One Time In Bucks County . . .

Bucks County Bits

Martha Crealey & Mary Parsons were inseparable best friends living across the street from eachother in Hulmeville in the 1820s. They played catch with acorns, tossing them over the road. Unfortunately, both girls died young, but two mighty oak trees grew from the fallen acorns. As they grew, their lower branches intertwined to form an arch over Langhorne Road (Bellevue Avenue). Mary’s tree lived over 100 years, growing to 90′ tall.

Tilton House & Mary's Tree

Samuel Slack ran a Temperance House & library overlooking Lake Afton in Yardley. It later became a hotel with 4 rooms, 2 stores & a barbershop. Henry Brown, the barber started a fire while drying hair in the stove, & destroyed the entire building. It was rebuilt in 1876 as the Continental Tavern.

Continental Tavern
Hidden Finds

Dorothy Parker (Pipersville), known for her scathing wit & commentary, was a founding member of the writer’s group, The Algonquin Round Table. She was a poet, wrote the screenplay for “A Star Is Born”, & wrote negative reviews of plays & books, including “Winnie The Pooh”. She left her estate to Martin Luther King, Jr to help fight for civil rights. She was “a drinker with a writing problem” & coined the phrases “men seldom make passes at women with glasses” & “don’t look at me in that tone”.

Dorothy Parker

Selma Burke (New Hope) was an unknown black sculptor when she won a contest in 1943 to create a bronze relief of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Commissioned to sculpt from photographs, she insisted that Roosevelt actually sit for  the portrait, making her the only artist to create an image of FDR from life during his presidency. Her sculpture is the basis of the image on the U.S. dime. She went on to sculpt many prominent black figures, to teach, & to fight for equal opportunities.

Selma Hortense Burke & the FDR relief
Burke in a sculpting class

Robert Bracken was the first Bristol casualty in WWI. An American Legion post was named in his honor, & that post sponsored what is now the Bracken Cavaliers, one of the oldest, still performing, junior drum & bugle corps in the U.S. Started as a Boy Scout troop marching in parades in the 1920s, the alumni now ride a float at many local events. Happy 99th Anniversary Brackens!

Bracken Cadets
Cavaliers Music

William Penn wanted Pennsylvania to be based on peace & brotherhood. He named one of his first places Philadelphia – City of Brotherly Love. Because of his kindness, no white men were killed by Indians for the first 70 years of the colony’s existence, & Pa was the only one of the original 13 colonies that had no forts or cannons, & no army.

Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks

Frank Burns, a white man, bought 80 acres in Bensalem to provide a place for black people to live outside of the city. Linconia (near Lincoln Highway) was built in 1923. Most residents were treated poorly; refused mortgages & loans. They lived without indoor plumbing or electricity, & had mud roads. Concord Park, an integrated neighborhood, was built next to Linconia & they joined together to become Lin-Park. Today it is a thriving community.

House on Linconia Avenue
Fred Ellzy, longtime resident

After churning, butter must be separated from the buttermilk by kneading (or working) it. Lettie Smith of Wrightstown invented & patented a new “Labor Saving Butter Worker” in 1853. It chilled the butter while it was being worked, drained the milk, & weighed the finished product.

Lettie later graduated from the Women’s Medical College of Pa, & opened her own practice in Newtown as Dr. Smith.

Butter Workers

 Tyro  Hall School, built in 1790, was the first school house in the Mechanicsville area. One student hid behind the lifted lid of her desk, trying to sneak an apple unseen. The teacher did see her & had her stand in front of the room & eat the entire apple while the class watched. This was made worse by the rather unpleasant flavor of the not so fresh fruit.

Tyro means novice.

Tyro Hall School

         Howard Tierney of Newtown, father of actress Gene Tierney, was charged in 1953 with willfully & maliciously killing his neighbor Dorothy Martin’s horse, Peter. The horse was killed by a .22 caliber bullet that Tierney shot “to scare the animal from his property”.  No determination was made by the Bucks County Grand Jury.

