Monday, August 27, 2007

1860, 1870, 1880 Censes Records Of Henry Ritter

Click to enlarge and view individually.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Old Academy

Click on the link for the history of this magnificent place located on Indian Queen Lane in the East Falls Section of Philadelphia. It was first a local schoolhouse then a local playhouse for actors including Grace Kelly.

1890 Property Of Henry B. Ritter

According to the 1890 Directory, Henry Ritter moved his Hotel & Saloon business to this property at Sunnyside & Cresson Streets in the East Falls Section of Philadelphia from his location on Main Street in the Manayunk Section of Philadelphia.

Mount Peace In Paradise Section Of Philadelphia

Calvary Cemetery In West Conshohocken

McCaffery & Gallagher Burial Site At Calvary Cemetery

There are a few things that deeply sadden me about this burial plot. First of all, though my great grandparents William & Mary (Keller) Gallagher were the first two interred here, there is no headstone erected nor are their names listed on the headstone in this picture. William & Mary were the parents of Anna listed as the second name on this stone.

The second thing that bothers me about this headstone is the fact that my Aunt Anna's (or as we called her Nana) information is missing on the stone even though she was born in 1907 and died in 1987. My Aunt had two grandchildren whom were the sole benefactors of her estate and they did not even have the common decency to add a few details on her stone before they left town. I was told that after my aunt passed away, they sold her house then took whatever money and left town.

Uncle Coll & Aunt Nana had two children. Mary died of colon cancer in 1984. Coll (who is really not a Junior but the third) died of a heart attack in 1985. (The town-leavers are his spawn) Coll & Mary's father died of colon cancer in 1972 and my Aunt (their mother) buried her husband and her children before her own death in 1987. She had a stroke.

John & Marie (Schroeder) Weleski With Lillian 1930

John was born and raised in Manayunk on Roxborough Avenue. He was baptized at St. John the Baptist Church on Rector Street. In his early years he was a boxer with the name of "Buck Fleming". Marie Schroeder was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin but moved first to Strawberry Mansion(Welkers Court) then to Ridge Avenue in East Falls. Raised as a German Lutheran, she married a Catholic and raised their three children in the Catholic Church. All three of their children were baptized at St. John's. Pictured with Marie is their eldest child and only daughter, Lillian. John & Marie were my paternal grandparents.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

1930 Photo of 34th & Allegheny

Click & scroll down to view picture.

1955 Photo Of Ridge & Indian Queen Lane

Click & scroll down to view picture of the Falls Pharmacy.

1955 Photo Of Ridge & Midvale (III)

Click & scroll down to view picture. This corner store is the current location of the Mexican Restaurant.

1955 Photo Of Ridge & Midvale (II)

Click & scroll down to view picture. This was the corner store I use to go to after school when I was a student at St. Bridget's.

1955 Photo Of Ridge & Midvale

Click & scroll down to view picture. Gas station is on the Kelly drive side of Midvale.

1949 Photo Of 3548 Scott Lane

Click & scroll down to view picture.

1955 Photo Of Clearfield & Hunting Park

Click & scroll down to view picture. Take notice of Mt Peace Cemetery located on the right.

1930 Photo Of Rector & Cresson

Click and scroll down to view picture & take of notice St. John's Church where the elevated train tracks are being built.

1929 Photo Of Dawson & Cresson Street

Make sure you click & scroll down to view actual picture.

1927 Photo Of 32nd & Clearfield

Make sure you click then scroll down to view actual picture.

1949 Archive Photo Of Ridge & Scott Lane

Make sure you scroll down to view picture
Posted on Wed, Aug 22, 2007
Blogging around Our Town
By Bernard J. Scally

Blogging has gone local. What's a blog, some may ask. The word 'blog' is a corruption or abbreviated version of the word 'Web log". It is a place on the Internet where anyone at any age can rant and rave about the shortcomings of home, have a discussion on any topic usually culture, politics and history, or just share other interesting pieces.

"It's like a reverse email," said Amy Quinn. "You can share without clogging someone's inbox." Quinn is undoubtedly one of the most notable bloggers from Our Town. (The Review's own reporter is mere padawan compared to her skills.) While Quinn now lives in New Jersey, she grew up here in Our Town; many of her family still live here. Quinn, a former editorial and opinion writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, in her own words, "chucked it all in to be a stay at home mom." Quinn's blog, Citizen Mom, debuted in 2004, was one of many blogs profiled by the Inquirer's Dan Rubin.

