Historic Germantown, Philadelphia
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Your Thoughts Archive
2001


Dear Friends - I am deeply interested in the history of Germantown; I grew up there, and would be especially interested in communicating with those who know something about the town prior to 1960. Gillian
gillian andersen, 45, Texas, grew up in Germantown [12-26-2001]

I was born and raised in Germantown in the 40's and 50's - my address was Portico Street. It was a wonderful ethnic neighborhood. I have never found neighbors or a neighborhood like the ones in Germantown. I miss it, it's still home to me.
Patricia Melody, now living in Minnesota - born in Germantown [12-22-2001]

I am a descendant of one of the signers of the anti-slavery petition (Abraham Op Den Graef). Do you have any pictures of him?
Cheri Lee McElroy [12-22-2001]

As an actress for Historic Philadelphia, I was asked by an individual to come and work with Historic Germantown a few years ago. Are you holding auditions? If so when?
Patricia A. Edwards, Actress, Philadelphia, 46 years old, afro american female. [12-08-2001]

My family lived in the Concord School house in 1953 (when I was born). We lived upstairs, and my parents (Charles and Alice Bridinger who now live in Natick MA) still have 35MM slides of me sitting on the wall separating the school and the grave yard. My grandfather Hollis (an outstanding carpenter and craftsman) and my father made some repairs to the second floor so we could live comfortably. Just thought I would share that with you.....
Donald W. Bridinger , Live in So. Cal, but born in Germantown PA 1953 [11-22-2001]

was orloffs pharmacy located at duval st or washington la.and germantown av.? germantown boundarys in 1930 were upsal st. coulter st.ardleigh st.and wissahickon av. played ball in every neighborhood within the aforementioned boundarys!Awbury Park is now placed in East Germantown which would now mean it is East of Ardiegh st and it most certainly is West of Ardliegh st.there was a stone wall on ardliegh st that went North to a dirt rd. which is now probably Johnson st.Anything East of the wall was known as east germantown!! Thanks for a great site!
joe weierbach , northern ny state 72-ski instructor [11-22-2001]

Looking for a Patricia McClintock (birthname) who was adopted mid 50s maybe and attended high school in area. Adopted name unknown. Adopted family had a large organ (church ??) in their home. Father could have been a professor (music) in local school (possibly college). Patricia could have gradulated from HS 1958 or 59. Her DOB is 1 April 1941. She maybe married soon after graduation. She has 3 brothers (Tom, Jack, Jimmy) and one sister (Peggy) who after 54 years of separation were together for the first time this past August. There is heart problems in family. She needs to know. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Stephen Ruyak , Live in MD, 56 yrs old [11-08-2001]

I am looking for a good job in Center City Philadelphia and have been to Germantown and have toured a few historical homes there and hoping to move back to Philly soon and I used to live in the Chestnut Hill Section of the City and am going to try to move back to Philly soon. Please pray and ask the Lord to help me move back in His name Amen.
Ravi Sehgal , Columbia, MO. 65203-0368 [11-07-2001]

i have noticed that there are a number of historical sites up and down germantown ave. I have also noticed that some od the markers have been removed weather by the city or vandels i do not know i would like to know if you could supply me with the information that was on the missing placques. for instance the house on Germantown ave. infront of St Michaels lutheran church is missing its marker philadelphia historical commission #131. Also in Vernon park a bolder sits with its marker removed along with the one on the corner of Germantown and High st. on Germantown high school's yard. There Iis the missing marker where the two large canonballs and four small canonballs sit out side the library in Mt.Airy. I have been trying to find out thus information for over seven years I hope you can help me
Joseph Tyree , I live in Elkins Park and I'm 34 years of age [10-11-2001]

i have lived in michigan for the past 20 years now, but in my heart i will always be a philadelphian! i was born in germantown, on locust avenue, my mothers family lived all their life in germantown. i later lived in jenkintown, pa. there is no place like philadelphia , and its burbs.
mary storey , lake orion , michigan [09-27-2001]

