One Time In Bucks County . . .

Bucks County Bits

 The flag Washington & the Continental Army used in 1774 had red & white stripes with a Union Jack. There were many other variations until June 14, 1776 (now Flag Day) when Congress supposedly asked Betsy Ross to create a flag with 13 alternating red & white stripes & a blue field with 13 stars representing a new constellation. “…the stars from Heaven, the red from our Mother Country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her… (Washington). Betsy’s flag is thought to have first flown at Moland House in Warminster while Washington was headquartered there.

       It’s Graduation Time in Bristol!

1904 St. Mark’s graduating class: Katie Brogan, Anna McIlvaine, Mary Motz & Rose Dougherty (with Anna Coughlin of Tullytown). 

Bristol High School class: Mary King, Margaret Ahlee, Estella Winter, Anna Simpson, Anna Bartan, Edgar Haney & LaGrande LaRue.

Are you related?

Bristol Hish School 1904

The road between Grundys Corner & Samuel Hulme’s farm along the Neshaminy Creek in Bristol Township was made of crushed oyster shells. Oysters were a very popular food in the early 1900s, with many restaurants serving them, & roads a foot thick made of the leftover shells. Once compacted, they could be as hard as cement, & under moonlight, the road was bright, with a slight phosphorescence.

Piles of oyster shells
Oyster shells

In 1865, emancipated slaves honored Union Troops buried in a mass grave in Charlestown, S.C. by re-burying them, adding headstones, & decorating the graves with flowers. The Grand Army of the Republic veterans, & many others, continued decorating graves of fallen Civil War soldiers every May 30th. Perkasie began their parade in 1892, & by WWI Decoration Day was being called Memorial Day, with poppies (from the poem “In Flander’s Field”) becoming a tradition. Many ceremonies continue today, including taking a moment at 3PM to remember our fallen heroes.

Last three GAR members from Perkasie
Decoration day

Author, naturalist & retired doctor Ralcy Husted Bell was worried about vandals in his Doylestown summer home, Sycamore Lodge. So he wired shotguns  throughout the house that would be triggered if someone tried to enter. It worked. Dr. Bell was found dead of a gunshot wound just inside the door.

Book by Ralcy Bell
Poem by Ralcy Bell

Solebury school teacher & poet William Satterthwaite lived at the base of a red sandstone hill overlooking the Delaware. Mrs. Satterthwaite liked to spend money, & they were soon broke. William climbed the hill with the intend to plant cash crops, but was bit by a Coppernose Rattlesnake. Nutimus, Lenape Chief & Medicine Man was called & treated him with an herb & Calamus Root mixture, saving his life. The area has since been called Coppernose Hill.

Copperhead Snake
Calamus Root flower

Two Thousand years ago, Roman Britain soldiers celebrated the start of Spring by dancing around decorated trees to thank the Goddess Flora. Later, & still today, a Maypole is used on May 1st, also celebrating nature & fertility. In 1777, Continental Congress declared  May 1st St. Tammany Day, in honor of the Lenape leader who signed the peace treaty with William Penn. He is believed to be buried along the Neshaminy Creek.


Getting ready for WWI, the government took 11 farms (1087 acres) in the Penns Manor area to build an arsenal. The farmers received only partial payment for their land. By 1921, the arsenal closed, the land sold to the Warner Company, who then sold it to Van Sciver. Warner & Van Sciver, using much of the land in this area, distributed sand, rock, gravel & concrete, with Warner developing the cement truck delivery system. Then there was U.S. Steel, & G.R.O.W.S. Landfill, & Waste Management.
The area is great for birdwatching.

Waste Management

There’s a documentary about Leon Redbone –  “Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone”. Sorry, Leon. With no formal training, he loved to honor songs from the past. Funny, mysterious, often mumbling, always in his Panama hat, jacket, dark glasses & thin tie, he lived in New Hope & loved John & Peter’s.  He perormed for Budweiser, Chevy, All, Ken L Ration, & sang at Adam Sandler’s wedding. Credits include Elf, Mr. Belvedere, Harry & the Hendersons & Saturday Night Live. Very private, he lied about his age, his parents, his birthplace & why he wore sunglasses, & pretty much everything else.