"At first, blogging was a way of staying in contact with people," said Quinn.
Quinn foray into blogging has been wildly successful turning her blog into a free-lance success. She contributes to city-wide blogs and

"Blogging takes it a out of you as a business," said Quinn about her contributions. "But it is also a way to stay in the game."

Citizen Mom readers can find a number of topics covered by Quinn. Often, it can be commentary to a news story with link to said story so readers and read for themselves. And logically since Quinn is a mother, she will discuss issues related to parenting. With the advancements of technology, bloggers can also add amusing videos as well. Quinn presented a range of songs and events from classic crooner Frank Sinatra to the latest indie Canadians Tegan and Sara.

While many bloggers post about a number of subjects some can be tailored to a single purpose then finished. During the rollercoaster year of the Kayla Peter investigation and trial, Donna Persico used a blog to keep the story in the public eye.

"I read about blogging in the Inquirer," said Persico. "I read about how it used for Latoyia Figueroa." Figueroa was a young black woman while pregnant with her second child went missing. She left behind a seven-year-old child. Bloggers had been responsible for keeping her story in the public eye. "The blog was directly for Kayla," said Persico. "We wanted to keep her name in the public eye."

The blog kept an eye on the chief suspect in the case Susannah Goihman. The blog would relay sightings of Goihman. The grand jury report on the incident was posted on the blog. Vigils and other events were also posted. The blog also had a another purpose. "It was place for the kids to vent," said Persico. "The response was unbelievable."

The Kayla Peter blog had 300,000 hits during its time. Persico believes that many members of the news media read the blog to keep up on the story. Persico has since finished blogging.

"The blog definitely had a purpose and it served a purpose," said Persico.
While some blogs have a short-term goal in mind, others also leave a lasting posterity.

Pat Zysk Cannon is the writer of the "Journey into the Past" blog. Many readers may remember it was Cannon who was a large help in March track down information for the Graveyard series.

Cannon got into her family's genealogy in 1990 and has been blogging since 2005. Her blog has a number of photos, stories and other tidbits about the Roxborough-Manayunk area. "My family has been here since the 1830s," said Cannon. "I just put it out there and it has snowballed."

Everything on Cannon's blog has a connection to family history whether celebrating the newest member or learning the sights of the hangouts of the progenitor. The blog has had excellent responses from people who once lived in the area and have since moved out; but the blog also had some fantastic unintended consequences.

"We found connections with family we didn't know we had," said Cannon.
Cannon found family from all over the United States and one member who was working in China.

While the blog was started in honor of family, it also has now become a big help in area history. "I didn't want the history of my family and the area to die." said Cannon.

A new generation have started blogging around Our Town. "Roxborough Trash" is blog run by a young 20-year-old who discusses issues in the neighborhood important to him. His latest post was a lament of things that have disappeared from the neighborhood. Things like freeze tag, the Andorra Movie theater and others.

Blogging itself also seems to have a bright future.
"It is a place for expression, for Journaling," said Quinn. "Blogging as a business is already evolving. People want to share things."

article was in the review dated aug 22, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007

More Uncovered Information On Henry B Ritter

I was able to piece together some personal history (not previous recorded) on Henry B. Ritter from 1860 to his death in 1893 by city census records and directories.

In 1860, Henry B. Ritter was listed as living with his first wife and her family at 1180 Leverington Avenue in the Manayunk/Roxborough section of Philadelphia. His wife was known as Caroline even though later records would indicate her name was Mary Caroline. Caroline was listed as being 23 years old and Henry was listed as being 24 years old.

Also in the house was Caroline's mother, Louisa Mayer (age 58) and siblings, Elizabeth (age 25), Catherine (age 20) and Francis (age 13). Caroline's father was deceased in 1860. Later recording of Caroline's maiden name (Ritter Book) would indicate the spelling was Meiers instead of Mayer.

Caroline died April 3, 1862.

