The Remmey’s of Northwood

MY FAMILY: “THE FAMILY THAT SPOILED THE NEIGHBORHOOD”?

Some group or other is always the minority, in any society. And I imagine that when our Catholic family of two parents and three children moved into a home on Wakeling Street in a substantially Protestant section of Northwood in 1956, and when the little ones kept popping out of our mother every few years, the Old Blood families of Frankford surrounding us groaned and thought. “There goes the neighborhood!”

 But the neighbors quickly got used to us. In between running errands for elderly neighbors, we kids played step-ball with pimple balls on the back steps, and kick-the-can on Rutland Street on hot summer nights. With tips earned carrying groceries at the Harrison Quick Shoppe grocery store, at Harrison and Large Streets, we purchased comic books and bubble gum at Schwartzy’s Drug Store on the corner across Large Street. Schwartzy was my introduction to Judaism. He was one of the kindest, gentlest souls I ever met. If anyone goes to Heaven, it will be Schwartzy. And if he doesn’t make it, none of us will.

 ONE OF NORTHWOOD’S MATRIARCHS

One of the matriarchs of Northwood, descended from one of the “Old Blood” dynasties of Frankford, the textile-manufacturing Garsed family, was Edyth Holden Remmey, who after her birth in 1905 had lived for years over on Allengrove Street, between Rutland Street and Castor Avenue with her husband and children. Her Garsed ancestors had owned a group of textile mills arranged in a crescent around the west end of Frankford, some of them visible in Smedley’s 1863 Atlas of Philadelphia.

Above, arrows point to the circled locations of the Garsed textile mills on Frankford’s west end in the 1860s.

a drawing of one of the Garsed mills.

It was John Garsed who built the Frankford “Y” building at Arrott and Leiper Streets. Even as the residence was being constructed in 1864, Mrs. Remmey later told me, the Garsed mansion was nicknamed “Garsed’s Folly,” as acquaintances of the Garsed’s saw construction being inhibited by materials shortages and an economy shocked by the changes generated by first the commencement of, and then the termination of, the American Civil War. Lo and behold, John Garsed was forced by economic difficulties to sell his home to his bother Richard Garsed, famed for his patented high-speed steam-powered looms, who in turn was eventually compelled by a post-war economic bust to economize by re-selling it to William Bault, one of the principals of Globe Dye Works.

“Garsed’s Folly,” the Frankford “Y” Building.

Several generations down the line, after Mrs. Remmey, as Edyth Holden, met and married Paul B. Remmey, soon to be a prominent commercial and landscape artist, descended from the dynasty of Remmey ceramic- and brick-makers, with a large factory on the banks of the Delaware in Bridesburg, she memorialized her Garsed family ancestry by naming her daughter Nina Garsed Remmey.

When Edyth Holden, born 1905, was courted by Paul Baker Remmey, born 1903, in the 1920s, Mr. Remmey was an art student, earning recognition and awards for the excellence of his work He was descended from the dynasty of makers of ceramic, brick, and heat resistant materials for handling steam heat, who first came to the American colonies from France in the early 1700s. As the Remmey family integrated their expertise into American industry, they built at least two factories in our area, one on the Delaware, on Hedley Street in Bridesburg; the other on the north side of what is now Aramingo Avenue, but what, back then, was Aramingo Canal, east of Cumberland Street. (Yes, Aramingo Avenue used to be a canal.)

The Remmey brick factory which used to be on the Aramingo Canal east of Cumberland Street

After their marriage, Mr. Remmey became a prominent water color artist, exhibiting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in the 1930s, in the Philadelphia Art Alliance and in the Art Institute in Chicago from the 1930s to the 1940s. His works are exhibited in museums to this day. The American Watercolor Society issues an award in his name every year to budding watercolor artists. Their home on Allengrove Street in Frankford featured a third floor converted into a large, well-lit studio.

The Remmey’s gravesite can be seen today in Cedar Hill Cemetery. The gravestone reads, “Paul B. Remmey, 1903-1957, American Artist” and “His Wife, Edyth Holden Remmey, 1903-1987.”

After Mr. Remmey’s death in 1957, Mrs. Remmey had a special problem: Mr. Remmey had left his wife dozens of valuable paintings, stored in racks in the basement of their Allengrove Street home. Because the basement tended to be much more humid and damaging to paintings in the Summer, every Spring dozens of paintings had to be carefully moved from the basement to the storage racks in the third floor studio, and every Fall the paintings had to be carefully moved again back to the storage racks in the cool dry air in the basement. At first Mrs. Remmey did this herself, a few each day. But beginning around 1962, Mrs. Remmey couldn’t manage the job any more, and she called on “the Dawson boys” — me, at age 9, and my brother Chris at age 11 — to help her. We did this for years — up and down, up and down, up and down we took the paintings, third floor studio to basement, basement to third floor studio, year after year — and that is how we came to know Mrs. Remmey.

