A Florida Friday: Summer’s spectacular sunsets

It’s been a busy week, and I had little time to devote to family history, so I will leave you with some images of last night’s sunset–always a special treat at this time of year—and wish you all a good weekend.








Categories: Florida, Nature | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Brodhead Bible on auction on eBay — ends today!

Gen. Daniel Brodhead Portrait

Gen. Daniel Brodhead Portrait

Attention, Brodhead descendants!

Just a quick post to say I spotted a Bible being auctioned off on eBay. It belonged to Rebecca Justina/e (Heiner) Johnson (1784-1837)—daughter of Casper J. Heiner and Ann Garton Brodhead, and it was presented to her by her grandfather General Daniel Brodhead of Revolutionary War fame. Perhaps it was a gift on the occasion of Rebecca’s marriage to Samuel Johnson, which must have been around 1805/6 as Rebecca’s first child was born on 11 May 1807. (The General died on 15 November 1809).

You may recall that Rebecca was also the recipient of that wonderful miniature portrait of the General upon his death.

The Bible contains a wealth of family history information. It’s surprising to see these items on auction. Only about 12 hrs remain, so if you are a descendant of the General, seize this opportunity to place your bid (bidding is currently at $172.50), and get these items back in the Brodhead family. If you can’t bid, you can catch a glimpse of some of the wonderful images of the handwritten lists and notes within. Here’s the link.

Update: Well, it sold for $355. Sadly it appears that the winning bidder is a collector.

Categories: Brodhead, Family Bible, Miscellaneous | Tags: | 9 Comments

A Favorite Tree

CREDIT: Outing Magazine, p315 (NY: The Outing Press, 1908)

CREDIT: Outing Magazine, p. 315 (NY: The Outing Press, 1908)

Upon recently visiting his childhood home for the first time in many years, my husband discovered that a tree he loved to seek shelter under as a child had been torn down. He was pretty stunned by this loss. After getting over the initial ‘shock,’ he drew closer to examine the stump, and eventually chiseled off a small piece of wood to take home with him. Now all that’s left are sweet memories. No matter how old we are, we all have memories of a favorite tree from our childhoods, and although many of us have found new favorite trees since then, those from childhood are sure to always hold a special place in our hearts. One of my childhood favorites is shown below: a little crab apple tree—a favorite principally because it was the first tree I was able to climb up into independently. Mom came outside to look for me and was surprised to find me up there. I suspect that she probably helped me down!

How about you? Any favorite tree in your childhood?


Categories: Miscellaneous, Nature | 2 Comments

Job W. Angus (1821-1909) — temporary custodian of a Lincoln cane


Abraham Lincoln by Nicholas Shepherd, 1846, based on the recollections of Gibson W. Harris, a law student in Lincoln’s office from 1845 to 1847. Library of Congress image in public domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Prior to becoming President, Abraham Lincoln was given an orangewood cane at a July 4, 1859, Atlanta, Illinois, rally organized to celebrate the nation’s birthday. The cane was a gift of an old friend of his named Sylvester Strong. Lincoln was asked to speak at the event, but declined, recommending someone else. This orangewood cane with ‘knots inlaid with silver’ and ‘inscribed with Lincoln’s name’ later went with Lincoln to Washington, DC1.

Of course, Lincoln likely owned a number of canes through the years, as canes/walking sticks were very popular back then. Some were probably given as gifts as this one was. Eventually, this particular cane went out of the Lincoln family’s possession—I found evidence that my second-great-grandfather’s brother Job W. Angus (b. 1821) was the cane’s caretaker between 1895 and 1906. (Job died in 1909.) Ultimately, the cane found its way into the Smithsonian Institution’s collections. Whether or not it is still there, I do not know. I attempted to find out, but came up empty-handed.

As you may recall from previous posts, Job was a well-known and highly regarded building contractor and superintendent, based in Washington for much of his life. One of the construction projects he oversaw was of the iconic Smithsonian building known as ‘The Castle’. Job was a friend of Lincoln’s, providing the venue for the first inaugural ball and erecting the catafalque on which Lincoln’s body lied in state. While Lincoln himself did not give Job the cane, I am sure it was a possession that Job treasured immensely for the short period it was in his hands.

I learned of the cane’s existence on the Internet Archives site, after coming across a booklet entitled Curios and Relics. Clothing Accessories. Canes Owned by Lincoln. It contains excerpts from newspapers and other sources that are held by the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection. The booklet contains a letter dated June 4, 19742, that was sent by Herbert R. Collins, Associate Curator, Division of Political History, Smithsonian Institution, to Mr. Mark E. Noely, Jr., Editor of the Lincoln Lore newsletter, Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, Fort Wayne, Indiana. The cane, located within the Smithsonian’s collections, was allocated Accession no. 203979, and was donated by Samuel J. Prescott. The description of the cane was given as follows:

The cane is made of orangewood and painted black but has since been sanded down and refinished in natural. The wood is studded with U4. knots, each having a top of silver upon which one letter of Lincoln’s name is engraved, so that the whole name is engraved, so that the whole series of letters from the handle to ferrule spell “Abraham Lincoln.”

There is a slight indenture on the top of the cane before the bend of the handle which indicates that a medal band was once there. Although this has been sanded extensively it is still visible. Two tacks and a rough unsanded end at the very end of the handle indicates a medal plate has been lost from that location.

This cane fits the description of one given to President Lincoln on July 4, 1859, when the city of Atlanta, Illinois asked him to speak for their celebration at Turner’s Grove for the Nation’s birth. Lincoln did agree to come but refused to speak. On the occasion Mr. Sylvester Strong, an old time friend of the President presented him with an orangewood cane with knots topped in silver spelling “Abraham Lincoln.”

First of all, the cane before it was sanded down and refinished would have had the appearance of buckthorn. Although, the stories of the owners of this cane since Lincoln are conflicting, it seems most unlikely that Abraham Lincoln would have owned two canes so unusual and yet so similar.

By the omission of the original plates, it seems as though someone might have gone to great effort to destroy the original documentation of the cane.

An account by Mr. Prescott states the cane was sold in Washington, D.C. in 1906 to Samuel J. Prescott for $50.00. Another account states it was sold at auction to H.H. Wibert for $145.00. The latter newspaper article seems to bear out the facts best as it states President Lincoln gave the cane to Frank B. Carpenter, the artist who spent six months in the White House studying Lincoln’s likeness. Carpenter died in the early 1890’s and the cane was auctioned by Fannie Mathews on at that time. Miss Mathewson held the cane as security for a loan she had made to Carpenter.- In view of these facts the newspaper article must date prior to 1895. The fact which now needs documenting is the transfer of the cane from Wibert to Job W. Angus sometime between 1895 and 1906. This would establish that the cane in the Smithsonian Institution is indeed the cane presented to Lincoln by his friend Sylvester Strong on his visit to Atlanta, Illinois on July 4, 1859.

Page 42 of the publication contains a black and white photographic image of the cane. A link is provided below (see endnote 2), if you would like to view it.

I found a further description of the cane in a book3 published in 1911 about the history of Logan County, Illinois, the county in which Sylvester Strong presented the cane to Lincoln:


In the overall scheme of things, I realize that Job’s association with the cane is an infinitesimally small footnote in history, but I thought it worth sharing this information with the Angus descendants who are among this blog’s readers. When it comes to researching one’s family history, even the smallest of details can be interesting, I think!

Have a great weekend!


1. Mr. Lincoln’s Country, from Illinois by Lincoln Financial Foundation, 1965, p. 111.

2. Curios and Relics. Clothing Accessories. Canes Owned by Lincoln. Excerpts from newspapers and other sources. The Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, 1865, p. 39-42.

3. History of Logan County, Illinois: A Record of Its Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement, Volume 1, by Lawrence Beaumont Stringer (Logan County, IL: Pioneer Publishing Company, 1911), p. 227.

Categories: Angus, Lincoln, President Abraham, Washington DC | Leave a comment

1907 elopement: Momma Brodhead outfoxed by determined daughter

Louise & G. Welles VanCampen, 1908 copy

G. Welles Van Campen & Louise (Lulu) Brodhead, 1907; From personal family archives of John Ford. Used with permission.

The topic of eloping is not new to this blog. I’ve done several posts about late 19th- and early 20th-century ancestors in our family tree dashing off to marry their special someone in a “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” spirit. I eloped myself, so I can relate. However, while today, for many, it’s all about keeping things simple, back then, it was  an activity that could definitely land you on page one of your local paper, or even on front pages of papers around the country. I still find it astounding that when I search the absolutely vast newspaper archives of Genealogy Bank for images of any Brodheads, only three appear, and one of them is the one-and-only Mildred Hancock at the time of her 1911 elopement with my great-uncle Lewis D. Brodhead. Yes, if you eloped back in those days, you would definitely get yourself noticed!

The September 1, 2001, article “Elopement Feared” by Terry Schulman noted: The generation of 1900, caught up in the rebellious spirit of the new age, seemed much more willing to disobey parents where matters of the heart were concerned. Mildred and Lewis are great examples! And, so are the subjects of this post.

One of this blog’s readers, John Ford, recently shared with me the details of his grandmother Louise (Lida, Lulu) R. Brodhead’s daring 1907 elopement with G. Welles Van Campen, and kindly offered to let me include the story in this blog. (John and I have Garret Brodhead (1733-1804) as our common ancestor, however, he is a descendant of Garret’s first wife/partner Cornelia Schoonhoven, and I am a descendant of Garret’s wife Jane Davis (see tree below).)

In this case, news of the elopement made it at least to one Philadelphia paper. This was likely thanks to the fact that Louise’s mom Mary Brodhead went after the pair in hot pursuit, in an attempt to thwart the impromptu nuptials. The drama played out along the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River between Bushkill and Matamoras, and ended in Sparrowbush, NY, just outside Port Jervis. It’s not hard to picture in your mind the emotions that likely unfolded on that fateful November day as horses and buggies made a beeline for the PA/NY line… New York was a safe spot to elope back then, although that changed a year later when the Cobb marriage-license law went into effect. Its purpose in part appears to have been to quell the surge of cross-border elopements, and elopements in general. (See Harper’s Weekly article for more info.)