In 1870, Henry was married to his second wife, Wilhelmina Hesserrick and they were listed as living at 4057 Main Street with three children, Josephine (age 5), Annie (age 3) and Charles (age 1). There was also a boarder named John Clemons (age 28) in the household. Relationship to the family is unknown at this time. It is possible he was an employee at Henry's hotel and saloon. It should be noted that the eldest child known as Josephine died in 1871.

Wilhelmina died October 4, 1871.

In 1880, Henry was married to his third wife, Marie Voigt (ancestor) and they were recorded as living at 4354 Main Street with Henry's children, Anna and Charles from his second marriage and with his five children he had with Marie listed as John (age 6), Josephine (5), Dorothea (age 3), Philip (age 2) and infant Adam (age 1 month). It should be noted that Josephine was named after the deceased daughter, also named Josephine born to Henry and his second wife. (Wilhelmina) It also should be noted that there is no record of the infant Adam in the book written by Philip J. Ritter in 1900. Adam appears to have died in childhood.

Marie Ritter died June 12, 1884.

Henry married his fourth and final wife, Elizabeth Mary Bichlein in 1885. Since the city's 1890 census records were lost in a fire, I do not know where Henry and his wife Elizabeth lived after their marriage. However, the city directory listed Henry's hotel and saloon as being listed at Sunnyside and Cresson Streets. Henry and Elizabeth had four children, Frederick born in 1886, William born in 1887, Hermina born in 1890 and another daughter who died in 1892 either at birth or shortly afterwards.

It is also recorded that Henry's fourth wife, Elizabeth also died in 1892. It is possible that this death was a direct result of childbirth.

Henry died one year later in 1893 and he left behind the care of his youngest children to his older children John and Dorothea.

It is of special interest that John G. Ritter, son of Henry and Marie (Voigt) Ritter never married and after his siblings were raised, he remained in the household of his sister, Dorothea and her husband, Charles Loffelhart, the remainder of his life. I followed John and Dorothea through the years 1900 to 1930 and between 1920 to 1930, John died. Dorothea was still living in 1930, the last available record found. Dorothea and her husband never had children.

It is also of interest that John was listed in 1900 as living at 53 P&R Railroad Street in the East Falls Section of Philadelphia and working as an agent for the Railroad. Again, this information is not the same as what is recorded in the Ritter Book written by Philip J. Ritter. In the Ritter Book, Philip J. Ritter recorded John as working as a salesman for the Ritter Company. It is possible that when the census was taken in 1900, John was still employed as a railroad employee but later that year when Philip J. Ritter wrote and published his Family History Book that John was newly employed at the Ritter Company.

There are two interesting facts about the 1900 census record that was recorded. John and Dorothea were raising their siblings and the street known as P&R Railroad was once located right off Scotts Lane along the Railroad. The houses were torn down in the 1970's and were located on a street that was as narrow as a city alley.

Listed as living in the Railroad house were John (age 26), Dorothea (age 23), Philip (age 21), Louisa (age 17), Frederick (age 14), William (age 13) and Hermina (age 9). Their step-mother (mother) and father had been deceased 8 and 7 years respectively.

In 1910, John Ritter lived in the home of his sister, Dorothea and her husband Charles Loffelhart on 164 Calumet Street in the East Falls section of Philadelphia. It is of interest that two of my Boland ancestors were neighbors of these Ritters. William Boland lived at 168 Calumet and Martin Boland lived at 184 Calumet. William and Martin Boland were the siblings of my great grandather John Boland. Both Boland siblings were employed as Chemical Workers on Chemical Hill. Later, John Boland, son of my great grandfather, John Boland would also be employed at the Chemical Plant as a Chemical Worker. Charles Loffelhart was listed as a Driver in a Lumber Yard.

In 1920 and 1930, Charles Loffelhart was listed as a Driver in a Coal Yard. John Ritter was listed as a Foreman in a Factory, presumably the Ritter Company.

I was able to track Philip Ritter (Henry & Marie's son) in the 1930 New Jersey census records where he lived with his wife and children and was employed at the Ritter Company's New Jersey Plant. I will post information on Philip and also continue to track him along with his sisters born to my ancestors Henry & Marie in the future.

I will also post the actual records I found to verify the above information in a later post. I will also continue to investigate where Henry and his wives are buried.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Fountain Inn

Located on 4057 Main Street at the intersection of Shurs Lane and Main Street. The Fountain Inn was a hotel and saloon own by Henry B. Ritter.

