Roxborough/Manayunk/Wissahickon Section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

HOME - Land Introduction - John Land - Samuel Land and Mary Ann Law Land and Their Children - Lydia Law Land and Her Children - Shoddy

The Roxborough/Manayunk/Wissahickon Section of Philadelphia

The following members of my family lived in the Roxborough/Manayunk/Wissahickon section of Philadelphia in the the late 1800s and early 1900s.

  • My paternal great, great grandmother, Lydia Law Land, and her children

  • Lydia's sister Mary Ann Law Land, and her husband, Samuel Land, and their children.

  • Lydia's sister, Isabelle Law Land and her husband, Thomas Wailes, and their children.

The Law/Lands had come from Batley, England. Batley was the center of manufacturing for a particular wool cloth called shoddy.

Textile mills were located in Manayunk since the 1820 and 30s. There was at least one shoddy mill in Manayunk.

The Schofield family who were originally from England founded Economy Mills. It was built in 1857 near Rector Street (formerly Robeson Street) between Main Street and the Schuylkill River. The Dobson family, also from Yorkshire, married into the Shofield family. The Dobsons also founded mills in Manayunk.

This area of Philadelphia is/was made up of several neighborhoods including Manayunk, Roxborough (Roxboro), and Wissahickon. The area is roughly triangular in shape. It is bordered by the Schuylkill River on the south and southwest and Wissahickon Park on the north and northeast. The land slopes downhill on both sides of Ridge Road. The Schuylkill River side is a rather steep incline. Roxborough is above Manayunk Avenue. Roxborough was the neighborhood where many of the mill owners and company executives lived and where St Timothy's Church is located. Samuel Land and his family are buried in St. Timothy's Church yard.

Lydia Land lived for a number of years on Pechin Street near Shurs Lane in Roxborough. A large old mill stands on the corner of Shurs Lane and Pechin Streets.

I have several Manayunk/Roxborough addresses for the Lands. With the exception of 176 Lauriston Street, I believe that all of the building the family lived in are gone - mostly replaced by newer buildings.

Manayunk is below Manayunk Avenue. The shopping area was/is in Manayunk along Main Street at the bottom of the hill and near the river. The area along the river contained many mills and warehouses.

Wissahickon is a small section in the southeast. Vassar and Kalos Streets (where Samuel Land and Lydia Law Land lived for some period of time) are both in the Wissahickon section.

In October 2007 Regina Wakefield emailed some reminiscence of Manayunk/Roxborough,

As I looked at your postcards I remembered the "ageold" discussion about where Manayunk began and ended. I grew up in the 200 block of Rector St. Above Terrace St. and a few houses below Manayunk Ave. We would fight to the last breath to say we lived in Roxborough even though we were below Manayunk Ave. We were above the cliff, our phone exchange was Roxborough 8 and our post office address was Roxborough 28. Manayunk was 7 and 27! Of course, now it is very chic to live in Manayunk but believe me, in the 40's it was not. In fact, to a child of that time, Manayunk was scary. Just thought you might like to read my "looking back" thoughts!

Regina Wakefield
formerly of 250 Rector St - Roxborough!

For more information on shoddy go to Shoddy. For more information on Lydia Law Land go to Lydia Law Land.

City of Philadelphia describes the three neighborhoods as follows:

  • Manayunk — North of Schuylkill River, upstream from the mouth of Wissahickon Creek. From the Native term meaning "where we go to drink." Renamed from Flat Rock after a brief interlude as Udoravia.
  • Roxborough — Also known as Rocksborrow and Roxborro. Located between the Schuylkill River and Wissahickon Creek above Manayunk.
  • Wissahickon — West of Wissahickon Creek, adjacent to Roxborough.

Postcard Captions by Harry Garforth

Harry Garforth, a local Manayunk-Roxborough historian, has graciously shared some of his research on the area.

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Schuylkill River and Expressway

A view of the Manayunk, Roxborough/Wissahicken area of Philadelphia.

The S Bridge over the Schuylkill River at Manayunk, Philadelphia, Pa, built in 1884.

No postmark

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Philadelphia Pennsylvania R.R. Bridge, Manayunk

Not posted

Pennsylvania R. R. Bridge, Manayunk, Philadelphia, Pa.

Posted 1921

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Manufacturing district Manayunk, showing Baker & Co's Ripka Mills and McDowell Paper Mills, Manayunk, Pa.

No postmark

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The trestle in the foreground belongs to the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR). The trestle allowed the PRR to descend from the "S" bridge, high above the Schuylkill River down to the Pencoyd Steel Mill on the west bank of the river. This trestle crossed over the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad tracks and used a switchback to achieve the change in elevation.

Harry Garforth, 2005

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The large church in the center of the picture is St John the Baptist Roman Catholic, 146 Rector Street, Manayunk.

Part, if not all, of the buildings visible in this image are the Economy Mills owned by by the Schofield family. These mills manufactured blankets for the Union army during the civil war.

Philadelphia a Bird's Eye View of Manayunk.

No postmark

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck


No postmark

In November 2010 Faith L Smith identified the round building at the left of this images as part of the Manayunk Wood Pulp Mill. At Faith Smith's suggestion see The Jessup and Moore Paper Company

The Free Library of Philadelphia online map collection includes several volumes of Hexamer General Surveys (some dated, some not). Volume 9 (1873) indicates that the large round building was the "Evaporating Building & Furnaces" for Manayunk Pulp Works. The small building immediately to the right is the "Filter House". The large white building with the light grey roof housed the "Boiling House", "Bleach House" and " Wood Chopping & Beating Engine House". These buildings are somewhat different in appearance in the 1874 schematic than in the above image.

MANUFACTURE: Wood Pulp only — No paper manufactured on the premise. 140 hands (136 men 4 boys). Lessees: Jessup & Moore and Martin Nixon

The mill was located between the Schuylkill and the Manayunk Canal north of Flat Rock Paper Mill.

The next series of lighter buildings with darker roofs belonged to the Flat Rock Paper Mills owned by Martin Nixon.

Main Street, looking South from Levering, Manayunk, Pa.

No postmark

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The trolley tracks in Main Street belong to the Philadelphia Traction Company's Route 61. The service began as a horse car line but was later electrified on August 30, 1894. The trackage extended to Green Lane and Main Street. The route was further extended to Leverington Avenue and Main Street on October 25, 1909. Designation of this service as Route 61 occurred September 13, 1914. Trolley service continued until1941, when buses ran for a short period to allow reconfiguration of the overhead wire system for trolleybus operation. Trolley buses ran until March 13, 1961 when the line was converted to bus.

Harry Garforth, 2005

Manayunk P. & R.
Station, Manayunk, Pa

Sent in 1911.

Manayunk Reading Railroad Station at the intersection of Cresson and Gay Streets.

Harry Garforth, April 2006

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Interior St. John's R. C. Chutch, Manayunk, Pa.

Not posted

St John the Baptism Manayunk — since 1831

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Posted 1911

St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, Roxboro near Wissahicken, Philadelphia, Pa.

Not posted

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Interior St Timothy, Roxborough Philadelphia, Pa.

Posted 1909

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

St. Timothy's Hospital, Roxborough, Pa.

Not posted

St. Timothy's Hospital in now The Roxborough Memorial Hospital

Don Duffy, April 2006

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Ridge Avenue Methodist Episcopal Chruch and Parsonage Roxborough

Not posted

This may now be the Ridge Avenue United Methodist at 7805 Ridge Ave. at Shawmont Ave., Roxborough

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Leverington Presbyterian Church corner of Leverington and Ridge Avenues (1880-1928). No longer standing.

The Old Woods Barn (1750)

Formerly Used as a Church by Grace Congregation, Roxborough, Phila.

Not posted

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Eden Baseball Roxborough Team Manayunk, not dated

Print in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The Manayunk section of Philly 1907

The blue "x" shows the 1880 address of Samuel Land and Mary Ann Law Land.

The red "x" shows the 1920 addresses of:

  • Samuel Land and Mary Ann Law Land
  • Lydia Land and her daughter, Adelaide Land Daniels, and Adelaide's family

The Manayunk section of Philly 1907

The red "x" shows the location of St Timothy's Church where the family of Samuel Land and Mary Ann Law Land and several of their children are buried.

Print in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The Manayunk/Roxborough/Wissahickon section of Philly

I believe that "MANAYUNK" is in the wrong place. It should be below Manayunk Avenue.

Some Facts About Manayunk Development

A wool processing mill was built in Manayunk circa 1870 and by the late 1890s Manayunk had become a world class textile center.

The Pennsylvania Railroad came to Manayunk in 1884. In 1898 there were ads for the train to Atlantic City.

A trolly line to center City was completed in 1894.

In 1895 electric trains began replacing horse drawn carts.

