel Chew, physician and judge, was born 
in Maryland at the family mansion, West River, on the 29th of 
November, 1722. His education was liberal, and sufficient to fit him 
for the practical study of the law. He obtained legal instruction at 
Philadelphia under Andrew Hamilton, who gave him the foundation in 
the theory of the law and of the practice in the courts. He finished 
his studies at London, where he was entered at the Inner Temple, and 
ate his commons in the regular way according to the usages of that 
venerable establishment. In due time he returned to America, and 
settled himself down at the place of his father's residence. The town- 
house at Dover is still standing ; the country-house is three miles from 
Dover. In the Lower Counties he was prominent, and was elected to 
the House of Delegates, being for some time Speaker of that body. 

In 1754, finding that the field for the exercise of his eminent talents 
was too small at Newcastle, and perceiving greater encouragement and 
reward at Philadelphia, he removed to that city, where he at once 
became noted and was entrusted with important offices. He was 
appointed Attorney-General of Pennsylvania on the 14th of January, 
1755, and held that trust until November 4, 1769, more than fourteen 
years. He was succeeded in that station by Andrew Allen. He was 
appointed to the Provincial Council to advise and confer with the gov- 
ernors and proprietaries upon all matters of public concern in 1755, 
and was a member of that dignified body until the Revolution. In 
1756 he was appointed Recorder of the city of Philadelphia, and held 
that commission for twenty years, until the events of the Revolution 
annulled the old charter of the city granted by William Penn in 1701. 
He was Register-General of Wills for the Province of Pennsylvania, 
commissioned August 14, 1765. On the 29th of April, 1774, he was 
appointed Chief-Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 2. 
position from which, in consequence of the revolutionary events com- 
mencing in April of the next year, he was practically removed after 
the battle of Lexington, and this authority ceased altogether by the 



CLIVEDEN {CHEW HOUSE), GERMANTOWN. 233 

overturning of the proprietary government of Pennsylvania in July, 
1776. As the proprietary government under which Chief-Justice 
Chew held so many important offices was not in sympathy with the 
proceedings of the American colonists in opposition to the arbitrary 
claims of the Crown and the ministry, it was natural that he should be 
looked upon with watchful suspicion. After the outbreak of hostilities 
he conducted himself with so much discretion that it was a matter of 
doubt whether he was not really attached to the popular side. He was 
noted for courtesies paid to members of the first Continental Congress 
of 1774. Washington and John Adams both dined with him at that 
time at his house in the city, Third below Walnut street, and Adams with 
some minuteness records in his diary his admiration of Chew's house 
and the elegance of the furniture. As for the dinner, which ran from 
turtle and flummery to sweetmeats and trifles, Adams almost furnishes 
a bill of fare, and adds : *' I drank madeira at a great rate, and found no 
inconvenience in it." Mr. Chew's position was like that of many other 
Americans whose sympathies were with their fellow-countrymen, even 
to the point of resistance, but which stopped short at the prospect of 
an independent government. He was a signer of the Non-importation 
Agreement of 1765, and was sympathetic with those who sought redress 
of grievances, but seemed to hope that the Crown would not resort to 
the extremities afterward reached. This is illustrated in an interesting 
anecdote related by Miers Fisher, a member of the Philadelphia bar^ 
who was in practice during the Revolution. Mr. Fisher said in Novemi- 
ber, 1816: "I was attending a Court of Oyer and Terminer at the 
State-House in Philadelphia preceding April Term, 1776, when 
Benjamin Chew, Esq., Chief-Justice of the then Province of Pennsyl- 
vania, presided, and delivered, as customary, a charge to a very respect- 
able grand jury, the names of some of whom I recollect. He of 
course defined the several offences cognizable in that court which 
they were sworn and affirmed to inquire into. He began with the 
highest offence known to the law — high treason. After giving a def- 
inition of this offence, and before he had concluded his observations 
on the subject, several of the grand jury, looking seriously at each 
other, discovered strong emotions, and after a few moments of consul- 
tation of each other's countenances, Dr. John Cox, a gentleman of 
character, one of the grand jury, pressed forward through his brethren 
to the bar separating them from the counsel attending around the 



234 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

semicircular bar-table then existing, and in a manly tone of an exalted 
voice demanded (I do not pretend to state his words exactly, but his 
general meaning) : ' What, then, is to become of us who are now op- 
posing the arbitrary power attempted to be exercised by the British 
ministry ?' Chief-Justice Chew, who had only paused for a moment, 
immediately resumed his discourse : ' I have stated that an opposition 
by force of arms to the lawful authority of the king or his ministers 
(or some words to this effect) is high treason ; but in the moment 
when the king or his ministers shall exceed the constitutional author- 
ity vested in them by the constitution, submission to their mandate 
becomes treason. Mr. Cox and most of the grand jury immediately 
made a low bow to the court; the chief-justice proceeded to a def- 
inition of the lesser offences cognizable before them, and all was quiet. 
The grand jury retired to their chambers, the business of the court was 
conducted with the decorum which the character of the court always 
commanded, and it was the last court held under that dynasty." 

Eventually, the position of Chief-Justice Chew became more clearly 
established ; although he committed no overt act, his sympathies were 
understood to be with the royal cause. For two years he remained 
at his house in Philadelphia or at Cliveden undisturbed, a passive 
witness of the great events which were transpiring upon the continent 
and moulding the future of the American nation. It was not necessary 
during that time to interfere with him. But as the prospect of a direct 
attack upon the city by the royal troops under Howe increased. Con- 
gress became solicitous as to the conduct of the adherents of the 
Crown who remained in those portions of the country in which the 
British arms were not yet triumphant, but which were menaced by 
the royal fleets and armies. 

On the 31st of July, 1777, Congress at Philadelphia passed a reso- 
lution recommending the Supreme Executive Council of the State of 
Pennsylvania " forthwith to make prisoners such of the late Crown 
and proprietary officers and other persons in and near this city as are 
disaffected or dangerous to the publick liberty, and send them back 
into the country, there to be confined or enlarged upon parole as their 
characters and behavior may require." Under this authority, on the 
nth of August, John Penn, late proprietary of Pennsylvania, and 
Benjamin Chew, Chief-Justice, were arrested by soldiers belonging to 
the Light-Horse Troop of the city of Philadelphia. The choice of 



CLIVEDEN {CHEW HOUSE), GERMANTOWN. 235 



signing a parole was offered them, and they refused. Upon this Con- 
gress was notified, and requested to order them out of the State. On 
the 13th the officers of the Light-Horse were directed to send an 
officer and six of the troop to escort John Penn and Benjamin Chew 
as prisoners to Fredericksburg, Virginia. On the 13th, Rev. Dr. 
Ewing appeared in the behalf of Chew before the Supreme Council 
of the State, and declared '* Mr. Chew's willingness now to sign the 
parole offered him, and requested that he might be permitted to do so, 
at the same time declaring that Mr. Chew had not refused to sign the 
parole offered him from any want of respect for the Council, but from 
a desire that the cause of his arrest might have been inserted in the 
warrant for arresting him, in order that he might be able to satisfy his 
friends upon what he is arrested, and that it may not be supposed he 
stands charged with having committed any crime against the States, 
but that he is arrested as an officer under the late government of Penn- 
sylvania." This appeal was unsuccessful. Messrs. Penn and Chew 
were put under arrest and ordered to be removed to Virginia, ac- 
cording to the minutes of the Council. It has been generally sup- 
posed that they went there, but from papers in possession of the family 
it appears that, probably from the intercession of the prisoners, the 
place was changed. They were required to remove to and remain at 
the Union Iron-Works, near Burlington, N. J. There they sojourned 
during the remainder of the year 1777 and part of the year 1778. In 
the spring of the latter year they made some effort to obtain a release^ 
Application was made to Congress, and that body, which had in great 
haste ordered arrests to be made in 1777, was now embarrassed by the 
certainty that a mistake had been made in that policy. Besides Messrs. 
Penn and Chew, a large number of influential citizens, mostly members 
of the Society of Friends, were arrested and banished, the latter to 
Virginia. On the i6th of March, 1778, Congress directed that the 
prisoners sent to Virginia should be delivered over to the Council 
of the State of Pennsylvania, by which easy means the Continental 
government relieved itself of further responsibility. A commitee 
of Congress wrote to President Wharton in 1778 in regard to Penn 
and Chew : " These gentlemen, as Crown officers and holding commis- 
sions under the authority of the king of Great Britain prior to the 
Declaration of Independence, and yet taking no active part [that we 
know of against us] since that period, renders their situation very 



236 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

peculiar. In the first point of view, they seem under their present 
restraint prisoners of the United States ; what is to be done with them 
consistent with Justice and the pubHc safety is a Question of much 
importance. If enlarged and permitted to go into Philadelphia, what 
mischief may our enemies doe [sic] under a color of their authority, 
even without their consent ? If permitted to go at large in those parts 
of Pennsylvania in possession of the Whigs, as they are so intermixed 
with Tories, very mischievous consequences may arise. If confined 
in Pennsylvania for refusing a Test, it may occasion discontent and 
caballing." The Supreme Executive Council was in doubt as to the 
proper course in relation to Messrs. Penn and Chew, and admitted that 
at a future day great difficulties might arise by arresting them and 
sending them out of the State. President Wharton suggested in effect 
that *' those who are not for us are against us," and as Messrs. Penn 
and Chew had refused to acknowledge the authority of the State as 
free and independent, and neglected to resign the commissions given 
them by the king, they were taking an adversary part. Whilst the 
Council was considering and hesitating, Congress, as if determined to 
escape further responsibility, passed a resolution (May 15) directing 
that Messrs. Penn and Chew should ** be conveyed without delay into 
the State of Pennsylvania, and there discharged from their parole." 
President Wharton was of opinion that this action was rather sum- 
mary, and said, " We are wholly at a loss to know why they have been 
discharged in this manner, rather than according to the request of this 
Council some time ago. The respect we have for the determination 
of Congress induces us to suppose there may be good and sufficient 
reasons for it" — a polite method of expression which did not embody 
the true opinions of the government of Pennsylvania on the subject. 
It is sufficient to say that by the time Penn and Chew were released 
their power for evil, if they meditated such course, was nearly at an 
end. The British evacuation of Philadelphia had become a necessity, 
and it was accomplished about a month after they were released. 

We have said that Chief-Justice Chew was famous as the occupant 
of a hospitable mansion in the city which was generously managed. 
He was also the owner of a country-house at Germantown, which, by 
the course of events connected with the operations of the two armies 
in Pennsylvania, was to become historically celebrated. Mr. Chew 
established this retreat in the year 1763 in the upper part of the village 



CLIVEDEN {CHEW HOUSE), GERMANTOWN. 



237 



of Germantown. On the 14th of July he bought from Edward Pen- 
nington and wife a piece of ground upon the high-road, which was 
originally part of the Johnson property. It was bounded east by the 
road or Main street, and was near where Johnson's lane opened into 
the main road. Mr. Chew added to the original estate by purchase 
from Richard Johnson and wife October 3, 1765, and from Thomas 
Nedrow and wife in 1776. Upon this ground there was built for his 
use a fine stone mansion, designed according to the architectural taste 
of the time, handsome, and considered quite spacious and elegant. The 
house was of two stories, with central doorway and wide hall or vesti- 
bule at the entrance, and was divided into small rooms. The garret 







The Chew House, Germantown (Still Standing). 

was lighted by dormers. There was the customary ornamentation of 
urns upon the roof-gable and pediments which was characteristic of 
the style of building of the last century. A separate house for use 
as a kitchen stood somewhat in the rear, and was connected with the 
main building by a corridor. This, with the laundry, another building, 
formed a quadrangle. The grounds were spacious and green. The 



238 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

shade-trees were high, flourishing, and luxuriant. To this seat Mr. 
Chew gave the name of CHveden, and for some years after it was fin- 
ished, and during provincial times, it was the abode of elegance, hos- 
pitality, and ease. It was at this venerable house that on the 4th of 
October, 1777, occurred some of the most memorable incidents of the 
battle of Germantown ; which, in fact, settled the character of that 
fight and lost an opportunity to the Americans. 

The plan of the battle of Germantown is well known. The British 
troops lay across the village from the Lime-Kiln road on the east to 
the Ridge or Manatawny road on the west. The right wing, com- 
manded by Major-General Grant and Brigadier-General Matthews, was 
upon the road leading to Lucan's or Luken's Mill, now known as 
Church lane, the troops being generally posted on the south side of 
the road. A few outlying detachments were north of it. Church 
lane strikes the main road somewhat south of Schoolhouse lane. It 
was not then opened farther west. The next avenue running westward 
was Schoolhouse lane, which begins at the Main street and runs 
toward the Schuylkill, which it touches below the mouth of the Wis- 
sahickon. The British troops were posted along those lanes in the 
following order : The Queen's American Rangers were at the inter- 
section of the Old York road and a short road which ran across to 
the Lime-Kiln road. The first battalion of light infantry was at the 
intersection of the Lime-Kiln road and the cross-road. General Grant 
and the Guards were south of Lucan's lane, and six battalions of light 
infantry and two squadrons of dragoons were still farther south. The 
left wing was under the command of Lieutenant-General Knyphausen, 
Major-General Stern, Major-General Grey, and Brevet Brigadier- 
General Agnew, the latter commanding the Forty-fourth regiment. 
There were seven British and three Hessian battalions and mounted 
and dismounted chasseurs ; the latter held the extreme left on the 
Manatawny or Ridge road. Upon the Skippack or main road, now 
Germantown avenue, the Fortieth regiment, under the command of 
Colonel Musgrave, lay behind and east of Chew's House. The second 
battalion of light infantry is said by some writers to have been en- 
camped on the east side of the main road, in the rear of the house 
then known as Johnson's House, situate on the west side of the main 
road, at the north-west corner of Johnson's lane, and nearly opposite 
Chew's House in a south-westerly direction. Others say that the second 



CLIVEDEN {CHEW HOUSE), GERMANTOWN. 239 

battalion was north of Chew's House as a support to the pickets at 
Mount Airy. 

Johnson's House, which is still (in 1877) standing, is of stone, one story 
in height, with curb roof enclosing the garret. It is a plain-looking, old- 
fashioned dwelling, modest in appearance and of small dimensions. 
It was built by Heivert Papen in 1698, and bears upon its side the date 
of its erection. The lot originally belonged to Abraham Op de Graff, 
who conveyed it to Jacob Schumacher in 1685. The latter transferred 
the premises in 1693 to Heivert Papen. This house, the historical 
claims of which have scarcely ever been mentioned, must be consid- 
ered equally with Chew's House as worthy of attention. 

It is unnecessary to state here the incidents connected with the 
battle of Germantown which cover the whole field. It is sufificient to 
say that Washington's plan, admirably arranged, contemplated an 
attack upon the British by four columns, marching upon the enemy 
by the Lime-Kiln road, the Old York road, the main road to German- 
town, and the Manatawny or Ridge road. The main body, under 
Wayne and Sullivan, with Conway's brigade, Washington accompany- 
ing this portion of the troops, were to march down the Skippack or 
main road. 

On the night of October 3, 1777, the American columns were put 
in motion at the Metuchen Hills. W^ayne had the advance of the 
centre column, and about daybreak of the 4th he attacked the British 
pickets at Mount Airy. At the noise of the firing the Second Royal 
Light Infantry, which was either posted there or had moved up, 
opened upon the advancing Americans with two six-pounder pieces, 
and the Fortieth, as well as a portion of the Tenth, are represented 
to have come to their assistance. Conway had command of the at- 
tacking party, which was composed of the Second Maryland and one 
of his own regiments. Sullivan, not having room, deployed in a lane 
leading to the Schuylkill. Wayne's men advanced with charged 
bayonets. The British troops fled, leaving baggage and their tents 
standing. For more than a mile the rout continued, Sullivan, Conway, 
and Wayne pressing the fugitives. It was at this time that Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Musgrave of the Fortieth British regiment, while in re- 
treat, resorted to a measure which seriously affected the fortunes of 
the day. With six companies under his comimand he took possession 
of the Chew House, barricaded doors and windows, and turned the 



240 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



mansion into a fortification. Conway, Sullivan, and Wayne, ignorant of 
this movement, passed on and engaged Knyphausen, Stern, and Grey, 
and routed them with the bayonet. The reserve under Nash and 
Maxwell, with whom was Washington, pressed on, following the tri- 
umphant advance. As they were passing Chew's House, ignorant of its 
occupation, they were startled by the firing of musketry from the win- 
dows of that mansion. Colonel Timothy Pickering, who had been sent 
with a despatch to Sullivan, and was returning to the reserve, thus de- 
scribes the circumstances : " I first discovered the enemy to be there by 
their firing on me from the window on my return from General Sullivan. 
On rejoining General Washington, I found a question was agitated 
in his presence whether the whole of the troops, then behind, should 
pass on, regardless of the enemy in Chew's House, or summon them 
to surrender. A brave and distinguished officer (now no more) urged 
a summons. He said it would be * unmilitary to leave a castle in our 
rear.' I answered, * Doubtless that is a correct general maxim, but it 
does not apply in this case. We know the extent of this castle (Chew's 
House), and to guard against the danger of the enemy's sallying out 
and falling on the rear of our troops, a small regiment may be posted 
here to watch them ; and if they sally out, such a regiment ivill take 
care of theinf^ But,' I added, * to summon them to surrender will 
be useless. We are now in the midst of the battle, and its issue is 
unknown. In this state of uncertainty, and so well secured as the 
enemy find themselves, they will not regard a summons : tliey will 
fire at your flag/' However, a subaltern officer with a white flag 
and drum was sent with a summons. He had reached the gate at 
the road when a shot from a window gave him a wound of which 
he died." 

The officer alluded to, who urged that the garrison should be sum- 
moned to surrender, was General Knox. The subaltern officer who 

* Gordon, in his History, says that General Joseph Reed was the officer who replied to 
Knox's suggestion that it would be " unmilitary to leave a castle in our rear." Reed is 
represented to have said, " What ! call this a fort, and lose the happy moment ?" But 
Pickering says that Reed was not present, and did not belong to the army at that time. 
William B. Reed, in the Life of President Reed, admits the latter statement, but says that 
Joseph Reed was serving in the army as a volunteer. He does not claim that Reed held 
the conversation with Knox attributed to him by Gordon. Graydon, in Memoirs of a Life 
chiefly Spent in Pennsylvania, says that Reed and Cadwalader were present during the 
action at Germantown, but the biographer of Reed prefers to leave the question in doubt, 
and does not clearly state whether he thinks Pickering or Gordon is right. 



CLIVEDEN {CHEW HOUSE), GERMANTOWN. 24 1 

carried the white flag and demanded the surrender, and was killed, was 
Lieutenant Matthew Smith of the Virginia line. An attack upon the 
house being determined upon, two cannon were planted in the main 
road directly in front of Johnson's House, and to the fire from the 
house there was a sharp reply by musketry. Chastellux, in his 
Travels in America, thus tells the story of the siege of Chew's House, 
as it was related to him by the Chevalier Mauduit-Duplessis, who had 
charge of the artillery : 

" Whilst everything thus succeeded on the right. General Washing- 
ton, at the head of the reserve, was expecting to see his left column 
arrive, and pursued his march by the main street. But a fire of mus- 
quetry which proceeded from a large house within pistol-shot of the 
street suddenly checked the van of his troops. It was resolved to 
attack this house ; but cannon were necessary, for it was known to be 
of stone, and could not therefore be set fire to. Unfortunately, they 
had only six-pounders ; the Chevalier Duplessis-Mauduit brought two 
pieces near another house, two hundred paces from the former. This 
cannonade produced no effect ; it penetrated the walls, but did not 
beat them down. The Chevalier de Mauduit, full of that ardor which 
at the age of sixteen made him undertake a journey into Greece to 
view the fields of Platea and Then 1 10 py Ice, and at twenty go in search 
of laurels in America, resolved to attack by main force this house, 
which he was unable to reduce by cannon.* He proposed to Colonel 
Laurens to take with him some determined men, and get some straw 
and hay from a barn to set fire to the principal door. One may con- 
ceive such an idea presenting itself to two spirited young men, but 
it is scarcely credible that of these two noble, adventurous youths, 
one (Duplessis) should be at present on his way to France, and the 
other (Laurens) in good health at Newport. M. de Mauduit, making 
no doubt that they were following him with all the straw in the barn, 
went straight to a window on the ground floor, which he forced and 

* The translator of Chastellux adds the following interesting information: "In 1782 I 
visited and passed a very agreeable day at this celebrated stone house, so bravely and 
judiciously defended by Colonel Musgrave, and saw many marks of cannon and musquet 
shot in the walls, doors, and window-shutters, besides two or three mutilated statues which 
stood in front of it. It is a plain gentleman's country-house, with four windows in front, 
and two stories high, calculated for a small family, and stands single and detached from 
any other building, so that, defended as it was by six companies, commanded by so gal- 
lant an officer, it was calculated to make a long resistance against everything but heavy 



cannon." 



16 



242 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

on which he mounted. He was received, in truth, Hke the lover who, 
mounting a ladder to see his mistress, found the husband waiting for 
him on the balcony ; I do not know whether, like him too, on being 
asked what he was doing there, he answered, I am only taking a walk ; 
but this I know, that whilst a gallant man, pistol in hand, desired him 
to surrender, another, less polite, entering hastily into the chamber, 
fired a musquet-shot which killed, not M. de Mauduit, but the officer 
who wished to take him. After these slight mistakes and this little 
quarrel the difficulty was for him to retire. On one hand, he must 
be exposed to a smart fire from the first and second floor; on the 
other, part of the American army were spectators, and it would have 
been ridiculous to return running. M. de Mauduit, like a true French- 
man, chose rather to expose himself to death than ridicule, but the 
balls respected our prejudices ; he returned safe and sound, and Mr. 
Laurens, who was in no greater haste than he, escaped with a slight 
wound in his shoulder. I must not here omit a circumstance which 
proves the precarious tenure of a military existence. General Wash- 
ington thought that on summoning the commander of this post he 
would readily surrender ; it was proposed to M. de Mauduit to take 
a drum with him and make this proposal ; but on his observing that 
he spoke bad English, and might not, perhaps, be understood, an 
American officer was sent, who, being preceded by a drum and dis- 
playing a white handkerchief, it was imagined would not incur the 
smallest risque ; but the English answered this officer only by a 
musquet-shot, and killed him on the spot." 

In describing the effect of the attack made upon Chew's House by 
the Americans, General Wilkinson (^Memoirs of my Oivn Time) says : 
" The doors and shutters of the lower windows of the mansion were 
shut and fastened, the fire of the enemy being delivered from the iron 
gratings of the cellars and the windows above, and it was closely beset 
on all sides with small-arms and artillery, as is manifest from the mul- 
tiplicity of traces still visible from musket-ball and grape-shot on the 
interior walls and ceilings, which appear to have entered through the 
doors and windows in every direction ; marks of cannon-ball are also 
visible in several places on the exterior of the wall and through the 
roof, though one ball only appears to have penetrated below the roof, 
and that by a window in the passage of the second story. The 
artillery seems to have made no impression on the walls of the house, 



CLIVEDEN {CHEW HOUSE), GERMANTOWN. 



243 



a few slight indentures only being observable, except from one stroke 
in the rear, which started the wall." 

It has been generally assumed by historical writers that the delay at 
Chew's House was an incident which 
contributed more than any other 
event of the battle to the non-success 
of the American arms. This must 
be conjecture, because the ill-success 
of the two columns on the east of 
the main road, and the panic which 
occurred in consequence of the fog 
which prevailed, which led the 
American troops to mistake their 
comrades for the enemy, and caused 
them to fire into each other, together 
with the misfortune which exposed 
Colonel Matthews' Ninth Virginia 
regiment to the full force of the Brit- 
ish regiments in front and the Fourth 
brigade under Agnew, and finally 
caused Matthews to surrender after 
he lost three-fourths of his men, may 
be considered decisive of the contest. 
Johnson, in his Life of Greene, does not 
seem to think that the time wasted at 



Chew's House was near so long as is 
represented by some writers. He 
says : 

" It is true that on reaching Chew's House Sullivan's column was 
halted ; that General Washington rode up, and paused a few minutes 
to observe the effect of General Knox's bullets upon its massy walls ; 
that during this time some very precious minutes were lost, but by 
no means as many as are generally supposed. It was not that he was 
under the antiquated error which required that a fortified enemy 
should not be left in the rear, but it was under the consciousness of the 
inestimable importance of every minute that he thus acted. Filing off 
to the right and left to avoid the murderous fire from the house must 
occasion a great waste of time, whilst it divided his line and left an 




Door of Chew House, showing 
Marks of the Battle. 



244 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

opening that the enemy, then actually forming under cover of the 
house, might take advantage of It was the hope that the well-directed 
fire of Knox would speedily bring the contest to a close that induced 
him to submit to the delay. And the hope was a rational one, for the 
impenetrable thickness of the walls could only be ascertained by 
experiment. Yet a very few minutes elapsed before he issued his 
orders to leave a regiment to observe the party in the house, whilst 
the army inclined to the right and left to avoid it." 

Wilkinson is of opinion that the time lost at Chew's House was 
really a gain to the American arms and saved Washington from a woe- 
ful defeat. He says : " After the examination of these facts and 
circumstances, I cannot repress the belief that the halt at Chew's 
House, whatever may be its merits in a professional view, was another 
manifestation of the Divine interposition in behalf of these States ; 
because if General Washington had met with no obstacle, he would, 
under the thickness of the fog, have closed with the main body of the 
enemy before he could have been apprised of its proximity, and thus 
his centre and a part of his left wing would have been committed to a 
general action with the whole British army ; the result of which I 
submit to the consideration of my readers." 

Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Thomas Musgrave of the Fortieth regiment 
subsequently rose to the rank of lieutenant-general in the British army. 
A fine portrait print of this officer, still extant, made after he returned 
to England, possesses more than common interest from the fact that in 
the background is a building intended to represent the Chew House in 
the distance, but which looks unlike the old mansion. He was born in 
1738, succeeded to a baronetcy, and died December 31, 181 2. 

Possibly, the condition of the property after the evacuation caused a 
feeling of regret which induced Mr. Chew to part with Cliveden. He 
sold it September 3, 1779, ^^ Blair McClenachan, who occupied it as 
his country-seat for nearly eighteen years. Possibly, there were asso- 
ciations connected with the house which led Mr. Chew to repurchase 
it. McClenachan on the 15th of April, 1797, conveyed the property to 
Benjamin Chew, who again took possession of the old seat. 

The Duke de la Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, in his Travels in tJie United 
States, written in 1797, says of Cliveden that McClenachan bought it 
of Chew for about ^9000, and resold it to the former owner for about 
;^25,ooo, without any improvement having been made on it. It was 



CLIVEDEN {CHEW HOUSE), GERMANTOWN. 245 

a fine speculation for McClenachan, who about this time was beginning 
to experience the want of money — a deprivation which eventually 
drove him into bankruptcy. He was a curious character, and was 
quite conspicuous in Philadelphia affairs for many years. He was a 
native of Ireland, and came to Philadelphia when young, and engaged 
in the business of a merchant. He was one of the members of the 
Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, which society was established in 1760, 
and an original member of the troop of light-horse since called the 
First City Troop, to which he became attached November 17, 1774. 
He was a subscriber to the amount of i^ 10,000 in 1780 to the Bank 
of Pennsylvania, by which ^^300,000 in Pennsylvania currency, payable 
in gold and silver, were subscribed for the establishment of a bank 
for furnishing " a supply of provisions for the army of the United 
States." Mr. McClenachan was a director of the bank, which laid 
the foundation for the Bank of North America in 1782. During the 
Revolution, McClenachan engaged largely in the fitting out of priva- 
teers, and made a great deal of money. He was conspicuous in local 
politics. Stansbury satirizes him in his historical ballad of the *' Pro- 
ceedings in Philadelphia on the 24th and 25th of May, 1779:" 

" The great McClenachan bestrode 
His prancing horse, and fiercely rode; 
And, faith! he had good reason, 
For he was told that, to his sorrow, 
He with a number more to-morrow 
Should be confined in prison. 

It is said some speculating job 
Of his had so inflamed the mob 
That they were grown unruly." 

it * -Sfr * 

This allusion was in regard to importations of flour made by Rob- 
ert Morris and Blair McClenachan, which, by the fact that the mer- 
chandise was taken for the use of the French fleet, failed to reach 
the people, who were in want, and caused considerable complaint of 
monopoly and forestalling. Placards were finally posted about the 
streets menacing Morris, McClenachan, and James Wilson, a Signer 
of the Declaration of independence, who had in his professional ca- 
pacity as a lawyer acted as counsel for Tories accused of treason. 
They were all threatened with violence, and out of these circumstances 



246 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



arose the riot and bloodshed at Fort Wilson on the 4th of October 
of the same year. He lost very heavily during the Revolution by the 
seizure of a large quantity of property belonging to him at St. Eustacia, 
where his vessels had gone to bring supplies for the United States. 
When the Pennsylvania line revolted, no man had more respect, nor 
did any one do more to restore confidence, than Mr. McClenachan. 
His services at that time are represented to have been very important. 
He was elected a member of the committee for the city and county in 
July, 1779, and was in other ways conspicuous. In 1790 he was 
elected member of the Pennsylvania Assembly, and held that office 
until 1795. During Washington's administration he became an oppo- 
nent of the Federal government, and was a violent member of the 
party sympathizing with France, which afterward became known as 
the Democratic party. He was one of the leaders of the mob which 
in 1794 guillotined John Jay in effigy in the public pillory, and after- 
ward burned and blew up with gunpowder the rag representative of 
that unpopular statesman. 

When asked what he would do with Jay's treaty, McClenachan in- 
dignantly replied, " Kick it to , sir." Upon this the opposition 

got out a laughable caricature representing Mr. McClenachan in the 
act of kicking the treaty to the dominions of His Satanic Majesty. 
Mr. McClenachan was at the head of the Gallic party in Philadelphia, 
and became nearly wild during the excitements of the period. He was 
president of the Democratic Society in 1794. At a dinner given on 
St. Tammany's Day, the ist of May, at Israel Israel's place, three 
miles from the city, " the late successes of our French brethren " were 
celebrated by eight hundred persons. Patriotic toasts of the most in- 
tense kind were duly honored. Among them was the following : " The 
extinction of monarchs — may the next generation know kings only 
by the page of history, and wonder that such monsters were ever per- 
mitted to exist." After dinner the citizens formed themselves in a 
double line in the lane leading to the mansion. Here President Mc- 
Clenachan of the Democratic Society gave the " fraternal embrace " 
to Minister Citizen Fauchet of the French Republic amid the ani- 
mated joy and acclamations of the whole company. 

John F. Watson, in his reminiscences of these days, says, relating 
his own boyish recollections : " All others too put on the [French] 
national cockade. Some whose parents had more discretion resisted 



CLIVEDEN {CHEW HOUSE), GERMANTOWN. 247 

this boyish parade of patriotism for a doubtful revolution, and then 
they wore their cockades on the inside of their hats. I remember 
several boyish processions, and on one occasion the girls, dressed in 
white and in French tri-colored ribbons, formed a procession too. 
There was a great Liberty Pole with a red cap on the top erected at 
Adet's or Fauchet's house [Dunlap's mansion, south-east corner of 
Twelfth and Market streets], and there I and one hundred others, 
taking hold of hands and forming a ring round the same, made tri- 
umphant leapings, singing the national airs. There was a band of 
music to lead the airs. I remember that among the grave and el- 
derly men who gave the impulse and prompted the revellings was a 
burly and gouty old gentleman, Blair McClenachan, Esq. (famed in the 
Democratic ranks of that day), and with him and the white misses at 
our head we marched down the middle of the dusty street, and when 
arrived opposite Mr. Hammond's (the British minister's) house [High 
above Eighth street — Hunter's house, I believe], there were several 
signs of disrespect offered toward the house." 

In 1797, Mr. McClenachan was elected member of Congress, and 
served until 1799. He was afterward Commissioner of United States 
Loans. Mr. McClenachan was possibly a brother of Rev. William Mc- 
Clenachan, the first clergyman of St. Paul's Episcopal church. Blair 
was a founder of that church, and a vestryman until his death. He 
died May 8, 18 12, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Paul's. 
His latter days were chilled by poverty. His bankruptcy swept away 
his whole fortune, and the Federal office which was conferred upon 
him was really the support of his declining years. Mr. McClenachan's 
daughter, Deborah, a famous beauty of her time, married General 
Walter Stewart, who was the near neighbor of General Washington 
when the latter lived in Market street between Fifth and Sixth. 
. After the animosities and bitterness of the war of the Revolution 
had passed a sense of justice gradually arose, which changed the 
position in public esteem of various persons who had been held in dis- 
favor by the Whigs during the trying period, and who, it was admitted, 
were treated more harshly than they deserved. Among these were 
Benjamin Chew. His talents and learning were needed for the public 
service. In 1791 he was appointed President of the High Court of 
Errors and Appeal under the act of September 30 of that year. 
This court, established February 28, 1780, was reorganized in 1791. 



248 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

Mr. Chew remained in this court as President Judge for fifteen years, 
and until the court was abohshed by act of February 24, 1806. When 
President Chew retired from this tribunal he was eighty-three years of 
age, and gladly sought retirement for the few years allotted to him. 
He died January 20, 18 10, aged eighty-seven years. He had been 
twice married. His first wife was Mary, daughter of Samuel Galloway 
of Maryland, and his second a daughter of Mr. Oswald. She died May 
16, 1 8 19, aged eighty-five years. One of the daughters of Mr. Chew 
married Alexander Wilcocks in 1768, and another daughter, Harriet, 
married Charles Carroll of CarroUton, Signer of the Declaration of 
Independence. Sophia Chew was one of the ladies of the Mischianza. 
Peggy or Margaret, another daughter of Chief-Justice Chew, was 
upon the same occasion a Lady of the Blended Rose. Sophia married 
Henry Phillips the younger, and Peggy married Colonel John Eager 
Howard of Baltimore, a gallant and accomplished officer in the 
American Revolution. 

Washington, who had known Chief-Justice Chew before the Revo- 
lution, cherished a high respect for him, and after he became President 
maintained friendly intercourse with him, as is shown in various 
passages in his diaries. Peggy Chew was married to Colonel John 
Eager Howard at the family mansion in South Third street in 1787, 
during the period when Washington was President of the Convention 
to frame a Constitution for the United States. The distinguished pa- 
triot was a guest at the wedding, and might have contrasted in his 
mind the joyous festivities on the happy occasion with his own unfor- 
tunate experience at the Chew country-seat ten years before. 

Benjamin Chew the second, called Benjamin Chew Junior, succeeded 
to an equal share of the family estates, which were divided between 
himself and his eleven sisters. He was born in Philadelphia Septem- 
ber 30, 1758. He graduated at the College of Philadelphia in 1775, 
chose the profession of the law, and perfected himself in that study 
at the Middle Temple, London. On his return to Philadelphia he was 
admitted to the Philadelphia bar in June, 1786, and practised for some 
years, but gradually withdrew from active life. He died at Cliveden 
April 30, 1844, in the eighty-sixth year of his age. He married in 
1788 Catharine Banning, who brought him a valuable estate. His 
family was large, and some of his sons occupied important positions, 
among whom may be named Benjamin Chew, Jr., and Samuel Chew, 



CLIVEDEN {CHEW HOUSE), GERMANTOWN. 



249 



members of the Philadelphia bar, admitted respectively in 1815 and 
1 81 8. During his life he received at Cliveden, in 1825, General La 
Fayette, who at that time was making his final visit to Philadelphia. 
The reception of La Fayette was considered an important event in the 
history of Cliveden, and the circumstance has been perpetuated by a 
fine painting lately made by an excellent artist. Concerning this Mr. 
Chew it has been gracefully said : ** He led a blameless life of princely 
hospitality and benevolence, doing good, promoting some charitable 
institutions, but bestowing liberal charities himself, advocating and 
enriching the internal improvements of the State, and promoting the 
welfare of a numerous tenantry. He had a large family, to whom he 
was ever an indulgent father. He was a firm friend, an elegant, ac- 
complished, brave gentleman, of polished manners, of singular personal 
symmetry of form and features, and great strength." 




Johnson House, Germantown. 



THE WASHINGTON MANSION, 



MARKET STREET. 




HE Masters' family is a very old one in Philadelphia, 
and goes back to the time of William Penn. Thomas 
Masters, the first of the name among us, came to 
Pennsylvania about the year 1700, probably a little 
earlier. This supposition is warranted by the fact that 
his son William was a suitor for the hand of Letitia 
Penn in 1 699-1 701. Masters came from Bermuda. 
His wife was a Knighton. In 1704 he built a stately 
house at the S. E. corner of Front and Market streets, 
extending to what was then called King street, now Water street. It 
was of three stories, with a garret, above the level of Front street, and 
four stories above King street. It was notable as the first three-story 
house built on the east side of Front street. This house stood for 
one hundred and thirty-six years, and during the later period of its 
occupancy was in the tenure of Benjamin and Ellis Clark, clock and 
watch makers. Thomas Masters became a man of importance. He 
was a member of the Assembly from the city in 1704 and 17 12, and 
from the county in 17 10 and 17 16. He was an Alderman of the city 
in 1702, and Mayor from 1707 to 1709. He was the owner of a fine 
tract of land in the Northern Liberties, south of Turner's lane and 
west of the Germantown road. Tenth street now goes through it, and 
Masters street takes its name from the family, which is now represented 
in the female line principally by the Camacs. Thomas Masters died 
in 1723, leaving two sons, Thomas and William. Mary Lawrence, 

250 



THE WASHINGTON MANSION, MARKET STREET. 



251 



daughter of John Lawrence, married WilHam Masters, and was a 
widow before the year 1761. Her father was a member of the City 
Council in 1762, Alderman in 1764, and Mayor 1765-66. He was 
appointed Judge of the Supreme Court of the Province in 1767. 
During the Revolution his sympathies were naturally with the royal- 
ists. He was put upon his parole by the Supreme Executive Council. 
In 1 76 1, John Lawrence and wife conveyed to their daughter, Mary 
Masters, widow, a lot of ground on the south side of Market street, 
between Fifth and Sixth, being in breadth one hundred and twenty 
feet and in length or depth one hundred and eighty feet. This 




Washington's Mansion. 

property was bought from the Penns in 1738 by John Kinsey, long 
celebrated as a Quaker lawyer, and then Chief-Justice of the Province. 
It was upon these premises that the Pennsylvania Hospital was first 
opened in 1752, as we are told, in a house in Market street between 
Fifth and Sixth, rented from John Kinsey. Mrs. Masters soon after the 
purchase built upon this lot a fine brick house. Burt says (address on 
the Washington Mansion in Philadelphia) that it was roomy and com- 
fortable, the main house being forty-six feet front by fifty-two deep, 
and was connected by a passage-way of fourteen feet in length with a 
kitchen twenty feet in width and thirty-seven feet six inches in depth ; 



252 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

behind this was a washhouse of the same width, seventeen feet six 
inches in depth ; so that the extent of the mansion and offices from the 
street was one hundred and twenty-one feet. There was a yard twenty- 
four feet in width on the east of it, and a paved yard on the west, the 
entrance to which was by an alley five and a half feet in width ; on 
the back part of the lot, fronting upon a lane or passage leading to 
Sixth street, and since known as Minor street, which was not opened 
through in Washington's time, a coach-house and stable, together fifty- 
two feet front. Richard Rush, in his Reminiscences, speaking of this 
old house as it appeared in his boyhood, between 1790 and 1800, 
when Washington lived in it, says : ** It was a large double house ; few 
if any equal to it are at present in Philadelphia. The brick of the 
house was, even in my time, dark with age, and two ancient lamp-posts, 
furnished with large lamps, which stood in front, marked it, in conjunc- 
tion with the whole external aspect, as the abode of opulence and 
respectability before he became its august tenant. No market-house 
then stood on the street. To the east a brick wall six or seven feet 
high ran well on toward Fifth street, until it met other houses (the first 
^ house, believed to be now 514 and 516, also owned by Robert Morris, 
as I find elsewhere, was occupied by General Stewart) ; the wall en- 
closed a garden, which was shaded by lofty old trees, and ran back 
to what is now Minor street, where the stables stood. To the west no 
building adjoined it, the nearest house in that direction being at the 
corner of Sixth and Market, where lived Robert Morris." 

The views which have been preserved of this house represent it to 
have had one doorway and three windows upon Market street. The 
large room was upon the west, with two windows opening upon the 
street. East of the doorway was a smaller room with one window. 
The doorway and windows of the first story were embellished with 
pediments. In the second story were four high windows, with hand- 
some finish over their tops. Four smaller windows were above, and 
two dormers in the garret opened out upon the street. Mrs. Masters 
occupied this mansion some years after it was finished, and her 
daughter Mary lived with her. In 1771, Richard Penn, the second 
son of Richard, who was then proprietor of one-fourth of Pennsylva- 
nia, came over with a commission as Lieutenant-Governor, and super- 
seded James Hamilton, locnm tenejis, as President of the Council. 
Richard, as a younger son, had but a small estate, but his family con- 



THE WASFIINGTON MANSION, MARKET STREET 253 

nections were much in his favor. He was then thirty-seven years of 
age, and found Polly Masters an occupant of the finest house in town, 
and by her connection with the Masters and Lawrence famihes most 
comfortably situated. And so Richard, perhaps in ignorance that 
Mary's grandfather had nearly three-quarters of a century previous 
been a suitor for the hand of his great-aunt — whereby, if circum- 
stances had turned out happily, the Penns and the Masters would 
have been united — became a suitor for the hand of the agreeable and 
rich young lady. And he was successful. On the 19th of May, 1772, 
Mrs. Mary Masters, the mother, conveyed to her daughter Mary the 
Market street property in consideration of natural love and affection. 
It was a marriage-gift, and after Richard Penn was wedded he lived in 
this house in a style of elegance which his wife's fortune, if not his own, 
would well allow. Penn possessed a fine person, elegant manners, was 
of a social disposition, and a bon vivant. He was the most popular 
member of his family who visited Pennsylvania after the death of the 
founder. He held his office for twenty-two months, when he was 
superseded by his elder brother, John, who had already been Lieuten- 
ant-Governor of Pennsylvania from 1763 to 177 1. It was noted at the 
time that there were evidences of ill-feeling between these, brothers, 
Richard perhaps not relishing the manner in which he had been dis- 
placed. The younger remained in Philadelphia until after the outbreak 
of the Revolution without attracting the suspicion, or at least the ill- 
will, of the patriot party. He it was who was entrusted, together 
with Arthur Lee, in 1775, to take over to England the petition of Con- 
gress to the king, and this was after actual hostilities had commenced. 
He was examined concerning American affairs at the bar of the House 
of Lords. His testimony was candid, and, as is now known, was 
correct. But it was not of the character which the peers expected or 
desired, and the idea that an English gentleman of intelligence and 
position, whose interests were connected with the Crown, should 
confirm all that Franklin had said in his examination before the Privv 
Council, was irritating. Lord Littleton said : " With all the caution 
Mr. Penn guarded his expression, he nevertheless betrayed throughout 
the whole of the examination indications of the strongest prejudice." 
He remained in England for thirty years, when he returned to Phila- 
delphia with his son William and daughter Hannah, and was a resident 
of the city for about a year in 1808-09. His residence then was at 



254 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

210 Chestnut street, on the south side, between Eighth and Ninth. 
He died in 1811, aged sixty-seven years. 

After Richard Penn went to England in 1775, the manner in which 
the High street mansion was occupied up to the time when the British 
army entered Philadelphia (September 26, 1777) is not known. As 
soon as the royal troops were comfortably quartered, and after the 
battle of Germantown, the matter of a head-quarters for General 
Howe was considered. He must have the best house in town, and 
so he held possession of Richard Penn's house until the evacua- 
tion in 1778. From there the commander-in-chief, whenever he was 
desirous of making an impression, was driven in Mary Pemberton's 
coach, drawn by Mary Pemberton's horses; which conveniencys he 
had seized. Sir William Howe is described by some informant of 
Watson the annalist as being of " a fine figure, full six feet high, and 
well proportioned — in appearance not unlike his antagonist, General 
Washington. His manners were graceful and dignified, and he was 
much beloved by his officers for his generosity and affability." During 
the royal occupation the officers indulged much in dissipation. Dis- 
cipline was so much relaxed that there was point in the remark of 
Franklin : " General Howe has not taken Philadelphia — Philadelphia 
has taken General Howe." When, after the raree-show of the Mis- 
chianza and the departure of Howe, Clinton marched out (18th of 
June, 1778), close upon the footsteps of the retreating Britons came 
Colonel Allen McLane, with his Rangers and a few more Continental 
troops, and almost as soon followed, in order to take command of the 
city as military governor, an officer who was to be the next occupant 
of this mansion. Benedict Arnold was just the man to succeed Sir 
William Howe in any effort of show or extravagance, and to do it 
in the name of patriotism and for the good of the country. Little 
time was wasted by him in taking possession of the premises, and 
it is a matter of inference that the bed upon which Howe had lain 
was yet warm when Arnold was ready to occupy it. His career in the 
city was of such a character, and his actions so thoroughly indicative 
of his subsequent conduct at West Point, that space may be fairly 
claimed to tell the story. 

Arnold had been appointed to the command of the militia at Bristol, 
and on every part of the Delaware River east of Bristol, by Congress 
on the 14th of June, and was in the neighborhood awaiting this op- 



THE WASHINGTON MANSION, MARKET STREET. 255 

portiinity, the happening of which had been anticipated by Washing- 
ton. On entering the city Arnold issued a proclamation in which 
he recited the resolutions of Congress recommending the commander- 
in-chief to take measures to protect the city in case of evacuation, and 
to prevent the removal, transfer, or sale of goods or merchandise in the 
possession of the inhabitants belonging to the king of Great Britain. 
All persons having European, East India, or West India goods, iron, 
leather, shoes, wines, and provisions of every kind, beyond the neces- 
sary use of a private family, were ordered to make return to the Town- 
Major. All persons holding property of the British government or of 
British subjects were directed to make a like report. Military law 
was declared, and it was ordered that, until permission should be 
given by the general, there *' should be no removal, transfer, or sale of 
any goods, as it will be deemed a breach of the above resolution of 
Congress, and such goods will be seized and confiscated for public 
use." Under this order the shops and stores were shut up, and re- 
mained so for eight days, the only sales which were allowed being 
provisions in the markets, which were declared by proclamation of 
June 2 1st to be open, and the attendance of country-people with mar- 
keting was invited. The closing of the shops was a matter of much 
complaint on the part of the Whigs who came into the city, as well as 
of the inhabitants who remained. They were badly off for supplies, and 
this regulation was not only in restraint of trade, but it was a hard- 
ship upon the people. The reason for this action of Arnold was not 
known at the time, but it was afterward made apparent by the discovery 
of the following agreement, which he had entered into within four days 
after his arrival, with Mease, the Clothier-General, and West, his deputy : 

" Whereas, By purchasing goods and necessaries for the use of the 
public sundry articles not wanted for that purpose may be obtained, 
it is agreed by the subscribers that all such goods or merchandise 
which are or may be bought by the Clothier-General or persons ap- 
pointed by him shall be sold for the joint, equal benefit of the sub- 
scribers, and to be purchased at their risk. 

" Witness our hands this twenty-second day of June, 1778. 

" B. Arnold, 
"James Mease, 
"William West." 



256 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PIIILADEIPHIA, 

The object of this secret agreement was to take advantage of the au- 
thority of the commanding general in the purchase of goods, ostensibly 
for the public service, which were for private use altogether. The 
exact terms of the partnership are not given ; but great advantage 
might be realized by the right of purchasing, which, by reason of the 
wholesale authority of the government, could be extended to the entire 
monopoly of certain goods, with opportunity to raise the prices on 
purchasers to a great degree for the benefit of the parties engaged in 
this transaction. The shops being shut, gave to the partners an 
advantage in obtaining articles as if for public service, and in storing 
them, ready to be sold as soon as business should be opened. 

The Supreme Executive Council of the State, which had been in 
session at Lancaster, held its first meeting at Philadelphia on the 
26th of June, and on that day directed that Colonel Matthew Smith, 
one of the members, and the secretary, should " wait on General 
Arnold, and inquire what is his intention in ordering the shops in this 
city to be shut." As soon as the committee waited on the general we 
may presume he perceived that this measure, which was entirely in 
furtherance of the designs of himself and of his secret partners, could 
not be longer maintained without exciting complaint and perhaps sus- 
picion. He therefore issued a proclamation, dated the 26th, giving 
permission to the retailers to open their shops, but it was not published 
in handbills until the 27th. On the same day he sent to the Council 
copies of the papers he had issued, with the mollifying accompaniment 
of an invitation to the Council to dine with him. 

The Clothier-General of the United States, who was in this arrange- 
ment with Arnold, had already elicited complaint. The committee of 
the Council stated that it had " mentioned to the General [Arnold] the 
difficulties made by the Clothier-General of the United States in sup- 
plying the troops of this State in the Continental army with clothing, 
and desired to be informed what was his intention with respect to the 
disposal of the [clothing] procured in the city and mentioned to the 
general in the memorial lately presented by the officers of the troops 
of this State on the subject of clothing ; to which he replied that he 
would give orders to the Clothier-General to wait on the Council and 
explain his conduct on this subject." This promise does not seem to 
have been fulfilled, as no account of the Clothier-General appears upon 
the minutes of the Council ; and perhaps at the dinner which Arnold 



THE WASHINGTON MANSION, MARKET STREET. 25 



gave to the members of that body he managed to adroitly explain 
away the difficulties which surrounded the subject. 

Without means to maintain himself in the style in which it was his 
ambition to appear, Arnold was driven, from his entrance into the city, 
to the employment of whatever opportunities were within his control 
which could be made available in supporting his extravagance. The 
partnership which he entered into was expected to be profitable, and 
the man himself was not willing to abandon any ostentatious effort 
which would add to his assertion of consequence. Crippled at 
Quebec and at Stillwater, a vehicle was necessary for his use. It 
might have been in accordance with the republican simplicity of the 
times to use a modest one-horse conveyance, which would not have 
been unbecoming in a major-general of the American army whose pay 
was irregularly obtained, and which was furnished in a constantly-de- 
preciating Continental currency. But Arnold could not be satisfied 
with so plain a service. He must have his coach and horses and ser- 
vants in livery, with all the parade and ostentation of a man of the 
highest degree of wealth and social position. Naturally enough, his 
ambition carried him into intercourse with the Tories, the representa- 
tives of old families, who, notwithstanding the misfortunes of the war, 
still possessed wealth and property. These associations were soon 
noticed by the Whigs, and brought the commander into suspicion and 
censure. ** A Militiaman," in the Packet of November 14th, com- 
plained of the manner in which he had been compelled to stand as a 
sentry at the door of the residence of Arnold, " subject to the whims 
and caprices of this officer and his suite," and to " be ordered upon the 
most menial services," which were " contrary to the spirit of a true 
citizen." This writer sarcastically said of Arnold, in conclusion, to 
show the absurdity of placing sentinels at the house of the command- 
ing officer — " He is exposed to no real danger in this city. From a 
public enemy there can be none. From Tories, if there are any among 
us, he has nothing to fear. They are all remarkably fond of him. The 
Whigs, to a man, are sensible of his great merit and former services, 
and would risk their lives in his defence." Shortly afterward " T. G.," 
in an address to General Arnold, said : " When I meet your carriage 
in the streets, and think of the splendor in which you live and revel, 
of the settlement which it is said you have proposed in a certain case, 
and of the decent frugality necessarily used by other officers of the 

n 



258 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

army, it is impossible to avoid the question : From whence have these 
riches flowed if you did not plunder Montreal ?" 

The times, indeed, were such as to lead to luxury. The wretched 
currency and its continuing depreciation seemed to justify the 
opinion that it was wise to get rid of it before it became wholly 
worthless. The influence of such a sentiment caused extravagance, 
and it was universal. Washington, writing from Philadelphia in De- 
cember, 1778, to Benjamin Harrison, said: "If I were to be called 
upon to draw a picture of the times and of men from what I have 
seen, heard, and in part know, I should, in one word, say that idleness, 
dissipation, and extravagance seemed to have laid fast hold of them — 
that peculation and an insatiable thirst for riches seemed to have got 
the better of every consideration, and almost of every order of men. 
.... I have no resentments ; neither do I mean to point out any 

particular characters Our money is now sinking fifty per cent. 

a day in this city, and I shall not be surprised if in a few months a 
total stop is put to the currency of it. And yet an assembly, a con- 
cert, a dinner, or a supper that will cost ^^300 or ;^400, they will 
not only take men from acting in this business, but even from think- 
ing of it ; while a great part of the officers of our army, from absolute 
necessity, are quitting the service, and the more virtuous few, rather 
than do this, are sinking by sure degrees into beggary and want." In 
February, 1779, General Greene wrote from Philadelphia: "Luxury 
and dissipation are very prevalent. These are the common offspring 

of sudden riches I dined at one table where there were one 

hundred and sixty dishes, and at several others not far behind. The 
growing avarice and a declining currency are poor materials to build 
an independence upon." 

There were no means by which Arnold could obtain money that he 
hesitated in embracing. Samuel Breck, in his biographical sketch of 
the character of Judge Richard Peters, Commissioner of War during 
1778, states that on the i8th of July Mr. Peters entered Philadelphia 
at the very time the enemy was evacuating it, his object being to se- 
cure clothing and stores secreted by the Americans who had remained 
in the city, and to purchase everything he could from the dealers. He 
succeeded in his errand, and immediately afterward returned to York, 
where Congress was in session. " I left," says Mr. Peters, in a letter 
to a friend, " fifty thousand dollars to the order of Arnold, for the pay- 



THE WASHINGTON MANSION, MARKET STREET. 259 

ment of the clothing and stores. The traitor, who seized these articles, 
never paid for them, but converted the greater part of the money to 

his own use Colonel Pickering and I detected him in ordering 

stores and provisions out of the public magazines to fit out privateers 
of his own and for his extravagant family establishment. An attempt 
to stop this robbery produced between me and Arnold an open 
quarrel." 

One of the first indications of Arnold's rascality which was made 
public related to a case of what the lawyers call " champerty " in re- 
lation to a claim for prize-money. The British sloop Active sailed 
from Jamaica for New York on the ist of August, 1778. Among the 
crew of the vessel were four Americans. Near Cape Charles two 
British cruisers were fallen in with by the Active, the officers of which 
informed the captain. Underwood, of the evacuation of Philadelphia. 
Hearing this, the American sailors formed a plan for the capture of 
the vessel. They rose upon the captain, mate, the passengers, and the 
rest of the crew, and confined them in the cabin and hold by piling a 
cable and other encumbrances on the stairway between the deck and 
the cabin. The officers and crew below were supplied with powder 
and shot, but the mutineers, although having powder, had no shot. 
The captain threatened to blow up the deck, and the American satlors 
were afraid that they would in that case be taken to New York, there 
imprisoned, and perhaps be hanged. A truce was finally agreed upon, 
by which the sailors were allowed to steer toward the land and escape 
in boats. Before the agreement was finally executed the Pennsylvania 
armed brig Convention, Captain Houston, fell in with the Active and 
captured her, and brought her with her cargo of rum and coffee into 
Philadelphia. The Gerard privateer of Philadelphia was near at the 
time, and claimed a part of the prize-money. Captain Houston, on 
the arrival of the prize, filed a claim in admiralty against the Active 
on behalf of himself and crew and the State of Pennsylvania. The 
Gerard also made claim for a portion of the prize-money. Against 
these efforts Gideon Olmstead, one of the four American seamen 
who had captured the vessel from the British, filed a counter-claim 
on behalf of himself and his comrades. The cause was tried before 
a jury in the admiralty, which awarded three-fourths of the prize- 
money to the Convention and the Gerard, and one-fourth to Olmstead 
and the seamen. The latter had ceased at that time to have any 



260 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

interest in the controversy, or at least anything more than a partial 
interest. 