Mr. Tierney had previously been in the Bristol Borough jail for passing a bad check to Graeber’s Lumber.

Howard Tierney
Gene Tierney

                           In 1855 the German Evangelical Lutheran & Reformed & Mennonite Church of Applebachsville in Haycock Township, near Lake Towhee,was built & was open to visiting ministers to come & preach…except for Methodist preachers, to which “no permission under any circumstances shall be granted”. Ouch!

German Evangelical Lutheran & Reformed & Mennonite Church

Way back when, New Years was celebrated with  First Footing. The first person to step foot in your house after midnight should be tall & dark, & come bearing gifts of coal, bread, money & greenery. Coal for warmth, bread to ensure enough food, money for spending, & greenery for long life. Blondes were bad luck.

French & Indian War

Way back when, New Years was celebrated with  First Footing. The first person to step foot in your house after midnight should be tall & dark, & come bearing gifts of coal, bread, money & greenery. Coal for warmth, bread to ensure enough food, money for spending, & greenery for long life. Blondes were bad luck.

First Footing

In the 1950s a church group played handbells on the Garry Moore Show & America fell in love. Jake Malta, working for the new Schulmerich Carillon Co, designed a new bell, then left to start his own company, Malmark Bellmasters of Plumsteadville, now the largest bell maker in the world. Jake used recycled bronze, then aluminum to make the bells lighter for that distinctive holiday sound.

Jake Malta

The Winter of 1917-1918 is one of the coldest on record in Bucks County. There was a heavy rain , then a 10 day freeze, then snow. Temperatures ranged from 2F to -29F. The Delaware River froze with 20″ of ice near Trenton. Drivers choose to drive their cars across the river from Bristol to Burlington; no need for the ferry.

Ferry at Bristol
Frozen Delaware River

In response to the attack on Pearl Harbor, Secretary of the Navy William Knox requested high school shop classes to create scale models of military planes to be used to train personnel in aircraft recognition. Bristol High School was selected. Each student received a certificate with a military rank; the more models he made, the higher the rank.

                         Thomas Cooper, a reknowned Shakesperean actor, won the house at 722 Radcliffe St in Bristol in a card game. Once married, he & his wife Mary didn’t want to expose their children to their  rather active social life, so they built a second house at 800 Radcliffe Street for the children & their nursemaid to live in. The houses were connected by a covered walkway.

Thomas Cooper
Mary Cooper

Charles “Pop” Bolton purchased a farm in Silverdale in 1933 & began raising turkeys. The birds were all natural, hatched & raised on the farm, no antibiotics. Today, the Bolton family is known for the double breasted birds. They raise 10,000 a year & remain the only turkey farm in Bucks County.

During Prohibition in Newtown, Justice of the Peace Leon Milnor moonlighted as a grocery delivery person. When you ordered potatoes, you got vodka delivered.

During WWII, the men were overseas fighting, but baseball was still America’s Favorite Past-time. The All-American Girls Baseball League was formed to fill the gap. Ruth Richard of Sellersville batted left & threw right. She was a 6 time All Star & won 3 championship titles. She made it into the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame, & the league was immortalized in the movie “A League Of Their Own”.

Rockford Peaches

You’ve seen that old single shoe lying in the street & wondered what happend to its partner. Well, in 1904, Samuel Turner of Bristol Borough stepped out on to his porch at Wood & Lafayette & found a set of false teeth & one cigar. That must be an interesting story.

During a Revolutionary winter, the Bickley Family was living in Pen Ryn Mansion in Andalusia. Son Robert married a local woman, against his father Abraham’s wishes. They fought, & Robert was banished from the house & disinherited. Distraught, he threw himself into the Delaware River & drowned.

Now, during a full moon, Robert’s wet, debris covered ghost rises out of the water, approaches the house & bangs on the door. Refused entrance, he & his wife ride off on a waiting black horse.