Leon Redbone

The 1st National Draft occurred during the Civil War, suddenly creating  many new Quakers. Others were creative with their excuses: Oliver Harper of Falls Township had a stiff ankle, Henry Cooper suddenly went deaf, while William Kelly went blind. Isaac Chapman of Wrightstown had a ‘defective eye’ & Dr. Benjamin Collins had a strange ‘white swelling.’ Weak lungs didn’t work for Elwood Williamson.

Draft Notice

Adrian Cornell hired two masons & a carpenter from Bristol to help build his new large, stone house just outside of Richboro. They walked to work every day for 6 months, working 10 hour days, over 12 miles each way. They earned $1 a day.

Bristol to Richboro

Loof Lirpa, a fisherman from Lower Black Eddy, became a legend when in April, 1805, he harpooned a 31 foot, 100 lb sturgeon that was feeding on the shad in the Delaware River. The beast dove, dragging Loof into the water. He swam to shore, losing his catch. Later, in the Black Family Hotel, no one believed his story. They laughed & made fun of his Norwegian name, yelling LOOF LIRPA backwards.


Ringing Rocks Park in Upper Black Eddy has 7 acres of boulders piled 10 feet tall. Some of these rocks ring like a bell when struck with a hammer. In 1890, Dr. J.J. Ott & William Buck made a lithophone; a musical instrument made of 200 lbs of these famous boulders arranged according to pitch. Accompanied by the Pleasant Valley Brass Band, Dr. Ott played “Home Sweet Home” & “Sounds from the Ringing Rocks” for the Buckwampum Historical Society of Bucks County.

Ringing Rocks Park

Children with mental disabilities were either institutionalized, or kept hidden, but schoolteacher Mollie Woods Hare felt this was wrong. In 1913, she created Woods Services in Langhorne to educate & treat those with special needs. Through individualized plans, they learn to live an ordinary life in a home-like environment. 

Mollie Woods Hare
Original Woods Schoolhouse

In the 1950s, Infantile Paralysis (Polio) infected over 58,000 people in just one year, leaving 21,000 paralyzed & 3000 dead. Dr. Jonas Salk invented a vaccine & recruited Dr. James Wolk of The Farm School (Delaware Valley University) & Gladys Nickleby Nelson, Doylestown School District school nurse, to run clinics. Gladys opened & ran the 1st U.S. inoculation clinic. She then created a national campaign to administer over 4 million doses at clinics she oversaw across the country. All this while still working as a school nurse.

Gladys Nickleby Nichols
Doylestown School Nurse

Sally Weatherbee, the prettiest girl in Upper Makefield, fell in love with Toby, who was scheming with Old Jonas to get rich quick. On Leap Day, Hitty, Jonas’ daughter, asked Toby to marry her & share in her inheritance. He accepted & went to break up with Sally, who was celebrating her February 29th birthday. But Toby & Sally decided to elope, taking off in a carriage. Hitty found out & cut them off on the road, scaring the horse & knocking the carriage into the creek. Sally was killed. She returns each Leap Day in her pink dress, looking for Toby on Deep Glen Road.

George Washington slept here. Well, George slept all over the place in Bucks County. Everywhere, that is, except the Black Bass Inn in Lumberville. The innkeeper was a Tory and refused to let Washington stay.

Black Bass Inn

Sarah Lukens Keene, heir to the Lenox Family, was beautiful, intelligent & personable. She was courted by John Hare Powell. Sarah’s aunt & guardian told Powell, “Miss Sarah is intended for the son of a Duke or Lord, not for the son of a brewer”. Defeated, he left, later becoming a very prominent Philadelphian. Sarah died an old maid. Her abandoned house, known as the Haunted House of Bristol, has been replaced by the Grundy Library.

Sarah Keene
Keene House

In 1782 there were 520 slaves registered in Bucks County. The last three (aged 10, 6 & 8) were finally freed by Ann Bering of Doylestown in 1824. They were free, but she required them to remain as indentured servants until they reached age 28 ( a standard practise).

Jeremiah King bought an inn in Cuttalossa & leased it to Samuel Runk in 1818. Runk asked King to put up a sign, so that customers could easily find the place, but Runk refused, saying that he was facing hard times. So Runk took some tar & painted the words “Hard Times” on an old shutter, & hung it on the building. The name stuck.