 THE INTERESTING GRANDFATHER CLOCK

Mrs. Remmey had a grandfather clock in her living room which intrigued me very much as a child. She said that it dated from the Revolutionary War, and that the hole in the side was made by a Revolutionary War bullet.

MATCHING ME UP WITH MISS FRANKFORD

Mrs. Remmey had a special place in her heart for me, I think. To a certain extent, she came to view herself as my “second mother.” Once around 1973, as I filled-in some plaster cracks in the walls and ceilings of the stairway to the basement, she called me over and asked, “Peter, do you have a girl friend?” I answered, “To have a girl friend you really have to have a car, Mrs. Remmey. And I can’t afford a car now because I am paying for college.” “Well,” she answered,. “It is time for you to have a girl friend! And I have found just the girl for you!” “Who?” I asked, very surprised and somewhat cautious. Mrs. Remmey picked up a copy of the Frankford newspaper called The News Gleaner and pointed triumphantly to the pretty girl, just elected “Miss Frankford,” in the picture on the front page and said, “Her!”

She put down the newspaper, found the scrap paper with the girl’s family’s telephone number which had found in the telephone book before calling me over that morning to do the plaster work, and began dialing!

Alarmed I said, “Whoa, whoa, WHOA! Mrs. Remmey, you can’t just call a girl out of the blue and say, ‘Here, date this guy!’ It doesn’t work like that!”

 MRS. REMMEY AND MY SEXY FIANCÉE

When, about 6 years later, I brought my gorgeous fiancée over to Mrs. Remmey and introduced them, I think that Mrs. Remmey thought that she was too sexy looking. When I stopped by Mrs. Remmey’s a few weeks later, she expressed disgust at the clothing my fiancée had been wearing! However, Mrs. Remmey recovered, and the following October was generous in her wedding present to us — she gave us some cash, and another gift.

 THE REMMEY CHILDREN

Mrs. Remmey had had two children by her prominent artist husband — a son Paul, Jr., who was born in 1930 and passed away in 2009, and a daughter Nina, who I think was born a few years after her brother. I met Nina, long since moved-out and married, a few times, when she visited her mother. She struck me as having a wonderful, generous heart. Her brother Paul, Jr., on the other hand, seemed very troubled. In the 20 years I knew him, from around 1962 to around 1982, I never saw Paul, Jr. smile even once.

 PAUL, JR.’S INTELLIGENCE WORK

Since I was prone to being a “bookish,” nerdy guy, I perused Paul, Jr’s bookshelves, and I asked Paul about the Russian language books in his bookcase. He explained that he had learned Russian and then, as a State Department employee during the Cold War, translated Russian documents for the American intelligence services in the Far East. He told me that he had met a Japanese girl while stationed in the East, but that she had died at a young age.

 ANGRY UNCLE BUNNY

Though Paul Remmey, Jr. was “nerdily bookish” like myself, his surly manner put me off. Though we kids in the neighborhood nicknamed Paul, Jr. with the seemingly gentle title “Uncle Bunny,” there always seemed to be a high level of tension between Paul and his mother. I was never nosey, but I should have been. Mrs. Remmey seemed only persistently kind toward her son, but he responded only with persistent distancing behavior and anger. He may have felt justified, but my internal response to the anger I saw was the thought that Requirement #1 for getting into Heaven is, “Do not bring hatred with you. Forgive.”

There is a saying along the lines of, “In the little things we can see the big.” When Mrs. Remmey use to call us and ask “the Dawson boys” to cut her grass, Paul would be out there on the back lawn on his folding chair, not getting up, reading, while we cut the grass around him. I used to think, “What is the matter with him? Is his leg broken?” The same thing would happen when we were called over to move the paintings again. Paul, Jr. would be sitting in the living room, reading, while we walked past him, 20, 30, and 40 times, carrying paintings up or down.

 A HAMMER AND SCREWDRIVER AS WEAPONS

One day, around 1975, when I was around 22 years of age, a very strange thing happened. Mrs. Remmey called and said, “Peter, would you please bring a hammer and a screwdriver over?” As I walked up her driveway toward the front door on Allengrove Street, I saw that her car was in the driveway rather than in the garage, and that one corner of the car was raised up on the car jack and a tire removed and laying on the ground. Assuming that Paul, Jr. would never stoop to manual labor, I thought, “Mrs. Remmey tried unsuccessfully to change a flat herself and needs help now?” When she greeted me at the door, I saw that Mrs. Remmey, 70 years old at this juncture, had a big black eye. “Mrs. Remmey,” I exclaimed, “What happened???!!!”

