Doylestown baseball, 1895

This photograph of the Doylestown baseball team was taken in 1895. (Click the image for a larger view.) Reclining on the ground, left to right: George Carmon, Abel MacReynolds, George Winters; sitting, left to right: George Ruos, Robert Cressman, Joe Ruos, Harry Ruos, Wilmer Black, Charlie Coates; sitting in bacl: Noah Clark (umpire); standing, left to right: Directors Bill Kelley, "Fodder" Krause, Louis Winerebie, George Brock, John Andre, H. P. Beerer, Silas Selser, James Pollock, George Watson. (From the book "Doylestown, 150 years" published in 1988.)

Card Collectors' Club show and sale

I received some gorgeous Carversville images that I'd never seen before as part of a press release for Washington Crossing Card Collectors' Club. The club will be holding their seventh annual postcard show and sale in Titusville, NJ, on Saturday, May 31. Each year, the show attracts several hundred attendees, including hard core collectors and curious onlookers alike.

Above, girls from the Carversville Orphanage, which once stood on a hill overlooking the town, proudly display their dolls (and one book -- I love the reading girl).

For those wishing to browse and learn more about postcards, there will be extensive displays showing rare historic postcards and a broad array of human interest topics.

Postcards date from the early 1900s through the present day, with many examples of mid-century nostalgia. In addition to scenes of towns in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and other states, the range of topics includes advertising, sports, holidays, transportation, fine arts, political history, nature, pop culture, humor, fashion, foreign countries, and more.

"Ice creamers" graze by Carversville's three-arch bridge, which still stands today.

The show runs from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. at the Union Fire Company Banquet Hall, 1396 River Road (Route 29) in Titusville, NJ. Admission is a $3.00 donation. Coupons for discounted admission are available at Free literature and information about appraisal services will be offered. Door prizes will be awarded throughout the day. Refreshments will be available.

The Washington Crossing Card Collectors Club has been meeting monthly since 1972 and has over 200 members worldwide. For more information call 215.378.6609 or visit

Albert Large

Illustration by Rayna Polsky
(Click for a larger view)
Albert Large was a real person. He was born to a well-off family in Buckingham in 1805 and lived most of his life in Buckingham and Solebury townships. Albert is most commonly known as "The hermit of Wolf Rocks," but I feel that name makes him sound like something he wasn't, really.

He did spend much of his life apart from society. He did live, on and off, in a cave on Buckingham Mountain. But he also loved nature, and being outdoors. Solitude made him happy. He slept in hollow trees and in thick piles of fallen leaves. He knew how to work with his hands. He knew how to survive.

In 1858, when Albert was 53, a newspaper picked up the story of a "hermit" hiding in a cave in Buckingham. The story went international, and soon Albert was pestered relentlessly by people from far and wide, eager to see the freak. I haven't been able to find any record of him after that. I wonder what happened to him.

Recently I was house-sitting a property where Albert had spent two winters in the late 1830s. Above my bedroom, an ancient, creaky stairway curved up into the same dark attic where Albert Large had paced, and dreamed, and waited for spring.

Remains of the day

It's been two years, and the mystery of the New Britain Township skeleton still nibbles at the edges of my thoughts. I was able to pin down the house where the skeleton was found, but I'm too much of a chicken to knock on their door. 

I'm curious, also, about where the mysterious remains ended up. I asked a reporter friend at The Intelligencer who covers police matters, and while he knew that official evidence is kept for a long time (I'd love to be that librarian), he wasn't sure if there was a time limit, or whether human remains were included. The mind boggles.

In the meantime, I've found two more articles regarding the discovery: 

The Gettysburg Times
 Saturday, April 27, 1940
Finding of Skeleton Revives Mystery

Doylestown, Pa., April 27 (AP) — Discovery of a skeleton buried in the concrete of a century-old farmhouse cellar brought a renewed investigation today of the mysterious disappearance 31 years ago of a one-time owner of the farm.

The bones, those of a man about 5 feet 8 inches tall, were found by a plumber renovating the rambling budding and were taken to Harrisburg for analysis. There was a hole in the skull and two ribs were missing.
District Attorney Edward Beister said the mystery concerned Christopher Rump, who bought the 65-acre farm half a century ago and disappeared 19 years later. The farm is near where artists and writers maintain summer homes.