Pen Ryn Mansion

In 1902, a Mr. Burns, staying at the Delaware House in Bristol, rented a horse & wagon from Roberts Livery Stable, but never returned it. Police Chief Saxton (not the same one) tracked him to Philadelphia. The chief  took the train to 6th & Girard, found the horse & wagon, but not the thief. He waited over night, then brought the wagon back home with him. Now that’s fine police work!

Delaware House

When spirit medium Karen Hluchen walked into the basement of the  Old Colonial Inn (OCI) in Hulmeville, she immediately felt the presence of a dead cow, which was rather unusual for her. When questioned about it, owner Dean Casmirri said that when he first bought the tavern, he found a butchered cow in the walk-in refrigerator in the basement. Apparently, the previous owner had bought an entire cow, had it butchered, but never used it.

Wow, ghost cows!

Old Colonial Inn

Hilltown Township’s Village of Schnabletown, named for Abraham Schnable, changed it’s name to Fair Hill, probably because of the incredible views. It was said, on a clear day, you could see Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, Lehigh, Berks, Philadelphia & Northampton Counties, & maybe a little New Jersey.

Fair Hill

The Village of Smoketown got its name because the original Dutch settlers were frequent long pipe smokers. In 1710, the North & Southampton Reformed Church was built, & the name was changed to Churchville.

Dutch Long Pipe
North & Southampton Reformed Church

Prior to 1800, the village of Dolington had only three buildings. Two were homes built by Peter Dolin, the third was a store, which later became the Dolington Hotel. The hotel became the first saloon to be closed by the WCTU (Woman’s Christian Temperance Union).

Members of the WCTU

Just a few of the musicians who have called Bucks County home:

Paul SimonSolebury,

Tony Russo  –  Bristol,

Deen & Gene Ween  New Hope, Oscar Hammerstein-Doylestown, Christina PerriBensalem,

Pink Doylestown,

Leon Redbone  New Hope, John Kuzma & David UosikkinenLevittown,

Paul Whiteman Doylestown,

and, of course – The Dovells!

Don’t miss the Doo Wop/Oldies on the River Show this weekend.

Oscar Hammerstein

Around 1860, galena was discovered near Brandt Farm along the north Neshaminy Creek. Galena is the ore lead is extracted from, so several mines were established in New Galena & worked for about 70 years using just picks & shovels. In 1974, with the mines closed, a dam was built creating Lake Galena & Peace Valley Park.

Lake Galena/Peace Valley Park

The Bracken Cavaliers are one of the oldest, and first, drum & bugle corps in the U.S., having started in 1924 as a Boy Scout Troop. They are sponsored by the Bracken American Legion Post No. 382 (in Bristol), & named in the honor of Robert Bracken, the first Bristol casualty in WWI. Listen for the Cavaliers in parades, concerts & veteran’s events.

Bracken Cadets (Cavaliers
Robert Bracken

J. Milner King of Bristol Township was a mailman for 35 years. His R.F.D. (Rural Free Delivery) route covered 37 miles a day to 470 locations, carrying over 1250 pieces of mail at a time. He wore out 5 horses, & then 5 automobiles. Nothing kept him from “the swift completion of his appointed rounds”. He never missed a day.

Rural Free Delivery Vehicle

There were so many rounded river stones when John McMaster started his ferry service in 1765, that the area along the Delaware was called Pebbletown (later Brownsburg). The stones were sent by truckload to Philadelphia, Bristol, Doylestown & elsewhere to become cobblestone streets.

Cobblestone Road
Elfreth's Alley, Phila.

William Penn’s sons decided to hold a lottery to sell 4,000 acres of land in Springfield Township, later known as the “Lottery Lands”. They sold 7,750 tickets at 40 shillings a piece (1 shilling = 12 pennies), allowing the winners, mostly German immigrants, to choose the size & location of their plot.