“Something bad happened at dinner last night, Peter. Paul just sat there, in front of his plate, saying nothing, when he suddenly got up and punched me in the eye.”

“Well,” I asked, holding up the hammer and screwdriver, “Did you want me to finish changing your tire?”

Mrs. Remmey answered, “Forget that right now, Peter. You can do that later. Right now I want you to help me with something special. Is that car I see you driving sometimes” — it was my brother’s Chris’ Buick LeSabre — “available for use right now?”

“Sure!” I said.

Mrs. Remmey took the hammer and screwdriver from me and held them up. “I want you to take these and go to Paul’s room and brandish them in front of Paul to force him downstairs into your car and then force him to go into Friend’s Hospital!”

Completely astonished, I said, “Mrs. Remmey, it doesn’t work like that! He either has to go voluntarily, or else a judge has to ‘commit’ him — force him by court order to go and stay there. The problem with going into a mental hospital voluntarily is that he can leave any time he wants. But an involuntary commitment takes time. To get Paul out today, you’d have to file criminal charges against him, for punching you, and they’ll set bail and he’ll end-up at the Detention Center on State Road. If you don’t want to do that, Mrs. Remmey, the best I can do is try to talk Paul into a voluntary commitment.”

She answered, “Well, Peter, I don’t want to file criminal charges against him. There’s a lot of trouble hidden in that. So, please try to persuade Paul to commit himself voluntarily.”

I went and got my brother Chris’ permission to use the LeSabre if I filled his gas tank, and I parked his car in front of Mrs. Remmey’s house, and went in and quietly went upstairs to Paul’s bedroom. He was sitting up on his bed, pretending to read. I said, “Paul, I saw your mother’s eye. Paul she’s 70 years old, and she’s a lady, and she’s your own mother. What you did is really, really bad. If a policeman saw a man your size punch your own aged mother in the face, he’d draw his gun and be sorely tempted to shoot and kill you. Most judges would send you to jail for a long time for punching a lady her age, Paul. What happened? Why did you do it?”

He just sat there, silent.

I continued, “Look, Paul, your mom could have you arrested, cuffed, and jailed today. Who knows? — that might still happen! I think that it would look good to the outside world, and it would be good for you, if you let me drive you over to Friend’s Hospital and you committed yourself there, voluntarily so that they could figure out why all of this happened.

“So, please, get in the shower, get dressed, pack a bag of clothes, and I’ll drive you over.”

Surprisingly, despite the age difference — Paul was 45, and I was 22 — Paul permitted himself to be impacted by my argument, and agreed. I drove him over to Friends Hospital and introduced Paul to staff, and after Paul was shown to his room I explained the circumstances to Friends Hospital Administrators and gave them Mrs. Remmey’s telephone number.

Arriving back at Mrs. Remmey’s house, I advised her to change her locks and call the 15th District Police Station and tell them the circumstances and ask them to keep an eye on the house. I asked her why her son Paul had seemed so angry for so many years. “After his wife died many years ago, Peter, he never seemed to recover from that. He was always sad and prone to anger. I think that he is angry with God.”

I was told shortly thereafter that Paul walked out of Friend’s Hospital the following day, but that he did not return to his mother’s house. At least, not immediately…

 PAUL, JR. BARGES INTO MY PARENTS’ HOME

Months later, Mrs. Remmey called me over to move her deceased husband’s artworks from her basement to the third floor studio again. She said, “Peter, when you are finished, I want you to be paid in a special way, for your work here today, and for your support over the years. From the unframed canvases, I want you to pick out your favorite three paintings.”

From among the unframed items I picked out two small paintings comprising magazine cover illustration drafts, and a small colorful landscape painting.

Two of the three paintings by famous artist Paul B. Remmey,

given to me by his wife Edyth Holden Remmey some 35 years ago

 

A few days later. as my family stood in the kitchen talking, the back door was flung open and Paul, Jr. barged in, pushing past my father. He said with a loud, angry voice, “I understand the woman paid you with three paintings! The woman had no right to do that! I demand to see the paintings!”

