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Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia’

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In the mid to late 1960s, my parents and I traveled to Pennsylvania and then to New York. My dad’s sister, Marie (Amore) Werkley lived in Philadelphia so we visited her after we had toured the Hershey’s factory. That was before OSHA and health safety laws prohibited people from walking through the guts of the chocolaty preparation areas. We were thisclose to the huge vats of milk chocolate. For a very young girl who never could say no to chocolate, that was a huge thing!

Hershey, PA

Hershey, PA

Seeing the birthplace of our freedoms and walking through the streets once trod by the Founding Fathers was too complex for my young mind to comprehend. Luckily, I was able to do that again as a teen when it meant more to me.

Gene & Aunt Marie in Philadelphia

Gene Amore & Marie (Amore) Werkley

In New York, while my dad was at a work seminar, Mom and I shopped, went to Radio City Music Hall, shopped some more, walked in Times Square, and shopped some more! Mom’s favorite daytime drama was “As the World Turns” and it was filmed live in front of an audience. Oh, how she wanted to see that. I was one year too young to be allowed in as part of the audience – even though it was my fault that she watched soap operas. Back then, no one thought anything of sitting a child in front of the television in order to complete the daily chores – and in my mom’s case, doing some sewing. So while I watched the shows, she got caught up in them too!

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While in New York, we visited the sister of my uncle’s wife. She, her sister, my uncle and mom all grew up together in present day Fairborn, Ohio. Irene and her husband lived on Long Island.

We took a faerie boat ride out to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty. We never landed but just saw the beautiful gift from France from the boat. I still get goosebumps whenever I see film of her – and in the case of the last scene from the original “Planet of the Apes” – it terrifies me. On the way back to Manhattan from Long Island, my dad took a wrong turn and ended up in Queens. I had fallen asleep in the car and when I woke up – some three hours later – we were pulling in to the parking garage of our hotel!

I loved that trip and remember so much about it – including being a little sea sick on that boat ride!

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First German Reformed Church

No, not that type of connection! As far as I know, I am not related to George Washington through his mother or his father. This is similar to the “Six Degrees of Separation” game (and no, I haven’t found any connection to Kevin Bacon either!). I did however, discover that one of my ancestors had something in common with our country’s first president. It was a particular place.

As I was researching information on my  4th great-grandmother, Elizabeth Lutz, I came across an interesting piece of information. The daughter of Adam Lutz and Maria Rucht was baptized on September 24, 1762 in the First Reformed Church of Philadelphia by Rev. Frederick Rothenbuehler. The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, Vol. 35, No. 1, published in 1987 lists this on page 11. It mentions that her father was “of the Palatinate (came on the ship Lydia from Rotterdam, 13  Oct. 1749…)” and lists her sponsors.

Wanting to know more about this church, I used Google to see what I could find. The First Reformed Church of Philadelphia was also called the German Reformed Church of Philadelphia and was founded in 1727 by German immigrants. The minister, Rev. George Michael Weiss, arrived with 400 other people from the Palatinate region of Germany. Today, the church is called Old First Reformed UCC (United Church of Christ).  For more on the church’s history, you can go to History of Old First Reformed UCC, Old First Reformed Church, and The German Reformed Church. I was excited to find that my 4th great-grandmother was baptized in a church that is now part of the denomination of which I’m a member!

I also learned that in 1800 memorial services for George Washington was held at that church! Well, not in the same building because the congregation had moved down the road a bit but the congregation still had the same history as it did when Elizabeth Lutz was baptized 38 years before!

My 4th great-grandmother married Adam Goul and went on to have eight children. My direct ancestor was their first son, John W. Goul, through his daughter, Melissa Goul, through her daughter, Katie J. Blazer, through her son, Glen R. Johnson, through his daughter, Mary Johnson (my mom!). Elizabeth died in Champaign county, Ohio on November 13, 1845 and is buried in Treacles Creek Cemetery in that county.

(Image: Wikimedia Commons; photograph in public domain)

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania conjurs up thoughts of the Declaration of Independence, the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross, the Founding Fathers, and even the movie “National Treasure.” My first trip to Philadelphia was in about 1965 when I was about four years old. Not only were we going to visit some of the places I mentioned but also to visit my dad’s sister, Marie. On the way from Dayton to Phlly, we stopped in Hershey and toured the chocolate-maker’s manufacturing plant (this was before OSHA and other laws prevented a tour right by the gigantic vats of milk chocolate!). As a young chid, I was fascinated with the street lights shaped like Hersey Kisses candy! We left with oodles of chocolate and other candy.

We stayed at my Aunt Marie’s for at least two nights and also enjoyed the sights of Philadelphia.

My Aunt Marie

Carpenter’s Hall

From Pennsylvania, we went to Manhattan and while my dad had business meetings, Mom and I saw the Rockettes, Rockefeller Center, and shopped at  department stores.  One of my mom’s class mates (and sister to my uncle’s wife) lived on Long Island, so we spent a day visiting them and taking a ferry boat ride out by the Statue of Liberty. Either going East or returning home, we stopped at the Gettysburg National Military Park.

Many years later, as a high school student the summer before my Junior year, I went with my church’s Youth Fellowship back to Philadelphia. We stopped on the way in Johnstown and spent the night at a church and then on to Lancaster and spent two days sight-seeing and enjoying the hospitality of a family who opened their home for 22 of us kids and many adult sponsors plus our Christian Education director and the minister and his family. Then on to Philly to walk the cobblestone streets, visit Christ Church, get a close up view of the Liberty Bell, and tour Independence Hall. We saw the home of Betsy Ross and the U.S. Mint. Outside of town we took mine cars deep into the coal and iron ore mine.

Now, I would like to visit again, but this time with the knowledge that some of my ancestors lived near to Philadelphia before the Founding Fathers set quill to parchment with their signatures on the Declaration of Independence.

 

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(Photographed by Gene Amore; digital scan owned by Wendy Littrell)

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Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (ca. 1966)
Photographed by Gene Amore
Digital image taken of slide held by Wendy Littrell (Address for private use)

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