Penn John
Thomas Penn

Cock fighting was a popular form of entertainment for the Jibaros (farmers) of Puerto Rico. It was illegal, however, in Bucks County, punishable by a 5 pound fine & loss of liquor license if held at a tavern. But Jibaro dancing & music can still be found in Bristol, especially at the Puerto Rican Day Festival this week.

Cock Fighting

It was a Saturday in 1979 when 25 truckers blocked the Five Points Intersection in Levittown to protest gas prices. The crowds grew, & got rowdy. Cars were set on fire, a farmer’s market was destroyed, and the County declared a state of emergency. By Sunday, over 2000 people were throwing rocks & beer bottles at the police.

The price of gas had risen to $1.00.

Five Points Riot

Wallace Burt expected to be paid $1 for cutting the lawn, but he returned the scythe unsharpened, so Samuel & Leanah Rightly only gave him .75 cents. Supposedly, he came back at night & bludgeoned them to death with a hatchet, then set their bed on fire. A plug of his brand of tobacco was found outside the “Murder House” (Holland). He was convicted, & became the last person hanged in Bucks County.

Samuel & Leanah Rightly
Wallace Burt

The Sleepy Hollow Ranch in Pennsburg had a rodeo & racing, but was best known for the music. Uncle Elmer & Pancake Pete with the Sleepy Hollow Gang began with hillbilly music like George Crackers & Just Plain John,  then  Roy Rogers (& Trigger!), Jimmy Dean, Loretta Lynn, Minnie Pearl…& then Frankie Avalon, Bill Haley & the Four Aces Western Swing (Comets), Jan & Arnie (Dean) & the Ink Spots. They had their own live radio show on WFIL & the Hayloft Hoedown TV show on ABC. The ranch was destroyed by fire in 1963.

Lord Stirling

Hay was scarce in 1779, the troops having taken most of it. Thomas Watson of Buckingham saved one stack to share with his neighbors, but his landlord wanted it. He tried to buy it with Continental money, which had little value, & Watson refused to sell. The landlord had him thrown in jail in Newtown, & sentenced to hang. Mrs. Watson pleaded with Lord Stirling (while he was conveniently inebriated). To stop her tears, he let her husband go free.

Lord Stirling

“It looks as if Ireland is to send all its inhabitants hither, for last week 6 ships arrived, & every day, two or three” more.          James Logan, 1729.

Many settled in Warwick, Warminster, Warrington & Northampton Townships, & later were responsible for St. Joseph’s U., LaSalle U., Villanova U., & Princess Grace of Monaco.

Enjoy Celtic Day this week!

Princess Grace
James Logan

Linda Salley, quilter & President of the African American Museum of Bucks County, tells how patterns on quilts hung on fences helped slaves escape North.

A wheel meant hide in a wagon; a basket = the property owner allows you to pick from his garden; a bowtie = you will be clothed here; flying geese = head North as the goose flies; a sailboat = a ship is waiting.

The North Star = Freedom!

The Boat
Escaping Slave

Merchants in Doylestown used to dump their trash on Pine Street. It got so bad, the sidewalks were now lower than the road surface. In 1895, Mrs. Richard Watson began dragging a water sprinkler around to control the dust, & asked for the first public trash cans. The Borough refused responsibility, so Judge Yerkes, saying it was no place for a lady to drag her skirts, had the city fathers indicted by a grand jury.

Pine Street
Judge Harmon Yerkes

Bristol Weekly Courier, 1912

How to make dishwashing easier…Stack plates by size in a wash pan. Place other pieces in a second pan. Stand silverware upright in a pitcher, cover all with hot water and soap powder & let sit overnight (after all, all work is easier in the morning). The grease will rise to the top of the water. Just rinse & dry.

20 Mule Team Borax Dish Powder

Like “the merchant leaving his counter, the bookkeepper his desk, the blacksmith his forge & the carpenter his bench”, Capt. William Wynkoop  of Johnsville (Warminster) & Newtown, left his crops in the field & “mustered in his simple dress, for wrongs to seek a stern redress, to right those wrongs, come weal, come woe, to perish or o’ercome the foe”.