I felt ashamed that my activity had caused an angry man to push his way into my father’s house. I also sensed danger, in light of his prior willingness to punch his own aged mother. So, to calm Paul, Jr. down I shook his hand warmly and told him that I would retrieve the paintings. When I brought them down from upstairs, Paul pronounced the magazine cover paintings, shown above, to be worthless, but seized the colorful landscape painting and ran out.

That was the last time I saw Paul Remmey, Jr., except for one strange encounter.

LIVING IN A VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE?

In 1978, while I was still in law school, I began to work as a paralegal in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, in the Centre Square Building, behind the giant clothespin across the street from City Hall.

In 1979, when I was coming out of the Centre Square Building at around 5:15 p.m. one day to go home, I saw a yellow Volkswagen Beetle illegally parked on Market Street directly in front of the Centre Square Building. I thought, “Sheesh! What a place to park! And during rush hour! That person’s car will be towed in a few minutes!”

As I looked at the car, to my astonishment Paul Remmey, Jr., after having been curled-up on the back seat asleep or unconscious — I couldn’t tell which — sat up in the car, dirty and unshaven, and peered out the window at me, looking sleepy and confused, and, to put it bluntly, “down and out.”

As I put out my hand to open his car door and talk to him, an angry policeman came along and yelled to Paul, Jr., “Are you out of your mind, parking here! Get that car out here!” and Paul, looking under-nourished, climbed over the seats into the front, started the motor and drove away.

And that was it — the last I saw of poor, angry Paul Remmey, Jr. His mom died several years later, in 1987. My wife and I attended her funeral service. Paul died 22 years later, in 2009, I hope in a state of humility and forgiveness, and friendship with God. And I hope that his sister Nina and her children and grandchildren are thriving.

 

About the Author

Peter Dawson
Peter Dawson grew up in Northwood and has a wealth of stories to tell.
  • Joseph J. Menkevich

    Pete,

    Thank You for a well written & interesting presentation on local history.
    However – when telling personal recollections from a personal perspective, I suppose that people will repeat the oral history as it was told to them – and it will not always be accurate on a strict historical level.

    For instance – this sounds great:

    “Garsed mansion was nicknamed ‘Garsed’s Folly,’ as acquaintances of the Garsed’s saw construction being inhibited by materials shortages and an economy shocked by the changes generated by first the commencement of, and then the termination of, the American Civil War.

    Lo and behold, John Garsed was forced by economic difficulties to sell his home to his bother Richard Garsed, famed for his patented high-speed steam-powered looms, who in turn was eventually compelled by a post-war economic bust to economize by re-selling it to William Bault, one of the principals of Globe Dye Works. …”

    Aside from the building being called “Garsed’s Folly,” the rest of the paraphrasing on Garsed’s woes – your account of Garsed & his mills may not be historical accurate on several levels.

    I have done a chain of title on the property (and the mills) and I find a very different story.

    The reasons for his “post-war economic bust” may be very debatable & controversial as they have often been repeated, but never verified.

    Garsed’s Mills themselves form yet another story.

    I am not trying to impeach your work here, as I will be happy to supplement it with some of my findings which actually add to the mystique of the Garsed Family & Mansion House.

    J.M.

  • Joseph J. Menkevich

    I will direct my comments to the Garsed portion of Pete’s story.

    This is not 100% accurate, but it’s a good start – Here is an excerpt taken from the site of the New Frankford Community Y:

    “Bromley Garsed Mansion c.1864
    YMCA Of Frankford 1940-2009

    The large Second Empire house of brownstone was built on a triple plot of land on the NW corner of Leiper and Arrott Sts. It is the earliest and largest of the mill owner homes that eventually occupied the surrounding streets. In 1860 the area was mainly farm land owned by William Overington.

    The brownstone home, the only one in Frankford, has it’s original slate mansard roof, supported by wooden brackets. Dormer windows on the third floor have pediments and elaborate wooden frames. The mortar was tinted to match the brownstone. The front facade maintains a classical symmetry. A porch runs the full length of the building. It has alternating single and double slender columns with Corinthian capitals. Twin columns frame the front door.

    The arched front entrance has a massive wooden and glass double door which opens onto a central lobby. The doorway is flanked by matching floor length arched windows. The corners of the house are marked with quoins. There are matching projecting bays on the north and south walls. Much of the etched glass in the bay windows remains.

    The building was built by a member of the Garsed family who lost his fortune during the Civil War due to the blockade of ships. The house passed to Richard Garsed, the owner of Wingohocking, Willowbrook and Frogmore Mills and the manufacturer of Minnehaha ticking. The Davenports, Baults and Bromleys later residents, were all involved in the manufacture of textiles. The Bromleys manufactured upholstery trimming and gimps. The mill was near the Frankford creek and the area became known as Bromleyville.

