(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Old Market Street, Chester, Pennsylvania; historic incidents that have taken place within, or are associated with this highway"

OLD MARKET STREET 



CHESTER, PENNSYLVANIA 



Historic Incidents That Have Taken Place Within 
or are Associated With This Highway 



By HENRY GRAHAM ASHMEAD 



Reprinted from the Chester Times of May 4, 11, 18, 25, and 

June 1, 1895, to Which Some Additional Incidents 

Have Been Inserted 



BULLETIN OF THE 

DELAWARE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

AUGUST, 1920 



Chester, Pa. : 

Press of Chester Times 

1920 



Fl57 



OLD M ARKET STREET 

Historic Incidents That Have Taken Place Within 
or Are Associated With this Ancient Highway 



By HENRY GRAHAM ASHMEAD 



[Reprinted from the Chester Times of May 4, 11, 18, 25 and June 1, 
1895 to which some additional incidents have been inserted.] 



I invite tlie reader to accompany me 
in a ramble along Market street from 
the intersection of that thoroughfare 
with Edgmont avenue to the Delaware 
river, and as we proceed I will attempt 
to relate the annals of the ancient 
highway, recalling some of the inci- 
dents that enter into the history of 
Market street. In doing this I will not 
repeat the stories of old buildings that 
stood or now stand along it, but shall 
strive to present a few of the notice- 
able occurrences that have taken 
place in the highway itself, and the 
memories of which have not been 
wholly obliterated in the lapse of 
years. 

The plan of Chester, as the residents 
of the old town of half a century ago 
remember it, was not adopted until 
1700. Prior to that date, Edgmont 
avenue, from Fi'ont street, had been 
merely natural extension, following in 
its development the course of Chester 
creek, but after the establishment and 
rapid growth of Philadelphia, it was 
necessary to unite the settled parts of 
Chester, with the main road leading 
to the former city. The sharp angle 
existing in Edgmont avenue above 
Third street today, is the result of 
that change. The Queen's Highway, 
as we now know it in Fifth street 
and Morton avenue, was not laid out 
until 1706. Previous to that date the 
road to the Quaker City was Twenty- 
fourth street, which crossed Chester 
creek at the ford, near the present 
covered bridge at Upland, and Ridley 
creek at Irving's mills, where in early 
days the water \yas shallow. 



The Darby Highway 

Many of the people were dissatis- 
fied with the present highway to Dar- 
by when first projected, and it was 
charged that Jasper Yeates, one of the 
Commissioners appointed to lay out 
the road, took it the present course 
that it might benefit his own and his 
father-in-law — Sandeland's — ground. 
•'God and nature," they declared, "in- 
tended the road to cross directly 
across the creek, but the devil and 
Jasper Yeates took it where it was lo- 
cated." Second street, or Filbert, as 
it was known in early times, was laid 
out by David Lloyd in 1698, a thirty- 
eight feet wide street extending from 
the creek to the plantation at Welsh 
streetfl recently known as the Porter 
estate, which he had purchased of 
Widow Laerson nine years before. 
These highways — Edgmont avenue to 
a short distance north of Third, and 
Second street, were in existence when 
Sandeland made the plan, and he was 
compelled to recognize them on the 
draft he submitted to William Penn on 
November 19, 1700. In the petition ac- 
companying he stated that he was 
"possessed of a certain spot of land 
lying in the sd county of Chester * * * 
verie fitt and naturally commodious 
for a town, and to that end" he had 
"lately caused ye sd spot of land to be 
divided and laid out into lotts, streets 
and market" a copy of which he pro- 
duced. The following day Penn gave 
his approval of the draft, and Chester, 
from the river to Seventh street and 
from Edgmont avenue to Welsh street, 
conforms in substance today to the 



plan that the Sandelaiul IVjiily pre- 
pared, for excepting a small i)art, all 
the land from the creek to Welsh 
street was at that time the property 
of that family. 

A Review From the Past 

We all recall the weird German bal- 
lad by VonSedlitz, in which he de- 
scribed how at the twelfth hour by the 
night a ghostly drummer with his 
drum went through the world beating 
the reveille, summoning all the sol- 
diers, who, slumbering in the sands 
of Egypt, the snowdrifts of Russia, or 
the sunny plains of Italy and Spain, 
as well as in other parts of Europe, 
had fallen victims to the ambition of 
Napoleon. Last of all, when the dark 
legions of ghosts had gathered, the 
dim squadrons had mounted their 
phantom horses and the long lines of 
bayonets had moved into form — miles 
after mies, there came the stately 
horseman in the gray coat and the 
cocked hat, passing between the mur- 
muring ranks just as the moon beamed 
for a moment and showed the flesh- 
less arms holding the muskets that 
rattled at his approach. Such a re- 
view, drawn from the shadowy past. 
«lo I summon for you as we stand near 
the City Hall, now, as it has been for 
more than two centuries, the heart of 
Chester. * 

It was early in the morning of Wed- 
nesday. August 11, 1732, that Thomas 
Penn, then a man of thirty, the son of 
William, landed at Chester, and as 
the Council and Assembly were in 
session at Philadelphia, a messenger 
was dispatched to that city to an- 

* This idea is not that of the poet 
only. Many of my readers will re- 
call that on the 18th of December, 
1840, the body of the greatest soldier 
in all recorded history, amid unusual 
funeral splendor, was carried through 
Paris from the Place de la Concorde, 
thp Arc de Triumphe to the Church 
of" the Invalides. Shortly thereafter 
Frederick Soulise published his one- 
time noted "A Review of the Dead," 
in which he pictured the apparition 
of Napoleon, wrapped in the blue man- 
tle in which he slept the night after the 
battle of Marengo, with that of the 
King of Rome at his side, standing on 
the arch that commemorates his con- 
spicious victories and pointing out to 
his son the different divisions of the 
spectral army, that from midnight to 
dawn, filed along in military grandure 
the Champ Elysies, in honor of their 
great dead commander. See also the 
masterpiece of Raffet "Le Revue Noc- 
turne." 



nounce his arrival. The Secretary of 
Council immediately came to Chester, 
bearing the congratulations of the au- 
Thorities and "to acquaint him" — Penn 
— "that tomorrow they would in per- 
son pay their respects to him." The 
next day, Deputy Governor Patrick 
(iordon and the members of his Coun- 
cil, accompanied by a large number of 
gentlemen, came to Chester, where 
they "waited on the Honorable Pro- 
prietary and paid him their compli- 
ments." 

A Momentous Event 

"After dinner the Proprietary and 
his company, now very numerous, sett 
out for Philadelphia." All the family 
of Penn at this time had renounced 
membership in the Society of Friends. 
It was a momentous event for the lit- 
tle hamlet when Thomas Penn, in the 
lull maturity of his manhood, attired, 
in the height of the London fashion, 
at the side of the Deputy Governor, 
who sat his horse like a veteran troop- 
er as he was, accompanied by a caval- 
cade of severel hundred horsemen, the 
greater number dressed in sober drab, 
rode up High street, as Market was 
then called, and thence by the Queen's 
Highway — Fifth street — proceeded to 
Philadelphia. At the latter place he 
was compelled to endure a tedious ad- 
dress from Speakei- Hamilton. A 
banquet was given him by the civic 
authorities and a pow-wow by a party 
of chiefs of the Five Nations, who 
chanced to be on a visit to the city. 
Later the fire engines squirted for 
him and many other demonstrations 
were made which show that exalted 
public position a century and a half 
ago brought with it those hours of ag- 
onizing afflictions that attend it to- 
day. Samuel Reimer, the eccentric 
editor of the Pennsylvania Gazette, in 
one of a series of letters in his paper 
over the signature of "The Caribbean,' 
laughed at Thomas Penn as a youth 
who was frightened at the stalwart 
reception accorded him. Reimer was 
an elderly man, and like the Septua- 
genarian of today, looked upon anyone 
ten years his junior 'as only a boy.' 

A little more than a year thereafter 
►Tohn Penn, the eldest son of William 
by his secpnd marriage and known as 
"The American," because of his birth 
in Philadelphia, January 29, 1700 — the 
<Mily child of Penn born in the new 
world — on Thursday, September 20, 
1733, with his brother-in-law, Thomas 
Frame and his wife, formerly Margaret 
Penn, together with their children, 
reached Chester, where they were re- 
ceived by Thomas Penn, who. with a 
number of gentlemen came from Phil- 



Gift 



^QJ H 020 



adelphia to greet the eldest living son 
of the founder. That night was passed 
here and the next morning the party 
rode up Market and out Fifth street 
to the capital city, where they were 
received with manifestations of popu- 
lar rejoicing very similar to those 
which had gi-eeted Thomas Penn the 
year before. At the banquet on this 
occasion the health of the King and 
that of others in authority was so re- 
peatedly drunk that, it is believed by 
many historians, the reports thereof 
which got into geneial ciiculation, in- 
fluenced Michael Walfare, one of the 
hermits of Conestoga, to go to Phila- 
delphia where, in his linen pilgrim 
garb, with his tall staff and venerable 
beard, he stood in the market place of 
that cTty and proclaimed the judg- 
ments of an offended Deity against 
the iniquitous town. 

Franklin's Visit 

A greater man tlian any of these 
now appears through the mist of 
years. On November 7, 1764, Benjamin 
Franklin rode down Market street, 
then so-called, attended by a caval- 
cade of more than three hundred 
horsemen, who had accompanied him 
from Philadelphia that they might 
give him "God's speed" when he em- 
barked on his second voyage to Eur- 
ope as Commissioner to the Court of 
St. James, representing there the 
provinces of Pennsylvania and Massa- 
chusetts. Franklin, by his outspoken 
denunciation of the slaughter of the ' 
friendly Indians by the "Paxtang 
boys," had aroused an opposition that 
compassed -his defeat as a member of 
the Assembly, but that body shortly 
afterwards appointed him to present 
the petition of Pennsylvania to the 
King of England, and his native prov- 
ince clothed him with similar duties. 
At that time he was the most con- 
si)icuous man in all the Colonies, and 
his lame had preceded him to the old 
world. Richardson's wharl', at the foot 
of Market street, then only recently 
built, was crowded with people, for 
the residents of the town and the 
neighborhood had gathered there to 
catch a sight of "Poor Richard," who 
it was known would take the vessel 
at Chester. As the boat pushed off, 
Franklin stood In the stem- sheets, 
while the assembled populace burst in- 
to cheers which continued until he had 
reached and boarded the ship that, 
with anchor atrip, lay in midstream. 