Electric lights were available in 1898 from the Wissahickon Electric Light Company.

Fires in Some Mills in Manayunk

Fire was an ever present danger in most mills. Lists of fires in Philadelphia include the following mills:

  1. Richard Hay, Shurs Lane and Main Street Manayunk, fire 1881. (History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, Volume 3, John Thomas Scharf, Thompson Westcott)

  2. Sevill Schofield, Canal bank, Manayunk fire 1882. (History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, Volume 3, John Thomas Scharf, Thompson Westcott)

  3. Sciot Carpet mill of Thomas Scholfield, Manayunk fire 1882. (History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, Volume 3, John Thomas Scharf, Thompson Westcott)

  4. Albert Lees and Bros Terrace Street Manayunk, Shoddy mill fire 1882. (History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, Volume 3, John Thomas Scharf, Thompson Westcott)

  5. Enterprise Mills Main Street near Ridge Ave occupied by Joseph M Adams, Kelly & Wilher, Lord & Conner and John Wade & Bro., cotton and yarn spinners fire 1883. (History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, Volume 3, John Thomas Scharf, Thompson Westcott)

  6. Canton Cotton and Wollen Mill Fitzpatrick and holt, Liverington Ave Manayunk fire 1883. (History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, Volume 3, John Thomas Scharf, Thompson Westcott)

  7. Woolen mill of Robert Wilde and Son Liverington Ave near Hamilton Street, Manayunk fire 1883. (History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, Volume 3, John Thomas Scharf, Thompson Westcott)
  8. West Manayunk Mill, B Schofield, Jr 1892 (Geo History Resources)

  9. Geoffrey Luckhardt, Jr Manayunk, Philadelphia, March 29, 1892, fire (New York Times)

Economy Mill, Schofield Family

In 1883 Economy Mill was listed as a shoddy manufacturer and maker of wool blankets and clothes. The mill employed 850 hands: 480 men, 40 boys and 330 women and girls. For a history of the mill go to Economy Mills

Blantyre Mills

Blantyre Mills

Some Shoddy Mills in Philadelphia

Shoddy was developed in Batley Yorkshire in 1813. See Shoddy

W. M Hall, Shoddy Manufacturers and dealers in Shoddy Material Office No 25, North Front Street, Philadelphia, from postcard dated 1884. William Hall and Co was established by T. C. Hall and John H. Hall in 1867 in Landsdown Delaware C.. They were manufacturers of "fine shoddy' and dealers in wool and woolen rages.

Costs of Living in 1896 and 1898 As Indicated in The Local Manayunk Paper

In 1896 a 6 room house near the RR Station rented for $9.00 per month and was for sale for $800. Other rentals in new houses (no location given) were listed at $12 per month, selling for $1,200 to $1,486.

In 1898 the following rentals were listed:

  • 6 room house at 229 Kalos Street $13, per month
  • 7 rooms on Umbria Street, $10.00 dollars a month
  • 6 rooms on St David's Street, $10 per month

Mortgage rates in 1896 were $2.36 per week for $1,000 and $4.78 per week for $2,000.

It cost $25 for a new square piano and $14.75 for a solid oak bedroom suite.

A plot in west Laurel Hill Cemetery cost from $20 and upwards. There were 14 trains from Manyunk to the cemetery.

In the summer of 1898 it cost 15 cents to go round trip on the Fairmont Steamer. The boat made a circle between Riverside-Strawberry, Belmont, Zoo, Gardens.

Atkinson/Abdale/Wetten Families in Manayunk

In April 2011 Thomas Wetten emailed about his Manayunk connections:

I am descended from a few families that might have crossed paths with yours in Manayunk:

John and Jane Ann ATKINSON, their children, and John's mother & stepfather Jane and Thomas ABDALE came to Philadelphia from Stockton-on-Tees, Durham, England in 1871. William James & Caroline WETTEN and their children also came from Bath, Somerset, England in 1884. I have further researched their roots in Yorkshire and London, respectively. They all attended St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, and resided at variety of addresses in the area over the next 50 years or more. During the 1870s, the Atkinsons rented at Mrs. Israel's boarding house, which church benefactor J. Vaughn Merrick purchased about 1880 and donated to the church so it could become St. Timothy's Hospital. Roxborough Memorial Hospital now occupies that property.

The Abdales lived variously on Ridge Ave., Penn near Mitchell, Cresson near Ridge, Cresson near Dawson, etc. Their surviving daughter Mary Ann married George COOPER in 1875.

The Atkinsons lived variously at James & Ridge Ave., Ridge near Lyceum, Cresson near Adams, Penn near Mitchell (later #445, then 447), 4143 Pechin, & 4127 Pechin St. Their eldest son William Henry "Harry" married Annie DESCHIN. Their eldest daughter was Margaret Ellen who married William Robert WETTEN below. Their remaining surviving children were: Robert Hardy who married Elsie ?; Jane Ann who married Edgar F. MASSEY (both photographers); and Annie who married Howard BARRETT (who ran a flower shop). Several more died as children.

William & Caroline Wetten operated a store as confectioners in the 1880s, then again around 1900. They lived variously at 4096 Pechin St., 172 East St., on Cedar St. at an address that was #231, then was changed to 236, then 234, before the street name was changed first to James then to Jamestown. They remained there from 1888 until after 1933, when widowed Caroline passed away. Their eldest son William Robert married Margaret Ellen Atkinson in 1895 and they moved to 411 Walnut Lane until he died in 1904. Margaret Ellen ("Nellie") eventually moved to 189 Kalos St. before her death in 1921. Her eldest son Bob lived one block over at 223 Sumac. Wm. & Caroline's other children were: Laura Kate, who married George Jackson JOBBINS in 1895; Maud Caroline, who married Edward P. LUDY in 1897, George Richard, who married Margaret BOWEN in 1915; Harry, who married Esther GRAVER; Mabel Annie, who never married; and Maurice Alfred, who married Florence May WESTERMAN.

Although the Masseys were photographers, almost no photographs exist of any of the aforementioned people and places. If such things still exist, then they must have been passed on to relatives that lost touch decades ago.

Schofield/Dobson Families in Manayunk

In April 2015 Elizabeth Jeffords wrote about her family Scholfield/Dobson/Snowden who came from Yorkshire, (The Snowdens specifically form Birstal, Yorkshire) and founded mills in Manayunk.

Joseph Schofield and family were listed in the 1841 census in Rochdale, Yorkshire, in the township of Saddleworth on Den Lane: Joseph Schofield 40, cotton spinner, Mally Schofield 39, Sarah Schofield 17, John Schofield 14, Tom Schofield 12, Savill Schofield 9, Charles Schofield 6, Maryan Schofield 1, all were listed as born in Yorkshire. Note: On the boarder between Lancashire and Yorkshire, Saddleworth was historically part of Yorkshire, but was frequently listed under Lancashire.


  1. Sarah

    Sarah Schofield MOTHER: Mally Schofield, FATHER: Joseph Schofield, BAPTISM: 1 May 1824 - Hey, Lees, St John the Baptist, Lancashire, cotton spinner, Den Lane Saddleworth

  2. John

    NAME: John Schofield MOTHER: Mally Schofield FATHER: Joseph Schofield BAPTISM: 8 Apr 1828 - Hey, Lees, St John the Baptist, Lancashire, Den Lane spinner, Saddleorth

  3. Thomas circa 1834

  4. Savill c 1837

  5. Charles, son of Joseph Scholfield cotton spinner Den Land was born 26 April 1834 and baptized in Saddleworth, Yorkshie Providence Independent chapel

  6. Mary Ann c 1840

Joseph and Malley Schofield and their six children immigrated to Manayunk in 1845. Schofield, Jospeh 44 spinner, Mary wife 43, Sarah 27, John --, Thomas 16, Saville 13, Charles 11, Mary Ann 5, Marie 4 and Mollly Saville age 60 from Liverpool, arrived on 27 June 1845 at New York on the Sea.

The were listed in the 1850 census in Lower Merion as follows: Joseph Schofield 49, cotton manufacturer, Malley Schofield 47, Sarah Schofield 26, Thomas Schofield 21, manufacturer, Seville Schofield 19, manufacturer, Charles Schofield 16, manufacturer, Mary Ann Schofield 10, Maria Schofield 5, Joseph Schofield 2, all born England, Nest to them was John Schofield age 24 manufacturer born England and his wife Elizabeth age 21.