Benedict Arnold had made himself interested in the case, and be- 
lieving that the seamen had good claim, purchased their rights, and 
really represented the claim before the court of admiralty. Olmstead 
and the seamen, it is believed, if left to themselves, would have been 
willing to accept the one-fourth of the prize-money decreed to them, 
and there would have been no further controversy. But Arnold was 
entirely too greedy to submit to the acceptance of so small a share. 
He wanted the whole, or at least a greater portion than one-fourth. 
He had sufficient influence in Congress to obtain the passage of a 
resolution which undertook to revise the decision of the court of ad- 
miralty, declaring that all the prize-money should be awarded to Olm- 
stead and his companions. More than this : the court of admiralty 
of Pennsylvania was ordered to revoke the decision and to execute 
the resolution of Congress. But the judge (George Ross) refused to 
obey this decree, declaring that there was no appeal from the Admi- 
ralty Court of Pennsylvania to the Congress of the United States. 
The result was that Arnold failed in obtaining the money which he 
coveted. But by his appeal to Congress, with the accompanying ac- 
tion, he produced a conflict of authority between the State and the 
United States which was not settled until 1809, after an armed resist- 
ance to the Federal government by the troops of Pennsylvania at 
" Fort Rittenhouse." The decree of the court of admiralty was 
pubhshed early in November ; and the same journal which contained 
a statement of the order of the court also contained the following 
paragraph : " It is whispered that some gentlemen of high r-ank now 
in this city have introduced a new species of champerty by interesting 
themselves in the sloop Active. If this be so, there can be no doubt 
but that the contract is itself void, and that the seamen are not bound 
to fulfil it." 

The means which were within the control of Arnold without sub- 
jecting him to anything greater than suspicion were not sufficient to 
satisfy his restless necessities for obtaining money. In October, 1778 
he ordered that army-wagons should be used for his own private 
advantage in the transportation of goods brought from New York 
with the intention of smuggling them into the city of Philadelphia. 
The arrangement for this traffic must have been made previously, and 



THE WASHINGTON MANSION, MARKET STREET. 26 1 



must have been carried on for some time. Jesse Jordan was sent with 
a train of twelve pubhc wagons to Egg Harbor, and when he arrived 
there they were loaded with merchandise which had been brought 
from the city of New York, Egg Harbor being a convenient point by 
which the traffic between the British army and the Tories of Phila- 
delphia was carried on. The goods were brought to the city, and, 
instead of being deposited in the public stores, as would have been 
done if the articles were government property, they were taken to 
private stores and warehouses. Setting aside the improper use of 
these wagons, the State was called upon to pay the expense of the 
transaction ; and the services of the conveyances were reckoned to 
be worth £(^60. 

In the succeeding January, Arnold sent wagons, with goods belong- 
ing to private persons, to Morristown. Matters went on in this way 
during the year 1778 without obstruction, under the administration 
of the Supreme Executive Council and Vice-President George Bryan. 
Joseph Reed was elected President of the Supreme Executive Council 
on the 1st of December, and immediately thereafter action was taken 
in relation to suspicious circumstances connected with the actions of 
Arnold, and investigation was made into his conduct while in the city. 
On the 3d of February, 1779, the Supreme Executive Council adopted 
a series of resolutions in regard to the conduct of the general, which it 
was resolved should be laid before Congress. They made eight spe- 
cific charges, one of them affecting his character as an officer while he 
was in the camp of Washington at Valley Forge before the evacuation. 
In the list of accusations were included his conduct in shutting up the 
stores on his arrival in the city, " while he privately made considerable 
purchases for his own benefit, as is alleged and believed." His 
conduct in making the militiamen stand as sentries at his door was 
complained of The case of the Active was mentioned, as was the 
affair of the wagons. Misuse of his authority in attempting to give a 
pass to a disaffected person to visit the British at New York was 
alleged. In addition to these charges were those of neglect of duty, 
of his disrespect to " civil, military, and other characters who have 
adhered to the cause of their country, with an entire different conduct 
toward those of anotJicr character." It was further said : " If this 
command has been, as is generally believed, supported at an expense 
of four or five thousand pounds per annum to the United States, we 



262 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

freely declare that we shall very unwillingly pa}- any share of the 
expense thus incurred." 

A copy of these resolutions was ordered to be delivered to Arnold, 
but upon the pretence of duty requiring his absence he had left the 
city. Major Matthew Clarkson, his aide-de-camp, upon the action of 
the Council having been made public, published a letter complaining 
that injustice had been done to the general by publishing the resolu- 
tions in his absence, it having been known that he was about to leave 
the city for some time previously. He said that Arnold would return 
in two or three weeks, and would then meet the accusations. From 
Camp Raritan, under date of February 9th, 1779, Arnold published an 
address to his countrymen, saying: "Conscious of having served my 
country faithfully for nearly four years without once having my con- 
duct impeached, I little expected at this time to be charged with 
crimes of which I believe few who know would have suspected me. 
. . . . I hope the issue will show that, instead of my being guilty 
of the abuses of power of which I am accused, the present attack on 
me is as gross a prostitution of power as ever disgraced a weak and 
wicked administration, and manifests a spirit of persecution against 
a man (who has endeavored to deserve well of his country) which 
would discredit the private resentment of an individual, and which 
ought to render anybody who could be influenced by it contemptible." 

Major Clarkson followed in* a letter, in which he denied that the 
resolutions of the Council had been delivered to Arnold before he left 
the city, but he accompanied the denial with the following curious 
counter-admission : " It may have, indeed, happened that these resolu- 
tions of the Council had been delivered to General Arnold, who, find- 
ing the roads bad, crossed the river again into this State, before he had 
again passed the line of the State. And this, I believe, was the case." 
The obvious drift of this paragraph was to support the insinuation 
that the general had not fled from the inquiry. 

Congress was slow to do anything with Arnold, and it was with some 
difficulty that a resolution was finally passed directing that a court- 
m^artial should be held at camp to try him on four of the charges 
exhibited against him. This trial was fixed for June ist at Washing- 
ton's head-quarters at Middlebrook, but the Executive Council not 
being ready, it was postponed. Military movements also intervened, 
and it was not till January, 1780, that the trial took place. Arnold 



THE WASHINGTON MANSION, MARKET STREET. 263 



was then convicted of misusing the public wagons, and was con- 
demned to be reprimanded by the commander-in-chief — a sHght 
sentence, w^hich, however, embittered his feeHngs and strengthened 
his resolve — before determined, it is believed — to sell himself to 
Great Britain if the price should be as great as his avarice and his 
necessities demanded. 

Arnold left Philadelphia about the middle of July, 1780, and never 
returned to the city. He was succeeded in the occupancy of Richard 
Penn's house by the representative of the majesty of France, the Sieur 
John Holker, consul-general of France, who had charge of the very 
important interests of "our good ally" during the Revolution. Holker 
was really an Englishman, and w^as born under the authority of the 
British Crown in the memorable year 1745. His father was an exten- 
sive manufacturer, but a strong Jacobite and a friend to the Pretender. 
Having cast his fortunes with the unlucky Charles Edward, the elder 
Holker was compelled to fly after the disastrous battle of CuUoden in 
order to save his life. He went to France, where his family soon fol- 
lowed, bringing with them young John, then scarcely more than a year 
old. He was educated in France, and, having been brought up there 
from his infancy, was in thought and spirit a Frenchman. His father 
managed to withdraw with him considerable means, and his son was 
brought up handsomely and well educated. At the outbreak of the 
American Revolution, John Holker was thirty years old and engaged 
in mercantile pursuits. He bore against England the family grudge 
which exiles cherish, and when the American Revolution broke out he 
became interested in the contest. He made the acquaintance of Dr. 
Franklin soon after the latter reached France as agent of the American 
Congress. The result of this acquaintance was that Holker entered 
into a secret contract with Franklin on behalf of Congress to furnish 
supplies to the Americans. France was not then at war w^ith Great 
Britain, and this arrangement was kept quiet. In 1776, Holker 
embarked with the goods, and arrived at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 
He thence proceeded to Philadelphia. He remained in America 
during the war, and when the Chevalier Gerard came to Philadelphia 
as ambassador from France to the new republic in July, 1778, he 
brought a commission to Holker to act as consul-general of France. 
As a representative of His Catholic Majesty, Holker desired one of 
the best houses in the city for a residence, and the mansion in High 



264 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



Street, which had already had distinguished tenants, was considered 
proper for his occupation. Whilst living in Philadelphia he fitted out 
the armed ship Holker, one of the most successful vessels which ever 
sailed out of the port, bringing the owners plenty of glory and prize- 
money, with few reverses or misfortunes. Holker never went back to 
France, or at least never resumed his rights as a French subject. The 
breaking out of the French Revolution probably deterred him. He 
remained in the United States, travelling in the South for exploration 
as far as Georgia. Finally, he took up his residence in Virginia. He 
purchased a handsome farm on the river Shenandoah, near Winchester, 
about 1792, where he established his country-seat. He resided in that 
place until the time of his death, on the 15th of April, 1822. Holker 
was a resident of the mansion in Market street when it was burned, 
January 2, 1780. He lost considerably by the fire. The walls were 
left standing ; they were built in the solid style of the old times. 

Robert Morris obtained a lease of the lot of ground with the ruins 
of the building, and caused the mansion to be " rebuilt and repaired " 
and made " divers other valuable improvements." This is given by 
Mr. Burt in an extract from the deed of August 25, 1785, made by 
Mary Masters the mother, Richard Penn and Mary his wife, and Sarah 
Masters to Robert Morris, the well-known patriot-financier of the 
Revolution. Mr. Morris was living in the house at the time, and he 
paid ;^3750 for the property. He continued to live there until a more 
distinguished tenant was ready for the occupancy of the mansion. 

Upon the removal of the seat of the Federal government from New 
York to Philadelphia — an occupation which was not to last longer 
than ten years — the obtaining of suitable places for public offices 
and a residence for the President of the United States was necessary. 
Attention was immediately turned to this subject, and the City 
Councils of Philadelphia made an examination. The result was an 
opinion that no more suitable mansion for the use of the President 
could be found than this house of Robert Morris. The latter, as a 
member of Congress at New York, had been very active in the move- 
ments which brought about the transfer of the seat of government 
from that city. His influence was so important that the New Yorkers 
caricatured him in a print, in which Senator Morris was represented 
as carrying off Federal Hall on his shoulders with all the members 
of Congress, whose faces were seen at the windows. The Devil at 



THE WASHINGTON MANSION, MARKET STREET. 265 

Paulus Hook ferry-house was represented as approving of this 
method of shifting a capital, and, beckoning to Morris, was repre- 
sented as crying, " This way, Bobby!" Mr. Morris, therefore, cheer- 
fully gave up the use of the mansion in Market street to Washington, 
and removed with his family to the fine old house at the south-east cor- 
ner of Sixth and Market streets, which was also his property, and had 
been built by the Tory lawyer Joseph Galloway. The State of Penn- 
sylvania confiscated the house when Galloway's treason was estab- 
lished, and it was appropriated to the purpose of the residence of the 
Presidents of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania during 
their official terms. Joseph Reed lived there, and if not used as a 
residence by William Moore and John Dickinson, it was probably 
occupied for the use of the officers of the State. Washington wrote 
to Tobias Lear, his private secretary, on the 3d of September, 1790, 
after he left New York : " The house of Mr. Robert Morris had pre- 
vious to my arrival been taken by the corporation for my residence. 
It is the best they could get ; it is, I believe, the best single house in 
the city, yet without additions it is inadequate to the commodious 
accommodation of my family. These additions, I believe, will be 
made. The first fioor contains only two public rooms (except one for 
the upper servants); the second floor will have two public (drawing) 
rooms, and, with the aid of one room with a partition in it, the back 
room will be sufficient for the accommodation of Mrs. Washington and 
the children and their maids, besides affording her a small place for 
a private study and dressing-room. The third story will furnish you 
and Mrs. Lear with a good lodging-room, a public office — for there 
is no room below for one — and two rooms for the gentlemen of the 
family. The garret has four good rooms, which must serve Mr. and 
Mrs. Hyde, unless they should prefer the room over the workhouse 
(doubtless the washhouse in the plan ; Mr. Hyde was butler), also 
William and such servants as it may not be better to place in the 
proposed additions to the back building. There is a room over the 
stable which may serve the coachman and postilions, and there is a 
smokehouse, which may possibly be more valuable for the use of 
servants than for the smoking of meats. The intention of the addition 
to the back building is to provide a servants' hall and one or two 
lodging-rooms for the servants. There are good stables, but for 
twelve horses only, and a coach-house which will hold all my 



266 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADEIPHIA. 

carriages. Speaking of carriages, I have left my coach to receive a 
thorough repair by the time I return, which I expect will be before 
the 1st of December." 

Washington was a methodical man, very precise in matters of busi- 
ness, and was soon worried about the amount of the rent which he 
would have to pay for this house. Up to the middle of November the 
sum had not been fixed, and at that time, writing from Mount Vernon 
to Mr. Lear, he said : " I am, I must confess, exceedingly unwilling to 
go into any house without first knowing on what terms I do it, and 
wish this sentiment could be again hinted in delicate terms to the 
parties concerned with me." This he considered the more necessary 
because of the proposed alterations, which he was afraid might be 
extravagant. He said that they " ought to be done in a plain and 
neat, and not by any means in an extravagant, style ; because the 
latter is not only contrary to my wish, but really would be detrimental 
to my interests and convenience, principally because it would be the 
means of keeping me out of the use and comforts of the house to a 
late period, and because the furniture and everything else would require 
to be accordant therewith." The rent was finally fixed at ;^3000 a 
year. Mr. and Mrs. Morris left two large looking-glasses, because 
they had no place proper to remove them to, a glass lamp in the 
entry or hall, and a mangle for ironing clothes. The tenants of the 
house were Washington and Mrs. Washington, Mr. and Mrs. Lear, 
Mr. Hyde the butler and wife, Samuel Fraunces the cook, and 
servants. 

Washington gave his first levee on Friday, the 25th of December, 
1790. It was attended by the beauty and fashion of the city. Mrs. 
Adams mentions the " dazzling Mrs. Bingham and her beautiful sisters, 
the Misses Allen, the Misses Chew, and, in short, a constellation of 
beauty." Sallie McKean, daughter of the Chief-Justice, writing to a 
friend in New York, said : " You never could have had such a draw- 
ing-room ; it was brilliant beyond anything you could imagine ; and 
though there was a good deal of extravagance, there was so much of 
Philadelphia taste in everything that it must be confessed the most 
delightful occasion of the kind ever known in this country." Every 
other Tuesday, says Griswold in the Republicajt Courts from which 
many of these particulars are derived, the President received respect- 
able citizens and strangers between the hours of three and four o'clock 



THE WASHINGTON MANSION, MARKET STREET. 267 



in the afternoon. "The receptions were in the dining-room, on the first 
floor, in the back part of the house. At three o'clock, all the chairs 
having been removed, the door was opened, and the President, usually 
surrounded by the members of his Cabinet or other distinguished 
men, was seen by the approaching visitor standing before the fire- 
place, his hair powdered and gathered behind in a silk bag, coat and 
breeches of plain black velvet, white or pearl-colored vest, yellow 
gloves, a cocked hat in his hand, silver knee- and shoe-buckles, and 
a long sword, with a finely-wrought and glittering steel hilt, the coat 
worn over it and its scabbard of polished white leather. On these 
occasions he never shook hands, even with his most intimate friends. 
The name of every one was distinctly announced, and he rarely forgot 
that of a person who had been once introduced to him. The visitor 
was received with a dignified bow, and passed on to another part of 
the room. At a quarter-past three the door was closed, the gentlemen 
present moved into a circle, and he proceeded, beginning at his right 
hand, to exchange a . few words with each. When the circuit was 
completed he resumed his first position, and the visitors approached 
him in succession, bowed, and retired." 

When Mrs. Washington gave her levees the President appeared 
in the costume of a private gentleman, without hat or sword, and did 
not consider that the visit was made to him. On these occasions he 
was social and conversed without restraint, generally with the ladies, 
who had no opportunity of meeting him at other times. Mrs. Susan 
Wallace, a daughter of Dr. Barnabas Binney and sister of Horace 
Binney, lived in Market street nearly opposite General Washington's 
house, during his residence in Philadelphia, and her remembrances 
were noted by her son, Horace Binney Wallace, long since deceased. 
Mrs. Wallace said : " It was the general's custom frequently, when the 
day was fine, to come out to walk, attended by his secretaries, Mr. 
Lear and Major William Jackson, one on each side. He always 
crossed directly over from his own door to the sunny side of the 
street, and walked down. He was dressed in black, and all three 
wore cocked hats. She never observed them conversing : she often 
wondered and watched, as a child, to see if any of the party spoke, 
but never could perceive that anything was said. It was understood 
that the aides were kept at regal distance. General Washington 
had a large family coach, a light carriage, and a chariot, all alike — 



268 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

cream-colored, painted with three enamelled figures on each panel — - 
and very handsome. He drove in the coach to Christ Church every 
Sunday morning with two horses ; drove the carriage and four into 
the country — to Landsdowne, the Hills, and other places. In going 
to the Senate he used the chariot with six horses. All his servants 
were white, and wore liveries of white cloth trimmed with scarlet or 
orange. Mrs. Wallace saw General Washington frequently at public 
balls. His manners there were very gracious and pleasant. She went 
with Mrs. Oliver Wolcott to one of Mrs. Washington's drawing-rooms. 
The general was present, and came up and bowed to every lady after 
she was seated. Mrs. Binney visited Mrs. Washington frequently. It 
was Mrs. Washington's custom to return visits on the third day ; and 
she thus always returned Mrs. Binney's. A footman would run over, 
knock loudly, and announce Mrs. Washington, who would then come 
over with Mr. Lear. Mrs. Wallace met Mrs. Washington in her 
mother's parlor ; her manners were very easy, pleasant, and uncer- 
emonious, with the characteristics of other Virginia ladies. When 
Washington retired from public life Mrs. Wallace was about nineteen 
years of age." 

Wansey, an English manufacturer, breakfasted with Washington 
and his family in the summer of 1794. "The fare was simple. The 
company consisted, besides the President and lady, of Eleanor Custis 
and George Washington Parke Custis, grandchildren of Mrs. Wash- 
ington, and aged respectively sixteen and fourteen years, and Wansey. 
Mrs. Washington herself made tea and coffee for us. On the table 
were two small plates of sliced tongue and dry toast, bread and butter, 

but no broiled fish, as is the general custom There were but 

slight indications of form, one servant only attending, who had no 
livery, and a silver urn for hot water was the only expensive article on 
the table. Mrs. Washington struck me as something older than the 
President, though I understand they were both born in the same year ; 
she was short in stature, rather robust, extremely simple in her dress, 
and wore a very plain cap, with her gray hair turned up under it." 
Horace Binney when a boy was a playmate of George Washington 
Parke Custis, and at one time, being with his friend in the President's 
house, was invited down to dinner. The company was composed of 
the President and lady and the two boys. They sat down without a 
word, Horace being under considerable feelings of awe, which were not 



THE WASHINGTON MANSION, MARKET STREET. 269 

much relieved by the fact which he states that during the entire dinner 
not a word was said by anybody. 

Samuel Fraunces, the cook of Washington, was a colored man, and 
commonly known as " Black Sam." He had been a tavern-keeper in 
the city of New York, and was noted for his skill as a caterer. He 
kept a tavern at Richmond Hill, at Vauxhall Garden, and Richmond 
street, and when Washington took leave of the army in New York, 
Sam was keeping a tavern in Broad street. Sam remained with Wash- 
ington until 1793. He kept tavern at 166 South Second street the 
next year, and removed afterward to 59 South Water street. 

In 1795, during Washington's occupancy of this mansion, his near- 
est neighbor on the west was Robert Kid, perfumer, and Mr. Morris 
lived at the south-east corner of Sixth street, which was considered a 
Sixth street house, and numbered as I South Sixth street. East of the 
President's house on High street his next neighbor was Henry Sheaff, 
wine-merchant, who was succeeded by Abraham Kintzing, grazier, 
Jacob Stein, flour-merchant, Robert E. Jones, wine-merchant, William 
Jones, gentleman, and James Dunn, boarding-house keeper. 

Upon coming to Philadelphia, Vice-President John Adams secured 
the mansion of Hamilton at Bush Hill. In a letter to her daughter 
upon taking possession, Mrs. Adams said : " Although there remains 
neither bush nor shrub upon it, nor very few trees except the pine 
grove behind it, yet Bush Hill is a very beautiful place; but the grand 
and sublime I left at Richmond Hill. The cultivation in sight and 
the prospect are superior, but the Schuylkill is no more like the 
Hudson than I to Hercules." 

Vice-President Adams did not remain at Bush Hill during his whole 
term. During the yellow fever of 1793 the Bush Hill mansion which 
he had occupied was vacant, and the citizens of Philadelphia took pos- 
session of it for a hospital, and held it for that purpose until the epi- 
demic had ceased. It was unfit after that time for the purposes of a 
dwelling-house. The city directory for 1796 places Adams in that 
year in South Fourth street, at the house of John Francis, who kept 
the Indian Queen Hotel. Upon his election to the Presidency it was 
necessary for Mr. Adams to obtain better accommodations than he 
had hitherto needed. He therefore negotiated for the lease of the 
mansion which had been occupied by his predecessor, and obtained it. 

And here it may be proper to advert to a circumstance sometimes 



270 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



alluded to in connection with the hfe of Washington, and usually mis- 
represented. It is in reference to what was called the President's 
House, in Ninth street south of Market street. It had been built by 
the State of Pennsylvania by virtue of a law passed in 179 1, in re- 
sponse to a petition by the corporation of the city of Philadelphia 
suggesting, among other things, that a suitable mansion should be 
erected for the use of the President of the United States. The cor- 
ner-stone was laid on the loth of May, 1792, when, according to the 
inscription upon it, " the State of Pennsylvania was out of debt." 
Twenty thousand pounds were appropriated for the purpose. The 
lot cost £^Af(^\. The building went on very slowly, and, it was soon 
discovered, would cost more than the balance on hand. Washington 
is credited in story with having refused to live in this house because 
it was too grand for his occupation. There is no truth in such rep- 
resentation. The house was not finished while Washington was in 
office, and he never had a chance to accept it or reject it. The 
building was not entirely finished when John Adams was inaugurated 
President, but it was sufficiently near that consummation to justify 
Governor Thomas Mifflin of Pennsylvania in offering the use of it to 
the latter. This was done on the 3d of March, 1797, the day before 
the inauguration. Governor Mifflin then said that the house would 
be completed in the course of a few weeks, and said : " Permit me to 
tender it for your accommodation, and to inform you that although I 
regret the necessity of making any stipulation on the subject, I shall 
consider the rent for which you might obtain any other suitable house 
in Philadelphia (and which you will be pleased to mention) as a suf- 
ficient compensation for the use of that now offered." Mr. Adams 
replied on the same day : " As I entertain great doubts whether by a 
candid construction of the Constitution of the United States I am at 
liberty to accept it without the intervention and authority of Congress, 
and as there is not time for any application, I must pray that you will 
apologize for me to the Legislature for declining the offer."* By act 

* Weld, an Englishman who travelled in this country from 1795 t° I797j ^'^^ ^^ follow- 
ing remarks in reference to this house : " The President's House, as it is called, was erected 
for the residence of the President before the removal of the seat of government from Phila- 
delphia was agitated. The original plan of this building was drawn by a private gentle- 
man resident in the neighborhood of Philadelphia, and was possessed, it is said, of no 
small share of merit ; but the committee of citizens that was appointed to take the plan 
into consideration and to direct the building, conceiving that it could be improved upon, 



THE WASHINGTON MANSION, MARKET STREET. 27 1 

of March 17, 1800, the Legislature authorized this house to be sold, 
which was an unlucky speculation all the way through, bringing no 
more than ;^40,ooo. The purchase was made by the University of 
Pennsylvania. 

President Adams remained in the house on Market street during 
his stay in Philadelphia until 1800. During Mr. Adams's absences 
in the yellow fever season some fear of robbery was entertained, and 
he wrote to Timothy Pickering as follows: "I thank you for writing 
to Mr. Hodgdon on the necessity of additional night-watches. I am 
afraid my house will stand a worse chance of escaping the peculations 
of the villains than any others ; but I know not what can be done to 
secure it more than has been done. A sentinel at the door, if such 
a watch could be hired, would frighten the people of Philadelphia 
more than the plague." The house was afterward rented by John 
Francis, formerly of the Indian Queen in Fourth street, who opened 
it as the Union Hotel. Before that time Robert Morris had ceased 
to be the owner of the property. He sold it on the 1 8th of March, 
1795, to Andrew Kennedy, merchant, for ;^37,ooo, Morris having 
permission to take away his two '^ large looking-glasses, the stove 
now standing in the hall, the marble and wooden baths, copper 
boiler, apparatus of the baths," etc. The property was altered into 
two stores, so that all traces of its ancient appearance were lost. It 
remained in the possession of Kennedy and his heirs until April, 1832, 
when it was bought by Nathaniel Burt, merchant, who tore down 
the venerable mansion and erected three stores, now known as 526, 
528, and 530 Market street. In 1876 number 526 was occupied by 
Greenebaum & Co., clothiers, 528 by Truitt & Co., hardware- 
merchants, 530 by Sower, Potts & Co., booksellers and stationers. 

reversed the positions of the upper and lower stories, placing the latter at the top, so that 
the pilasters with which it is ornamented appear suspended in the air. The committee also 
contrived that the windows of the principal apartments, instead of opening into a spacious 
area in front of the house, as was designed at first, should face toward the confined back 
yards of the adjoining houses. This building is not yet finished, and as the removal of the 
seat of government to the Federal city of Washington is so shortly to take place, it is most 
probable that it never will be occupied by the President. To what purpose it will now be 
applied is yet undetermined. Some imagine that it will be converted into a city hotel; 
others, that it will be destined for the residence of the governor of the Slate. For the 
latter purpose it would be unfit in the extreme, the salary of the governor being so incon- 
siderable that it would not enable him to keep up an establishment suitable to a dwelling 
of one-fourth part the size of it." 



THE WISTER HOUSE, GERMANTOWN. 




N the 2 1st of September, 1727, the Provincial Council of 
Pennsylvania, in session at the old court-house in the 
middle of Market street at Second, received a list of one 
hundred and nine Palatines (or Germans) who, either on 
that day or shortly before, had been imported into the Prov- 
ince. The ship William and Sarah, whereof William Hill was 
master, brought this human freight. The first place of clearance was 
Rotterdam, but the vessel had touched at Dover, England, and had 
clearance there by the officers of His Majesty's customs. There 
were one hundred and nine heads of families in this party, and with 
their wives and children they numbered over four hundred persons. 
The coming of so large a company of foreigners into the Province 
attracted the attention and demanded the consideration of the Coun- 
cil, because there might be danger if the new-comers were vicious 
or inclined to be mischievous. Lieutenant-Governor Patrick Gordon 
deemed the matter of sufficient importance to call the board together, 
stating that it would be highly necessary to concert proper measures 
for the peace and security of the Province, " which may be endangered 
by such numbers of strangers daily poured in, who being ignorant of 
our Language and Laws, and settling in a body together, make, as it 
were, a distinct people from His Majesty's Subjects." The board, 
which, besides the governor, was composed of James Logan, Richard 
Hill, Isaac Norris, W^illiam Fishbourne, and Clement Plumstead, took 
the same into their serious consideration, and observed " that as these 
People pretended at first that they fly hither on the score of their relig- 

272 



THE WISTER HOUSE, GERMANTOWN. 2/3 

ious Liberties, and come under the protection of His Majesty, it is 
requisite that in the first Place they should take the oath of Allegiance, 
or some equivalent to it, to His Majesty, and promise Fidelity to the 
Proprietor and obedience to our Established Constitution." The 
master of the ship was sent for, and being asked *'if he had any license 
from the court of Great Britain for transporting those people, and what 
their intentions were in coming hither, said that he had no license or 
allowance for their transportation than the above clearance, and that 
he believed they designed to settle in this Province." 

Fifty of these Palatines over the age of sixteen signed a declara- 
tion of allegiance and obedience, and their names are to be found in 
the Colonial Records. Several of them were said to be sick, and never 
came to be qualified. Rupp gives the names of the remainder of this 
party, which the printed Colonial Records do not have. The principal 
man among them was the Rev. George Michael Weiss, the first 
minister of the Reformed Church who came to Pennsylvania. He it 
was that founded the first German Reformed congregation in the city 
of Philadelphia, which met for some time in a barn in Arch street, in 
which primitive building the first German Lutheran church was also 
formed. Among the companions of Weiss were several who were 
probably the founders of families, conspicuous in after years. Such 
names as Graeff, Fritz, Hilligass, Kremer, Gyer, and others are sug- 
gestive. Among these passengers was one whose name was put down 
in the list as Johann Wester, a name now anglicized into Wister. A 
section-mark follows the name of Wester in the list of passengers of 
the William and Sarah, the exact meaning of which is left to inference. 
The mark might have meant that Wester was under twenty-one years 
of age. He was really at this time in the eighteenth year of his age. 
He was the son of Hans Caspar Wiister and Catharina his wife, of 
Waldhilsbach, near Heidelberg, Germany, where he was born on the 
7th of November, 1708.* 

The father of Johann Wiister held the position of filrst jdger, or 
principal huntsman, to the Prince Palatine — an office of some distinc- 

* The Wister family of Germantown and the Wistfl:r family of the same place are of the 
same origin. Caspar Wistar, the American founder of the other family, also came from 
Waldhilsbach, and arrived in Philadelphia on the i6th of September, 171 7. The eminent 
physician Dr. Casper Wistar was a descendant. The country-seat of Casper Wistar the 
second was called Hillspach, and situate between the present Broad and Fifteenth streets, 
extending from Spring Garden street to Wallace. 
18 



274 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

tion and worth at that time. The employment was hereditary, and 
had descended to Hans Caspar from his father. He was anxious that 
it should remain in the family, and cherished the hope that one of his 
sons would eventually succeed him in the distinction. Whether this 
happened might perhaps be ascertained by examining the musty rec- 
ords of the jagership of the Palatinate, if they survive the wars which 
for a century after passed over the country. It is sufficient for us to 
know that Johann Wister had but little ambition for the chase, and 
having heard of the institutions of Penn's colony, he resolved to be- 
come an inhabitant of it. It is probable that he brought with him 
some money. The early German immigrants were generally persons 
of some means, if not of wealth. It was at a later period than that of 
which we are now speaking that the poor class of immigrants known 
as Redemptioners — too poor to pay their passage-money, and therefore 
willing to submit to be sold out as servants to work until the cost of 
their passage should be paid — began to flock in. Johann Wister was 
industrious and prudent, and had means available only four years after 
his arrival to purchase a large lot of ground on Market street between 
Third and Fourth, whereon was afterward built several stores which 
were once known as Wister's Row. He appears to have been success- 
ful, so that in the year 1741 and afterward he was enabled to purchase 
considerable tracts of ground in Germantown, on the Main street and 
on the back roads. Here in 1744 he built the first house in German- 
town not erected for the use of a permanent resident of the village — 
the first mansion, in fact, intended for a country-seat for a citizen of 
Philadelphia — a place to be used in summer and abandoned during 
unfavorable seasons of the year for the more comfortable residence 
in town. It was a quaint old establishment, differing very materially 
from its present appearance, for the hand of " improvement " has 
been at work with the old house, as it has with many others, changing 
its aspect considerably. The original Wister House was of stone, and 
was what might be called a double house, surmounted with a high- 
pitched roof enclosing a spacious garret, which was lighted from the 
ends and not from the front. The main doorway, with its double half- 
doors, opened to the entry and stairs leading to the upper portion. 
The north room had its doorway opening on the street, and window 
on each side. Porch-seats were fixed on the stoops in the old style. 
A pent roof ran around the sides of the building above the first story. 



THE WISTER HOUSE, GERMANTOWN. 



275 




Wj.sier House— Original Appearance. 



Its uniformity was broken by a balcony over the main entrance, upon 
which opened a door belonging to the second story. The chim- 
neys, stout and strong, the 



draughts of which were fierce 
in winter weather, were at 
the north and south ends of 
the house. The place pos- 
sessed many rural charms 
when John Wister became 
its owner. The property 
stretched over to the east, 
and consisted of field and 
forest, a portion of which !■ 
yet remains, and has been 
known in Germantown for a 
century as Wister's Woods. 
The stone of which the 
house was built was quar- 
ried on the ground, and the 

timbers, joists, and rafters of oak were cut from Wister's own trees. 
After the house was finished the care of Mr. Wister was given to the 
laying out of an elegant garden. He had brought with him from 
Hillspach the German love for fruits and flowers, and it was his pride 
to adorn his grounds with the finest fruit-bearing trees and floral speci- 
mens. The garden was laid out in the somewhat formal style of the 
last century, and the care taken in the planting of it has preserved it 
from the ravages of time, so that to this day it is rendered a joy and a 
satisfaction. John Wister lived in this home during the summer 
seasons, with occasional interruptions, until his death, which happened 
January 31, 1789, he then being in the eighty-first year of his age. It 
has been said of him : " He was a man of the strictest uprightness and 
integrity, as well as of great kindliness and simplicity of character. 
He caused bread to be baked every Saturday to be dispensed among 
the poor, who came in numbers to his door to receive it." 

For more than thirty years after this house was built the Wister 
family occupied it at seasons, enjoying the customary round of comfort 
and pleasure. When, during the Revolutionary war, the British were 
approaching Philadelphia, Wister remained in the city. His sympa- 



2/6 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

thies might have been in favor of the royal cause, but, at all events, 
being then in his seventieth year, he was of an age to be enrolled 
among the non-combatants. The house at Germantown was under 
the care of a servant-woman known in the family as Justina. She 
was a native German girl who had emigrated with her father to Penn- 
sylvania and settled in Lancaster county, the mother, it is presumed, 
beinfj dead. Her father was seized with a mortal sickness while she 
was yet a child, and during his sufferings his mind was disturbed with 
anxiety as to what should become of his child in case of his death. 
He had no friends in the neighborhood upon whose care and interest in 
his daughter he could rely : he had no friends at all. He knew some- 
thing of John Wister of Philadelphia, who was the owner of lands in 
Lancaster county, and might have had some business intercourse with 
him. At all events, he instructed his daughter to go to John Wister 
and trust to his goodness of heart for relief In due time he departed, 
and Justina, who was a mere child, but brave and determined, set out 
to execute her father's dying commands. She walked all the way to 
Philadelphia — a long, rough, and weary journey of seventy miles. 
Fatigued and footsore when she reached the town, she inquired for 
the residence of John Wister, found it, and told him her simple story. 
She was kindly received, and taken into the house as a servant. She 
grew up in the Wister family fromi childhood to womanhood, and from 
womanhood to the long years of old age, and was, in fact, a resident 
with the family until her death. 

Justina was in charge of the Wister House in Germantown when 
the British troops marched through the village and encamped on the 
road to Lucan's Mill and the road leading to the Wissahickon known 
as Schoolhouse lane. The house was one of the most conspicuous in 
the village, and as the British officers took care to settle themselves as 
comfortably as possible, this mansion was seized upon as an available 
place for quarters. The officer who came in and found Justina to be 
his hostess was Brevet-Brigadier-General James Agnew, who was col- 
onel of the Forty-fourth regiment and commanded a brigade. His 
military service had principally been in America. He was major of 
the Fifty-eighth Foot in December, 1757, and was present at the 
capture of Louisburg under General Amherst in July, 1758. He was 
at the siege of Quebec under General Wolfe in September, 1759. After 
the conclusion of the French war he probably returned to England, 



THE WISTER HOUSE, GERMANTOVVN. 2^/ 

where he married, and where his wife and two children were hving at 
the time of which we speak. Agnew came back to America in 1775 
as Heutenant-colonel of the Forty-fourth Foot. He was engaged in the 
subsequent operations of the British at Brooklyn Heights, August 27, 
and commanded the fourth brigade in the succeeding year. He took 
part with Sir William Erskine in Governor William Tryon's expedition 
against Danbury in the spring of 1777. The ostensible object was the 
destruction of military stores at that place. The result was not only 
the capture of the village, but its destruction by fire under circum- 
stances very disgraceful to the royal arms, which Howe afterward 
disavowed as having been done under his order, and put the responsi- 
bility on Tryon. On this occasion Agnew was struck by a spent ball, 
which knocked him down, producing a severe bruise. At the battle 
of Brandywine, Agnew commanded a brigade, and was grazed by a 
cannon-ball, but not hurt enough to prevent him from attending to his 
duty. At Germantown the brigade of Agnew lay with those of 
Lieutenant-General Knyphausen, Major-General Stern, and Major- 
General Grey on the south of Schoolhouse lane and west of 
the main road, extending over to the Wissahickon. Wister's house 
was convenient, and Agnew entered into possession of it. He did not 
remain there as a tenant very long. The British army under Howe 
having encamped on the evening of the 23d north of Stony Run and 
between the Ridge road and the Schuylkill River, moved on the 25th 
of September in two grand divisions. On the next day General 
Agnew became a tenant of the W^ister House. He spent probably a 
week here pleasantly, and Justina was no doubt a good hostess. But 
on the 4th of October he was summoned from the house by the noise 
of the American attack. As he hastily responded to the call of duty, 
he noticed that Justina was working in the garden with an old- 
fashioned German hoe — an implement, by the by, which for a long 
time thereafter was preserved in the family as a memorial of the day. 
Agnew stopped, told her of her danger, as the rattle of musketry and 
booming of cannon were frequent, and advised her to avoid exposure 
and take refuge in the cellar. She refused his advice, and continued on 
with her work with true German phlegm, but without injury. As for 
Agnew, his time was very short after he left the Wister House. The 
story is thus graphically told by Alexander Andrew, a private soldier 
who was the principal servant of General Agnew, in a letter to the 



2/8 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

widow of the general dated March 8, 1778, which is quoted in 
Lossing's Ficld-Book of the Revolution : " The army then proceeded 
to that unfortunate place called Germantown, the 4th of October, be- 
ing the particular and fatal day of which your ladyship has cause to 
remember, and I have much reason to regret. But to let you know 
the particulars of that day. (Being between the hours of nine and 
twelve, as the brigade was following the third in an oblique advancing 
line, the general, with the piquet at their head, entered the town, 
hurried down the street to the left, but had not rode above twenty or 
thirty yards, which was to the top of a little rising ground, when a 
part of the enemy, about one hundred, rushed out from behind a house 
about five hundred yards in front, the general being then in the street, 
and even in front of the piquet, and all alone, only me ; he wheeled 
around, and, putting spurs to his horse and calling to me, he received a 
whole volley from the enemy. The fatal ball entered the small of his 
back, near the back seam of his coat, right side, and came out a little 
below his left breast. Another ball went through and through his right 
hand. I at the same instant received a slight wound in the side, but 
just then got off time enough to prevent his falling; who, with the as- 
sistance of two men, took him down, carried him into a house, and laid 
him on a bed; sent for the doctor, who was near. When he came he 
could only turn his eyes, and looked steadfastly on me with seeming 
affection. The doctor and Major Leslie just came in time enough to 
see him depart this life, which he did without the least struggle or agony, 
but with great composure, and calmness, and seeming satisfaction ; 
which was about ten or fifteen minutes after he received the ball, and I 
believe between ten and eleven o'clock. I then had his body brought 
to his former quarters, took his gold watch, his purse, in which was 
four guineas and half a Johannes, which I delivered to Major Leslie 
as soon as he came home. I then had him genteelly laid out and 
decently dressed with some of his clean and best things ; had a coffin 
made, the best the place could produce. His corpse was decently 
buried the next day in the churchyard, attended by a minister and the 
officers of the Forty-fourth regiment.)" * 

* This statement differs entirely from the story long current in Germantown, and generally 
accepted, which attributed the killing of General Agnew to a man named Hans P. Boyer, 
a native of the village, and not a soldier. Boyer was the hero of his own story, and was 
evidently a miserable, boasting fellow. He said that he was concealed near an old wall of 



THE WISTER HOUSE, GERMANTOWN. 2/9 

According to tradition, General Agnew was taken to the Wister 
House, where he died, and stains are still shown on the floor which 
were from the blood of his wounds. Andrew says he died within fif- 
teen minutes after he was shot, in " a house " near by, but not at the 
Wister House. His bleeding body was afterward taken there, and the 
blood on the floor of the west parlor dropped from his wound. An- 
drew also says he was buried in a churchyard, which is a mistake to be 
attributed to the writer's want of knowledge of the locality. He was 
interred in the lower bur}'ing-ground of Germantown. Lieutenant-Col- 
onel Bird, also killed in the battle, was buried alongside of him. Long 
afterward, John F. Watson the annalist procured a plain stone and 
placed it over the graves of these unfortunate officers, in order to pre- 
serve a recollection of the place of their burial. The Germantozvn Tele- 
grapJi in March, 1858, said in relation to this subject: "The remains 
of General Agnew lay in the Lower Cemetery. Some years ago a car- 
riage drove up to the residence of one of our most prominent citizens, 
and inquiry was made as to the resting-place of his bones — the inmates 
of the carriage, two ladies and a gentleman, being the grandchildren of 
the general — with a view to the erection of a monument over them. 
They were shown the unmarked spot where the remains lay buried. 
They went away, but never returned, and no monument has been 
reared to point out the place, known only to a few individuals in 
advanced life, where the body of this brave and accomplished man 
is inhumed."* 

After the battle of Germantown the British withdrew to the city. 
During their occupation of Philadelphia it is not probable that the 
Wister House was occupied, unless Justina lived there in solitude. 
It is probable that she went with Daniel Wister, son of John, who at 
this time was living under the protection of the American army at 
the Foulke homestead in North Wales, near the present Penlyn 
Station on the North Pennsylvania Railroad. 

the Mennonist church on Main street, and when he saw Agnew coming "he took deliberate 
aim at the bright star on his breast and fired." According to Andrew, there were at least 
one hundred of the "enemy" — meaning thereby American soldiers — who fired at General 
Agnew, Boyer in time came to the Germantown almshouse, and was supported at the 
public expense for years — a privilege which he look care to insist that he was entitled to, as 
he was one who had fought for his country. 

* This writer seems not to have known, or to have forgotten, that the place of burial was 
— as it still is — marked by the stone placed by John F. Watson. 



28o HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

After the evacuation of Philadelphia by the British the Wister 
House remained vacant for some time, the family not desiring to re- 
side there. During the interval Major David Lenox became a resi- 
dent of the premises. He was induced to make this arrangement in 
view of his approaching marriage with Miss Lukens of that part of 
Philadelphia county afterward included in Montgomery county — a 
descendant of John Lukens, for many years in Colonial times Sur- 
veyor-General of the Province. Major Lenox was married in the 
west parlor of the Wister House. The young couple settled them- 
selves down to connubial happiness, subject, of course, to the dangers 
and incidents of the war, the husband having served in the army, and 
being ready, if needed, to serve again, his duty in the mean while be- 
ing pledged for the preservation of the peace. He was elected a mem- 
ber of the Philadelphia Light-Horse, afterward known as the City 
Troop, in March, 1777, and remained connected with that organization 
until his death, having been elected an honorary member in October, 
1796. In September, 1779, Lenox at Germantown, while sitting at 
dinner, received news that the committee of privates of the city militia 
regiments had by placards menaced several citizens with violence, 
among whom were Blair McClenachan, a member of the troop of 
Light-Horse, Robert Morris, and James Wilson, both of the latter 
having been Signers of the Declaration of Independence. The cause 
of this difficulty was connected with the decline in the value of Con- 
tinental currency, and the efforts which persons in business were com- 
pelled to take in order to protect themselves against losses. A feeling 
against monopolists was abroad in the community, and it was assumed 
that the majority had the right to compel persons in trade to sell their 
goods or commodities, not at prices which the owners might consider 
equitable, but at rates arbitrarily fixed by citizens claiming a right to 
act in a representative capacity. Morris, McClenachan, and others 
were interested in importations of flour, and certain persons by town 
meeting claimed a right to regulate their disposal. The French consul- 
general, Holker, was involved in this censure, he being purchaser of 
a considerable portion of the supplies bought by Morris and others, 
for the use, as alleged, of the French fleet. For several months the 
feeling against monopolizers was growing strong. Meetings were held 
to denounce such practices, and counter-meetings resolved that the 
censure was unjust and pronounced in mistake of the true facts con- 



THE WISTER HOUSE, GERMANTOWN. 



281 



nected with the course of business. The privates of the mihtia 
held meetings and appointed committees, and they resolved that 
monopolizers should be punished, and also ''lawyers who de- 
fended Tories;" this latter intimation being aimed at James Wilson, 
who had acted in defence of Roberts and Carlisle, tried for trea- 
son after the British evacuation. Major Lenox had taken an ac- 
tive part against the violent proceedings menaced by the populace. 




Fort Wilson. 



When the news came to him at Germantown his duty was with 
the City Troop. On the morning of the 4th of October the troop 
was in rendezvous at their stables, with horses saddled and ready, 
and waited for the signal of attack, which they supposed would 
be directed against the house of James Wilson at the south-west 
corner of Third and Walnut streets, which was a substantial brick 
building with a fine garden. The privates met on the commons in the 



282 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

morning, and in their deliberations they took up much time, so that 
at noon, nothing being heard of them at Wilson's house, the company- 
was dismissed. Meanwhile, the privates had closed their consultations, 
and resolved to march into the city. They were about two hundred 
strong. The leaders were Mills, a North Carolina captain, Pickering, 
a tailor, Faulkner, a ship-joiner, and one Bonham. The mob marched 
down to the City Tavern, on the west side of Second street above 
Walnut, where they supposed some of the parties denounced would 
be found. At Dock street Captain Allen McLane and Colonel Gray- 
son of the Board of War attempted to address the party, but were 
stopped and compelled to go along with the mob. In Wilson's house 
were Wilson himself, Robert Morris, George Clymer, General Thomas 
Mifflin, and others — twenty-six in all. They were armed with muskets 
and pistols, but had not a very large stock of ammunition. The 
privates came marching toward the house, which they did not show 
any disposition to attack. When they reached Third street they gave 
a loud hurrah. The danger might have been averted if the inmates 
had not had an imprudent person among them. This was Captain 
Campbell of the Invalid regiment, a one-armed soldier. Just as the 
last of the mob was passing the house Campbell threw up a window, 
and with pistol in hand commenced to address the crowd. It is said 
he discharged his pistol from the third-story window into the street. 
The part of the mob that had passed on returned. Fire was opened on 
the house, and the garrison in the house returned it. General Mifflin 
attempted to address the mob from a Third street window of the house, 
but was fired on. The mob, now furious, ran to a blacksmith's shop 
near by, and seizing a sledge-hammer, they used it in breaking open 
the door of Wilson's house. Two men entered. Colonel Chambers, 
coming down stairs, fired on one, and the other man bayonetted Cham- 
bers. Other men entered the house, and were fired upon from the 
staircases and other places. Finally, the assailants were put out, and 
the doors on the inside were barricaded with tables and chairs. While 
all this was going on a portion of the Light-Horse, hearing of the 
occurrences, reassembled, and suddenly eight of them, with two other 
troopers, Major Lenox at their head, dashed down Third street from 
Chestnut, and, urging their horses to full speed, charged the mob at 
Walnut street. Lenox was in his shirt-sleeves, having thrown aside 
his long cloak for fear it might be employed to pull him off his horse. 



THE WISTER HOUSE, GERMANTOWN. 283 



At the sight of the troopers the mob, crying, " The horse ! the horse !" 
and supposing that the whole company was upon them, dispersed in 
every direction — an effect which was heightened by the appearance of 
two more detachments. The horsemen used their swords freely ; sev- 
eral of the mob were wounded. This charge liberated the garrison of 
Fort Wilson — for so the house was called after that time — and put an 
end to the disturbance, but not to the passions which it engendered. 
During the course of the affray, of the persons in the house Captain 
Campbell was killed and John F. Mifflin and Colonel Stephen Cham- 
bers of Lancaster were wounded. In the street a man and a boy were 
killed and several persons wounded. 

For some time the feeling against the troop was very strong, and 
the members were compelled for safety to keep together as much as 
possible to be ready to stand by each other. Lenox returned to his 
Germantown house, where no doubt he supposed he was out of dan- 
ger. But such was not the case. A night or two after the battle at 
Fort Wilson, Major Lenox and his family were awakened by the noise 
of a mob which surrounded the Wister House and demanded that 
Lenox should surrender to them. His situation was perilous. No 
comrades of the troop were anywhere near. Whilst the mob did not 
attempt to break into the house, they were loud in demands that 
Lenox should come out, or unfasten his bolts and allow them 
to come in and take him prisoner. He was disposed to do neither. 
He was brave and fearless, but at the same time he was prudent, and 
he could not recognize the necessity of yielding himself up in the dead 
of night to a mob of strangers. He was without weapons, and be- 
lieving that discretion is the better part of valor, he undertook to ne- 
gotiate. He expostulated with his assailants, argued th^t it was unfair 
to seize a man at his house in the darkness of the night, and promised 
that if they would wait until daylight he would let them in. In fact, 
Major Lenox resorted to strategy. He sent out a trusty messenger 
for succor. This task was undertaken by his cousin, a young lady 
residing in his family, who managed to get out by the rear of the 
house unobserved by the mob, crossed the fields, and gaining the main 
road hurried along until she reached the quarters of Captain Samuel 
Morris, who commanded the troop in Philadelphia. The members 
were immediately summoned. A considerable number responded. 
They set out for Germantown, and on reaching it charged the crowd 



284 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADEIPHIA. 

at the Wister House, as Lenox had done at Fort Wilson, and Hberated 
the prisoner. This incident terminated Lenox's tenancy of the house. 
It was not a safe place for him to reside in, and he removed to the city. 
There his part in the attack on Fort Wilson was frequently alluded to, 
and for years afterward, in going through the market, he was occasion- 
ally saluted with the cry, " How are you. Brother Butcher?" an allu- 
sion to his costume, in which his shirt-sleeves were prominent, while 
charging on the besiegers at Fort Wilson. In 1785 he was living in 
Spruce street between Second and Third. He lived in Vine street 
near Third in 1794. He probably built — for many years he resided 
in — the fine house on the south side of Arch street east of Ninth, then 
next to the corner, the garden occupying the corner lot. Here he re- 
mained until 1 81 5 or 18 16, when he was succeeded in that property 
by General Thomas Cadwalader, who lived and died there. Major 
Lenox removed to 286 Chestnut street, on the south side, between 
Ninth and Tenth. In the year 18 17 he built for his own use a very 
elegant mansion, as it was considered in those times, at the north-west 
corner of Tenth and Chestnut streets. The house was of brick, three 
stories in height, with lofty garrets. The brickwork was of the most 
elaborate character yet seen in the city, the plain outlines of the walls 
being broken by pilasters, arches, and other decorations. Long after 
it was occupied, and when indeed it had become very old-fashioned, 
the superior architectural style and workmanship of this house at- 
tracted the attention of the passers-by. After his death the old mansion 
went into the occupation of Miss Sally Lukens Keene, a niece of his 
wife and a descendant of the Lukens family. That lady in her early life 
had been one of the most beautiful and attractive women of the city, 
the belle of her day — celebrated not only for her personal charms, but 
for her brilliant conversation, sprightliness, and intelligence. She died 
in 1866, and devised by her will what was once the Lenox country- 
seat in Bristol, Bucks county, and known as the Pavilion, for the pur- 
pose of being maintained as the " Sarah Lukens Keene Home for 
Aged Gentlewomen," and applied toward its support liberal bequests. 
This house had been the summer residence of Major and Mrs. Lenox 
and Miss Keene, and there they had entertained many distinguished 
persons, American and foreign. The house at Tenth and Chestnut 
streets was sold to the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York, 
which has erected on the site a magnificent granite building. 



THE WISTER HOUSE, GERMANTOWN. 285 

After his removal to the city, Major Lenox was engaged in active 
business as a merchant. He was appointed Commissioner of Bank- 
ruptcy with Matthew Clarkson, George Hughes, Peter Baynton, and 
Richard Bache, under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and was 
exercising those duties in 1790. He succeeded Clement Biddle as 
Marshal of the United States for the district of Pennsylvania in 1793, 
and held that office about a year, being succeeded by Colonel William 
Nichols. He was for many years a director of the Bank of the United 
States, and succeeded Thomas Willing as president of that corporation 
in 1807, ^'^^ ^^^ ^"^ office at the time of the winding up of the institu- 
tion. In 1 813 he was elected President of the Philadelphia Bank, and 
held that trust until about 181 8, when he was succeeded by George 
Read, counsellor-at-law, and father of the late John M. Read, once 
Chief-Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. After he retired 
from the presidency of the Philadelphia Bank, Major Lenox withdrew 
from active concerns, spending the remainder of his days in honored 
and dignified retirement. He died at his house, Tenth and Chestnut 
streets, on the nth of April, 1828. 

After the death of John Wister, Daniel, his son, came to the old 
mansion and took possession, and lived there peaceably during the 
remainder of his days. He was succeeded by his son, Charles J. 
Wister, who was married to Rebecca, daughter of Joseph Bullock 
of Germantown, by Rev. James Abercrombie, on the 15th of Decem- 
ber, 1803. William Wister, a descendant of Daniel, now of Belfield, 
was married September 26, 1826, in the parlor under the ring in the 
ceiling, on the same spot where Major Lenox and Sarah Lukens were 
united over forty-five years before, and has lived to celebrate his golden 
wedding. Charles J. Wister succeeded his father of the same name as 
occupant of the premises, and is the fourth of the family who has been 
a permanent resident of the house in a period of more than one hun- 
dred and thirty-three years. Mr. Wister lives a retired and scholarly 
life, and is one of the few representatives of the real old Germantown 
families ; for, although that section of the city has grown immensely 
in population and buildings, and has spread out on every side, the 
majority of its inhabitants are newcomers, and of the original popu- 
lation of the place but very few remain. 

The tenants of the Wister House have preserved some curious old 
relics of the past. In the hall, painted upon a panel, is a full-length 



286 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

figure of a British grenadier in the costume of the period of the Revo- 
lution. Tradition credits the unfortunate Major Andre with the execu- 
tion of this painting, concerning which it may be prudent to say that 
he might have done it, and had the artistic abihty to paint the figure. 
But there is no good authorit}^ to justify the assignment of this piece 
of work to him. Against the supposition that he executed it is the 
fact, clearly shown by the journal of Sally Wister, daughter of Daniel, 
who was a young girl at the time of the Revolution, that this figure 
was in the possession of her father while he was in North Wales, and 
while the British were in Philadelphia. She records in her journal, for 
the edification of her friend Deborah Norris, who afterward became 
wife of Doctor George Logan, an incident connected with the picture. 
While Daniel Wister lived near the lines his house was the resort of 
American officers. Among them was a young Virginian, Major Tilly, 
who was a talkative, rattlepated fellow, rather given to boasting, and 
anxious, according to his own statement, to meet in a warlike way 
the British. Daniel Wister, in order to test his courage one evening 
when he was at the house, by the connivance of other American 
officers in the secret had the grenadier painting placed at the front 
door of the house, with a person concealed behind it. A rap was 
heard on the door, and the officers present started to their feet as if 
alarmed. Lilly led the way, and when the door was opened this 
figure, faintly shown by the glimmer of a lantern, was perceived, while 
the man behind it called out in gruff tones, "Are there any rebel 
officers in this house ?" Major Tilly did not stop to answer the 
question. The light was not strong enough for him to discover the 
deception. He made for the back door as rapidly as possible, and fled 
in the direction of Washington's camp. It would not have done for 
him to reach head-quarters, for giving an alarm might have brought 
down a force to the house. The other officers hurried after him. He 
might have given them the slip had he not fallen into a mill-pond, from 
which he was extricated and taken back, the victim of the jeers of his 
comrades. It is said that he bore this with great equanimity, and 
disarmed the sting of the ridicule by his good-nature. Whilst he 
proved that discretion is the better part of valor, he also showed that 
fortitude in bearing up against ridicule is a valuable quality. 