From: Thaddeus Kinderdine, & from “The Confederate Spy” by R.H. Crozier.

Wynkoop residence

The Atlantic Shad spawns every Spring in the Delaware & Schuylkill Rivers. The Delaware becomes fresh water above Morrisville, so Shad caught further up are particularly tasty. Near starvation, Washington’s troops were scavenging for snails & mussels when millions of fish appeared before them. Sated, the men went on to fight in Valley Forge & Washington declared the Shad his favorite fish. Did the Shad change the course of history?

Fishing for Shad

Everyone in the ’30s knew the Cat & Fiddle Restaurant in Tinicum Township because of the giant coffee pot on the chimney. But if you were lucky, you might have seen the owners,  Joseph & Carrie Aaron riding a unicycle high above the road on their tightrope. They were the former trapeze artists known as Diavolo.

Cat & Fiddle Restaurant

Bucks County Quakers frowned upon horseracing, mainly because of the gambling associated with it, but William Penn liked to race his horse Tamerlane. So they, like many others, would go to America’s first race course on Sassafras Street in Philadelphia to compete on the long, straight road. Sassafras Street was later renamed as Race Street.

Catch the Kentucky Derby this week.

Another Tamerlane

Joseph Valachi of La Cosa Nostra wanted to testify against the Mafia, but feared he would be killed. Gerald Shur of Warminster came up with the idea to protect criminals after they testify – the US Federal Witness Protection program. He processed each witness personally & none who have followed the rules have been attacked. Coincidentally Shur entered the program himself after a threat. He didn’t like it.

Joseph Valachi

When Charles Hicks died, his slave County Cornwall was sold & the money was inherited by his son Edward Hicks of Langhorne & Newtown. Edward, following Quaker principles, was uncomfortable keeping the money, so he offered it to “Corn” to purchase his own freedom. Corn did, and spent the rest of his life in Hulmeville working at a mill. Corn got his physical freedom, & Edward got his spiritual freedom.

Saturday is Edward Hicks Day in Langhorne Boro.

Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks

Paul Rick & his son built the chicken house on their farm in 1950, only to see it destroyed by an intentional flood that created Lake Nockamixon. Rebuilt now on Durham Road, Rick’s Egg Farm’s Leghorn chickens still produce enough eggs to keep the Easter Bunny happy.

Paul Rick Egg Farm

With just six houses in the 1800s, Babytown (Warminster Township) was known for having 32 babies at one time.

Fifty years later, a visitor was disappointed to find only one baby, though it was making enough noise to make up for all the others.

Babytown Houses

A supply of pork was stolen from Vredens-Hof (Abode of Peaceful Rest), Judge Henry Wynkoop’s home. The thief, a mason, left a trail of pig blood leading right to his house, where he was quickly arrested. He then became the first resident of the new Newtown jail, which he had helped to build.

Judge Henry Wynkoop

In 1912, Knickerbacker Davis & Walter Tryon formed the Bucks County Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, & began riding around on a motorcycle investigating reports of cruelty.

The first shelter was built in 1930. In 1973, the SPCA saved 1,800 Green Stamps to get a 2-way radio for their new ambulance.

In 2019 they rescued 141 cats from just one house, & found a new home for inseparable best friends, Waffles & Hemingway, a horse & a goose.

Knickerbacker Davis & Walter Tryon

In 1784, local celebrity Ben Franklin wrote “An Economical Project”, jokingly pointing out that if people started their day at sunrise, rather than the more common noon, there would be a great savings  in the money spent on candles. This system would work for six months each year.

William Willet repeated the proposal in 1904, more seriously, but people felt that changing the clocks would be “lying”.

William Willet

Quaker Susan Hayhurst of Middletown Township taught at several country schools before attending & graduating from the Woman’s Medical College as a physician in 1857. At age 63, she graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, becoming the first female pharmacist in the U.S. She kept practising for 33 more years.