The story was recounted six decades later on the occasion of the couple’s 60th anniversary, and the second account is more detailed than the first and offers a bit of conflicting information on how things “went down.” Chalk that up to the sands of time sweeping a few changes across the memory trail, or the fact that the original article took some artistic license. Either way, it is quite a fun story, one that certainly livens up a family’s history and is interesting to recount from one generation to the next.

As you read the articles, bear in mind what John told me about Mom Mary, who with husband Daniel Van Etten Brodhead ran a successful farm and later a boarding house business in Bushkill: She was a feisty and very independent woman…  She loved to drive a fast horse and had an ex-trotter as her favorite buggy horse. 

Enjoy the story, and thanks again to John for contributing it! If anyone out there wants to contact John, he can be reached at “candjford1 at verizon dot net.”

Original Elopement Article1

Clipping from the Philadelphia North American newspaper, issue dated 29 November 1907 – From personal family archives of John Ford. Used with permission.

Mary (Schoonover) Brodhead (1865-1948), Bushkill, PA. Photo taken circa 1939. From personal family archives of John Ford. Used with permission.

Mary (Schoonover) Brodhead (1865-1948), Bushkill, PA. Photo taken circa 1939. From personal family archives of John Ford. Used with permission.

Elopement Article1

Article transcribed here due to low resolution issues; From personal family archives of John Ford. Used with permission.

The Pocono Record, The Stroudsburgs, PA, Friday, 24 November 1967

Impulsive Elopement Leads to Sixty Years of Marriage

The warmth and quiet of the Van Campen home, 150 Washington St., east Stroudsburg, as they prepared to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on Thanksgiving Day was a far cry from their original wedding day on that chill November 23, 1907, when G. Welles Can Campen and Lulu Brodhead eloped.

They hadn’t planned to be married that day at all. Lulu Brodhead, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Brodhead of Bushkill, was teaching school and her mother thought that she ought to wait until Spring before marrying that daring young road tester for the Mathewson Motor Car, made in Wilkes Barre. At least in the Spring they would both be 21.


Tartan tam o’ shanters. Wikipedia.

Mrs. Brodhead was in Dingmans Ferry when Van Campen came calling in his hired livery rig. He suggested that, with her father’s approval, she ride with him to Dingmans to join her mother. Slipping on a man’s coat against the November chill and her blue tamoshanter [hat – see image inset], she set out with him.

When her mother met them on the road, she jumped to the conclusion that they were eloping and ordered them to follow her home under no uncertain terms. Rebelliously, they decided since she’s suggested the idea of an elopement, they’d carry it through.

The only place they could marry without a license was in New York State. Meanwhile, Mrs. Brodhead had discovered the innocence of their errand, and knowing how her scolding might have affected them, set out in pursuit.

With the carriage across the road, she tried to block their way to Matamoras but they managed to get by and side by side they raced down the streets of Matamoras. She beat them to block the bridge entrance.

Nothing daunted, they turned down a side road which ended at the river, rented a boat, bailed it out and rowed to the other side, landing in a bramble patch. They found a young English minister in Sparrowbush to marry the bedraggled pair and returned home.

Mrs. Brodhead, whose heart was as warm as her temper, was quick to give in, kissed them, and they lived happily ever after.

And, usefully. They have four children living: Mrs. Walter Ford of Maryland; Daniel, California; Allen of Philadelphia and Bernard of East Stroudsburg. They have eight grandchildren and 10 [?] great grandchildren.

They plan to spend their anniversary having Thanksgiving with a daughter, Jeanie Tonkey, in Easton.

Of course, Mr. Van Campen plans to drive. He probably has driven longer than any local resident. He was a road tester for the Mathewson Car Co. in Wilkes Barre starting in 1904 and continuing until they produced their last car in 1912.

He recalled that he used to drive over a dirt road to Blakeslee to test he cars on the only hard road in the county, and experimental road from Blakeslee to Pocono Summit.

He spent a total of 32 years in the automobile business and they also operated a resort hotel. As chief of Civil Defense, he was active in flood relief during the 1955 flood in the Bushkill area where they lived for most of their married life.

In 63 years of driving he has never scratched a car on the highway.

Mrs. Van Campen is a member of the Bushkill Garden Club, the Jacob Stroud Chapter of the DAR and the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Both are descendants of pioneer families in this area. Mrs. Van Campen’s father was named for Daniel Brodhead, pioneer settler of East Stroudsburg.

Mr. Van Campen is the great-great-grandson of Col. Abram Van Campen whose homestead in Pahaquarry Twp. Is part of the historical treasures of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.



1-Lt. Garret Brodhead b. 21 Jan 1733, Marbletown Ulster Co NY, d. 5 Sep 1804, Stroudsburg Monroe Co PA, bur. Dansbury Cemetery, Stroudsburg, Monroe Co., PA
+Cornelia Schoonhoven b. Abt Jan 1733, Minisink, N.J, d. After 2 Feb 1771
|—–2-Garret Brodhead Jr. b. 20 Mar 1756, d. 21 Sep 1835, Dingmans Ferry
| Northampton Co PA, bur. Delaware Cemetery, Dingmans Ferry, Pike Co., PA
+Affe Decker b. 19 Oct 1759, Northampton Co PA, d. 15 May 1840, Dingmans Ferry Northampton Co PA, bur. Delaware Cemetery, Dingmans Ferry, Pike Co., PA
|—–3-Nicholas Brodhead b. Delaware Twp., Pike Co., PA
+Margaret Owens b. 22 Mar 1800, Newfoundland, NJ d. 9 Apr 1873
|—–4-David Owen Brodhead b. 24 Jul 1824, d. 31 Jan 1911, bur. Delaware Cemetery, Dingmans Ferry, Pike Co., PA
+Maria Van Etten b. 21 Mar 1832, d. 24 Jan 1916, bur.
Delaware Cemetery, Dingmans Ferry, Pike Co., PA
|—–5-Daniel Van Etten Brodhead b. 21 Sept 1858, Delaware Twp, Pike Co., PA, d. 25 Jun 1941 Bushkill, Pike Co., PA
| +Mary Schoonover b. 28 Nov 1865, Bushkill, Pike Co., PA, d. 5 Oct 1948, Bushkill, Pike Co., PA
| |—–6-Louise Rex Brodhead b. 20 Jan 1887, Bushkill, Lehman Twp, Pike Co., PA. d. 1 Jul 1974, St. Michaels, MD
| | +George Welles Van Campen b. Mar. 2, 1887, Dorancetown, PA, d. Feb. 5, 1972, East Stroudsburg, PA


Obituary of Mary Brodhead (Provided by John Ford. No newspaper or date indicated, but probably in the East Stroudsburg or Stroudsburg paper):

Mary Brodhead, one of the best known residents of the Bushkill section of Pike county, passed away at the General Hospital, East Stroudsburg, on Oct. 6 at 4:30 p. m., after being hospitalized one month. She had been in ill health the past year. Deceased was the widow of the late Daniel V. Brodhead, who preceded her in death seven years ago. They conducted the Brodhead boarding house for over 36 years. Mrs. Brodhead was endeared to all who knew her by her gentle and friendly character and by her human interest in the joys and sorrows of her friends and family. She is survived by two daughters, Mrs G. Welles Van Campen of Bushkill and Mrs. Joseph F. Schultzback of Philadelphia; four grandchildren. and eight great grandchildren. Mrs. Brodhead was 82 years of age, and a member the Bushkill Reformed Church. Funeral services were strictly private. Interment was made in Bushkill Cemetery.

Ford Family Recollections of Mary Brodhead (Provided by John Ford, in addition to what was shared above):
[…] She loved eels, caught from the river and whenever we (Walter, and sons John and David Ford) went fishing for bass in the Delaware, and caught an eel, we would bring it to her to fry up and eat. […] She was always trying something different on the farm such as trying to raise mushrooms in the basement on the farm (unsuccessfully). Mildred remembers her using a machine with an iron hopper and crank to grind up broken china to give to the chickens. When she and her husband were elderly, Pe-pa (husband Daniel) continued to reside in the farm-house/boarding house with daughter Louise, husband George Welles, and family. Me-ma resided in the house built by their daughter Helen and husband as a summer place on land given to them by Daniel and Mary across the creek between the old road and Route 209 and a little up the hill from the farm house.


Ford Family Recollections of Louise Brodhead Van Campen (Provided by John Ford)

Louise […] finished high school and taught school in the Brodhead School near Bushkill for several years. […] Louise worked very hard when they had boarders at their boarding house and was an excellent cook – her raised biscuits and ginger snaps were favorites of the grandchildren. She used to like to fish and once, when a water snake went after a fish, she went after it with a shovel. They used to use the fireplace in the basement of the bungalow on the farm for heating water for washing and they would have large iron kettles on the bridge over the brook for the washing. They would host huge gatherings of their children and grandchildren at the farm for Thanksgiving and other Holidays when the numerous great grandchildren would roam the woods, play in the brook, fish in the river, etc. She was a very devout lady, belonging to the Methodist Church in East Stroudsburg and eventually became a Seventh Day Adventist. She was very kind, had a sweet smile and never an unkind word about anyone.