In the library of Mr. Wister, over the old clock, stands the Dutchest 
of Dutch weathercocks, the bird resplendent with scarlet plumage and 



THE WISTER HOUSE, GERMANTOWN. 287 

golden beak. It did duty on the little cupola of the old German 
Reformed church of Germantown, where it first began service in 
storm and calm in 1733. When the venerable church was rebuilt, the 
quaint little steeple and weathercock were entirely too old-fashioned for 
the taste of the time, and they were removed. Charles J. Wister the 
elder secured the old bird, and put it up upon his premises. Here it 
remained until 1873, when the present Charles J. Wister, deeming -that 
after a service of one hundred and forty years the bird had earned pro- 
motion, brought it into the house and put it in its present position. 
Everything considered, the bird looks well, and proves that he 
possessed a strong constitution, inasmuch as half a dozen bullet-holes 
made in 1763 by the Paxton Boys, who considered him a fine mark for 
their rifles, did not destroy his usefulness. At the time the weather- 
cock was removed from the church the old bell of the edifice was 
decided to be superannuated. It is a very ancient piece. It bears 
the date 1725, and has upon it in German the legend, "To God be 
the Honor." For nearly one hundred years this was the only bell at 
Germantown, and during that period it faithfully summoned the con- 
gregation and gave notice to others who were within the circumference 
of its sound. Fifty years ago the bell-ringer, Jake Stroup, was a village 
character, and well known to every man, woman, and child in German- 
town. " Indian Jake " they called him — not because in his veins 
coursed the blood of the noble aborigine, for he could trace back 
his pedigree to the times of Daniel Pastorius. He was of good old 
German descent, but his bountiful use of the bottle, rendered his 
countenance as fiery in hue as that of the wildest painted Indian. 
" Jake," however, rarely allowed pleasure to interfere with business. 
He was a model sexton, ready in church or graveyard as duty 
demanded. The old bell was never neglected, and under his style of 
ringing the Germantown town-boys declared that it constantly rung 
out the unchanging refrain — 

" In-jun Jake 
Drove a stake. 
Melchior Ming, 
Church is in." 

The Mings or Mengs were an old Germantown family, and Melchior 
during Jake's time was a well-known church dignitary. The bell was 
removed by Mr. Wister to his garden, where it remained many years. 



288 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

the original owners caring nothing about it. But things change even in 
Germantown, and although much has come in and pushed out the old 
the successors of the elders and church authorities who got rid of the 
bell begged its restoration. The present Charles J. Wister acceded to 
this request, and in 1875 the bell went back again to the church — not 
to occupy its old position or to be used as a common piece of prop- 
erty, but on a pledge that it should never be altered and that a promi- 
nent position in the church be accorded it. 

As for the Wister House, it still remains, changed from its appear- 
ance in 1744 by the taste of its owners, but yet in its solid style and 
appearance showing that it is not of the present day, but is a substan- 
tial, venerable memorial of the past. 



WASHINGTON'S HEAD-QUARTERS AT VALLEY 

FORGE. 




FTER the battle of Germantown, Washington retired to 
the camp on Skippack Creek. On the 29th of October, 
1777, a council of war was held, and it was resolved to 
remove the whole army and go into winter quarters on a 
range of hills north-east of Whitemarsh. There, in the 
Elmar mansion, a large and substantial building, exceed- 
ingly grand in character for the times, and surpassing any 
house in the neighborhood, except the Graeme Park mansion built 
by Governor Keith in 1722, which was in Horsham township, a few 
miles distant, Washington had his head-quarters. The soldiers suf- 
fered many privations, chief among which, and daily becoming more 
serious as winter approached, was the want of shoes and clothing. On 
the 5th of December the British marched up to Chestnut Hill, and 
during three days menaced the American lines. The movements were 
strategic. There were skirmishing and losses in killed and wounded 
on both sides. Washington stood on the defensive, but Howe found 
no favorable point of attack. He said in his despatches, " They were 
so strongly intrenched that it was impossible to attack them." This 
was an excuse not justified by fact. Two small redoubts were all that 
the Americans had in the shape of defences. But their lines were 
steady, the position was strong, and the British officers concluded that 
it would be dangerous to take the risk. So they marched away. 
Washington remained on the ground three days longer, and on the 
nth broke up the camp at Whitemarsh, and with the whole army 

19 289 



290 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



crossed the Schuylkill at Swedes' Ford, with the intention of going 
into winter quarters at Valley Forge, partly in Philadelphia county 
(since in Montgomery county) and partly in Chester county, which 
place was situate within the manor of Mount Joy, formerly the prop- 
erty of Letitia Penn. The march was eighteen miles. It was a weary 




Vai.i.ey Forge from the Railroad. 

one to hundreds of the American soldiers, who were without shoes 
and whose route, it is said, might be traced for the whole distance in 
foot-marks stained with blood. On the i8th of December the army 
reached the valley, and immediately set to work in erecting huts and 
places of refuge. *' We are busy in forming a city," wrote General 
Anthony Wayne to Richard Peters on the 30th of December. ** My 



WASHINGTON'S HEAD-QUARTERS AT VALLEY FORGE. 29 1 

people will be covered in a few days (I mean as to huts), but half naked 
as to clothing. They are in this respect in a worse condition than 
Falstaff 's recruits, for they have not one whole shirt to a brigade : he 
had more than one to a company. Have you ever taken notice of 
Paddy Frizzel or Crazy Noddy?* If you have, it will serve to convey 
to you a faint idea of the wretched situation of some of our soldiers — 
with this difference, that they from their insanity have become callous 
and insensible to their sufferings, while our poor worthy naked fellows 
feel their own misery, and are conscious of meriting better treatment." 
According to the directions in Washington's orderly-book, the huts 
were to be fourteen by sixteen feet each, the side walls six and a 
half feet high. The side ends and roofs were to be made with logs, 
the sides made tight with clay. A fireplace of wood, faced on the 
inside with clay eighteen inches thick, was to be placed in the rear 
of the hut, the door being in the end next to the street, and to be of 
slab or board if the same could be procured. The officers' huts were 
to be in the rear of those of the men, one hut to be allowed to each 
general officer, one to the staff of each brigade, one to the field officer 
of each regiment, and one to the staff of each regiment. The com- 
missioned officers of two companies and twelve non-commissioned 
officers and soldiers were assigned to each of the ordinary huts. Some 
of the officers succeeded in obtaining quarters at farmhouses in the 
neighborhood. General Scott was lodged at the house of Samuel 
Jones, and General Woodford was with Samuel Richards. General 
Patterson had his abode with William Godfrey. General Weedon was 
an occupant of the house of Abijah Stephens. General Mifflin was at 
the house of Thomas Waters in the Valley. General Maxwell was 
quartered with John Brown. La Fayette was at the house of Samuel 
Howard, adjoining John Brown's farm on the south. General Knox 
sojourned at John Howard's, on the State road from New Hope to the 
Maryland line. General Poor and General Pulaski were for a time 
at the house of John Beaver, north-east of the farms of Howard and 
Brown. General Greene occupied the farm of Joseph Walker, and 
General Wayne was upon the same property in another house, together 
with his staff, which consisted of Colonel Thomas Robinson of Naa- 
man's Creek, Major Benjamin Fishbourne of Philadelphia, and Major 
Ryan of Virginia. Wayne, before quitting Valley Forge, gave a din- 

* These were insane persons well known in Philadelphia before the occupation. 



292 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PIIIIADELPHIA. 



ner-party at Walker's to his staff and many other officers and soldiers. 
" A large temporary table, capable of accommodating a hundred per- 
sons, was prepared for the occasion under the shade of some trees 
near the house, where the guests partook of the dinner, there being 
more than a hundred persons who dined there on the occasion. The 
fare was not quite so sumptuous as at some of our modern entertain- 
ments. Among the guests on the occasion were the commander-in 
chief and his wife, the wife of General Wayne, nearly all the gene- 
ral and field officers of the encampment, and some of the neighbors 
of both sexes." General Potter was at the farm of Benjamin Jones 
in the Great Valley. General Poor was with Jacob Walker, who was 
living in one of the houses of Jones's farm, which he (Walker) had 
formerly owned. General Mifflin was part of the time upon the farm 
of William Godfrey and part of the time at Reading. General Sul- 
livan was at the farm of Thomas Waters, north-west of Godfrey. 
General de Kalb succeeded General Weedon in the occupation of 
the farm of Abijah Stephens. General Morgan was occasionally quar- 
tered at the house of Mordecai Moore, the commissary-general of the 
army, which was north-east of the camp, and is now in the county of 
Montgomery. General Muhlenberg was at John Moore's, adjoining, 
and also in Montgomery. Many of the officers were not lucky enough 
to obtain farmhouse accommodations. Baron Steuben had command 
of a hut, and drilled his soldiers on a piece of ground near by. Var- 
num resided with David Stephens, south of the head-quarters of 
General Washington. 

According to the plan of the encampment, the army was posted 
on Mount Joy hill, west of the road called the back road, which 
extended over from the Schuylkill, along by the sides of the hills 
— first in a north-west direction, and then nearly northwardly to 
the Valley Creek. Commencing with the redoubt at the extreme 
south-east corner of the encampment, which was not far distant from 
the present Fort Kennedy, and was known in later times as David Ste- 
phens' Fort, the brigades and divisions of Muhlenberg, Weedon, Pat- 
terson, Learned, and Glover, defended by intrenchments and looking 
toward the south-west, occupied the lines up to the Gulf road. West 
of that road, extending in a curved line northwardly, and facing west 
by south and west, were the brigades of Poor, Wayne, and Scott. 
Woodford was north of two intersecting roads. At some distance 



WASHINGTON'S HEAD-QUARTERS AT VALLEY FORGE. 293 

south of one of the intersecting roads Knox's artillery was placed. 
A redoubt was north of it, and intrenchments in irregular form 
stretched toward the north-east, parallel with Valley Creek. ' Abattis 
stretched over from the intrenchments in a line nearly east to a cross- 
road which connected with the continuation of the back road, and 
was nearly west of a ford since known as Sullivan's Crossing. A large 
redoubt, star-shaped, defended the crossing, which has since been oc- 
cupied by a bridge. Varnum was south of this redoubt on both sides 
of the back road, and except the provost and picket quarters there 
were no large bodies of troops on the back road between Varnum's 
and Stephens' Fort. North of the abattis, in a line inclining west- 
wardly toward the intrenchments and south of other intrenchments, 
were the brigades of Huntingdon, Conway, and Maxwell. Mcintosh 
and the guards, commonly called the Life Guards, commanded by 
Colonel Charles Gibbs of Rhode Island, were north of the intrench- 
ments upon a road connected with the back road leading north-west- 
ward from the ford, and entering the Gulf road at the house of Isaac 
Potts, which was Washington's head-quarters. This might be said 
to be the north-east corner of the encampment. It was defended by 
the Schuylkill on the east and Valley Creek on the north. The 
artificers, north of the creek, occupied the most advanced outpost, 
whilst below — the extreme extent of the encampment being over two 
miles in length and about a mile and a quarter in width — were the 
redoubts, abattis, intrenchments, and the brave and suffering troops. 
When the army first arrived on the ground, Washington pitched 
his marquee west of the Gulf road and near the line of the intrench- 
ments, with the brigades of Huntingdon, Conway, and Maxwell south 
of him. Here he remained until the soldiers were fully accommodated 
in the rude residences in which they were to spend the winter. About 
the beginning of January, 1778, he removed to the house of Potts, 
which is a plain two-story stone building, about twenty-four feet 
front and thirty-three in depth. The outside is of dressed stone, 
pointed. The interior woodwork is well preserved. Washington 
occupied principally the front room on the first floor, which was both 
office and bedroom. Beneath one of the old-fashioned windows was 
a little closet in which the commander-in-chief is said to have kept 
private papers. The house was found to be very small, and for the 
accommodation of the general a little loe: house was built for a dining- 



294 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



room, concerning which Mrs. Washington, who in this dreary place 
joined her husband in February, writes : " It has made our quarters 
much more tolerable than they were at first." Woodman says that 
*' there are yet some things remaining about the building to remind 
the visitor of that interesting period, particularly the secret doors that 
were planned for the commander-in-chief to effect an escape in case of 
an emergency. In addition to the secret doors, there are also in the 
house window-seats, under which are secret drawers, so nicely hidden 
from the view of the observer as to escape notice, that were no doubt 
intended to secrete important papers belonging to the commander- 
in-chief Care has also been taken by the different proprietors of the 
mansion to preserve these relics from destruction, so that they have 
undergone little or no alteration since they were occupied by 
Washington." 

The story of the winter at Valley Forge is one of the most melan- 
choly in the history of the Revolution, and yet in many particulars it 
is one of the most gratifying. It tells of suffering and endurance, of 
want and misery, which were borne patiently in a spirit of patriotism — 
of wrong, of neglect, for which Congress might be blamable — and of 
mismanagement. At the very time that the American army was 
marching shoeless and shivering, hungry and cold, from Whitemarsh 
to Valley Forge, or was engaged in the work of preparing winter 
quarters, "hogsheads of shoes, stockings, and clothing were lying at 
different places on the roads and in the woods, perishing for want of 
teams or of money to pay the teamsters." The comfort of good cloth- 
ing and quarters is made complete with abundance of provisions. But 
the American soldiers were as badly provided with food as they were 
with clothing. Four days after the army arrived at Valley Forge 
news came to camp of a sortie from Philadelphia toward Chester by 
British troops under Lord Cornwallis, who marched out on the nth, 
for the purpose of foraging. W^ashington ordered Huntingdon and 
Varnum to have their troops ready to march against the enemy. 
" Fighting will be far preferable to starving. My brigade are out of 
provisions, nor can the commissary obtain any meat. I have used 
every argument my imagination can invent to make the soldiers easy, 
but I despair of being able to do it much longer," said Huntingdon. 
*' It is a very pleasing circumstance to the division under my com- 
mand that there is a probability of their marching. Three day.« 



WASHINGTON'S HEAD-QUARTERS AT VALLEY FORGE. 297 



successively we have been destitute of bread ; two days we have been 
entirely without meat. The men must be supplied or they cannot be 
commanded," was the reply of Varnum. 

Washington, in remonstrance, wrote to Congress once again : '* I 
do not know what causes this alarming deficiency, or rather total 
failure, of supplies ; but unless more vigorous exertions and better 
regulations take place in that line (the commissary's department) 
immediately, the army must dissolve. I have done all in my power 
by remonstrating, by writing, by ordering the commissary on this 
head from time to time, but without obtaining anything more than a 
present scanty relief" The next day, in another letter to the presi- 
dent of Congress, the fact was adverted to that the Legislature of Penn- 
sylvania had protested against the army going into winter quarters, 
Washington wrote sharply and said : " Besides a number of men 
confined to hospitals for want of shoes, and others in farmers' houses 
on the same account, we have by a field return, this day made, no less 
than two thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight now in camp unfit 
for duty because they are barefoot and otherwise naked. By the same 
return it appears that our whole strength in Continental troops, includ- 
ing the eastern brigades which have joined us since the surrender of 
General Burgoyne, exclusive of the Maryland troops sent to Wilming- 
ton, amounts to no more than eight thousand two hundred in camp fit 
for duty. Notwithstanding which, and that since the 4th instant, our 
numbers fit for duty, from the hardships which they have undergone, 
particularly on account of blankets (numbers having been obliged, and 
still are, to set up all night by fires instead of taking comfortable rest 
in a common and natural way), have decreased near two thousand men. 
.... It is a much easier and less distressing thing to draw remon- 
strances in a comfortable room by a good fireside than to occupy a 
cold, bleak hill and to sleep under frost and snow without clothes or 
blankets." Necessity required the commander-in-chief to adopt arbi- 
trary measures in order that the troops might be supplied. He issued 
a proclamation, dated December 20, 1777, commanding that all per- 
sons within seventy miles of Valley Forge should thrash out half of 
their grain by the 1st of February and the other half by the ist of 
March ; in case of failure the sheaves to be seized and paid for as 
straw. In the middle of February three markets were opened in 
camp, each one to be occupied during two days of the week. The 



298 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF FHIIADEIPIIIA. 

prices of provisions also to be fixed. Fresh pork was required to be 
sold at a shilling a pound, mutton and veal at tenpence ; beef was not 
upon the bill of fare. Fat turkeys were fixed at a shilling and four- 
pence each, fat fowls at three shillings and ninepence. Butter could 
be sold at three shillings and ninepence a pound, and rough potatoes 
at ten shillings a bushel. All who attended the market were promised 
good treatment and safe conduct. This measure proved to be but a 
limited means of relief Few farmers attended it, and it did not stock 
the camp with abundance of provisions. More vigorous measures 
were necessary, and foraging-parties were sent out far and wide until 
the surrounding country was stripped of almost everything, or, what 
was equally injurious, the provisions were concealed, the cattle driven 
away, and such provisions as the farmers had to spare were taken in 
preference to Philadelphia and exchanged for British gold. At a later 
period in this winter Washington wrote again : " A part of the army 
has been a week without any flesh, and the rest three or four days. 
Naked and starving as they are, we cannot but admire the incompar- 
able patience and fidelity of the soldieiy, that they have not been ere 
this excited by their suffering to a general mutiny and desertion. The 
camp is destitute of everything of necessity and comfort. Even so 
common an article as straw, worth scarcely anything, cannot be 
obtained in sufficient quantities for the use of the men in their huts." 
The committee of Congress which was at camp during a portion of 
the winter said : " Unprovided with this, or materials to raise them 
from the cold and wet earth, sickness and mortality have spread 

through their quarters in an astonishing degree Nothing can 

equal their sufferings except the patience and fortitude with which the 
faithful part of the army endure them. Those of a different character 
desert in considerable numbers." Here, in the latter part of February, 
1778, came Frederick William Augustus, Baron von Steuben, an old 
soldier of Prussia, a pupil of the great Frederick. He was one of the 
most honorable of the foreigners who came to America seeking 
military service. Some of them were soldiers of Fortune, and ready 
to fight in any cause for pay. Some were really strongly interested in 
the justice of the American cause. Of this character were La Fayette, 
Pulaski, and Steuben. Washington was glad to obtain the services of 
this gallant disciplinarian. By hardship and privation his troops were 
utterly demoralized. He held only something like an organized mob. 



WASHINGTON'S HEAD -QUARTERS AT VALLEY FORGE. 299 

Discipline and instruction were the great necessities of the army. The 
commander-in-chief wrote a strong letter to Congress in favor of this 
officer, and a commission was given him. Washington at once 
appointed him inspector-general, and from the chaos order and 
soldierly conduct were gradually evolved. 

When the army encamped on the sides of the Valley Hill the trees 
in the neighborhood were plenty, and there was no difficulty in finding 
fuel to keep the soldiers warm. But so great was the necessity that 
in a few weeks the neighborhood of the camp was stripped of trees. 
Every day the region of fuel-supply was getting farther off Labori- 
ous expedients were resorted to to obtain the proper material. " Of- 
ten," says Woodman, " have I heard people who remembered the time 
(especially my mother) mention of their having seen the soldiers, par- 
ticularly those from the Eastern States, and some of the subordinate 
officers, who could best endure the rigor of the winter, yoke them- 
selves like oxen, and on temporary sleds formed for the occasion haul 
fuel in this way, some of it a distance of more than two miles, eight, 
nine, ten, or more forming a team and using grapevines to draw them 
with instead of ropes. And when provisions and other necessaries 
became, in like manner, exhausted, requisition had to be made upon 
people living more remote from the same, and foraging-parties had to 
be sent to scour various sections of country in order to obtain and 
secure sustenance for the famishing army ; and when thus obtained 
the conveyance of it to the place was attended with a great deal of 
inconvenience." 

Peter S. Duponceau, who was an aide to Steuben, dates his first ex- 
perience of American military life with his service at Valley Forge. 
Speaking of the condition of the army during that dreadful winter, he 
says : " They bore their condition of half-naked and half-famished men 
with fortitude, resignation, and patience. Sometimes you might see 
soldiers pop their heads out of their huts and call out in an undertone, 
' No bread, no soldier,' but a single word from their officer would still 
their complaint." Watson quotes the statement of an officer at Valley 
Forge, who says : " Fresh beef they could scarcely get ; of vegetables 
they had none, save sometimes some potatoes. Their tables were loose 
planks, rough as split from the tree. One dish of wood or of pewter 
sufficed for a mess. A horn spoon and a tumbler of horn were lent 
round. Their knife was carried in the pocket. Much of their diet 



300 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

was salted herrings, in such injured state that they would not hold 
together to be drawn out of the cask singly, but had to be shovelled 
up en masse. Sugar, coffee, tea, etc. were luxuries not seen. They had 
only Continental money, and it was so depreciated it would not allure 
farmers to sell to them. Yet cheerless as was such a state, when they 
drew three months' pay a number of subaltern officers sallied out to 
seek mirth and jollity, and spent a month's pay in one night of merry 
revelry. Sometimes, for pleasantry, you might see a squad of men 
and officers affecting to have received a supply of whisky — of which 
they were often without — and passing around the stone jug as if filled, 
when, lo ! the eager expectant found it was only water ! The fun was 
that the deceived still kept the secret, in hopes to pass it to another 
and another unwary wight. On one occasion of alarm, the men being 
marched out, in several instances were so shoeless as to mark the 
frozen ground with blood, when General Conway, who saw it, ex- 
claimed, ' My dear fellows, my heart bleeds with you.' " 

When the American army took possession of the ground for this 
encampment the Valley forge-building was a ruin. It had been 
burned by the British, who also burned Colonel Dewees' house. The 
Valley grist-mill was not destroyed. A portion of the army under 
Howe had reached this place during the military movements which 
ended with the British army crossing the Schuylkill at Fatlands and 
Gordon's Ford and marching on toward Philadelphia. When the 
American army took possession of their encampment the mansion of 
Colonel Dewees was repaired and fitted up as a bakehouse for the 
use of the army. It was not sufficient to supply all the bread needed 
by the soldiers, and many poor families in the neighborhood baked 
for the soldiers and furnished them with a pound of bread for a pound 
of flour. The soldiers put up a temporary armory near the site of 
the old slitting-mill, where arms were made and repaired for officers 
and soldiers. No traces of that building now remain. The depot 
for provisions was at the house of Frederick Geerhart, near the 
western extremity of the encampment. Rations were delivered from 
that place. 

The hospital was established in the Valley meeting-house of the 
Society of Friends, near by the encampment. During its occupation 
for that purpose the members of the Society met regularly for religious 
worship at the house of Isaac Walker. Frequently the officers attended, 



WASHINGTON'S HEAD-QUARTERS AT VALLEY FORGE. 30I 

most constant of whom was Major-General Greene, himself of Qua- 
ker descent. After the war of the Revolution a new Valley forge- 
building was erected, considerably lower down the stream than the 
forge destroyed by the British. A little later it was used as a tilt-mill 
until about 18 14, after which a cotton-factory occupied the site. A 
slitting and rolling mill was subsequently erected on the opposite side 
of the creek, in Chester county. William Dewees re-erected the forge. 
Isaac Potts kept the merchant and grist mill. Dewees failed in busi- 
ness, and Isaac Potts carried on the forge for a few years, when a 
division was made between Isaac and David Potts, the latter taking the 
iron-works and grounds. Isaac Potts continued to live in the house 
occupied by Washington until 1794, w4ien he sold it to Jacob Paul of 
Germantown. About 1826 it was sold to an association of followers 
of Robert Owen of New Lanark, Scotland, but the community failed. 
The property was bought by James Jones, one of the number, who 
lived there many years. The old mill was destroyed in 1843 by a 
spark from a locomotive on the Reading Railroad. The Washington 
House is plainly in view from this railroad. 

Woodman, in his History of Valley Forge, speaks of several rumors 
of attack, or intention on the part of the British to make an attack, on 
Valley Forge. The following anecdote rests upon tradition : " It is 
said that on one occasion an attack on the army at Valley Forge was 
baffled through the efforts of Jonathan Morris, a physician, then re- 
siding in London Grove township in the county of Chester. While the 
British were in Philadelphia he had to go there in order to procure 
a supply of medicines. Travelling on horseback, he was stopped by 
the guards between Darby and the city. Upon telling who he was, 
and his object in going to the city, they let him pass, upon condition 
of his returning and reporting himself in four hours' time. This 
caused him to hurry to the city and make his purchases as expe- 
ditiously as possible ; and he was ready to return home sooner than 
he had anticipated. Passing the London Coffee-house, a person with 
whom he was acquainted came out and whispered a few words to him, 
and immediately returned to the house. He rode on at a brisk trot 
until he crossed the floating bridge on the Schuylkill at Market street. 
After getting safely over he rode at full speed to the house of Colo- 
nel Anthony Morris, hastily informed him of the information given 
him by the man at the Coffee-house, which was that the British would 



302 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

make an attack on the camp at Valley Forge in three days from that 
time, and, declining an invitation to stay to dinner, he hastily returned, 
and within the allotted time reported himself to the guards. Colonel 
Morris immediately conveyed information to Washington at head- 
quarters, and quick preparations were made to prevent an attack, and 
advanced guards were sent out to meet the enemy ; but they came not. 
Information was through some channel conveyed to the British that 
their intentions were discovered, and that the knowledge had been com- 
municated by Colonel Morris. Though no attack was made upon our 
army, yet Colonel Morris in consequence suffered much both in per- 
son and property by a body of British soldiers, who were sent ex- 
pressly to attack his house and injure his person." 

Washington probably did not visit Valley Forge from the time that 
the army marched away until a few years before his death, and while 
he was President of the United States. Woodman relates the follow- 
ing incident which had been often told by his father : In the latter part 
of the summer of 1796 the elder Woodman "was engaged in plough- 
ing in a field near the front-line hill. It was in the afternoon of the 
day, and he observed an elderly person of a very dignified appearance, 
dressed in a plain suit of black, on horseback, accompanied by a black 
servant, ride to a place in the road opposite to him, where he alighted 
from his horse and came into the field, and, shaking hands cordially 
with him, told him he had called to make some inquiry concerning 
the owners and occupants of the various houses in the different places 
about there, and also in regard to the system of farming practised in 
that part of the country, the time of sowing and planting, the best 
method of tilling the ground, the quantity raised, and numerous other 
things relative to farming and agriculture, and asking after some fam- 
ilies in the neighborhood. As answers were given he noted them 
down in a memorandum-book. My father informed the stranger 
that he was unable to give as correct information as he could wish, 
as he had not been brought up to the farming business, and was 
not a native of that part of the country, having settled there since 
the war ; that he came from North Carolina, where he resided 
previous to the Revolution ; that he had been in the army, and was 
one of the number encamped there during the war. This gave a new 
turn to the conversation. The stranger informed him that he had also 
been in the army and encamped there, and, expecting in a few months 



WASHINGTON'S HEAD-QUARTERS AT VALLEY FORGE. 303 

to leave the city of Philadelphia, with no prospect of ever returning, 
he had taken a journey to visit the place, view the old encampment- 
ground which had been the scene of so much suffering and distress, 
and see how far the inhabitants were recovering from the disasters they 
had experienced and the losses they had sustained from that event; 
adding that his name was George Washington. Upon receiving this 
information, my father told him that his costume and appearance were 
so altered that he did not recognize him, or he would have paid more 
respect to his old commander and the Chief Magistrate of the Union. 
He replied that to see the people happy and satisfied, and the deso- 
late fields recovering from the disasters they had experienced, and par- 
ticularly to meet with any of his old companions in arms and suffer- 
ings now peaceably engaged in the most useful of all employments, 
afforded him more real satisfaction than all the servile homage that 
could be paid to his person or station. He then asked my father's 
name, noted it in his memorandum-book, and said that pressing 
engagements rendered it necessary for him to return to the city that 
night, or he would visit some of his former friends at their houses. 
Then taking my father by the hand, he bade him an affectionate 
farewell." 

Here at Valley Forge occurred some of the transactions connected 
with the conspiracy to depose Washington and make Gates com- 
mander-in-chief, usually designated the " Conway Cabal." Gates had 
won battles at Stillwater and Saratoga, while Washington had lost them 
at Brandy wine and Germantown. Before the commander-in-chief went 
into winter quarters at Valley Forge, Burgoyne had surrendered at 
Saratoga, and the news of the great victory spread joy throughout the 
country. Washington, in the opinion of certain members of Congress 
and some dissatisfied military men, whose ambition was greater than 
their deserts, had failed, and Gates was regarded as the proper officer 
to take supreme command. Conway was at Valley Forge. His am- 
bition was mortified when De Kalb was commissioned major-general 
in preference to himself Washington understood Conway thoroughly. 
and did not favor his application. Writing to Richard Henry Lee in 
Congress, he said : " General Conway's merit as an officer and his 
importance in this army exist more in his imagination than in reality. 
For it is a maxim with him to leave no service of his own untold, nor 
to want anything which is to be obtained by importunity." Mifflin, 



304 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

quartermaster-general, supported Conway in his aspirations, and these 
two officers engaged in the intrigue to depreciate Washington and to 
extol the merits of Gates. Wilkinson, aide-de-camp to Gates, who 
travelled with tortoise pace with despatches giving the particulars of 
Burgoyne's surrender, so that the news arrived there before him, was 
interested in the plot. He was of a gossiping disposition, and on his 
road stopped with General Lord Stirling at Reading, and repeated 
to Major McW^illiams, Stirling's aide-de-camp, a portion of a letter 
received by Gates from Conway, in which the latter said : " Heaven 
has been determined to save your country, or a weak general and bad 
councillors would have ruined it." Stirling considered it his duty to 
notify Washington, and the commander-in-chief threw a bombshell 
into the camp of the conspirators by a note directed to Conway, in 
which he stated that he had information that in a letter from Conway 
to Gates were those words. In Congress were Adams, Lovell, and 
Rush, strong advocates of Gates. The latter was made a member of 
the Board of War, together with Mifflin, and that body scarcely took 
pains to conceal their hostility to Washington. The result was, finally, 
that whatever the malevolence of the conspirators might have been, 
they dared not attempt to carry their designs into execution. In fact, 
they were all compelled to explain. Conway explained. Gates ex- 
plained. Washington replied with dignity, and finally, on the 24th of 
February, in a brief letter reciting the repeated disclaim.ers of Gates, he 
declared that he was willing to bury the matters referred to in silence 
and, as far as future events would permit, in oblivion. 

As the supplies came in very slowly, it was necessary to look ahead 
for the exigencies of the summer. On the i8th of February, 1778, 
Washington issued a proclamation addressed to the inhabitants of 
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, in which 
they were recommended to prepare cattle for the use of the army 
during the months of May, June, and July ensuing, for want of which 
great privations might arise in the course of a campaign. With tact 
and policy Washington requested this favor from " the virtuous 
yeomanry " if they were willing to assist, but threatened them with 
the consequences if they refused. " A bountiful price will be given, 
and the proprietors may assure themselves that they will render a 
most essential service to the most illustrious cause of their countiy, 
and contribute in a great degree to shorten the bloody contest. But 



WASHING TON'S HEAD- QUAE TERS A T VALLE Y FORGE. 305 

should there be any so insensible to the common interest as not to 
exert themselves upon these generous principles, the private interest 
of those whose situation makes them liable to become immediate 
subjects of the enemy's incursions should prompt them at least to a 
measure which is calculated to save their property from plunder, their 
families from insult, and their own persons from abuse, hopeless con- 
finement, and perhaps violent death." Notwithstanding the poverty of 
the camp and the want of supplies and good clothing, Washington 
and his officers let no opportunity go by to express in their orders 
requests and commands that the soldiers should maintain as respect- 
able an appearance as possible. They were requested " to keep them- 
selves regularly shaved and their hands clean, to be careful about 
soiling or injuring their clothes, and to keep their clothes mended as 
much as possible. The general therefore, in the most pointed terms, 
desires the officers, from generals down to corporals, to oblige their 
men to appear clean and decent at all times and upon all occasions, 
even punishing the soldier that appears dirty, whether on duty or 
not." Colonel Chambers writes in the orderly-book of Wayne's 
division on the 8th of April, 1778 : ** Want of uniformity in a soldier's 
clothing and its indifferent quality, so far from excusing slovenliness 
and unsoldierly neglect in other respects, ought rather to excite each 
man to redouble attention to the means he has in his power. For 
instance, a soldier may always shave his beard, appear with clean hands 
and face, and in general have an air of neatness which will appear con- 
spicuous under all disadvantages." Here Wednesday, April 23, 1778, 
was observed as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, and in May 
there was a thanksgiving celebration on account of the French 
alliance, news of which had just been received. The battalions 
paraded in brigades and divisions, salutes were fired, including difeu- 
de-joie throughout all the line. The soldiers huzzaed with one voice, 
according to orders, " Long live the king of France !" " Long live the 
friendly European powers !" " Huzza for the American States !" On 
this occasion Lord Stirling commanded on the right, and La Fayette 
on the left ; Baron de Kalb the second line. Each brigadier-general 
brought his brigade to the ground. There were no more military 
exercises on that day, and the heart of each soldier was gladdened 
by a gill of rum. Under orders of May 2 divine service was directed 
to be performed in camp every Sabbath morning at eleven o'clock in 
20 



306 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

those brigades which had chaplains, and those which had none were 
ordered to meet with the latter. On the 7th of May orders were 
issued that all officers, civil as well as military, should take the oath 
of renunciation of British power and obedience to the United States. 
Major-Generals La Fayette, De Kalb, Stirling, Brigadier-Generals 
Mcintosh, Maxwell, Knox, Poor, Varnum, Patterson, and Wayne 
were appointed to administer the oath and grant certificates to those 
who took it. On the i8th of June intelligence reached Valley Forge 
that the British had evacuated Philadelphia. The event had been 
anticipated, and the army was ready to march. The heads of the 
columns were urged across Pennsylvania; the number of men had 
been increased by reinforcements from the Northern army to fifteen 
thousand ; the weather was pleasant. Washington took the road 
toward the upper Delaware, where Greene and Wayne crossed at 
Coryell's Ferry on the 20th. There were marchings and consultations, 
and the battle of Monmouth closed up the war in the Jerseys. 



THE HOUSE WHERE THE DECLARATION 
OF INDEPENDENCE WAS WRITTEN. 




HE committee of the Continental Congress to which on the 
7th of June, 1776, was referred the resolution of Richard 
Henry Lee of Virginia, '* that these United Colonies are, 
and of right ought to be, free and independent States, and 
that all political connection between us and the state of Great 
Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved," was authorized, if 
the proposition was considered favorably, to draw a declaration to that 
effect. To Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachu- 
setts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Con- 
necticut, and Robert R. Livingston of New York this business was 
entrusted. Jefferson was authorized by the committee to draft the 
document, and the result was the preparation of the famous state 
paper which was adopted on the 4th of July, 1776, substantially as it 
came from the pen of Jefferson, some few alterations having been 
made at the suggestion of Franklin and Adams. At the time when 
Mr. Jefferson wrote this great paper it was not deemed important to 
note particularly the place where the document was written. The pe- 
riod was too full of great events to justify any thought in regard to what 
might have been considered an insignificant detail. The generation 
which was benefited by the adoption of the great charter was content 
to accept the advantage without being curious about the means by 
which it was obtained. Nearly half a century went by before the 
people of the United States, except those who were of a scholarly 

307 



3o8 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



turn of mind, began to take more than a cursory interest in the history 
of the country. The second visit of La Fayette in 1824 did more to 
arouse attention to the events of the Revolution than anything which 
had yet happened. The men who acted in the great struggle had in 
large numbers passed away, but many of the places hallowed by their 
presence and their deeds yet remained, and local interest in them 
began to assert itself It was in obedience to such spirit that in 1824 
and 1825 the question was asked, Where did Jefferson write the Decla- 
ration of Independence ? 

Dr. James Mease, the author of the Picture of Philadclpliia in 1810, 
who may be said to be our first local antiquary, was unable to solve 
this question, in which he was greatly interested. He therefore wrote 
to Mr. Jefferson on the subject, and received in reply the following 
letter : 

" MoNTiCELLO, September 16, 1825. 

" Dear Sir : It is not for me to estimate the importance of the cir- 
cumstances concerning which your letter of the 8th makes inquiry. 
They prove, even in their minuteness, the sacred attachments of our 
fellow-citizens to the event of which the paper of July 4, 1776, was 
but the declaration, the genuine effusion, of the soul of our country 
at that time. Small things may perhaps, like the relics of saints, help 
to nourish our devotion to this holy bond of our Union, and keep it 
longer alive and warm in our affections. This effect may give im- 
portance to circumstances, however small. At the time of writing 
that instrument I lodged in the house of a Mr. Graaf, a new brick 
house, three stories high, of which I rented the second floor, consist- 
ing of a parlor and bedroom, ready furnished. In that parlor I wrote 
habitually, and in it wrote this paper particularly. 

** So far I state from written proofs in my possession. The proprie- 
tor, Graaf, was a young man, son of a German, and then newly mar- 
ried. I think he was a bricklayer, and that his house was on the south 
side of Market street, probably between Seventh and Eighth streets ; 
and if not the only house on that part of the street, I am sure there 
were few others near it. I have some idea that it was a corner house, 
but no other recollections throwing any light on the question or worth 
communication. I will therefore only add assurance of my great re- 
spect and esteem. Th. Jefferson. 

" Dr. James Mease, Philadelphia." 



THE HOUSE WHERE THE DECLARATION WAS WRITTEN. 311 

This communication caused the persons in Philadelphia who were 
interested in the subject to make inquiry, the result of which was not 
made publicly known until 1827, when Nicholas Biddle, who delivered 
a eulogium on Jefferson on the loth of April of that year before the 
American Philosophical Society, used Jefferson's reply, and added : 
" These lodgings, it will be heard with pleasure by all who feel the 
interest which genius inspires for the minutest details of its history, 
he [Jefferson] had selected, with his characteristic love of retirement, 
in a house recently built on the outskirts of the city, and almost the 
last dwelling-house to the westward, where in a small family he was 
the sole boarder. That house is now a warehouse in the centre of 
Philadelphia, standing at the south-west corner of Market and Seventh 
streets. There the Declaration of Independence was written." 

The inquiry made of Mr. Jefferson interested him so much that about 
six weeks after his letter to Dr. Mease he wrote to him again, to inquire 
whether " my recollections were such as to enable you to find out the 
house." Mr. Biddle added : ** Mr. Jefferson was correct in his recollec- 
tions, and the house is known to be that mentioned in the text." It will 
therefore be seen that Dr. Mease, to whom the letter was written, and 
Mr. Biddle, together with those whom they consulted, were perfectly 
satisfied that the house in which the Declaration was written was that 
designated by them. Dr. Mease was born in Philadelphia, and resided 
in the city during his entire life. He was five years old when the 
Declaration was written. His residence was not far from Seventh and 
Market streets. He must have been perfectly familiar with the neigh- 
borhood from childhood up, and if there had been any doubt of the 
house at the corner being the first erected on the lot, he would have 
been likely to be cognizant of the fact. Mr. Biddle was younger than 
Dr. Mease, having been born in 1786, but he was a resident of Phila- 
delphia during his youth, and likely to be well acquainted with its 
local characteristics. Frederick Graff, the engineer of the Water- 
works, and son of the young bricklayer called Graaf by Jefferson, was 
also living. He was born in that house, and it was a family legend, 
which was told him as he grew up, that Jefferson had nursed him when 
a baby. Mr. Graff, it is reasonable to suppose, knew from family 
niquiries exactly where he was born, and that he united with Mease 
and Biddle may be presumed. The presumption is made stronger 
by the fact that although Mr. Graff lived long afterward, no instance 



312 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

is known of his dissent from the general opinion as to the house where 
the Declaration was written. 

This much is said because it is necessary to consider an allegation 
lately made, that the house in which the Declaration was written was 
not at the corner of Seventh and Market streets, but next door on the 
west, now 702 Market street. In the records of deeds in Philadelphia 
it appears that on the ist of June, 1775, Edmund Physick and wife 
granted to Jacob Graff, Jr., of said city, bricklayer, " a certain lot or 
piece of ground, situate, lying, and being on the south side of High 
street, and on the west side of the Seventh street from Delaware, in 
the city of Philadelphia, containing in breadth on High street afore- 
said thirty-two feet, and in length or depth on west side of Seventh 
street aforesaid one hundred and twenty-four feet, bounded on the east 
by Seventh street aforesaid, on the south by a certain ten-foot alley, 
extending one hundred and four feet in depth from Seventh street 
aforesaid, on the west by ground of Hannah Flower, and on the north 
by High street aforesaid." The property was conveyed subject to a 
ground-rent. Graff did not long remain in possession of it. He sold 
it on the 24th of July, 1777, to Jacob Hiltzheimer for ^^1775, Pennsyl- 
vania money, subject also to the ground-rent. The description is the 
same as to the size and dimension of the lot as in the deed from 
Physick to Graff. But the following appears : " Whereas the said 
Jacob Graff hath erected a brick messuage or tenement on the said 
described lot or piece of ground." This refers to the house in which 
Jefferson wrote the Declaration, and the important point of inquiry 
is. Was the house on. the eastern portion of the lot at the corner of 
Seventh and Market streets, or was it on the western portion, leaving 
a vacancy at the corner ? A writer in Potter s Avicrican Monthly for 
May, 1876 (vol. vi. p. 343), contends that the house was on the west- 
ern portion of the ground ; and this allegation is supposed to be sup- 
ported by assumptions which are not sustained by proof Speaking 
of the house on the lot, which is declared to be the westernmost house, 
this writer says: "Mr. Hiltzheimer converted the first floor of this 
* brick messuage or tenement ' into a store, and herein he * kept store ' 
until his death in 1801. His success is attested by numerous deeds 
showing the subsequent purchase of property in various localities, and 
by \}[\^ fact that he built on the corner a ' brick messuage or tenement 
to match his messuage or store.' " If this is so, there is an end to 



THE HOUSE WHERE THE DECLARATION WAS WRITTEN. 



313 



the question. If Mr. Hiltzheimer built on the corner a brick '' mes- 
suage or tenement " to match his ** tenement and store " on the west, 
there can be no doubt that the western house was the place wherein 
the Declaration was written. Where is the proof? We have nothing 
in the article alluded to but assertion. Reference is made to a division 
of Hiltzheimer's property in 1801, subsequent to his death, among 
his heirs, but nothing in this shows which house was first built. True, 
the writer says that the house on the corner was the last built, but 
he adduces no evidence nor quotes any document to sustain his po- 
sition. 

And now for some facts calculated to overthrow the force of these 
assumptions. It is said that Mr. Hiltzheimer converted the brick 
house built by Graff into a store, and occupied it until his death in 
1 80 1. The fact is, that Mr. Hiltzheimer was not a storekeeper, but 
keeper of a livery-stable. It is doubtful whether he ever lived in the 
Market street premises ; he certainly did not live there in and after 
1785. As authority for this we have the city directories. White's for 
1785 has " Hiltzheimer, Jacob, livery-stable, Seventh between Market 
and Chestnut streets." He probably gave up business shortly after that 
time. He was elected to the Assembly from the city of Philadelphia 
in 1786, and re-elected yearly up to and including the session of 1796 
-97. In 1 79 1, Biddle's Directory thus presents his name: "Hiltz- 
heimer, Jacob, Esq., i South Seventh street." Hardie's for 1793 
chronicles him as a " member of the House of Representatives, i 
South Seventh street." And so he runs through all the city directo- 
ries as " member of the House of Representatives" or as " gentle- 
man " until 1798. 

No. I South Seventh street was then where it is now, on the east 
side of Seventh street, and directly opposite Mr. Hiltzheimer's prop- 
erty. There is enough here to show that he did not live on the west 
side of the street in 1785 or after, and that he was not a storekeeper. 
A much more interesting inquiry is, Who lived at the south-west cor- 
ner of Seventh and Market streets, and in the house adjoining now 
known as 702 ? Emerick lived in the house now No. 704, next door 
but one west of the house in which the Declaration of Independence 
was written, if that instrument was written at the corner of Seventh 
street. If, as lately assumed, the Declaration was written in the house 
on the western portion of the lot, and not at the corner, Emerick's 



314 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



house immediately adjoined it. The Philadelphia city directories 
ought to be sufficient to help us out in this question. The first direc- 
tories in the city were published in the year 1785 by Francis White 
and John Macpherson. These registers were issued about the same 
time, but were arranged upon different plans. Macpherson's Directory 
was advertised in the newspapers as published on the i6th of November, 
1785, and White's on the 30th of the same month. White undertook 
to arrange his names in what might be called the alphabetical manner, 
although strict attention was not paid to the vowels and consonants 
which formed the body of the surname ; so that it may be more cor- 
rectly said he arranged his names under the initial letter of the sur- 
name. Macpherson did not attempt any alphabetical order. His plan 
was to begin at the end of a street, and proceed along up one side, giv- 
ing the numbers as he found them in the different squares, so that 
every man's immediate neighbors could be ascertained. In streets 
running north of Market, he began at the north-west corner, and ran 
up the street on the west side as far as he considered the street was 
built up. Then he crossed over on the other side, and came down to 
Market street, where he closed that portion of his labors. But south 
of Market street he commenced at the south-east corner, and pro- 
ceeded down until the limit of houses was reached, and then came up 
on the other side to the south-west corner. His arrangement for 
Market street was to commence at the south-east corner of the Dela- 
ware River, and proceed on the south side toward the west. In Mac- 
pherson's Directory for 1785 the name of Baltus Emerick, baker, is 
found. It is at No. 121 High street, according to his style of enumera- 
tion. No. 120 is occupied by James Finley. It is clear, by an inspec- 
tion of this directory, that Mr. Macpherson gave no numbers to un- 
occupied lots, so that a house situate at No. 100 might be a square or 
a half square off from 10 1, the next house in the enumeration. James 
Finley's was therefore the next house east of Emerick. Was he ac- 
tually adjoining upon the next lot, or was there an intervening lot? 
We are assisted in this inquiry by the fact that the same directory, 
coming up Seventh street, locates James Finley at No. I Hiltzhcimer's 
alley. This was the alley south of the large lot on Market street, which 
still exists. Therefore, Finley was put down as the occupant of the lot 
at the corner of Seventh street. White's Directory does not have the 
name of Baltus Emerick. He did not undertake to assign any num- 



THE HOUSE WHERE THE DECLARATION WAS WRITTEN. 315 

bers to the houses, but gives the location generally as it is between 
streets. He does not have the name of James Finley as located any- 
where in the city. But he gives the name of Nicholas Rash, grocer, at 
the corner of Market and Seventh streets. Which corner ? This ques- 
tion is answered again by Macpherson, -who has Nicholas Rash at 159 
Seventh street, which was upon the corner lot south of Market street. 
He also has Nicholas Rash at 122 Market, which would be next 
west of Emerick. The supposition is, that Rash had a place of busi- 
ness in the property at the corner of Seventh street, and had his 
dwelling-house near by, adjoining Emerick on the west. That neither 
of these directories were very carefully canvassed is evident, but from 
what we have one seems to confirm the other in the particular point 
that there was a house at the south-west corner of Seventh and Market 
streets. Macpherson assigns the dwelling to James Finley, whilst 
White names Nicholas Rash as the occupant. The important point 
is, that while both of the directory-makers agree that somebody oc- 
cupied the corner house, they assign nobody to the location west of 
the corner and east of Emerick. If there is any difficulty about this, 
it is entirely cleared up by the later directories. None were issued 
from 1785 to 1 79 1, when Clement Biddle undertook the task, and did 
it much more thoroughly and conscientiously than his predecessors. 
He originated the system of numbering which was in use in the city 
for many years, and was only modified when the new plan of counting 
by the one hundred at each square was adopted. Upon the streets run- 
ning from the Delaware west Mr. Biddle placed the odd numbers on 
the north side, and the even numbers on the south. On the streets 
running north and south the odd numbers were on the east side, and 
the even numbers on the west. There was no directory for 1792, but 
there was one for 1793 and for succeeding years. In Mr. Biddle's Di- 
rectory we find that the south-west corner of Market and Seventh 
streets was numbered 230, and Baltzer Emerick's house 234. Who, 
then, lived at 232, which it has been asserted was the original house 
on this lot? Nobody. There is no No. 232 in the directory as a 
house occupied by anybody, clearly showing that there was no house 
on the premises, and that blank remains in every directory for several 
years, until there was a house built on the western lot about 1797, 
which was first occupied by Simon and Hyman Gratz. It is not neces- 
sary to continue this matter further than to show the condition of the 



3i6 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



No. 232. 



two properties as they appear in the directories between 179 1 and 

1 802 : 

No. 230, 

S. W. cor. Seventh st. 

Wilson, Hon, James. Esq., 

LL.D., Associate Judge 

for the Supreme Court of 

the United States. 



Kiddie, 1791. 



No. 234. 
Emerick, Baltus, baker. 



No directory was issued for 1792. 

Hardie, 1793, Mussi, Joseph, merchant. 



1794, 
Hogan, 1795, 

Stephens, 1 796, 

Stafford, 1797, 

1798, 



Richards, John, 
Richards, John, 



Stafford, 
Stafford, 



I799» 
1800, 

1801, 



Emerick, Baltus, baker. 

Emerick, Baltus, baker. 

Emerick, Baltzer, baker. 

Emerick, Baltzer, baker. 

Emerick, Baltus, baker. 

Gratz, Simon and Hyman, Emerick, Baltzer, baker, 
grocery and wine store. 

" " " Emerick, Baltzer, baker. 



Cox, Jacob, merchant. 



" " merchants. Emerick, Baltzer, baker. 

" 1802 and '03, " " " " " 

The directories for 1797 and 1798 have "John Jones, merchant,"' "John Jones, broker," at 
the corner of Seventh and Market. The directory for 1799 gives for the corner of Seventh 
and Market streets, " Mr. Jones, gentleman," Which corner is meant is a matter of infer- 
ence, but from the character of the occupants of the houses on the other corners, it is 
extremely probable that Mr. Jones was an occupant of the south-west corner. 

In addition to the fact that from 1785 up to 1798 no tenant appears 
in the city directories for No. 232, it is important to state that Hogan's 
Directory for 1795 was arranged on the plan of going from door to 
door, and not alphabetically. This directory was originally issued in 
two parts, at different times. There were two editions of the first part, 
which contains the occupants on Market street. On page 12 of the 
first edition, after giving the occupants of 228, are the words '^ cross Sev- 
enth street — No. 230, John Richards, merchant; No. 234, Baltzer Emery, 
baker." No. 232 is entirely unnoticed, and 234 is placed next to 230. 
The same enumeration is in the second edition of the first part, but 
the words " cross Seventh street " are omitted. In fact, considerable 
change was made in the second edition, and matter which appeared 
in the first edition was left out, but the Nos. 230 for Richards and 234 
for Emerick are undisturbed. 

It is not necessary to waste any more space in elaborating this 
question. Enough has been shown to demonstrate that the first house 
on the lot at Seventh and Market streets was built on the corner, and 



THE HOUSE WHERE THE DECLARATION WAS WRITTEN. 317 

that there was no house next to the corner for nearly twenty years 
after the great document was written. 

Hon. James Wilson, who occupied the house at the corner in 1791, 
removed there from his residence at Third and Walnut streets, called 
" Fort Wilson." He was a man of wealth and social position, and the 
house in which the Declaration was written was a dignified residence. 
Joseph Mussi and John Richards were merchants, but had their 
counting-houses elsewhere. Jacob Cox was a son-in-law of Jacob 
Hiltzheimer, having married his daughter Sarah. In the division 
of the Hiltzheimer property in 1801 the house and lot at the south- 
west corner, extending as far as the northern line of the two-story 
houses still standing, was allotted to Mary Rogers, a daughter of 
Hiltzheimer. No. 230 was assigned to Thomas W. Hiltzheimer. 
The Gratzes, who were occupying the property next to the corner 
on Market street, bought the house and lot at the corner of Mary, wife 
of William C. Rogers, by deed dated December 15, 1801, for ^6^00. 
They bought the tenement and store next door to the corner of the 
assignees of Thomas W. Hiltzheimer, bankrupt, by deed of March 26, 
1802. They continued business in the store next to the corner, as 
appears by Philadelphia directories, until some time in 181 3. In 18 14 
they are located at 230 High street. It appears by subsequent direc- 
tories that they occupied the premises at both 230 and 232. Some 
time after the Gratzes bought these premises they put a fourth story on 
both houses, with steep-pitched roof, and by painting the bricks made 
them so uniform in appearance that their ancient aspect has been much 
changed. A sketch of the Declaration House at the corner, as it 
originally appeared, was made by Hyman Gratz for John McAllister, 
Jr., after Mr. Biddle's eulogium was delivered. The doorway was at 
about the middle of the house on Seventh street, the stairways rising 
from a short entry immediately opposite the door and adjoining the 
west wall of the house. The stairway rose in that position to the top 
of the house, and divided the south rooms from the north rooms. Mr, 
Jefferson occupied the two rooms on the second story — the front for 
a parlor, the back room as a bedroom. He says : ** In that parlor I 
wrote habitually, and in it I wrote this paper particularly." Mr. Gratz 
said, in his sketch accompanying his drawing of the plan of the build- 
ing, that Simon and Hyman Gratz '* closed up the door on Seventh 
street and removed the stairs." 



THE OFFICE OF SECRETARY OF STATE FOR 

FOREIGN AFFAIRS. 




VERY plain house indeed — an ordinary three-story 
brick of the Philadelphia pattern before the Revolution, 
about twelve feet front, and in depth scarcely more than 
twenty feet. This was the office of the Secretary of State 
^^/ for Foreign Affairs during the Revolution. Two rooms on 
J)^ the floor all the way up, with a garret, was its utmost capacity. 
In appearance it differed not from the most ordinary of the houses of 
moderate size of the time. It was on the east side of Sixth street, 
north of Chestnut, and under the old enumeration was known as No, 
13. The old Lawrence mansion on the north-east corner of Sixth 
and Chestnut streets extended northward. There was a yard north 
of the house. In later days a one-story office was built on the north- 
ern part of the lot by Peter S. Duponceau, the then owner. The build- 
ing containing the office of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs adjoined 
on the north, and also belonged to Mr. Duponceau. Robert R. Liv- 
ingston, who was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the years 
1782-83, occupied that building. His office was in the second story, 
facing the street. In the back room were the under-secretaries, Lewis 
R. Morris, afterward Governor of Vermont, and Peter S. Duponceau, 
subsequently well known as a philologist and man of science, holding 
for a long time the honorable office of president of the American 
Philosophical Society. "There," says Mr. Watson the annalist, from 
whom we borrow these details, ** having charge of the archives of a 
nation, they preserved them all within the enclosure of a small wooden 

318 



OFFICE OF SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS. 



319 



press. The only room down stairs on the ground floor was that oc- 
cupied by two clerks and an interpreter. One of the clerks, Mr. 
Henry Remson, has since become the president of a bank in New 
York. The translator was Rev. Mr. Tetard, the pastor of the French 
Reformed church. Such was the material of our national infancy, 
since grown to such vigorous and effective manhood. Mr. Duponceau, 
from whom I have derived much of these facts, which passed under 
his immediate observation, has occasionally delighted himself in de- 
scribing, with good-humored emotion and picturesque delineation, the 
various scenes which have there occasionally occurred, and the great 



Offick of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. 

personages who have frequently clambered up the dark and narrow 
winding stairs to make their respects to or their negotiations with the 
representative of the nation — such as the Marquis La Fayette. Count 
Rochambeau, the Duke de Lauzun, Count Dillon, Prince Guemenee, 
etc. Our own great men, such as Madison, Morris, Hamilton, Mifflin, 
etc., were visitors of course. After the peace, in the same small upper 
chamber was received the homage of the British general, Alured 
Clark, and the famous Major Hanger, once the favorite of the late 
George IV. The major received much attention while in Phila- 
delphia." 



