Gatorama is a long-time Florida attraction located off the most beaten paths in South Florida, but it’s well worth a visit and the price of admission. Hundreds of alligators and crocodiles of all shapes and sizes are on display, as are some other Florida creatures. We were there in July, and since then, the local ABC7 station has done a story on the gator and croc training that goes on there. It’s surprising and fascinating and well worth the view. Enjoy, and have a great weekend!
The birth of another great-nephew this week (named Wyatt) coincided with a birth of a very different kind—the emergence of a beautiful Monarch butterfly in the passion flower vine growing just outside in the milkweed bed. We failed to notice the chrysalis until just after the butterfly made its appearance. We named it Wyatt in honor of our newest family member and enjoyed watching it take its inaugural flight to the nearby tamarind tree. Can’t wait to watch baby Wyatt take flight, too. The sky’s the limit! Or is it? Perhaps, he will be the first family member to travel to the stars and beyond!
I came across this print on the left while visiting the Library of Congress website. It was labeled “J. Brodhead D.D.” I decided to figure out who this was and eventually identified him as Rev. Jacob Brodhead DD, who was born on May 14, 1772, in Marbletown, Ulster, New York.
In addition to the below image of the Reverend in his later years, the publication Services at the Funeral of Rev. Jacob Brodhead DD in the North Dutch Church of the City of New York on Friday, the 8th of June 1955, published by John A. Gray, New York, in 1855, contains a wealth of biographical information about this member of the Brodhead family tree. Click the above link and pay special attention to pages 13-17, which talk about his early years and familial connections.
Of the five children he had with his first wife Eliza Bleecker, only two survived beyond the age of 21. One of these was John Romeyn Brodhead (1814-1873), famous for his books on the history of New York State. I’d always wondered where the middle name “”Romeyn” came from, and apparently there was a Rev. Dr. John Brodhead Romeyn (1770-1825, son of Elizabeth Brodhead and Rev. Dirck Romeyn), who was a much-admired first cousin of Jacob’s. And these two first cousins married sisters Harriet and Eliza Bleecker. The name Romeyn was passed along.
Below is how Jacob fits into the Brodhead Family Tree:
Captain Daniel Brodhead (A-2) and Ann Tye
Note: The above numbers pertain to the individual entries in Volume I and Volume II of The Brodhead Family: The Story of Captain Daniel Brodhead, His Wife, Ann Tye, and Their Descendants. Refer to these volumes for more information on these ancestors.
If you stroll around eBay long enough looking for memorabilia related to the Brodhead family and make use of alternate spellings to increase your odds, you’ll eventually run into advertising posters for Broadhead Worsted Mill in Jamestown, New York.
No, as the spelling strongly suggests, a descendant of Captain Daniel Brodhead and Ann Tye (arrived on these shores in1664, and both from Royston, West Riding, Yorkshire) was not involved in the Mill’s founding. Nonetheless, at some point it seems likely that we, the descendants of the Captain and his wife, share a common ancestor given the Mill’s founder, William Broadhead (1819-1910), also hailed from Yorkshire (from a town called Thornton). Royston is a very tiny village located to the northeast of Barnesley, and Thornton is a bit to the west of Bradford. The two are just about 25 miles apart.
Per the Jamestown, New York, website, William had worked in Thornton as a blacksmith before emigrating to the US in 1843. He would have been about 24 years of age when he undertook that great adventure. It appears that initially he took up similar work in Jamestown, but eventually became interested in the textile industry.
Brodhead family members, next time you are in our nation’s capital, stop by 1500 Rhode Island Avenue NW to have a look at the exterior of this Beaux-Arts-style mansion built in 1879 for Detroit-born John Thornton Brodhead (1851-1904) and his wife Jessie Maude Willis (1858-1929). A photo currently on eBay reminded me that several years ago I had come across a reference to the “Brodhead Mansion” in DC and had always meant to go back and research which specific Brodheads had once lived here. And now, I know.
The architect of the mansion was Scottish-born John Fraser; later renovations (1912) were overseen by architect John Russell Pope. Subsequent occupants of the “Brodhead Mansion” included: Alexander Graham (and Mabel) Bell, US VP Levi P. Morton (President Benjamin Harrison’s administration), the Russian Embassy, and US Secretary of State Elihu Root (President Teddy Roosevelt’s administration). Beginning in 1939 and for many years thereafter, the National Paint and Coatings Association occupied the building. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building has served as the Embassy of Hungary since 2016.
