Monday, July 30, 2012

Miss my grandmother today as it is the anniversary of her death. She left us on July 30, 1990. I have a huge void inside that I cannot fill. What she had, I should have. I loved and lost. Sometimes the pain is so deep, I am afraid of it. I came across this old picture and it brought back memories of me sitting on her front steps in the summer.

The Charles truck = pretzels, chips and sometimes that special box of cookies. My uncles would buy from the truck and I would sit on those marble front steps with a cookie in one hand and a pretzel in the other. Grandmom was always there beside me. We spent most summer nights on those steps. I was a little girl. It was a time when life was simple, happy and carefree. I always wanted a daughter and I was blessed with sons. I always wanted a granddaughter and after two grandsons, I was blessed with one. I loved her. I always will love her. But, I lost her. This is a void, I will never fill.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mom and Dad's Shore House

 Dad's oasis creation.

BBQ at John and Eileen's Shore House


 Never put a bunch of 50 somethings in one hot tub who have known each other for 35 years.

Old Friends Are The Best Friends

Girls Night at Donna's Shore House

 If you really want to know why Donna's dog is wearing panties, I will tell you.

So Donna decides at 1230am that it is time to go out and orders a cab. Regina, Marge and I take a look at her and say, "hell no". Lisa and Mary jumped on Donna's band wagon and they came back around 4am.
 Lisa, the morning after.
 Donna, the morning after.
Both, the morning after plus one dog with panties.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Philadelphia General Hospital

First known as Old Blockey in 1835 located at 34th and University in West Philadelphia. Built to accommadated Philadelphia's poor. The facility had four main buildings; poorhouse, hospital, orphanage and insane asylum. Old Blockey was renamed Philadelphia Almshouse and Hospital around 1885. Blockey's location was isolated from any other medical facility, therefore, lacked skilled medical personnel.

In 1885, Blockey focused more on becoming a public hospital and opened its own nursing school. By 1906, the insane population housed at Blockey were moved to the new Philadelphia State Hospital also known as Byberry State Hospital.

In 1919, Blockey renamed its facility once more to Philadelphia General Hospital until it closed its doors in 1977. The hospital had a nursing home and a poorhouse. It treated those who had no money for medical care. My own great grandfather, John McCafferty/McCaffery died of tuberculosis in this hospital in August 1930.

In 2001, more than 1,000 bodies from the Almshouse were discovered during a renovation of the University of Pennsylvania. These bodies were moved and buried in Woodland Cemetery. In my research, I came across a well written document from the archives that I want to post here.