320 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

After Mr. Livingston left this house it ceased to be the resort of 
distinguished characters, and was relegated to common uses. Thomas 
Dobbin, cabinetmaker, lived in that house in 1795, and William Stuart, 
oysterman, was there in 180 1. It was inhabited by numerous tenants 
during the time when it remained undistinguished. It was a shop or 
boarding-house as the particular tenant might desire. One of the 
latest occupants, from about 1836 to 1840 and after, was a clever 
Irishman named James Gaffney. Jemmy was for some years boot- 
black and porter at the Red Lion Hotel, Market street above Sixth, 
and in his calling picked up sundry fi'p'ny bits and levies, which he 
saved with care until he had sufficient capital to undertake the business 
of money-lending. And so Jemmy shaved notes and multiplied gains. 
He lived in this famous house with his Quaker wife, quite ignorant of 
its history and associations, and was residing there when Death, inex- 
orable to bootblacks and bankers alike, came along and stopped 
Jemmy's promising business career. Shortly after Gaffney's death 
Abraham Hart, bookseller, member of the well-known firm of E. L, 
Carey and A. Hart, purchased the whole property, including the 
Lawrence and Duponceau houses and the office of Secretary of State 
for Foreign Affairs. Mr. Hart meditated great improvements. He tore 
down the old houses, and erected upon their site a building five stories 
high, which extended from Chestnut street to the north line of the old 
house. It was occupied by stores and trades of different kinds, 
including bookbinders and engravers. On the night when the 
great Hungarian, Louis Kossuth, was complimented with a ban- 
quet at Musical Fund Hall, December 26, 1851, the Hart build- 
ing was burned. It was a dreadful night. The snow was fall- 
ing fast, the winds were strong, and the mercury in the thermome- 
ter stood at a low figure. The firemen worked with activity and 
energy, but were debarred from their usual success by the diffi- 
culty of obtaining water from the plugs and the freezing of the 
hose. Hart's building was totally destroyed, and when the walls 
fell, William W. Haly, a member of the bar, well known in the 
legal profession as one of the authors of Troiibat and Halys Practice, 
was in the building with John Baker, a watchman. They were 
endeavoring to save property, and both were killed by the fall- 
ing walls. Subsequently, Hart's building was reconstructed, and 
it still remains a noted landmark. 



FREE QUAKER MEETING-HOUSE. 




HE conduct of the Quakers during the American Revolu- 
tion is inexpHcable if viewed in connection with their ear- 
Her history. From the settlement of Pennsylvania the ad- 
herents of the Church of England, representing the inter- 
ests of the Crown, were in opposition to them. Nearly 
all the controversies which occurred between the As- 
sembly, in which the Quakers were in large majority, 
and the lieutenant-governors and the proprietaries, be- 
tween 1683 and 1756, were influenced by this feeling. 
In the latter year the Quaker party, despairing of triumph by the con- 
tentious and obstinate policy which they had adopted, resolved to ally 
themselves more nearly to the interests of the Crown than to the pro- 
prietaries. Benjamin Franklin and Isaac Norris were sent to London 
as agents at that time to make proposals to the English government, 
and to endeavor to interest the servants of the Crown in taking the 
Quaker side against the proprietary family in Pennsylvania. This 
effort failed, partly because the administration in England was not 
very anxious to take hold of the opportunity, but more particularly 
because a disposition to put the Colonies under tribute to Great 
Britain, which afterward manifested itself in the passage of the Stamp 
Act and the act levying a duty on paper, tea, etc. imported into the 
colonies, prevented anything like the settlement of a policy which 
would have made the Quakers and the adherents of the Church of 
England in Pennsylvania identical in political interests. When the 



322 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

war of the Revolution broke out the Quakers ought naturally to have 
anayed themselves on the side of America. Every interest, religious 
and political, would have justified such a course. But they were found, 
with but very few exceptions, on the side of the Crown, and as long as 
they dared they did not hesitate to show their disapprobation of the 
measures of resistance to wrong w^hich led the way toward independ- 
ence. The excuse for adopting this policy was, that the members of 
the Society were opposed to wars and fighting. Those principles they 
might have maintained, with every likelihood of great deference being 
shown to them, if their sympathies had been on the right side. But 
before the contest was over, whilst there were constant complaints 
of the violence done to the principles of Friends by the patriots, there 
was a singular silence manifested whenever the roval armies invaded 
those rights. Indeed, it must have been expected that peculiar favor 
would be shown to the members of the Society of Friends by the Brit- 
ish troops. This did not always prove to be the case. When the royal 
army took possession of Philadelphia the soldiers robbed, maltreated, 
and outraged Whig and Tory alike. In their destructive operations 
they made no inquiry as to whom the property belonged. " The in- 
discriminate destruction of Whig and Tory property to be seen in 
the neighborhood of the city," said Dinilafs Packet of July 4, 
1778, "strongly marks the character of these British savages. They 
have increased the resentment of their old enemies, and turned the 
hearts of their friends. Many who welcomed them into the city, and 
were deceived and seduced by their specious proclamation, followed 
them with the bitterest execrations." Robert Morton, a vouns" 
Quaker who kept a diary while the British were in possession of the 
citv, notes the destruction of Fair Hill mansion and ten other houses 
which were set on fire by the British, and observes : " The generality 
of mankind being governed by their interests, it is reasonable to con- 
clude that men whose property is thus wantonly destroyed under a pre- 
tence of depriving their enemy of the means of annoying them on their 
march, will soon be converted and become their professed enemies." 

As long as they dared, the members of the Society of Friends 
spoke their sentiments plainly. At the Yearly Meeting in January, 
1776, it was resolved to issue "the ancient Testimony and Prin- 
ciples ;of the people called Quakers, renewed with respect to the 
king's government and touching the commotions now prevailing in 



FREE QUAKER MEETING-HOUSE. 323 

these and other parts of America, addressed to the people in gene- 
ral." In that address the Meeting said : " The benefits, advantage, and 
favors we have experienced by our dependence upon the connection 
with the king's government, under which we have enjoyed this happy 
state, appear to demand from us the greatest circumspection, care, and 
constant endeavors to guard against every attempt to alter or subvert 

that dependence and connection May we, therefore, firmly unite 

in the abhorrence of all such writings and measures as evidence a de- 
sire and a design to break off the happy connection we have hitherto 
enjoyed with the kingdom of Great Britain, and our just and necessary 
subordination to the king and those lawfully placed in authority under 
him." 

On the 5th of First month, 1775, the Meeting for Sufferings for 
Pennsylvania and New Jersey, held at Philadelphia, issued an epistle 
in which it was clearly set forth that any participation by members 
of the Society in the measures which were being taken by patriots 
on behalf of the country would be disapproved of They said : '* As 
some public resolves hav^e been lately entered into, with the concur- 
rence and approbation of some members of our religious Society, the 
nature and tendency of which are evidently contrary to our religious 
principles, our minds have been deeply affected with affliction and 
sorrow, and we have, in much affection and brotherly love, been 
engaged to use our endeavors to convince these, our brethren, of their 
deviation ; in the discharge of which duty, so far as we have proceeded, 
we have had the evidence of peace. As divers members of our relig- 
ious Society, some of them without their consent or knowledge, have 
been lately nominated to attend on and engage in some public affairs 
which they cannot undertake without deviating from these our relig- 
ious principles, we therefore earnestly beseech and advise them and all 
others to consider the end and purpose of every measure to which 
they are desired to become parties, and with great circumspection and 
care to guard against joining in any for the asserting and maintaining 
our rights and liberties which on mature deliberation appear not to be 
dictated by that * wisdom which is from above, which is pure, peace- 
able, gentle, and full of mercy and good fruits ' (James iii. 16)." 

Even after the Declaration of Independence, as late as the 20th of 
December, 1776, a testimony and address were issued by the Friends 
in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, in which a patient spirit was urged, 



324 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

" that we may with Christian firmness and fortitude withstand and 
refuse to submit to the arbitraiy injunctions and ordinances of men 
who assume to themselves the power of compelHng others, either in 
person or by other assistance, to aid in carrying on war, and of pre- 
scribing modes of determining our rehgious principles by imposing 
tests not warranted by the precepts of Christ or by the laws of the 
happy constitution under which we and others long enjoyed tranquillity 
and peace." 

Long after the evacuation of the city by the British troops the 
claims of the Society of Friends of a right to '* deal " with their mem- 
bers who violated their discipline by joining in the measures for the 
defence of America were exercised. An odd incident in connection 
with this policy occurred in the case of a son of Timothy Matlack. 
The father had separated from Friends at the beginning of the contro- 
versies with Great Britain, taking the popular side. He was an Asso- 
ciator and a colonel, having been prominent during the whole Revolu- 
tion by his services as a soldier and his connection with the Committee 
of Safety and the Supreme Executive Council. It might have been 
supposed that no prudent Quaker would venture into his family. In 
March, 1779, Samuel R. Fisher, son of Joshua Fisher, and John James 
went into Colonel Matlack's house to *' deal " with his son on account 
of bearing arms. Colonel Matlack came in while they were engaged 
on what he esteemed a most impudent errand. His anger could not 
be restrained, and in an account of the transaction published in the 
papers he said : " I turned them out of my house, and gave them both 
in the open street, in full measure, but not without mercy, the chas- 
tisement which their audacious impudence demanded and thus exacted 

from me As this transaction will undoubtedly form a page in 

the Book of Sufferings, and as Mr. F. and Mr. J. represent the stick 
used on that occasion as a very heavy one and a mere cudgel, to pre- 
vent the exaggeration so very common in that book it is necessary to 
say that, my horsewhip being out of place, I was obliged to use a 
middle-sized walking-stick, which I have usually carried for a few 
years past." 

While the majority of the Quakers were opposed to the new state 
of affairs, there were some who not only sympathized with the Whigs, 
but acted boldly with them. Among them were Thomas Mifflin, who 
became major-general in the Continental army, member of Congress, 



FREE QUAKER MEETING-HOUSE. 325 

and governor of Pennsylvania, and Timothy Matlack, colonel and 
member of Congress. 

The changes which were made in the political aspect of affairs, and 
the growing certainty that the cause of the Colonies must finally tri- 
umph, had no influence among the leaders of the Quakers. They 
made no allowance for differences of opinion, even where there was 
no pretence that members of the Society had taken up arms or vio- 
lated the rules of the sect in regard to wars and fighting. They were 
disowned with equal impartiality whether they abetted military or 
civil action. The excluded members, who called themselves the 
*' Free Quakers," and were called by others " fighting Quakers," were 
not disposed to lose their birthrights as members of the Society. 
By the circumstances in which they were placed they were compelled 
to associate themselves together as a society. In April, 1781, the 
Meeting of Free Quakers, of which Samuel Wetherill, Jr., was clerk, 
published an address to the "" people called Quakers who have been 
disowned for matters religious or civil." In this address they ex- 
pressed condolence with their brethren, and submissively declared 
their intention to rely upon the goodness of Providence in sustaining 
them, and declared that they had determined to " support and main- 
tain public meetings for religious worship. We have no new doctrines 
to teach, nor any design of promoting schisms in religion. We wish 
only to be freed from every species of ecclesiastical tyranny, and 
mean to pay a due regard to the principles of our forefathers and to 
their rules and regulations, so far as they apply to our circumstances ; 
and hope thereby to preserve decency and to secure equal liberty to 
all. We have no designs to form creeds or confessions of faith, but 
humbly to confide in those sacred lessons of wisdom and benevolence 
which have been left us by Christ and His apostles, contained in the 
Holy Scriptures, and appealing to that divine principle breathed by the 
breath of God into the hearts of all — to leave every man to think and 
judge for himself according to the abilities received, and to answer for 
his faith and opinions to Him ' who seeth the secrets of all hearts ' — 
the sole Judge and sovereign Lord of conscience." 

In July the Monthly Meeting of the new congregation or society, 
'' called by some the Free Quakers, distinguished from those of our 
brethren who have disowned us," published an address in which it 
was stated that they held two meetings a week for religious services. 



326 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

and one in each month for business purposes. They had agreed upon 
" rules for a decent form of marriage, which may at once secure the 
rights of parents and children, and a mode of forming and preserving 
the records of marriages, births, and burials." In July the Free Quakers 
adopted a memorial or address to the Society of Friends, which was 
four times presented to the Monthly Meetings of that sect, and as often 
rejected by the clerks " as not proper to be read." In this paper the 
Free Quakers demanded a restoration of their rights. If that favor 
should be denied, they asked for a division of the property, which be- 
longed equally to them and to the birthright members. They declared 
that they wished to have the use of one of the meeting-houses belong- 
ing to the Society, and avowed that they meant to use the burial- 
ground. Failing to obtain any satisfaction from the old Society, the 
Free Quakers applied to the Legislature, and in reference to the 
reasons for the proceedings against them by the old Society, said : 
*' Some have been disowned for affirming allegiance to the State in 
compliance with the laws, and the elders and overseers have proposed 
and insisted upon a renunciation of that allegiance as a condition of 
reunion with them ; some for holding offices under the State and for 
holding offices under the United States ; many for bearing arms in 
defence of our invaded country, although the laws of the State en- 
joined and required it of them ; and some have been disowned for 
having paid the taxes required by law." 

In confirmation of these statements is an article in the Pennsylvania 
Packet oi March i6, 1780, which said: "The Quakers in this county, 
contrary to any known or former rule of the Society, but from a blind 
and stupid attachment to the British tyrant, are excommunicating 
every member of their Society who is a Whig and takes the least part 
in this glorious revolution." With this was quoted a testimony of 
Wrightstown Monthly Meeting in 1777, disowning John Wilkinson 
because he had served as a member of the Assembly " in the present 
unsettled state of affairs, contrary to the advice of Friends ;" also of 
Joshua Ely, Jr., of Buckingham Meeting, who had taken the test of 
allegiance and abjuration under the law of the State in 1780 ; and of 
Thomas Ross, Jr., of Wrightstown Monthly Meeting, who had so far 
disregarded the testimony of truth against wars and fighting as to pay 
a fine demanded of him for not associating to learn the art of war. 
This was in December, 1779, ^^id when the clerk of the Meeting read 



FREE QUAKER MEETING-HOUSE. 327 

the testimony, Mr. Ross stood up in meeting and excommunicated 
the Society of Friends, declaring that in " their ecclesiastical decisions 
and transactions they are become extremely partial, inconsistent, and 
hypocritical." Ross announced that he " gave his testimony " against 
the Society, and declared that he could have no further unity with them 
until they " shall add to a profession more consistent with the doctrine 
of Christianity, or practice more agreeable to their profession." 

The Assembly received the petition of the Free Quakers and laid it 
on the table ; no subsequent action was taken. The next year the old 
Quakers made answer to the memorial of the Free Quakers, and 
explained and palliated some of the circumstances about which com- 
plaint was made ; but they asserted that the Society had undoubted 
authority to "maintain the doctrine and order agreed upon by 
members in case of disorderly walking, which might have a tendency 
to infringe upon the peace and unity of the Society." Isaac Howell 
and White Matlack, on behalf of the disowned Quakers, made reply 
in August of the same year. The House appointed a committee to 
confer with the memorialists and take proof of their charges. But it 
does not appear that anything was done. 

The Monthly Meeting of Friends " called by some Free Quakers, 
distinguishing us from those of our brethren who have disowned us," 
was formed February 20, 178 1, at the house of Samuel Wetherill, 
shopkeeper and ironmonger, which it is to be presumed was then, as 
it was in 1785, in Front street between Arch and Race streets. Mr. 
Wetherill was remarkably active during the Revolution in manufac- 
tures. He made jeans, fustians, everlastings, and coatings in the early 
part of the contest at his dwelling-house and manufactory in South 
alley, between Market and Arch streets and Fifth and Sixth streets, 
on Hudson Square. He was engaged in dyeing and fulling and the 
manufacture of chemicals. He was the father of Dr. William 
Wetherill, who wrote upon chemical subjects, and the grandfather 
of Dr. Charles M. Wetherill, who was finely educated and discussed 
scientific topics. He was the grandfather of John Price Wetherill, 
druggist and chemist, who was very busy in public affairs between 
1825 and 1856, and who had been a volunteer in the war of 18 12, 
and captain of a troop of horse afterward, a leading Whig politician, 
and an active and influential member of City Councils. Samuel P. 
Wetherill, a brother of John, was in business with him. From the 



328 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



grandfather's Revolutionary occupations the descendants were carried 
into the manufacture of drug and chemicals and the sale of such 
articles. The Wetherills established the manufacture of white lead in 
1 8 12 in Twelfth street below Race, and have been largely engaged in 
that interest ever since. John Price Wetherill the second, great-grand- 
son of Samuel, had been a prominent business-man and an active and 
spirited citizen of Philadelphia for twenty or twenty-five years before 
1876, at which time he was one of the most earnest members of the 
Centennial Board of Finance connected with the great Exposition. 

Samuel, who took an active part in the establishment of the Society 
of Free Quakers, was an eminent preacher, descended from early 
English Quaker stock, which settled near Burlington, New Jersey, in 
1682. He was born in Burlington in April, 1736, came to Philadel- 
phia in boyhood, and remained there until his death, which took place 
September 24, 18 16, at the age of eighty-six years. He was a lead- 
ing preacher among the Free Quakers. He wrote a tract called an 
Apology for the Religions Society called Free Quakers ; also a tract on 
the Divinity of Chiist, and other writings and essays. As a preacher he 
was eloquent and convincing. Mrs. Dolly Madison, wife of President 
Madison, was a frequent attendant at the Free Quaker meetings when 
she lived in Philadelphia, where she had resided while single and was 
known as Dorothy Payne. She was born in North Carolina, but came 
to Philadelphia to be educated. In due time she married John Todd, 
a lawyer, who lived at 51 South Fourth street, in 1793. He died either 
in that year or the next, and, being accomplished, his widow succeeded 
in winning the love of Mr. Madison, a delegate from Virginia, who was 
afterward to become President of the United States. Mrs. Madison 
took great interest in the preaching of Samuel Wetherill, and frequent- 
ly spoke of it in after life. 

Among the persons present at the house of Mr. Wetherill to form 
the new Society were Isaac Howell, who was subsequently justice 
of the peace, and lived in Fourth street between Arch and Market ; 
Robert Parrish, who lived in 1785 in Water street: James Sloane, 
White Matlack ; Moses Bartram, druggist. Second street above Arch ; 
Dr. Benjamin Say, also a resident of Second above Arch street ; and 
Owen Biddle, a druggist, in Market street between Second and 
Third. Among the members of this little company the preliminar}'" 
measures were taken to establish the Society, which in a circular sub 



FREE QUAKER MEETING-HOUSE. 



329 



sequently addressed to " our friends in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and 
elsewhere," was stated to have been perfected at a meeting held 4th 
of Sixth month, 1781, at the house of Timothy Matlack. It is prob- 
able that the Society met at the houses of members for religious 
services for two years. Failing to obtain any satisfaction from the 
Society of Friends, and their request for the use of a meeting-house 
being refused, they took measures to obtain a situation for a meeting- 
house of their own. They were liberally assisted by citizens of other 
sects, especially such as were Whigs during the Revolution. With 




Free Quaker Meeting-house, now the Apprent:ces' Library. 

the means thus obtained they purchased a lot at the south-west corner 
of Fifth and Mulberry (or Arch) streets, where they erected a plain two- 
story brick building. Upon the northern gable is a marble tablet bear- 
ing the following inscription : 



330 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



"By general subscription, 
For the Free Quakers. 
Erected A. D. 1783, 
of the Empire 8."* 

After this building was erected application was made to the Legislature 
for the grant of a lot for a burying-ground. In August, 1786, the 
Assembly conveyed for that purpose eight city lots on the west side 
of Fifth below Prune, now called Locust street, which still remains. 
Within its boundaries sleep the founders of this sect, the old fighting 
Quakers. Their descendants do not now exercise the right of burial 
. there. For many years no interments were made in the ground. But 
during the war of the rebellion it came into use for purposes of sepul- 
ture in a manner quite accordant with the principles of its original 
owners. In the United States military hospitals in Philadelphia were 
soldiers sick and wounded in battle who died without friends to claim 
their remains. The embarrassing question what was to be done with 
them was met bv the survivinq; descendants of the members of the 
Free Quaker Meeting. They opened the ground for the burial of the 
dead soldiers who died in a war for sustaining the government which 
the Free Quakers had fought to establish; and this use was one which 
would have been grateful to the feelings and sentiments of the " fight- 
ing Quakers/' and accorded with their memories when dead. 

In 1785 a memorial presented to the Assembly against theatres, and 
adopted by the Monthly Meeting of Free Quakers, was signed on their 
behalf by a committee of members. They were — Christopher Mar- 
shall, druggist and apothecary, author of T/ie Remembrancer, one of 
the most valuable diaries of events occurring in Philadelphia during 
the Revolution which has been preserved. The establishment of 
Christopher Marshall and his son was on the south side of Chestnut 
street, between Second and Third, opposite Strawberry alley. The 
other signers were — Isaac Howell ; Peter Thomson, scrivener — convey- 

"^ This inscription has frequently been the subject of comment among persons who 
wondered why the strange word " Empire " was used in it. It was the fashion of the day 
to use this word to designate the confederation of American States, each sovereign and 
independent, united only by the force of understandings which were in the nature of 
treaties. " We have by this means introduced engineers into our country, and consequently 
one of the first powers of^ Nature into our Empire, which may be useful in most great 
works," wrote poor John Fitch of steamboat memory in his petition to Congress of 1788. 
The expression was then a common one. 



FREE QUAKER MEETING-HOUSE. 331 



ancer we would call him now-a-days — who lived in Race between 
Front and Second streets ; Moses Bartram ; Richard Somers, merchant, 
Front street above Arch ; Jacob Ceracher ; Jonathan Scholfield ; Joseph 
Styles ; Samuel Wetherill, Jr., who was in business with his father as 
a druggist and color-merchant; Joseph Warner, Jr.; Hugh Eldridge, 
shopkeeper, who lived in Whalebone alley ; John Pile, of Third street ; 
Samuel Crispin, boat-builder, who lived in Coates' alley, and Samuel 
his son, who lived in McCuUoch's alley ; Jacob Lawn ; John Claypoole, 
upholsterer, Arch street ; and Edward Piffets. There was no principle 
of attraction in this Society which could bring it new members, other 
than such as might come in by birthright. In its institution it was a 
protest against the injustice of members of the Society of P'riends. 
But it professed no deviation from the tenets of that Society except 
such as involved the right of defence against danger or oppression. It 
was therefore not strange that as its members fell off by death there 
were none to take their places. Their children might have done it, 
but, as their doctrines were those of the Quakers, it was much more 
easy for them to go to the meetings of the parent Society, make their 
acknowledgments, and seek to be received into membership ; or if 
their views inclined them to affiliation with other sects, there was 
nothing to keep them within the fold of the only congregation of Free 
Quakers which existed in the world. And so, as the old stock died 
off, the young stock did not succeed to their places. Up to 1830 or 
1835 on First days three or four or five venerable men met at the 
meeting-house at the appointed hours for worship. There they sat 
in silent meditation, or if there was a weight upon the mind of one of 
them to bear his testimony, it came more in the shape of a conversa- 
tion than as a regular discourse. Week after week and year after year 
they gathered together, until, by following those who were called away 
to the grave as summons after summons was issued, there were none 
to worship according to the old forms, and the doors of the Free 
Quaker Meeting were closed. 

In a speech made by " a distinguished gentleman and fellow-citizen 
of national character," who is thus endorsed by Richard Vaux in an 
address delivered before the Philadelphia Hose Company in 1854, 
the orator alluded to spoke in this manner of John Price Wetherill — 
Captain John Price Wetherill of the Second City Troop, and Colonel 
J. P. W. by virtue of a militia commission. He was grandson of 



Z2>^ 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



Samuel Wetherill. During his time, while prominent in military af- 
fairs, as became a fighting Quaker, he was also clerk of the Meeting. 
In reference to his religious, civil, and military avocations the speaker 
used the following language : " I shall not pause long on the Free 
Quakers, commonly called Fighting Quakers, who furnished gallant 
field and company officers in the Revolutionary war, and who, ex- 
cluded from the regular body of Friends, formed a sect of their own. 
The men died game and the sect died game. I think that some years 
ago it had dwindled to one man. Now, almost any other sect so re- 
duced would have either sought proselytes or given up its own ob- 
servances. But this last man did neither. On every First-day morn- 
ing this unaccompanied remnant sat under the old-accustomed roof- 
tree of the meeting-house at Fifth and Mulberry streets, and spent 
two hours in solitary peace, in contemplative meditation on his pugna- 
cious ancestors, and in solemn communion with his own heart. I tell 
you that when he hears the last trumpet, that ' Friend ' will stand to 
his arms." 

Yet there were birthright members — many of them — who succeeded 
to the rights of the property. They have held it ever since, and meet 
on stated occasions in order that the right shall not be abandoned or 
lost. About 1850 the trustees of the Society of Free Quakers leased 
the building to the Apprentices' Library Company, a most excellent 
and deserving institution — the only free library in the city. The 
rent is merely nominal. The institution has been enabled by this gen- 
erous treatment to devote its revenues to the support of the library for 
boys and that for girls and women, and to the maintenance of a read- 
ing-room. A most excellent work has thus been accomplished. Many 
men and women, not a few of whom have become useful and influential 
citizens, have experienced the use of this library, and have had their 
ambition stimulated to become worthy members of society. This is 
the manner in which the descendants of the Free Quakers have dis- 
charged the obligations due by their ancestors to the citizens of Phila- 
delphia, who freely contributed toward the purchase of the lot and the 
building of the meeting-house. It is an honorable and most service- 
able discharge of the trust. 



LANSDOWNE. 






HE Rev. William Smith, provost of the College of Philadel- 
r'Tt'/Bfl^v phia, purchased before the Revolution a piece of ground 
vf^lfe'ii o^ th^ w^st side of the Schuylkill River, in the upper part 
of Blockley township, which embraced one hundred and 
forty-two acres and some perches. In 1773 the Honorable 
^§/ J^^^ Penn, part proprietary^ of Pennsylvania, holding an interest 
of one-fourth of the Province, bought this property from Dr. Smith. 
Several small adjoining tracts were purchased of John Boucher, 
Mahlon Hall, and Margery Warner, some of them not having been 
acquired until after the Revolution. When the estate reached its full 
extent in the hands of Penn it comprised about two hundred acres. 
The ground was beautifully situate upon the Schuylkill, adjoining 
the Peters' estate of Belmont on the south, and was bounded below by 
the estate of Warner, Baron of the Colony in Schuylkill, which may 
be said to have been in the neighborhood and north of the present 
Girard avenue. Upon this property it is probable that Governor Penn 
commenced, with but little delay after the purchase, the building of a 
magnificent mansion. It was of stone, partially in the Italian style, 
modified in some details by French taste, and different in appearance 
and arrangement from any house standing at that time in Pennsylvania. 
There was a centre and wings, a bay-window apartment at each end, 
and a steep roof The front showed in the centre a pillared portico 
and pediment of two stories, supported at each story by pillars in the 
Ionic style, double clustered at the corners, with double pilasters. This 
portico rose from a truncated pyramid of steps. There was a balus- 
trade at the second story. The roof was hipped, terminating in an 

333 



334 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



observatory with open railing. Upon the rear of the building was a 
portico of one story heavily arched and pilastered. Tradition says 
that the site of Lansdowne House was upon the plateau on which in 
the Centennial year was erected Horticultural Hall. The approach to 
the grounds was by a drive through a gate, passing a porter's lodge 
at the west of the enclosure, and through an avenue of trees nearly a 
quarter of a mile long. The ground was ornamented with busts and 
statues, and a beautiful garden was laid out. Upon the estate were 
fine old forest trees. Romantic ravines and valleys opened toward 




Lansdowne Mansion. 

the Schuylkill. One of these, still known as Lansdowne Glen, is 
considered one of the finest and most romantic portions of the Park. 
This house must have been finished before 1777, because it appears 
on Faden's map of that year, and the symbol for the mansion ex- 
ceeds in size and distinction those given to other country-seats in 
the neighborhood of the city. 

John Penn, who built this mansion, was a grandson of William Penn 
the first proprietor. Richard Penn, the father of John Penn of Lans- 
downe, was son of the founder by his second wife, Hannah Callowhill. 
Richard, the father of John Penn, died in 175 1, leaving four children — 
John, Richard, William, and Hannah. One-half of the proprietary es- 
tate under the will of John Penn the American — who died October 29, 



LANSDOWNE. 335 



1746, unmarried — was devised to his brother, Thomas Penn, for his 
natural Hfe, with the remainder to his first son, in tail male. Thomas, 
the devisee, already held one-fourth of the proprietary interest, so that 
by the will he became owner of three-fourths. Richard, the son of 
the founder and the brother of Thomas, remained owner of one-fourth. 
He died in 1771, and his interest went to his son, John the governor, 
who held one-fourth. This John the governor was called John the 
elder, to distinguish him from John the son of Thomas by Juliana 
Farmer, who was born on the 2 2d of December, 1760. Thomas Penn, 
who owned three-fourths, died on the 2Tst of March, 1775, and the 
proprietary interest was then vested in the two John Penns. John the 
younger, the son of Thomas, owned three-fourths, and John the elder, 
son of Richard, owned one-fourth. This valuable interest, which in 
the claim for their losses made by the Penns upon the British gov- 
ernment was estimated to be worth ^^944,8 17 sterling, was soon to be 
sequestered and be lost for ever, except such portion of it as was 
recognized private property. Among the private estates was this one 
of Lieutenant-Governor and Proprietary Penn on the west side of the 
Schuylkill, to which during his ownership he had given the name of 
Lansdowne. The reason why he gave it the name of Lansdowne, and 
at what time the name was first applied to the property, do not seem 
to be known at this time. If we accept the theory that the name was 
given to the estate in compliment to William Petty, the first Earl of 
Shelburne, who became Marquis of Lansdowne, we are met by the 
impediment that this title was not conferred until 1784, from seven to 
ten years after Penn's country-seat was built. It is true that the Earl 
of Shelburne lived in London at Lansdowne House, and this before he 
was made marquis, and Governor Penn might have taken the title from 
that mansion. John Penn of Lansdowne first came to Pennsylvania 
in 1753 as deputy -governor, when James Hamilton was lieutenant- 
governor. He made his appearance at the Council-board on the 6th 
of February, and was introduced by the governor, who left it to the 
consideration of the board " what place they would be pleased to offer 
him ; whereupon the Council, taking the Governor's Proposition into 
their consideration, unanimously agreed, as he stood in so near a 
relation to the Proprietaries, and was himself perfectly agreeable 
to them, to place him at their Head, and that when he shall have 
taken the legal qualifications he should be considered as the first- 



336 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADEIPHIA. 

named or eldest Counsellor on the Death or absence of the Governor 
or Lieutenant-Governor." His name is frequently met with as an 
attendant at the meetings of the governor's Council during 1753 and 
1754, and he was appointed chief commissioner in May of the latter 
year to hold a treaty with the Six United Nations of Indians at 
Albany, in conjunction with the lieutenant-governor of New York and 
the commissioners of other governments. He was first named in the 
commission. His colleagues were Richard Peters, Benjamin Franklin, 
and Isaac Norris. He probably returned to England in 1755, his last 
appearance at the Council-board being on the 24th of September of 
that year. He returned to Philadelphia in November, 1763, and super- 
seded Governor James Hamilton. During the time in which he held 
the office of deputy-governor the Province of Pennsylvania was afflicted 
with the insurrection of the Paxton Boys, the massacre of Indians, the 
war against the Indians in 1764 and 1765, together with the troubles 
incident upon the passage of the Stamp Act and the subsequent law 
in relation to the tax on paper, glass, painters' colors, and tea. 

By the death of his father in 1771, Governor John Penn was called 
to England. James Hamilton, formerly lieutenant-governor, became 
president of the Council and acting governor for a few months. 
Richard Penn, who afterward married Mary Masters, came out as 
lieutenant-governor in the same year, and held the office until I773> 
when John Penn came back and superseded Richard in a summary 
and, to the latter, unpleasant manner. John was then a proprietor^ 
and he discharged duties which were daily becoming more difficult, 
until after the meeting of the first Continental Congress, when he found 
that revolutionary committees and illegal bodies were exercising 
authority. This continued until after the battle of Lexington, when 
the second Continental Congress assumed supreme authority, and in 
the Province conventions and Committees of Safety took the responsi- 
bility of executive administration. He appears to have managed his 
difficult prerogative during this time with such discretion as not to 
have made himself obnoxious. During the early part of the Revolu- 
tion he was quiet, and was not disturbed. In 1777, just before the 
entry of the British into the city, he was arrested, with Chief-Justice 
Chew and various others, and sent to the Union Iron-works, near 
Burlington, New Jersey, where he was detained until Congress ordered 
the release of those prisoners. He seems to have returned to Lans- 



LANSD O WNE. 3 37 



downe, and to have lived there nearly up to the time of his death, 
which, according to some authorities, occurred in Bucks county. He 
died February 9, 1795, aged sixty-seven years, and his body was 
buried in Christ Church. The tablet still remains, but the body was 
removed some time after his death, and taken to England. John Penn 
married Ann Allen, daughter of Chief-Justice Allen, at Christ Church, 
on the 31st of May, 1766; and this attachment had a great influence 
in making him a permanent citizen of Pennsylvania. In fact, he re- 
mained until his death. Where he lived before he Avent to Lansdowne 
is matter for conjecture. No doubt he occupied the Springettsbury 
House, west of Bush Hill, as a summer residence until Lansdowne 
was finished. According to the Philadelphia directories, in 1793 his 
city mansion was at 44 Pine street, between Second and Third. By 
his will, dated January, 1795, Governor Penn devised the Lansdowne 
property to his wife Ann absolutely. On the 9th of March of the 
same year the widow conveyed the estate to James Greenleaf He was 
a merchant, a man of high fashion and of reputed wealth. But he en- 
gaged heavily in real-estate speculations, some of them in partnership 
with Robert Morris, and the result was bankruptcy. In 1797, Colonel 
(afterward Brigadier-General) John Barker, then sheriff of Philadelphia, 
seized Lansdowne, and it was conveyed by deed of April 1 1 to William 
Bingham for ;^3 1,050, subject to a mortgage of ^24,050, making the 
whole consideration $55,100. Mrs. Ann Penn Greenleaf was a daugh- 
ter of James Allen, son of Chief-Justice Allen, and Mrs. Ann Penn 
was her aunt. Indeed, there was a sort of running connection between 
all the owners of Lansdowne up to this time, Mrs. Ann Bingham 
being a daughter of Thomas Willing. Her mother was a McCall, 
and the McCalls and the Aliens were related. The three daughters 
of James Allen were among the beauties of their day, and renowned 
for their grace and accomplishments. Nancy, the eldest, as we have 
said, married James Greenleaf Margaret married William Tilghman, 
afterward chief-justice of Pennsylvania. Mary married Henry Walter 
Livingston of New York. 

William Bingham seems to have inherited a large estate through 
those ancestors who resided in Pennsylvania. His great-grandfather 
James died in 17 14, leaving considerable landed property. His grand- 
father James added to the possessions of the family by marrying the 
daughter of William Budd of Burlington, New Jersey, one of the prin- 
22 



338 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

cipal men of that colony. His father William, besides the Bingham 
and Budd property that came into his possession, added considerably 
to it by a marriage in 1745 with Mary, daughter of Alderman and 
Mayor John Stamper. William Bingham, who married Ann Willing, 
was born in Philadelphia April 8, 1752. He graduated at the College 
of Philadelphia in 1768, and received a diplomatic appointment under 
the British government at St. Pierre Myzene in the West Indies, where 
he was consul in 1771. He remained there during the Revolution. 
He was agent of the Continental Congress for some years. 
When he returned he was a man of great wealth, the bulk of which 
seems to have been made in the West Indies. Peter Markoe, in his 
poem of TJie Times, published in 1788, satirizes Bingham under the 
title of "Rapax," and accuses him of being the possessor of ill-gotten 
wealth : 

" But shall the hardened knave deride my rhymes ? 
Rapax ! the Muse has slightly touched thy crimes. 
She dares to wake thee from thy golden dream, 
In peculation's various arts supreme, 
To rouse the worm that slumbers in thy breast, 
And tell thee, Rapax ! thou must never rest ! 
What tho' the pomp of wealth, the pride of power, 
Swell thy mean heart and gild thy present hour ; 
Tho' Ltixtiry attract the worldly wise, 
Who, when they most caress thee, most despise ; 
Tho' to thy mansion wits and fops repair, 
To game, to feast, to saunter, and to stare, — 
Thine eyes amid the crowd, who fawn and bend. 
View many a parasite, but not one friend. 
Virtue and sense indignant stand aloof, 
Wliilst each knave's friendship is a keen reproof. 
But say from what bright deeds dost thou derive 
That wealth which bids thee rival British Clive ? 
Wrung from the hardy sons of toil and war 
By arts which petty scoundrels would abhor, 
Thy villainy has raised those vast supplies 
Which lift thy Pandononium to the skies ! 
But when misfortune' s thunders fiercely roll, 
And conscience, long insulted, stings thy soul; 
When pining sickness lowers thy tow'ring pride, 
And hope, the good man's comfort, is denied, 
Deserted by the sneaking, fawning train, 
Truth will allow thou hast not lived in vain. 
Thy life those useful lessons shall bestow, 
That pride is meanness, and that gtiilt is woe." 



LANSDOWNE. 339 



In 1786, William Bingham was elected a member of the Congress 
of the Confederation, and served until 1789. He was captain of a 
troop of dragoons in the latter year, and with his company escorted 
Mrs. Washington from Chester to the city when upon her way to New 
York to join her husband, who had been elected President of the 
United States. In 1790 he was elected a member of the General As- 
sembly of Pennsylvania, and although it was his first year in that body 
he was chosen Speaker of the House — a fact which testifies strongly 
to his ability and character. He was miember of the Assembly for the 
sessions of 1790 and of 1791. In 1795 he was elected United States 
Senator from Pennsylvania, and held that office until 1 801. 

Mr. Bincrham on his return from the West Indies was successful in 
wooing and winning the beautiful Ann Willing, daughter of Thomas 
Willing, one af the most accomplished women of her time. The 
marriage took place at Christ Church on the 26th of October, 1780, 
the bride then being just sixteen years old. This young girl was the 
favorite of very eminent men on account of the social position of her 
family and her own graces and accomplishments. Her father was 
Thomas Willing, who lived in the venerable, stately, and comfortable 
mansion at the south-west corner of Third street and Willing's alley, 
between Walnut and Spruce, then in the most aristocratic quarter of 
the town. Mr. Willing was one of the first merchants in the period 
preceding the Revolution, and partner with Robert Morris. The firm 
of Willing & Morris had large mercantile connections, and was most 
prosperous until the breaking out of the Revolution. Willing was 
Common Councilman, Mayor of the city in 1763, and member of the 
Assembly 1764-66. 

Although a merchant, Mr. Willing had been bred to the law. He 
read law in the Temple, and his knowledge rendered him a very proper 
person for a seat upon the bench, which at that time in Pennsylvania 
was occupied more frequently by laymen than lawyers. He was ap- 
pointed fourth justice of the Supreme Court of the Province of Penn- 
sylvania in 1767, and was reappointed in 1769 and 1774, and held that 
office at the outbreak of the Revolution. " As a judge he was pure 
and intelligent, added to which he possessed an amenity of manner 
which rendered him popular with the bar and attractive in society." 
In 1775 he was elected member of the second Continental Congress, 
in place of Joseph Galloway. He was re-elected in the succeeding 



340 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

year, but lost favor by his course on the question of the Declaration 
of Independence. He voted steadily against the resolution of inde- 
pendence and the Declaration, and when the Provincial Convention 
on the 20th of July, 1776, elected a new set of members. Willing was 
left out of the delegation, and held no public office afterward. He 
could not have been considered as warmly in favor of the Whig cause 
during the remainder of 1776 and during the next year, because when 
the British entered Philadelphia in 1777, Thomas Willing, instead of 
leaving the city, as was done by uncompromising Whigs, remained, 
and upon the entry of the army he found himself in an embarrassing 
position, being suspected of not being firm in his Tory principles. 
Joseph Galloway, in a Reply to the Observations of Lieutenant-General 
Sir William Hoive, etc., tells the story in the following shape : " Mr. 
W^illing and his partner, Mr. Morris, had been, from the beginning of 
the war, the agents of the Congress for supplying their naval and military 
stores. Their disaffection to their sovereign and their rebellious prin- 
ciples were proved by a number of letters intercepted by your noble 
brother ; and therefore Mr. Galloway called on Mr. Willing in Phila- 
delphia, by your express order, to take the oath of allegiance ; and, 
although he refused, yet he found so much favor in your sight as to 
obtain a countermand of that order and a dispensation from taking the 
oath." 

Mr. Willing remained quiet after the return of the American army, 
and was not molested. In July, 1780, he was one of the subscribers 
to " The Bank of Pennsylvania for the purpose of supplying the army 
of the United States with provisions for two months." Each subscriber 
gave his bond to the directors of the bank for the amount of his sub- 
scription. Thomas Willing and William Bingham were each sub- 
scribers for ;^5000 each, and William Moore, Robert Morris, and 
Blair McClenachan for ;{^io,ooo. The subscribers were bound to pay 
their contribution in specie if called upon. The sum subscribed was 
^315,000 in Pennsylvania currency, at the rate of 'js. 6d. on the dollar. 
This was a patriotic association, and it was directed by the articles of 
subscription that moneys received from Congress or borrowed should 
be applied to the sole purpose of buying provisions and rum for the 
Continental army, of transporting them to camp, to be delivered at the 
order of His Excellency the commander-in chief or the Board of War. 
This bank was opened on the 17th of July in Front street, two doors 



LANSDOWNE. 341 



above Walnut. It was succeeded by the Bank of North America, 
which was chartered by act of Congress December 31, 1781, with a 
nominal capital of ^400,000. Thomas Willing subscribed largely to 
the institution, was one of the first directors, and was named in the 
charter as president of the corporation. In March, 1782, an effort was 
made to obtain a charter for the bank from the State of Pennsylvania 
and on that occasion the feeling against Willing manifested itself in a 
protest by the minority of the Assembly — sixteen members — who said 
that it was *' impolitic and unjust to recognize and establish by act of 
Legislature in so eminent and honorable a station the man who not 
only abandoned the cause of our country in the hour of deepest dis- 
tress and calamity, but whilst the British army was in Philadelpliia 
actually suffered himself to be employed as the instrument and agent 
of their insidious attempts to debauch the minds of the people, and 
even to reduce the American public councils into submission.* We 
think that loading with honors the man who so lately contributed what 
he could to enslave this country is a discouragement to the Whigs, is 
a wound to the cause of patriotism, and is trampling on the blood of 
the heroes and martyrs who have fallen in defence of our liberty." 
The bill was finally passed on the ist of April. On the establishment 
of the first Bank of the United States, Mr. Willing was a large sub- 
scriber to the stock, and was elected director and president. He was 
succeeded as president of the Bank of North America by John Nixon. 
As president of the national bank Mr. Willing remained until 1807, 
when he was succeeded by Major David Lenox. He retained for 

* This has reference to the mission of John Brown, who was sent out in November, 1777, 
while the British were in possession of the city, with proposals to Congress looking towaixl 
a cessation of hostilities, founded upon a suggestion that Congress should give up independ- 
ency. Mr. Willing sent John Brown out of the lines with this message, nothing of any im- 
portance appearing in writing, the entire business depending on what Mr. Willing had told 
John Brown that General Howe had said to him (Willing). Brown proceeded straightway 
to Robert Morris, Mr. Willing's old partner, with whom he communicated. Mr. Morris 
had too much good sense to be implicated, and he communicated the facts to Mr. Duer, 
member from North Carolina, and caused Brown to be arrested as a spy. He was exam- 
ined before the Committee of Safety, and had no credentials of ambassadorship to show but 
his own word. After remaining in prison some time, John Brown was released through the 
intercession of Robert Morris and General Washington, who knew that Brown while in the 
city had been useful and kind to the prisoners held by the British. This John Brown was 
formerly in the employ of Morris & Willing, and was a distiller, and must not be con- 
founded with another John Brown of Philadelphia, who was secretary of the Marine Com- 
mittee of Congress. 



342 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



some years his interest in the firm of WilHng, Morris & Swanwick. 
He died on the 19th of January, 1821, aged eighty-nine years. In later 
times the animosities of the heated period of the Revolution were for- 
gotten, and in the death of Mr. WiUing it was felt that Philadelphia 
had lost a valued citizen. 

After the marriage of William Bingham to Ann Willing, the 
young couple in 1784 visited Europe, where they remained about five 
years. In the gay capitals of the Old World the wealth of Mr. 
Bingham gained him admission into circles which would have been 
closed to him as an American if he had been poor. Their country 
was then represented in the European courts, and the Binghams were 
known to the diplomatic corps. In Paris, John Adams, who had en- 
joyed the hospitalities of the Willings frequently in Philadelphia, used 
his influence to have the Binghams presented at the court of the ill- 
fated Louis XVI. Adams at that time had a sort of roving commission, 
and was minister to negotiate treaties with European governments, to- 
gether with Franklin and Jefferson. Miss Adams in her diary records 
a dinner with the Binghams at the Hotel Muscovy. She said : ** Mrs. 
Bingham gains my love and admiration more and more every time I 
see her ; she is possessed of greater ease and politeness than any I 
ever saw." At a subsequent dinner at General La Fayette's she 
writes : " She was as ever engaging. Her dress was of black velvet, 
with pink satin sleeves and stomacher, a pink satin petticoat, and over 
it a skirt of white crape spotted all over with gray fur — the sides of 
the gown open in front, and the bottom of the coat trimmed with 
paste. It was superb, and the gracefulness of the person made it 
appear to peculiar advantage." Mrs. John Adams agreed with her 
daughter. She said : " Notwithstanding the English boast of their 
beauties, I do not think they really have so much of it \sic\ as you 
will find among the same proportion of people in America. It is true 
that their complexions are undoubtedly fairer than the French, and in 
general their figures are good — of this they make the best — but I have 
not seen a lady in England who can bear a comparison with Mrs. 
Bingham, Mrs. Piatt, or Miss Hamilton, who is a Philadelphia young 
lady. Among the most celebrated of their beauties stands the 
Duchess of Devonshire, who is masculine in her appearance. Lady 
Salisbury is small and genteel, but her complexion is bad ; and Lady 
Talbot is not a Mrs. Bingham, who, taken altogether, is the finest 



LANSD O WNE. 343 



woman I ever saw. The intelligence of her countenance — or rather 
I ought to say, its animation — the elegance of her form, and the 
affability of her manners convert you into admiration ; and one has 
only to lament too much dissipation and frivolity of amusement, which 
have weaned her from her native country and given her a passion 
and a thirst after all the luxuries of Europe." Miss Adams, writing 
from London subsequently, alluding to Mrs. Bingham, said : " She is 
coming quite into fashion here, and is very much admired." Griswold 
in the Republican Court, from whose pages we have borrowed some 
of these extracts, speaking of Mrs. Bingham, says : " Her beauty was 
splendid. Her figure, which was somewhat above the middle size, Avas 
well made. Her carriage was light and elegant, while ever marked by 
dignity and air. Her manners were a gift. Sprightly, easy, winning, 
are terms which describe the manners of many women, but while 
truly describing hers they would describe them imperfectly, unless 
they gave the idea that they won from all who knew her a special 
measure of personal interest and relation. Receiving neither service 
nor the promise of it, every one who left her yet felt personally 
flattered and obliged ; really exclusive in her associates, she gave to 
none the slightest offence ; with great social ambition at the basis of 
her character, no aspirant for the eminence of fashion felt that she was 
thwarting her aims ; and with advantages, personal, social, and external, 
such as hardly ever fail to excite en\y from her sex, such was her easy 
and happy turn of feeling, and such the fortunate cast of her natural 
manners, that she seemed never to excite the sting of unkindness, nor 
so much as awaken its slumber or repose. Her entertainments were 
distinguished not more for their superior style and frequency than for 
the happy and discreet selection of her guests, and her own costume 
abroad was always marked by that propriety and grace which, while 
uniting costliness, rarity, and an exquisite refinement, subordinates 
the effect of them in a way which never invites comparisons. In all 
this she had the advanta2:e of a wise and courtlv and affectionate edu- 
cation. She owed much, however, to the command of great wealth, 
and to a combination of friendly and family advantages which her 
wealth enabled her to illustrate and profit by." 

Whilst Mr. and Mrs. Bingham were abroad they gave some thought 
to the subject of providing a handsome town-house in which they 
would reside upon their return. After examination of many fine 



344- HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PIIIIADEIPIIIA. 

mansions in London and Paris, they selected the mansion of the Duke 
of Manchester in Manchester Square, London, as the model of their 
dwelling in Philadelphia, changing the dimensions somewhat and 
making the house larger. For this purpose a lot was selected on the 
west side of Third street, extending from Spruce street northward. 
Griswold describes the mansion thus : " Its width was spacious, its 
height not extended above a third story, and it stood perhaps forty 
feet from the ordinary line of the street, being approached by a 
circular carriage-way of gravel, the access upon both ends of which 
opened by swinging gates of iron open tracery. A low wall, with an 
elegant course of balusters upon it, defended the immediate front, and 
connected the gates which gave admission. The grounds about the 
house, beautifully diversified with walks, statuary, shade, and parterres, 
covered not less than three acres. They extended the whole distance, 
three hundred and ninety-six feet, from Third to Fourth street, and 
along Fourth street two hundred and ninety-two feet from Spruce to 
the lot subsequently bought, built upon, and occupied by the late Mr. 
John Sergeant. On Third street the line extended north toward the 
house of her father, as far as that of her uncle, Mr. Powell, after- 
ward of the late Mr. William Rawle ; so that the whole square from 
Willing's alley to Spruce street along Fourth — filled now by fifty-four 
fine houses — was occupied only by the houses of her father, Mr. 
Thomas Willing, her aunt, Mrs. William Byrd of Westover, another 
aunt, Mrs. Powell, and her own princely abode." 

Wansey, the English traveller, who dined with Bingham, to whom 
he had a letter of introduction in 1794, says of his city mansion: "I 
found a magnificent house and gardens in the best English style, with 
elegant, and even superb, furniture. The chairs of the drawing-room 
were from Seddon's in London, of the newest taste, the back in the 
form of a lyre, with festoons of crimson and yellow silk. The curtains 
of the room a festoon of the same. The carpet one of Moore's 
expensive patterns. The room was papered in the French taste, after 
the style of the Vatican at Rome. In the garden was a profusion of 
lemon, orange, and citron trees and many aloes and other exotics. 
.... There dined with us Mr. Willing. There was a Mrs. Morris, a 
sister of Mr. Willing, at dinner with us, in sable weeds, having lost her 
husband during the yellow fever." 

Samuel Breck, in his Recollections, who says that Bingham lived in 



LANSDOWNE. 



345 



the most showy style of any American, writes as follows : " The forms 
at his house were not suited to our manners. I was often at his parties, 
at which each guest was announced ; first, at the entrance-door his 
name was called aloud, and taken up by a servant on the stairs, who 
passed it on to the man in waiting at the drawing-room door. In this 
drawing-room the furniture was superb Gobelin, and the folding-doors 
were covered with mirrors, which reflected the figures of the company, 
so as to deceive an untravelled countryman, who, having been paraded 
up the marble stairway amid the echoes of his name — ofttimes made 
very ridiculous by the manner in which the servants pronounc-ed it — 
would enter the brilliant apartment and salute the looking-glasses 
instead of the master and mistress of the house and their guests. 
This silly fashion of announcing by name did not last long, and was 
put a stop to by the following ridiculous occurrence : on a gala 
evening an eminent physician. Dr. Kuhn, and his step-daughter, drove 
up to the door. A servant asked who was in the carriage : ' The 
doctor and Miss Peggy,' was the reply. 'The doctor and Miss Peggy,' 
cried out the man stationed at the door. ' The doctor and Miss 
Peggy !' bawled out he of the stairs, which was taken up by the 
liveried footman at the door of the drawing-room, into which Miss 
Peggy and her papa entered amid the laugh and jokes of the 
company. This and several preceding blunders caused the custom, 
albeit a short one, to be suppressed." 

At that time it was necessary in Philadelphia that persons of high 
fashion should have a country-seat as well as a town-house, and accord- 
ingly we find that Mr. Bingham's place was west of the Schuylkill, north 
of the Lancaster road, between the Powell and Britton estates. This 
seat was relinquished when Lansdowne was bought. 

Mrs. Bingham, as beauties frequently are, was somewhat spoiled by 
her position and influence. William B. Wood, the comedian, in his 
Recollections of the Stage, tells a story of a difficulty which she had 
with Thomas Wignell, the manager of the theatre. The lady, in 
imitation of manners abroad, desired to be the possessor of a 
separate box, which she offered to furnish and decorate at her 
own expense. The price was immaterial. The only terms were 
to be that Mrs. Bingham should have exclusive right to occupy 
the box with her friends, and keep the key. The offer was tempt- 
ing to the manager; it would ensure fashionable patronage to 



346 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

his theatre. Mr. Bingham had also been an early and warm 
friend. There were many good reasons why this offer should have 
been accepted. But, on the other hand, the manager understood 
his duty to the public, which he conceived to be the ensuring 
of equal privileges to all. He therefore, in the politest manner, 
declined the proposition. Mrs. Bingham heard the decision, and 
seemingly acquiesced in it. But from that time her interest in the 
theatre was gone, and she rarely if ever visited it. 

Mrs. Bingham may be credited with the reputation of having obtained 
for the cause of art the fine full-length portrait of Washington which is 
well known to every one. It was painted particularly at the solici- 
tation of the lady, who used her influence with the President to 
give the required number of sittings to the painter. Stuart com- 
menced it under an order from the Marquis of Lansdowne, but Mr. 
Bingham was anxious to pay for it and make it a present to that 
nobleman. Stuart demurred, but was at length induced to accede, 
and Mr. Bingham had the pleasure of sending the picture to his 
lordship. But out of the circumstance grew an unhappy difficulty. 
Mr. Bingham neglected to stipulate that the copyright should be re- 
served to the painter. The consequence was, that when the picture got 
to London a copper-plate copy of it was made by Heath, the engraver, 
who, Stuart says, did the work abominably, and not only destroyed 
the likeness, but deprived the artist of the pecuniary benefit to 
which he would have been entitled on a reservation of copyright. 
The painter first saw this engraving in Dobson's bookstore in Phila- 
delphia. He pronounced the work as " infamous in its execution 
as the motive which led to it." Then Stuart waited on Mr. 
Bingham to endeavor to obtain justice, but failed. There was a 
quarrel, and Dunlap, quoting Neagle, says that the painter left un- 
finished the picture for the Bingham family which he had com- 
menced. Neagle said : " I saw one beautifully-painted head of Mrs. 
Bingham on a kit-cat lead-colored canvas, with nothing but the 
head finished. The rest was untouched." In the Republican Con7't 
Griswold has an engraving of a portrait of Mrs. Bingham, full size, 
costume and all, from a painting by Stuart. The painting then 
belonged to Joshua Francis Fisher. It was probably the head 
spoken of by Neagle, the body having been finished by some other 
artist. A fine portrait of Mr. Bingham, belonging to Mr. Thomas 



LANSDOWNE. 