    The building became the Frankford YWCA in the 1940’s. …”

    First – Who were the Garsed Family in Frankford?

    While John Garsed & Richard Garsed are remembered for the Brownstone Mansion –

    Joshua Garsed was probably the first one in Frankford:

    “Mr. Barnard presented the petition of Joshua Garsed, of the county of Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania, praying that the duty on imported fabrics, manufactured from flax, may be increased; and
    Ordered, That it be referred to the Committee on Manufactures.
    House Journal –TUESDAY MAY 7, 1822.

    Ordered, That the said memorial and petition be referred to the committee of the whole House, to which is committed the bill supplementary to, and to amend an act, entitled “An act to regulate the collection of duties on imports and tonnage,” passed 2d March, 1799, and to repeal an act supplementary thereto.”

    Another petition in 1828:

    ‪”‪Flax Factory, Frankford, Pennsylvania, February [blank] 1828‬: ‪Honorable Sir, We Request Your Attention to the Annexed Memorial … : Memorial. To the Honorable the House of Representatives of the United States in Congress Assembled, the Memorial of Joshua Garsed, of Frankford, in the County of Philadelphia, and State of Pennsylvania: Most Respectfully Sheweth:–that Your Memorialist, with the Assistance of His Partners and Other of His Friends, Has … Established a Manufactory at the Above Named Place …‬

    ‪Joshua Garsed‬, ‪Garsed, Raines & Co‬.”

    January 2, 1832
    RAIL-ROAD JOURNAL
    Page 13:

    “Flax Factory Burnt — The flax factory at Frankford. near Philadelphia, belonging to Messrs. Garsed, Raines & Co. was destroyed by fire on Monday morning : which was communicated accidentally by the man employed to kindle the fires for warming the building. Insured, but not fully. This factory was provided with the improved English machinery, and has made shoe-thread and sail-twine with complete success. It will be rebuilt immediately.”

    Apparently there was a son by the same name:

    JOSHUA GARSED.

    “Joshua Garsed. who had been engaged in the cotton yarn manufacturing business for many years in Frankford district of Philadelphia, Pa., died suddenly Monday morning, April 6, 1903, at his residence “The Woods,” in Frankford.

    Mr. Garsed was sitting quietly in an arm chair when a domestic noticed that he was ill. She sent for his son, Walter R. Garsed, who was In the mill only a short distance from the house. When he arrived he at once telephoned for two physicians but his father was dead before they reached the house.

    Mr. Garsed was the proprietor of the Wlngohocking spinning mills in Frankford, Philadelphia, Pa., which have been established since 1853. Born In Rockland, Pa, In 1834, he came to Frankford when a boy and started In the manufacturing business. He personally supervised his business interests until recently, and many patents and improvements of cotton spinning machinery are the result of his close study of the methods of production. He married Mrs. Anna Williams in ?16. and one son and a daughter were born to them.

    Six months after the death of the daughter, Maude, in 1898, Mrs. Garsed died.

    The son, Mr. Walter R. Garsed, survives. He was associated with his father In business.

    At the outbreak of the Civil war, Mr. Garsed enlisted In the 121st Pennsylvania Volunteers under Colonel Chapman Blddle and won his shoulder straps during three years’ service by gallantry on several battlefields.

    He resumed his manufacturing business when mustered out of fie service. Subsequently he became a member of the Survivors’ Association, the Manufacturers’ Club of Philadelphia. Pa, and the New England Cotton Association, of Boston, the Colonel James Ashworth Post No. 334, G. A. R., of Frankford, and Jerusalem Lodge, No. 506. F. and A. M.

    The funeral services will be held at St. Mark’s Protestant Episcopal church on Thursday afternoon, April 9, at 2 o’clock, at his late residence, “The Woods,” Frankford.

    Interment at Cedar Hill cemetery, Frankford, Philadelphia, will be private.”

    To be continued …

    J.M.

  • Joseph J. Menkevich

    Partial History of the Northwood Area of Frankford: Garsed Mansion

    202 acres
    Sheriff Sale: Joseph & Israel Jenkens to Joseph Knight (1773)

    Joseph Knight to Oswell Eve (1774)

    Oswell Eve forfeit to the Commonwealth (1778)

    The Commonwealth to John Eve (August 30th 1780)

    John Eve (90 acres of 202 acres) to William Turnbull

    William Turnbull to Robert Smith

    Robert Smith to Thomas Leiper (85 acres)

    (1833)
    George Leiper (part of the Estate of Thomas Leiper) to William Overington

    Mary Ann Horrocks sells the Wingohocking Mills to Israel Foster (1859), who sells the mills to the Garsed Brothers on April 24, 1863. (Not Part of Leiper Property)

    It was not until April 13, 1866 when William Overington sold the Leiper Street Property to the Garsed Brothers.