Sevill Schofield became a prominent Philadelphia textile manufacture, the owner of Economy Mills in Manayunk. Economy Mills

Seville Scholfield obit:


Sevill Schofield, one of the oldest and best known manufacturers in Manayunk, and long a member of the National Association of Wool Manufacturers, died suddenly, December 21, 1900, of heart disease. Mr. Schofield was born August 13,1832, at Lees*, near Oldham, England, and was a son of Joseph and Mallay A. Schofield. The family came to this country in 1845. In 1846, Sevill, in partnership with James Lees, began manufacturing yarns, in a small mill on Mill Creek, Montgomery County, and continued there until 1857, when Lees withdrew and Mr. Schofield continued the business. Several years later he joined his father in operating a small mill at Manayunk, belonging to the late William McFadden. They began with but six operatives, but the business grew, and the force was soon increased, and improved machinery introduced. Mr. Schofield afterwards formed a partnership with his brother, Charles, under the firm-name of S. & C. Schofield. At the outbreak of the civil war, the firm was among the first in Philadelphia to contract with the United States government to furnish blankets for the army. Charles Schotield withdrew from the firm in 1862, and the business was carried on successfully by Sevill, who added to the plant until it became one of the largest in that part of the city. On several different occasions the plant was destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt iind enlarged. In recent years, Mr. Schofield experienced several financial embarrassments, and the extensive mills were latterly conducted by James Dobson, his brother-in-law. Mr. Schofield was for many years a member of the Fourth Reform Church, and served as president of the board of trustees. He is survived by his widow, six children, two sisters, - Mrs. John Dobson and Mrs. James Dobson, and a brother, Charles Schofield.

(Bulletin, Volume 31 By National Association of Wool Manufacturers)

*Lees, Oldham is in Greater Manchester. Historically Lees was in Lancashire.

Sarah Schofield married John Dobson. John Dobson and his brother, James, were partners in the Falls of Schuylkill woolen mill. They were the owners of one of Philadelphia's largest woolen mills.

John Dobson, the founder of the business, came to this country in 1848, from England. A short time thereafter he started in the woolen manufacture on his own account, becoming associated with James Lees in West Manayunk. After several changes the mill was located at the Falls of the Schuylkill, and at the outbreak of the Civil War the manufacture of blankets was undertaken. Upon the invasion of Pennsylvania by the Confederate Army John Dobson organized a company from his mill for the Union Army, and while absent in that service the management of the business was undertaken by his brother, James Dobson, who had become connected with the enterprise. After the war was ended the brothers formed a partnership under the firm name of John & James Dobson. At that time the manufacture of carpets was begun. Later plushes and velvets were added and still later the making of worsted yarns was started. The business has continually expanded until today the company is operating five plants in Philadelphia and making blankets, carpets, rugs, plushes, velvets, cloakings, men's wear, and dress goods, and operating 47 worsted cards, 40 combs, 31,216 spindles, 39 woolen cards, and 1335 looms. It is capitalized at $9,200,000.

(Bulletin, Volume 51, By National Association of Wool Manufacturers)

"In the past few weeks death has been a frequent visitor in the Schofield family, of Manayunk, Pa., where for years its members have been actively identified with manufacturing industries. The latest victim was Charles Schofield, aged 69, the well known cloth manufacturer, who died last week at his home in Scott lane, Falls of Schuylkill. His brother, John Seville Schofield, died in St. Timothy's Hospital of blood poisoning following an operation, on February 22, at the age of 76. With their father, Joseph Schofield, and their brothers, Joseph, Thomas and Siville, the brothers came to this country in 1845, from Lancashire, Eng. The father died in the 50s, and was succeeded by the sons, who continued the business in Minayunk. Later each brother went into business for himself. All five brothers are now dead. Mrs. John Dobson and Mrs. James Dobson are sisters of the Schofields."

(Fibre & Fabric: A Record of American Textile Industries in the ..., Volume 37)

Obituary of John Dobson born 13 October 1827, Yorkshire, England:
John Dobson, a wealthy carpet - velvet and plush - manufacturer of Philadelphia, died at his home Wednesday, June 28, from injuries suffered on Tuesday by falling downstairs. Owing to his advanced age, eightythree years, he had little chance for recovery. He was the head of the carpet and woolen goods factory of John and James Dobson. He was born in Soudle (sic) Town, Yorkshire, England, in 1828. Coming to this country when twenty-two years old, he obtained employment in a woolen mill in Manayunk, Pa., and after working there for little more than a year he invested his savings in a small business of his own. The Dobson mills now constitute the largest individual textile establishment of its class in the United States.

(Millinery Trade Review, Volume 36. 1911)

James Dobson was married to Sarah Scholfield's sister, Mary Ann. John and James were the sons of William Dobson and Elizabeth. James was born March 6, 1837 according to his death record in 1926.

1825 Marriage May 23, William Dobson of Little Gomersal to Betty Snowden of Little Gomersal, Birstall, Yorkshire, St Peter.

Elizabeth daughter of John and Mary Snowden of Popeley Gate (Gomersall), 16 March 1806. John and Mary Snowden of Popeley Gate had a daughter Hannah in 1799 and a son, son John in 1802. At the birth of Rachel in 1814 (an another Rachel in 1817). John Snowden was listed as a Poperly Gate clothier.

They had other children. John Snowden married Mary Best both of Popeley Gate in Birstal parish church May 1st, 1797.


  1. William of William and Elizabeth Dobson Birstal farmer Sept, 28, 1825

  2. Mary 29 Sept 1830, Birstal St. Peter, William and Betty Dobson

1839: DOBSON Ann Delph, Saddleworth Oldham SNOWDEN DEL/2/51

1841 Census: Rochdale Saddleworth, Yorkshire, William Dobson 45, farmer, Elizabeth Dobson 36, William Dobson 16, cotton piercer, John Dobson 13, cotton piercer, Mary Dobson 11, cotton piercer, Jane Dobson 7, James Dobson 4, Ann Dobson 2

1861: Ashton under Lyne, Leesfield, Lancashire, England, William Dobson 65, farmer 15 acres, born Birstall Yorkshire, Elizabeth Dobson 55, born Birstall Yorkshire, Jane Dobson 26, cotton weaver, born Gomersall Yorkshire, Ann Dobson 21, dress maker born Saddleworth, Sarah Snowden 24, cousin, cotton winder, born Birstall, deaf and dumb, John Midgley 31, visiter, woolen weaver, born Birstall

James Stafford in Manayunk (1837-1904)


James Stafford, senior member of the manufacturing firm of James Stafford & Sons, Star Woolen Mills, Manayunk, Philadelphia, died from a complication of diseases at his home. He was born in Oldham, England, April 6, 1837. He was engaged as head bookkeeper at the woolen establishment of Seville Schofield for some time, and in 1874 started the Star Woolen Mills.

(Textile World Record, Volume 27)

The Work Force

Several of the families who set up mills in Manayunk came for either Lancashire or Yorkshire in England. The mills were built along the same lines as the mill os England.

Workers also came from England, with spinners and shearers form Yorkshire and carders and weavers from Greater Manchester.

How did people used to the cool damp climate of Yorkshire adjust to hot humid summers in Philadelphia? In 1899 Fibre and Fabric reported a big improvement in the textile business in Manayunk. The main problem was to secure enough workers. Help was "scarce". The piecers were on strike at Richard Hey & sons and at Arcola Mills, demanding higher wages. There pay was $7 a week and they re requesting an one dollar a week raise. Arcola mill work was described as "heavy" requiring strong "boys". Recent labor issues had forced many of the mill workers to seek employment elsewhere resulting in a shortage of available employees. Good weavers wer also scarce at the time. The Economy mills under the leadership of Dobson Schofield were doing well as was the spinning mill owed and managed by Clayton G. Rice on Shur's Lane.

Weavers from Yorkshire in Manayunk

  1. John Leech (1805-1893) John Leech, an old resident of Manayunk, died suddenly after suffering several weeks from general debility, at the residence of his son, Alfred Leech, James avenue, Roxborough, Pa.

    Mr. Leech was born in Yorkshire, England, October 7, 1805, and learned the trade of a hand loom weaver. He came to this country nearly 50 years ago and settled in Manayunk, where he was employed in the mills as a beamer. He was twice married. His present wife, Mrs. Lydia Cooper Leech, to whom he was married 15 years ago, is in England visiting a daughter.

    Notwithstanding Mr. Leech's advanced age, he retained all his mental faculties to a remarkable degree up to the time of his death, and was able to read ordinary print without glasses. He was a member of St. Stephen's Protestant Episcopal Church, Wissahickon. Besides his widow, four of his seven children, nineteen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren survive.