347 



Balch, was exhibited at Memorial Hall in the Centennial Exposition. 
The original full-length of Washington, painted by Stuart, and pre- 
sented by Mr, Bingham to the Marquis of Lansdowne, was also on 
exhibition in the Art Department of Great Britain. Washington 
made a special gift to Mrs. Bingham of a small portrait painted of 
him by the Marchioness de Brehan, sister of Count Moustier, French 
Minister during the Confederation, who painted several portraits, one 
of which was engraved in Paris. John Armstrong, writing to General 
Gates, describes her as a " little, singular, whimsical, hysterical old 
woman, whose delight is in playing with a negro child and caressing 
a monkey." 

At Lansdowne the utmost hospitality was observed in favor of 
all who enjoyed the friendship of the owner. Washington, Adams, 
and Jefferson, with distinguished American statesmen, foreign minis- 
ters, and travellers, were guests within its walls. John Adams says, 
under date of June 23, 1795: "Went to Lansdowne on Sunday, 
about a half a mile on this side Judge Peters's, where you once 
dined. The place is very retired, but very beautiful — a splendid 
house, gravel walks, shrubberies, and clumps of trees in the English 
style — on the banks of the Schuylkill." 

Mrs. Bingham, brilliant and gay, paid the penalty of devotion to 
pleasure by an early death. She took cold from exposure in a sleigh 
while returning from a party shortly after the birth of her only son. 
This brought on a serious affection of the lungs. Removal to a milder 
climate was recommended, and the island of Bermuda was chosen as 
the place of her sojourn, a vessel being especially prepared for her ac- 
commodation. Griswold says : " Her departure on a palanquin from 
her splendid mansion to this vessel, which it was generally apprehend- 
ed would never restore her to her friends, was an event which attracted 
the gaze of hundreds." The change was an alleviation, but not a cure. 
She slowly declined, and died in Bermuda May ii, 1 801, at the age of 
thirty-seven years. Mr. Bingham went to Europe shortly afterward, 
and died at Bath in 1804. William Bingham had three children. 
Ann Louisa, the eldest, married August 23, 1798, the Hon. Alex- 
ander Baring, second son of Sir Francis Baring, who was at that time 
in his twenty-fourth year. Her husband was the son of an eminent 
London merchant, called by Lord Erskine the " first merchant in the 
world." He was during his life president of the Board of Trade, Mas- 



348 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADEIPHIA. 



ter of the Mint, Privy Councillor, and in 1835 was raised to the peer- 
age as Baron Ashburton of Ashburton in the county Devon. In 1841 
he was sent to the United States as special minister from Great Britain 
to settle the North-eastern boundary question and other controversies 
existing between the United States and England. In that capacity he 
negotiated the celebrated Ashburton -Webster Treaty, well known to 
every student of American history. Mr. Baring's visit to America 
when he was a young man was in pursuance of his father's plan to give 
him knowledge and information useful in business. He travelled in 
Canada and the United States, and when in Philadelphia, being intro- 
duced into the best society, became acquainted with Miss Bingham. 
The Barings became bankers, and represented the financial interests of 
the United States in London from the commencement of the govern- 
ment until very recently. Lord Ashburton, upon his death in 1848, 
was succeeded in the title and estate by his son, William Bingham 
Baring, who was born in Philadelphia in 1799. 

Maria Matilda, the second daughter of William Bingham, was a ro- 
mantic young lady, and became the victim of the plausible addresses 
of an adventurer. On the nth of April, 1799, she eloped with a 
Frenchman calling himself Alexander, Count de Tilly. The family 
discovered the circumstance shortly after the flight in time to reclaim 
their daughter, but not to prevent the marriage. In the subsequent 
proceedings the Frenchman showed himself to be a mere vagabond. 
He was easily induced to sell out his claims on his young bride, and 
disappeared. The Pennsylvania Assembly by act of January 17, 1800, 
divorced this couple. The lady seemed to have suffered nothing in 
reputation by the unlucky affair. Henry Baring, brother of Alexander 
and third son of Francis Baring, married her in 1802, and they had 
five children. After the death of Mr. Baring his widow married the 
Marquis de Blaisell. 

William Bingham, the only son of William of Lansdowne, married 
at Montreal, in 1822, Marie Charlotte Louise, daughter of Hon. M. G. A. 
C. de Lotbeniere, and afterward Baroness de Vaudreul in her own right. 
Daughters of the last William Bingham are married to the Count 
du Bois Guilbert, Count Douhet de Romarge, and the Marquis le 
Eperminil. The name of Bingham is still maintained by William, 
great-grandson of William of Lansdowne, who was born in 1858. 
Through Lord Ashburton the Bingham family is represented in the 



LANSD O WNE. 349 



male line by the Marquis of Bath and the Duke of Grafton. William 
Bingham, the eldest son of Alexander Baring, married Harriet Mary, 
eldest daughter of George John, sixth Earl of Sandwich. Henry 
Bingham Baring, son of Henry and Maria, married Augusta, daughter 
of Robert, the sixth Earl of Cardigan. Alexander Baring, the fourth 
baron, is married to Caroline, second daughter of Edward Vincent, 
ninth Baron of Digby. John Alexander, the fourth Marquis of Bath, 
married Frances Isabella Catherine, eldest daughter of Viscount de 
Vesci. Henry Frederick Thynne, son of the Marquis of Bath and 
Lady Harriet Baring, married Ulricka Fredrika Jane, eldest daughter 
of Edward, twelfth Duke of Somerset. This noble lineage can be all 
traced back to James Bingham, blacksmith, who was buried at Christ 
Church, Philadelphia, December 22, 17 14. 

After the death of Mr. Bingham the Lansdowne property went into 
possession of the Barings, and was occasionally occupied by members 
of the family. During the time when William Bingham occupied 
Lansdowne a house of moderate size was erected on the property and 
near the river-road. It was called The Hut, and here, during the resi- 
dence of Alexander Baring and his wife in the United States, the young 
couple dwelt. Subsequently, other members of the family occupied 
the building. In 18 16, Joseph Bonaparte, ex-King of Spain, leased 
the Lansdowne House for one year, and resided there for a longer 
period, probably two years. Samuel Breck, writing in September, 1817, 
speaks of a conversation with Julia, daughter of Dr. Benjamin Rush, 
who afterward married Henry J. Williams of Mount Pleasant. She 
gave him an account of a dinner of which she was a guest at Bona- 
parte's. In the course of the interview Joseph complained very much 
of the manner in which he had been used by his brother Napoleon. 
Although Joseph was king of Spain, and supposed that he had au- 
thority to command his own marshals and officers, his directions were 
frequently disregarded, or something was done diametrically opposite 
to his desires. W^hen he complained of this treatment, '' they would 
show the emperor's order for what they had just done, so that Joseph's 
plans were frustrated by the conflicting authority of his brother." Miss 
Rush told Mr. Breck that Bonaparte " speaks with fluency, that his 
manners are urbane and polished, and that he is a very good-looking 
man." 

The Lansdowne property remained for many years unoccupied, 



350 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



being mostly in the care of a tenant who lived in The Hut. It was 
accidentally destroyed on the 4th of July, 1854, having caught fire 
from fireworks which were used by boys celebrating the great anniver- 
sary. About 1866 the Baring family came to a resolution to dispose 
of Lansdowne. This becoming known to some gentlemen in Phila- 
delphia, they took measures to purchase it, and accomplished their de- 
sign upon very liberal terms as to price, which were agreed upon by 
the Baring family in consideration that the property was not bought 
for purposes of speculation, but for public use. This tract of land was 
ceded to the city of Philadelphia, and the result was that Fairmount 
Park, which up to that time comprised only the old Waterworks prop- 
erty. Lemon Hill, and Sedgely, was increased not only by the addition 
of Lansdowne, but by a large quantity of land on both sides of the 
Schuylkill and up the Wissahickon to Chestnut Hill. The most recent 
use of the Lansdowne tract was by the Centennial Exhibition, nearly 
all of which was held on that estate and on a portion of George's Hill. 
When the Park Commissioners took possession of the Lansdowne 
property the walls of the old mansion were standing without dilapida- 
tion. A few hundred dollars would have been sufficient to restore the 
house to its original appearance. But the Commissioners, with sin- 
gular lack of appreciation of the character of the building, instead of 
consulting how this historic monument might be preserved, only 
thought of the best way of getting rid of it. It was torn down, and 
so thoroughly were traces obliterated that no one can now tell where 
the site of the old building was. It is much to be regretted that such 
a decision was made. Lansdowne was the finest old-time memorial 
in the Park, and it ought to have been preserved. 



ROBERT MORRIS'S FOLLY. 




'T adds not a little to the merit of Mr. Morris," says Mease, 
" that notwithstanding his numerous engagements as a pub- 
lic and private character, their magnitude and often perplex- 
ing nature, he was enabled to fulfil all the private duties 
which his high standing in society necessarily imposed 
upon him. His house was the seat of elegant but unos- 
tentatious hospitality, and his domestic affairs were man- 
aged with the same admirable order which had so long and so pro- 
verbially distinguished his counting-house, the office of the Secret 
Committee of Congress, and that of Finance. An introduction to Mr. 
Morris was a matter of course with all the strangers in good society 
who for half a century visited Philadelphia, either on commercial, pub- 
lic, or private business ; and it is not saying too much to assert that 
during a certain period it greatly depended upon him to do the honors 
of the city, and certainly no one was more qualified or more willing to 
support them." 

This position of hospitality was one which Mr. Morris could not 
well decline. In wealth, thanks to success in business as a merchant, 
he was equal to the representatives of the old families, whose means 
seemed naturally to take them over to Toryism. This was particularly 
the case with the proprietary officers, agents, and beneficiaries, in 
whom a century of office-holding, with the enjoyment of lucrative 
places, had cultivated a spirit of affection for the Penn family and the 
English government which seemed to be diffused among all their rela- 
tives and friends. Robert Morris came to Philadelphia about the year 
1750, with some means, it may be supposed, but with no great fortune. 

.351 



352 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

His father, Robert Morris, was an English merchant of Lancashire, 
where the son Robert was born in January, 1733. Being interested in 
American commerce, the interests of the senior Morris brought him 
across the Atlantic. He settled at Oxford, on the Eastern Shore of 
Maryland, about the year 1746. He was a man of enterprise and high 
character, and soon established himself in favor and esteem with his 
neighbors. But his career as a merchant and farmer in Maryland was 
short. A ship consigned to his care was coming in at Oxford, and, ac- 
cording to the custom of that day, a salute was fired from the vessel. 
Mr. Morris, who was standing on the shore waiting for conference with 
the captain, was struck by a wad from one of the guns, from which 
wound he died on the 12th of February, 1750, being then in the 
fortieth year of his age. Robert, the son, was then seventeen years old, 
and had been in America about two years. He had received a useful 
education in England, and no doubt had some instruction in America. 
Whatever might have been the plans of the father on his account, it 
was now necessary that his career should be changed, and that he 
should be put in the way of learning some useful business. He was 
therefore sent to Philadelphia, and placed as an apprentice in the count- 
ing-house of Charles Willing, one of the most extensive merchants of 
that time. Here he conducted himself with activity and intelligence, 
and won the good-will of all who were connected with him. To this 
circumstance we may attribute the fact that in 1754, when he had 
reached his twenty-first year, he was in a position to form a partner- 
ship with Thomas Willing, the son of his master. The firm of Willing 
& Morris was enterprising and successful, and in the course of a few 
years became the most extensive shipping-house in the city. In faithful 
attention to business, profiting by experience, cultivating his mind, and 
indulging the tastes of a gentleman, Mr. Morris continued to be a 
prominent person up to the time of the Revolution. He was known 
as a business-man, and not as a politician. He appears to have had 
no taste for office during the earl)^ years of his mercantile career, and 
it was not until the rising disputes between America and Great Britain 
called upon every man to take sides that Mr. Morris appeared in public 
affairs. The firm of Willing & Morris were signers of the Non-im- 
portation Agreement of 1765, and were to be found sustaining patriotic 
measures on all suitable occasions. It was not until the fall of 1775, 
after the Revolutionary war had opened, that Mr. Morris took any 



ROBERT MO R R IS 'S FO L LY. 353 

office. He was then elected a member of the Assembly of Pennsyl- 
vania from the county of Philadelphia. His position in that body and 
his capacity, together with his patriotism and well-known principles, 
induced the Assembly to elect him in November, 1775, a delegate to 
the Continental Congress, his partner, Thomas Willing, also being 
honored with that dignity. The history of these two gentlemen is 
well known. Willing was patriotic up to the point of the Declaration 
of Independence, but was opposed to independency, voting against it 
bravely on the ist, 2d, and 4th of July, 1776. Morris was also op- 
posed to independence clearly and unequivocally — not, however, be- 
cause he had faltered by the wayside or lost his interest in the cause, 
but because, in his judgment, the time had not come. He voted 
against Lee's resolution of Independence on the ist of July; on the 
2d and 4th he did not take his seat. The persuasions of his friends 
and his own doubts were fighting with his judgment, and whilst he 
did not see his way clear to vote for the measure, he resolved to not 
vote against it. His absence from Congress on the 2d and 4th, to- 
gether with the absence of Dickinson, Biddle, and Allen, reduced the 
voting membership of Pennsylvania to five, so that the vote of the 
State was carried by P'ranklin, Morton, and Wilson against Humphreys 
and Willing. When the new convention of the State came to pass 
judgment upon the conduct of her representatives in Congress they 
resolved to throw overboard all the faint and doubting of the former 
delegation — all except Morris. Dickinson, Humphreys, Willing, and 
Allen were superseded ; Franklin, Morton, and Wilson were re-elected. 
New men came in — Ross, Smith, Rush, Clymer, Taylor — in place of 
those who were thrown aside. Morris seems to have been forgiven, 
and, whatever his doubts might have been, they were soon overruled 
and his resolution strengthened by subsequent events ; so that when on 
the 2d of August the Declaration of Independence was engrossed and 
ready for signing, Morris was ready to affix his signature too. Even 
the people forgave him. He was elected to the Assembly from the 
city in 1 776, and again in 1778, there being no election in 1777, be- 
cause the British army was in the city. In Congress he remained as 
a member until the end of the session of 1777-78. During that time 
he served upon the most important committees, the principal of which 
was the committee charged with the spending of money in the secret 
service according to the judgment of the members, without instruction 

23 



354 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

— a trust, therefore, to be confided to men only of the highest honor. 
He was appointed special commissioner to negotiate bills of exchange 
and to take other measures to procure money for the government. 
In discharging this service Mr. Morris frequently found himself in 
most perplexing positions, in consequence of the urgency of the public 
wants and the difficulties which prevented Congress from meeting 
them. Ordinarily, he found that his own credit was much better than that 
of the nation, and in order to raise money he did not hesitate to pledge 
his own means for supplies absolutely required for the public service. 
On various occasions he borrowed from citizens and gave his obliga- 
tions for the amount. This continued through the war, and became 
more pressing after Mr. Morris was appointed Superintendent of Fi- 
nance, which occurred on the 20th of February, 178 1. On many oc- 
casions he was personally compelled to shoulder the entire responsi- 
bility ; and, as it has been said that Washington was the Sword of the 
Revolution, so it may be said that Morris was the Purse. 

In the establishment of the Bank of Pennsylvania, and afterward of 
the Bank of North America, Mr. Morris's participation in those mat- 
ters is so well known that allusion only is necessary here. When he 
resigned the office of Minister of Finance and Marine in 1784, the 
country had been carried through a long and exhausting war, toward 
the success of which Mr. Morris had contributed in legislative halls, 
in his counting-house, and elsewhere as much as any man who had 
been in the public service. In 1786 he was again elected a member 
of the Assembly. He was a delegate to the Convention to frame the 
Constitution of the United States, and in 1789 he was elected Senator 
from Pennsylvania in the first Congress — an office which he held for 
the full term of six years. This was the end of his connection with 
public stations. 

In private life there was for him a destiny of misfortune, a troubled 
and unhappy career. Mr. Morris lived in a style becoming his posi- 
tion as a gentleman and a man of means. In 1789 he removed from 
Richard Penn's house in Market street between Fifth and Sixth, to 
give way to General Washington, and changed his residence to the 
old substantial house at the south-east corner of Sixth and Market 
streets. It had been originally built and occupied by Joseph Galloway, 
and had been sequestered by the State on account of his treason during 
the Revolution. During the time it was held by the State it was made 



ROBERT MORRIS'S FOLLY. 355 

the official residence of the President of the Supreme Executive Coun- 
cil. Joseph Reed and probably John Dickinson occupied it. The 
principal entrance to this house was upon Sixth street. In the City- 
Directory for 1 79 1 it is specified as 192 Market street, but in 1793 the 
designation is changed to No. i South Sixth street. Mr. Morris was 
residing there in 1796, according to the Directory of that year. His 
business-place and counting room was at 227 High street, on the north 
side, east of Sixth, and very nearly opposite his residence. The Di- 
rectory for 1797 locates Mr. Morris at 227 Market street, the place of 
his counting-house, and does not give the place of his residence. In 
the supplement to the Directory of 1798 his name appears "next door 
to the corner of Eighth and Chestnut streets." The Directory for 
1799 places him "near Seventh, in Chestnut street." In 1802, Robert 
Morris, Sr., merchant, is located in South Eighth street. The house 
on Chestnut street between Seventh and Eighth, in which he lived 
in 1798, was the fine large mansion next to the corner of Eighth 
street which was afterward occupied by Edward Shippen Burd and 
by Daniel W. Coxe, once a merchant and influential citizen, and at a 
later period by the Misses Hubley, who became owners by devise 
from Mr. Burd. For some years past it has been occupied as a res- 
taurant and drinking-saloon. 

During the period of the Revolution, and in fact until his failure, 
the house of Mr. Morris was the abode of generous hospitality, 
not only to Americans, but to distinguished foreigners visiting the 
country. The Prince de Broglie describes his first experience at tea- 
drinking at the house of Robert Morris : " On the 1 3th of August, 
1782, I arrived at Philadelphia, the already celebrated capital of a 
quite new country. M. de la Luzerne took me to tea at Mrs. Morris's, 
wife of the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. Her house 
is small, but well ordered and neat ; the doors and tables of a superb 
well-polished mahogany ; the locks and andirons of polished brass ; 
the cups arranged symmetrically ; the mistress of the house good- 
looking and very gray. All was charming to me. I took some of 
the excellent tea, and would have taken more, I think, if the ambassa- 
dor [M. de la Luzerne] had not kindly warned me, at the twelfth cup, 
that I must put my spoon across my cup when I wished to bring this 
warm-water question to an end. Said he : * It is almost as bad to re- 
fuse a cup of tea when it is offered to you as it would be for the master 



356 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

of the house to offer you another when the ceremony of the spoon has 
indicated your intentions on the subject." 

Samuel Breck, in his Recollections, says : " There was a luxury in 
the kitchen, table, parlor, and street equipage of Mr. and Mrs. Morris 
that was to be found nowhere else in America. Bingham's was more 
gaudy, but less comfortable. It was the pure and unalloyed which the 
Morrises sought to place before their friends, without the abatements 
that so frequently accompany the displays of fashionable life. No 
badly-cooked or cold dinners at their table ; no pinched fires upon 
their hearths ; no paucity of waiters ; no awkward loons in their draw- 
ing-rooms We have no such establishments now Servants 

in those days looked better than now, because they were uniformly 
dressed, and corresponding neatness was seen in carriages and horses." 

Mr. Morris sought this residence in order to be near the great house 
which he had projected in his days of affluence, and which was to be 
built upon the lot of ground on the south side of Chestnut street. His 
ambition to erect this splendid mansion, which far exceeded anything at 
that time to be seen in the city, attracted much attention, and was consid- 
ered a scheme of extravagance. Although there were show and expense 
among a few families which aimed to be fashionable, the majority of 
the population lived very frugally ; and such a magnificent edifice as 
Morris had planned for himself, which was intended to have all the 
characteristics of a palace, was looked upon as offensive to plain and 
simple people. Hence, as the building progressed it was the talk, the 
wonder, and on many tongues the censure, of the town. The mansion 
was intended to be on a scale far exceeding any example of the times. 
Even Mr. Bingham's house on Third street was not so extensive nor 
pretentious ; and there were not a few who in envy of the liberality of 
the merchant were ready to accept the failure of his plans, if such dis- 
aster should happen, as something like a judgment against an attempt 
which did not meet with their sympathy nor applause. Hence they 
were eager when failure came to denounce their fellow-citizen in whose 
talents they had trusted, and to whose exertions in behalf of their 
country during the war of the Revolution they were so much indebted. 
When it became evident that the house could not be finished, the ap- 
pellation of " Morris's Folly " was given to it, and the pride and vanity 
of the projector were a subject of frequent ridicule, heightened by im- 
probable stories of the character and peculiarities of the building, some 



?3 

in 




ROBERT MORRIS'S FOLLY. 359 



of which, grossly exaggerated, have come down to us even at this day. 
The story was that Morris was ruined by want of economy in his ar- 
chitect, whose plans were very expensive and put the owner to useless 
expenditures. Watson the annalist, whose tendency was to rely on 
gossip rather than on the results of accurate investigation, chronicles 
what people said about " Morris's Folly " in his time without dissent- 
ing from their conclusions. He says : " Mr. Morris purchased the 
whole square, extending from Chestnut to Walnut street and from 
Seventh to Eighth street, for ^10,000, a great sum for what had been 
till then the capital, at which time the Norris family had used it as their 
pasture-ground ! Its original elevation was twelve to fifteen feet above 
the present level of the adjacent streets. With such an extent of high 
ground in ornamental cultivation, and a palace in effect fronting upon 
Chestnut street, so far as human grandeur was available, it must have 
had a signal effect. Immense funds were expended ere it reached the 
surface of the ground, it being generally two, and sometimes three, 
stories under ground, and the arches, vaults, and labyrinths were nu- 
merous. It was finally got up to its intended elevation of two stories, 
presenting four sides of- entire marble surface, and much of the orna- 
ments worked in expensive relief" ....*' Mr. Morris, as he became 
more and more sensible of his ruin in the above building, was often 
seen contemplating it, and has been heard to vent imprecations on 
himself and his lavish architect. He had, besides, provided by im- 
portation and otherwise the most costly furniture ; all of which in time, 
together with the marble mansion itself, had to be abandoned to his 
creditors. 

' Drained to the last poor item of his wealth, 
He sighs, departs, and leaves the accomplished plan 
Just where it meets his hopes.' 

He saw it raised enough to make a picture and to preserve the ideal 
presence of his scheme, but that was all; for the" magnitude of the es- 
tablishment could answer no individual wealth in this country ; and 
the fact was speedily realized that what cost so much to rear could find 
no purchaser at any reduced price." 

Mr. Watson says that the building was of marble, but this statement 
is incorrect. Isaac Weld, an Englishman who visited Philadelphia in 
1795, says there were only two or three houses in the city which par- 
ticularly attracted attention on account of their size and architecture, 



360 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

and but little beauty was observable in any of these. " The most spacious 
and most remarkable one amongst them stands on Chestnut street, but 
it is not yet quite finished. At present -it appeared a huge mass of 
red brick and pale-blue marble, which bids defiance to simplicity and 
elegance. This superb mansion, according to report, has already cost 
upward of fifty thousand guineas, and stands as a monument of the 
increasing luxury of the city of Philadelphia." 

The building was actually of red brick, ornamented with marble 
window-heads, lintels and sills, and pilasters, in what might be called 
the Philadelphia style of interspersing marble with brick in the fronts 
of houses. In the well-known view by Birch, the building is shown 
of two stories, with a Mansard roof The doorways, window-heads, 
and frames were of marble, and the porticoes and doorways were 
of that material. According to the representation in Birch's engraving, 
portico doorways, supported by two marble columns, stood at each 
corner of the house. There was to have been a large central doorway, 
the pillars of which are shown in the engraving. It is impossible to 
estimate from the picture the size of the house. It was probably 
from eighty to one hundred feet front on Chestnut street, and from 
forty to sixty feet deep. Very handsome bas-reliefs had been prepared 
for the ornamentation of this mansion by Jardella and other workmen, 
who were brought out to assist in the building. Some of this work 
afterward figured in other buildings. The elegant semi-circular tablets 
in bas-relief, representing Tragedy and Comedy, which were placed 
over the heads of the windows on the wings of the lower story in the 
old Chestnut Street Theatre, were prepared for the mansion of Robert 
Morris, and adopted by the architect of the theatre, Mr. Latrobe. A 
row of houses on the north side of Race street between Chester and 
Eighth streets were ornamented with tablets under the windows repre- 
senting sculptured festoons of flowers. They were long supposed to 
have been of marble, but from the falling off of some of the ornaments 
in later times it is probable that they were of stucco or some artificial 
stone. Two marble dogs of the mastiff breed, stiff and inartistic in 
execution, which were said to have been cut for the decoration of 
Robert Morris's mansion, stood for many years in front of Fritz's 
marble-yard in Race street between Sixth and Seventh. 

It has been said that the architect. Major I'Enfant, first broached the 
scheme of building a grand house for Mr. Morris at a dinner given by 



ROBERT MORRIS'S FOLLY. 36 1 

the latter. He said he could do it for ;^6o,ooo, and upon its being 
suCTcrested that the sum was enormous, Mr. Morris said he could sell 
his houses and lots on Market street for ;^8o,ooo, and thus be supplied 
with abundant funds. He owned at that time the house and lot in 
which Washington lived, forty-six feet front, a lot of seventy-five feet 
adjoining, and the house and lot at the south-east corner of Sixth 
street, which was sixty feet front. He sold the President's house alone 
in 1795 for ;^37,ooo. The other properties were worth more than 
enough to make up the $80,000 to which Mr, Morris referred. The 
extravagance of the architect, it has been generally said, was the cause 
of Mr. Morris's failure. But it is easy to see that the reason was not 
the cost of this building ; which, although it might have exceeded the 
estimates, was not sufficient to have produced the ruin of Mr. Morris if 
he had been free from other embarrassments. The enormous land spec- 
ulations into which he entered with John Nicholson and James Green- 
leaf were really the cause of Mr. Morris's failure. 

Major P. Charles I'Enfant, who has been made the scapegoat for Mr. 
Morris's imprudences, was a native of France and an officer of engineers 
in the French army. His education was therefore of that technical cha- 
racter which made him competent in architecture to design and build. 
He came to the United States during the war of the Revolution, was in 
service in the Southern army, and distinguished himself in the siege of 
Savannah in October, 1779. When it was determined by D'Estaing that 
an attempt must be made to carry the place by storm, Major I'Enfant 
and five men were sent out at a desperate risk to facilitate the object by 
setting fire to the abattis. This they attempted on the afternoon of the 
8th of October, and the bold act was performed with great exposure 
to the fire of the British garrison, who poured in volleys of musketry 
upon this little party. Fortunately, none were injured, but the damp- 
ness of the atmosphere and the greenness of the wood checked the 
flames, and the damage to the abattis was small. The next morning 
the British works were stormed by D'Estaing and Lincoln, who com- 
manded one column. Count Dillon, who commanded another, and 
General Huger, who commanded the third. There was desperate 
fighting, but success was not gained. D'Estaing and Pulaski were 
wounded, and the Americans were repulsed. Major I'Enfant was 
severely wounded, and was the last man taken out of the ditch. After 
the Revolutionary war was over. Major I'Enfant remained in America, 



362 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

and during that time he made the acquaintance of Mr. Morris. Al- 
though it is said that his plan of a mansion of the latter was a failure, 
and stories of his extravagance and want of judgment were in the 
mouths of the ignorant, the government of the United States had 
sufficient confidence in his abilities to entrust to him the important task 
of laying out the city of Washington. The future metropolis of the 
nation was surveyed under his care, the streets, squares, and locations 
for the public buildings were designated by him, and since the time 
when his work was considered to be finished the subsequent improve- 
ments of the " City of Magnificent Distances " have accorded with his 
plan. In 181 5 he was appointed to superintend the construction of 
Fort Washington, fifteen miles below the city of Washington, holding 
the rank of colonel of artillery. He did not remain in authority to 
finish the work, but was superseded by another officer. He then 
retired from public employment, and it is said that he would never 
receive even what money was due him. He was of an eccentric and 
sensitive nature, and the cause may be ascribed to his having been the 
architect of Morris's Folly, which gave to him a reputation injurious 
throughout his life. These fancies led him to consider himself ill- 
treated. A memoir published at the time of his death says : " He 
thought himself ill-remunerated for his services in laying out the city 
of Washington, and because full justice was not, as he thought, mea- 
sured to him, he refused to receive what was tendered, and lived a life 
of sequestration from society and austere privation which attracted 
respect whilst it excited compassion. Compassion, however, was not 
what he wanted ; his mind was of a cast to be gratified only by receiv- 
ing that sort of consideration which his talents and high and delicate 
sense of honor entitled him to. Such consideration he for a time 
enjoyed in the rank of a colonel of artillery, in planning and super- 
intending the construction of Fort Washington, fifteen miles below this 
city, the building of which commenced in 1 81 5. He did not remain 
in authority to finish the work, which, being carried on by him too 
extensively, it is believed, was put in charge of another officer. He 
then retired from public employ, and would never receive even what 
money was due for his services. He was once presented, we believe, 
by the corporation of New York with a square of ground, which he 
did not accept, and though poor and dependent was too proud to put 
his name to a power of attorney to collect for him a dividend of the 



R OBER T MORRIS ' S FOL LY. 363 



estate of an eminent citizen of Philadelphia who was indebted to him 
at the time of his death. Notwithstanding this apparent infatuation, 
he was a man of great scientific attainments, of profound research, and 
close and intelligent observation." 

During the last ten years of his life this accomplished gentleman 
was a dependant. About the year 1 8 1 5 he was taken in friendly care 
by Thomas A. Diggs of Warburton, Md., who maintained him during 
his own life. After the death of Mr. Diggs, Mr. I'Enfant took up his 
residence with William Dudley Diggs in Prince George's county, Md., 
where he died June 14, 1825, at the supposed age of seventy years. 

Mr. Morris bought the lot of ground upon which this mansion was 
to be built long before any steps were taken toward the construction 
of the edifice — so long, in fact, that it is very doubtful whether the first 
purchase of the lot was not made for speculation. He acquired title 
to it by deed from John Dickinson and wife, late Mary Norris, on 
March 7, 1791. The property included the whole lot from Chestnut 
to Walnut and from Seventh to Eighth streets, with the exception of 
a lot on the south side of Chestnut, corner of Seventh, forty-nine and 
a half feet on Chestnut and two hundred and fifty on Seventh. The 
front of the Morris lot on Chestnut street was three hundred and forty- 
six and a half feet ; on Eighth street, five hundred and ten feet ; on 
Walnut, three hundred and ninety-six feet. On the east side the lot 
extended on Seventh from the southern end of the corner lot on Chest- 
nut street one hundred and fifty-five feet to Walnut street. The ac- 
count-books of Robert Morris have lately come into the possession of 
the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and from those sources is to be 
obtained much more information of the work on the Chestnut street 
lot than has hitherto been available. The first entry on account of 
this building is dated March 9, 1793, and records a survey of the 
ground. The charges thenceforth are for money paid for materials 
and workmanship, lime, bricks, stone, etc. The last charge on account 
of the Chestnut street house is made July 9, 1801, and the last credit 
July 2, 1 80 1. From this account it appears that Major I'Enfant between 
December, 1795, and January, 1799, received for his services ^^9037. 13. 
The total amount paid on account of the building of the house was 
^6138 ^s. lod. The whole sum, however heavy it may seem to have 
been as the cost of a single house, cannot, in view of other circum- 
stances connected with Mr. Moiris's career, be considered as the cause 



364 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PIIILADELFHIA. 



of his failure. Indeed, in his bankrupt petition filed in the United 
States District Court in 1799, he tells the story of his losses in a dif- 
ferent way. He says that the cause of his misfortunes originated in 
the failure of John Warder & Co. of Dublin and of Donald & Burton 
of London in the spring of 1793 — not that the property in dependency 
he had with those houses, amounting together to ^120,000 sterling, 
could then have ruined him if it had all been lost. But the w-ant 
of ready money occasioned by those disappointments caused him to 
make sacrifices in various ways in order to preserve punctuality ; and 
finally, other circumstances inviting, induced him to engage in land 
speculations to an extent that in the end brought on his ruin and the 
ruin of those that were concerned with him. " This examinant thinks 
that he could in this place detail circumstances in extenuation of his 
own conduct that might tend to protect him in some degree against the 
charges of rashness and imprudence which, with appearance of justice, 
hath been imputed to these speculations ; but as recrimination would 
be of no use, and as all the parties have suffered the severest penalties 
that opinion and law could inflict, he must continue, as he hitherto 
hath done, to submit to his fate, and meet it with that fortitude which 
is supported by consciousness that he neither intended evil to himself 
or to any creditor or other person whatever. That any one should 
lose or suffer by operations in which he had a concern is to him a 
most distressing and mortifying circumstance." 

In reference to the house on Chestnut street, Mr. Morris refers to it 
only in connection with the statement of the disposition of the lot 
" upon wiiich Major I'Enfant was erecting for me a much more mag- 
nificent house than I ever intended to have built." The speculations in 
land into which Mr. Morris entered were enormous, and they engrossed 
his attention long before he could have thought of building the Chest- 
nut street house. In his bankrupt petition some idea of these opera- 
tions is given, showing land-purchases to have been made by him as 
early as 1787. In 1790 he purchased in the Genesee country, from 
Gorham and Phelps, a million of acres, which in the next year were 
sold in England at a handsome profit. He was thereby encouraged to 
make other speculations. In Massachusetts a company, of which Mor- 
ris was a member, bought 4,000,000 acres, of which Mr. Morris's share 
was 250,000 acres. In 1793, with James Greenleaf and John Nichol- 
son, six thousand building-lots in Washington City were purchased, of 



ROBERT MORRIS'S FOLLY. 365 



which Mr. Morris's share consisted of two thousand. The Pennsyl- 
vania Property Company, of which Mr. Morris was a member, was 
divided into ten thousand shares. On April 22, 1794, Mr. Morris, who 
was then Senator of the United States from Pennsylvania, entered into 
an association or company with John Nicholson, Controller of the State 
of Pennsylvania, for the purchase of land in Pennsylvania to the extent 
of 1,000,000 acres. They already possessed title to extensive tracts in 
Luzerne, Northumberland, and Northampton counties, but it was pro- 
posed to increase their possessions from time to time until the maxi- 
mum estate wx- have named was reached. The association was called 
the Asylum Company. The shares were to be two hundred acres 
each, and the price to first purchasers, or those who bought within 
one year, it was provided, should not be less than two dollars an acre, 
and might be more. Here, then, was a transaction involving expected 
sales to the amount of two million dollars, in which Mr. Morris was 
one of the principal parties, he having been president of the com- 
pany from the beginning. In February, 1795, the North American 
Land Company was formed between Morris, Nicholson, and James 
Greenleaf of the city of New York. It was to dispose of six millions 
and forty-three and a quarter acres of land in Pennsylvania, Virginia, 
Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. This land 
was to be sold in shares ; and during the time when the company was 
in operation, and before failure was inevitable, five hundred and eight 
shares had been sold to forty-nine subscribers, representing 100,160 
acres of land. 

It is impossible at this day to ascertain how far this spirit of spec- 
ulation was carried. In Mr. Morris's bankrupt petition his own indi- 
vidual interest in lands purchased betw^een 1787 and 1801 is spoken of 
in such a manner that it is a fair estimate that the purchases of Morris, 
Nicholson, and Greenleaf, with a few associates, were from fifteen mil- 
lions to twenty millions of acres in all parts of the country, and that 
the propert}' which Morris alone was interested in was considerably 
over six millions of acres. These speculations were undertaken with 
the belief that ours was to be a great country, that immigration would 
set in to an immense extent from Europe, and that the coming popula- 
tion would be attracted by the offer of fine farming-land at what might 
be considered low prices, although, as cheap as they were, a large mar- 
gin would be left as profit to the projectors. Disappointment resulted. 



366 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

The notes of Morris, Nicholson, and Greenleaf were as thick in the 
money-market as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks in Vallam- 
brosa. There was continual trouble about paying notes when due 
or negotiating for renewal. The paper fell into the hands of sharp 
money-lenders, who were attracted to it by the heavy discounts offered 
by the holders. These persons, many of whom were entirely unknown 
to Mr. Morris, worried him incessantly, until the importunities were so 
great and the fear of imprisonment for debt became so strong that in 
1797 Mr. Morris was forced to leave his residence in Chestnut street 
opposite the " Folly," and fly to The Hills. 

He had not been long in that refuge before the Chestnut street house 
was sold from him. The Bank of Pennsylvania was among the first 
creditors of Mr. Morris who brought suit. A judgment was obtained 
against him of ;^20,997.40. Execution was issued to Sheriff Baker in 
September, 1 797. It was executed by Sheriff Jonathan Penrose, who 
on the nth of December made deed-poll to William Sansom for the 
whole lot and building, which was sold for ;^25,6oo, subject to a mort- 
gage of i^7000, specie, due to Messrs Willink of Amsterdam. Mr. 
Morris in his bankrupt petition said that the purchasers of this lot were 
William Sansom, Joseph Hall, and Reed & Ford, and that they were 
under agreement that if they could dispose of the property for an 
amount beyond the purchase-money, they were to account to him for 
the surplus. This probably never was done. Mr. Sansom laid two 
streets through the property, the principal one being called Sansom 
street, and the smaller one Morris street. This property in after years 
was much improved on the Chestnut and the Walnut street fronts by 
Mr. Sansom himself. 



THE HILLS. 



" — Ti "» 



N July, 1770, Robert Morris purchased of Tench Francis a 
tract of ground containing over eighty acres, a part of 
Springettsbury Farm, lying upon the east bank of the 
Schuylkill north of Fairmount Hill, extending along the 
river for some distance, and thence over to the Ridge road. It in- 
cluded in the northern part the portion of ground afterward known as 
Sedgely. The site was one of the most beautiful in the neighborhood 
of the city. The banks of the river were high and well wooded, and 
from any point of the estate near the bank of the Schuylkill beautiful 
views were afforded of the scenery, whilst on the south, at the Upper 
Ferry, there was sufficient activity to lend a little life to the panorama. 
Access to this property was obtained by a road which led north from 
the point where the road to the Upper Ferry was intersected by the 
entrance to the Upper Ferry Bridge. It ran close to the bank of the 
Schuylkill below the west slope of Fairmount Hill, and where the 
garden was afterward laid out and the forebay excavated, across New 
Hickory lane (afterward Coates street, now Fairniount avenue), which 
also led into it, and opened into a curved course which ran north into the 
Morris property, crossing a little stream that ran from the Dark Woods 
pond and entered the Schuylkill just above Fairmount, and another 
stream leading south which emptied into the river nearly directly south 
of the present Lincoln Monument in Fairmount Park. There was an- 
other road which opened from the Ridge road nearly opposite Tur- 
ner's lane, and ran in a course bending south-westwardly toward the 
Schuylkill. It crossed into the Morris property somewhere near where 

367 



368 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



the Sedgely mansion was afterward built. To the estate which Robert 
Morris owned here was given the name of " The Hills," and the Hills 
House was a favorite residence, and was during his days of affluence 
the scene of unbounded hospitality, in which eminent Americans and 
foreign travellers participated. The building stood near the site of the 
present Lemon Hill Mansion. It was north-east of that house, and 




The Hills, Robert Morris's Mansion. 



probably occupied a portion of the plateau upon which in 1876 the 
Lemon Hill Observatory was built. From the appearance of this 
house in the views given of it, it may be presumed that it was of stone. 
It was a square structure, with basement partially below ground, and 
two principal stories, and a high hip roof sufficiently commodious for 
garret purposes. At the flattened top of the roof a chinmey rose at 
each corner. A semi-circular bay having three windows rose from 



THE HILLS. 369 



the ground to the full height of the other walls, and was finished with 
a roof of curved form. There were piazzas two stories in height on 
two sides of the house, affording a screen from the sun and a cool re- 
treat in summer. The trees around were numerous and well grown, 
and the place was delightfully shaded and pleasant Several outhouses 
were near, suitable for a gentleman's country-seat. There are four of 
these buildings marked on Varle's map, engraved about 1797. 

Morris loved this house, which, although he had an attractive mansion 
in the city, was frequently sought by him as a place of refuge from the 
cares of business and of social life. At the end of the year 1776, when 
the city of Philadelphia was considered to be in danger, and Washington 
on the west bank of the Delaware was settling the plans which resulted 
in the victories of Trenton and Princeton, Mr. Morris, having failed to 
accompany Congress to Baltimore, to which town it had fled in fear of 
capture by Howe, wrote under date of December 29 : "I have always 
been satisfied with Philadelphia and The Hills. At the same time, I 
have been constantly prepared, my things packed up, horses and car- 
riages ready at any moment. I dine at The Hills to-day, and have 
done so every Sunday. Thus, you see, I continue my old practice of 
mixing business with pleasure ; I have ever found them useful to each 
other." 

When Mr. Morris found that his affairs were becoming more in- 
volved day after day, and that there was danger of his arrest, he re- 
treated to The Hills, where he kept himself locked in his own castle, 
bidding defiance to the sheriff and constable. As early as the begin- 
ning of September, 1797, it is apparent from the letters of Mr. Morris 
(cited by Charles S. Keyser, Fairnioiint Park, fifth edition), writing to 
Nicholson, that he was conscious of the mistakes they had both made 
in business : " Whether you were right about the ycHow fever or not, 
is not yet determined amongst the doctors ; and as to your being 
always right, I will not answer for the future, but for the past I answer. 
No. If you had, neither you nor I should have been as we are. My 
Chestnut street house and lot, these grounds [The Hills], and some 
ground-rents are advertised by Mr. Baker [John Baker, Sheriff] for 

sale on the 15 th instant, and what to do I am at a loss If this 

thing takes place, it is of little consequence whether I am taken or not. 
.... Can you assist me to raise five hundred dollars to send off Mr. 
Richard [a servant], otherwise his two years' labor will be lost ? I 



370 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



have been scheming and trying, Imt without success. No man, it 

seems, can command — rather say, spare — so large a sum What 

shall we do ? Powerful exertions must be made, for at all events we 
must relieve all who have served us and who will continue to serve 
us." On the 25th of October from The Hills he writes to Nicholson, 
who seems to have been a busy correspondent, sending several notes 
every day : *' While I am writing I receive your further notes of to- 
day — numbers 7, 8, and 9. I wish to God these notes would take up 
those which bear promise of payments. They are numerous already, 
but if they would answer the other purpose, you would want more 

copying-presses and half a dozen paper-mills To number 9 I 

answer that they will have done advertising and selling our property 
after it is all sold and gone. Two hundred thousand acres of my land 
in North Carolina, which cost me $27,000, are sold for one year's taxes. 
By Heaven, there is no bearing wnth these things ! I believe I shall 
go mad. Every day brings forward scenes and troubles almost in- 
supportable, and they seem to be accumulating, so that at last they 
will like a torrent carry everything before them. God help us ! for 
men wnll not. We are abandoned by all but those who want to get 
from us all we yet hold." In a letter to John Nicholson, dated No- 
vember I, 1797, he says: "I have sworn to let nobody inside my 
House, and not to go outside the W^alls myself. If I see them, it is 
out of a window, I being up stairs and they down ; when I snuff the 
Open Air, it is on the Top. Do I write like a man in distress or one 
deranged? — perhaps I am both." From The Hills, on the 21st of 
December, referring to the difficulties discussed in seven of Nichol- 
son's letters which are before him, he closes with mournful reflections : 
" Good Heavens ! what vultures men are in regard to each other ! I 
never in the days of prosperity took advantage of any man's distresses, 
and I suppose what I now experience is to serve as a lesson whereby 
to see the folly of humane and generous conduct." In a letter dated 
at The Hills, January 22, 1798, he says : " There is a Frenchman who 
intends to shoot me at the window if I do not pay a note he had pro- 
tested on Saturday." On the 24th of January, 1798, he wrote to Nich- 
olson in reference to some changes in the law of arrest, particulars of 
which had been communicated to him by Mr. Tilghman : " According 
to this law, there is no safety for Person or Property, because under 
pretence of searching for the latter they will come at the former. This 



THE HILLS. 



371 



gives a new turn to our Affairs, & William will consult with you as to 
what is best to be done by you and by your Fellow-Sufferer, 

" Robert Morris." 

Mr. Brotherhead, in a sketch of the ** Life of Robert Morris " (Simp- 
son's Eminent PJiiladclpJiians)^ gives the following extract from a letter 
bearing date January 31, 1798 : '* My mind is so much disturbed about 
going to prison that I do not get along with business. Indeed, I 
hardly think it worth while to submit any longer to the drudgery of 
it; for if I am once locked up by anybody but myself, I shall consider 
my ruin as sealed ; and if so, why should I any longer submit to the 
racks and tortures occasioned by the importunities and insatiable 
avarice of creditors that I never knew or dealt with ? I will not do 
it ; but if I keep my present position, my exertions shall be continued 
to make the most of my affairs, in the hope of paying everything and 
of having a suitable surplus for the benefit of my family." 

On the 4th of February he seems to have ventured out, probably 
on a visit of consultation with Nicholson. He writes from The Hills, 
February 5 : " I got safe here, and found it the only place of calmness 
and quiet my foot was in yesterday. It has made me more averse to 
the city than ever, and I detest Prune street [the entrance of the 
debtors' prison was on Prune street east of Sixth] more than ever. 
Therefore keep me from it, my dear friend." Two days afterward he 
wrote : " Is there any chance of saving my furniture from the sheriff 
and my person from jail, or are these things fixed ? .... P. S. I have 
just received your letter of yesterday and its enclosures, and I read 
Prune street in every line." The next day in despair he writes the 
last letter from The Hills of which we have any account, in which he 
says to Nicholson : " I consider my fate as fixed : hard and cruel fate 
it is ! The punishment of my imprudence in the use of my name and 
loss of credit is perhaps what / deserve, but it is nevertheless severe 
on my family ; and on tJicir account I feel it most tormentingly. On 
their account I would do anything to avert what I see must happen 
next week, except an act that zvould still affect them more deeply. I 
will try to see you before I go to prison, and in the mean time I remain 
your distressed friend." Thoughts of suicide must have occupied the 
troubled mind of Mr. Morris. He could have averted imprisonment 
by an act which he saw would prove more poignant to the distress of 
his family, but with Christian fortitude he resisted the temptation. 



372 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



The event of his arrest must have taken place during the ensuing 
week, as he expected, for we have a letter from him written in Prune 
street jail, dated February 20, and directed to John Nicholson. In 
this epistle he regrets the circumstances which make him an annoy- 
ance to others. He says : " My confinement has so far been attended 
with disagreeable and uncomfortable circumstances, for, having no par- 
ticular place allotted to me, I feel myself an intruder in every place 
in which I go. I sleep on other persons' beds, I occupy other persons' 
rooms, and if I attempt to sit down to write, it is at the interruption 
and inconvenience of some one who had acquired a prior right to the 
place." The next day he says : " I am yet in so unsettled a state here 
that it is not pleasant to see anybody, although many have been to see 
me — some complimentary visitors ; others on business. I do not en- 
courage either, because I mean to be master of my time, and to make 
what I may think the best use of it." 

Nearly five months afterward, in July, he writes : " Fitzsimons 
[Thomas Fitzsimons] was here this morning in a dreadful taking. All 
the furniture must be sold. My family think this dreadful hard ; they 
know the debt is not mine." 

Whilst he was in the prison the yellow fever of 1798 was raging, 
and the inmates were in great danger. Mr. Hoffner, who came into 
the prison in October, died in three days. The wife of the man who 
cleaned Mr. Morris's room in the prison was also made sick. There 
was great danger to Mr. Morris, but he escaped the infection. At the 
beginning of January, 1799, he laments to Nicholson the reception of 
a letter from a firm in London refusing to accept his bill for three hun- 
dred and eighty-nine pounds sterling, because the money in the hands 
of the party upon whom the bill was drawn had been attached by the 
owner of a bond given for payment of some lands in Georgia. Refer- 
ring to this disappointment, he says : ** But what is to be done for 
subsistence? I counted on this as a means to carry me through 
1799." 

William B. Wood, the comedian, had the misfortune to be a pris- 
oner for debt in the Prune street prison during the time Mr. Morris 
was an inmate, where he remained seventy days. He was allowed two 
hours' walk in the prison-yard daily. The jailer told him that he 
would " find but one gentleman there, and that it was not necessary 
to notice him in any way." The gentleman proved to be no less a 



THE HILLS. 



373 



person than Robert Morris. Mr. Wood said : " His person was 
neat, and his dress, though a little old-fashioned, was adjusted with 
much care. One side of the Prune street debtors' prison was neatly 
laid out as a garden and well kept, affording an agreeable promenade 
for the luckless inhabitants of this Bastile during a large portion of the 
day. Mr. Morris appeared 
cheerful, returned my saluta- 
tion in the politest manner, but 
in silence, continuing his walk, 
and dropping from his hand at 
a given spot a pebble on each 
round, until a certain number 
which he had in his hand was 
exhausted. For some morn- 
ings the same silence prevail- 
ed, until at length, observing 
my languid deportment, he 
inquired whether I was ill, 
and added with some sever- 
ity, ' Sir, this is an ill place 
for one so sickly and appar- 
ently so young.' He seemed 
to wait for some kind of 
explanation, which I found 
myself either unable or un- 
willing to give, and then 
passed on. From this time 
he spoke to me almost daily, 
and always with great kind- FouxMain near Mineral Spring, Lemon Hili. 
ness. On one occasion he 

unbent much more than usual, and offered some remarks which em- 
braced much good counsel. In more than one instance he favored me 
with friendly notice. While I offer this little picture of the morning 
walking-i^-SirX.y on one side of the prison, I must not forget a riding- 
party on the other, nearest to Fifth street in this department, which I 
was occasionally permitted to overlook. Mr. James Greenleaf, with 
Mr. Nicholson, for many years Controller of the Finances of Pennsyl- 
vania, who had been the partner of Mr. Morris's enterprises, and with 




374 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA, 



them of his misfortunes, had the privilege of forming a small circle 
and indulging himself with a rapid ride on a fine horse each morning 
at the period alluded to. This gentleman [Greenleaf] died in Wash- 
ington a few years since at a very advanced age. It was quite amus- 
ing to observe with what skill habit had enabled him to make those 
swift evolutions within so very limited a space." 

John Nicholson, Mr. Morris's partner, also became a prisoner. 
During a portion of the time that he was in confinement he did some- 
thing toward obtaining a livelihood by the publication of a paper, 
which he called TJic Supporter or Daily Repast. He died in the 
debtors' apartment on the 5th of December, 1800. It has been rep- 
resented that he was insane before that time, but his paper, Tlie Sup- 
porter^ was kept up until the time of his death. 

The uniform bankrupt law of April 4, 1800, which went into effect 
on the 1st of July of that year, might have been made available im- 
mediately by Morris and Nicholson, but they seem to have been un- 
willing to apply promptly for the benefit of that act. Nicholson, as 
we have said, died in prison, and Morris remained there until the close 
of 1 80 1. The commission of bankruptcy was issued against Robert 
Morris July 25 of that year, and John Hallowell, Joseph Hopkinson, 
and Thomas Cumpston were the commissioners. They proceeded to 
take proof of the claims against the bankrupt. The amount of debts 
proved before them, according to their report, was ;^2,948,7i i.i i ; and 
as Morris was notoriously without property at this time, it is probable 
that many creditors did not take the trouble to establish their claims. 
The commissioners certified their proceedings on the 15th of October, 
1801, and they reported also that two-thirds of the creditors in num- 
bers and amount had agreed to the discharge of Mr. Morris. The 
certificate of bankruptcy was confirmed December 4, 1 801. A re- 
markable circumstance connected with this case is that the assignees 
never acted. We can suppose that Mr. Morris was so thoroughly divest- 
ed of all property, real and personal, by the executions against him, that 
the assignees found that nothing had been assigned. The matter re- 
mained in that condition for twenty-eight years. In January, 1830, 
Henry Morris, son of Robert Morris, petitioned the United States 
District Court at Philadelphia, reciting the fact of the bankrupt cer- 
tificate and discharge, and that nothing had been done by either the 
assignees or the creditors. He made prayer that the commission 



THE HILLS. 



375 



should be vacated and superseded, and the court granted this petition ; 
so that, as far as regards the legal condition of the case, it might be 
argued that Robert Morris never was a bankrupt. Descendants and 
representatives of the original creditors afterward came into court, 
endeavoring to have the order to vacate the bankrupt proceedings 
set aside, but they were unsuccessful. 

Morris was discharged, and went to live with his family at the house 
on Twelfth street below Market. In that dwelling he died of a fever 
on the 7th of May, 1806. And thus ended a life most valuable to the 
nation in the years of its strength and prosperity, but which was over- 
clouded with misery at the close. 

Mr. Morris was married about 1766 to Mary, daughter of Col. Thomas 
White and sister of Right Rev. William White. They had seven chil- 
dren. Henry, born July 24, 1784, was elected sheriff of Philadelphia 
in 1 841, and died very suddenly from disease of the heart before he 
had been in office a year, in December, 1842. Robert, another son 
of the bankrupt, was a merchant on his own account after his fath- 
er's failure, and was engaged at one time in carrying on the business of 
the Eagle Foundry in Callowhill street near Schuylkill Front. William 
White, the third son, died during the yellow fever of 1798, aged twen- 
ty-four years. Charles, a son, was a boy in 1792, and bills for his tuition 
are among Mr. IMorris's accounts. Thomas, one of the sons, was liv- 
ing at the death of his mother in October, 1824. Hetty, a daughter, 
married a gentleman named Marshall. Maria was married in 1 802 to 
Henry Nixon. In Mr. Morris's will he gave his gold watch to his son 
Robert. It had been the property of the latter's grandfather, Robert 
Morris of Maryland. He gave his gold-headed cane to his son Thomas, 
and said of it : '* The head was given me by John Hancock, Esq., when 
President of Congress, and the cane was the gift of James Wilson, Esq., 
whilst a member of Congress." He bequeathed to his son Henry a 
copying-press w^hich had been presented to him by Sir Robert Herries 
of London. To his daughter, Mrs. Hetty Marshall, he bequeathed the 
silver vase or punch-cup which he " imported from London many years 
ago, and lately repurchased." To his daughter, Mrs. Maria Nixon, he 
gave a silver boiler, also imported from London, and repurchased : to 
his friend Gouverneur Morris a telescope bought of a French refugee, 
and repurchased. These allusions to the repurchase of such small 
articles show how thoroughly Mr. Morris had been deprived of his 



3^6 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



property by the sheriff, and how in some cases efforts were made to 
redeem articles the value of which was in association and personal 
use. With the exception of a few specific legacies, Mr. Morris gave 
all his property to his wife, with power to dispose of it as she 
chose, Mrs. Morris died in 1824. 