Categories: Brodhead, Bushkill, Dingmans Ferry, Matamoras, Van Campen | 6 Comments

Henry & Polly: Savannah’s singing parrots—1896

Quiet Corner, John Wesley Baxter house, Dublin and Hill Roads, Greenwich, Connecticut. Macaws on terrace in summer. Photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952); Created 1920 (Library of Congress Catalog Number 2007686343)

Quiet Corner, John Wesley Baxter house, Dublin and Hill Roads, Greenwich, Connecticut. Macaws on terrace in summer. Photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952); Created 1920 (Library of Congress Catalog Number 2007686343)

I imagine the article featured in this post caught the eye and captured the imaginations of many of our ancestors who read it when it appeared back in 1896. Who isn’t fascinated by talking birds, let alone singing ones? And the fact that these birds—Polly & Henry—had numerous songs in their repertoire was truly extraordinary. Are there any birds today doing such remarkable things?

I chanced upon the article, dated 20 November 1896, in The Livonia Gazette (NY), while trolling though some search results on the Fulton History site. The Chicago Times-Herald is credited at the end with originating the story. The Wave, a Long Island newspaper carrying the article, included the additional detail that apart from Suwanee River and Say Au Revoir but not Good-bye, Polly and Harry also sang Maggie Murphy’s Home and Fifteen Dollars in My Inside Pocket. I found music and/or lyrics for these popular old songs  and have located them at the end of this post.

So, Happy Saturday. I hope you will enjoy this little slice of life from 1896.





I Had Fifteen Dollars in My Inside Pocket

Copyright, 1885, by Will H. Kennedy.
Words and Music by Harry Kennedy.

I’m an Irishman, now don’t mind that.
For you can’t play tag with Paddy Flynn,
In the Fourteenth Ward I claim my how’ld,
But the gang they play’d me for a skin;
They said that they’d make me Alderman,
Then they took me ’round to see Red Bill,
We were drinking rye-and-rock, till four o’clock,
And they made me pony up for all the swill.

I had fifteen dollars in my inside pocket,
Don’t you see, to me it is a warning;
Saturday night I made a call oh a friend of Tarn’ny Hall
And the divil a cent I had on Sunday morning.

Oh, the gang they hung around the bar,
Like a swarm of educated mice;
Oh, they made me drink a “clarinette “punch
And a whiskey “Sangaree “on ice;
They stood me on my head, when my wealth gave out,
Then they hung me on a fence to dry,
In the early morning light, for’ninst Judge White,
These words to him I plaintively did cry:-Chorus.


Categories: Georgia, Miscellaneous, Nature, Pets | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Holiday snaps: Oregon with a dash of California

Where in the world? A good image for the 'Geoguessr' website.

Where in the world? A good image for the ‘Geoguessr’ website.

Well, Hubby and I had an epic summer vacation last month, and as promised, here are some images of the places we visited. Between the two of us, we took hundreds of photos (actually, over 1,000—but I find that embarrassing to admit, given in the old days, I would have returned from a vacation like this with a few rolls of film and thought that that was a lot). I’d hoped to pick out a representative ‘Top 10,’ but could only whittle the massive heap down to the ‘Top 50’ featured below.

trip_map copyOur Itinerary: We flew into Portland, picked up a rental car and started a clockwise tour—out to Hood River along the Columbia Gorge, then to rodeo-town Pendleton and agriculture-oriented Hermiston to visit some of hubby’s childhood friends, and then on to the La Grande area (hubby’s childhood stomping grounds). We took a day trip out to Wallowa Lake and took time to take the tram up Mt. Howard (8,150′ elevation), before heading southwest to the middle part of the state, passing through the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, and then over-nighting in Bend. From there, we visited the majestic and awe-inspiring, sapphire-blue Crater Lake and spent several nights at tiny Rocky Point along the upper northwest edge of Upper Klamath Lake. With that as our base,  we were able to head back up to Crater Lake for a second visit, this one to cover the eastern half of the loop road and take a boat tour. From Rocky Point, we headed west to Grants Pass and then southwest to Kerby, where we discovered a fascinating ‘store/wood workshop/home’ called ‘It’s a Burl’ whose grounds include multiple tree houses that can be climbed by children 12 and over. Then it was on to Crescent City, California, where we stayed at a trailer in the redwoods for a couple of nights, long enough to walk some of the major trails of the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Then we headed up the coast, stopping at dozens of gorgeous spots along the way, before ending up in back in Portland.

Of course, there is much we did not get to see or do. A future trip will have to take in much more of the spectacular Cascade Range and the NW coast. But we did the most last month with the time we had. it was a great trip, and I could easily come up with a Top 50 of new things learned (but will spare you the tedium). Here is a list of 10 completely random things I discovered (in no particular order). Or skip this section and head straight to the photos!

Random Things Learned:


Pelican on display at the Klamath County Museum

1) Pelicans – In my ignorance, I’d always thought they were a coastal bird only found in Florida, so I was surprised to see a giant white pelican hovering over Upper Klamath Lake, part of a significant and vast wildlife refuge for all sorts of birds. Apparently the American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) spends time inland at places like Upper Klamath Lake during breeding season.

Redwood burl holds fern bouquet

Redwood burl holds fern bouquet

2) Redwoods – I plead ignorance again. For some reason I’d expected to see giant sequoias (diameter up to 40′) as we toured around NW California’s forests. I did not realize that those are confined to the Sierra Nevadas, quite far down the state, not too far from Death Valley. So instead what we saw were coast redwoods which reach a diameter of 22′-27′ wide at the base. They are much taller (up to 370′—the tallest trees on the planet) than the more rotund inland sequoia (up to 300′). The coast redwoods can be more than 2,000 years old, and the sequoias more than 3,000 years old. While ‘slimmer’ than the sequoias, the coast redwoods are still an astounding sight. It is very sad to think that only 5% of the original old-growth coast redwood forest remains today, thanks to uncontrolled logging during and after the California Gold Rush of 1849. Walking through these forests of ‘giants’ is an awesome experience. Let’s hold on tight to the ones that remain.

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake & Wizard Island

3) Crater Lake (surface elevation roughly 6,100 feet) – the freshest and purest water in the world according to scientists. The lake, which sits in a vast caldera created by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Mazama, which took place 6,000-8,000 years ago, is six miles wide at its widest point. It is the deepest lake in the Western Hemisphere, with one spot measuring 1,949 feet.  No fish are native to the lake, however some species were introduced between 1888-1941. Today, only Rainbow Trout and Kokanee Salmon survive, and it sounds like the park would be happy to get rid of them—fishing is encouraged, no license is required, and there are no limits. The only caveat: no live bait for fear of introducing more non-natives.


Edge of Wizard Island, Crater Lake

No snorkeling or scuba diving for that reason too, but swimming is allowed. But, of course, you have to be prepared for the round-trip hike down to the lake, a journey that is obviously much more brutal on the way back up. Far trickier to get rid of are the crayfish introduced in 1914 in the hopes they would serve as fish food. Unfortunately they have multiplied to such an extent that they are pushing out the native Mazama Newt. Both compete for the same food source: insects. The newts are in a ‘be eaten or flee’ situation, and so have ended up pushed to the edges of certain lake areas. So far, scientists are stumped as to how to get rid of the crayfish, or even cut their numbers. Crater Lake is an awesome sight—a life experience I’d recommend to anyone. Just make sure to avoid the annual average of 488 inches of snow, the last remnants of which typically do not disappear until July!

Young Monkey Puzzle Tree, Shore Acres State Park gardens

Young Monkey Puzzle Tree, Shore Acres State Park gardens

4) Monkey Puzzle trees – I’d only ever seen Monkey Puzzle Trees (MPT) when I lived in the UK. So I was completely surprised to run across two during our journey: the first in Shore Acres State Park which has a fabulous seaside botanical garden. The young monkey puzzle tree was tucked to the side of one of the walkways in a not-overly noticeable spot. The other tree was in a completely unexpected spot on the corner of a very busy NE Portland intersection. I can’t imagine it surviving there indefinitely. Its sharp branches are bound to end up scraping someone. If you haven’t heard of these trees, they are native to a small area in Chile; in fact they are Chile’s national tree.  The first saplings were brought to the UK in the late 18th century and eventually the tree became wildly popular there. Their scaly branches are very sharp and spiny, almost reptilian looking. How to climb such a tree would puzzle any monkey (this notion is what gave the tree its common name). As for Portland, I have since learned that there are dozens of monkey puzzle trees spread throughout the city; many are over 100 years old. Their curious presence is explained by the fact that at the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition seedlings were handed out to visiting Portlanders who subsequently went out and planted them.

Dutch Brothers drive-thru coffee shop

Dutch Brothers drive-thru coffee shop

5) Dutch Brothers Coffee – Loved the coffee at these little drive-thru stands. Looks like the young people working in them have a blast doing so. Perhaps, the company, which started out in 1992 in Grants Pass, OR, will someday venture beyond Oregon, California, Idaho, Colorado, Nevada, Washington, and Arizona? I hope so!

Remnants of a balloon bomb on display at the Klamath County Museum

Remnants of a balloon bomb on display at the Klamath County Museum

6) World War II civilian casualties on the US mainland – I never recall hearing about any civilian casualties taking place on the US mainland during WWII. Then, at the Klamath County Museum, I learned that the Japanese launched thousands of balloon bombs that were carried by the winds to North America, in the hope they would explode somewhere in the US and cause fires calamitous enough to bring troops back to the US to protect the West Coast. The remnants of 15 such bombs were discovered in Klamath County. The only casualties in the US from these bombs occurred in Klamath County on May 5, 1945, when six people on a picnic lost their lives: Elsie Mitchell (26), Jay Gifford (13), Edward Engen (13), Dick Patzke (14), Joan Patzke (13), and Sherman Shoemaker (11). What a tragic time that must have been.

An illegal card game in the underground. A boy posted above ground would pull a string that rang the the bell hanging over the table to alert the players to any law enforcement in the vicinity.

An illegal card game in the underground. A boy posted above ground would pull a string that would ring the bell hanging over the table when law enforcement folks were in the vicinity.