I am the great, several times removed grandson of Edmund Randolph. His Daughter married a gentleman by the name of McNair and he disowned her. Thought I might say something about it here...
ed Martin , Decorah, Iowa (home is Denver, CO) [09-12-2001]

Loved your site. I went to Phila Girls High and my best friend lived on the Lutheran Seminary. Her father taught history. When I married in 1959 we chose the chapel at the seminary for our wedding. I have fond memories of Germantown.
JoAnn Mullen Emery , 60 yrs. old. Live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada [08-12-2001]

Often played @ Stenton park,it was around the corner from Louden St., just Past Mentor St., saw grave of Dinah "The faithful Colored caretaker of Stenton...." Is the park and grave still there?
Rita t. Stumpf-Ingmire , moved to Loudon Street in mid 1950's at age 8, went to Louden elementary, Jay Cooke Jr. High, then to Dobins Tech [08-05-2001]

Thank you for a very informative Germantown website; it has so many historic places. I hope to plan a visit there next year. A first cousin (7 times removed), John Bringhurst, born in Germantown in 1725 built a home there in 1760. He was one of the first, if not the first to build what is known as the "Germantown waggon," in which construction he was largely engaged after the Revolution. In 1780, he built a "chariot" for General Washington. My great great grandfather Samuel Bringhurst, from Philadelphia, must have learned his wagon and carriage trade there also before he went west. John Bringhurst was selected to lead the coach-builders in the famous "Federal Parade" which took place in Philadelphia, 4 July, 1788 to celebrate the adoption of the Constitution of the United States. I hope the "Bringhurst House," located at 5448 Germantown Ave., is or will be available for visits. I noted that the House is listed as an Historical House in the Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress).
Joan Reid Hyde , Born in Wash.,DC -live in Virginia [08-03-2001]

i recall the following movie houses located in Germantown. the Upsal, Rialto, Colonial, Orpheum, Germantown, Band Box and one on Chelten Av. just west of Chew ST. I cannot remember the name. Were their others?
joe weierbach , germantowner at heart [07-29-2001]

As a boy growing up on Musgrave St.at Tulpehocken st. we played in the vacant and abandoned house on the Ross estate. That was in the 1930,s. The church was located at that time on the grounds west of the vacant mansion.
joe weierbach , retired [07-17-2001]

This site is wonderful, gives me quite a view of where my ancestors lived. I understand that there is a relatives name on the memorial in Market Square. Would like to know how to get a picture of the monument. Thanks for a good site.
Dorothy Hawley Shugart , Genealogy of Patton Family of Germantown [07-15-2001]

Thank you much for the photos I will never get visit the town that my ancestors Heinrich Frey and Wigard Levering helped in founding. But with your wonder work I just did. Thank you again. here is my webpage on the Levering; Frey and Leinbach families wwww.geocities.com/janet_ariciu Janet Ariciu
Janet Ariciu , Ava, Missouri [07-05-2001]

Do you have any information on William Henry Pickering? The story goesthat he worked his passage to America from Leicester, England around 1840-50. He settled in Germantown and worked for a hosiery manufacturer. He eventually earned enough money and bought the firm.
Dick Harrison , He could be my great great uncle [06-28-2001]

I love your site! Sandy :o)
Sandy Harmsen , San Luis Valley, Colorado... age 36, descendant of Thones Kunders [06-28-2001]

My mother came from Germantown, born in 1898. Her father was Theodore Gloeckner, a lithographer and engraver. If anyone knows of Gloeckners there or of Theodore's work, I would be delighted to find out.
Grace Mynatt , age 65, NC resident [06-28-2001]

What a nice site. Today I purchased the book "Little Women" for my daughter, and discovered that Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown. This rang large bells, as my parents were born and raised there (James Robinson and Betty Brinton). Both attended Germantown High. I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I remember trips back to Philadelphia... how beautiful it was along the Pennsylvania Turnpike during the fall, many-colored leaves and immaculate Amish farm houses!
Barbara Schoppe, age 52, living in Idaho, heart in Pennsylvania!! [05-05-2001]