Hard Times Tavern

Swearing was not tolerated in Bristol Township in 1685; just ask Jasper Lun. He was indentured to Derrick Clausen, who slapped him for not doing his job properly. Jasper used a few choice words, & then a judge sentenced him to 15 days in prison with just bread & water, & a fine. His friends paid the fine, which angered the judge, who then added 15 days to his indenture. Jasper exclaimed “Golly Gee Willikers!”.

                   While attending George School in Newtown, Julian Bond learned about non-violent social change & community service. He was later selected to study with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which led to sit-ins, Freedom Rides to register Southern black voters, & eventually, Chairman of the NAACP. In 1965 he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, but other Reps refused to seat him because he opposed the VietNam War. Bond appealed to the Supreme Court & won back his seat. He was the 1st African American nominated as Vice President by a major party, but was too young to hold that office.

Julian Bond & MLK

The Blizzard of 1888 brought 65mph wind gusts, 20′ snow drifts & single digit temperatures. Birds couldn’t fly, men attempting to walk were thrown against each other, hats flying away. A Reading Railroad train heading to Doylestown was stranded on the tracks. One man was so overcome that not even brandy could revive him!

New York

Traditionally, the New Year began on March 25th, based on the Julian Calendar. In 1751, it switched to the currently used Gregorian Calendar, & January 1st. The Doylestown Armory greeted 1922 with their Annual Ball. Tickets were .55-.75 cents & guests dressed in the new free spirited short skirts (just below the knee) & casual suits.

Doylestown Armory

The Volstead Act banned intoxicating spirits, which led to Prohibition, which then led to a fire in the Trio House Apartments in Perkasie. The investigation uncovered one of the best equipped distilling operations in Bucks County. A crowd formed at the site & everyone looked “surprised” at the discovery. They then “helped” clean up, by carrying off much of the inventory.

Trio House Apartments

Bristol streets were first illuminated by electric light in Winter of 1889. At precisely 6 o’clock, “the light flashed and dispelled the gloom”.

For several years, a deer lived inside the Elephant Hotel in Bedminster. It liked to hang out behind the bar, & was known to dance around the Christmas tree & play football. One day, it went outside for its usual walk & never returned. Perhaps it moved to the North Pole.

Elephant Hotel

After his victory in Trenton, Washington recrossed the Delaware, eventually settling in Valley Forge. On December 19, 1777, he noticed Private Asher Pollack sitting by himself over some lit candles. Asher explained it was Hanukah & this symbolized the burning of oil by the Maccabees: one day supply lasted eight days. The Menorah reminded the world of the great miracle. ” I know another miracle is at hand…we will beat the British”. Years later, Washington presented Asher with a medallion saying, “this candle & your inspiring words ignited a light in my heart that night”.

Valley Forge
45587084 - image of jewish holiday hanukkah with menorah traditional candelabra, donuts and wooden dreidels spinning top. retro filtered image

The potato famine in Ireland forced many to immigrate to the U.S. In 1849, some found employment at the Durham Iron Company Furnace, unfortunately, at the same time Bucks County was hit with a cholera epidemic. A man from a canal boat may have infected Mr. Hough, the locktender, & it spread to the furnace workers, killing many of them. Edward Keelon, the foreman, attended every funeral.

Durham Iron Works
Cholera Epidemic

Leidy’s Hotel in Blooming Glen had a large lot of turkeys for sale in November 1888 according to the “Central News” paper of Perkasie in their special Thanksgiving Day edition. The headlines were listed as: Snow; Prepare Rubbers; Thanksgiving Day; Prepare for Winter.

They reminded, “No people have more reason to be thankful than we, for the bountiful harvests, prosperity, & peace”.

The Central News Paper
Thanksgiving Meal

Robert Purvis, founder of the Anti-Slavery Society Of Philadelphia, “President” of the Underground Railroad, & member of The Philadelphia Vigilance Committee, worked with his brother Joseph, & Lucretia & James Mott, to help several thousand escaped slaves reach freedom through their farms in Bensalem. He then formed the Library Company of Colored People (with Ben Franklin) to “enlighten its members on literary & scientific subjects” through readings, debates, lectures & a collection of six hundred books.