The struggle between the Colonies 
and the mother country had finally 
culminated in an aiipeal to arms, and 
in that "time that tried men's souls" 



the legular tramp of soldiers was no 
unusual sound in the streets of "Old 
Chestei-," for even at that early day 
the town was frequently so called, in 
affection by some, in derision by oth- 
ers. Early in February, 1776, Wayne, 
the Colonel of the Fourth Battalion 
of the Pennsylvania Line, mustered 
his command at Chester, and on the 
17th of that month reported that 560 
officers and men weie present, al- 
though more than three weeks prior 
to that datjj he had ordered the com- 
I)anies commanded by Captains Rob- 
inson, Church and Lacey to New 
Yoi-k, where they had reiiorted. The 
schooling of raw recruits on Market 
."^treet was a daily sight to the people, 
until old and young alike had grown 
familiar with the middle-sized, ruddy- 
complexioned, i)iercing-eyed man of 
commanding carriage, who as "Mad 
Anthony." was destined to xnake an 
imperishable record in the history of 
our country. Time and again Ches- 
ter was the designated encampment 
for the troops levied for the Continen- 
tal service, and at such i)eriods the 
drilling of the men at all hours of the 
day were oi-dinary incidents in the 
story of the street. 

Warlike Scenes 

It was the evening of August 24, 1777, 
a sultry Sabbath day, that the Amer- 
ican Army, sixteen thousand strong, 
in its southward movement to meet 
Sir William Howe, encamped in and 
around Chester, and the hillsicles were 
^illuminated with the camp fires. Wash- 
ington established his headquarters at 
the "Pennsylvania Arms" t;ivern. now 
the Washington House, its peculiar 
situation immediately opposite the 
Court House, rendering it a desirable 
location for a commanding olficer. but 
Lafayette, then a young man not 
quite tweiiTy years of age, became the 
guest of Caleb Coupland, at the pi-es- 
ent Stacy House, now occupied by Mrs. 
C. C. Eyre, on Market below Fourth 
street. Eighteen days thereafter, on 
Tuesday. Sei)tember 11. 1777. the same 
army, which hjid suffered defeat that 
day at Brandy wine, from eve to long 
after midnight. straggled into the 
town and encamped in the neighbor- 
hood. It was no inspiring sight as 
these disordered, ill-equipped, dust- 
covered and powder-stained m.en, 
many wearing dirty bandages conceal- 
ing their hastily-dressed wounds, 
tramped wearily up Market street and 
out the Darby road as far as Leiper- 
ville, but despite their reverses they 
still carried on their bayonet points the 
destinies of a nation. 



A more glittering scene now rises 
froril the past. It was late in the 
morning of Tuesday. November 18, 
1777, that Lord Cornwallis, in com- 
mand of nearly 3,000 men, reached 
Chester, having left Philadelphia, 
crossing the Schuylkill at the Middle 
ferry about noon of the preceding day. 
That night — Monday — the British 
troops encamped a mile or so this side 
of Darby, and their marauding parties 
had plundered the inhabitants in the 
neighborhood. It was a spectacle such 
as the people of Chester never saw be- 
fore, these well-fed, well-equipped and 
admirably disciplined troops, for the 
detachment was composed of the flow- 
er of the English army, composing the 
5th, 15th, 17th, 33rd and 56th Regi- 
ments, as well as a battalion of Hes- 
sians and the Light Infantry, together 
»vith twelve pieces of artillery, several 
howitzers and a train of baggage wag- 
ons. The sugar-loaf hats, long white 
leggings, carefully pipeclayed, the 
scarlet coats of the grenadiers, faced 
with white, which Hogarth's celebrat- 
ed picture, "The March to Finchley," 
has made so familiar to us all; the 
Hessians, who "wore their beards on 
their upper lips," at a time when all 
the rest of the civilized world w^ere 
closely shaven, would have attracted 
attention anywhere and no wonder 
was it that most of the people of the 
town gathered on the sidewalks and 
gazed with admiration and apprehen- 
sion as the soldiers to the ruffle of 
drums, with Lord Cornwallis at their 
head, swung round the corner of the 
Queen's Highway into Market street. 
The able commander with his staff 
drew reins at the "Pennsylvania 
Arms," and he was the observed of all 
observers. His lordship, then in his 
thirty-ninth year, was in person short 
and thick-set, his prematurely gray 
hair, unpowdered, was worn in a 
queue, his features regular, but an 
affection of his left eye, which caused 
it to blink incessantly, detracted much 
from his appearance. He was exceed- 
ingly nervous and his habit of raising 
his hand to his head and changing 
the position of his hat every few min- 
utes when in thought, was very no- 
ticeable that day. and the men knew 
that "Old Corncob," as his soldiers in 
the southern campaign afterwards 
termed him, had serious business in 
contemplation. Major Campbell, hand- 
some "Mad Archy," of the staff, as he 
stood by the side of his horse that 
day in Chester, was in excellent hu- 
mor, as he always was when battle 
was in the air. 



Archy Campbell's Romance 
Strange how slight an incident in 
the life of an individual may result 
in dispelling the oblivion with which 
time generally enshrouds the memory 
of the dead. In Archy Campbell we 
are confronted by one of these pecul- 
iar cases. The story shows three years 
thereafter. "Mad Archy" compelled 
Rev. Edward Ellington, by a threat in 
event of refusal to shoot the clergy- 
man, the lady and himself, to perform 
the ceremony of marriage whereby the 
lovely Paulina Philips, of Charleston, 
wUhout prior engagement, became his 
wife, is one of the most romantic inci- 
dents that cluster about the history 
of the little English church on Goose 
creek. South Carolina. It has furnished 
William Gilmore Simms with material 
for a chapter in his "Katharine Wal- 
ton," and has imparted interest to in- 
numerable magazine and newspaper 
articles. While the fellow-members of 
his Lordship's staff are forgotten, 
Archy's marriage more than his death 
in battle six months thereafter, has 
kept his memory green. 

The day was chilly, and while the 
arrangements for the embarkation 
were being perfected, that the men 
might be removed from the tempta- 
tion offered by the public houses, the 
main body of the troops were with- 
drawn to "Gallow's Hill," at the in- 
tersection of Edgmont and Providence 
Great Roads, that being elevated 
ground affording a full view of the 
Queen's Highway to Philadelphia, and 
commanding the approaches to the 
town. Over eighty English men of 
war and transports lay abreast of 
Chester, and the boats from these were 
employed to carry the soldiers to the 
Jersey shore. The surface of the Del- 
aware was alive with crafts going to 
and returning from the other side of 
the river. The horses, artillery and 
liaggage wagons were placed on floats, 
which were towed by the launches of 
the ships. A strict disciplinarian, Lord 
Cornwallis, of all officers in the Eng- 
lish army, was the best man to be in 
charge of such an enterprise. So ad- 
mirable were his arrangements that 
the soldiers, who the day before in 
solid column had taken an hour and 
a half by actual timing to cross the 
bridge at Darby, were all embarked 
before sunset. The people of the lit- 
tle hamlet breathed freer when they 
had gone, for the times were hard and 
the country had been swept by forag- 
ing parties from both armies until pro- 
visions were difficult to be had. Ma- 
jor John Clark, who had been detailed 
from General Greene's staff to keep 



Washington informed of the move- 
ments of the enemy, the day after 
Cornwallis had crossed over to Bil- 
lingsport and captured the works 
there, in a letter written from the 
"Plow and Harrow" tavern, then kept 
by Mrs. Withy, which stood where the 
Hotel Cambridge is now, told the 
American commander that "that the 
only article of general food among the 
people was potatoes," and they sold at 
16 shillings a bushel, while beef, worth 
7 shillings, 6 pence a pound, was difR- 
cult to be had even at that price. 

Jones, the Tory 

Five days before Cornwallis passed 
through Chester, the aufhorities of 
Pennsylvania had published a hand 
bill offering a reward for the arrest of 
John James, a noted Tory. These 
bills were posted in conspicuous places 
throughout Chester county, for he was 
a resident of the old bailiwick. An 
aged gentleman who died nearly twen- 
ty years ago related this instance to 
me. His father, then hardly out of his 
minority, one day noticed a man read- 
ing one of these bills which had been 
tacked on a tree near the corner of 
Fourth and Market streets, wherein 
James' was officially described as about 
35 years of age, 5 feet 10 inches in 
height, slenderly made, with a stoop 
in his walk, leaning sidewise, and his 
shoulders falling greatly. His eyes, it 
stated, were dark, and hi.s hair, for he 
wore no wig, was of a dark hue. He 
usually dressed in drab, his coat in 
the "strictest Quaker fashion being 
lengthy in the skirts and without pock- 
ets," while his hat was exceedingly 
plain. The man who read the bill, my 
informant's father said, was so very 
like the person whose arrest the State 
was so anxious to make that he never 
doubted but that John James that 
dav in Chester had seen the portrait- 
ure of himself as officially presented 
by the Supreme Executive Council. 
James, however, eluded the authori- 
ties. 

"Sandy Flash" in Chester 

It was earlv Sunday morning, Aug- 
ust 22, 1778. that James Fitzpatrick, 
the noted outlaw, who, as "Sandy 
Flash," is one of the principal charac- 
ters in Bayard Taylor's "Story of Ken- 
nett," a prisoner under guard, was 
brought to Chester, and at the jail door, 
heavily manacled as he was, he 
stretched out his hand and clasped that 
of a youth of 19, who was in the crowd 
about him. saying, "How are you,' 
brother chip?" The incident brought 
the youth under suspicion and in ex- 
planation he stated that he. James 



Shillingford. was an apprentice to a 
blacksmith whose shop was near the 
Fox Chase Tavern, in Newtown, on 
the West Chester road. In the early 
spring of that year he had gone to the 
forgo and had started the fire prepara- 
tory to the appearance of the master 
smith. While thus employed, a hand- 
some ;ithlotic young man, with sandy 
hair and ruddy complexion, astride of 
a blooded animal, rode up to the shop 
and said: 

"My horse has cast a shoe, do you 
think you can put one on?" 

