Friday, June 22, 2012

The Hattie Milliken House

This is a bit of an odd post for several reasons. First, the site is slightly outside of Mill Creek Hundred, but only very slightly. Second, the house in question, although built in an old style, dates only to the mid 1930's. Finally, the topic grew completely out of comments on another post. It's actually because of one comment in particular that I've decided to give the subject its own post. I thought the story was interesting enough that I didn't want this comment (which is almost a post in itself) lost in the shuffle.

It all started last November, with a question in a comment on the post about the Josiah G. Hulett House. Bill Harris asked if I knew anything about a nearby stone house that overlooked Lancaster Pike. It sits on the south side of the road, on the left just before you cross Red Clay Creek and the railroad tracks if you're coming from Centerville Road or 141. It's made of fieldstone, and at first glance looks as if it could be 18th or 19th Century. I didn't really know anything about it at first, and some quick research gave me only the barest of facts. County information stated it was built in 1936, on land purchased the previous year by Hattie and Mahlon Milliken. An anonymous commenter stated that he/she cared for the Millikens late in their lives, and that they called the house "Beech Bower".

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Reverend Thomas Love

Rev. Thomas Love
Nineteenth Century Mill Creek Hundred, like the rest of the country, was a highly religious place. The smattering of small, country churches helped to define and unite the communities, and in doing so the leaders of those churches (especially ones who remained for an extended period of time) became influential and well-known in the community. In the mid-1800's, few men were more respected in this area than the Presbyterian minister Rev. Thomas Love. He preached at local churches for over 35 years, taking several struggling congregations and building them into strong churches. He also managed to be a gentleman farmer in eastern MCH for more than 55 years, joining his ministerial predecessor in leaving his name on the map even today.

Thomas Love was born on March 22, 1796 in Faggs Manor, PA (near the present-day towns of Avondale and Cochranville). His parents were James and Mary Love, and his grandfather, also Thomas Love, was a soldier in both the French and Indian War as well as the Revolution. It was this elder Thomas' grandfather who first emigrated from Ireland to America. The family was likely Scotch-Irish and devoutly Presbyterian, like the MCH residents to the south to whom the younger Thomas would ultimately minister.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Zoomable 1868 Beers Map Overlay

First of all, at the risk of disappointing anyone who misread the title the same way I did an email subject line, this post is not about Zombie Beers. For better or worse, it's just not. What it's actually about is a cool new tool, made specifically for us, by the creator of one of my other favorite resources. If you've had the ... we'll say "pleasure" ... OK, "experience"... of reading a few posts on this blog, you've no doubt seen me reference the 1849 Rea & Price Map of New Castle County. Originally, like several of the other maps, I could only find little bits and pieces of the Rea & Price map. Eventually, to my great delight, I came across a complete, color, high-quality, zoomable version of the map.

This high-quality, zoomable (meaning you can zoom in and out) version was created by Jim Meeks, and hosted at his website -- New Castle Community History and Archaeology Program (NC-CHAP). This is a fantastic website devoted to the history of the town of New Castle, the oldest town in the county named for it. Well, Jim's at it again. This time he's taken on my other favorite map, and he's made an awesome version of it specially for us.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Joseph Ball House -- Epilogue

Ball House, July 2007
I wasn't really planning on doing a third post (after Part 1 and Part 2) about this house, but there just ended up being a few things that either I didn't get to, or that came up after the other posts were put up. Mostly, they deal with the 20th and 21st Century history of the house, which for the most part consists of conjecture and reminiscences. However, since those reminiscences we've gotten seem to have some good information, I thought I'd put this all together in one last post.

The first thing I wanted to touch on was the physical structure of the house itself. As was pointed out in Denis' comment on the first post, the house as it is now is strictly a fieldstone structure. However, until recently there was a frame addition situated on the east end of the house (the right side as you're looking at the front). I haven't seen a picture of this addition, nor do I really know any more about it, such as who might have built it and when. It was apparently removed some time between five and ten years ago, presumably for structural/safety reasons. The picture above comes from Google Street View, and shows the house with the addition removed. The picture is shown to have been taken in July 2007, which gives a timeframe for its removal. The house apparently remained open like this for several years, before modern siding was used to cover the end of the house.