Author Archives: Chips Off the Old Block

About Chips Off the Old Block

Someone who enjoys history, genealogy, antiques, and general sleuthing. Have traveled the world but always seem to come back to my roots.

Hon. Albert Gallatin Brodhead house in Jim Thorpe, PA

Albert Gallatin Brodhead portrait, *between p. 260 and p. 261 of Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of the Lehigh Valley, PA – published in 1905

Coincidentally, I came upon this house while looking for another: the Jim Thorpe (previously known as Mauch Chunk) home of the Honorable Albert Gallatin Brodhead (1815-1891). It’s a beautiful three-story Victorian brick home that has a wonderful tiered rear garden. The verbiage written by the realtor mentions that the home was initially in the possession of the Lockhart family; a Lockhart daughter married a son of Asa Packer.

To view the home, click here.

For more about Albert, please see this post.

I don’t know how long the photos will linger online. The house was sold so the listing is inactive. If you want to save copies for your own personal use, better to do so sooner rather than later.




Categories: Brodhead, Mauch Chunk (Jim Thorpe), Pennsylvania | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Inside the house Francis Woodruff built, circa 1845

Francois Gignoux, View near Elizabethtown, New Jersey, 1847

If you’re like me, you occasionally look up the addresses of ancestors to see if their homes are still standing; and if they are and they happen to be for sale or have sold in the not-too-distant past, you can get a glimpse inside, thanks to all those online realtor photos, many of which seem to linger long after the sale has been made.

Last fall I found a listing for the house my second-great-grandfather Francis Woodruff built circa 1845 in Elizabethtown, NJ, on what was then farmland and in what is now the town of Hillside. Frenchman Régis François Gignoux (1816–1882) painted the above scene around that time. As you can see, it must have been a very bucolic setting in the summertime; Francis and his family made a living off the land, something many living in that part of New Jersey today might find hard to imagine.

I contemplated flying up to NJ to take a look inside but scrapped that idea after all of us in the family contracted type A flu, an event we did not rebound from quickly. Of course, now I regret not getting up there—who knows when the house will be for sale again?

In any case, the house was sold, but many photos remain on Realtor dot com. To look inside, visit this link: Conant Street house. I wrote about this house once before in a post about my grandmother’s wedding in which I included this information from the six-page PDF Eight Colonial Homes, an undated publication put out by the staff of the Hillside National Bank:

A third Woodruff house, while appearing to be the same vintage as the others, was erected about 1845. […] …it is frequently the subject of artists’ paint brushes because of its picturesque setting. It was built by Francis Woodruff, a descendant of Enos Woodruff. A letter from Mathias Woodruff in 1843 to his brother, another Enos Woodruff, comments that he is planning to return from Louisiana to help his cousin, Ezra Woodruff, erect a house for Frank. The letter jokingly said in part: “Frank will want him to put up a house next summer. I have advised him to find out from the neighbors what kind of house he wants, sort of architecture, on which side to put the kitchen, dog house, pig pens. If all parties are satisfied, it will save a great deal of talk.” Oddly enough it was constructed sideways to the road, but when the Westminster section was developed by Edward Grassman in the 1930’s, Revere Drive was placed in front of it, so today it faces a street.

Having seen the interior photos, I can try to picture the family members living there and going about their daily lives. This is where Francis and Mary Jane Trowbridge raised their four children: William, Matthias, Emma, and Phebe. This is where William, who took over the farm, raised his six daughters with wife Wealthy Ann Angus. The house remained in the family until 1928, the year William (b. 1848) died. (Wealthy predeceased him.) By then the six daughters were married with children and living elsewhere. Farmland in Elizabethtown was becoming non-existent as the county’s towns expanded. The Woodruff farm was swallowed up and became part of a housing development in Hillside.

I now read some of my old posts in a slightly new light, better able to imagine the happenings inside the home—this is where Mary Jane got her small children up and dressed in the morning; these are the stairs the Woodruff children, grand-children and great-grandchildren ran up and down through the years; this in the fireplace Francis sat down next to to write his grown children letters while they temporarily lived elsewhere or where he retired to to read their letters—letters to and from William when he was out West sheep farming or letters to and from Matthias when he farming wheat in the Dakota Territory; this is the home in which a teen-aged William wrote letters to his uncles Trowbridge while they were serving in the Union Army; this is the parlor in which the family entertained guests and marked my grandmother’s wedding in 1908 and William and Wealthy’s golden anniversary in 1922, etc.