"I tiiink I can," was the answer. 

"Well. I'll let you try," said the 
stranger, dismounting. 

The apprentice, much pleased at the 
opportunity to try his skill, took up 
the horse's foot and began trimming 
the hoof, when the stranger re- 
marked : 

"Give me your apron and you blow 
the bellows while I try my hand .iust to 
see what sort of a job I could do." 

The youth protested that it was a 
dangerous thing to drive a nail in a 
horse's hoof, but the man insisted, de- 
claring that he would assume all re- 
sponsibilities on that sgore. The horse 
was shod and the apprentice saw that 
the stranger was an expert smith, and 
as the latter thi-ew aside the apron 
and resumed his coat the youth no- 
ticed he was well armed and mentioned 
it. 

"l?t's dangerous traveling these 
roads alone," replied the stranger. 
"They tell me there is a Captain Fitz 
who frequents the neighborhood and 
the people are much afraid of him. 
Have you ever seen him?" 

"No." was the answer, "but I've oft- 
en heard him described." 

"Do I answer the description of Fitz- 
patrick?" 

"I don't know that you do," was 
the cautious response. 

The man mounted and threw a coin 
to the apiirentice. saying: "Pay your 
master for the shoe, and keep the rest 
for yourself. So you have never seen 
Fitzpatrick? I am going now and I 
might as well say that Fitzpatrick 
hapj)ens to be my name." The ap- 
nrentice never saw him again until 
he chanced to be in Chester on a vis- 
it and was surprised that the noted 
outlaw had recognized him. 

The Herald of Great Tidings 

It was neaiing midniglu. Sunday, 
October 21st, 1781, when a horseman 
drew rein and wearily dismounted at 
the Washington House, the name of 
this tavern had been recently changed 
from that of the "Pennsylvani.i Arms" 



to the title it then V>ore. Then, as 
before, it was recognized by the Amer- 
ican authorities as a designated i)Ost 
for the reception and dispatching of 
intelligence for' the patriots. It was 
not until he had beaten loudly for 
some time on the door that mine host, 
William Keilin was awakened and an- 
sweied the summons. It was no un- 
usual thing for him to be aroused at 
all hours of the night by bearers of 
momentous intelligence. In this case it 
was tidings of great joy. The rider 
told how about two o'clock on Friday, 
October 19th, Lord Cornwallis had 
surrendei-ed his command at Yorktown 
to the combined American and French 
armies, and how soon thereafter he 
■was dispatched to carry the momen- 
tous news to Congress; how he had 
left Yorktown, skirted the Rappannock 
until he could ford that river, crossing 
the Potomac at a ferry, then g-alloping 
through Maryland, crossing the 
Susquehanna at Bald Fry's Ferry (1), 
then through Delaware to Newark, 
Wilmington and finally Chester, cov- 
ering the distance which often was 
through wild forests and wretched 
I'oads in fifty-six hours, stopped only 
to change or bate his horses, or to 
take some hasty refreshments him- 
self. Here he changed his horse for 
a fresh one, ate a hasty meal and af- 
ter an hour's sleep mounted and be- 
gan the final part of his journey to 
Philadelphia. 

Although a town of less than six 
hundred inhabitants, Chester and its 
neighborhood, a fair representation 
of the young and middle aged men were 
in the Pennsylvania line, under Wayne, 
and, notwithstanding the hour the 
news spread rapidly, so that by day- 
light few in the old borough were ig- 
norant of the news that Cornwallis 
had suirendered. • How the news waa 
received in Philadelphia has frequent- 
ly been narrated. But I cannot refrain 
from relating what was told me when 
a lad of sixteen, by an aged relative, 
then in her ninety-fourth year. (2) On 
that Sunday night, October 21, 1781, 
she was visiting friends in the city, 
living on Market street near Second, 
close to the residence of Thomas Mc- 
Keen, then president of Congress. We 
all recall the story how the express 
rider asked a watchman to take him 
to McKeen's house, who after conduct- 
ing him to the president's dwelling 
and having learned the news, returned 
to his duty of walking the rounds 
and proclaiming the hour of the night. 
My relative was a light sleeper and 
easily aroused. She told me that she 



was awakened by hearhig old Hurry, 
a German watchman, and a well known 
character of that day, crying the hour 
but he was then so distant that she 
failed to hear what he said. Presently 
he came nearer and she distinctly 
heard him cry "Bast dree a-glock, a 
starlight night and Gornwallis isht 
daken." She clearly remembered that 
he proclaimed it was a "starlight 
night." (3) 

Washington's Visit 

On Monday, April 20, 1789, Wash- 
ington, then on his way to New York 
to be inaugurated President of the 
United States, reached Chester at 7 
o'clock in the morning and breakfast- 
ed at the Washington House. He was 
accompanied by General Thomas Mif- 
flin, Governor of Pennsylvania, Judge 
Richard Peters, the Speaker of the As- 
sembly, and the First City Troop of 
I'liiladetphia as a guard of honor, who 
had met the President-elect at Naa- 
man's creek, the State line, whither he 
had been escorted by- the authorities 
of the State of Delaware. Washing- 
ton travelled to Chester in a coach and 
four, attended by Colonel David 
Humphreys. his aid, and Charles 
Thomson, "the perpetual secretary of 
Congress," who had been dispatched 
to Mount Vernon to officially notify 
the General of his election to the 
Presidency. Thomson was well- 
known in Chester, his first wife, Mary, 
being the daughter of .lohn Mather, a 
noted resident here in the last century. 
The inhabitants of the town flocked to 
the tavern to see the distinguished 
guests and the village urchins gazed 
with admiration as the troops rode 
into the yard, the jingling of swords, 
the chami:)ing of the bits by the hors- 
es, the showy uniforms of the men, 
and the blare of the trumpet combined 
to jiroduce a picture in the memories 
of the young that could never be ef- 
faced. The address of welcome to 



(1) So called because Fry was bald 
headed. Later known as Bald Frier's 
Ferry. 

(2) Mary Moulder, who died in 1864 
aged 104, and is buried in Marcus 
Hook Baptist Church yard. 

(3) The New York Packet for No- 
vember 1, 1781, reports: "An honest 
old German, a watchman of Philadel- 
l>hia, having conducted the express 
rider from Yorktown to the door of his 
Excellency, the President of Congress, 
a few nights ago, continued the duties 
of his office, calling out "Basht dree 
o'glock and Gornwallis isht daken.'" 



Washington, by William Martin, the 
Chief Burgess, and the unostentatious 
response by the President-elect, con- 
stituted an event of marvelous im- 
I)ortanc'e to the town, as it was indeed 
to tlie world, lor it was part in the 
beginning of an untried form of gov- 
ernment that with giant strides in a 
few decades grew to be one of the 
great powers of the earth. 

Lafayette's Return 

It was Tuesday evening, October 5, 
1824, that General Lafayette, thea 'the 
Nation's guest, was received at Clies- 
ter. The steamboat which brought the 
noted Frenchman was chai'tered for 
the occasion, and among those who ac- 
comiianied him hither were Governor 
.John A. Shulze and staff. General Cad- 
wallader and staff, a committee of the 
Council of Philadelphia, the marshal of 
the United States and a number of 
prominent gentlemen, together with 
the "Washington Grays," commanded 
by Captain C. G. Shields, who were de- 
tailed as a guard of honoi'. The First 
City Troop had marched to Chester 
that day, reaching here about sunset, 
and had established their headquarters 
at the Eagle Tavern, now the City Ho- 
tel, then kept by Mrs. Polly Ehgle. 

It was 11 o'clock at night when the 
steamboat was made fast to the wharf 
at Market street, and there had gath- 
ered the people of the town and neigh- 
borhood, while the Delaware County 
Troop, commanded by Major Joseph 
Wilson, was jtresent witli the City 
Troop to receive the Marquis. Tli(i 
town was brilliantly illuminated, the 
windows of the houses were decorated 
and in many places handsome trans- 
parencies and designs were disjilayed; 
bonfires blazed in the side streets, and 
from the pier to Fifth street, on both 
sides of the curb, stood a line of boys, 
each bearing in his hand a lighted can- 
dle of mammoth size, made especially 
for this use. 

The_ red glare of rockets lit u]) the 
dark sky as Lafayette was conducted 
to the Columbia House, its site now 
that of the Hotel Cambridge, where 
the troops. that were dismounted, 
formed in open order and with their 
swords made an arch of steel under 
which the honored guest walked into 
the room where forty-seven years be- 
fore he had lain extended on a table, 
while Mrs. Grossman Lyons, then Mary 
Gorman, dressed the wound he had 
sustained that day at Brandywine. Here 
he was received by Doctor Samuel An- 
derson, Iheii our member of the As- 
sembly, as the representative of the 
town, with an address of welcome. At 



(he Cil.N liall, tlicn the t'ourt House 
of Dolawart' counl.\- (1) which was dec- 
orated tastefully, the ladies of the old 
borough had provided "a sumptuous 
entertainment, to which upwards of 
KKi gentlemen sat down at one o'clock 
in the morning." That night Lafay- 
ette was the guest of Major William 
Anderson, whose house at ffifth and 
Welsh streets, removed recently to 
make place for the government liuild- 
ing, was one of the finest mansions in 
the town. 

The next morning at 7 o'clock, the 
Colonial salute of thirteen guns was 
tired l>y Captain .Ioser)h Weaver's Ar- 
tillerists in honor of the General, and 
fit)m the piaza of the Columbia House 
he reviewed the military that marched 
up Market street for that pur])ose. At 
II o'clock the parade was formed and 
Lafayette, in a coach and four, was 
escorted down Market street to James, 
now Third sti-eet, thence by the King's 
Highway to the "Practical Farmer," 
where "a, handsome cold collation" was 
served. Here the l*ennsylvania au- 
thorities took leave of the Marquis, 
having transferred him to the care of 
the State of Delaware. It may not be 
uninteresting to add that in commem- 
oration of the part that was taken by 
the "Washington Grays" during the 
reception that comi)an.v wa.s intro- 
duced into the background of the full- 
length portrait of Lafaj-ette. painted 
for the city of Fhiladeliihia, which is 
still to be seen in the old State House 
building. 