    (Fibre & Fabric: A Record of American Textile Industries in the ..., Volume 18, 1893)

    1841: Dalton, Kirkheaton, Hudderfield, Yorkshire, John weaver 35, Mary, 35, Hannah 12, William 10, Alfred 6, Ellen 4 James 1

    Immigration: from Liverpool to Philadelphia, arriving May 31, on the Isaac Newton, 1849 Leech, John weaver, 35, Mary 35, Hannah [?2?]5, no relationship entered, Mary Ann 13, Ann 11, Wm , 9 Jane Infant, Hannah , 14, --- 8, Ellen 10, Alfred 13 (from Mary Ann to Alfred relationship "child")

    1850 Immigration: Elliot Leech age 7 and Matthew Leech age 5 from Yorkshire to Philadelphia from Liverpool to New York on the william D. Lewall September 5, 1850. (No one else from Yorkshire, nor to Philadelphia, nor any other Leech near them on the list.)

    1850: Elliott, Matthew and Jane Leech the children of John and Mary Leech were baptized in April 1850 in St. David's Protestant Episcopal church in Philadelphia.

    1860: Ward 21, Liverington, John Leech 54, born England, $850, $500, Mary Leech 54, Ellen Leech 21, operative, James Leech 20, operative, Elliot Leech 17, operative, Mathew Leech 14, operative, all born England

    1880 Census: Saville street, not numbered, John Leech 73, beamer, Lydia Leech 65, wife

    1895: Arrival from Liverpool to Philadelphia, on the Southwark, Alfred Leech dob c 1835, overseer, US citizen, residence Manayunk, Roxborough

  2. James Field, a retired cotton manufacturer who came to this country in 1868 and located in Philadelphia, died in Manayunk last week, aged 72 years. He was born in Yorkshire, Eng., in 1822 and learned the business under his father, William Field, who was a pioneer in the introduction of textile machinery operated by steam power. He was a relative of the late Cyrus J. Field, of New York.

    (America's Textile Reporter: For the Combined Textile Industries, Volume 18, 1904)

    1862: Thomas Dyson Field was baptized 21 Feb 1864, in Kirkburton, All Hallows son of James Field, and Martha of Milnes Bridge (cannot read occupation too faint).

    Immigration: Field, James, 46, Martha 49, James 11, Dyson 5, Emma 3, on the Louisiane from Liverpool to New York, 18 Sept 1868.

    1870: Philadelphia Ward 21, James Field 46, --- wool mill, Martha Field 44, Thos Field 15, works wool mill, born New Jersey, Jas Field 18, born England, Emma Field 4, born England.

    1900: Ward 21, Terrace -----, Edmund Jones 67, Alice Jones 66, wife, Wm Jones 24, son, Annie Brown 29, daughter, Alice O Brown 3, granddaughter, James Field 79, border, born England, immigrated 1868 retire, Emma Field 35, border, born England, immigrated 1868, instructor of elocution, Catherine A Eastwood 60, border

    1904 Death:

Another Yorkshireman in the weaving manufacturing business in Philadelphia was Henry Brooks, son of George Brooks, was born near Huddersfield, Yorkshire.
Immigrated with his parents. Owned Oriental Mills in West Philadelphia. He was married with five children. Died 1908 of a heart attack.

1869: 1870: Lancaster ave West Philadelphia, George Brooks 51, shawl manufacturer, $5,000, $1,000, Sarah Brooks 50, Henry Brooks 24, laborer, Emma Brooks 17, David Winpenny 57, works in woolen mill, Joseph Hudson 50, works in woolen mill, Arther Jenkerson 21, works in woolen mill, Edwin Ellis 27, works in woolen mill, James Brooks 40, works in woolen mill, Alice Buckley 60, works in woolen mill, all born England. 1880: Henry Brooks 35, manufacturer, Mary Ann Brooks 32, George Henry Brooks 7, Emma Jane Brooks 6, John W. H. Brooks 4, Marshall A. Brooks 2

1900: Henry Brooks 55, born England, manufacturer, Mary Brooks 58, George Brooks 28, foreman, John Brooks 22, salesman, Marshall Brooks 23, Walter Brooks 16, Lloyd Brooks 9, Ella Godfrey 29, servant, Maggie Jones 23, servant

Death: Henry Brooks FATHER: George Brooks BIRTH: 28 Aug 1845 - England DEATH: 4 Feb 1908 - Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Health Issues - Work Dangers


July 30, 1889, A double boiler at the Freeland Carpet Yarn mill at the corner of Shur's Land and Freeland ave, Manayunk exploded. The boiler explosion at the three story building owned by Flanagan & Brothers instantly killed Joshua Ambler, age 12 of 177 Levering street. George D. Schofield, age 8, son of the mill engineer, was seriously wounded and died the next day. The Schofields lived at 163 Gay. James Stuart, age 20, was badly cut around the head and face. Several other mill hands were slightly injured from the flying debris. The mill employed over 100 men. The explosion occurred in the boiler house, a free standing building in the mill yard. Engineer Schofield and many of the men were eating their dinner when the explosion occurred. The two young boys were playing in the yard after having brought dinner to family members who worked in the mill. Large pieces of the boiler were spread around the yard. One, weighing about 800 pounds, was blown as far as Freeland ave about 200 yards away. All of the mills windows were shattered. An inquest determined there were defects in the iron, but the engineer and the owner had taken proper precautions. The deaths of Joshua and George were deemed an accident.

Mill damaged to the amount of $10,000.

Death of Joshua Ambler: Joshua Ambler, 30 Jul 1889, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, age 11 Father: "Joseph Schofield" Mother: Mary J FHL Film Number: 2080087, Leverington Cemetery,

Death of George D Schofield: 30 July 1889, age 8, Father: Joseph Schofield Mother: May J Scholfield FHL Film Number: 2080087, 163 Gay street,

1880: 180 Leverington, Joseph Schofield 23, stationary engineer, Mary J. Schofield 21, Thomas Schofield 6m

1881: Allen Ambler was listed a as a spinner.

1880: 169 Levering [?] street, Ambler, Allen age 46, woolen mill, Nancy 40, Thomas 17, woolen mill, Angelinna 13, school, Orlando, 13, wollen mill, William H 11, woolen mill, Frank 7, George [?] 4, Joshua 2

1900: Ward, 21, 177 Levering street, Allan Ambler 65, born England, grocer, Nancy Ambler 60, born England, William Henry Ambler 31, city police officer, Olando Ambler 33, mill picker room, George Albert Ambler 24, cloth finisher, Charles Ambler 18, carder in mill, George Winkler 15, grandson, Lizzie Antoniewicz 21, servant

1913: Allen Ambler father Joshua Ambler, born 7 Jan 1834 in England, died 18 February 1913, 177 Levering. Allen Amber son of Joshua Ambler and Harriet was baptized 6 Apr 1834 in Elland, Halifax, Yorkshire, England.

1841 English census - Huddersfield, Yorkshire, Lowhead Row, Harriot Ambler 45, James Ambler 15, factory, Joseph Ambler 14, piercer, Allen Ambler 7

"On the morning of October 17 a bad accident occurred in a mill in Manayunk Pa., occupied by the Manayunk Paper company. The head of a large cast-iron paper drying cylinder, thirty-six inches in diasmeter and weighing 800 pounds blew out."

Two men were badly hurt suffering multiple bone factures. One of the men was 69 years old and was not expected to survive.

1892: When a large boiler exploded at the McDowell Paper Mill Manayunk it killed the engineer and completely demolished the boiler house a brick structure separated form the main building.

1893: a duster machine charged with muriatic acid exploded in a mill in West Manayunk on August 31.

1894: A serious explosion occurred at the Manayunk Gas Light Company at West Manayunk


While oiling machinery in the quinine department of Powers & Weightman's Chemical Works, Falls of Schuylkill, George Shaffer, aged 39 years, of 3471 East Park avenue, was thrown against a large revolving fan by the slipping of a ladder on which he was standing. He was hurled to the floor, his right arm was fearfully cut and torn, his light hand slashed across the palm and one finger was cut off. He was taken to St. Timothy's Hospital in the Manayunk police patrol wagon. Three years ago Shaffer narrowly escaped being killed by the explosion of a retort in the same department. His injuries at that time confined him to his home for several months. (American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record, Volume 26)
Thomas Fiyer, aged 54, fell from a scaffold while at work on the new mill of Richard Hey & Sons, Manayunk, Pa., breaking and arm and sustaining other severe injuries.

(Fibre & Fabric: A Record of American Textile Industries in the ..., Volume 23)

Nicholas Balmes, an employe of D, W. C. Ellis & Co., Manayunk, Pa., had his left leg badly crushed last week, caused by a piece of shafting falling on him. He was removed at once to St. Timothy's hospital.

(America's Textile Reporter: For the Combined Textile Industries, Volume 18)

Health Issues - Polluted Water

There are several severe water born diseases including Cholera, Typhoid Fever and a variety of intestinal illnesses spread by microbes in polluted water. Before the understanding of microbiology many cities just want to get rid of the stinky stuff. The easiest way was to built sewers and dump the waste in the nearest river.