Of course, the house has been altered through the years, there’s no denying that, but original features remain as you can see in the photos—the wood flooring, the beams, the fireplaces, and the windows, including the diamond-shaped window in the attic.

It’s wonderful to see this house still standing after 170+ years. For that I thank all of its past and present occupants and all of those local citizens who through the decades have appreciated its important heritage.

Categories: Elizabeth, Union Co., Hillside Union, Woodruff | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Mystery photo – Brodhead line?

Greetings, “Chips” Followers;

I hope you’ve been keeping well. Not long ago I received an email (contents below) from Virginia O’Neill, asking for help identifying the couple in an old electrograph. I was unable to help, but offered to post it here so that others could have a chance to weigh in with their opinions. I think the woman looks somewhat like Andrew Jackson Brodhead, but he had no sisters. Perhaps a cousin? Let’s see if we can get this photo identified. Perhaps one of you holds the key!

3//12/18 – Check the comments section below for responses.

I have in my possession an unidentified electrograph/painted tintype portrait of a man and woman side-by-side. It is decoratively matted, and framed in dark wood. Its overall size is 14″x12.” SEE: attached photo.

Unfortunately, it was given to me without any provenance. I am writing to inquire if you are familiar with this portrait and if the subjects could be BRODHEAD ancestors on my father’s maternal line. My father is Richard Brodhead ARNOLD, grandson of Richard Henry BRODHEAD, youngest son of Andrew Jackson BRODHEAD and Ophelia EASTON.

I have compared photographs of Garret BRODHEAD (1793-1872) and wife Cornelia DINGMAN (1797-1885) SEE: your post of 5 May 2014 “Brodhead family descendants repair Cornelia D. Brodhead headstone.”

I have also compared the photographs of Andrew and Ophelia as a young couple from the personal family collection of James & Barbara BRODHEAD. SEE: your post of 1 January 2016 “A Brodhead family New Year’s Eve wedding 170 years ago.”

I would appreciate any help you might provide identifying the portrait.

Categories: Brodhead, United States | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

George Henry Durrie, A Winter Party, oil painting, 1852 (Public Domain in US – created before 1923 –

Categories: Christmas, Miscellaneous | 6 Comments

Happy National Ice Cream Day

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan named July National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday in July National Ice Cream Day—so Happy National Ice Cream Day 2017 to all of you. No need to tell you that ice cream has been a beloved treat for a very long time as evidenced by the Library of Congress Archive images below. You will notice one image of an airplane promoting a National Ice Cream Day on May 27, 1920. I’m not sure what that was all about; perhaps an effort to establish such a day back then given prohibition started on January 17, 1920, and America’s prohibition-fueled consumption of sweets and ice cream was already on a rapid rise.

When you tuck into your favorite flavor(s) today, may these ice cream-themed images of yesteryear dance in your head. Bon appétite!

Currier & Ives. The Cream of Love. , ca. 1879. New York: Published by Currier & Ives. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed July 23, 2017.)

Hine, Lewis Wickes, photographer. [Where the newsboy’s money goes. Investigator, Edward F. Brown.Location: Wilmington, Delaware / Photo by Louis i.e. Lewis W. Hine, May, 1910]. Delaware Wilmington, 1910. May. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed July 23, 2017.)

The Ice Cream Girl. , ca. 1913. Aug. 11. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed July 23, 2017.)

Detroit Publishing Co., Publisher. On the beach at Atlantic City, N.J. Atlantic City New Jersey, None. [Between 1900 and 1906] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed July 23, 2017.)

Bain News Service, Publisher. Eileen Sedgwick — Marion Tiffany. , 1917. [June] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed July 23, 2017.)