A Tragic Episode 

On Sunda.w Mai'ch 21. 18.'{0. in the 
shadows of the evening, a closed car- 
riage was driven at a rap)id pace up 
.James, now Third street, by Market to 
I'Mfth and thence to Philadelphia. This 
coach bore an unusual i)assenger, a 
corpse. i)laced in a sitting position on 
the back seat, with a cap. very fa-sh- 
ionable at that lime with young gen- 
tlemen, drawn over the forehead to 
shade the eyes, while on either side 
.•-at a man. to proii the body in an uv- 
right attitude, imparting to it the 
semblance of life, so that an>one pass- 
ing li.\- who would glance within the 
carriage would not suspect the truth. 
It was the mortal remains of William 
Miller. Ji-.. a .\()ung lawyer of Phila- 
delphia, who that afternoon had been 
killed by Midshii)man Charles G. Hun- 
ter, of the United States Navy, in a 



(1) Delaware county was erected in 
1789, after the removal of the Courts 
of Chester county from Chester to 
West Chester. 



duel near Naaman's creek. Several 
young men of Chester, who had been 
riding in the neighborhood of Claymont, 
learned that a duel had taken place, 
and as they reached here in advance of 
the carriages, it was decided by the au- 
thorities of the town to arrest the prin- 
cipals at the bridge over Chester creek. 
When the first carriage came in sight 
the driver, noticing that a body of 
men were assembled and aware of the 
ghastly freight in his vehicle, applied 
the whip vigorously, and his horses, 
at a full gallop crossed the bridge and 
dashed through the town. The sec- 
ond carriage came along at an easy 
trot and was, without difficulty brought 
to a full stop! When it was found that 
it contained only the suigeon and 
some lookers on, it and its, passengers 
were permitted to resume the journey 
to Philadelphia. The first carriage, 
after it had gotten beyond the town, 
continued to its destination, and about 
9 o'clock halted with its ghastly bur- 
den at the house in Chestnut street be- 
low Seventh, its site now occupied by 
the German Democrat Building, from 
which that noonday it had taken away 
the dead, then a living man. Rumor 
relates how all that night the men 
kept the corjise in a room while those 
present drank deeply, due largely to 
the extreme excitement under which 
they labored. The next day the father 
of the dead young man was informed 
of his son's fate and shortly after six 
o'clock Tuesday morning the remains 
were interred without waiting for the 
legality of a coroner's inquest. 

A Day of Mourning 

On April 23. 1841, a mock funeral 
took place in the ancient borough, a 
tribute of sorrow at the death of Wil- 
liam Henry Harrison, the first Presi- 
dent of the United States to die in of- 
fice. On that occasion the Sunday 
school children, all the literary, tenti- 
])erance, beneficial and secret societies 
took part, paraded and countermarched 
on Market street. Major Samuel A. 
Price was chief marshal, while Spen- 
cer Mcllvain, John G. Dyer, Robert 
McCay, Jr., Jonathan Vernon and Gif- 
ford Johnson acted as aids. Rev. Mor- 
timer R. Talbot, rector of St. Paul's, 
delivered a funei-al oration in the old 
church which stood for almost a cen- 
tury and a half opposite where St. 
Paul's now stands. It was taken 
down in 1850. 

Scenes of Another War 

Chester, on Saturday, April 13, 1861, 
alike with the whole country, was 
startled by the news that the Amer- 
ican flag, which floated over Fort 



Sumter, in Charleston harbor, had 
been hauled down in surrender to the 
forces of tlie Palmeto State. The ex- 
citement was intense, ordinary busi- 
ness was suspended as by a common 
imi)ulse, and the absence of intelli- 
gence on Sunday, added by uncertain- 
ty to the general impatience. On Mon- 
(.ia>- President Lincoln issued a. procla- 
mation calling for seventy-five thous- 
and troops to be enlisted for a period 
of three months unless sooner dis- 
charged. That evening a meeting was 
lield in the Town Hall and immediate 
steps taken for the enrollment of a 
company of volunteers. By Wednes- 
day the ranks were filled and the late 
Harry B. Edwards^ was elected cap- 
tain, to whom Rev. Mr. Talbot, the rec- 
tor of St. Paul's, presented the sword 
that he himself had worn while a 
chaplain in the United States Navy. 
On Saturday, April 20, "The Union 
Blues" was ordered to report at once 
at Harrisburg, and at 6 o'clock that 
evening the comj^any mustered in 
liont of the Washington House, where 
I'rom the piazathe late Judge Freder- 
ick J. Hinkson, then president of the 
Delaware County Bank, addressed the 
"Blues." assuring them that the citi- 
zens of the borough had pledged them- 
selves to maintain and protect their 
wives and families during the ab- 
scence of the men at the front. Rev. 
Mr. Talbot and Rev. 'A. W. Sproull, 
then ijastor of the First Presbyterian 
church, also made speeches, while 
Rev. Father Haviland had personally 
contributed and had solicited sub- 
scriptions to a fund to be used in de- 
fraying the cost of equipping the com- 
l>any. The street between the Town 
Hall and the hotel was crowded, and 
no one old enough to remember these 
early days of the war can forget the 
departure of the first troops who re- 
sponded to the call of the President, 
or the ovation then extended through- 
out the North to the "Boys in Blue," 
l)efore constant repetition in the years 
of battle that followed had imparted a 
sameness to the movements of soldiers. 
The company, as it marched up Mar- 
ket street to the railway station made 
little attempt to preserve military pre- 
cision; that would have been almost 
imiiossible, for friends crowded around 
to shake the hands of the men, while 
mothers, wives and sisters walked at 
the side of their loved ones with affec- 
tionate solicitude. The people of Ches- 
ter, including refined and cultured wo- 
men, gathered at the depot in num- 
bers such as had never before occurred 
in the history of the town. When the 
engine and special train rolled from 



10 



the station the impression that war 
with all its attending horrors had in- 
deed come ui)on the nation, caused the 
populace to disperse in silence to their 
homes. 

The Nation's Natal Year 

There are many among us who can 
recall the night of Friday, December 
31, 1875, the eve of the Centennial. Al- 
most a score of years have gone by, 
and the girls and boys then just enter- 
ing their "teens" are now middle-aged 
people, but the memory of that time 
comes back to them as to their elders, 
as vividly as if it were an incident of 
recent happening. It is not difficult 
to remember the public buildings, the 
hotels, the newspaper offices, stores, 
private dwellings — that night bedecked 
with flags and streamers, the windows 
brilliant with the tri-colors, while in- 
numerable rows of Chinese lanterns 
spanned the thoroughfares and were 
radiant from every available place. Old 
and young thronged the streets, while 
a procession composed of the military, 
fire and civic societies of the city and 
outlying districts, traversed the prin- 
cipal highways, greeted by the shouts 
of the populace, the glare of rockets, 
the noise of guns and fire crackers 
producing a hubbub such as Chester 
had never known before and it is 
doubtful whether it has ever been 
equalled since. At half past 11, at 
Seventh street, near Market, a colon- 
ial salute of thirteen guns was fired 
by a detachment from Post Wilde, and 
hardly had the reverberations of the 
cannon ceased when the hands on the 
illuminated clock in the belfry of the 
Citv Hall, marked the hour of mid- 
night. Then the crowd that packed 
Market street in a dense mass broke 
into prolonged cheers, the bells of the 
city rang out joyous peels, the bands 
played the national airs, the discharge 
of firearms and cannon all combined 
in producing a din such as never be- 
fore had startled the ancient munici- 
pality from her propriety, and will 
never be forgotten by those who wit- 
nessed the tribute to 1876, as that year 
showed itself on the dial of time. The 
parade on the Centennial Fourth of 
July was the most imposing ever wit- 
nessed in the city up to that period. 

Off For the World's War 

It was two o'clock on Wednesday 
September 12, 1917, that Companies 
C and P., of the Sixth Infanti-y Regi- 
ment, National Guards of Pennsylva- 
nia, commanded respectively by Cap- 
tain Edmund W. Lynch and West S. 
Blain, which for a fortnight had been 



cantoned in Deshong l^ark. broke camp 
and started to entrain for active ser- 
vice in a war the like of which the 
woi-ld's annals furnish no jiarallel. The 
column, led by Taney's Military Band 
and Colonels James A. G. Campbell, T. 
Edward Clyde and George W. Thom- 
son, Spanish War Veterans; Council- 
man T. Woodward Trainer, marched 
down Edgmont avenue to Market 
street, to Market Square, where it 
countermarched and was addres.sed by 
Mayor Wesley S .McDowell and a tele- 
gram from New York read in which 
Senator William C. Sproul said "Re- 
gret I cannot reach Chester to see the 
boys of B and C leave. Give them my 
love and wish them God speed." The 
line then moved down Third street to 
Trainer station, wheie they entrained 
for Mount Gretna, the point of regi- 
mental mobilization. 

The Premature News of Peace 

The autumn of 1918 bi-ought with it 
a general impression that the great 
World War was nearing a conclusion 
of active hostilities. Germany and her 
allies had suffered severe reversals in 
the field and it was believed that be- 
fore coming spring she would be forced 
to sue for peace. No one thought the 
end was so near. Hence, when, on 
Thursday, November 7, 1918, the bul- 
letin boards proclaimed that Germany 
had signed an armistice, Chester, as 
with other cities in the United States, 
was thrown into a delirium of joyful 
excitement. The whistles of the ship- 
yards factories and workshops in 
"long interrupted blasts shrieked out 
the glad intelligence In which the tire- 
houses and church bells joined in the 
noisy rejoicing; all business abruptly 
ceased, people sought the streets, giv- 
ing the wildest expression to their 
feelings in clangorous demonstrations. 
Women and girls in the excitement of 
the hour kissed each other and their 
male acquaintances. Cheering crowds 
blocked the streets. Never before had 
Chester witnessed a like scene. Bands 
of music were hastily summoned.- The 
Fire Department, with clanging bells 
and ear-piercing whistles, hurried to 
the center of the city, adding to the 
volume of the uproar. An impromptu 
l)arade was organized and what it 
lacked in formation was more than 
compensated in enthusiasm. Governor - 
elect William C. SprOul and a number 
of leading men of the city, headed the 
line, which roughly estimated com- 
l)rised more than ten thousand partici- 
pants, marched through the principal 
streets for several hours. hailed 
wherever it went by the crowds, which 



11 



]ined the sidewalks, until it returned 
to Fifth and Market streets, where it 
was dismissed by the Governor-elect. 