7) Pendleton Underground Tours – a fascinating look at what went on illegally and legally in Pendleton for many years when it was the ‘entertainment capital’ of Eastern Oregon. Historians take you on a tour of an underground area encompassing four city blocks. The underground rooms were connected by ‘service tunnels’ dug and reinforced by Chinese laborers in the late 1800s. Illegal card games, bootlegging, and prostitution were rampant in a town that then boasted 33 bars and 18 brothels. The tour takes in the ‘Cozy Rooms’ brothel which remained in operation into the 1950s. Legal businesses underground included a meat market and a Chinese laundry & baths where the cowboys could clean up before meeting the ‘ladies’.


Elgin food stand

8) Best soft serve ice cream ever – Hubby had been to this Elgin, Oregon, roadside food stand numerous times years ago, and was delighted to see that it was still there. We stopped by on our way back from Wallowa Lake. Sizes include ‘Baby’, Small, Medium, and Large. The baby size, which I ordered, was huge, prompting us both to quip, “Wow, that’s a big baby!” And it was so inexpensive — just $1.50! Of course, now, I wish I’d gotten the Large ($2.75). :-( I would teleport myself back there in a heartbeat it I could!

Lan Su Chinese Garden in Downtown Portland

Lan Su Chinese Garden in Downtown Portland

9) Lan Su Chinese Garden – the most authentic outside of China – is located in Portland. Built by Chinese artisans from Portland’s sister city Suzhou, the Garden takes up an entire city block. It was definitely a major highlight of our few days in Portland. I’ve been to China a couple of times, and visiting this place transported me straight back there. It is simply stunning.

Cape Perpetua

Cape Perpetua

10) Cape Perpetua – Lava flows from volcanoes or underwater eruptions 50 million years ago are responsible for the intriguing, randomly sculpted basalt shoreline at Cape Perpetua. Here, the ocean can be felt in all its power, especially at high tide, when the water explodes its way through ‘Devil’s Churn’, ‘the Spouting Horn’, and ‘Thor’s Well’. The views of the coast from the adjacent mountain top (see image inset) are stunning as well.

Thor's Well, Cape Perpetua

Thor’s Well at Cape Perpetua

Well, I shall rattle on no longer. Enjoy your day! To view the below images as a slideshow, click the first image and use the side arrows!

Categories: California, Miscellaneous, Oregon | 2 Comments

Dingman/Brodhead link to a Dutch “pocket-book” that was 216 years old in 1876

Unknown Master, Dutch (active in the 1620s in Leiden) ; Still-Life with Books (Credit: Wikimedia Commons; uploaded by 'Jarekuploadbot')

Still-Life with Books, Unknown Master, Dutch (active in the 1620s in Leiden); (Credit: Wikimedia Commons; uploaded by ‘Jarekuploadbot’)

From Webster’s Complete Dictionary of the English Language (1886)

From Webster’s Complete Dictionary of the English Language (1886)

The Evening Gazette, Port Jervis, NY, April 29, 1876

The Evening Gazette, Port Jervis, NY, April 29, 1876 (Credit: Fulton History dot com)

If it still exists, the little ‘pocket-book’ mentioned in the accompanying newspaper clipping from the Port Jervis (NY) Evening Gazette, dated April 29, 1876, would be 355 years old, which would be pretty remarkable.

The ‘pocket-book’ had long been in the Dingman family until gifted by Andrew Dingman Jr. (1753-1839) to his grandson-son-in-law (my third great-grandfather) Garret Brodhead (1793-1872), who two years before his death gifted the item back to the Dingman family—specifically to ‘A.S. Dingman’. I believe this A. S. Dingman was probably Alfred Stoll Dingman (1839-1907), the elder Dingman’s great-grandson (and Garret’s nephew) who would have been about 31 at the time.

Garret was married to Cornelia Dingman, Judge Daniel Westbrook Dingman‘s daughter. Perhaps the pocket-book was a wedding gift.

Below you will find some background on each of the above as well as Andrew Dingman Sr., father of the aforementioned Andrew Jr.), who was the original Dingman who settled in the Pennsylvania wilderness in 1735 in what is now known as Dingman’s Ferry; and another Andrew Dingman (the Judge’s son and Alfred Stoll Dingman’s father).  (See the tree below.)

If you have access to Ancestry.com, you can view a wonderful photograph of Andrew Dingman Jr. in a group photo with his youngest son Isaac (Alfred’s brother), Isaac’s wife Charlotte, and the couple’s three daughters—Caroline, Melissa, and Helen. Also on Ancestry, you can view a portrait of Judge Daniel Westbrook Dingman who is mentioned in the article, the judge being the son of Andrew Sr. and the father of Andrew Jr. Interestingly one of the below bios mentions the Judge’s ‘corpulent’ size; the portrait on Ancestry of a young Daniel W. Dingman shows a man whose waistline has not yet expanded.

Accompanying images include two photos of waterfalls at the famous Dingmans Falls taken by my grandmother Zillah Trewin (no relation to the Brodheads/Dingmans) during her summer 1907 vacation, and present-day images of the old Dingman stone house (built in 1803-1804) and Dingman’s Ferry bridge (chartered in 1834) that were generously provided by James and Barbara Brodhead following a visit to that area in 2013. I have also included some newspaper clippings found on the Fulton History website; there is one anecdote about Judge Daniel W. Dingman’s handling of one case during which he uses language that would be considered completely inappropriate by today’s standards, and rightly so, of course, but I am including the anecdote here since it is part of history. If you can get beyond the language used, the punishment itself seems fair, if not generous for the crime committed.

So if you are interested in any of these family members, please get a ‘cuppa’ and read on! :-) (As always, comments, corrections, and additions are welcome.)

1-Andrew Dingman Sr. b. 11 Feb 1711, Kinderhook Albany Co NY, d. 1796,
Dingmans Ferry Northampton Co PA
+Cornelia Kermer b. 22 May 1720, New York, d. Pennsylvania, United States
|—–2-Andrew Dingman Jr. b. 19 Sep 1753, Northampton Co PA, d. 3 Feb 1839,
| Pike Co PA, bur. Delaware Cemetery, Dingmans Ferry, Pike Co., PA
+Jane Westbrook b. 9 Apr 1755, NJ, d. 21 Jan 1838, Dingmans Ferry Pike
Co PA, bur. Delaware Cemetery, Dingmans Ferry, Pike Co., PA
|—–3-Daniel Westbrook Dingman b. 28 Jul 1774, Walpack, Sussex, New
| Jersey, d. 14 Apr 1862, Pike Co PA, bur. Delaware Cemetery,
| Dingmans Ferry, Pike Co., PA
| +Mary Westbrook b. 8 Oct 1774, d. 26 Feb 1851, Dingmans Ferry Pike
| Co PA, bur. Delaware Cemetery, Dingmans Ferry, Pike Co., PA
| |—–4-Andrew Dingman b. 25 Dec 1804, Dingman family homestead, d.
| | 22 Mar 1889, bur. Delaware Cemetery, Dingmans Ferry, Pike
| | Co., PA
| | +Caroline Eliza Sayre b. 21 Oct 1804, d. 6 May 1885, bur.
| | Delaware Cemetery, Dingmans Ferry, Pike Co., PA
| | |—–5-Alfred Stoll Dingman (Aug 12, 1837-Jan 28, 1907; married Kate Van Auken; one child Walter)


ANDREW DINGMAN SR. (1711-1796; married Cornelia Kermer):

History of Wayne, Pike and Monroe Counties, Pennsylvania; Delaware Township, Chapter VIII, (Philadelphia: RT Peck & Co., 1886), pp. 908-909: The present township of Delaware is bounded on the north by Dingman township, on the east by the Delaware River and New Jersey, on the south by Lehman township and on the west by Porter. The first settlements on the Delaware River were made on the New Jersey side; but in or about the year 1735, Andreas Dingerman, or Andrew Dingman, as it is now written, crossed the Delaware and chose a place in the wilderness for his home, which he called “Dingman’s Choice,” a name which it still retains in local usage, although the post-office is called Dingman’s Ferry.

What the original ferry looked like (Credit: James and Barbara Brodhead)

What the original ferry looked like; eventually the ferry was replaced by a bridge (Credit: James and Barbara Brodhead)


Original pulley from 1735 (Credit: James and Barbara Brodhead)

When Andrew Dingman first crossed the river to make his habitation on the Pennsylvania side, he had an opportunity to make a choice, as he was the pioneer settler of Delaware township. If he was not the first, he was among the first, and is the first of whom we have authentic account. He certainly made an excellent choice of location for his future home, judging from present developments, for here the Delaware River flows close to the New Jersey hills and leaves a wide flat of rich bottom land on the Pennsylvania side. Here Dingman Creek bursts through the mountain bluffs after dashing over the rocks at the factory in a fall called the Factory Falls, and lower down is the “Bettie Brooks” or “Fulmer Falls.”

High Falls, Dingman's Falls, PA (CREDIT: Zillah Boles Trewin)

High Falls, Dingman’s Falls, PA, 1907  (CREDIT: Zillah Trewin)

Still farther down are the “Deer Leap” and “High Falls.” […]  Here, then, with a broad expanse of fertile river bottom land under his feet, with a creek that would supply water-power for grist and saw-mills flowing through it, surrounded by mountain bluffs, “rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun,” which environ it on two sides, he feasted his eyes upon the lavish bounty of Nature, in her primeval grandeur and magnificence, and inhaled the pure, health-giving air which floated around these mountains, “yet gorgeous in their primitive beauty, forest-crowned,” and intersected with gushing streams of limpid waters, which burst through the rocks from the highlands above in bold and beautiful waterfalls, where for ages they have been wearing deep and still deeper the steep gorges and rocky glens in her riven sides.

