Key Figures in Delanco History
Raymond and Elizabeth Becket : Raymond Becket was a former slave who came to our area prior to the Civil War with the assistance of the Underground Railroad. The 1860 Census lists Raymond, a day laborer, born in Virginia in 1818, and his wife Elizabeth, a washerwoman, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1820. The household also included a son, George Becket, Louisa Williams (age 17), and Sarah A. Brown of North Carolina (age 100). Sarah was also likely to have been a former slave. The family bought a log cabin, which was originally built as a fishermen’s shack, on the riverbank. The location was undeveloped at the time, between where Edgewood and Oakford Avenues are today. Years later, William Taubel built two stone mansions near this location. About 1857, Becket apparently sold the structure, which was then moved to 215 Holly Street below Third Street. The structure was enlarged several times by successive owners. It was owned by Theresa Murphy in 1976, and is still in wonderful shape, largely due to renovations by current owner (in 2006) Bob Scheetz.
John Bishop (1778- ?): Born in Lumberton on June 17, 1778, a few days before the Battle of Monmouth, to Robert and Jane Bishop. John was descended on his mother’s side from a full-blooded Indian girl of the Lenni Lenape tribe who had assumed the English name of Mary Carlisle. She married Richard Haines, one of three Haines brothers who had emigrated from Northamptonshire, England, and were the original settlers of Burlington County. In 1784 the family moved to the north side of the Rancocas Creek where it empties into the Delaware, ground on which Delanco was later built. John was an avid swimmer and skater, and trapper of foxes, muskrat and mink. It was said he frequently swam to the island that came to be known as Hawk Island to bring geese home to his mother. John raised chickens and sheep. He was ten when his father died. John was educated in a log schoolhouse in the pine woods. At age 16 he taught school for a year on what was later called the Moorestown – Camden Turnpike. He went to live and farm with his brother, then moved to Philadelphia and clerked for Harry Moliere, who had a ropewalk in Kensington. About this time he made the acquaintance of banker and philanthropist Steven Girard, founder of Girard College. Then Bishop went into partnership in the plumbing business with a Mr. Couslan, assuming control of the business when Couslan died. Bishop later teamed with a Mr. Sparks to establish Bishop & Sparks Plumbing located on Delaware Avenue in Philadelphia. Just prior to the War of 1812 the firm went from plumbing to the manufacture of shot, and a 150 foot shot tower was built in 1808 on Montrose Street in Southwark. The firm manufactured shot for the Mexican War. John sold his interest in the company in 1813 and bought the Ogston farm outside Columbus, New Jersey. He lived there for the rest of his days. John married (first) Mary, daughter of Joseph and Hannah Ridgway of Mullica Hill and (second) Ann Black. This account comes from The Memorial & Genealogical Cyclopedia of New Jersey (1910); pp 627-629.
Joseph W. “Joe” Burk (1915-2008) : Joseph William Burk was born in 1915, brother of James Burk. Joe, a one-time farm boy, was a single sculls champion of the 1930s who became a leading figure in American rowing and a highly decorated PT boat skipper in World War II. The Burk brothers grew up on a family farm in Delanco near the Bridgeboro Bridge, land that later became Holiday Lakes. Joe and Jim became fascinated with rowing while watching the collegiate championships on the Hudson River in 1930. They developed powerful arms by training with weights at gyms and climbing down ladders at the family farm with 50-pound baskets of apples. They rowed year-round, sometimes amid floating ice. “Many’s the time I practiced on Rancocas Creek in New Jersey when the spray would freeze on my sweatshirt,” Joe once told The New York Times. After rowing on the University of Pennsylvania varsity eight, Joe turned to the single scull in the mid-1930s while competing for the Penn Athletic Club. The Amateur Athletic Union presented him with the Sullivan Trophy as the nation’s leading amateur sportsman in 1939 and cited him as “natural, unaffected and unspoiled” and “a fine example of young American manhood.” Joe Burk won both the United States and the Canadian single sculls championships every year from 1937 to 1940. Competing for the Penn Athletic Club of Philadelphia after having been captain of the Penn crew, he was a two-time winner of the Diamond Sculls at the Henley Royal Regatta on the Thames in England. His time of 8 minutes 2 seconds at Henley in 1938 eclipsed the longstanding record time there by 8 seconds. When he returned to Philadelphia, he was cheered by thousands of fans who lined the banks of the Schuylkill to watch him take a celebratory row. Mayor S. Davis Wilson presented him with a wreath. A parade was held in his honor in Riverside, attended by an estimated 30,000 people from the surrounding towns. When Burk won the Diamond Sculls again in 1939, his trophy went on display at the World’s Fair in New York. Burk was known as the robot rower for his ability to maintain a steady pace of some 40 strokes a minute, using a relatively uncommon upright stance. At one point he won 37 consecutive races. Burk was expected to win an Olympic gold medal in 1940, but the outbreak of World War II brought the cancellation of the Games, which were scheduled for Helsinki, Finland. Photos of Joe are in the Delanco archive. During WWII, Joe commanded a Navy PT boat in the Pacific, staging raids that sank 26 Japanese supply barges between November 1943 and January 1944 off New Guinea and New Britain. He was awarded the Navy Cross, his service’s highest award for valor after the Medal of Honor, for raids in the face of enemy bombings and shore-battery attacks, and for two “secret missions far behind the enemy lines.” He also received the Silver Star and the Bronze Star. Joe’s brother, Jim also commanded a PT boat, but was killed in a “friendly fire” incident. Joe married after the war. His wife, Kay was the sister of the second in command on his PT boat. Their children included Kathryn (McCaffrey) of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Roger, of Troy, Montana. He had two grandchildren. He was an innovative rowing coach at Penn from 1950 to 1969, taking his crew to victory in the 1955 Grand Challenge Cup at Henley and to three consecutive varsity eight Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships in the late 1960s. He helped pioneer weight training for rowers and the use of electronics to measure the contributions of individual oarsmen on a boat. Kay died in 2001. Joe died Jan. 13, 2008 in Scottsdale, at the home of his daughter Kathryn, with whom he had been living. He was 93.
Albert and Edna Carr : Albert Edwin Carr who was born in Wilmington, Del., about 1900. Edna Olivier Meeds was born in 1901 in Ingleside, Md. to Frank O. and Maggie Anderson Meeds. The Meeds owned a grocery store in Price, Md., where they were active in establishing a new Methodist Church. Albert married Edna in 1922. They originally settled in South Amboy, N.J., where Albert worked for Dupont Chemical. They had seven children: Marilynn Elaine (married Daniel H. Cannon) was born in South Amboy. The family moved to Philadelphia where Albert founded Carr Chemical Company in a row of garages behind their home. Children, Alberta Edwina (Brunner), Judith Edith (Marlin), Mary Elizabeth (Pippitt), Margaret Eloise (Hall), and Albert Edwin Jr., were all born in Philadelphia. The family moved to Beverly to a home on 71 Church Street where William Ellsworth was born. Albert established Carr Chemical on Manor Road. In 1941 the family moved to the grand three-story Victorian at 721 Delaware Avenue in Delanco, where they remained until 1973. The estate included a tool shop, chicken coop, and a picturesque stone pump house at the back of the property on the north side of Second Street. On the south side of Second Street they built a two-story carriage house and established an extensive garden. Mary and her husband Al Pippitt built a small house in the garden (now 210 Holly Street), where they lived for several years before moving to Medford Lakes. Albert served on the Juvenile Board in Delanco. In later years, Albert sold the chemical company to one of his employees. The family purchased the Spray Beach Hotel on Long Beach Island and the family ran it for several years. The hotel burned after Albert retired, but was it was later rebuilt and expanded. Albert died in 1973. Edna sold the mansion and moved to 1405 Second Street, were she lived for many years. She died in 2000 at age 99 in New Albany, Ind., at the home of daughter Marilynn Carr Cannon. Albert and Edna are buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Moorestown.
Joseph B. and Sallie Carter, Sr. : They were married in 1878. Parents of: William, Charles, and Joseph B. Carter, Jr. The Carters owned a farm between Burlington Avenue and the railroad where the M. Joan Pearson Elementary School is today. Carter built a grocery store and home on the corner of Poplar and Vine. He had five large coal bins and a barn on the property. Their son attended Minnie Flack’s private school at Walnut and Hickory, and the Carter’s donated the chairs at the school. Carter owned three horses, one to deliver groceries and two to deliver coal. He also rented the horses to the township for roadwork. Carter was very active in township administration. He kept vital statistics for the town and issued birth certificates, marriage licenses, and death certificates. He served on Township Committee in 1879 through 1882. He also served as president of the Library Association in 1882 serving until at least 1893. Joseph was a charter member of the Delanco Town Hall Association in 1884. Joseph was appointed postmaster on May 9, 1889 and served until 1893. He was reappointed in August 7, 1897 and served until 1897. In 1890 he was one of the organizers of Delanco Building and Loan, serving as its first president. He served on the board until his death in 1924. The Carters were listed in the business directories for 1895 and 1897. He served as township assessor and township treasurer from 1919-1924. Mr. and Mrs. Carter were listed in Boyd’s Philadelphia Blue Book for 1891-1892. Joseph died in 1924.
Andrew “Andy” Collum (1846-1940): Andrew Collum was born in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, to one of the earliest families to settle in the Commonwealth. At age 12 he launched a theatrical career in Vaudeville. At age 14 Collum enlisted in the Union Army as a drummer boy and saw the conflict through to its conclusion. He was an eyewitness to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox in 1865, and was the last surviving participant to have done so. After the war, he returned to the Vaudeville stage. Collum was known as a leading banjoist and had a comedy act with the famous John Drew of Philadelphia. He went on to manage a New York theatrical house and engaged for the first time, as amateurs, the famous team of Weber and Fields. Collum started Lew Dockstader as a black-face comedian, thus launching an era of blackface minstrels. He was a close friend of Jerry Cohan, father of George M. Cohan. He also left a legacy of popular music to the American musical scene. His many pieces included “Life Is But a Deck of Cards,” “Kick Me Again,” “The Widow,” and “Get Thee Gone, Jane.” When he retired from the stage, Collum operated a bowling alley in Delanco on Walnut Street between Laurel and Mulberry Streets, and a small pool hall around the corner. The bowling alley was later renovated into four row houses, which remain to this day. Collum was a representative of the Grand Army of the Republic at countless Memorial Day Parades in Riverside. His first wife, Ida Madigan was a circus bareback rider. His second wife Mary Jane died in 1937 shortly after their 50th wedding anniversary. Children surviving his death were: Mamie Fenimore and Annie Collum, children of his first marriage; and Wilbur “Hap” Collum, John, David, Mrs. Francis Stack, Mrs. Hazel Yearly, and Mrs. Anita Ballinger, children of his second marriage. Andrew also had a son, also named Andrew, who drowned at age 9. When Collum died after a stroke in 1940, a headline billed him as “The greatest banjo player in the United States.” He was also the oldest member of the Elks, having joined the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks in 1873. His daughter, “Aunt Neddie” Ballinger was living in the family home in 1976.
