"PHILADELPHIA IN THE NATION'S HISTORY
Containing lesser-known details of the city and its people."
Dr. Todd's address contains much material of interest—particular to present-day citizens of Philadelphia. But Philadelphia, the Brotherly Love, was founded by William Penn in 1682. He, a lead.; the Quakers, was accompanied by men and women who wore brimmed hats and plain bonnets. There were also people from 'j Scotland, and Ireland—Presbyterians and those of other religions called themselves Dunkards. So on market day in that City of Brotherly Love one could have heard several languages and dialects spoken. The Drunkards were so called because of their custom of triple baptism immersion.
Philadelphia was the Capital of the Nation. The houses were built of brick with balconies and porches—the wealthy citizens' homes being surrounded by gardens, where parties were held with many negro servants in livery waiting on the ladies and gentlemen.
So this City became the cultural center of the Colonies. The predominace of the Quakers gave a calm air of studiousness, benevolence, and those acts of graciousness which led to recognition of the arts. It was center of learning; as a result of which there were many who wrote in prose and rhyme; whose paintings were to become lasting art treason men who admired and produced structural art in following the best Grecian and Roman forms in the public buildings of Philadelphia-all of which is set forth by Dr. Todd's thesis which follows.
We of the National Order of Founders and Patriots of America have a vital interest in Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia in particular. The members of the National Council will recall the numerous times that there was brought before said Council at annual meetings the apropos that the initial date of eligibility for membership be extended from 1657 to 1687, or such date as would permit the inclusion of the early settlers from Sweden and Holland and those too, who may have settled aft the 1657 date, particularly with Wm. Penn in Philadelphia. Perhaps consideration of such a change might be considered today. Certainly perhaps would tend to foster our membership—and we need such an inspiration-along with more members of the dedicated enthusiasm of past Governor General Harold E. Mayo.
From the 19th of April in '75, the English continued control of Boston and not until March '76 was the English Gen. Howe forced to leave for Halifax with his armed forces and eleven_hundred tories. The English bad continuously occupied Boston and upon its fall to the Continental forces the British concentrated on the acquiring of New York. Landing two armies totaling some 35,000 men on Staten Island they still were opposed by an army of 16,000 the largest Continental Army group ever to be assembled by Washington; some 13,000 of whom came from Connecticut.
But Washington could not contain the British forces and lost to them at the Battle of Long Island. So it was only by a miracle of strategy that he was able to ferry his whole army, with provisions and equipment across East River to New York. History tells of his being forced up the Hudson beyond Fort Tryon to Dobbs Ferry and then to West Point; where he was able to maintain his headquarters until his Southern campaigns.
Hence with the two central cities of the Colonies the one temporarily (Boston) and the other permanently (New York) out of the picture it was a natural result that Philadelphia should be selected as a focal paint of resistance and meeting by the Colonial groups.
Benjamin Franklin had returned from England where he had been unable to pursuade that nation to alleviate the demands it was making from their English Colonies in America. So with the gathering of the First Continental Congress—it naturally was called to meet in that central, cultural city of Philadelphia—where it assembled in May 1775. That body probably did the best it could. It was followed by its adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. The aid that it was able to give to its Commander-in-chief George Washington and his army was 'e, y meager. By strategy Washington had kept his constantly decreasing forces together—by such' as a desperate but successful surprise attack on
e Hessians at Trenton on Christmas Night, '76 and by his indomitable will and the faithful zeal of his followers.
Meanwhile the British—on October 4th '77 had come up the Chesapeake and taken Philadelphia. This central city of the Independence forces was thereafter completely out of the realm of aid to Washington for 'nine long months—until the middle of the summer of '78. Meanwhile Washington had gone into Winter Quarters at Valley Forge—with his tattered army of 4,000—not far to be true from the seat of what had been the Continental Congress in Philadelphia (but which had been forced to move to Baltimore ) —but from which city it might just as well have been 1,000 miles away.