    There was also a second sale (Jan. 1, 1867) of adjacent property, and on May 1, 1868 John Garsed sells Wm Overington back some of the first tract for $6850. This did not include the Mansion house.

    [note there is a missing deed which Richard Garsed sells his interest in the Brown stone Mansion for One Dollar to his brother John Garsed]

    February 15, 1873 – John J. Ridgway held a $20,000 mortgage on John Garsed and foreclosed by Deed Poll under the hand & seal of William R. Leeds Esquire High Sheriff of the County of Philadelphia. The property is conveyed to Thomas J. Hill. Deed poll number 79 page 590.

    Rachel Bault fr Thomas J. Hill and Elizabeth his wife
    November 27, 1877:

    “Thomas J. Hill and Elizabeth his wife for the sum of $5000 to Rachel A. Bault wife of William Bault of Frankford – Dyer

    Being the same premises .. out of District Court for the City of Philadelphia was seised taken in execution – property of John Garsed by Deed Poll under the hand & seal of William R. Leeds Esquire High Sheriff of the County of Philadelphia – February 15, 1873 – Deed poll number 79 page 590 and conveyed to Thomas J. Hill.

    Thomas J. Hill and Elizabeth his wife convey to Rachel A. Bault subject to a certain Mortgage Debt of $20,000 with interest recorded upon the same by Indenture of Mortgage given & executed by John Garsed a former owner thereof to John J. Ridgway dated the Second day of September 1876 Recorded in Philadelphia Mortgage Book JTO 39 p 15 which is herby excerpted …”

    William Bault to Eliza Davenport

    “William Bault by a certain indenture dated January 18, 1882 between William Bault of the city of Philadelphia Dyer of the one part and Eliza Davenport wife of Henry Davenport of the said city Manufacturer of the other part … for the sum of $30,000.

    [Being the same premises which Thomas J Hill & wife by a certain Indenture dated November 27, 1877 – recorded in Deed Book DHL 136 page 156 granted to Rachael A. Bault – (wife of the above named William Bault) subject to a mortgage debt of $20,000 which since has been paid off and Satisfied] and the said Rachael A Bault being so seized of the said premises departed this life on or about November 20, 1881 … having published her last will and testament in writing March 2, 1876 – (left all property to her husband William Bault)

    To Hold the said stone messuage or tenement Stable and Coach House and the lot of ground …”

    William Leicester to Henry Davenport Dec 3, 1888

    “Between William Leicester of 12 Smith Street Little Park Forge Middleton in the County of Lancaster England of the first part and Henry Davenport late of Philadelphia in the State of Pennsylvania U.S.A. and now residing at Stamford Lodge Wilmslow on the County Cheshire England ..”

    Henry Davenport to Charles M. Seltzer
    [Quit Claim Deed]

    “December 5, 1888 – between Henry Davenport, formerly of the City of Philadelphia, State of Pennsylvania, now residing at Stamford Lodge Winslow on the County Cheshire England and Hannah Elizabeth his wife on one part and Charles M. Seltzer of the City of Philadelphia, Physician on the other part for the sum of $20,000. …

    All that Certain Stone Messuage or Tenement stable and Coach House and piece of ground situate on the North Westwardly side of Leiper Street in Frankford in the Twenty Third Ward of the City of Philadelphia …
    Conveyed to Richard Garsed by William Overington…”

    Henry Davenport to Charles M. Seltzer:
    February 27, 1888

    “between Henry Davenport, formerly of the City of Philadelphia, State of Pennsylvania, now residing at Stamford Lodge Winslow on the County Cheshire England and Hannah Elizabeth his wife on one part and Charles M. Seltzer of the City of Philadelphia, Physician on the other part for the sum of $20,000.