William and Elizabeth Fenimore Cooper : William Cooper (1754-1809) was born in a log house the Quaker community of Smithfield, now Somerton, now part of Northeast Philadelphia. He moved to Byberry to work as a wheelwright. In 1774 he married Elizabeth Fenimore, the daughter of a wealthy and landed Wellingborough Quaker family, in Burlington County. Elizabeth was unschooled and signed documents with a mark. They wed young, and it is significant that they were wed in a civil ceremony. Her father gave the new couple substantial lands near the Great Road (now Route 130). The Coopers established a store -- some say a tavern -- and a small community known as Cooper Town about 1787. The area is now part of Edgewater Park Township and remembered mostly from the 1806 Cooper Town Meeting House which remains on Cooper Street. In 1789, the Coopers moved to Burlington City where their son, future author James Fenimore Cooper, was born in 1789. In 1790, William moved the family to Otsego County in upstate New York, where they established a second village called Coopertown at the foot of Lake Otsego. In 1795, William was elected to the Fourth U.S. Congress which was, at that time, seated in Philadelphia. The family returned to Burlington County and William constructed a grand waterfront estate as befitting a Congressman. He commuted to Philadelphia by boat in fair weather. Tradition places the estate on the Delaware riverbank in Delanco just west of present-day Union Avenue. He lost the 1797 election, but returned to the Sixth U.S. Congress. The family lived in Delanco from 1895-1897 and 1799–1801, after which the estate was sold and the family returned to Coopertown New York. William was later appointed a judge in Otsego County. William traveled extensively and was away from home for long periods. Elizabeth did not care for the cruel winters in upstate New York. Probably for these two reasons, Elizabeth insisted on wintering in the relative comfort of Burlington City, where the family rented property on High Street. William died in 1809.
Thomas J. and Theresa Proscia Daddino : Tom Daddino (1915-2007) was born in Beverly in 1914 and graduated from Burlington City High School in 1934. In high school he led the basketball team to the Burlington County Championship and earned 1st Team All-Star Honors. He also played varsity baseball, which offered him an opportunity to dream about a professional baseball career. He had several tryouts with Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics. He ultimately played and managed Class “D” baseball with Pokomoke City Red Sox in the Eastern Shore League. He also played professionally with the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah Leagues and holds a record in the Professional Baseball Hall of Fame. He served in the U.S. Army and played for the U.S. Army Greys while stationed in Europe, and played before the Royal Family in London, England. After WWII, he returned to the US in 1948 he married Terry Proscia (1923-2006) of New York. Tom and Terry lived in Delanco for many years. Children are: Lorraine (and Craig) Robinson; Thomas (and Marianne); David (and Sandie); and Daniel. Tom remained active as an umpire and youth manager with several local programs and was inducted in the Burlington City Athletic Hall of Fame. Tom worked for the U.S.Postal Service from 1952 to 1982. Terry was employed by Riverton Country Club and Mount Laurel Hilton. Tom enjoyed golf and bowling in his retirement. The couple was active in St. Peter’s Parish. Terry was a member of Catholic Daughters of America and Tom was active in the St. John Neumann Knights of Columbus Counsel 1436. He was a member of the Lambert T. Lambert VFW Post 3020. In 1977, the family resided in the historic home at 401 Ash Street. In later years they lived in Riverside. When Terry died in 2006 at age 83, the couple had been married for 58 years. Tom died in 2007 at age 92. He is buried in the Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery in Arneytown.
Ed Diggs (1867?- ?): Ed Diggs claimed to have been born in Spotts, Virginia in 1867, although he never had a birth certificate to prove it. He moved to New Jersey with his mother in 1898 and lived in Charleston (now Willingboro). He moved to Delanco in 1905 to work as Dr. Weiler’s handyman and chauffer, and worked for him for 17 years. When he began the job, this entailed hitching and driving a coach and horses. In later years he drove some of the first Cadillacs and Oldsmobiles to be seen in town. In 1912 and 1914 he traveled to Puerto Rico with Dr. Weiler and drove for him there, Dr. Weiler having brought his motorcar with him by steamship. After the death of his employer, Mr. Diggs worked for the Keystone Watch Case Company for five years, then for the Krusens on the riverbank for nine years. During the Depression he worked for the WPA. After the Depression Diggs became the local “fish man,” peddling fish he bought in Philadelphia. During World War II he worked at Fort Dix. After the war, he used his truck to collect and salvage junk, and remained a junkman until his retirement. In 1975, Ed Diggs was the oldest resident of Delanco, at a reported age of 108. Ed married his wife Bettina when he was 83 (though he told her he was 67). He attended church regularly until he became crippled with arthritis in later years. He was honored by township officials as Senior Citizen of the Year 1973. Edward Diggs lived at 519 Buttonwood, a home that was over 100 years old in 1975.
Micajah and Mary Brock Dobbins : Micajah Dobbins (1809-1886), a descendant of immigrants from Belfast, Ireland, was an important moving force in Delanco beginning about 1850 and remained so for the rest of his active life. He was born in 1809 to Joab and Elizabeth Dobbins; Brother to Zebodee and Samuel who lived in the far west. He married Mary Ann Brock (1810-1892), the daughter of Oddy and Amelia (Lydia) Hammell Brock in 1830. They had three sons: George, Wesley, and John. Micajah operated a market and produce stall on Race Street in Philadelphia until about 1840. In 1850, he bought a home and established a general store at 400 Poplar (corner of Franklin Street) in Delanco. Micajah served as Delanco’s first postmaster when a post office was established in 1857 and served until 1860. He was appointed surveyor of highways in 1859, serving with Charles R. Fenimore. He served on the township committee from 1864-1872, and served as Justice of the Peace in 1867. He was a founder of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Delanco. In 1855 he served as leader of the Methodist Society’s first class meeting, forerunner of the United Methodist Church, which was incorporated in 1858, and remained active in the church his entire life. Micajah and Mary served in the first class of trustees, and Micajah served as Sunday school superintendent. Micajah enjoyed the occasional opportunity to preach in substitution for his son, George, just as George substituted for his father. In 1909 the Delanco Methodist Church was renamed Dobbins Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church in his honor. The 1860 Delaranco map shows their home and store at 400 Poplar Street (Lot #107 on Wilmerton’s Delaranco Map). It lists Micajah as Postmaster and dealer in general merchandise. The 1860 Census lists Micajah as a store operator. It also lists children George (age 22) telegraph operator, and Wesley (age 17) clerk. Third son, John is not listed. Sermon in Glass notes the Dobbins moved into a new home in Delanco in 1866. The 1870 Census lists him as an insurance agent with real estate valued at $12,000. He was ordained Deacon in the same year. The 1876 Delanco Business Directory lists M. Dobbins as a pickle merchant. It is presumed he operated his pickle factory on the site of the former Wilmerton Sawmill on Poplar and Franklin. Micajah deeded the homestead farm to his son Wesley in 1873, and they sold their house, storehouse, and other buildings to George W. Perkins. Micajah died at the home of his son Wesley in Camden in 1886 at age 78. Mary Ann died in 1892.
Thomas “Tommy” and Kathryn Fitzpatrick: Renowned decoy carver Tommy Fitzpatrick (1887-1958) was born in 1887 to Henry J. and Emma Fitzpatrick. He spent his early childhood on Pennsylvania Avenue in Delanco. He loved the outdoors and life along the river. It was here that friends introduced him to hunting, fishing, and boating. He later worked as a shoemaker in Philadelphia. His family was very musical. His father was a violin teacher in town. Tom had a wonderful ear for music and learned to play piano and accordion. During the war he worked at a shipyard in Philadelphia where he became a craftsman. He is believed to have carved his first decoy about 1910. Kathryn (Katie) Rogers Whitsell was the adopted daughter of Amos and Martha Whitsell and worked in the Ridgway Shoe factory as a young girl. In 1916, Tom married Kate and they moved into an unusual home. It was a houseboat that he built and dry-docked on property leased from the Stocktons on the River at Delaware Avenue between Cedar and Willow Streets. At that time there was no specific address for the property; Mail was simply addressed to them at Delanco, N.J. Their granddaughter recalls their home was like a dollhouse, a small but tidy place without running water. Kate was a meticulous housekeeper and wonderful cook. In the 1926 and 1929 Delanco directories, Tom was listed simply as a fisherman living at 428 Delaware Avenue, but he was much more than that. They lived off the land in their cabin on the water, building, repairing and renting rowboats and boat slips, selling bait, trapping and hunting ducks, fish and turtles for the market. Tommy’s true love, however, was carving decoys from whatever wood he could find. Tommy was well liked by everyone he met. He would cross the Rancocas Creek to the Riverside Inn, play his accordion, sell miniature carvings, and take orders for his working decoys. Influenced by the lifelike carvings of John English, Tom carved over 2000 decoys in his lifetime. Children recall sitting in his shanty, listening to stories he would tell as he worked. Tom was a small, quiet spoken man who never raised his voice or said a harsh word to anyone. His decoys have become real collector's items, currently fetching $10,000 to $15,000 at auction. Examples can be found in maritime museums in the Northeastern States. The Fitzpatricks raised their only son Tom Henry Fitzpatrick here on the riverbank and Kate was living at that location as late as 1975. After Tom’s death in 1958, his wife finally sold the houseboat to a man who worked for a dredging company. The new owner simply floated the unit at high tide and towed it away on the river. Granddaughter, Kate Fitzpatrick, has served as Delanco’s mayor, but proudly considers herself a “river rat,” like her grandparents.
George Q. and Annie M. Hammell: Rev. George Q. Hammell (1859-1933) was born in Philadelphia. He was a local preacher, wholesale seed grower, commission merchant, and lumber dealer in Delanco. In 1894, Rev. Hammell established George Q. Hammell Co. on Coopertown Road where Stylex Manufacturing Company now stands. He was also a wholesale seed grower operating as George Q. Hammell Seed Farms, Inc. Mr. & Mrs. Hamill (sic) were listed in Boyd’s Philadelphia Blue Book for 1891-1892. George was listed in the Delanco business directories for 1895 and 1897. In 1898, S.S. Pancoast became manager and treasurer of the Hammell firm, assuming entire control of its affairs. He changed the name to Delanco Farm & Lumber Co. George married Annie about 1880. Annie was born in 1856. Rev. and Mrs. Hammell were received by Dobbins Methodist Church in 1890. Mrs. Annie Hammell joined the Epworth League, an organization of the young people of the Methodist Episcopal church, and was elected 4th Departmental Vice President on the original slate of officers under Rev. Grovatt in 1890. George served as President of the Epworth League in 1895. In 1898, George became one of the founders and served as the first treasurer of Fletcher’s Grove Camp Meeting Association. Annie died in 1949. Both are interred in Lakeview Cemetery. The Hammells lived at 231 Union Avenue at the corner of Third Street, the home occupied as of 2008 by Tom and Dina Lewandowski. The Hammells built a second, smaller home for George’s mother behind the house at what is now 516 Third Street, the home in 2008 occupied by Dennis and Susan Bryski. This structure was once part of a dormitory at Fletcher’s Grove Camp Meeting. The building was cut in half and moved to the Third Street location. The late Dr. Hammell Shipps was named in honor of Rev. Hammell. The 1929 directory lists George and Annie at 416 Third Street. Annie died in 1949. George and Annie are buried in Lakeview Cemetery in Cinnaminson.