While this demonstration was pre- 
mature and parades later celebrated 
the actual signing of the ai-mistice, all 
creditable to the city the spontaneous 
demonstration of November 7, 1918 is 
the one which will remain hereafter 
well defined in our local story. 

City of Para Launch 

On Saturday, April 6. 1878, the 
mammoth steamship City of Para was 
launched at Roach's yard, and the 
event was rendered memorable from 
the tact that President Hayes, the 
members of his cabinet, Governor 
Hartranft and a number of State offi- 
cials were present. Senatoi-s and Con- 
gressmen by the score were in attend- 
ance, and it affords a striking instance 
of the ephemeral chai-acter of politi- 
cal greatness to note that out of the 
list, exceeding- a hundred of then prom- 
inent men, who were present on that 
occasion, the reputations of less than 
half a dozen have survived to this day. 
From the station of the P., W. & B. 
Railroad down Mai'ket street to Third, 
and thence to Kerlin street^ was a 
dense mass of humanity; the windows 
were filled with spectators, as were 
the housetops, and it was with much 
difficulty that a platoon of policemen 
could force a way for the military 
acting as a guard of honor to the Pres- 
idential party and the officials of the 
city, in carriages, to pass to the yard. 
The President, standing uncovered in 
his carriage drawn by four horses, as 
it moved along the streets, was re- 
ceived by deafening cheers, which he 
acknowledged by repeated bows. A 
special train from Washington had 
also been moved over the railroad on 
Ulrich street immediately to the yard, 
where its passengers had been disem- 
barked. It was no exageration when 
it was stated that more than twenty- 
five thousand strangers were present 
in our city that day. 

Blaine's Visit 

In the early spring of 1878 the Wood 
tariff bill was pending in Congress and 
the i)oliticians of Delaware county, as 
in other places, deemed it important 
for their own interests to foster an ad- 
verse opinion to the measure. The 
project was well carried out and a 
huge demonstration, in the form of a 
r)arade. which traversed the principal 
streets of Chester, took place on Sat- 
urday, April 20, of that year. James 
(5. Blaine was induced to be present. 
The pageant has passed awa.v like 



mist on a mirror, leaving aio distinct 
memories. Even Blaine's speech is 
forgotten. Out of the past rises mere- 
ly the figure of an old Emerald Island- 
er, short in stature with ruddy, mot- 
tled complexion, gray hair and scanty 
gray whiskers, wearing a light colored 
top coat over his ordinary dress, who 
on Seventh street, near where the 
Grand Opera House now stands, pre- 
sented, in Milesian accents, the distin- 
guished guesf of the hour, in the fol- 
lowing words: "Fellow Citizens: I 
have the honor to introduce to you 
•lames G. Blaine, of Maine, the Gibral- 
tar of America." All else but this has 
passed totally from the recollections of 
the people. 

The Bi-Centennial 

It was Monday, October 23, 1882, 
when the Bi-Centennial anniversary 
of the landing of William Penn, in 
Pennsylvania, was celebrated at Ches- 
ter. It was a public holiday, strangers 
were present in the city in great num- 
bors, including Governor Henry M. 
Hoyt and staff, many of the State offl- 
ciais and other prominent guests. The 
streets and buildings were gay with 
flags and other decorations, and the old 
historic landmarks were designated 
with banners bearing the date of con- 
struction and other interesting data 
plainly marked thereon. A flagstaff 
over eighty feet in heignt had been er- 
ected at the place of Penn's landing 
from which floated the proud emblem 
of the Union. It was high water about 
nine o'clock that morning, and short- • 
ly thereaftej' the Pacific Dramatic As- 
sociation, assisted by the various lodg- 
es of Red Men, at the foot of Penn 
street, and, as near the exact spot 
where Penn actually landed as could 
l)e, considering the changes that had 
occurred in the river bank in two cen- 
turies, enacted the incident that had 
happened there two hundred years be- 
fore. 

The dialogue written by William 
Shaler .Johnson presented many drann- 
atic featuies appropriate to the occa- 
sion. At 10 o'clock a great crowd gath- 
ered on the then vacant lot at the 
noitheast corner of Concord avenue 
and Second street, and address was 
made by Mayor .lames Barton, Jr., a 
prayer by Rev. Henry Brown, a bi- 
centennial poem read by its author. 
Rev. Samuel Pancoast, followed by an 
able historical oration by the late 
Judge John M. Broomall. The chil- 
dren of the iiublic schools, nearly a 
thousand, sang a bi-centennial hymn 
written by Prof. C. F. Foster, the mu- . 
sic composed by Prof. John R. Sweney, 



12 



who also (lirecled the chihliPii that 
(hiv. In the afternoon was a parade 
under the marslialship of Colonel \V. 
C. dray, in which, by actual count 
made at the City Hall, more than 6,000 
men i)articipated. Several of the in- 
dustrial establishments and all the 
manufacturing interests w-ere repre- 
sented, many of which pi-esented nov- 
el and attractive designs. The fifth 
division, restricted to the various 
trades, had numerous floats in line 
whereon were displayed the craftsmen 
at work, constituting- one of the most 
interesting features of the great par- 
ade. 

Firemen's Day 

The Eleventh Annual Convention of 
the Firemen's Association of Pennsyl- 
vania -was held in this city on the 16th, 
17th and 18th days of September, 1890. 
Fire organizations from every section 
of the State were present, as were also 
representatives from the cities of New- 
York. Brooklyn, Washington, D. C, 
and Wilmington. Del., Bayonne, Glou- 
cestei-, Merchantville, Camden. Eliza- 
beth. Bound-Brook. Raritan and Bur- 
lington. N. J.. Winchester and Alex- 
andria, Va., Baltimoie, Port Deiiosit 
and Annapolis, Md. Thursday, Sep- 
tember 18th. was the day set apart for 
the pai'ade and it was one that will be 
remembered in our city's annals. The 
rieoi)le of Chester had extended to the 
visitors a hearty welcome, and while 
many droll incidents were enacted in 
our streets, creating much merriment, 
no scenes of disorder occurred. Tn 
honoring the occasion, stores, hotels, 
business places and dwellings were 
elaborately decorated, while in many 
places triumphant arches, appropriate- 
ly ornamented, spanned the streets. 
Nearly five thousand men were in line 
and music from the extreme ordinary 
to exquisite harmony, filled the air as 
long as the line filed by. consuming an 
hour and a half to pass the City Hall. 
In the evening at various places se- 
lected, bands furnished gratuitous con- 
certs to the public. Capi)a"s New^ York 
Seventh Regiment Band, which had 
been secured at a cost of $1,200, by the 
Hanley Hose Company, of this city, 
was the peculiar attraction and for 
nearly two hours it discoursed a num- 
ber of "bright gems instinct with mu- 
sic." 

Back to Old Times 
Let us stoi) a moment here at Mar- 
ket Square. It was not until 1740 that 
the old Market House which formerly 
stood in the center of the square was 
built and which, after standing one 
hundred and eight years, was removed 



in the spring of 18.57. The ancient 
structure was erected on a raised brick 
platform curbed with stone, extending 
al)out fifty feet along Market street 
and in breadth thirty feet. The build- 
ing itself was thirty-five feet in length 
and twenty-five in width. The shin- 
gled roof was supported by seven brick 
pillars on the east, and a like number 
on the west side, the plastered ceiling 
within foiming an archway the entire 
length of the market house. On the 
roof at the north end of the building 
about 1829, a frame structure twenty 
feet square was erected, on the roof 
of which was a cupola, wnth green 
blinds, surmounted by a spire and 
weather vane. This room, which was 
used as a town hall, where th<' Bur- 
gesses sat and where the Chester Li- 
brary Company kept their books, 
was reached by a wooden stairway on 
the outside, and at the east of the 
l)uilding towards St. Paul's church. 
When the market house was taken 
down, the frame superstructure was 
sold to Thomas Clyde, who removed it 
to FMfth street, where it still stands. 
oi)posite the Hotel Cambridge, and is 
today used as a Chinese laundry. 

A Romance of Old 

It was in the square fifteen years be- 
fore the market house was built, that 
James Annesley. then a young man of 
nineteen, who. in attempting to escape 
from a brutal master, for he was a. re- 
demptioner. had f";illen in with a party 
who had committed a. theft in Ches- 
ter. The hue and cry resulted in their 
capture. Annesley and the others were 
tried and found guilty — the punish- 
ment for the offense at that time was 
death. 

When he was asked what he had to 
say why sentence should not be im- 
posed, he told the court his story and 
as his presence with the criminals was 
the only evidence against him. the 
court i-emanded him. ordering that ex- 
ecution should be suspended in his 
case for the i)resent, but that on "the 
fifth day of the week, called Thurs- 
day." the day designated in the char- 
ter from Penn on which market should 
be held in Chester, he should "be set 
ui) from early dawn to noon-day in 
Market Square with a paper affixed to 
his breast," whereby all persons who 
i-ead it were reiiuested to report to the 
authorities whether thev had ever 
seen him in Chester before he was 
thus exiiosed in the pillory. (1) If it 



(1) The pillory stood on the 
southeast corner of Market Square, for 
it was then a square, not an octagonal 



13 



should appear by creditable witnesses 
that he had been here prior to that 
time, the court ordered that the de- 
ferred sentence should be carried into 
execution at a date designated by the 
Chief Justice, but if it could be shown 
that his story was true, the Chief Jus- 
tice, David Lloyd, who was a resident 
of Chester, would discharge him on 
such proofs being made. For five 
weeks, each market day he was there 
exposed, when his master, Drummond, 
chanced to be In Chester, claimed his 
servant and Annesley was delivered to 
him. It is not necessary to follow fur- 
ther this incident, but the subsequent 
claims made by Annesley that he was 
the kidnapi)ed son and heir of the Earl 
of Anglesley, is one of the most noted 
cases that was ever heard in any court, 
and on the incidents that were pre- 
sented in that trial. 