Hine, Lewis Wickes, photographer. Sanitary Ice Cream Cone Co., 116 S. Dewey St. Cisar, Manager. John Myers, 14 years old, who is in Grade 6 in Franklin School works after school and Saturday. He has been there 7 months. Can bake cones as well as pack them. For a month in the Fall, after school started, he went to school and worked from 4 p.m. to midnight. Expects to do it again soon. Gets $4 a week for part time and $8 a week when working 8 hours a day.Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma / Lewis W. Hine. Oklahoma City, 1917. April 3. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed July 23, 2017.)

Reid Ice Cream Co. truck, probably in Washington, D.C. , 1918. [?] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed July 23, 2017.)

[Betty Compson, half length portrait, standing, with umbrella, in bathing suit, facing slightly right, eating Eskimo Pie. Movie star]. , ca. 1922. Dec. 26. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed July 23, 2017.)

Thos. R. Shipp Aeroplane. , 1920. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed July 23, 2017.)

[Group of Farm Women Holding Plates of Cake and Ice Cream and Spooning Homemade Ice Cream Out of Freezers]. , None. [Between 1935 and 1930] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed July 23, 2017.)

Mrs. Herbert Hoover feeds ice cream to a small black bear cub, Seward, Alaska. Alaska Seward, ca. 1926. Meadville, Pa.: Keystone View Company, manufacturers, publishers. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed July 23, 2017.)

Chicago Sunday Tribune, May 23, 1920 [Though the third Sunday in July was declared National Ice Cream Day by President Ronald Reagan, here is evidence of an attempt to establish a national day back in 1920. Perhaps this was the result of the prohibition-fueled, astronomic rise in ice cream consumption. (Prohibition – 1920-1933)]

Categories: 1890s, 1900s, Advertisements, Food: Family Recipes & Favorites, United States | Tags: , , , , | 12 Comments

July 1905: Grandma’s photos from Ocean Grove, New Jersey

Photos from Ocean Grove 112 years ago. My grandmother, Zillah Trewin, was 23 when they were taken. She appears in the image at the top, on the far right, holding the sides of her face. No sunglasses back then, except for on film stars, so a brimmed hat could surely have helped her. Perhaps she took hers off to have her picture taken.

I love these glimpses into history–an outing at the Jersey shore, the happy faces, the windy sailboat ride, the lady holding a parasol in her lap and waving, the fellow with the newspaper wrapped around the back of his head. A carefree, summer day at the start of the 20th century. A tiny slice of life you are unlikely to see anywhere else but here, thanks to my grandmother and her beloved brownie camera.

I can imagine the excitement as everyone piled into the rowboat (photo 3) to go out to the sailboat rocking in the ocean waters off shore. The boat’s captain (seen in photo 4) appears to be helping ladies into the rowboat. I gather all those other gents were there to push it into the surf. Aboard the sailboat, the group looks to be having a fun time. Lots of smiles. I think it’s likely that these were all Methodist Church friends and acquaintances of my grandmother and that this was an organized outing. The land in Ocean Grove is all owned by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association (founded 1869) so perhaps the group attended one of the camp meetings in the Great Auditorium. Perhaps they even overnighted in some of the tents in “Tent City”.

Once back north in Union County,  their bit of summer fun may have lingered on their minds for a while. And sunburn may have served as proof (ouch!) of the trip until real proof emerged in the form of these few photographs—proof that landed in my grandmother’s then ever-expanding photo album, which just happens to be sitting on my desk today.

Categories: New Jersey, Ocean Grove, Trewin | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

1905: Ironing while memorizing passages from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Hiawatha”

The play Hiawatha being performed circa 1920 – NARA – 285367, by Unknown or not provided – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain,

Going through some old books a few weeks ago, I came across Longfellow’s Hiawatha, and inside was this wonderful and curious little note left behind by my grandmother Zillah Trewin. I don’t know when she wrote this note; it was probably some time later for the benefit of my mother who would eventually inherit it:

Zillah from Mother, 1905.
Mother memorized the introduction, first 5 chapters, also 10, 11, 12, 19, 20 and 22, largely while ironing.

If you are familiar with Hiawatha, you’ll know that this was no small feat! I try to envision my great-grandmother Elizabeth Sargent Trewin standing over her iron and simultaneously memorizing Longfellow’s verse. An image definitely emerges–now if only I could hear her voice. That would really be something!