    Being the Same premises which William Bault by a certain indenture dated January 18, 1882 recorded in Philadelphia Deed Book …. conveyed to Eliza Davenport (the wife of the above named Henry Davenport therefor of Brownstone Mansion Leiper and Arrott Street Philadelphia Frankford America but thereof Stamford Lodge Wilmslow on the County Cheshire England) being seized of this life on or about the Eight day of September 1885 AD, having first made & published her last will and testament… on the (blank) day of August 1885 … to her husband … the above mentioned Mansion hereditaments and premises with the land and appurtenance thereto belonging or occupied therewith called Brown stone Mansion …”

    Charles M. Seltzer to William Bault & Robert Pilling, for $25,000 –

    “All that Certain Stone Messuage or Tenement stable and Coach House and piece of ground situate on the North Westwardly side of Leiper Street in Frankford in the Twenty Third Ward of the City of Philadelphia …

    [excepting a strip of ground heretofore conveyed by William Bault & Emma, his wife to the City Of Philadelphia to the City of Philadelphia for Public use as part of Arrott Street] …

    Being the same premises which Henry Davenport & Hannah Elizabeth his wife intended to convey to Charles M. Seltzer on February 27, 1888, and which said Henry Davenport & wife by Quite Claim Deed dated December 5, 1888, granted & conveyed to Charles M. Seltzer …”

    October 19, 1895
    William Bault to James Bromiley, For the sum of $17,000

    “Being part of a larger Tract that Charles M. Seltzer January 16, 1889 granted to William Bault & Robert Pilling, and Robert Pilling on January 28, 1892 to William Bault …”

    James Bromley died on February 27, 1934 leaving a Last Will
    (Recored in Philadelphia Will Book ….)

    Widow Bault-Emery Bromiley – took her share – Recored in Deed Book…,
    also filed in Orphans’ Court Case No. 1318 of 1936 on May 29, 1936 …”

    YWCA from Ireen.B. Dorey
    June 24, 1941

    Being the same premises which William Bault & Linda M., his wife – by indenture October 19, 1895 granted & transferred to James Bromiley, recorded in Deed Book …”

    J.M.

    to be continued…

  • Joseph J. Menkevich

    I will conclude this as my last post on the Garsed Mansion and thank Peter Dawson for this story that stirred my memory.

    About the mansion House … I always had a doubt when I read:

    “The building was built by a member of the Garsed family who lost his fortune during the Civil War due to the blockade of ships.”

    Apparently there is some validity to the story. See:

    A Bill For the relief of John Garsed – December 11, 1871
    http://memory.loc.gov/ll/llhb/042/01900/01905000.gif

    The Wingohocking Mills—E. Garsed & Brother, Proprietors,
    Are the largest in the manufacturing town of Frankford, and among the largest of the Cotton Mills, in the consolidated city of Philadelphia.

    They are comparatively new, having been built in 1853, and as nearly fire-proof, as a stone structure, with stone floors, can be made.

    They consist of several buildings, the main one being five hundred feet long and sixty-six feet wide.

    It contains twenty thousand spindles, that turn out about four thousand pounds of yarn per day.

    The machinery is of English and American manufacture, with the latest improvements, and is propelled by an engine of three hundred horse power.

    About three hundred hands are employed in the spinning department.

    In another structure, owned by Mr. Richard Garsed, the weaving of fancy fabrics, such as pantaloonery, cottonades, etc., is carried on extensively.

    This building is a substantial stone structure, one hundred feet long, forty feet wide and five stories in height, and is entirely new, having been erected during the year 1886, on the site of a former mill, destroyed by fire.

    About one hundred looms and seventy operators are employed in this department.

    Richard Garsed, the senior proprietor, has been connected with the cotton manufacture since early boyhood, having commenced as an operator in a mill at New Hope, Bucks County, when only nine years of age.

    In 1830 his father removed to Delaware county, and embarked in the manufacture of Power-Looms, employing his son as an apprentice.

    On attaining his majority, young Richard succeeded to the business his father had established, and also commenced the manufacture of damask Table and Piano covers, by power-looms.

    This was in 1842, and it is believed that, previous to that time, no articles of this description had been made on power looms in Pennsylvania, and probably not in America.

    In 1843 he removed to Frankford, where, while continuing the manufacture of damask covers, he gradually extended his operations until they included cotton spinning, and other branches of the cotton manufacture.

    For several years the Wingohocking Mills were large producers of Osnaburg, and other goods adapted to the Southern market.

    Mr. Garsed is distinguished for the active interest he has manifested in introducing improved machinery into cotton mills, and has labored in this field with a zeal, not inspired by the hope of profit merely, that is worthy of all eulogium.

    His experience and reliability have gained him the confidence of manufacturers, and he permits no invention or improvement in textile manufacture, either at home or abroad, to escape examination; and if suited to American wants, recommends its immediate adoption.

    Mr. Garsed has also given evidence of possessing the faculty of original invention, and has made improvements on various machines that have been of great value to manufacturers.

    From 1837 to 1840 his improvements enabled manufacturers to increase the speed of their power looms from eighty picks per minute to one hundred and forty picks per minute.