Robert Purvis
African Episcopal Church Of St. Thomas where the library was kept

While General Greene was headquartered at the Hinkle’s Inn (Brick Hotel), a Newtown soldier who was ill was left behind by his regiment. He was assigned to guard workers on State Street who were making uniforms for the Continental Army. When he was in the building attic, they were attacked by some Tories. He managed to defend the building for a while, until being fatally wounded.

Remember Our Veterans

General Nathaniel Greene & Brick Hotel

Private William Hill  was a landsman on the USS Harvest Moon during the Civil War. At the time, the Navy was the only fully integrated part of the military. He survived the sinking of the ship, but was ordered to dive to retrieve Admiral Dahlgren’s papers. After the war, he settled in Yardley & captained a canal boat where he employed escaped slaves.

Bell House & Bell Family gravesite

                                 Dudley Bell inherited Bell House on Radcliffe Street in Bristol from his father Frank. After converting it to apartments, Dudley would knock on tenant’s doors, sometimes in his pajamas, just to see if any repairs were needed. He loved the house & took great care of it. After his death, tenants continued to get knocks on their doors, only no one was there when they answered.

Bell House & Bell Family gravesite

Richard Hough came to America in 1683 on the “Endeavor”, settling in Makefield (from Macclesfield in England), later called Yardleyville. He married Margery Clowes in the first Quaker wedding in America, & helped lay out the original townships. As a member of the Provincial Assembly, he rode his private wherry (boat) down the Delaware to Philadelphia regularly. In 1705, his boat sunk, drowning Richard.

Richard Hough House

The Bristol Base Ball Club was a AA team playing at Persimmon Park in 1907. The new balls were slippery, so chewing tobacco juice was rubbed onto them to give them more grip, but the players objected to it. Russell Lena Blackburne created a secret recipe of mud from the Delaware Valley that worked perfectly. Today, Lena Blackburne Rubbing Mud is still the only legal product that can be added to a baseball ( & even some footballs).

Bristol Base Ball Club

There’s a 2,150 foot long, narrow, creepy train tunnel in Perkasie. An engineer, possibly Charles Krous, either looked out the window at the caboose, or died & his head leaned out the window. He was decapitated & the train continued on by itself to Quakertown.

Perkasie Tunnel

Willet Boileau, the village blacksmith had “arms like iron bands”. He made all of the horseshoes in Langhorne. While the shoes were being made, his customers were entertained behind the shop playing on his “Farmer’s Golf Grounds” (horseshoe court).

Blacksmith (not Willet)

Spiritualism was big in 1848 when Kate, Maggie & Leah Fox, the “Rochester Rappers”, appeared at the Neshaminy Falls Grove in what is now Parkland. They held seances, & spoke with the dead through a series of taps or thuds the departed created in response to the girls questions. Later, Maggie admitted it was fake, done by moving an apple on a string under their long skirts. She later retracted her confession.

The Fox Sisters

Harold “Hurry Back Harry” Bothwell ran the Carversville Inn bar in the 1940s. He had a line of miniature dog houses that he called “Dog House Row’ which contained the name of whatever local resident was currently “in the dog house” with his wife.

Carversville Inn & Harry at the bar

In 1928, the Wistar Institute of the University of Pennsylvania set up research labs on Red Cedar Hill. It was a center for vaccine development (Rubella) & cancer research, using the Wistar Rat, an albino Norwegian Rat bred by biologist Helen Dean King, free of disease & parasites found in other rats. It became the standard for scientific research. With their help, there have been breakthroughs in cardiovascular medicine, neural regeneration, diabetes, space motion sickness & transplantation. The center closed & Levitt built 17,000 houses on the property.

Wistar Research Lab in Red Cedar

You’ve seen that single shoe laying in the street & wondered what happened to its partner, right? In 1904, Samuel Turner of Bristol stepped out onto his front porch & found a set of false teeth & a single cigar. Hmmm…

Hulmeville Councilman John Johnson proposed a dog tax in the 1870s. There would be a $2 charge for all female dogs in the Borough. Punishment for not paying the tax was death (for the dog) by the Tax Collector. The public was outraged, & when it was discovered that none of the council members who voted for the tax had female dogs, the proposal was abandoned.