Margaret “Peg” Norcross Fenimore Hunter (1904-): *Born Margaret Norcross in Philadelphia. Peg recalls that as a young girl she frequently passed Delanco as she traveled by steamboat from Philadelphia to Trenton (for 25 cents). She said it reminded her of a beautiful lovers’ land. Peg married William Fenimore and moved to Delanco in 1927. She became active at Dobbins Memorial Church in 1943. She became a life-long volunteer for the American Red Cross beginning about 1946 during WWII. William died in 1950. She served as President of the Delanco PTA in 1951-1952. Peg married Leon Hunter in 1952. Peg and Leon served as a two-person tax-collecting team from 1952 – 1956. Peg worked briefly cooking and serving meals at the Camp Meeting. She ran the township’s first polio clinic. She also served as Delanco’s welfare director until 1989, the last 9 years as director. She was also a local historian, and self-styled community booster. Peg Hunter was listed as PTA President again in 1970-1971. Peg is a charter member and was elected President of the Senior Citizens Club when it first organized in 1973. She became a volunteer for Zurbrugg-Rancocas Hospital in 1975. She is a charter member and five-term president of the Delanco Deborah Hospital Committee. Peg was one of the powers behind The Delanco Story, serving on the Bicentennial Book Committee in 1975-1976. She was also a charter member of the Riverfront Historical Society, A signatory of their incorporation papers in 1982. Her address was 610 Union Avenue. She was frequently referred to as Delanco’s historian. Peg was referred to as Delanco’s own Historian and one-man chamber of commerce in a Philadelphia Inquirer article in 1984. She was 80 years old when interviewed for a Burlington County Times article in 1984, and 82 in a BCT article written in 1986, by which time she had moved to the Masonic Home in Burlington. She was still listed as a member of the Local Assistance Board in 1990. She gave another extensive interview to the BCT in 1990 as a follow-up to a testimonial dinner given in her honor at Washington Fire Company. She was 86; the mother of four, grandmother of seven, and great-grandmother of 14. Peg Resided in Delanco for 63 years.
Franklin “Frank” P. Jones, Sr. (1846-1934): Frank was the son of Paul and Deborah Jones (see below). The 1860 Delanco Census lists him (age 13) living with his parents. Frank married Jemima “Mima” Fortnum in 1872, at which time they constructed a roomy Victorian home at 1827 Burlington Avenue. The lot was likely a gift from his parents. On the 1876 map of Beverly in the J.D. Scott Atlas, a residence belonging to F.P. Jones is shown at the end of a long lane near the Delaware River northwest of Burlington Avenue. The home would be near the riverfront end of present day Peachtree Avenue at Second Street. The original home is still standing. Their children were: Clarence E. (1873-1936), who remained single and was a newspaper reporter and sales agent for an advertising company; Laura S. (1877-1903), a school teacher; Gertrude (1882-1935), a school teacher who married Henry Neely ; Cora May (-1866); Frank P. Jones, Jr. (1885-1961). Frank served on the township committee and served as Township Clerk from 1889 to 1893. He was also a member of the Library Association. Mr. & Mrs. Jones were listed in Boyd’s Philadelphia Blue Book for 1891-1892. Frank was a farmer and a trucker and worked the land until the age of 68. He sold the land to William Taubel, who sold it to John Sperber, who sold it to Steven Collins, DDS.
Paul and Deborah VanSciver Jones : Paul was born in 1804, probably the son of Asael and Elizabeth Jones. Deborah was born in 1807 to John and Jennet (Fenimore) VanSciver, all of Willingboro New Jersey. Paul was a Lieutenant when he married Deborah in 1828. The ceremony was performed by John W. Fenimore, Esquire. Children: Azael (1829-1912), Hannah Primrose (1830-1901), Sarah Jane (1833-1870), Caroline J. (Carrie) (1836-1905), Charles (1940-1892), William M. (1943-1915), and Franklin (see above) (1846-1934). Hannah and Carrie married Methodist ministers. In 1833 the couple purchased land from William and Sarah VanSciver. The 1849 map shows their farmhouse on the Delaware River at the end of a long lane near present day Peachtree Avenue and Second Street. In 1849 Paul was elected trustee and appointed Secretary of Beverly United Methodist Church. In 1855 a Methodist Society was formed in Delanco. In 1857 the family transferred membership. The Delanco Methodist Episcopal Church was incorporated in 1858 and Paul was named to the first Board of Trustees of in 1859. In 1855, Paul was listed as a Willingboro freeholder and Burlington County Chosen Freeholder in 1863. In the 1860 Census Paul listed himself as a farmer. His household included Azail Jones (30), farm laborer; Hannah (28) dressmaker; Sarah Jane (26), needlewoman; Charles (19), farm laborer; William Jones (16), farm laborer; and Franklin (13). In 1863 was listed as Steward and member of the official Bridgeboro Circuit. Paul was also a board member of the short-lived Beverly & Dunk’s Ferry Steamboat Company. Paul died in 1867 and Deborah died in 1870, both of typhoid fever. The Jones family is buried at Monument Cemetery, Edgewater Park. The Joneses were mentioned as a prominent family of Willingboro Township in an 1858 publication. They still had descendants among Delanco’s citizenry in 1976.
Henry and Rebecca Kreiner (Kriner), Sr. : Henry Kriner (1806-1884), his wife Rebecca (1805-1871), and all of their children were born in Pennsylvania: Jacob , John, George, and Henry Kreiner, Jr. . Henry and Rebecca were listed in the 1850 Census living in Kensington 5th Ward in Philadelphia with children, John and George; also Conrad Miller, a rope maker. Henry was considered a master wharf builder. It is possible Henry Kreiner & Sons first came to Delanco to construct the cribbing and rubble steamboat wharf at the foot of Union Avenue in 1850. The wharf stood until 1969. The family moved to Delanco about 1852. About 1855 Henry Kreiner & Sons built the Delanco Hotel & Tavern on Rancocas Avenue behind the original train station and train bridge over the Rancocas. The hotel served as a convenient spot to wait on a cold night for the arrival of a train. The hotel appears on the Delanco map of 1859 (spelled Briner). The establishment passed to Isaac Buck in 1860 and John McLardy by 1883. Subsequent innkeepers were Charles E. Russ (1891). Peter Parr (1907), George Russ, and Tim Donovan before it was closed in 1917 the onset of Prohibition. It was finally torn down in 1937. Henry died in 1884 and Rebecca died in 1871. The family is buried in Monument Cemetery.
Isaac H. LeConey (1829-1910): Isaac H. LeConey was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Fenimore LeConey. He was born in 1829 in New Jersey. He married (1st) Gertrude Ann Smith (1831-1870) in 1849. She was daughter of William and Martha Coxe Garwood Grant Smith. In the 1860 Census Isaac was listed as bridge tender. His household included children William H. (1853), who married Elizabeth Murphy ; Mary Cornelia (1855-) who married Lukins Demerest ; Elizabeth (1857-1930), who married Westlake ; and his parents, Joseph and Elizabeth. They probably resided on or near the Newton farm in Delanco. Children, John B. (1862-1934); George J. (1867-1945); and Gertrude Ann (1870-1950), who married Edward Hamlin, Jr. were born later. Gertrude (the mother) died in March of 1870, due to childbirth complications. She was buried in Cooper Town Burying Ground in Edgewater Park. A memorial window in Dobbins Church was installed in her honor. Gertrude, (the daughter) was raised by an aunt in Beverly named Bryan, and later married Edward Hamlin . The family lived on Rancocas Avenue at the corner of Burlington Avenue at the foot of the car bridge. In 1876 Isaac married (2nd) Anna E. Faber (1850-1931) daughter of German immigrants Charles and Catherine Faber of Riverside. They had four additional children: Joseph (1877-1949) who married (1st) Sarah Sherwood and (2nd) Catherine; Eloise S. (1880-1953); Katherine Amy “Emma” (1883-) who married Charles Ernest Taylor in 1908; Raymond H. (1890-1945) who married Lillian Clare Dimmick (1891-1974). Isaac was living in South Bethlehem, Northampton County, Pennsylvania when he died in 1910 at age 81. Isaac’s obituary listed him as “an almost life-long resident of Delanco, and for 21 years in charge of the old pumping station and the bridge”. Anna Elizabeth Faber LeConey was living in Riverside at the time of her death in 1931. Isaac, Anna, and daughter Eloise are buried in Riverside Cemetery. The LeConey family still had descendants among Delanco’s citizenry in 1976.
Pierre Leon : Pierre Leon was born in Nice, France (or Italy) in 1838 and immigrated to America as a stowaway aboard the Juniette in 1849. He remained to work aboard the Juniette for three years, then other vessels. In 1860 Pierre was known to be boarding with the Kreiners at the Delanco Hotel. He enlisted in the US Navy in August of 1861 aboard the Princeton in Philadelphia and was transferred to the Washington Navy Yard September, 1861. He served for four years until honorably discharged in 1865. He joined the crew of the de Villeroi infernal machine (submarine) on December 20, 1861 as an assistant engineer and served to an unknown date. He worked with DeVilleroi during the trials on the Rancocas Creek and at Marcus Hook where he stayed at the Chandler Hotel with the inventor and other assistant engineers. He also served aboard the St. Louis, Baron de Kalb, Black Hawk, Romeo, New Hampshire, Princeton, Nantucket and Nahant in the US Navy. He was wounded by a bursting gun while serving aboard the St. Louis during the bombardment of Island 10, Mississippi River in 1862. He received the Medal of Honor April 3, 1863 for his service aboard the USS Baron de Kalb, Yazoo River Expedition, December 23 to 27, 1862. “Proceeding under orders up the Yazoo River, the USS Baron de Kalb, with the object of capturing or destroying the enemy’s transports, came upon the steamers John Walsh, R.J. Locklan, Golden Age, and the Scotland sunk on a bar where they were ordered fired. Continuing up the river they were fired upon, but upon returning fire, caused the enemy’s retreat. Returning down the Yazoo, she destroyed and captured larger quantities of enemy equipment and several prisoners. Serving bravely throughout the action, Leon as captain of the forecastle, distinguished himself in the various actions.” Pierre settled in Riverside. He married Anna M. Mayer (Meier) in 1866. Children: Harry J., Peter R., George L., Jacob, Mary L., Edward F., and Henrietta B. He worked for the Philadelphia Watch Case Company. He died in 1915. He is interred in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Riverside
Albert and Grace Stang McCay : Albert McCay (1901-1969) was born in Philadelphia but moved with his family to Burlington County as an infant. The family initially lived in Mansfield Township and Burlington City. He received his law degree from Temple University in 1929. He passed the New Jersey bar in 1931 and actively practiced law for 38 years. Albert married Grace M. Stang. They had two sons and two daughters. The family moved to Palmyra where McCay served as Trustee of Palmyra Methodist Church, and as a member of the Palmyra Board of Education. The McCay family moved to a riverbank home in Delanco at 1408 Second Street. Albert was active in Republican politics. He was elected to the State Assembly in 1944-1948, and House Speaker. He was elected to the New Jersey Senate 1952–1958, and served as Majority Floor Leader of the Senate in 1956 and President in 1957. He also served for a time as Acting Governor. Albert died in 1969. Grace M. McCay resided in the home until at least 1975. The Albert McCay Republican Club of Delanco was named in his honor.