Married in 1877, John T. Brodhead and Jessie Maude Willis did not live in this large home for very long. John, who had been actively serving in the US Marines at the time of his marriage, resigned his commission in 1881, after turning down a three-year assignment in China in order to stay in the US with his family. The couple, together with their three small children (more would follow), returned to Detroit where they both had family and John started a real estate business.
John T. Brodhead was a descendant of Daniel Brodhead and Hester Wyngart and their son, Revolutionary War hero Captain Luke Brodhead. His grandfather was Reverend John Brodhead (m. Elizabeth Harrison), and his father was Colonel Thornton Fleming Brodhead (1820-1862; m. Archange Macomb (1870-1891)) who was mortally wounded during the second battle of Bull Run in August 1862. After his father’s death, John (age 11) was sent to Washington DC to live with his Uncle John Montgomery Brodhead (1803-1880), Thornton’s older brother who was then serving as Second Comptroller for the Army and Navy services. Perhaps his arrival in his Uncle’s household was a blessing given the uncle and his wife had already lost their two only children, Alfred, d. 1853, and Thomas, d. 1855. (Side note: Mary Rebecca Brodhead Pike, featured previously on this blog, was the sister of Colonel Thornton F. Brodhead and John Montgomery Brodhead.)
Some photos of John T. and Jessie Brodhead appear on Find a Grave and Ancestry.com. I haven’t found any that I can use here without requesting special permission or paying a newspaper archive (e.g., Detroit Free Press). Scroll down for links to those pages and for a family tree showing John’s descent from Daniel and Hester Brodhead, who were among the original European settlers of Pennsylvania’s Minisink Valley.
I will leave you with the abundant biographical information on the John T. Brodhead family that is included in the below publication. You will learn that John’s wife and her family were equally as interesting and impressive.
Biographical information from pp. 600-606 of The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922, Volume V, Illustrated (Detroit & Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1922):
JOHN THORNTON BRODHEAD. The history of the Brodhead family is closely interwoven with the annals of Detroit, through connection with many of the prominent families of the city and with many, of the leading events which have shaped Detroit ’s record and marked her development. In the old home stead on Jefferson avenue, where once stood the Sacred Heart Seminary, John Thornton Brodhead was born on the 12th day of September, 1851. His father, General Thornton Fleming Brodhead, a colonel of the First Michigan Cavalry during the Civil war and an oﬂicer during the Mexican war and afterward owner and editor of the Detroit Free Press, was born at South New Market, New Hampshire, in 1820. There the old Brodhead homestead still stands. His father was the Rev. John Brodhead of the old Granite state and Thornton Fleming Brodhead was the youngest of a family of twelve children. He came to Detroit in 1816 and when a young man of twenty-six years was mustered into the military service of the country on the lst of March, 1847, as a member of the United States infantry, serving throughout the Mexican war under General Winﬁeld Scott. Early in his military experience he was promoted to the rank of ﬁrst lieutenant and adjutant and on the 20th of August, 1847, was brevetted captain for gallant conduct and conspicuous bravery in the engagements of Contreras and Cherubusco, Mexico. On the 2nd of December, 1847, he was regularly commissioned captain and was mustered out with that rank on the 3rd of August, 1848. Again making his way to Detroit, he became postmaster of the city in 1853, under the administration of Franklin Pierce, then president of the United States and an own cousin of Mr. Brodhead. In the meantime he had purchased the Free Press and was the owner and editor of the paper for a number of years. He married the widow of William Abbott, son of Judge Abbott, her maiden name having been Archange Macomb, daughter of William Macomb, and a niece of General Macomb.