The problems facing Washington during that long winter at Valley Forge may perhaps well be shown by the following letter —(one of 1,100 sent by General Washington to Governor Trumbell asking for help and thanking him for it during the War)—
I. Philadelphia In The Political Arena
In the city itself is the old State House, now known as Independence Hall. It served as capital of the state and of the nation. There the Declara- tion of Independence was signed. There the first constitutional conven- tion of Pennsylvania assembled in that eventful summer of 1776.
Adjacent to the west is Congress Hall, once the county courthouse. Here Washington delivered his second inaugural address, and later farewell message to Congress. John Adams' first inaugural was held her also. Adjacent to the east is old city hall, where the United States Supreme Court convened in its earliest sessions, presided over by John Jay.
Interest in Independence Hall as a "shrine of each patriot's devo- tin" was not great until the occasion of Lafayette's final visit to Ame ica in 1824. In the years that followed it was the site of a memorable speech delivered by Abraham Lincoln, enroute to his inauguration, on
February 22, 1861. There have rested in state the bodies of such eminent Americans as John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Elisha Kent Kane Arctic explorer) and President Lincoln. There is enshrined the Liberty Bell, which was cracked when being tolled at the funeral of Chi Justice John Marshall.
Nearby is Carpenters' Hall, (erected by the oldest builders corn pany in America.) It was the scene of early anti-British meetings to raise funds for the relief of Boston, the meeting place of the Contin- ental Congress. Carpenters' Hall was the second edifice to be reserved as a national shrine, the first having been Washington's headquar- ters in Newburg, New York.
The great figure in colonial Philadelphia of mid-seventeenth century was Benjamin Franklin. The house of this Boston native, the foundations of which were recently excavated and explored, was on Orianna Street, immediately south of Market. There Franklin died and reposed in his coffin. As Benjamin Rush recorded, he was wearing a full beard, "not having been shaved in his final illness." The ill-starred Major Andre was quartered there during the British occupation of the city.
On that same street a few doors distant and not many years later, lived James Wilson, the grandfather of President Woodrow Wilson. He was a printer, who had come in the dawn of the nineteenth century from northern Ireland. (He and his wife had been married by the Reverend George C. Potts of the Presbyterian Church, then situated on South Street.)
On Arch Street is the house of Betsy Ross, which is generally regarded as the birthplace of the American flag. In Mount Moriah Cemetery in West Philadelphia, the flag flies over her grave.
History and destiny haunt the streets and alleys
It was in Philadelphia that. the same of Abraham Lincoln was first accorded national attention, when he was placed in nomination for the vice presidency on the Republican ticket with John C. Fremont as the candidate for the presidency on June 17, 1856. This was in the Musical Fund Society Hall. which still stands, though long since given to commercial uses.
The final visit of Lincoln to Philadelphia was at the Sanitary Fair in the summer of 1864 at Logan Square. There he was introduced by his old friend, ex-Governor James Pollock to General Lew Wallace, who ' later became the author of Ben Hur.
In Germantown stands the Morris House, which served as capitol and presidential mansion for George Washington, while the yellow fever epidemic raged in the old city.
In the library of the Penn-Central Railroad is the marble top table on which Lincoln's coffin rested on the journey to Springfield. Also there is the telegraph message delivered to General Grant at the Camden Ferry informing him of Lincoln's assassination.
In the Pennsylvania Historical Society is the curious hat worn by Lincoln during his incognito journey from the West Philadelphia station to the Washington Avenue station, when his life was jeopardized by possible conspirators. He was brought back to the city from Harrisburg, while enroute to Washington.
Among the financiers of our earlier wars who had their homes and banking houses in Philadelphia were Robert Morris and Hyman Solomon of the Revolution; Stephen Girard of the War of 1812; the Clarks of the Mexican War era; Jay Cooke of the Civil War.