Susan Hayhurst

                        George vs Abe

George ‘s family was rich, Abe’s was poor.

George was a good archer, swimmer, wrestler, fencer & pool shark. Abe was a professional wrestler.

George invented a 15 sided barn & a new plow. Abe was the only president to get a patent (for inflatable chambers to lift boats).

George powdered his natural hair. Abe was the first president with a beard.

George loved to drink (too much). Abe never touched alcohol.

George spent a great deal of time in Bucks County. Abe, very little.

When Sabrick Sollers died in 1834, Basil Dorsey was promised his freedom. Sollers’ son, however, asked for $350 for his release. Presented with the money, Sollers raised the price to $500. Dorsey & his family escaped to Bensalem. Later recaptured, they fought in court, with Dorsey declaring his freedom, & Sollers now asking for $1000. The Judge asked Sollers to prove that slavery was legal in Maryland, Sollers showed the “Laws of Maryland” as proof. The judge declared that it was not a certified copy & dismissed the case.

Basil Dorsey Headstone

James Logan fell for Ann Shippen while she was living at Pennsbury Manor, but her father had other thoughts. He wanted her to marry Thomas Story, who had better prospects. The two suitors fought publicly (verbally, as they were Quakers). In the end, Ann married Thomas in 1706. She died four years later. The two men never  resumed their friendship.

Thomas Story
James Logan

In 1832, the Briggs, Bosley, Fraizer & Mount families raised $25 to buy land to build the first African Methodist Episcopal Church in Bensalem. Little did they know that famed abolitionist Robert Purvis (of Phila. & Bristol) would use their church as part of the Underground Railroad to help some 9000 fugitive slaves to freedom. The Bensalem AME Church is still an active congregation today.

Bensalem AME Church
Robert Purvis

Robin Tiesler operated Piper Hill Ski Slope 

in Pipersville, the only ski slope in Bucks County. He would pile a “pimple” of snow at the top of the small hill to create a starting mound. Robin also invented the Tiesler Ski Binding, to attach the boot & ski to each other. The lodge is now the Cactus Grill.

Anne Allen at Piper Ski School
Ski Lodge

In 1692, eight municipalities were named in Bucks County:   Pennsbury, Buckingham, Middletown, Salem, Newtown, Makefield, South Hampton and…

The last name was left for William Penn to choose. He took so long, locals started calling it “that township near the falls”. Falls Township.

William Penn

In 1685, John Tatham (alias Gray) & Joseph Growden, bought neighboring plots of land in Bensalem from William Penn. A silver mine was found on the border between the two, & law suits were filed. The properties were surveyed repeatedly, each moving the property line as suited their owner. The battle lasted for years, & the silver was never mined. Is it still there?

Growden Property Map

Bucks County Drive-In opened in Doylestown in 1954 showing “Knights of the Round Table”. They closed in 1998 with a double feature “Wayne’s World” & “Grease”. In 1956 the screen was blown down in a storm. The movie showing that night was “The Rains of Ranchipur”.

It is tradition to eat turkey for Christmas dinner because turkeys scratch the ground backwards, pushing back the old year.  Pork is eaten on New Year’s Eve because pigs dig forward towards the upcoming year.


Have a happy & healthy 2022.

Irish immigrants to the Colonies brought with them their Winter tradition: A single lit candle in the window if they had some food to spare. A stranger passing by would know he was welcome to stop in for a friendly meal.

Welcome Friend

Standish Forde Hansell was a bit quirky, & very eccentric. He built the Penguin Flyer Restaurant on Route 13 in Bensalem in the 1940s. It looked like a train coming out of a tunnel. He also dug Dinosaur Lake on his family farm. It had an island with two 8″ tall cement dinosaurs, & a giant snake wrapped around a tree. It is now part of Bensalem Country Club.