    In 1846 he invented the Scroll Cam, which very much simplified the power loom, and its value was evidenced by its almost universal adoption on the sliding cam loom.

    In 1848 he invented a loom for weaving Seamless Bags, and exhibited Salt Bags made by this loom at the Franklin Institute exhibition in Philadelphia, and at the American Institute, New York.

    Subsequently another person attained fame and profit for a similar adaptation, which he patented.

    Mr. Garsed has also been a zealous advocate and active promoter of municipal improvements.

    When the subject of Passenger Railways in the streets of Philadelphia was being agitated, he advocated their adoption through the columns of the daily newspapers and did not cease his efforts until their success and popularity had been assured.

    The Fifth and Sixth street Railway Company, which was the pioneer of these corporations, elected him President, and he is thus entitled to the credit of having been the first President of the first Passenger Railway in Philadelphia.

    RICHARD GARSED.
    Richard Garsed died at his home in Frankford, Philadelphia, on July 27, 1897.

    He was born at Swift Place Mills, Yorkshire, England, September 15, 1819, and came to this country in his infancy with his parents.

    His father became one of the pioneers of the cotton industry in Pennsylvania, and at the age of eight, Richard began work in the mill, and in 1840 succeeded to his father’s business.

    Three years later he removed to Frankford and in company with his brother John operated the Middlesex Mill, and in 1853 built the Wingohocking Mills, with which he was connected up to the time of his death.

    He was progressive in the enlargement of the lines of manufacturing and was thoroughly acquainted with the cotton manufacturing business in which he had made a number of inventions, particularly in connection with improvements upon the loom which were in the line of simplicity of construction and greater speed in operation.

    He was also one of the pioneers in the reduction of the weight of spindles for frame spinning.

    He showed his keen interest in this Association by the active part he had taken in its meetings.

    He became a member April 17, 1872, and was a Director 1881, Vice President 1881-85 and President 1885-6.

    __________________________________FINUS___________________________

  • Debbie

    It is a shame that one of the Garsed mills was torn down to make way for the “Twins of Powdermill”. I raised a fuss over that to no avail. One of their other mills is still standing on Ashland St. on the other side of Torresdale Ave. In fact, there are 2 of the mill manager homes still standing across from the mill.

  • Lea Pfeiffer

    Mr. Dawson,

    I am looking forward to reading your post (and the responses) when I have some free time. By any chance could you (or anyone out there) tell me who Henry R. Edmunds was? As a member of the counsel overseeing the transformation of Edmunds into a neighborhood charter, I will say on behalf of the group that we all want to retain the name and the neighborhood history it represents, but we’d also like to know who on earth he was!

    Also…I guess by the time I came along in 1966, you weren’t quite as much the minority anymore. It seemed like almost every kids on my block (1100 Fillmore) went to St. Martin’s! My grandfather is Robert Paine…Grandma (Nedia) passed away in 2007. I believe they moved into the neighborhood only a year or two after your family.

  • formernwboy

    Ms. Pfeiffer – perhaps think link could shed some light on who Henry R. Edmunds was – or at least it’s a start to find out who he was.

    http://www.phillyhistory.org/blog/?p=1582

  • Lea Pfeiffer

    Thank you so much. How appropriate!

  • Bjohnston

    Thomas R Garsed

    My G,G,G Grandfather (John Abbott) arrived from Manchester, England in 1842. He was listed as a Weaver and lived in Frankford near Ruan and Church. He was an “Overseer” for the Garsed family at one of their Cotton Mills in Frankford. Thomas R Gersed had backed and signed his petition for citizenship in 1858, which was approved and it helped make my Grandparent an American Citizen! My Grandfather did relocate to the Angora Mills in Southwest Phila & Delco! I had read the interesting article on the Garsed family and it helped shed some light on this family for me! One of my Grandfather’s brother-in-law’s had served with another Garsed in the 121st Pennsylvania Volunteers. Several of that family (Blackburns) worked in the Garsed Mills as well! Thanks!

  • Gil

    That was very interesting.

  • Philip Kinsey

    Interesting history that you provide here Peter. I too had some encounters with Paul Jr., though none violent. In October of 1972 a friend of mine who is a graduate of a well known art school helped me move a Nina’s half of her father’s art work to her home in Chagrin Fall, O. We removed it from the basement where my friend, who knew how to wrap such valuables, did so. Paul Jr. arrived on the scene in what appeared to be a mood to challenge, but when he saw how well the work was prepared for travel he was actually complimentary. Phil Kinsey