Archange Macomb, wife of General T. F. Brodhead, First Michigan Cavalry, and mother of John T. Brodhead of Detroit, was born in the old homestead on Grosse Ile. She was the daughter of William Macomb, and granddaughter of Commodore William Macomb, the original owner of the island. She spent many years of her life in Detroit with her distinguished husband, after his death returning to the old home with her six young children, to spend her last days there. She died in 1891, at the age of seventy-one. Her life and her devotion to her children were most beautiful, as she was both father and mother to them. There were six children of this marriage, the eldest being the wife of Hon. William D. Balfour, M. P. for Ontario. Her son, Edward Blake Balfour, was a ﬁrst lieutenant in the Canadian army in the World war and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, having saved a thousand lives of his country men by destroying a gun which was turned on the British and was in process of loading. Another son, Major Thornton Balfour, is still in the Canadian army. The second of the family of General Brodhead was John Thornton Brodhead of this review. The third of the family is Mrs. J. Kearsley Webster, whose late husband was a great-grandson of Major Samuel Kearsley, to whom George Washington presented his sword in appreciation of his bravery, at the time of Braddock’s defeat. This sword is now in possession of Mrs. J. Kearsley Webster. A notable fact is that since the sword was worn by Washington, it has changed hands but three times. Eleanor Macomb Brodhead was the fourth member of the household and with her sister, Katherine Julia Brodhead, was living in the old homestead on Grosse Ile until it was destroyed by ﬁre in the summer of 1921. Because of the pleasant memories and the sweet associations arising from years of occupancy of the old homestead by the different generations of the family, the sisters are now erecting a bungalow on the site of the old home. In the garden there are pear trees which were planted more than a hundred years ago and are still in perfect condition, bearing fruit in the year 1921. The sixth member of the family of General Brodhead is Mrs. F. B. Howard, whose husband is a civil engineer of Detroit. Mrs. Howard has one son who served in the Marine Corps in the World war and was wounded at Belleau wood. The story of the brilliant advance of the American troops has been graphically told in the work published by the commanding oﬂicer there under the title, With the Help of God and a Few Marines.
Not only was General Brodhead closely associated with the military affairs of the country and with news paper publication in Detroit but also with the legislative history of the state. In 1855 he was state senator at Lansing and although a stanch democrat was a warm personal friend of Abraham Lincoln. During the Civil war Mr. Brodhead organized the First Michigan Cavalry company of ﬁfteen hundred Wayne county men, receiving his orders directly from President Lincoln because of his past military experience. He took his ﬁfteen hundred men to Washington, where they were thoroughly equipped. Here he was joined by his little son, eleven years old, and together they rode through the battle of Harper ’s Ferry. He was made a brevet general for bravery but two weeks later was killed at the second battle of Bull Run, before his title had been conﬁrmed. Following his demise his wife spent her last years on the old Macomb homestead on Grosse Ile. General Brodhead was but forty-one years of age when he passed away on the 30th of August. Laying down his life on the altar of his country, the last words of his dying lips were: “The old ﬂag will triumph yet.” His son, John T. Brodhead, was a lad of but eleven years when his father died. He had been attending the public schools up to this time and afterward went to Washington to the home of his uncle, John M. Brodhead, who was a comptroller in the treasury department through appointment of President Pierce and served in that position through several successive administrations. In the national capital John T. Brodhead attended the public schools for a time and later was graduated from the Polytechnic School in New York city. He was then appointed to the Marine Corps of the United States Navy by General Grant and was assigned to duty at the Charles town navy yard at Boston. Later he was in service at Pensacola, Florida, and from there went to Annapolis, where he remained for but a brief period, having in the meantime been tendered the opportunity to join the Marine Corps with the rank of second lieutenant under Admiral Worden. He joined the Mediterranean ﬂeet as officer on the ﬂagship Franklin, and while the ship was stationed at Nice, France, he met Miss Jessie Willis of Detroit, who later became his wife. About this time the ship proceeded under orders to Spain to bring the notorious Tammany chief, “Boss” Tweed to New York. Lieutenant Brodhead had personal charge of Tweed on the trip and learned a good game of cribbage from him. Lieutenant Brodhead was the youngest oﬂicer on the ﬂagship but at all times proved his capability in the faithful discharge of every duty devolving upon him.