Dinosaur Lake

Cadet Booz had his throat destroyed by hot sauce during a hazing incident at West Point Academy. He was dismissed, & later died from starvation. Other cadets refused to testify against their drill instructors at the military trial held in Bristol. All but one… Cadet Douglas MacArthur told the truth, helping get the instructors convicted.


On a chilly day in 1889, gypsies traveled down Doylestown-Centreville Pike & stopped at Rebecca Swain’s house. A naked 2 year old was taken in & clothed. A mile down the road, the child was again naked, & again clothed by local women. By the time they reached Mechanicsville, the child probably had a full wardrobe.

From Bucks County Panorama Magazine

Mechanicsville Farm
Mechanicsville Mill

Ed & Laura Taifer operatedEd’s Diner in Doylestown for about 40 years. They started in a one room building, eventually expanding to a stainless steel diner. Thanksgiving there was special. The feast included roast turkey, filling, two vegetables & a roll, for just 60 cents! And don’t forget the hot apple dumplings with vanilla custard for dessert.

Ed's Diner

Pen Ryn Mansion (Bensalem) has a closet with a hole in the door for the owner to stick his head through. A servant, inside the closet, would powder his wig, thus keeping his clothes clean. Rancid pomades were used to keep the powder on. Perfumes were sprayed to hide the odor.

In 1777, a woman in Bristol woke to find a mouse trapped in her hair. Both screamed so much, the police were called. People took to napping with a mouse trap next to their heads.


Powdering a wig

In the late 1800s, Barnum & Bailey combined their circuses. During the winter, some of the animals enjoyed a vacation in Bucks County. They came by train to New Jersey, then were crossed over the Delaware River bridge by local kids to three farms in New Hope, Stover Mills & Plumstead.

Elephants, & horses, & camels, oh my!

Ringling Bros, Barnum & Bailey Circus Parade
P.T. Barnum

Mary Anne had to explain to her boss why she was late for work – again. It was the Yardley Ducks. 

J.C. McCormick had a duck farm on Dolington Road in Yardley. Some ducks were released & set up home in Lake Afton. Over a hundred years later, their descendants like to stroll across Main Street, stop, preen, then continue on – all during rush hour, regardless of the traffic. Yardley residents learn to “Brake for Ducks”.

Yardley Duck Farm
Peking Ducks

The Pemberton Mansion (now the Bolton Mansion) in Bristol Township may be the most haunted building in Bucks County. One former resident fought in the Civil War on the side of the South, against his father’s wishes. Upon his return, his father refused to forgive him. He was so distraught, he hung himself. His love interest, Mary, was so upset she hung herself as well. Both have been seen in the mansion, along with a little girl & a ghost cat.

Bolton Mansion
The Pembertons

An elderly woman sits in her attic room at the Pineapple Hill Inn in New Hope, waking guests with the whirring noise from her spinning wheel.

Footsteps of the owner, John Scott, can be heard coming up the spiral staircase. He then wakes the female guests with a light kiss on the cheek.

Both have been dead since the early 1800s.

Pineapple Hill Inn
The Bedroom


Public Road – King’s Highway 1686

County Seat & Courthouse – 1705

House of Correction – 1722

Post Office – Postmaster Jos. Clun – 1790

Successful use of artificial respiration – Dr. Henry Desborough – 1810

Telephone Exchange – 1883

Non-roving Physician – Dr. James DeNormandie – 1800s

Marriage by Proxy – Narciss of Spain – 1816

Successful Operation of a Steamboat – John Fitch – 1787

The 45th Historic Bristol Day

is Sat, October 16.

John Fitch Steamboat
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Angelo Sarino went to Trenton to look for work. He walked both ways across the railroad bridge. On the way home to Morrisville, a train came, so Angelo laid down on the tracks, & miraculously, the train rode over him, leaving him unharmed. He got up, lost his footing, & fell to his death.

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Martin Johnson Heade was considered one of the most interesting & varied painters of the 19th century. He grew up in Lumberville, his parents owning the building that later became the Lumberville General Store.