The Hills were sold in two parcels of ground by the sheriff at the 
suit of the Pennsylvania Insurance Company in March of 1799. The 
southern portion was bought by Henry Pratt. Mr. Pratt was a happy 
example of the truth that plodding business capacity is better than 
genius. He was a son of Matthew Pratt, an artist, somewhat re- 
nowned as a painter before the commencement of the present cen- 
tury and afterward. Plis talent in that line was very respectable, as 
appears from specimens of his skill, some of which are still preserved. 
But the arts during his life were at a low ebb. He was painting por- 
traits as early as 1759, and American artists were compelled for exist- 
ence to rely upon their skill in painting signs for taverns and shops. 
Nearly every shop in Philadelphia before the Revolution had its par- 
ticular sign. Some of Pratt's tavern-signs were famous. That of the 
Convention of 1787 to frame the Federal Constitution was very popu- 
lar, on account of the style, the fidelity, and accuracy of the portraits. 
It was painted and admired long before Trumbull commenced his 
picture of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence, which was 
ordered by Congress in 1 8 16, although the heads which that famous 
picture contains were painted by Trumbull in 1787-89. Pratt Avas, 
however, something more than a mere sign-painter. When he was 
in Ireland in 1770 he painted a full-length portrait of Rev. Arch- 
deacon Mann, and the picture was exhibited with great approbation 
in the collection of the Dublin Society of Artists. He painted a kit- 
cat portrait of Governor James Hamilton, of which a copy is in pos- 
session of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Henry Pratt was 
brought up to mercantile business, and commenced as a dealer in 
china and crockery, from which merchandise he changed to an in- 
terest in the sale of groceries. He finally became a shipping-mer- 
chant, made money fast, and became rich. The purchase of The 
Hills was possibly nothing more than an investment. Mr. Pratt's city 
residence was in a substantial old-fashioned double house on the 
west side of Front street above Race. In the earlier part of his life 
he probably made The Hills, to which he gave the name of " Lemon 



THE HILLS. 



177 



Hill," his country-seat. The old mansion-house of Robert Morris 
was torn down, and in its place was erected something more exten- 
sive and attractive. In the latter portion of his life Mr. Pratt rarely 
visited Lemon Hill. It was something like a show-place, and was 
very famous in the gossip of Philadelphia on account of its natural 
and artificial beauties. The grounds were kept strictly secluded ex- 
cept to the favored few who received the privilege of visiting it, and 
although it was a place much talked of, it was very little known. 
Report was therefore very liberal in praise of the gardens, the rare 
character of the flowers, the beauty of the parterres, the novelty of 



„?%^ 




Lemon Hill, Fairmount Park. 

the fish-pond, and many other important particulars, the recital of 
which was sufficient to show that Lemon Hill was a little nearer 
Paradise than any other place in the neighborhood of Philadelphia. 
Howitt, an English traveller who was in Philadelphia in 1819, has 
this entry in his diary: "6th Mo. 29. Visited Lemon Hill, the seat 
of J. Pratt, Esq. The gardens of this gentleman are finely situated, 
and laid out with superior taste — a little paradise. It is one of the 
grand resorts of fashionable company in summer. These obtain ad- 
mission by a ticket from the proprietor or his select friends — none 
without — and yet they are most crowded in fine weather," The 



378 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

Duke of Saxe- Weimar, who was in Philadelphia in 1825, describes 
Pratt's garden, and says : *' It is situated upon a rocky peninsula, 
formed by the Schuylkill, immediately above the Waterworks. The 
soil consists mostly of quartz and clay. The owner seldom comes 
there, and this is easy to be perceived, for instead of handsome grass- 
plots you see potatoes and turnips planted in the garden. The trees, 
however, are very handsome, mostly chestnut, and some hickory. I 
also observed particularly two large and strong tulip trees ; the cir- 
cumference of one was fifteen feet. In the hothouses was a fine 
collection of orange trees and a handsome collection of exotic plants ; 
some of the order Euphorbia from South America; also a few palm 
trees. The gardener, an Englishman by birth, seemed to be well ac- 
quainted with his plants. Through a hydraulic machine the water is 
brought up from the river into several basins, and thence forced into 
the hothouses. There was also in the garden a mineral spring of a 
ferruginous quality." 

The following extract from the Reptiblican Court speaks of the estate 
thus: "Lemon Hill was laid out by Mr. Morris, who built a very 
large house upon it, with approaches from the rear, the principal front 
looking down upon the Schuylkill. It was ornamented with extensive 
greenhouses and a fish-pond stocked with gold-fish. It was from the 
breaking of the bank of this pond, and the escape into the Schuylkill 
of the finny tribe which inhabited it, that gold-fish have since been so 
frequently found in this river, and that we often hear it announced by 
their captors that the gold-fish is a native of Pennsylvania waters. It 
is a denizen, but not a native." 

In 1830 a committee appointed by the Horticultural Society of 
Pennsylvania to visit the nurseries and gardens in the vicinity, speak- 
ing of Lemon Hill, said : " This beautiful garden, so creditable to the 
owner, and even to the city of Philadelphia, is kept in perfect order 
at a great expense. Few strangers omit paying it a visit — a gratifica- 
tion which is afforded to them in the most liberal manner by the pro- 
prietor. Nor can any person of taste contemplate the various charms 
of this highly-improved spot without being in rapture with the loveli- 
ness of Nature everywhere around him, so chastely adorned by the 
hand of man. Undoubtedly, this is the best kept garden in Penn- 
sylvania, and when associated with the green- and hothouse depart- 
ment, may be pronounced unrivalled in the Union. The gravel- 



THE HILLS. 



379 



walks, espaliers, plants, shrubs, mounds, and grass-plats are dressed 
periodically and minutely There are some pretty bowers, sum- 
mer-houses, grottoes, and fish-ponds in this garden, the latter well 
stored with gold- and silver-fish. The mansion-house is capacious 
and modern, and the prospects on all sides extremely beautiful. In 
landscape gardening water and wood are indispensable for picturesque 
effect; and here they 
are found distributed 
in just proportions, 
with hill and lawn 
and buildings of ar- 
chitectural beauty. 
The whole scene is 
cheerfully animated 
by the brisk com- 
merce of the river 
and constant move- 
ment in the busy 
neighborhood of Fair- 
mount." At this time 
Lemon Hill was a 
marvel of horticul- 
tural beauty. Rare 
flowers, native and 
exotic, were in the 
collection. The owner 
illustrated commercial 
horticulture, as b e- 
came a shipping-mer- 
chant, and among his 
curiosities were tea- 
plants, coffee trees, sugar-canes, pepper trees, and a " full line," as his 
clerk might have said, of orange, citron, shaddock, bergamot, pome- 
granate, fig trees, etc. etc. His range of greenhouses was sixteen by 
two hundred and twenty feet, and at that time was said to be "the 
finest range of glass for the preservation of plants on this conti- 
nent." 

Mr. Pratt died February 6, 1838, in the seventy-seventh year of his 




East Terrace, Lemon Hill. 



380 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

age. Lemon Hill after that was in the market, and it was bought by 
the Bank of the United States. When that institution became insol- 
vent, this property had to be disposed of, and there was difficulty in 
obtaining a purchaser at a price which was deemed necessary in order 
to ensure as large a dividend as possible to the creditors. If it had 
been brought under the auctioneer's hammer, there would have been 
a great sacrifice. Some tact was therefore required to negotiate a 
sale, and this was probably at the bottom of a movement which com- 
menced in 1843 to induce the city of Philadelphia to purchase the 
property. It was easy enough to do this, the preservation of the 
purity of the Schuylkill water being the pretext. The matter was 
suggested as proper to be considered upon the doctrine that the pos- 
session by the city of the Lemon Hill estate " may prove the means 
of more effectually protecting the basin at Fairmount from the intro- 
duction of substances more or less prejudicial to the community." 
Twenty-seven petitions, signed by two thousand four hundred and 
forty-three citizens, were sent to Councils, asking that the acquisition 
should be made. The College of Physicians sent a memorial recom- 
mending the purchase. In a pecuniary point of view there was a 
great bargain. The trustees of the Bank of the United States had 
bought the property for 1^225,000, and expected to sell it for ;^250,ooo. 
But so depressing was the effect of the failure of that institution upon 
the community, and so thoroughly did it destroy the spirit of specula- 
tion, that the city might be said to have been in the position to buy the 
property at its own price. The trustees of the bank wanted ;^ 130,000, 
but the city bought the whole tract of fifty-two acres, exclusive of 
roads, for ;$75,ooo, which was settled for in a five per cent. loan. The 
conveyance was made on the 24th of July, 1844. The property re- 
mained without being put to any special use until the i8th of Sep- 
tember, 1855, when the Lemon Hill estate was dedicated as a pub- 
lic park, being separated from Fairmount at the time by Coates 
street and Landing avenue. This was the commencement of our 
present Fairmount Park. The acquisition was extended by the an- 
nexation of Sedgely in 1856, the purchase of the Lansdowne estate 
in 1866, and the extension of the Park by virtue of an act of As- 
sembly in 1867, not forgetting the gift of Jesse George and his sister 
of that fine portion of the Park now known as George's Hill. 



BELMONT. 




T is reasonable to suppose that Rev. Dr. Richard Peters was 
the first of the family who came to Pennsylvania. The let- 
ter of James Logan to the proprietary, written 1735, con- 
cerning this appearance in Philadelphia at that time, speaks 
of him as if he were an entire stranger and without friends or 
connections in the Province. William Peters, brother of Rev. 
Richard, it is presumed, came after the latter had been settled suf- 
ficiently long in the Province to obtain a proper idea of the country 
and to recommend it as a place of emigration. The first that we 
know of William Peters is connected with his purchase of a tract of 
land containing two hundred and twenty acres, situate in Blockley 
township on the west bank of the river Schuylkill, above the piece 
of property which in later days became known as Lansdowne. This 
piece of ground was bought by William Peters, brother of Rev. Rich- 
ard Peters, from Ruth Jones, widow of Daniel Jones, by deed of 21st 
of July, 1742. Further assurances were obtained from the heirs of 
Daniel Jones and from his widow as Mrs. Ruth Couch, she having 
married a second time. Upon this property William Peters erected a 
small house of stone fronting the Schuylkill, with a bay at the southern 
end. It was probably finished in 1743, from the fact, as we are told by 
Samuel Breck, that Richard Peters, the son of William, afterward 
famous as a patriot, and particularly as a Judge of the U. S. District 
Court in Pennsylvania, was born in that house in June, 1744. Bel- 
mont, which was the name given to the house and estate by Mr. Peters, 

381 



382 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



was beautifully situate.. It embraced an island in the Schuylkill River, 
afterward known as Peters's Island, and ran from the western bank out 
beyond the New Ford road, known in later times as the Monument 
road. The property in after years was bounded on the south by 
Lansdowne and a part of the George's Hill property, and on the 
north by Johnson's property at Mount Prospect, known in Park times 
as Chamounix. Access to Belmont was obtained by a road leading 
from the Lancaster road, between Rising Sun and the Columbus Tav- 
ern. This highway led northward through Lansdowne to the upper 
part of the Lansdowne line, and thence north-eastwardly to the Bel- 
mont mansion, and may be said to be nearly on the line of the present 
Belmont avenue. The main road connected with the New Ford road, 
somewhat crooked in its route, but leading nearly north. The New 
Ford road was intersected at the upper line of Belmont by a road lead- 
ing from the Schuylkill, which was called Peters's road. In 1801 this 
property consisted of two hundred and eighty-two acres, and ran nearly 
over to George's Hill. The Monument road, which was truly the Ford 
road, received its title some time after Belmont mansion was built, from 
the fact of the existence of a monument on the west side of the high- 
way. It was some distance above the intersection of the private lane 
leading to the Belmont mansion, and west by north of the house. It 
was about twenty-five feet high, in the shape of an obelisk, the pedes- 
tal and base at least eight feet high, and the shaft rising above it. It 
was constructed entirely of common building-stone, such as is used in 
walling cellars, which had been put together with mortar with great 
care, and apparently rough-cast on the outside. This monument was a 
curiosity and mystery half a century ago. It was supposed to be very 
old and that it went back in its history before the Revolution. Some 
said that it was a memorial, and erected by one of the members of the 
Peters family in pursuance of a vow made at sea during a terrible 
storm, promising if life was preserved that a token should be erected 
to signify gratitude for the goodness of Providence in vouchsafing de- 
liverance. Others said that the monument was built over the grave 
of some person buried there. The most sensible guess was that the 
obelisk was erected to close out a view looking north-west from Bel- 
mont through a fine avenue of trees. This was the fact. It closed 
out a vista from the house which had many features of rural beauty. 
The property at Belmont was conveyed by William Peters and wife to 



BELMONT. 



383 



their son, Richard Peters, in 1786. They were then Hving in England, 
to which country it is beHeved they had retired upon the commence- 
ment of the troubles between the mother-country and the Colonies. 
Mr. Peters describes himself in the deed as " now or late of Belmont 
in the township of Blockley, but now residing at Knotsford in the 
kingdom of Great Britain." The conveyance recites the title and own- 
ership of Belmont, '* which is in tenure of the said Richard with the 
consent of the said William." The consideration which the father and 
mother name for the execution of this conveyance is the " natural 
love and affection they have for and bear toward their said son, and 




Belmoni Mansion in the Olden Time. 

in recompense for the long and dutiful and faithful service rendered 
by their said son in the conduct and management of the estate and 
affairs of him the said William for the period of nineteen years past ; 
with the intent also that the said family-seat should remain in the fam- 
ily and name of him the said William Peters, and also in consideration 
of the sum of ^^724 13^'. 9<^." By this deed was conveyed Belmont, 
two hundred and twenty acres or thereabout, a small island in the river 
Schuylkill of about two acres, two tracts adjoining Belmont — one of 
ten and the other of twenty acres — and a tract of twenty-two acres 
originally given by Rev. Richard Peters to his brother William. The 
witnesses to the deed seem to have been seafaring men — Isaac Davis 



384 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



and Charles Gillespy of the Henrietta, and James Clements Huxley of 
the brig John. Davis and Gillespy proved their signatures and that 
of Mr. Peters at Philadelphia in May, 1786. When the large mansion 
on the north, adjoining the original house, was built, whether by Wil- 
liam Peters or Richard Peters, is not definitely known. Keyser says 
[Famnoiint Park) : " Its principal characteristics are a broad hall and 
small dormitories, small window-glass and heavy sashes, highly orna- 
mented and high wooden mantel-pieces, a comfortable dining-room, 
and open fire-places. One of these in the hall is still used ; the panel 
over it formerly held a landscape ; the coat-of-arms of the family re- 
mains perfect on the ceiling. Other ornamental devices about the 
mansion are recognizable as belonging to that early period. The roof 
has been raised ; the third story and piazza are modern. A library 
which adjoined the main house has also been removed since the 
judge's time. The date of the erection of the main outbuilding is 
fixed by a monogram, ' T. W. P., 1745,' cut on a slab set in the wall." 
The plaster ornaments of the ceiling of the main hall are in high re- 
lief, representing musical instruments of various kinds, executed in a 
style superior to that of the ordinary plastering of the last century. 
They must have been the work of an artist. Surrounding Belmont 
were some of the finest trees in America. Some of them were ninety 
feet high. Downing, the landscape-gardener, said that the avenue of 
hemlocks at Belmont was the grandest in the country. Chastellux in 
1780 described Belmont as a " tasty little box in the most charming 
spot Nature could embellish." 

After the death of Judge Peters, Belmont remained in possession 
of the family. The quiet serenity of the place was invaded in 1832, 
when the railroad from Philadelphia to Columbia was laid out. The 
tracks were brought on the east side of the Schuylkill to a point a 
little south of Mount Pleasant, where a bridge was built across the 
Schuylkill. The landing was upon the Peters property. A steep 
inclined plane led to the brow of the hill, and reached a level scarce 
one hundred feet from Belmont Mansion. There was a stationary 
engine, boiler-house and sheds, and innumerable tracks, and great 
bustle and noise continually prevailed, so that as a place of residence 
Belmont was not attractive. During many years succeeding the 
property remained in this condition. After the Pennsylvania Rail- 
road Company bought the Columbia Railroad from the State of 



BELMONT. 385 



Pennsylvania, a new route was laid out, intended to bring the tracks 
over Market street bridge, and the Belmont route was abandoned. 
The Reading Railroad became possessed of the bridge, and their 
cars thundered away along the bank of the river. No particular 
history attached to Belmont after Judge Peters's death until the en- 
largement of Fairmount Park in 1867, when this property, together 
with the adjoining estates of Lansdowne, Prospect Hill, Sweet Brier, 
and Egglesfield, came into the possession of the city of Philadelphia. 
Belmont has been a Park restaurant from that time, and various 
changes have been made. A portico was placed around three 
sides of the principal building. A banqueting-hall was erected on 
the grounds west of the house. In 1876 an addition was made on 
the south front extending from the most ancient of the Belmont 
houses, part of which was demolished, westward to the pavilion, 
which was united with it. These 'changes have well served the 
purposes of the keeper of the restaurant, but they have altered 
materially the interesting, old-time appearance of the mansion — an 
improvement to be defended neither on the ground of necessity nor 
of good taste. 

Rev. Richard Peters is represented to have been a man of wealth, 
and William Peters, who purchased Belmont estate, was also possessed 
of means. William Peters held some public positions after he came to 
Pennsylvania. In 1755 he seems to have been acting as secretary of 
the Provincial Council, probably in consequence of absence or sickness 
of his brother. In 1756 he was military secretary to Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor Robert Hunter Morris, and in that capacity executed also the or- 
ders of the Provincial Council. In 1757, in company with Jacob Duche, 
he accompanied Governor Denny to the Indian treaty at Easton, and 
made a memorandum in reference to the conduct of the leading 
Quakers at that conference, they being intent on carrying out the 
policy of interference, as it was thought, with the projects of the 
Provincial government, the suspicion being that the Quakers were 
exercising their influence to prevent any treaty. How the Quakers 
and the Indians acted is thus very quaintly told by Peters and Duche in 
their statement : " That very early of y® Treaty, & after we had observed 
y^ Q'^ so very busy amongst y® Indians, by y® Q" & Comiss'*" [for y^ 
Gov'^ or anybody else, but y^ Q'' & y® Junto of Ass^men & Comiss''^ 
who were not of the Gov'^ Council, were permitted to have anything 

25 



^S6 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

to do w^'' y^ Goods intended for y^ Presents] we perceived a very re- 
markable distinction made by y^ Indians between Q'^ and y^ Gent" cf 
y^ Gov'® Council, and others who appeared in his Retinue, or whom 
they understood not to be of y^ Q'" Pty : For when wc us'd to meet 
Indians anywhere in y^ streets, or in our evening Walks after Business, 
they would generally accost us w*^ this question in their broken Eng- 
lish — Are you a Quaker — and if we answr'd No, they wou'd frown and 
look very stern and ill-natur'd upon us, and say we were bad man — 
bad man — Gov''^ man ; But if we answered in y® affirmative (as we did 
sometimes to try them) y^ we were Q'"**, they would smile & caress us 
& call us Bro''^, & say we were good Men — Quaker good men — Gov"" 
men bad men — good for nothing." 

In February, 1758, William Peters was appointed secretary and 
clerk of Council in the absence of his brother, who had gone to New 
York. Dedimus potestatem was issued to him and Richard Peters 
by Governor James Hamilton in February, 1761, to administer the 
oaths of office and allegiance and supremacy to all officers, civil and 
military, within the city. 

Richard Peters, son of William, studied in the College of Philadel- 
phia, and graduated in the class of 1761. He was a good Latin and 
Greek scholar, and possessed a knowledge of French and German. 
In due time he studied law, and was admitted to the Philadelphia bar. 
Through his connection with his uncle, Rev. Richard Peters, who dis- 
charged the duties of secretary of the Land Office in addition to those 
of secretary of Council, he became acquainted with land-titles — a 
special knowledge which was frequently of great value to him pro- 
fessionally, and aided him in an important branch of practice. At the 
commencement of the Revolutionary war the relations of Mr. Peters 
were such as ought to have carried him over to the side of the Crown. 
His uncle Richard, by his long association with the Colonial govern- 
ment, and according to the general feeling of Churchmen, must have 
inclined to the side of the English government. His name is the first 
signed of those of the Pennsylvania clergymen in a letter to the Lord 
Bishop of London, June 30, 1775, after the Revolutionary war had 
actually commenced, in which they represent the necessity that the 
Church has been called upon to meet in consequence of the proceed- 
ings of the Continental Congress recommending fasting, prayer, and 
humiliation through all the colonies. Reference is made to the ser- 



BELMONT. 387 



mon of Dr. William Smith, June 17, and of the intended sermon of Mr. 
Duche on the 7th of July to the Associators, and of the necessity of 
preaching upon the fast-day named by Congress. Mr. Peters and his 
brethren say : " Upon this fair and candid state of things we hope 
Your Lordship will think our conduct is such as became us ; and we 
pray that we may be considered as among His Majesty's most dutiful 
and loyal subjects in this and every other transaction of our lives." 
Passing on to a declaration that the Church cannot take the lead in 
the affairs of the country, and that such attempt would be injurious to 
the Church, the memorialists say that they have some interest and 
sympathy with the American cause. '* Indeed, could it possibly be 
required, we are not backward to say that our consciences would not 
permit us to injure the rights of this country. We are to leave our 
families in it, and cannot but consider its inhabitants entitled, as well 
as their brethren in England, to the right of granting their own money, 
and that every attempt to deprive them of this right will either be 
found abortive in the end, or attended with evils which would infinitelv 
outweigh all the benefit to be obtained by it." 

William Peters, the father, is represented to have been opposed to 
the war of the Revolution and in favor of the mother-country, but he 
took no active part in public affairs, and thus escaped much censure. 
Richard Peters, his son, arrayed himself on the side of the Colonies, 
and became an Associator. He was elected captain of a company. 
In January, 1776, the Committee of Safety authorized Major Samuel 
Meredith and Captain Richard Peters to carry out a contract for a 
thousand firelocks and bayonets. In April, Captain Peters was em- 
powered to make a contract with a person who understood the art of 
boring and grinding gun-barrels to make his knowledge public. He 
was captain of the detachment of militia left in July, 1776, to guard 
the cit}' — a command beyond his rank, so that he w^as relieved of that 
duty the next day. He was soon called from this duty, and became 
secretary of the Board of War, acting under authority of a resolution 
of Congress passed June 12, 1776. John Adams, Roger Sherman, 
Benjamin Harrison, James Wilson, and Edward Rutledge, members 
of Congress, were the commissioners, and Richard Peters was secre- 
tary. In November, 1777, a new Board was organized, which was 
composed of General Thomas Mifflin, Colonel Timothy Pickering, 
General Horatio Gates, Colonel Joseph Trumbull, and Richard Peters. 



r^SS HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

A reorganization took place in October, 1778. Under the Confedera- 
tion, in February, 1781, Richard Peters was elected Secretary of War 
of the United States, and held that office until the 30th of October of 
the same year, when he resigned and was succeeded by General 
Lincoln. In November, 1782, he was elected member of Congress 
for the Confederation, and held that office for one year. In 1785 he 
visited England, and was so successful there in representing the condi- 
tion of the American congregations of the Church of England to 
the primates and prelates of the English Church that he secured their 
assent to the ordination of American bishops and the apostolic suc- 
cession of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States. 
Under this arrangement Messrs. Samuel Provoost and William White 
were ordained bishops at Lambeth in 1787. Mr. Peters was member 
of the Assembly for the county of Philadelphia 1787-90, and during 
the last two terms the Speaker of the House. After the organization 
of the Federal government, Washington was called upon to make 
appointments for the judges of the District Courts of the United 
States, and he gave the commission of judge of the United States 
District Court of Pennsylvania to Francis Hopkinson, who was then 
judge of the State Court of Admiralty. Judge Hopkinson died on the 
9th of May, 1791, and was succeeded by William Lewis, who held the 
position a short time. Richard Peters was then selected to hold the 
office, and his commission was dated April 12, 1792. He remained on 
the bench to the time of his death, filling his office with great dignity 
and learning, to the satisfaction of the bar and of the community. 
As district judge he followed as far as Pittsburg the army which 
marched to suppress the Whiskey Insurrection, with a willingness to 
discharge his judicial duties in regard to such persons as should be 
brought before him. During his service in the District Court he sat 
in Circuit Court with judges of the United States Supreme Court, 
including Justices William Patterson, James Iredell, Samuel Chase, 
James Wilson, and Bushrod Washington. He was upon the bench 
during the trials of Henfield in 1793 for illegally enlisting in a French 
privateer, Guinet in 1795 for fitting out and arming a French vessel, 
trial of the Western insurgents (Whiskey War) 1795, Villatti in 1797 
for enlisting in a French privateer, the Northampton insurgents (Hot- 
Water War) 1799-1800, and the trial of Thomas Cooper for sedition 
and libel in 1800. 



BELMONT. 



389 



The Revolutionary^ experiences of Mr. Peters were varied and event- 
ful. Anecdotes of the times that tried men's souls were frequently 
related by him in after years. Mr. Breck has preserved the following, 
which he took down in writing from Mr. Peters's own statement in 
1823: "I was Commissioner of War," he said, "in 1779. General 
Washington wrote to me that all his powder was wet, and that he 
was entirely without lead or balls ; so that should the enemy ap- 
proach him he must retreat. When I received this letter I was 
going to a grand gala at the Spanish ambassador's, who lived in 
Mr. Chew's fine house in South Third street. The spacious gardens 
were superbly decorated with variegated lamps ; the edifice itself was 
a blaze of light ; the show was splendid ; but my feelings were far 
from being in harmony with all this brilliancy. I met at this party 
my friend Robert Morris, who soon discovered the state of my mind. 
' You are not yourself to night, Peters : what's the matter ?' asked 
Morris. Notwithstanding my unlimited confidence in that great pa- 
triot, it was some time before I could prevail upon myself to disclose 
the cause of my depression ; but at length I ventured to give him a 
hint of my inability to answer the pressing calls of the commander- 
in-chief: 'The army is without lead, and I know not where to get 
an ounce to supply it ; the general must retreat for want of ammuni- 
tion.' * Well, let him retreat,' replied the high and liberal-minded 
Morris; * but cheer up; there are in the Holker privateer, just ar- 
rived, ninety tons of lead, one-half of which is mine, and at your 
service ; the residue you can get by applying to Blair McClenachan 
and Holker, both of whom are in the house with us.' I accepted 
the offer from Mr. Morris," said Mr. Commissioner Peters, " with 
many thanks, and addressed myself immediately to the two gentle- 
men who owned the other half for their consent to sell ; but they 
had already trusted a large amount of clothing to the Continental 
Congress, and were unwilling to give that body any further credit. 
I informed Mr. Morris of their refusal. * Tell them,' said he, ' that I 
win pay them for their share.' This settled the business ; the lead 
was delivered. I set three or four hundred men to work, who 
manufactured it into cartridge bullets for Washington's army, to 
which it gave complete relief" Mr. Breck remarks : " The sequel 
of this anecdote shows that the supply was entirely accidental. The 
Holker privateer was at Martinico, preparing to return home, when 



390 



HISTOI^IC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



her captain, Matthew Lawler, had this lead offered to him for ballast. 
Uncertain, however, whether the market would not be overstocked 
by arrivals from Europe, he at first rejected it ; but after some per- 
suasion received it on board. What thanks do we not owe to such 
men!" 

Another anecdote, which shows the financial difficulties which 
attended the operation of the armies, is given by Lossing : "■ It is 
related that when Washington received the letter from De Grasse, 
in July, 1 78 1, declining to bring the French fleet from the West Indies 
to co-operate with Washington and Rochambeau in a combined attack 
against the British at New York, Robert Morris, the Superintendent of 
Finance, and Richard Peters, the secretary of the Board of War, were at 
the head-quarters of the general in the Livingston House (near Dobb's 
Ferry on the Hudson River). Washington was bitterly disappointed, 
for he saw no fair hope of success without the aid of a fleet. The 
cloud upon his brow was but for a moment. He instantly conceived 
the expedition to Virginia, and, turning to Judge Peters, asked, * What 
can you do for me ?' * With money, everything ; without it, nothing,' 
was his brief reply, at the same time turning an anxious look toward 
Morris. ' Let me know the sum you desire/ said the patriot financier, 
comprehending the expression of his eye. Before noon Washington 
completed his estimates, and arrangements were made with Morris 
for the funds. Twenty thousand hard dollars were loaned from Count 
de Rochambeau, which Mr. Morris agreed to replace by the 1st of 
October. The arrival of Colonel Laurens from P" ranee on the 25th 
of August with two millions and a half of livres, a part of a dona- 
tion of six millions by Louis XVI. to the United States, enabled the 
Superintendent of Finance to fulfil his engagement without difficulty." 

After his elevation to the bench Judge Peters took great interest in 
matters of local improvement. He was an active promoter of the 
plan for the construction of a permanent bridge over the Schuylkill 
at Market street. He was president of the bridge company, and earnest 
in that work. The Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture, 
instituted February 11, 1785, found in him a most valuable member. 
He was one of the twenty-three gentlemen who were founders of that 
society. Samuel Powel was the first president. In the early history 
of the association Mr. Peters does not seem to have been active, his 
name being hardly recorded on the minutes. In 1793 the society 



BELMONT. 



391 



ceased to meet, and for twelve years its operations were entirely 
suspended. The members came together again in 1805 and reor- 
ganized the society, Judge Peters being elected president and George 
Clymer vice-president. New members were elected, and from that 
time the association has been regular in its meetings. President 
Peters presented in 1805 a paper on hoven cattle, upon the planting 
of peach and other fruit trees, and subsequently on other subjects. 
In 1797 was published his treatise on the effects of gypsum in the 
cultivation of clover and other natural grasses. The discovery of the 
stimulating effects of plaster of Paris, as it was then called, had been 
made in Germany, and Judge Peters, having obtained a small quantity 
of it, used it successfully and advocated its employment by others. 
His publications and example were of so much importance that be- 
fore the discovery of the fossil in the United States the importations 
of gypsum in Philadelphia alone were equal to fourteen thousand 
tons annually. 

Judge Peters was socially most entertaining and agreeable. His wit 
was unrivalled. "The playfulness of his conversation," says Breck, 
" always enlivened by flashes of the gayest pleasantry, was for ever 
quick and unrestrained, and varied by casts of true humor, sometimes 
as broad and well enacted as the most exaggerated farce, and at others 
convolved in double meaning, fitted only for the ready perception of 
the most practised ear and polished taste." . . . . " Unceremonious, 
communicative, friendly." He talked with fluency mere pun, mere 
joke and frolic. He needed no artificial aid where Nature had been 
so liberal, and with his goblet of water would, as he playfully said, 
" drink like a fish." In his youth he accompanied his uncle to the 
conference with the Indians at Fort Stanwix in the Province of New 
York in the year 1756. Here his light-hearted jests and sportive be- 
havior attracted the attention of the red men. He was adopted into 
one of the tribes, and received the name of Tegohtias, or Talking Bird. 
He had a fine voice and was a good singer, and was frequently called 
upon to exercise his accomplishment even in his old age. Frequently 
he wrote the words of the song which he sung to suit some passing 
occasion. 

Some of his contemporaries, who in social intercourse enjoyed his 
wit, have endeavored to give permanent record to his pleasantries, with 
indifferent success. 



392 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

" A jest's prosperity lies in the ear 
Of him that hears it ; never in the tongue 
Of him that makes it." 

Facetiae are usually dull reading. It is the occasion, the tone, the 
manner, and the appreciation of those who hear, which ensure the 
fortune of a good joke. Some of the anecdotes of Judge Peters seem 
very dull in formal print. He is said to have been a capital punster, 
but he was also possessed of a fund of humor. Of this character was 
his remark at an agricultural dinner in 1823, when a gentleman, speak- 
ing of the enormous price of whiskey, said that he was " certain that 
its cost would not change the habits of tipplers." " I beg your par- 
don," replied the judge. " It will completely change their habits, for 
they will swap their clothes for it when their money is out." During 
the La Fayette reception in 1824 a young military orator, addressing 
the general, said, " Sir, although we were not born to partake of your 
Revolutionary hardships, yet we mean, should our country be attacked, 
to tread in the sJioes of our brave forefathers." " No, no," cried the 
judge, " that you never can do, because your fathers fought bare- 
footed." During the reception of La Fayette in Philadelphia the judge 
rode in the same carriage with the distinguished guest. Their particu- 
lar escort was composed of cavalry ; the roads were dry, and the oc- 
cupants of the carriage were much annoyed by the dust raised by the 
horses. "Ah," said the judge, "most of these horsemen are lawyers, 
and they are always throwing dust in my eyes." " On some occasion," 
says a compiler of the jests of Judge Peters, " a very fat man and a 
very slim man stood at the entrance oi a door into which the judge 
wished to pass. He stopped a moment for them to make way, but 
perceiving that they were not inclined to move, and being urged by 
the master of the house to come in, he pushed on between them, ex- 
claiming, " Here I go, then, through thick and thin !" 

These are sufficient to show that the contemporaries of Judge Peters 
considered him ready and always pleasant, and they also show that 
there is a great difference between hearing a joke and telling it. 

William Peters, the father of Judge Richard Peters, was son of 
Ralph Peters, at one time town-clerk of Liverpool. There were three 
sons — Ralph, William, and Richard, the latter afterward the clergy- 
man. After William, son of Ralph, came to this country, he was mar- 
ried at Trinity Church, Oxford. His wife was Mary Breintnall. They 



BELMONT. 



393 



had four children — WilUam, Richard, Mary, and Thomas. Richard 
Peters, afterward the judge, was married August 22, 1776, at Christ 
Church to Sarah Robinson. His wife died December 27, 1804. They 
had four children — Ralph, Richard, Sarah, and Maria Wilhelmina. 
Richard was born in August, 1780, and married, March 1, 1804, Abi- 
gail Willing, daughter of Thomas Willing. His wife died October 
29, 1 84 1, aged sixty-four years. Her husband survived her until May 
2, 1848. They had four children — Nancy Bingham, still living; Eliza, 
who married John W. Field ; Francis, who married a daughter of Col- 
onel Samuel W. Miller; he died suddenly a few years ago. Maria 
W. Peters, daughter of Judge Peters, was married in January, 1802, 
by Bishop White, to William Shippen Willing, son of Thomas W'illing 
and brother of her brother's wife. Ralph, son of the judge, settled 
in a Southern state, and has descendants living there. Sarah, daugh- 
ter of Judge Peters, died unmarried. 

Richard Peters, the son of Judge Peters, succeeded Henry Wheaton 
as reporter of the decisions of the United States Supreme Court. 
Judge Peters enriched legal literature by reports of the admiralty de- 
cisions of the United States District Court of Pennsylvania between 
1780 and 1807. The son published reports of the United States 
Circuit, Supreme Court, and other courts between 1803 and 1855. 

During the lifetime of Judge Peters, Belmont was a scene of elegant 
hospitality. The principal statesmen of the Revolutionary time and of 
the period while the Federal government was in Philadelphia were fre- 
quent visitors. Washington notes in his diary several visits to Belmont. 
Breck says : ** When a morning of leisure permitted that great man to 
drive to Belmont, the birthplace and country-residence of Judge Peters, 
it was his constant habit so to do. There, sequestered from the world, the 
torments and cares of business, Washington would enjoy a vivacious, rec- 
reative, and wholly unceremonious intercourse with the judge, walking 
for hours, side by side, in the beautiful gardens of Belmont, beneath the 
dark shade of lofty hemlocks placed there by his ancestors a century 
ago. In these romantic grounds stood a chestnut tree reared from a 
Spanish nut planted by the hand of Washington. Large, healthy, and 
fruitful, it was cherished at Belmont as a precious evidence of the 
intimacy that subsisted between those distinguished men." Officers 
of distinction during the Revolution were frequently there. Judge 
Peters's long connection with the army made him personally ac- 



394 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

quainted with the most eminent characters, Steuben was among his 
guests. La Fayette, when he visited America in 1824, went back to 
visit the scenes of early enjoyment. John Quincy Adams tells of a 
dinner there on the 3d of October, 1824, at which he was present w^ith 
La Fayette and his son, George Washington La Fayette, Mr. Samuel 
Breck, Mr. Forsythe of Georgia, and some others. He said : " Judge 
Peters showed us in his garden a Spanish chestnut tree, the nut of 
which was planted by General Washington just before his retirement 

from the Presidency Miss Peters, the judge's daughter, who 

keeps his house, was the only lady present. It was a cheering time. 
Judge Peters is upward of fourscore years of age, in sound, healthy, 
good spirits, and of conversation sparkling with wit and humor." Dur- 
ing this visit La Fayette planted a white walnut. These trees grew 
and flourished for many years. 

During the latter part of the last century many eminent foreigners 
visited Philadelphia. Among them may be mentioned Conrad Alex- 
ander Gerard, first ambassador to the United States from France, the 
French consul-general Holker, and the full ministers Barbe de Mar- 
bois, the Chevalier de la Luzerne, citizens Edmund Charles Genet, 
Fauchet, Adet, Don Juan de Merailles, Don Joseph de Viar, Don 
Joseph de Jaudennes ; Don Carlos Martinez, Marquis de Yrujo, who 
married Sally, daughter of Chief-Justice McKean. Portugal was rep- 
resented by the minister-resident, Chevalier de Freire ; Netherlands by 
Francis P. van Berckel and R. G. van Polanen. Great Britain sent 
Sir John Temple as consul-general, and afterward George Hammond 
as minister. While here the latter courted and married one of the 
daughters of Andrew Allen. Robert Liston succeeded him. A^iong 
the distinguished travellers were Francis Jean, Marquis de Chastellux, 
member of the P>ench Academy ; Jean Pierre Brissot de Warville, who 
went back to France to take part in the Revolution, to become a leader 
of the Girondists, and to end his life under the guillotine. Francois 
Auguste, Comte de Chateaubriand, author and statesman, driven out of 
France by the Revolution in 1791, was here in that year and the suc- 
ceeding ; Charles Maurice, Prince de Talleyrand-Perigord, Bishop of 
Autun, diplomatist and statesman, also driven out of France ; the Duke 
de la Rochefoucault-Liancourt came in 1794 and remained five months, 
and went back to P" ranee to write a great work in eight volumes to de- 
scribe his residence in the United States ; Constantine Frangois Chasse- 



BELMONT. 395 



boeuf, Count de Volney, poet, author, and free-thinker, came in 1795 ; 
and Louis Philippe de Orleans, afterward king of France, was a resident 
of Philadelphia between 1796 and 1799, and was joined by his 
younger brothers, the Duke de Montpensier and the Count de Beau- 
jolais ; the Vicomte Louis Marie de Noailles, brother-in-law of La 
Fayette, was a sojourner and man of business. William Bingham 
allowed him the use of a building on the rear end of his garden at 
Fourth street for a lodging-place. He became a trader and a specu- 
lator. Samuel Breck said of him : " His form was perfect ; a fine face ; 
tall, graceful, the first amateur dancer of the age, and possessed of very 
pleasing manners, he was a general favorite. He had secured a small 
fragment of his fortune when the Revolution made a wreck of every 
one's property, v/ith which he became a trader and speculator. It was 
amusing to see the spirit with which he embraced this new avocation, 
so foreign from the pursuits of his former life, whether considered as 
a military man or a courtier. Every day, at the coffee-house or ex- 
change where merchants met, that ex-nobleman was the busiest of the 
busy, holding his bank-book in one hand and a broker or merchant 
by the button w^ith the other, while he drove his bargains as earnestly 
as any regular-bred son of a counting-house." Thaddeus Kosciusko, 
the Polish patriot ; Dr. Joseph Priestley, man of science, scholar, and 
philosopher ; and Dr. Thomas Cooper, natural philosopher and chem- 
ist, were among us. It may be supposed that the most of these, if not 
all of them, enjoyed the hospitality of Belmont, which was always 
free and pressing. With the foreign visitors were mingled officers 
of the Federal government — secretaries. Senators, members of Con- 
gress — as well as the most distinguished persons in home society. 
A bounteous entertainment, a warm reception, and a feast of good 
humor, sense, and philosophy always prevailed, so that to those who 
enjoyed the privilege the visits to Belmont were most delightful. 



THE PHILADELPHIA LIBRARY. 




N the Junto established by Benjamin Frankhn and ten oth- 
ers in 1728-29 originated several important enterprises 
which were beneficial to Philadelphia. In this source we 
% may find, by the nature of the discussions among the 
^ ■- members and essays written by them, hints ft-om which 
in future action followed important results. The Ameri- 
can Philosophical Society, the Philadelphia Library, fire 
companies for the preservation of property, and the Pennsylvania 
Hospital were suggested and promoted by the members of this 
Leather-Apron Club. The Philadelphia Library grew out of an at- 
tempt by the members of the Junto to establish a library of their 
own, and the partial failure of the plan. A small collection of books 
loaned by the members was kept at their place of meeting in the 
house of Robert Grace in Jones's alley for about a year, when, in 
consequence of some books being injured, the owners became dissat- 
isfied and took them home. The breaking up of this collection put 
Franklin upon the plan of establishing a public libraiy, and with the 
siijgular good sense which he possessed he thought that it should be 
established upon the plan of lending books to the members' — an 
advantage unknown in the old libraries of Europe, to which the 
scholar was expected to repair and consult the volumes which he 
needed. A public library was, in fact, useless except to those who 
had time to spend in its halls. Franklin's plan was to popularize 
the library, to make it a source of general instruction and education, 
by carrying its books into the bosom of private families. There has 



THE PHILADELPHIA LIBRARY. 397 



been no improvement in general education of more importance than 
this, and, so far as known, the Philadelphia Library was the first 
lending library in the world. The measures necessary to the estab- 
lishment of this institution were the work of time. The foundation 
was not magnificent. Fifty subscribers at forty shillings each, who 
wei*e willing to pay thereafter ten shillings a year during fifty years, 
which Franklin fixed as the limit of the existence of the company, 
were all that was needed. It took some time to obtain the subscrip- 
tions, and care was necessary in the preparation of the plan of sub- 
scription. The deed or instrument of association was dated July i, 
1 73 1, and in November the subscription was completed as far as the 
procuration of names. But obtaining the money on the subscription 
was another thing, so that in March, 1732, a little more than one-half 
of the capital had been paid in ; but with that sum it was determined 
to send out to England for an invoice of books. And here came in 
an embarrassing question, '' What sort of books shall we get ?" It was 
considered that amongst the subscribers, including e^/en the members 
of the Junto — most of whom, if not all, were members of the Library 
Company — there was not sufficient knowledge of books to enable them 
to make a judicious selection of works most proper for them to have 
under the circumstances. So it was determined that a committee should 
wait upon James Logan, secretary of the Province and friend to Wil- 
liam Penn, who was judged to be ''a gentleman of universal learning 
and the best judge of books in this part." Thomas Godfrey, the in- 
ventor of the quadrant, waited upon Logan, who kindly made out a 
list of books, with estimate of prices, according to the means of the 
company, which were " ^^45 sterling 65 per cent, advance the current 
rate." Thomas Hopkinson, who was going to England, carried out 
the order and sent back the books. Peter CoUinson of London, mer- 
chant, bought them at the most advantageous' rates, and contributed 
toward the collection Sir Isaac Newton's PJiilosopJiy and Philip Miller'§ 
Gardener s Dictionary. 

The deed or instrument of subscription— constitution we would call 
it in modern times — was drawn without charge by Charles Brockden, 
scrivener, who at that time held the office of Recorder of Deeds for 
the city of Philadelphia. For this favor the company afterward gave 
Brockden a share in the library. Under the deed or instrument of 
association the first directors of the company were named. There 



398 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



were ten of them. The hst was led by Benjamin Franklin, printer, 
who was soon to be distinguished in science, and yet later in the 
history of his country as statesman and ruler over the State of Penn- 
sylvania. Thomas Hopkinson, an Englishman, was a merchant. He 
was afterward busily engaged with Franklin in his experiments in 
electricity, and added very much to the stock of knowledge on that 
subject which the world then possessed. In 1741 he was common 
councilman. In 1745 he was appointed judge of admiralty under the 
king, and held that office until 175 1. He was the father of Francis 
Hopkinson, lawyer, author, wit, statesman. Signer of the Declaration 
of Independence, and himself a judge of the Court of Admiralty and 
United States District Court under the State and Federal govern- 
ments for eleven years, until his death in 1791. A grandson of 
Judge Thomas Hopkinson and son of Judge Hopkinson in after times 
succeeded to the hereditary honor. This was Joseph Hopkinson, 
author of the famous song ** Hail, Columbia !" who Avas judge of the 
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania 
for thirteen years. William Parsons was a shoemaker by trade, but a 
man of good sense and mathematical acquirements. He had first 
studied this science with a view to astrology, which he afterward 
laughed at. He subsequently became Surveyor-General of Pennsyl- 
vania. He was common councilman in 1741. Philip Syng, Jr., was 
a goldsmith, and engraved the first seal for the Library Company. 
Syng, for his services, was presented with the freedom of the company 
for two years. Thomas Godfrey, painter and glazier, was the inventor 
of the quadrant, the honor of which was given by the English to 
Hadley, who pirated the invention. 

Anthony Nicholas was among the directors, but except his name 
nothing is known about him. He was not one of the original 
members of the Junto, and probably did not belong to it. Thomas 
Cadwalader, physician, was a son of John Cadwalader, an eminent 
preacher of the Society of Friends. He was considered skilful in his 
profession, and was one of the physicians of the Pennsylvania Hospital 
from the time of its establishment until his death. He became a mem- 
ber of the Provincial Council in 1755, and remained in that high place 
of trust until the Revolution. He was father of Gen. John Cadwalader 
of the Revolution, grandfather of Gen. Thomas Cadwalader of the war 
of 18 1 2, and great-grandfather of Gen. George Cadwalader of the war 



THE PHILADELPHIA LIBRARY. 



399 



with Mexico and the war of the rebelHon, and of John Cadwalader, 
who was appointed judge of the United States Court for the Eastern 
District of Pennsylvania in 1858. John Jones, Jr., leaves nothing but 
his name. Robert Grace is described by Franklin as " a young gentle- 
man of some fortune, generous, lively, and witty ; a lover of punning 
and of his friends." Isaac Pennington was a great-grandson of Isaac, 
one of the friends and associates of William Penn, who suffered much 
for his sincerity to principle. Edward, his son, came to Pennsylvania 




Philadelphia Library, present Appearance. 

at a very early period in the history of the Province, and became 
surveyor-general. He left one son, Isaac, who was the father of this 
director of the Philadelphia Library Company. The wife of Edward 
was Sarah Jennings, daughter of Samuel Jennings, who was Quaker 
governor of New Jersey at an early date. Dr. John Pennington, born 



400 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

in 1768, who died of yellow fever in 1793, was a son of Isaac of the 
Library Company. Another descendant was John, a scholar, critic, 
and author, whose literary tastes finally carried him into the business of 
bookselling — an occupation which has descended to his son Edward, 
whose store in Philadelphia is the resort of bibliopolists who love to 
burrow in the tumuli of old books, no matter in what language they 
are printed. Joseph Breintnal, the secretary, was described by Frank- 
lin as a " copier of deeds for the scriveners, a good-natured, friendly, 
middle-aged man, a great lover of poetry, reading all he could meet 
with, and writing some that was tolerable ; very ingenious in many 
little knicknackeries, and of sensible conversation." 

The directors met on organization at the house of Nicholas Scull, a 
surveyor, afterward surveyor-general of the Province, " who loved 
books and sometimes made a few verses." They elected William 
Coleman treasurer, who gave a bond with sureties. He was then a 
merchant's clerk, but afterward became a merchant of great note. In 
1758 he was appointed an associate justice of the Supreme Court of 
the Province, and held that office until 1769. Franklin said that he 
" had the coolest, clearest head, the best heart, and the exactest morals 
of any man I ever met with." Upon their coming together the mem- 
bers adopted this resolution : " That for distinction's sake, the subscri- 
bers in the company aforesaid now, and hereafter at all times, are and 
shall be called The Library Company of Philadelphia, and shall 
have a common seal with this device — two books open, each encom- 
passed with glory or beams of light, between which water streaming 
from above into an urn below, thence issues at many vents into 
lesser urns, and motto circumscribing the whole, * Communiter bona 
profundere deorum est ' * — to be securely kept in the library." 

When the first importation of books arrived they were taken to a 
room in Robert Grace's house in Jones's alley. Dr. Franklin printed 
the catalogue in December without charge. It was not until 1733 
that the fifty members considered necessary were obtained. In the 
same year Thomas Penn, proprietor, having arrived in the city, the 
directors with shrewdness, humble as the association then was, ven- 
tured upon the step of presenting an address to His Excellency, in 
which, in the language of panegyric common in such papers, the 

* This is translated by the officers of the Library Company, " To pour out good things 
widely is godlike." 



THE PHILADELPHIA LIBRARY. 4OI 

wisdom and benevolence of the Penn family were enthusiastically 
lauded, and its patronage bespoke for " Philadelphia, the future Athens 
of America, and the library in particular." It was a judicious move 
on the part of the directors, and from that time the friendship of the 
proprietary family was assured, and several articles fitter for a museum 
than a library were presented. In five years this feeling of interest on 
the part of the Penns was encouragingly manifested by a promise to 
present to the company a lot of ground and the gift of an air-pump. 
The ground was considered suitable for the use of the library and the 
erection of a building thereon. But it was situate too far out of town 
for immediate improvement, the location being on the south side of 
Chestnut street, between Eighth and Ninth. Indeed, although the lot 
was reserved for the Library Company, and is marked down on Scull 
& Heap's map of the city (1752), a patent was not issued for the prop- 
erty until 1762, twenty-four years after the intention to make the gift 
was revealed to the company. The library remained in Grace's house 
until 1740, in which year the Assembly of Pennsylvania granted the 
use of the upper room of the westernmost office of the State-House, 
which was one of the two-story buildings on either side of the main 
edifice. The proprietors gave a charter to the company on the 3d of 
March, 1742. In addition to the library, something like a museum 
was collected — not by the directors, because they steadily kept their 
attention on the acquisition of books, but by presents. Additions to 
the articles thus collected, besides John Penn's air-pump, were a tele- 
scope, a cabinet of ancient medals, an old sword-blade discovered in 
digging the foundation for the Second street bridge, Indian fish-hooks, 
slippers, the hand of a female Egyptian mummy, which the facetious 
Chinese directors claimed to have belonged to Cleopatra, and some 
other objects. 

The example of the Library Company had an effect to excite imita- 
tion. Other societies with similar objects were instituted in the city. 
Among these were the Union Library Company, which seems to have 
been the most flourishing, and not only had a considerable number of 
members, but had a collection of books and owned the property at the 
south-east corner of Third and Pear streets, upon which a building for 
the use of the company had been erected. This association was 
merged with the Philadelphia Library in 1769. The Association 
Library Company came in in the year 1771, and the Amicable Com- 

26 



402 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

pany about the same time. Application was made to the Assembly in 
1 77 1 for a lot in the State-House Square, on which it was proposed to 
erect a handsome building. In 1773 the second floor of Carpenters' 
Hall was rented, and the library removed to that place. In the early 
part ot 1777 the necessities o{ the public service compelled General 
Gates, who was then commanding the city, to seize upon the library- 
room for hospital purposes — a state of affairs at which the directors 
were very much annoyed. A committee was appointed to visit the 
commanding general and request that the soldiers should be removed. 
The books were in Carpenters' Hall during the occupation of the 
British army, from September, 1777, to June, 1778. In this time 
some of the British officers enjoyed the adv^antages of the collection, 
and they conformed in all particulars to the laws of the library, making 
compensation for their use. The company experienced no damage by 
the occupation. 

In 1784 there was a prospect of Uniting the Loganian Library with 
the Philadelphia Library Company, and it was known that the apart- 
ments at Carpenters' Hall would be entirely too small for the united 
collection. A conference seems to have been held with leading mem- 
bers of the American Philosophical Society in reference to petitioning 
the Assembly for the grant of two lots on Fifth and Sixth streets, 
State-House Square — one for the use of the library and the other for 
the society. Literature and science would thus be accommodated, and 
two handsome buildings would be erected to ornament the city. The 
application failed at the first session. At the next session it was al- 
leged that the Philosophical Society played an unphilosophical trick 
upon the Library Company. It was averred that according to the 
original agreement the library was to occupy the lot on the west side 
of Fifth street, and the Philosophical Society the lot on the east side 
of Sixth street. But the Philosophical Society claimed the lot on the 
west side of Fifth street. The Library Company protested. The di- 
rectors refused to take the lot on Sixth street. The result was, that 
they got nothing. 

In 1789 the Library Company, realizing the necessity of procuring 
better accommodations, purchased on ground-rent of Mary Norris and 
Dr. Logan a lot of ground on Fifth street below Chestnut. Here, on 
the 31st of August in that year, they laid the corner-stone of their 
intended building, with an inscription, the principal part of which was 



THE PHILADELPHIA LIBRARY. 



403 



composed by Dr. Franklin, but that portion which related to Franklin 
himself was added by the directors : 

" Be it remembered, 

In honour of the Philadelphia youth 

(then chiefly artificers), 

that in mdccxxxi 

they cheerfully, 

At the instance of Benjamin Franklin, 

One of their number, 

instituted the Philadelphia Library, 

which, though small at first, 

is become highly valuable and extensively useful, 

and which the walls of this edifice 

are now destined to contain and preserve ; 

the first stone of whose foundation 

was here placed 

the thirty-first day of August, 1789." 

Dr. William Thornton, who may be said to have been the architect 
of the library building, was a very active citizen of Philadelphia during 
the time of his residence. He was a man of science, a member of the 
American Philosophical Society. He received the Magellanic gold 
medal in 1792 as the author of an Essay upon the IVrittcji Elements 
of Language. He was one of the original members of John Fitch's 
steamboat company, and stood by that unfortunate inventor until the 
very last, using his influence with other members in favor of every 
new claim for assistance made by the unlucky child of genius. When 
the act of Congress establishing a patent-office was passed, February i, 
1793, Dr. Thornton was made superintendent of the office. He re- 
mained in Philadelphia until the seat of the Federal government was 
removed to Washington, when he transferred his residence to that 
place, and resided there until his death many years afterward. It is 
believed that Dr. Thornton was a native of the West Indies, born in 
the island of Tortola. 

For the embellishment of the hall of the library William Bingham 
determined to make to the company a present of a statue of Dr. 
Benjamin Franklin to be placed in a niche in the front of the edifice. 
Dr. Franklin was consulted, and a committee of the directors reported 
that he would approve of a "gown for his dress and- a Roman head." 
A bust of Franklin, procured from the Pennsylvania Hospital, furnished 
the features for the head. The Coliivibian Magazine of April, 1792, 



404 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHIIADEIPHIA. 



speaks of it thus : " The statue of Dr. FrankHn was last Saturday 
fixed in its niche over the front door of the new Hbrary in Fifth street. 
Francis Lazzarini is the name of the sculptor, and Carrara the name of 
the place where it was executed. If the intrinsic merit of this master- 
piece of art did not speak its value, the name of the artist where he is 
known would evince it. Here perhaps its price may give the best idea 
of its worth. We have heard that it cost above five hundred guineas. 
The statue of Dr. F. is a full-length figure, erect, clad with a Roman 
toga, the position easy and graceful ; in the right hand is a sceptre 
reversed, the elbow resting on books placed on a pedestal ; the left 
hand, a little extended, holds a scroll. This elegant piece of sculpture 
is executed in the finest white marble, and is the donation of William 




LoGANiAN Library, from an Old Print. 

Bingham, Esq., of this city to the Library Company." The library 
building was finished in 1790, and on the 30th of December the 
directors resolved that it should be kept open daily from one o'clock 
till sunset. 