In New York city on the 12th of May, 1877, he was united in marriage to Miss Jessie Willis, a daughter of Richard Storrs Willis, of Boston, who had settled in Detroit. He was a brother of the poet, N. P. Willis. Following their marriage Lieutenant and Mrs. Brodhead maintained their home in Washington, where three of their children were born, enjoying all of the charm and advantages of the brilliant Washington life in oﬂicial circles. An opportunity to go to China was offered Lieutenant Brodhead but since this would necessitate leaving his family for a period of three years he declined and resigned his government position, returning with his wife and children to Detroit, where resided both his own and his wife’s relatives. Here he established a real estate business and as the years passed he prospered in its conduct. He was very popular in social and business circles and was also a most devoted husband and father, his love for his mother and his consideration for the members of his immediate family being beautiful to see. His memory is fragrant with loving thought, free from every discord and of most kindly and generous acts. He was ever chivalrous, loving and tender to womankind and strong and manly among men.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. John T. Brodhead are as follows: The eldest daughter, Jessie, became the wife of Robert Wagner, a prominent California artist, and died leaving two children, Leicester and Thornton. The eldest son and second child of the family was Thornton Brodhead, who served as a member of the Naval Reserves during the Spanish-American war and won distinction in the battle of San Juan, when he and two others were summoned before their superior ofﬁcer and complimented for their ﬁne marksmanship in the handling of the gun of which he had charge. He was but nineteen years of age at the time and was under ﬁre for the ﬁrst time. Following the close of hostilities with Spain he was for three years in the service of the Paciﬁc Mail Steamship Company and he is now lieutenant commander of Michigan Naval Militia stationed in Detroit, holding the rank of lieutenant commander in the World war. He married Elise Moran, a daughter of John V. Moran of Detroit. Archange Macomb, the second daughter, is with her mother at the family home on Lodge avenue. John, affectionately known as Jack Brodhead, lives in St. Louis, where he is general manager of the Ford agency. He married Dorothy Farrish of that city. Alexandrine Cairns, became the wife of Duncan J. McNabb, a broker, who during the World war was in the Navy Aviation Corps. Willis, unmarried, the youngest of the family, is in St. Louis with his brother, being president of their concern. He is a graduate of the State University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, having taken an engineering course and during the World war was a captain in the Marine Corps.
The father of this family, John Thornton Brodhead, was a member of the Loyal Legion, also a member of the Detroit Club and his personal qualities made for popularity wherever he was known, causing his death, which occurred in 1904, to be greatly deplored by all who knew him. The old Brodhead home on Grosse Ile on the banks of the Detroit river was called Archdale, in memory of the mother, Archange Macomb. Mrs. J. T. Brodhead has presented a large crayon portrait of Colonel Thornton F. Brodhead to the post office to be hung in the gallery.
While the later generations of the Brodhead family have every reason to be proud of their ancestry in the paternal line, they have equal reason to cherish the records of their ancestors on the distaff side. The mother, Jessie Willis Brodhead, is the daughter of Richard Storrs Willis, a representative of an old and distinguished family, prominent in connection with early American annals, the name ﬁguring potently in relation to events of national history as well as in the world of art and letters. One of his biographers has said of Mr. Willis: “He was possessed of the ﬁnest musical and literary talents and his scholarly attainments, as well as his patrician bearing and gracious personality, endeared him to all who knew him.” He was born in the city of Boston, February 10, 1819, a descendant of Nathaniel Willis, one of the Puritans, who came to America from England in 1626 and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he became a deputy to the general court in 1638. During succeeding generations the prestige of the family name has been maintained at the same high standard associated with that of the progenitor of the family in America. In 1776 the Independent Chronicle was ﬁrst published by Nathaniel Willis, grandfather of Richard Storrs Willis, who occupied the same building that had been used by Benjamin Franklin when he was a printer. His son, Nathaniel Willis, Jr., and his wife, Hannah Parker Willis, were the parents of John Storrs Willis, who was n journalist of distinction and became the founder of three papers, the Eastern Argus of Portland, Maine, the Boston Recorder and that most universally popular and admirable periodical for young folks, the Youth’s Companion.
Richard Storrs Willis attended Channing Hall, a. preparatory school and later was a student in the Boston Latin school. In 1837 he entered Yale and soon became prominently identiﬁed with its literary and musical societies. He was elected president of the Beethoven Society and during his second college year wrote compositions for the college orchestra and choir and arranged the scores for many songs of German students. It was at this time that Mr. Willis composed the Glen Mary Waltzes, which enjoyed a long period of popularity. He was graduated from Yale in 1841, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Immediately afterward he went to Germany, where in the next seven years he perfected himself in harmony under Schuyler von Wurtensee and in counterpoint and instrumentation under the celebrated Professor Hauptmann of the Conservatory and conductor of the Thomas Schule. Mr. Willis had as friends and companions the leading literary and musical geniuses of the day. On a trip to Europe he was accompanied by the great Mendelssohn; Gutzkow, the dramatist; Freuligrath, the poet; Bayard Taylor, American author and traveler; and Professor Hoﬁman von Fullersleben, the poet. Mr. Willis learned to speak the German language quite perfectly and this enabled him to do considerable literary work for the reigning Landgrave of Hesse Darmstadt, who created and bestowed upon him the title and diploma of Doctor of Music. At the close of this seven year period of study in Europe, Mr. Willis returned to Yale, where he was instructor in the German language. Later he went to New York, where he became a contributor to the Albinon, the Musical Times, the Tribune and the Catholic World. About this time he founded a magazine devoted to the ﬁne arts which he called, Once a Month. He also wrote an admirable treatise on church music, which was most favorably commented upon by many periodicals. Later he wrote many student songs, sacred songs, patriotic songs and lyrical compositions. This lyrical gift seemed to be a family trait since Nathaniel P. Willis, the well known poet, was a brother of Richard Storrs Willis and his sister was familiarly known to the public under the nom de plume of Fanny Fern.