At 18, he took lessons from Edward & Thomas Hicks, who was just 14 at the time. Heade was known for his incredible flowers & hummingbirds, as well as landscapes, portraits & still lifes.

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 The 1923 Boy Week Celebration in Doylestown ended with 12 year old Curtis Lyons being crowned the marble champion, & Eugene Gardy’s dog “Mutt” voted the “best plain dog in the show”.

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   Tony Russo is Bristol’s very own Doo Wop singer. He grew up in the Borough & “learned to sing in the train tunnels & on street corners”. He performed with the Street Corner Five, Destination, Nostalgia, Danny & The Juniors & the Duprees.

This weekend is the Doo Wop festival. Do you think they’ll play the Bristol Stomp?

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                Mary Ann Wiley

of Skunk Hollow, Bucks County asked for a divorce in 1780 because of her husband’s love for the “Devil’s Dealing”. He could think of nothing but playing cards for money. He was a good player, with some games lasting a week. As soon as Samuel won, he would ride his horse to the next town to challenge their best player. The divorce was granted.

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It was a Saturday in 1956 & yet the kids were happily going to school. Walt Disney was there for the dedication of the elementary school named for him in Tullytown. He created murals & animation cells for the walls, & the students got to name the rooms – Capt. Hook for the principal, Mermaid Lagoon for the girl’s room, Never Never Land for the boiler room.

Disney himself only made it to 9th grade, after being told he was dumb, & should stop drawing & telling stories.

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In 1705, the Bucks County seat was in Bristol. The new courthouse had a gallows & a whipping post. Drunks were placed in the stocks for public humiliation. One swear word brought 5 days at hard labor, with just bread & water. Poverty was a crime. Public assistance required a red or blue “P” on your right shoulder. Arson, rape & witchcraft were punishable by death. Twenty lashes were frequent, regardless of sex.

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Dr. George Fox, surgeon & owner of Harriman Hospital, also had a practice on Radcliffe Street in Bristol. Mark Swift had been a patient of his, & later had the opportunity to move into that house where Dr. Fox saw patients. While doing work on the house, he found medical papers stuffed in the walls. They were records of his own appendectomy surgery.

Dr. Fox House
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When Howard Sine opened his 5 & 10 cent store in Quakertown in 1912, he probably never thought it would be run by the 5th generation of his family today. They still serve breakfast & lunch at the soda fountain counter, while hundreds of model planes & trains circle overhead. Take a step back in time; say “Hi” to the regulars, have some Scrapple, & enjoy that Rootbeer Float at Sine’s 5 and 10.

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Sines 5 and 10

Bert Jervis, Jr.’s 1st experience in theatre was at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, as a set builder & all around assistant. He worked with Rob Reiner, who had the job of raising the curtain & turning off the mill’s waterwheel (so the actors could be heard on the stage). He was the only one strong enough.

Bert later changed his name to Burt Ward, & became known as Robin, Boy Wonder, sidekick to Batman.

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“Daisy”, a Labrador Retriever, is a “Courthouse Comfort Dog”, and a good listener. She comforts witnesses & victims at Doylestown Court House while they wait to testify.

“Dallas”, a German Shepherd, is the “George Clooney of the dog world”, says her breeder, Maryellen Kish of Upper Bucks. Dallas is one of less than 12 dogs to win 100 Best of Shows.

“Bowie”, a Belgian Malinois, won on the “America’s Top Dog” show with his partner, Bensalem Police Officer Robert Schwarting.

Kenneth Kauffman (West Rockhill) was a judge for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the 2nd oldest sporting event in the U.S. (after the Kentucky Derby). His Sealyham Terriers, loved by celebrities, are an endangered breed, partly because of their need for extensive grooming.

I think Digger Dogs (Bristol) could do the job. Donna, our hearts ache.

Hitchcock & his Sealyham
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Belgian Malinois