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.”
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.
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.
Protected: Garret Brodhead’s “Wheat Plains” farmhouse—an August clean-up project. Come join the fun!
I recently heard from James and Barbara Brodhead, who are cousins of mine—James and I share the same great grandparents, Andrew Douglas Brodhead and Margaret Lewis Martin. It was only a few years ago that we made initial contact, quite by chance, on the Internet. This post is part one of two posts on this blog being devoted to their efforts to tidy up and restore some Brodhead family headstones, and with so many old headstones crumbling all across America, perhaps their work will inspire you just as much as it has me! I asked them whether they required permission to undertake this work, and they were advised that since they were family, they were welcome to do what they could. So here, without further ado, is Part I of their project, in James’ own words. Enjoy!
Cornelia Dingman Brodhead was born on October 3, 1797, in Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania. Her father was Judge Daniel W. Dingman and her mother was Mary Westbrook. Cornelia is buried next to her husband, Garret Brodhead, whom she married at age 16 on November 25, 1813. They are both buried in the Upper Mauch Chunk Cemetery in Jim Thorpe, PA. I am the third great-grandson of Cornelia and Garret.
As I have a great interest in my family history, in the fall of 2011, my wife, Barbara, and I went to Pennsylvania in search of family history information. We visited the cemetery in Jim Thorpe and located the family plot owned by the Hon. Albert Gallatin Brodhead, Garret and Cornelia’s oldest son. It is situated on the edge of the hill next to the Asa Packer Family Plot. Sadly, we found Cornelia’s headstone had been knocked/fallen over, the center stone was missing, and the base had been moved about 6 feet from its original location. Cornelia’s headstone was laying face up but was about 2/3 buried in the ground.
During our travels, as a way to show respect for our ancestors, we determined to clean the moss and dirt from any family headstones we had found. We carried a kit with a bucket, jugs of water, Simple Green, brushes, plastic putty knives, etc. We knew that Cornelia’s headstone was going to take a lot more effort to fix, so we began planning to make the necessary repairs the next time we would visit.
In August of 2013, we were able to return to Pennsylvania; the repair of Cornelia’s headstone a priority on this trip. We were staying in Milford, and we took the 70 mile drive to Jim Thorpe. I began by digging around her headstone and standing it up. (The estimated weight for the base and headstone was approximately 250 lbs each.) A neighbor boy loaned us a shovel. The base, I skidded on wood strips that we had brought, until I returned it to its original location. The base was then leveled. I walked, (tipped back and forth); her headstone over next to the base, then tipped it on to its back onto the base.
Because of the limited space and the weight, and after several attempts, I was unable to stand the headstone up onto the base. I began to say a silent prayer, asking for help. As I finished and looked up, I could see that Barbara was also praying. It was late, and so we drove back to our motel.
The next morning we went for a walk and found that our planned route was unsafe, (no sidewalks), and so we took a different route. As we were going down a side street I saw a bridge crane and said, “That’s what we need to lift the headstone up!” We realized that we were looking at a shop where they engraved headstones. The foreman, after listening to our dilemma, told us that we would have to slide the stone off the base and stand it up. Then using wood blocks, (cribbing), the stone is tilted side to side and front to back and the blocks are inserted under it. Thus the stone is walked up to the required height and slid into position. He also gave us four small plastic squares to place under each corner and then told us to use 50-year silicone to seal the stone to the base. It worked just as he said.
This project has helped us feel closer to Garret and Cornelia.