Philadelphia, was afflicted with cholera in 1832, 1849, and 1866. Cholera

Philadelphia was frequently effected by typhoid fever outbreaks. Coalition against Typhoid has a graph of the occurrence of typhoid in Philadelphia from 1860 to 1935.

Philadelphia introduced water purification by slow sand filtration between 1900 and 1911. Philly H2O

In 1886 there were three public sewers in Manayunk, several private sewers and a brook and a stream that were used as sewers. In addition there was a tremendous amount of industrial waste produced by the local mills. The major portion of this refuse was dumped into the Schuylkill River.

Google map 2015, Manayunk Pa.

In 1886 the Schuylkill river served the city of Philadelphia with drinking water.

Several cities and towns above Philadelphia used the river for drinking water and as a sewer. In addition to human and animal waste, mines, factories, mills and other industrial businesses dumped their refuse in the river. Consequently the water was already pretty polluted before it arrived in Manayunk. The biggest danger from the mill pollution was the human waste from the privies.

There were three public sewer lines in Manayunk as described in the 1886 Annual Report of the State Board of Health and Vital Statistics Volume 1 Pennsylvania. They are highlighted in red, green and blue on the map. They are not exactly as detailed in the report because some of the street names have changed. The red line ran for approximately 2,600 feet. The green line for about 3,500 feet and the blue line for about 1,330 feet. In addition there was a private line along the course of a natural brook and another along the course of a natural stream. The stream which ran along the upper side of Shurs Lane was used by several mills. In total there were about two miles of sewer which discharged into the Schuylkill river.

In the following report the amount of waste dumped in the river by the mills and other businesses was per day.

"These sewers receive not only the street washings and surface drainage from the greater portion of the most densely populated part of this district, but domestic waste water from more than 1,010 houses, (occupied, probably, by 5,000 persons,) either by direct connection or through the street gutters and inlets, (beside many others at such a distance from regular channels that most of the water is absorbed or evaporated,) and water-closet* drainage from about 65 houses, including the city police station, with 25 officers and an average of 7 or 8 lodgers, and many liquor saloons, representing a population of probably over 500 persons who have water-closet drainage into the river through the sewers of Manayunk. (Emphasis mine. MLB)

In addition to the above number of houses (1,000,) having wash water drainage into the river through the sewers, about 310 drain into a brook entering the canal at the foot of Leverington street, and 100 more into other brooks in the upper and lower portions of Manayunk, and into the river and canal directly.(Emphasis mine. MLB)

More than thirty mills or other manufacturing establishments in Manayunk drain into the river more or less completely. About half of them are located on the river bank, and the remainder quite near to it or on small tributary streams. The most common, as well as the most dangerous, pollution from these manufactories is the privy or water-closet waste, which, in more than half of the whole number, (at the time of my last inspection, in August,) discharged directly into the stream. (Emphasis mine, MLB).

The establishments having such arrangements last summer employ, when running at full capacity, over 2,300 persons. The largest, however, has not been in operation for about a year, and the next largest for six months, while the third largest was ordered by the Court to stop the practice, (and is reported by the Board of Health to have done so,) so that the number of mill operatives having water-closet drainage into the river at the beginning of the year was something less than 800.

After excrementitious matter, the most common pollution is from dyeing yarn and cloth and scouring wool and woolen goods.

The following is a list of the several establishments having foul drainage into the river at Manayunk, with a brief account of each: The uppermost is the American Wood-Paper Company's mill, situated between the river and canal, about six miles above Fairmount dam. Wood pulp only is made, the following quantities of raw materials being used per day: 34 cords of wood, (mostly poplar,) 21,000 pounds of lime, 12,000 pounds of soda ash, 4,300 pounds of chloride of lime, and 70,000 gallons of water. The liquid waste - weak solutions of lime, chlorine, and soda, with the juice of the wood is discharged directly into the stream, and the solid refuse, chiefly waste lime, is dumped on the river bank above the mill, whence much is washed away by high water. (Emphasis mine. MLB) The privies are over vaults, (said to be tight) 75 feet from the canal.

Just below the preceding, are Nixon's Flat Rock paper mills, using 10,000 pounds of domestic cotton rags, 16 cords of wood, 10,000 pounds of lime, 1,700 pounds of soda ash, 2,140 pounds of chloride of lime, and 20,000,000 gallons of water per day. All the liquid waste runs directly into the river with no purification. (Emphasis mine. MLB) Formerly, the solid waste also was dumped into the river, together with the ashes from 20,000 tons of coal per year, near the evaporating house, some distance below the mills, but since the first of last summer, this solid refuse has been taken to waste land above the mills, between the river and canal, which is reached only by the highest water. The water-closets discharge into leaching brick vaults, about 100 feet from the river. As there is a constant, though slow, passage of water through the ground from the canal to the river, probably some river pollution results.

Next below is a woolen mill belonging to James M. Preston. The principal pollution is from the dye-house, using 137 pounds of extract of logwood, 34 pounds of soda ash, and 34 pounds of blue vitriol per day. Privies for 250 operatives are over leaching vaults within 75 feet of either the river or canal, (some within 15 feet,) so that some pollution of this character is probable.

A. Bacher & Company's cotton mill is just below the preceding. In dyeing cotton yarn, the following materials are used, the waste from which discharges into the river after running a short distance over the earth: 3/4 pound of anilines, 3 pounds of bluestone, 47 pounds of catechu, 8 pounds of chrome, 3 pounds of copperas, 7 pounds of indigo, 10 pounds of extract of logwood, 1 2/3 pounds of madder, 10 pounds of soda ash, and 3 pounds of sumac per day, besides smaller amounts of other stuffs. Until last fall, the privies used by about 140 operatives were on the river bank, down which the excrements drained, and were washed by rains, causing considerable dangerous pollution. The arrangement was then slightly improved by a vault (not tight) under the privies, and it was agreed to have the contents removed. The ash heaps back of the mill contained much vegetable waste matters, dye stuffs, sacks, and casings, paper rags, etc., until washed away by the winter freshets.** (Emphasis mine. MLB)

The new mill of John and James Dobson, beside the canal, a short distance below the preceding, was claimed to cause no pollution last summer. During the winter of 1883-4, it did the dyeing for the "Rock Hill mill," of the same firm, in West Manayunk, using the following quantities of materials per day: 1 pound of anilines, 2 pounds oxalic acid, 3 pounds ammonia, 21 pounds alum, 7 pounds black dye, 77 pounds chloride of lime, 1 pounds bluestone, 11 pounds bicromate of potash, 10 pounds copperas, 2 pounds crystals of tin, 8 pounds camwood, 1 pound extract of quercitron bark, 60 pounds extract of logwood, (solid,) 8 pounds extract of fustic, 4 pounds extract of sumac, 22 pounds extract of indigo, 18 pounds Glauber's salts, 153 pounds chipped logwood, 16 pounds limewood, 22 pounds madder, 2 pounds oil of vitriol, 36 pounds sal soda, and 82 pounds soda ash. The dyeing is now done on the other side of the river, (outside the city,) as will be noted again below.

Just below the preceding is a private corporation gas works, (producing during the winter from 50,000 to 60,000 cubic feet per day for the supply of the mills on the island,) which is the source of some, but apparently not very great pollution. The gas is made from benzine by Professor Low's process, and the superintendent claims that there is no waste. From an inspection of the outlet to the river, it appears to be very small in amount.

Another mill, belonging to James M. Preston, situated beside the canal just below the preceding, has privies for 100 operatives over leaching vaults six or eight feet from the raceway, which causes, without doubt, considerable pollution.

The "Pekin mills," just below the preceding, and the first on the island above the bridge at the foot of Leverington street, are claimed to cause no pollution, the operations consisting simply of weaving, and the privy vaults being 50 feet or more from the canal, and cleaned two or three times a year.

Several mills are located on a natural stream entering the canal just below Leverington street, as follows:

Stafford & Co., Church and Wood streets, manufacturers of blankets and carpet yarns, had, until last summer, privies for 40 operatives over the stream. They have since been removed to stone-lined vaults, at a distance from the stream, but some solid waste - wool dust, etc., - still drains into the brook above the mill.

Andrew Wilson's packing-box factory had a privy over the same stream, a short distance below, at the time of my last general inspection in August.

At Fitzpatrick & Holt's "Canton Mills," (cotton and woolen yarns,) over the same brook, at High and Leverington streets, the dye-house waste from 267 pounds extract logwood, 47 pounds soda ash, 33 pounds blue vitriol, 17 pounds catechu, 3 pounds chrome, and 1/2 pound aniline per day, discharges directly into the stream, and previous to last fall the privies for 300 employes were over chutes leading to the same, but since the court ordered this nuisance abated the board of health inspector reports that tight cess-pools have been provided.