It was in Philadelphia that Lincoln's opponent for the presidency at his re-election, General George Brinton McClellan was horn on Washington Square. He was the son of Dr. George McClellan, the founder of Jefferson Medical College.
Our city was the home of Benedict Arnold's second wife, Peggy Shippen said to he the potent influence leading to his traitorous actions.
In St. Peter's Episcopal Churchyard (319 Lombard Street) lies buried one of our earliest naval heroes, Stephen Decatur, whose residence was in Frankford.
Many notable exotics had connections here
At 260 South Ninth Street stands the dwelling once occupied by Joseph Bonaparte, the older brother of Napoleon. Napoleon once in a 'misanthropic mood remarked: "I love no one; not even my own brothers," dding, "Joseph perhaps a little." Joseph Bonaparte, much of whose American career as sent at Bordentown, New Jersey, lived also at eleventh and Market Streets.
Among many others, the Polish military officer, Thaddeus Kosciusko, lived in this city on Pine Street. He came to aid the American colonists, helped to found the Society of the Cincinnati, and on returning was once the dictator of Poland. . . . Here also, in West Philadelphia re-sided the president of the Irish Republic, Eamon De Valera, who is said to be a man of intellectual power and a mathematician of parts. .The
grandfather of Ireland's Charles Stewart Parnell, Admiral Charles Ste of the War of 1812 lies buried in Woodlands Cemetery.
II. Philadelphia In Literature And Culture
The first great American autobiography was that of Benjamin Frank lin, in so large measure the worldly wise man.
The first Bible to be published in a foreign language in America was produced in Germantown by Christopher Saur in 1743. Appropriately it was in the German language.
We can boast a galaxy of men and women of letters, among whom are Edgar Allan Poe, who resided in a number of locations but whose house at Seventh and Brandywine Streets has long since been turned into a museum. . . . Louisa May Alcott of "Little Men" and Little Women" fame, who was horn in Germantown where her noted father conducted a school. Her later life was spent largely in Concord.... Rebeeca and Richard Harding Davis, mother and son, who lived on Girard Avenue ... Frank R. Stockton, notable for his short stories . . . T. S. Arthur, best known for his Ten Nights In A Bar Room . . . Henry VanDyke, whose father was a Presbyterian minister in Germantown, and who w. himself distinguished as a minister, poet, essayist, and teacher of literature at Princeton University ... S: Weir Mitchell, physician of renown, author of historical and psychiatric novels in which realm he pioneered and whose Ode on a Lycian Tomb was said by the Cambridge History of American Literature to be the noblest threnody in the annals o American poetry . . . and Owen Wister, author of The Virginian. . . . Theodore Dreiser worked on some of his novels while staying o Parkside Avenue, and his last novel The Bulwark has a Philadelphia Quaker setting. . . .Ernest Lacy, trained in the law, teacher of literature at Central High School, accomplished as a dramatist, wrote here on Chatterton, the Boy Poet of Bristol, England, and gave the world his The Bard of Mary Redcliffe, which the late Dean Christian Gauss of Princeton University, pronounced the finest dramatic poem to be written in America ... Cyrus Townsend Brady was a novelist as well as the arch deacon of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania and rector of St. Paul Church, Overbrook.
In Philadelphia are the scenes connected with the latter portion of Longfellow's poem Evangeline. Here also is the only statue of Charles Dickens.
Of living poets, it was the home of the early years of Ezra Pound, his later boyhood being spent in nearby Wyncote and Jenkintown.
Walt Whitman—"The Good Grey Poet"
On Mickle Street in Camden lived Walt Whitman, who was called Tennyson "The American' Whitman. He was a familiar, bewhiskered figure to many Philadelphians, as they saw him coming on the ferry and en visiting the old Mercantile Library on Tenth Street. Whitman sometimes visited the remarkable Smith family of Germantown. The mother, Hannah Whittal Smith, was a religious writer, and her son, Logan Pearsall Smith, a most rarefied author. In his UnfUnforgotten Years, the latter describes Whitman's often prolonged visits to their home and the visits, which he and his family paid to "The Good Grey Poet' in his house on Mickle Street, across the Delaware, a place of pilgrimage for many British men of letters.
