Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Philadelphia Historical Tour with Trevor and Historical and Genealogical Library research

This is the first day that I have been here that both the Genealogy Library and the Historical Library are open.  The Historical Library doesn't open until 12:30, so I am spending the morning at the Genealogy library.  Everyone says that the historical library is a treat in itself:

However, as the day unfolded, I found that  I had lots more fun at the Pennsylvania Genealogical Library!  It is a bit hard to find as it is upstairs in a nondescript building that appears to be a lawyer's office or some such thing.  But the ladies in the library are a treat!  Joyce Homan, the Executive Director knocked herself out to pull out and print out everything that she could think of that would be helpful.  I also took away the brochure about joining the first families group that the Genealogy Society supports.  I browsed through the books that they have for sale and purchased the following:

Philadelphia Maps, 1682-1982: Townships-Districts-Wards (Special Publication No 6 of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania)
Colonias Philadelphians by Hannah Benner Roach
I mailed the other publications home and will add them once I get home.

Later at the Historical Society library I made the following notes;

 I am looking at a volume that is a facsimile of the Philadelphia Monthly Meeting records.  It is the volume that contains Burials 1687-1826 Part I.  On page 413 there is a record of a burial of such as are not friends for the year 1694.  on 8th month, 2nd day Rebecka More daughter of Nicholas and Mary More was buried and on the 9th month  and 6th day Sam'l More son of Nicholas and Mary More was buried.  On the next page in the 9th month on the 25th day Katherine More daughter of Anthony and Jane More was buried.  ad on the 11th month 10th day Henry More was buried.  There is no mention in 1684 of burial of James More.  On page 416 there is a record of burial of Dorothy More, widow of Henry More (dec) buried in 1696.  all of these burials are for non-Friends.  In 1720 another Rebecka More but this time daughter of Anthony and Mary Moor buried as a non-friend.  This is not an oversight on my part.  It says that Rebecka is daughter of Anthony and Mary Moor....not Jane Moor.

Rose is not mentioned in this list in 1720.

Next I had  arranged for a tour that will include Elfreth's Alley and the land on which I now believe James and Rose actually lived and James conducted business as a blacksmith.  This is my last night and I decided that I wanted to see Front street and the area in which James and Rose ACTUALLY lived.  I believe now that the land here near City Hall may have been an investment.  

Trevor picked me up at the Historical Society building at 5:30.  He was a great guide as his interest is history and he has lots of knowledge about the sites and about how the sites came to be.   Of course, that is of great interest to me.  I suggested that their website should include the information that they could work with their clients to do genealogy tours.  Trevor explained that this was not the first time that he had worked with a client to find a genealogy site that was of interest.  I only wish that I had taken the tour with Trevor early in my visit as he explained several pieces of information that would have been good to know as I looked at some of the documents.
Our first stop was Elfreth's Alley.  It is the oldest continuously inhabited neighborhood in the country.

Elfreth’s Alley was home to the 18th-century artisans and trades-people who were the backbone of colonial Philadelphia. While a modern city has sprung up around it, the alley preserves three centuries of evolution through its old-fashioned flower boxes, shutters, Flemish bond brickwork and other architectural details. Two adjacent houses, built in 1755, are now a museum and are open to the public.

Trevor explained that two men (one of whom had last name Elfreth) subdivided their residence into extra housing between the two homes.  So the alley/street would have been on the boundary of their lots.

Our next stop was to the area in which my James Moore owned land before 1700.  Trevor explained that that the area was called Northern Liberties.  It was outside of the official area of Philadelphia in the time period that James lived.  Vine Street would have been the northern boundary of Philadelphia.

I will add a map here when I update this site

I had done a bit of homework that I showed Trevor.  He drove me to Front Street.  We believe that we found the spot where James and Rose's property would have been.  From the map that Lynn sent me, it looked as if the lot was just where Marg (aret?) Street came into Front Street.  But the problem that I had was that I couldn't find Marg (are?) Street on a modern map.  Trevor helped me find the spot where an old street came into Front Street.....the old trolley tracks are a sure clue to the fact that it had been a street before the Interstate came through.  The area that was there was not pretty enough to photograph.  There is a storage facility in the area on which we agreed most likely for actual lot of James and Rose.  But Trevor and I were standing on the spot on the street that would have fronted their residence/land.

Front street in the area is not much different than it would have been many years ago except for the buildings and cars and etc that are built along it.  It almost looks like an alley.

In this area, the homes would have been right along Front Street.  But Penn, who was very much a proponent of everyone being equal, required that the land owners maintain steps that were public for anyone to have access to the river.  The steps would take one down from Front Street to Water Street and the actual wharves and the river itself.

The below are the original steps leading from Front Street down to Water Street and the wharves and River below.

These stairs would have been in place during James and Rose's time in Philadelphia.  However, they may not have been the stairs closest to their home.  The next photo is a photo of Front Street at the same stop as the stairs:

I would never have found any of this without Trevor!  The rest of the evening was his choice as I had seen what I most wanted to see.  Trevor made the city come alive for me!  One other thing that I want to mention is that one one the particularly interesting sites was a market site in the west of the city.  Trevor explained in early days there would have been a market similar to it on Market Street and also one up north in North Liberties on North Market Street which is the street that would have ended on the river at the land of James and Rose.  I'll try to find a photo of the market to add here when I have more time.

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