Our Boys in the Spanish American War 
It became evident early in April. 
1898, that open hostilities between 
Spain and the United States was in- 
evitable. Although Congress did not 
declare that a state of war existed un- 
til Monday, April 25th, on the preceed- 
ing Saturday, under authority already 
given the Executive. President Mc- 
Kinley by proclamation had called one 
hundred and twenty-flve thousand 
men to the colors, which was designed 
to include the organized, equipped 
militia of the several SUites. So rapid- 
ly did the Pennsylvania authorities 
act, that the National Guards were or- 
dered to mobilize at Mount Gretna, in 
one week's time. On Wednesday, the 
27th, Mayor Crosby M. Black notified 
the fire department of Chester that 
the following morning companies B and 



form, in front of the unimproved lot 
owned by the Rev. Richard Backhouse, 
rector of St. Paul's Episcopal church. 

The Annesley case is one of the most 
famous in law and literature. It is 
reported in Hargraves' State Trials, 
Vol. 9, page 431; in Howell's State 
Trials, Vol. 17. Burk's Trials connect- 
ed with the Aristocracy, p. 249; Trial 
at Bar between Campbell Craig, lessee 
of James Annesley, Esq., and the Earl 
of Anglesey, London, 1744; Craik's 
Peerage Cases, and "Celebrated Claim- 
ants, Ancient and Modern," London, 
1873. Annesley himself wrote the 
"Memoirs of An Unfortunate Young 
Nobleman," and Chambers, in his 
"Stories of Remarkable Persons," page 
272, treats of this notable case. 

On this case Lady Morgan founded 
her once popular but now almost for- 



C. of the Sixth Regiment N. G. could 
leave at an early hour for Mount 
Gretna and instructed the organiza- 
tions to be present to take part in 
giving the soldier boys a suitable de- 
parture for the war. That Thursday 
morning ushered in a day of most un- 
l)r(>pitious weather; a wild wind ac- 
companied with a downpour of rain, 
hail and sleet. Despite all this the 
parents, wives, sweethearts and friends 
of the soldiers gathered at the Armory 
on Fifth street to bid goodbye to the 
troops. When the time came to in,- 
train Company B Captain Daniel Mc- 
Devitt and Comi)any C Captain Sam- 
uel D. Clyde marched up Fifth street 
to Market, to the Square, and where 
they counter marched to the station, 
where they embarked. Col. Perry M. 
Washabaugh and staff accompanied 
the Chester companies, ,picking up 
other units of the regiment on the way, 
reaching Mount Gretna well along in 
the night. There the railroad officials 
notified the Colonel to disembark his 
command. The storm which had con- 
tinued all day, was then raging violent- 
ly. "Detrain my men in this tempest 
and darkness! I'll not do it. Sir. Until 
morning they shall not leave these 
cars." The official persisted but the 
Colonel was immovable. Finally the 
train was run on a siding and remain- 
ed until daylight, when under a clear 
sky they were disembarked. 
A Gay Young Colonist 
Let us stop a moment here opposite 
the Steamboat Hotel. The house was 
built by Francis Richardson subse- 
quent to 1760. In that year Grace, the 
widow of David Lloyd, died and by her 
will she devised the bulk of her es- 



gotten novel, "Florence McCart- 
ney"; Tobias Smollett, his famous 
"Roderick Random," and Sir Walter 
Scott his "Guy Mannering," while in 
recent years, following very closely 
the testimony in the case, Charles Read 
in his "Wandering Heir," has again 
employed the story of James Annesley 
as the ground work of his novel and he 
presents an exceedingly graphic pic- 
ture of the pillory scene in the old 
market place, in this city. To law- 
>ers the case is ever of interest for in 
it the rule which Chief Justice Holt, 
somewhat vaguely announced on the 
trial of Ambrose Rockwood in 1691, 
that council could not call a witness, 
if objected to, unless he first stated to 
the Court the nature of the testimony 
he was expected to give, was so well 
settled that it has never since been 
questioned. 



14 



tate which was larg^e to her cousin, 
Francis Richardson, then a merchant 
in I'hihidclphia. He removed to Ches- 
ter and erected tliis building as his 
personal mansion. He was of «» spec- 
ulative disposition and somewhat im- 
jirovidcnt, and the long war ot the 
Revolution, in uiTsettling values, ul- 
timately caused his financial ruin. His 
eldest son, Francis, was " a person of 
groat personal beauty," we are told 
by John F. Watson, the annalist, a 
statement that is fully corroborated by 
Mrs. Deborah Logan. Another author- 
ity informs us "that he was fair and 
delicate to effiminancy, reserved in his 
intercourse with he fellows, but very 
attractive in his conversation and 
manneis, that he dressed with studied 
care, particularly favoring in his at- 
tire scarlet cloths. of fine texture, a pe- 
culiarity that was exceedingly obnox- 
ious to the Friends, of which society 
he was a birthright member. His 
courtly bearing, his costly raiment and 
his custom of wearing a handsome 
dress sword when on the street were 
resented by the plain people of the 
town, who regarded him as "a brand 
for the burning." While a young man 
he visited England, where he became 
the associate of distinguished men of 
letters and was received in the best 
society of London. When he first went 
to Europe he chanced to lodge in the 
same house in which Samuel Foote, 
the noted comedian, celebrated wit and 
successful playwright, lived. It is re- 
lated that one day as Richardson came 
out of his room he met Foote on the 
stairway, when the latter said, "Rich- 
ardson, a person has just been asking 
for you, expressing a strong desire to 
see you and pretended that he was an 
old Philadelphia acquaintance. But I 
knew better, for he was a d d ill- 
looking fellow, and I have no doubt 
the rascal was a bailiff, so I told him 
you were not at home." Foote's career 
was a life-long struggle with the bail- 
iffs, and by his mistaken kindness, 
Richardson failed to meet Mr. Willing, 
one of the wealthiest merchants of 
Philadelphia, who had been particu- 
larly requested by his father to visit 
his son and see in what manner he 
was faring in London. 

Richardson has been termed "one of 
the most singular and successful of 
American adventurers." He acquired 
the reputation of an expert swordsman 
and an unerring pistol shot, so that 
men were chary of offending this deli- 
cately handsome man. He oblained a 
commission in the Coldstream Guards, 
the regiment that was and is the high- 
est in its social afUliations of all the 



F^nglish army. He ultimately rose to 
be its Colonel, a rank that is coveted 
even by men of royal birth. His regi- 
ment was not ordered to America dur- 
ing the Revolution, where, had he 
come, he would have found his father, 
a Friend as he was, one of the active 
spirits in the cause of the Colonists. 

Richardson's Wharf 

The foregoing incident is a digres- 
sion, but we have reached the foot of 
Market street, when our ramble must 
needs end. Prior to 1762, when Fran- 
cis Richardson built a wharf there, the 
vessels stopping at Chester must have 
tiischarged their cargoes in the most 
primitive way. The craft was brought 
as close to the shore as possible on 
the high tide (we are told that vessels 
in the early part of the late century 
could stand into the land until the 
branches of the trees growing on the 
t)ank would brush their rigging), when 
she was moored stem and stern, 
grounding on the ebb. Of course, as 
the cargo was discharged, the vessel 
rode higher in the water. Return 
freight which, in those days, consisted 
entirely of cereals and peltry, was 
loaded in like manner, but the last 
portion of the cargo was put on board 
by lighters while the vessel was at 
anchor in the stream. The piers that 
Richardson built consisted simply of 
logs driven in the mud with planks 
laid thereon from the head until the 
structure united with the firm land. 
The flow of water was uninterrupted, 
save only by the piles themselves, for 
there were no cribs filled with stones 
and earth, as is the case with the pres- 
ent wharf. Richardson firmly believed 
that Chester could be made a commer- 
cial rival of Philadelphia, arguing that 
the river rarely was frozen over at this 
I)lace sufficient to arrest navigation 
wholly, whereas the Delaware at the 
horse-shoe for months together in the 
winter season, in those days of sail 
navigation entirely, would be blocked 
,with an impenetrable field of ice. He 
spent money lavishly to carry out this 
project, and finally became a bank- 
rupt. 

The Tea Tax 

It w-as Christmas — Saturday — 1773 
that the ship "Polly." which had sailed 
from London on the 29th of the pre- 
ceding September with a cargo of tea 
consigned to merchants in Philadel- 
phia, anchored off Richardson's wharf. 
Captain Ayres had followed another 
vessel up the Delaware this far. In 
the heated state of the public mind, 
no pilot dared to bring the "Polly" up 



15 



the river, lor six weeks prior to this 
time, when it was learned that the 
ship was coming-, a public meeting- 
had been held in the State House 
Square, in Philadelphia, at which it 
was, amid boisterous applause, re- 
solved "that whoever shall directly 
or indirectly aid or abet in unloading, 
receiving: or vending the tea," while 
the objectionable tax was imposed, "is 
fin enemy to the country." Richard 
Riley, who died 1820, a venerable man 
ot over ninety, and for seventy years 
one of the leading men of this section, 
from his dwelling, which with broken 
walls and rafters fallen still remains 
at Marcus Hook, on Front street be- 
tween Church and Market, had kept a 
careful lookout for the vessel, and 
when the "Polly" hove in sight, he rode 
to Chester to consult with William 
Kerlin, then the proprietor of the pres- 
ent Washington House, as to what ac- 
tion ought to be taken. 

Whether the traditional account in 
this particular is correct or not, cer- 
tain it is that a courier was immedi- 
ately dispatched, post-haste to Phila- 
delphia, to announce the unwelcomed 
news. The messenger reached that 
city the same evening, as did also Gil- 
bert Barclay, one of the consignees of 
the ship, who had been a passenger 
on the vessel, had landed here and rid- 
den immediately to Philadelphia. 
Three members of the committee were 
ordered to come to Chester and obtain 
an interview with Captain Ayres. in 
which they were to picture to him the 
inflamed condition of the public mind 
and to advise him that personal dan- 
ger to him would in all probability re- 
sult should he act contrary thereto. 