Deer Leap, Child's Park (Credit: Zillah Trewin, 1907)

Deer Leap, Child’s Park (Credit: Zillah Trewin, 1907)

Here, amid so much grandeur and beauty, Andrew Dingman made his choice and cut the first bush, built the first log cabin on the riverbank and put the first ferry-boat on the Delaware at what is now known as Dingman’s Ferry. Andrew Dingman was born at Kinderhook, New York, in the year 1711, and settled at Dingman’s Choice in the year 1735, or about that time. His first log cabin was down by the river-bank. About 1750, or some time previous to the French and Indian War, he built a stone house not far from where the Dingman “Reformed Church “now stands, on the site occupied by the house Fannie Dingman’s farmer occupies.

He had two sons, Isaac and Andrew Dingman, Jr., who was born September 19, 1753, in the old stone house which was destroyed during the French and Indian War, in 1755. Dingman immediately rebuilt another house. Mr. Dingman was endowed with a dauntless spirit and had now a farm, with orchards and barns. He was assisted in his labors by his two sons and four slaves. He established a traffic with the Indians, who often visited him, and from his friendly intercourse and dealing with the natives he derived considerable pecuniary advantage. In 1744 he obtained a warrant for the tract which now comprises a part of the M.W. Dingman estate, and in 1750 one for that lot on which the saw-mill at Dingman’s now stands. He subsequently took up, as it is termed, three other lots of land, the last in 1775. There were twenty-seven log and stone houses in Delaware as it was then, including Lehman and other territory west, contemporaneously with that of Andrew Dingman, Sr.

WEST (FRONT) AND SOUTH ELEVATIONS - Dutch Reformed Church, Dingmans Ferry, Pike County, PA (Credit: Library of Congress)

WEST (FRONT) AND SOUTH ELEVATIONS – Dutch Reformed Church, Dingmans Ferry, Pike County, PA (Credit: Library of Congress)

[…] Andrew Dingman built a flat-boat for ferrying purposes with a hand-axe, and it is probable that he built a grist-mill and saw-mill on Dingman’s Creek. An old grist-mill, with one “run” of native stones, stood near the present grist-mill. Judge Dingman used to tell his children about turning the bolt by hand while the miller ground the grist.*

[…] One of Andrew Dingman’s sons, Isaac, when about nineteen years of age, was riding a horse up the road to the barn and when a little north of the old Dingman Hotel (now Fulmer’s), an Indian, who was secreted in the orchard, shot him and ran away. His mother, who happened to be standing in the door holding the future judge, who was then four years of age, by the hand, exclaimed, “Law me, Isaac is shot!” He was mortally wounded, but they started across the river with him in a flat-boat. While they were going over he asked for a drink of water and shortly after died before they reached the Jersey shore, where there was a fort with one cannon. He was buried on the Jersey side, near the abutment of the old bridge.

ANDREW DINGMAN JR. (1753-1839; married Jane Westbrook )

History of Wayne, Pike, and Monroe Counties, Pennsylvania by Alfred Mathews (Philadelphia: RT Peck, 1886) – page 213-214: [...] …Andrew resided on the Jersey side of the Delaware, but subsequently removed to Dingman’s Ferry, where his father had made a beginning. He was captain of a company and served in the struggle for the independence of the colonies, and after living to see the country again engaged in a war with England in 1812, he survived many years thereafter, and died in 1839, at the age of eighty-three years.

His wife was Jane Westbrook, who bore him two children, — Daniel W. Dingman and Cornelia, who became the wife of Daniel Van Etten, who resided at Connashaw, where the Van Etten family homestead was.

History of Wayne, Pike and Monroe Counties, Pennsylvania; Delaware Township, Chapter VIII, pp. 908-909:  Andrew Dingman, Jr., “Foddy Dingman,” as he was called, was born in the old stone house September 19, 1753. He married Jane Westbrook, a daughter of Daniel Westbrook, who lived across the river in New Jersey, and had three daughters, each of whom he gave a farm on the flats in Walpack township. Andrew Dingman took the upper farm, and here Daniel Westbrook Dingman was born April 14, 1775, on the Daniel Smith place, in a house that stood opposite Barney Swartwood’s. Subsequently Andrew Dingman, Jr., sold this property and bought on the Pennsylvania side again, near where John Whitaker lives.

Before the Revolutionary War the nearest justice of the peace was Benjamin Van Campen, who lived twenty-two miles from Dingman’s Choice. The county-seat was at Newtown, near Bristol, and there Andrew Dingman attended court.

Genealogical and Family History of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, Pennsylvania, Volume 1 by Horace Edwin Hayden, Alfred Hand, John Woolf Jordan (Lewis publishing Company, 1906), page 202: The younger Andrew Dingman served as private, Sussex county, (New Jersey) militia, 1779-83, and was pensioned as such March 4, 1831. He was born at Dingman’s Ferry, Pennsylvania, but lived in New Jersey during the Indian depredations ; enlisted 1779 as private in Captain Peter Westbrook’s company, Third battalion Sussex county (New Jersey) militia, and took part in engagement with the Indians, April 19, 1780.

JUDGE DANIEL WESTBROOK DINGMAN (1774-1862; married Mary Westbrook)

History of Wayne, Pike, and Monroe Counties by Alfred Mathews (Philadelphia: RT Peck, 1886) – page 213-214: Daniel W. Dingman (1775-1862), only son of Andrew, inherited his father’s estate at the “Ferry,” and carried on the lumber business and merchandising there during a large part of his active life. He was a leading and influential man socially and politically, and a Democrat of the Andrew Jackson type.

Judge Daniel W. Dingman's stone house (Credit: James and Barbara Brodhead)

Judge Daniel W. Dingman’s stone house (Credit: James and Barbara Brodhead)

Sign on the Dingman home (Credit: James and Barbara Brodhead)

Sign on the Dingman home (Credit: James and Barbara Brodhead)

He was the first elected sheriff of Wayne County, in 1801, and the second holding the office, and served in the State Legislature from 1808 to 1814, during which time Pike County was taken from Wayne, and he gave the new county its name, from General Pike, a hero of the War of 1812, and he also gave Dingman township its name. He was associate judge of Pike County for twenty-six years in succession, and was chosen one of the electors in the election of President Monroe.

His wife, Mary Westbrook (1777-1852), a daughter of Benjamin Westbrook, of Sussex County, N. J., bore him children as follows: Martin W.; Andrew ; Daniel W., Jr., the first Whig prothonotary of Pike County, appointed by Governor Joseph Ritner ; Cornelia, wife of Garret Brodhead, of Dingman’s Ferry ; Margaret, wife of Abram Coolbaugh, of Shawnee, Monroe County ; and Jane, wife of Franklin Brodhead. Of these children, only Andrew and Margaret survive in 1886, the latter being eighty-five years of age.

History of Wayne, Pike, and Monroe Counties, Pennsylvania by Alfred Mathews (Philadelphia: RT Peck & Co. 1886), pp. 910-911: In 1793 Daniel W. Dingman was commissioned as lieutenant of a company of militia by Thomas Mifflin, Governor of Pennsylvania. On the 2d of August, 1800, he was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the One Hundred and Third Regiment Pennsylvania Militia by Governor McKean. In 1801 he received a commission as high sheriff of Wayne County, by the same Governor. He was the second sheriff of Wayne County, his term extending from 1801 to 1804. The court was held at Wilsonville from 1799 to 1802, when it was removed to Milford for a short time; consequently he commenced at Wilsonville and closed his term at Milford. [For a list of the elections he ran in over the course of his lifetime, click here.]


Dingmans Bridge sign (Credit: James and Barbara Brodhead)

At one of these places he lived in a log house, the jail being similar to his dwelling. He had two prisoners in this jail. One morning, on arising, he found both his prisoners and the jail were gone. During the night the jail was torn down and the building reduced to saw-logs, while the prisoners were nowhere to be found. About that time he was visited by some gentlemen from New Jersey on business, and…overheard some very uncomplimentary remarks about such a dwelling for a sheriff to live in, good enough, however, for a county-seat that was liable to be removed any day. He was a member of the Legislature of Pennsylvania from 1808 till 1813, and when Pike County was set off from Wayne and Northampton, he was commissioned associate judge by Governor Simon Snyder, October 10, 1814, and continued in that office twenty-six years, when his term expired by limitation under the new Constitution.

Cornelia Dingman Brodhead (1797-1885), daughter of Daniel Westbrook Dingman (1774-1862) and Mary Westbrook (1774-1851)

Cornelia Dingman Brodhead (1797-1885), daughter of Daniel Westbrook Dingman (1774-1862) and Mary Westbrook (1774-1851); wife of Garret Brodhead (Image credit: James and Barbara Brodhead)

John Coolbaugh sat with him for twenty-two years and until Monroe was erected. They were both large, stoutly-built men, and weighed over two hundred pounds each, while Judge Scott, the presiding judge who sat between them, was a tall, spare, intellectual man of great legal attainments. His associates seldom interfered, unless in relation to something of a political nature. Dingman was once Presidential elector and cast his vote for James Monroe. During Jackson’s campaign he cut a tall hickory pole and floated it to Easton, on a raft, when it was raised on Mount Jefferson. When taken down it was made into canes, one of which was presented to General Jackson and another to Judge Dingman. Solomon Dingman, his grandson, now has the cane. In 1846 he was corresponding secretary of the Pennsylvania Historical Society.

Daniel W. Dingman was an active business man and a successful politician of the old Jacksonian Democratic school. He built a hotel which has since been enlarged by Philip Fulmer, until it will accommodate one hundred guests. He also built the Dingman grist-mill, and being given his choice whether he would have an academy or a county-seat located at Dingman’s Ferry, chose an academy.

The three trusses of the Dingman's Ferry Bridge (Credit: Wikimedia Commons, uploaded by Ando228 on 14 Jun 2008)

The three trusses of the Dingman’s Ferry Bridge (Credit: Wikimedia Commons, uploaded by Ando228 on 14 Jun 2008)

In all public matters relating to Pike County, he was a leading man. While in the Legislature he secured an act making Blooming Grove the county-seat, but the commissioners of Wayne County refused to levy a tax for public buildings and the county-seat was finally fixed at Bethany. He and his friends then had the county of Pike erected.