Henry M. Neely (1879-1963): Henry Neely was born in 1879. Family reports that he did not receive much formal education. He was interested in early flying machines. In 1910 a New York Times newspaper article identified Henry Neely as chairman of the Exhibition Committee of the Aero Club of Philadelphia. His organization offered a $1,000 inducement to exhibit the aircraft that won the Chicago to New York air race. Henry was a talented writer. He was sports editor for the Philadelphia Evening Ledger, then one of the best newspapers in the country. According to Riverside, New Jersey: 150 years of Progress, Neely was listed as a newspaper executive there, when, in 1912, he made a pitch for the Boy Scouts, a new organization then forming across America. Neely was on the Court of Honor of the Philadelphia Boy Scouts of America. As part of his efforts to “sell the Boy Scout movement,” Neely would invite young men onto his yacht for a trip down the Delaware and a sales pitch on the merits of Scouting. As a result, the group decided to organize a troop of Scouts in Riverside, registered in 1913 as Troop 1. According to The Delanco Story: Its Past and Present, from 1922-1926, Henry Neely was authorized to operate special land radio station 3XP from Delanco, communicating by Morse code with the tugboats traveling up and down the Delaware River. The station was located on the Rancocas Creek at the foot of Buttonwood Street where Crane and Hartley earlier had their boat yards. He continued writing for thePhiladelphia Evening Ledger, contributing a regular movie column. He also published a magazine called E-Z Radio. Henry married (1st) a singer from New York named Agnes. The couple frequently entertained visitors from the New York arts scene. It is reported that she did not enjoy small town life. The 1926 Directory listed Henry and his wife Agnes on Rancocas Avenue at Buttonwood Street. Neely was listed as Manager of the Radio Home Experimental Station. They also had a houseboat and kept a yacht on the Rancocas at the old shipyard. According A Sermon in Glass, in 1926, Neely entered into a partnership in the flower business with Gertrude Jones (1882-1935), the daughter of Franklin and Jemima “Mima” Jones of Delanco. Gertrude studied psychology and earned a teaching degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She taught classes on mental disorders in the area and, later, in Havana, Cuba. They purchased 30 acres of the old Fenimore farm near the “Halfway House” on Burlington Avenue. They built greenhouses and a retail outlet and operated it as Rancocas Valley Flower Farm. Henry was later shown in residence there. Through Gertrude’s family, Henry was provided connections into local business and social circles. Shortly thereafter, Henry Neely found fame as the “Philco’s Old Stager” of New York radio. In 1927 he served as host of the Philco Hour on NBC Radio, carried initially on 26 stations. In 1928 he wrote the lyrics to Mem’ries (Golden Memory Days) and That’s the Song of Songs for Me. In 1929 Henry married (2nd) his business partner, Gertrude Jones. A contemporary news item says the romance had simmered for 16 years. At the time of the wedding, he was 50 and she was 47. They met when Henry, a speedboat enthusiast, camped on the riverbank near the Jones homestead. The fabulous wedding took place at the Presbyterian Church of Beverly. A special rail car brought Henry’s friends in from New York. Playwright, Innis G. Osbourne was best man. Both of his theme songs were performed at the wedding by Jessica Dragonette, the Philco Chorus, and the New Yorkers Quartet under the direction of Ed Smalle. Wedding notices described Neely as a newspaperman, radio pioneer, aviation promoter, and magazine writer. Gertrude died at home in Delanco in 1935 after a lengthy illness. Henry moved to New York City. He hosted the Manhattan Merry-Go-Round radio show in 1936. According to Ted Codding of Beverly, The Philco Hour and Manhattan Merry-Go-Round were forerunners of the Lucky Strike Hit Parade. But Neely’s career took yet another unexpected turn. In spite of his lack of formal education, Henry M. Neely became an astronomer, long-time lecturer, and teacher at the venerable Hayden Planetarium in New York. He became known as “the Dean of New York Stargazers”. He wrote several books on astronomy, including A Primer for Stargazers (1946), which went to multiple printings, and Stars by Clock and Fist (1956). Family reports Henry married a third time. He died at home in New York in 1963 at age 83.
Isaac Newton (1800–1867): It is known that Isaac Newton was born on March 31, 1800 and lived for a time in what is now Delanco Township, Burlington County, where his family had roots. He was the son of William Newton, Grandson of Daniel Newton, and great-grandson of Samuel Newton. He received a common-school education, and after his marriage, moved to Springfield, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, where he established his first dairy farm. Here he soon became known for the neatness, order, and productivity of his land, and he eventually ranked among the model farmers of the Commonwealth. By his mid-20s he was managing two farms in Springfield that were so successfully that he opened a confectionery shop and sold ice-cream made from his dairy surplus. Newton also developed a select butter enterprise which led to unusual consequences later. Isaac quickly became a member of his local agricultural association and was frequently sent as a delegate to the meetings of the United States Agricultural Society. He introduced into the organization a resolution urging Congress to establish a national Department of Agriculture. He also brought the plan to the attention successively of Presidents Harrison, Taylor, Filmore, Buchanan, and Lincoln, whose personal acquaintance he enjoyed. He shared his special dairy products with the White House, arranging weekly shipments of select butter to the Lincolns. Lincoln finally arranged for adoption of his scheme. In 1861 President Lincoln appointed him supervisor of the agricultural division of the Patent Office. When the agricultural bureau had been authorized by Congress in 1862, Lincoln naturally offered the commissionership to Mr. Newton (The position was not made a cabinet position until 1889). Isaac and his family maintained a close relationship with the Lincolns, and he became a personal confidante of Mary Todd Lincoln. Newton continued to serve in this position under President Andrew Johnson, holding the office until his death. In his annual reports, he emphasized the importance of weather and climate to agriculture. Isaac Newton died of the effects of sunstroke while working in the Department of Agriculture’s experimental fields in Washington, D.C. on June 19, 1867.
Stacy Stratton Pancoast (1860-): Stacy was born in Chester Township, Burlington county, March 5, 1860. He was a seventh generation descendant of Rev. Samuel Panckhurst (Pancoast) who came to West Jersey from England in 1676. Rev. Panckhurst was a signer (along with William Penn) of the Concessions & Agreements of the Proprietors of the Province of West Jersey. Stacy was the third child and only son of Edward Hackney and Rebecca A. (Bishop) Pancoast, and lived in Delanco. He was educated in the schools of Riverton, Farnum Preparatory School at Beverly, and graduated from Crittenden Commercial College in Philadelphia in 1878. He worked in Philadelphia as a clerk and bookkeeper for several years, after which he went into the office of W. Frederick Snyder for three years. In November, 1884, Stacy married Mabel D. Garnes, daughter of Henry D. and Matilda M. Garnes, of Camden. One child: Harry G. Pancoast, was born in 1885 and died in infancy. In 1885 he opened an office for himself in Philadelphia, where he conducted a real estate and conveyance business, until 1888, when he went to Alabama on account of his health. In 1892 he went to West Virginia, where he built a mill and carried on the lumber business for three years. When his mill was destroyed by fire in 1895, he returned east and settled in Delanco, taking a position as assistant manager to The George Q. Hammell Co. The firm was established on Coopertown Road in 1894 as a large lumber, coal, farm supply, millwork, paint, and hardware operation. Pancoast changed its name to Delanco Farm & Lumber Co. when he assumed control, and more than doubled the volume of business. He added several large sheds and an additional two-story warehouse. In 1898 he was made manager and treasurer of the company. In 1907 they completed a large railroad trestle and siding. The firm was sold to John Jenkins in 1916 and burned to the ground in a spectacular fire in 1918. The firm was later sold to Ralph Carlton, who moved the operation to Wood Lane at the railroad in Edgewater Park. Pancoast was a Republican, and a member of the Masonic order, of Merchantville Lodge, No. 33, of the Boudinot Royal Arch Chapter, No. 3, of Burlington county, of the Helena Commandery, Knights Templar, No. 3, of Burlington, and a member of the Improved Order of Red Men., the Tacoma Tribe of Delanco Redmen; Washington Camp, No. 35, Patriotic Order Sons of America, of Delanco.
M. Joan Pearson: Muriel Joan Pearson was born in 1927 and raised in England. She graduated from Barr’s Hill High School and went on to receive her teaching degree from Goldsmith’s College in London. Joan’s first year of teaching was at Broad Street Girls School in Coventry. In 1948 she immigrated to the United States with her parents. She taught for one year at the Woods School in Langhorne Pennsylvania, one year at Moorestown Friends School and four years at the Pen Ryn Episcopal School located in Andalusia, just across the Delaware from Delanco in Pennsylvania. By this time she acquired enough college credits for her New Jersey Teaching certificate and had earned her U.S. Citizenship. She came to the Delanco schools in 1954. For the first few years she taught 5th and 6th grade while she completed her master’s degree in reading at Temple University. She became the district’s reading specialist K-9 for most of her tenure in Delanco. She continued her graduate studies at Temple and attained accreditation in Learning Disabilities, Classroom Supervision, and Principal. In January 1979 she assumed the role of Principal of Burlington Avenue School. In addition to her duties as principal, she still performed the role of reading specialist as well as basic skills coordinator and affirmative action officer. Though her professional attributes were many, her fellow staff members and generations of students remember her for her warm, caring, and compassionate manner of living and working. Joan was killed in a plane crash during a trip out of the country in November 1987. Delanco honored her memory by renaming Burlington Avenue School the M. Joan Pearson Elementary School in 1987.
Frank B. and Violet Pennington: Frank Pennington (1904-1994) was the son of William B. Pennington. He attended local schools and continued the family farming tradition. His father purchased 133-acre family farm from the Hunter Family right after WWI, about 1919. Frank married Violet about 1931. Frank inherited the farm from his father. The Penningtons grew vegetables, tomatoes, cantaloupes, soybeans, watermelons, and corn. They employed many of the local teenagers and many Polish women from Riverside when the crops were ready for harvest. He was a landowner and farmer was active until shortly before his death at age 90. The historic farmhouse that was located off Creek Road was one of the oldest in Delanco, over 100 years old in 1975. Frank left the farm to his two twin daughters, Joan Timlin and Jean Snyder. In 1999 the farm was purchased from Joan and Jean by Burlington County to preserve it as open space, part of the Rancocas Greenway project. It was subsequently converted into a county park. The Pennington farmhouse was demolished. After some environmental cleanup and recreational development, the park opened to the public on April 19, 2006. The site of the Pennington farmstead is commemorated with a creekside overlook that is open to the public.