You have something on th eupper burying ground and indicate that William Dewees is buried there. Are there any other dewees' buried there and is the infomration written down and available.
dan graham, baltimore, age 52 [04-06-2001]

Looking for information on John Skirving, a builder and designer living/working in Germantown in the mid-19th century; he designed the Musical Fund Hall interior, and with the Sartain family encouraged commissions by the painter Schusserle. Worked on the Lehigh Main Hall in Bethlehem, had two daughters who went to the Moravian Boarding School in B'hem, and was the father-in-law of PA artist Rufus Grider. Any information on him would be much appreciated for a MA thesis on Grider's connections to Philadelphia. Thanks!
Alice Smith Duncan, 48-yr-old grad student (!) from NYState researching John Skirving [03-26-2001]

On April 1, 2001 from 1PM tp 4 PM Maxwell Mansion will be open to the public for FREE on Neighborhood day.Here is an opportunity to see Philadelphia's finest Victorian House Museum. Maxwell is on this website for more information and to see a picture of the house. It is located at 200 W. Tulpehocken Street, at the corner of Greene and Tulpehocken in Germantown. 215-438-1861
robert skaler [03-26-2001]

I have over forty years in now in my quest for descendants of Thones Kunders, aka Dennis Conrads. There is much info out on him which is incorrect and a rule of thumb is that the older the source the less accurate the information. I will try to help anyone who thinks they might be a Kunders (rhymes with thunders) descendant. Have about 35,000 names now and ancestry to 1500s. John Brockie Lukens' article in the 1980 PA GEN MAG on Original 13 immigrants is best synopsis I have seen on the settlers. Cheers! Erik Conard
Erik P Conard, Denver, age 65, 'bout ready to hang it up [03-24-2001]

I think Germantown is very interesting. Thones Kunders one of the original 13 settlers is my 8th great grandfather!
Sandy Harmsen, 35 years old, live in Southern Colorado [03-23-2001]

I've not been in Germantown for more than 30 years but I think of it often. Although I love my life here in Iowa (a great STate!) I still consider myself a Philadelphian. I've written a novel ("Three Brothers," available from Amazon.com and Borders.com) as a tribute to my ancestors, the DEshler Brothers, who came from Germany to Philadelphia in the 1730s.One of them, David Deshler, was the original owner of the Deshler-Morris house on Germantown Avenue.His uncle by the name of Wister (formerly Wuester, with an unlaut) was the builder of Grumblethorpe.
Edwin Timanus Elliot, I live in West Des Moines, Iowa. I was born in Philadelphia at Hahneman Hospital in 1918. My family lived in Germantown at 403 West Price Street. I attended Germantown Academy and used to model clay figurines around a table there that had allegedly accomodates Geroage Washington';s cabinet during the yellow fever epidemic when Germantown was the nation's capitol city. [03-08-2001]

I am interested in finding more about my ancestry. If anyone can provide additional info please advise. My name is Thomas R. Pastorius. I was borned on 27 July 44 to Robert C. Pastorius & Helen Catherine Mulvaney. I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA. and attended Epiphany Caholic Chruch in the "Uptown Section" and went on to Central Cahtolic Highs School in the "Oakland Section". My father was borned in Brownsville, PA in the early 1900's. My father told me that his father(my grandfather) was killed by a train six months before he was born. His mother Alice later remarried (MacIntosh). He worked as a deckhand for the Pittsburgh Coal Company (based in Elizabeth , PA) until shorly before his death in 1962. Your assistance will be greatly appreciated.
Thomas R. Pastorius, Saint Louis, Missouri [02-25-2001]