The Pennsylvania side of the bridge where the tolls are collected (Credit: James and Barbara Brodhead)

He was also influential in getting State appropriations for roads over the barrens of Pike County. Towards the close of his life he built a house in the wilderness, by Lake Teedyuscung or Nichecronk, where he lived a retired life for a number of years. He finally came back to his old home, and died April 12, 1862, at the advanced age of eighty-seven years, and was buried in the Delaware Cemetery at Dingman’s Ferry. Towards the close of his life he seemed to desire posthumous fame and took pride in the fact that he belonged to the Pennsylvania Historical Society. He was thoroughly identified with the early history of Pike County. Dingman’s Ferry, Dingman Creek and Falls were named in honor of the family, and Dingman township was named in honor of the judge. He was kind to Revolutionary heroes and Indian fighters, and General Seeley, Sam Helm, Mapes and Wagdon found a generous stopping-place with him. His only sister, Cornelia, married John Van Etten, and lived where William Courtright now lives at Dingman’s Ferry. She was eighty-six years of age when she died. Daniel W. Dingman married Mary Westbrook. His children were Cornelia, wife of Garret Brodhead; Jane, wife of Franklin Brodhead; Margaret, wife of Abram Coolbaugh. Daniel Dingman lived on the river road.

Garret Brodhead (1793-1872), son of Richard Brodhead (1771-1843) & Hannah Drake (1769-1832)

Garret Brodhead (1793-1872), son of Richard Brodhead (1771-1843) & Hannah Drake (1769-1832); husband of Cornelia Dingman, granddaughter of Mr. Andrew Dingman, father of Judge (Daniel Westbrook) Dingman (Image credit: James & Barbara Brodhead)

GARRET BRODHEAD (1793-1872; married Cornelia Dingman in 1813)

Genealogical and Family History of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, Pennsylvania, Volume 1 by Horace Edwin Hayden, Alfred Hand, John Woolf Jordan (Lewis publishing Company, 1906), page 202:
Garret Brodhead, Jr., eldest son of Richard and Hannah (Drake) Brodhead, born December 2, 1793, died East Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, January 8, 1872 ; married, November 25, 1813, Cornelia Dingman, born October 3, 1797, died June 18, 1883, daughter of Daniel W. and Mary (Westbrook) Dingman. […] Garret Brodhead, Jr., served as private in Captain Adam Hawks’ Second brigade Pennsylvania militia in the war of 1812-15. He was a farmer in Pike county ; from 1850 until 1858 he held an important position in the civil administration of the United States navy yard at Philadelphia. Garret Brodhead and his wife Cornelia Dingman had children : 1. Albert Gallatin, born August 3, 1815, died January 18, 1891 ; married, July 3, 1838, Sally Ann Tolan. 2. Daniel Dingman, see forward. 3. Andrew Jackson, born May 6, 1822, of whom later. 4. Abram Coolbaugh, born August 6, 1824, died October, 1892; married, January 6, 1863, Cornelia M. Ely.

ANDREW DINGMAN (1804-1889; married Caroline Eliza Sayre)

History of Wayne, Pike, and Monroe Counties by Alfred Mathews (Philadelphia: RT Peck, 1886) – page 214: Andrew, son of Daniel W. Dingman, was born on the homestead, on Christmas day, 1804, where he has followed farming and lumbering most of his active life. He now, at the age of eighty- one years, is hale and hearty, and his correct habits through life, his even temperament and quiet ways, together with his integrity in all the relations of life’s work, have gained the esteem of all who know him.

 His wife, Caroline (1804-85), was a daughter of Jedediah Sayre, a large real estate owner of Deckertown, N. J., and her mother was Elizabeth Reifsnyder, of the same place. Their children are : Mary, wife of John W. Kilsby, a farmer at Dingman’s Ferry ; Susan, wife of John W. Mclnnis, of Columbus, Ohio; E . Sayre, of Scranton ; Jane resides with her brother at Hawley ; Margaret, wife of John Lattimore, of Dingman’s Ferry ; Daniel W., of Flatbrookville, Sussex County, N. J.; Alfred S., of Milford ; William H., of Columbus, Ohio ; Dr. A. C, subject of this sketch ; and Isaac, of Dingman’s Ferry.


Alfred Stoll Dingman p 214 of History of Wayne, Pike, and Monroe Counties by Alfred Mathews (Philadelphia: RT Peck, 1886)

Alfred Stoll Dingman
p 368 of Commemorative Biographical Record of Northeastern Pennsylvania: Including the Counties of Susquehanna, Wayne, Pike and Monroe (Monroe Co., PA: J. H. Beers & Company, 1900)

ALFRED STOLL DINGMAN (b. 12 August 1837; d. 28 Jan 1907; married Kate Van Auken)
Commemorative Biographical Record of Northeastern Pennsylvania: Including the Counties of Susquehanna, Wayne, Pike and Monroe (Monroe Co., PA: J. H. Beers & Company, 1900), page 369:
Alfred Stoll Dingman was born August 12, 1837, at the homestead at Dingman’s Ferry, where he remained until he reached the age of nineteen, assisting his father with the work of the farm and ferry. He then took a position as clerk in a general store at Dingman’s Ferry, owned by Thomas Cortright, and in 1859 he accepted a similar position with C. McCarty, of the same place. On October 16, 1862, he became a member, at Philadelphia, of Company B, 179th P. V. P, becoming first lieutenant under Capt. John B. Frazier. He went first to Newport News, and later to Yorktown, where he remained until June, 1863, doing guard duty at the Fort, and he then marched up the Peninsula to Whitehouse Landing, Va., participating in an engagement near that place in June, 1863. On July 2, 1863, he was discharged at Harrisburg, on account of expiration of term of service, and after his return home he assisted his father for some time. In the spring of 1864 he entered into mercantile business at Dingman’s Ferry with Evert Hornbeck, and one year later bought his partner’s interest, continuing alone until 1869, when he formed a partnership with Henry P. Beardsley. After two years Mr. Beardsley died, and for one year Jacob B. Westbrook was in partnership with our subject, who then sold out to Mr. Westbrook and retired. In 1880 Mr. Dingman removed to Milford, being employed as a clerk for John F. Pinchot, a merchant, until 1889, when he became a traveling salesman for Thomas E. Grecian, a shoe dealer in New York City.

Mr. Dingman has always taken keen interest in politics, being an ardent Republican, and in 1890 he was elected commissioner of Pike county for the term of three years. In 1893 he was again chosen to the office, and on retiring he engaged, in February, 1896, in his present business. He is an able official, and previous to his election as commissioner he had served three years (1884-1887) as county auditor, and three years as school director in Delaware township. Socially he and his family are prominent, and he is identified with the G. A. R., the I. O. O. F., the Rebekahs, and the F. & A. M. (Blue Lodge No. 344), at Milford.

On May 18, 1889, Mr. Dingman was married, at Port Jervis, N. Y., to Miss Kate Van Auken, and one son, Walter V., born March 14, 1890, brightens their home. Mrs. Dingman was born April 13, 1857, at Dingman’s Ferry, a daughter of the late John B. Van Auken, and is a member of an old and highly-esteemed family of Wallpack, NJ… […]


Port Jervis Evening Gazette, January 29, 1907

Alfred S. Dingman obit – part 1, Port Jervis Evening Gazette, January 29, 1907 (Credit: fultonhistory.com)


Alfred S. Dingman obit – part 2, Port Jervis Evening Gazette, January 29, 1907 (Credit: fultonhistory.com)



Adams NY, Jefferson County Journal, 20 Nov 1888 – part 1 (Credit: fultonhistory.com)

Adams NY, Jefferson County Journal, 20 Nov 1888 - part 1 (Credit: fultonhistory.com)

Adams NY, Jefferson County Journal, 20 Nov 1888 – part 2 (Credit: fultonhistory.com)

Adams NY, Jefferson County Journal, 20 Nov 1888 - part 3 (Credit: fultonhistory.com)

Adams NY, Jefferson County Journal, 20 Nov 1888 – part 3 (Credit: fultonhistory.com)


Wayne County Herald, Honesdale, PA

Excerpt from article in Wayne County Herald, Honesdale, PA

St Regis Adirondack News (dated 1901-1903), Credit: fultonhistory.com

Port Jervis, Evening Gazette, 26 Feb 1889 (Credit: fultonhistory.com)

Andrew died less than a month later. Port Jervis, Evening Gazette, 26 Feb 1889 (Credit: fultonhistory.com)

Categories: Brodhead, Dingman, Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania, Pike Co. | 2 Comments

Brodhead 1891 hunting expedition follow-up: ‘Lafe’, John, & ‘Mose’ Westbrook

This post is a follow-up to the one I did recently about an 1891 Brodhead hunting expedition in Blooming Grove. The participants included some members of the Westbrook family, and I have since discovered traces of them in the book Commemorative Biographical Record of Northeastern Pennsylvania: Including the Counties of Susquehanna, Wayne, Pike and Monroe (Monroe Co., PA: J. H. Beers & Company, 1900), on pages 32-34; and 40-41.

It turns out that John Coolbaugh Westbrook, Moses (‘Mose’) Westbrook, and Lafayette (‘Lafe’) Westbrook were brothers—children of Hannah Coolbaugh (1790-1874) and Solomon Westbrook (1794-1852). The book includes images of John and Lafayette, and while containing scant information on Moses, it goes into detail on the two other brothers. For those who are interested in reading about them, I am including the relevant excerpts from the book here. Some of the information in the below two bios overlaps, but I decided not to edit the overlapping bits out. There is much to wade through, but perhaps you will find clues relevant to your own research. I always especially enjoy reading what these biographers had to say about the character and appearance of their subjects. If you wade through these bios, you will be able to pick some interesting things out about both John and Lafayette.