It should be noted that the inn's stable was set on fire on November 13, 1870 by an arsonist. The business was recorded of being moved to two other locations before it was closed by Henry's son John after Henry's death in 1893.

In 1880, the business was located at 4354 Main Street and in 1890 it was located at the corner of Sunnyside and Cresson Streets.

Monday, August 13, 2007

New Addition

For those of you interested in genealogy. Jessica has several research links located on the lower left side of her blog. Scroll down and enjoy.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Northern Home

Founded in 1853 by Elizabeth Hutter and originally located at 22nd and Brown Streets in the Fairmount Section of Philadelphia, this home was relocated to the "Houghton Mansion" once owned by Vaughan Merrick in the Wissahickon Section of Philadelphia for poor and neglected children under the age of 12 years old. They did not have to be orphans.

Today, the home still exists.

It also should be noted that Elizabeth Hutter was a nurse who served during the Civil War and who also established the "The Soldiers' Orphans' Institute at 23rd and Parish Street for those children left fatherless during the war. This home was supported by the state of Pennsylvania.

Roxborough Home For Women

Once known as the "Home For Indigent Women" established by Samuel Gorgas on Leverington Ave just North of Lawton Street in Roxborough on the site of the estate of Horatio Gates Jones that once was used as a Civil War encampment.

Though the home was suppose to be for women over the age of 40 years old who were unable to support themselves, a charge of 100 dollars was the fee to live at this home which is ironic considering the word "indigent" refers to someone who owns nothing but the clothes on their back.

In addition to the 100 dollar fee and the over 40 age requirement, the women were to be "white" and must have lived within the boundaries of "Roxborough".

It is of interest that this home was also referred to as the "Gorgas Home" and that it still stands today on its original site.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Wednesday's Hero

This Week's Soldier Was Suggested By Gary
Col. James W. Harrison Jr.
Col. James W. Harrison Jr.47 years old from MissouriU.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Combined Forces Command AfghanistanMay 6, 2007Duty, Honor, Country. Col. James Harrison Jr. embodied that ethos, said his family. He was committed to the mission of the United States in Afghanistan and spoke with great pride about the accomplishments of the men and women with which he served Col. Harrison was killed on May 6 when a Taliban fighter, dressed as an Afghan police officer, shot him at point blank range at Pul-e-Charkhi prison near Kabul. Also killed along side Col. Harrison was Master Sgt. Wilberto Sabalu Jr. and two other soldiers were wounded. All four men were working as mentors to Afghan troops providing external security for the prison.Harrison graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1981. He also graduated from the Military Police Basic and Advanced courses, the Combined Arms and Services Staff School, the Command and General Staff College, the Army Inspector General Course, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He earned a Master of Business Administration from Syracuse University and a Master of Science degree in national security and strategic studies from the National Defense University. Before going to Afghanistan in December 2006, he was assigned to Fort Leavenworth as director of the School for Command Preparation at the Command and General Staff College. He is survived by his wife and three sons.To read a letter from the Afghan general in charge of the detention facility, visit Amy Proctor's site.
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People LivedThis post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here.-- Indian Chrishttp://rightwingrightminded.blogspot.comhttp://hooahwife.comWednesday Hero -

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Atwater Kent Factory "Approx 1929"

The above picture shows the radio factory "Atwater Kent" that was once located at 5000 Wissahickon Avenue in the Nicetown section of Philadelphia. If you look closely at this photo, you can also see Midvale Steel located North of Atwater Kent. In 1936, Atwater Kent closed and sold its property to the Philadelphia Battery & Storage Company which later on was known as Philco.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Midvale Steel

An outstanding example of an industry no longer operating in Nicetown was Midvale Steel, founded in 1867 as the Butcher Steel Works and named for William Butcher, a recent immigrant steelmaker from Sheffield, Great Britain. Butcher enlisted the aide of importer Philip Justice and banker Edward Clark and shortly thereafter, began steel production in direct competition with the Pencoyd Iron Works in Manayunk and Henry Disston’s crucible steel plant in the Northern Liberties. Butcher died three years later and the company was subsequently taken over by William Sellers, a local machine tool builder.