In 1854 Mr. Willis was married to Miss Jessie Cairns of New York, who died in 1858. At the time of her marriage she was singing in The Little Church Around the Corner, one of the famous old churches of New York, and Mr. Willis was organist under Dr. Houghten. Mrs. Willis’ mother was spiritually and ﬁnancially one of the pillars of The Little Church Around the Corner, and she owned much property in that locality and gave Mr. Willis and his wife the old homestead just opposite The Little Church. There the three daughters of the family were born. They spent the summer months at their grandmother’s country seat on Long Island near the home of William Cullen Bryant, with whom the daughter, Jessie, afterward Mrs. Brodhead, was a great favorite. Mr. Willis, who in 1861 married Mrs. Alexandrine Macomb Campau, numbered among his intimate friends Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and their contemporaries. Later Mr. Willis took his family to Europe, when his daughters were grown and there they spent four years. The daughters attended the convent of the Sacred Heart at Orleans, France, and also the Sacred Heart convent just outside of Brussels. While sojourning at Nice his three daughters married officers of the United States ﬂagship Franklin. Annie, the eldest, became the wife of Lieutenant Aaron Ward, who later was a rear admiral of the United States navy. Blanche became the wife of Lieutenant William H. Emory, who later commanded the Bear on the Greely relief expedition and was commander of the Yosemite during the Spanish-American war, while the third daughter, Jessie, became the wife of Lieutenant John T. Brodhead. After the marriage of their daughters Mr. and Mrs. Willis returned to Detroit, where Mrs. Willis had extensive property interests, owning one-third of Belle Isle. They built their summer home, Insulruhe, on Belle Isle and spend the winter seasons in New York. Mr. Willis passed away in 1900, while Mrs. Willis survived until 1910, both dying in the faith of the Catholic church, of which they had long been devoted members. Mrs. Brodhead has inherited much of the literary talent of her distinguished father and has made many contributions to periodicals, besides being the author of a number of published volumes. She is a Daughter of the American Revolution, prominent socially and is identified with many of the leading charitable organizations of the city.
1-Capt. Daniel Brodhead b. 20 Apr 1693, Marbletown, NY, d. 22 Jul 1755,
Bethlehem, PA, bur. Old Moravian Cemetery, Bethlehem, PA
+Hester Gerritse Wyngart b. 1697, c. 14 Mar 1697, d. After 1743
|—-2-Capt. Luke Brodhead c. 22 May 1741, Shawnee RDC, Smithfield Twp (Monroe
| Co.), PA, d. 19 Jun 1806, Stroudsburg, Monroe Co., PA, bur. 20 Jun 1806,
| Shawnee Presb. Church Cemetery, Shawnee on Delaware, Monroe Co., PA
| +Elizabeth Harrison b. Cir 1745, Bridesburg, Philadelphia Co.,
| Philadelphia, PA, d. Bef 1797
| |—-3-Rev John Brodhead b. 5 Oct 1770, Lower Smithfield, PA, d. 7 Apr
| | 1838, Newfields, New Hampshire
| | +Mary Dodge b. 1789, d. 1875
| | |—-4-Col. Thornton Fleming Brodhead b. 5 Dec 1820, Newmarket
| | | (Rockingham County), NH, d. 2 Sep 1862, Alexandria, Alexandria
| | | City, Virginia, bur. Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit, Wayne Co.,
| | | Michigan
| | | +Archange Macomb b. 1817, d. 30 Oct 1891, bur. Elmwood
| | | Cemetery, Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan
| | | |—-5-John Thornton Brodhead b. 12 Sep 1851, Detroit, Wayne,
| | | | MI, d. 1 Mar 1904, Detroit, Wayne, MI
The children of John T. and Jessie Brodhead were: Jessie Willis Brodhead (1878-1906), Richard Thornton Brodhead (1879-1947), Archange Macomb Brodhead (1881-1971), John Brodhead (1888-1970), Alexandrine Cairns Brodhead (1889-1971), and Ignatius Loyola Willis Brodhead (184-1977).