Lafayette (‘Lafe’) Westbrook

HON. LAFAYETTE WESTBROOK, of Stroudsburg, is one of Monroe county’s favorite citizens, having been chosen many times to offices of trust and responsibility. As a business man, a soldier and a citizen, he has shown those qualities of character which command respect and admiration, and the story of his successful career will be of lasting interest.

Capt. Westbrook comes of good Colonial stock, members of the family having served with distinction in the Indian wars and in the Revolutionary war, but, unfortunately, the records of the early generations have not been preserved as fully as might be wished. The family is of Anglo-Saxon origin, but religious persecution in England caused their emigration to Holland at an early period. In 1630 the name appeared on the records at Albany, N. Y., among the settlers on the manor of Patroon Van Rensselaer. On October 9, 1665, John Westbrook was at Portsmouth, N. H., and in 1689-90 the names of Job and John appeared on the records. In 1721, Col. Thomas Westbrook, said to have come from Stroudwater, Gloucestershire, England, was a shipbuilder and large landowner in the State of Maine, and the town of Westbrook, Maine, was named in his honor. In that year he commanded the expedition against Norridgewock, which broke up the settlement of the famous Jesuit priest, Father Ralle, and captured his papers. In 1723 he was appointed by Gov. Dunmore as the chief in command of the Eastern frontier.

I. Anthony Westbrook, the first ancestor concerning whom we have any definite information, removed from Guilford, Ulster Co., N. Y., about 1737, and located in Montague township, Sussex Co., N. J., where he became the owner of a large tract of land along the Delaware river and on Minisink Island. He was prominent among the settlers there, holding the office of justice of the peace, and left a record of the earliest marriages contracted in the Minisink Valley. He married Antic Van Etten, and among their children were two sons, Jacob and Johannes.

II. Jacob Westbrook, a son of Anthony, was married. March 24, 1746 to Lydia Westfall, and had six children. Blandina, Johannes, Sofferine, Solomon, Maria and Jane.

III. Solomon Westbrook, the next in the line of descent in which we are now interested, was born in 1762 and died in 1824. He located in Delaware township. Pike Co., Penn., and there owned 700 acres of land upon which he built a stone house that was occupied by the family and for nearly a century, and in times of danger was used as a fort. In 1801 he was assessed with 150 acres of improved land, and at that time he was justice of the peace: Like many of the large agriculturists of his day, he owned slaves, and he was regarded as a wealthy and substantial citizen. He married Margaret DeWitt, and they had the following children: Jacob (1786-1847), who settled upon a portion of the old homestead, and was the father of John I. Westbrook, of Port Jenvis, NY; Col. John, born in 1789, who settled at the homestead, and was a member of Congress from 1841 to 1843; Solomon, our subject’s father; Sofferine; and Margaret, wife of William H. Nyce.

IV . Solomon Westbrook was born in 1794, and died in. 1852. He was a man of hue business ability, and was well known throughout the Delaware valley! In 1819 he sold his farm to his brother Jacob, and purchased another in Middle Smithfield township, Pike county, where he resided until 1829. He then sold his place to John V. Coolbaugh, removed to Philadelphia for a year, and for five years following he conducted a hotel at Dingman’s Ferry owned by Judge Dingman. While there (in 1832) he opened a store, and he also carried on mercantile business at Bushkill in 1830-31, and at Tafton in 1835-36. For some time he was interested in lumbering at Blooming Grove. In 1835 he removed to the old stone house on the homestead, and in 1837 a paralytic stroke nearly incapacitated him for business, depriving him of the power of -speech. In 1842 he’ returned to Blooming Grove, where he and his wife spent their remaining years, his sons taking care of his lumber business. He took much interest in local politics during his active years, and from 1822 to 1825 he served as sheriff of Pike county. He married Hannah Coolbaugh (1790-1874), a daughter of Judge John Coolbaugh, of Middle Smithfield township, Pike county, and they had six children : Margaret (deceased, who married the late John B. Stoll, of Branchville, later a resident of Newark, NJ.; John C, of Pike county; who is mentioned elsewhere; Hiram, late a real-estate dealer of Ridgewood, NJ.; Lafayette, our subject; Moses C, a farmer at the old home in Blooming Grove; and Susan, who married the late Theodore Grandon of Newark, New Jersey.

V. Capt. Lafayette Westbrook was born December 15, 1824, near Dingman’s Ferry, in Pike county, and received an excellent education for that day at Delaware Academy. He became proficient as a surveyor, and in 1850 and 1853 was elected surveyor of Pike county, serving two terms with marked success. I Ie is considered an authority on the location of land in that region, and at one time he assisted in making a map of Dike count)-; throughout his life he has been more or less occupied with surveying.

In 1850, our subject was chosen to represent Pike and Monroe counties in the State Legislature, and so well did he perform his duties that he was re-elected the following year. In 1862 he assisted in raising Company B, 151st P. V. I., and entered the service with the rank of first lieutenant. In March 17, 1863, he was made captain, and this rank he held until honorably discharged, on July 27, 1863, at the expiration of his term. While in the service he was never absent from his command for one moment, and he took part in several important engagements, including the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. On his return home he resumed work as a surveyor, and he also engaged extensively in lumbering in Blooming Grove, where he resided until 1882; in 1874 he was elected county surveyor against his own wishes. In 1866, he was again chosen representative in the State Legislature, his district being changed to Pike and Wayne counties. His ability and experience made his services of so great value to his fellow citizens that, in 1867, he was re-elected without opposition. In 1877 and 1878, under the new constitution, he again represented Pike county in the Legislature – each county being entitled to a member – thus completing six years of service in this capacity. The Captain has been regarded for many years as one of the leading Democrats of this section, and at various conventions, State and National, he has taken an honorable part in the work of the party. At times he has held local offices, including that of justice of the peace, and his interest in educational advancement has been shown by his services as school director. During all these years he has conducted his lumber business in connection with surveying, but in 1882 he removed to Stroudsburg, relinquishing a portion of ‘ his business cares; his investments, however, receive his personal attention, and for some time he has acted as a director and as vice-president of the East Stroudsburg National Bank. The Captain looks much younger than he is, and his active and cultured mind makes him a most agreeable companion. Socially he is much esteemed, and he is identified with the Masonic Fraternity being a Master Mason in the Lodge at Milford, Pike county. During the war he received a certificate from the Grand Lodge: which he still holds In October 1876, Captain Westbrook married Miss Emma Hill, of Newton, NJ; their only child died at an early age.


John C. Westbrook

John C. Westbrook

JOHN COOLBAUGH WESTBROOK. Few citizens of this section enjoy to as high a degree the confidence of the public as does this well-known resident of Milford, whose popularity is attested by his frequent election to offices of responsibility and trust. For many years he has served ably and acceptably as prothonotary and county auditor, and as recorder of deeds, register of wills, clerk of the Orphans’ Court, Clerk of Court of Assertions, he has also shown characteristic ability, zeal and fidelity.

Mr. Westbrook comes of good old pioneer stock, and traces his descent to an English family, some of whose members went to Holland at an early period to escape religious persecution. The records at Albany, N. Y., show that in 1630 some of that name were settlers on the manor lands of Patroon Van Rensselaer, having come with a Dutch colony. On October 9, 1665, John Westbrook was at Portsmouth, N. H., and in 1689-90 Job and John Westbrook were there. In 1721 Col. Thomas Westbrook, a wealthy land owner and ship builder of Maine, said to have come from Stroudwater, Gloucestershire, England, commanded the expedition against Norridgewock, which broke up the settlement of the famous Jesuit priest Father Ralle, and captured his papers. Two years later he was appointed by Gov. Dunmore as chief in command of the eastern frontier of the Colony of Maine, and he seems to have wielded an important influence in that commonwealth, the town of Westbrook having been named after him. In every generation the love of liberty has been a leading characteristic of the family, and its members have not hesitated to make open resistance to tyranny, several having served in the Revolutionary army. The definite records of our subject’s ancestry began with Anthony Westbrook, who came to Pennsylvania from Guilford, Ulster Co., N. Y., and settled in the Minisink Valley, where he acquired a large tract of land. In 1737 he was a justice of the peace and an elder in the Reformed Dutch Church, while his brother Johannes, who preceded him, was also prominent in the settlement. Anthony Westbrook married Antie Van Etten, and had at least two children, Jacob and Johannes.

Jacob Westbrook became the owner of a large tract of land on the east bank of the Delaware river, about eight miles below Port Jervis, in what is now Montague township, Sussex Co., N. J. His substantial stone house was often used as’ a fort during the troubles with the Indians, as was that of his son Johannes, three miles farther down the Delaware river. Like other pioneer families the Westbrooks kept slaves in the early days. Jacob Westbrook was married March 24, 1746, to Lydia Westfall, and had six children: Blandina, Johannes, Sofferine, Solomon, Maria and Jane.

Solomon Westbrook, our subject’s grandfather, was born October 6, 1762, and died March 30, 1824. In 1792 he located upon a tract of 700 acres of land on the west bank of the Delaware river in Delaware township, Pike county, and his residence, a large stone house, stood on the stage road, two miles below Dingman’s Ferry. In 1801 he was assessed with 150 acres of improved land, and was serving as justice of the peace. On September 24, 1782, he married Margaret De Witt, by whom he had five children: Jacob (1786-1847), who resided on a part of the homestead, and was the father of John I. Westbrook, of Port Jervis; Col. John (1789- 1852), a leading spirit in the State militia, a member of Congress (1841-1843), and one of the ablest men this section ever produced; Solomon, our subject’s father; Sofferine; and Margaret (Mrs. William H. Nyce).