Elizabeth Sargent Trewin, 1904, before traveling abroad

Zillah Trewin, 1904 (age 19)


Categories: Reading literature, Trewin | Tags: , , , , | 17 Comments

The Greatest Generation — Dad’s photos with ‘A’ Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines — Pacific Theater

Charles D. Brodhead (enlisted as a Private and left service as a Sergeant)

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of my father’s passing, and also, of far less significance, the 6th anniversary of this blog. I started it with him in mind, knowing how much family history meant to him. It’s a shame he has not been here to help me fill in pieces I can’t quite pull together or celebrate the discoveries I make with me. But I know he is here in spirit, and, perhaps, it was he who steered my hands last week toward a faded and plain, nondescript envelope containing the below photos from early on in his service during WWII. As you may recall from a past post, he served in A Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines. It looks like the photos were all taken on Guadalcanal except one, a view of Samoa.

Pacific Theater – WW II – 1941-1945 (Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin)

The photos are an amazing find. I was especially delighted to see the faces of a few of the men my Dad spoke so highly of while I was growing up, especially 1st Sgt Frank DaVanon. So this post and the photos are dedicated to Dad (Charles D. Brodhead), these men, and all the others who served alongside him.

I have included all of his captions (Thank you, Dad!) both on the images and written out separately below so that search engines can find them. Perhaps someone ‘out there’ will find a photo of their greatest generation family member. And if you recognize someone, please feel free to leave a comment below.  Thank you, and Happy Easter, All.

I am repeating the captions below so that search engines can pick them up for any family members who may be searching for their servicemen.

Photo 1: “A” Company specialists at Guadalcanal. Front row left to right: Grier, Co. Property Sgt; Stein, cook; Coleman, runner; DeMarco, Asst. Property Sgt; Rear row left to right: Black, buglar; Butkiewicz, jeep driver; Edwards, signalman; Fiands, cook

Photo 2: Some of ‘A’ Company men with Japanese flag at Guadalcanal, 1943.
Front (left to right): Rothberg, Gresko, Standley, and Wilshere Rear (left to right): 1st Sgt DaVanon, Tezack, Wilson, and Urbanovitch

Photo 3: ‘A’ Co. group at Guadalcanal, 1943: Front (left to right): Murphy, Vaught, Morris, and Callentine Rear (left to right): Morris, Phillips, Kaier, and Thornton

Photo 4: ‘A’ Company Staff NCOs and company commander after Bougainville operation, 1943.
Front (left to right): Gunnery Sgt Rowley; Captain C.F. Quilici; and Gunnery Sgt Urbanavitch
Standing (left to right): Gunnery Sgt Wilson; 1st Sgt DaVanon; and Platoon Sgt Morris

Photo 5: ‘A’ Co. 1st Bn, 3rd Marines – Group of Mortar and Machine Gun Sections, Taken at Guadalcanal after Bougainville operation, 1943 Front (left to right): Fansler, mortar squad leader; Low, mortar gunner; Watson, mortar gunner; and Cort, machine gunner Rear (left to right): Logan, machine gunner; Trott, machine gunner; Rowley, Gunnery Sgt; Colarulli, machine gunner; and Brown, machine gunner

Photo 6: ‘A’ Co. after Bougainville operation, 1943. Sorting accumulated mail and Christmas packages.
Foreground, sitting, 1st Sgt DaVanon; Kneeling, back to camera, Brodhead (Dad)

Photo 7: Taken at Guadalcanal before Bougainville operation, in front of property storage tent.
Front (left to right): Teofilo Romero (killed at Bougainville); Grier; and Rice
Standing (left to right): DeMarco, Steger, and Fiands

Photo 8: On beach at Guadalcanal, 1943. Some of the ‘A’ Co. gang. Note palm trees torn by shellfire.

Photo 9: Pvt. Charles D. Brodhead, US Marines Sept 1943, Guadalcanal, British Solomon Islands

Photo 10: Islanders fishing

Photo 11: Guadalcanal, 1943: Sgt. H.B. Grier and a couple of natives

Photo 12: Samoa, 1942

Photo 13: Gunnery Sgt W.W. Wilson, Jr. and BoBo (an orphaned native boy of Guadalcanal)
Photo taken in 3rd Division bivouac area in Lever Bros. coconut plantation.

