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African American History at the Historical Society of Frankford

The Board of Directors of the Historical Society of Frankford are grateful to Leon Brantley for his offer to work with us to promote greater appreciation of African-American history in Frankford.  We accept the offer enthusiastically.

We invite anyone interested in African-American history and the history of other ethnic groups in Frankford or anywhere in Northeast Philadelphia to get in touch with us by e-mail to; by regular mail to:

The Historical Society of Frankford
P.O. Box 4888
Philadelphia, PA 19124;

or by telephone, at 215.743.6030.

We also encourage anyone so interested to visit our website,, and to attend our next meeting, on May 14 at 7:30, at the society, 1507 Orthodox Street, and subsequent ones, on the second Tuesday of June, September, October, November, December, March, and April.

We encourage anyone interested in history in Frankford to join the society and to work with us on the identification of sites of interest, documentation, and presentation of our neighborhood’s history.

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Today is Luther Holcomb Day

From John Buffington of the Historical Society of Frankford:

The Board of Directors of the Historical Society of Frankford, in the City of Philadelphia, wish to express our deep sorrow to the families of the three people murdered in the course of the assault on the Patriots’ Day celebration in Boston and the MIT security officer who apparently fell to the same killers.  We hope for healthy recoveries for all of those maimed or wounded, and send our best wishes to their families as well.

Patriots’ Day is a celebration of the devotion of the heroes of Lexington and Concord.  Because this year’s event was so tragically marred, and because we so admire the resilience of the citizens of Boston, and because there are plenty of American sacrifices for freedom to celebrate in addition to those particular skirmishes,


On April 26, 1777, Luther Holcomb spotted British troops advancing on Danbury, CT, to destroy a Continental ammunition cache.  Luther mounted his horse, rode to a hilltop, and when the enemy were just within earshot, shouted “Halt the whole universe!  Break off into kingdoms!”  Which he followed with gesticulations deploying phantom troops on the other side of the hill.  British General Tryon, somewhat confused, halted his troops long enough to allow the evacuation of Danbury.  (Thanks to Lt. Col. Horace S. Mazet, in Yankee Magazine, 1976.)

So we urge our fellow Frankfordians to raise a glass, a prayer, or a meditation, whichever suits, on the 26th of this sad month, in honor of Luther Holcomb, Benjamin Rush, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere, William Dawes, Jack Jouett, Lydia Darrah, Crispus Attucks, Nathan Hale, and everyone else before or since who has hazarded life, fortune, and/or sacred honor to secure American freedom; religious, racial, and ethnic tolerance; pluralism; female emancipation; universal education; a progressive tax structure, and all of the other values of the Enlightenment that our assailants hate.

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Frankford’s Oldest Building Nominated for Philadelphia Register of Historic Places

1548 Adams Avenue

1548 Adams Avenue

Through the work of the Historical Society of Frankford’s Preservation Committee, with the assistance of the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia funded intern, Kristin Hagar, the nomination of 1548 Adams Avenue for designation on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places is being presented for a vote by the Philadelphia Historical Commission.  The nomination of 1548 Adams Avenue (believed to be the oldest house standing in Frankford) has been deemed “correct and complete”.  The Philadelphia Historical Commission will consider this nomination at two public meetings:

Committee on Historic Designation
Wednesday, 29 May 2013 – 9:30am
Room 578 City Hall


Regular Meeting
Friday, 14 June 2013 – 9:00am
Room 18-029, 1515 Arch Street (One Parkway Building)


Both hearings are open to the public; the public is invited to speak (Philadelphia Historical Commission  215-686-7660).
Those interested in more background on this site – which appears in the Society’s latest publication (An Illustrated Walking Tour of Frankford) can purchase a copy of the booklet at the Society’s next program meeting on Tuesday, May 14th at 7:30pm.
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Moss Family From Philadelphia

Any help for the reader who sent me this email?
Hello, I’m hoping that you may have something in your archives that would help me a great deal.
My Gr.Gr. Grandfather William Archer Moss came from England to Philly in 1900 with his wife and 5 sons. They settled in the Frankford/Kensington/Coopersville area of Philadelphia where he was a member of the Coopersville Yearly Beneficial Assn., the Aberle Yearly Beneficial Assn., and L.O.O.M. Lodge #54, until his death Nov. 1st, of 1915.
I’m trying to possibly locate a group photo of any of these organizations from 1910 to 1915. If not in your archives maybe you can tell me if any of these organizations still exist and share their contact info with me.
Moss A.A. at Cheltenham and Torresdale Aves. was named after William’s grandson (my grandfather’s cousin), Victor A. Moss. I’m doing a lot of family research in your area and any assistance would be greatly appreciated. I can be reached at
Thank You
John W. Moss III