Solomon Westbrook (2), the father of our subject, was born in 1794, and died in 1852. he was a successful business man, and was also active in politics, serving one term as sheriff of Pike county ( 1822-1825). In 1819 he sold his farm to his brother Jacob, and purchased another in Middle Smithfield township, where he remained about ten years; but in 1829 he disposed of the place to John V. Coolbaugh, and removed to Philadelphia. In 1830 be returned and opened a store at Bushkill, which he carried on for a year, while for five years he conducted a hotel at Dingman’s Ferry. In 1832 he opened a store there, and he also carried on mercantile business at Tafton in [835-36. In the meantime he became extensively engaged in lumbering at Blooming Grove, but a paralytic stroke in 1837 deprived him of the power of speech while he was yet in the prime of manhood, lie had removed with his family in 1835 to the old stone house in Delaware township; then in 1842 the family located at Blooming Grove, where his sons carried on the lumber business for many years. His wife was Hannah Coolbaugh, of Middle Smithfield township. Pike comity. Of their children, Margaret, the eldest (deceased) was the wife of John B. Stoll, of Branchville; John C, our subject, is mentioned more fully below; Hiram (deceased) was a real-estate dealer at Ridgewood, NJ, and was twice married, (first) to Eunice A. Horton, and (second) to Jennie M. Maston ; Lafayette, a resident of Stroudsburg, is mentioned elsewhere; Moses C., a farmer on the homestead at Blooming Grove, married Emily Jones; Susan a resident of Milford, married (first) Theodore Grandon, and ( second) William H. Bell, both of whom are now deceased.

Our subject was born May 24. 1820, in Middle Smithfield township, Pike county, then a portion of Delaware township. He began his education in the country schools, afterward studying for some time with Rev. Mr. Allen at Milford. At the age of fifteen he became a clerk in his father’s store at Dingman’s Ferry, and after the latter’s health failed he took charge of the business, assisted by Col. H. S. Mott. Together with his brothers he also managed the lumber business at Blooming Grove, and later he cleared a farm there upon which he built a sawmill and a gristmill. In 1845 he was elected prothonotary of Pike county, on the Democratic ticket, and removed to Milford. After serving two terms he returned to Blooming Grove, and in the fall of 1863 he was again chosen to that office, which he held for six years. In 1870 he removed to Branchville, NJ., and during the following year he secured from various individuals the land for Blooming Grove Park. In 1872 he went to Berks county, Penn., and for three years acted as foreman in the construction of the Boston & South Mountain R. R., running from Harrisburg to Poughkeepsie. In the fall of L875 he returned to Milford, and was elected prothonotary, to which office he has since been continuously re-elected, having held the office in all thirty-five years. Socially Mr. Westbrook and his family are prominent, and he is connected with various orders; he is a Master Mason, having joined the fraternity at Hawley.

On December 31, 1850, Mr. Westbrook was married at Milford to Miss Jane Wells, and four children have blessed the union: Alice B., who resides in Milford, married (first) Dr. Governor Emerson, and after his decease wedded the late Milton B. Mott, formerly editor of the Milford Dispatch, and a representative in the State Legislature. Hannah married John Williamson, of Branchville, N. J., now deceased. Frank Brodhead and Lafayette died unmarried. Mrs. Westbrook was born at Milford, January 24, 1824, only child of Peter and Jane Wells, and, both parent’s dying when she was an infant, she was reared by her grandmother, Jane Wells.

Categories: Brodhead, Coolbaugh, Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania, Pike Co., Westbrook | Tags: | Leave a comment

Visiting Henry Flagler’s “paradise” on Florida’s east coast

The Everglades along I-75, with a typical south Florida summer sky above

The Everglades along I-75, with a typical south Florida summer sky above–clouds gathering for an eventual thunderstorm

Sorry to have disappeared for a month! We just returned from our own road trip around the vast state of Oregon, taking in places like Columbia Gorge, Mt. Hood, Hell’s Canyon, Wallowa Lake, the John Day Fossil Beds, & Crater Lake and Upper Klamath Lake. From Upper Klamath Lake, we veered down into northwest California to take in the majestic beauty of the giant coastal redwoods there, before traveling up about two-thirds of the Oregon Coast. Once the dust settles, I will put together a post with my top 10-15 images from our trip.

Meanwhile, I will leave you with a little post I started, before leaving on vacation, about a jaunt we took to the Florida’s east coast not long ago…to Lake Worth, a fun, friendly, and eclectic little town wedged between Palm Beach to the north and Boynton Beach to the south. Lovely beach, fun downtown shops and restaurants, fabulous little Mexican food stand called Lupita’s, and plenty of nature and water activities. We stayed at a B&B called the Mango Inn, which was very peaceful and pleasant and within easy walking distance to the downtown and the lagoon. The signature breakfast dish “mango-stuffed French toast” proved to be disappointingly soggy, but perhaps the chef just had a bad day.

If you feel like taking a hike (we didn’t, given what time of year it is), you could easily walk to the ocean beach, which is clean and well cared for, by heading over the big bridge that crosses the 22-mile-long Lake Worth lagoon and deposits you close to the public beach parking lot. The old, historic casino building there has been renovated and offers a cool and pleasant spot to shop for souvenirs, grab an ice cream, or sit down for a meal.


The Casino today as viewed from the pier

The Casino on the beach

The Casino on the beach, 1930s?

If you like to fish, the Lake Worth pier supposedly gets you closer to the Gulf Stream than anywhere else on Florida’s east coast; we saw some very big fish swimming below. The Snook Islands restoration project is underway in the Lake Worth lagoon which is part of the Intracoastal Waterway. The fishing is supposed to be very good here as well. We gave it a try one evening and walked away empty-handed, but have heard good things about the location. You can launch a kayak from this spot too. Studies of the lagoon and its inlets over the last twenty years have registered a whopping 261 species of fish!

Day's fishing, Palm Beach, Fla. (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

Day’s fishing, Palm Beach, Fla. (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

But the Lake Worth area of yesteryear was considerably different. While the fishing was probably just as good, if not far better, the population was vastly smaller. In 1920—only about 1,100. Today some 35,000 live in this small town which is surrounded on three sides by a sprawling metropolitan area that includes over five million people.

For a glimpse of how this area of Florida looked 100 or so years ago, you can view the Library of Congress images to the left and below. Most were taken in Palm Beach which is adjacent to where the town of Lake Worth lies today. The 1890 map below shows Lake Worth, the town, positioned north of Palm Beach, but today’s town is definitely to the south. But back in 1890, the entire area around the twenty-two-mile-long Lake Worth lagoon, was referred to as Lake Worth, so I suppose it did not really matter where the mapmaker plopped their little Lake Worth circle on the map.The current town was incorporated in 1912, twenty-two years after this map was created.

Township map of Peninsular Florida issued by the Associated Railway Land Department of Florida. 1890 ... Copyright, 1890, for the Associated Railway Land Department of Florida, By D.H. Elliott, General Land Agent. Matthews, Northrup & Co., Buffalo, New York.---segment showing Lake Worth and Palm Beach on the East Coast (Credit: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection - www.davidrumsey.com)

Township map of Peninsular Florida issued by the Associated Railway Land Department of Florida. 1890 … Copyright, 1890, for the Associated Railway Land Department of Florida, By D.H. Elliott, General Land Agent. Matthews, Northrup & Co., Buffalo, New York.—segment showing Lake Worth and Palm Beach on the East Coast                                                    (Credit: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection – http://www.davidrumsey.com)

In 1892, millionaire oil tycoon/industrialist Henry Flagler discovered this corner of Florida, declaring it “paradise” and deciding that it would make an ideal tourist destination for super-wealthy northerners (such as the Wm. A. Rockefeller family—see clipping below). And, with that, the ‘Flagler Era,’ which was well underway in places further north in Florida, stretched south to encompass Lake Worth. In 1894, his east coast railway was extended south to reach West Palm Beach, ensuring a steady flow of tourists. That coincided with the grand opening of his Royal Poinciana Hotel, a luxurious winter haven on the barrier islands on the Atlantic side of the lagoon, where the beaches are. You can see pictures of the Royal Poinciana Hotel below; it was built to face the lagoon. A train track constructed over Lake Worth lagoon delivered guests straight to the hotel. Gargantuan in size (allegedly becoming the largest wooden structure in the world), it was able to accommodate up to two thousand guests; bellhops made deliveries on bicycles. A daily three-mile walk could be achieved just by traversing the hotel’s labyrinth of corridors. Two years later, Flagler opened the nearby Palm Beach Inn (today known as the Breakers, so named because of its position on the beach where the sound of waves breaking can be heard). It has undergone numerous renovations over the years and is still welcoming guests today.


Poster for 1926 film starring Bebe Daniels: The Palm Beach Girl

Like many massive and grand Victorian hotels, the Royal Poinciana Hotel did not survive. It fell into decline in the 1920s and a 1928 hurricane and the 1929 stock market finished it off. The palatial hotel, an icon of the Gilded Age, was demolished in 1935.

I’d love to travel back in time to catch a glimpse of life in and around the hotel during its heyday, and of early Palm Beach / Lake Worth in general. Unfortunately, it appears that hardly any films exist from that period. Two directed by accomplished actress Pearl F. White (1889-1938), one in 1916 (Island of Happiness) and one in 1917 (Isle of Tomorrow), have apparently been lost—for an interesting article about them, click here. Also lost to the sands of time was the 1926 film starring actress Bebe Daniels, The Palm Beach Girl. It and some other early films (all lost, apart from one which is in a private collection) were mentioned in the Palm Beach Past blog. For that article, please click here. Perhaps Hollywood will some day produce a film that captures that era, in all its grandeur. Until then, I guess we just have to view the existing images and use our imaginations!

CLICK ON THE FIRST IMAGE, AND THEN USE THE ARROWS; for an interesting article containing more images and information about early Palm Beach, click here.


Categories: Advertisements, Florida, Nature, Rockefeller Wm A. | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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