Agnes Margaret Bohnberger Perkins (1903-1993): Agnes was born in Philadelphia to Frederick and Elizabeth Biggard Bohnberger. Agnes’ twin sister Margaret and brother Raymond died in the diphtheria epidemic of 1906. Agnes contracted the disease, but was given the diphtheria antitoxin and survived. Other siblings were Edna, William, and Walter. Fred worked for Caleb Clothier in Philadelphia and first came to Delanco on business trips. The Bohnberger family moved to Delanco permanently in 1913 and lived and operated a boarding house for a time in the three-story Victorian at 229 Willow Street. In 1918 Agnes joined the Epworth League at Dobbins Memorial Methodist Church and was elected Secretary. She also served as Superintendent of the Junior League. She taught music at Farnum School in 1926 until she married George Wesley Perkins III in 1927. Their sons are George Wesley IV (1928-1991), and Dr. Franklin Elwood Perkins (1929-). Agnes began service as organist choir director for Dobbins United Methodist Church on Easter Sunday in 1926, and served for 62 years. Her early musical studies were in Philadelphia. She later studied with Mrs. Fred Fisher, the organist at Delanco Presbyterian Church. Agnes served as accompanist for the Male Chorus and pianist for the Mitchell Concert Orchestra. She also sang with the mixed quartet. Generations of Delanco children studied piano with Ms. Perkins at her home at 300 Union Avenue at the corner of Third Street. Agnes later taught in Cinnaminson Elementary School, then joined Mildred Magowan and taught math in Edgewater Park. She eventually became supervisor, then Principal in Edgewater Park. All told, she taught for 27 years. Agnes served as President of the PTA in 1937. She served as treasurer for the Delanco Camp Meeting Association for 34 years. Agnes served on the Delanco Bicentennial Book Committee in 1975-1976. Agnes wrote a memoir, Remembrances, published in 1988. She died in 1993 at age 90.
Clifford R. Powell, Esq. (1893-1973): Clifford Ross Powell was born in 1893 in Lumberton. He earned his law degree and was listed as a lawyer with a Mount Holly firm. One source indicates he lived in Mount Holly for a time. Powell served gallantly in two world wars. He served in WWI. He organized and commanded the 50th armored division of the New Jersey National Guard, the New Jersey Blues, attaining the rank of General, and went on active duty during World War II. He commanded them through many battles in North France and became a highly-decorated war veteran. He rose to the rank of Major General, and earned the French Croix de Guerre. It is not yet clear when the Powells moved to Delanco. They were not listed in the 1926 Delanco Directory, but the 1929 directory lists Clifford and his wife Irene living on Delaware Avenue east of Lilac Lane. Other sources indicate the family lived in one of the Taubel mansions, 915 Delaware Avenue. He became a director of First National Bank of Riverside. He served for a time as Delanco Township Solicitor. He served in the state legislature in the 1920's and 1930's. He represented Burlington County in the New Jersey Assembly from 1920–1927 and served as Speaker of the New Jersey Assembly in 1925. He served in the New Jersey Senate from 1928–1939, and as Senate President 1934-1935. He was the Senate President on January 3, 1935, when Governor A. Harry Mooreresigned to take his seat in the United States Senate. Powell became Acting Governor that day and served for five days; the Senate reorganized on January 8th and Horace Prall became Senate President and completed the remaining week of Moore's term. Harold Hoffman had already been elected Governor in the 1934 election and succeeded Prall on January 15th, but history still regards the 41-year-old Powell as a former Governor. He also spent many years as the Burlington County Republican Chairman, and served as the Chief of Staff of the New Jersey National Guard during the post-War administration of Governor Alfred Driscoll. In a move that became the major political scandal of the time, Powell perpetrated one of the greatest swindles in the history of New Jersey. And he did it all in one day, October 22, 1948. Powell and a few of his friends started the morning by purchasing the privately-owned Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol bridges for $6 million. Later the same morning he convened a meeting of the Burlington County Board of Freeholders (which he seemingly controlled) and had it create the Burlington County Bridge Commission. Immediately after creating the Commission, Powell (through the Freeholders) appointed the members of the Commission. After lunch, the Commission held their first meeting and voted to float a $12 million bond issue. By the end of the day, the Commission had sold their bonds and used the money to purchase the two bridges from Powell and his friends. In one day, Powell’s consortium made a $6 million profit. Ultimately the deal became the subject of an investigation; Powell was forced to resign from Driscoll's cabinet and return his profit to the Commission. But the state Supreme Court ruled that since the bonds had already been sold, it would be unfair to the bond holders if they were to shut down the Commission. Powell is a mere footnote of New Jersey political history, but the Burlington County Bridge Commission continues to run the two bridges it purchased from Powell. Clifford Powell died in 1973. His portrait appears on page 110 of The Delanco Story.
Alexander Rhodes (1842-1934): Alexander Rhodes was a crew member of the USS Alligator who lived for a time in Delanco. He was born in Bordeaux, France in 1842 and immigrated to America in 1859. He immediately became involved with the de Villeroi infernal machine (submarine) Alligator and stayed with the project until the government took it over in 1860. When it was doing trials in the Rancocas, he stayed at the Delanco Hotel. From 1860 to 1863 he had charge of the submarine until it reached Fort Monroe. In 1860 he is found living at the Chandler Hotel in Marcus Hook at the same hotel as inventor Brutus de Villeroi and other engineers from the submarine project. He was hired as an operative in November 1861. According to May 18, 1861 articles in the Bulletin and Philadelphia Inquirer, Alexander Rhodes and Henry Kreiner were arrested by Philadelphia port security while attempting to transport the de Villeroi infernal machine (submarine) from Delanco to the Philadelphia Navy Yard. He later served on the USGB Wissahickon, the Vermont, and the Princeton. He was discharged in June 1864. After his discharge he lived at Buck’s Delanco Hotel for two or three years, recuperating from injury sustained aboard the Wissahickon. He mostly worked at odd jobs in Riverside. He married Rose Rower (1846-1934) in Riverside in 1865. They had five children. He died in the Dayton, Ohio Civil War Soldiers Home in 1920. Rose died in 1934.
Andress J. Ridgway (1832–1924): Andress was born in Pennsylvania and came to Delanco prior to 1860. Andress married Marianne (or Meriam) Wilmerton about 1855. Marianne was born in New Jersey in 1833 to Abraham Wilmerton (1794-1871) and Mary Marter (1797-1878). Children who lived to adulthood were Lourel (sic) or Laura Virginia (1857-1945), Andress Crittenden. (A.C.) (1861-1926), and Annie Eliza (1864-1957) who married Harry Cook. Five other children died in infancy. Andress and Meriam (sic) were listed as members of the 1858 Methodist Sunday School class under Micajah Dobbins, and Andress Ridgway was named to the first Board of Trustees of Delanco Methodist Episcopal Church in 1859. The 1860 Delaranco map shows their home on Poplar Street (about 432). He served for a time as postmaster of Delanco Post Office beginning in 1871. He also served on the township committee and on the county board of freeholders. In 1872 Andress Ridgway was named Superintendent of the Methodist Sunday School, a position he held for the next 37 years. In 1881 he established a shoe factory in a garage behind his home on Ash at the corner of Rancocas. He began with three employees. Three or four years later his son, Andress C. Ridgway (A.C.) became a partner. A. J. Ridgway & Son manufactured shoes for children and infants. The business prospered and expanded. They erected a frame factory building in 1885 next to his home on the Rancocas Creek at the foot of Ash. It was later expanded. Mr. & Mrs. Ridgway and daughters Laurel and Annie were listed in Boyd’s Philadelphia Blue Book for 1891-1892. Ridgeway was listed as manufacturer of infant shoes in the 1895 and 1897 Delanco business directories. AJ and AC Ridgway both became stockholders of Fletcher’s Grove Camp Meeting Association in 1898. By 1907 the plant was shipping about 350,000 pairs of shoes per year and employed 90 skilled workers. In 1912 the firm augmented the wooden structure with a three-story brick building (still standing). At its peak it employed 145 workers. There was a serious fire in 1924 which damaged the frame factory structure; the same year that A.J. died. The shoe business closed in the late 1920s after his death. The Ridgways still had descendants among Delanco’s citizenry in 1976.
Rev. George Whitfield Ridout (1870-1954): Pastor of Dobbins Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church from 1897 to 1900. Rev. Ridout was born in Bourne Bay, St. Johns, Nova Scotia in 1870 to Capt. Fred and Elizabeth Ridout. They had eight children. Fred Ridout, a sea captain, was lost at sea in 1873 or 1874, leaving his wife with six surviving children. Family legend suggests he may have been captured by pirates. George followed his fiancée, Mary Smith from St. John’s where he attended Methodist Seminary, to Boston, and later continued his education at Temple University. He married Mary in 1893. The couple moved to Delanco in 1897 where Rev. Ridout served his second appointment. In 1898, Rev. Ridout gathered a group of church faithful to establish the Fletcher Grove camp Meeting Association. The group consisted of A.C. Ridgway, George Q. Hammell, Edward S. Hunter, and Charles E. Fletcher. After leaving Delanco in 1900, Rev. Ridout served several other congregations before coming to Taylor University in 1913 as an instructor. During World War I he served 15 months as a YMCA Chaplain in France. On his return, he wrote The Cross and the Flag in 1919. In 1920, Rev. Ridout served as an evangelist. In 1923 he became an instructor at Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky. He spent a total of ten more years in two Methodist colleges, and wrote several more books: The Power of the Holy Spirit, Amazing Grace, The Beauty of Holiness, to name a few. In 1927, Rev. and Mrs. Ridout set sail for China as missionary evangelists. Besides China, they were called to Africa, Canada, Europe, South America, India, Japan, Korea, and Malaya. He retired in 1942 and enjoyed 12 years of retirement with Mary before he died in 1954. Mary died 12 days later. They were buried in Riverview Cemetery, Trenton.
Morris A. Robbins, MD (1917-2004): Morris A. Robbins was born on a farm in Springfield, the son of Clarence R. Robbins, a carpenter, and Sarah Poinsett Robbins, a teacher. He was raised in Jacksonville, NJ, where he was active in the YMCA. At the age of 19, Robbins lost his left forearm and half of his right hand and was burned severely over most of his body in a tragic electrical accident. In spite of this handicap, he was determined to overcome his disability. Robbins graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Maryland Medical School in 1944. Upon completion of his medical degree, he trained at Maryland and Cooper Hospital in Camden, N.J. He operated a general practice in Columbus from 1945 to 1954. In 1956, Dr. Robbins moved his family to 1410 Second Street near the corner of Peachtree Avenue in Delanco. He attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and accepted an orthopedic preceptorship in Camden from 1957 to 1960. Dr. Robbins performed his medical practice over more than 50 years. He served as chief orthopedic surgeon at Burdette Tomlin Memorial Hospital in Cape May Court House and Zurbrugg Memorial Hospital in Riverside; he also practiced at Kessler Memorial Hospital in Hammonton, and operated a private orthopedic surgery practice in Burlington from 1960 until retirement in 1994. He was president of the Burlington County Medical Society. In his rare spare time, Dr. Robbins was an inventor and essayist. Doc, as most people called him, was known around town for the vehicles he drove: a 1956 Thunderbird, an aging Ford Bronco, and a tricycle. Dr. Robbins died in 2004, survived by his wife Betty, daughter Dorothy Robbins-Talavera (see below), son William, and four grandchildren.