Photo 14: Guadalcanal, 1943. 1st Sgt DaVanon and two natives.

Photo 15: Photo taken on beach at Guadalcanal showing members of ‘A’ Co., 1st Bn, 3rd Marines digging foxholes of

Categories: Bougainville, Brodhead, Guadalcanal, WWII | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

William Trewin & St. James Methodist Church in Elizabeth, NJ

William Trewin, b. 21 March 1847; son of John & Mary Ann Trewin; year unknown.

St. James Methodist Church in Elizabeth, New Jersey, celebrated its 80-year anniversary in 1957, and a church program I recently came across commemorating the occasion indicated that my great-grandfather William Trewin was one of eight people who were on the committee that agreed to found the church, which was the result of two churches (Elizabeth Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church and St. Paul Methodist Episcopal Church) coming together in a building that was acquired through an exchange with the Broad Street Baptist Church. The first service was held on April 15, 1877.

At the time of the committee meeting, October 23, 1876, my great-grandfather was 29 years old and married to his first wife Edith Fry with whom he was raising two sons, Bert and Clarence.  The commemorative program is included in this post for anyone curious about some of the history of the church during its first 80 years. Today, the building is occupied by the Haitian Bethany Baptist Church.

Image from City of Elizabeth, New Jersey, Illustrated, 1889

Categories: Elizabeth, Union Co., Methodist, New Jersey, Trewin | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Barksdale family heirloom

It’s almost a year ago that I found in a box an old button hook that belonged to my grandmother Elizabeth Sargent Trewin’s sister-in-law Sarah Bowley Sargent. I put a poll up asking how folks would handle an item like that—one that was more distantly related to them. Most respondents were happy to put the item back in the box and hand it down. I chuckled when I saw that.


I was confronted with a similar situation again recently when I  came across a small prayer book dated 1849; on the cover appear the initials “A. M. Barksdale” and the street address “2204 Monument Avenue” is written inside. The opposite side of that page contains a line from Dante’s Divine Comedy in Italian and English: “Down through the world of infinite bitterness.”

Clueless as to whom the book once belonged, I must admit that discarding it crossed my mind. But, I was too curious and ended up putting my detective hat on.

I won’t bore you with the zigs and zags of my small bit of research. Suffice it to say that I am quite certain the book belonged to Agnes Morton Barksdale (1834-1908) and that the address is that of the home of “Francis D. Barksdale”, a cousin (once removed) who lived at that street address in Richmond, Virginia. The house, built in 1909, still stands.

I don’t think Agnes ever married or had children. She was the daughter of Dr. Claiborne Williams Barksdale (b. 1802) and his second wife Sallie Norment Whitlock. The family lived in Halifax Co., Virginia. Their children were:

  • Claiborne Whitlock Barksdale (1833 – 1902)
  • Agnes Morton Barksdale (1834 – 1908)
  • Judith Beverly Barksdale (1836 – 1891)
  • Mary Barksdale (1838 – 1854)
  • Sallie Claiborne Barksdale (1840 – 1916)
  • Achilles Whitlock Barksdale (1842 – 1916)
  • Thomas White Barksdale (1844 – 1902)
  • Howard Barksdale (1846 – 1907)

How did we end up with the book? That was the biggest question of all, and it took a while to figure it out.

In a nutshell, one of my grandmother’s sisters married a descendant of one of Agnes’s sisters, Sallie Claiborne Barksdale. That descendant died not long after they married, and my grandmother’s sister remarried and moved to California. Somehow this book remained behind in New Jersey with my grandmother.

I must say, my initial inclination was to dispose of it somehow, but I am glad I took the time to connect the dots and find the story behind this object. It was obviously used quite a bit by Agnes given the wear in the leather. I’ve sent a few emails to some folks I’ve found who appear to be bona fide descendants of Agnes’s siblings but have not yet heard back. I’ll have to wait and see where this little book’s fate takes it from here…

UPDATE 4/3/2017: I am pleased to report that this little prayer book is en route to a new home with a bona fide descendant of Dr. Claiborne Barksdale and his wife Sallie N. Whitlock.

Categories: Barksdale, Heirlooms, Miscellaneous | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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