"As previously indicated, the entire area of University City was originally the William Warner Estate of Blockley. As settlements developed and the section became more populous, political sub-divisions sprang into being so that by 1854, when the City was consolidated, little remained of the township, most of it having given way to the District of West Philadelphia.
Although much of the early history occurred while the area was still known as Blockley, we shall tell of it in the section on West Philadelphia. In a like manner we shall consider that small portion of Blockley that covered the northwestern slice of University City. It is that large acreage bordering on the Schuylkill River we shall here discuss. For although it covered the least desirable of the land west of the River and was the least populated, it left its imprint in the history of Philadelphia, and made the name Blockley a synonym for misery, sordidness and suffering.
Here, on the grounds surrounding the present Philadelphia General Hospital was the Blockley Almshouse. It consisted not only of the alms-house, but also the city hospital, the orphan asylum and the refuge for the insane. It is to be remembered that our forebears had neither the understanding, the patience, nor the knowledge of how to handle their helpless and afflicted, so that to be sent to Blockley was to be condemned to horror and exile.
It must have been especially so in the very early days when, with transportation and distance being what they were, Blockley was considered to be far removed from the city. Indeed, in 1832 when it was proposed to move the hospital from 10th and Pine Streets where it had been for over 65 years, one of the serious arguments against locating at Blockley was that its great distance from the medical school would make it difficult of access to the students who might thereby be deprived of clinical instruction.
Despite the odium that the name Blockley received (some old residents even to this day call the early step in the care of the unfortunate. It was a great advance from the original brick building erected at 4th and Pine Streets in 1731, the first of its kind in America to house the sick, the infirm, the poor and the insane.
In 1832 the City purchased 187 acres From the Hamilton heirs on which to locate the new institution. Included were the present sites of part of Woodland Cemetery, the Veterans Administration Hospital, Convention Hall, the Commercial Museum, the original buildings of the University of Pennsylvania, the River fields, part of Franklin Field, the University Museum and the Philadelphia General Hospital.
Much of the land was then considered of little value. It was mostly lowland that sloped down to water level and was criss-crossed with waterways that traversed to marshy meadows. It was an ideal hideout for shadowy characters and evil-doers who crossed the river in skiffs after a thieving or smuggling job south of the city. As late as 1850 it was considered hazardous to be abroad alone in this area.
Perhaps the largest of the watercourses was Beaver Creek or Beaver Run which flowed through the Almshouse grounds and emptied into the Schuylkill River opposite to Pine Street. It crossed Woodland Avenue (Darby Road) just east of 34th Street under a bridge which still exists at the same spot, buried about 25 feet below grade. The meadows along the river were purposely flooded in winter so that the ice could be cut for the use of the hospital, ice which the reknowned Dr. J. Chalmers Da Costa described as being "richly endowed with bacteria. The caustic Dr. Da Costa, who for a time was physician-in-chief, later wrote in his florid style "Blockley is the microcosm of the city. Within these gray walls we find all sorts of physical and mental diseases, and also a multitude of those social maladies that degrade man-hood, undermine national strength and threaten civilization itself. Here is drunkenness; here is pauperism; here is illegitimacy; here is madness; here are the eternal priestesses of prostitution who sacrifice for the sins of man; here is crime in all its protean aspects, and here is vice in all its monstrous forms."
Nor was it helpful that this place was under the control of a committee known as the Guardians of the Poor. This appointed group consisted of political hacks whose only interest was to line their own pockets which, of course, entailed the obstruction of enlightened members of the professional staff, such as Dr. Da Costa, who commented they had been named Poor Guardians because "they did some of the poorest guarding on record."
Around the buildings of this dismal place was a high board fence with but one entrance on Darby Road. In 1875 it consisted of four three-story buildings 500 feet long, in which were housed 3000 inmates, 200 of whom were orphans, and 600 insane. In the region of Franklin Field was Blockley's Potter's Field where so many of the unhappy victims of this pest-hole were buried. When 33rd Street was being cut through to Spruce many skeletons of these unfortunate were unearthed.
In 1868 Nathaniel B. Browne laid a plan before the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania to move that institution from 9th and Chestnut Streets to the slopes of Blockley, where it might find the expansion room it so badly needed. In pursuance of this plan the City sold the University a portion of the Blockley land for $8000.00 per acre and in June 1871 the cornerstone of College Hall, the first building, was dedicated. Thereafter, the neighborhoods of Blockley and, to some extent, Hamilton Village, were on the upgrade." 

Happy Birthday Joe

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Another Viewpoint

At this point, most of us have heard about the horrendous event that occurred in Colorado where a midnight view of a new movie release resulted in a very sick man who opened fired on a theater crowd killing and wounding a multitude of people. Everywhere I turn, I see another viewpoint, opinion, comment on the shooting. Everyone is blaming everyone else. I say, STOP.

Why are we so shocked and horrified over this crime? While everyone is busy pointing the finger at everyone else, let us take a look at the real responsible parties involved. It is "we", "us" who are responsible for such an act. We sit our children in front of violent video games, so that the kids are out of our way and then we wonder how an incident in Colorado, or any other state could occur.

We created this society of violence by our own acts. We have guns in our homes, many without proper permits. We worry about every other country and neglect our own. We have corrupted top officials voted in that run the government. We permit law enforcement to lie. We fail to educate our children. Children are being born to people who have no intention of supporting or caring for them. Sit the suckers down in front of an expensive video system with videos that encourage shootings and killings, so we do not have to parent. Wake up! This society is going to hell in a hand basket, and we waste so much time blaming, when what we should be doing is coming up with solutions.

From what I heard and read in the news (do not believe everything in the news), this man dressed up with a mask and armor, threw a smoke bomb, then began shooting. Sound familiar? Sounds like a video game to me. Then, we take six years old to a midnight show to watch violence in a movie theater. Really?

This guy is sick. Very sick. He became part of some fantasy created in his mind and that = a psychotic break = loss of reality + add a history of violent exposure = a violent psychotic break. First psychotic breaks occur in late teens or early 20's. He is paranoid. I will not diagnose him, because I am not his therapist, nor do I know enough about him to even give an opinion. I only know what I heard and read. I will not rush in and judge him, but I will sure as hell rush in and blame society.