Radium, formed by the decay of Uranium, was used extensively in the medical & military industries. It was produced in the early 1900s by Angus Cameron & Dr. Siegfried Kohn (friend of Marie Curie) in Sellersville at the Radium Corporation of America, (the only Radium plant in the U.S.) It was well known overseas, but rarely talked about locally, unknown to most residents. Later, when some waterways began glowing orange, authorities denied knowledge.

Radium Faced Clocks

The Rag Man was a homeless wanderer who frequented Milford Square in the 1930s and 1940s. Once monthly, residents would hear his loud whistle as he made his way through town to collect rags and bones for resale to manufacturers. Against the creaking of his horse-drawn cart, he’d call out “Rag Man, any rags or bones” and would collect them by the pound to make money.

Rag Man
Milford Square

June 1903

The Board of Health has issued its annual notice to residents of Bristol Borough to cleanse their cellars of all dirt & vegetable matter calculated to engender disease. Walls must be white washed with lime once a year. The Health Officer will visit every house to investigate sanitary conditions.

Board of Health
White Wash

Adam Weaver of Haycock Mountain stole 31 chickens from a neighbor. Two hours after being released from jail he stole some brooms. Later he robbed Henry Mills General Store. When four constables came to arrest him, he shot them and his wife threw rocks and boiling water at them. Erwin Mondeau died becoming the first law enforcement officer to be killed in the line of duty in Bucks County.  Adam fled and was never found.

Erwin Mondeau
Haycock Mountain

The train station in Falls Township was called Frog Hollow. The Brown sisters were embarrassed to tell their friends they lived there, so they promised the train conductor they would bake him a cake if he could get the name changed. Both sides fulfilled their part of the deal, & the station became Penn Valley.

Early roads were full of ruts & puddles, so to raise money for repairs, long poles called “pikes” were placed across them. Someone would stand by the gate, collect a toll, turn the pole aside & let the driver pass through. People started calling these roads “Turn Pikes”. The first one was on the King’s Highway between Bristol & Morrisville.

King's Highway Bristol

William Penn’s Original Ad For Pennsylvania

Air is clear & sweet, summers long & hot, winters short & cold. It produces oak, cedar, mulberry… grapes, peaches, huckleberries…  partridges, turkey pheasants… There are springs & rivers with sturgeon, eel, swans… There are good pease, hopps, beans.

William Penn

While working as a toll collector at the Centre Bridge in 1841, George Fell was washed away as a sudden roar of water filled with buildings, animals, boats & ice destroyed the bridge. Clinging to a plank, George was swept down the Delaware River, barely making it under the New Hope Bridge & the Washington Crossing Bridge, both of which collapsed behind him. Over the falls, he stopped only when Edward Nickleson of Yardley risked his own life to pull him out of the river.

Centre Bridge
New Hope Bridge

Chief Donald Medvic of the Nottingham Fire Company in Bensalem started a clown unit. The firemen wore their jackets inside out, made wigs of old mop heads & “put out” fires with a hose that leaked all over. They marched in parades with a sign that said “Don’t clown around with fire”.

It was the bottom of the ninth & getting dark. Hulmeville was winning 1-0. The pitcher, Howard Black, called the catcher “Dutch” Afflebach over. Blackie slipped the ball to Dutch & said he would fake a pitch if Dutch would fake a catch. It worked! The ump called strike three & Hulmeville won the game. The batter said he hadn’t even seen the ball go by.

Philadelphia Quakers

After being robbed in 1931, Lino Amalia Espos y Mina asked William & Lucretia Chapman for refuge at their Andalusia Boarding School for Students with Speech Concerns. Shortly, he began an affair with Lucretia. William died rather suddenly, & Lucretia & Lino were married. Witnesses said they had seen Lino buying arsenic in Philadelphia, & Lucretia serving chicken soup to her husband. Trials followed, with Lucretia being acquitted & Lino found guilty of murder. He had been a notorious con man with many aliases.