Edmund E. Robins, Sr.: As a young man, Ed Robins was a merchant seaman. He operated a fleet of dump trucks until 1928. He learned welding during the Depression, started a welding school, then began building boats at a shipyard in Essington, PA. In 1939, when the firm outgrew its yard space, Robins bought the Rancocas Construction Co. on the Rancocas Creek in Delanco, and renamed the firm the Robins Shipbuilding and Welding Co. He opened the yard with 14 employees. In 1940 the yard turned out a 30-foot sailing sloop and a 46-foot ketch. In 1941 the firm constructed a 65-foor tug named the Emma R., named for Mrs. Robins. Over the next years the yard turned out barges and service ships for the US government, and rebuilt large tugs for commercial concerns. At its peak, the yard employed 39 skilled workers. The shipyard was sold in 1943 to Eric Welding Service. Ed Robins went on to become an inspector for the US Army, Superintendent for the United Boat Service, Continental Shipbuilding in New York, then a self-employed contractor. He did construction work at McGuire Air Force Base, four of the five Nike missile installations in New Jersey, and King’s Department Store in Edgewater Park before he retired. He married Emma R. Norton. The residence at Poplar and Vine is considered one of the oldest in Delanco, over 100 years old in 1975. Their son, Edmund Robins, Jr. lived there in 1975.
Henry Rowan: *Henry Rowan founded his firm Inductotherm (Now Indel Inc.) in a garage on Illinois Avenue in Delanco. A photo of his first commercial plant is in the Delanco archive. The firm moved to Beverly Rancocas Road in Rancocas NJ where it expanded and spun off related firms. Henry is well known for his generous gift to Glassboro State College to establish a school of engineering in southern NJ. The college renamed itself in honor of Rowan when it became a university in the late 1990s.
Howard and Lizzie F. Russ, Sr.: Howard Russ (1859-1936) was a major landowner and farmer in Delanco. Howard purchased the land on Rancocas Lane from the Newton heirs, Florence and Edna Thomas in 1925 for $1. Howard Married Elizabeth J. (Lizzie) Russ (1862-1942) about 1884. Children: Ethel (1890), Helen, Ruth, Howard Jr. (1894), Stanley, and Warren. Their son Stanley was also active in politics. Their daughter was Ruth Covert Russ (see below). Howard Russ was a prominent Republican and was elected to the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders where he served from 1908–1933, serving as Freeholder Director from 1924-1933. The Russ family joined Delanco Presbyterian Sunday school in 1872 and First Presbyterian Church in 1886. Howard was elected trustee in 1887 and elder in 1889. He was appointed Clerk of Sessions in 1903. He also became Sunday school superintendent. It is reported that in 50 years, he only missed church services twice. He was active in the Patriotic Order Sons of America and the Tacoma Tribe of Red Men. The 1929 Delanco Directory lists Eliza (Lizzie) J. Russ residing with H. Russ. Howard died of pneumonia in 1936 at age 77. He is buried at Odd Fellows Cemetery, Burlington. Elizabeth died in 1942.
Stanley Irving Russ (1900-1994): Stanley was the son of Howard Russ, a descendant of James Russ, and a landowner and farmer. Stanley was listed as a farmer on Rancocas Lane in the 1929 Delanco directory. He farmed about 55 acres along the Rancocas Creek, and grew corn and peaches as his main cash crops. Like his father, Stanley served as Burlington County freeholder. He was appointed Freeholder in 1943 to fill a vacancy, then elected and served from 1944–1949, and again from 1952–1955. Stanley’s wife died about 1961. Stanley’s brother died a short time later. Stanley was actively farming until very late in his life and was the last of his family to cultivate the farm. He tore the orchard out about 1990 because the trees had deteriorated. He died in 1994. The family farmhouse on Rancocas Lane off Coopertown Road is considered one of the oldest in Delanco, dating to 1860s, and over 120 years old in 1995. The original structure was destroyed by fire, except for one room. The house, as it stands today, was rebuilt around that room. The Newton’s Landing Homeowner’s Association has preserved the five remaining structures on the homestead as an historical site.
Alan Murray Sheaffer, MD: Alan Sheaffer was the son of Joseph H. Sheaffer of the Princeton Class of 1902. Alan was raised in Cherry Hill. He prepared at the Penn Charter School in Philadelphia and graduated Princeton University Class of 1936. At Princeton, he majored in chemistry, with honors. In 1940 he graduated from Jefferson Medical School in Philadelphia. During WWII, he served four years in the Navy Medical Corps. His last assignment was that of medical officer for a construction battalion at Pearl Harbor and the Midway Islands. He retired in 1946 as a lieutenant commander. He married Nancy in the same year. They had two children, a daughter, Susan L.; son Stephen C. (Princeton Class of 1973); and four grandchildren. Dr. Sheaffer practiced obstetrics and gynecology for over 35 years in Delanco until he retired in 1981. Alan's career highlight was the delivery of 5,179 babies, the last two being twins. He was the physician of record for Delanco's public schools and Chief of Staff at the Zurbrugg Memorial Hospital in Riverside. He was a member of several New Jersey state medical societies. Alan was a longtime board member of Delanco Federal Savings Bank and served 47 years as Benevolence Treasurer of First Presbyterian Church. Nancy Sheaffer was elected Treasurer of the Memorial Fund. Dr. Sheaffer owned the three-story white grand Victorian at 239 Willow (west corner of Willow and Third Street) in 1975. He operated his office and clinic on the first floor and lived on the upper floors. The home was originally referred to as the Woods’ property and had been located on the riverfront on the east side of Willow. The home was moved to its current site in 1910 using rollers and teams of horses. Alan died June 3, 1999 at age 85. Nancy survived.
Abbie Ann Himes Zaldevar Shipps (1840-1876): Abbie was born in 1840 in Philadelphia to Andrew and Anna Himes . The family moved to Delaranco (Delanco) in 1854 and purchased a lot on Union Avenue from Richard and Elizabeth Wilmerton for $125. In the 1860 Census, the name listed following the Shipps family is Florence Miguel Zaldevar, “a gentleman of Cuba,” who became 18-year old Abbie’s first husband in May of 1860. They had a daughter, Annie Florence Zaldevar. It is not clear what happened to Miguel. Abbie married (2nd) John Howard Shipps about 1864 or 1865. John adopted Abbie’s daughter Annie Zaldevar who added the name Shipps. The family became active in Dobbins Methodist Church in 1868. The Census of 1870 lists Abbie married to John H. Ships (Sic)(1836-1907), a Bridgebuilder. They were living in the Heins (Himes) household, which is known to have been at 610 Union Avenue between Mulberry and Hickory. Abbie’s father, Andrew Himes is also listed in the household (age 67) as a journeyman shoemaker. Also listed are Abbie’s brother, John; Abbie and Miguel’s daughter Anna (age 8); and Abbie and John Shipp’s young children: Joseph (1864), and Charles (1867). Children George W.P. (1871) and Mary (May) Johnson (1874) were born later. Mary married William Stern. Joseph, Charles and George were all considered commercial fishermen in Delanco as young men. Joseph and Charles later took over the Shipps mercantile, and all three served as stewards of the Methodist church. Abbie died in 1876 at age 36.
Dr. Hammell Pierce Shipps (1900-1986): Hammell was the son of Charles and Clara Shipps, and brother of Dr. Howard F. Shipps, all of Delanco. Dr. Shipps received his B.S. degree from Temple University in 1922, his MD from Jefferson College of Medicine in 1926, where he later served on the faculty. Dr. Hammell was listed as a physician in Delanco in 1929 with an address at 739 Chestnut Street. He served as doctor of obstetrics and gynecology for over 50 years. He served as Chief of Staff at Cooper Medical Center and an emeritus staff member at Zurbrugg Memorial Hospital. Dr. Shipps joined Dobbins United Methodist Church in 1912. He was elected President of the Epworth League. Hammell married (1st) Flora Belle Collings (1901-1968) in 1928. They had three children: Charles Collings Shipps (1929) of Venice Florida, Elizabeth (Bette) Shipps (1931), who married J. Byron Crouse Jr. of Seoul, Korea, and Gordon T. Shipps (1935) of San Bernadino, California. Hammell organized the Methodist Men of Dobbins Church, the first chartered Methodist Men’s Club in the Conference. From 1935-1951 he served as one of the three directors of the Delanco Male Chorus, having performed in the earlier mixed quartet and male quartet. Hammell also played an instrument in the Mitchell Concert Orchestra, directed by Harry Mitchell. Dr. Shipps property adjoined Fletcher’s Grove near the corner of Burlington Avenue and Coopertown Road. Dr. Shipps was active in the Fletcher Grover Camp Meeting Association and donated land to locate a pool for the camp. He was named as emeritus member of the board. Flora Shipps served as President of the Delanco PTA in 1941-1942. Flora died in 1968. The Delanco Women’s Civic Club named an annual art scholarship for Flora Shipps in 1972. Hammell married (2nd) Betty Ann Snyder in 1969. Hammell and Betty Snyder Shipps were very active at Dobbins and worldwide Methodist activities. Hammell served on the board of Asbury College for 40 years. In later years he lived in Moorestown. Dr. Shipps retired in 1976 and died in Zurbrugg Memorial Hospital in Riverside in 1986.
John Howard Shipps (1836-1907): John was the son, and one of eight children of David William and Deborah Shelmire Shipps. John does not appear in the 1860 Delanco Census, but first appears in Delanco history in the 1870 Census listed as a master bridgebuilder. John may have come to town to help construct the first toll-free bridge between Delanco and Riverside that opened in 1870. In 1864-1865 John became the (2nd) husband of Abbie Anne Himes Zaldevar Shipps . John adopted Abbie’s first child Anna Florence Zaldevar (1861-1917), adding Shipps to her name. John and Abbie had four additional children: Joseph Howard (1864-1950), Charles Carpenter (1867-1953), George Washington Parent (1871-1943) and Mary (May) Johnson (1874-1960). The couple is found in the 1870 Census living with three young children in the home of Abbie’s father, Andrew Himes (age 67) at 610 Union Avenue, on the east side of Union at the corner of Mulberry Street. The household also includes Abbie’s brother Joseph Himes (age 25), a fisherman. Abbie died in 1876 (at age 36). According to the 1880 Delanco Census, John was still working as wharf building, but was living with Henry and Cecilia Borden in Delanco. Henry was a co-worker. About 1886 John married (2nd) Louisa (1858-1916) of Louisiana. In that same year, John took his family to New York City to live. John worked as a cashier on the 6th Avenue elevated railroad and they lived in an apartment in the city. They returned to Delanco to live prior to 1893 and John may have resumed construction work at that time. John and Louisa had one daughter, Jennie (1894-1906). John later established a storefront at his home at 610 Union Avenue between Laurel and Mulberry Street which he operated with his sons Joseph and Charles. A new listing for the establishment appears in the 1897 business directory. The 1900 Census lists him as a fancy grocer. John died in 1907, leaving the mercantile business to his sons.