In 1 792 the company made an important addition to its books by 
the acquisition of the Loganian Library. This collection had been 
formed by James Logan in his lifetime. He had constructed at the 
north-west corner of Sixth and Walnut streets a small building for the 
use of the library, and at the time of his death, in 1750, there were 
one hundred volumes of Greek authors, with mostly their versions ; 
" all the Roman classics without exception," all the old Greek math- 
ematicians, Archimedes, Euclid, Ptolemy, Theon's Coninientary, and 



THE PHILADELPHIA LIBRARY, 405 

many valuable Latin authors, with a great number of modern math- 
ematical books — altogether several hundred volumes. He had made 
preparation for the support of the library, the payment of the salary of 
a librarian, and an increase of the books, but, cancelling the instrument 
with intention to settle better provisions in his will, he died without 
making the proper bequests, though in various parts of his will it was 
seen that it was his intention to do so. The heirs of Loean mieht 
have availed themselves of the lapse, but in respect to the memory of 
the founder they resolved to carry out his wishes by the proper legal 
proceedings. In March, 1760, they made a conveyance to Chief-Justice 
Allen, Richard Peters, and Benjamin Franklin of certain lots of ground 
and ground-rents in Bucks county, and the library building and lot, 
with the books in the library, in trust that they would maintain the 
collection for the uses intended by James Logan, and permit members 
of the Logan family, according to the will and intention, to act as 
librarians, there being succession in the eldest son and the heirs male 
of said son to hold the office of librarian. In default of an eldest son, 
then the librarianship was to go to the other sons of William Logan 
in succession, and so on, in the failure of heirs, to the issue of other 
sons, and finally to the issue of Hannah Smith, daughter of James 
Logan, with further directions afterward. According to this deed 
of settlement, it was prescribed as a qualification of the librarian 
descendant of James Logan that he " shall be found so qualified in 
literature as that he shall understand and be capable of expounding 
all the Roman classics, and understand the new Greek Testament and 
Homer and Hesiod in the original." The library, it was stipulated by 
this deed of concession, was to be kept open Saturday afternoons from 
three o'clock until sunset, and permission was given to lend the books 
upon the borrower giving his note to the librarian stipulating for return. 
Under this trust the Loganian Library was maintained for several years. 
But as the trustees died or were separated by the events of the Revo- 
lution, the collection remained for some time without a librarian, and 
was not of the use intended by Logan. There was not at all times a 
librarian to attend to the books, and the library building was closed. 
The Logan heirs were not anxious to execute this trust. Accordingly, 
in 1792, by arrangement between them and William Logan, the surviv- 
ing trustee, and the Library Company, the Assembly of Pennsylvania 
passed an act ratifying the transfer of the Loganian books to the custody 



406 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



of the Library Company of Philadelphia, with provision for succession 
of the heirs of James Logan as trustees, and direction that the books 
should be kept for " the use of the inhabitants of the city of Philadel- 
phia." Under this arrangement about three thousand five hundred vol- 
umes were transferred to the Philadelphia Library Company, together 
with property intended by James Logan for the benefit of the collec- 
tion. William Logan, son of James the founder, was the first hereditar}^ 
librarian, and the succession has been kept up until the present time. 
Under the aereement there were for a time two librarians — one for 
the Philadelphia Library, the other for the Logan ian Library. This 
arrangement was found inconvenient, and in 1829 the difficulty was 
got around by the appointment of John Jay Smith, great-grandson 
of James Logan, as librarian of the Philadelphia Library and of the 
Locranian Librarv. He was succeeded in that office bv his son, a 
great-great-grandson of James Logan, Lloyd Pearsall Smith, who has 
held the office of librarian of both institutions from 185 1 to the pres- 
ent time. For the use of the Loganian Library, a strip of ground east 
of the former lot on Fifth street was purchased, and a new building 
was constructed for the particular use of the Loganian books. The 
Loganian Library is now composed of about ten thousand volumes, 
and the Philadelphia Library of about one hundred thousand volumes. 
The two collections are very valuable, but they are not the most exten- 
sive in the country, private munificence having been more liberal in 
establishing libraries for scholars and the use of the people elsewhere. 

The Philadelphia Library, though it has received from time to time 
valuable donations of books, has not been a recipient of money to any 
great extent. At present the institution stands in an uncertain position 
in regard to a valuable bequest lately made by Dr. James Rush of 
Philadelphia, which if accepted may enure for the benefit of the insti- 
tution, but which if declined will be devoted to the support of a free 
library for public use. By his will, dated May 26, 1869, Dr. Rush 
left a large estate, estimated to be worth $1,500,000, to his executor in 
trust that he would erect a building suitable for a library of large pro- 
portions. This gift Dr. Rush directed should be appropriated to the 
use of the Library Company of Philadelphia, subject to certain re- 
strictions, in which case the institution is to be named the " Ridgway 
Branch of the Philadelphia Library Company." The Philadelphia 
Library Company is not compelled to decide on accepting this trust 



c 

c. 

> 



D3 
> 




THE PHILADELPHIA LIBRARY. 409 

until the new edifice is completed. The executor chose for the site of 
the library a large lot of ground bounded by Thirteenth, Broad, Carpen- 
ter, and Christian streets. A splendid building of granite in the Gre- 
cian Doric style, with three porticoes in front, having a depth of two 
hundred and twenty feet and a breadth of one hundred and five feet, 
has been erected. After the terms of the will were made known 
strong opposition was manifested against the acceptance of the bequest 
by many members of the Philadelphia Library Company. The princi- 
pal objection was against the place which Mr. Williams had selected. 
The Library Company endeavored, by legal proceedings, to compel 
him to relinquish his design of erecting the building at Broad and 
Christian streets, but were not successful. At present the matter re- 
mains open to be settled hereafter, whenever the executor of Dr. Rush 
shall make a formal tender of the library building. 

There have been twenty-one librarians since the company was 
founded, but during the last century they have been few. Lewis 
Timothee was the first in 1732, and Benjamin Franklin succeeded him 
in the following year, and was librarian for three months and a day. 
William Parsons was his successor, and he held the office for twelve 
years. Francis Hopkinson was librarian in 1764-5. Zachariah Poul- 
son, editor of the American Daily AdveHiser, was elected librarian in 
1785, and held the office for twenty-one years. George Campbell was 
elected librarian in 1806, and held the position for twenty-three years. 
He was succeeded in 1829 by John Jay Smith, also hereditary librarian 
of the Loganian Library. Mr. Smith held that trust from 1829 till 
185 1. During his librarianship Mr. Smith was industrious in litera- 
ture. He was editor of the Saturday Btdletin, Daily Express, National 
Gazette, Downing's Horticultunst, and of several of Waldie's serial re- 
publications. He wrote some books, the most noted of which is Amer- 
ican Historical and Literary Curiosities, published in 1861. He was 
succeeded as librarian in 1851 by his son, Lloyd P. Smith, a gentleman 
having a great fund of literary, scientific, and classical information, 
which is of the utmost value to strangers who wish to consult the 
library, their experience emphatically proving that he is the right man 
in the right place. Besides the office of the librarian, hereditary de- 
scent seems to mark some of the other officers. The present secre- 
tary, William H. Rawle, is a son of William Rawle, secretary from 1825 
to 1836, and grandson of William Rawle, secretary from 1786 to 1792. 



4IO 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



The first agent in England for the purchase of books was Peter 
Colhnson, and he held that position for thirty years, and was succeeded 
by Franklin while he was in England during a period of fourteen 
years. Joseph Woods, with William Dilwyn, became agent in 1783, 
and the agency continued with his son, Samuel Woods, and his grand- 
son, Samuel Woods, Jr., down to 1857. The elder S. Woods was agent 
for fort}^-one years. 




JEKIOR OF PlIiLADEirHIA LlHRARV. 

The stranger who for the first 
enters the Philadelphia Library 

struck — in fact, if he is of reveren- 
disposition, awed — by the sur- 
roundings. From the bustle, life, and activity of the streets he is 
suddenly translated irfto a region in which silence seems naturally 
to reign. The air is heavy with the odors of antiquity. There 
is a bookish smell, which floats in the atmosphere, emanating from 
aged volumes, which suggests that mysterious insect the bookworm, 
rarely seen, but whose ravages are to be found in ancient tomes on 



THE PHILADELPHIA LLP EAR Y. 



411 



n?in//. 



which he has made his banquet. There is a dim rehgious Hght 
thrown over the main hall from the side windows, which is interrupted 
and reduced by alcoves and fixtures. Fronting the visitor is the 
librarian's desk beneath a high arch which opens into the Loganian 
Library, from the glass lantern roof of which is poured down a flood 
of light that makes that apartment agreeable, and even darts its rays 
into the main building. The guardian of these bookish treasures is 
entrenched behind a strong fortification of desk, drawers and railing. 
The stairway to the heights of the citadel rises within his enclosure, 
and gives him access to the upper part of the building, where there are 
galleries and a second floor, which in arrangement is also a gallery. 
Beneath the arch is seated the librarian at a desk, ancient but plain, 
which once belonged to William Penn. Into the apartment of the 
main hall from above looks an immense plaster and bronze bust of 
Minerva, of much more than heroic size. 
Tradition says that it once stood upon a 
bracket above the head of the Speaker 
of the House of Representatives when 
Congress occupied the building at Sixth 
and Chestnut streets. Around the 
apartment are some old-fashioned relics. 
A clock, in a standing wooden case not 
quite so tall as the great eight-day 
clocks which were fashionable three- 
quarters of a century ago, stands near 
an alcove. It is said to have belonged 
to Oliver Cromwell, and was brought 
over by William Hudson, one of the 
earliest settlers, from whose descendants 
it came to the library. Immediately 
opposite, on the south side, is a clock 
once belonging to William Penn. It is much like its brother except in 
ornaments, and both represent important epochs in the history of 
English Dissenters — the Puritan and the Quaker. In the Loganian 
Library there are some interesting pictures. Among them is Peter 
Cooper's SoiitJi-East Prospect of the City of PJiiladelpJiia, the oldest 




Bust of Minerva, formerly 
OVER THE Speaker's Chair. 



3^ 



,'PlilliiP^l';! 



view of the city known, and supposed to have been painted in 1720. 



It is not a work of high art. 



Peter was nothing more than an 



412 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



ordinary house-painter. He was ambitious to make a picture of the 
city, though it might be rude. It is eight feet long and one and a half 
feet wide. Below are references to the buildings delineated in the 
picture. George M. Dallas picked up the picture in London when he 

was minister to England, and 
presented it to the library with an 
apology for its being an " antique 
daub." It had been described 
long before that. Dr. Rawlinson 
in 1750 sent a communication 
to the Society of Antiquaries at 
London describing this identical 
picture. The matter is referred to 
in an address by James N. Barker 
before the Historical Society 
shortly after it was instituted. 
Mr. Barker thought that the 
description of Rawlinson was 
worthy of preservation, and could 
have little expectation that the 
picture would years afterward 
again reach the place at which it 
had been painted. 

In this room are to be found a 
portrait of John Penn the Amer- 
ican, painted by the celebrated 
Sir Godfrey Kneller ; a portrait of 
Zachariah Poulson, once librarian • 
one of the Duke of Brunswick, 
who sent over the Hessians to this 
country ; a portrait of James Lo- 
gan and a picture of Stenton ; with 
other portraits and busts. A plain 
mahogany table, in use for library purposes, tells on a plate that it once 
belonged to James Logan, and was used at his library in Stenton. Near 
it is an odd-looking, quadrangular reading-desk which belonged to the 
celebrated John Dickinson, author of the Fanner's Letters^ and which 
was used by him in his library at Fairhill. Portraits, busts, and pic- 




Penn's Clock. 



THE PHILADELPHIA LIBRARY. 



413 



tures of various kinds are placed in every vantage throughout the build- 
ing. Among these are included the valuable collections of drawings 
and paintings of old houses 
and buildings in Philadel- 
phia which formerly be- 
longed to John F. Watson 
the annalist and to Charles 
A. Poulson, son of Zacha- 
riah the librarian, who was 
a dilicfent collector of mat- 
ters pertaining to local his- 
tory. This library is 
strong in its collection of 
old books. It has had 
the great advantage of 
one hundred and forty - 
four years in obtaining 




The Bookworm. 



books of value printed in the United States as they were issued 
from the press, and it has thereby accumulated, particularly in 
historical books and pamphlets which are now very rare and of 
the utmost value, a wealth of literature which no other librar}^ in 
the country possesses. Among the rare books, in the opinion 
of the bibliopolist, belonging to the librar}^, is a copy of Augus- 
tine's Libre de Vita C/wistiana, which was printed by those famous 
of all printers, Faust and Schoeffer, in 1459 ; ^^^^ Golden Legend, 
printed by William Caxton in 1483, which Dibdin says is the most 
magnificent specimen ever printed from Caxton's press. There is an 
illuminated Psalter on vellum of the thirteenth century ; Pliny's Nat- 
ural History, translated into Italian and printed on vellum in 1476 by 
N. Janson, the first Venetian printer ; the Polychronicon, from the 
English press of Wynkyn de Worde, printed in 1492. Of illus- 
trated books printed in the illuminated style there are the Coupes 
Varisantes, from the press of Verard at Paris in 1503 ; Hewer's 
Gothiqns, 1508; the Book of the Hours, 15 10; a German version 
of Reynard the Fox, printed in 1549; the Bible in vulgate printed 
at Rome by Swyheim and Pannartz in 1471 ; another printed by 
Colneger at Nuremberg in 1475 ; a New Testament in French, 
printed at Lyons about 1480. Illustrative of American history are 



414 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



Plantagenet's Neiv Albion, which was pubhshed in 1648, the oldest 
extant EngHsh historical work relating to New Jersey, Delaware, 
and Pennsylvania, the first edition having been published in 1637; 
two copies of Eliot's Indian Bible, the first American copy of the 
Scriptures — the New Testament published in 166 1, the Old Testa- 
ment in 1663. There is a copy of Thomas Campanius Holm's 
description of New Sweden (now Pennsylvania), published at Stock- 
holm in 1702; Aitkin's rare edition of the English Bible, published at 
Philadelphia in 1782 with the approval of Congress. Of old newspa- 
pers the collection is very complete, and there are numerous and rare 
manuscripts, broadsides, autographs, and other valuable literary treas- 
ures. The oldest Philadelphia piece of printing is Daniel Leeds's Al- 
manac, published by William Bradford the elder in 1687. In classic 
literature the Loganian Library maintains its claims, and has been very 
considerably increased of late years by means of the fund provided 
by the heirs of Logan. The entire collection of the two libraries is of 
great value, and being thrown open to the use of every one, who may 
come there day after day to read, copy, and study, it has proved itself 
to be through a long series of years a beneficial aid to the scholar, 
student, and even to the casual reader. 

In the words of Alexander Wilson the ornithologist, whose apos- 
trophe to the library was long exposed in the hall, properly written 
out and framed, it may be said — 

" Ye who delight through learning's path to roam, 
Who deign to enter this devoted dome, 
By silent awe and contemplation led, 
Survey these wonders of the illustrious dead ! 
The lights of every age, of every clime, 
The fruits of science and the spoils of time, 
Stand here arranged, obedient to your nod; 
Here feast with sages and give thanks to God. 
Next thanks to him, that venerable sage, 
His country's boast — the glory of the age! 
Immortal Franklin, whose unwearied mind 
Still sought out every good for all mankind ; 
Searched every science, studious still to know, 
To make men virtuous, and to keep them so : 
Living, he reared with generous friends this scene, 
And dead, still stands without to welcome in." 



BUSH HILL AND THE WOODLANDS. 




NDREW HAMILTON was founder of one of the most 
important families in Pennsylvania. By the possession of 
sterling talent, great learning, and ability in the law, and 
the faithful discharge of duties in stations requiring emi- 
nent capacity, he made himself famous. Notwithstanding- 
all this, his history before he came to America is involved in 
obscurity. Joshua Francis Fisher, who has written the most 
extended sketch of his life which is known to historical scholars, 
supposes that he was a Scotchman, and that he was born in the year 
1676. David Paul Brown, in TJie Foriiin, says that he was a native 
of Ireland. Of what family he was a descendant is therefore unknown. 
It seems that he came to America after having been well educated, and 
it is presumed from that fact that he was of a good family. For some 
reason, when he came to this country he took the name of Trent, show- 
ing a motive for concealment. Mr. Fisher says that the family tradition 
is that " he had been obliged to fly from his native country in conse- 
quence of killing a person of some importance in a duel." Fisher sug- 
gests that it is more likely some political difficulty prompted him to the 
course which he took. His first place of residence in the Colonies is 
not ascertained. He was a resident of the Eastern Shore of Virginia, 
and is said to have been steward of an estate and schoolmaster. He 
was sufficiently in repute to be able to marry Mrs. Annie Preeson, a 
rich widow, whose maiden name was Brown, and who was connected 
with the best Maryland families. In 17 12 he was practisino- as a Jawyer 

415 



4l6 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

at Chestertown, Md., and had a handsome business for the times, with 
reputation of abihty. The agents of WilHam Penn employed him as 
their counsel in a matter arising out of a dispute about the proprietary 
rights, and his conduct was satisfactory. It is supposed that he studied 
law in Maryland, but being ambitious of the certificate of the highest 
legal establishment, he went to England, where he entered as a member 
of the Temple at Gray's Inn, and ate his commons in the year 17 12. 
Short commons they were, for Mr. Hamilton was initiated as a bencher 
January 27, 17 1 2, and he was called to the h2cc per favor — which means 
that his ability and learning were satisfactory — on the loth of February, 
two weeks afterward. Upon his return to America, after a short stay 
in Maryland, he resolved to remove to Philadelphia, where there was a 
finer field for the exercise of his abilities than could be found at Ches- 
tertown. In 1 7 17 he was appointed attorney-general of the Province, 
and was made member of the Provincial Council in 1721. He resigned 
the attorney-generalship about 1726, and went to England, where he 
stayed some months. On his return he was made prothonotary in 1727, 
then a lucrative office. The recordership of the city of Philadelphia 
was occupied by him in 1728, and he was appointed judge of the Vice- 
Admiralty in 1737. The holding of these three offices at one time did 
not interfere with Mr. Hamilton in discharging the duties of a legis- 
lator. While, therefore, he was judge of the city court as recorder 
and of the Vice-Admiralty, and at the same time clerk of the Court 
of Common Pleas, he was a member of the Assembly, to which he was 
elected in 1727, and regularly re-elected until his retirement in 1739. 
During that time he was chairman of the most important committees, 
and was nine times elected Speaker in the course of ten years. What 
will be thought more odd — by those that think that one office for one 
man is enough — he was while member of the Assembly of Pennsylva- 
nia also a member of the Assembly of the Lower Counties (Delaware), 
and Speaker of it too ! In addition to all this he was a trustee of the 
Loan Office and active in legal practice. Whilst Speaker of the Assem- 
bly of Pennsylvania he superintended the erection of the State-House, 
constructed, according to very strong inference, from his own archi- 
tectural plan. His reputation as a lawyer would scarcely have survived 
him if his business had been confined to the ordinary run of practice. 
But it happened that in 1735 he was called upon to defend in the city 
of New ' rk a printer who had been indicted for a libel upon the king 



BUSH HILL AND THE WOODLANDS. 417 



and governor in his newspaper. The act of John Peter Zenger, the 
defendant, gave great umbrage to the government. His paper was or- 
dered to be burnt by the common hangman. His lawyers, who were 
eminent members of the bar at New York, added to the indignation 
which the authorities felt toward the printer by questioning the right 
of the judges who sat in the court to try the case, on the ground that 
their commissions were irregular and illegal. This procedure highly 
incensed their Honors, and the names of the offending lawyers were 
struck from the list of members of the bar. The court appointed an- 
other lawyer to defend Zenger. But the defendant's friends were dissat- 
isfied, and sent on to Philadelphia for Andrew Hamilton. He was then 
in his sixtieth year, and not in robust health, but he responded to the 
invitation. The liberty of the press was the question actually at issue, 
and without reproaching the authority of the court, as his predecessors 
had done, he rested on the broad ground of the English constitution, 
claiming for the press the right to discuss and criticise public affairs. 
He succeeded. Zenger was acquitted, greatly to the delight of the 
people of New York. The city corporation presented Hamilton with 
the freedom of the city, and enclosed the certificate of his admission 
in a gold box with appropriate inscriptions. The principles which 
Hamilton then advocated were much bolder than had been presented 
up to that time in courts of justice, and the case made a great noise, 
not only in this country, but in England. 

In 1726 and 1729, Andrew Hamilton purchased from the Penns 
portions of the Springettsbury Manor, and received a patent for the 
whole tract of one hundred and fifty-three acres of land and meadow 
on January 24, 1734. It was north of Vine street, except between 
Schuylkill Fifth and Sixth (Eighteenth and Seventeenth), where it 
touched Race street. Northwardly, the estate extended as far as 
Vineyard lane, afterward Coates street, and now Fairmount avenue. 
In width it stretched from about Twelfth to Nineteenth street. Here 
Mr. Hamilton erected a spacious and elegant mansion, and to the 
property he gave the name of Bush Hill. It is supposed that the 
Bush Hill house was erected about 1740, and that Andrew Hamilton 
had but little enjoyment of it. At his death Mr. Hamilton left two 
children, William and James. Bush Hill was devised to James. Wil- 
liam died in 1746. James Hamilton was distinguished in the service 
of the Province, and, it may be said, was born to hold public office. 
27 



4i8 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



He succeeded his father as prothonotary of the Court of Common 
Pleas in 1741. In 1747, after the resignation of Governor Thomas 
and of the presidency by Anthony Pahner of the Council, James Ham- 
ilton became deputy-governor. Being a native of Pennsylvania and 
well known to the people, and in his manners and associations popular, 
his appointment was received with great favor. For seven years he 
held the principal office, and discharged its duties with general satisfac- 




The Bush Hill Mansion, 
From an engraving in the Universal Magazine, 1787. 

tion, not only to the proprietors, but, more wonderfully, to the content 
of the Quaker and anti-proprietary party. He resigned his commission 
in 1754, because he wanted to go to England; and he was there five 
years. His successors, Robert Hunter Morris and William Denny, 
were not so happy. Denny was recalled in 1759, and Hamilton was 
induced, somewhat reluctantly, to accept the office. He remained in 
that position until 1763, when John Penn, one of the proprietaries, 



BUSH HILL AND THE WOODLANDS. 



419 



coming over to take charge of the government, Mr. Hamilton with- 
drew, retaining his seat at the Council-board. Early in 1771 he was 
again called upon to exercise the duties of governor of Pennsylvania. 
Governor John Penn was called to England by the death of his father, 
Richard Penn, and James Hamilton, who was president of the Council, 
was invested with the executive authority, which he exercised until the 
17th of October in the same year, when Richard Penn the second, son 
of Richard the proprietary, and younger brother of John, who was 
then in England, arrived with the commission of lieutenant-gov- 
ernor. After that time James Hamilton took no active part in public 
affairs. He was then sixty-one years of age and in impaired health. 
At the outbreak of the Revolution, Hamilton's sentiments and feel- 
ings were on the side of the Crown, but he managed to escape 
unmolested until 1777. He seems to have been arrested before the 
middle of August of that year, and put upon parole. The Supreme 
Executive Council on August 15 agreed that James Hamilton, John 
Lawrence, Edward Shippen, Jr., Joseph Shippen, Jr., and James 
Humphreys should have the bounds prescribed in their respective 
paroles enlarged to the whole State of Pennsylvania. On the 13th of 
September, less than two weeks before the British army entered 
Philadelphia, the Council granted Hamilton a pass to Northampton, 
with protection for his goods, houses, and effects ; which shows that 
his conduct had been prudent. He remained at Easton until the 
succeeding spring, when he found that an " unhappy disorder in his 
face," for the cure of which he had some years before undertaken a 
voyage to England, and thought that it had been perfectly accom- 
plished, had again made its appearance with very alarming symptoms, 
which required the best medical and surgical assistance to remove. 
Governor Hamilton did not think that the practitioners in Northamp- 
ton could be relied upon, and he asked permission of the president of 
Council for leave to return to his family in the city, which was then 
occupied by the British army. He said : " I cannot allow myself to 
believe that the gentlemen of the Council have any personal ill-will to 
me, being conscious that I have never deserved it from any of them ; 
and if through the whole course of this unhappy contest I have 
demean'd myself in such manner as to give them no just cause of 
offence, excepting only that I have not actually joined myself to the 
party they espouse, I hope they will please to think that the very 



420 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

great losses already sustained in my private fortune, with a six months' 
restraint from the society of my nearest and best connections, a suffi- 
cient punishment to one of my advanced age for having merely 
adopted a speculative opinion, which I am persuaded cannot have had 

the least ill effect upon the cause they are engaged in I shall 

certainly endeavor to live, if I do live, as inoffensively as I have 
hitherto done ; and I am not sensible that any complaint, much less 
any charge to the contrary, hath ever been made against me by any 
person whatsoever." Accompanying this letter was a certificate from 
Dr. William Shippen, Jr., Director-General of hospitals in the Ameri- 
can army, who stated that he had inspected the sore on the nose of 
Mr. Hamilton, and that it was his opinion that the assistance of the 
ablest surgeons and physicians would be required in order to remove 
it without delay. Timothy Matlack, secretary of Council at Lan- 
caster, replied to this letter on the 24th of March, stating reasons 
for delay in the fact that the Council was conferring with a com- 
mittee of Congress in regard to cases such as those of Mr. Hamilton 
But Matlack, who was a sturdy Whig, could not refrain from making 
the following suggestion: "It ought not to give you offence if I observe 
that what might have been considered as the espousing of a party on 
or before the 3d day of July, 1776, became on the day following not a 
party ^ but a national distinction, and every man within the State was 
bound, from the nature of civil society, to take a part with it, other- 
wise he could not be entitled to protection from it, but must be con- 
sidered as the subject of the state to which he had actually acknow- 
ledged allegiance." A month afterward the Council discharged Mr. 
Hamilton, and relieved him from his parole. But Vice-President 
George Bryan communicated to him the passage of an act of 
Assembly which required that all officers who had held and exercised 
a commission from the Crown, and had not renounced tl;e same by the 
ensuing first of June, were to take the oath of allegiance to the 
Commonwealth, under penalty of forfeiture of their estates, etc. In 
May there was received in addition from Mr. Hamilton a request for a 
pass for himself and four servants, with baggage-wagon, to go to Phila- 
delphia. It was granted to Mr. Hamilton for a period not exceeding 
two weeks, and to be delivered to him " on his taking the oath of 
allegiance to this State according to law." His desire was to retire to 
Bush Hill. Secretary Matlack sent him a pass immediately, afterward 



BUSH HILL AND THE WOODLANDS. 42 1 

suggesting that it would be necessary for him to take the oath of 
allegiance, and that as his parole had been delivered up, it would be 
'* indecent and very improper for him to suppose that Mr. Hamilton 
would hesitate to take the oath required by law." Whether he did 
take the oath and go into the city cannot be ascertained from any 
entry upon the public records. It is probable that he did not, but that 
by some means he got through the lines and put himself under the 
protection of the British army. He is said to have died in New 
York August 14, 1783, aged seventy-three years. 

Governor James Hamilton was never married. He was one of three 
children. His sister Margaret married William Allen, afterward chief- 
justice of the Province of Pennsylvania. Andrew Hamilton the sec- 
ond, brother of Lieutenant-Governor James Hamilton, married Mary, 
daughter of William Till, December 24, 1741. She died at The Wood- 
lands October 18, 1803. Andrew Hamilton the second had two sons, 
William and Andrew. William was never married. Andrew, the 
third of the name, married January 6, 1768, Miss Abigail, a daughter 
of David Franks of New York and Margaret his wife, who was a 
daughter of Peter Evans of Philadelphia. W^illiam, son of Andrew 
the second, at the beginning of the Revolution espoused the patriot 
cause, and raised for the Continental service a regiment in the neigh- 
borhood of his residence at The Woodlands, on the Schuylkill. But 
his zeal gradually cooled, until he not only became indifferent to the 
success of the patriot cause, but was actually opposed to it. Upon 
the Declaration of Independence he resigned. After the British left 
Philadelphia, and upon the return of the Whigs, William Hamilton 
was arrested for high treason, being charged with assisting the British 
troops. The trials for treason cases took place in September, 1778, 
before Chief-Justice McKean, and lasted until December. Sixteen 
persons were arraigned, of whom fourteen were acquitted, among them 
Hamilton. Isaac Ogden of New York, writing to Joseph Galloway 
in London November 22, says : " Billy Hamilton had a narrow 
escape ; his Tryal for Treason, against the States lasted twelve Hours. 
I have seen a Gentle'n who attended his Tryal. He informed me that 
his Acquittal was owing to a Defect of Proof of a Paper from Lord 
Cornwallis, the Direction being torn off" Not so lucky were John 
Roberts and Abraham Carlisle, who were found guilty of having as- 
sisted the British armies, and were hanged. During this term one bill, 



422 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

against David Franks, was returned ignoraimis^ and twenty persons were 
discharged by proclamation, nobody appearing against them. After 
this escape Mr. Hamilton seems to have remained quiet, and to have 
avoided suspicion for some time. On the 2d of October, 1780, the 
Supreme Executive Council ordered him to be arrested, with David 
Franks and David Solebury Franks, James Seagroves, and William 
Constable, as suspected enemies to the American cause, holding 
unlawful and dangerous correspondence and intercourse with the 
enemy at New York. Mr. Hamilton addressed a letter to President 
Reed of the Supreme Executive Council on the 22d of the same 
month, stating the difficulties which he had of attending to his busi- 
ness in prison, which were rendered more perplexing by the infirmi- 
ties of his brother and of the age and infirmities of his mother and 
grandmother. On the 6th of October the Council ordered Hamilton 
and David Franks to depart the State within fourteen days, each to 
give security in the sum of i^200,ooo to ** go within the enemy's lines, 
and not to return again to any of these United States during the con- 
tinuance of the present war." He petitioned for leave to ^o to the 
island of St. Eustacia, which permission was given. On the 27th 
permission was granted to him to retire to his country-seat — The 
Woodlands — for seven days, to return to custody when demanded. In 
November he petitioned to be allowed to remain in Pennsylvania, or, if 
that could not be granted, in another State. Permission was given him 
to remain in some other State, not nearer to the enemy at New York 
than Pennsylvania, and to give security by himself and two others in 
the sum of i^ 100,000 not to return to Pennsylvania without the con- 
sent of the Supreme Executive Council, and not to hold any corre- 
spondence with the enemy during the war. His mother petitioned in 
February, 178 1, that he might be allowed to remain in Pennsylvania 
four weeks to settle his affairs ; and this request was granted. Two 
months afterward the permission was extended to general leave to 
remain in the State for an indefinite period. A passport to New York 
was granted him in April, 1783, on the very day official proclamation 
was made of the signing of the preliminary articles of a treaty of 
peace between the United States, Great Britain, and Spain on the 20th 
of January of that year. 

Andrew Hamilton the elder and Governor James Hamilton resided 
at Bush Hill. After the death of the latter the house does not seen 



BUSH HILL AND THE WOODLANDS. 423 

to have been occupied by any member of the family. John Adams 
Hv^ed in it during a portion of his term as Vice-President of the United 
States, from 1790, for two or three years. In 1793, during the yellow 
fever, this mansion was unoccupied, William Hamilton, the owner, 
being in Europe. It was taken possession of on behalf of citizens of 
Philadelphia, and used as a yellow fever hospital. By agreement, after 
the calamity had subsided, in expectation of a future visitation the 
citizens' committee leased the property, March 25, 1795, from William 
Hamilton for ^2500, including compensation for previous occupancy. 
After this the interest of the Hamiltons in the mansion so much 
abated that probably no one of the family lived in it afterward. 

The Bush Hill estate was sold by the Hamilton family some time 
after the Revolution for ;^6oo,ooo to a company of gentlemen specula- 
tors in real estate. They did not pay the money, but created a ground- 
rent of ^36,000 a year. There were wild expectations of increasing 
value in real estate at the time when this bargain was made, but they 
turned out to be Illusory. The heavy ground-rent was paid several 
years, until some of the owners became tired of it, others died, and 
others were insolvent. In time the whole estate went back to the 
Hamiltons, the speculators losing all they had invested in the property 
during the time they held it. It became a tavern and place of resort, 
having at one time some reputation. It was burned about the year 
1808. The walls were solid and stood firmly. Subsequently the prop- 
erty was purchased by Isaac Macauley, and the old building fitted up 
for an oil-cloth and floor-cloth manufactory, and was used for such 
purposes until about 1871. It was finally torn down, and new houses 
erected in 1875 upon the site, which was then on the north side of 
Buttonwood street, between Seventeenth and Eighteenth. 

The first Andrew Hamilton, Sr., purchased on the 29th of January, 
1735, by agreement with Stephen Jackson, a large piece of ground in 
Blockley township west of the Schuylkill, near and south of Market 
street, and extending down to the Nanganesy (or Mill) Creek. The 
tract contained about three hundred acres. By his will, in 1741, Mr. 
Hamilton devised this property to his son Andrew, the second of the 
name. The latter held it until his death, six years afterward, when 
he devised it to his son William Hamilton, who had previously 
strengthened his title by a deed executed by the trustees of the Loan 
Office. At the time of his death the property was described as con- 



424 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHIIADELPHIA. 

taining three hundred and forty-six acres. It was called The Wood- 
lands, and shortly after it went into the possession of the Hamiltons 
a mansion was built there which the second Andrew occupied, and his 
son William after him. It is supposed to have been a comfortable 
house, but not near so handsome in style and appearance as the man- 
sion which succeeded it, and which it is supposed was erected about 
the time of the Revolution. In 1830, The Woodlands mansion was 
thus described : " The building embraces three different orders of ar- 
chitecture, but the Doric prevails. The north trace is ornamented in 
the front by six Ionic pilasters, and on each side is a pavilion ; the 
south front has a magnificent portico, twenty-four feet in height, sup- 
ported by six stately Tuscan columns. The vestibule at the north en- 
trance is sixteen feet in diameter, from which a corridor leads on the 
east side to an elegant dining-room of an oval figure, the length of 
which is thirty feet and on the breadth twenty-two. Another corridor 
on the west side leads to the library, a square room with two bows, 
thirty by eighteen. In the library are many fine specimens of art, 
among which are several family portraits by eminent British and 
American artists. With these rooms communicate two others of 
smaller size, decorated with the works of several of the ancient 
painters from the Italian, Dutch, and Flemish schools — many of which 
pieces are of great merit. The grounds are in extent about ten acres, 
and contain a variety of indigenous and exotic trees and plants, chosen 
for their foliage or fragrance ; and the scene is diversified by land and 
water in a very tasteful manner. A winding walk leads through the 
shrubberies and copses. At one spot there is a charming prospect of 
the city; at another a large expanse of water is visible. At the de- 
scent is seen a creek, overhung with rocky fragments and shaded by 
the gloom of the forest. Ascending from thence, the greenhouse ap- 
pears in view, the front of which, including the hothouse on each side, 
measures one hundred and forty feet and contains nearly ten thousand 
plants. There is surely no city on the continent in whose vicinity 
more beautiful country-seats can be found than in the vicinity of Phil- 
adelphia ; and among these The Woodlands are conspicuous for their 
taste and elegance. The admirers of rural beauty may here find many 
objects to arrest their curiosity and to invite their observation." 

Michaux, who visited Philadelphia in 1802, speaks of The Wood- 
lands in this manner: " The absence of Mr. W. Hamilton deprived me 



BUSH HILL AND THE WOODLANDS. 425 



of the pleasure of seeing him ; notwithstanding, I went into his mag- 
nificent garden, situate upon the borders of the Schuylkill about four 
miles from Philadelphia. His collection of exotics is immense, and 
remarkable for plants from New Holland ; all the trees and shrubs of 
the United States, at least those that could stand the winter at Phil- 
adelphia after having once removed from their native soil ; in short, it 
would be impossible to find a more agreeable situation than the resi- 
dence of Mr. W. Hamilton." 

Griswold says : " The Woodlands, now, like Laurel Hill, converted 
into a resting-place for the dead, was a very charming spot. It extended 
down to the edge of the river, and the landscape has been frequently 
represented by artists. It belonged to the Hamiltons, wdio styled them- 
selves, somew^hat pretentiously, though very appropriately, if I am cor- 
rect in supposing that their earlier history was obscure, 'The Hamilton 
family of The Woodlands and Bush Hill.' Mr. William Hamilton, who 
built the house and decorated the grounds, was a man of great taste in 
such matters, and embellished his beautiful mansion with such paint- 
ings and other works of art as were attainable in that day. His table 
was the frequent resort of artists and bon vivants of different kinds, of 
whom he entertained a good many at dinner, usually selecting Sunday 
as his day of indulgence." 

Of William Hamilton of The Woodlands, Mr. Griswold says : "From 
his youth he seems to have possessed a high degree of taste. On 
graduating in 1762 at the Academy of Philadelphia, he gave a fete at 
The Woodlands to his college friends, among whom were young men 
afterward known as Judge Yeates, Judge Peters, Mr. Dickinson Ser- 
geant, the Reverend Doctor Andrew^s, Bishop White, and others. The 
beautiful edifice for which his place has since been celebrated was not 
then erected, and his entertainment was necessarily spread in a tempo- 
rary building ; but its decorations Avere so elegant and appropriate as 
to induce a general admiration of it. He afterward lived in a manner 
more marked by ostentation than by dignity. His chariot and four, 
with postilion-boys, attracted wonder from some and envy from others, 
but not having in the character of its occupant anything remarkable to 
give respectability to such display, it caused no general sentiment of 
regard. He owned the large tract on which Hamilton Village now 
stands, and other land in the vicinity running up to the Permanent 
Bridge, which, on the advice of Mr. William Cramond, he sold to re- 



426 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

lieve himself from some pecuniary inconveniences which his desire to 
retain landed possessions involved him in." 

Ann Hamilton, the daughter of Andrew the third, was a young 
lady of amiable character and accomplishments. Abigail Adams, wife 
of Vice-President John Adams, writing from Bush Hill after her hus- 
band occupied that mansion, says to her daughter : " Our Nancy 
Hamilton is the same unaffected and affable girl we formerly knew 
her. She made many kind inquiries after you ; so did Mrs. Bing- 
ham." John Quincy Adams, after his return from Russia in 1785, spoke 
of the beauty of Miss Hamilton of Philadelphia as equal to that of 
Mrs. Bingham or of Mrs. Piatt. This Miss Nancy Hamilton after- 
ward became Mrs. James Lyle of Philadelphia. William Hamilton of 
The Woodlands, the grandson of Andrew the first of the family, died at 
the Woodlands June 5, 1 81 3, aged sixty-eight years, and was buried at 
the family burying-ground at Bush Hill. Besides his property in the 
city, he had a noble estate in Lancaster county, and owned the whole 
of the ground which formed the town-plot of the city of Lancaster. 
He was never married. His nephew, W^illiam Hamilton, succeeded 
him at The Woodlands, where he died on the 21st of July, 1821, aged 
fifty-five years. Two of the nephews of William Hamilton of the 
Revolutionary time were James and Andrew. These gentlemen built 
for themselves in the early part of the present century a fine house at 
the north-east corner of Seventh and Carpenter (now called Jayne) 
streets, where they lived in ease and style. Andrew, who was the fourth 
of the name, married Eliza Johnson, but James preferred bachelorship. 
He was an amiable and accomplished gentleman, a good liver, and fond 
of horses and dogs. He drove a fine tandem pair with his curricle, 
and kept for his sisters a coach with four magnificent bay horses, which 
he frequently drove himself Every summer the Hamiltons went to 
Saratoga in the family coach. On the last occasion of such a visit, one 
of the horses being slightly lamed, Mr. Hamilton drove the carriage 
himself, in order to make the labor of the horse as light as possible. 
It was an excessively hot day, and the amateur driver became much 
heated. On stopping he exposed himself to a draft of cold air, which 
caused inflammation of the lungs, of which he died at Poughkeepsie, 
N. Y., on the 20th of July, 18 17. There were four sisters of Andrew 
and William, one of whom, Nancy, of whom we have before spoken, 
married James Lyle of the house of Lyle & Newman, brokers, on the 



BUSH HILL AND THE WOODLANDS. 42/ 

17th of October, 1792. Rebecca married Francis Louis O'Beirne in 
England. Margaret and Mary died unmarried, Andrew Hamilton 
the fourth died abroad. His only child, Mary Ann, married Septimus 
Henry Pailaret in England, and with the death of that Andrew the 
name of Hamilton in the male line of the family was extinguished. 
The Lyle family resided in the Hamilton house at Seventh and Car- 
penter streets for several years. Mary, the oldest daughter, married 
Henry Beckett of Gledhowen, Leeds, an Englishman of wealth, who 
purchased Joseph Bonaparte's place near Bordentown, and lived there 
many years. His son, Hamilton Beckett, resided in England a few 
years ago, and had married a daughter of Lord Chancellor Lyndhurst. 
Ellenj the youngest daughter of James Lyle, married Hartman Kuhn 
of Philadelphia. The strength of the family exists in children and 
grandchildren representing the Kuhns, Pailarets, and O'Beirnes, whilst 
in the line of Margaret, who married James Allen, are the Delanceys 
and Livingstons of New York. 



FIRST BANK OF THE UNITED STATES. 




HE establishment of the Bank of Pennsylvania in 1780 
led to the creation of the Bank of North America in 
1 78 1, and the latter was sufficiently successful to estab- 
lish in the minds of several citizens and statesmen a 
belief that all that was necessary to ensure success to 
the Federal government was the founding of a bank 
which should act as a regulator of the currency. Upon 
the necessity of this measure politicians during the first 
Presidential term were divided. Hamilton was strongly 
in favor of such an institution, and his position as Secretary of the 
Treasury gave him important influence in the consideration of that 
subject. He was supported also by the mercantile and business 
classes, which agreed with his doctrines, and insisted that the estab- 
lishment of a bank was absolutely necessary for the proper discharge 
of the functions of government. Jefferson, who was Secretary of 
State, was strongly opposed to the plan of a national bank. He 
objected to it on constitutional grounds. He said : " I consider the 
foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground, that * all powers 
not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited 
by it to the States, are reserved to the States or the people.' To take 
a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the 
power of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power 
no longer susceptible of definition. The incorporation of a bank and 
other powers assumed by this bill have not, in my opinion, been 

428 



FIRST BAiVK OF THE UNITED STATES. 



429 



delegated to the United States by the Constitution." Edmund 
Randolph, the Attorney-General, was also opposed to the establish- 
ment of the bank, and the subject was ably and warmly discussed in 
the Cabinet Meanwhile, in Congress the charter of incorporation 
went through with but little excitement. There was scarcely any 
opposition in the Senate, and the House by a vote of 39 to 20 passed 
the bill. The act of Congress to incorporate the subscribers of the 
Bank of the United States was, notwithstanding the objections of 
some of his constitutional advisers, approved by President Washington 
on the day he was fifty-nine years old — February 22, 1791. The pre- 
amble said that the establishment of such a bank upon a foundation 
sufficient to afford adequate security for an upright and prudent 
administration of its affairs would be conducive to the successful con- 
ducting of the national finances, and tend to give facility to the obtain- 
ing of loans for the use of the government in sudden emergencies, and 
would be productive of considerable advantage to trade and industry 
in general. It was directed that a Bank of the United States should 
be established, the capital of which should not exceed ten millions of 
dollars, divided into twenty-five thousand shares of $400 each, the 
subscription to be payable, one-fourth in gold and silver and three- 
fourths in United States loans. The title of the corporation was to be 
the " President, Directors, and Company of the Bank of the United 
States," and the bank was to continue until the 4th day of March, 
181 1. One of the provisions of the charter was that no person should 
be allowed to subscribe for more than one thousand shares. The 
President of the United States was empowered to subscribe two 
million of dollars to the stock on the part of the government as 
portion of ten millions capital. The stock was subscribed for with 
unexampled celerity. The books for subscription were opened on the 
4th of July, and before night the subscriptions exceeded very consider- 
ably the number of shares that could be allotted. An instalment of 
$2$ was paid on each share, and the script receipt and promise to issue 
stock for the value sold for thirty-five dollars per share — an advance of 
ten dollars in one day. In four days the value of the scrip had 
doubled. On the 4th of August it was selling at three times the 
amount paid in. Speculation set in. By the end of that month, the 
second instalment having been paid in, bank scrip was as high as two 
hundred dollars for fifty dollars paid. It then began to decline, and in 



430 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

a few days fell to one hundred and forty-five dollars, and from that 
point gradually declined in value until it approached par. 

The bank was opened in the latter part of the year in Carpenters' 
Hall. The stockholders chose as directors Thomas Willing, Joseph 
Ball, James C. Fisher, Archibald McCall, Israel Whelen, Joseph 
Anthony, William Bingham, Robert Smith, Isaac Wharton, George 
Cabot, Tristram Dalton, Andrew Cragie, Samuel Breck, James Daven- 
port, John Lawrence, Nicholas Low, James Watson, Rufus King, 
Herman Le Roy, John Watts, Henry Nichol, James McClurg, Samuel 
Johnson, William Smith. The organization of the bank was com- 
pleted by the election of Thomas Willing as president, John Kean as 
cashier and David S. Franks assistant cashier, George Simpson first 
teller, and Philip Enk second teller. Of the directors, nine were Phila- 
delphians. Joseph Ball, merchant and alderman of the city, lived in 
the then fashionable quarter at 71 North Water street. Of Thomas 
Willing enough has been said heretofore. (See Lansdowne.) James 
C. Fisher, merchant, of the firm of J. C. & Samuel W. Fisher, lived on 
the north side of Mulberry street (now called Arch street), west of 
Front ; the Fishers were in the shipping trade, and were business-men 
of considerable note. Archibald McCall, merchant, lived at the north- 
east corner of Second and Union streets; Balch says: " He was the 
first East India merchant of his day." His sister Ann was the wife of 
Thomas Willing, and the daughter of the latter, as has already been 
said, was wife of William Bingham. Archibald McCall was married 
in 1762 to Judith Kemble of Mount Kemble, New Jersey. His 
daughter Mary married Colonel Lambert Cadwalader of the army of 
the Revolution. His son Archibald was married to Elizabeth Cad- 
walader, half-sister of General Thomas Cadwalader. Major-General 
George Archibald McCall, who commanded the division of Pennsylva- 
nia Reserves during the war of the Rebellion, was their son. Israel 
Whelen was a grocer at the north-east corner of Fifth and High 
streets, and his residence was adjoining on the latter street. Joseph 
Anthony, merchant, was in large business and active as a citizen. He 
built the fine brick house at the north-east corner of Ninth and Market 
streets which was afterward the residence of Jacob Gerard Koch. 
Robert Smith, merchant, lived at 58 South Front street. Ritter says: 
" He pursued a profitable trade in dry goods for many years, and was 
well, wide, and popularly known here even in 1795, and more than 



FIRST BANK OF THE UNITED STATES. 43 1 

twenty-five years after." Isaac Wharton at this time was not in active 
business. He Hved as a gentleman at 112 North Front street. The 
resident Philadelphia directors transacted most of the business. George 
Cabot, who was United States Senator from Massachusetts, could con- 
veniently attend during the sessions of the august body of which he 
was a member. Tristram Dalton was also Senator from Massachusetts 
in 1 79 1, but was superseded on the 4th of March of that year, at the 
end of his term, by Caleb Strong. The others gave occasional atten- 
tion to the business of the bank. The institution was accommodated 
in Carpenters' Hall until 1797. On the 24th of July of that year the 
bank was opened to the public in the fine new building specially con- 
structed for its accommodation on the west side of Third street below 
Chestnut. The lot of ground was a portion of the Pemberton estate. 
It was sufficiently spacious to allow plenty of air and light on all sides 
of the building, and it extended to Hudson's alley in the rear. The 
edifice was commenced in 1795. The plans were drawn by Samuel 
Blodgett, a citizen of Philadelphia, who was not a professional architect. 
The marble-work was under the direction of C. F. Le Grand, carver 
and stone-cutter, who prepared the ornamental work in his yard at 
Tenth and Market streets. It was the first building erected in Phila- 
delphia with a portico and pillars, and was at that time considered 
exceedingly large, being ninety-six feet in front and seventy-two feet 
deep. The portico is of six columns, the angle pairs being coupled ; 
the style Corinthian. The tympanum is decorated with the American 
eagle For some reason, not known at the present time, the directors 
of the bank decided to finish off the pediment with wood instead of 
marble, and it is no alleviation of the barbarism to be told that the 
cornice and pediment are highly enriched. On each side of the 
portico the wings are of marble decorated with pilasters, the windows 
embellished and handsome. The side and rear walls are of brick. The 
front is said to be nearly a copy of the front of the Dublin Exchange, 
without any deviations but the substitution of a door and windows 
under the portico for an arcade, which Gandom, the architect of the 
former institution, had designed. The bank remained in this hand- 
some building for fourteen years. Under the presidency of Mr. Wil- 
ling and his successor, David Lenox, the affairs of the institution were 
managed with great discretion. But in the mean while there had been 
political changes in the United States of much importance. 



432 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



Jefferson, who was opposed to the creation of the bank at the be- 
ginning, was President of the United States during the time it was in 
operation, and was also the apostle of a party. His objections to the 
existence of the bank had become a portion of a political creed, and 
the members of the Democratic party were hostile to the continuance 
of the institution. Powerful efforts were made to obtain a recharter. 
The Federal press was busy with argument in favor of the measure, and 
with predictions of ruin if it should fail. Deputations of merchants 
and mechanics went to Washington to represent to Congress the evils 
which would follow a refusal to renew the charter. Matthew Carey, 
in a pamphlet entitled Desultory Reflections upon the Ruinous Conse- 
quences of a Non-renewal of the Charter of the Bank of the United 
5/<^/^i-, which was published in May, 1810, said: " To the distractions 
and derangements of our affairs with the European world we are, with 
almost incredible folly, preparing, by allowing the charter of the Bank 
of the United States to expire, to add an awftil scene of internal dis- 
order and confusion, oi private and public bankruptcy. I have gone 
over my calculations anew ; sifted the facts on which my opinions are 
founded ; turned them over in every possible point of view to discover 
errors, if any there were. But the result of every examination has 
been an invariable conviction of the reality of the danger, the moment- 
ary frenzy of too many of my fellow-citizens, and the awful conse- 
quences of the prevailing apathy if it should continue." Notwith- 
standing these predictions, after a full discussion, the opponents of 
the bank in the House of Representatives succeeded, on the 24th of 
January, 181 1, in indefinitely postponing the bill to recharter the bank 
by a vote of sixty-five to sixty-four, showing a very close contest. An 
attempt was then made to introduce another bill in the Senate, but 
when it came to the test there was a tie. The question was on a 
motion to strike out the first section, which would kill the bill, and 
Vice-President George Clinton settled the question by casting his vote 
on the same side as that taken by the majority of the House, so that 
the Senate refused to renew the charter. This vote was given eleven 
days before the time named for the expiration of the charter of the 
bank. The officers then made application to the House for such an 
extension of the charter as would enable it to wind up its concerns. 
Henry Clay was chairman of the committee. He reported : " That 
holding the opinion (as a majority of the committee do) that the Con- 



FIRST BANK OF THE UNITED STATES. 



433 



stitution did not authorize Congress originally to grant the charter, it 
follows as a necessary consequence of that opinion that an extension 
of it, even under the restrictions contemplated by the stockholders, is 
equally repugnant to the Constitution." Disappointed by the action 
of Congress, the directors of the bank turned for relief to the Legis- 
lature of Pennsylvania, although the Democrats in the Assembly had 
succeeded in having resolutions passed, which were offered in the 
House by Jacob Holgate of Philadelphia, which declared that Con- 
gress had no right to charter the bank within the respective States ; 
and if it could do so it might " with equal justice establish insurance 
companies, and with more plausibility establish an East or West India 
Company, a European or African Company, under the pretence the 
better to regulate commerce with foreign nations." The Bank of 
North America and the Philadelphia Bank sent protests to the Legis- 
lature against the passage of this resolution, but it was carried, never- 
theless, in the House by the vote of sixty-eight yeas to twenty nays. 
It may have been with moderate hope that the trustees of the United 
States Bank, after the Federal charter had expired, asked the Legisla- 
ture for a charter as a State institution. This was done on the i8th of 
March, 1811, and it was proposed to call the institution the American 
Bank, capital to be the same as the old United States Bank, with powers 
to employ portions of the capital in Pennsylvania and other States. It 
met with little favor. The House negatived the bill by a vote of fift}^- 
five nays to thirty-four ayes. The next year another application was 
made for a charter by the stockholders. The amount of capital pro- 
posed was $5,000,000. Liberal offers were made to subscribe to the 
stock of turnpike, common road, and bridge companies, the whole 
amount being 1^350,000; and in addition the stockholders offered to 
loan the State a half million dollars at five per cent., to be used for in- 
ternal improvements. About that time the people of Pennsylvania had 
waked up to the necessity of improving the means of internal commu- 
nication. Turnpikes and bridges were considered as necessary. . The 
practicability of constructing great canals w^as talked about as a possibil- 
ity to be realized in the future. As for railroads, nothing had been said 
about them in this country except in the dreamy and wild utterances 
of Oliver Evans, a luckless inventor who made curious predictions of 
the wonders which steam would do in land-travelling, and who was 
generally assigned to the same class of visionaries as John Fitch, the 

28 



434 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADEIPHIA. 

steamboat inventor, was held to belong to by the wise world seventy- 
five years ago. There was a struggle over the tempting offer. Much 
was to be gained and little to be lost. But the Democrats of the House 
were true to the principles of Jefferson, and they negatived the bill by 
a vote of sixty-nine nays to twenty-two yeas. Five days afterward the 
friends of the measure presented a protest signed by thirteen members, 
in which they insisted that it was folly to reject such an offer of pe- 
cuniary assistance at a time when the Commonwealth was in want of 
money. The argument was a good one on the score of expediency, 
but the disciples of Jefferson adhered strongly to the proposition of 
the founder of the party. Trustees were then appointed, and they 
proceeded to settle up the affairs of the institution. In 1812 they paid 
over to the stockholders two dividends — one of seventy per cent, and 
the other eighteen per cent, on the capital. Up to December, 1817, 
seventeen per cent, more had been added, which was sufficient to pay 
the capital in full, with a profit of five per cent. Two or three small 
dividends were made in after years, but the assets never realized the 
value affixed to the shares in the stock-market, which at one time was 
$\^^ per $100; so that many who purchased at those high rates met 
with considerable loss on the final settlement. 

In June, 181 2, Stephen Girard, merchant and mariner, bought the 
United States Bank building and set up the business of a private banker. 
He was probably the largest stockholder of the Bank of the United 
States, and it may be assumed that he was placed in that position by 
unexpected circumstances, and that he never would have been inter- 
ested in the institution if he could have controlled his affairs according 
to his own desires. In the course of his commercial transactions it so 
happened that the house of Baring Bros. & Co., London, had received 
on account of Mr. Girard an amount of money which in 18 10 was 
nearly a million of dollars. In addition to the European war then 
waging, there was a troubled condition of affairs between the United 
States and Great Britain, which was ominous of war. Exchange in 

o 

England upon America was below par. The solvency of the house 
of Barings was supposed to be in doubt, and how to withdraw safely 
from England the amount of money held on Mr. Girard's account was 
a subject which caused him much trouble and anxiety. He took the 
resolution of ordering his bankers to buy for him United States gov- 
ernment stock and United States Bank stock, both of which, if not 



FIRST BANK OF THE UNITED STATES. 