In suburban Elkins Park was the home of John Luther Long, best known for the story of Madame Butterfly which appeared in the Century Magazine in January 1898, and became the basis of Puccini's opera.
On the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania for thirty-seven years was John Bach McMaster, one of the most eminent of American historians, who began his professional career by teaching engineering at Princeton.
III. Philadelphia In Scientific History
Philadelphia has the oldest natural history museum in America. There was a time when the city was the chemical capital of the nation.
Here for a time before taking up his residence in Northumberland, Pennsylvania, lived the discoverer of oxygen, Joseph Priestley.
Philadelphia can boast a host of mighty men of renown in the several fields of science, among them:
Benjamin Franklin, who demonstrated for the first time that lightning, is an electrical phenomenon.
Doctor Caspar Wistar, whose name was given to the vine Wisteria.
David Rittenhouse, America's first outstanding astronomer.
Joseph Leidy, said by the late Professor Edwin G. Conklin of Princeton to be the greatest naturalist America has produced.
Oliver Evans, native of Delaware, who worked in Philadelphia, called the Watt of America, because he constructed the first high pressure steam engine in this country in 1802, and was a pioneer in conceiving the assembly line process of manufacturing.
John J. Audubon, the ornithologist, who lived and observed the bird of the regions round about Philadelphia and left the imprint of pursuits on the area.
Here also have lived some of the great lights in the realm o cine and surgery, including:
Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence, surgeon in the Continental Army, professor of chemistry in the Medical college at the University of Pennsylvania, the first full professor of Chem in America.
Constantine Herring, of German birth, who became the builder homeopathy in America and founded Hahnemann Medical College.
Philadelphia can also claim America's earliest medical college-the University of Pennsylvania.
IV. Philadelphia In Aesthetic History-
Philadelphia has been a great center for artists, especially paint such as the Swede, Gustavus Hasselius, who was also an organ build ... Benjamin West, the Swarthmore Quaker, who was the first American artist to be recognized in Europe . . . West's pupil, Gilbert Stuart, Rhode Island native, who lived here from 1794 to 1796 . . . Thomas Sully, the English portrait painter, who came here from New York in I ... Thomas Eakins, born here in 1844, sculptor and painter, who is being recognized increasingly and whose home at 1729 Mount Vernon Street
is now to be restored . . . John Sloan, of the "ash can school," whose youth and early years were spent here prior to his going to New York'.. John Neagle, who though born in Boston, maintained a Philadelphia studio ... John Sartain, the English horn engraver, who was art director of the Centennial Exhibition in 1876 . . . and Dr. R. Tait MacKenzie the Canadian horn sculptor.
Two of the patriotic songs, more frequently sung in earlier generations, "Hail Columbia, Happy Land' and Columbia, The Gem of the Ocean', were written respectively by Joseph Hopkinson, who practiced law here, and Thomas A. Becket, director of the orchestra in the Walnut Street Theater.
Septimus Winner, a Philadelphia violinist, composed the song dedicated to General MacClellan, "Give Me Back My Old Commander". He is also recalled for his "Listen to the Mocking Bird'.
In 1911 a dilapidated hearse bore the body of a Negro song writer from his abject quarters in the Philadelphia slums to a cemetery on the edge of the city. No death notices appeared in the papers concerning this well-educated man, the son of a Washington lawyer and much of whose career had been spent in England. He was James A. Bland, who wrote: "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" and "In the Evening by the Moon-light'.
The first American renditions of Handel's The Messiah and Hayden's The Creation were given in Philadelphia.
Theater and architecture
America's oldest theater is the Walnut Street. Edwin Forrest, the tragedian, maintained a mansion at Broad and Master Streets.