Louis D. and Alma Steel: Louis Steel (1885-1965) was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas C. Steel of Delanco. Louis grew up around the family shipyard and built his first boat, a 30-footer, at age 16. The ship was christened by his girlfriend, Alma Birkhead, whom he married in 1913. They had a daughter Helen. A short time later, Steel established L.D. Steel Ship Building on the Rancocas at the foot of Poplar Street. Louis specialized in pleasure craft at that time. In 1913, Louis Steel, Ridgway Potts, Jacob Schmidt, and Herman Calhoun organized the Rancocas Construction Company at 560 Rancocas Avenue. Steel served as President of the new corporation. He was still listed in that capacity in 1929. They cut their own lumber and built many bridges and wharves as well as boats. Some of their projects included the Chester and Bridgeport ferry docks, and Greenbank Bridge. During World War I the company built tugboats for the U.S. government, and beam trawlers for commercial coastal fishermen, along with pleasure craft. Two of his more famous pleasure craft customers included the presidents of Packard Motor Company and Harrison Paint Works. One of their speedboats won the prestigious Delaware River championship. After World War I, the firm built tugs for the British and Dutch governments. The firm was sold in 1939 to Edmund E. Robins, Sr. Louis died in 1965.
Thomas C. Steel: Thomas Steel operated a sawmill, lumberyard, and shipyard at the foot of Poplar Street. The firm cut their own lumber and built bridges and wharves as well as boats. Some of their projects included the Chester and Bridgeport ferry docks, and the Greenbank Bridge. The original Steel home was at 560 Rancocas at the foot of Poplar Street and owned property along Rancocas Avenue. Thomas was a charter member of the Delanco Town Hall Association in 1884. Their son, Louis D. Steel was born in 1885, the same year Thomas built a large 2 ½ story grand Victorian home at 750 Rancocas Avenue at Pine Street. Mr. and Mrs. Steel were listed in Boyd’s Philadelphia Blue Book for 1891-1892. The family sponsored construction of a sophisticated baseball park and stadium on the Town Square behind Town Hall where semi-professional games were played. The family was still listed at 750 Rancocas Avenue at Pine Street in 1929.
Charles Stokes (1791–1882): Born August 12, 1791 in Wellingborough Township (now Beverly); The son of David and Ann Lancaster Stokes and descendant of Thomas and Mary Stokes of London, England who immigrated to Burlington County in 1676. Charles moved to Stockingham and lived with his parents until he married. He was educated at Rancocas Friends School. In his early life, Stokes farmed with his parents, and taught during the winter. At age 17 he began a long career as a surveyor. Charles married Tacy Jarrett of Montgomery County, PA on October 18, 1816, and settled in a new home and farm in what is now Beverly. They had six children: David, Hannah, Alice, Jarrett, Anna, and William. Charles was a Pacifist, Teetotaler, and life-long member of the Society of Friends. In 1817 he was elected elder, and served as representative to the Yearly Meeting in Philadelphia for 65 years until his death. In 1830 Stokes was selected as one of five bridge commissioners, and supervised construction of the Centerton Bridge and the later pier bridge on the Rancocas at Bridgeborough. Stokes was an early proponent of a rail line linking Philadelphia and New York City. He attended the First Public Railroad meeting chaired by Col. John Stevens in 1828, and was elected Secretary. This effort led to establishment of the Camden & Amboy Railroad. In 1833 Stokes surveyed the line and served as Company Agent to acquire property on the right of way. In 1830 Stokes was elected to the NJ House of Representatives where he served one term. In 1835 and again in 1836, Stokes was elected to the Council of State Legislature. He was a great admirer and acquaintance of Andrew Jackson who caused him to be commissioned as Master in the Court of Chancery in 1836. He was later selected as one of 60 delegates statewide (one of four from Burlington County) to the New Jersey State Constitutional Convention, which convened in Trenton on March 18, 1844. He was an active delegate and was successful in including protections against indentured servitude and separation of church and state. However, when it came to the final vote, Stokes received requested and received unanimous approval to be excused from voting due to the military features in the document. He was a stockholder in the Beverly – Mt. Holly Turnpike or Plank Road Company in 1851. In the same year he became a director of the Mt. Holly Insurance Company. He was also a stockholder in the failed Dunks Ferry Steamboat Company. Stokes surveyed the town of Beverly (then Churchville) in 1847; laid out the town of Delanco (then called Delaranco) in 1852; planned the town of Edgewater Park (then called Willington) in 1853; and surveyed the town of South Beverly in 1856. He also surveyed most of Wellingborough and served as its principle record-keeper for 20 years. He was a member and President of the Centerton Turnpike Company from 1855 until his death. He was a founding member and first President of the Rancocas Library in 1859. The Stokes family moved to Rancocas in 1863. Charles Stokes served as Burlington County Freeholder for 15 years, and was on and off the Wellingborough Township Committee for most of his life. Charles Stokes died in the town of Rancocas February 27, 1882 at age 91 and is buried with his family in the Rancocas Friends burying ground.
Charles and Cornelia Clutt Taubel (1821-1905): Charles was born in Hesse-Darmstadt Germany in 1821. He was educated in common school in his native town, then learned the shoemaker trade. He emigrated to America in 1848, stopping first in New York City, then moving to Philadelphia. In 1850 he married Cornelia Clutt, a German immigrant from the same town living in Philadelphia. They had 11 children: John, Rosa, Lewis, Henry, George, William (see below), Mary, Kate who married a Mr. Schneider, Lizzie, Hannah who married Mr. Webber, and Sophie. George, Mary, Lizzie, and Sophie were deceased by 1910. In 1855 Charles moved to Riverside where he established a shoemaker’s shop in Riverside. He was a member of the school board, a Democrat, and a member of the Moravian Church. Thirty years later, his sons William F. Taubel, Henry Taubel, and Lewis Taubel developed new formulas for hosiery dyes and built large hosiery mills in Riverside and Pennsylvania. The Riverside factory employed hundreds of workers and contributed to long-term industrial base of Riverside.
Clarence H. and Julia Taubel: Clarence (1892-1940) was the son of William F. and Anna Taubel, Grandson of Charles Taubel, and brother of Elizabeth (Mrs. Walter) Ziegler. Clarence worked at Henry Taubel & Son in Riverside in 1929. He inherited the massive William F. Taubel Mills when his father retired but he was not interested in running the 33 plants that made the company the largest hosiery maker in the world. He turned his attention to other things and at one time owned and operated radio stations in Philadelphia including WPEN. Unfortunately the hosiery business went bankrupt in 1930. The family had a large riverfront estate at 915 Delaware Avenue in the Sinex Annex section of Delanco. An early photo postcard of the mansion is in the Delanco Photo Archive. The Taubel mansion was the training site for Lew Tendler in preparation for the Tendler-Leonard fight which took place in Jersey City in 1922. Tendler presented an outdoor exhibition match against Joe Tiplitz in Delanco to benefit the Delanco Athletic Association. Clarence died in 1940.
William F. and Anna Drenk Taubel: William (1863-1957) was the sixth child of Charles and Cornelia Clutt Taubel. William ranks with the most prominent of the town’s fathers. He started his career as a 17-year old foreman in Christian Dick’s seamless stocking factory in 1880. Soon after, he went into business with his brother Louis at Clay and Kossuth Streets in Riverside. After a fire there, William F. moved his mill to the corner of Fairview Street and New Jersey Avenue. He increased his building several times until there were two five-story structures on Fairview Street. He established five additional mills in Pennsylvania. At one point the Riverside mill employed more than 700 people and Taubel owned 33 other factories in the Eastern United States. In 1916, one of the Riverside buildings burned out. The main building was demolished in 2006. William married Anna Drenk, daughter of Harry F. Drenk of Riverside. After 1910, William and Anna purchased two adjacent blocks of riverfront property in the Sinex Annex section of Delanco and constructed two large mansions for his son Clarence and Julia Taubel and his daughter Mr. and Mrs. Walter Ziegler. These large multi-story stone homes are at 715 and 815 Delaware Avenue. William died in 1957.
Hiram Dwight Torrey (Torrie), Sr. (1820-1901): Born in New Lebanon, New York on June 22, 1820; Son of Jesse Torrey of Pittsfield, Massachusetts and his second wife, Azubah West. Hiram graduated Williams College. He had a natural ability for poetry and painting. At age 25 he moved to Pottsville, Pennsylvania and worked for the local newspaper. His first wife was Mary Woodward of Pennsylvania. Their children were Mary Woodward who married William K. Moore (deceased by 1910) of Delanco; and William, who became a gold miner in New Zealand. Hiram took up the study of engineering and architecture, but earned his living as a portrait painter, then joined the faculty of the female seminary in Washington, Pennsylvania where he served for ten years as a professor of painting and drawing. The family lived for a time in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, then Reading, Pennsylvania. While in Reading Torrey became leader of a music society that later developed into the Ringold (Rheingold?) Band. In 1862, Hiram married (2nd) Clara V. Moore of Philadelphia (1834-). They had two additional children: Hiram Dwight (see below) and James Moore. In 1867 he took his family to Europe so he could continue his art studies and work as a painter. He had many important European and American clients, and did much portraiture. The family was entertained by nobility. When the family returned in 1877 they came to live in Delanco, where Hiram dedicated the remainder of his life to painting. He was a Republican, an Episcopalian, and a Mason. He was also a member of the Knights of Malta.
Hiram Dwight and Julia Wells Torrey (Torrie), Jr.: Hiram was the son of Hiram Dwight Torrey the elder and his second wife Clara V. Moore. He was born in 1866 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania and traveled with his family from 1867-1877 in Europe. He began his education in Glasgow, Scotland. When the family returned and settled in Delanco in 1877 he continued his education in Delanco. Torrey was the publisher of the Riverside Press. Hiram learned the printer’s trade at The Enterprise of Burlington City, beginning with its first issue in 1884, becoming foreman of the press room. In 1887 he left to establish the weekly Burlington County Press of Riverside, which became the New Jersey Sand Burr, which was published behind a barbershop on Polk Street in Riverside. He changed the name to Riverside Press and moved to a building on Pavilion in Riverside where the Watchcase building now stands. He later moved to a larger building on Franklin Street, then to Hancock Street. He initially had a financial partner, John H. Weidmann, but bought out his interest when Weidmann died in 1890. Torrey was serving as Editor and Proprietor in 1910. In 1888, Hiram married Julia Walton Wells (1867-1934), the daughter of Isaiah and Elmira (King) Wells of Bridgeboro. They had no children as of 1910. The Torreys initially lived in Riverside, with a home near the former hospital. Mr. & Mrs. Torrey were listed in Boyd’s Philadelphia Blue Book for 1891-1892. Hiram, Sr. died in 1901. Torreys sold part of this Riverside property to Theophilus Zurbrugg in 1903 to permit construction of the Homestead, Zurbrugg’s first mansion. Hiram and Julia appear to have built a new bungalow home at 325 Walter Avenue about 1904. A 1910 photo of the Torreys and their home are shown in The Delanco Story (p 132). The Torrey family was Republican, but maintained an independence of view for the newspaper. Hiram was active in his community. He was a member of the Riverside Fire Company, and the State Fireman’s Association, which he served for a time as Vice President. He was also a member of the Grand Fraternity, BPO Elks, and Pen and Pencil Club of Philadelphia. Hiram died about 1924. Julia survived him by ten years, and was listed as a widow in the 1929 Delanco Directory. Julia was active at the Presbyterian Church and organized a young ladies’ Bible Class there about 1936. She was President of the Ladies Aid Society, an important welfare agency in the tough economic times of the Great Depression.