435 



below par, were not in great demand. By this means he succeeded in 
withdrawing what was due him, and found himself a large stockholder 
of the bank, with sufficient weight to influence in great degree the ac- 
tion of the trustees who were winding up the institution. Mr. Girard, 
in fact, became, to all intents and purposes, the United States Bank 
under another name, though with not so great a capital. The business 
and funds of the national institution were transferred to his charsre. 
He succeeded to its financial projects, and the advantage to him was 
very great. For more than nineteen years he continued in this re- 
sponsible position. His bank was conducted with great prudence, and 
passed through every crisis which brought other institutions to suspen- 
sion without trouble or loss of credit. When he died, on the 26th of 
December, 1831, the bank was in excellent condition. He had pro- 
vided by deed of assignment, executed in February, 1826, for the 
contingency which would happen by reason of his death. Trustees 
were appointed with power to take possession of the bank upon his 
demise and wind up its affairs, making return to his executors. Mr. 
Girard was so methodical in his business that his trustees found a 
statement up to the Saturday preceding his death in which the 
amount of the assets and liabilities of the institution were stated. 
The demands against the bank were over ;^900,ooo. The debts due 
it were something less than three millions and a half But these 
assets were not immediately available, and to pay the debts there 
were but a little more than seventeen thousand dollars in specie in 
the vaults of the bank. How to discharge the obligations and raise 
the large amount necessary without oppressing the debtors of Mr. 
Girard — which course would have created a panic in the community 
— was a question of unusual difficulty presented to the trustees. Yet 
they managed to get over it with great tact and discretion, and without 
causing alarm. Mr. Girard was at the time of his death one of the 
richest men in the country. His fortune amounted to seven millions 
and a half He gave two millions for the erection and endowment of 
the college for the education of poor white male orphans; ;^50o,ooo 
to the city of Philadelphia for the improvement of the city front; 
;$300,000 to the State of Pennsylvania; ;^ 140,000 to his relatives and 
next of kin; and ^116,000 to institutions of charity in and about 
Philadelphia. He gave to the city of New Orleans and to the city 
of Philadelphia 280,000 acres of land in the State of Louisiana, which 



436 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

were subsequently lost to the municipalities by a decision of the Su- 
preme Court of the United States. The residue of his estate was to go 
toward the establishment of a better system of police, the improvement 
of the city front, and the reduction of taxation. To the occupation of 
the banking-house the Girard Bank, a chartered institution, succeeded. 
It was incorporated by the legislature in the early part of 1832 with a 
capital of ;^5, 000,000. Taking bank-stock was in those times consid- 
ered a ready field for a harvest of gain. The scrip or certificate of 
subscription to the stock of a bank usually increased in value after the 
whole of the shares were secured with marvellous celerity, and such 
investments were considered favorable speculations. The books of 
subscription to the stock of the Girard Bank were opened in May at 
Masonic Hall, and a scene of scuffling, outrage, and disturbance fol- 
lowed which exceeded all other experiences of the kind. Hired bullies 
were employed to subscribe for prudent citizens who were careful of 
their clothes. They went in with strong hands and pushed, beat, and 
kicked others who were anxious to subscribe, and the scene was one 
of wild disorder. The result was that the stock got into few hands, 
which caused charges of dishonest action and partiality on the part 
of the commissioners. The business of subscription to the stock of 
the Western Bank, the books of which were opened a few days after- 
ward, was also attended with ruffianism and outrage. A town-meet- 
ing of indignant citizens was held in the State-House Yard, which 
denounced all who were engaged in these scenes of disgraceful riot. 
The grand jury of the Mayor's Court found bills of indictment against 
five of the commissioners of the Girard Bank for bribery — two of them 
for misdemeanor in office — and accused them generally of displaying 
partiality and preference for friends. A citizen who had subscribed for 
more than five shares of stock, which was all that the law allotted to 
one person, was indicted for that offence. The legislature was peti- 
tioned to repeal the charters of the Girard and Western banks on the 
ground that they had not been organized according to law, but that 
body refused to take action, and in time the matter was forgotten. The 
Girard Bank in time found that it had a capital entirely too great for 
the amount of business within its command, and upon its recharter in 
1847 it was reduced to ;$ 1, 2 50,000, and eventually to $1,000,000. 



THE SOLITUDE. 




OHN, as a family name, seems to have been very popular 
among the Penns. Three of the members of the family 
bore it during the last century and a portion of the pres- 
ent. John the American, who was born at Philadelphia 
during the second visit of his father, William Penn the 
founder, died a bachelor on the 29th of October, 1746. He 
was the uncle of John, who was the son of his brother Thomas, and 
he was the uncle of John, the son of his brother Richard. John, the 
son of Richard, died without leaving children. The name John went 
into the next generation in connection with the name Granville, and 
was born by Granville John Penn, the last living representative of 
the family in the male line. John, the son of Thomas, was born Feb- 
ruary 22, 1760. His mother was Lady Juliana Farmor, daughter of 
the Earl of Pomfret. When he was sent to the University of Cam- 
bridge he was considered worthy of admission to Clare Hall with the 
sons of noblemen on account of his maternal descent, which was 
sufficient to overbalance the objection that might have been made 
that his father Thomas was a commoner. The education which he 
received at the university made him a scholar and a poet, having a 
good command and knowledge of languages, ancient and modern. 
He travelled through Europe before attaining majority, and, having 
inherited through his father, Thomas Penn, three undivided fourths 
of the proprietary rights and property in Pennsylvania, came over in 
the year 1783 to take care of his interests. He left Falmouth in the 

437 



438 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

packet, Captain Dillon, in June of that year, bound for New York. 
Henry Vernon, an English officer, came with him, and John Vaughan, 
wine-merchant and philosopher, afterward for many years an officer of 
the American Philosophical Society and a well-known citizen of Phil- 
adelphia, was a fellow-passenger. The Falmouth packet was not a 
fast goer. After seven weeks' buffeting by the sea her captain struck 
the shore about sixty miles south of the destined port, and ran the 
ship on the strand off Egg Harbor, N. J. They were in a danger- 
ous condition. The vessel lay exposed to the force of the sea, which 
fortunately was tolerably calm. Captain Dillon fired minute-guns to 
attract attention and bring assistance. They were heard by Captain 
Anderson, who commanded the sloop Three Friends, which was bound 
to New York. He succeeded in taking them off the packet, and they 
arrived in New York the next morning. In due time they reached 
Philadelphia, and Penn found his position very agreeable. Although 
the war was just over, the young Englishman naturally drifted into 
circles of society in which the rampant patriotism of the Whigs 
scarcely held a place. He took a strong liking to the country. He 
considered whether it would not be to his interest and agreeable to 
his taste to settle in Pennsylvania. He says : " I felt indeed the ac- 
customed amor patriae and admiration of England, but sometimes a 
republican enthusiasm which attached me to America and almost 
tempted me to stay. I may date my becoming wholly an English- 
man from the breaking up of the Assembly (of 1784) and publication 
of its minutes relative to the treatment of our memorial ; from the 
abuse of one party by which, tho' robb'd, we were almost branded as 
thieves, and the other's apparent devotion in their answer ; and from 
the reflections this gave birth to, that liberty without justice was in- 
consistent, since it owed to it its beauty and merit, and rested indeed 
on that foundation ; and that here were two parties among the mem- 
bers, being all who represented the State, of which the one urged and 
supported, and the other, if it wished, dare not oppose, a system of 
government exploded as infamous by first-rate writers, ancient and 
modern. Earlier in the year I had made a dear purchase of fifteen 
acres, costing ;^6oo sterling, and on the banks of the Schuylkill, I 
named it, from the Duke of Wurtemberg's, The Solitude — a name vastly 
more characteristic of my place. Advancing in my house, I gradually 
altered my scheme to the great increase of the expenses it put me to. 



THE SOLITUDE. 



439 



I might in part be actuated in this by a motive now grown stronger, 
the vanity of EngHsh taste in furnishing and decorating the house; 
and thought the money less thrown away as I then purposed keeping 







A.L-S 



Solitude, present Appearance. 



a house in the country, either for my agent to wait my return to the 
old country should my affairs require it." 

Solitude, although a dear bargain, as Mr. Penn thought, was, ac- 
cording to his notion when he purchased it, a beautiful spot. The 



440 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



solitary beauties of the place before he removed to it inspired Mr. 
Penn to make the following translation of Gray's ode written at the 
Chartreux : 

"O, TU, SEVIRI RELIGIO LOCI," ETC. 

" Thou guardian of the awful place, 

Whatever thy name — for none, I deem, 
Of import light art thou — whose trace 

' Mid rocks along the mountain's light, 
Rough crags and roaring waves between, 
And in the wood's umbrageous night ! 

" Than if, in fanes, with Sculpture's truth 
He boasted gold and Phidian art. 
Oh hail, and to a wearied youth 

That calls thee, quiet's balm impart. 

" Spots thus retired, and silence sweet 
Should Fortune's will my fate deny, 
And swift again where billows beat 
Immerge me, in the storms I fly. 

" At least, O power, the days of age 
Give me to pass from tumult free, 
And leave the loud dispu'tious rage 
Of crowd and life's anxiety." 

It is not because these lines are beautiful or impressive that we quote 
them, but because John Penn seems to have considered them poetry, 
and has taken care to preserve them as expressions of the raptures of 
his heart as he roved among the quiet beauties of Solitude. The lines 
are turgid, and of that mysterious character which tempts the reader 
to ask, " What is it all about?" As for that, the reader has the assurance 
of Penn himself, from whose manuscript we take it, that it was about 
Solitude ; and his statement ought to be sufficient. 

In the spring of 1784, whilst the builders were busy in erecting 
Solitude, Mr. Penn set out upon a long journey through Pennsylvania, 
which led him to Bethlehem, and thence westward. He returned 
toward the end of the year, and lived for a time on the plantation in 
the appurtenant buildings or offices, which were first finished. He 
took possession of the principal house in 1785. It was a small house, 
just big enough for a bachelor and cosy enough for a poet. Evi- 
dently, he expected very little company, and when his friends, Mr. and 
Mrs. Loyd, came to visit him after he got settled in his new quarters. 



THE SOLITUDE. 441 



he was very much puzzled what to do with them. " Only one cham- 
ber in the house being finished," said he — " that, namely, where I slept — 
and the ladies being inclined to eat, they sate in the offices, and some 
meat was cooked and brought them. A day or two after I sent these 
verses on Mrs. Loyd in a letter to her husband : 

" ' And thou, dread element, of ire devoid, 
Be hushed in wonder at the blaze of Loyd ; 
Be smoothed thy surges and appeased the storm, 
Awed with the radiance of so fair a form. 
What fiercest brute its inborn rage could keep ? 
What bird of air ? what monster of the deep ? 
What heart but feels, at her approach, arise 
New calms assuasive, new deserts surprise ? 
Summer her passage hastes to bless and guide 
-^ Her veering keel thro' the disported tide; 

For her the clouds to scatter, lay the waves, 
And chase the winds to suliterranean caves ; 
For her bid breezes move, bid stars appear, 
And the lone way with half his glories cheer; 
Assistant to the temporary dearth 
Of rural change and of assembling mirth, 
Ere fields or circles light her sparkling eye, 
Twice the new moon shall reascend the sky. 
So long the god, in rash reliance bold, 
Mad youth insults, and envy breathes consoled, 
So long the garden's dazzling tints invite, 
The rose is splendid and the lily bright.' " 

Solitude is a square house of the dimensions of twenty-six by twenty- 
six feet. On the first floor is a large parlor, twenty-six by seventeen 
feet, fronting the Schuylkill and opening with glass doors upon a 
portico, from which there was a fine view up and down the river, 
terminating at the south with the once-wooded altitude of Fairmount, 
showing at that time the ramparts and mounds along the sides and at 
the top which formed the British intrenchments during the time when 
Sir William Howe's army was in occupation of the cit}.'. On the other 
side the Hills stretched away toward the Falls, crowned with fine old 
trees and showing delightful variety in river, rock, and ravine. The 
western side of the mansion was principally occupied by a hall nine 
feet in width, which extended along the entire western front. The 
stairway rose from the south-west corner and led to the second story, 
which was fitted up with small bed-rooms and closets. The library 



442 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHIIADELPHIA. 



I- 



•;Wrn 






was in the south-east corner, and was fifteen by fourteen and a half 
feet. Into this space Penn managed to crowd five or six hundred 
books — Latin, Greek, French, Itahan, Spanish, and Enghsh. His 
collection was particularly strong in the classics — not so much in 

history as in poetry. Ad- 
joining the library on the 
north was a small bed-room, 
ten and a half by ten and a 
half, which connected with 
another bed-room more in 
the centre of the house, ad- 
joining which was an alcove 
sufficiently large to accom- 
modate a single bed. The 
roof-story contained two bed- 
rooms. It rose in a hip, 
and was lighted by a dormer 
on each side. The cellars, it 
is said by tradition, were 
stocked with wines. If so, 
they must have been used 
sparingly, as the poet gives 



no evidence in his writings 
of any deep admiration of 
Bacchic luxuries. Mr. Penn 
had pleasant neighbors. 
The good fellows who were 
members of the State in Schuylkill met in pleasant weather at their 
Castle on the Warner farm, which was just north of him on the other 
side of the point where Girard Avenue Bridge now touches the 
western shore. His cousin. Governor John Penn, called the elder, 
resided at Lansdowne, just above, and farther on was Richard Peters, 
who, although he had been a devoted Whig, was a jolly good fellow 
in the days before he put on the ermine, and did not always keep his 
vivacity under judicial surveillance afterward. Mr. Penn lived here 
during 1785, 1786, 1787, and 1788. In the latter year he made rn 
extensive trip through Pennsylvania by way of Reading, and in 
Lancaster county became exceedingly pleased with the advantages 




Cabinet given by John Penn to the 
Philadelphia Library. 



THE SOLITUDE. 



443 



and pleasant situation of the Blue Rock farm, of two hundred acres, 
which he thought of buying, and had an intention of building another 
house in the style of Solitude, only somewhat larger. He procured a 
plan for this building from Mr. Yates, a carpenter, and the model of 
the house on the Schuylkill was perceptibly improved upon. The 
size was to be forty-five by forty. But for some reason, not now 
known, Mr. Penn changed his mind, and went back to England about 
1789. Many curious stories have been told about Solitude, some of 
which may need stronger verification than can be given to them now. 
It seems to be a popular weakness to assign to any old house which 
has something more than an ordinary history the possession of curi- 
ous underground passages leading to unexpected places. At Solitude, 
according to the story, there was a subterranean passage which led to 
the kitchen and dining-room, or " offices," as John Penn called them. 
A similar passage to the riv^er was equally necessary to make the 
reputation of the house in this respect complete. Mr. Penn also has 
the credit of planting all the trees — some of them is more probable — 
in the vicinity of Solitude with his own hand. If so, he did a noble 
work. After John Penn went to England the taste for building which 
commenced with Solitude was carried out much more elaborately. 
He built a great house in Kensington Gardens for his town-residence, 
where he resided at the fashionable seasons of the year. He bought 
a splendid property at Stoke Pogis, where he erected a grand mansion 
and laid out a magnificent park, which he planted and adorned. 
Subsequently he became governor of the island of Portland, on the 
southern coast of England, about twenty miles west of the Isle of 
Wight, and opposite Cherbourg on the French coast. Here he con- 
structed a fine dwelling in castellated style, which was appropriately 
named Pennsylvania Castle. John Jay Smith, in the Peim Family, 
says of this place, which he visited in 1845 • " Below the castle, on the 
rocks jutting into the sea, are the remains of Bow and Arrow Castle, 
one of the most ancient in England, built, says tradition, by King 
Arthur. Ruin as it is, it is still beautifully picturesque and covered 
with very ancient ivy. The ivy had become yellow from having 
exhausted the too little nourishment the rocks afforded when an 
American in 1865, with the assistance of Mr. Penn and the gardeners, 
supplied its roots with new earth to resuscitate its amber age. The 
ruin is still in full view of the dining-, drawing-room, and library 



444 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

windows of the newer castle, which in itself, though castellated, is a 
modern residence, calculated for a large family and abounding in 
every comfort. On a small mounted brass cannon on the front lawn, 
with its muzzle pointed seaward, is inscribed that it was presented by 
an intimate friend, a nobleman, to John Penn, member of Parliament. 
.... The island of Portland is a singularly barren one as regards 
trees or cultivation, but by careful shelter and artistic planting John 
Penn succeeded in surrounding the castle with belts of beautiful trees, 
the admiration of numerous visitors, who resort to the house and 

grounds during the bathing-season at Weymouth At Portland, 

John Penn, as governor of the island, was regularly and officially in 
attendance on the court of George III. when that monarch visited his 
favorite watering-place, Weymouth, adjoining the island. A likeness 
of John in full court-dress hangs among the portraits in the picture- 
gallery at the castle, and there, opposite each other, are very good 
portraits of William Penn and James Logan. In another picture John 
is seen in full military array, sword in hand, at the head of the Port- 
land troop of horse, which he had organized for the defence of the 

English coast against the expected invasion of Napoleon All 

along the sea-front of the mansion there is a gallery or hall leading 
from the very beautiful sunny library to the drawing- and dining-room 
in the great round tower." 

John Penn had a morbid dislike of intrusion during the hours of 
study. John Jay Smith, in the Penn Family, says : '* A good story is 
told somewhere that a servant at Solitude was determined to know 
how his master employed his time in those hours when he was not 
visible ; he stationed himself at a keyhole one day, and saw his em- 
ployer lying on a sofa delightfully reading a volume of his own poems." 
If this is so, he must have been reading from his Covwion-Place Book, 
a copy of which in his own writing is now in the library of the His- 
torical Society of Pennsylvania. 

It was not until some time after he left Solitude that his compositions 
attained the dignity of print. His first work, TJie Battle of Edington ; 
or, BritisJi Liberty, a tragedy, made its appearance in 1792, and in a 
doleful spirit of criticism the London Monthly Review said of it : " In 
truth, it is a heavy performance." The second edition of the same 
play was published in 1796, with the author's name, and the Reviezv 
again said : " We are sorry that we cannot rescind our former unfavor- 



THE SOLITUDE. 445 



able opinion." Mr. Penn took up arms in favor of his tragedy, and 
published a reply to the strictures of the Montlily Review in 1797. His 
poetical and dramatic works were published in 1798 in two volumes; 
poems consisting of original works, translations, etc., in two volumes ; 
and poems, being mostly reprints, in two volumes in 181 1. He stands 
also as the author of some political tracts, some translations from the 
Italian on tragedy, observations upon Virgil's poetry, and to him is 
attributed a translation of Horace's Moral Odes. He attained the dis- 
tinction of a member of Parliament, and served for Cambridge University. 
He attained the degree of M. A. in 1779, and the honorary degree of 
LL.D was conferred upon him in 181 1. Upon his death, in 1834, the 
family estates passed into the possession of Granville Penn, his younger 
brother, who held them about ten years, when they fell to the posses- 
sion of the son of the latter, Granville John Penn. He died March 
29, 1867, "with a will unsigned in his hand, nobody being with him 
but his man-servant." In consequence of his intestacy his estate went 
to his younger brother, Thomas, a clergyman, who afterward became a 
lunatic and died. With him the name of the Penn family was obliter- 
ated. It may hereafter be taken up by some of the descendants in the 
female line, of whom there are several, bearing the family names of 
Fell, Baron, Newcomb, Rawlins, Stuart, Dawson (Cremorne and Dart- 
rey), Gaskill, Hesketh, Ogilvy, Pole, Knox, Northland and Ranfurley, 
Read, Alexander, Walker, Goff, Gomm, Hall, Clayton, and Poynter. 

Wm. T. Read, Life and Correspondence of George Read, says of 
John Penn : " He had a particular nervous affection about him, such 
as was sometimes distressing to himself and others, and was, besides, 
near-sighted." 

After John Penn w^ent to England, Solitude, if occupied, was in the 
possession of a care-taker. Mr. Penn never came back to America. 
Solitude, as far as related to the presence of the owner, was truly a 
solitude. It may have been temporarily occupied by Governor Rich- 
ard Penn, who married Mary Masters, and was uncle of John Penn of 
Solitude. He revisited Pennsylvania about the year 1808, and brought 
with him his eldest son William, a young man, whose courses were in 
no way creditable to the family. Indeed, while here he married inju- 
diciously. The Rev. Dr. Abercrombie performed the ceremony, and 
there was great excitement and discussion about it, in which the cler- 
gyman defended himself upon the principle that the parties were of full 



446 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

age and competent to make their own contracts, and that he had no 
right to stigmatize the character of the woman by a declaration that in 
his opinion she was unworthy to be the wife of the man. Poverty and 
want of social position were probably the chief causes of complaint. 
Mr. Penn in his letter to Chief-Justice Tilghman on the subject, said 
that in endeavoring to dissuade him from the marriage, Dr. Aber- 
crombie and his friend, John H. Brown, took part in the discussion 
" Each exhausted the dissuasory topics of parents and relatives, high 
birth, public opinion, and the obscurity and previous errors of the other 
party." Penn was madly in earnest. It w^as with great difficulty that 
he restrained his temper, and told Mr. Brown that nothing prevented 
him from resenting his conduct as a gentleman " but for his motives 
and his intimacy with not only myself, but my honored father." In 
conclusion, this infatuated lover informed Dr. Abercrombie that it was 
his duty to the Church to perform the marriage ceremony between two 
adults who were members of the Church, and that if he still refused he 
(Mr. Penn) would take the blushing creature, who was anxiously wait- 
ing down stairs to a justice of the peace or alderman, and have the 
knot tied without delay. This was such a shocking threat in the mind 
of Dr. Abercrombie that he gave way, and resolved that rather than 
the Penn family should endure such a disgrace as that he would sol- 
emnize the marriage in canonical form. The name of the bride was 
Juliet Catharine Balabrega. She was daughter of Jacob and Mary 
Balabrega. She was born March i8, 1785, and was baptized at Christ 
Church on the iith of April of the same year. She was married to 
William Penn on the 7th of August, 1809. The eager bridegroom 
selected the Bush Hill mansion as the bower in which to spend the 
honeymoon. From that place he addressed a letter to Dr. Abercrom- 
bie in reference to the censures which in common conversation had 
been expressed against the clergyman. They were published by the 
latter in a pamphlet entitled Docinnents concernijig the Celebration of a 
Late Marriage. 

Richard Penn took up his residence at 210 Chestnut street, on the 
south side, between Eighth and Ninth streets, and lived there about 
a year, when he went back to England. William returned to Eng- 
land, and finally died, leaving his widow little property. She went to 
Europe, and a few years since was living in Paris, still showing traces 
of former beauty. It is likely that Hannah, daughter of Richard, came 



THE SOLITUDE. 



447 



with her father. Her object was to reahze something on the estate 
which came to her through the Masters family. She sold out a large 
portion of her property at the ruling prices, and went back to England, 
where she bought an annuity, and lived handsomely with her bachelor 
brother Richard at Richmond near London. 

It is probable that for the forty years succeeding there was no Penn 
at Solitude. But in 1851, Granville John Penn, a dapper and appar- 
ently well-preserved, middle-aged gentleman of forty-eight, came over 
to see the country, and perhaps to settle off some of his outstanding 
real-estate interests. He was made much of in Philadelphia. The 
City Councils voted resolutions of congratulation ; the Historical So- 
ciety lionized him ; and all the descendants of the very first families 
who could trace out an ancestral connection with the Penns in former 
years were on hand to do honor to the last representative of the pro- 
prietaries, and thereby swell their claims to social consideration at 
home. Even the rough democracy was disposed to do him honor, 
and a firemen's parade being about to take place, the William Penn 
Hose Company showed its appreciation of his hereditary claims by 
politely requesting that he would take part in the procession in their 
customary representation of William Penn and the Indians, and assume 
the character of his great-grandfather. Mr. Penn was greatly flattered 
by his reception, and in order to show his appreciation of the civilities 
he took care to make himself agreeable to all concerned. To the 
Historical Society he presented a large and showy belt of wampum, 
which, because it was large and showy, has been assumed to be the 
very belt presented to William the Quaker at the time when the treaty 
with the Indians is assumed to have taken place at Shackamaxon. 
There is no proof that there ever was a treaty of that kind, but legend 
said so, and West painted a picture to commemorate the supposed 
event, in which he represented the Friends of 1682 in the costumes of 
1770. The story and the painting are quite sufficient to the minds of 
many to make the transaction authentic, and the belt of wampum 
neatly finishes up the evidence. Mr, Penn, in acknowledgment of the 
attentions which he had received, resolved to give a grand fete cliani- 
petre at Solitude, and cards were issued for a large party. The com- 
pany was received at John Penn's little box by the host, but the enter- 
tainment was lavishly furnished under tents and marquees. This social 
reunion was the last time that a Penn was at Solitude. The property 



448 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHIIADELPHIA. 



remained without a tenant for some years, and finally became a part 
of Fairmount Park under authority of the act of Assembly of 1867. 
It remained an object of curiosity and historical interest until the 
Zoological Society was granted possession of that part of the Park 
for the purposes of the institution. Since that time the old mansion 
has formed a notable attraction of the enclosure, despite the counter- 
attractions of the fine collection in natural history which has been 
made there. 







SEDGLEY. 




ORE than forty-five years ago a writer who had fine taste 
and appreciation of rural beauty and elegance wrote in 
this wise : " The natural advantages of Sedgley Park 
are not frequently equalled, even upon the banks of the 
romantic Schuylkill. From the height upon which the 
mansion is erected it commands an interesting and ex- 
tensive view. The scenery around is of unusual beauty, 
but its character is altogether peaceful and quiet. The country is 
covered in every direction with gentle hills, and these are frequently 
crowned with neat country-seats. The river, after winding in its fan- 
ciful and rugged path between mountains and beneath precipices, here 
assumes the nature of everything around, and flows silently beneath, 
while the busy passage of the canal-boats on the opposite bank gives 
an agreeable variety to the scene." 

Sedgley was originally a portion of the property of Robert Morris, 
and was seized and disposed of when the wrecks of the great landed 
fortune he had possessed were sacrificed under the auctioneer's ham- 
mer. Sheriff Penrose sold the northern portion of the Lemon Hill 
tract, which comprised about twenty-eight acres, on the 25th of March,, 
1799, to William Cramond. Mr. Cramond entered at once on the work 
of improvement, and probably in the succeeding year the mansion was 
commenced and various improvements were made. William Cramond, 
merchant, was one of the leading men of his day. About 1796 he 
built a large and handsome brick house at the south-west corner of 



29 



449 



450 



HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



Third and Spruce streets, which is still standing. It is a fine specimen 
of the Philadelphia mansion about the beginning of the present cen- 
tury. James Cramond and William Cramond were in business, each 
upon his own account, as early as 1790. At that time the counting- 
house of James was at 121 Chestnut street, between Third and Fourth. 
William was at 153 South Second street, on the east side, north of 
Spruce. The firm of Philip Cramond & Co. succeeded William at 152 
South Second street, directly opposite, but it was dissolved about 1797, 
and William conducted the business alone. Sedgley was William 
Cramond's country-house. The architect was the elder Latrobe, who 




vSkdgley. 



drew the plans for the building of the Bank of Pennsylvania. Sedgley 
mansion was the first attempt made in the neighborhood of Philadel- 
phia to introduce the Gothic style in connection with the country- 
house. The mansion had every natural advantage in its favor. It 
stood upon an elevation eighty feet above the waters of the Schuylkill^ 
and there was a beautiful view from all parts of the house. At the 
front and at the back was a portico of eight columns, each of which 
was flanked by arcades in the tower style at the corners. At the north 



SEDGLEY, 



451 



and south ends bays rose to the roof, and accommodated the entrances 
to the mansion, which were protected by porticoes. The house was 
of two stories, with hip roofs and garrets. It was comfortable and 
elegant, and the grounds were enriched with shrubbery and fine old 
trees. The building was seventy-five feet in length, and nearly of the 
same depth, and possessed ample conveniences and appliances. 

Mr. Cramond did not have an opportunity to enjoy the pleasures of 
the elegant seat for any great length of time after it was finished. He 
became involved in business difficulties, and failed, and John Smith, 
marshal of the United States, sold the Sedgley mansion and grounds 
in September, 1806, to Samuel Mifflin, merchant, a man of wealth and 
influence. The Mifflins lived at Sedgley for about six years. They 
sold the property in July, 181 2, to James Cowles Fisher. Mr. Fisher 
was an eminent shipping-merchant, one of the principal business-men 
of his time. Before the close of the Revolution he was busily engaged 
with his brother, Samuel W. Fisher, at the north-west corner of Front 
and Arch streets. It was an old brick house, with three stories on 
Front street and three and a half on Arch street. The second stoiy 
on Front street was squared by a pent-house and eaves, while on Arch 
street at the third story, there was a gable from the eaves over that 
story which crowned the garret. It was a small house, twenty feet 
front and perhaps forty feet deep, and would in these days be consid- 
ered very insignificant quarters for any kind of merchant. But there 
the Fishers had their counting-house, and, being faithful and industri- 
ous, they managed to make a large fortune. They lived close by, ac- 
cording to the fashion of the day. James C. Fisher, at No. 21 Arch 
street, west of Front, had a fine large mansion, forty feet front and of 
a convenient depth, with handsome yard, garden, and stables, the latter 
being reached by an alley from Front street. Samuel W. Fisher about 
1797 built himself a dwelling-house adjoining, numbered 23. About 
1 800 the Fishers left Front and Arch streets, and placed their store a 
little farther west, on the north side, at No. 13. Shortly afterward they 
moved up to No. 33. James C. Fisher's residence was at 409 Market 
street, near Twelfth. About 1808 he moved into a fine double three- 
story brick house, specially built for his occupancy, on the north side 
of Chestnut street, east of Ninth, with garden running up to the latter 
street, and along the same to the street now called Jayne street. The 
hous@ was one of the finest specimens of the old-time mansions. It 



452 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 

was broad and commodious. Here Mr. Fisher lived many years, and 
his widow remained in the house after his death for a long time. James 
C. Fisher was active in public life. He was a member of Common 
Council from 1792 to 1796. He was an active member of charitable 
associations, and was prominent in all movements which were for the 
public good. Mr. Fisher varied his ease and elegance by the occupa- 
tion of Sedgley in the summer season of the year, reserving the Chest- 
nut street mansion as a winter residence. After Sedgley ceased to be 
occupied by the family, it was either vacant for some years or under 
the care of a tenant. 

In 1836, Isaac S. Loyd, a bold speculator in real estate, who bought 
and builded with great activity and daring, particularly in the western 
portions of the city, bought the Sedgley property from James C. Fisher 
and wife for ;^70,ooo, marked out the lines of streets, and laid out 
building lots which were made subject to ground-rents. There was 
some arrangement with Samuel Donner, Jr., of New York, by which 
Loyd conveyed immediately to Donner, and Donner back again into 
lots subject to ground-rent. Thus the property was held until June, 
1847, when the heirs of Donner seized the property for arrears of 
ground-rent, and it was sold to them by Henry Lelar, Sheriff. In 
1851 the Donners sold the whole property to Ferdinand J. Dreer for 
$26,750. 

Lemon Hill, which adjoined Sedgley on the south, fell into the 
ownership of the city of Philadelphia July 24, 1844, and was held for 
eleven years. That estate was dedicated as a public park on the i8th 
of September, 1855, being separate from Fairmount, and divided from 
tlie latter by private property. The completion of this first step toward 
the foundation of the Park encouraged gentlemen of means and liber- 
ality to purchase the dilapidated property at Sedgley, with the expec- 
tation of adding to the size of the Park in that direction. This was 
accomplished in March, 1857. At that time Mr. Dreer and wife con- 
veyed the Sedgley property to Henry Cope, Alfred Cope, Joseph Har- 
rison, Thomas Ridgway, Nathaniel B. Browne, and George W. Biddle in 
trust for Park purposes. A large sum of money was paid on account 
of the purchase, but some of the subscribers failing to meet their re- 
sponsibilities, the property was offered to the city of Philadelphia on 
condition of assuming the balance of the mortgage. The arrangement 
was recognized as beneficial, and Sedgley became a part of the Park. 



SEDGLEY. 



453 



It embraced the ground west of the Reading Railroad and beyond the 
northern boundary of Lemon Hill, commencing where the central line 
of Parrish street would intersect Pennsylvania avenue if laid out in a 
straight line, and thence extending to the Schuylkill River and up to 
the Spring Garden Waterworks, crossing the line of Girard avenue, 
and stretching beyond a distance of 1333 feet. By this time the Sedg- 
ley mansion was much decayed, and no effort was made to save it from 
destruction ; so that when the Park authorities directed that it should 
be taken down there was little difficuly in carrying out their command, 
for the work was already half accomplished. Nothing remains of the 
buildings appurtenant to this elegant mansion but the porter's lodge, 
which was east of the main building, and is known in the Park to- 
pography as Sedgley Guard-house. 






HARRITON. 




N a ship which labored heavily during a rough voyage 
across the Atlantic whilst steering for the American 
shores was an Irish family consisting of a father, two 
sons, and three daughters. The parent must have been 
weak of body, and was unable to bear the straining and de- 
bilitating effect of sea-sickness. He died before the vessel 
reached the capes of the Delaware, and his children were compelled 
to undergo the sorrow of witnessing the sad spectacle of the com- 
mittal of their father's body to the great deep. This was in 1 740, 
and the youngest boy belonging to that family, whose name was 
Charles Thomson, and who was born at Maghera, county Derry, 
Ireland, in November, 1729, was then eleven years old. It is said 
that the captain of the vessel seized upon the effects of the chil- 
dren and put them ashore at Newcastle, being anxious to get rid of 
the responsibility of maintaining them. Charles was placed by the 
captain, it is said, in the family of a blacksmith, and being bright and 
active the persons under whose care he remained soon became at- 
tached to him. Indeed, the young Irish boy quickly demonstrated that 
he had the capacity of becoming a blacksmith, proving it by the 
beating out of a nail from the red-hot iron after having seen a work- 
man do it at the forge. It was a good, solid business, that of the 
smith, and this friendless boy, it was thought, would be well fixed in 
a worldly way in his competency to earn his own living if he were 
taught the trade. But the suggestion did not favorably impress it- 

454 



HARRITON. 



455 



self upon his mind, and hearing that it was intended to make an 
apprentice of him, he determined to leave that refuge and go abroad 
into the world and seek his fortune. In the night-time, after the 
family had gone to bed, he arose, packed his little all of clothing 
in a bundle, and trudged off He had no particular destination, but 
after daylight was overtaken on the road by a lady who was travel- 
ling. Finding him a bright-looking boy, she entered into conversa- 
tion with him, and asked him what he would like to be. " He 
promptly answered," says Watson, " he would like to be a scholar or 
to gain his support by his mind and pen." Rather a high ambition 
for a runaway tramp ! But the lady was pleased with the appearance 
of the boy and the frankness of his replies. She took him home 
with her, and placed him at a school. How long he remained with 
her is not known. Having mastered the rudiments of a plain coun- 
try-school education, he obtained instruction in the higher branches 
of knowledge from the Rev. Dr. Francis Allison at his academy at 
Thunder Hill in Maryland. In this he was assisted by his elder 
brother, whose fortunes, after his landing in Delaware, were better 
than those of Charles. In after years the latter was able to kindly 
repay this great benefit, and he made a gift of a farm in Delaware 
to his brother as a testimonial of natural love and affection. The 
extent of Charles Thomson's acquirements when he left Dr. Allison's 
academy is not known. He certainly had knowledge of Latin, but 
could have had no acquaintance with Greek if the story is true that 
he first became acquainted with that language after he came to the 
city, where he purchased a part of an old book at an auction-store 
for a trifle, not knowing what it was except that the crier said it 
was printed in outlandish letters. Thomson took his prize home, 
and afterward learned that it was a portion of the Septuagint in 
Greek. He had partially progressed in the language when, regret- 
ting that he had not the remainder of the volume, he accidentally 
stepped into the same store, where he found that the auctioneer was 
endeavoring to sell the rest of the book. He bought it, and applied 
himself to the study of Greek with more assiduity than ever. After 
leaving Thunder Hill, it is said that Thomson taught in Friends' 
academy, Wilmington, Delaware. If so, it was for a short period. 
He came to Philadelphia and went into the academy which was 
the foundation of the College of Philadelphia and the University of 



456 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



Pennsylvania in 1750 as tutor and instructor, together with David 
J. Dove. Exactly how long he remained there is not to be ascer- 
tained from the official catalogue of the department of arts. In 
175 I, John Jones, Horace Jones, and Francis Paisley were appointed 
tutors and instructors, but whether Thomson and Dove retired or 
remained cannot be clearly made out. Dove, according to Graydon, 
was teaching a private school when the latter first came to the 
city, at which time he was six or seven years old. This was about 
1758-59. Dove must have left the academy in Fourth street some 
years previous, as his private school was pretty well established, 
according to what Graydon tells us. For a time Thomson was a 
resident in Dove's family. The latter was a very satirical grumbler, 
who scarcely had a good word for anybody, and who used to enjoy 
himself by writing and publishing lampoons. Thomson was not well 
pleased with the association, and determined to get out of it, but 
fearing that if he were to go without ceremony he would not escape 
Dove's tongue, he prepared for his departure in a novel manner. " He 
gravely inquired of them [Mr. and Mrs. Dove] one evening if his 
conduct as a boarder had been satisfactory to them. They promptly 
replied in the affirmative. * Would you, then,' said Thomson, ' be 
willing to give me a certificate to that effect ? ' * Oh, certainly ! ' A 
certificate was accordingly given, and the next day he departed from, 
them in peace." 

This might have been at the time when Thomson was about to leave 
the academy. After he left the latter institution he became teacher 
and master of the Quaker school in Fourth street below Chestnut. 
For some years he continued quietly to discharge his duties as a 
pedagogue. He first came into public notice in 1757, during a 
conference held at Easton between Governor William Denny and his 
Council and the Delaware Indians of the Susquehanna. According 
to the idea of the proprietary party, Charles Thomson did a very 
impudent thing. The audacity of his conduct is related upon the 
minutes of the Provincial Council of July 25, 1757, in this manner: 
" As soon as the Governor and Council and Indians had taken their 
seats, Teedyuscung, by his interpreter John Pumpshire, called for 
Charles Thomson, master of the publick Quaker school in the city of 
Philadelphia, placed him by Mr. Trent (assistant secretary of the 
Governor) at the table, and said he had chosen him for his clerk ; 



HARRITON. 457 



whereupon he sat down and began to take minutes, without having 
asked permission of the Governor, who took no further notice of it." 
This was really a defiance of the governor, who had been appHed to 
by Teedyuscung two days before for permission to have a clerk, " who 
shall compare his proceedings with the other clerks before they leave 
the table." The provincial commissioners favored this, but the 
governor and Council were surprised at their application, the gov- 
ernor having already given reasons why he could not comply with 
his request. And he continued to be surprised all that day and the 
next; and he was very angry in regard to the subject, particularly as 
the Friendly Association for Regaining and Preserving Peace with the 
Indians, which was established in 1756, had undertaken to protect the 
interests of the Delawares. The governor seemed to consider it an 
invasion of the rights of the Crown for the Indians to have a clerk, 
and had determined to deny the request ; but Mr. Thomson's bold 
manner of compliance with the call surprised him so much that he 
could do nothing. The services of Mr. Thomson were so satisfactory 
to the Indians, and his notes of the proceedings were found so correct, 
that they gave him the name of Weagh-con-lan-mo-und (" The man 
who tells the truth"). In May, 1758, Thomson attended, with Tee- 
dyuscung, a conference with Governor Denny in reference to Indian 
affairs.' 

Eventually, Mr. Thomson got out of the traces of the pedagogue 
and became a merchant and made money. This larger area of 
activity brought him into connection with public affairs, and he began 
to take a great interest in them, so that he became a leader among the 
patriot politicians of the time. He came into notice in this connection 
as soon as the news of the passage of the Stamp Act reached America. 
He was appointed by the town-meeting held at the State-House on the 
5th of October. 1765, a member of a committee, together with James 
Tilghman, Robert Morris, Archibald McCall, John Cox, William 
Richards, and William Bradford, to wait upon John Hughes, the 
stamp-agent for Pennsylvania, and request him to resign. That 
obnoxious individual was found to be sick in bed, but he declined 
to comply with the request of the people. Mr. Thomson signed the 
Non-Importation Agreement of November 7, 1765. He became a 
member of the Merchants' Committee, a very important body, 
authorized to enforce obedience to the agreement and expose such 



458 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



attempts as might be made to violate the understanding. In 1770, as 
a member of this committee, he refused to sanction an abandonment 
of the agreement of 1765 because the merchants of New York had 
receded from it and because the people of Rhode Island had modified 
the terms. The measure being carried against him, he withdrew from 
the committee with ten of his associates. 

In 1774, Charles Thomson, together with John Dickinson, Joseph 
Reed, and Thomas Mifflin, met Paul Revere of Boston, who brought 
with him a letter from the committee of that town requesting advice 
from the people of Philadelphia upon the occasion of the passage of 
the Boston Port Bill. They resolved to call a meeting of citizens at 
the City Tavern May 20, 1774, and some two or three hundred persons 
were present. Watson says : " Mr. Dickinson, who had the confidence 
of the Friends, took moderate grounds, but Mr. Thomson was so ve- 
hement and zealous for making common cause with Boston that he 
fainted and was carried out." He must have returned, as resolutions 
from his pen were adopted, under which a committee of correspond- 
ence was appointed, of which Mr. Thomson was one, with instructions 
to write to the people of Boston, " assuring them that we truly feel for 
their unhappy situation, that we consider them as suffering in the gene- 
ral cause, that we recommend to them firmness, prudence, and modera- 
tion, and that we shall continue to evince our firmness to the cause of 
American liberty." On the i8th of June he attended a meeting in 
the State-House Yard at which Thomas Willing and John Dickinson 
presided and Rev. William Smith made an address. Thomson was 
appointed a member of a committee of forty-three persons who were 
empowered " to ascertain the sense of the people of the Province with 
regard to the appointment of deputies to a general congress, and to 
institute a subscription for the relief of the sufferers in Boston." The 
circular sent out to all the counties of Pennsylvania requested deputies 
to be sent to a general conference at Philadelphia on the 15th of July. 
When the representatives came they met at Carpenters' Hall. Thomas 
Willing was appointed chairman, and Charles Thomson secretary. It 
was the beginning of his labor in one of the most important offices in 
connection with a representative body, and it may be said that the 
commencement of his service here demonstrated his abilities to such 
a degree that he was thenceforth a perpetual secretary, as he was during 
the whole Revolution and up to the establishment of the Federal 



HARRITON. 459 



government. This conference recommended the Assembly of Penn- 
sylvania to take steps to ensure the calling of a congress of delegates 
from the various colonies ; which the Assembly afterward approved, 
and sent as delegates to the congress Joseph Galloway, their Speaker, 
Samuel Rhoads, Thomas Mifflin, Charles Humphreys, George Ross, and 
Edward Biddle. At the election in October, 1774, Mr. Thomson was 
chosen a member of the General Assembly for the city of Philadelphia. 
When the Congress met on the 5th of September at Carpenters' Hall, 
the delegates needed a secretary who was not a member of the Con- 
gress. Charles Thomson was chosen, the nomination being made by 
Thomas Mifflin. Perhaps no man was ever summoned on so import- 
ant a duty under such circumstances. John Adams, in his diary of 
the occurrences of a few days previous, says, speaking of a visit to 
the house of Mr. Mifflin : " Here we had much conversation with Mr. 
Charles Thomson, who is, it seems, about marrying a lady, a relation 
of Mr. Dickinson's, with ;^5000 sterling. This Charles Thomson is 
the Sam Adams of Philadelphia." Between the time mentioned and 
the 5th of September the marriage had taken place. The lady was 
Hannah Harrison, a maiden who had reached the ripe age of forty- 
seven. Thomson himself was well along in years, but was two years 
younger than his bride. She was a daughter of Richard Harrison, a 
Friend who originally came from Maryland, by his wife, Hannah 
Norris, daughter of Isaac Norris and granddaughter of Governor 
Thomas Lloyd. Thomson's marriage took place the day before Con- 
gress met, and what might be called the bridal-trip had been taken on 
the morning of the 5th in a ride by the bride and groom from the 
paternal mansion of the lady to the city. They were just alighting 
from the chaise when a messenger with the compliments of President 
Peyton Randolph requested Mr. Thomson's attendance at the session 
of Congress. He was informed what was required of him, and sat 
down at once to a table and proceeded with his labors. He received 
no compensation for his service in the first Congress, but that body 
before its adjournment voted that a present should be made to Mrs. 
Thomson as a compensation for the unexpected interruption of her 
honeymoon. The article designated by her as an acceptable memento 
was a silver tirn ; and this, which was large and handsome, was pro- 
cured, and subsequently cherished in the family as a precious memorial. 
To the secretaryship Mr. Thomson succeeded in the second Con- 



460 HISTORIC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA, 



gress, and continued for fourteen years to discharge the confidential 
and responsible duty. He was a witness of all the events which were 
attendant upon the birth, growth, and maturity of the Continental gov- 
ernment and of the government of the States under the Confederation. 
No man could have known more of the secret history of the times than 
he ; no one could have been better fitted to write a history of the 
Revolution, to which task he was urged by many eminent statesmen. 
He gave the matter serious consideration, and actually commenced the 
work. But as he went on, memory brought to his mind so many in- 
stances of selfishness and doubtful motive on the part of men who 
afterward became celebrated for their patriotism, and he found it would 
be necessary for him to tear away the mask which protected so many 
reputations, that he considered it better for posterity that a veil should 
be dropped over the subject. It is said he destroyed all his papers 
bearing on the Revolution, with the determination that they should 
not be used by others. Hannah Harrison was the second wife of 
Charles Thomson. His first wife was a daughter of Charles Mather 
of Chester county. They had two children, who died in infancy. 

By his second marriage Mr. Thomson became a resident of his 
wife's property at Harriton. It was then within the boundaries of the 
county of Philadelphia, at Lower Merion, twelve miles from the city — 
a portion of our ancient territory which has since been assigned to the 
county of Montgomery. Upon this property was a house which even 
at that time was considered ancient, having been built in 1704 by 
Rowland Ellis, a native of Wales and a preacher of the Society of 
Friends. He took up the plantation on which the house stood, contain- 
ing about seven hundred acres, and the whole of it was sold by Ellis 
in 1 7 19 to Richard Harrison. The latter had been living in Maryland 
at a place called The Cliffs, not far from Annapolis, but his wife, desirous 
perhaps of closer association with her own family, induced him to 
remove, and he came to Pennsylvania with his wife and children, his 
farm-property, his horses and cattle, and his negro slaves. Richard 
Harrison would have named his place after himself, it may be inferred, 
were it not that such proceeding might cause imputations of vanity. 
He did the next thing, and called it Harriton, his own name to a /. In 
this proceeding he had the example of his wife's kinsmen, the Norrises, 
who called their great estate in the northern part of Philadelphia 
county Norriton, instead of Norriston — a piece of affectation which 



HARRirON. 463 



the people of later times have set aside by giving the full name to 
the thriving town built on the tract. 

The Harriton house is of stone. It is two stories in height, with a 
high-pitched roof, and with a garret-room lighted in front by three 
dormer windows, and in the rear by a dormer on each side. The front 
building is about thirty-seven feet in length by twenty-two in width. 
In the rear is an addition to the central part twenty-two by nineteen 
feet, so that the end rooms of the front building may be lighted by 
windows in the back. The ground-plan of the house is in shape like a 
letter T. There are some peculiarities in the building not common in 
country residences. The front-door does not open into an entry, but 
directly into a large room, which was occupied of old as the sitting- 
room. Another room adjoining, smaller in proportion, is used as a 
parlor. The staircase is in the back part of the house, and is 
approached from a side entrance. A dining-room is beyond, the 
kitchen being a shed arrangement in the rear. An addition on one 
side, constructed in later years, one story in height, adjoining the 
main building and a portion of the back building, gives additional 
accommodation to the family. In the second story the rooms are 
divided into chambers, and there is also accommodation in the garrets. 
The rooms on the first floor were originally wainscoted in the ceilings, 
panels being formed between the projecting beams. In later times the 
wainscoting was removed, and the space occupied by it was plastered, 
but the original beams are still visible. 

Mr. and Mrs. Thomson left no children. In 1798 he joined with his 
wife in the execution of a deed by which was reserved to themselves 
and their survivor a life-estate in six hundred acres of the Harriton 
property. The remainder in the land was settled on Charles 
McClenachan, a grandson of Thomas Harrison, who was the brother 
of Hannah, wife of Charles Thomson. Mrs. Thomson died in Septem- 
ber, 1807, and Charles Thomson on August 16, 1824. Charles 
McClenachan did not live to enjoy this settlement. He died in 181 1. 
His only daughter, Naomi, inherited his rights, and she, having 
married Levi Morris, succeeded to the ownership and occupation of 
the property. A better and more modern house was erected for the 
use of Mrs. Morris near by, on the same estate, but the old mansion 
remains as a tenant-house, maintained very much in the same style and 
bearing the same appearance which it presented one hundred and 



464 fflSTOJ^IC MANSIONS OF PHILADELPHIA. 



seventy-three years ago. It is situate back from the old Gulf Road and 
about half a mile from Bryn Mawr Station on the Pennsylvania 
Railroad. 

After Mr. Thomson retired from his position in Congress he with- 
drew from public life and devoted himself to study. He had done 
something for historical literature shortly after the Indian troubles, in 
which he was the trusted agent of Teedyuscung. He was the author 
of an essay published in London in 1759, entitled an Inquiry mto the 
Causes of the Alienation of tJie Delazvare and Shazunee Indians from the 
British Interests, and into the Measures taken for Recovering their Friend- 
ship, etc., with notes by the editor explaining sundry Indian customs. 
His old age was given to classic labors, the most important of which 
was a translation of the Scriptures, entirely his own work. It was 
published in 1804, in four volumes, under the following title: The 
Holy Bible, containing the Old and Nezv Covenant, covinwnly called the 
Old and Nezu Testament. Translated from the Greek. The Old Cove- 
nant was translated from the Septuagint. It was at that time, and until 
1844, the only English translation which had been made of the Sep- 
tuagint. He also published a synopsis of the four Evangelists in 181 5, 
which was accomplished in the words of his own translation of the Bible 
and Testament. Rev. Ashbel Green says in regard to the translation 
of the Bible : " He made three or four transcriptions of this whole 
work, still endeavoring in each to make improvements on his former 
labors. There was then no translation of the Septuagint into the 
English language, and he determined to make one ; and to this, when 
accomplished, he added a version of the New Testament varying very 
considerably from that in common use in language, but not in sense." 
Delighted with his employment, he was reluctant to quit it, and his 
last work was a Harmony of the Four Gospels^ in the language of his 
own version. 

The Indian name given to Charles Thomson was also assigned to 
him by his contemporaries. He was eminently a man of truth. When 
secretary of Congress his name when appended to official reports was 
sufficient to entitle them to belief in the public mind. When there 
were painful rumors, Watson says, and the public knew not what to 
believe, the appearance of an official notification satisfied all doubt : 
" Here comes the truth ; here comes Charles Thomson." Rev. Ash- 
bel Green, speaking of Revolutionary times, says : ** When a man re- 



HARIRI TON. 465 



ported anything in the way of news which seemed to be doubted, he 
sought to confirm it by saying, * It is true as if Charles Thomson's 
name were to it.' I do not remember that any representation to which 
the name of this estimable man was attached ever proved to be false or 
in any material circumstance incorrect." In regard to Mr. Thomson's 
personal appearance, Mr. Green says : " He was tall of stature, well- 
proportioned, and of primitive simplicity of manners." Mr. Watson, 
who visited him in 1824, Thomson being then in his ninety-fifth year, 
said : " I found him still the erect, tall man he had ever been, his 
countenance very little changed, but his mental faculties in ruins." 
The Abbe Robin, who was with Rochambeau in 1781, says of Mr. 
Thomson : " His meagre figure, furrowed countenance, his hollow 
sparkling eyes, his white straight hair, that did not hang quite so low 
as his ears, fixed our thorough attention, and filled us with surprise 
and admiration." 

Before the Revolution, Mr. Thomson was owner of an estate on the 
Ridge road near the Falls of Schuylkill, which was called Summer- 
ville. During Howe's occupation of the city, British soldiers took 
their revenge on the secretary of Congress by burning his mansion, 
about the same time that Peel Hall, Fairhill, and the country-seats of 
Mifflin and Francis were destroyed. 

There was a family burying-ground on the Harriton estate, and here 
Mr. Thomson was interred by the side of his wife — not to rest, how- 
ever. His remains were removed about fourteen years after his death 
and placed in Laurel Hill Cemetery, where a cenotaph, with appropri- 
ate inscription written by John F. Watson, was erected. This transfer, 
it is said, was made without the consent of the surviving relatives of 
his wife, for, though Mr. Thomson had no children, he had collateral 
relatives. There was a bitter controversy about it, and it was alleged 
that the whole transaction was wrong, the bones of the patriot having 
been taken from the only place in which he desired to remain, and 
that without the consent of relatives who were as near to him as those 
who wished the action to be consummated. 

30 



WALNUT GROVE. 




HE plain Quaker for whom the mansion called Walnut 
Grove was built about the year 1735 could never have 
anticipated the military pageant which, invading the 
quiet spirit that prevailed amid its trees and shrub- 
bery, would turn the whole peaceful enclosure into a 
wild mimicry of the sports of chivalry. It was the 
most unlikely place in the world to be appropriated 
to such use. Its owners were consistent members of 
the Society of Friends, and although they might, in 
common with many members of the sect, have sympathized with the 
cause of the Crown, they took no public part in the proceedings of 
the time, and escaped that sort of censure which was visited upon 
their associates who were free-spoken rather than prudent. Joseph 
Wharton was the original owner of Walnut Grove. He was born at 
Philadelphia on the 4th of August, 1707, and lived long enough to 
witness the events connected with the commencement of the Revo- 
lution and to know that independence had been declared. He died 
in the latter part of July, 1776, being buried on the 27th of the same 
month in Friends' ground at Fourth and Arch streets. He was the 
son of Thomas Wharton, who emigrated to Pennsylvania before 1688. 
The father of Thomas was Richard Wharton of Kellorth in the parish 
of Orton or Overton, Westmorelandshire, England. He was a mem- 
ber of the Church of England. Thomas was baptized at All Saints', 
Orton, on the 7th of November, 1663. It is not known whether he 

466 



WALNUT GROVE. 



467 



adopted the principles of the Society of Friends before or after he 
came to Pennsylvania. He was in unity with Friends at the time of 
his marriage at the Bank meeting-house, January 20, 1688-89, when 
he took for his wife Rachael Thomas, a native of Wales. She was a 
year or two younger than her husband. This couple had eight chil- 
dren, two of them being named Joseph. The first of the name was 
the first-born, and lived but seven months. The name must have been 
a favorite, for it was given to the youngest child. 

Joseph, afterward of Walnut Grove, was married at the age of 
twenty-two on the 5th of March, 1729-30, to Hannah Carpenter, who 
was a granddaughter of Samuel Carpenter, merchant, the first of the 
name, long known as an influential and public-spirited citizen, and one 
of the best-trusted friends of William Penn. The father of Hannah was 
John Carpenter, who married Ann Hoskins. Mrs. Hannah Wharton 
lived with her husband over twenty-one years, and during that time 
bore to him eleven children. After her death Joseph married a second 
time, in little less than eleven months, a widow, Mrs. Hannah Ogden, 
who had been married to John Ogden. Her maiden name was Owen. 
Her father, Robert Owen, married Susan Hudson, who was a daughter 
of William Hudson, once mayor of Philadelphia. By this wife Mr. 
Wharton had seven children. Mrs. Hannah Wharton the second sur- 
vived her husband over fourteen years, and died in January, 1791. 

Joseph Wharton was a cooper. On the 26th of February, 1731, he 
bought of Charles Brockden and wife a tract of ground situate below 
the limits of the city of Philadelphia in the township of Wicaco, upon 
the west side of Moyamensing road, which contained eighteen acres. 
For this piece of property Wharton gave the ridiculously small price, 
as it would seem now-a-days, of ^153. Four years afterward he 
bought some adjoining lots of Joseph Shippen, so that the area of his 
ground was considerably increased. The mansion upon this enclosure 
was probably built soon after the first purchase was made, possibly 
before 1735, but there are no means of knowing exactly at what time 
it was finished. It was a plain house, in the general style of the 
country-seats of the day. There was a central entrance with projec- 
tion and gable. Steps rose to the principal doorway ; there were 
comfortable rooms on each side of the entry, and in th