Below is a newly noticed photo of Newton Boles (left) with my grandfather William Boles (center). Their respective fathers, Benjamin (1871-after 1943) and Edward (1855-1940), were the youngest and oldest of James and Jane (Payne) Boles’ eight children.
The photo was taken on a snow-less Christmas Day, 1927, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. We don’t know who the gent on the right is.
Almost a year before this, Newton’s first wife had died in childbirth, after emigrating with her to Canada from Ireland. Newton (‘Newt’) and my grandfather were very fond of each other; Newt was 5-6 years younger and supposedly was inspired by his older cousin to leave Ireland in search of opportunities in the US/Canada.
Murals are popping up all over these days, and in most cases, I would say they are a welcome addition. The town of Lake Placid (FL)—population roughly 2,200—is no exception, and here, this south-central Florida community seems to be taking things to a whole new level, with 47 murals so far. We traveled through there not too long ago, during the “off season,” so few people were around. In the snowbird months, the place would be bustling with all sorts of activity; there’s even an outdoor movie area downtown (see murals with white space in center). And, by the way, Lake Placid is also known as the “Caladium Capital of the World”—my sister has been to their Annual Caladium Festival several times and always brings back all sorts of fantastic bulbs that, after planting, emerge in pink, green, and white swathes to liven up the slow summer months. I hope you will enjoy these scenes; perhaps they will encourage you to stop by this historic little Florida town when you are next in this part of the world.
Luke W. Brodhead‘s article, “Early Frontier Life in Pennsylvania. Efficient Military Services of Four Brothers,” appeared on pages 194-200 of The American Historical Record: Volume 2 by Benson John Lossing, January 1, 1873, published by Chase & Town. Here is a link to the publication. Perhaps, Brodhead descendants who haven’t yet stumbled on the article will learn something new about these four sons of Daniel Brodhead and Hester Wyngart. I especially enjoyed reading the personal letter from Daniel (the son) to his “brother” (brother-in-law) Nicholas (“Nicky”) Depui.
One of the oldest homes in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, is for sale. Built on the 3,000 acres of land Nicholas Depuy (Depui) purchased directly from the Minisink Indians in 1727, the roughly 3,500-square-foot stone house has 4 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms and is listed for $299K.
According to Landmarks of Historic Interest along the Lackawanna Railroad, published sometime in the 1930s (p. 13 references an event on January 10, 1930; otherwise, I did not see a date), this home, known then as “Croasdale Manor,” was purchased by Aaron Depuy (1714-1785) in 1745 from his father Nicholas (m. Wentjen Roosa). (Note: Aaron Depuy’s niece Elizabeth Depuy (daughter of Samuel and Jane Depuy) was married to General Daniel Brodhead.)
To view the listing and accompanying photos, click here.
Upon further investigation, I learned that the house entered the Croasdale Family in 1837*.
The above-mentioned publication states (see screenshot inset) that the then (1930s) owner was a Mrs. Clementine Croasdale. I pulled her birth and death dates from the Social Security Death Index on Ancestry: 1896-1981. Baptism records on Ancestry show that her parents were Louis Rupprecht and Rose Schlos, and that her husband was Lee Croasdale, born in Stroudsburg in 1895 and died in Georgia in 1951. I don’t think she was the then owner because the 1930 census shows her living with her parents and her son William at 130 Lackawanna Avenue, an ordinary home in East Stroudsburg, PA.
Another source**, which I believe to be correct, says that when in 1931 the famed nearby Kittatinny Hotel burned to the ground, the Croasdale house belonged to Mrs. Elenora Croasdale. Elenora Davis Brodhead Croasdale (1862-1950) was the daughter of Luke Wills Brodhead (1821-1902; historian and collector of Indian artifacts and manager of a resort at Delaware Water Gap) and the wife of Howard Andre Croasdale (1857-1923). They had two children: Harold T. Croasdale (1889-1978; see below) and Laurence Croasdale (1885-1913); died of pulmonary tuberculosis at age 27).