Philadelphia was the home of Joseph Jefferson, the Drews and Barrymore and the Shakespearean actor, James Murdock.
Dim and distant centuries as well as ages of elegance, suggesting the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome, are represented in the architecture of Philadelphia's great buildings. Take a few examples :
The Girard Trust at Broad and Chestnut Streets, designed by Stanford White, replicates in a measure The Pantheon in Rome.
St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Locust Street, built in 1849, was one of the earliest Gothic church structures to be built in America.
The Arch Street Presbyterian Church at Eighteenth and Arch Streets with its Corinthian columns in the sanctuary and majestic dome, a masterpiece of the classic revival, the work of the Camden architect, Joseph C. Hoxie.
The City Hall, whose magnificence is derived from the designs of John MacArthur, Jr., assisted by T. U. Walter, the Philadelphian, who designed the dome of the capitol in Washington, and Alexander M. Calder, the Scot, who modeled all the sculptural and statuary work on the building including the colossal figure of William Penn.
The Art Museum on the Parkway, the largest edifice of Greek archicture in the world.
The Episcopal Church of the Advocate on Diamond Street, with sculptured figure of the Angel Gabriel, with the aspect of an apolyptic vision.
V. Philadelphia In Religious History
The oldest church in Pennsylvania, founded by Lutherans from Sweden and long since become Episcopalian, Gloria Dei, still stands banks of the Delaware. Longfellow mentions this quaint house of Worship in his Evangeline.
The first convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America was held in Christ Church, where William White, first presiding bishop of his communion, served as rector and preached to Washington and other dignitaries of the colonial period.
The original Lutheran Church in this country is at Trappe, but a short distance from the city in Mongomery County. Lutheranism in the founded by the Lutheran patriarch of America, Henry Melchior Muhlenberg.
One of the oldest Methodist houses of worship, the pre-Revolution
ary edifice of St. George, continues to stand under the shadow of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church held its organizing sessions in Philadelphia, and many of its activities are still quart here.
The first Mennonites in this country came to Germantown in 1688 Their preacher, William Ruttinghuysen (later modified to Rittenhouse is said to have erected the first paper mill in America. The Church the Brethren, known as Dunkers, had its American founding in 1719 Germantown under the leadership of Peter Becker. The Society Friends, commonly known as Quakers, held their first yearly meeting here in 1683. The meeting house, at Fourth and Arch Streets, dates to 1804. But the burial ground which encompasses it has a deed signed in 1690. Philadelphia has long been designated the Quaker City of nation.
Not far from the city is the exquisitely beautiful cathedral of Church of the New Jerusalem (Swedenborgian ), the most spier' edifice of that religious body in America and situated in environs surpassing loveliness.
Some of the loved hymns of the Christian Church have had origin in Philadelphia. It was here in 1868 that Phillip Brooks, while serving as rector of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on Rittenhouse Square, wrote 0 Little Town of Bethlehem. The fitting tune was com posed by the organist, Lewis H. Redner, a native Philadelphian. It was at the northwest corner of Broad and Arch Streets in the parsonage the First Baptist Church and in the Civil War period that a Baptist minister supplying the local pulpit, the Reverend Joseph H. Gilmore wrote the hymn, He Leadeth Me. Another Philadelphia minister, while serving a New England pastorate, Dr. Daniel March, later pastor of Clinton Street Immanuel Presbyterian Church, wrote the hymn Hark
the Voice of Jesus Calling.
Two distinctly American institutions with marked religious ass ciations, owe their inception to women, who were then residents Philadelphia. Anna Jarvis, a native of Grafton, West Virginia in 1908, began the campaign which later resulted in the proclamation of Mother Day by President Woodrow Wilson. Mrs. Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, a New England woman who came to Philadelphia in 1841 as editor of Godey's Lady's Book, campaigned and succeeded in having a national Thanksgiving Day adopted.