Beside the canal, but draining into the river, nearly opposite the mouth of the above stream, is Stelwagon's paper-mill, another establishment which was charged in court last fall with polluting the water supply. Formerly all waste from this mill, solid as well as liquid was discharged directly into the river or thrown down the bank, whence it was washed away. This filth was of the worst character, since the product is coarse wrapping and roofing paper, in making which the rags are not boiled, and much coarser, dirtier stock is used than in the other mills above. The raw material consists of three tons of cloth rags, (colored,) nearly two tons of shoddy waste, and over one ton of paper rags. The solid waste dumped on the bank consisted of materials too coarse to be used, as hats, shoes, corsets, mats, &c., shoddy dust too fine to use, and the heavy solids which fall to the bottom of the machines in which the rags are reduced to pulp. The water-closet drainage of 24 men was also allowed to run into the river.

Some time after the order of the court to abate this nuisance the following changes were made: A dusting-machine was introduced, through which all the cloth rags were said to be passed, thus removing much of the dirt which adhered to them only loosely; catch basins were placed in the bottom of the machines to intercept the heavy solid wastes, the waste shoddy dust and other material unsuitable for use was said to be burned in a furnace provided with a blower, and privies were built over a tight vault. Nevertheless, but little change was noticeable in the character of the effluent stream, of which I collected a sample on January 24,and forwarded to Dr. A. R. Leeds, analyst.

Carlyle Greaves' dye-house, a small custom place, iust below the preceding, uses about 50 pounds chipped logwood per day on the average, 10 pounds Glauber's salts and unknown amounts of other dyes very irregularly, the waste from which goes directly to the river.

The " Crompton mills," beside the canal, next below, are occupied by J. A. Campbell & Bro., (formerly by Morris & Ott,) cotton and woolen-yarn spinners, having 12 operatives, and using 43 pounds extract logwood, 9 pounds soda ash, and 9 pounds bluestone per day; also, other dyes in small quantities and irregularly; Shaw, Ferguson & Bowen, using same materials, but one third more, and having about 18 operatives; Ripley & Co., weavers, having 53 operatives, but no dye-house ; and Watson, weaver, having five operatives. One or two of these firms have dye-houses on the river bank; but the waste water is partially settled and filtered before entering the river, by first Bowing into a small basin, inclosed by a stone wail and having an overflow. The water-closet drainage of all the above operatives (88) is discharged into the river. A considerable quantity of shoddy dust and waste material is dumped on the river bank just below the dye-houses, probably from these mills.

George Grebe's blanket mill, opposite the preceding, on the river bank, scours 137 blankets, using 34 pounds of soap and 9 pounds soda ash. All waste, including water-closet discharges from 16 operatives, goes directly into the river.

The " Wabash mill," of James M. Preston, at the lower end of the river road on the island between the river and canal, usually employs about 180 hands in the manufacture of flannels and blankets. When in full operation, between 150 and 200 blankets are scoured per day, with 43 pounds of fulling soap and 7 pounds of soda ash, all waste going directly to the river. Small quantities of mill-waste were dumped on the bank, or into the river, back of the mill, and the operatives' privies were over the raceway, from the canal to the river, at the time of my last inspection, (August 15,1881.) Since then the Court ordered the cessation of this pollution, and at about the same time the mill was stopped, and has ever since been idle. The medical inspector of the Board of Health reports that no change has been made in the drainage arrangements.

The mills of the Winpenny estate, a short distance below the preceding, have been idle for a long time.

A small quantity of refuse has been deposited on the bank from the "Eagle mill" of Sevill Schofield, Son & Co., between the river and canal, just above the West Manayunk bridge; but there appears to be no regular pollution of note from this place.

The " Ripka mills," (owned by the estate of R. Patterson,) situated on the island between the river and canal, below the bridge to West Manayunk, have been idle since early last fall. It is not known when they will start up. When in full operation, they employ about 500 persons, all of whom use water-closets discharging directly into the river. In the manufacture of ginghams and dress goods, they dye 1,370 pounds of cotton yarn per day and use for coloring 1 pound aniline dyes, 5 pounds muriate of antimony, 52 pounds catechu, 62 pounds of chloride of lime, 7 pounds chrome, 1 pound copperas, 1 pound fustic, 13 pounds indigo, 3 pounds indigo auxiliary, 19 pounds iron liquor, 19 pounds extract of logwood, 6 pounds madder, 40 pounds oil of vitriol, 19 pounds soda ash, 75 pounds extract of sumac, 21 pounds muriate of tin, and 1 pound tumeric - the waste of all which goes directly into the river.

The river bank in the rear of these mills presents a neater appearance than at any other place at Manayunk. Only ashes are deposited there, and these are leveled, covered with earth, and sodded, year by year.

The City Fire Department Station, on the north side of Main street, a short distance above the West Manayunk bridge, had water-closet drainage to the canal for 12 men until last fall, when a tight well was substituted.

William McMaster's livery stables, on Main street, below Belmont avenue, have partial indirect drainage into the Main street gutter, and thence to the sewer; also a public urinal near the stable office.

Serwazi & Co., bottlers of weiss beer, porter, ginger ale, and mineral waters, at 131 Grape street, wash between 60 and 80 dozen bottles per day, and discharge all waste water into the sewer.

At Taylor Spink's shoddy works, on Crescent street below Gay street, the operatives' water-closets drain into the street sewer, as also small quantities of dye water. On January 10, 1884, about 20 workmen were employed.

Liebert & Ober's brewery, on Oak street, above Baker street, producing from 35,000 to 40,000 barrels of beer per year, drains into a culvert back of the brewery. A privy for six workmen is placed directly over the culvert. Sixteen dwellings on the same street have privies over the same culvert.

The water-closets at the Philadelphia and Reading (Norristown branch) railroad station at Manayunk drain into the river by sewer, and also the city police station-house, between Cotton and Mechanic, Cresson and Main streets. The latter is occupied by 25 officers and men, and had, on February 6, 1885, an average of 7 or 8 lodgers. The same branch of the street sewer running to the police station-house receives water-closet drainage from several private dwellings on Main street.

The next manufactory below the Ripka mills, above mentioned, is the Schuylkill paper mill, owned by George McDougal, between the canal and river, near the foot of Levering street. On January 12,1884, the foreman stated that the following quantities of materials were used per day, on the average: 1,700 pounds cotton rags, 3,430 pounds wood pulp, 336 pounds chloride of lime, and 43 pounds soda ash. During the past summer, the mill was not in operation, and the upper part underwent reconstruction. Back of this part, on June 19, 1884, was a pile of old sackings and mattings, rotten rags, etc., - foul in appearance- containing about 80 cubic yards, and about 250 yards of waste lime, within reach of high water. Back of the lower portion was about 80 yards of waste lime and a large pile, (10,000 yards,) of ashes. At present the reconstructed portion is operated by W. J. Elliot, for the manufacture of manilla wrapping paper. Only jute is used, and this is boiled with lime, so that the river pollution is much less serious than formerly. The following is a list of the average quantities of materials used per day: 6,000 pounds jute, 20 bushels lime, 500 pounds chloride of lime, and 200 pounds of alum. The privy drainage, which formerly discharged into the river, is now retained in dry wells.

Next below is the large cotton-mill of the A. Campbell estate, which has been idle for a year past. When in operation it employs 700 operatives. The most serious pollution is from the water-closet wells or cess-pools, which have an overflow directly to the river. The dye-house waste is more or less filtered by passing through the ash bank behind the mill. The principal pollution from this source is at times of freshet, when the water enters the cellars under the dye-houses and probably removes much of the accumulated deposit. The following list of the principal materials used per day was obtained from the superintendent on January 10, 1834: 7 pounds alum, 2 gallons oxymuriate of antimony, 10 pounds blue vitriol, 68 pounds catechu, 66 pounds chloride of lime, 9 pounds chrome, 11 pounds copperas, 6 pounds fustic, (extract,) 41 pounds indigo, 22 pounds indigo auxiliary, 2 gallons black iron liquor, 52 pounds lime, 7 pounds chipped logwood, 55 pounds extract logwood, 8 pounds oil of vitriol, 12 pounds soap, 6 pounds soda ash, 81 pounds sumac, (bag,) 34 pounds sumac, (extract,) 15 pounds tallow, and 222 pounds starch. Back of the mill is a long regular bank of ashes, reached by high water, but hardly in the river channel, and above the mill, near the canal, reached only by very high water, if at all, is a deposit of some 70 or 80 cubic yards of chipped logwood.