Rev. John Wesley Tower (1865-1939): John was born in Utica, New York on January 17, 1865 to Rev. Philo Tower (1812) and his second wife Abigail Ann Billis. Philo traveled the south from 1851 to 1858. He wrote about the oligarchy and slavery of the south in a book, Slavery Unmasked. John was a seventh generation descended from Puritan ancestors. He joined the NJ Conference in 1894, and, in that same year, married Mary Smith of Westville, New Jersey. They had seven children, four living to adulthood: Robert Wesley (1897), Everett E. (1902-1962), Miriam (1914), and Olin (1905). They came to Delanco Methodist-Episcopal Church, his fourth pastoral assignment, in 1902. His was an active tenure, encompassing the decision and design for a major renovation of the sanctuary and renaming the church as a memorial to Micajah Dobbins. Rev. Tower contracted diphtheria in 1906 and was incapacitated for three months. Although he was reappointed for an additional year, Rev. Tower resigned in 1906. He went on to serve a number of congregations and was appointed Conference Evangelist in 1914. He retired to a farm in Colts Neck in 1915. From 1926 to 1933 he served the Dutch Reformed Church and supplied the Methodist Church in Rumson. John died in 1939 and Mary died in 1961.
Edward Dennis Walsh (1922-2007): Ed Walsh was born on May 29, 1922 to Edward and Gertrude Walsh in Newark, New Jersey. Ed attended Purdue University receiving a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1944. He joined the Navy, serving in the South Pacific during World War II, and married Margaret Spears. They settled on the Delaware River at 701 Delaware Avenue in Delanco and started a family. They had five children: Mickey and Donna (Jones) Walsh, Linda Blazek and Doug Scott, Dan and Gail Walsh, Nancy and Thomas Huffmire, and Virginia Walsh. Ed worked for City Service on Petty Island. He later founded specialty plastics companies: the Mic-Lin Co. and later C-Lec Plastics, Inc. Over the years, his companies grew, furnishing customers like Sandia National Laboratories with sophisticated, precision-machined parts made of advanced materials (Rexolite). Ed’s sons Mickey and Dan continued to run the companies after Ed’s retirement. In addition to being a successful businessman, the family was active at Red Dragon Canoe Club in Edgewater Park. Ed was an avid sailor, winning two Thistle National Championships (1961 and 1963) and numerous regional and local championships in his Thistle #818Dan E. Boy, with his family as crew. Ed was incredibly intelligent and was quite ahead of his time in terms of sail and boat design. There are not too many people out there that have the understanding of design and have the ability to apply it like Ed. Ed was quite capable of doing everything to make his boat perform and win races. This included cutting and designing his own sails, building his own blocks and cleats. He also became a small plane aviator for business and pleasure. In his later years Ed traveled all over North America in his RV, developing diverse interests including golf, golf club making, and jewelry making. When Ed died February 9, 2007 he had ten grandchildren and one great-grand child. Ed was buried at Odd Fellows Cemetery in Burlington Township.
Harry K. Weiler, MD (1856-1921): In the early days, Dr. Weiler was the only doctor in town and he practiced dentistry as well as serving as a physician. At one time his fee for office visits was 50 cents. Dr. Weiler married Anna E. Wells, the daughter of Isaiah and Elmira (King) Wells of Bridgeboro and sister-in-law of Hiram D. Torrey. Dr. & Mrs. Weiler were listed in Boyd’s Philadelphia Blue Book for 1891-1892. Dr. Weiler practiced in Riverside and Delanco as late as 1915. Dr. Weiler ran a pharmacy on Scott Street in Riverside. He also served for many years as Justice of the Peace and was active in Riverside politics. His residence and office were at 400 Buttonwood (corner Franklin). Ed Diggs was employed as Dr. Weiler’s handyman and chauffer for 17 years . The Weilers frequently traveled, even overseas, and took their limousine and driver with them. Diggs told stories of these trips.
Richard Fenimore Wilmerton (1811-1891): Richard was born in Willingboro in 1811; son of Fenimore Wilmerton (1878-1823) and Penilla Van Kirk (1797-1865); grandson of Paul F. Wilmerton (1753-1827) and Rebecca Fenimore Wilmerton (-1829); who married in 1778. This seems to be the first and the only Wilmerton marriage recorded in Burlington County prior to 1800. Richard was surveyor by trade and a prominent landowner whose holdings ran along the Rancocas River from the Delaware River to the railroad. His first wife Elizabeth Heisler was born in Pennsylvania in 1820. It is assumed they married about 1838. In 1845 Richard surveyed and laid out the Borough of Beverly, and the town that would come to be known as Delanco. He drew plans for a village and procured a charter for it, calling it Delaranco. Under the direction of Morris and Pettit, he surveyed and built the Mount Holly and Beverly Plank Road. In 1848 Wilmerton sold a large tract of land bordering the Rancocas Creek to Thomas S. Fletcher. This sale was considered the first property conveyed by deed under the government of the State of New Jersey. In 1852 he erected a large steam powered sawmill on the Rancocas Creek at the foot of Ash Street. The location of the sawmill was convenient since logs could be floated down the Rancocas, converted into lumber here, and shipped out by rail or river. About 1852 Richard developed the remaining farmland as “Wilmerton’s Delaranco Lots.” This tract lay bounded by Burlington Avenue, the Camden & Amboy Railroad, Rancocas Creek and Walnut Alley, plus a strip of land along the Rancocas Creek west of Burlington Avenue. He set aside land on Union Avenue between Hickory and Chestnut Streets as a public square and town hall. Richard and Elizabeth were members of the very first Sunday school class in 1855 led by Micajah Dobbins, and are considered among thefounders of the Methodist Church. He was named to the first Board of Trustees in 1858. On the Delanco maps of 1859 there is a structure labeled R.F. Wilmerton on the north side of Rancocas Avenue just east of Burlington which appears to be his personal home. The 1860 Delaranco map shows R.F. Wilmerton owned properties at 406 Poplar and on Hickory north of Walnut. In the 1860 Census he listed himself as a farmer. Besides Richard and Elizabeth, the household in 1860 contained four children: Richard (20) a horticulturist, Rachel (18) a needlewoman, Charles (13), and Richard B. (age 1). All the children were born in New Jersey. Also listed are Ellen Pedrick (age 59) needlewoman, and Josephine Roadhouse (age 8). The Wilmerton family history lists an older son, Israel Putnam Heisler Wilmerton, who would have been 21 at the time of the 1860 Census. The home on Rancocas appears at the same location on the map of 1875, but under the ownership of J.D. Watson. A brother of Elizabeth lived in Charlestown, Maryland. When the sawmill failed about 1883, Mr. Wilmerton took his family to Charlestown to live. The sawmill property was turned into a pickle factory, presumably operated by Micajah Dobbins. It eventually burned down. Richard’s son, Charles, returned to Delanco and remained here. Richard married (2nd) Emeline Hancock of Burlington. A local notice, dated December 26th, 1891 reads, “Richard F. Wilmerton, an old and respected citizen died in Burlington on Sunday evening, in his 80th year.”
Geraldine Diehl Wilson (1904-2001): A descendant of John H. Diehl and E.S. Diehl. Geraldine attended Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania. She began her career as a paralegal in Philadelphia, but later became a real estate developer, and blossomed into a philanthropist. Geraldine was in her 50s when she married William Wilson. Geraldine was an only child and had no children of her own. In 1984 she established the Geraldine Diehl Wilson Foundation and the annual Geraldine Diehl Wilson Scholarship for students of Delanco and Riverside who planned to attend University of Pennsylvania. Geraldine lived all her life in a cozy riverfront home at 410 Delaware Avenue at the foot of Cedar Street, she called Windswept. The home was built originally a farmhouse built by Abraham Perkins in 1748 and is considered to be one of the earliest in Delanco. It was acquired in 1838 by James W. Wallace, a partner in the Delanco Land Company. Wallace expanded the home in 1848, but incorporated the farmhouse into the plan. John H. Diehl, Geraldine’s grandfather, purchased the property in 1856 and it has been in the Diehl family ever since. In 1925 Geraldine’s father John Diehl told her that portions of the home were at that time nearly 200 years old. The structure appears on the Delanco maps of 1859 and on the map of 1875 as owned by the Estate of E.S. Diehl. Geraldine died in 2001 at the age of 97 and was buried in Monument Cemetery. Wilson Way, a street in Newton’s Landing, was named in memory of William and Geraldine Diehl Wilson.
Theophilus Zurbrugg (1861-1912): Theophilus Zurbrugg was born in Switzerland in 1861; He immigrated to America and settled in Mount Holly. In 1880 he moved to Philadelphia and founded the Keystone Watch Case Company there. He transferred his manufacturing operation to Riverside in 1892, building an imposing plant next to the Pavilion Avenue Hotel. He married Lizette Mueller, a former Red Cross Nurse of Riverside, and constructed a home at Franklin and Taylor Streets behind the factory in Riverside. He suffered a debilitating stroke in the early 1900s. In 1898 Zurbrugg founded Riverside Metal Works behind the Watch Case factory. About 1910, Zurbrugg acquired several adjoining properties on Delaware Avenue running through to Second Street, bounded by Union and Willow Streets. Zurbrugg worked closely with noted architect Frank Furness of Philadelphia to design an imposing riverfront mansion. It was constructed by Hugh B. Miller of Edgewater Park and completed about 1912. Shortly after moving into his new Delanco home, Zurbrugg suffered a second stroke and died from complications. At his death in 1912, Zurbrugg donated his original Riverside home to establish a new community hospital for the residents of Riverside. His estate endowed the hospital, which opened in 1915 as Zurbrugg Memorial Hospital. His wife Lizette remained in the Delaware Avenue home until her death in 1923. The mansion then sold to Mr. and Mrs. E.G. Schwinn.
Nelly: Nelly the horse figures into the legend of a haunting in Delanco. Back in the days of the Revolutionary War, it is said that a military messenger passing through Delanco on horseback drowned with his horse in a small pond. His horse's name was Nelly, who gave her life and her name to Nelly's Pond. Even though the pond in 2006 is about half the size of the pond in the 1770s, it is believed that even today, while wandering in the woods near the pond at night, you can still hear the drowning horse crying out.
-- Peter Fritz