The company's name was changed to Midvale Steel in 1872 and three years later, it landed its first contract with the U.S. Navy. Later contracts for steel were soon had with Baldwin Locomotive, the Pennsylvania Railroad, and John Roebling’s Sons (builders of the Brooklyn Bridge); by 1912 the site covered over fifty acres and employed over 3,500 workers.

Midvale’s huge success is attributed, in part, to the fact that it was organized and managed by a consortium of financial interests as well as people trained in the making of steel. (Most other Philadelphia industries were owned and operated simply by people trained in their specific fields.)

In 1915, Midvale merged with the Cambria Steel Company of Johnstown, Pennsylvania and two other steel companies near Philadelphia to become the Midvale Steel and Ordnance Company. This merger, according to Scranton and Licht, was motivated by the efforts of “a syndicate of steelmakers trained by Carnegie and Wall Street bankers;” the timing of the merger enabled the company to capitalize on enormous war-related contracts for the Army and the Navy during World War I.

By 1919, Midvale’s payroll swelled to 7,300. After the war, in the 1920s, the company’s productivity declined dramatically and Bethlehem Steel gained control of Cambria and several other portions of the company. Midvale itself reorganized as the Midvale Company and set out to diversify its production and tighten its workforce.

By 1928, the number of employees on the payroll had dropped to 1,800. During that time, it also became one of the nation’s largest producers of armor plate steel for ships and tanks. It also produced large forgings, propellers and shafts for ships, chemical vessels, and marine engines.

Midvale Steel was the home of one of America’s foremost innovators in labor efficiency—Frederick Winslow Taylor. Taylor grew up in Germantown, the child of a wealthy family. He attended good schools, but instead of pursuing college, he apprenticed in a Philadelphia machine shop.

In 1878, he came to work at Midvale as a day laborer, rose to clerk, then to machinist, then to gang boss, and finally to Chief Engineer prior to his leaving the company in 1890.

During his tenure, Taylor became intensely interested in the efficient management of work-related time. Using methods introduced by Charles Brinley, Taylor systematically developed techniques to raise the efficiency of production throughout the entire plant to an exceptionally high level.

Taylor believed that each workman should be given, as far as possible, the highest grade of work for which his ability and physique were fitted, that each workman should be called upon to turn out the maximum amount of work that a first-rate man of his class should do, and thrive, and that each workman, when working at the best pace of a first-class man, should be paid from 30 to 100% beyond the average of his class, according to the nature of the work he was doing.

Taylor introduced an elaborate system of time studies to determine precisely how much time should be allowed for each operation, first into the machine shop and later into other departments. He then developed a “differential” piece rate system (in accordance with Brinley’s methods) under which an employee’s pay rate was based upon his output and efficiency.

Taylor’s ideas stemmed from the concept that workers operate at a much lower level of productivity than their actual capability. If their capabilities were scientifically determined, and if workers received proper pay incentives for producing at their capacity, then productivity, wages, and profits would all be substantially improved. Taylor’s ideas were opposite to those of the “welfare work” movement which was based on the idea that improving a worker’s welfare (his place, lot, etc.) would inspire the worker to seek self-betterment, loyalty to the company and cooperation.

Taylor left Midvale in 1890 and soon began establishing similar work studies at the Manufacturing Investment Company (a paper manufacturer), and eventually at Bethlehem Steel.

Midvale’s slowdown after World War I led to experimentation and innovation in new products by the company. One of the products, a nickel and chrome alloy steel (originally developed for military uses) found an effective use in the auto industry. However, in spite of these developments, the Depression hurt Midvale seriously and by 1933, only 800 workers were on the site.

The demands of the recovery in the late 1930s, and the threats of war brought activity back to Midvale, in staggering proportions. By 1940, the site had grown to 80 acres.

Wartime production caused employment to swell as the company produced steel for the Army and the Navy. After the War, Midvale’s production began to drop off, and during the 1960s, its life slowly started to come to an end.

In 1970, the newly reorganized Midvale-Heppenstal Corporation began the systematic shutdown of the Nicetown plant; its eulogy was written by Scranton and Licht.

The last to close of our four nineteenth-century Philadelphia plants, Midvale is soon to be demolished. For the moment, its massive forge hammers are still in place, but they will never again shake the earth with their power. Their silence leaves a bitter emptiness after a century of steel and sweat.

Information Taken