When the men Had reached the high 
ground this side of Darby they were 
met by another messenger from Ches- 
ter, who informed them that the Polly 
had that Sunday, at noon, sailed up 
the river. The vessel was hailed at 
Gloucester Point, and Captain Ayres 
was i)revailed on by the committee to 
anchor the ship and go with them to 
the city. On Monday morning 8,000 
men gathered in the State House yard, 
when it was decided that the ship 
should not be reported or permitted to 
enter at the custom house; that the 
tea should not be landed, but must be 
taken back to England; that a pilot 
should be put aboard the Polly, with 
instructions on the next high water to 
carry her to Reedy Island; that Cap- 
tain Ayres could stay one day in the 
city to i)rocure supplies for the return 
voyage, and that being done, he must 
put to sea immediately. 



This he did on Tuesday, only forty- 
six hours having elapsed from his 
dropping anchor off Chester until he 
sailed on his return voyage. Captain 
Ayres came by land hither, where he 
boarded the sloop carrying supplies to 
the Polly. When the ve.ssel reached 
England Earl Dartmouth demanded 
that the insult "offered this kingdom 
* * * should be fully explained." Rich- 
ard Penn, who was then Governor, had 
returned to England and John Penn, 
the grandson of William, and son 
of Thomas Penn, had been com- 
missioned in his stead. He was 
arrogant and reserved, besides the 
great mass of the people — super- 
stition was very strong at that time — 
looked upon him as unlucky, for on 
his arrival at Philadelphia to assume 
office on Sunday, August 30, 1773, the 
eastern part of Pennsylvania was 
shaken by an earthquake, accompan- 
ied by a loud roaring noise, an ill omen 
for his administration. He was never 
able to have the Assembly take any 
action on Dartmouth's demand, and as 
in a little more than a year the Revo- 
lutionary struggle began in earnest, 
the "insult" was never "fully ex- 
plained." 

Washington in a Hilarious Mood 

It was here an incident occurred 
in .our national and local history of 
which I had no knowledge until re- 
cently. On Wednesday, September 8th, 
1781, Washington left Philadelphia 
(where the rear of the French army 
had arrived, the American army hav- 
ing already passed through that city) 
for the head of the Elk, now Elkton, 
where he designed to overtake his com- 
mand. In his journal he records that 
at Chester he "received the agreeable 
news of the safe arrival of the Count 
de Grasse in the Bay of Chesapeake." 
His Excellency J. J. Jusscrand, em- 
bassador from France to the United 
States in a recent article (1) gives a 
charming account of Washington's 
meeting with Rochambeau and his 
staff, at Chester, which until M. Juss- 
crand's article appeared was com- 
paratively unknown to American his- 
torians, but show's the Father of his 
Country in a novel light. The dis- 
tinguished writer tells us that "On 
the 5th of September. Rochambeau and 
his aides took boat from Philadelphia 
to Chester and when they reached the 
latter place Closen" ("Captain Baron 

(1) "Our First Alliance." National 
Geographic Magazine, June, 1917, page 
518. 



16 



dc ClosiMi. of llic Kepiniciu de Kt)yal 
Deux- I'onls) "records, we saw in the 
distance General Wasiiington shaking 
his hat and a white handkerchief and 
showinpr signs of great joy. Rocliam- 
beau iiad scarcely landed when Wash- 
ington, usually so cool and comi)osed, 
fell into his arms, the great news had 
arrived, de Orasse had come, and while 
Cornwallis was on the defensive at 
Yorktown, the l'"'iench fleet was ban - 
ing the Chesape.ike." 

A Naval Hero 

It was late on the afternoon of April 
10. 1782, that the good people of Ches- 
ter saw two vessels standing up the 
river. The foremost floated two en- 
signs, the Stars and Strii>es being dis- 
played on the same halyards with the 
meteoric flag of Great Britain, but the 
last was undermost. 'The intelligence 
ran quickly through the town and in a 
short time a crowd had collected on 
Richardson's wharf, for the people 
knew that Captain Joshua Barney, who 
had sailed from Philadelphia on the 
8th in the Hyder Ali, had met and cap- 
tured the English vessel -of- war. Gen- 
eral Monk, that had been lying in wait 
at the mouth of the Delaware, a terror 
to all the merchants of Philadelphia 
as well as to the owners of vessels at 
smaller places along the river. When 
the ships rounded to and lay by the 
pier a gang plank was run out frona 
the General Monk, and Captain Bar- 
ney came ashore, followed by four sea- 
men bearing a stretcher on which lay 
Captain Rodgers, of the Royal navy, 
grievously wounded. The English of- 
ficer was taken to the house of a Quak- 
er lady who nursed him for several 
months before he entirely recovered 
from his injuries. Who it was that 
nursed him I do not know, but in the 
biography of Commodore Barney, pub- 
lished in 1831, it is stated that the lady 
was then alive and resided on Pine 
street, Philadelphia. 

American Strategy 

The crowd gave but passing atten- 
tion to this incident. They were busy 
in i)ainting out to each other the many 
scars of battle the captured vessel ex- 
hibited, and gazing with amazement 
at the mizzen staysail, in which small 
canvas alone could be counted 305 
shot holes. With open-mouthed won- 
der the rustic population listened to 
the story of the battle: How the Hy- 
der Ali, carrying only sixteen six- 
pounders and a crew of 110 men, in- 
cluding the marines, who were Bucks 
county riflemen, disguised as a mer- 
chantman, had met the General Monk, 



• irnied with twenty nine-pounders and 
13() men; how Captain Barney had in- 
structed his people to execute every 
command as though an exactly con- 
tradictory order had been given; how, 
as the Englishman ranged alongside 
of his vessel, the American officer, in 
a voice so loud that it was heard by 
the enemy, cried out: "Hard-a-port 
your helm! Do you want him to run 
aboard of us?" In resi)onse to which 
the man at the wheel clapped the helm 
hard-at-starboard, and by so doing the 
jibboom of the English ship caught in 
the fore- rigging of the American, giv- 
ing the latter a raking i)osition; how 
when Barney shouted "Board." the 
brave Englishmen crowded together to 
repel an assault, and were met with a 
close fire that swept the deck with an 
iron hail of death, and when the com- 
mand "P^ire!" Avas given, to the sur- 
prise of the British, the Americans, 
cutlasses in hand, sprang in a body 
on the deck of the English vessel; how 
in twenty-six minutes twenty-three 
broadsides were fired by the American 
ship, and how when the General Monk 
was captured every officer, except one 
midshipman, was killed and wounded 
and the casualties among the crew 
were near one hundred, while the 
Americans had four killed and eleven 
wounded. The next day Captain Bar- 
ney took his prize to Philadelphia, and 
the following evening returned to Ches- 
ter and sailed in the Hyder Ali for the 
cai)es, but the English vessels of war 
had gone to sea. 

The First Steamboat 

It was during the month of June, 
1790, that the inhabitants of Chester 
were astonished to learn that a mar- 
velous craft, vomiting volumes of 
black smoke from a pipe amidships, 
was in a direct line, and against the 
wind, making for the pier at Market 
street. It was John Fitch's steamboat 
— the first vessel of that description 
ever succijssfully navigated in the 
world — seventeen years before Robert 
Fulton built his celebrated steamboat. 
The Clermont. The people of the town 
who gathered at the wharf to inspect 
this peculiar vessel — which had no 
name other than "the steamboat" — 
when it was made fast at the wharf, 
saw a mere cockle-shell sixty feet in 
length, eight feet beam, for which 
power was supplied by an eighteen- 
inch cylinder engine, and the propul- 
sion was made by four iiaddles, two 
on each side, located at the stern. This 
wonder attained an average speed of 
eight miles an hour. 



17 



In the New York Magazine for that 
year appears a letter dated at Phila- 
delphia, August 13th, in which the 
writer says: "On Saturday morning 
she sets off for Chester and engages 
to return in the evening— 40 miles," . 
and adds, "God willing, I intend to be 
one of her passengers." In the Fed- 
eral Gazette, published in Philadelphia, 
in the issue of July 30, 1790, appears 
an advertisement informing the pub- 
lic that "The steamboat sets out from 
Arch street wharf on Sunday morn- 
ing, at 8 o'clock, for Chester, to return 
the same day." During the months of 
June, July, August and September, 
1790, this boat made regular trips, 
carrying freight and passengers — one 
day "to Wilmington and return, anoth- 
er dav to Burlington and Bris- 
tol, but to Chester always on 
Sundays, for Chester at that time 
for some reason was an exceed- 
ingly attractive locality for the rest- 
less public of Philadelphia. At the 
end of the season the boat became 
disabled, the machinery being defec- 
tive, and Fitch, a man of limited 
means, was not able to pay for the 
repairs, while the men who had ad- 
vanced the money for the construc- 
tion of the boat had grown tired of 
an experiment that yielded no finan- 
ciaT returns — the boat was dismantled 
and sold to discharge the debts already 
outstanding. 

Visit of the U. S. Scout Cruiser Chester 
On November 29th, 1909, by order of 
the Secretary of the Navy Truman 
H. Newberry, the United States Scout 
Cruiser "Chester," (whose sponsor was 
Miss Dorothy, daughter of Senator 
William C. Sproul) commanded by 
Captain Henry B. Wilson, visited the 
city for which she was named, anchor- 
ing in the Pennsylvania channel of the 
Delaware, off Chester Island, and for 
five days until December 1st, her offi- 
cers, marines and crew were the 
guests of officials and citizens of the 
city. During the cruiser's stay each 
day was apportioned to events design- 
ed especially for the gratification and 
entertainment of the "Devil Dogs," the 
Blue Jackets and their officers, the 
guests of the city. 