Sevill Schofield. Son & Co. are the largest woolen manufacturers draining into the Schuylkill above Dobson's mills at the falls. At their Economy mills, between the river and canal, just above the lower end of the latter, and on the river side of the canal, and at the Blantyre mills, between Main street and the canal below Cotton street, about 25,000 pounds of wool were scoured daily in August, 1884, with 50 pounds of soap and an equal quantity of soda ash, and all the waste from this process goes directly into the river or canal. (Emphasis mine. MLB)

In scouring cloth, the following process of recovering the waste products and keeping them out of the river is employed: The scouring machines are emptied into wooden gutters, through which the waste is washed into wooden tanks in an adjoining room and below the level of the floor of the scouring room. In these rooms, it is treated with oil of vitriol, causing the oils to separate from the pulp, (wooden fibers,) and then put in coarse filtering-bags of matting for removing the water, which comes out quite clear and tasteless. The oily pulp is next placed under presses and the oil extracted, to be used over again in making soap. The mats (waste solids) are taken away to farms for manure. Thirty barrels of oil per week are thus saved and 6,000 pounds of manure. The rinsings of the scouring machines are discharged into the river directly, and this, the proprietor claims, is the only pollution from the process. The solid waste from privies is removed to farms, but the urine is caught in barrels and used in wool scouring. In the dye houses, which discharge directly into the river or canal, the following were average quantities of materials used per day on January 10,1884, besides smaller amounts of many others: 148 pounds chipped logwood, 85 pounds of extract of logwood, 43 pounds extract of sumac, 40 pounds hypernic, 8 pounds fustic, 11 pounds blue vitriol, 23 pounds oil of vitriol, 12 pounds catechu, 7 pounds chrome, 13 pounds copperas, 2 pounds anilines, 86 pounds soda ash, and 7 pounds scouring soap.

Back of the Economy mills was, in June. 1881, an extensive (artificial) bank of ashes mixed with small quantities of various sorts of mill waste - principally chipped logwood and other solid waste from the dye-houses, and teasels, (burrs used in dressing woolen cloth,) with wool clinging to them, also small quantities of wool-dust and rags. But these were washed away, apparently by the winter freshets, and the bank at this date is nearly free from organic refuse, except some old lumber, which is to be burned. A small quantity of tin scraps, old oil-cloth, old hats, shavings, etc., was found in June beside the abutment of the tow-path bridge, just below the Economy mills, but probably dumped there by others than the mill owners. They were removed during the winter, probably by high water.

A small cemetery above Creason and Penn streets is favorably situated for drainage into the river through the street gutters, being on a side hill and having its lower sides cut down for street and railroad, and unprotected by sod.

Below the lower canal locks, on the river bank, is J. P. Heft & Son's yarn mills. A little scouring is done, but the principal pollution is the sewage from 60 operatives, and the dye-house waste from 177 pounds of extract of logwood, 67 pounds of soda ash, 50 pounds catechu, 43 pounds indigo, 26 pounds anilines, (principally scarlet,) 17 pounds bluestone, and between 100 and 200 pounds per day of other dye stuffs. [Average quantity per day in January, 1884.]

The mill of David Wallace & Son, just below the preceding, when visited on January 12,1884, was said to scour a little wool - 33 pounds a day - and do some dyeing, using 35 pounds of extract of logwood, 17 pounds blue vitriol, and small amounts of other dye stuffs. The waste from both of these processes goes directly to the river.

The four following mills on Shur's lane drain into the river through the street gutter or natural streams which are covered in the lower portion:

Rice & Bean, manufacturers of woolen spun - yarns, on the north - west side of Shur's lane, above the railroad, dye about 1,000 pounds per day, using 96 pounds of extract of logwood, 14 pounds soda ash, 14 pounds blue vitriol, 1 pound chrome, and small quantities of anilines. All sewage, including excrements from 30 operatives, goes to the river, (about 800 feet,) by a culvert having a steep grade. [Last inspection in August, 1884.)

Morris & Ott have recently started a new mill just above the preceding, but it is not yet fully in operation. Privies for 19 operatives are over the same brook above mentioned, but it is designed to dig a vault as soon as the spring opens and abolish the old arrangement.

J. Leach & Bro., manufacturers of cotton and woolen goods, on the northwest side of Shur's lane, about one third mile from the river, dye 600 pounds of cotton per day, using 70 pounds of extract of logwood and a little chipped logwood, 18 pounds vitriol, and 17 pounds soda ash; also 7 pounds catechu per day for three months in the year. About 100 operative, 8 are employed, all of whom use privies over a well receiving roof water, and having an overflow to a small brook. The dye-house waste runs in the street gutter most of the way to the river. [Last inspection in August, 1884]

T. Kinworthy & Bro., just above the preceding, scour 1,540 pounds of wool per day, using 46 pounds of soap and 13 pounds of soda ash. The waste water from this process runs in the street gutter most of the way to the river. Privies for 80 operatives are over the same stream as the preceding.

Flanigan's (Freeland) mills, (spinning,) above the preceding, give employment to about 40 operatives, who use privies over the same brook referred to above. Just above the mill, considerable quantities of waste material—short fibers and dust—partly rotten, have been deposited on the banks of the brook, into which more or less of the foul matter is washed by every rain. [Last inspection in August, 1884.]

The "Albion dye works," (G. J. Littlewood & Company,) on Main street below Shur's lane, is a large custom dye-house, coloring about 5,000 pounds of cotton and some wool, and using 600 pounds of liquid extract of logwood, 200 pounds of catehu, and 2 pounds of aniline dyes per day, liquid waste from which goes directly to the river. The dye-tub sediment - said to be about only one cubic yard per year - is dumped on the bank; also, an unknown quantity of dye-stuff casings, mats, and sacks. About 7 cubic yards of the latter, which had been dumped over the river wall opposite the wcrks, remained above high water on June 19. Probably much had been washed away by high water.

The superintendent of the city gas works, just below the preceding, claimed, on June 20, 1884, that no waste entered the river from the works when in operation. (At that time the gas was pumped from the city.) Nevertheless, after the works were started again in the fall, a considerable quantity of tarry matter was found to be running into the river under the corner of Hey's mill, opposite, which undoubtedly came from the gas works. In the summer, a large pile of waste lime remained on the river bank opposite the works, more or less of which was washed in by heavy rains, which also wash out old deposits of coarse waste products of a tarry nature which have been buried in the bank.

Below the gas works, on the same (N. B.) side of Main street, is A. Piatt & Bro's. cotton and woolen yarn mill. Liquid waste from dye-house (using 130 pounds logwood, 60 pounds catechu, and 3 pounds aniline dyes per day) runs in the street gutter a short distance to the sewer inlet.

Opposite the above, (on the river side of Main street,) is Richard Hey's "Progress mills" - woolen yarns. The waste from scouring 257 pounds of wool per day, with 4 pounds of soda ash and 21 pounds of soap, goes directly to the river. The dye-house waste water (from 17 pounds chipped logwood, 2 pounds aniline dyes, and a little catechu) is partially filtered by flowing through the cellar wall. The privies for 90 employe's are on the river banks, and are reached by high water.

Just below Piatt's mill is J. P. Holt's cotton yarn mill, having a sewer direct to the river, taking water-closet drainage (50 operatives) and liquid waste from a dye-house which was using, on January 12, 1884, an average of 17 pounds chipped logwood, 17 pounds soda ash, 17 pounds blue vitriol 3 1/2 pounds aniline dyes, and 7 pounds catechu per day.

The following, in reference to heaps of refuse on the river bank near this point, is from my report of June 21, 1884: "A short distance below Richard Hey's yarn factory is a large and rapidly increasing pile of ashes and other refuse, extending more than sixty feet into the river bed. This is open to the street, and is a common dumping ground for those manufacturers who have not a convenient place adjacent to their own premises, and for oyster dealers and the street-cleaning contractor for that district. The largest pile contains, approximately, 7,000 cubic yards, principally coal ashes, but with large quantities of oyster shells, wool and cotton dust and waste, and many other kinds of refuse. Below this is a long and narrow pile, beside the street, containing about 350 cubic yards of oyster shells, wool and cotton waste, etc. All this refuse has been deposited within five years. Near the upper end of the large pile are two or three small wooden buildings where Coates, Mills & Company manufacture cotton and wooien waste (for cleaning machinery and for packing boxes) from refuse cotton and wool from the mills. From this process results about one half cubic yard per day of short cotton and wool fibers and dust, which is dumped down the ash bank toward the river. This establishment has been in operation only fifteen months. J. P. Holt (cotton mill, just above) dumps ashes here—about one half cubic yard per day— about four cubic yards of sediment from dye-tubs during a year, and an indefinite (small) quantity of mill waste of various sorts. One of the employe's of John Anderson, street-cleaning contractor for the Twenty-first district, stated that about fifteen cart-loads per day of street sweepings were dumped here regularly. A part of the ashes from the Albion dye works, (G. J. Littlewood & Company,) amounting in all to about two cubic yards per day, is dumped here, and about one cubic yard per year of dye-tub sediment; also, during the winter, one cubic yard of ashes per day from A. Piatt & Bro's. mill, and small quantities of shoddy waste."