Carolina Amalia Espos y Mina

In 1911, a Bristol Elks member decided it was a good idea to bring an alligator home from Florida. It was kept in a fenced area at the Lodge, but escaped into the  Delaware River. It was spotted sunning on the wood diving platform & at the wharf. Walter Bowker & Agent Cook of the Dolphin Fleet finally caught it & took it to live in a tank in the window of Joseph Fox’s Fish Market.

Original Elks

The men of the 104th Regiment (almost all from Bucks County) were not happy with the bread the Army provided during the Civil War. General William Davis found some ovens & the men began baking & selling their own bread. In 1868, the proceeds from those sales were used to build the Civil War Monument in Doylestown & hold the first Decoration Day Parade. The 155th Memorial Day Parade honoring our veterans will be held this week.

Orphans decorating graves of their fallen fathers
Decoration Day Parade

One of the first public officials in Bucks County, Phineas Pemberton, was Deputy Register, Clerk of Courts, Prothonotary & Chief Administrator for William Penn’s new county. He was also on the Provincial Council, a Member of the Assembly, Master of the Rolls, Register of Wills, Surveyor General & Receiver of the Proprietary Quit Rents. He laid out roads, recorded births, deaths & marriages, & ear marks for identifying cattle &  swine. He lived in Falls Township, at his home, Bolton Mansion.

Phineas Pemberton
Bolton Mansion

In 1850, Passenger Pigeons were so abundant you could throw a net into the air & catch over 150. A decoy on a stool would be used to attract them…a stool pigeon. Mr. Corson of  New Hope captured the last 11 pigeons in Bucks County, but was unsuccessful at breeding them. He set the last one free. Passenger Pigeons are now extinct.

Walking back to Doylestown after choir practice, Walter Evans, Albert McGettigan & Orville Wright, Jr. noticed that the outdoor cooler at Lewis’ Atlantic Station was left unlocked. Naturally, they helped themselves. The police saw them walking & asked if they knew who took the sodas. While denying it, Walter dropped his hidden bottle on the street with a loud crash. The boys took off, hiding in the cornfield until the police gave up looking for them.

Bristol Police Officer James Sackville, investigating growling dogs, came upon a strange winged creature by the canal. He shot at it, to no effect, & it first hopped, then flew away, screeching loudly. Later, Postmaster E.W. Minster saw it flying over the Delaware River. Many others, mostly in New Jersey, encountered strange hoof prints, & an animal that looked like the devil —- the Jersey Devil. (1909)

Schools actually closed in NJ for fear of the Devil.

The Bristol Pile Drivers played the new, experimental sport of Basketball just 7 years after its invention. They joined the 1st ever National Basket Ball League, playing against the New York Wanderers, the Millville Glassblowers & the Camden Electrics. Coach Phenomenal Smith & player Harry Hough lead the way to the 1902 championship with a score of 28-12.

Phenomenal Smith, also a champion baseball pitcher

A farmer working in Bensalem treated himself to a new pair of pants. He decided to surprise his wife by wearing them home. When he reached the Hulmeville Bridge, he took off his old pants & threw them into the Neshaminy Creek. He reached into his bag for the new ones, but they weren’t there. They had disappeared. It was a rather drafty walk home.

Old Levi's found in mine

In their long skirts & high button shoes, & led by founder Marie Kister, the women of the Doylestown Nature Club began their three hour hike at dawn. They studied birds, plants, stars, every part of nature. Their goal was to educate & protect through show & tell (with a live snake that escaped), lectures, cat corrals & maintenance of Henry Mercer’s Fonthill Bird Sanctuary. Started in 1904, they continue today.

Langhorne Trolley

The Battle of Langhorne 1899

The PA Railroad refused to allow trolley tracks under their train bridge on Durham Road in Langhorne. Riders would get off one car, trudge up the hill & catch a car on the other side. Over a weekend, Langhorne Trolley Co secretly laid tracks. The RR tried to tear them up. The Newtown Fire Co shot water at the workers. The RR workers chopped the fire hoses with axes. The battle lasted 2 hours with the RR winning. They fought their way up to the Pa Supreme Court where the RR gave in when it was discovered the bridge construction was improper.

Langhorne Trolley

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

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