A Chester Hero 

It was about noonday of March 11, 
1813, that the American 32-gun frigate 
Essex, Captain David Porter com- 
manding, reached Chester and an- 
nounced the glorious victory in which 
the British frigate Castor, outnumber- 
ing in guns and men the Essex, had 
been compelled to strike her colors to 



the caliant seamen, whose heroic deeds 
are part of the national history and 
liave imparted lustre to the annals of 
our town. The people of the hamlet, 
even those who were adverse to war, 
were enthusiastic at the welcomed 
news, for in the glory of the officer so 
well known to tnem all, they felt a 
personal pride. Aaron Cobourn, then 
postmaster, in dispatching the mail 
that afternoon for Philadelphia, en- 
dorsed as a postscript to the way bill 
that by the regulation was then re- 
quired to accoinpany each mail sent 
out from a postoffice, a brief statement 
of Captain Porter's arrival, the cap- 
ture of the "Castor" and the fact that 
the loss of the latter had been enor- 
mous — 150 men of the British frigate 
having been killed and wounded. The 
news was published in the Freeman's 
Journal, of Philadelphia, the next day 
and from its columns copied by the 
press throughout the country. 

The Piers 

The War of 1812 was followed by 
great commercial activity, although 
the fictitions values that it had stim- 
ulated ,in the adjustment that ensued 
produced a period of protracted busi- 
ness depression. As the commerce of 
Philadelphia at that time largely ex- 
ceeded that of any port in the United 
States, the Commonwealth of Pennsyl- 
vania, on March 11, 1816, made an ap- 
propriation for the erection of piers at 
Chester, to afford a safe harbor to ves- 
sels in the winter season, when drift- 
ing ice rendered navigation of the Del- 
aware exceedingly dangerous. The 
owi^ers of the then existing wharves, 
David Bevan, that at Market street, 
and Ephraim Pearson, that at Edg- 
mont avenue, conveyed their titles to 
the State. Durijig the year 1817 the 
CommonweJllth built new piers at the 
points designated, but the cost of 
keeping them in repair became so on- 
erous that the State rued the accept- 
ance of thfe gifts. Finally it was so 
desirous of being relieved from the ex- 
liense of the maintenance of these 
white elephants that it succeeded, 
through the influence of its Senators 
and Representatives in inducing the 
National government to accept the 
piers at Chester, the only condition 
made being that they should keep 
them in good repair. The United 
States acceeded to the proposition, 
and on April 11, 1825, the Common- 
wealth formally ceded the wharves 
here to the general government. The 
latter, as had the State, soon regretted 
its bargain, for yearly a goodly sum 
was required to be expended in keep- 



ing the piors in a serviceable condi- 
tion, and il was not until an interval 
of sixty-two years had elapsed when, 
on May !», 1887, William K. Endecott, 
Secretary of War, under the provisions 
of the Act of Congress of August 6. 
1886, conveyed the title of the United 
States to the wharves here to the City 
of Chester. 

A New Naval Type 

It was in the .summer of 1845, that 
the iTinceton, the first screw propel- 
ler in the American service, and the 
first vessel of war or mat character 
in the history of the navies of the 
world, sailed from Philadelphia to take 
part in the Mexican war. The steam- 
ship was designed by Commodore 
Richard F. Stockton, and was a mar- 
vel at that time, although when com- 
pared with the man-of-war of the 
present, she dwarfs into insignificance. 
Her total length was 165 feet, breadth 
30 feet and her original cost $212,000. 
She was pierced for 30 guns and car 
ried in addition a large swivel on the 
maindeck. She was ship-rigged, and 
her maximum speed 10 knots an hour. 
She was launched at tjie Philadelphia 
navy yard in the fall of 1843. After 
the "bursting of the "Peacemaker," the 
big swivel gun, at Washington, D. C. 
on P'ebruary 28. 1844, an accident by 
which many distinguished men lost 
their lives, spreading gloom over the 
whole country, she was refitted at the 
Philadelphia navy yard. 

I have particularized these facts be- 
cause the Princeton revolutionized the 
system of naval architecture just as 
nineteen years thereafter the Monitor 
brought about a similar radical change 
in the s,ame science throughout the 
world. My first distinct boyhood rec- 
ollections are connected with the sail- 
ing of that vessel in 1845. All Chester 
was anxious to catch a glimpse of 
the marine wonder, for one of her 
birth-right citizens. Commander, af- 
terwards Rear Admiral. Frederick 
Engle. was its captain and along the 
wharves the people of the town gath- 
ered to be eye witnesses of the scene. 
Doubtless, the commander, as the 
vessel steamed by, was complimented 
bv the interest the inhabitants of his 
natal place exhibited that day. The 
Princeton, under his command, was 
conspicuous in the bombardment of 
Vera Cruz and the castle of San Juan 
d'Ulloa. March 22, 1847, and a shot 
from this vessel made the first breach 
in the walls of that fortress. 

A distinguished naval officer who 
^ad taken part in that action told me 
that early one morning in the summer 



of 1845 the Princeton foi- the first 
time steamed into the i>ort of Vera 
Cruz, her sails nicely furled, her yards 
squared and the Stars and Stripes at 
the i)eak. As she burned anthiacite 
coal no smoke was discernible from 
her stack, which was so short that it 
was only a trifle above her bulwarks, 
and as a strong wind was blowing it 
caused her to careen slightly, giving 
to her the appearance of having struck 
on ;i reef. Several French and Span- 
ish men-of-war were at anchor in the 
hai-bor, as was also the English frig- 
ate Euridyce. Captain Endicott, the 
commander of the latter, observing 
what he sui^posed was the critical con- 
dition of the vessel, dispatched an of- 
ficer to acfiuaint Captain McClung, 
commanding the United States sloop- 
cf-war .lohn Adartis, that an American 
sailing ship had struck on a reef. Be- 
fore the boat could retuT-n, much to 
his surprise and that of the other for- 
'ign naval officers, the ship, still ca- 
reening and without apparent cause 
rapidly drew near and they discov- 
'•red that it was the famous steamship 
Princeton aiiproaching them. The 
foreign naval vessels as the marine 
wonder glided by greeted her with 
hearty cheers. 

Wounded Warriors 

It was Tuesday. July 17, 1862, that 
the steamship State of Maine made 
fast to the wharf, having on board 223 
sick _and wounded Union soldiers, who 
had been captured by the Confeder- 
ates in the seven days of battle before 
Richmond and had recently been ex- 
changed. The men presented a most 
pitiable sight. Some had strength 
barely sufficient to walk ashore; oth- 
ers were unable to stand without as- 
sistance and many had to be borne on 
stretchers. The pallid features, the 
emaciated forms and extreme weak- 
ness present in every instance, aroused 
the heartfelt sympathy of all behold- 
ers. It was an object lesson, for it was 
a realistic picture of war, bereft of 
the gilt and glitter that cast^a glam- 
our over the career of the solcfier; con- 
spicuously lacking in the pride, pomp 
and circumstance of battle, which is 
wont to stir the blood of youth; noth- 
ing was i)re'sent but sorrow, suffering 
and the shadow of death. The in- 
stance is noticeable in that it was the 
first time the people of Chester in re- 
cent years had witnessed such a 
scene, and because it was the initial 
consignment of i^atients to the Crozer 
Hospital, where, during the following 
three years, thousands of men. Union 
and Confederates alike, were received 



19 



and tenderly nursed, many to be re- 
stored to health and many never more 
to emerge therefrom in life. On the 
deck of a steamship under the torrid 
sky of the guff, while journeying amid 
the everlasting snows of the Rockies, 
and beneath the cloudless heavens of 
the State of Utah, I have met men who 
have told me of the hours they, as 
wounded soldiers, had passed at the 
Crozer Hospital at Chester, and of the 
kindness, while convalescents, that 
had been extended to them by the peo- 
ple of the town, and these cherished 
recollections welled up from their 
memories in unfeigned emotions of 
gratitude. 

Grant's Journey 

On Tuesday afternoon, April 17th, 
1877, Chester was gay with bunting. 
Over the City Hall, school houses, 
mills, woKk shops and numerous pri- 
vate dwellings, "old glory" floated 
proudly in the air, while on the piers 
at the foot of Market street and Edg- 
mont avenue, on the docks along the 
river front, at every available place, 
on roof tops and on the decks of the 
vessels on the stocks and lying at the 
piers at Roach's yard, tHe people of 
the town came together in a mass, foV 
ex-President Grant that day set out 
on his memorable tour around the 
world. It had been arranged by the 
committee in Philadelphia that he 
Should board the Indiana down the 
river below New Castle, and to carry 
out this purpose the Twilight had been 
chartered. The illustrious soldier was 
accompanied on the steamboal by a 
great number of prominent men, con- 
snicuous among whom were General 
Sherman. Senators Zachariah Chand- 
ler and Simon Cameron, and ex-Sec- 
»etary of the Navy George M. Robe- 
son. The flotilla of yachts, steamboats 
and launches, as well as the mammoth 



steamship itself that was to bear him 
to the old world, where he was to be 
accorded a welcome from princes and 
potentates such as had not been ex- 
tended to any other man in modern 
times, as it moved down the Delaware 
a mass of flags presented a scene of 
marvelous animation and inspiration. 

When the pageant neared the wharf 
at Market street, the sfeam whistles 
of the city screamed out the universal 
expression of public approval; the ar- 
tillery served by the cadets of the 
Pennsylvania Military College, sta- 
tioned at Roach's yard, shook the air 
with their discharges, the cheers of 
men rose in a mighty swell, and the 
flutter of handkerchiefs and scarfs by 
thousands of women, combined in pro- 
ducing a picture of popular enthus- 
iasm such as has rarely been accorded 
to man. The Twilight drew close to 
the shore, that the General could be 
seen by our iteople, and as the steam- 
boat moved slowly by, a continuous 
ovation was extended to the citizen 
who had held two of the most exalted 
offices in a great nation, and had, in 
nccordance with its system of popular 
government, laid fhem both aside to 
lesume that of private station. In 
that aspect alone it was an incident 
that will never be wholly blotted from 
the records of time. 

Our ramble is ended. The story of 
the main street of Chester-on-Dela- 
ware has merely been outlined in these 
l)apers. The subject coveriny- over 
two centuries, with no continuity of 
events, necessarily required its pres- 
entation in a paragraphic form, but if 
T have succeeded in demonstrating 
that our city is not devoid of historic 
interest, my purpose has been at- 
tained. A people without history is a 
])eople without patriotism, stagnating 
in arrested civilization, which is the 
beginning of disintegration. 




LIBRARY OF CONGRESS 



014 311 436 3