America knew then that slavery was wrong, yet we still condoned it and we still do to this day to some degree. I believe America is embarrassed, especially those that benefitted from slavery, but refuse to acknowledge that Our "Great and Wise" fore fathers were wrong in what they did. White America will not ever admit the contribution of Black Americans to this "Great Nation." Who is it great for? European people came to this nation to escape religious persecution, what was the first thing done to the people found here? I could go on for hours, but all of you that will read this already know all of this information. Yet you will say to yourselves, Why should I pay for something I had nothing to do with. Good question, let me ask another. If you shouldn't pay, why then do we make people of color pay? If America is to ever make right what is wrong, it will start with those that are in power now. We all know that is not going to happen. The top offices in the land, the largest corporation and the most influential people in America need to get out of their confort zones, go out on that limb, stand up and be heard even if it is not the popular thing to do. Is it going to be easy? No. Will it be done? Who knows. To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. " ...We are just asking America to be true to what you said on paper..."
Eugene C., Missouri - 39 years old - American of African Descent [02-21-2001]

just wondering what's out there and trying to find others in my family tree.
David Reed Sower, boise, idaho, 52 [02-14-2001]

I called the Germantown Historic Society and they tol dme that the Barron House does not exist in germantown, but i came online and found it on this website. Can i please have the Phone number for wherever i have to call to find out about it? Thank you! Please get back to me ASAP at goaliekh@aol.com. This is a school project and i am running out of time!!!!! Thank you
Kerri Healy, Oreland, PA [02-09-2001]

I was raised in lower Germantown and wondered if you knew about the Negley family whose mansion is above Wayne junction. My great great grandfather was a bond slave to the negley family. I was told that the Negleys were involved with the underground railroad. There was suposed to be a secret tunnel under Germantown Ave. to Wakefield Pres. Church across the street.
Bonnie L. Bacich, Central High Art Teacher [02-04-2001]

Good morning I wonder if you are able to help me in trying to trace decendents of people who originally came from Leicester, England. I think the topic of 'They left Leicester' might make an interesting mew section for my web site (www.leicesterresearch.co.uk) I was put on to you by a gentleman who is descended from a man who left Leicester in the 1840s and who enlisted in the Civil War and died in the notorious Andersonville POW camp. (my original research, before the gentleman contacted me, can be found on http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/leicestershire/44643 He refers to a book (title not given) that was written in 1982 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the founding of Philadelphia: "[In 1850,] Philadelphia remained 'the great seat of Hand-Loom Manufacturing and Weaving in America," with over 4700 looms operating as late as 1857. Over 2000 of these produced carpets, 2000 other textiles, and 700 hosiery. Half of the 15,000 textile workers in that year were hand-loom operators, producing about one-quarter of the total output. The men usually owned their own looms and worked at home. Immigrant EngIishman and Northern Irishmen made Kensington the great carpet center. Many knitters of fancy woolen hosiery, displaced by machinery in England by 1840, came to Philadelphia, especially from Nottingham and Leicester, and in Kensington and Germantown, produced Philadelphia’s Germantown woollen goods, which become as famous as England’s." If there is anyway that an announcement (local newspaper, museum / Historical Society newsletter etc) could be made on my behalf I'd be very grateful - I might even be able to help someone with their family history on this side of the Atlantic (no charge).
Max Matthews, Leicester UK [01-20-2001]

I am trying to Fine out about my Grandparent. I have a Picture of My Grandmother Crawford, In the Back yard on Berkely Street The first House big, Across from Wyne Junction Grey stone The Picture has 1936,Would you Know Who Live it Before. Thank you all Family are gone Now. Thank you or tell me Where to Look. GrandDaughter of The Crawford in Gernamtown. Pa
Pat Wajda, Daughter of Irene Crawford. In Germantown, Pa [01-20-2001]

I grew up in Germantown during the 1960s. I attended what was then the 2nd Presbyterian Church directly accross from the Maxwell Mansion. At that time, the church owned the mansion, and at one point, there was a plan to distroy it in order to create a parking lot for the church. Thankfully, a few dedicated people worked hard and saved the mansion.
Gillian F. Andersen, 44, New Mexico [01-20-2001]

Have just discovered your website on looking for information regarding German Town . My husband's ancestor Brigadier General James Agnew fought for the British in 1777. He was killed during the battle of German Town. Amazing where family history research takes you - I never dreamed that through it would kindle an interest in your Revolutionary War. Thank you for giving some background. I would really be interested to know whether his grave is still in existence as he was buried in a communal grave initially and then over 100 years later was re-buried near where he fell.

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