We created this society. How do we fix it?

Friday, July 20, 2012


Who's researching?

United States

What are they researching?

Odd Fellows Cemetery                                                                            

Thursday, July 19, 2012

1918 Flu Epidemic A.K.A. Spanish Flu in Philadelphia

Top city officials knew it was a matter of time, before the Flu arrived in Philadelphia. It  was already in Boston. However, city officials dropped the ball when they failed to list the flu as a reportable disease.
The flu arrived in September of 1918 at a time when most medical personnel where overseas fighting in WWI. 75% of Philadelphia Hospital's doctors were in the war. Then came a sense of profound overconfidence or stupidity when on September 28, 1918, 200,000 people gathered together to fund the war effort. Two days later, 635 people came down with the flu.
Churches, schools, theaters and all public meeting places were ordered closed. By the middle of October, hospitals were full, so church parish houses and state armories became make-shift hospitals and 4500 people were reported dead, while approximately 200,000 more people were sick.
Some undertakers took advantage of the family's dead loved ones by doubling their prices to bury their dead. Piles of corpes began to rot. The city begged the federal government to send embalmers.
By November of 1918, 13,000 Philadelphia citizens were dead as a result of the flu.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Potters Fields in Philadelphia

When the city's Fairmount Section was undergoing renovations, bones were discovered on the block of 800 and N. 20th Street.
Potters Field was once located nearby at N. 19th Street and Fairmount Ave.

The burial ground at the 800 block of N. 20th Street is believed to date back to 1793 when the city experienced a Yellow Fever outbreak and the estate known as Bush Hill served as its hospital located on the same grounds. Later, the hospital would be renamed the City's Hospital for Contagious Diseases until the year 1855.
Potters Fields were located in various parts of the city for the poor, the unknown and the unclaimed.
Several locations once called Potters Fields in Philadelphia are as followed;

  • NorthEast opened in 1956
  • Luzerene & Whitaker (now a police parking lot)
  • Washington Square
And several other locations.

The last Potters Field was the one located in the Far NorthEast.

When the Potters Field was located at Luzerene and Whitaker in 1914, it served as the final resting place for those who died in the 1918 Flu Epidemic and the Great Depression in the 1930's. At this time, it was connected with a City Hospital.

Today, "Potters Field" is not a burial ground, but a room located in the City Morgue where there is 2400 sets of ashes identified but left unclaimed.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Maria Cannon

Maria Cannon was born December 23, 1901 and died of Endocarditis at age 13 years old on July 3, 1914. She was the child of George and Mary Gallagher Cannon. Address at time of death was 207 East Street. John McCarron was listed as undertaker. Maria was interred on July 7,1914 in St John the Baptist Cemetery.

James Cannon

James was born to George and Mary Gallagher Cannon on August 9, 1909 and died of diphtheria on January 19, 1915. Address at time of death was 207 East Street. James was interred in St. John the Baptist cemetery on January 20,1915. Immediate burial was a result of the contagious nature of his disease. John McCarron was listed as undertaker.

Baby Gerald J. Silverthorn

Gerald J. Silverthorn was born on May 10, 1911 and died on September 23, 1911 and was interred at Leverington Cemetery on September 26, 1911. He was the son of James and Grace Gallagher Silverthorn. John McCarron was the undertaker.

Baby James Silverthorn

James was born premature at 71/2 months gestation and lives seven hours and 10 minutes on May 6,1906 and died at 1030pm. He was the son of James and Grace Gallagher Silverthorn. He was interred in Leverington Cemetery. Address listed was 3908 Terrace Street. Isaiah J. Ryan was the undertaker.

My Great Great Grandfather Patrick Gallagher

Born December 24, 1867 and died of Apoloxy on June 29, 1913. Parents listed were Patrick Gallagher and Grace Harkins. Husband of Hannah Gallagher, father of Grace Silverthorn, Mary Cannon, William Gallagher and Sarah (Sally) Keller. Patrick was a mill hand in a textile factory and lived at 127 Seville Street at time of death. Patrick was interred on July 2, 1913 at Westminster Cemetery. Coroner was William R. Ford.