“Croasdale Manor,” which had also been used through the years at various times as a resort and an inn, remained in the Croasdale family until Harold T. Croasdale (d. December 1978; predeceased by wife; no living children) willed the home and adjacent property to Lafayette College for use for cultural events and to support cultural events if ever sold. Eventually the house was sold*** to a jazz trombonist and his musician wife.
Harold Croasdale had graduated from Lafayette College in 1911, and the January 1979 college alumni newsletter (PDF link below) that carries his obituary stated that his “consuming passion, beginning in 1964, was reconstructing Croasdale Manor, which had been destroyed by fire in 1939. […] He had it rebuilt, stone by stone, pegged board by pegged board, following drawings he had made after the fire. He and his wife, Anna May Brooks, who died in 1975, had discovered a wrought iron chest in a sealed fireplace in the old home. In the chest were two deeds—one from William Penn, granting land to Croasdale’s forbears; the other, dated 1727, was the original deed for the land, which was purchased from the Indians.” These two deeds support historic events: Nicholas Depuy was forced to buy the land again after the transaction with the Indians was deemed illegitimate.
So evidently the house stood in ruins from 1939 to 1964, when Harold took it upon himself to rebuild and restore the home to its former glory. Perhaps, he’d have liked to have gotten started sooner with the restoration, but funds weren’t available? Yes, that appears to have been the case. Look up “At Croasdale Manor A Dream Takes Shape,” The Pocono Record, June 17, 1967, available on Newspapers.com. I got a “Free View” — no idea why. The article discusses the renovations and other details.
Let’s hope the home, which appears to need a little TLC, finds a new owner and continues to be loved and preserved for generations to come.
*”Harold T. Croasdale ’11, longtime Class Correspondent, dies at 89,” Lafayette Alumni News, January 1979. digital.lafayette.edu/collections/magazine/lafalumnews-19790100/pdf
**”Fire Which Destroyed Kittatinny Ends Full Century of Hotel Life,” The Morning Sun, October 31, 1901. https://www.poconorecord.com/assets/pdf/PR1570430.PDF
***”Restrictions on Gift Home Are Disputed Monroe County Mansion Was Donated to College,” The Morning Call, August 9, 1988. https://www.mcall.com/news/mc-xpm-1988-08-09-2652445-story.html
“At Croasdale Manor A Dream Takes Shape,” The Pocono Record, June 17, 1967. (viewable on Newspapers.com as a free view)
I love old houses, and I’m sure I am not alone in that regard.
Here in Florida, it can be a challenge to find homes over a certain age, depending on where you live, of course, especially the further south you go.
Because truly old homes are not as plentiful as up north, I periodically search for ones for sale on websites like Realtor, etc., where you can filter out results based on age and other criteria. It’s fun (IMO) to look at old home interiors you would otherwise probably never get to see. I was doing that a few days ago when I came across the John B. Stetson mansion at 1031 Camphor Lane in Deland, Volusia County, Florida. We’d been in that area a couple of times in recent years, visiting nearby De Leon Springs and Blue Springs, but had no idea the Stetson mansion, celebrated for its history and its architectural mix of Moorish, Gothic, and Tudor styles, would have been within such easy striking distance.
Who was John B. Stetson? If you have not heard of him, you may still be familiar with the Stetson hat.
Born in 1830 to a New Jersey hatter and his wife, Stetson, while still a young man, was diagnosed with tuberculosis and told he may not have much longer to live. He took off for the West, wanting to lay his eyes on that expansive majestic land while he still could. That’s when he came into contact with the region’s settlers and cowboys, who until then had largely been wearing caps made of coonskin and other furs, not very practical. Returning home to Philadelphia, he came up with the Stetson hat, and started turning them out in 1865. They sold like hotcakes and became known as “the boss of the plains.”
Stetson lived well into his seventies and along the way became known for his generosity as an employer and a philanthropist. His hat-making business had treated him well. His company survived and thrived, and it’s still going strong today: https://www.stetson.com
Seeing as how Stetson’s Florida mansion, built in 1886, is up for sale (for $4.7 million), this is an ideal time to get a look inside at the interior without paying an admission fee and without having to physically go there. The sellers purchased the house a decade ago and completely restored and renovated it. The result is stunning, and although this is a private residence, they have generously been permitting people to tour the estate and experience this very interesting piece of history. In fact, it’s the #1 Deland attraction on Trip Advisor. Hopefully the eventual buyers will want to keep this up.