Rump's wife died about 35 years ago. Later it passed into the hands of a Philadelphia notable, countess Maria Virginia Paris Cibotti.

The countess, a singer and patron of the arts, maintained an elaborate place until she died in 1938 at the age of 86.

Recently it was purchased by a New York attorney. It was being remodeled for him when the bones were found.

Chester Times
Friday, April 26, 1940
Find Skeleton; Scent Murder

Doylestown, Pa., April 26—(INS) — The skeleton of a man, believed murdered many years ago, was found buried beneath the concrete cellar of a 100-year-old farmhouse in Doylestown township two weeks ago, state troopers revealed this afternoon.

In recent years, the farmhouse and the 65-acre tract surrounding it have been used by an Italian Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia for summer outings of the congregation.

Every effort to identify the skeleton has proved futile. It is five feet, eight inches tall and was found by Arthur Roberts, a plumber and one of a number of workmen engaged in remodeling the farmhouse for a New York woman attorney, who purchased the property recently. The skeleton was taken to the state's crime laboratory at Harrisburg for further investigation.

All former residents of the farmhouse are being questioned by state police. At one time the property was owned by the late Countess Maria Virginia Miles Cibotti, who died in Philadelphia at the age of 86. The countess willed the farm to the Philadelphia church.

Christopher Rump, who purchased the farmhouse about 50 years ago, farmed the 65-acre tract for a quarter century before he purportedly went to Germany. Rump's son, police believe, is now a resident of Chester.

The present owner, who is having the dwelling remodeled at a cost of about $20,000, is said to be Mrs.
Shirley Moore, prominent retired corporation lawyer of New York. A widow, she is said to have purchased the property to get the "peace and quiet" offered by picturesque Bucks county.

1940s Warrington Honor Roll

I borrowed this photo from Arcadia's "Images of America" book on Warrington. (Click the image for a larger view.)

In the mid-1940s, this World War II honor roll was erected at Bristol and Easton Roads, where the Warrington Shopping Center is today. The caption identifies the girl in the photo as "one of the Wiley children."

In the 1960s, when Easton Road was widened, the memorial was removed, with the plan to place it elsewhere in the township. The plan was never followed through and eventually the honor roll was destroyed.

Buckingham Friends, 1969

This photo, courtesy of the Buckingham Friends School, shows Philip W. Smith (left), Anna Johnson Smith, and James I. Smith. the picture was taken in June, 1969 when Anna, mother of the two men, was 103. (James was 83 and Philip was 81.)

As Quakers, the family were pacifists dedicated to equality and disarmament. Philip and James traveled to Russia to teach modernized farming methods, and in later years as part of a peace delegation.

The Northern Luffs

Two photos from Joyce and Frank Luff of South Carolina landed on my desk today. Both seem to have been taken in the late 1930s or early 1940s. Click either photo for a larger view.

The first photo, taken in Richboro, Bucks County, shows (back row) Charles, Grace, and Franklin Pierce Luff; in the front row, sitting, are Albert and Laura Luff.

The second photo shows the Luff family at Spring Lake Farm on Newtown Road in Johnsville. The photo's reverse reads "Baby: Franklyn Harding Luff (4/11/44); Father: Franklin Pierce Luff (4/9/1907); Mother: Ruth Thomas Luff (3/19/1910); Daughter: Marilyn Jean Luff; Older daughter: Ruth Ann Luff."

I like photos like this, where I've got some names and rough dates and nothing else. It makes me want to do research. For example, Franklyn Harding Luff, the baby in the second photo, is most likely the same Frank Luff who submitted the picture. I'm assuming that Albert and Laura, the elder two Luffs, sitting in the first photo, were the sender's grandparents. A quick search online reveals that Franklin P. Luff passed away February 22, 1989, age 81. His wife, Ruth, passed away in August 1979, age 69.

Frank's grandparents, Albert and Laura, were born in 1881 and 1877, respectively, both in Northampton. Laura's maiden name was Titus.

I could go on and on like this. I love it.