Hope Lodge

The Watmoughs, 1784 to 1832


• Hope Lodge gets its name

Henry Hope was owner of an Amsterdam and London banking firm called Hope and Company. He was a man of international reputation in the 18th century. It was to him that Adam Smith dedicated an edition of "The Wealth of Nations." The famous Hope diamond was named for a later generation of Hope's family. He purchased the estate as a wedding gift and gave it in trust to his ward, James Horatio Watmough, who, in turn, named the estate for his generous benefactor. It has been known as Hope Lodge since the late 18th century. The property was formally deeded over to James on July 23, 1807. Exactly how long the Watmoughs used Hope Lodge as their primary residence is not known, but we do know that the property was rented to Edward Hopton (1784-1785), Dr. Solomon Bush (1785-1793), John Steele (1795-1805), and Jacob Wentz (1806-1832). The main house was usually excluded from the use of the tenants and was kept for the use of the Watmough family.

James Horatio Watmough was a wealthy Philadelphia merchant. He was well-traveled and visited places such as the West Indies, Great Britain and Ireland. His wife, Anna Carmick Watmough, was a good wife, mother and companion. Seven children were born to James and Anna. Of the seven, only four lived to adulthood. This was not uncommon at the time. Of the surviving children John Goddard Watmough became a military hero of the Battle of Fort Erie during the War of 1812 and later a successful politician. John married Ellen Coxe and, after her death, Mary Pleasonton. Edmund married Maria Chew Nicklin. Maria Ellis married Joseph Reed. Margaretta married the eminent Philadelphia lawyer John Sergeant.

At various times, members of the Watmough, Reed and Sergeant families lived together at Hope Lodge. This practice of extended families was common well into the nineteenth century. The Watmough family was representative of the middle-upper class of the post-Revolutionary period. They enjoyed operas and plays as sources of entertainment as well as the fine art of dining. Since they spent a good part of their time in the city, Hope Lodge probably reflected their urban taste. The Watmoughs were probably part of the social scene in Philadelphia. Their occupations, family connections and economic status lend support to this assumption. Hope Lodge can easily be imagined as a center of gracious entertainment and elegant dinner parties and family dinners given by the Watmoughs.