On Main street, (the river road,) a short distance above Wissahickon, are the "Enterprise mills" of Hutchinson & Ogden, manufacturers of woolen yarns. One thousand pounds of raw wool are scoured here per day, with about 45 pounds of soap. All the waste from this process goes direct to the river by drain under the street. This is claimed to be the only pollution. The privies are over dry wells.


A small brook entering the river a little way above this mill drains a small slaughter-house (two or three cattle a week) situated near it, about eight hundred feet back from the river. The liquid waste runs through small piles of manure, one close to the stream.


Very respectfully, DANA C. BARBER, Assistant Engineer.

The report goes on to list the businesses in West Manayunk who were dumping in the river.

*A euphemism for the toilet.
**Flooding from rain or winter snow melt.

Note: The mills ran every day including Sunday.

Flat Rock Tunnel Manayunk, Philadelphia

Posted 1911

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Flat Rock RR tunnel is between exits 337/338 (mileposts) on I-76, the Schuylkill Expressway. Exit 338 is Green Lane/Belmount Avenue, and 337 is Armore. This is very close to the Schuylkill River across from Manayunk section of Philly. On a map, look for RR tracks which disappear across the Schuylkill Expressway. That's the tunnel.

West Manayunk, PA seems to be a valid Mapquest name, and is in Montgomery County, earer to exit 338 than 337. You will see there is a Flat Rock Road, NW of West Manayunk (Left ). Which is parrallel to Hallow Road. Flat Rock Road deadends into Hagy's-Ford Road.


January 2008

Zoological Gardens, Fairmont Park, Philadelphia, Pa.

The Philadelphia Zoo opened July 1, 1874. It was the first zoo in America.

The zoo was accessible by steamers on the Schuylkill River.

Not posted

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Henry Avenue Bridge over the Wissahickon Creek, Philadelphia, Pa.

Not dated. Printed on back

Henry Avenue Bridge was erected in 1932 at a cost of over $2,000,000. It is of Masonry constrution 915 feet long, 84 feet wide and 185 feet above water level in Wissahickon Creek. One of the most beautiful bridges in the city it connects Roxborough and Germantown.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Henry Avenue Bridge Over Wissahickon

Thanks to Don Duffy, April, 2006

Not posted.

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Boating on the Wissahickon, Philadelphia,

Not dated.

The Wissahickon River runs along the Wissahickon Valley through Fairmount Park. This area of Fairmount Park formed the northeast boundry of Manayunk/Roxborough. The Wissihickon was popular for boating in the summer and skating in the winter.

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Tall Bridge over Wissahickon Creek Philadelphia,

Not posted. Copyright 1905.

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Entrance to Wissahickon, Farimont Park, Philadelphia, Pa.

Not posted.

The bridge is the Reading Railroad Bridge.

Don Duffy, April 2006

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Wissahickon Creek, Fairmont Park, Philadelphia

Copyright 1907 by Taylor Art Co. Not posted.

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Valley Green, Fairmont Park, Philadelphia

Dated October 12, 1906

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

River Drive, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, Pa. No date.

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

September 2008 William Ross wrote:

"The road paralleling the river was then called East River Drive, and is now called Kelly Drive. The town in the background at the time was called the Falls of Schuylkill, and is now called East Falls. The intersecting street (on the right) was at the time called Nicetown Lane; it is now called Hunting Park Avenue. Both sides of said street were and are the property of Laurel Hill Cemetery. I biked by there twice today on the Schuylkill River trail, and rowed by there yesterday. It is now much more heavily wooded.  William Ross, September 3, 2008"

The Schuykill, Fairmont Park, Philadelphia, Pa.

Post marked 1911.

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

River Drive and Tunnell, Philadelphia, Pa

Posted in 1905

"The intersection shown is East (Kelly) River Drive and Brewery Hill Drive."

MarcZ, December 2007

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

East River Drive Fairmont Park Philadelphia Pa.

Printed on the back of the card,

"Drive in East Fairmont Park, beginning at Girard Avenue and extending north to the Wissahickon, among the most romantic and picturesque scenery."
Hand written notes in pencil

"East Side looking South

P & R RR Bridge

Girard Bridge is in the background"

Artist redrew the blocks of the P & R RR Bridge"

Not posted

The Tunnell, River Drive, Fairmont Park, Philadelphia, Pa

No date.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The Schuylkill Canal at Flat Rock, Philadelphia, Pa.

Posted 1911

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The Corner of Daniel and Hermit Streets 1923

The following four photos were taken in July 1923 in what appears to be changes planned by the railroad. These photos where attached to the map dated 8-22-23.

Photo collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Daniel Street and Hermit Street, July 19, 1923

Photo collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Daniel Street and Hermit Street, July 19, 1923

Photo collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Daniel Street and Hermit Street, July 19, 1923

Photo collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Daniel Street and Hermit Street, July 19, 1923

Map collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Written in the larger block outlined in green "SOLD TO CITY 4-4-24"

Written in the smaller block outlined in green "Box 2613-12"

Written in the largest block outlined in red "ROXBOROUGH R. R. CO."

Comments from Harry Garforth, February 21, 2006

Henry H. Houston, who was a Pennsylvania Railroad Company Director from 1881-1895, was instrumental in developing a plan to acquire substantial land holdings in upper Roxborough. The acquisitions were in anticipation of building a new railroad extension into the territory.

It was named The Roxborough Railroad. The new line was to branch off the Chestnut Hill Line, constructed in 1884. The railroad extension was never built, but land was acquired and the map you show on your site was evidently part of the planned land acquisitions.

Although existing on paper until 1926, it was dissolved by the Pennsylvania Railroad on August 16, 1926.

Henry H. Houston was very successful in developing land acquisitions in Chestnut Hill after train service was commenced in 1884.

Images courtesy of Phebe Morgan, February 2012
The Robeson home, Shoomac Park (or Roxboro) taken about 1834 . Built possibly 1752 or before.

Image shared by Phebe Morgan, Febraury 2012.

See An historical and genealogical account of Andrew Robeson: of Scotland, New ... By Susan Stroud Robeson, Caroline Franciscus Stroud (a google book).

Market Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

Post marked 1907.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Art Museum and Washington Monument, Philadelphia

Not posted.

Go to Philadelphia Museum of Art for a history of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

North Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

No date.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Market Street West From 11th, Philadelphia, Pa.

Post marked 1918.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Market Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

Post marked 1907.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Market Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

Post marked 1904.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Chestnut Street west from Eleventh Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

Post marked 1913.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

2361 Chestnut Street, West from 8th Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

Not dated.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Strawbridge and Clothier's
8th and Market Streets
Philadelphia, Pa.

Not dated.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

View of Philadelphia as seen from Deleware River, Philadelphia, Pa.

Not dated.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Other Sources For Old Philadelphia Photos

Anita McKelvey sent the following helpful email in December 2007:

The best and most comprehensive database of photos is the city-owned website Philly History. Sometimes, accessing the database can be a little tough, trying to find what you're looking for, but it's a treasure trove once you get the hang of it.

About two years ago, the City got funding to web publish its entire Street's Department photo archive, which dates from 1840! From photography's earliest days, the City's Street's Department took photos to document road repairs, building demolitions, city-managed construction projects and the like. As a result, the City archives hold over 2 million images. To date, the website has maybe 50,000 images available online but it continuously adds a couple thousand more each month.

I tell tourists (I'm in the cultural heritage tourism business -- Day Trips And More) that if they want to see what Phila looked like in the old days, to simply google --"historic Philadelphia photos." At least a dozen terrific photo websites are online.

Universities such as Penn, Bryn Mawr, Temple and others, have all put their photo archives online free for public access. Also, the Historical Society of PA, the Library Company of Phila, and the Free Library of Phila also have their photo archives online. Here are the three best, after the City archive collection.

Bryn Mawr

Places in Time: Front door Link to the City of Philadelphia's Photo Archive web site, a searchable, GIS-linked database of photographs, many historic, from the City's collections


Philadelphia Historical Digital Image Library C1-013, Art/Photo Collection, Thomas Jefferson University Archives, Philadelphia, PA. For images from collections at The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Library:

FLP - Historical Images of Philadelphia


Mike Ettner's Blog contains two lovely paintings of Manayunk in the snow by the artist James Jeffreys.

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Land Introduction
John Land
Samuel Land and Mary Ann Law Land and Their Children
Lydia Law Land and Her Children

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©Maggie Land Blanck - page created 2004 - latest update, April 2015